Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Can You OD On Vitamin Pills?

by Korin Miller posted on Yahoo! Health

Khloe Kardashian posted this photo of her supplement regimen that she’s taken to go with her on a trip to Armenia. “Vitamin party!”, she says. “I don’t have a pillbox because for all the pills I take, the pull box is large and bulky.” But is it too much?

It’s a mantra many of us heard on repeat as kids: “Take your vitamins!” Despite recent research that has questioned the effectiveness of vitamin supplements — and even their safety — Nielsen data has shown that the vitamin supplement industry is still growing.

MyAchingKnees comment:  The effectiveness of supplements is going to largely be determined by the quality of manufacture.  Don't expect your supplements to do wonders for you if you buy them off the shelf at the grocery store or one of those department store sized vitamin stores selling food grade products.    

“Keeping Up with the Kardashians” star Khloe Kardashian seems to be doing her part to keep supplement sales up, posting a new photo on Instagram of all of the vitamins she took on on her current trip to Armenia. It’s hard to tell exactly how many vitamins she’s taking, but it appears to be about 23 a day. That’s right—a day.

Is that even healthy? While 23 vitamins a day is admittedly a little extreme, New York City registered dietitian Jessica Cording tells Yahoo Health that the right supplement intake really depends on a patient’s needs.

“Vitamin supplements are really to address gaps in your diet,” she says. “If you’re eating a balanced diet, you’re probably meeting your basic needs unless you have an underlying deficiency.”

MyAchingKnees comment: I believe we need to buy and eat the best foods we can find - et as low glycemic and as non-GMO as you can, but no matter how hard you work to buy and consume the best  foods, you are still going to have some sort of nutritional deficiency. It's because the foods that are available now are greatly reduced in their nutritional value.

Which supplements do we actually need?

While there are a lot of supplements we don’t really need, Donald Hensrud, MD, medical director of the Mayo Clinic’s Healthy Living Program, tells Yahoo Health there are a few most people should consider.

Vitamin D

The first is vitamin D, which studies have shown can improve bone health, as well as muscle and immune function. “It’s been estimated that 20-50 percent of the U.S. population may have low vitamin D levels,” he says. “Now that people are aware of the relationship between sun exposure and skin cancer, they’re staying out of the sun more. That’s one of the sources of vitamin D.” He recommends that people look for a vitamin D3 supplement, aiming to take 1,000 units a day.


The second supplement Hensrud recommends is calcium, which is widely known to help bone health. However, he notes that too much calcium has been linked with heart disease, so it’s best to stick with the recommended daily allowance (1,000 mg a day for most adults).


Cording suggests that people also consider taking a probiotic supplement. “So much of our health relies on the health of our gastrointestinal tract,” she says. “Keeping that in working order is important.”

And yes, it’s possible to take too many supplements!

While some supplements can be beneficial to your health, both Cording and Hensrud warn that it’s possible to take too many vitamins — and the fallout of that overdose depends on what kind of vitamins you take. Many water-soluble vitamins like C and B will just move through your body when taken in excess. “With many supplements, you’re pretty much paying for expensive urine,” says Cording.

There are a few water-soluble vitamins to be wary of, though. Hensrud points out that ingesting too much vitamin B6 can cause nerve problems and overdosing on niacin may lead to liver damage or even liver failure.

Large doses of fat-soluble vitamins like A, E, D, and K will store in your body fat and can cause problems ranging from gastrointestinal distress to more serious issues. Two clinical studies conducted in the mid-1990s on the effects of beta-carotene and vitamin A supplements on smokers were halted after participants showed an increased risk of lung cancer, heart disease, and death.

While some vitamin supplements can enhance your overall health, both experts say it’s most important to get your recommended vitamins and minerals from a diet heavy in fruits and vegetables. “A plant-based diet with a variety of foods from different sources goes a long way toward reducing the risk of cancer, heart disease, and other health issues,” says Hensrud.

Interested in trying new supplements to fill gaps in your diet? Consult your doctor first to make sure there aren’t any potential interactions with any medication you may be taking.

MyAchingKnees comment: By all means, consult your Doctor. I'm sure he has a huge background in nutritional medicine and is not beholding to any prescription medications companies (sarcasim font).

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Most Important Vitamin Women Need and Haven’t Heard Of

Article written by Steve Macari for Harper's Bazaar

It is rare that I would write an article about a single nutrient, but there is one that I believe to be a game changer and needs to be brought in to the public eye—the Vitamin K2. The human body needs a variety of nutrients (vitamins, minerals, fatty acids) to function properly. When you are deficient in a particular nutrient, health problems generally arise. Since the human body is remarkably resilient it can take years to see any outright “symptoms” of a particular nutrient deficiency. These symptoms generally involve not feeling as good as you used to, changes in skin quality, low energy, hormonal imbalances, joint pain, digestive issues, the list goes on.

