Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Tips for Choosing Vitamins

This article came out on the internet a few days ago, titled - "Are Vitamins a Waste of Money? Here’s Some Tips for Choosing a Great One".

Recently, there’s been a good bit of crack-down on super stores, drug stores, and health food stores carrying vitamins and minerals that have found to be inefficient and a waste of people’s hard-earned money. Many are even made with toxic chemicals, fillers, and some don’t even contain the amounts of vitamins that they claim to. Stores like Wal-Mart, Walgreens, and GMC have all been made to remove these products, along with many other stores as well. It’s left consumers not only questioning the entire supplement industry, but if vitamins are actually just a waste of money to begin with?

Why Multivitamins are Important and How to Choose the Best

First, let’s take a look at three reasons we actually do benefit from quality vitamins and minerals, and why it’s not smart to skip them.

1. Our soil is not as healthy as it once was, therefore the food we eat is likely not as high in vitamins and minerals as much as we need in order to get the recommended daily amounts of nutrients. While eating organic is a great start, it’s not a full-on solution.

MyAchingKnees comment: Agree! We are not producing nutrient rich foods anymore and with the introduction of GMO products that gets worse. We simply cannot get the nutrients we need from food. Add the fact that we live in a toxin laden environment, the need for nutrients is greater. Supplementation is necessary for optimal health.

2. Planning out meals to get enough of the RDA of each vitamin and mineral is not only timely, but can also be exasperating having to measure out foods and get enough of each of them, while also maintaining a work schedule, family, and let’s be honest … food cravings and prep time! Taking a multivitamin and eating a healthy diet is just a no- brainer for most of us and a simple way to ensure we get what we need. While just taking a multi doesn’t make up for a poor diet (nothing will), it does help those eating a healthy diet be their healthiest selves without much hassle otherwise.

3. Shortages in certain vitamins and minerals should never be minimized. They can lead to digestive, energy, heart, mood, weight, and blood problems in a very short amount of time. While some nutrients like vitamins A, C, and E are very easy to obtain in the diet, some others aren’t. Minerals like magnesium and calcium are quickly depleted by the body. If iron isn’t consumed with enough vitamin C, you could suffer an absorption problem, and vitamin B12 and vitamin D can not be obtained in our food naturally in sufficient amounts. (Vitamin B12 comes from bacteria in the soil and vitamin D from the sun.) Fortified foods may help, but they’re also not a guarantee anymore than most highly processed, synthetic vitamins. In fact, they may be more harmful due to sugars, refined oils, and other processed ingredients they contain.

So, if we need a multivitamin (and a vitamin B12 and vitamin D3 supplement), how do we know if we’re getting a good one and not some phony that’s stealing our money?

MyAchingKnees comment: Your proof is going to be self evident. Certainly after a couple months you will be able to tell the difference if you are taking a quality product. Maybe your allegeries will be less. Maybe you'll have more energy, get sick less or as in my case, not sick at all in 10 years. Blood tests can confirm if you are getting quality nutrients. In my blood tests, my cholesterol lowered significantly as did my A1C, PSA, LDL level, and homecysteine. My blood pressure also dropped from a norm of 138/94 to 120/84. I cannot attribute this to anything other than taken quality supplements. Again, the effects or proof will be self evident or they won't be. Knee pain significantly deceased - almost non existent in fact, so I am convinced that quality is the key to nutritional supplements.

Here are three simple things to keep in mind next time you purchase vitamins, minerals, and supplements of any kind. If you follow these, you can easily be sure your money is well-spent and health is in better hands than just winging it or buying cheap products.

1. Look for a Food-Based, Organic Multivitamin

These may sound pricey, but there are many, many affordable brands that are multivitamins and supplements made from real, organic foods. Most are vegan, but you’ll want to check labels. This gives us a synthetic-free form of getting in our multivitamin that’s free of chemicals and is closer to a natural state. Most of these are also much more effective and most are allergen-free and non-GMO, though you’ll want to check labels to be sure.

