Search Term: " Vegans "
Used in moderation, nutritional yeast can boost immunity andimprove digestion
May 17, 2019 09:33 AM
Nutritional yeast, with the scientific name Saccharomyces cerevisiae, is sometimes called nooch and is made from beet molasses and sugar cane. This yeast uses sugar for energy in its yeast cells and are believed to help improve digestion. It is rich in nutrients and B vitamins like vitamin B1, B2, B3 and B6 and can also give a rich, nutty, and savory flavor to food; that is why vegans and vegetarians use it often. Even non-vegans can use it for its high nutritional content. It is noted that only fortified nutritional yeast contains the added B vitamins since unfortified yeast contains the vitamins that were produced by the yeast itself but one can buy both the fortified and unfortified varieties and blend them together. It is naturally low in sodium and calories. It is also free of fat, free of gluten, free of sugar and as I said before, vegan. Properly stored it can last for up to two years in the home. Some of the health benefits of nutritional yeast are that it boosts immunity, improves digestion, is a vegan source of vitamin B12 and lowers cholesterol and blood pressure.
"Vegans and vegetarians use nutritional yeast because it is rich in nutrients and B vitamins, but you can also add it to your diet if you are looking for a natural ingredient with a cheesy, nutty, and savory flavor."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-04-04-used-in-moderation-nutritional-yeast-can-boost-immunity-and-improve-digestion.html
Vitamin B12 deficiency: Seven foods to eat to help keep symptoms atbay - Express
April 11, 2019 01:30 PM
A vitamin deficiency can truly make the difference between being healthy and feeling drained. In today’s article, the focus is centered on Vitamin B12. Bright pictures and videos fill the page alerting you to some of the signs and symptoms of being vitamin B12 deficient. This article also outlines seven healthy foods such as salmon, beef and eggs that can make the difference for your body’s overall levels. It also suggests possibly taking a supplement if you’re unable to eat the foods listed.
"VITAMIN B12 deficiency can develop if you’re not eating the right foods, and serious health problems can occur if the condition is left untreated."
Read more: https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/health/1087211/vitamin-b12-deficiency-diet-foods-milk-egg-beef-liver-salmon-yoghurt-fortified-cereal
New evidence shows that walnuts optimize the gut microbiome tosuppress colon cancer cell growth
April 06, 2019 09:26 AM
Tree nuts, especially walnuts have been a controversial topic talked about for decades. In a new study, it was found that walnuts can help optimize the way your biology works and possibly suppress colon cancer. It is important to note that this study was done with mice, one group of which was fed a concentration of walnuts and was found to have around 2 times fewer tumors at the conclusion of the study. A quick overview of the nutrient profile of the walnut is also included for reference.
"To date, colon cancer is the third most common type of the disease around the globe."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-02-10-walnuts-optimize-gut-microbiome-to-suppress-colon-cancer-cell-growth.html
Top 8 Vegan Omega-3 Sources: How to Get Vegan Omega-3 Into the Diet
February 11, 2019 12:50 PM
Omega-3s have a wide variety of health benefits, from controlling inflammation to improving brain health. For vegans who wish to avoid fish-based omega-3 sources, a number of good vegan sources exist. Brussels sprouts are a superb source of omega-3s, as well as many other nutrients, as are walnuts. Algal oil — derived from algae — is another good source, and makes an excellent substitute for fish oil. Other good vegan sources include chia, flaxseed, hemp seed and spirulina.
"Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to get a good amount of all three forms of omega-3 fatty acids into a plant-based diet, including docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)."
Read more: https://draxe.com/vegan-omega-3/
Here are some of the best vegan-friendly protein sources
January 27, 2019 04:33 PM
Vegan diets are something that is really in fashion right now. Years ago, very few people were following vegan diets. People did not pay much attention to it but now, due to social media and marketing, these diets are getting more and more hype. As a result, you should try to make sure you are getting all the nutrients you need when on this diet. It is only natural for there to be some kind of nutrient deficiency when on this sort of meal plan.
"Following a vegetarian or (the stricter) vegan lifestyle is rewarding, but it also comes with some challenges. Foregoing meat means you lose out on a major source of protein, but the list below includes other Paleo meat-free sources of this crucial nutrient."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-12-08-best-vegan-friendly-protein-sources.html
Vegans can improve their omega-3 levels by taking non-animal formsof DHA
December 08, 2018 11:16 AM
People who identify as vegans obviously follow a much different diet than other individuals in the world. For some, there are massive benefits to undertaking a vegan diet because of what it means for the environment. However, there are some drawbacks. For example, for someone who is on a vegan diet to be able to improve their omega-3 levels, they must look for substances outside of food. Non-animal forms of DHA are proving to be very helpful.
"In the review, author J.C. Craddock of the University of Wollongong in Australia said that supplementing with algae can raise DHA levels in vegetarians and vegans after combing through various studies that discussed the relationship between the two."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-12-05-vegans-can-improve-omega-3-levels-with-non-animal-dha.html
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
September 17, 2018 08:52 AM
Vitamin B1, which is also known as thiamine, is a vital nutrient when it comes to human nutrition. In fact, Thiamine is a vital nutrient for the human nervous system. Within this capacity, it moderates appetite, prevents memory loss and reduces the possibility of nerve inflammation.
Thiamine has the intrinsic capacity to aid in maintaining energy levels, because its used at the cellular level throughout the body. That said, it stands to reason that a Thiamine deficiency can show itself as a significant lack of endurance and in a tendency to exhaustion. Besides its profound effect on the central nervous system, Thiamine also has a decided effect on the gastrointestinal system. Fortunately, besides supplementing with vitamins, Thiamine is amply available in natural foods. High protein sources include lean pork, fish and dry roasted soybeans. Vegans can get their thiamine on too. Besides soybeans, the nutrient is available in good quantity in wheat bread, asparagus and green peas.
"Vitamin B1 also called Thiamine, helps in maintaining cellular functions and boosts the functions of the central nervous system."
Read more: https://crazytalker.com/vitamin-b1-thiamine/
What Are The Health Benefits Of Vitamin B12?
August 28, 2018 09:53 AM
The array of array of nutrients that comprises B complex includes B12, a water-soluble vitamin, which is also called Cobalamin. The vitamin comes in many chemical forms. Nutritionists advocate getting the vitamin in its natural state through eating vitamin B12-rich foods, or through the use of supplements. As far as foods go, vitamin B12 is only available in animal form through animal products, such as dairy foods, beef, liver and chicken.
Once eaten, vitamin B12 converts complex carbohydrates into glucose, making the vitamin an essential component in providing energy. Vitamin B12 is also important to the human brain as it boosts cognition and impedes psychological disturbances. B12 also helps the body replicate DNA and create healthy red blood cells.
"For many ailments, experts recommend taking vitamin B12 rich foods or supplements."
Read more: https://www.epainassist.com/vitamins-and-supplements/what-are-the-health-benefits-of-vitamin-b12
Should Vegans Take DHA to Preserve Brain Function?
February 05, 2017 10:19 AM
Ever since recent studies uncovered that patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s have lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids and DHA, the question has been whether supplementing our diets with these nutrients will help fend off cognitive diseases. What really needs to happen are long term studies where the same patients are tested throughout the study to find out if the cognitive decline or nutritional deficiency comes first. Some more recent studies have shown that lower levels of DHA correlates to smaller brain size. So the question is, should we be supplementing with DHA to hold off cognitive decline?
""While normal aging results in overall brain shrinkage, having lower long chain Omega 3's may signal increased risk"."
Does a vegan diet affect your ability to heal?
January 16, 2017 02:59 PM
For all you Vegans out there what if I told you being a vegan may give you the ability to heal faster? Sounds crazy I know but recently a once vegan man survived a brutal plane crash. There is no proof of this but some researches and scientist believe this may be true.
"The pilots, who thought that they had blown a tire, were unable to stop the plane on the remaining runway they had left."
How nutritious are plant-based milks?
December 03, 2016 10:59 AM
When deciding what type of milk to consume, it is best to read labels. While cow’s milk is fairly standard in the amount of nutrients it contains, plant-based milks can vary greatly depending on which company manufactures it. Unless there is a medical reason to do otherwise, it is recommended that all people consume cow’s milk. Soy, almond, coconut, and other nut milks can be lacking in their nutrients. Soy and nut milks contain a fair amount of protein, but none of the alternatives naturally contain calcium. It can be added, but these usually are not digested as well.
"An eight-ounce glass of cow’s milk naturally contains about eight grams of protein and almost a third of the recommended percent daily value of calcium. Cow’s milk also naturally contains nutrients like potassium and vitamin B12, and is usually fortified with vitamins A and D."
6 Easy Ways to Start Eating Vegan
November 12, 2016 09:54 AM
Eating a Vegan diet is desirable by many people. Not only is it good for you, the diet may also help you lose weight and feel better. No one will deny that making the switch to a Vegan diet is difficult, but with these tips, making the transition just become much easier. If you're ready to change your life, you need this information.
"Talk to Vegans you know about how they transitioned, what challenges they had and how they overcame them, and what things they love most about their vegan lifestyle."
Is Quinoa Grain A Good Alternative To Rice?
January 31, 2014 06:52 PM
What is quinoa grain
Generally regarded as a whole grain, the seed originated from South America and is cooked in the same way you might cook rice or grain. It has a flawless nutty flavor and its adaptability fits savoury dishes, for example, greens, soups and mix fries that might be utilized rather than rice and pasta and in sweet dishes as well. For the health-cognizant around us, quinoa gives every one of the 9 vital amino acids and has the most elevated protein substance of all the entire grains, especially essential for Vegans and vegetarians. The two minerals found in quinoa are copper and manganese, which together may support weight reduction. They go about as cell reinforcement and help the form battle free radicals that can cause the figure to improve maladies. It is without gluten so ideal for celeriac's in addition to it is without cholesterol which profits every last one of us.
Cooking quinoa is exceptionally straightforward and all that has needed is a fraction of the time of cooking rice. Maybe the best a piece of quinoa is its healthful profile. Notwithstanding what your health objectives are, quinoa can help you accomplish them. Specialists think about quinoa a super food. Not just does it furnish you with a low calorie wellspring of moderate smoldering crabs, quinoa is likewise stacked with protein and filament. A one-mug serving has 5 grams of strand and 8 grams of protein! With just 220 calories, this is unmistakably an extraordinary alternative assuming that you are attempting to shed a couple of pounds.
Quinoa vitamins and minerals
Quinoa is an incredible wellspring of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium. Only one container of cooked quinoa has over 30 mg of calcium. Quinoa is gluten free making it a fantastic choice for the individuals who have food sensitivities. The individuals who cannot consume wheat, grain, oats, and corn can easily be pleased to have quinoa.
Players like quinoa since it is stacked with the amino acids that your physique requires to recuperate from powerful work out. Quinoa has each of the eight of the crucial amino acids that your physique needs for health. Dissimilar to different grains, quinoa has lysine, which assumes a basic part in the repair of your units. The amino acid profile is recognized keeping pace with that of milk protein. In the event that you have not attempted it yet, you truly might as well attempt cooking quinoa.
Biotin's Role in Nail and Hair Growth
July 25, 2012 08:32 AM
Many people want to improve the health of their nails and hair, but knowing the best solution can be difficult. Scientists have discovered that biotin works to promote increased growth of the nails and hair.
