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Study: Taking protein supplements before going to the gym can leadto improved post-workout burn Darrell Miller 5/3/19
BREAKTHROUGH: Vitamin D supplements taken during pregnancy found toprevent autism in children Darrell Miller 3/4/19
Did our grandparents have it right when it concerns weight loss? Darrell Miller 7/20/17
Low-Carb Diet May Aid Your Metabolism Darrell Miller 12/14/16
When to Take Your Vitamins: Timing is Key to Effectiveness Darrell Miller 11/9/16
Slimaluma Plus – Appetite Control Darrell Miller 8/29/06
What are you really Getting? Darrell Miller 8/21/06
Good Hydration Darrell Miller 6/14/05
Recognizing the Signs: Roadmap to a Healthy Heart Darrell Miller 6/13/05
Don't Be Blue - Does winter got you singing the blues? Darrell Miller 6/13/05
Summer Sports Nutrition Guide Darrell Miller 6/11/05



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Study: Taking protein supplements before going to the gym can leadto improved post-workout burn
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Date: May 03, 2019 04:08 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (support@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Study: Taking protein supplements before going to the gym can leadto improved post-workout burn





Recent research published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition indicates that taking your protein supplement before working out can help increase your body’s fat oxidation. In a study of 11 college-aged males who took either whey or casein protein supplements prior to moderate exercise, it was found that both post-exercise fat oxidation and post-exercise energy consumption improved. Casein has more of an impact in this study than whey. This strongly suggests you should take your protein supplement before exercising.

Key Takeaways:

  • It has been shown that the timing of when proteins are taken really matters as researchers have realized that taking protein supplements before workout improves post-workout burn.
  • 11 healthy, recreationally active college males were recruited for the study and they did not take any caffeine 30 days before the study.
  • The proteins that the participants took were 25 g of whey protein isolate, 35 g of casein protein, and 25 g of food additive maltodextrin.

"Published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, the study looked at the effect of taking protein supplements before exercise on fat oxidation and energy expenditure during and after a bout of moderate-intensity exercise. Previous research has shown that pre-exercise protein consumption may promote fat oxidation, at the same time, minimize protein degradation during exercise."

Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-03-26-protein-supplements-before-gym-improve-post-workout-burn.html

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BREAKTHROUGH: Vitamin D supplements taken during pregnancy found toprevent autism in children
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Date: March 04, 2019 02:26 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (support@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: BREAKTHROUGH: Vitamin D supplements taken during pregnancy found toprevent autism in children





Autism is a condition that affects thousands of children across the world. It is believed that autism begins during pregnancy. New research suggests that using Vitamin D supplements during pregnancy is a good way to prevent this devastating condition from occurring. It is exciting news for parents who are trying to conceive who want to ensure their baby has a great start from the very beginning. Learn how much Vitamin D to take and the best supplements to begin!

Key Takeaways:

  • In a study which used the popular model of autism in mice, it was found that pregnant mice given Vitamin D during pregnancy bear offspring without autism.
  • What remains to be done is to determine the ideal dose and the timing of Vitamin D supplementation for pregnant women.
  • Earlier studies have shown a relationship between autism and vitamin D supplementation as the result of a study in china showed Vitamin D helped a child with autism.

"Taking vitamin D supplements during pregnancy can prevent the onset of autism spectrum disorder in children, a recent animal study showed."

Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-01-19-vitamin-d-supplements-taken-during-pregnancy-prevent-autism-in-children.html

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Did our grandparents have it right when it concerns weight loss?
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Date: July 20, 2017 04:14 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (support@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Did our grandparents have it right when it concerns weight loss?





There are always new fads where weight loss is concerned. Everyone wants to find new things to try. They want things to be more modern. Maybe this is not the right outlook, though. Maybe they should look at what their grandparents did because things seemed to be easier then, though there were fads back then too. The fads weren't as easy to find, though. Sometimes looking at previous generations can help us solve health and other problems.

Key Takeaways:

  • How much, how frequently and portions of food can help in how you lose weight.
  • The old theories on how to lose weight no longer work, here is the new technique.
  • Here are a few tips on how to lose weight when it comes to food consumption.

"Research also shows timing and frequency of meals effected weight loss. One big meal and two smaller meals with no snacking works the best."

Read more: http://www.wwl.com/media/audio-channel/did-our-grandparents-have-it-right-when-it-concerns-weight-loss

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Low-Carb Diet May Aid Your Metabolism
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Date: December 14, 2016 10:59 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (support@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Low-Carb Diet May Aid Your Metabolism





Feeling a little sluggish? Think you could lose a few pounds? Well low carb may be just for you. New research shows that low card is supposed to upstart metabolism making it even easier to lose weight. This is on top of the benefit that low carb provides. Start today.

Key Takeaways:

  • Research suggests that eating low-carbohydrate meals may lead to healthy changes in a woman's metabolism.
  • The researchers also found that the timing of exercise may play a role in how beneficial it is for your metabolism.
  • Small changes can make a difference, such as watching the kinds of foods you eat and not exercising at an inappropriate time.

"Insulin is a hormone that helps the body use carbohydrates from food to fuel the cells in the body and brain."



Reference:

//www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=200089

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When to Take Your Vitamins: Timing is Key to Effectiveness
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Date: November 09, 2016 06:54 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (support@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: When to Take Your Vitamins: Timing is Key to Effectiveness





The ideal method of getting necessary vitamins and minerals is through natural foods and juices. In most cases the modern diet does not provide all of the key nutrients needed for healthy living, so many people turn to vitamins and supplements. The effectiveness of these additions are often dependent on when they are taken and whether they are taken with or without food.

Key Takeaways:

  • “The best way to get all your nutrients is from food,” notes Dr. Ellen Kamhi, a medical school instructor and author of "The Natural Medicine Chest."
  • “But of course there is a large amount of scientific evidence that supports the use of supplements. There are many instances when your diet isn’t sufficient to provide all the necessary nutrients because of toxic growing conditions, the chemicals used in GMO crops, or simply poor eating habits.
  • “The calcium will most likely be absorbed but will block the absorption of magnesium,” she tells Newsmax Health. “And if you take iron supplements, avoid ferrous sulfate. Choose ferrous chelate or fumerate instead.”

"“The best way to get all your nutrients is from food,” notes Dr. Ellen Kamhi, a medical school instructor and author of "The Natural Medicine Chest." Read more: Timing When to Take Your Vitamins is Key to Effectiveness"



Reference:

https://www.google.com/url?rct=j&sa=t&url=//www.dolphnsix.com/news/1688189/when-take-your-vitamins-timing-effectiveness&ct=ga&cd=CAIyGjVkYjY3ZDViNDdiNGM3ZTc6Y29tOmVuOlVT&usg=AFQjCNEVX298afyiTIxGpvIeHGV_0TiLPA


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Slimaluma Plus – Appetite Control
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Date: August 29, 2006 01:22 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Slimaluma Plus – Appetite Control

Slimaluma Plus – Appetite Control with Green Tea and Yerba Mate

 

Now Vitamins Slimaluma plus contains a proprietary standardized extract of Caralluma fimbriata—a succulent, edible cactus that grows native throughout India. It has been used for thousands of years, and most recently has become the subject of great interest based on its role in supporting and establishing more healthy eating patterns. Controlled clinical trials have showcased the extract’s ability to inhibit hunger sensory messages between the stomach and brain, while improving the rate at which the body synthesizes fat. By addressing these factors associated with unhealthy body weight, Now Vitamins Slimaluma Plus offers two-tiered support for anyone trying to rediscover a firm, fit physique.