2. Be Vitamin D and B12 Savvy

B12 is one of the most important vitamins for brain, nerve, digestive, blood, and overall heart health — you have to be sure to take this for good health. But you don’t have to opt for a chemical-based or hard-to-absorb form. Go for a vegan option so you know it’s free of animal ingredients and choose a sublingual form which dissolves under the tongue and immediately enters your bloodstream (don’t worry, they don’t taste bad!). Or, you can use a liquid form which will also go immediately into the bloodstream like sublingual supplements do. Multivitamins typically contain less than what you need, or they don’t contain an easy to absorb form.

Vitamin D should be consumed in the form of vegan vitamin D3 by a supplement, not D2 (synthetic-based) which is what most fortified foods are made from, sadly. Research based on the benefits and importance of vitamin D comes from D3, so be sure you spend your money on the right type. Vitamin D does come from the sun, however, most of us don’t get enough or may suffer absorption issues that are hard for us to measure how much we’re actually getting. Look for a vegan vitamin D3 supplement with 400- 5000 I.U. depending on how much you need (women in menopause, those who suffer bone health problems, depression or low energy, or those at a risk for colon cancer may need more).

3. Look for GMP Certified

GMP stands for Good Manufacturing Practice. It’s the certification that top quality supplements receive and ensures they have been thoroughly tested. If you’re purchasing your vitamins from a natural health store, are buying food-based and organic, you are likely already purchasing GMP certified. But check the label just to be sure—it never hurts.

MyAchingKnees comment: GMP is not the certification for top quality supplements. There are two types of GMP - Food Grade and Pharmaceutical Grade. If a product say's GMP without stating Pharamceutical grade GMP then it is food grade GMP and cannot guarantee it is free of impurities and the ingredients were tested for potency. With Pharmaceutical Grade GMP you get what's on the label, with Food Grade GMP it's a crap shoot.  Bottom line is that you get what you pay for.

You needn’t spend a ton of money on supplements; there are many terrific, vegan brands out there that come with a price range for everyone, so pick the ones that work best for you. Don’t be afraid to supplement a healthy diet; in today’s world with all the health problems and struggles we face, it’s a smart choice so long as you’re smart about doing it.

Article from One Green Planet

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Primer on GMO's

GMO controversy explained by Kaye Foley. For the record, I support legislation that requires food manufacturers to label GMO foods as GMO foods. I want to stay away from these. You should too.

GMOs — or genetically modified organisms — were in the spotlight again this past week following controversy at “The Dr. Oz Show” over, among other things, the television host and doctor’s stance on GMOs. It sparked a media firestorm and had people picking sides.

But why all the hoopla over what we harvest?

GMOs are organisms that have had their DNA modified through genetic engineering. This is often done by taking a gene from one organism and putting it into another one to alter it in a desirable way. For example, when genetic engineers want to create a corn crop that is resistant to pests, they seek out the trait in Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) soil bacteria that naturally acts as a pesticide. From there, engineers isolate the gene responsible for that trait and directly insert it into the corn’s DNA. This corn is then bred with other corn until it’s ready to be produced for consumption.

Scientists adopted this process for altering food for a variety of reasons, but most commonly to create crops, like the corn, that can naturally keep pests away, as well as crops that are resistant to herbicides and can tolerate various climates for more sustainable agriculture. And this manipulation has proven to be a very divisive issue.

On one side a majority of the scientific community argues that genetically modified, or GM, food is safe and even beneficial. According to a recent Pew Research Center poll, 88 percent of scientists from the American Association for the Advancement of Science believe eating GMOs is “generally safe.” For thousands of years, humans have been changing and improving crops through selective breeding. That process alters genes as well. But genetically modifying in a laboratory is a faster, more direct method.

On the other side of the debate are advocacy groups and concerned citizens worried about potential risks of food manipulation. The same Pew Research poll shows that 57 percent of U.S. adults think eating GMOs is “generally unsafe.” Opponents have raised concerns over health safety, like the possibility of an increase in allergies or worse, unforeseen impacts down the road.