Biotin is a member of the B-vitamins and is a water-soluble vitamin. Also known as the H vitamin, it has an important role in the metabolism of protein, fats, and carbohydrates. One of the major benefits of this vitamin is that it works to strengthen hair and nails. It is recommended that anyone who wants to increase hair and nail growth should include biotin in their diet.
Since biotin is important for normal functioning, a deficiency is uncommon. This vitamin is found in many foods including meat, dairy, and vegetables. Any food that is high in protein will also contain biotin. Those at risk for a biotin deficiency are vegetarians and Vegans, although it is possible in individuals who do not eat meat or dairy often. The most common sign of a biotin deficiency is hair loss. While uncommon, this is the best indicator that biotin intake is not sufficient. If worried about not getting adequate intake, it is possible to take a supplement. Usually biotin supplements are available as a B-complex supplement, and can be found at most vitamin and health stores.
Hair Growth And Biotin
The recommended amount of biotin for adults is 300 - 5000 mcg per day. However, if interested in increasing hair and nail growth, individuals should try to take 1000 mcg or more. This amount is a safe level of biotin but will also promote increased growth. Before taking a multivitamin, it is recommended to talk to a doctor. Some of the supplements available may have high levels of biotin never take more than 5000mcg per day. Be sure to take the right amount without overdosing on this vitamin.
So, can biotin improve my hair and nail growth? Yes, it can, but there are many products available today that promise to promote hair and nail growth, but don't actually work. Shampoo and conditioner that contain biotin are poor sources of the vitamin since it is not absorbed easily through the skin. Biotin works inside the body at the follicles and nail beds to increase growth. It must be taken internally to work. Other supplements that claim to increase nail and hair growth should be studied carefully as they may not be effective. The only way to increase growth is to maintain an adequate intake of this essential B-vitamin.
The best way to increase hair and nail growth is to eat biotin-rich foods. By eating dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and eggs, it's easy to get the needed amount. If vegetarian or vegan, green peas, legumes, soybeans, and cruciferous vegetables are also rich in Biotin. Other good sources are whole grains such as rice, oats, and bulgar. Eating a whole-grain cereal is a great way to easily get Biotin. Biotin is one of the known vitamins that increases nail and hair growth and eating foods rich in this vitamin will ensure fast-growing and healthy hair and nails.
What is Vitamin Methylcobalamin B-12?
February 10, 2012 11:52 AM
Among the vitamin supplements presently available in the market, Vitamin B12 supplements are ones that a majority of people tend to excessively overlook. However, people do not know that this particular B vitamin is essentially need by their body to ensure that the nervous system continues functioning healthily, good DNA is produced and energy levels are maintained.
What is Vitamin Methylcobalamin B-12?
Vitamin B12 actually exists in four different forms namely Adenosylcobalamin, Cyanocobalamin, Hydroxycobalamin and Methylcobalamin. Among these forms of vitamin B12, the one that is most highly absorbed by the body is Methylcobalamin. This coenzyme form of vitamin B12 is considered biologically active. Since the deficiency of vitamin B12 can result of vitamin B12 can cause many problematic symptoms. The deficiency of B12, however, can be avoided with the consumption of Methylcobalamin B12 since it is absorbed by the body at a maximal rate.
The body does not need to excesively metabolize this form of vitamin B12 in order to make it safe to be absorbed; therefore, it is almost instantly used up by the body. Typically the foods that Vegans eat does not supply them with enough vitamin B12 from their diet, therefore, taking this coenzyme, biologically active form of vitamin B12 can help them cover up its deficiency.
Why is Vitamin Methylcobalamin B-12 So Necessary?
As mentioned earlier, the overall health of the body somewhat depends on the consumption of vitamin B12 as well. Similarly, anemia, nausea, lethargy, etc. are some health problems that can be caused because of the deficiency of vitamin B12. There are many other uses of vitamin B12, which can be more effectively fulfilled by Methylcobalamin.
Carbohydrates, protein and sugar are effectively converted into energy with the help of this particular vitamin. This helps people avoid getting easily tired and worn out during the day.Red blood cells are formed with the help of this vitamin.This vitamin is needed by white blood cells so that they can ensure the immune system is functions efficiently.The vitamin is used by nerve cells so that they can keep their fatty layer preserved.Cellular regeneration is promoted by this vitamin.
People will also get easily fatigued, experience shortness of breath and feel numbness in their feet and hands if their body is deficient of vitamin B12. People can even suffer from pernicious anemia if their body becomes significantly deficient of this vitamin. The level of this vitamin in the body can also be lowered if people have undergone some digestive-related surgery or have used some drugs to combat gastric conditions. Typically, B12 injections containing methylcobalamin are recommended by doctors to patients whose bodies are in need of this vitamin. However, this particular form of the vitamin is also available in the form of supplementary tablets that are placed under the tongue until they dissolve up completely and are absorbed by the body.
Vitamin B12 is therefore considered among the nutrients that the body essentially needs and it can be far more beneficial if people consume Methylcobalamin instead of the regular vitamin B12.
Pea Protein Powder And Your Health
January 19, 2010 03:42 PM
Combining proteins from plant sources can be difficult, especially for people who are stressed for time and for those who avoid not only meats but dairy products, soy and eggs. Vegans and vegetarians often struggle to consume optimum levels of protein. And many other people search for ways to include the right amounts and types of protein in their diets.
Source Naturals Pea Protein Powder is a natural vegetable protein powder made from yellow peas (Pisum sativum), the peas used in split pea soup. This highly digestible, highly bioavailable protein source is a great way to supplement a vegetarian diet for those who have problems eating beans and soy. Suitable for children and adults, it increases carbohydrate metabolism for heart health, weight management and healthy glucose levels.
Pea Protein Powder is a non-GMO, hypo-allergic protein source that is 100% gluten and cholesterol free. The concentrated powder is 84% protein, and compliments that content of other protein sources. Its protein profile includes a high content of lysine, and essential amino acid that is often limited in other vegetable proteins.
Pea Protein Powder is easily incorporated into drinks, smoothies, shakes, crackers, chips, snacks, soups, and other dishes. It can be added to soups or stews or sprinkled on past dishes instead of parmesan cheese. It has a neutral taste and good solubility. Source Naturals Pea Protein Powder is a great way for your to boost the protein in your diet. Available in both 16 oz and 32 oz powder cans.
Vitamin B Complex
November 24, 2008 04:45 PM
The connection between B vitamin complex and stress is well known; although why a good B vitamin complex can reduce stress is less well known. Before discussing the reason why a Vitamin B formula can reduce stress, we shall first have a look at stress and what causes it. The term means different things to different people, and a stressful situation to one person might not be such to another.
The biochemistry of stress is fairly complex, although involves the production and release of hormones into your bloodstream. When an event occurs that causes stress, the hypothalamus portion of your brain becomes involved. It releases cotocotropin releasing factor (CRF), a hormone that protects you from stress by raising your spirits. CRF sends signals to the pituitary gland causing the release of ACHT (Adrenocorticotropic hormone corticotropin) that causes cortisol to be released into the bloodstream by the adrenal glands. Cortisol speeds up the metabolism.
Coincidentally, the cells of the brain stem and spinal cord send a message that stimulates the adrenal glands to secrete epinephrine that increases the heart rate, breathing and alertness, ready for fight or flight. Both of these mechanisms then lead back to the pituitary gland and your new stress level can repeat the process or stop it, should your stress be reduced. If this cycle continues over an extended period of time it can have serious repercussions on your mental and physical health.
The B vitamins can help to regulate this biochemical function, and in doing so can reduce stress, and with it the associated anxiety and depression. In fact many of the symptoms of vitamin B deficiency are those that are also associated with stress: anxiety, nervousness, depression irritability and so on. There is no one specific form of Vitamin B that helps with stress, and there are eight in total. However, in saying that, the three members of the B vitamin complex that have most effect on stress are vitamins B 3, 6 and 12.
Every one of the B vitamins is involved in cell metabolism. Because they are soluble in water, they are quickly leached from the body so have to be replaced on a regular basis. The various B vitamins are needed by your body for specific purposes, such as Vitamin B1 (thiamin) is essential for the correct function of your nerves, brain and muscles. Although others have their own particular areas of responsibility, they are generally lumped together, not only because they are all soluble in water, but also because they each have a profound effect on the metabolism of your body.
Those mostly connected with the nervous system are Vitamins B3, B6 and B12. Vitamin B3 (Niacin) helps to maintain the proper health of your digestive system, skin and nerves, and B12 (cobalamin) is also needed for a healthy nervous system. Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) along with vitamin B12 are the two principal members of the B complex that have an effect on stress, and a deficiency of these can make you more prone to this frequently debilitating condition. In fact many people that are suffering from a general Vitamin B deficiency have various forms of mental problems.
Because Vitamin B12 is available only from animal sources, deficiencies are common in vegetarians, and even more common in Vegans who are advised to take a Vitamin B12 supplement. However, in general you are best to take a Vitamin B complex as opposed to a supplement of any specific member of the B family. This is because a surplus of any one could lead to a depletion of others.
It is thought that much of today's stress is caused by an inadequate diet, and a diet deficient in various forms of Vitamin B is believed to render the subject particularly prone to stress and anxiety. People that have been suffering undue levels of stress over a protracted period of time can be helped by a regular treatment of B vitamins. In taking such supplements, however, you should also be aware of the various possible effects on your body that the causes of your stress can have. These are frequently neither understood nor recognized when they occur.
For example, if you are under stress due to a poor diet, or conversely, are eating a poor diet due to your high stress levels, you might be building up fatty deposits in your liver. Because of this your general health could be at serious risk in addition to your mental health. It is important, therefore, that you don't just restrict yourself to a B vitamin complex, but also take a supplement containing inositol and choline bitartrate.
These can reduce the fatty deposit that a poor diet can cause to build up in your liver with consequent risk to life. Such deposits affect the ability of your liver to destroy the environmental toxins to which become exposed as part of your daily life, and which can be directly related to your ability to counter high stress levels.
In general, however, if you are prone to stress and get nervous and worried about the slightest thing that doesn't go to plan, a B vitamin complex can help: vitamin B can reduce stress, although if your stress is sever you would be better advised consulting a physician than a health store.
Stress is a serious condition, and not one that should be treated lightly. It is possible to treat some stress conditions by using a good B vitamin complex, although should the stress be serious then you should consult your physician. Frequently the stress is not diet related, but due to personal circumstances that cannot be cured by any form of supplement.
However, there are few doubts that a course of Vitamin B supplements can help to overcome many of the metabolic causes of stress, and make up for any deficiency in these vitamins that leave your body almost as quickly as they enter it. Vitamin B can reduce stress, but only if your stress is due to a deficiency: and this is more common that most people are aware.
August 19, 2008 08:38 PM
Folic acid is an important vitamin to the developing fetus in that it aids cell development, particularly those cells involved in the development of the baby's spine. A deficiency can result in neural tube defects, in which the neural tube, down through which the central nervous system passes, fails to close properly.
However, let's first discuss the substance itself so that its function in that process can be more easily understood. Neither should we ignore the other benefits that folic acid gives us, or the problems we can have in the event of a deficiency.