 

Here’s how it works. As the stomach fills, it sends a signal to the brain’s hypothalamus region, letting it know that it is time to stop eating. Slimaluma is rich in naturally occurring compounds known as pregnane glycosides that interfere with the timing of this signal. This, in the eyes of researchers, is what causes users to experience feelings of fullness, even if they have not eaten. Slimaluma has also been shown to inhibit the formation of two enzymes involved in fat synthesis, allowing the body to convert more fat into energy, while sparing vital muscle proteins.

 

Now Vitamins Slimaluma Plus is a non-thermogenic, stimulant-free dietary supplement that is idea for individuals working to achieve a healthy body weight by establishing better eating habits.

 

  • Clinically shown to help support healthy weight management
  • Contains proprietary standardized extracts from Caralluma fimbriata
  • Manufactured without any chemical alterations to the herb’s key constituents
  • Has been consumed without adverse side effects for thousands of years*

 

Slimaluma is a trademark of Bencor Pacific, Inc.

 

 

* these statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

 

 



--
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What are you really Getting?
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Date: August 21, 2006 05:20 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: What are you really Getting?

 

Supplement labels can be confusing!

 

The list of ingredients on some supplement labels can tax the mind of even a Ph.D. in nutrition!  What’s worse, although labeling laws exist to counter misleading and non-uniform labeling, confusing and deceptive labeling, confusing and deceptive labeling practices continue to abound.  Here’s some help to aid you in making better sense of supplement labels.

 

1.Begin at the Bottom

 

The supplement facts panel on the label of every nutitional supplement sold in the U.S. tells you about active ingredients in a product. Before analyzing this information, look beneath the panel, where the OTHER INGREDIENTS are listed.  Here, at a glance you can begin to spot a questionable product.  Synthetic colors, flavors, preservatives, or the absence of certain information, are early warning signals. 

 

Poor Label

 

 

Good Label

1.other ingredients: Cellulose, stearic acid, sucrose, sodium, silicoaluminate, talc, titanium dioxide, mineral oil, FD&C red #40, FD&C yellow, aluminum lake, polysorbate 80.

  1. other ingredients: Cellulose(capsule), vegetable magnesium state, silica.
  2. this product contains no gluten, wheat, yeast, eggs or dairy, no synthetic colors or flavors , and no toxic levels of lead or other heavy metals.
  3. Lot# 123456

Expires: 01/08 or use by: 01/08

 

 

  1. Other Ingredients: supplements can be natural only by degree, since their manufacture often requires the use of binders, flowing agents and other items.  Such materials may come from natural and artificial sources. They must be listed in descending order by quantity.
  2. Contains No / May Contain:  Sometimes, supplements are derived from sources that could cause reactions in allergic individuals (eg. Soy, shellfish).  Better labels tell you which allergens are absent, as well as those which may be present.
  3. Expiration date & lot Number: shelf life varies fro different supplements, but most will diminish in potency and quality over time.  Better labels provide a USE BYE or EXPIRATION date.  They also note a LOT NUMBER for identifying product origin (for tracking any product related problems).

 

2.Directions, Dose & Value

 

Poor Label

 

Good Label

 

DIRECTIONS: Take 6 tablents daily, two with each meal.

 

Directions: Though not required on labels, directions tell how and when to take supplements.  This is important because timing your doses can affect absorption. In general:

 

·        Vitamins are best absorbed when taken with food, and in divided doses throughout the day.

·        Fat-soluble vitamins (A,D,E,K) require dietary fat for absorption, so are best taken with meals.

·        Many minerals can be absorbed effectively at any time.

·        Most herbs, probiotics, amino acids & proteolytic enzymes (not digestive enzymes, which should be taken with meals) are best taken on an empty stomach.

 

Poor Label

Good Label

Supplement facts

    1. serving size 3 tablets
    2. servings per container 20
    3. % DV (Daily Value)

Supplement facts

1. Serving Size 2 Tablets

2. Servings per container 30

3. % DV (Daily Value)

 

1. Serving size: SERVING SIZE is required on labels. It recommends the number of tablets, capsules, spoonfuls, ect. Taken at one time.  Be ware that a serving is not necessarily the total recommended daily amount.

 

2.      Cost-Effectiveness: To determine, first find the SERVING SIZE.  Then read the directions to see how much servings are suggested daily.  Finally, divide the number of servings needed into the number of SERVINGS PER CONTAINER.

 

Example: Assuming the two bottles above have the same ingredients and cost. The product on right offers more servings, and is a better buy. Product on left just has less nutritive ingredients, or more filler, in each pill.

 

3.      % DV (Daily Value): The daily value of a nutrient represents the amount expected to meet the daily needs of an “average” healthy person.  On labels, % DV indicates provided by one serving.  DVs have not been established for herbs, essential fatty acids and other nutrients.

 

Note: Many experts in nutrition think that suggested DV levels for some nutrients are far too low to optimize health.  This is why certain ingredients may be present at greater than 100% DV levels.

 

3.Games Labels Play

 

There is no free lunch in the world of supplements.  A bottle that costs less probably contains less – either fewer nutrients, or less effective forms of nutrients.  Educate yourself; compare ingredient amounts, forms and sources, and watch out for labeling tricks such as these.

 

“Padding” the label

 

padding” the label is a common way for supplement marketers to make their ingredients list look more complete and beneficial than it really is.  Padding methods include:

 

Poor Label  amount per serv.

Good Label  amount per serv.

1.CoQ10……….1000mcg

2.Oat Bran………20mg

   Oat fiber……….1mg

3. Oat flavonoids…25mcg

1. CoQ10………….50mg

 

  1. Pixie Dust:  Adding useful ingredients in therapeutically useless amounts. Some brands use tiny amounts of nutrients just to get the ingredient on the label.  Learn how much nutrient is required, and be watchful of inappropriate measurement sizes. (See Weights & Measures below.)

 

Example: CoQ10 useful range is 30mg to 400mg (milligrams.)  product on left provides 1000mcg  (microgram) of CoQ10, the equivalent of just one mg!  product on right provides a beneficial 50mg.

 

  1. Sounds Good:  Adding impressive but irrelevant ingredients, often in useless amounts, that are of no benefit to the formula.

Example: Whole grains such as oats are part of a heart healthy diet, but the product on left provides less than a pinch 20mg of oat bran.  Product on right includes no irrelevant ingredients in useless amounts.

 

  1. Expanding Assets:  Separately listing the parts of a single ingredient to give the illusion of additional ingredients. 

Example: Fiber and flavonoids are part of oats, not more ingredients.

 

The “Name’s the Same” Game

 

A common trick is to provide unproven, weak or useless forms of familiar, good ingredients.  Buyer beware!

 

Poor Label  .

Good Label   .

Pygeum Bark Powder

Pygeum Africanum…..100mg

Pygeum Bark Extract

Pygeum Africanum (Standardized to 13% total sterols……….100mg

 

Example: Studies suggest that Pygeum bark standardized extract helps support prostate health.  Product on left uses unresearched powdered bark.

 

 

Proprietary Blend = “It’s a Secret”

 

Some companies may hide the quantity and quality of their ingredients by calling their formula  a “Proprietary Blend.”  This term may allow manufacturers to use a lot of nutrient from a cheap source and very little from a good source without disclosing how much of each you are actually getting. 

 

This deceptive practice is legal—as long as the secret blend:

·        Is labeled “Proprietary Blend” (or fanciful trademark name)

·        Lists individual nutrients in descending order by weight

·        Lists the total weight per serving

 

When you see the word “Proprietary,” ask: “how relevant is the first or second ingredient?”  Sometimes, the most abundant ingredients are either fillers, or inexpensive, less effective forms.

