Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Bone Up On Vitamin D

Weak, fragile bones and susceptibility to fractures-these are some of the painful consequences of the debilitating bone disease, osteoporosis. Currently, 10 million people suffer from osteoporosis in the United States and another 34 million are at risk of developing the disease. The Surgeon General has named osteoporosis a national health threat and estimated that by 2020 one in two Americans over the age of 50 will be at risk for fractures from osteoporosis or low bone mass.

There are several risk factors associated with the development of osteoporosis, including inadequate levels of vitamin D, a nutrient essential to the body's absorption of calcium. Recent research has uncovered that over 70 percent of women over the age of 50 have low levels of vitamin D, and even women being treated for osteoporosis have low levels of the important vitamin. To address the need for greater awareness about low levels of vitamin D, Spirit of Women Hospital Network has teamed up with Dr. Marie Savard, an internationally recognized women's health expert, to launch a new vitamin D risk assessment.

"Patients are frequently unaware of the importance of vitamin D in bone health and may not know they have low levels of vitamin D. Given its effect on calcium absorption, vitamin D inadequacy is an important medical concern for women, especially those over 50 or those who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis," said Dr. Savard.

In 2005, The American Medical Women's Association issued recommendations that called for an increase in vitamin D to 800-1,000 IU daily. The risk assessment will enable women to actively address the adequacy of their vitamin D intake and will direct them toward a possible treatment option for osteoporosis to discuss with their doctors.

"Women today want to be on top of their health to ensure their mobility and independence for a lifetime. The vitamin D risk assessment will help women recognize risk factors for osteoporosis and empower them to make important decisions about their bone health," said Tanya Abreu, national director of Spirit of Women Hospital Network. "By spreading the word about the importance of vitamin D, we hope that women would recognize one of the risk factors for osteoporosis and take ACTION to prevent osteoporosis by talking to their doctors."


American Ginseng



American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius, L.) is a perennial herb and grows wild in deciduous forests of the eastern United States. American ginseng is an erect plant that reaches a height of 0.3 to 0.7 meters and has fusiform roots, greenish-white flowers and red berries. The roots and rhizomes are often branched or forked, and they bring a premium price if they resemble a human form. Wild ginseng once thrived along most of the nation's eastern seaboard, from Maine to Alabama and west to Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. American ginseng, (panax quinquefolium) was at one time plentiful in all mountainous regions of the United States. However, it was over-harvested in the mid-1970s, and was subsequently defined as an endangered species. Now, only licensed ginseng harvesters are allowed to dig for the wild ginseng root.

Ginseng was one of the earliest marketable herbs harvested in the United States. Wild ginseng was one of Minnesota's first major exports. In 1860, more than 120 tons of dried ginseng roots were shipped from the Minnesota to China. American ginseng is similar to Asian ginseng, Panax ginseng, L. that grows wild in Northern Manchuria and has been harvested there for thousands of years. Currently, 18 states issue licenses to export it. In Wisconsin and several other states where ginseng is cultivated, a permit is not required to export artificially propagated ginseng.

American ginseng is also commonly cultivated. It is relatively easy to grow. The root takes approximately 5 years to reach harvesting maturity. American ginseng plants are generally started from seeds. Seedlings or roots for transplanting are available commercially but used infrequently. Seeds are planted in the fall and germinate in the spring.

American Ginseng is not a drug and should not be taken as such. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has classified it as a “generally recognized safe food” (GRAS).


All about vitamin A



Vitamins are essential for good health and well being. They are defined as any group of substances required in small quantities for healthy growth and development. They cannot be manufactured in the body so they are therefore vital constituents of the diet.

There are two types of vitamins according to whether they are soluble in water or fat. Vitamin A (Retinol) is a fat soluble vitamin and this is not excreted from the body in the urine so excessive intake can have a negative effect on health. Vitamin A is present in animal origin foods eg. liver, milk and egg yolk. It is formed in the body from the pigment Beta-carotene which is present in certain vegetables eg. carrots, cabbage and lettuce.

Vitamin A has a number of roles in the body. It is necessary for normal cell division and growth. It is important for maintenance of mucous membranes of the repiratory, digestive and urinary tracts. Retinol is a pale yellow solid which dissolves easily in oil and fat and it is essential for good eye sight, particularly vision in dim light as well as having an important role in normal development of the embryo. It can be produced synthetically and therefore used to enrich margarines.

The best source of retinal is liver and a small amount 3g meets the body’s daily requirements. 700mcg per day is a sufficient amount per adult which can also be derived from the beta carotene foods eg. 2oz raw carrots.

