Organic vs. Natural. Whats the difference

USDA Organic SealWalk down the grocery aisle and you’ll see all sorts of clams, Natural, All Natural, Organic, 100% Organic, and more. So what is the real difference between these. The USDA has very strict requirements on what can be labeled Organic, but the requirements for Natural are minimal. There are actually three levels of Organic which are listed below, then there is a table which lists the difference between Organic and Natural in multiple categories.

Natural vs. Organic

100% Organic

Products containing only organically produced ingredients
Products may display the USDA organic seal

Organic

Products consisting of ingredients that are at least 95% organically grown
Products can display the USDA organic seal

Made with Organic

Products consisting of ingredients that are 70 – 95% organically grown
Products cannot display the USDA organic seal

Natural

Products produced without artificial colors, flavors or preservatives

 

Organic

Natural

Toxic persistent Pesticides allowed Not Allowed Allowed
GMOs Not Allowed Allowed
Antibiotics Not Allowed Allowed
Growth Hormones Not Allowed Allowed
Sludge & Irridation Not Allowed Allowed
Animal Welfare Requirements Yes No
Cows required to be on pasture for pasture season Yes No
Audit trail from farm to table Yes No
Certification Required, including inspections Yes No
Legal restrictions on allowable materials Yes No

 

So now you know the difference, so the next time you pick up that box that says “All Natural” realize that it is just marketing and really means very little.

GMO vs Non-GMO Corn – What are the differences.

GMO CornIn the quest for cheaper food many farmers, have switched to Monsanto’s Roundup Ready corn seeds. What Monsanto did to the corn was modify its genetics so that the weed killer and herbicide, Roundup, won’t kill the corn. This enables the farmers to spray the corn crops with high amounts of roundup to kill the weeds so that they don’t have to hand till each row. So a huge labor savings resulting in lower production costs, and cheaper food.  Concept is great, because we all want lower cost foods.

The problem is though that that Roundup weed killer, and its active ingredient glyphosate, is absorbed by the corn plant through the plant and the soil and is incorporated into the plant. Without the genetic modification the corn would be quickly killed, but it lives on.  All that glyphosate ends up in the corn we eat and all the foods derived from corn like corn syrup, HFCS, beef, milk, eggs, and hundreds of other food products.

What has also been found is that, as can be expected, there are high levels of glyphosate in the corn, more than 18 times than what is allowed in the US water supply and 65 times more than what is allowed in Europe. Worse yet is the glyphosate level in corn is 130 times higher than what has been shown to cause organ damage.  So what are you putting on your families table?

Not only are the levels of glyphosate extremely high, but also very high levels of formaldehyde and surprisingly the levels of many minerals are much lower in the GMO corn vs conventionally grown.

Below is a table listing the differences in toxins and minerals from two adjacent midwest US fields, one genetically modified corn and the other non-GM

Parts per million (ppm)
Ingredient GM corn Non-GM corn

Glyphosate 13 0
Formaldehyde 200 0
Nitrogen 7 46
Phosphorus 3 44
Potassium 7 113
Calcium 14 6130
Magnesium 2 113
Sulphur 3 42
Manganese 2 14
Iron 2 14
Zinc 2.3 14.3
Copper 2.6 16
Molybdenum 0.2 1.5
Boron 0.2 1.5
Selenium 0.6 0.3
Cobalt 0.2 1.5

Even though the GM crops weren’t sprayed with formaldehyde as the  glyphosate breaks down one of the by-products is formaldehyde.  You don’t want formaldehyde in your body until you’re laid to rest.

The easiest way to make sure you aren’t poisoning your family with GM corn is to buy only organic corn or grow the corn yourself.  But you’ll still get glyphosate and formaldehyde onto your dinner table. Corn and Soy (which is also genetically modified and sprayed with Roundup) are the primary grains fed to cattle, pigs, chickens, and farm raised salmon, shrimp, catfish and others.  So if a cow is fed an diet rich in GM corn and soy, then the toxins will be in the meat and the milk. For chickens it will also be in the eggs.  If you buy organic meats, milk, and eggs, then they must be fed non-GM foods so those are the sure bet for your families safety.

There are many genetically modified foods besides corn:

  • Soybeans – Most is GM
  • Corn – Most is GM
  • Wheat – non is allowed in the US yet but it is found in Europe for non-foods and for animal feed.
  • Rapeseed and Canola oil
  • Sugar Beet
  • Potato – These have been modified to increase the amount of starch.
  • Cotton – This not only is used for clothing, but also for animal feed.
  • Paypaya – Modified to be more disease resistance.
  • Apples – Apples may soon show up in the GM column. Not for herbicide resistance but to keep them from browning.

Some plans have been genetically modified to product their own toxins that will kill insects that eat the plant. This does save spraying the crops with insecticides, but they make their own which can’t be good for us.

Yes, organic foods are more expensive, but go to Home Depot and take a look at a bottle of Roundup and read the cautions. Just picture spraying that on your food as you cook it or mixing into the kids cereal in the morning.  Read the label, you’ll shop organic.

Sources: Permaculture Institute, Mercola, and GMO Compass

Listing of Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins and MineralsWe all see different vitamins listed on supplements and food nutrient fact panels and talked about on the 5:00 news, but did you ever wonder exactly what each vitamin is? Well below is a table with all the vitamins and some information about each.

Note that the RDA column is the minimum amount of that vitamin necessary to avoided diseases of deficiency, it is not the amount you want to strive for. The level of each which has been proven through published medical research to provide therapeutic benefits like disease prevention, cancer prevention, etc are often far greater than the RDA. Think of the RDA as just passing school with a D. What you want for good health the A+ level.

 

What is listed below are the essential vitamins and minerals that your body can’t produce, or possibly produces very little. So these are necessary for life and to avoid diseases of deficiency lHere are some of the diseases of vitamin deficiency: Scurvy (C), rickets (D), pellagra (B3), beri beri (B1), biotin deficiency (B7), ariboflavinosis (B2), vitamin K deficiency, hypocobalaminemia (B12), paraesthesia (B5), night blindness (A). Click here is a list of the symptoms of each of these diseases.  There aren’t names for the mineral difienciey diseases, but each can have sibilating or life threatening consequences. The one which is very common is osteoporosis. It is usually though of as a deficiency of calcium, but it is really a deficiency of calcium, magnesium, boron, vitamin D and K.

Many will assume that they can get enough of what they need from their diet alone.  The answer is mixed. You can probably get the RDA levels or at least enough to avoid devieiency, but you probably can’t get the optimal levels. For example here is a sample of what you’d need eat every day to get the optimal levels:

  • Vitamin C – 1300mg – 18 medium oranges
  • Vitamin D – 1800 IU – 44 large eggs
  • Vitamin E – 400 IU – 2 lbs of sunflower seeds and one quart of corn oil
  • Zinc – 20 mcg – 5 chicken breasts
  • Magnesium – 300 mcg – 2.5 cups of beans.

Below are the vitamins followed by the minerals.