 

Poor Label              amount per serv.

 

Good Label             amount per serv.

Special Proprietary Women’s Blend

Alfalfa herb, Black Cohosh root, Chaste Tree berry, Dong Quai root, Licorice root………….350mg

Black Cohosh root

Cimicifuga Racemonsa (2.5% total triterpene glycosides)…….125mg

Chast Tree berry

Vitex agnus-castus (0.5% agnusides)………………..100mg

Dong Quai root

Angelica sinensis (5:1 extract)..75mg

Licorice root

Glycyrrhiza glabra……………50mg

Example: Legally, product on left could contain 99% alfalfa filler and only 1% of all the other herbs together! The Good Label tells all.

 

Hiding Outside the Box

 

Another clever way to hide the quality of ingredients is by listing them outside the Supplement Facts box, in the Other Ingredients section located beneath the box.  This section is usually intended for listing agents used in the tableting or encapsulation process.

 

 

Poor Label

 

Good Label

Other Ingredients: Cellulose, stearic acid, spirulina, lycopene, grape seeds.

Other Ingredients: Cellulose, vegetable magnesium stearate.

Example: Agents used in supplement manufacture (i.e. cellulose and stearates) should be listed under Other Ingredients.  Product on left also uses this section to list catchy sounding spirulina, lycopene, and grape seeds.  With no amounts listed, assume these ingredients are present in low levels that provide little value.  A supplement maker who is proud of a product’s nutritive ingredients will fully disclose amounts within the Supplement Facts box not list these ingredients along with manufacturing agents in the Other Ingredient section.

 

4.Understanding Herbs

 

 

Herb Forms: Powders, Tinctures, Extracts

 

The form, preparation and concentration of an herb affects its potency and influences the herb’s potential for therapeutic effectiveness.  the potency of all herb forms except standardized extracts are uncertain and depends on factors invisible to the consumer (i.e. soil quality, rainfall, seasonal climate, harvesting methods, storage methods and age).

 

            Know Your Plant Parts: Medicinal plants often have specific parts that are most effective therapeutically, such as the root for goldenseal, the leaf for raspberry, and the blossom for clover.  Products using irrelevant plant parts may cost less, but offer little or no benefit!

 

Powdered Herb

 

Often encapsulated or used as tea, powdered herbs are more likely than other forms to lose potency when exposed to air.  Fresh, high quality powdered herb may add therapeutic or nutritional value to a supplement.  Low quality powders may provide little benefit.  Look for expiration or “use by” dates.

 

Poor Label

 

Good Label

Saw Palmetto………..320mg

Saw Palmetto berry

Serenoa repens……320mg

Example: If the label doesn’t say otherwise, assume the form of herb is powdered.  Better labels specify plant part and latin name (genus and species).  Sometimes a less effective species of a plant is used to save money.  Check to see if other related species may be equally effective.

 

Tinctures and Fluid Extracts

 

Tinctures contain the soluble parts of dried or fresh herbs, often extracted in a mixture of alcohol and water, vinegar or glycerin.  Tinctures are usually dispensed by drops. This form is more stable and thus has longer shelf life than powdered herb.

 

Poor Label

 

Good Label

Saw Palmetto berry

Tincture…………..320mg

Saw Palmetto berry

Serenoa repens 1:5 tincture, 40% alcohol………………..320mg

Example: Better labels specify tincture strength as a ratio.  Regular tinctures are made using 1 or 2 parts herb to 10 parts solvent, yielding strength ratio of 1:10 or 1:5.  higher potency tinctures (also known as fluid extracts) use more herb in less solvent, yielding stronger 1:3, 1:2, or even high strength 1:1 ratios.

 

Concentrated and standardized extracts

 

Concentrated or standardized extracts (solid, powdered, liquid) are generally prepared from evaporated herbal tinctures or teas.

 

Poor Label

 

Good Label

  1. Saw Palmetto Berry Extract..……..320mg
  2. Saw Palmetto berry standardized extract………..320mg
  1. Saw Palmetto berry

Serenoa repens extract 5:1…………320mg

  1. Saw Palmetto berry

Serenoa repens (standardized to 85%-95% fatty acids and sterals)………320mg

 

  1. Concentrated extracts commonly use 4 to 8 parts of plant matter to make 1 part extract (4:1 to 8:1).  Some may use up to 200 pounds of herb to make 1 pound of finished product (200:1)!

Example: A better label tells you the concentration strength by noting the ratio of herb to extract.  This is often appears after the plant name.

 

  1. Standardized Extracts are lab-analyzed to provide a verified amount of one or more nutritive ingredients.  In many cases, proportional amounts of other constituents are also present, retaining the natural “fingerprint” of the whole herb.  Standardized extracts are the most consistent, and often the most potent, form of an herb.  They are used in the majority of studies demonstrating therapeutic effectiveness.

Example: Standardized extracts provide a set percentage of an herb’s researched nutritive ingredient.  Useless this percentage is noted on the label, the term “Standardized” is meaningless.

 

5.Beware of False Claims

 

Is it science of is it marketing?  To avoid being misled, question all claims on supplement labels as well as in advertisements.  Although government guidelines restrict the types of claims that manufacturers can legally use to promote their products, not all companies comply.  Many promises mount to little more than marketing hype.

 

Use common sense to decide if a claim seems realistic.  Be aware of emotionally charged, misleading language in advertising.

 

When doubt, contact the company and request information to support a claim.  Unbiased research and human studies are most relevant.  If the science seems legitimate, verify that the form and dose used in product match form and dose showing benefit in studies.

 

Weights & Measures

1 kilogram (kg) = 1000grams (g)

1 gram (gm) = 1000 milligrams (mg)

1 milligram (mg) = 1000 micrograms (mcg)

1 liter = 1000 milliliters (ml)

946 milliliters (ml) = 1 quart

30 ml = 1 fluid once

1 teaspoon, medical = 5 milliliters (ml)

1 tablespoon = 15ml = ½ fluid ounce

28.35 grams (gm) = 1ounce

1 kilogram = 2.2 pounds

Vitamin E

Measured in mg alpha-tocopherol equivalents 1 mg alpha tocopherol = 1.49 IU

Beta Carotene 1mg = 1667 IU

Vitamin A

1 RE (retinol equivalent) = 5 IU

1 RE = 6mcg of beta carotene

1 RE = 1mcg of retinol

Vitamin D

Measured in mcg cholecalciferol

1 mcg cholecalciferol = 40 IU

 

 

 



--
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Good Hydration
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Date: June 14, 2005 11:44 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Good Hydration

Good Hydration by Lisa James Energy Times, June 17, 2004

Ah summertime, and the living is lovely: ocean fragrances wafting on a summer wind, the summer sun warming the body and relaxing the mind.

But all that sun and wind can dry your summer skin, making it uncomfortable and parched-looking. Moisture counteracts the discomforts that summer elements can bring, allowing your fresh, dewy look to shine through. Knowing how to hydrate your skin is the key.

