Tag Archives: cancer

What Nutrients Are Missing in Your Diet?

WhatsMissingDietJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

If you are focused on losing body fat or increasing lean muscle mass, chances are you are concentrating on your caloric intake, as well as placing your focus on your macronutrient intake, the proteins, carbohydrates and dietary fats that are all a necessary part of a healthy diet. Or, perhaps you follow the standard American diet consisting of foods high in sugar, salt and unhealthy fats, leading to hunger and overconsumption of far too many empty calories, as the body strives to get the nutrients it needs for proper function. While one of these dietary approaches may be viewed as healthier than the other, chances are neither will consistently deliver sufficient micronutrients necessary for overall good health and bodily functions, leading to a dietary deficiency in vitamins and minerals or micronutrient malnutrition.

While the general nutrition advice is to eat a “balanced” diet, many of us are not sure what that really means and so tend to make choices we like, not necessarily those that are best for heath. Dietary trends over time show Americans are not following healthy eating patterns and are deficient in the micronutrients necessary to maintain optimal health and prevent nutrient deficiency diseases. According to the American Dietetic Association, although deficiencies of essential nutrients have decreased over the last century, the rates of chronic diseases, many of which are related to poor quality diet and a sedentary lifestyle, have dramatically increased to the point where approximately 50% of American adults have one or more preventable diet-related chronic disease.

Key dietary recommendations suggest following a healthy eating pattern that focuses on variety across all food groups, nutrient density and portion size. An eating pattern can be described as a combination of foods and beverages that constitute a person’s complete dietary intake over time. Nutrient density encompasses foods and beverages that provide vitamins, minerals, naturally occurring components such as fiber, and beneficial phytonutrients, all of which have positive effects on health. Variety refers to consuming a diverse assortment of foods and beverages from all food groups, without exceeding limits for calories and other components, such as added sugars and sodium.

Nutrition and physical activity-related health conditions include:

  • Obesity – For the past 25 years, more than half of the adult population has been overweight or obese, especially those aged 40 and older. Abdominal obesity prevalence now affects half of U.S adults of all ages. Nearly one in three youths aged 2 – 19 are overweight or obese.
  • Cardiovascular disease – Three-fourths of those who are overweight and half of those who are normal weight have at least one cardiometabolic risk factor, including high blood pressure, abnormal blood lipids, diabetes or smoking.
  • Diabetes – 2012 statistics showed that over 29 million adults have type 2 diabetes. Highly prevalent in the senior population, the rates of diabetes among young adults and children is steadily rising.
  • Cancer – Breast cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in the U.S., followed closely by colorectal cancer, the second leading cause.
  • Bone disease – Bone disease is common in the U.S., especially among the elderly, which puts them at risk of fractures. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 10 million people currently have osteoporosis and another 18 million are at risk of developing the disease. By 2020, one in two Americans is expected to have or be at risk of developing osteoporosis of the hip.

With the abundance of food available in the U.S., one might assume that Americans are well nourished and that nutrient deficiencies are no longer a health issue. Contrary to what the media may have you believe; deficiencies are very much present. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a major program of the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is responsible for producing vital health statistics for the U.S. This includes an assessment of the health and nutritional status of American citizens. A 2015 analysis showed that approximately 31% of adults had one nutrient deficiency, 6% had 2 nutrient deficiencies, and 2% had 3 or more deficiencies. They concluded that about 1 out of 3 Americans have at least one vitamin or mineral deficiency.

Despite recent arguments that dietary supplement users are wasting their money, data shows that adults who take full-spectrum vitamin and mineral supplements have a significantly lower prevalence of deficiency as compared to non-users. In fact, non-users are 2.5 times more likely to have a deficiency compared to a full-spectrum multivitamin user. Data continues to show that individuals, even those who follow a whole food diet, who take a daily multi are more likely to fill any nutritional gaps and achieve micronutrient sufficiency. As far as your money goes, the cost of a multivitamin supplement is likely the least expensive health insurance you can buy!

Professional Supplement Center carries these and other high quality vitamin and mineral supplements to support optimal wellness:

UltraNutrient by Pure EncapsulationsUltraNutrient® by Pure Encapsulations – This advanced formula provides exceptional broad spectrum, bioavailable nutritional support with a full spectrum of core vitamins and minerals, advanced antioxidants, standardized phytonutrient extracts and botanicals for enhanced antioxidant, cardiovascular, liver and overall wellness support. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.

Ultra Preventive Teen (201036) by Douglas LaboratoriesUltra Preventive Teen by Douglas Laboratories – This unique, carefully designed supplement is formulated to meet the nutritional needs of teenagers. Vanilla flavored, easy-to-swallow tablets provide over 30 vitamins, minerals, trace elements and other nutrients in bioavailable form to support growth and development and good health maintenance. Gluten and soy free, vegetarian formulation.

