Spirulina supplementation improves academic performance in schoolchildren.


Did you know that, among its many benefits, spirulina has also been shown to improve academic performance in schoolchildren?

spirulina

Spirulina is the name given to more than 40,000 varieties of spiral-shaped, blue-green algae that are consumed as nutritional supplements, typically in powdered or tablet form. It grows naturally in warm freshwater lakes between 85 and 112 degrees Fahrenheit.

Because spirulina is an abundant, naturally occurring food that is high in nutrients but contains only 3.9 calories per gram, it has attracted attention as a nutritional supplement that might be able to help alleviate malnutrition worldwide without leading to the opposite problem of obesity. Adding to spirulina’s appeal, it retains its nutritional value well during processing and has an extraordinarily long shelf life.

A nutritional powerhouse

The academic performance study was conducted by Senegalese researchers and
published in the French journal Sante Publique in 2009. The researchers were evaluating the effectiveness of a government program designed to improve the nutritional status of schoolchildren with spirulina supplements. The children consumed 2g of spirulina (mixed with 10g of honey for flavor) once per day for 60 days.

The researchers compared the academic performance of 549 Senegalese elementary school students right before the beginning of spirulina supplementation with their performance two months later. The children’s average age was seven years, seven months.

After two months of spirulina supplementation, the children’s average school performance had increased by 10 percent. The results were statistically significant.

Because so little research on this effect has been done, it is impossible to be certain what is responsible for this improvement in academic scores. However, studies have shown that spirulina improves both cognitive ability and mental health, in part because it contains high levels of L-tryptophan – the amino acid needed for the body to synthesize the neurotransmitters serotonin and melatonin.

Another possible explanation is that spirulina improves the overall nutritional health of school children, which has been strongly correlated with academic performance. Spirulina is not just a complete protein but 60-70 percent protein by weight, a higher proportion than either soy or red meat. It is high in vitamins A, C, D and E, as well as in B vitamins, including B-12, which is not typically found in vegetable sources. It also contains a wide variety of minerals, antioxidants and fatty acids that have been shown to contribute to healthier skin and hair, and to fight cell damage.

Benefits for all ages

The clinically proven properties of spirulina exceed even these remarkable benefits. It has been shown to help the body fight infection, lose weight, lower cholesterol and even prevent the inflammation linked with heart disease. It fights anemia (it is especially high in iron), purifies the blood and removes heavy metals and other toxic substances from the body.

Spirulina has also been shown to increase energy, help control food cravings and relieve anxiety, depression, fatigue, stress and premenstrual syndrome. It is one of the most effective natural ways to relieve the symptoms of allergies and hay fever. Spirulina has also shown promise in fighting arthritis, alcoholism, herpes and even cancer.

All of these benefits can come from taking as little as 2-3 grams of spirulina per day.

Spirulina should not be taken, however, by anyone with phenylketonuria or autoimmune disorders, due to its high phenylalanine content and its immune-boosting properties, respectively. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should only take it under the supervision of a health care practitioner.

Vitamin D3 Supplements Do Not Lessen Cold, Influenza Risk.


Supplementation with vitamin D3 does not reduce the incidence or risk for upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) in adults, according to a new randomized controlled trial published onlineSeptember 6 and in the November 15 print issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Judy R. Rees, MPH, PhD, from the Department of Community and Family Medicine, Section of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire, and colleagues enrolled 2259 participants (age, 45 – 75 years) who were also taking part in a colorectal adenoma chemoprevention trial. Participants were randomly assigned to receive 1000 IU/day of vitamin D3, 1200 mg elemental calcium/day, both, or placebo. All participants were in good health and had serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels of 2 ng/mL or higher.

Among the 759 participants who completed the study, the researchers found no significant decrease in the rate ratio (RR) of URTI episodes between the treatment groups (RR, 0.93; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.79 – 1.09) or winter days of illness (RR, 1.13; 95% CI, 0.90 – 1.43). There was also no decrease noted in composite syndromes of influenza-like illness (ILI; RR, 0.95; 95% CI, 0.62 – 1.46) or colds (RR, 0.93; 95% CI, 0.78 – 1.10).

“Vitamin D supplementation conferred no significant protection against colds, ILI, or any URTI overall, nor among those with the lowest baseline serum 25(OH) vitamin D, although participants whose baseline concentration was <12 ng/mL were specifically excluded from our trial,” note Dr. Rees and colleagues.

Participants were recruited from 11 clinical centers, and the study was conducted November 2009 through March 2011. URTI was defined as either ILI (fever and 2 or more of the following: sore throat, cough, muscle aches, or headache) or a cold (absence of ILI, 2 or more of the following on a single day: runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing, sore throat, cough, and swollen or tender neck glands).

Throughout the study period, researchers administered semiannual telephone surveys to 2228 participants and found no decrease in the odds ratio (OR) of ILI (OR, 1.14; 95% CI, 0.84 – 1.54) or colds (OR, 1.03; 95% CI, 0.87 – 1.23) among patients receiving vitamin D3 supplementation. Baseline vitamin D status, body mass index, adherence, or influenza vaccination also provided no significant benefit.

The researchers acknowledge that self-selection of the 759 participants from the parent trial may have influenced results if participants dropped out early because of a lack of treatment effect. The study authors also note that self-reported adherence to study protocol and lack of laboratory conformation of URTI may also have affected the results.

Michael Gleeson, PhD, from the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, Leucestershire, United Kingdom, told Medscape Medical News, “Although participant numbers were large, I suspect that this dose of vitamin D3 is insufficient to affect respiratory illness incidence in individuals who are not vitamin D deficient,” and that “an effect might be seen in a more illness-prone population such as athletes.” Dr. Gleeson was not affiliated with the study.

“The effects on URTI of supplementation in adults with vitamin D deficiency (<12 ng/mL) should be addressed in future trials,” conclude the study authors. Studies should also address at what dose of vitamin D3 affects “markers of immune function that are important in defense against respiratory infections,” added Dr. Gleeson.

10 reasons to take spirulina every day.