Deficiency of Vitamin A causes stunted growth, night blindness and drying up of mucous membranes which increases the risk of infection. A continued lack of Vitamin A can lead to worsening of vision an



About Women Health Supplements


Question: I want to get my health back on track. What kind of nutrients would you recommend I should look into in the area of women health supplements?

Answer: Great question! There are plenty of supplements out there that can be of great aid to women’s health. One problem that plagues women, especially later in life, can be the dreaded osteoperosis. Since your body needs a steady supply of calcium, if you do not meet your body’s calcium requirements, it will begin to sap the calcium from your body’s teeth and bones, leaving them brittle and weak.

To prevent this, a calcium supplement can be of great aid. Coral calcium is one product on the market that can help prevent this ailment. Harvested from long-dead sea beds, the calcium found in coral sediments can help to pave the way for clear health.

Antioxidants are also key parts in maintaining the health of both males and females. Helping to stop the damaging effects of free-radicals (highly reactive chemicals that capture electrons and modify chemical structures), antioxidants such as Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and Vitamin E may reduce the risk of cancer and muscular degeneration. Iron is also a key element that needs to be regularly consumed to help maintain the female body.

The body needs this mineral to produce red blood cells, and an iron shortage can result in anemia, a condition marked by a lack of red blood cells. Many of these simple minerals can help maintain your body’s structure and help lead you to great health. Some supplements even offer combined compounds that help to meet your daily requirements in a few of these categories.

I hope this article has helped you to learn more about your body and the things it needs to be working in its fittest form. Best of luck on your quest for nutrition!

This no nonsense book will tell you everything you need to know about nutrition.



A Natural Source Of Melatonin



Melatonin is produced by the pineal gland. It is believed to play a role in anti aging, as well as helping with jet lag and insomnia. But caution is well advised with using melatonin as a supplement, given how powerful its effects are.

One of the problems with melatonin is that most of the studies were done on animals, like rats, and not humans. Animal studies are used by the scientific community to indicate whether a substance has promise, and can yield valuable results even though they are ethically reprehensible and other alternatives exist. One such study was done at the University of Texas Health Science Center.

Whilst it was funded by a grant from the California Walnut Industry, these scientists were able to establish not only that walnuts contained melatonin, but that it was able to be absorbed - at least by rats. But they believe humans would also be able to absorb melatonin from walnuts. Unfortunately, they don't know how many walnuts you'd have to eat to get the benefits they established as a potential in this study. It might be a lot! But using food as a source of melatonin is a good option given that it is much safer, particularly if suffering from serious illnesses.

University of Texas scientists also found that melatonin had an antioxidant effect. Antioxidants protect our cells from damage by oxidation. Antioxidants slow down the aging process, and interestingly, melatonin levels often decrease with age.

The antioxidant effect of melatonin has been presented before. Dr Reiter, also of the University of Texas Health Science Center, believes it can protect the central nervous system as well as the body generally from free radicals. He also thinks melatonin can increase the body's own production of another antioxidant, glutathione peroxidase.

People who should not take melatonin supplements are:

* children
* pregnant women
* breastfeeding mothers
* couples trying to conceive
* people with serious allergies
* HIV and cancer patients

Whilst it is not recommended that people with cancer take melatonin, this is primarily for the reasons that not enough research has been done on humans, at least according to Dr Kenneth Cooper. But some of the research that has been done with people suggests that melatonin may be very helpful - if it is taken with the supervision of a doctor. And herein lies the crux of the problem - melatonin is a very powerful substance. Only small doses are needed to create improvements. For example, Dr Cooper cites the example of dosages as small as 2 to 3 mg only, for some people suffering insomnia.

Overall, melatonin is very promising, and may well help people with serious illnesses like cancer and multiple sclerosis. In the meantime, increasing our dietary intake of foods like walnuts that potentially supply us with this wonderful nutrient, may have a host of protective health benefits as well as slowing down the aging process.



Monday, September 9, 2013

10 Diet Rules You Can Break

There are actually diet rules out there that are meant to be broken? Yes, recently many dated diet guidelines and myths are up for speculation. You’ve probably heard all these silly rules before, but experts weigh-in on the worthiness of these supposed truisms - most of which won't help you lose weight or make dieting any easier.

10 Food Rules You Can Ignore:

1. Eating at night will pile on the pounds. The total calories you consume over a 24-hour period or over a week is what causes you to gain weight, and when you eat these calories doesn't matter.

