Why Vitamins Are the Secret to Better Health

vitamins, vitamin shoppe, vitamin D, vitamin B12, vitamin C

We have always been told to take vitamins and minerals but why?  And how do we know what we need? How do we know that we are getting quality products?  Theses are all important questions, and we are going to take a look at these questions and try to answer them.

Why do we need vitamins and minerals?

This is the simple part of the puzzle. We need vitamins and minerals for the health functioning of our mind and body.  Every system of our body: skin, bones, muscles, blood, nerves, brain and so many more requires these raw materials because the body can’t produce sufficient amounts on its own.  So, we get these raw materials from our food.

A healthy balanced diet should supply us with the nutrients our body and mind need.  But there are a few things that could prevent us from getting all the nutrients we need.  Let’s look at a few,

Cooking Methods

Cooking can improve the absorption of some foods while other foods lose their nutrients if they are cooked.  But it also depends on how the food is cooked.  For example, the protein in cooked eggs is 180% more digestible than that of raw eggs.  Nutrients reduced from cooking:

  • water-soluble vitamins: vitamin C and the B vitamins — thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), folic acid (B9), and cobalamin (B12)
  • fat-soluble vitamins: vitamins A, D, E, and K
  • minerals: primarily potassium, magnesium, sodium, and calcium

Boiling, simmering or poaching reduces water-soluble vitamins C and B.  However, if the water is consumed then the vitamins are retained.   Grilling or broiling causes a loss of B vitamins because the nutrient rich juice drips off the meat. Roasting and baking result in less of a loss of vitamin C but because of the high heat and longer cooking times, vitamin B is reduced by %40.  Sautéing and stir-frying improve the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and some plant compounds, but they decrease the amount of vitamin C in vegetables. Frying makes food taste delicious, and it can provide some benefits when healthy oils are used. It’s best to avoid frying fatty fish and minimize the frying time of other foods. Steaming is one of the best cooking methods for preserving nutrients, including water-soluble vitamins. Here are some cooking tips to maximize nutrient retention cited from healtline.com:

  1. Use as little water as possible when poaching or boiling.
  2. Consume the liquid left in the pan after cooking vegetables.
  3. Add back juices from meat that drip into the pan.
  4. Don’t peel vegetables until after cooking them. Better yet, don’t peel at all to maximize their fiber and nutrient density.
  5. Cook vegetables in smaller amounts of water to reduce the loss of vitamin C and B vitamins.
  6. Try to eat any cooked vegetables within a day or two, as their vitamin C content may continue to decline when the cooked food is exposed to air.
  7. Cut food after — rather than before — cooking, if possible. When food is cooked whole, less of it is exposed to heat and water.
  8. Cook vegetables for only a few minutes whenever possible.
  9. When cooking meat, poultry, and fish, use the shortest cooking time needed for safe consumption.
  10. Don’t use baking soda when cooking vegetables. Although it helps maintain color, vitamin C will be lost in the alkaline environment produced by baking soda.

Can we absorb the nutrients?

There are some conditions or diseases that could cause malabsorption of nutrients.  Here’s what CentreSpringMD had to say “Having a weak gut lining, food allergies, microbiome imbalances such as bacterial overgrowth, damage to the intestines from infection, surgery, pancreatic insufficiency, autoimmune disease–all of these are possible causes that lead to poor nutrient absorption. Pair that with the possibilities of our foods not having optimal nutrient levels due poor soil quality, other environmental factors, and it is not difficult to see how nutrient deficiencies are pervasive in today’s world.

Often people go years with subclinical deficiencies that lead to an array of symptoms. Hair loss, brain fog, chronic fatigue, these are just a few! Prolonged or frequent use of antibiotics can alter the terrain of the gut in a way that leads to nutrient malabsorption.

And of course, our infamous friend named stress is well known to slow digestion and significantly alter the microbiome… thereby negatively impacting digestion and immunity (remember how the gut houses a huge percentage of your immune system?!)”

Growing conditions of our food

According to one article sited “fruits and vegetables grown decades ago were much richer in vitamins and minerals than the varieties most of us get today. The main culprit in this disturbing nutritional trend is soil depletion: Modern intensive agricultural methods have stripped increasing amounts of nutrients from the soil in which the food we eat grows. Sadly, each successive generation of fast-growing, pest-resistant carrot is truly less good for you than the one before.” And according to several studies this decline in nutrients is measurable

What can be done? The key to healthier produce is healthier soil. Alternating fields between growing seasons to give land time to restore would be one important step. Also, foregoing pesticides and fertilizers in favor of organic growing methods is good for the soil, the produce and its consumers. Those who want to get the most nutritious fruits and vegetables should buy regularly from local organic farmers.