Skin Structure

Skin consists of three layers, each with a different function:

  • • The deepest layer, the subcutaneous tissue, contains the fat cells that help hold in body heat and protect the vital organs, and that serve as an energy reserve.
  • • The middle layer, or dermis, is the thickest of the three layers. It is rich in nerve endings, blood vessels, sweat glands and hair follicles. The dermis also holds the oil glands that keep the skin properly lubricated and impervious to water. Two proteins, collagen and elastin, found in the dermis support the skin's top layer and provide shape, tone and flexibility.
  • • The topmost skin layer, the epidermis, protects the body against the outside world. It contains melanocytes, pigment-bearing cells that determine skin color and help guard against sun damage. The epidermis is also equipped with immune cells that guard the body against foreign substances. The epidermis is further divided into five separate sublayers. Cells are formed at the basal cell layer on the bottom; they then push their way upward until they reach the surface, called the stratum corneum, in a process that takes roughly 28 days. As the skin cells mature, they produce a tough protein called keratin, which also forms the structure of hair and nails.

    Natural Moisturizers

    Do you have dry skin? How well your skin holds moisture depends on the arrangement of cells within the stratum corneum. Fat contained in this layer, as well as natural moisturizing factor (made by the epidermis), also keeps skin moist. Unfortunately, as you age, the amount of natural moisturizing factor produced by your skin decreases.

    Skin Care 101

    Obviously, anything that affects the all-important epidermis can dry out your skin-sun and wind both rob skin of moisture. For starters, just say no to tobacco. Smoking tightens the skin's abundant blood vessels; this reduces the flow of oxygen and nutrients, creating dryness. Smoking also breaks down elastin, the protein that gives skin its flexibility. The next step is to add water from within. " It takes at least six to eight cups of pure water each day to keep the skin and body well hydrated," notes Jeanette Jacknin, MD, board-certified dermatologist and author of Smart Medicine for Your Skin (Avery/Penguin).

    Bathtime Tips

    At the same time, be careful about how you bathe your skin. Bathing or showering for too long, or using water that's too hot, can actually cause your skin to lose moisture for two reasons. First, prolonged bathing washes away the oils that help lock moisture in; second, it encourages your skin's own moisture to evaporate after you dry yourself off.

    Before you shower or bathe, Dr. Jacknin recommends using a dry, soft-bristled brush to increase skin circulation and gently remove dead cells. Brushing in small circles, gradually move up your legs and arms, always moving towards the heart. When you do get into the tub or shower, don't scrub your skin and don't use harsh cleaning agents. Instead, go for natural cleansers that feature such skin-friendly ingredients as glycerin.

    Feed Your Inner Skin

    As your body's largest organ, your skin depends on the nutrients in your diet. You have to feed your skin well if you expect it to stand up to wind and sun. " Eat fish, rolled oats and ground flaxseeds frequently," recommends Dr. Jacknin. "These foods are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which help the skin retain moisture." Include other healthy oils, such as safflower and olive oil, in your meals. Supplemental omega-3s, in the form of flaxseed or fish oils, can also help.

    Supplemental Skin

    Various vitamins help make your skin happy and healthy. Skin growth and repair requires vitamin A, while natural vitamin E provides antioxidant protection and vitamin C promotes creation of collagen, which provides skin with its structure.

    The B vitamins are essential to keeping dryness at bay; without them, the skin can crack, peel and redden. Choline, a member of the B family that helps with fat transportation within the body, is available as lecithin. Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is another skin-friendly nutrient. MSM provides sulfur, which the body needs to create healthy skin proteins. It also fights inflammation and encourages better blood flow.

    Slake Your Skin's Thirst

    A good moisturizer can help arid skin return to soft freshness. To get the most out of moisturizers, use them consistently, and start at a young age. " [M]ost people start to benefit from [moisturizers] in their twenties [when] their skin begins to dry with age," state Charles Inlander and Janet Worsley Norwood in Skin: Head-to-Toe Tips for Health and Beauty (Walker and Company). "Moisturizers boost skin health by preventing water loss from the skin."

    The same antioxidant nutrients, such as vitamin C and natural vitamin E, you feed your skin from within also abound in natural moisturizers, as do an impressive variety of herbal essences and essential oils. Aloe vera, used to treat burns for centuries, helps ease inflammation, as does chamomile. Fresh-smelling lavender oil helps soothe insect bites and minor wounds. Jasmine and peppermint offset excessive oil production.

    Moisturizers: Timing and Type

    The ideal time to moisturize is right after a bath or shower, since that's when evaporation promotes water loss; for best results, apply while your skin is still slightly damp. But bathtime isn't the only time to consider your skin's moisture needs. Carry some moisturizer with you so you can use it every time you wash your hands, especially if you're prone to cracked cuticles and split fingertips.

    Match your moisturizer to your skin type. If your skin tends to oiliness, use a water-based product; otherwise, an oil-based formulation -jojoba oil and shea butter are good choices-is fine. (Oily skin may first need a gentle astringent like lemon peel or cucumber to remove dirt and excess oil.)

    Also pay careful attention to the type of moisturizer you use. Lotions are easy to apply, but may not stay on your skin as readily as creams, which may be a better choice for your face, feet and hands. By all means, enjoy the summer sun. Just make sure your skin enjoys the summer, too, by staying hydrated and happy.



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    Recognizing the Signs: Roadmap to a Healthy Heart
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    Date: June 13, 2005 10:06 AM
    Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
    Subject: Recognizing the Signs: Roadmap to a Healthy Heart

    Recognizing the Signs: Roadmap to a Healthy Heart by Louis McKinley Energy Times, January 2, 2004

    From time immemorial, people have tuned into life's lessons that come from the heart. Sadly, times are changing: If you're like most inhabitants of today's harried world, you may be too distracted to detect important clues about your cardiovascular circumstances.

    And while heart lessons may be more complicated than simply connecting the physiological dots, understanding those heart messages are imperative for improving and maintaining your heart health.

    Every cell in your body relies on heart-powered blood flow to keep it supplied with nutrients, oxygen, hormones and other natural chemicals necessary for survival. Without that supply of life-giving substances, few cells in the body-including those within the heart itself-can survive very long.

    And just as damage to a major roadway can cause mayhem with traffic patterns, damage to blood vessels and the heart can wreak a lumpy cardiovascular havoc that blocks the passage of blood and endangers your heart's well-being.

    Your Heart Disease Chances

    Within the last ten years, scientific research performed by investigators around the world has focused on the specific factors that most strongly influence your chances of developing heart disease and suffering either a heart attack or a stroke.

    While much of your risk depends on your genetic inheritance and family history, several factors that determine your heart health are within your control.

    The most important factors you can do something about include:

    * Smoking: free radicals generated by burning tobacco causes significant damage to blood vessels and other cells

    * Lack of exercise: the human body is designed for consistent, moderate physical activity; without exercise, the body slacks off in creating antioxidant protection for arteries

    * Diabetes: when excess blood sugar persists, physiological processes begin that endanger the heart and arteries

    * Cholesterol: when oxidized (a chemical process that has been compared to a kind of internal rusting), cholesterol can form artery-blocking plaque; antioxidant nutrients like vitamin C and natural vitamin E may help the body limit this process

    * High blood pressure: excessive pressure within the blood vessels raises the risk of damage to the heart and arteries; a program of weight loss and exercise can help control blood pressure

    * Being overweight: the extra body fat carried around your middle is linked to a greater risk of heart problems

    Heart Attack Signs

    Do you think you know what a heart attack feels like? Well, if you think it feels like a dramatic pain somewhere in your chest that knocks you to the floor, you're probably wrong. "Most heart attacks do not look at all like what one of my colleagues calls the 'Hollywood' attack-the heart attack you see on television or in the movies," warns Julie Zerwic, MD, professor of surgical nursing who has studied what happens when people develop heart disease and suffer damage to their hearts.