Vitamin (common names) Benefits Recommended amount (daily RDA* or daily AI**) Upper limit (UL) per day Good food sources Did you know?
VITAMIN A(Retinol, retinal, and retinoic acid — three active forms of vitamin A in the body — are retinoids, “preformed” vitamin A. Beta carotene can easily be converted to vitamin A as needed.) Essential for vision. Lycopene may lower prostate cancer risk. Keeps tissues and skin healthy. Plays an important role in bone growth. Diets rich in the carotenoids alpha carotene and lycopene seem to lower lung cancer risk. Carotenoids act as antioxidants. Foods rich in the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin may protect against cataracts M: 900 mcg (3,000 IU)W: 700 mcg (2,333 IU)Some supplements report vitamin A in international units (IU’s). 3,000 mcg (about 10,000 IU) But use only beta carotene Sources of retinoids:beef, liver, eggs, shrimp, fish, fortified milk, cheddar cheese, Swiss cheeseSources of beta carotene:sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkins, squash, spinach, mangoes, turnip greens Many people get too much preformed vitamin A from food and supplements.Large amounts of supplemental vitamin A (but not beta carotene) can be harmful to bones.Your supplement should have all of its vitamin A as beta carotene. Your body easily converts it into vitamin A as needed.
THIAMIN(vitamin B1) Helps convert food into energy. Needed for healthy skin, hair, muscles, and brain M: 1.2 mg, W: 1.1 mg Not known Pork chops, ham, soymilk, watermelons, acorn squash Most nutritious foods have some thiamin.
RIBOFLAVIN(vitamin B2) Helps convert food into energy. yNeeded for healthy skin, hair, blood, and brain M: 1.3 mg, W: 1.1 mg Not known Milk, yogurt, cheese, whole and enriched grains and cereals, liver This along with folate and vitamins B6 and B12 are critical for maintenance of hearty healthy levels of homocysteine.
NIACIN (vitamin B3, nicotinic acid) Helps convert food into energy. Essential for healthy skin, blood cells, brain, and nervous system. Can help control blood lipids like cholesterol and triglycerides. M: 16 mg, W: 14 mg 35 mg Meat, poultry, fish, fortified and whole grains, mushrooms, potatoes, peanut butter Niacin occurs naturally in food and can also be made by your body from the amino acid tryptophan, with the help of B6.
PANTOTHENIC ACID (vitamin B5) Helps convert food into energy. Helps make lipids (fats), neurotransmitters, steroid hormones, and hemoglobin M: 5 mg, W: 5 mg Not known Wide variety of nutritious foods, including chicken, whole grains, broccoli, mushrooms, avocados, tomato products Deficiency causes burning feet and other neurologic symptoms.
VITAMIN B6(pyridoxal, pyridoxine, pyridoxamine) Aids in lowering homocysteine levels and may reduce the risk of heart disease. Helps convert tryptophan to niacin and serotonin, a neurotransmitter that plays key roles in sleep, appetite, and moods. Helps make red blood cells. Influences cognitive abilities and immune function 31–50: M: 1.3 mg, W: 1.3 mg51+: M: 1.7 mg, W: 1.5 mg 100 mg Meat, fish, poultry, legumes, tofu and other soy products, potatoes, noncitrus fruits such as bananas and watermelons Many people don’t get enough of this nutrient.This along with riboflavin, folate and vitamin B12 are critical for maintenance of hearty healthy levels of homocysteine.
Vitamin B12(cobalamin) Aids in lowering homocysteine levels and may lower the risk of heart disease. Assists in making new cells and breaking down some fatty acids and amino acids. Protects nerve cells and encourages their normal growth Helps make red blood cells M: 2.4 mcg, W: 2.4 mcg Not known Meat, poultry, fish, milk, cheese, eggs, fortified cereals, fortified soymilk Some people, particularly older adults, are deficient in vitamin B12because they have trouble absorbing this vitamin from food. A lack of vitamin B12 can cause memory loss, dementia, and numbness in the arms and legs.
BIOTIN Helps convert food into energy and synthesize glucose. Helps make and break down some fatty acidsNeeded for healthy bones and hair M: 30 mcg, W: 30 mcg Not known Many foods, including whole grains, organ meats, egg yolks, soybeans, and fish Your body needs very little biotin. Some is made by bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. However, it’s not clear how much of this the body absorbs.
VITAMIN C(ascorbic acid) Foods rich in vitamin C may lower the risk for some cancers, including those of the mouth, esophagus, stomach, and breast. Long-term use of supplemental vitamin C may protect against cataracts. Helps make collagen, a connective tissue that knits together wounds and supports blood vessel walls. Helps make the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine Acts as an antioxidant, neutralizing unstable molecules that can damage cellsBolsters the immune system M: 90 mg, W: 75 mgSmokers: Add 35 mg 2,000 mg Fruits and fruit juices (especially citrus), potatoes, broccoli, bell peppers, spinach, strawberries, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts Vitamin C works along with Vitamin E to recharge its antioxidant powers. This is a case where the two together are far superior to either individually.
CHOLINE Helps make and release the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which aids in many nerve and brain activities. Plays a role in metabolizing and transporting fats M: 550 mg, W: 425 mg 3,500 mg Many foods, especially milk, eggs, liver, and peanuts Normally the body makes small amounts of choline. But experts don’t know whether this amount is enough at certain ages.
VITAMIN D(calciferol) Helps maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus, which strengthen bones. Helps form teeth and bones. Supplements can reduce the number of non-spinal fractures. Necessary for the bone mineralization. Greatly boosts the immune system. Reduced levels of vitamin D in the winter are a major cause of the winter colds and flu. 31–50: 5 mcg (200 IU) 51–70: 10 mcg (400 IU) 71+: 15 mcg (600 IU)  4,000 IU (Current research is supporting higher levels, some up to 10,000 IU) Fortified milk or margarine, fortified cereals, fatty fish Many people don’t get enough of this nutrient.While the body uses sunlight to make vitamin D, it cannot make enough if you live in northern climes or don’t spend much time in the sun.
VITAMIN E(alpha-tocopherol) Acts as an antioxidant, neutralizing unstable molecules that can damage cells. Protects vitamin A and certain lipids from damage. Diets rich in vitamin E may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Supplements may protect against prostate cancer. M: 15 mg, W: 15 mg (15 mg equals about 22 IU from natural sources of vitamin E and 33 IU from synthetic vitamin E) 1,000 mg (nearly 1,500 IU natural vitamin E; 2,200 IU synthetic) Wide variety of foods, including vegetable oils, salad dressings and margarines made with vegetable oils, wheat germ, leafy green vegetables, whole grains, nuts Vitamin E does not prevent wrinkles or slow other aging processes. There are several forms of vitamin E. The only effective form is d-alpha tocopherol. (dl-alpha-tocopherol is the much cheaper and very poorly absorbed form found in most cheap supplements.)
FOLIC ACID(folate, folacin) Vital for new cell creation. Helps prevent brain and spine birth defects when taken early in pregnancy; should be taken regularly by all women of child-bearing age since women may not know they are pregnant in the first weeks of pregnancy. Can lower levels of homocysteine and may reduce heart disease risk May reduce risk for colon cancer. Offsets breast cancer risk among women who consume alcohol M: 400 mcg, W: 400 mcg 1,000 mcg Fortified grains and cereals, asparagus, okra, spinach, turnip greens, broccoli, legumes like black-eyed peas and chickpeas, orange juice, tomato juice Many people don’t get enough of this nutrient. Occasionally, folic acid masks a B12 deficiency, which can lead to severe neurological complications. That’s not a reason to avoid folic acid; just be sure to get enough B12.
VITAMIN K(phylloquinone, menadione) Activates proteins and calcium essential to blood clotting. May help prevent hip fractures M: 120 mcg, W: 90 mcg Not known Cabbage, liver, eggs, milk, spinach, broccoli, sprouts, kale, collards, and other green vegetables Intestinal bacteria make a form of vitamin K that accounts for half your requirements.If you take an anticoagulant, keep your vitamin K intake consistent.
Mineral (common names) Benefits Recommended amount (daily RDA* or daily AI**) Upper limit (UL) per day Good food sources Did you know?
CALCIUM Builds and protects bones and teeth. Helps with muscle contractions and relaxation, blood clotting, and nerve impulse transmission. Plays a role in hormone secretion and enzyme activationHelps maintain healthy blood pressure 31–50: M: 1,000 mg, W: 1,000 mg 51+: M: 1,200 mg, W: 1,200 mg 2,500 mg Yogurt, cheese, milk, tofu, sardines, salmon, fortified juices, leafy green vegetables, such as broccoli and kale (but not spinach or Swiss chard, which have binders that lessen absorption) Adults absorb roughly 30% of calcium ingested, but this can vary depending on the source. Calcium should always be taken with magnesium, vitamin D & K, and boron to insure absorption into the bones and to eliminate the risk of heart disease and cancers which have recently appeared in the news.
CHLORIDE Balances fluids in the body. A component of stomach acid, essential to digestion Food and Nutrition Board 1989 guidelines: M: 750 mg, W: 750 mg Not known Salt (sodium chloride), soy sauce, processed foods New recommendations (DRIs) for chloride are under development by the Institute of Medicine.
CHROMIUM Enhances the activity of insulin, helps maintain normal blood glucose levels, and is needed to free energy from glucose 31–50: M: 35 mcg, W: 25 mcg 51+: M: 30 mcg, W: 20 mcg Not known Meat, poultry, fish, some cereals, nuts, cheese Unrefined foods such as brewer’s yeast, nuts, and cheeses are the best sources of chromium.
COPPER Plays an important role in iron metabolism. Helps make red blood cells M: 900 mcg, W: 900 mcg 10,000 mcg Liver, shellfish, nuts, seeds, whole-grain products, beans, prunes More than half of the copper in foods is absorbed.
FLUORIDE Keeps dental cavities from starting or worsening only when applied directly to the tooth enamel. DO NOT let it contact your gums. M: 4 mg, W: 3 mg 10 mg Water that is fluoridated, toothpaste with fluoride, marine fish, teas This is a potent neuro toxin and should not come in contact with skin or consumed in drinking water.
IODINE Part of thyroid hormone, which helps set body temperature and influences nerve and muscle function, reproduction, and growth. Prevents goiter and a congenital thyroid disorder M: 150 mcg, W: 150 mcg 1,100 mcg Iodized salt, processed foods, seafood To prevent iodine deficiencies, some countries add iodine to salt, bread, or drinking water.
IRON Helps hemoglobin in red blood cells and myoglobin in muscle cells ferry oxygen throughout the body. Needed for chemical reactions in the body and for making amino acids, collagen, neurotransmitters, and hormones 31–50: M: 8 mg, W: 18 mg 51+: M: 8 mg, W: 8 mg 45 mg Red meat, poultry, eggs, fruits, green vegetables, fortified bread and grain products Many women of childbearing age don’t get enough iron.Women who do not menstruate probably need the same amount of iron as men.Because iron is harder to absorb from plants, experts suggest vegetarians get twice the recommended amount (assuming the source is food).
MAGNESIUM Needed for many chemical reactions in the body. Works with calcium in muscle contraction, blood clotting, and regulation of blood pressureHelps build bones and teeth 31+: M: 420 mg, W: 320 mg 350 mg (Note: This upper limit applies to supplements and medicines, such as laxatives, not to dietary magnesium.) Green vegetables such as spinach and broccoli, legumes, cashews, sunflower seeds and other seeds, halibut, whole-wheat bread, milk The majority of magnesium in the body is found in bones. If your blood levels are low, your body may tap into these reserves to correct the problem.
MANGANESE Helps form bones. Helps metabolize amino acids, cholesterol, and carbohydrates M: 2.3 mg, W: 1.8 mg 11 mg Nuts, legumes, whole grains, tea If you take supplements or have manganese in your drinking water, be careful not to exceed the upper limit. Those with liver damage or whose diets supply abundant manganese should be especially vigilant.
MOLYBDENUM Part of several enzymes, one of which helps ward off a form of severe neurological damage in infants that can lead to early death M: 45 mcg, W: 45 mcg 2,000 mcg Legumes, nuts, grain products, milk Molybdenum deficiencies are rare.
PHOSPHORUS Helps build and protect bones and teeth. Part of DNA and RNA. Helps convert food into energy. Part of phospholipids, which carry lipids in blood and help shuttle nutrients into and out of cells M: 700 mg, W: 700 mg 31–70: 4,000 mg 71+: 3,000 mg Wide variety of foods, including milk and dairy products, meat, fish, poultry, eggs, liver, green peas, broccoli, potatoes, almonds Certain drugs bind with phosphorus, making it unavailable and causing bone loss, weakness, and pain.
POTASSIUM Balances fluids in the body. Helps maintain steady heartbeat and send nerve impulses Needed for muscle contractions A diet rich in potassium seems to lower blood pressure. Getting enough potassium from your diet may benefit bones Food and Nutrition Board 1989 guidelines: M: 2,000 mg, W: 2,000 mg Not known Meat, milk, fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes New recommendations (DRIs) for potassium are under development by the Institute of Medicine.Food sources do not cause toxicity, but high-dose supplements might.
SELENIUM Acts as an antioxidant, neutralizing unstable molecules that can damage cells. Helps regulate thyroid hormone activity M: 55 mcg, W: 55 mcg 400 mcg Organ meats, seafood, walnuts, sometimes plants (depends on soil content), grain products Researchers are investigating whether selenium may help reduce the risk of developing cancer.
SODIUM Balances fluids in the body. Helps send nerve impulses Needed for muscle contractions. Impacts blood pressure; even modest reductions in salt consumption can lower blood pressure Food and Nutrition Board 1989 guidelines: M: 500 mg, W: 500 mg Not determined Salt, soy sauce, processed foods, vegetables While experts recommend that people limit sodium intake to 2,400 mg, most Americans consume 4,000–6,000 mg a day.New recommendations (DRIs) for sodium are being developed by the Institute of Medicine.
SULFUR Helps form bridges that shape and stabilize some protein structures. Needed for healthy hair, skin, and nails Unknown Unknown Protein-rich foods, such as meats, fish, poultry, nuts, legumes Sulfur is a component of thiamin and certain amino acids. There is no recommended amount for sulfur. Deficiencies occur only with a severe lack of protein.
ZINC Helps form many enzymes and proteins and create new cells. Frees vitamin A from storage in the liver. Needed for immune system, taste, smell, and wound healing. When taken with certain antioxidants, zinc may delay the progression of age-related macular degeneration M: 11 mg, W: 8 mg 40 mg Red meat, poultry, oysters and some other seafood, fortified cereals, beans, nuts Because vegetarians absorb less zinc, experts suggest that they get twice the recommended requirement of zinc from plant foods.
*Recommended dietary allowance **Adequate intake