What is interesting about Vitamin K2 is that it was not until 1997 that researchers figured out the important role it plays in the human body (imagine all the other things we don’t know). While many people are familiar with Vitamin K1 (present in leafy greens such as kale and spinach and plays a role in blood clotting) most have never heard of Vitamin K2. Simply put, Vitamin K2 plays a critical role in directing calcium where it belongs and away from where it doesn’t belong. It does this through it’s interaction with a few other nutrients, namely Vitamin A and Vitamin D.

Why is K2 so important?

Vitamin K2 is involved in numerous functions in the human body but is especially important for women. Dr. Kate Rhéaume-Bleue, author of Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox, says:

“For the prevention of everything from wrinkles to cancer, Vitamin K2 is the missing nutrient for women’s health. Most women don’t need a calcium supplement, but Vitamin K2 will channel dietary calcium to the right places. And everyone is taking Vitamin D, but without K2 we’re not getting all the benefits of Vitamin D, and even risking harm from it.”

Bone Health - While most associate calcium with bone health the fact of the matter is that calcium (particularly supplemental calcium) plays a very insignificant role in ensuring adequate bone density and Vitamin K2 plays a very strong role. Vitamin K2 does this via its relationship with two other key nutrients, Vitamin A (Retinol not Beta-Carotene) and Vitamin D.

Dental Health - Look no further than Dr. Weston A. Price in understanding the importance of Vitamin K2 for ensuring proper dental health. His research showed that dental decay, tooth sensitivity and other issues can be addressed naturally, simply by ensuring adequate K2 in the diet. He found remarkable dental health (and overall health) in indigenous tribes throughout the world. These peoples had straight, cavity free teeth and rarely brushed. Their diet was very high in K2 and the other fat soluble nutrients (A and D).

Cardiovascular Health - For years we believed that clogged arteries were the results of saturated fat. We now know that this is not true. While there are many layers to cardiovascular disease the real culprit might be a lack of Vitamin K2 in the diet. Those blockages in your arteries are mostly calcium. Vitamin K2 keeps calcium out of your arteries and in your bones, where it belongs.

Wrinkles - Consider regions of the world that have a high vitamin K2 intake and you will find people who look considerably young for their age (i.e. Tokyo - where Natto, the richest food source of Vitamin K2 is consumed regularly). There is also a strong correlation between early signs of aging (wrinkles, loose skin) and low bone density.

Healthy Veins - Varicose veins are technically a disease of the cardiovascular system and like the related section above, involve calcium being deposited where it doesn’t belong. This can lead to veins that have lost their integrity and are more susceptible to bulging.

Where to get it?

Food sources of a particular nutrient are always best, however it can be a challenge with Vitamin K2 since the foods with the highest concentrations are rather obscure and not commonly consumed (see list below). That being said you can supplement with Vitamin K2. I would probably argue that Vitamin K2 is the single most important nutrient you should be including in your supplement routine (with Magnesium a close second).

The foods highest in Vitamin K2:

• Natto (fermented soybeans)

• Goose Liver (and other liver)

MyAchingKnees comment: Yeah, I'm all about Goose liver!

• Dairy products from animals that are eating fast growing spring grass (milk, butter, ghee).

• Cheeses - Gouda and Brie have the highest concentration but any cheese from a grass-fed animal will have Vitamin K2. Consider having some fruit and cheese as a snack.

• Egg yolks from a pasture raised chicken also contain K2. Eat 2-3 egg yolks a day.

Why is deficiency so common?

• It is a nutrient that is not present in high concentrations in many commonly consumed foods.

• The increased consumption of processed foods and a departure away from eating traditional foods (which are notoriously nutrient dense - nose to tail eating, grass-fed dairy, fermented foods, animal fats, etc.).

MyAchingKnees comment: My wife takes 105 micro grams of Vitamin K (in the form of Phylloquinone) each day, and while everyone knows the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) is very low for most nutrients, this amount of Vitamin K provides 135% of the RDA. While this article by Steve Macari is excellent, this article and others stressing the importance of a single nutrient could have the tendnancy to push people to supplement with this one nutrient and not consider the fact that people need all the nutrients to order to work synergisitically to provide the body with optimal health.

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Monday, April 13, 2015

Toxins Are Killing Our Brains,....and more

For decades, chlorpyrifos, marketed by Dow Chemical beginning in 1965, was the most widely
used insect killer in American homes. Then, in 1995, Dow was fined $732,000 by the EPA for
concealing more than 200 reports of poisoning related to chlorpyrifos. It paid the fine and, in
2000, withdrew chlorpyrifos from household products. Today, chlorpyrifos is classified as “very
highly toxic” to birds and freshwater fish, and “moderately toxic” to mammals, but it is still used
widely in agriculture on food and non-food crops, in greenhouses and plant nurseries, on wood
products and golf courses.
From an article published on The Atlantic, over a year ago, titled "The Toxins That Threaten Our
Brains", by James Hamblin, who does the population a good turn by helping identify 12 common
toxins and, as Hamblin puts it "....... (these) dozen chemicals are responsible for widespread
behavioral and cognitive problems. But the scope of the chemical dangers in our environment is
likely even greater. Why children and the poor are most susceptible to neurotoxic exposure that
may be costing the U.S. billions of dollars and immeasurable peace of mind."
You are going to have to go here to read the entire article, but the keys points are:   

