Tag Archives: Calcium

Thriving on a Vegan Diet

ThiveVeganJacquie Eubanks RN BSNVeganism as a lifestyle choice is growing in popularity for reasons that include certain health advantages, animal compassion, and ethical issues regarding commercial dairy, meat and poultry production, as well as concern for the environment and the preservation of the earth’s natural resources. A healthy, balanced, fiber-rich vegan diet tends to promote weight loss and a healthy body mass index. A plant-based diet helps to reduce systemic inflammation, and provides numerous science-based health benefits, including more stable blood pressure, healthier blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and significantly reduced risk factors for developing heart disease, arthritis and diabetes.

The avoidance of red and processed meats may also help to reduce the risk of prostate, breast and colon cancers. Diets high in antioxidant-rich fruits, vegetables, and leafy greens, help to prevent macular degeneration and the formation of cataracts. Additional benefits include healthier skin, hair and nails, allergy and migraine relief, sustained energy and for many, a longer healthier lifespan. Those who would like to convert to a vegan diet, but find the process intimidating, should know that it’s not necessary to eat strictly vegan immediately. In fact, you can simply make a commitment to eating more plant-based foods to crowd out animal products one step at a time.

Potential vegans who try to eliminate all animal products at once are the least likely to maintain a vegan diet long term. Committing to a vegan diet for a lifetime may be the ultimate goal, but the transition strategy can begin with one meal a day, one meatless day per week, or taking a one week all- vegan test drive. Rather than creating confusion and stress over meal planning, transitioning to a vegan diet should be smooth, steady and adventurous. A good strategy includes seeking out and sampling several new to you vegan foods, vegetables or fruits each week. Veganizing your diet helps to eliminate some of the unhealthier processed foods you might be eating, but be wary of substituting these foods with too many processed vegan meals.

A healthy vegan diet involves more than just eating more vegetables, although that’s a good starting point. Acquiring a vegan cookbook or two that provide recipes for quick and easy home cooked meals is highly recommended, as diet diversity must be considered when switching to a plant-based diet. Smoothies, sandwiches, salads, stir-fries, grilled veggies, and vegan protein powders are easy to incorporate into the diet and are useful for those just starting to implement dietary changes. In addition to a variety of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and vegan milk and dairy substitutes, a typical vegan diet should include protein-based legumes, such as beans, pulses and lentils, as well as tofu, seitan, tempeh, and quinoa.

Vegan diets are typically high in fiber, phytochemicals, antioxidants, magnesium, folic acid and vitamins C and E, and tend to be low in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins B12 and D3, iron, calcium, zinc, taurine, and L-carnitine. While a proper vegan diet consisting of unprocessed single ingredient foods is health promoting, a poorly planned vegan diet may often result in nutrient deficiencies. Vegans must take nutrition seriously to ensure an adequate intake of protein and essential vitamins and minerals. Even with a diet based around nutrient-rich whole plant and fortified foods, many vegans look to intelligent supplementation to maximize their nutrition.

Vitamin B12 – Sufficient B12 is vitally important for brain, nerve, and hematologic health, as well as methylation processes and DNA regulation Our ability to absorb vitamin B12 decreases with age, making it a fairly common deficiency among older adults. Studies show that vegans are at risk of B12 deficiency, as no plant foods provide a significant amount of B12. Those on a strict vegan diet should regularly consume fortified foods and beverages and should consider a daily supplement to meet the body’s needs, especially those over age 50, or those who have diabetes, or malabsorption issues.

Vitamin D – Vitamin D is essential for calcium and phosphorus absorption, regulation of the immune and neuromuscular system, and bone, dental, and optimal health. With the avoidance of sunshine, many Americans are vitamin D deficient. Most now get their vitamin D through fortified foods and supplementation. Vegans can obtain vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) through supplements sourced from lichen or vitamin D2 (ergosterol) sourced from yeast.