Many also have environmental concerns. They worry that the plants that are made resistant to herbicides — meaning the crop won’t be damaged when sprayed with weed-killer — will lead to the development of “superweeds.” And then, farmers will need to use more and more chemical herbicides.

A minority of the scientific community still believes that more research on the safety of GMOs should be done. Over a thousand studies have concluded that GM food is safe, but critics point out that the companies that make genetically modified products have funded many of those studies. A significant number have been conducted through independent research as well, though.

A handful of commercial crops are genetically modified, including corn, soybeans, cotton, sugar beets and canola. Right now, over 90 percent of the corn and soy grown in the United States has been genetically modified. Most of that goes into animal feed, ethanol, and processed products, such as corn oil.

Consumer pressure to know what is in our food has led to a debate over whether or not food with GMOs should be labeled. Opponents argue that labels would unfairly stigmatize GMOs. In the U.S. more than half of the states have brought forward labeling legislation, but only three states have passed it. And for two of those — Maine and Connecticut — the law won’t go into effect unless legislation passes in surrounding states. Vermont also passed GMO labeling legislation and plans to start in July 2016, although the law has already faced legal challenges by opponents.

Still, a handful of brands have taken it upon themselves to proactively respond to concerns over GMOs in their products. Whole Foods has said that by 2018 all products containing GMOs will be labeled. Cheerios has removed GMO ingredients from its original cereal. And Chipotle announced this week that no GMOs will be used in its food. One caveat is that Chipotle will continue to sell drinks containing GMO ingredients, like corn syrup, most of which comes from GM crops.

So, while this food fight rages on, whether you think that GMOs are spoiling our fruits and veggies or a fresh approach to produce, at least after watching this video you can say, “Now I get it.” Video by Earth Open

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Monday, May 11, 2015

FDA Issues Warning On Weight Loss Supplements

FDA Issues Warning On Weight Loss Supplements Containing Dangerous 'Super Caffeine’ - An article from Yahoo! Health by Meagan Morris, published April 24, 2015.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning to manufacturers of eight dietary supplements containing the amphetamine-like substance BMPEA (labeled as Acacia rigidula), saying that it can pose serious health risks to those who take it.

The companies who received the letter were:

•  Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Products: Fastin-XR - extended release), Fastin-RR (rapid release), Lipodrene (Ephedra Free)
•  Tribravus Enterprises, LLC d/b/a iForce Nutrition (Products: Conquer (Fruit Punch Slam & Raspberry Lemonade flavors)
•  Train Naked Labs LLC (Products: Critical FX, Sudden Impact)
•  Better Body Sports, LLC (Product: Phoenix Extreme)
•  Human Evolution Supplements, Inc. (Product: Core Burner)

The warning comes just weeks after Pieter Cohen, MD, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, published a study criticizing the FDA for not warning the public about BMPEA, after the agency discovered the chemical during a 2013 study that found the ingredient in 21 supplements, but didn’t issue a warning about it. Cohen said that was irresponsible.

“Physicians should remain vigilant for patients presenting with toxicity from sports and weight-loss supplements as they might contain undisclosed stimulants, such as BMPEA,“ Cohen and researchers wrote in the study, which was published in the journal Drug Testing and Analysis.

The reason for concern? "At the very least you can think of BMPEA as super caffeine,” Allison Dehring-Anderson, Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy tells Yahoo Health, “but that’s really underestimating the danger it poses.”

Amphetamines like BMPEA can increase your heart rate and blood pressure, putting you at risk for significant heart damage, especially if you already have heart problems, says Dehring-Anderson. “It can change the way your heart monitors its own beating by overriding the safety mechanisms our bodies have in place to manage it,” she says.

In addition, amphetamine-like substances cause disruptions in sleep and jitters, along with keeping you from focusing on important tasks.

“It can turn you into a person that gets into dangerous positions,” adds Dehring- Anderson. “Your ability to be a positive and civil person will be blunted with amphetamine-like substances. Basically, you’ll be a nasty person waiting to have a heart attack.”