The major toxins identified are - Manganese; Flouride; Chlorpyrifos; DDT/DDE;
Tetrachloroethylene (PERC); Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDE);  Aresnic; Lead; Mercury;
Toluene; Ethanol; and, Polycholorinated Biphenyls (PCB). 
The problem with toxic substances is that their effects can be insidious. Take the example of lead—a chemical that lingered in gasoline, house paints, and children's toys for decades before scientists realized the true extent of the damage.
Several years ago, a four-year-old boy in Oregon began complaining of stomach pain and vomiting. Doctors reassured his parents that it was likely a viral illness, but his symptoms worsened, and he became completely unable to eat. He also had a badly swollen cheek. The doctors determined that the boy had bitten himself, so severely that it must have been during a seizure. Blood tests showed that he was anemic, and subsequent tests found that he had extremely high levels of lead (123 micrograms per deciliter of blood).
The doctors began treating the boy with medication to help clear the lead. They also set out to find out where the lead was coming from. An investigation of the boy’s home, which was built in the 1990s, found no lead paint. Despite treatment, though, the boy’s lead tests remained abnormally high. So the doctors did an x-ray.
Inside the boy’s stomach was a one-inch metal medallion, which appeared bright white on the x-ray image. His parents recognized it as a toy necklace they had purchased from a vending machine approximately three weeks earlier. The state environmental quality lab later found that the medallion contained 38.8 percent lead. The manufacturer later did a voluntary recall of 1.4 million of the metal toy necklaces.
In 1921, lead was starting to be added to Gasoline to increase it's octane rating and therefore power.   In the 1960's strudies began to show that exposure to leaded gasoline and paint as well as other substances were poisoning people.   Finally in 1975, the EPA required a gradual phasing of lead out of gasoline.   But it didn't end there,......the Center of Disease Control (CDC) has incrementally decreased the threshold on how much lead was toxic from 60 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood to .5 micrograms per deciliter
Magnanese used to coat the insides of soda pop cans for a common source  of this toxin.    Symptoms of magnanese poisoning can be similar to Lou Gehrig's disease and multiple sclerosis.
Flouride, found in toothpaste and actualy given to us by dentists to swish throughout our mouths, can be benficial in low doses.   Higher doses of fluoride exposure has negative effects on brain growth.
Mercury is another common toxin in many forms and can cause damage to the kidneys, lungs as well as the brain.    Many different items from flourescent lights, to dental amagam fillings to certain cosmetics contain mercury in one form or another.
MyAchingKnees comment:  Knowledge of, and risk mitigation to toxin exposure are part of my plan for individual optimal health which I call the chair of health with the four legs being:  1 - reduce high glycemic, processed foods and eat as a low glycemic diet as you can; 2 - take quality nutritional supplents to ensure your body recieves all the nutrients for a strong immune system to protect against degenrative diseases; 3 - avoid toxins to minimize the onset of immune system degradation; 4 - live a physically life.

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Sunday, April 5, 2015

What 5 Popular Diets Get Wrong

Molly Shea published this article - "What 5 Popular Diets Get Wrong" - on Yahoo.com Health.

If you’ve nixed gluten from your life or shunned all cooked foods, you probably think you’re doing what’s best for your body. But according to Vani Hari, a.k.a. the "Food Babe," there may still be important nutrients you’re missing — and toxic ingredients you might be eating.

Vani, a food activist and author of The Food Babe Way, is known for calling out corporations such as Kraft and General Mills for including unnecessary artificial additives in their foods. She’s spent years researching food politics, nutrition, and diets — so if there’s a downside to a popular diet, Vani knows it. In this exclusive video, she shares how five popular diets might steer you wrong. To start:

If you’re a Paleo fan, don’t overdo the meat consumption! Eating a combination of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds can help keep you disease-free.

Given gluten the heave-ho? Always read the ingredients label and skip processed, packaged gluten-free foods.

Raw foodies should steer clear of sugary foods such as agave nectar — though raw, the fructose it contains can cause a serious blood sugar spike.

Gone vegan and substituting soy for meat? Watch out for soy protein isolate, a common ingredient that Vani warns is made with a carcinogenic gas.

If you stick to a Mediterranean diet, don’t fall for cheap olive oil that’s cut with lower-quality ingredients.

MyAchingKnees comment: All good (and short) advice. But looking at why most diets really fail is that they simply do not provide the required nutrients the person needs. Eating nothing but beef gets the closet to providing all the required nutrients, however even that falls way short. This is why you see peope on short and long term diets, losing weight, then gaining it back...and being sick and tired inbetween.

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