Multigenics® Chewable Orange by Metagenics®Multigenics® Chewable Orange – This comprehensive bioavailable formula provides a broad spectrum of essential vitamins along with highly absorbable mineral amino acid chelates. Suitable for children and adults who prefer a great tasting, chewable tablet. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO formulation.

Comprehensive Nutritional Panel by Spectracell LaboratoriesComprehensive Nutritional Panel by Spectracell Laboratories – This micronutrient test kit offers an accurate, scientifically proven assessment of nutritional deficiencies, including 31 vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids, antioxidants and metabolites. This kit includes a complimentary post-test consultation with our Registered Nurse by phone or in person at our Sarasota location.

References:
Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015 -2020. https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/resources/2015-2020_Dietary_Guidelines.pdf
Overall Numbers, Diabetes and Prediabetes. http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/statistics/
The Frequency of Bone Disease. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK45515/
Osteoporosis/Bone Health in Adults as a National Public Health Priority. http://www.aaos.org/CustomTemplates/Content.aspx?id=5604&ssopc=1
Think Nutrient Deficiencies are History in the US? Think Again. http://www.dsm.com/campaigns/talkingnutrition/en_US/talkingnutrition-dsm-com/2015/03/ExpBio_Abstract_586Point2.html
National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhanes/

Inflammation Part I: Causes and Effects

inflamationBy Jacquie Eubanks BSN, RN

The word inflammation comes from the Latin “inflammo,” meaning “I set alight, I ignite.” Acute inflammation is a biological immune response to harmful stimuli such as pathogens, damaged cells, irritants or injuries.  It is the body’s attempt at self-protection and a basic survival instinct.  When something harmful or irritating affects a part of our body, the body will attempt to remove the stimuli and initiate the healing process.  Without acute inflammation, wounds and infections would never heal and survival would be compromised. 

The familiar signs of acute or normal inflammation are pain, redness, swelling, heat and loss of function.  These are signals that your immune system has been activated.  Inflammation actually begins when pro-inflammatory hormones send out a call for white blood cells to clear out an infection or damaged tissue.  Equally powerful anti-inflammatory compounds move in to begin the healing process once the threat is neutralized.  Acute inflammation that ebbs and flows when needed indicates a well-balanced immune system.  Acute inflammation has an immediate onset, is of short-lived duration and has a definitive resolution or outcome.  It’s when the symptoms of inflammation don’t recede that troubling chronic inflammation begins. This type of inflammation is a key cause or factor in almost all chronic degenerative and lifestyle-caused diseases. 

Chronic inflammation differs from acute inflammation in that it can involve persistent foreign bodies, a persistent infection, a non-degradable pathogen that can cause persistent inflammation, or an overactive immune system response.  These can kick the immune system into high gear lasting from several months or even years.  The outcomes of chronic inflammation can be the destruction of the tissue, thickening and scarring of connective tissue, and death of cells or tissues. 

Diseases and conditions associated with chronic inflammation include asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and chronic hepatitis.  Chronic or long-term inflammation can result from:

  • Failure to eliminate whatever was causing the acute inflammation.
  • An autoimmune response where the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue.
  • A chronic irritant of low intensity that persists.
  • Dysbiosis, an imbalance of bacteria or fungi in the gastrointestinal tract. 
  • Stress.  Constant psychological, emotional or physical stress raises cortisol levels, creating inflammation.
  • Environmental toxins.  Pollutants and toxic metals contribute to inflammation.
  • Diet and lifestyle.  Too much fat, sugar and processed foods, obesity, inactivity and poor sleep quality can all increase inflammation. 

Chronic internal inflammation can remain undetected as there are no visible symptoms such as pain and swelling.  Results of chronic inflammation may include:

Low grade inflammation is a factor in most health issues.  Studies show that the risk of heart disease and cancer are modifiable by our lifestyle choices which includes the foods we choose to eat each day. With every bite we take, we’re either balancing the pro- or anti-inflammatory compounds in the body, or tipping the scale to one end. 