What to look for when buying vitamins

Now that we’ve taken a look at the reasons why we might need to take supplemental vitamins and minerals, perhaps we should learn a little about shopping for them since the market is vast so how do we know what to buy?

Vitamin and mineral supplements are subject to fairly limited regulation by the FDA. To ensure the safety and accuracy of a product, look for supplements that have been certified by a third-party testing organization

Taking supplements should be done under the supervision of a healthcare practitioner. Depending on the type and level of ingredients, there are risks of side effects, toxicity, and interactions with drugs, foods, and alcohol. Additionally, supplements are not guaranteed to be effective.

You’ll want to look for supplements that adhere to any dietary restrictions you may have. How often you need to take the supplement, as well as its form, such as capsules or chewable gummies, should also be considered.

 

https://www.helpguide.org/harvard/vitamins-and-minerals.html

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/soil-depletion-and-nutrition-loss/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6049644/

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/cooking-nutrient-content#cooking-amp-nutrients

https://centrespringmd.com/what-causes-poor-absorption-of-nutrients/

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-to-choose-high-quality-vitamins-and-supplements#regulation

 

Fun In The Sun

Looking to have some fun in the sun but worried about all the risks? Well I have some good news. Sunshine is not the cancer-causing enemy that we once thought it was. In fact, we actually need sunshine almost like we need food.

Proper Exposure to Sunlight Can:

But what does ‘proper exposure to sunlight’ actually mean? Well, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are some simple steps to ensure you are safeguarded from the suns adverse effects.

sun safety

Fun In The Sun

First, please note that sunscreen/sunblock is NOT a way to justify prolonged exposure to the sun. Rather, it helps to decrease damage caused by UVA and UVB rays which can be attributed to:

How to Choose the Best Sunscreen

Sun Safety Tips

  1. Minimize Mid-Day Sun Exposure – According to WHO UV rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Therefore it’s best to limit or avoid the sun during this time.
  2. Cover Up – Always try and included wearing items such as sunglasses, wide brimmed hats and UV protective clothing. This will help protect yourself against harmful UV damage.
  3. ALWAYS Wear Sunscreen/Sunblock – Many of us now know the importance of wearing sunscreen on hot sunny days but did you know it’s just as important to wear it on those cloudy days too? That’s right! Clouds work to filter out the sunlight but only block approximately 20% of the UV rays.  That means you can still be exposed to a whooping 80% of  UV rays. Click here read the best sunscreen product review.
  4. Check The UV Index – The higher the number, the stronger the sun’s UV rays are.  The UV Index can range from 0 – 12+. This is something I monitor carefully as my fair skin burns in approximately 3.5 minutes (I’m not kidding).
  5. Spend Time In The Shade – Now I know this seems like a no brainer however you still need to be careful even in the shade. Not all shade is created equal.  For example a sun umbrellas may block the sun but still allow UV rays to penetrate through. So you should always be cautious and wear sunscreen.  Also, you need to understand that your surroundings play a large role even in the shade. This is because the strength of UV rays can vary based on what kind of surface they bounce off of.

Examples Of UV Reflection Strength In The Shade:

Final Thoughts

Enjoy the sun! But consciously and in small amounts. Be sure to share and incorporate these sun safety tips with your family before enjoying the beautiful outdoors.

Scientific Key To Anti-Aging

supplement

Years ago, I found myself in the company of intellectuals having breakfast on the outskirts of New York.  During our meal, I noticed one of my colleagues pleading with a friend to take this ‘special supplement’ to help with his health.  This is a very familiar scenario for many health professionals.  Dealing with the outrageous claims made by some supplement companies is, dare I say, a problem.  Firstly, you don’t want to give people false hope when they are in crisis mode requiring medical attention.  Secondly, some claims are just outright false or at the very least misleading.  However, this was a person with a PhD from a very prominent university in America, so I continued to listen.

The term “cellular repair” kept coming up.  After realizing she had been using the supplement herself, I couldn’t help but think that anti-aging could be affiliated as one of the effects of this supplement.  From all the years I’ve known her, I would definitely describe her appearance as a person who hadn’t aged in decades.

I was interested in learning more about this wonder supplement.  Therefore, I began to look into the contents and research behind its claims.  In short, what I came across was intriguing.

