Tag Archives: protein

A Primer on Nutrition

NutritionJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

Many of us will admit, we eat because we like food. While we eat to satisfy our appetite, food has much more important roles to play. Simply put, along with water, oxygen, sleep, clothing, and shelter, food fulfills one of our most basic survival needs. Food provides the nourishing substances that are necessary for growth, development, maintenance, repair, and the proper functioning of all metabolic processes. Driven by hormones, hunger is a powerful signal that we need fuel to generate the energy that sustains life and allows our bodies to run like super-efficient machines. Dietary decisions, that we often make without much thought, negatively or positively impact our health, sending our bodies information that encourages homeostasis and long-term health, or puts us at risk for dysfunction and the onset of disease.

Although we look to food for comfort and nourishment, it’s good balanced nutrition that is central to health. If we were to think of food as health-supportive preventative medicine, we might begin to focus on healthy, energizing nutrients that support overall wellness. In addressing declining health, Functional Medicine practitioners often look for nutrient deficiencies to determine the source of underlying dysfunction, which often precedes the development of chronic disease. While disease can be triggered by multiple factors, each factor is influenced by nutritional needs. Nutrient deficiencies can also result from malabsorption issues or conditions that can interfere with nutrient utilization.

Feeding your body the nutrients it truly deserves, as well as requires for good overall function, simply comes down to making healthy, mindful choices. Essential nutrients needed for proper bodily function include carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and, of course, water. By making smart choices and choosing a variety of foods from each category, maintaining a healthy and balanced diet may be easier than you think.

Protein – Required for the structure, function and regulation of the body’s tissues and organs, proteins are found in every bodily cell. Proteins consist of chains of amino acids, broken down from dietary protein. Proteins are necessary for repair and maintenance of all body tissues, provide a major energy source, transport molecules and oxygen throughout the body, and are involved in the creation of hormones, enzymes and antibodies. The USDA Dietary Guidelines recommended that 10-35% of your daily calories should be protein from sources such as meat, poultry, seafood, beans and pulses, eggs, nuts and seeds.

Carbohydrates – As the main fuel source for the body, dietary carbs are necessary to keep the brain, nervous system and body functioning optimally and provide the energy for proper cellular function, Sufficient daily intake of carbohydrates prevents the breakdown of protein for energy, ensuring adequate protein for its more important roles. Carbs are needed for glucose regulation, fat metabolism, and intestinal health. When it comes to health, not all carbs are created equally. Be sure to choose complex carbs, such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, as these contain nutrients fiber to support elimination and feed beneficial bacteria in the intestinal tract. The USDA Dietary Guidelines recommend that 45-65% of daily calories come from complex carbohydrates. Choose wisely.

Fats – Fats provide a backup source of concentrated energy that the body uses when glucose runs low. Dietary fats are necessary for absorption and storage of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Fat cells insulate the body and help to sustain a normal core temperature. Fats provide the essential fatty acids necessary for brain health, immune function, healthy inflammation response, proper nerve signaling, and blood clotting. Although dietary fats are only now overcoming the decades old anti-fat recommendations, the USDA Dietary Guidelines recommend that 20-35% of daily calories are sourced from healthy fats, including grass fed animal products, coconut oil, nuts and avocados.

Vitamins and Minerals – Essential to sustaining overall health, vitamins and minerals work synergistically, performing hundreds of supportive roles in the body. Some of these roles include keeping bones strong and healthy, bolstering the immune system, repairing cellular damage, and converting food into energy. Vitamin and mineral insufficiency can result in illness and disease, while sufficient quantities can provide substantial health benefits. Adhering to a healthy diet along with supplementation helps ensure you are getting the micronutrients necessary to support long-term health and longevity.

Professional Supplement Center carries these and other supportive nutrients in support of overall health and wellness:

BioNutrient MultiBioNutrient Multi by Energetix® – This well designed, clean dietary supplement provides whole food nutrition with highly bioavailable vitamins and chelated minerals in support of optimal bodily function. Gluten free.


Minimal and...Minimal and Essential Antioxidant and Multi-Vitamin Formula This once daily multivitamin, mineral and antioxidant formula provides a full spectrum of nutrients to meet the minimum daily requirements of vitamins and some minerals. Gluten, dairy and soy free formulation.


Multi CapsMulti Caps by Progressive™ Labs – This high potency multiple vitamin and mineral formula provides 100% or more of the recommended daily amounts of 13 vitamins, plus minerals, fatty acids, amino acids and enzymes. Contains soy and iron.


PurePals with Iron ...Pure Pals with Iron by Pure Encapsulations® – Designed for children aged 2 and older, this chewable formula provides a broad-spectrum, scientifically-based blend of bioavailable vitamins, minerals and bioflavonoids in support of optimal health, immune defense and healthy cognitive function. Natural cherry flavor. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO, hypoallergenic formulation.


Daily Multi Vitamin...Daily Multi Vitamin and Mineral for Dogs by Dancing Paws – Lest we forget the health of our furry family members, this unique canine chewable complex is formulated to provide optimum nutrient levels with guaranteed potencies of human quality essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.