Some information source from Harvrd Health and Linus Pauling Institute.

 

Why Grass Fed Meat is better than Conventional Grain Fed

When you think of cattle you picture them roaming open fields eating grasses, sedges, bushes, clovers and other plants and leaves they find around them. Like the California Cheese ads, they are “Happy Cows”

Happy Grass Fed Cows

The best quality grass-fed cattle and sheep will be fed like this before leaving the farm, while some farms “finish” their  animals with grain for a period of time before they leave the farm.  This technique is used to “fatten” the animal up.  Notice I said they feed their animals grains to fatten them up!!!

Ask your butcher if the meat they supply is “finished off” or grass fed to the end?  Ideally we want to consume meat that is grass-fed to the end, and here’s why…

Feed-lot grain fed animals are usually kept in restricted areas and fed an all grain diet.  This may include wheat, corn and soy, and these are usually GMO grains.  These animals are highly stressed and sometimes the farm and pen conditions can be atrocious.

So what is the big deal about grass-fed or grain-fed?!?

Grains are full of omega-6. Omega-6 is pro-inflammatory in out bodies, promoting inflammation, this inflammation is what drives disease.  When an animal is fed grain, it takes on this omega-6 load into its tissues and fat, and the we eats this.

While high omega-6 is not ideal, the main health issue for consumers is that grain-fed meat is extremely low in omega-3.

Seeking as much omega-3 from real food sources is one of the principal aims in creating vibrant health.  Therefore eating grain-fed animals is not providing us with the power punching anti-inflammatory omega-3 content that our bodies require, but a bucket load of  pro-inflammation omega-6 instead.

Grass-fed meat is much higher in omega-3.

It is also higher in B vitamins, vitamin E, vitamin K and minerals including magnesium, calcium and selenium.

Additionally, the living conditions of free-range grass-fed animals is of a higher standard than fed-lot grain-fed animals.  A better farming environment, means less stress for these animals, which is better for both the animal and the consumer.

Grass-fed is substantially better for your health than grain-fed.  When you switch to grass-fed for you and your family, you are also aiding in the demand for free-range farming methods which is better for the animals and the industry.

Organic beef is still  probably grain fed, just it is organic grain and not pesticide laden GMO grains, so it will be a bit healthier, but will still have the far higher proportion of inflammatory omega-6 oils.

The same also applies to chickens, fish, and other farmed animals. They are fed a diet or predominantly grains which yields the same excessive balance of omega-6. Even salmon who many buy for the health benefits of omega-3 oils, are grain fed and lacking the beneficial omega-3 oils.

So when you go to the store, look for grass fed, free range, or wild caught.

Calcium supplementation isn’t related to an increased risk of heart disease

Chelated MineralsIf you’ve watched the news lately you may have seen a story that claims that taking calcium can lead to increased risk of heart disease. Sadly as we’ve often see these are based on very poor, or biased studies.

Calcium is an essential nutrient for skeletal health. However, a couple of recent studies have suggested that supplemental calcium may be associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, possibly by increasing carotid artery thickness.

A new study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research reports that supplementing with calcium may decrease carotid artery thickness and heart disease risk. Australian researchers evaluated data from 1,103 older women that took part in the Calcium Intake Fracture Outcome Study, a 5 year (1998-2003) randomized controlled study. The participants were randomized to take either a 1,200 mg calcium carbonate supplement daily or a placebo. Common carotid artery intimal media thickness (an indicator of atherosclerosis) was measured at the beginning and after 3 years.

The women who took calcium supplements during the trial did not have an increase in carotid artery thickness compared to the placebo group. In fact, the presence of atherosclerosis was found in 46.7% of women taking the calcium compared to 54.7% of the women in the placebo group. The women whose total calcium intake from diet and supplements was in the top one-third of subjects had a 33% lower risk of carotid artery atherosclerosis than those whose total calcium intake was in the lowest third.

The conclusion of this study refutes the finding of recent studies showing a negative association between calcium supplementation and heart disease. Higher calcium intake through supplementation and diet may actually reduce carotid artery atherosclerosis.

One key with calcium supplementation is that you need more than calcium alone. You must also take magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin K, and boron. With all these taken to together, in the right ratios the maximum calcium will be ushered into the bone matrix. Magnesium should be half the amount of calcium. So if you take 800 mg of calcium, it should contain 400 mg of magnesium.

Key also is the vitamin D because most Americans are deficient in vitamin D. So if you’re taking pure calcium alone, switch and find a good supplement which has all the above vitamins and minerals.