    "The symptoms [of heart problems] are not necessarily dramatic. People don't fall down on the floor. They don't always experience a knife-like, very sharp pain. In fact, many people describe the sensation as heaviness and tightness in the chest rather than pain," she says. And, if you're a woman experiencing a heart attack, you may not even feel discomfort specifically in your chest. Instead you may experience a severe shortness of breath. The apparent ambiguity of the discomforts caused by a heart attack lead many people to either ignore them or take hours to realize they need to go to the emergency room at the hospital.

    Consequently, much fewer than half of all individuals undergoing a heart attack actually go to a hospital within an hour of the start of the attack. That delay can be a fatal mistake.

    "Timing is absolutely critical," laments Dr. Zerwic. "If treatment starts within a hour after the onset of symptoms, drugs that reestablish blood flow through the blocked coronary artery can reduce mortality by as much as 50%. That number drops to 23% if treatment begins three hours later. The goal is to introduce therapy within two hours."

    However, in Dr. Zerwic's research, only 35% of non-Hispanic whites go to the hospital within an hour of the start of a heart attack. And among African-Americans, the number of people going to the hospital right away drops to a frighteningly low 13%.

    Often, people will lie down or use a heating pad to relieve the tightness they feel in the chest," says Dr. Zerwic. "They may take some medicine and wait to see if that works. All these steps postpone needed treatment."

    Signs of a possible heart attack include:

    * Chest discomfort: Heart attacks most frequently cause discomfort in the center of the chest that can either go away after a couple of minutes (and come back) or persist. The discomfort may feel like strong pressure, fullness or pain.

    * Upper body discomfort: An attack may set off pain or discomfort in either or both arms, and/or the back, neck, jaw or stomach.

    * Shortness of breath: Chest discomfort is frequently accompanied by shortness of breath. But it's important to note that shortness of breath can take place even in the absence of chest discomfort.

    * Other signs: You can also break out in a cold sweat, or feel nauseated or light-headed.

    A Woman's Sleep Signs

    If you are a woman who suddenly experiences a marked increase in insomnia and puzzling, intense fatigue, you may be in danger of an imminent heart attack.

    In an attempt to understand how women's symptoms of heart problems differ from those of men, researchers talked to more than 500 women in Arkansas, North Carolina and Ohio who had suffered heart attacks. (Technically, what they had experienced is referred to as acute myocardial infarction.)

    They found that chest pain prior to a heart attack was only reported by about 30% of the women surveyed.

    More common were unusual fatigue, sleep disturbances and shortness of breath (Circulation Rapid Access, 11/3/01).

    "Since women reported experiencing early warning signs more than a month prior to the heart attack, this [fatigue and sleep problems] could allow time to treat these symptoms and to possibly delay or prevent the heart attack," says researcher Jean C. McSweeney, PhD, RN, nursing professor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock. In Dr. McSweeney's study, more than nine out of ten women who had heart attacks reported that they had had new, disturbing physical problems more than a month before they had infarctions.

    Almost three in four suffered from unusual fatigue, about half had sleep disturbances, while two in five found themselves short of breath.

    Other common signs included indigestion and anxiety.

    "Women need to be educated that the appearance of new symptoms may be associated with heart disease and that they need to seek medical care to determine the cause of the symptoms, especially if they have known cardiovascular risks such as smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, overweight or a family history of heart diseases," says Dr. McSweeney.

    Dr. McSweeney warns that, until now, little has been known about signs that women are having heart trouble or heart attacks. The fact that most of Western medicine's past attention has been on heart problems in men has obscured the warning signs in women. As part of Dr. McSweeney's studies, she and her fellow researchers have discovered that more than 40% of all women who suffer a heart attack never feel any chest discomfort before or during the attack.

    "Lack of significant chest pain may be a major reason why women have more unrecognized heart attacks than men or are mistakenly diagnosed and discharged from emergency departments," she notes. "Many clinicians still consider chest pain as the primary symptom of a heart attack."

    Vitamins for Diabetes and Heart Disease

    Having diabetes significantly raises your chance of heart disease, which means that keeping your blood sugar levels under control can reduce your chances of suffering a heart attack.

    Today, 17 million Americans have diabetes and, as the country's population in general gains weight and fails to exercise, the number of people suffering this problem continues to grow.

    The first line of defense against diabetes consists of exercise and weight control. All you have to do is take a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day to drop your chances of diabetes (American Journal of Epidemiology 10/1/03).

    "We have found that men and women who incorporate activity into their lifestyles are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who are sedentary. This finding holds no matter what their initial weight," said Andrea Kriska, PhD, professor of epidemiology at University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

    To help your body fight the development of diabetes, researchers also recommend vitamin C and natural vitamin E.

    Researchers working with lab animals at the University of California at Irvine have found that these antioxidant vitamins can help insulin (the hormone-like substance secreted by the pancreas) reduce harmful blood sugar. In addition, these vitamins shrink the chances of organ damage that can be caused by diabetes (Kidney International 1/03).

    In this investigation, these vitamins also helped reduce blood pressure, another risk factor that raises heart disease risk.

    "Blood pressure was lowered to normal, and free radicals were not in sufficient numbers to degrade the sugars, proteins and nitric oxide," notes Nick Vaziri, MD, professor of medicine at the University of California. "We think this shows that a diet rich in antioxidants may help diabetics prevent the devastating cardiovascular, kidney, neurological and other damage that are common complications of diabetes."

    Free Radical Blues

    Dr. Vaziri and his group of researchers found that untreated diabetes raised blood pressure and increased the production of free radicals, caustic molecules that can damage arteries and the heart. Free radicals can change blood sugar and other proteins into harmful substances, boosting tissue and heart destruction.

    In Dr. Vaziri's work with lab animals, he found that treating diabetes with insulin lowered blood pressure and helped keep sugar and protein from changing into dangerous chemicals, but allowed the free radicals to subvert nitric oxide, a chemical the body uses to protect itself from free radicals.

    In this investigation, adding vitamins C and E to insulin insulated the body's sugars, proteins and nitric oxide from oxidative assault. This produces a double advantage: Lowering the risk of heart disease and other damage to the body from diabetes.

    Maitake, an Oriental mushroom that has been shown to have many health benefits, can also be useful for people with diabetes who are trying to avoid cardiovascular complications. Laboratory studies in Japan demonstrate that maitake may help lower blood pressure while reducing cholesterol (Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin 1997; 20(7):781-5). In producing these effects, the mushroom may also help the body reduce blood sugar levels and decrease the risk of tissue damage.

    No Smoking!

    Tobacco smoke is one of the most notorious causes of heart problems. In the same way a hard frost exerts a death grip on a highway, the smoke from cigarettes can freeze up arteries and hamper their proper function. A healthy artery must stay flexible to comfortably allow adequate circulation.

    But "...when blood vessels are exposed to cigarette smoke it causes the vessels to behave like a rigid pipe rather than a flexible tube, thus the vessels can't dilate in response to increased blood flow," says David J. Bouchier-Hayes, MD, professor of surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, who has studied the deleterious effects of tobacco.

    This rigidity is called endothelial dysfunction. When arteries are rigid, blockages gum up vessels, clots and other impediments to blood flow appear, and your risk of heart attack and stroke increases (Circulation 2001 Nov 27; 104(22):2673).

    This condition can also cause chest pain (angina) similar to that caused by a heart attack, and should be evaluated by a knowledgeable health practitioner.

    Although all experts recommend you stop smoking to lower your heart disease risk, some studies have found that Pycnogenol(r), a pine bark extract that helps the body fight inflammation, may ease some of smoking's ill effects.