The Role Of NAD+ And Sirtuins

Researchers have demonstrated that cellular health is dependent on two things: A coenzyme called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+).  And proteins called sirtuins that are dependent on NAD+.

Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide is a vital coenzyme that exists in all of your cells.  It ensure that your cells function properly.  A coenzyme is like a “helper” molecule.  It binds to other enzymes to help cause reactions at the molecular level (3).  The supply of NAD+ in the body is critical in supporting our health.  Also, it plays an important role in processes like DNA repair.  NAD+ is also used for the following processes and mechanisms:

– Energy production (ATP)
– Chromosome Stability
– Immune Cell Signaling
– Energy Enzyme Activity
– Brain Health
– Longevity

During the aging process, NAD+ levels drop dramatically.  Sirtuins are proteins that depend on NAD+ levels to function.  Sirtuins have been implicated in influencing a wide range of cellular processes.  Examples include anti aging, inflammation, stress resistance, energy efficiency and alertness.  Furthermore, it can also control or influence circadian rhythms and mitochondria (1).  Too sciency right?  Let’s just say, sirtuins are very important proteins.  Regardless if you have a scientific background or not, it’s important that we all try to understand a little more about the chemicals that we put on and in our bodies.  So many of use potentially harmful chemicals without giving it a second thought especially when it comes to the fight against aging.  Click here to learn more about what chemicals are you putting on your face.

Important Discoveries

During an e-mail exchange with the company that produces the supplement, they revealed to me that “there are two notable discoveries worth mentioning.  During the year 2000, it was demonstrated that many critical cellular metabolic processes are NAD+-dependent.  However, in 2013, it was demonstrated that declining NAD+ levels, leading to poor mitochondrial and cellular health, could be reversed.”

Wait what?  The reason we age and eventually die is because mitochondria fail to repair, and our cells die (4).  If research has demonstrated that this process can be reversed, could we theoretically live forever or at least longer?

“Based on these findings, researchers were able to pinpoint natural compounds that help our cells to produce NAD+ and stimulate sirtuin activity at a level we once had.  This supplement is targeting your cellular health to ensure they have what they need to continue to function at an optimal level of health.”

Well that seems promising doesn’t it?  In reality that’s what all this really is, a start with promising test results.  Clinical trials are mostly conducted by the company’s own research scientists own bias may be a factor when interpreting these results.

Clinical Trial Results

The company directed me to their website to read about the results.  Their first full-scale double blind, placebo-controlled, clinical trial (the gold standard of drug testing).  Conducted throughout 2016, the results of the study showed that in participants taking the recommended dose of this supplement, NAD+ levels increased from baseline in whole blood by an average of 40%.  This at four weeks and maintained that increase for the duration of the trial.  Forty percent is a significant increase and deserves further investigation.

It’s important to note that a majority of the studies on NAD+ demonstrating positive outcomes like improved muscle function, DNA damage repair, and cognitive function were tested on mice and worms.  They have yet to look at similar effects in humans.  So at best, the results show the potential for significant benefits in humans.

Another thing to note is that you may not necessarily feel the benefits of adequate NAD+ levels in the body.  This because it is hard to feel your cells repairing accumulated damage. However, if what this supplement claims to do is true, it is equally important to recognize the benefits derived at a cellular level.  Even if they don’t manifest themselves in a way that we can feel and see. The same can be said for stem cell therapy, another regenerative treatment that aims to turn back the clock. These treatments, like NAD+, work at the cellular level to repair damage and support energy levels to help you look and feel younger. For further information about Myths vs Reality when it comes to anti-aging supplements click here Click here for further information about Myths vs Reality when it comes to anti-aging supplements.

Sources:

1. HTTPS://EN.WIKIPEDIA.ORG/WIKI/SIRTUIN
2. PREYAT N, LEO O (MAY 2013). “SIRTUIN DEACYLASES: A MOLECULAR LINK BETWEEN METABOLISM AND IMMUNITY”. JOURNAL OF LEUKOCYTE BIOLOGY. 93 (5): 669–80.
3. HTTPS://WWW.ELYSIUMHEALTH.COM/EN-US/KNOWLEDGE/SCIENCE-101/EVERYTHING-YOU-NEED-TO-KNOW-ABOUT-NICOTINAMIDE-ADENINE-DINUCLEOTIDE-NAD
4. J CLIN INVEST. 2013 MAR 1; 123(3): 951–957. PUBLISHED ONLINE 2013 MAR 1. DOI: 10.1172/JCI64125