Lewis JR, Zhu K, Thompson PL, Prince RL. The Effects of 3 Years of Calcium Supplementation on Common Carotid Artery Intimal Medial Thickness and Carotid Atherosclerosis in Older Women: An Ancillary Study of the CAIFOS Randomized Controlled Trial. J Bone Miner Res. 2013 Oct 23. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.2117.

The easiest way to improve your health – Drink More

Anyone who’s attempted to improve their health has heard the golden rule: drink more water.Drink water for your health

That sounds easy, right?

Even right now, I’ve got my water bottle sitting at my desk. Halfway through the workday, and I’ve already refilled it three times to stay properly hydrated, because apparently, this is key to my health. But why?

After digging through some research, I can tell you exactly why keeping your H2O levels in check is so important for your health.

Now grab a fresh glass of water and drink it down as I’ll reveal how you’re helping your body in more ways than you thought.

Why Water?

Water makes up about 60 percent of your total body weight, meaning your body really depends on the stuff. Actually, pretty much every system in your body relies on water to keep things running smoothly.

These functions include regulating body temperature, lubricating joints, protecting and moistening body organs and tissues, regulating digestion, carrying nutrients and oxygen to cells, and dissolving nutrients and minerals to make them accessible to the body.

Maybe the most important function of water is helping out your kidneys. Body fluids transport waste in and out of cells, and the main toxin in the body is blood urea nitrogen, a water-soluble waste that is able to pass through the kidneys to be excreted in your urine.

So drinking water regularly helps to flush out these toxins and lighten the workload for your kidneys. Without sufficient water intake, you’re not doing your kidneys any favors and actually putting yourself at a higher risk for kidney stones as a result of extended dehydration.

Speaking of dehydration, it’s something you really want to avoid. Obviously, it will diminish the processes mentioned above, but it can also throw off your electrolyte levels. This may cause muscle weakness or heart rhythm disturbances due to overly low or high levels of important chemicals like potassium and sodium.

If you want more radiant, glowing, perfect skin, guess what? Drink water.  If you are well hydrated it will show in your skin. It isn’t that the water plumps up your skin cells, but adequate water intake will help flush toxins out of your body through you kidneys, that means fewer toxins that wander around your body. Also, though not immediate, every cell in your body grows its healthiest with plentiful water, so your young skin cells which are just growing now, if they are as healthy as they can be, it will show when they make their way to the surface of your skin in 28-45 days.  Just like watering your lawn. You won’t see it in an hour, or a day, but wait a week.

How Much is Enough?

OK, you get it: water is super important. Now let’s talk about how much is enough.

You’ve probably heard the commonly used recommendation of eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. It’s not the worst guideline to stick with, but it might not be the best, either. Things like height, weight, food consumption, outside temperature, and physical activity all play into how much water an individual should consume.

The best way to determine your hydration level is to pay attention to your body. First of all, if you feel thirsty, that’s your body telling you it needs water, and you shouldn’t ignore it. Be mindful that if you’re always waiting until you feel thirsty, your body might already be partly dehydrated, so always try to address your thirst before you feel it.

Next, take a look at your urine. I know, it sounds a little gross, but it’s a really great indicator to tell if you’re sufficiently hydrated. When you’re getting enough fluids, urine flows freely, is light in color, and free of odor. When your body is not getting enough fluids, urine concentration, color, and odor increases because the kidneys trap extra fluid for bodily functions.

Ways to Drink MoreWoman drinking water

Many of you might already know most of this information, but you still aren’t drinking enough water. Maybe you think the taste is boring or you’re forgetful. Heck, you might just be a little lazy.

When it comes down to it, these are all just excuses. Drinking water is vital to your health, and it’s an easy, inexpensive habit to adapt.

Take a look at some of these helpful tips to incorporate more water into your diet.

  • Before your morning coffee or tea, drink a glass of water right when you wake up to help replace fluids lost during your sleep.
  • Keep a water bottle with you throughout your day so that you have something tangible in front of you to remind you to keep sipping on water.
  • Add some natural flavor to your water with a slice of lime, lemon, or whatever your favorite fruit is.
  • Try to drink a glass of water before each meal to help keep you from overeating and help with the digestion of your food.
  • Most importantly, make a goal to replace soda, juice, and coffee with water whenever possible. Many times, these drinks are loaded with calories and sugar and can often dehydrate you. If you simply can’t go without, try to limit yourself to one non-water beverage each day.

There are a few cautions though.

  • If you buy the disposable water bottles, don’t let them sit in your car and get hot. The heat will release chemicals from the plastic into the water.
  • Tap water is great for watering the lawn and showering, but not that great for dining in most US cities. Besides heavy metals which come from pipes and wells many cities add fluoride to the water. This is a powerful nuero-toxin.  To filter out all of the toxins, invest in a reverse-osmosis water filter. It will cost a couple hundred dollars and take an hour or two to install, but you’ll get the purest water available. If you look a the cost of bottled water you’ll save the cost of the RO filter many times over, plus you’ll keep all those plastic bottles out of the landfill.
  • If you have a good reverse osmosis water filter, then get a nice BPA free water bottle that you can refill throughout the day.
  • You can drink too much water, but it takes gallons. This can upset the electrolytes in your body. So don’t go excessively overboard.
  • Finally, what goes in must come out, so taper off the water as you approach bedtime so you don’t wake up several times during the night to go to the bathroom.

Finally, water is great for your diet!  Often when you feel hungry you’re actually thirsty. So when you feel like going for the Snickers bar, drink a glass of water, wait 10 minutes, and the urge to snack will probably be gone.

References:

webmd.com/diet/features/6-reasons-to-drink-water

Love Your Kids? Don’t feed them these foods which are banned in other countries

Toxic fumesIf you love your family and yourself you’d be wise to avoid these very common foods which are probably in your kitchen now. These are foods which are legal in the US, but banned in other, more enlightened countries around the world.

The US FDA is supposed to protect the citizens of the US, but the FDA is also run by many retired executives of food and drug companies, and are heavily lobbied by the same food and drug companies. So to get something banned by the FDA it has to be very dangerous, or a threat to the food and drug companies.  As an example the FDA only prohibits 6 ingredients in skin care. Canada has over 600 forbidden chemicals on their skin care list. So why is a chemical considered safe in the US, but step over the border and it is forbidden? Are Canadians more sensitive than those standing on US soil? Nope.

As you read the list below and think about each, consider this – the reason these foods are on this list is because they are cheaper to produce than conventional organic, wild raised, etc type of foods.  So it boils down to the old saying:

“You get what you pay for”

If you continue to buy the cheapest food then you promote the continuation of the dangerous practices listed below. If you buy quality, then the economic viability of the foods below will fade away – it is all about economics.

So here is the list:

  1. Milk and Diary products containing rBGH – rGBH is the largest selling dairy animal drug in the US. It is a synthetic growth hormone engeinered by Monsanto. It is injected into cows to increase milk production. It is banned in 30+other countries because of its dangers which include increased risk of colorectal, prostate, and brest cancer. Even the cows which are given the drug suffer high rates of cancers, some of which contaminate the milk with pus and antibiotics.  What can you do? buy only milk which is labeled rBGH-free or No rGBH, or Organic
  2. Genetically Engineered Papaya – Most of the Hawaiian papaya is now GMO to resist ring-spot virus. Research is now showing that animals fed GMO foods are suffering many maladies including intestinal damage, organ damage, tumors, birth defects, premature death, and complete sterility by the third generation of offspring.  GMO papaya is banned in the European Union.
  3. Ractopamine Tainted Meat – This is a chemical/drug which increases protein synthesis. This was a drug developed for asthma but they found it made the test mice more muscular. it also reduces the overall fat content of the meat. This can be found in 45% of us pork and 30% of the conventionally fed (grain) cattle, and unknown number of turkeys. Upto 20% of the drug remains in the meat you buy. It is banned across Europe, Russia, China, and Taiwan.  If China bans it it must be bad!
  4. Flame Retardant Drinks –  Do you love Mountain Dew and other citrus flavored sodas and sports drinks? Well you’re then getting a healthy dose of brominated vegetable oil (BVO). This was originally patented as a flame retardant.  BVO accumulates in your body and breast milk. It has been found to cause reproductive and behavioral problems in large doses. Bromine is chemically similar to chlorine, fluorine, and iodine. The first two are toxic and it can displace iodine causing problems with iodine deficiency. it is banned in the European Union and Japan.
  5. Artificial Food Colors and Dyes – Look at a box or jar of food and look for the popular Red 40, yellow 5, yellow6, or blue 2. These are the commonly used artificals colors used in foods like kids Mac & Cheese, Jell-O, and many kids foods. Research has shown that these can cause behavioral problems as well as cancer, birth defects and other problems in animals. They are banned in Norway and Austria. the UK has advised companies to stop using them by the end of the year. the EU requires warning labels.
  6. Arsenic Laced Chicken – Everyone should know that Arsenic is a poison, then why is it allowed in chickens? because it makes the animals grow quicker and makes the meat appear pinker, so it looks fresh when it may not be. The arsenic fed the chickens also ends up in chicken manure, which is then sold to farmers to fertilize crops, then it ends up in what ever grows in it. In 2011 Pfizer voluntarily stopped selling the arsenic based feed additive, but other companies continue to produce it.  I met with a major chicken producer who said they pump their chicks full of drugs and they grow to full size in 8 weeks. A normal barn yard chicken will take 6 months to reach full size.  So they can get a chicken to slaughter weight in 1/3 the natural time, that means they can produce three times the chickens from the same space.  It is banned in the European Union arsenic laced feeds have never been approved.
  7. Bread with Potassium Bromate – This is found in almost all commercially produced breads and flours and contribues to the overload of bromide in western cultures.  Why do they add potassium bromate? Because it makes the dough more elastic. Look for packages labeled “unbromated flour” Bromide has been linked to kidney, thyroid, GI and nervous system problems and cancer. It is banned in Canada, China, and the European Union.
  8. Olestra/Olean – this is a calorie and cholesterol free fat substitute used in fat free snacks. Why is it in foods? Because they can make tasty fat free snacks that taste like they are fried. It can cause various GI problems and interferes with the absorption of fat soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, and K. It is banned in the UK and Canada.
  9. Preservatives BHA and BHT – These preservatives are often found in cereals, nuts, gum, butter spreads,  meats, potato products and even beer. BHA is know to cause cancer in rats and may cause cancer in us! It is banned in the UK in infant foods and also banned in the EU and Japan.
  10. Farm Raised Salmon – Wild salmon live in the ocean and the krill they consume contain astaxanthin which gives salmon its pink color and also its high amount of beneficial omega 3 essential fatty acids.  Farm raised salmon are fed an un-natural diet of GMO corn, GMO soy, and other unnatural foods.  Farm raised salmon is gray in color, so they add pink food coloring to the feed to make them pink. Look at the label on that Atlantic Salmon in the store, you’ll see “Ingredients: Salmon, food coloring”. Also without the natural diet, farm raised salmon is very low in beneficial omega 3 oils and much higher in the inflammatory omega 6 oils. The same applies to other farm raised fish and shrimp. To be safe only buy seafood labeled “Wild Caught”. Farm raised salmon is banned in Australia and New Zealand.

You probably see a theme in these 10 foods – Food companies use dangerous ingredients or practices to increase the production of the food and keep the costs down. It is our demand for cheap food which taste good, but the general public is sadly unconcerned with what they put on their families table. They will buy the bargain food with no regard to what is in it or what it will do to them and their family.

Many expect the FDA to oversee the food supply so that if it is on the shelf or in the freezer, then it is safe. Sadly though in the US the FDA is more concerned about making sure there are minimal insect and rat fur in the product than is it health and not harmful.  Remember the FDA is really controlled by the food an pharmaceutical companies, so that is like asking the fox to watch the hen house.

So what can you do?  first look at what you put in the shopping cart. If you habitually reach for the lowest priced option, then you are getting what you pay for.  You can throw a big fat steak in the cart for a few bucks, but seek out the organic grass fed beef and you’ll pay twice the price per pound – And be amazed at the taste. So rather than plopping a 16 oz steak on your plate, go for the much healthier option and choose the 6 oz grass fed organic steak, then fill the rest of the plate with organic fresh vegetables, at little sweet potato, and you’ll feel much better in the morning, will lose weight, and you’re cardiologist will love you.

Better yet, save the meat for the once a week meal. There are many other protein rich foods which are very heart healthy and diet friendly. Legumes, tofu, Quinoa, and others.

 

Source: List of 10 foods from EatLocalGrown.com and Mercola

Higher vitamin E levels associated with reduced bone fractures in older adults

A new study has shown that a low intake of vitamin E may significantly increase the risk of bone fractures in older adults.

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailDecreased quality of life and mortality due to osteoporotic bone fractures is a large and growing problem worldwide in both men and women. Fracture risk increases with age, but is also influenced by genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors. Research over the past several years has indicated that an increase in oxidative stress associated with aging may also play a role in age-related bone loss.

In a recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical of Nutrition, researchers sought to determine whether dietary intake of d-alpha-tocopherol (the form of vitamin E with the highest antioxidant activity) influenced fracture rates among aging women and men.

The participants in this study were taken from two large cohort studies, the Swedish Mammography Cohort (SMC) and the Uppsala Longitudinal Study of Adult Men (ULSAM). The SMC trial included 61,433 women with a follow-up period of 19 years. During the follow-up period, there were 3,871 hip fractures reported in the women, and 14,738 women that experienced a first fracture at any site. Vitamin E intake was determined through food records and food frequency questionnaires. Serum a-tocopherol (vitamin E) was measured in a subgroup of 654 men participating in the ULSAM trial.

Compared with women with the highest 20% of vitamin E intake, the women with the lowest 20% of intake had an 86% higher risk of hip fracture and a 20% higher risk of a fracture at any site. The use of a vitamin E containing supplement reduced the risk of hip fracture by 22%, and the risk of all fractures by 14%. Among the men in the ULSAM study (follow-up of 12 years), those with the vitamin E intakes in the top 20% had less than one-third the risk of a hip fracture than those with lower intakes. Men with lower vitamin E intakes had an 84% increase in risk of any fracture when compared to those with the highest intakes. In a subgroup of male subjects, for every 1 standard deviation decrease in serum vitamin E there was a 58% increase in hip fracture risk and 23% increase in risk for any fracture.

The results of this observational study indicate that vitamin E insufficiency is associated with higher bone fracture risk in elderly men and women.

There are several forms of vitamin E. d-alpha-tocopherol is the most bioactive form and is the natural form found in foods. The much less expensive, and  less effective form is dl-alpha-tocopherol, this is the form you’ll find in most supplements fortified foods. Look at your vitamin E supplement or multi to make sure it contains the far more effective d-alpha-tocopherol form. (Difference is one starts with d- vs dl-). Both are chemically vitamin E, but the only difference is how the pieces are put together. Imagine a stack of lego blocks and in the d-form the top block points at 12’oclock. the dl- form the top block points to 3 o’clock.  A minor difference, but makes a large difference in how your body uses it. The natural, d- form, is over twice as effective as the synthetic dl- form.

Karl Michaëlsson et al. Intake and serum concentrations of α-tocopherol in relation to fractures in elderly women and men: 2 cohort studies. Am J Clin Nutr January 2014 vol. 99 no. 1 107-114.

Whats the Cold Got to Do with Colds and Flu?

Horses in snowThis is for all the moms and dads who’ve warned their children throughout the years about exposure to the cold winter weather, which will inevitably lead to “catching a cold,” right?

Seriously though, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve started to wonder if my mom was just duping me the whole time. Both a cold and the flu are caused by viral infections, so what in the heck does cold weather have to do with anything?

It looks like we’ve stumbled across a great topic for Scientifically Speaking. I did a little digging and — as always — got a few leads from our expert scientists. I’d like to say I’ve got a solid answer for you guys, but there seems to be some difference of opinion within the medical community. Let’s break down my findings, shall we?

Cold vs. Flu

Before we dive into all the cold weather talk, let’s discuss what a cold actually is. With more than 200 viruses causing it, the common cold is a viral infectious disease that usually leads to symptoms such as coughing, sore throat, runny nose, and sneezing.

The most common virus strands that cause a cold are rhinoviruses, and all of those nasty symptoms you experience are actually a result of your body’s immune response to the infection rather than the deterioration of tissue that the actual virus causes. In more extreme cases, the virus causing your cold can lead to viral or bacterial pneumonia.

The flu, or influenza, is also a respiratory infection, but it’s caused specifically by influenza viruses and usually leads to more severe symptoms such as fever, body aches, chills and headaches. There are three different types of flu viruses, all of which humans are susceptible to.

What the Experts Say

The National Institutes of Health uncovered some evidence that might back up your parent’s argument to keep warm during the winter season. These findings are specifically associated with the flu virus and its outer covering, or envelope.

The study showed that colder temperatures, near or below freezing, cause the flu virus to form a rubbery, gel-like covering that shields the virus, allowing for easier transfer from person to person. Once the virus enters the body, usually through mucus membranes in the mouth, nose or eyes, it reaches warmer temperatures in the respiratory tract and causes the covering to melt. The virus’ outer covering then reaches a liquid phase, allowing it to infect the cells of its new host.