We talk a lot about “superfoods” here at NaturalNews because there are literally thousands of nutrient-dense superfood options from which to choose, all of which contain a unique array of disease-fighting vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and other healing components. But the one superfood that stands out among the rest — and the one that you should be taking every single day for your health — is spirulina, a special type of blue-green algae that is loaded with chlorophyll and a host of other life-giving nutrients.\

spirulina

Spirulina is particularly rich in 1) infection-fighting proteins that have been scientifically shown to increase the production of disease-combating antibodies within the body. Since spirulina is composed of nearly 70 percent protein, the highest among all other foods, it is particularly effective at boosting the production of macrophages, a type of white blood cell that fights and prevents infection.

A 2005 study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that spirulina helps 2) inhibit allergic reactions as well, particularly among those suffering from allergic rhinitis. It turns out that regularly taking high doses of spirulina can help allergy sufferers experience dramatic improvements in their allergy symptoms.
As far as blood health is concerned, spirulina has been shown to be an effective 3) treatment for anemia. In his book Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition, author Paul Pitchford explains how spirulina and numerous other forms of micro-algae effectively boost production of red blood cells, particularly when taken in combination with vitamin B12.

Rich in both phycocyanin and chlorophyll, spirulina is also a powerful 4) blood purifier. Not only do these two important nutrients promote blood cell growth, but they also rejuvenate the existing blood supply. Chlorophyll in particular is nearly identical to hemoglobin, the molecule responsible for cleansing the blood and transporting oxygen to cells.

Because it contains all eight essential amino acids and 10 other non-essential amino acids, the antioxidants beta carotene and zeaxanthin, B complex vitamins; dozens of trace minerals, the essential fatty acid gamma linolenic acid, pathogen-targeting proteins, and beneficial probiotic bacteria, spirulina is also unmatched in its ability to 5) boost the immune system

These same nutrients also help to

 6) detoxify the cells and body of heavy metals and other toxins. A powerful chelating agent, spirulina tends to reach deep into bodily tissues and root out toxins like mercury, radiation, arsenic, cadmium, pesticides, synthetic food chemicals, and environmental carcinogens. Spirulina also assists in the transport of essential nutrients across the blood-brain barrier to replace the voids left by these toxins.)

A 1988 study out of Japan and several others have found that spirulina helps to 7) lower cholesterol levels and mitigate the underlying inflammation problems that cause cholesterol to accumulate in the bloodstream. Supplementing with spirulina daily effectively reduces blood serum levels of cholesterol, which means cholesterol is being deposited throughout the body where it needs to be rather than in arterial walls where it can cause cardiovascular problems.

Overweight or obese individuals trying to lose weight may also derive benefit from spirulina’s ability to 8) promote weight loss. Not only can supplementing with spirulina help you shed the extra pounds, but it may also assist in the growth and development of lean muscle mass, particularly because of its extremely high ratio of bioavailable protein.

Many people who supplement with spirulina tend to notice dramatic improvements in mental health and cognitive acuity. Because it contains exceptionally high levels of the L-tryptophan, an amino acid that produces the brain neurotransmitters melatonin and serotonin, spirulina is an unprecedented 9) brain chemistry balancer that can help improve mood, boost memory, and promote feelings of calm and happiness.)

Spirulina’s diverse array of antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and cleansing nutrients also helps to 10) nurture healthy skin and hair. By targeting the detrimental factors that contribute to hair loss, saggy skin, and other side-effects of aging, spirulina can help rejuvenate your body’s largest organ from the inside out. Topical spirulina creams can also help tone and improve skin health.

To experience the maximum benefits of spirulina, it may be necessary for some people to consume as many as several grams or more per day of this nutrient-dense superfood. Just be sure to purchase only reputable brands of spirulina such as Cyanotech’s Nutrex-Hawaii Spirulina Pacifica, which is cultivated and harvested in such a way as to avoid contamination with toxic microcystins.

Modern Wheat Is The ‘Perfect Chronic Poison’ Says Expert.


The world’s most popular grain is also the deadliest for the human metabolism. Modern wheat isn’t really wheat at all and is a “perfect, chronic poison,” according to Dr. William Davis, a cardiologist, author and leading expert on wheat.

Approximately 700 million tons of wheat are now cultivated worldwide making it the second most-produced grain after maize. It is grown on more land area than any other commerical crop and is considered a staple food for humans.

At some point in our history, this ancient grain was nutritious in some respects, however modern wheat really isn’t wheat at all. Once agribusiness took over to develop a higher-yielding crop, wheat became hybridized to such an extent that it has been completely transformed from it’s prehistorical genetic configuration. All nutrient content of modern wheat depreciated more than 30% in its natural unrefined state compared to its ancestral genetic line. The balance and ratio that mother nature created for wheat was also modified and human digestion and physiology could simply could not adapt quick enough to the changes.

Davis said that the wheat we eat these days isn’t the wheat your grandma had: “It’s an 18-inch tall plant created by genetic research in the ’60s and ’70s,” he said on “CBS This Morning.” “This thing has many new features nobody told you about, such as there’s a new protein in this thing called gliadin. It’s not gluten. I’m not addressing people with gluten sensitivities and celiac disease. I’m talking about everybody else because everybody else is susceptible to the gliadin protein that is an opiate. This thing binds into the opiate receptors in your brain and in most people stimulates appetite, such that we consume 440 more calories per day, 365 days per year.”

Image: globalresetsociety.com

Asked if the farming industry could change back to the grain it formerly produced, Davis said it could, but it would not be economically feasible because it yields less per acre. However, Davis said a movement has begun with people turning away from wheat – and dropping substantial weight.

“If three people lost eight pounds, big deal,” he said. “But we’re seeing hundreds of thousands of people losing 30, 80, 150 pounds. Diabetics become no longer diabetic; people with arthritis having dramatic relief. People losing leg swelling, acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, depression, and on and on every day.”