Omega-3’s – Essential fatty acids EPA and DHA, which support brain, heart and ocular health as well as a healthy inflammatory response, are generally sourced from cold water fatty fish. Vegans can get fatty acids by consuming foods that contain ALA, a precursor to EPA and DHA, found in ground flaxseeds and concentrated plant oils. As many people have a limited ability to convert ALA to EPA and DHA, supplementing with ALA can help to prevent deficiencies, especially in those committed to long-term veganism.

L- carnitine – This amino acid, largely sourced from meat, is important for the transfer of fatty acids to support energy production in the heart and other muscles. Vegans typically have lower levels of L-carnitine in their muscles. For optimal health, vegans should consider supplementation.

Taurine – Typically found in meat and seafood, this amino acid is needed for the proper electrolyte balance, insulin activity, and cardiac and immune system functions. As vegans can have low levels of taurine, supplementation is an option.

Calcium – Vegans and non-vegans alike should strive to get sufficient calcium. Vegan diets tend to be lower in calcium, so vegans should strive to include good calcium sources daily, including dark green leafy vegetables and calcium fortified foods as well as supplements.

Along with the health promoting benefits of a vegan diet needs to come an awareness that a vegan diet is susceptible to being nutritionally poor. Going vegan does not necessarily make you healthier on its own. All potential vegans and those currently adhering to a vegan lifestyle must care about and pay attention to their nutrient intake. Adding supplements is a smart way to ensure your body is getting what it needs for optimal health and function.

Professional Supplement Center carries many high quality vegan supplements in support of nutritional and overall health:

Vegan B-12 2500 mcgVegan B-12 2500 mcg by Deva Nutrition: This 100% vegan, bioactive sublingual lozenge provides 2500 mcg of fast dissolving B-12 as methylcobalamin, a body-friendly coenzyme form of B-12. Wheat, yeast, dairy, gluten, fish, egg, sugar, salt and animal product-free.

Vegan True® Non-GMO...ON SALE  Vegan True® Non-GMO Vitamin D 1000 IU by Source Naturals: Sourced from organically cultivated agaricus bisporus mushroom fruiting body this product provides 1000 IU of Vitamin D2 as ergocalciferol in support of immune function, healthy bone maintenance, and muscle strength. Yeast, dairy, egg, gluten, corn, soy, wheat, sugar, salt, preservative and artificial ingredient free, vegan formulation.

Vitamin D3 Vegan...Vitamin D3 Vegan Liquid by Pure Encapsulations: This vegan liquid vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) formulation is derived from naturally occurring, sustainably harvested lichen in support of bone, breast, prostate, cardiovascular, colon and immune health. Gluten free, Non-GMO vegan formulation.

L-Carnitine 500 mgON SALE  L-Carnitine 500mg by Now®: This pure form of non-animal sourced L-carnitine as L-carnitine tartrate helps to maintain overall good health by facilitating the transfer of fatty acids into the mitochondrial membrane for cellular energy production. Gluten, wheat, soy, milk, egg, fish, shellfish, sugar, and preservative free, vegan formulation.

Plant Based Calcium...ON SALE  Plant Based Calcium Magnesium by Nature’s Answer: This multimineral complex provides bioactive calcium, magnesium and 72 trace minerals derived from red algae and seawater harvested in the pristine waters off the coast of Iceland. Gluten free, kosher, vegan formulation.

Health effects of vegan diets. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/89/5/1627S.full
Tips for New Vegans. http://www.veganhealth.org/articles/intro
Planning a healthy vegetarian diet. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/vegetarian-diet/art-20046446?pg=2
Vegan Diet: Health Benefits Of Being Vegan. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/149636.php
57 Health Benefits of Going Vegan. http://www.nursingdegree.net/blog/19/57-health-benefits-of-going-vegan/
Calcium in the Vegan Diet. http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/calcium.php

Nutrients for a Healthy Life

NutrientsHealthyLifeJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

Good health requires good nutrition, exercise, a little sunshine and an overall healthy lifestyle. Nutritious healthy food is abundant in our society, yet many continue to eat nutrient poor processed and fast foods. This makes for a very unhealthy diet, lacking in the essential nutrients necessary for optimal wellness and contributes to our over-fed but undernourished society.  Nutrients are involved in all bodily processes, and while all nutrients have specific functions, they work together to support health and wellness. Nutrient deficiencies affect bodily functions and processes at the most basic cellular level, including fluid balance, enzyme functions, nerve signaling, metabolism, digestion, brain function, and growth and development. Long term deficiencies can affect both physical and mental health and contribute to overall unhealthy aging.