119013316On the flip side, during warmer seasons the temperature is too high for the viral membrane to enter its gel state. Because of this, flu viruses often can’t withstand the elements and will dry out and weaken, leading to the end of “flu season.” This led the scientists to wonder whether people might better protect themselves against the flu by remaining indoors at warmer temperatures than usual.

What the Other Experts Say

According to other experts, staying indoors might be the worst thing you can do for yourself throughout the winter. A leading theory is that confinement breeds infection.

“In winter, we spend more time indoors, in rooms that may not get a lot of circulation, giving us more opportunities to be exposed to respiratory viruses,” says William Schaffner, M.D., chairman of the department of preventive medicine at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, in this Real Simple article.

Additionally, Schaffner adds, the winter air, inside and outside, also tends to be less humid, drying nasal passages and making them more vulnerable to viral invasion.

What You Can Do

These are only two opinions on the subject of winter sickness, but there’s a lot of information out there. Do some investigating yourself to see what the research tells us.

In the meantime, the best thing you can do to fight that winter virus is take preventative measures that support a healthy immune system. Evidence suggests that a healthy dose of both vitamin C and zinc may help. Deficiency in either of these may make individuals more susceptible to impaired immune response. Healthy adults generally need at least 75–90 mg of vitamin C and 8–11 mg of zinc per day to avoid severe deficiency.

Another important way to protect yourself from a virus is to avoid any kind of hand-to-face contact. Typically, a virus enters through hand-to-eye, -nose, or -mouth transmission. And of course, don’t forget to take the obvious precautions: healthy diet and exercise, sufficient amounts of sleep, disinfecting germ-susceptible areas, and regularly washing hands.

Vitamin D

Another factor is as the days grow shorter and people spend more time indoors they receive less sunshine and produce less vitamin D. Vitamin D is strongly associated with immune system health, so when your vitamin D levels plunge during the winter you are more susceptible to catching the cold and flu virus.

From my personal experience I’ve been taking 6,000 IU of vitamin D per day for the past 8 years. Since then I’ve never caught a full-blown cold or flu. I may get the tickle in the back of my throat, but come the next morning rather than having a full blown cold it is gone.

Chronic inflammation and oxidative stress as a major cause of age-related diseases and cancer

This recent abstract succinctly sums up what Drs. Wentz, McNamara, Strand and others have long been telling us about free radicals as the source of disease. The study refers to our antioxidant system and the role that antioxidants play in disease prevention.

Recent Pat Inflamm Allergy Drug Discov. 2009;3(1):73-80.

Chronic inflammation and oxidative stress as a major cause of age-related diseases and cancer.

Khansari N, Shakiba Y, Mahmoudi M. Department of Immunology, School of Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran. khansari@nematk.com

Chronic inflammation is a pathological condition characterized by continued active inflammation response and tissue destruction. Many of the immune cells including macrophages, neutrophils and eosinophils are involved directly or by production of inflammatory cytokine production in pathology of chronic inflammation. From literatures, it is appear that there is a general concept that chronic inflammation can be a major cause of cancers and express aging processes. Moreover, many studies suggest that chronic inflammation could have serious role in wide variety of age-related diseases including diabetes, cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases. Inflammatory process induces oxidative stress and reduces cellular antioxidant capacity. Overproduced free radicals react with cell membrane fatty acids and proteins impairing their function permanently. In addition, free radicals can lead to mutation and DNA damage that can be a predisposing factor for cancer and age-related disorders. This article reviews the antioxidant defense systems, free radicals production and their role in cancer and age related diseases and also some of the recent patent relevant to the field. Study of the role of free radicals in human diseases can help the investigators to consider the antioxidants as proper agents in preventive medicine, especially for cancer and aging processes.

There are many antioxidants and they all work in slightly different ways. Some like vitamin C will reactivate vitamin E and work together. So when you’re looking at your diet and supplements, don’t just take one antioxidant and think you’re good, take a wide range, and some of these are simple vitamins like A, C, E, etc.

Some companies have a single product, or juice, which they claim is all you need. Not that they are bad, but a fruit juice only provides a couple antioxidants and not the full spectrum of necessary antioxidant vitamins and other phytonutrients.

Vitamin D and osteoporosis

bigstock-Vitamin-D-Written-In-The-Sand-38126068See the latest headlines that vitamin D supplementation doesn’t reduce hip fracture and osteoporosis risk? If you saw it, or herd it, just ignore it, otherwise you could suffer.  This is another example of researchers using selective criteria in a meta analysis to get the results they want. In this case they ignored the science of bone health and selected only one nutrient, vitamin-D, to study.

When they looked at vitamin D supplementation alone, there wasn’t much of reduction in osteoporosis. but when you look at vitamin D and Calcium together there was a 14% reduction. Had they looked at all the vitamins and minerals necessary for bone growth and remineralization, calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin K, boron, and selenium, then there would have been a very positive result.  Vitamin D is necessary and must be present for calcium to be absorbed into the bone matrix, but calcium and the other vitamins and minerals listed must also be present. A deficiency in any listed above will hamper calcium absorption.

Many studies you see regarding various vitamins and minerals tend to look at just one vitamin or mineral to measure its impact and treat it like they are studying a drug. Vitamins, minerals, and trace elements all work together to support your bodies biological functions, they don’t work in isolation.

When you see mention of a meta analysis be especially wary. A meta analysis is not a new research study. In a meta analysis they look at multiple existing studies and attempt to draw a conclusion from those. In selecting studies to include in the meta analysis they have selection criteria, in this case studies involving vitamin D and osteoporosis.  What that did was exclude studies which looked at vitamin D and calcium, or vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, vitamin K, boron, and silicon. Had they found studies with the latter combination of nutrients the results would have been much different.

So why would a researcher not look at other studies? To answer that you usually have to look at who funded the study. Often pharmaceutical drug companies will fund such studies to discredit natural alternatives vs. their high profit drugs, and there have been studies showing that who funded the study has a very good likelihood that the researcher will find results favorable to who is paying the bill.  I couldn’t find the source of the funding for this study, but my guess they had an interest in promoting high cost drugs vs inexpensive supplements.

The Institute of Medicine recommends dietary intake for adults of 600-800 IU of vitamin D and 1000-1300 mg of calcium daily, and the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans identifies supplements containing combinations of certain nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D as useful in postmenopausal women who have low levels of these nutrients in their diets to reduce the risk of osteoporosis. In addition, the Food and Drug Administration has an approved health claim for calcium, vitamin D and osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis-related fractures in the U.S. cost an estimated $14 billion in 2012. They also place tremendous financial, mental and physical burdens on the individual. A new economic report from Frost and Sullivan found that over $12 billion in cumulative osteoporosis-attributed cost savings is potentially realizable, between 2013 and 2020, if U.S. women over the age of 55 diagnosed with osteoporosis were to use calcium and vitamin D dietary supplements at what the report identified as preventive intake levels. The daily cost per person in the targeted population to supplement would be $.16—not ‘expensive’ compared to the costs one, or the overall system, would incur if appropriate levels of vitamin D were not met. Supplementation is smart prevention.

Source: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(13)61647-5/abstract

Healthy Calamari Steak Recipe

bigstock-Grilled-calamari-on-a-plate-in-48243137I just discovered Calamari steaks.  Most of the calamari steak recipes batter and pan fry it, but that ads a lot of bread and fat,  but this recipe is a very healthy low fat main meal.

Calamari steaks come from the giant Humboldt Squid – these deep sea creatures are extremely low in fat and very high in protein. They also grow quickly so they aren’t like a shark or other fish that are many years old and accumulate mercury, and other toxins.

The secret of cooking Calamari is cooking it very quickly – so get a frying pan hot and then only cook it a minute on each side. If you over cook it it will get rubbery.

 

Here is what you need:

  • 12 ounces calamari steak cut into 2 or 3 pieces
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chopped basil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Sea Salt & pepper to taste
  • Coconut oil

Instructions

  1. Season calamari with sea salt & pepper as desired
  2. Sometimes the calamari may curl when you cook it. Either put a iron grill press on it while cooking or lightly score the outside of the steak.
  3. Heat coconut oil in medium pan on high heat
  4. Pan sear calamari until cooked on both sides – about one minute each side
  5. Add garlic, capers, 1/2 the parsley & basil and lemon juice
  6. Cook for just a minute and serve with sauce from pan topping with the rest of the parsley.

Nutrition

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, one 3-ounce portion of raw calamari contains 78 calories. It also contains 2.62 grams of carbohydrates and 13.24 grams of protein. One serving also contains 1.17 grams of fat, of which 0.3 gram is saturated fat, 0.09 gram is monounsaturated fat and 0.445 gram is polyunsaturated fat. Raw calamari is also a rich source of vitamin A, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium and calcium.