    In a study of platelets, special cells in the blood that can form dangerous blood clots, researchers found that Pycnogenol(r) discouraged platelets from sticking together (American Society for Biochemical and Molecular Biology 5/19/98). By keeping platelets flowing freely, this supplement may alleviate some of the heart-threatening clots that tobacco smoke can cause.

    In Ayurvedic medicine, a traditional therapy from India, an herb called guggul has also been used to lower the risk of blockages in arteries. This herb, derived from the resin of the mukul tree, has been shown to reduce cholesterol by about 25%. People taking this herb have also reduced their triglycerides (harmful blood fats) by the same amount (Journal Postgraduate Medicine 1991 37(3):132).

    The Female Version of Heart Disease

  • Medical experts who have examined heart disease in men and women have found some striking differences.
  • For one thing, women often don't suffer from the crushing chest pain that for most people characterizes a heart attack; instead, many women experience back pain, sweating, extreme fatigue, lightheadedness, anxiety or indigestion, signs that can be easily misread as digestive troubles, menopausal symptoms or indicators of aging.

    The genders also differ in how heart disease poses a threat. While men seem most endangered by the buildup of blockages in arteries, women apparently are more at risk from endothelial dysfunction. But more study needs to be done since, in many cases, researchers have been unable to pin down the precise mechanism that causes many women to die of heart disease.

    Scientists have found that the number of women in their 30s and 40s who are dying from sudden cardiac arrest is growing much faster than the number of men of the same age who die of this cause. But research by the Oregon Health & Sciences University and Jesse E. Edwards Cardiovascular Registry in St. Paul, Minnesota, shows that while doctors can pinpoint the coronary blockages that kill men, they can't find specific blockages in half of the female fatalities they have studied (American Heart Journal 10/03).

    "This was an unexpected finding. However, the study underscores the need to focus on what is causing these younger women to die unexpectedly because the number of deaths continues to increase," says Sumeet Chugh, MD, a medical professor at Oregon.

    Since the failure of arteries to relax probably contributes to heart disease in many women, eating red berries, or consuming supplements from berries such as chokeberry, bilberry or elderberry, may be important in lowering women's heart disease risk. These fruits help arteries expand and allow blood to flow freely.

    Red berries are rich sources of flavonoids, polyphenols and anthocynanins. The anthocyanins are strong antioxidants that give the berries their color. Research at the Indiana University School of Medicine have found that these chemicals can interact with nitrous oxide, a chemical produced by the body, to relax blood vessels (Experimental Biology conference 5/20/02).

    Working Out

    As researchers work to devise lifestyle roadmaps that can steer you around the perils of heart disease, they are finding that exercise is a key path to avoiding cardiovascular complications.

    A 17-year study of about 10,000 Americans found that those who exercised and kept their weight down (or took weight off and kept it off) experienced a significantly lower risk of heart problems (Preventive Medicine 11/03).

    "The fact is that those who both exercised more and ate more nevertheless had low cardiovascular mortality," says Jing Fang, MD, of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York. Burning calories in physical activity may be the secret to reducing heart disease risk and living longer, she says.

    Dr. Fang's research used information collected from the First National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in 1975 and then computed how much people exercised, how their body mass indices varied and which of these folks died of heart disease during the next two decades.

    In the study, more than 1,500 people died of heart disease. Those who worked out and consumed more calories cut their risk of heart disease death in half.

    Exercise Is Essential

    "Subjects with the lowest caloric intake, least physical activity, and who were overweight or obese had significantly higher cardiovascular mortality rates than those with high caloric intake, most physical activity, and normal weight," Dr. Fang notes. The individuals in the study who were overweight and didn't exercise had a bigger risk of heart disease even if they tried (and succeeded) at eating less.

    "This suggests that heart disease outcome was not determined by a single factor, but rather by a compound of behavioral, socioeconomic, genetic and clinical characteristics," according to Dr. Fang.

    According to researchers, if your job requires a great deal of physical activity, your health will be better if you get another job. Exercise on the job not only doesn't decrease your risk of heart disease, it may actually raise it. The reason: On-the-job activity is linked to heart-endangering increases in job stress.

    Research into this subject, performed at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, found that while recreational exercise slowed hardening of the arteries, workers who had to exert themselves during the workday had arteries that were blocked at a younger age (American Journal of Medicine 7/03).

    In this study, researchers examined about 500 middle-aged employees as part of what is called the Los Angeles Atherosclerosis Study.

    "We found that atherosclerosis progressed significantly faster in people with greater stress, and people who were under more stress also were the ones who exercised more in their jobs," says James Dwyer, PhD, professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School. According to Dr. Dwyer, "This suggests that the apparent harmful effect of physical activity at work on atherosclerosis-and heart disease risk-may be due to the tendency of high-activity jobs to be more stressful in modern workplaces.

    "It appears from our findings that the psychological stresses associated with physically active jobs overcomes any biological benefit of the activity itself."

    Playful Workouts

    On the other hand, the scientists found that heart disease drops dramatically among those who exercise the most in their spare time. In the study, people who vigorously worked out at least three times a week had the lowest risk. But even those who just took walks enjoyed better heart health than people whose most strenuous activity was working the TV remote. Dr. Dwyer says, "These results are important because they demonstrate the very substantial and almost immediate-within one or two years-cardiovascular benefit of greater physical activity."

    Lowering your risk of heart disease is substantially up to you. Listen to what your heart tells you it needs; then, exercise your right to fetch some cardiovascular necessities.



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    Don't Be Blue - Does winter got you singing the blues?
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    Date: June 13, 2005 09:49 AM
    Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
    Subject: Don't Be Blue - Does winter got you singing the blues?

    Don't Be Blue by Phyllis D. Light, RH Energy Times, October 10, 2003

    Have the gray skies of winter got you singing the blues? Do you feel tired, lost your creative spark, need extra sleep, can't get control of your appetite? If you nod in agreement to these queries, you may be one of the millions of people affected by SAD (seasonal affective disorder), also known as the "winter blues" or "cabin fever." Time to lighten up, throw off those lowdown winter blues and step up to more enjoyable feelings. Experts who study the winter blahs now acknowledge that you can blame much of winter's crankiness, moodiness and restlessness on short, cloudy days and a lack of sunlight. Low levels of sunlight trigger changes in hormones, increasing levels of melatonin (a hormone that normally helps you go to sleep) and decreasing serotonin (a hormone that improves mood). For many people, this hormonal tumult translates into a craving for sugary foods, a need for more sleep and a reduced sex drive.

    Although the exact cause of SAD is not known, researchers believe the pineal gland plays an important role in this disorder. This gland, located beneath the brain, makes melatonin in response to the amount of light that enters your eyes. Melatonin hormone is only produced in darkness. The darker your bedroom, the greater your melatonin production.

    Conversely, melatonin production usually stops in the morning when you open your eyes to the day's new light. But research shows that the production of melatonin climbs too high in folks who suffer from SAD. That excessive amount of the hormone results in a sedative effect upon the body.

    Many people with SAD suffer muscular aches and pains, along with headaches and a faltering immune system. Consequently, they often feel like they have the flu all winter long.

    Blue Lady

    More women than men suffer from SAD (and, apparently, depression in general), though the reason is unclear.

    According to Norman Rosenthal, MD, author of Winter Blues (Guilford Press), "about 6% of the US population may suffer from SAD, with an additional 14% suffering from subsyndromal [less severe] SAD." Because less sunlight reaches the northern latitudes, folks in Washington state and Alaska suffer the highest rates of SAD. People in sun-soaked Florida suffer the least.