Folic acid is a form of Vitamin B9, sometimes referred to as Vitamin M. Its anionic form is known as folate, which is the form in which it is frequently offered in supplements. Incidentally, it gets its name from the Latin for leaf, so is from the same root as foliage. It is water soluble, and like Vitamin C can be leached through the body if not immediately used.
It is available naturally from leafy and green vegetables such as lettuce, broccoli, spinach and peas, but is also available in fortified breakfast cereals, sunflower seeds and some fruits. You would not normally suffer a deficiency, but if you are taking anticonvulsants, have liver problems or undergoing kidney dialysis, then you might need a supplement. Pregnancy, of course, is the important case in which a supplement should be taken, although, surprisingly, many mothers-to-be are unaware of this.
New body cells need folate for their production, particularly when they are dividing and growing rapidly such as during pregnancy and in infancy. The formation of DNA depends on many chemical entities, among them four nitrogenous bases, of which three, thymine and the two purine bases, adenine and guanine, depend on folate for their synthesis. If the growing fetus is lacking folate then DNA synthesis will be hindered. This retards cell division and growth.
Among the conditions this can cause are a form of anemia known as megaloblastic anemia, and neural tube deficiencies, where the sheath that surrounds the main nerve canal up the spine fails to close properly. The best known of such neural tube defects is spina bifida, though any condition caused by a lack of cell division can also occur. Anemia can be contracted by both adults and children, since production of red blood cells takes place constantly throughout your lifetime. These are the reasons why folic acid or folate is used in breakfast cereals.
The biochemistry is fairly simple to understand, and is important because it explains the importance of two other B vitamins, B3 and B12, in DNA synthesis. The initial stages are a six step reaction that forms methyl tetrahydrofolate from folate, starting with the reduction of folate to dihydrofolate, and then a further reduction to the tetrahydrofolate (THF). Vitamin B3 (in the form of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate) is an essential cofactor for these reductions. Vitamin B12 is necessary as an acceptor for the methyl-THF so that it can continue along the biochemical pathway - now that is too complex to discuss here!
However, the inference you can rightly draw from this is that a deficiency of Vitamin B12 can cause what is known as a 'methyl trap', whereby the methy-THF cannot be used, and so a deficiency in Vitamin B12 can lead to the same symptoms as a folic acid or folate deficiency.
The implications of that are that vitamin B12 is also an essential component of a pregnant woman's diet. The problem here is that this vitamin is available only from animal sources, including dairy products. Its presence in vegetable organisms such as certain algae and fungi has been proposed, but it is believed that the cobalamin (chemical term for the vitamin) from these sources is not bioavailable to humans.
Vegans, therefore, who do not eat dairy products, will need a Vitamin B12 supplement in addition to folic acid or folate, particularly when they are pregnant and with young growing children. In this respect, a vegan diet is unsuitable for young children until their rapid growth period has stabilized.
For those of you wondering why the biochemistry above was discussed: that is your answer. Such discussions can frequently explain why certain supplements are necessary, or certain diets should be reconsidered under particular circumstances. Such things are easier to understand and accept when the logic behind them are explained. A folic acid supplement taken from the onset of pregnancy up to 12 weeks at least, and also a Vitamin B12 supplement in the case of those with a low meat intake, should prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida.
A daily supplement of 0.4 mg should be sufficient, along with a diet rich in green vegetables, fortified cereals and breads and oranges. Your greens are best steamed since prolonged boiling destroys folic acid - as it destroys Vitamin C. One source of folic acid that you might read about is liver, and its additional iron content might lead you to believe this to be a good component of your diet when pregnant. However, although normally a very nutritious food, liver should be avoided during pregnancy due to its high Vitamin A content. This can be harmful to your baby.
Finally, there are some circumstances under which the dose during pregnancy should be greater. If you have previously had a child with a neural tube defect, or have an NTD yourself (or your partner), if you are diabetic, if you have celiac disease (a gluten allergy) or are taking anti-epileptic medication, you should increase your dose to 5 mg (milligrams) for which you will likely need a prescription from your physician.
NTD is rare, so don't over-worry much about it, but take the above precautions to put your mind at rest since pregnancy is not a time during which you should be nervous but to enjoy. That will pass on to your growing baby, which will then itself be happy.
B Vitamin Complex
June 23, 2008 03:19 PM
The vitamin B supplement you take is a mixture of nutrients that, although they share the same vitamin letter, are in fact distinctly different chemical entities. The reason that they share the same reference letter of the alphabet is that they are all essential water soluble vitamins (Vitamin C being the only other), they frequently work in synergy with each other and they often come from common sources and have similar properties in the body. They were therefore at one time believed to be just the one chemical entity.
They are essential in that they must form part of our diet because our bodies cannot manufacture these substances from others, and although most share common biochemical and health functions, there is no health function that requires all of them, and none of them can be totally replaced by another.
The B-Vitamin complex that you take can consist of as many as eight different B vitamins, each of which is essential for a healthy body and at one time it was believed that this mixture was only one single vitamin. That is why they are collectively known as vitamin B and were subsequently allocated numbers: it was only later that the individual components were discovered.
These eight are vitamin B-1 (thiamine), vitamin B-2 (riboflavin), vitamin B-3 (niacin), vitamin B-5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B-12 (cobalamins), biotin and folic acid (folate). They are found in yeast, liver, tuna, bananas and rice among other sources, and, as with all vitamins, without them life would not be possible. Not all vitamins are found in each of these food sources, and vitamin B-12, for example, is available in nutritional quantities only from animal sources.
Knowing what they are is all very well, but what does your body do with the B vitamin supplement that you take? Before considering that, the reason that a regular supply is important is because of their water solubility. This is a useful property for a vitamin to possess, because it means that they can easily be transported by the body fluids to the tissues where they are needed. The downside, however, is that they are consequently also easily flushed from the body, and your body cannot store any of the B vitamins.
You therefore must have a regular dietary source that can be augmented through supplementation. This is particularly desirable in alcoholics, those on diets to lose weight and Vegans who are advised to take a regular vitamin B-12 supplement.
A lack of vitamin B will make you feel tired and lack energy because they play a big part in your body’s metabolism of blood glucose into energy. They also help to maintain a healthy immune system, keep your nervous system in tip-top condition and maintain good healthy skin, hair and muscles. The B complex is also very important in maintaining healthy blood and liver, and each and every component of the mixture has a specific part to play, both on individually and by interaction with others in the B complex.
Rather than examining what your body does with the supplement as a whole, let’s have a look at each component, and what your body does with that. Taking them one at a time, thiamine (B1) helps you to burn carbohydrates to generate energy. It is highly water soluble and must be taken daily. In the form of thiamine pyrophosphate it plays a key part in the metabolism of carbohydrates to energy, and also in the metabolism of certain amino acids. If you rely heavily on a high carbohydrate diet, you will need a good regular supplement of thiamine to be able to convert them to energy.
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) also plays a part in fat and carbohydrate metabolism and the formation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the molecule of energy. It plays a significant part in the health of your skin and a deficiency is associated with mouth ulcers, cracked lips, flaky skin and bloodshot watery eyes. It also activates vitamin B6 and folic acid, one of the cases where the B vitamins work together synergistically.
Vitamin B3, or niacin, is well known to women as a component of some shampoos, and helps to promote health hair. However, this vitamin also takes part in the process of energy creation within your body, and helps to maintain a good muscle tone within the digestive tract. It is also used as a supplement for the treatment of diseases related to high levels of LDL cholesterol and is useful for the treatment of atherosclerosis.
Pantothenic acid is also found as a component of shampoos, so no prizes for guessing one of its functions. Vitamin B-5 plays a significant part in the energy-producing Krebs Cycle, or Citric Acid Cycle, that is used by every cell in your body to generate energy just where it is needed. It is also needed to synthesize acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter needed for good brain function and it helps to reduce stress. Pantothenic acid is also closely involved in the production of cholesterol in your liver: cholesterol is not all bad, and is needed by your body to produce some of the steroid hormones and also vitamin D.
Amino acids are the small units that are used to biosynthesize proteins and ultimately the genes and DNA that determine who you are. The major factor involved in processing these amino acids is Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), one of the lesser known of the vitamin B complex. It synthesizes and breaks up different amino acids to produce a variety of other compounds, such as the hormones serotonin, melatonin and dopamine.
Deficiencies in these hormones can be very serious, Parkinson’s disease believed to be connected with a dopamine deficiency for example, and other disorders include kidney stones, anemia and many skin complaints. Although deficiency of vitamin B6 is rare, it can occur in alcoholics and those with chronic kidney problems. It is believed that many diets are deficient, however, and a good vitamin B supplement would ensure that this did not occur.
Vitamin B-12 is one where deficiency can occur, particularly in alcoholics and Vegans. It is available in sufficient quantities only from meat sources, and a supplement is indicated in anyone with a low meat intake in their diet. It is used by your body for the replication of DNA and to allow the normal activity of your body cells. It also helps to control homocysteine levels in conjunction with vitamin B6 and folic acid: homocysteine is a high-risk amino acid associated with atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease that can lead to Alzheimer’s disease, heart attacks and strokes.
The seventh, biotin (sometimes referred to as vitamin B7) also takes part in the metabolism of energy, but deficiencies have not been known, and the final known member of the B vitamin complex is folic acid. This is essential for cell growth and the synthesis of RNA and DNA in the body. RNA (Ribonucleic acid) is responsible for the synthesis of proteins in your body, and the well known Deoxy-ribonucleic acid (DNA) holds the genetic information of your body. Folic acid is therefore essential in the growing fetus, and any other cellular system that rapidly regenerates such as blood cells and the various cells of the immune system.
Without folic acid your body would be more susceptible to bacterial and viral attack, and less able to protect you from foreign invaders into your body tissues. Although deficiency is not common, folic acid is present in fresh food only and degrades when stored at room temperature and when cooked. A supplement is therefore advisable during pregnancy to help to prevent neural tube defects.
It is evident that the Vitamin B complex plays many parts in the chemistry of your body, and that a supplement can be of benefit in assuring that there are no deficiencies. A good B complex can be found at your local or internet health food store.
Blue Green Algae a Super Food that is Foods Packed With Nutrients. Vegetarian Friendly
April 11, 2008 11:24 AM
In the USA it is harvested in Oregon, in the upper regions of the Upper Klamath Lake, although it is also available in many other parts of the world. Blue green algae are about the best source of vegetable protein and amino acids available to the human diet, although are now generally used as a supplement rather than as a primary food source.
However, in spite of its name, it is not an alga at all: it is a bacterium: Aphanizomenon flos-aquae (AFA), known as cyanobacteria, after the Greek for blue. Nevertheless, bacteria or not, blue green algae offer exceptional nutritional benefits and also health benefits to people suffering from certain conditions. Here are the best of its benefits:
1. It is natural and therefore easily assimilated and digested. You get a very high useful yield from its nutrient content, unlike other foods where a large proportion can be passed through the gut unchanged. In fact a large proportion of the food you eat passes through your body unchanged, although that is mainly due to a lack of chewing!
2. It is very high in protein, and helps to maintain healthy hair, nails and skin. If you are on a vegetation diet this is an ideal source of non-animal protein (unless you class bacteria as animals!). If you want numbers, at least 60% of the solid content of this material is vegetable protein human-ready for use.