As trillions of cells rely on vitamins and minerals to create energy, it’s not surprising that fatigue is one of the first signs of deficiencies. According to the Harvard Health Publications, The Truth About Vitamins and Minerals, most Americans are not eating healthy enough diets to provide optimal levels of a range of vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients. Children, young women, the elderly, and vegetarians are at the highest risk of several deficiencies. Malnutrition, malabsorption, medications, medical conditions and aging all contribute to nutrient deficiencies. In addition, excessive physical activity, smoking, alcohol and sedentary habits all negatively impact micronutrient demands.

The most common nutrient deficiencies include:

Vitamin D – Vitamin D deficiency is prevalent in all age groups, especially in those who chose to avoid any sun exposure or use topical sunscreens, which block vitamin D production. By some estimates, up to half of the general population is either deficient or at risk of deficiency. Low levels of vitamin D are linked to an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, bone disease and peripheral artery disease. To optimize your vitamin D levels practice sensible sun exposure, include some vitamin D enriched foods and supplement with vitamin D3.

Vitamin K2 – Vitamin K2 works in conjunction with vitamin D3. Neither one can do a proper job without the other. Working synergistically with magnesium and calcium, vitamin K2 plays an important role in bone and heart health. In addition to being responsible for bone building, vitamin K is necessary for the health of arteries and blood vessels and plays a role in tissue renewal and growth. A deficiency can lead to heart disease and osteoporosis. Animal products such as eggs and some cheeses and fermented foods such as natto are good food sources of vitamin K2. If you are taking anticoagulant medication, consult a healthcare provider before supplementing with vitamin K2.

Calcium – Critical to heart, muscle and nerve function, calcium is essential to every cell. Low calcium intake is common in young women and the elderly, where it can affect bone health and lead to osteoporosis. Calcium intake should be balanced with vitamin D, K2 and magnesium to ensure that calcium is used correctly by the body. Excessive calcium intake is never recommended. Calcium can be found in dairy products, fish and dark green leafy veggies.

Magnesium – Essential for heart, muscle and overall health, magnesium deficiency is linked to a higher risk of both high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. Magnesium aids heart muscle function, keeps it running smoothly and maintains a proper balance of other minerals to aid heart health. Studies show less than half the population has sufficient magnesium intake. Low magnesium levels are associated with type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart disease and osteoporosis. Symptoms of deficiency include muscle cramps, restless leg syndrome, fatigue and abnormal heart rhythm. Dietary sources include whole grains, almonds, and leafy green vegetables.

Vitamin B12 – Vitamin B12 is necessary for red blood cell formation, neurological function, DNA synthesis, and homocysteine metabolism, as well as energy metabolism. Causes of insufficiency include dietary deficiency, malabsorption due to gastrointestinal disorders and pernicious anemia, a condition in which people lack intrinsic factor, a compound necessary for B12 absorption and utilization. B12 is found naturally in animal products and fortified foods. Older adults, along with vegans, and vegetarians, especially those who may be pregnant or lactating vegetarians, are at risk of deficiencies and should consult with a healthcare provider regarding B12 supplementation.

Antioxidants – Vitamins C and E, selenium and CoQ10 are chemical compounds that address free radicals and oxidative stress. These nutrients support mitochondrial energy production and help to protect vital organs, including the heart, lungs and brain, that are vulnerable to oxidative injury. An unhealthy lifestyle, aging and malabsorption issues are linked to antioxidant deficiency. Be sure your diet includes an array of fruits and vegetables, nuts, whole grains and healthy protein each day.

Professional Supplement Center offers exclusive, patented micronutrient testing, not only to measure the level of selected vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other essential micronutrients, but also to determine whether nutrients are being absorbed and are properly functioning within the body.