To avoid these wheat-oriented products, Davis suggests eating “real food,” such as avocados, olives, olive oil, meats, and vegetables. “(It’s) the stuff that is least likely to have been changed by agribusiness,” he said. “Certainly not grains. When I say grains, of course, over 90 percent of all grains we eat will be wheat, it’s not barley… or flax. It’s going to be wheat.

The Nutrional Value of Wheat is Practically Non-Existent In Its Current Form

So-called health experts in nutrition who continue to promote the health benefits of wheat are extremely uninformed about the nature of modern wheat and its evolution from growth to consumption. It is shocking how many professionals in public health still recommend wheat products without an assessment of their individual requirements, especially considering the amount of evidence regarding its lack of nutrition and health risks for proportionally large segments of the population.

The majority of wheat is processed into 60% extraction, bleached white flour. 60% extraction–the standard for most wheat products means that 40% of the original wheat grain is removed. So not only do we have an unhealthier, modified, and hybridized strain of wheat, we also remove and further degrade its nutritional value by processing it. Unfortunately, the 40% that gets removed includes the bran and the germ of the wheat grain–its most nutrient-rich parts. In the process of making 60% extraction flour, over half of the vitamin B1, B2, B3, E, folic acid, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, iron, and fiber are lost. Any processed foods with wheat are akin to poison for the body since they cause more health risks than benefits. The body does not recognize processed wheat as food. Nutrient absorption from processed wheat products is thus consequential with almost no nutritional value.

Some experts claim if you select 100% whole wheat products, the bran and the germ of the wheat will remain in your meals, and the health benefits will be impressive. This is again a falsity promoted by the wheat industry since even 100% whole wheat products are based on modern wheat strains created by irradiation of wheat seeds and embryos with chemicals, gamma rays, and high-dose X-rays to induce mutations. Whether you consume 10% or 100% of wheat is irrelevant since you’re still consuming a health damaging grain that will not benefit, advance or even maintain your health in any way.

Dr. Marcia Alvarez who specializes in nutritional programs for obese patients says that when it comes to nutrition, wheat may be considered as an evil grain. “Modern wheat grains could certainly be considered as the root of all evil in the world of nutrition since they cause so many documented health problems across so many populations in the world.” Dr. Alvarez asserted that wheat is now responsible for more intolerances than almost any other food in the world. “In my practice of over two decades, we have documented that for every ten people with digestive problems, obesity, irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, arthritis and even heart disease, eight out of ten have a problem with wheat. Once we remove wheat from their diets, most of their symptoms disappear within three to six months,” she added. Dr. Alvarez estimates that between the coming influx of genetically modified (GM) strains of wheat and the current tendency of wheat elimination in societies, that a trend is emerging in the next 20 years that will likely see 80% of people cease their consumption of wheat from any form.

It’s Really A Wheat Issue

Some health resources, such as the Mayo Clinic, advocate a more balanced diet that does include wheat. But Davis said on “CTM” they’re just offering a poor alternative.

“All that literature says is to replace something bad, white enriched products with something less bad, whole grains, and there’s an apparent health benefit – ‘Let’s eat a whole bunch of less bad things.’ So I take…unfiltered cigarettes and replace with Salem filtered cigarettes, you should smoke the Salems. That’s the logic of nutrition, it’s a deeply flawed logic. What if I take it to the next level, and we say, ‘Let’s eliminate all grains,’ what happens then?

“That’s when you see, not improvements in health, that’s when you see transformations in health.”

Health Effects

A powerful little chemical in wheat known as ‘wheat germ agglutinin’ (WGA) which is largely responsible for many of wheat’s pervasive, and difficult to diagnose, ill effects. Researchers are now discovering that WGA in modern wheat is very different from ancient strains. Not only does WGA throw a monkey wrench into our assumptions about the primary causes of wheat intolerance, but due to the fact that WGA is found in highest concentrations in “whole wheat,” including its supposedly superior sprouted form, it also pulls the rug out from under one of the health food industry’s favorite poster children.

Each grain of wheat contains about one microgram of Wheat Germ Agglutinin (WGA). Even in small quantities, WGA can have profoundly adverse effects. It may be pro-inflammatory, immunotoxic, cardiotoxic … and neurotoxic.

Below the radar of conventional serological testing for antibodies against the various gluten proteins and genetic testing for disease susceptibility, the WGA “lectin problem” remains almost entirely obscured. Lectins, though found in all grains, seeds, legumes, dairy and our beloved nightshades: the tomato and potato, are rarely discussed in connection with health or illness, even when their presence in our diet may greatly reduce both the quality and length of our lives. Yet health experts dismiss the links between disease and wheat despite all the evidence.

Dr William Davis has documented several hundred clinical studies on the adverse effects of wheat. These are studies that document the neurologic impairments unique to wheat, including cerebellar ataxia and dementia; heart disease; visceral fat accumulation and all its attendant health consequences; the process of glycation via amylopectin A of wheat that leads to cataracts, diabetes, and arthritis; among others. There are, in fact, a wealth of studies documenting the adverse, often crippling, effects of wheat consumption in humans.

The other claim is that wheat elimination ‘means missing out on a wealth of essential nutrients. Another falsity. Dr. Davis states that if you replace wheat with healthy foods like vegetables, nuts, healthy oils, meats, eggs, cheese, avocados, and olives, then there is no nutrient deficiency that develops with elimination of wheat. Dr Davis also states that people with celiac disease may require long-term supplementation due to extensive gastrointenstinal damage caused by wheat.

People with celiac disease do indeed experience deficiencies of multiple vitamins and minerals after they eliminate all wheat and gluten from the diet. But this is not due to a diet lacking valuable nutrients, but from the incomplete healing of the gastrointestinal tract (such as the lining of the duodenum and proximal jejunum). In these people, the destructive effects of wheat are so overpowering that, unfortunately, some people never heal completely. These people do indeed require vitamin and mineral supplementation, as well as probiotics and pancreatic enzyme supplementation.