ADHD symptoms related to low omega-3 levels in children

Salmon fillet

Summary:

Two recent studies examined the possible correlation between omega-3 levels and symptoms and behaviors associated with ADHD. Children with ADHD were more likely to have low levels of omega-3 fatty acids, and a correlation between low omega-3 levels and anti-social behavior and emotional regulation was also reported.

What that translates to is that children with low omega-3 levels are more prone to ADHD and anti-social behaviors. Other studies have shown that when these children are given omega-3 oils that the anti-social and ADHD behaviors improve, or go away.

So why do children have low levels of Omega-3 oils, and in increasing numbers? Look at the foods we eat. Half a century ago cattle and chickens ate what they have eaten for eons, grass for cattle, and seeds and grubs for poultry, and fish came from the sea. But now cattle, poultry, and much of the seafood you buy is fed a diet of corn, soy, and other grains. These fatten them up quickly, but they are also very low in the anti-inflammatory omega-3 and much higher in the inflammatory omega-6 oils.

So with the natural soruces of healthy omega-3 oils no longer in our diets there is a deficiency of omega-3 oil in your body. If you look at your brain it is 70% fats and much of that is omega-3s. So no wonder the deficiency reveals itself in mental problems. Another common ailment is postpartum depression some mothers suffer. As the baby grows it takes what it needs from the mother. If the mother’s diet is low in omega-3, then she will take omega-3 from her brain to help the baby, and the result is postpartum depression.

Here are the details:

Previous research has reported abnormal plasma fatty acid profiles in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and has suggested some symptoms of ADHD may be benefited with omega-3 supplementation.

Recently the journal Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes, and Essential Fatty Acids, published two related research studies looking at the possible connection between low blood levels omega-3 acids and emotional health in children.

The aim of the first study was to determine whether ADHD children have abnormal plasma omega-3 levels, and whether ADHD symptoms and associated behaviors are correlated with omega-3 levels. Subjects included 29 male children diagnosed with ADHD and 43 who were not. Plasma DHA was lower in ADHD children compared to controls. Callous-unemotional (CU) traits were found to be significantly inversely related to both EPA and total omega-3s in the group with ADHD. The results showed that anti-social and callous-unemotional traits in ADHD may be associated with lower omega-3 levels.

It is known that ADHD is often associated with poor emotion regulation. In a second study researchers looked at the differences between ADHD and non-ADHD children in omega 3 and 6 fatty acid plasma levels and the potential relationship between them and emotion-elicited event-related potentials (ERPs).

Thirty-one children with ADHD and 32 without were compared in their plasma omega-3/6 levels and corresponding ERPs during an emotion processing task. Children with ADHD had lower average omega-3/6 levels, and ERP abnormalities were significantly associated with lower omega-3 levels in the ADHD group.The results of this study show for the first time that lower omega-3 fatty acids are associated with compromised emotion processing in children with ADHD.

These studies show for the first time that low omega-3 fatty acid levels may be related to poorer emotion regulation and anti-social and callous unemotional traits in male children and adolescents.

Gow RV et al. Omega-3 fatty acids are inversely related to callous and unemotional traits in adolescent boys with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2013 Jun;88(6):411-8.

Gow RV et al. Omega-3 fatty acids are related to abnormal emotion processing in adolescent boys with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2013 Jun;88(6):419-29.

Want to look better and feel better? Drink water

Drink water for your healthAnyone who’s attempted to improve their health has heard the golden rule: drink more water.

That sounds easy, right?

Even right now, I’ve got my trusty  water bottle sitting at my desk. Halfway through the day, and I’ve already refilled it three times to stay properly hydrated, because apparently, this is key to my health. But why?

After digging through some research, I can tell you exactly why keeping your H2O levels in check is so important for your health.

Now grab a fresh glass of water and drink it down as we explore how you’re helping your body in more ways than you thought.

Why Water?

Water makes up about 60 percent of your total body weight, meaning your body really depends on the stuff. Actually, pretty much every system in your body relies on water to keep things running smoothly.

These functions include regulating body temperature, lubricating joints, protecting and moistening body organs and tissues, regulating digestion, carrying nutrients and oxygen to cells, and dissolving nutrients and minerals to make them accessible to the body.

Maybe the most important function of water is helping out your kidneys. Body fluids transport waste in and out of cells, and the main toxin in the body is blood urea nitrogen, a water-soluble waste that is able to pass through the kidneys to be excreted in your urine.

So drinking water regularly helps to flush out these toxins and lighten the workload for your kidneys. Without sufficient water intake, you’re not doing your kidneys any favors and actually putting yourself at a higher risk for kidney stones as a result of extended dehydration.

Speaking of dehydration, it’s something you really want to avoid. Obviously, it will diminish the processes mentioned above, but it can also throw off your electrolyte levels. This may cause muscle weakness or heart rhythm disturbances due to overly low or high levels of important chemicals like potassium and sodium.

How Much is Enough?

OK, you get it: water is super important. Now let’s talk about how much is enough.

You’ve probably heard the commonly used recommendation of eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. It’s not the worst guideline to stick with, but it might not be the best, either. Things like height, weight, food consumption, outside temperature, and physical activity all play into how much water an individual should consume.

The best way to determine your hydration level is to pay attention to your body. First of all, if you feel thirsty, that’s your body telling you it needs water, and you shouldn’t ignore it. Be mindful that if you’re always waiting until you feel thirsty, your body might already be partly dehydrated, so always try to address your thirst before you feel it.

Next, take a look at your urine. I know, it sounds a little gross, but it’s a really great indicator to tell if you’re sufficiently hydrated. When you’re getting enough fluids, urine flows freely, is light in color, and free of odor. When your body is not getting enough fluids, urine concentration, color, and odor increases because the kidneys trap extra fluid for bodily functions.

Ways to Drink More

Many of you might already know most of this information, but you still aren’t drinking enough water. Maybe you think the taste is boring or you’re forgetful. Heck, you might just be a little lazy.

When it comes down to it, these are all just excuses. Drinking water is vital to your health, and it’s an easy, inexpensive habit to adapt.

Take a look at some of these helpful tips to incorporate more water into your diet.

  • Before your morning coffee or tea, drink a glass of water right when you wake up to help replace fluids lost during your sleep.
  • Keep a water bottle with you throughout your day so that you have something tangible in front of you to remind you to keep sipping on water.
  • Add some natural flavor to your water with a slice of lime, lemon, or whatever your favorite fruit is.
  • Try to drink a glass of water before each meal to help keep you from overeating and help with the digestion of your food.
  • Most importantly, make a goal to replace soda, juice, and coffee with water whenever possible. Many times, these drinks are loaded with calories and sugar and can often dehydrate you. If you simply can’t go without, try to limit yourself to one non-water beverage each day.

References:

http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/6-reasons-to-drink-water

Do this for a shorter hospital stay

SupplementsA growing body of evidence suggests that malnutrition is a serious and often unrecognized problem among hospitalized patients. Malnourished patients are more likely to experience an increased length of stay, higher health care costs, more complications, and a greater chance of readmission and death.

In a  study published in the American Journal of Managed Care, researchers looked to determine whether oral nutritional supplements, delivering both macronutrients and micronutrients in addition to normal food intake, would improve outcomes in hospitalized patients.

They used data gathered between 2000 and 2010 to examine the effect of oral nutritional supplements on hospital  outcomes by comparing hospital stays where nutritional supplements were provided with similar hospital stays that did not provide supplements. A total of 1,160,088 total patients were analyzed (580,044 given oral supplements matched with 580,044 not given supplements). The length of hospital stay and cost of treatment  were measured in addition to the probability of hospital readmission within 30 days.

The researchers found that patients that were provided with nutritional supplements had a 21% (2.3 days) reduction in the length of hospital stay which also resulted in a cost savings of $4,734. Supplementation also reduced the probability of patient readmission by 6.7%.

Consistent with results from previous randomized controlled trials, this study indicates that the use of oral nutritional supplements may lead to a significant reduction in the length of hospital stays, cost, and chances of readmission. And, given the prevalence of malnutrition among this population, nutritional supplementation would be a cost effective method of improving health outcomes while also reducing health care spending.

As a personal example my 85 year old mother fell and broke her leg. Since she still lived alone she stayed in the hospital’s long term nursing facility.  After five weeks they did an x-ray of the break and found no bone growth.  In my visits there when she ate her meals were nutritionally void. Breakfast may be oatmeal, coffee, maybe a little fruit. Lunch might be a bowl of soup, small salad, and a sandwich, dinner wasn’t much better than lunch.  She had few nutrient dense foods, and very few that had high calcium levels.  I went against the doctors orders and snuck in a calcium supplement which also contained all the other nutrients necessary for bone health (magnesium, D, K, silicon, and boron). In the next 5 weeks her diet was unchanged, but upon the next xray she was fully healed and released back home.  Had she received supplemental calcium and other nutrients upon admission, she would have cut her hospital stay in half.