Comprehensive Nutritional Panel by Spectracell LaboratoriesComprehensive Nutritional Panel by Spectracell Laboratories – This micronutrient test kit measures the function of 35 nutritional components including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fatty acids and amino acids to give an accurate analysis of deficiencies. This test includes a complimentary post-test consultation with our Registered Nurse to review the results.

D3 5000™ by Metagenics®D3 5000™ by Metagenics® – This product supplies 5000 IU of a highly absorbable form of vitamin D3 as cholecalciferol in a dosage intended to quickly replenish vitamin D status. Gluten free, Non-GMO formulation.


Vitamin K2 with D3 by Ortho MolecularVitamin K2 with D3 by Ortho Molecular – This comprehensive and synergistic formula promotes natural bone building processes and provides support for calcium metabolism, healthy bone density, and bone strength. Gluten free.


Calcium with Vitamins D and K2 by Dr. MercolaCalcium with Vitamins D and K2 by Dr. Mercola – This product provides highly bioavailable elemental calcium, along with clinically supported vitamin K2 and vitamin D3 as cholecalciferol in support of balanced bone strength and increased bone density levels.


Magnesium (citrate) by Pure EncapsulationsMagnesium Citrate by Pure Encapsulations – Each capsule provides 150 mg of highly bioavailable magnesium chelate in support of healthy bones, cardiovascular health, energy production and nutrient metabolism. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formula.


B12-Active™ CHERRY by Integrative TherapeuticsB12-Active™ Cherry by Integrative Therapeutics – These naturally flavored chewable tablets provide B12 as methylcobalamin, a highly bioavailable, readily useable form, in support of fast-acting energy support.


BioProtect (Full Spectrum Antioxidant Supplement) by Biotics ResearchBioProtect™ by Biotics Research – This full spectrum antioxidant formula provides antioxidant vitamins, minerals, CoQ10 and amino acids in support of addressing oxidative stress, free radical protection, and prevention of muscle soreness after exercise. Gluten free.


CDC’s Second Nutrition Report. http://www.cdc.gov/nutritionreport/pdf/4page_%202nd%20nutrition%20report_508_032912.pdf
7 Nutrient Deficiencies That Are Incredibly Common. https://authoritynutrition.com/7-common-nutrient-deficiencies/
Micronutrients: Common Vitamin and Mineral Deficiency States. http://www.nutritionmd.org/consumers/general_nutrition/micronutrients_deficiency.html
Vitamin B12. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional/
The Truth About Vitamins and Minerals. Harvard Health Publications, Boston, MA. 2012
3 Top Nutritional Deficiencies as Fatigue Causes. http://universityhealthnews.com/daily/energy/3-top-nutritional-deficiencies-as-fatigue-causes/


Vitamin Deficiency and Fatigue

Jacquie Eubanks RN BSN VitDeficiencyFatique

How often when asked “How are you?” do you automatically respond with the polite, standard answer, “I’m fine, thanks. How are you?” If we responded truthfully, we might say “I’m exhausted, actually,” or “I’m just worn out today.” The truth is that many of us are trying to balance work, home, school and family responsibilities, often on less than optimal sleep. On top of that, restrictive diets and our standard American diet don’t necessarily provide the nutrients we need to optimally support our everyday bodily processes, including energy production. Getting sufficient, and even excessive, daily calories does not necessarily equate to proper nutrient intake. Studies show we are suffering from micronutrient deficiencies that can lead to energy depletion, fatigue and a whole range of health problems.

Poor nutrition often results in food cravings, overeating and obesity, as our bodies attempt to get the nutrients required for good health and function. As much as we think our bodies just run automatically 24/7, depriving the body of nutrients isn’t much different from depriving a machine of the fuel it needs to operate. Eventually, the machine runs dry, catches fire, seizes up or quits running altogether, similar to our bodies when they break down–dehydration, inflammation, muscle fatigue and exhaustion can ensue. And while fatigue can be a warning sign of potential illness, many times the most common causes of fatigue are vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

All bodily cells rely on vitamins and minerals to produce energy. Nutrient deficiencies impair cellular energy production, resulting in a lack of energy and fatigue. Low energy has become one of our most common health complaints, as fatigue can negatively affect all areas of life from work quality to enjoyment of daily activities. Persistent feelings of exhaustion or muscle fatigue should be addressed sooner rather than later, as prolonged fatigue may be an early warning sign of underlying health issues or potential future health problems. In addition to nutrient deficiencies, poor sleep quality, lack of exercise and emotional stress all deplete energy stores and contribute to overall tiredness.