Due to the unique properties of amylopectin A, two slices of whole wheat bread increase blood sugar higher than many candy bars. High blood glucose leads to the process of glycation that, in turn, causes arthritis (cartilage glycation), cataracts (lens protein glycation), diabetes (glycotoxicity of pancreatic beta cells), hepatic de novo lipogenesis that increases triglycerides and, thereby, increases expression of atherogenic (heart disease-causing) small LDL particles, leading to heart attacks. Repetitive high blood sugars that develop from a grain-rich diet are, in my view, very destructive and lead to weight gain (specifically visceral fat), insulin resistance, leptin resistance (leading to obesity), and many of the health struggles that many now experience.

Wheat gliadin has been associated with cerebellar ataxia, peripheral neuropathy, gluten encephalopathy (dementia), behavioral outbursts in children with ADHD and autism, and paranoid delusions and auditory hallucinations in people with schizophrenia, severe and incapacitating effects for people suffering from these conditions.

According to statistics from the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center, an average of one out of every 133 otherwise healthy people in the United States suffers from Celiac Disease (CD). However, an estimated 20-30 percent of the world’s population may carry the genetic susceptibility to celiac disease–and the way to avoid turning these genes ‘on’ is by avoiding gluten.

When you consider that undiagnosed CD is associated with a nearly four-fold increased risk of premature death, the seriousness of this food sensitivity becomes quite evident. The primary disease mechanism at play is chronic inflammation, and chronic inflammatory and degenerative conditions are endemic to grain-consuming populations.

Changes in genetic code and, thereby, antigenic profile, of the high-yield semi-dwarf wheat cultivars now on the market account for the marked increase in celiac potential nationwide. “Hybridization” techniques, including chemical mutagenesis to induce selective mutations, leads to development of unique strains that are not subject to animal or human safety testing–they are just brought to market and sold.

Wheat-Free Options

* Note that many of the wheat-free options still contain gluten and many people sensitive to wheat may still experience digestive problems and bloating. Experiment in see what works best for you. Caution is advised with cereal grains if you have diagnosed with gluen intolerance.

1. Cereal Grains: Barley, millet, oats, rice, rye, sorghum, tef and wild rice are all in the same cereal grain family as is wheat. All flours ground from cereal grains may be used as a wheat substitute. Commonly available are barley, buckwheat, rice and rye flour. The less utilized flours may be purchased online or from natural food stores. Note: people with a gluten allergy must also avoid barley, oats and rye.

2. Non-Cereal Grains: Amaranth, quinoa and buckwheat are three grain-like seeds unrelated to cereal grains. (Despite its name, buckwheat is not a wheat-relative.) It is rare for anyone to develop a sensitivity to these non-cereal grains. Amaranth, quinoa and buckwheat are gluten-free and therefore not suitable for making leavened bread; however, they make excellent quick breads and cookies.

3. Nut Meal: Ground nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts or walnuts make the richest flour substitute for cookies and cakes. Because their fragile fatty acid content gives them a brief shelf life, it’s preferable to grind your own nuts in a food processor just prior to use. Nut meal requires a binding agent such as eggs. Because chestnuts are lower in fat than other nuts, chestnut flour has a longer shelf life. It is available online.

4. Bean Flour: Dried beans, such as navy, pinto and chickpeas may be milled and used, in combination with other flours, as a wheat alternative. Bean flour is, however, not always recommended. It tastes like beans and makes baked goods dense and hard to digest.

5. Other Flour Substitutes: Potato starch, arrowroot powder, and tapioca are thickening agents that substitute for wheat in sauces and gravy. In baked goods these starchy ingredients serve as a binding agent.

Source: preventdisease.com

 

Surprising facts about carrots.


Daucus carota subsp. sativus, commonly known as the carrot, is a vegetable that is naturally healthy, sweet and delicious. These taproots are filled with a lot of compounds that are good for the health, such as antioxidants, vitamin A, minerals and beta-carotenes. These crunchy roots are a common favorite among a lot of people who love vegetables.

Carrots are cultivated all over the world for their taproots. The plant is known to be biennial in nature and starts bearing flowers once it is in its second year. Generally, however, when the taproot reaches about 1 inch in diameter, it is harvested. This is the time when the root is juicy and tender. Carrots come in different shapes and colors, depending on the types of cultivar. Oriental ones usually have flat upper ends and are long. They also have tail-like lower ends that taper off. The European counterparts come in cylindrical bodies that have rounded ends. These also come in a bright orange color compared to the saffron-colored ones from Asia.

When buying carrots, it is important to look for young ones that are bright-colored and tender. They should also be firm. Avoid buying roots that are very large, as this could indicate that they are already mature, which may make them more difficult to eat.

The Different Health Benefits

It is well-known that carrots are healthy, but what are the benefits that they give to those who eat them? Here’s a rundown of the different health benefits one could gain from eating carrots:

  • Carrots are naturally rich in vitamins, antioxidants and dietary fiber. They only give 41 calories for every 100 grams, with a negligible fat content and no cholesterol.
  • Carrots are also rich in vitamin A and beta-carotenes, which help protect people from developing mouth and lung cancers. These compounds, along with flavonoid compounds, help protect the skin too.
  • Research conducted by the scientists at the University of Newcastle discovered that falcarinol found in carrots may help prevent cancer, as it destroys cells that are pre-cancerous. The study was conducted on laboratory animals.
  • Fresh carrots are also rich in vitamin C, giving about 9% of the RDA. Vitamin C helps keep the gums, teeth and connective tissues healthy. Its antioxidant properties also help the body be protected from various diseases caused by free radicals.
  • The root is also rich in B-complex vitamins, such as vitamin B6, folic acid, thiamine and many more. These are co-factors to certain enzymes that are needed for substrate metabolism.
  • Carotenes are changed by the liver into vitamin A. This vitamin is essential for the maintenance of good vision, sperm production and skin integrity, plus normal growth and development.

Carrots are full of nutrients, which is why people should include these in their diets. These root crops can help people become healthy as well as prevent the onset of various diseases, including cancer. Young and tender carrots are the best ones, as they are sweet and full of various nutrients.

Sources for this article include:

http://myhealthbynature.com

http://www.care2.com

http://www.naturalnews.com

http://science.naturalnews.com

Following Lifestyle Recommendations Reduces Risk of Cancer Death.