Source: Tomas J Phillipson et al.  Impact of Oral Nutritional Supplementation on Hospital Outcomes. Am J Manag Care. 2013;19(2):121-128

Probiotic yogurt doesn’t increase good bacteria

bigstock-Medical-Imaging--Male-Organs--44008690Here is an interesting study finding that Probiotic yogurt does not alter overall microbiota makeup.”
You want to take probiotics to increase the good bacteria and decrease the bad bacteria, but if the mix doesn’t change then it doesn’t help much.

Reason this could be is that many probiotic bacteria can’t survive the trip through your stomach acid, only a few strains can survive in numbers large enough to impact gut bacteria levels. Another cause can be that probiotic yogurts active bacteria start dying off as soon as it is packaged. So if you eat it fresh vs a week later it can make a big difference.

It is important to your health to have lots of the good bacteria. The good gut bacteria do much of work of digesting your food. 70% of your immune system is dependent on the good bacteria in your gut.  The so called bad, or non-benifical, gut bacteria do just the opposite – they don’t help digest your food and can cause GI problems and it can leave you more susceptible to infection.

I take my probiotics as a dry powder. Add it to a little water, and drink it down first thing in the morning. By doing this there isn’t a lot of acid in my stomach since it is empty and the probiotics can quickly pass though the harsh stomach acid and  get into the intestines where it can flourish.

Most interesting part of this study is that it was funded by a Canadian yogurt maker! Usually if a company funds a study they usually find that their products are effective, but not in this case.

Here is the study: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213434413000285

Are You Putting Poison in Your Childs Hands?

bigstock-Close-Up-Portrait-Of-Cute-Girl-47861486One of the fist things children learn after potty training is to tie their shoes and to brush their teeth. Tying their shoes is easy, but getting them to brush their teeth morning and night is a daily battle in many homes. To tempt the kids to brush their teeth there is a wide array of candy and bubble gum flavored tooth pastes on the market. But take that tube and look on the back. chances are very good you’ll see this warning:

[box type=”warning”] “Keep out of reach of children under 6 years of age. If you accidentally swallow more than used for brushing, seek professional help or contact a poison control center immediately.”[/box]

Why would you have to call the poison control center if your child, or you, swallow a little tooth paste. The reason is the fluoride in the tooth paste. Fluoride is a poison. visit the two sites I reference below for a detailed description of the signs of fluoride poisoning.

How poisonous is the fluoride in toothpaste to kids? A single tube of bubble-gum flavored Colgate-for-Kids toothpaste contains enough fluoride (143 mg) to kill a child weighing less than 66 pounds!  Even swallowing a little bit of toothpaste every time they brush can cause problems and compound that if you live in an area that adds fluoride to the drinking water.

Fluoride is also readily absorbed through the gums. Many mouthwashes contain fluoride, it is in your drinking water.

So what should a concerned parent do? Simple, don’t buy toothpaste containing fluoride. And being shellfish parents should avoid fluoride containing toothpaste as well – You invariably swallow a little each time. Also put a reverse osmosis water filter in your house so you have fluoride free drinking water.

 

Sources

http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/814774-overview

Toothpastes

 

Health Benefits of Garlic

Health Benefits of GarlicIf you’re like me and love garlic, then you can enjoy both a great taste and great health benefits. Garlic has been regarded as nature’s wonder medicine for thousands of years. This is because of its natural antibiotic properties and antioxidants. It is also a potent anti-cancer agent.

Garlic has been considered as one of the oldest medicinal herb. It has properties that can cure many ailments. There are thousands of research papers which have been published showing the health benefits of garlic.

Here are some Health Benefits of Garlic :

  • You can treat the common cold with it. You can consume raw, fresh, crushed garlic to give boost to your natural defence system in your body. Just let it sit in the air for at least 10 minutes after you crush it. This will greatly enhance its immune boosting properties.
  • It helps in lowering cholesterol level in our body.
  • It helps to relieve acidity and gas.
  • It can lower your High Blood Pressure by 5 to 10 percent. 2-3 garlic cloves a day is all it takes.
  • It increases hearth health and minimizes the risks of heart attack or stroke.
  • It helps to lessen allergie symptoms since.
  • It has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.
  • It can prevent and cure skin problems.
  • It thins the blood and helps prevent blood clots.
  • Regular intake of garlic, as well as many spices, helps to lower the risk of colon cancer.
  • It regulate the blood sugar levels and can reduce the insulin needs of diabetics.
  • It anti-inflammatory properties can reduce inflammation  in Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis.
  • It is rich in Vitamin B6.
  • Can help to expel intestinal parasites & worms from our body.

Nutritional Value of Garlic :

  1. High in Manganese, Vitamin B6 and C.
  2. Low in saturated fat, Sugar and Sodium.
  3. High in Calcium, Phosphorus and Selenium

With all of garlics great benefits, aside from tasting great, it really isn’t practical to eat it several times a day every day – You’ll lose a lot of friends. So garlic  supplements are an alternative.

For more information on the health benifits of garlic, here is a link to the Linus Pauling Institute.

Melatonin – Its not just for Sleep

couple sleeping

Melatonin is a hormone produced in the pineal gland in your brain in response to the sun going down and getting dark, then melatonin production increases. In the morning when the light of day hits your eyes, melatonin production stops and you wake up. Because it is such a great natural sleep aid many people take a melatonin supplement when they go to bed to help them sleep. It is non addictive and doesn’t have any of the dangerous side effects of sleep drugs.

As we age our natural melatonin production decreases, but below are a list of other very beneficial ways melatonin can improve your health and why you may want to start taking a melatonin supplement before you go to bed.

  • Melatonin fights brain changes in Alzheimer’s Disease. Studies have also shown that melatonin helps protect the brain neurons from the two proteins which damage the nerve cells that leads to Alzheimer’s. Melatonin supplementation must be begun early on as once the damage is done it can’t reverse it.
  • Melatonin fights Parkinson’s at the earliest stages. Some studies have shown that melatonin supplementation can prevent and even reverse some of the changes in behavior found in Parkinson’s patients.
  • Melatonin cuts the risk of stroke – As we age melatonin levels decrease and with that decrease there is a proportional increase in the risk of stroke.
  • Melatonin has been shown to reduce cholesterol accumulation by 42% and helps reduce blood pressure into the normal levels.
  • If you do have a stroke melatonin can reduce the amount of damage in the area of the stroke by inhibiting the production of “protein melting” enzymes which can damage the blood brain barrier in the area of the stroke.
  • It shields your brain from traumatic injury. In traumatic brain injury, like from an auto accident, it is the oxidative damage to the brain cells which causes much of the damage. Melatonin is a powerful antioxidant and can protect the brain cells in the area of the injury.
  • You may have heard of the benefits of calorie restriction diets which can add years of healthy life. Melatonin seems to increase the expression of the same “Longevity protein” SIRT1 which triggers the expression of a number of self-healing genes just like the calorie restriction diet does. Much easier to comply with too!

With all of the benefits you need to begin melatonin supplementation early as it won’t do much good after signs of neurological diseases begin or traumatic injury happens.

There are dangers though. Most of the readily available melatonin comes from the pineal gland of animals, typically from cattle slaughter houses.  If the cow has a viral infection, like mad cow disease, then there is a good chance that intact virus will be in the melatonin and can’t be filtered or purified out.  There are a few producers of synthetic melatonin, which is made from non-animal ingredients, which are free from these risks (and also vegan friendly). Unfortunately most of the melatonin products I’ve seen on the store shelves don’t say if they are from animal sources or the much safer synthetic sources. I do know the one I use is synthetic and safe.

 

Is All Natural Skin Care really better?

bigstock-Beautiful-smiling-blond-woman--15958400When you see an ad or label that reads “All Natural” you must keep in mind that the government has not defined the use of the term “NATURAL”. While a product may claim to be “all natural” unless as a consumer you know what all those ingredients are on the list, you don’t know if any of the the ingredients have been altered through a chemical process for their use.

The claim that naturals are “better” or “healthier" for skin has not been proven in studies. Although that might not make sense to you, the reasons are it is difficult to preserve many naturals without some kind of chemical or process. Also remember naturals are known to be the cause of many different allergies people have.

As a consumer you need to be very sure and check the ingredients because many all natural products may contain unexpected components and ingredients that could be very undesirable for skin. Problems also with some all naturals is they cannot provide things like lightness, easy absorbability, flexibility to avoid cracking, staying blended, emulsified and bacteria free.

Don’t just assume the advertising, read and check all the ingredients of  every product, not just naturals.

For a great skin care line which has no preservatives, no irratating oils, and really gets results please visit Bella Pelle Laser’s Product Page