    How do you escape SAD? If a winter vacation to the sunny South is out of the question for you, a natural program can brighten the wintry gray days and provide relief.

    Turn on the Light

    The most common treatment for SAD is light (also called phototherapy), which cuts back the body's manufacture of melatonin. Sitting in front of a special light box for about 30 minutes each morning during the winter months can often offset SAD. But the effects of this treatment vary from individual to individual, and some may be more sensitive to the light therapy than others.

    For artificial light treatment, consult an appropriately trained healthcare professional who can design a plan that finds the optimal intensity, length and time of day for the treatment that best works for you. Researchers at Columbia University have found that timing the light therapy with the nuances of a person's biological clock doubles its effectiveness (Archives of General Psychiatry 1/15/01).

    On the other hand, walking in natural light can banish these problems, and research finds that natural light frequently offers the best results (Journal of Affective Disorders 1996 Apr 12; 37(2-3):109-20). In this study, people either participated in a daily walk outdoors in natural light or were treated for half an hour in artificial light. At the end of the study, participants were tested for melatonin and cortisol (stress hormone) levels. Both were found to be lower after exposure to natural light than artificial light.

    Roll up those sleeves when you're outdoors this winter: Curiously enough, studies show that light produces physiological effects by being absorbed through both the eyes and the skin.

    Research now shows that light on the skin alters the hemoglobin in the blood. "This research suggests that SAD might be a disorder of the blood rather than a brain disorder," says Dan A. Oren, MD, of the Yale University School of Medicine (Science 1/12/98).

    Vitamin D Need

    If you suffer from seasonal depression, you may also not be getting enough vitamin D. During the sun-reduced winter months, stores of this fat-soluble vitamin drop, since the skin makes it when exposed to sunlight. When you step out into daylight, the sebaceous glands near the surface of your body produce an oily substance from cholesterol that rises to the skin's surface. Then, ultraviolet B rays from the sun convert this oily substance (7-dehydrocholesterol) into what is called previtamin D3. Finally, body heat converts previtamin D3 into vitamin D3 (a form of vitamin D).

    Twenty minutes of daily sunlight exposure on the hands, arms and face can give adequate amounts of vitamin D to light-skinned people. Dark-skinned people may need longer exposure. Supplements can help: In one study, researchers found that people who took vitamin D had significant improvement in depression scale scores (Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging 1999; 3(1):5-7).

    As far as vitamin D production goes, you can never receive too much sunlight (although overexposure resulting in a burn is never a good idea). The body absorbs vitamin D from the skin as needed and never accepts more than is required. (If you take supplements, follow package directions so you don't get too much of a good thing.) Food sources of vitamin D include eggs, fortified milk, cod liver oil, salmon and other fish.

    Walk Away the Blues

    Research also shows that exercise can chase the winter blues and that a little bit of exertion goes a long way. Exercise physiologists at Duke University found that little as eight minutes of physical activity can improve your mood.

    Exercise stimulates the brain to produce endorphins, feel-good hormones that help reduce pain and depression. Physical activity can also increase serotonin levels, those neurotransmitters that brighten emotions. These two hormones work together to make you feel better: Serotonin improves the functioning of your mind while endorphins produce beneficial effects on your body. In one study, researchers reported that exercise increased vitality and improved mood even in cases of prolonged depression (Psychological Medicine 1998 Nov; 28(6):1359-64).

    To banish SAD, engage in an outdoor activity in natural light, or get active indoors under bright lights.

    As you can see, much of the research into low, wintry moods suggests that sun worshippers may have been right all along: Exposure in winter to our friendly, local neighborhood star offers impressive mood benefits.



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    Summer Sports Nutrition Guide
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    Date: June 11, 2005 03:54 PM
    Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
    Subject: Summer Sports Nutrition Guide

    Summer Sports Nutrition Guide by Joyce Dewon Energy Times, June 18, 2004

    If you're hooked on exercise you're probably just as hooked on using top-notch equipment when you work out. Those who are serious about staying in shape buy the best running shoes, carefully pick out the best bikes and tread on durable treadmills. But do you pay just as much attention to your nutrition?

    Scientists who have studied exercise have found that what you eat before, during and after workouts is crucial to maintaining your health, getting into shape and staying fit. To achieve your best athletic performance without getting injured or sick depends on optimum nutrition. When you carefully plan what to feed your exercised body, it rewards you by feeling and looking better.

    Short 'n Sweet

    If you thought long exercise sessions were the only ways to get decent exercise benefits, take notice: small doses of exercise during the week can go a long way. " The important thing, apparently, is just do it," says Howard D. Sesso, ScD, author of an American Heart Association study on exercise and heart disease. In his study, exercisers demonstrated that several short sessions of exercise were as good for the body as a single long session (Circ 8/00; 102:975-80). " Short sessions lasting 15 minutes long appear to be helpful,"Dr. Sesso explains. Even walking about three miles per week, which is a moderate level of exercise, lowers your risk of heart disease by 10%.

    No Sweat?

    Some people glorify in working up a sweat; others curse the dampness. But putting in extra effort in even short bursts of activity pays off: experts have found that intense exercise burns more calories than more relaxed sessions, more effectively reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease and helps stabilize blood sugar levels. In addition, it stimulates production of human growth hormone, which offsets some of the effects of aging (Exp Biol Med 2004 Mar; 229(3):240-6).

    But don't go crazy if you haven't worked out in a long time. The intensity of the workout should match your physical fitness. According to the American Heart Association, when people exercise at a comfortable pace, their heart rate and level of exertion stay within a safe range, but still high enough to benefit their health. Strenuous activities, for those who can handle them, produce the most physiological bang for the jog. But brisk walking within your own level of fitness still offers significant benefits.

    Feeding Your Muscles

    When you exercise, you work and develop your muscles, which are made primarily out of protein. Despite this fact, many exercise experts have advocated high-carb diets for athletes. But, as John Ivy, PhD, and Robert Portman, PhD, point out in their book The Performance Zone (Basic Health), "[While] there is no doubt that aerobic athletes require more carbohydrate than strength athletes...we are now discovering that the addition of protein to a carbohydrate supplement offers significant benefits to aerobic athletes."

    That is why researchers believe that consuming plenty of protein along with carbohydrates offers the best fitness benefits. Protein helps fuel activity more efficiently and aids in recovery after a session at the gym, allowing your body to repair muscle damage and build up muscle fibers.

    During exercise, you break down muscle tissue. It is during recovery, after your exercise session ends, that muscles are rebuilt. At the same time, other cellular processes take place that adapt the body to working out.

    According to Ivy and Portman, timing your intake of nutrients after exercise is crucial: "The ability of the muscle machinery to regenerate itself decreases very rapidly after a workout, so that the nutrients consumed more than 45 minutes after exercise will have far less impact in helping the muscles regenerate than nutrients consumed earlier."

    Stresses and Tears

    Engaging in athletics can cause microscopic muscle tears. These tears can cause a range of problems that, when you exercise excessively, can cause pain and injury.

    Inflammation is the body's response to cellular damage. The damaged area can swell as the body sends white blood cells and other cells to repair the injured area. Unfortunately, the swelling can further damage the muscle cells.

    Since inflammation can take 24 hours or more to cause the collection of cells in the injured area, it can be a day or two before the resulting muscle soreness reaches its peak painfulness and then starts to subside.