Let’s take a look at how deficiencies in certain nutrients affect our energy levels:

  • Calcium – Calcium is critical to energy production and proper nerve function. In addition to fatigue, low calcium can cause muscle cramps and abnormal heart rhythms.
  • Vitamin D – Essential for growth and development, vitamin D deficiency can cause fatigue, muscle aches and weakness and can negatively affect the health of bones and teeth. Low vitamin D levels can result in fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and compromised immune and neurological health.
  • Iron – When the body lacks iron, it struggles to make new red blood cells that carry oxygen to cells throughout the body. Left unchecked, iron deficiency can result in severe anemia, which can cause extreme exhaustion.
  • B vitamins – B complex vitamins aid in converting food into energy. Deficiencies in any of the B vitamins can negatively affect the cells’ mitochondrial energy production, resulting in weakness, balance issues and physical and mental exhaustion.
  • Magnesium – Insufficient magnesium intake can result in oxidative stress and chronic inflammation, key players in fatigue-related conditions including chronic fatigue syndrome. Vital for energy production, a magnesium deficiency can cause muscle cramps, abnormal heart rhythms, fatigue and weakness.
  • Potassium – Low potassium levels may cause muscle cramps and weakness and can dangerously disrupt normal heart rhythms, resulting in heart palpitations or irregular heartbeats.
  • Antioxidants – Antioxidants help protect against free radical damage that can compromise mitochondrial energy production. Antioxidant vitamins, such as C and E, and the mineral selenium help address fatigue by supporting healthy mitochondrial energy production.

Deficiencies should always be addressed as a preventative measure to protect against illnesses associated with nutrient deficiencies. Fortunately, many vitamin and mineral deficiencies can be corrected with good health advice, dietary changes and supplementing with high quality vitamins and minerals.

Multi-Mins (Iron & Copper Free)Multi-Mins™ (Iron & Copper Free) by Biotics Research – This high absorbable formula supplies a balanced source of mineral chelates, whole foods, phytochemically bound trace minerals and antioxidant enzymes. Gluten and dairy free.


UltraNutrientUltraNutrient® by Pure Encapsulations – This advanced formula provides core vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, botanicals and phytonutrient extracts to provide broad-spectrum nutritional support. Non-GMO formulation.



Active B-ComplexActive B Complex by Integrative Therapeutics – This formula provides the full complement of bioavailable B vitamins in support of multiple biochemical processes including energy production, healthy homocysteine blood levels, and improved visual clarity, concentration and alertness.


Minimal and Essential Antioxidant and Multi-Vitamin FormulaMinimal and Essential® Antioxidant and Multi-Vitamin Formula by Vital Nutrients This full-spectrum formula provides the minimum daily requirements of vitamins and some essential minerals along with a potent antioxidant complex.



Is a Vitamin or Mineral Deficiency Making You Tired? http://health.usnews.com/health-news/health-wellness/articles/2015/09/08/is-a-vitamin-or-mineral-deficiency-making-you-tired
3 Top Nutritional Deficiencies As Fatigue Causes. http://www.naturalhealthadvisory.com/daily/fatigue-lack-of-energy/3-top-nutritional-deficiencies-as-fatigue-causes/
7 nutrient deficiencies that can make you sick. http://www.mnn.com/health/fitness-well-being/stories/7-nutrient-deficiencies-that-can-make-you-sick
10 Vitamin And Mineral Deficiencies That Are Draining You Of Your Energy. http://dailyhealthpost.com/10-vitamin-or-mineral-deficiencies-related-to-fatigue/
7 Common Nutrient Deficiencies: Know the Signs. http://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/guide-to-essential-nutrients/common-nutrient-deficiencies/
Vitamin D Deficiency – An Ignored Epidemic. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3068797/