3. It is packed full of enzymes that aid digestion, and so ensures that not only is it itself fully digested, but also that you get the most nutritional benefit from any other foods you eat. A lack of enzymes is very common in the western diet, especially the North American diet, and if you take a regular supply of blue green algae, then you need not also take enzyme capsules.
4. It possesses cleansing and detoxifying properties, and so helps to reduce the incidence of headaches and allow you better and more restful sleep. Toxins can act on your body to cause pain, and is associated with the free radicals discussed below.
5. It is very high in antioxidants that destroy the free radicals in your blood and tissues. Free radicals destroy body cells and can seriously damage your health. Among the health benefits that blue green algae provide due to its antioxidant properties are:
a) It supports the immune system and helps to prevent inflammation in your joints. It also enables you to fight off bacterial and viral infections quicker. b) It maintains the integrity of your body and skin cells, and reduces cell damage by free radicals. This has an anti-aging effect and preserves the youthful appearance of your skin, resisting wrinkling and maintaining its firmness. c) Blue green algae help to prevent the free radical oxidation of the LDL lipids that transport cholesterol that cause the atherosclerosis that can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
6. It provides you with energy through its effect on your body’s metabolic conversion of blood glucose to energy within the mitochondria. This is partially due to its antioxidant effect and partially to the nutritional content of the bacteria. The bacteria are also a rich source of glycogen that is your body’s store of emergency energy. Your liver can use the bacteria to biosynthesize its own store of glycogen that your body can use if called upon for a sudden burst of energy.
7. The amino acids it contains are of low molecular size, and can cross the blood-brain barrier. It provides nutrition to the brain, and its high chlorophyll content helps to purify the blood. Its high content of trace minerals and naturally chelated minerals renders them extremely bioavailable, and able to provide a high degree of nutrition to the brain and other organs of the body. Blue green algae contain rhamnose that helps nutrients to cross from the blood to the brain, and then to the brain cells that need it.
8. Blue green algae have been shown to help memory and mood. This is likely due at least in part to its fatty acid content, and its effect on serotonin levels.
These eight benefits are more than any other individual food source can provide, and in themselves justify the claim that blue green algae is the best individual food source there is. However, when we have a look at the active ingredients, and nutritional content of the bacteria, then it seems even more impressive. There is more to blue green algae than just a few vitamins and minerals. You can get these in any multivitamin supplement: this stuff is completely natural and all of its ingredients are completely compatible with the human digestive system.
Many of the synthetic vitamins you find in boxes and tubs are only partially absorbed due to the form they are in. Either that or they need the presence of other substances before they can be assimilated. An example is calcium, which is next to useless without magnesium and vitamin C also being present to allow it to be incorporated in the structure of the bones and teeth. With blue green algae, every combination of substances that nature needs for them to work properly is there. Everything gets used and everything has a role to play.
The amino acids and proteins have already been mentioned, and these unusual bacteria contain all of the trace minerals that are necessary for the amino acids and proteins to be properly used. It also contains a large quantity of beta-carotene (a natural Vitamin A precursor and strong anti-oxidant), and is also rich in Vitamin B-12 that most vegetarians are deficient in. It is therefore the perfect food for vegetarians and Vegans.
If you understand the health benefits of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, which blue green algae are also rich in, then you will understand how a foodstuff containing these fatty acids and all of the other nutritional substances listed above could be regarded as a ‘Superfood’.
Blue green algae is probably the richest food available commercially to humans, but before you use it you should ensure that the content of blue algae in the supplement you purchase is clear and that you are purchasing a standardized amount in what you are purchasing.
Otherwise, it is difficult to see how anybody could go wrong with blue green algae, since it is indisputably an excellent source of protein, amino acids, vitamins and much, much more.
You Should Say: Please Pass the Broccoli, Not I’ll Pass
January 22, 2008 04:38 PM
'Please pass the broccoli': not something that many mothers hear from their children. In fact, not many children appear to like any green vegetables let alone broccoli. This is not important at such a young age, but there comes a time when the health benefits that broccoli brings become almost essential to your good health and well being. Parents are right, but your children won’t believe you.
Some say that the nutritional punch of broccoli is stronger than that of any other vegetable. Is this claim justified? Let’s have a look at the evidence and the facts and you can judge for yourself. First the ‘ordinary’ nutrients of broccoli: vitamin C (more than oranges) and A, folic acid and calcium and also lots and lots of fiber. However, this wonderful vegetable contains not only high levels of calcium, but is also the one of the richest vegetable sources of magnesium. Calcium needs magnesium in order to be properly incorporated into your bone structure, and so broccoli is a very important calcium/magnesium source for Vegans that do not drink milk or eat any other dairy products.
It is also rich in protein, containing 3% by weight and is also rich in iron. It is therefore an important part of the diet of women during menstruation when iron is important to enable the blood to maintain its proper erythrocyte levels. A deficiency of iron in the diet of women can lead to anemia and render them more susceptible to infection. However, it is more than just iron that renders this vegetable an important part of the female diet. Broccoli has been established to be of major importance in preventing cancer.
It is likely the most potent anti-cancer vegetable in your diet, and it has been established over 20 years of study that broccoli can help to prevent cancers of the breast and the cervix. The indoles that it contains prevent estrogens from promoting tumor growth, and it also contains beta-carotene, a strong antioxidant that destroys the free radicals that can also cause cancer. However, there is more to broccoli than just that.
Broccoli contains the highest concentration of sulforaphane of all the cruciferous vegetables that include Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, rocket and turnip, amongst many others. When you chew broccoli, the glucosinolate glucoraphan is converted to sulforaphane, not by the enzymes in your saliva, but by the actual physical damage done to the plant by the act of chewing. It could likely also be generated by hitting it with a hammer! It is glucosinolates that provide the slightly bitter taste many people experience when they eat vegetables such as brussels sprouts and broccoli, and that likely renders them somewhat unattractive to children!
Sulforaphane is an isothiocyanate containing the NCS functional group, and is actually bound loosely to the sugar as sulforaphane glucosinolate. It is the loose binding that allows it be released on chewing. Broccoli sprouts are its richest source, and it is a strong antioxidant which is why it is so effective in reducing the possibility of certain cancers.
When fighting cancers, your body produces phase-II enzymes, and since sulforaphane induces these enzymes, it stops the carcinogens before they can damage your DNA. This is achieved through the enhancement of the transcription of the proteins that suppress the tumors. In layman’s terms, it is the generation of tumor suppressant proteins from DNA that kills off the tumors before they can destroy the DNA.
There is even more however. Indoles have already been mentioned, and those in question are predominantly indole-3-carbinol (I3C) and 3,3-diindolylmethane (DIM). The latter is generated from the digestion of the former and possesses very potent anti-cancer properties. However, this indole can affect your health in ways other than just as an anti-cancer agent. It can modulate the immune system in a way that renders it suitable for the treatment of a number of viral infections, and is also believed to be a possible answer to the problem of bacteria that have become resistant to antibiotics. It appears to operate synergistically with Interferon-Gamma, a cytokine that helps to prevent viruses from replicating within the cells of the body, to strengthen the MHC-I Complex, a part of the human genome that supports the immune response to viral attacks.
To put it plainly, broccoli can aid your resistance not only to certain cancers, but also to attack by viruses and some bacteria. It is not only cancers of the cervix and breast that broccoli can help to prevent, but also of the lung, prostate, larynx and bladder. I3C also helps to support the function of your liver in detoxifying your blood as well as supporting the cellular reproduction without which your body could not maintain itself after damage.
Broccoli is therefore an important vegetable to men as well as to women, not only for its anti-cancer properties, but also as a general antioxidant and consequent free radical scavenging properties. Its high fiber content is equally split between soluble and insoluble vegetable fiber, and so meets your dietary needs of both types.
Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli have been singled out by health organizations the world over as essential to your diet, and you should eat them regularly. Once daily would be good, but more is recommended if possible. As stated at the start, strong tasting vegetables containing glucosinolates might not be attractive to children and younger people, but their phytochemical content (the foresaid indoles and isothiocyanates) render them very potent antioxidants and anti-cancer foods.
Taken in relation to other foods, an ounce of broccoli contains as much calcium as a glass of milk, more vitamin C than a similar weight of orange, and a medium floret has more fiber than one slice of bran bread. It is rich in vitamin A and of course there are the other antioxidants and anti-cancer phytochemicals already detailed.
There are many ways of cooking broccoli to maintain its nutritional content, but if you do not like broccoli, then there are supplements available. You can purchase pure broccoli extract or an extract from a mixture of cruciferous vegetables. The choice is yours, but of one thing there can be no doubt. Broccoli is the king of green vegetables, and the nutrients it contains are not available in any other vegetable in such a concentrated and easy to assimilate form.
Your mom was right: it's not just 'eat your veg', but 'eat your broccoli'. No nutritional advice could be better than that. “Pass the broccoli please mom!”
Are Vegan Supplements Good For Strict Vegetarians?
December 05, 2007 11:20 PM
The question as to whether or not vegan supplements are good for strict vegetarians cannot be answered or understood without a complete understanding of the meaning of the terms ‘vegan’ and ‘vegetarian’.
Where eating meat is concerned, there are several different types of diet, one extreme being the Atkins Diet where devouring animal flesh and fats is positively encouraged. However, it is not that extreme we are concerned with here, but the opposite, where no meat is eaten. Is there anything in a vegan diet that there is not in a vegetarian diet, or are vegan supplements harmful to strict vegetarians? These are questions that we shall now look at from a scientific viewpoint, since emotions are not involved in the answer to the question.
It is certainly true that for many people, emotions are very much involved in the distinction between an omnivore and vegetarian, and also between a vegetarian and a vegan. Some of these have to do with the concept of eating ‘friendly furry animals’ and others to do with the ethics of breeding animal life for the sole purpose of eating it. While these concepts have nothing whatsoever to do with the scientific arguments, they have a lot to do with the various types of eating habit used throughout the world.
Some reasons for a vegetarian diet are imposed by local agricultural and husbandry conditions, where meat is simply not available to most people, others due to religious beliefs and yet others to personal feelings of disgust at the moral arguments involved in eating animals that have been bred specifically for that reason. If we take carnivores and omnivores out of the equation, including those that do not eat red meats, but eat chicken and fish, what do we have?
Vegetarians that eat dairy products and eggs are referred to officially as lacto-ovo-vegetarians. The reasons for the name are obvious. They eat eggs, cheese and yoghurt and also drink milk. The strict vegetarians, on the other hand, who are part of the subject of this article, eat vegetables and dairy products such as yoghurt and cheese, but omit eggs. Then, finally, we have the Vegans that eat only vegetable matter and no dairy products or animal based food at all. Each of these, you would think, would have a decreasing intake of nutrients essential for healthy and healthy growth.
A vegetarian diet, as opposed to that of a vegan, contains many nutritious foods that omnivores also eat, such as pulses (lentils, peas, beans), grains (wheat, oats), nuts, seeds and vegetable and fruits of any form. It can also include protein in the form of soy protein and tofu that can be formed into sausages, burgers and other meat-like products. Why vegetarians should want to make their foods look like meat is unknown, but that seems to what they prefer. The likely reason is that the majority of vegetarians and Vegans became so after eating meat, and it helps them to stick to their diet by eating food in familiar forms.