People who follow the diet and lifestyle recommendations laid out by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) and the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) have a 34 percent reduced risk of dying from several diseases and specifically, a 20 percent reduced risk of dying from cancer compared to people who don’t follow the recommendations, according to the results of a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

In 2007, the WCRF and the AICR issued recommendations on diet, physical activity, and weight management for cancer prevention on the basis of the most comprehensive collection of available evidence. The 10 recommendations are as follows:

  • Be as lean as possible within the normal range of body weight.
  • Be physically active as part of everyday life.
  • Limit consumption of energy-dense foods. Avoid sugary drinks.
  • Eat mostly foods of plant origin.
  • Limit intake of red meat and avoid processed meat.
  • Limit alcoholic drinks.
  • Limit consumption of salt. Avoid moldy grains or legumes.
  • Aim to meet nutritional needs through diet alone (by avoiding supplements).
  • Mothers to breastfeed; children to be breastfed.
  • Follow the recommendations for cancer prevention.

In order to determine whether these recommendations were associated with a reduced risk of death, researchers conducted a study to investigate 378,864 people in nine European countries enrolled in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition study. Over a period of 12 years, researchers examined the subjects’ diet and lifestyle to see how closely they complied with six or seven (for women) of the ten recommendations: body fat, physical activity, consumption of foods and drinks that promote weight gain, consumption of plant foods, meat, alcoholic drinks and breastfeeding. Participants were given a score from 0 to 6 (or 7 for women); higher scores indicated greater compliance with the recommendations.

They then compared the group of participants with the strongest adherence to the guidelines to those with the weakest adherence to calculate the level of risk reduction that would come from compliance with the recommendations. When compared to the group with the lowest level of compliance, those who most closely followed the WCRF/AICR recommendations had a 34 percent reduced risk of death overall—and specifically, a 50 percent reduced risk of dying from respiratory disease, 44 percent reduced risk of dying from circulatory disease, and a 20 percent reduced risk of dying from cancer.

Being lean and eating foods mostly of plant origin appeared to have the greatest impact on reducing the risk of death from disease. Limiting alcohol consumption and eating mostly plant foods had the greatest impact on reducing the risk of cancer death. Women who breastfed for at least six months had a reduced risk of death from cancer and circulatory disease.

The researchers concluded that following the WCRF/AICR lifestyle recommendations could reduce the risk of cancer death and death from other diseases.

Reference:

Vergnaud AC, Romaquera D, Peeters PH, et al. Adherence to the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research guidelines and risk of death in Europe: results from the European Prospective Investigation into Nutrition and Cancer cohort study. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Published early online April 3, 2013. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.11

 

Source: cancerconnect.com

 

Nutritional Management of Patients with Cirrhosis and Hepatic Encephalopathy.


 

Consensus recommendations are now available despite continued knowledge gaps in this area.
An expert panel commissioned by the International Society for Hepatic Encephalopathy and Nitrogen Metabolism has recommended that all patients with cirrhosis and hepatic encephalopathy should receive nutritional management similar to that for patients with cirrhosis but without hepatic encephalopathy. Specific recommendations from their consensus document are described below.

Strongest recommendations:

  • All patients should undergo baseline nutritional assessment as a part of management. (The authors acknowledged that no clinically practical, well-validated tools to assess nutrition are currently available.)
  • Optimal daily energy intake should be 35 to 40 kcal/kg ideal body weight.
  • Optimal daily protein intake should be 1.2 to 1.5 g/kg ideal body weight.
  • Small meals evenly distributed throughout the day and a late-night snack of complex carbohydrate are ideal.
  • Hyponatremia should always be corrected slowly.

Recommendations with less certainty, but with moderate evidence:

  • Encourage a diet rich in vegetable and daily protein.
  • Branched-chain amino acid supplementation might allow recommended nitrogen intake to be maintained in patients intolerant of dietary protein.
  • A 2-week course of a multivitamin could be justified in patients with decompensated cirrhosis.
  • Encourage a diet containing 25 to 45 g of fiber daily.
  • Avoid long-term treatment with manganese-containing nutritional formulations.

Source: NEJM

 

Supplements: Nutrition in a pill?


Supplements aren’t for everyone, but older adults and others may benefit from specific supplements.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans make it clear that your nutritional needs should be met primarily through your diet. For some people, however, supplements may be a useful way to get nutrients they might otherwise be lacking. But before you go shopping for supplements, get the facts on what they will and won’t do for you.

Supplements vs. whole foods

Supplements aren’t intended to be a food substitute because they can’t replicate all of the nutrients and benefits of whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables. So depending on your situation and your eating habits, dietary supplements may not be worth the expense.

Whole foods offer three main benefits over dietary supplements:

  • Greater nutrition. Whole foods are complex, containing a variety of the micronutrients your body needs — not just one. An orange, for example, provides vitamin C plus some beta carotene, calcium and other nutrients. A vitamin C supplement lacks these other micronutrients.
  • Essential fiber. Whole foods, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes, provide dietary fiber. Most high-fiber foods are also packed with other essential nutrients. Fiber, as part of a healthy diet, can help prevent certain diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and it can also help manage constipation.
  • Protective substances. Whole foods contain other substances important for good health. Fruits and vegetables, for example, contain naturally occurring substances called phytochemicals, which may help protect you against cancer, heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. Many are also good sources of antioxidants — substances that slow down oxidation, a natural process that leads to cell and tissue damage.

Who needs supplements?

If you’re generally healthy and eat a wide variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, low-fat dairy products, lean meats and fish, you likely don’t need supplements.

However, the dietary guidelines recommend supplements — or fortified foods — in the following situations:

  • Women who may become pregnant should get 400 micrograms a day of folic acid from fortified foods or supplements, in addition to eating foods that naturally contain folate.
  • Women who are pregnant should take a prenatal vitamin that includes iron or a separate iron supplement.
  • Adults age 50 or older should eat foods fortified with vitamin B-12, such as fortified cereals, or take a multivitamin that contains B-12 or a separate B-12 supplement.