This ingredient is especially dangerous if you’re pregnant or trying to become pregnant, even to the point of causing a miscarriage or significant organ and brain damage in the unborn fetus. “When mom has an uncontrolled heart rate and blood pressure the baby actually gets less blood, not more,” Dehring-Anderson tells Yahoo Health. “The baby is relying 100 percent on mom making good decisions.”

The good news: Major specialty retailers like Vitacost and Vitamin Shoppe have pulled supplements containing Acacia rigidula from their shelves. That’s a step in the right direction, but Dehring-Anderson believes retailers that mislead the public by selling dubious supplements put the whole medical field at risk.

“When [retailers] intentionally mislead the public by adding a dangerous stimulant and hiding it under the name of some obscure plant, it makes people wonder who else is lying to them about their health,” she says.

BMPEA is also known as:

• ╬▓MePEA
• R-beta-methylphenethylamine
• R-beta-methylphenethylamine HCl
• Beta-methylphenethylamine
• ╬▓-methylphenylethylamine
• 1-amino-2-phenylpropane
• 2-phenylpropan-1-amine
• 2-phenylpropylamine
• alpha-benzylethylamine
• 1-phenyl-1-methyl-2-aminoethane
• beta-methylbenzeneethanamine
• beta-phenylpropylamine
• 2- phenyl-1-propanamine

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Sunday, May 3, 2015

Acetaminophen Blunts Both Positive And Negative Emotions

MyAchingKnees comment: I have never been much of an acetaminophen user. I have abused Ibuprofen and Aspirin, but very little Tylenol. This article just goes to show the consumer that they must exert individual responsibility for all medications, OTC or prescription or anything, that they take. This article is on a possible side effects of Acetaminophen, by Amy Capetta posted on Yahoo! Health.

An over-the-counter med for everyday aches and pains may be taking away more than just your physical discomfort.

Researchers from The Ohio State University studied the possible side effects from acetaminophen — the most common active ingredient in pain relievers and the main ingredient in Tylenol — and discovered that it can blunt emotions and even reduce the degree of positive and negative feelings.

Approximately 52 million Americans — nearly one-quarter of adults — use a med that contains acetaminophen each week. While this drug has been an approved form of medication for over 70 years in the United States and is found in over 600 medicines, this is the first news of this mind-based side effect, which has been published in the journal Psychological Science.

Study experts gathered 82 college students and split the group down the middle — half were given a dose of acetaminophen while the others were handed a placebo. One hour later — once the drugs took effect — all of the participants were asked to look at 40 images that ranged from extremely unpleasant (crying, malnourished children) to the neutral (a cow in a field) to the very pleasant (young children playing with cats). These “special” photos are used by researchers around the globe in order to evoke emotional responses from their subjects.

The students were first asked to rate how positive or negative the images were using a scale of -5 (extremely negative) to +5 (extremely positive). They were then asked to look at the same pictures again and rate the level of emotion each photo induced, from 0 (little or no emotion) to 10 (extreme amount of emotion).

The participants who were given acetaminophen had a less extreme reaction to all of the photos, compared to those who took the placebo. The positive images were not viewed as positively and the negative photos weren’t seen as negative. Their emotional reactions resulted in the same fashion — they didn’t feel strongly about any of photos, reporting an average level of emotion of 5.85 when they looked at the extreme images.

The same results were found again after researchers conducted a second similar study using another group of 85 adults.

“Rather than just being a pain reliever, acetaminophen can be seen as an all-purpose emotion reliever,” stated Geoffrey Durso, lead study author.

This discovery supports a more recent theory, which states that certain biochemical factors may be responsible for the levels of highs and lows we may experience during both positive and negative occurrences (i.e. getting married or getting a divorce). “There is accumulating evidence that some people are more sensitive to big life events of all kinds, rather than just vulnerable to bad events,” Durso said.

So when you’re having one of “those” days when your emotions have gotten the best of you, will taking two Tylenol relieve your headache and muscle tension, along with taking the edge off?

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