Many have started their diets with what they know, and have substituted soy for minced beef in their spaghetti sauce, for example, and quorn for beef in their burgers. Together with a good piquant tomato sauce it is hard to tell the difference. Other than truly meaty dishes such as steaks, then, most meat dishes can be substituted for vegetarian alternatives or substitutes.
However, what does this do to the vegetarian’s nutrition? How does the vegetarian maintain a sufficient intake of minerals, vitamins and other nutrients by eliminating meat from their diet? Let’s have a look at some of the nutritional content of fish and meat that vegetarians are apparently not getting.
The first is protein, the main source for most people being from the flesh of meat and fish. Protein is essential for the maintenance of healthy muscles, vital organs, skin, and believe it or not, bones. A vegetarian eating eggs has no problems with protein, since eggs and cheese are full of it. There is also the protein in soy based foods and in quorn, a mycoprotein derivative of fungi. Nuts, peas, beans, cereal grains and seeds are all rich in proteins and the vegetarian does not have a problem in consuming an adequate supply of protein.
If we come to minerals, the most important for the health of your blood is iron. Green vegetables and whole grains are good sources of iron, as are pulses and some fruits. However, it is animal sources of iron that the body most easily absorbs, and in order for it to make use of vegetable sources, you should consume a good intake of vitamin C by eating plenty of fruits and green vegetables. You must take these at the same time as the vegetables that contain iron, or the iron will not be absorbed into the body. Otherwise, the vegetarian has a sufficient iron intake to maintain the health of their red blood cells.
The other critical mineral is calcium, essential for healthy bones and teeth. Many dark green vegetables are good sources of calcium, as are turnips, swedes and fortified soy milk. Zinc, too, is essential and without it many enzymes could not be synthesized by your biochemistry, and it is also necessary in the male reproductive system. Zinc, too, has many vegetarian sources, such as nuts, wheat germ and whole grains, and is also contained in soy.
So far in this evaluation neither vegetarians nor Vegans have been seriously compromised by their diet, although there are arguments that a vegetarian diet can harm young children since there is insufficient protein available to allow normal growth and development. This is currently under debate, and it is a matter for parents to consider whether or not their children should be raised on a purely vegetarian diet.
However, when it comes to a vital vitamin that is necessary for the production of red blood cells and the prevention of anemia, Vegans become unstuck. Vitamin B-12 is found predominantly in dairy products and other animal products. It is claimed that cereals enriched with B-12 and fortified soy products provide this vitamin to Vegans, but what are the sources of the vitamin that is used as a supplement?
It is generally accepted that Vegans require vitamin B-12 supplements, and also others such as calcium that they might be deficient in due to their diet. It is possible that the only real supplement needed is vitamin B-12, although many nutritionists claim that both vegetarians and Vegans should take supplements to boost intake of those nutrients of which the normal route to the body is through eating foods of animal origin.
There are many nutrients obtainable from animal sources that are classed as neither vitamins nor minerals, and for which there are adequate supplements to suit the needs of Vegans and vegetarians alike. Further evidence is needed, however, that Vegans are deficient in these since many of them have alternatives of vegetable origin that might annul their necessity.
One thing, however, is absolutely certain, and that is the answer to the original question. It is absolutely true that vegan supplements are good for strict vegetarians. The reason for this is that vegan supplements are designed to replace not only nutrients that the body might be deficient in due to a strict vegetarian diet, but also those missing by the absence of dairy products such as milk, cheese and yoghurt.
Vegetarians will also benefit from such supplements, and it could be important to their health that both vegetarians and Vegans take them.
Omnivore Vs Vegan Who Is Right?
October 21, 2007 07:02 PM
The omnivore vs vegan argument as to who is right and who is wrong can be argued from a number of different platforms. There is the ethical issue of whether we should eat other animal life, and also the argument as which is ‘better for you’, based on arguments such as vitamin B12 is not available from a vegan diet. There is even the ‘lifestyle’ argument: does our lifestyle define our diet?
However, strictly, the only argument for or against either diet should only be made upon human biochemistry. Do both meet the needs of our biochemistry, or does one or the other lack something essential in our biochemical pathways? Obviously omnivores will lack nothing except by choice, since all foods are available for their consumption. If Vegans do lack a specific chemical need, then is that available as a supplement in a form that can be effectively used in the chemistry of our bodies.
The one argument accepted by both sides is that it is essential for all animals to consume living things in order to stay alive themselves. These living thinks need not be alive at the time of consumption, but it is necessary that they eat the flesh of plant or animal life that at one time was alive and contained DNA. What that infers is that it is only vegetables that can survive on non-living tissue and this appears to be borne out in practice. No living animal known can live on inorganic matter only, but most plants can and do. Not all though, the Venus fly trap being an example.
It is easy to extend the moral problem of eating living tissue to living vegetable tissue that also contains DNA, and the argument must lie between animal and the derivatives of animals, and non-animal tissue. It has not yet been found that any organism has yet crossed the animal-vegetable divide, so the division is a valid one. That might seem obvious, but it is necessary to establish that for the argument between vegan and omnivore diets to be valid.
The consumption of protein derived from meat is not a prerequisite for size and muscle bulk, since the largest dinosaurs in the world were all herbivores, the largest being a member of the sauropod family at more than 175 tons, eclipsing the largest meat eater, the gigantosaurus at 8 tons. Thus, meat does not mean bulk. However, what has been proved is that the fastest creatures are carnivores. Hence if you want to be a top class sprinter, eat meat!
Carnivores, with their lean muscle mass and highly efficient quick use of available energy, have very short digestive tracts which are not good for digesting vegetable matter, but make best use of animal proteins and expel unnecessary mass from the body quicker. The argument in favor of the Vegans is that the human digestive tract is not that of a carnivore.
In herbivores, the food takes longer to digest, and hence it remains in the digestive system longer. This means a longer alimentary canal, longer than humans have. Herbivores also move slowly, and a good example is the comparison of speed between the omnivorous chimpanzees and other small monkeys and the herbivorous gorillas and orangutans. On the one hand you have lean fast moving machines, while on the other you have large bellies and slow moving larger animals. Check out cows and sheep and compare their body fat with ours. Nor are we like herbivores.
So what are humans? Omnivores! Our teeth and intestines are those of omnivores, the teeth designed for ripping and tearing meat, and stripping leaves from trees, but also for grinding grains, and our intestines are something between the long and the short. People are able to eat and live on every type of food imaginable from brains to intestines to leaves to roots to ants and grubs.
The argument is therefore futile to consider historically. Let’s then study the advantages and disadvantages of each type of diet. Human beings are capable of life through consuming either animals or plants, or both. The argument seems, therefore, to be one of morality rather than biochemistry. However, is that really so? The vegan refusal to eat dairy products should not be taken as extremism, since the human being is the only animal species to drink milk of another species, or to use it to make other products. It is a practice born long after cattle were husbanded by humans for food. The problem with eating animal products lies not in the meat itself, but in the fat. Animal fat is saturated, which means that the fat molecule has no active double bonds in the chemical structure that can be used to break the fat down.
Animal fat also contains cholesterol, yet we cannot survive without cholesterol. It is the human band aid, used by the body to patch up damage to the cardiovascular system. Only, sometimes, too much is laid down and the arteries get blocked. However, many vegetable products have more saturated fats and cholesterol than many animal products, so a balance is called for. The unsaturated fats and oils for humans are said to be derived from seeds, such as flax seed and fish, especially oily fish. These are the Omega-3 oils. Although they can be obtained from some seeds and nuts, it has been proved that the best come from oily fish, such as wild salmon, mackerel and sardines.
The B vitamins are essential for life. The best sources are animal sources, though you get them from some vegetable sources such as brewers years (who eats lost of that?) and others, but animal sources are the best.
Also, there is no evidence to suggest that Vegans live longer than omnivores. In fact all of the evidence indicates that a middle road is the best. For human beings the healthiest diet includes both meat and vegetable tissue. The best solution to good health is neither vegan nor carnivore. Nor is it traditional vegetarian, since it is the dairy products that cause many of our dietary products.
Studies of the biochemical pathways have demonstrated that all chemicals need to sustain healthy human growth and life are not available from a classic vegan diet. Some animal protein and B vitamins are essential that cannot be obtained form a normal vegan diet. It is possible, however, to maintain life by means of supplements.
However, for the healthiest form of human life, our biochemistry, history and physiology indicate that there is a balance somewhere between the extremes of both views that is right for us, and that either diet can be sustained with appropriate supplementation based upon what is missing from one diet or the other.
So, omnivore vs vegan. Who is right: both are right if they also supplement any nutritional deficiencies in their diet with vitamins and minerals that may be lacking from one diet or the other.
The sunshine vitamin can impart an all-over healthy glow.
September 18, 2006 03:42 PM
When papers like the Los Angeles Times write articles with titles like “wonder Pill-really” about a seemingly ho-hum nutrient like vitamin D, attention must be paid. The attention is now forthcoming from researchers who are exploring this humble vitamin’s connection to an astonishingly wide spectrum of health issues. And these scientist are concerned that, dispite fortification of such common foods as milk, many people aren’t getting the D they need for optimal well-being.
Vitamin D generally recognized as calcium’s indispensable little helper, which makes it vital to maintaining bone health. But we now know that D’s benefits extend far beyond calcium control; it plays crucial roles in immunity, blood cell formation and hormone regulation.
Scientists believe that vitamin D helps cells differentiate, or mature into specialized roles each is meant to play. That’s important in cancer defense because malignant cells tend to be undifferentiated, primitive types given to reproducing uncontrollably. Cells, both malignant and healthy, have vitamin D receptors on their surface; when d binds to cancer cells, they stop growing.
This may help explain why men with low levels of vitamin D are particularly prone to dying of cancer and why higher rates of prostate cancer occur in climates where exposure to the sun-which powers D creation within the skin—is low. On a more positive note, investigators at the Moores UCSD Cancer Center of San Diego report that taking 1,000IU of vitamin D daily appears to drop the risk of developing breast, colon and ovarian cancer by up to 50% (American Assn for Cancer Research, Ninth Meeting). Other studies suggest that even after cancer develops, D may help hinder disease progression and enhance survival.
Vitamin D does a body good in a number of other ways. For example, the sunshine vitamin lights up both the immune system and production of insulin, the hormone that controls blood sugar. In one study women who took the amount of vitamin D generally found in multivitamins (400 IU) and had a 31% reduced fisk of dying from heart disease; in another, D from multivitamins dropped the risk of multiple sclerosis development by 40%. Supplements have also helped stroke victims avoid the muscular wasting that leaks to falls and fractures (Cerebrovascular Disease 7/05). Conversely, low D levels have been linked to poor lung function, unexplained muscle pain and increased obesity risk.
Currently, the federal government recommends daily vitamin D intakes of 200IU for people under age 51, 400IU for those 51 – 70 and 600 IU for ages 71 and up. But many prominent scientists believe those levels are two low, especially since so many folks avoid sun exposure to cut skin cancer risk. “I’m 99% sure that vitamin D deficiency is becoming more common,” Harvard nutrition expert Dr. Walter Willett told the LA Times (06/12/06). Deficiencies are more likely among dark-colored individuals (whose skins do not make D effectively), Vegans (who avoid dairy) and people with disorders that reduce intestinal absorption, such as Crohn’s disease. Higher dosages should always be taken under practitioner’s watchful eye, especially if a medical condition already exists.