Dietary supplements also may be appropriate if you:

  • Don’t eat well or consume less than 1,600 calories a day
  • Are a vegan or a vegetarian who eats a limited variety of foods
  • Are a woman who experiences heavy bleeding during your menstrual period
  • Have a medical condition that affects how your body absorbs or uses nutrients, such as chronic diarrhea, food allergies, food intolerance or a disease of the liver, gallbladder, intestines or pancreas
  • Have had surgery on your digestive tract and are not able to digest and absorb nutrients properly

Talk to your doctor or a dietitian about which supplements and what doses might be appropriate for you. Be sure to ask about possible side effects and interactions with any medications you take.

Choosing and using supplements

If you decide to take a vitamin or mineral supplement, consider these factors:

  • Check the label. Read labels carefully. Product labels can tell you what the active ingredient or ingredients are, which nutrients are included, the serving size — for example, capsule, packet or teaspoonful — and the amount of nutrients in each serving.
  • Avoid megadoses. In general, choose a multivitamin-mineral supplement that provides about 100 percent of the Daily Value (DV) of all the vitamins and minerals, rather than one which has, for example, 500 percent of the DV for one vitamin and only 20 percent of the DV for another.
  • Check expiration dates. Dietary supplements can lose potency over time, especially in hot and humid climates. If a supplement doesn’t have an expiration date, don’t buy it. If your supplements have expired, discard them.
  • Watch what you eat. Vitamins and minerals are being added to a growing number of foods, including breakfast cereals and beverages. If you’re also taking supplements, you may be getting more than you realize of certain nutrients. Taking more than you need is expensive and can raise your risk of side effects. For example, too much iron can cause nausea and vomiting and may damage the liver and other organs.

Keep up with supplement safety alerts

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) keeps a list of dietary supplements that are under regulatory review or that have been reported to cause adverse effects. If you’re taking a supplement, it’s a good idea to check the FDA website periodically for updates.

Source: Mayo clinic

 

 

white�pn�t� X1� font-size:9.0pt;font-family:”Arial”,”sans-serif”;color:#666666′>And, I’ll tell you right now, after this last year, leaving Waiheke Island, going to Hawaii (as detailed in Going Out On A Limb), well… I feel freer, happier, more peaceful and more my true self than I ever have in 35 years and I categorically COULD NOT have done it if I had not reached out for support.

 

So, I implore you, if you are someone who is afraid to reach out for support, please… for the love of all things… swallow your fears, your negative self-talk, your pride or whatever is keeping you stuck and please, please put your freaking hand up! The Universe will deliver what you need if you will only step up to help yourself. People will materialise to support you. Information will find its way to you when you move forward to open your arms to receive it. You will find help in the most unlikely of places if you are willing to step outside your comfort zone. Do not judge how things may have gone before… perhaps once before you reached out and you didn’t get the response and support you needed. The past is gone and it has no bearing now. Life is short, don’t waste one second of it when the support you need lies all around you, beckoning you to call upon it.

 

Nutritional Adjuncts to the Fat-Soluble Vitamins A, D, and K .


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The “K” in “vitamin K” stands for “koagulation,” the German word for blood clotting. From its discovery in the 1930s through the late 1970s, we knew of no other roles for the vitamin.

The 1990s had come and nearly gone by the time awareness of its role in bone metabolism broke out of the confines of the vitamin K research community, and only in the twenty-first century has its role in preventing calcification of the blood vessels and other soft tissues become clear.

Vitamin K2, found in animal fats and fermented foods, is present in much smaller quantities in most diets when compared to vitamin K1, found in leafy greens.

Since researchers throughout the twentieth century saw the two forms of the vitamin as interchangeable, they ignored vitamin K2 as though its scarcity made it irrelevant.

The realization that vitamin K is not just for “koagulation,” however, led us to discover that vitamins K1 and K2 are not interchangeable after all: vitamin K1 more effectively supports blood clotting, while vitamin K2 more effectively ensures that calcium winds up in the bones and teeth where it supports health rather than in the soft tissues where it contributes to disease.

It was thus only in 2006 that the United States Department of Agriculture determined the vitamin K2 contents of common foods for the first time.1

Vitamins A, D, and K

While vitamin K2 languished in obscurity, vitamins A and D continually traded places with one another as the favored vitamin du jour. The pendulum initially swung in favor of vitamin D because rickets was common in the early twentieth century while eye diseases resulting from vitamin A deficiency were rare. It then swung in favor of vitamin A when that vitamin became known as the “anti-infective” vitamin.2

After World War II, the medical establishment had easy access to antibiotics and thus lost interest in battling infections with vitamin A.3 Vitamin D fared far worse, taking the blame for a British epidemic of infant hypercalcemia and eventually earning a reputation as “the most toxic of all the vitamins.”4 These days, the pendulum has swung full force in the opposite direction: we blame an epidemic of osteoporosis on vitamin A, and see vitamin D as the new panacea.5

Though a paradigm of synergy never took hold, it was not for want of opportunity. When Mellanby and Green first demonstrated in the 1920s that vitamin A prevented infections, they concluded that vitamin D could not be “safely substituted for cod-liver oil in medical treatment,” and that “if a substitute for cod-liver oil is given it ought to be at least as powerful as this oil in its content of both vitamins A and D.”

Consistent with this point of view, clinical trials in the 1930s showed that cod liver oil could reduce the incidence of colds by a third and cut hours missed from work in half.6 Cod liver oil also caused dramatic reductions in mortality from less common but more severe infections. The medical establishment, for example, had been successfully using it to treat tuberculosis since the mid-nineteenth century.7

Studies in the 1930s expanded this to the treatment of measles.8 These findings made the popularity of cod liver oil soar .

The idea that vitamin A alone was “antiinfective,” however, led to similar trials with halibut liver oil, which is rich in vitamin A but poor in vitamin D. These trials often failed to show any benefit. I.G. Spiesman of the University of Illinois College of Medicine proposed a simple solution to this paradox: vitamins A and D worked together to prevent infection, he suggested, and both vitamins are needed to prevent the common cold.