Many common foods in the Standard North American Diet can cause or exacerbate inflammation in the body.   Foods known to cause inflammation include:

  • Fast foods.  Processed, packaged and prepared foods top the list of inflammatory foods due to harmful oils, sugar, artificial sweeteners, and food additives. 
  • Sugar.  Excessive sugar intake is linked to increased risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. 
  • Common vegetable cooking oils.  Common vegetable cooking oils are very high in omega-6 fatty acids and dismally low in omega-3 fats.  A diet consisting of a highly imbalanced omega-6 to omega-3 ratio promotes inflammation and breeds inflammatory diseases like heart disease and cancer.
  • Trans fats.  Trans fats increase levels of bad cholesterol while lowering levels of good cholesterol.  They have also been found to promote inflammation, obesity and resistance to insulin, laying the groundwork for degenerative illnesses to take place.
  • Dairy products.  As much as 60% of the world’s population cannot digest milk.  Milk is also a common allergen that can trigger inflammatory responses, such as stomach distress, constipation, diarrhea, skin rashes, acne, hives and breathing difficulties in susceptible people.
  • Feedlot-raised meats.  Commercially produced meats are fed with grains like soy beans and corn, a diet that is high in inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids but low in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats.
  • Processed meats.  Processed meat includes animal products that have been smoked, cured, salted or chemically preserved.  Compounds in meats can cause an immune response that may trigger a chronic low-grade inflammatory response which has been linked to cancer and heart disease. 
  • Alcohol.  Regular high consumption of alcohol has been known to cause irritation and inflammation of the esophagus, larynx and liver. Over time, the chronic inflammation promotes tumor growth and gives rise to cancer at the sites of repeated irritation.
  • Refined grains.  Refined grains are devoid of fiber and vitamins and full of empty calories.  Refined grains have a higher glycemic index than unprocessed whole grains.  Consistently consumed, they can hasten the onset of degenerative diseases such as cancer, coronary disease and diabetes. 
  • Artificial food additives.  Artificial food additives such as aspartame and monosodium glutamate can trigger inflammatory responses in people already suffering from inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. 
  • Food allergies.  Repeated long-term exposure to foods that irritate can cause inflammation and lead to chronic disease.

It’s become increasingly clear that chronic inflammation is the root cause of many serious illnesses.  “Cooling the fires of hidden inflammation may be the most important thing you can do for your long-term health and well-being,” says Dr. Mark Hyman, editor in chief of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. 

Up next:  Part II: Reducing inflammation with supplements, diet and lifestyle changes.

The Standard American Diet – Time For a Revamp

SADBy Jacquie Eubanks BSN, RN

The Standard American Diet (SAD) consists of numerous processed carbohydrates, processed meat products, hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, sodium nitrates, preservatives and maybe a few fruits and vegetables.  Many of the foods in the typical American diet have been refined and processed to the point where there are virtually no nutrients, fiber, or vitamins and minerals remaining.   Eating these types of foods puts you on the fast track to being overfed and undernourished and threatens your good health as well. 

Dietary and lifestyle factors in the U.S. are responsible for death rates that exceed most other Westernized countries.  Primary preventable causes of death include smoking, hypertension, obesity, high blood glucose levels, high levels of LDL cholesterol and other dietary risk factors.  An unhealthy diet combined with inactivity is considered a major risk factor in premature, preventable death or serious disability.  Coronary heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronic liver disease and diabetes are all influenced by diet.  Critical dietary factors associated with these conditions include foods that are too low in fiber and too high in calories, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium.

To give you a reference point as to just how bad the SAD is, fully 65% of American adults are categorized as overweight or obese and American children are close behind.  Children and teenagers in America eat a diet largely filled with empty calories and subsist on sugary breakfast cereals, sweetened fruit drinks, white bread, chicken nuggets, french fries and a variety of cookies, candies and snacks.  None of these foods provide nutrients necessary for healthy growth and development and all contribute to a lifelong addiction to sugar, fat and salt.  American kids drink more sweetened soft drinks than milk.  As a result, children today are at risk of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, asthma, osteoporosis and depression.  Unfortunately, our diets and our children’s diets as well are seriously lacking in fiber, calcium, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. 

In America, there is a fast food restaurant on virtually every corner.  One in four Americans visit a fast food restaurant every day and we spend $110 billion per year on fast foods. These foods are inexpensive, easily accessible and tasty.  They are also loaded with calories, unhealthy fats, high sodium levels and are highly addictive.  Taste is the number one factor influencing our food choices.  Food manufacturers market foods that taste good rather than foods that have nutritional value. 