No matter what health hazard you’re trying to illuminate, don’t hesitate to bask in the sunshine vitamin’s warm radiance. –Lisa James.
Co-Enzyme B-Complex Fact Sheet
December 08, 2005 04:40 PM
Co-Enzyme B-Complex Fact SheetNeil E. Levin, CCN, DANLA 8/1/05
LIKELY USERS: People with poor digestion or low stomach acid, People needing ENERGY, People desiring metabolism support.
KEY INGREDIENTS: CoEnzyme B-Vitamins plus synergists
MAIN PRODUCT FEATURES: B Complex Vitamins are needed by the body for energy production, synthesis of hormones and blood cells, healthy nervous system function, and numerous other metabolic processes. The forms of the B Vitamins found in foods and most supplements, however, are not readily utilized by the body. They require conversion into their active forms before they can perform their functions as cofactors in biochemical reactions. NOWR Co-Enzyme B-Complex contains B Vitamins already in their active or "Coenzyme" forms. This enables the body to use them more quickly and efficiently because, once absorbed, they are transported directly to their site of action, requiring no conversion. 1
B Complex Vitamins are needed by the body for energy production, synthesis of hormones and blood cells, healthy nervous system function, and numerous other metabolic processes 1, 2. The forms of the B Vitamins found in foods and most supplements, however, are not readily utilized by the body. They require conversion into their active forms before they can perform their functions as coenzymes in biochemical reactions 1, 2.
ADDITIONAL PRODUCT USE INFORMATION & QUALITY ISSUES: NOWR Co-Enzyme B-Complex tablets are enteric coated to enhance bioavailability by allowing delivery to intestinal absorption sites intact, unharmed by stomach acids.2 Our Quality department had to qualify several new ingredients for this formula.
This formula is enhanced with added Coenzyme C10 (CoQ10), Alpha Lipoic Acid, Betaine (TMG), Vitamin C, and both coenzyme forms of B-12 (Methylcobalamin and Dibencoside) and is suitable for vegetarians and Vegans.
SERVING SIZE & HOW TO TAKE IT: Two tablets daily, preferably in divided doses. This enteric-coated tablet is best to take between meals (one or more hours before a meal or hours after a meal), as it has an acid-resistant coating that dissolves beyond the stomach and needs to transit quickly past the stomach.
COMPLEMENTARY PRODUCTS: Vitamin C, TMG (Betaine), Lecithin (Choline, Inositol)
SPECIFIC: Please discuss your use of B-Vitamins with your physician, especially if you are using any medications.
GENERAL: Pregnant and lactating women and people using prescription drugs should consult their physician before taking any dietary supplement. This information is based on my own knowledge and references, and should not be used as diagnosis, prescription or as a specific product claim. Information given here may vary from what is shown on the product label because this represents my own professional experience and understanding of the science underlying the formula and ingredients. When taking any new formula, use common sense and cautiously increase to the full dose over time.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
1. Shils ME, Olson JA, Shike M (eds.) (1994) Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, Eighth Edition. Chapters 20-26, 28, 30. Lea & Febiger Philadelphia.
Vegetarians need more omega-3s
October 25, 2005 03:31 PM
Vegetarians need more omega-3s
Remind your meat-shunning customers to stock up on vegan omega-3 supplements. A recent study done at England’s university of Oxford found that the level of omega-3 in the blood of Vegans and vegetarians was significantly lower than in meat-eaters. However, the researchers also found that the levels of EPA and DHA—fatty acid components of omega-3—remained stable; no matter how many years’ people had gone without eating meat.
Flax Seed oil is high in Omega-3
Best Bread ...
June 13, 2005 07:30 PM
Best Breads by Jane Lane Energy Times, December 9, 1999
Few of us can resist the seductions of freshly baked bread, warm and fragrant, poised on the edge of a steaming bowl of soup or painted with an aromatic swath of rosemary scented oil. Even those of us from the most culinary challenged households can recall the pleasures of the simple plump white dinner roll or flaky biscuit piled in a basket on the dinner table.
Bread has blossomed from sideshow status beside the dinner plate to a full-scale mealtime headliner, a scrumptious star enriched by nutritious grains, herbs, fruits and vegetables.
Contemporary cooks build meals around crunchy cornbread or chewy focaccia, presenting soups or salads as satisfying counterpoints. Want to jump into the bread baking basket or hone your skills? Two top vegetarian chefs shared with Energy Times their passion for bread and their expertise in baking. See if you don't find that ardor contagious.
Nancy Lazarus is a chef at the famed Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, New York, established in 1973 to serve up natural fare with a homecooked, vegetarian emphasis. The bill of fare changes daily at Moosewood, but there's one constant: a cup or bowl of soup, a salad and a thick slice of bread. Some loyal customers have ordered the daily special for 20 years.
That's why bread occupies a cherished spot at Moosewood. Nancy Lazarus tells why and offers some of Moosewood's favorite bread recipes: "Cooking is like art; baking is like science; bread is like magic. No matter how much science you apply, you'll never have complete control: It'll do its own thing on some level, which is part of its charm, if you're charmed by that sort of thing. Breads come out differently depending on heat and humidity, the heat of the oven; yeast is a variable that can be slower or faster acting.
"There are bread machines, of course, and they work. But they're not as satisfying as the real thing, the kneading, which can be almost therapeutic, and the control over the ingredients to your own specifications.
"Bread is not that difficult. Know your own oven, to begin: Good insulation is important and how the heat travels around inside. Convection ovens are a wonderful thing.
"There are difficult breads we recommend you buy at a good bakery: baguettes, Italian, French and Cuban that are crusty outside and soft inside.
"But focaccia is easy. It's a yeasted bread that's better to make at home than buy because it's so fresh and you can control the toppings. It only requires one slow and one quick rising but you have to be there for a while.
"Then there are quick breads that use baking soda or powder, like cornbread. If you want a good meal at home and can make only one thing, make a quick bread. They're satisfying and delicious warm from the oven; and the aroma of bread fills the house. A corn bread with tomato soup for supper is a nurturing meal good for Vegans.
"Popovers are fast and simple, a middle American 50s treat, but you do need a hot oven and 45 minutes. Also easy to make: sweet breads- carrot, banana, zucchini-and biscuits.
"To reduce the fat in denser quickbreads and cakes, use applesauce. It gives body and moistness.
"The number of wheat-sensitive people is rising dramatically. A theory I think makes sense is that in the last 30 years the varieties of wheat grown has been reduced to 1 or 2 that are more easily cultivated and harvested with the machinery available. People are overloaded with one type of wheat.
"Gluten is the offending substance in wheat and some oats; try rice, tapioca and potato flours, which are denser and more fine and don't produce a good crust. Improve the crust by baking in a preheated cast iron skillet.
"Also investigate chickpea flour. You don't make a loaf of bread with it- use it for flatbreads like papadam, which is in Indian cookbooks. And it's good for batter for vegetables.
"Spelt is the closest to wheat flour in consistency but some people can be sensitive to it.
"Visit a natural food store to check out the flours. The mills sometimes print handouts with recipes and a lot of those are real good, especially for what works with their flour. Or you may run into a baker who will whet your appetite with ideas and recipes.
"Bread is the supreme comfort food. It can speak to us, and reassure us. The magic of bread and how it varies: There's something appealing in that. In today's world, food is predictable, and that's reassuring to some people. At Moosewood, things are always different, and that's good."
Claire Criscuolo puts an intensely personal spin on the eclectically ethnic style of cooking at her esteemed vegetarian restaurant, Claire's Corner Copia. That 25-year-old institution in New Haven, Connecticut, reflects her zest for the freshest ingredients, robust flavors and inspired combinations. Claire, a teacher and advocate for healthful cuisine, pours her passion into her breadmaking as well:
"Healthy bread is like anything else-it has healthy ingredients. We use the best organic unbleached flour and yeast, pure vanilla, whole eggs (not dried and powdered), whole milk and organic sour cream. You want to use good, fresh ingredients. It's the essence of healthy cooking. "I tell my staff, 'Don't use your soup pot as a garbage pail. Bread is the same. If the ingredients aren't at their freshest for serving, then they aren't right for other uses in the kitchen.
"Our bread is very important at Claire's. We make a country white and a honey wheat in a pinwheel loaf-400 a day-and challah for the morning French toast with sauteed bananas or as buns for veggie burgers. "It's not practical to bake bread every day. We let our bread rise several times, punching it down again and again. For the home cook, it's time consuming. Even I'm happy to buy a good loaf of bread. "But anybody can bake bread. Combine flour, water and yeast and watch it grow! It's delights all your senses. And it a gratifies and satisfies. I was kneading it all by hand until we got up to 12 loaves a day.
"I love a good oatmeal molasses bread; a whole wheat bread with walnuts, rosemary and finely chopped sweet onion sauteed in olive oil for a roasted vegetable sandwich; or an anadama bread with split pea soup.
"Bread is part of a meal. It requires time and effort, but I can't think of many things worthwhile that don't."
Go Green - green foods may be the SWAT team that sets you free...
June 12, 2005 05:27 PM
Go Green by Chrystle Fiedler Energy Times, December 4, 2003
If you feel like your busy life is holding your health hostage, green foods may be the SWAT team that sets you free. "Green foods are worth a king's ransom as far as your health is concerned," says Betty Kamen, PhD, author of Betty Kamen's 1,001 Health Secrets (Nutrition Encounter). "Green foods capture solar energy, using it to produce chlorophyll, which gives it its distinctive green color. Since we obtain our food by eating these plants or by eating the animals that eat these plants, this process is the source of human life."
"Green foods are renewal foods," says Ryan Bradley, ND, of the Bastyr Center for Natural Health in Kenmore, Washington. "They help to counteract the nutrient depletion caused by stress and by caffeine intake. They're nutrient dense, grounding, balancing, and soothing in their energetic nature."
Ideally, your meals should supply you with greens, but "...99.9% of the population doesn't get three to five [daily] servings of leafy green vegetables like kale, collard greens and spinach," says Jordan Rubin, NMD, PhD, CNC, author of Patient Heal Thyself (Freedom Press). Green foods can bridge that gap.
"Green foods have become popular because it's a convenient way to get your servings," says Dr. Rubin. "You get the equivalent of two large salads with one serving of powdered green food. It's nutrient dense and low calorie so it's a great addition to any diet. It satisfies the brain so you don't feel hungry."
"Everyone can benefit from green food supplementation," adds Dr. Kamen. "It's a concentrated supplier of everything that's good about vegetables."
Chlorophyll for Health
The key ingredient of green foods is chlorophyll, the green blood of plants. The benefits for humans from chlorophyll can be profound. A study of individuals at high risk of developing liver cancer because of their exposure to environmental toxins showed a 55% reduction in noxious compounds when these people supplemented their diets with a semi-synthetic chlorophyll derivative with properties similar to those of chlorophyll (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2001 Dec 4; 98(25):14601-6).
"This research supports the long-standing notion that chlorophyll, and green foods, can play a role in detoxification in the liver, and thus 'cleansing' the blood," says Dr. Bradley. "It's a good addition to any detox protocol. Test tube evidence also suggests that chlorophyll inhibits mutations in human cells."
Chlorophyll is antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory. It can help fight anemia, improve digestion and elimination, and act as a mild diuretic. It also helps friendly bacteria in the gut reproduce and thereby possibly boost immunity.