He published his own clinical trial in 1941, showing that massive doses of each vitamin alone provided no benefit and often proved toxic. Massive doses of both vitamins together, however, caused no toxicity and offered powerful protection against the common cold.10 Nevertheless, as antibiotics grew in popularity after World War II, interest in the fat-soluble vitamins waned and cod liver oil use began its steady decline .

The emergence of molecular biology in the late twentieth century provided new evidence for synergy. Vitamins A and D both make independent contributions to immune function by binding to their respective receptors and thereby directing cellular processes in favor of healthful immune responses, but studies in isolated cells suggest that vitamin D may only be able to activate its receptor with the direct cooperation of vitamin A.11, 12

We now know that vitamins A and D also cooperate together to regulate the production of certain vitamin K-dependent proteins. Once vitamin K activates these proteins, they help mineralize bones and teeth, support adequate growth, and protect arteries and other soft tissues from abnormal calcification, and protect against cell death.

As described below, the synergistic action of the fat-soluble trio depends on support from other nutrients like magnesium, zinc, fat and carbohydrate, as well as important metabolic factors such as carbon dioxide and thyroid hormone

Magnesium and the Fat-Soluble Vitamins

Magnesium contributes to more than three hundred specific chemical reactions that occur within our bodies, including every reaction that depends on ATP, the universal energy currency of our cells.13 Magnesium also activates the enzyme that makes copies of DNA, as well as the enzyme that makes RNA, which is responsible for translating the codes contained within our genes into the production of every protein within our body. This process of translating the DNA code in order to produce proteins is called “gene expression.”

Vitamins A and D carry out most of their functions by regulating gene expression, which means they rely directly on magnesium to carry out these functions. They also rely indirectly on magnesium because our cells can only produce their receptors and all the proteins with which they interact with the assistance of this critical mineral.

The well-studied interaction of magnesium with vitamin D and calcium provides an illustrative example. Magnesium is required for both steps in the activation of vitamin D to calcitriol, the form of vitamin D that regulates gene expression and stimulates calcium absorption. Even fully activated vitamin D (calcitriol), however, is useless in the absence of magnesium. Humans who are deficient in magnesium have low blood levels of both calcitriol and calcium, but treating them with calcitriol does nothing to restore calcium levels to normal. The only way to normalize calcium levels in these subjects is to provide them with sufficient magnesium. Magnesium also supports the cellular pumps that keep most calcium out of our soft tissue cells and make it available for the extracellular matrix of bones and teeth.

Zinc and the Fat-Soluble Vitamins

As with magnesium, the fat-soluble trio can only support health if our diets contain adequate zinc. The interaction between vitamin A and zinc is particularly well studied.15 Vitamin A supports the intestinal absorption of zinc, possibly by increasing the production of a binding protein in the intestines. Zinc, in turn, supports the formation of vesicles involved in transporting vitamin A and the other the fat-soluble vitamins across the intestinal wall.

Zinc is an essential structural component of many vitamin A-related proteins, including the primary protein that transports vitamin A through the blood, the enzyme that carries out the first step in the activation of vitamin A to retinoic acid, and the nuclear receptor that binds to retinoic acid and allows it to regulate gene expression.

Numerous studies have demonstrated the interaction between zinc and vitamin A in humans. For example, in humans with marginal zinc status, zinc supplementation supports vitamin A’s role in visual function16 and eye development (Figure 2).17

Although less well studied, zinc also interacts with vitamin D. Vitamin D and zinc most likely promote each other’s intestinal absorption.18 In rats, dietary zinc supports the production of the vitamin D receptor.19 Once the receptor is formed, zinc provides it with essential structural support. Although in the absence of this structural support the receptor still binds to vitamin D, the structural support is needed to allow this vitamin-receptor complex to bind to DNA.20 Studies with isolated cells illustrate the importance of this interaction: adding zinc to these cells increases the rate at which vitamin D activates the expression of genes.21

Fat, Carbs, Thyroid and Carbon Dioxide

In order to absorb fat-soluble vitamins from our food, we need to eat fat. Human studies show that both the amount and type of fat are important. For example, one study showed that absorption of beta-carotene from a salad with no added fat was close to zero. The addition of a lowfat dressing made from canola oil increased absorption, but a high-fat dressing was much more effective.23 Canola oil, however, is far from ideal. Studies in rats show that absorption of carotenoids is much higher with olive oil than with corn oil.24

Similarly, studies in humans show that consuming beta-carotene with beef tallow rather than sunflower oil increases the amount we absorb from 11 to 17 percent. The reason for this is unknown, but it may be that oils rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids promote the oxidative destruction of fat-soluble vitamins in the intestines before we are able to absorb them. Thus, the more fat we eat, and the lower those fats are in polyunsaturated fatty acids, the more fat-soluble vitamins we absorb.

While dietary fat is clearly important, there may be a role for dietary carbohydrate as well. Once vitamins A and D stimulate the production of vitamin K-dependent proteins, vitamin K activates those proteins by adding carbon dioxide to them. Once added to a protein, carbon dioxide carries a negative charge and allows the protein to interact with calcium, which carries a positive charge. The greater the supply of carbon dioxide, the better vitamin K can do its job.25 Carbohydrates are rich in carbon and oxygen, and when we break them down for energy we release these elements in our breath as carbon dioxide. Because carbohydrates are richer in oxygen, burning them generates about 30 percent more carbon dioxide per calorie than burning fat, and low-carbohydrate diets have been shown to lower blood levels of carbon dioxide .

Ideally, we should study this further by determining whether dietary carbohydrate affects the amount of activated vitamin K-dependent proteins in humans.

We also produce more carbon dioxide when we burn more calories, regardless of whether we are burning carbohydrate or fat. Intense exercise more than doubles the amount of carbon dioxide we produce compared to what we produce when at rest.27 Even working at a standing desk rather than a sitting desk increases both calories burned and carbon dioxide generated by about a third .