2. It's best to eat at the same times every day. Eat when you're hungry, not when the clock says it's time to eat.

3. Dieting with a buddy always makes weight loss easier. Common goals may pay off but weight loss is a personal journey.

4. Dietary fat keeps you feeling full longer, so you'll eat less. Fat does take longer to digest, but it will not help you control your appetite. Foods likely to fight off hunger the longest are protein foods, followed by carbohydrates, then fats.

5. When you blow your diet, you might as well wait until the next day to get back on track. Nothing could be farther from the truth- always try to get right back on track with your next meal.

6. Refusing food at a party or when visiting is rude. Turning down food that you know will blow your diet is socially acceptable.

7. Skipping a meal every now and then will help you lose. Skipping a meal means you will be so hungry at the next meal that you are likely to overeat. This can also  help lead to a slowdown of your metabolism.

8. Bread is fattening, nuts are fattening, pasta is fattening. Whole-wheat bread/pasta is a great source of nutrients, and it won't make you gain weight more than any other food with the same number of calories.

9. All calories are equal. This is somewhat true, however; you'll get more nutrients from a 100-calorie apple than from a 100-calorie portion of white bread. Choose healthier items if you are losing weight, or controlling your hunger.

10. If you don't clean your plate, you're wasting food. If you just don't feel right leaving the table until you've cleaned your plate, underestimate your hunger and put less food on your plate to begin with, or you may overeat.

Don’t believe everything you hear! Much of it is just superstition. Now you can tell your friends the real truth. In the end, nutrition experts say, many of the food and dieting rules we hold dear are meant to be broken - without guilt!


Correct Your Acid / Alkaline Balance with the Water You Drink: What the Experts Say

In health circles there has been much recent talk about acid /alkaline imbalance. Let's see if we can clarify how experts recommend we correct this imbalance.

The problem
Your body functions best when neither too acid nor too alkaline. Unfortunately almost all of us have become acidic due to diet, drinks and stress -- both psychological and from pollution. Acids can build up in our body, causing systems  to be out of balance.

The effects
According to Dr. Stefan Kuprowsky, "Acid wastes build up in the body in the form of cholesterol, gallstones, kidney stones, arterial plaque, urates, phosphates and sulfates. These acidic waste products are the direct cause of premature aging and the onset of chronic disease."

When this occurs, the body will restore its optimal pH by depleting certain minerals, such as potassium, calcium and magnesium, from organs and bones. In addition, your immune system may become fatigued from dealing with an excess of acid. Your body then stores acidic wastes in 'hiding places' such as muscles etc. rather than releasing the acids into the bloodstream.

As Dr.Robert Atkins, the well-known author, health and diet expert, notes: "Just about every condition I can think of, from arthritis to diabetes to cancer, is associated with acidity."

"The countless names of illnesses do not really matter. What does matter is that they all come from the same root cause...too much tissue acid waste in the body!" Theodore A. Baroody, ND, Ph.D.

What can be done?
A vast body of research reveals that you can help neutralize acid build-up in the  blood and maintain a balanced pH, by taking some simple steps, such as:
-- Exercise
-- Avoiding highly acid-forming food and drink
-- Drinking the right water

What is the "right" water?
"International studies show that populations with little or no history of illness, such as cancer, drink higher pH (alkaline) waters. After all potential risk factors were considered and factored out, it became evident that they had been drinking waters with a pH of 9.0 to 10.0." Dr. Leonard Horowitz in "Aids and Ebola"

Alkaline ionized water "first came to notice in Japan, where researchers noted that people drinking water that came from certain fast- moving rocky mountain streams enjoyed extraordinarily good health. It turned out that this naturally occurring water was alkaline and had a different structure and electrical properties." Larry Clapp, PhD. in "Prostate Health in 90 days"

Alkaline water is produced at home with a small kitchen appliance called a water ionizer (long in use in Japan and Korea).  As water ionizers have become  popular in North America, more health professionals have had the opportunity to evaluate their effects on clients:

Sue Pollock, N.D. writes, we can "assist the body in being more alkaline with ...drinking alkaline water."

"I believe that the best water is water that is alkaline (reduced) and purified using a small device known as a water ionizer." (Dr. Stefan Kuprowsky)

"It is my opinion that ionized water will change the way in which all health practitioners and the public approach their health in the coming years." Dr. T. Baroody in "Alkalize or Die."

Why not just rely on a change of diet?
According to Sang Whang, researcher and author of "Reverse Aging", the danger is that we might omit important foods:

"Since the waste products that we are trying to discharge are acidic, the right kind of water is alkaline water...My personal recommendation is to enjoy the foods that we like, but do not over-eat or exclude any food. Eat in moderation following the professional dieticians' "balanced diet" concept, and let alkaline water do the job of cleansing acidic wastes."