Green, Green Grasses
Fast-growing plants, such as wheat and barley cereal grasses, contain the most chlorophyll and the deepest green color.
"Wheat grass was one of the country's first multi-vitamins," says Dr. Rubin, who is also the author of Restoring Your Digestive Health (Twin Streams Health). "Certified organic cereal grasses pull a vast number of nutrients from the soil."
"The solar-powered factory in the leaves of the young grass plants is almost beyond comprehension," says Dr. Kamen. "Sprouted grains have exceptional nutritive value and high amounts of certain vitamins and minerals."
The blue-green microalgae spirulina is a chlorophyll powerhouse.
"Spirulina is high in protein, up to 65%, and the blue pigment of this blue-green algae, phycocyanin, has antioxidant, antiviral and antifungal properties," says Dr. Rubin.
Like other greens, spirulina can help you cut calories. "When you nourish the body and the brain with nutrient-dense and low-caloric food, it satisfies that impulse to keep eating." Spirulina is also high in B vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin and pantothenic acid, all commonly depleted nutrients. B vitamins are critical players in overall metabolism, and are vital to nerve and adrenal function.
Spirulina contains the minerals potassium and magnesium, plus iron. "It's been scientifically validated that [spirulina's iron is] comparable to the absorption from an egg," says Dr. Bradley. "It may benefit patients that are anemic. It's also a great choice for Vegans who are looking for plant sources of iron."
In addition, the spirulina compounds called phycocyanins may control inflammation and lower the risk of cancer.
"Spirulina stimulates the part of the immune system [natural killer cells] responsible for our ability to fight off viruses and survey our tissues internally and detect and kill cancerous tissue," says Dr. Bradley.
Like spirulina, chlorella stimulates your natural killer cells to fight bacteria and viruses, and to strengthen your defenses.
"Chlorella is the richest food on the planet in chlorophyll," says Dr. Kamen. "It's also high in protein and rich in beta-carotene and minerals.
"One of the truly amazing facts about chlorella is its ability to oxygenate the blood," Dr. Kamen continues. "If your blood doesn't have enough oxygen, you can become listless and lethargic. Chlorella actually increases your hemoglobin, the oxygen transporter in your blood, so there is more oxygen present. It provides the necessary fuel for making healthy cells, and the result is renewed energy and vitality."
Both spirulina and chorella also contain omega-6 fatty acids that have anti-inflammatory benefits and can improve the behavior of your blood vessels. In addition, they provide vitamin B12.
Green Foods from the Sea
Seaweed and other sea vegetables like kelp offer a green foods bonanza. Seaweed is low in calories but, like spirulina, offers a wealth of nutrients.
"Most seaweed provides a rich supply of many essential nutrients, including protein, calcium, iodine and zinc," says Bradley Willcox, MD, co-author of The Okinawa Program (Potter). "Iodine is essential to the function of the thyroid gland, which needs it to make hormones that regulate your body's metabolism. Lignans, the cancer-fighting phytoestrogens have been found in high quantities in seaweed, mostly kelp, which could conceivably provide some protection against certain types of cancers."
Lower rates of breast cancer were reported in Japanese patients eating a diet high in kelp (Nutr Cancer 1983; 4:217-22). Kelp has also been shown to reduce DNA damage induced by several known carcinogens (Mutat Res 1993; 303:63-70).
Sea greens contain omega-3 fatty acids, fats that boost heart health. "Sea vegetables may prove to be a more sustainable source of omega-3 fatty acids than the dwindling fish populations," says Dr. Bradley.
To incorporate sea greens into your diet, start by putting them on your lettuce and tomatoes.
"Sea vegetables can make a great addition to salads," says Dr. Bradley. "They're high in nutrition and add flavor because of the sodium. They also add texture, giving salads more crunch."
Other ways to green up your diet:
* "Kelp comes packaged in three-foot-long dried strips and is prepared by cutting the long strips into smaller two- to three-inch strips and boiling them for about ten minutes. You remove the kelp, and then you can use the broth in soups, salads and other dishes. Kelp simmered with vegetables or tofu and served in miso soup is an Okinawan favorite," says Dr. Willcox.
* Wakame (one of Dr. Willcox's favorites), a type of kelp, has a taste and appearance that may remind Westerners of spinach lasagna.
* Nori seaweed can be used to wrap sushi and rice balls and also to season salads, soups and noodles.
"Seaweed tastes great and if used wisely, should not tip you into sodium overload," says Dr. Willcox.
Go for the Green
More and more people are realizing and enjoying the benefits of green foods. Dr. Bradley recommends keeping your green foods consumption simple. Add powdered greens, dried tablets and liquids to juice, mix them into smoothies or a protein shake, and sprinkle the powder on salads. Mixed in water, greens can be used as a morning tonic and help replace some of the nutrients like magnesium and B vitamins depleted by coffee and other caffeinated beverages, which act as diuretics.
"Incorporate a green drink into your diet once or twice a day," says Dr. Bradley. "It's the least expensive (health) insurance policy you can have."
June 11, 2005 05:04 PM
Power Protein by Joanne Gallo Energy Times, August 4, 1999
Chances are, if you've been trying to lose weight, build muscle, or increase your energy levels, then you've been hearing about protein. This essential nutrient has stolen the spotlight of the health industry as the alleged key to vitality and a solid physique.
With books like Protein Power (Bantam) and Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution (Avon) firmly implanted on The New York Times bestseller list, and protein bars and shakes growing in popularity, more people than ever are seeking to tap into the power of protein.
But before you go on an all-out protein-blitz, how can you decide what's best for you?
The Purpose of Protein
No doubt about it, protein performs a variety of roles. First and foremost, it is used to manufacture and repair all of the body's cells and tissues, and forms muscles, skin, bones and hair. Protein makes up the connective tissue that forms the matrix of bones; keratin is a type of protein used to make hair and nails.
It is essential to all metabolic processes; digestive enzymes and metabolism-regulating hormones (such as insulin, which influences blood sugar levels) are all made of protein. This nutrient also intricately takes part in transport functions: Without sufficient protein the body cannot produce adequate hemoglobin, which carries nutrients through the blood. Lipo-proteins are fat-carrying proteins which transport cholesterol through the bloodstream.
Protein helps regulate fluid and electrolyte balance, maintaining proper blood volume. Immunoglobulins and antibodies that ward off diseases are also comprised of protein.
Any protein that you eat that is not utilized for these purposes is stored as fat, although some may be broken down, converted to glucose and burned for energy. This can occur during intensive workouts, or when the body runs out of carbohydrates from the diet or glycogen from its muscle and liver stores.
"Even though the body can depend on the fat it has stored, it still uses muscle protein, unless it is fed protein as food," explain Daniel Gastelu, MS, MFS, and Fred Hatfield, PhD, in their book Dynamic Nutrition for Maximum Performance (Avery). "When dietary circumstances cause the body to use amino acids as a source of energy, it cannot also use these amino acids for building muscle tissue or for performing their other metabolic functions."
One can see why it is so important to eat a sufficient amount of protein daily in food, shakes or bars. Without it, bone tends to break down, the immune system can become impaired, and muscle strength drops as the body uses up muscle protein for energy.
Proteins are built of chains of amino acids, and 20 different kinds of these building blocks are necessary for protein synthesis within the body. Eleven of them can be manufactured by the body through a process called de novo synthesis; these are referred to as non-essential amino acids. The other nine, which must be obtained from the diet, are known as essential amino acids. (Although some amino acids are called "non-essential," in actuality they are vital: The body needs all 20 amino acids to function properly.)
Some of the more familiar non-essential amino acids include: n Carnitine helps remove fat from the bloodstream n Arginine helps burn sugar Essential amino acids include: n L-tryptophan, a precursor of the neurotransmitter serotonin, helps create calm moods and sleep patterns n L-lysine, required for the metabolism of fats n L-methionine a component of SAM-e (a supplement intended to relieve depression and arthritis, see p. 45)
The body forms and destroys protein from amino acids in a constant cycle of synthesis and degradation. You must consume protein regularly to replace the lost amino acids that are oxidized when protein is broken down and used for fuel. The amount of amino acids lost each day depends on what you eat and how much exercise you do.
Athletes vs. Weekend Warriors
Protein intake in the general population is still adequate, notes Gail Butterfield, PhD, RD, director of Sports Nutrition at Stanford University Medical School. "But we're learning that what is true for the general population may not be true for the athletic population," she says. "With heavy training there is greater protein degradation and you need to increase your intake. Thus, protein requirements are higher for athletes than regular people."
Also, if you diet or restrict your eating in any way, you may also not be getting enough protein.
Certainly, if you work out, eating protein is important. Providing four calories of energy per gram, protein keeps blood sugar steady during exercise. After exercise, it helps replenish and maintain stores of glycogen (stored muscle fuel) and decreases the loss of amino acids, as recent research has shown (J Appl Physiol 81 (5), Nov. 1996: 2095-2104). Lab studies in animals show that protein consumed after you run, lift weights, bike, etc..., helps stimulate muscle growth (Jrnl of Nut 127 , June 1997: 1156-1159)
High-protein diets are frequently touted to promote weight loss and increased energy. One of the most influential: the so-called 40-30-30 formula, developed by Barry Sears in his book The Zone: A Dietary Roadmap (HarperCollins), which describes a diet whose calories are 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein and 30% fat. The rationale: when you eat too many carbohydrates, your body uses these starches for energy instead of burning body fat. A high protein diet is supposed to keep your blood sugar balanced and stimulate hormones that burn body fat instead of carbohydrates for energy.
Other fitness experts such as Sherri Kwasnicki, IDEA International Personal Trainer of the Year of 1998, say that while protein is a necessary component of any diet, extreme high-protein plans aren't necessary for recreational fitness buffs. However, she notes that maintaining muscle mass is the key to aging gracefully, and getting enough protein is critical for that.
Many people today won't eat meat and dairy for ethical reasons, or to avoid the antibiotics and other chemicals in the raising of poultry and cattle. But that doesn't have to prohibit adequate protein intake. All soybean products, including tofu and soymilk, provide complete proteins, which supply ample quantities of all the essential amino acids.
In the past vegetarians were told to combine particular foods to make sure they consumed all the essential amino acids at each meal. (For example, beans with either brown rice, corn, nuts, seeds or wheat forms "complete" protein.) Today, diet experts aren't so picky. Eating a variety of plant-based foods throughout the day is just as effective as combining them at one meal.
Vegans who avoid all animal products should eat two servings at sometime during the day of plant-based protein sources, such as tofu, soy products, legumes, seeds and nuts.
The newest sources of protein are bars and shakes, which are growing steadily in popularity. Protein bars now constitute about 12% of the so-called energy bar market, with sales increasing about 38% per year. These bars generally provide at least 20 grams of protein, including soy and whey protein and calcium caseinate (milk protein). The benefits: bars supply protein along with carbohydrates for energy; protein powders, on the other hand, provide quickly digested, easily absorbed amino acids.
Edmund Burke, PhD, author of Optimal Muscle Recovery (Avery), suggests "If you need extra protein, you may benefit from the convenience of a mixed carbohydrate-protein supplement... choose a supplement that's healthy and low in fat."