Future studies should directly investigate whether exercise increases the activation of vitamin K-dependent proteins, but it seems reasonable to suggest that part of the reason exercise promotes cardiovascular health may be because it ensures a more abundant supply of carbon dioxide, which vitamin K uses to activate proteins that protect our heart valves and blood vessels from calcification. Thyroid hormone is a key regulator of the metabolic rate and may thus be a major determinant of the carbon dioxide available for activating vitamin K-dependent proteins. Theoretically, thyroid hormone should increase the rate of metabolism and a greater rate of metabolism should produce a proportionally greater supply of carbon dioxide.

Thyroid hormone directly increases the production of vitamin K-dependent proteins and protects blood vessels from calcification in rats.29 The reason for this relationship is unclear. We could speculate, however, that our bodies in their infinite wisdom use thyroid hormone to tie the production of vitamin K-dependent proteins to the production the carbon dioxide needed to activate them.

The Big Picture

It is clearly time to move beyond viewing each vitamin in isolation. The fat-soluble vitamins not only synergize with each other, but cooperate with many other nutrients and metabolic factors such as magnesium, zinc, fat, carbohydrate, carbon dioxide and thyroid hormone.

This paradigm has two important implications. At the level of scientific research, a study about one vitamin can easily come to false conclusions unless it takes into account its interactions with all the others. We should reverently and humbly bow before the complexity of these interactions, realizing how little we know and recognizing that we are always learning. At the level of personal health, these interactions emphasize the need to consume a well-rounded, nutrient-dense diet. Supplementation with an individual vitamin runs the risk of throwing it out of balance with its synergistic partners. The fat-soluble vitamins work most safely and effectively when we obtain them from natural foods within the context of a diet rich in all their synergistic partners.

Zinc and the Dark Adaptation Test for Vitamin A Deficiency

The role of vitamin A in vision is unusual. This vitamin carries out most of its known actions by regulating the expression of specific sets of genes. Vitamin A regulates gene expression only after being activated in a two-step process from retinol to retinal, and finally to retinoic acid. Vitamin A supports vision, however, in its semi-activated form as retinal. Retinal binds to a protein known as opsin, forming a vitamin-protein complex known as rhodopsin. Each photon of light that enters our eye and collides with rhodopsin causes the retinal to change shape and release itself from the complex. This event then translates into an electrical impulse that our optic nerve transmits to our brain. The brain synthesizes myriad such electrical impulses at every moment and interprets them as vision.30

While the function of opsin is to help generate visual images by binding and releasing vitamin A, opsin can only maintain its proper shape and function when it is bound to zinc. In addition, zinc supports the conversion of retinol to retinal, the form of vitamin A that binds to opsin. We could predict, then, that vitamin A would only be able to support vision in the presence of adequate zinc. This can be studied by determining dark adaptation thresholds, which determine the dimmest spots of light we are able to see after having spent a period of time in the dark to maximize our visual sensitivity. When vitamin A is insufficient, we lose the ability to see the dimmer spots of light.

Robert Russell of Tufts University studied ten patients with deficient blood levels of vitamin A who also failed the dark-adaptation test. Eight of them achieved normal dark-adaptation thresholds after supplementing with 10,000 international units of vitamin A for two to four weeks. Two of them, however, had deficient blood levels of zinc. Vitamin A supplementation alone failed to normalize their visual function, but adding 220 milligrams per day of zinc to the regimen for two weeks brought it back to normal.16 These results show that vitamin A can only support healthy vision with the direct assistance of zinc.

Source: mercola.com

How to Eat Better and Fight Cancer with Your Fork.


 

Good nutrition is essential for maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle and, according to Dana-Farber Nutritionist Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, CSO, LDN, it can also help in the battle against cancer.

“Good nutrition is really important for supporting a healthy immune system, which helps the healing process, and healthy eating can even help to alleviate side effects or symptoms related to cancer and treatment, such as fatigue, constipation, nausea, and mouth sores,” Kennedy says.

 

So where should the nutrition novice begin? The produce section. “Maintaining a healthy diet that is rich in plant-based foods is one way to not only promote survivorship, but also help to prevent cancer – it really is an excellent choice for everyone,” Kennedy says. She offers up these tips.

  1. Reach for bright colors. Look for brightly colored, in-season, preferably local, fruits and vegetables. What gives a fruit or vegetable its bright color, are specific phytonutrients, which are extremely beneficial for our immune systems.
  2. Be mindful of meat. A healthy diet can include protein-rich foods, like meat or fish. Just be mindful of the quality, type, and portion size.  Don’t forget to reach for protein-rich plants too, like lentils, beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and dark green, leafy vegetables.
  3. Keep certain foods off your plate. Reduce and limit your intake of sugary or processed foods, artificial ingredients (sweeteners, colors, preservatives, etc.), and fatty red meat; grass fed beef is healthy in moderation.
  4. Start small. If you are not ready to overhaul your diet, start with little steps. If you are eating a sandwich, add a tomato, avocado, or cucumber. Or grab an apple as a snack instead of a bag of chips. Even a slight increase in your fruit and vegetable intake can have lasting benefits.
  5. Ask an Expert. There’s often conflicting information in the media about nutrition and its role in treatment. Work with someone who can help you take in all of the information and create a plan that is right for you.
  • professional nutrition experts

 “I do love this app,” says Susan Gimilaro, a Dana-Farber patient who was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in March 2011. “First, the recipes are delicious.  And I like the shopping list; just click on a recipe, press the shopping list, and voila – I’ve got a grocery list!  The steps, nutrition info, and tips included in each recipe leave me without questions.”

But when Gimilaro does have questions, she knows where to turn. I was looking for information about chia seeds.  I found a variety of information on the Internet, but could I trust these sources?  I wasn’t sure,” Gimilaro says. “However, in this app, under the Ask the Nutritionists feature, there was information on chia seeds – from a source I can trust.”

“I feel that I am eating healthier because the app is so readily available and offers delicious recipes,” Gimilaro says. “It is just easy to use – there is really no learning curve.”

Source: Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.