    Cortisol, a hormone produced when you exercise strenuously, which can result in muscle fiber damage. Cortisol boosts protein breakdown, so it can be used to fuel muscle movement. But the more protein breaks down, the more potential exists for muscle fiber injury. Free radicals are caustic molecules that are created when the mitochondria (small structures in cells) create energy; these marauders can also cause microscopic shredding of muscle strands. As you increase your use of energy during exercise, you simultaneously increase the production of free radicals. This collection of free radicals can outstrip the body's antioxidant defenses, leading to extensive muscle damage and dampening of the immune system.

    All of these cellular events can make you sore. They are also the reasons that athletes who overdo it day after day are liable to come down with nagging colds and a variety of infections.

    Muscle Fuel

    Your muscles use different substances for fuel depending on what you ask them to do. Lift a heavy weight and muscles recruit two processes called the creatine phosphate system and glycolysis to generate a large amount of quick energy. These are known as anaerobic types of energy production.

    But if you jog, swim, bike or perform any other aerobic activity, the cells use oxygen in what is called cellular respiration to supply energy to working muscles.

    When you exercise aerobically for extended periods of time, the energy available is generally limited by how much oxygen your body is capable of taking in and supplying to the muscles, where it takes part in energy production. In athletic circles, this upper limit is known as your VO2max.

    The carbohydrates your body burns for energy during aerobic activity are taken from blood sugar and carbohydrate reserves called glycogen. (The muscles store glycogen, as does the liver.) During a workout session, your glycogen supply is limited to what is stored with your muscles. But blood glucose can be boosted by carbohydrate drinks, energy gels or bars.

    Most people who work out have enough glycogen and blood sugar to fuel moderate aerobic activity for about two hours. After that, the body turns mostly to fat and protein stores to fuel exercise.

    Fat Into the Fire

    In contrast to the body's quickly diminishing supply of glycogen and blood sugar, fat can last for hours and hours of exercise. According to Portman and Ivy, a 200-pound man with 15% body fat has, theoretically, enough fat energy to run from Washington DC down to Miami Beach-and still has enough energy left over to jump into the ocean.

    But using fat for energy is complicated; fat is stored in fat tissue and not readily available to working muscles. Plus, to burn fat for energy, the body needs carbohydrate-it cannot burn fat all by itself. What's more, the conversion of fat into energy doesn't go as quickly as carb conversion.

    Protein is also used for energy when carbs run low. But the more you use protein for energy, the more you risk soreness as muscle fibers break down.

    Prepare to Energize

    To maximize your energy during exercise and minimize soreness, Portman and Ivy recommend some simple nutritional steps:

  • • Drink 14 to 20 ounces of water or a sports drink with electrolytes about a half hour before you work out. Consuming fluid helps stave off dehydration longer, helps you sweat more (which cools your body) and moderates the rise in body temperature that takes place during exercise. Portman and Ivy favor sports drinks to help you retain fluid and maintain your mineral balance.
  • • Eat carbohydrates an hour before exercising, which boosts glycogen and increases blood sugar and insulin. Portman and Ivy add that, alternatively, you can also consume a protein/carbohydrate sports drink about half an hour before working out. The protein helps protect muscle protein from being broken down.
  • • Drink small amounts of fluid frequently as you exercise to replace water lost through sweating. While some experts recommend only drinking enough to quench your thirst, most researchers agree that a sports drink with electrolytes is best to ensure proper mineral balance in your body.
  • • Consume carbs and protein during exercise. Portman and Ivy note that soccer players who consume sports drinks that contain electrolytes, carbohydrates and a bit of protein can perform more effectively. Cyclists who go on bike rides of three hours or more enjoy more endurance when they eat energy bars or consume other sources of carb and protein. Portman and Ivy advocate drinks that contain carbs and protein in a 4:1 ratio.

    Limit Soreness

    Taking protein and carbs while working out can limit muscle damage and curtail soreness. Carbs apparently drop your cortisol levels, and thereby limit muscle injuries linked to this hormone. While the mechanism that helps protein limit muscle soreness is not completely understood, it is possible that taking in protein while working out keeps the body from shredding muscle tissue in search of fuel.

    Supplements that contain antioxidants such as natural vitamin E and vitamin C (Portman and Ivy think you should take these during exercise) may limit free radical damage to muscle fibers.

    Muscle Reconstruction Plan

    If you want to help your exercise plan make you stronger, you should focus your after-exercise sports nutrition plan on these steps:

  • • Help your muscles recover from damage during activity and stimulate the rebuilding process
  • • Replace glycogen (carbohydrates) the muscles have used up during your workout
  • • Reinforce your immune system
  • • Replace water and minerals lost in sweat Even after you stop exercising, your muscles are still breaking down, according to Ivy and Portman. The key to putting the brakes on this breakdown and initiating the rebuilding process is by consuming a combination of protein and carbohydrate within 45 minutes after your workout is completed.

    The protein part of the equation is vital: don't merely indulge in only carbs after exercising. A recent study found that while carbs could help muscles rebuild, adding protein can make a big difference in improving your fitness (J App Phys 2/04).

    This combination of nutrients stimulates the pancreas so that it releases insulin. The release of insulin is the key, initial step that sets off a cascade of physiological events that speeds muscle recovery. Although many people think of insulin as an undesirable hormone-if you never exercise, too much insulin may help drive your blood sugar down and cause other problems-for exercisers, this hormone plays a crucial function in benefiting from exercise.

    By eating carbohydrate and protein soon after working out and stimulating insulin, according to Ivy and Portman, you help your body boost its synthesis of protein by:

  • • Increasing the amount of amino acids (protein building blocks) that get into the muscles-this can increase by up to 50%
  • • Increasing the production of protein synthesizing enzymes by up to two-thirds
  • • Slowing the breakdown of muscle proteins

    Drinking for Exercise The most obvious nutrient you lose during intensive exercise is water in your perspiration. However, that perspiration also contains an array of minerals known as electrolytes. So, for optimal performance and health, experts recommend you replace both the water and its minerals.

    Merely drinking water-instead of electrolyte-filled sports drinks-during prolonged aerobic activity can be dangerous. It leaves you vulnerable to a condition called hyponatremia, which can occur when your blood levels of sodium and other electrolytes drop, but your blood volume stays steady or increases because you drink lots of water.

    According to Edmund Burke, PhD, in his book Optimal Muscle Performance and Recovery (Avery), one out of four athletes who seek medical attention after a long race are suffering hyponatremia.

    " Typically," he says, "conscientious athletes get in trouble because they adhere too diligently to one recommendation: the need to drink lots of fluids. They tend to ignore another recommendation: The need to keep electrolytes up...for most endurance athletes the real problem is drinking too much water." Dr. Burke warns that you can possibly suffer hyponatremia even if you don't drink a lot of water.

    Signs of hyponatremia can be similar to those of heat exhaustion. But, while resting and cooling down can help alleviate heat exhaustion, that doesn't help hyponatremia. " To protect yourself against hyponatremia, start by paying attention to how much you sweat," Dr. Burke says. If your sweat seems very salty, burns your eyes or leaves an evident, white residue on your skin, you may be losing a great deal of sodium and should be diligent about eating salty foods. " You can also make sure you're getting enough sodium by drinking sports drinks instead of plain water during long (exercise) events," Dr. Burke notes.

    Exercise Matters

    Of course, no matter what you decide to eat or drink while exercising, the most important factor for your well-being is to get out to the gym, onto the track, or just on to the sidewalk, and do something, even if you only want to go out for a walk. No matter how old you are or what kind of shape you're in, you'll benefit from exercise.

    " It's solid evidence that across-the-board declines occur when people stop exercising," says Charles Emery, PhD, professor of psychology at Ohio State University (Health Psychology 3/04).

    Don't decline or remain supine. Let your fitness climb.



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