In America, we have access to the most abundant and consistent food supply in the world.  We have knowledge of our nutritional needs and we know foods we consume impact our health.  Yet, we still struggle to eat the healthy foods we need to maintain health and that decrease our risks for diet related diseases.  Here are some very good reasons why Americans need to take a better look at their diets and make the changes necessary to improve and maintain our health:

  • We rely too heavily on meats.  While beef and pork and dark meat poultry are good sources of protein, they are also loaded with saturated fats which can contribute to coronary artery disease and increased stroke risk. 
  • We consume large amounts of simple carbohydrates.  Eating too many refined and processed convenience foods, such as white bread, pasta, deserts, bagels or tortillas, can cause chronically elevated blood glucose levels which can contribute to diabetes and obesity
  • Trans fats may be of value to manufacturers but they are of no value to you.  In fact, they are detrimental to your health.  Trans fats are made from oils infused with hydrogen that make the product stable and extend the shelf life.  Like saturated fats, trans fats can elevate LDL cholesterol levels and promote heart disease
  • We lack the proper amounts of dietary fiber.  Dietary fiber helps speed digestion and absorption of nutrients and assists in elimination of waste.  Fiber helps you to feel full and helps prevent overeating.  Fiber can assist in lowering LDL cholesterol and glucose levels in the bloodstream. 
  • Soft drinks contribute to the unhealthy diet trend.  Soda is loaded with empty calories and high fructose corn syrup.  Recent studies show that drinking even one soda per day increases your risk for obesity and diabetes.  According to studies, children who start drinking soda at an early age also follow diets that are low in nutrients, vitamins and minerals.  Children who drank milk were more likely to follow a healthful diet. 
  • High fructose corn syrup is omnipresent.  In fact, it is almost impossible to avoid.   Manufacturers prefer high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) because it is affordable and satisfies our sweet tooth.  HFCS is not found anywhere in corn.  Corn kernels undergo a series of mechanical processes, chemical reactions, high velocity spinnings and the introductions of different enzymes that turn corn into a clear goopy liquid that is roughly as sweet as sugar.   High fructose corn syrup raises blood sugar levels quickly.  It has no nutritional value and increases the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. 
  • We eat the wrong types of fats.  It’s time to re-evaluate the low-fat diet.  What matters is the type of fat you eat.  Good fats such as monosaturated, polyunsaturated and omega-3’s are a major source of energy and are important for growth, development, weight management and disease prevention.  Commercial low-fat foods  often have a very high sugar content, so with the rise of low-fat processed foods, we have seen a spike in obesity, heart disease and other health related conditions. 
  • We consume many more calories than are needed to maintain optimal weight.   Twenty five years ago, we consumed roughly 1,850 calories daily.  With the advent of super sizing and gargantuan proportions, we can easily consume 2,000 calories in one meal, the equivalent of a full day’s caloric need.  Today’s daily caloric intake can add up to a weight gain of 30 extra pounds per year.
  • The average American eats about 100 pounds of sugar or high fructose corn syrup every year.  One hundred years ago the average American ate less than one pound annually.  This significant increase in sugar consumption directly relates to the increase in obesity, heart disease, cancer, decreased immune function and type 2 diabetes. 
  •  A diet high in sodium is considered a factor in the development of high blood pressure.  Sodium is an important mineral and electrolyte necessary for many bodily functions.  Along with potassium, sodium plays a crucial role in blood pressure regulation.  Approximately 85% of Americans consume sodium in amounts that far exceed the daily maximum recommended levels.  Reducing sodium intake while blood pressure is still normal may decrease the risk for hypertension later in life. 

It’s time Americans started thinking about the foods they are putting into their bodies and how those foods affect their health.  An unhealthy diet is one of the simplest things to change in order to improve your overall health.  Start by skipping the interior aisles of the grocery store that are filled with convenience foods and snacks.  Instead, concentrate on the outer aisles of the store where the more nutritious fresh food is located.  To make smart food choices quickly and easily, compare nutrition facts on food labels and be aware of portion sizes on packages.  Stay within your daily caloric needs and get the most nutrients out of the calories you do consume by choosing nutritionally rich foods.  Opt for a more prudent diet filled with greater amounts of colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and low fat dairy.  Health or disease?  It’s your choice.  Choose wisely. 

Here are some supplements to assist you on your journey to improved nutritional health: 

DigestZyme by Transformation Enzyme  is designed to assist the body in maximum digestion of nutrients, production of energy, and immune system support.  This unique formula is the perfect introduction to digestive enzymes, supporting immune system health by encouraging more complete digestion of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats for increased absorption and availability of nutrients.

Biomega-3 by Biotics Research  is an all natural marine lipid concentrate derived from anchovies and sardines sourced following the strict standards of the European Union. This concentrated supplement supplies 1400 mg of Omega-3 fatty acids per serving, including 740 mg EPA and 460 mg of DHA, beneficial compounds for brain, cardiovascular and dermal functioning, and down-regulation of pro-inflammatory mediators.

UltraFlora Balance by Metagenics  As a nutraceutical,  this product is formulated to complement dietary recommendations to promote gastrointestinal and immune health.  This formula is designed to encourage growth of beneficial bacteria and support healthy immune function, intestinal integrity, and healthy digestive function.