Amino acid supplements are also growing in popularity, reported to build muscle and burn fat, or improve mood by boosting brain neurotransmitters. The amino acids glutamine, phenylalanine, tyrosine and 5-HTP (a form of tryptophan) are all used to boost spirits and enhance brain function.
And if you still ponder the merits of those high protein diets, do keep in mind that protein may be better at controlling hunger than carbohydrates or fat since it steadies blood sugar, so it may help you stick to a reduced-calorie plan. But excess protein can't be stored as protein in the body: It is either burned for energy or converted to fat. And carbs are still the body's top energy source, so forgoing too many can leave you tired and sluggish.
Still, with so many vital functions-and a variety of sources to choose from-you can't afford to not explore the benefits of protein.
The Natural Man
June 10, 2005 03:31 PM
The Natural Man
by Chrystle Fiedler Energy Times, July 14, 2003
Men face significant health challenges as they age. "When men go through andropause in their late 40s (like women go through menopause) and testosterone drops, these hormonal changes are associated with heart attacks, high cholesterol and diabetes," says Jacob E. Teitelbaum, MD, Director of the Annapolis Research Center for Effective Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Therapy in Maryland.
And although cardiovascular disease and cancer account for about two-thirds of men's deaths, says Michael Castleman, author of Blended Medicine (Rodale), men are also plagued by chronic pain (arthritis, especially from old athletic injuries), sexual problems and mental decline.
But men, and the women who love them, need not accept decline as an inevitable sign of aging. A natural man lifestyle makeover can make a difference. "Prostate problems can be significant [for men as they age]," says Jamey Wallace, ND, clinic medical director at the Bastyr Center for Natural Health in Seattle. "As men get older there can be an enlargement of the prostate that can cause urinary problems, with increased frequency and discomfort. There's a correlation between inactivity and weight gain and perhaps prostate problems as well." Besides lack of exercise, other contributing factors to health problems include a diet loaded with pesticide residues and chemicals, a lack of fiber and an excessive amount of unhealthy fats.
The Stronger Sex?
Women, on average, live five years longer than men. "At every age, American males have poorer health and a higher risk of mortality than females," says David Williams of the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research. The gap in life expectancy between men and women may have both genetic and lifestyle origins. More men smoke than women, and men are twice as likely to be heavy drinkers. A recent study Williams led, published in the American Journal of Public Health, confirms that men's behavior is indeed a contributing factor to longevity or lack thereof. "Men take more risks than women," says Castleman. "Men ride motorcycles, go skydiving and do 'death-defying' things. Sometimes, death wins." A macho attitude can prompt men to practice risky behavior by, say, driving without a seat belt. Men also typically engage in more dangerous occupations like construction or fire fighting.
Get Him to the Health Practitioner
Being macho may also mean men postpone visits to their health practitioners. Women are twice as likely to schedule an annual checkup.
"Men postpone admitting and getting help for problems," says Shoshana Zimmerman, ND, author of My Doctor Says I'm Fine...So Why Do I Feel So Bad? (Blue Dolphin). "They may want to prove they are tough or are preoccupied with their jobs and responsibilities." "Starting in adolescence men feel they can take care of themselves," says Dr. Wallace. Unfortunately, this means that it may take a health crisis like severe pain to prompt a man's visit to a health practitioner. "Men care less about their health, so they don't take care of themselves as well as women do," says Castleman.
Get Him to Take the Long View
"Health problems are a result of decades of poor diet and not enough exercise," says Dr. Wallace.
Dr. Teitelbaum, author of From Fatigued to Fantastic (Avery/Penguin) says, as a rule of thumb, "Things that make you feel good are generally good for you." But there is a difference between a craving, say for sugar, and what makes you feel good. The difference is how you feel an hour after you've eaten something. Sugar may make you feel fatigued; a high-protein diet may make you feel energized. "If you have low energy, that's the time to add eggs and meat. Others need to be Vegans. It's really individualized. Listen to your body."
Zinc is an important nutrient for men's health, particularly for the prostate, and can be found in pumpkin seeds. "Sprinkling a small handful on salads on a daily basis or bringing a small bag to the office and nibbling on those can be a helpful adjunct," says Dr. Wallace. Don't overdo zinc supplementation because high levels can lowers HDL-the good cholesterol-levels. If you do use supplements, follow package directions.
By eating different whole foods, you get optimal daily doses of vitamin A (in the form of mixed carotenoids); flavonoids; B vitamins; vitamins C, D, E and K; and important minerals like calcium, boron, manganese and magnesium, the single most critical nutrient. "It's also the one most Americans are deficient in," says Dr. Teitelbaum. "It promotes heart health, improves mental function and mood, helps you relax and sleep better." When sleep is elusive, herbs that can help include wild lettuce, Jamaican dogwood, hops, passionflower and valerian.
For many men, an enlarged prostate is part of aging. Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) may reduce the frequent urge to urinate that can result.
"After age 40, men's levels of testosterone decline, while levels of other hormones, notably prolactin, increase," says Castleman. "This results in an elevation of the male sex hormone dihydrotestosterone, which is responsible for the overgrowth of prostate tissue that is characteristic of benign prostate enlargement. Many studies have shown that saw palmetto shrinks enlarged prostates and relieves symptoms." It takes about six weeks to work. (Since urinary difficulties can signal several health problems, it's important to consult a trained practitioner first.)
Give Him a Multivitamin
Add a good multivitamin with essential nutrients from a natural food store, says Dr. Wallace. "You'll find vitamins there with bioavailability. You can take something but it may be in a form that you can't assimilate. You need a multivitamin that your body can actually use."
Powdered vitamin formulas can be a good choice, says Dr. Teitelbaum, since they don't have binders or fillers. "You can just put it into a glass of say orange juice or mix it into a smoothie."
In addition, omega-3 oil offers antioxidant protection and anti-inflammatory action, says Dr. Zimmerman: "Especially on the arteries, which protects against plaque buildup."
Get Him Eating Better and Exercising
To help your spouse or significant other improve his health and vitality, start by setting a good example both in nutrition and activity.
"Eat a whole-food diet yourself, include foods like vegetables, fruits and whole grains like quinoa, teff and kamut (find them at your local natural food store) full of fiber and B vitamins, instead of refined bread and pasta," says Dr. Wallace. "Choose foods you both like. Go to a natural food store and look through whole food cookbooks, find recipes that use ingredients that you know your spouse likes and try those."
"Spend your time in the produce section, have salads and fruit salads in the fridge at all times, and serve them at all meals," says Castleman.
Make gradual, healthy substitutions, steps you both can live with. For example, replace one meat lunch and dinner a week with a vegetarian alternative, says Castleman. "Make a big pot of hearty bean and vegetable soup a week, and just keep it in the fridge for an easy heat-and-eat meal." You can also broil fish instead of frying it. Use olive or canola oil when cooking.
To get your four to five servings of vegetables each day, eat a five-color salad. "You'll get a variety of nutrients so the body can select what it needs from the different vegetables," says Dr. Wallace.
"Serve more vegetables, at least two with dinner and add fruit into your man's (and your own) diet," says Dr. Zimmerman. "Eating three each of protein, vegetables and fruits per day goes a very long way to improving health." So does drinking plenty of water, eight to ten glasses a day.
Besides providing a good example by eating healthy foods, a woman can do the same thing with exercise. "If a woman wants to start walking she can invite her husband to go along. Thirty minutes of walking every day can be very helpful," says Dr. Wallace. Walking, like sex, keeps the pelvic area active and improves prostate health by stimulating blood flow. Remember, in both diet and exercise, nagging doesn't work-while setting an example and trying to be inclusive, and not demanding, often makes a big difference for better health.
DHA Neuromins - Feed Your Brain!
June 01, 2005 11:59 AM
In today’s society, “fat” has become a bad word. Our quest for good health has influenced many of us to drastically reduce our intake of fatty foods. But this dietary change has brought unintended consequences. As we’ve cut back on unhealthy saturated fats, we’ve also reduced certain “good” fats essential to our well-being. Few people realize how important fats are to a healthy brain. In fact, our brains are primarily fat, 60% by dry weight! And DHA, the most plentiful fatty acid in the brain, is crucial to brain health, from infancy to old age. Now DHA is available in a vegetarian source compatible with today’s trimmed-down lifestyle. Introducing: Source Naturals NEUROMINS DHA.
The Building Block of the Brain
DHA is shorthand for docosahexaenoic acid. This omega-3 long chain fatty acid is the primary building block of the brain and retina of the eye. The brain is 60% fat, and DHA is the most abundant fatty acid in the brain, comprising 25-35%. DHA is found in even greater concentrations - 50- 60% - in the retina. DHA is critical for infant development. Compelling research links DHA to the rapid cerebral and eye development that occurs during pregnancy and in the first few months after birth. DHA passes through the placenta to the fetus during pregnancy, and to the nursing baby through breast milk. Optimal levels of DHA in the bloodstream of pregnant women and the breast milk of nursing mothers are crucial to babies. In fact, DHA’s presence in breast milk may explain why breast-fed babies have demonstrable IQ advantages over babies fed formula without DHA. An emerging body of research led an expert committee of the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization to recommend that DHA be included in infant formulas at levels comparable to those of mothers’ milk. Yet DHA levels in the breast milk of American women rank among the lowest in the world, and DHA is still not available in U.S. infant formulas.
Supporting a Healthy Nervous System
DHA’s benefits are not limited to infant development. Supplementation may be helpful to anyone with a low DHA intake, especially for supporting a healthy nervous system. DHA has been associated with optimal memory function, visual acuity, and maintaining a positive mental state. DHA is an integral component of all membranes with electrical activity. The cells in our brain, retina and other parts of the nervous system have a complex network of connecting arms that transport electrical messages throughout the body. DHA’s presence in nerve cell membranes is critical because this is where messages are transmitted. It is at the membrane that nerve cells generate the electrical impulses that are the basis of all communication in the nervous system. Without the necessary fatty acids, this communication system can break down or become less effective. DHA supplementation may be especially important as we grow older. The body’s ability to synthesize DHA, which is very limited in all human beings, may decline even further with age. Research suggests that aging interferes with the activity of delta-6-desaturase, the enzyme involved in the conversion of omega-3 fatty acids into DHA. Elderly people with inadequate or DHAdeficient diets may benefit from a supplementary source of DHA.
Insufficient in Today’s Diet
Because human beings cannot adequately synthesize DHA, most of it is obtained from our diets. The richest sources are red meats, animal organs and eggs - among the first foods to be eliminated by people concerned about fat intake. Today, the average American is getting less DHA from food, and vegetarians, Vegans, and people on lowfat diets are especially at risk. Fish are a good dietary source, but must be eaten several times a week to provide enough DHA for optimal brain function. Fish obtain their DHA from microalgae – the nutritional basis of NEUROMINS.
Neuromins: a Pure, Safe Source Source Naturals DHA is obtained from NEUROMINS, a dietary supplement derived from algae in a base of sunflower oil. NEUROMINS DHA is a highly purified form of DHA, produced under tightly controlled manufacturing conditions. Unlike fish oil, which used to be the main supplemental source of DHA, NEUROMINS does not contain the fatty acid eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which is not recommended for infants or children. Source Naturals NEUROMINS DHA is available in bottles of 30, 60 and 120 softgels, in both 100 and 200 mg dosages. Pure, safe DHA in the 200 mg dosage may be especially beneficial for pregnant or nursing women.