Daily Multi Vitamin...Daily Multi Vitamin and Mineral for Cats by Dancing Paws – This unique feline vitamin, mineral and antioxidant complex is designed to promote normal growth and longevity with optimal nutrient levels in guaranteed potencies. Pull apart capsule for easy dosing; simply sprinkle on food.

How Does Food Impact Health? https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/explore-healing-practices/food-medicine/how-does-food-impact-health
Macronutrients in Health and Disease. http://www.nutritionmd.org/consumers/general_nutrition/macro_protein.html
Protein. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/protein/
6 Primary Functions of Proteins. http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/6-primary-functions-proteins-5372.html
Do Humans Need Carbohydrates to Be Healthy? http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/humans-need-carbohydrates-healthy-6670.html
Three functions of Fat in the Body. http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/three-functions-fat-body-3402.html


Nutrients for Healthy Hair

HealthyHairJacquie Eubanks RN BSN



Healthy looking hair is a good visual indicator of overall health. Hair is growing tissue, the health of which is positively influenced by proper nutrition and physical wellbeing and negatively influenced by stress, inadequate sleep, hormonal imbalances, smoking and dietary deficiencies. Similar to other bodily cells, hair requires care and nutritional support to remain strong, yet soft, manageable and vibrant. A balanced, nutritious diet including adequate protein, omega-3 essential fatty acids and B-complex vitamins is vital to fortify both the hair and the scalp. As well, inadequate nutrition will affect not only overall health but will strip your hair of its natural beauty.

We are born with approximately 5 million hair follicles, 100,000 of which are located on the scalp. While hair is simple in structure, its growth process is not. Each hair travels through four stages over a period of years as part of the growth cycle. The hair that we can see and touch is composed of cells packed with keratin, a protein rich in sulphurous amino acids. These cells rapidly die as the amino acids form chains and the hair is gradually pushed upwards through the hair shaft.

A steady supply of nutrients is needed to maintain normal, healthy hair growth during the lengthy growth phase. As the root receives nourishment and hormones from blood vessels, the living cells divide, grow and build the hair shaft, which eventually emerges through the skin. Along the way, oil glands moisturize the hair. From the beginning of growth to the falling out stage, each hair will pass through the anagen or growing phase, the catagen or regression phase, the telogen or resting phase and finally the exogen or shedding phase.

The growth phase lasts an average of 3 – 5 years and may sometimes last as long as 7 years. Because each hair may be at a different stage of the growth cycle, it’s normal to lose 50 – 100 hairs a day, as the individual hairs progress to their shedding phase. Once an old hair detaches from the follicle, a new one will begin to grow to take its place. How can you know if your hair is truly healthy? It’s shiny and smooth and has lots of elasticity. It detangles easily and sheds the normal amount.

Nutrients that enhance the health of your hair and scalp and help your hair reach its full potential include:

Protein – Necessary for cell growth and repair, protein boosts hair strength and helps to keep hair healthy. A diet that is too low in protein can result in dry, brittle or weak hair. Extremely low protein intake may result in hair loss.

B-complex vitamins -Biotin, niacin and cobalamin help to restore shine and thickness and protect against hair loss and brittle hair. B vitamins promote new hair growth and healthier texture, and protect against dryness, flaky scalp and breakage.

Iron – Too little iron is a major cause of anemia-related hair loss in women of child bearing age. When serum iron levels fall, the nutrient and oxygen supply to the hair follicle is disrupted, which can affect the hair growth cycle and result in shedding. Premenopausal women should ensure their diet includes iron rich foods, such as spinach, beans or seafood. A simple blood test can indicate iron deficiency. Consult your healthcare provider before supplementing with iron.

Vitamin C – Vitamin C aids the absorption of food-based iron, and supports the production of collagen, which strengthens the capillaries that supply nutrients to the hair shafts. Vitamin C can improve hair growth, prevent hair loss and promote thicker, healthier hair.

Vitamin D – In addition to addressing vitamin D deficiency, a vitamin D supplement is important for hair follicle cycling and may help to activate hair growth.

Vitamin A – The body uses vitamin A to make sebum, an oily substance created by our hairs’ sebaceous glands. Sebum acts as a natural conditioner, supporting the health of the scalp and preventing dryness and itchiness.

Omega-3 essential fatty acids – EPA and DHA not only support heart and brain health, they also regulate oil production and help to keep the skin, scalp and hair hydrated. Omega-3’s help to boost hair shine and prevent dry hair and flaky scalp.

Zinc and selenium – Zinc and selenium support hair growth and help to prevent hair loss and dry, flaky scalp.

Professional Supplement Center carries these and other high quality supplements to support and enhance the health of your hair:

Hair, Skin & NailsHair, Skin & Nails by Now Foods – This clinically advanced formula provides the nutrients that nurture the health of hair, skin and nails, including a patented and bioavailable form of solubilized keratin that helps to maintain full, lustrous hair. Gluten and dairy free, Non-GMO formulation.


Hair/Skin/Nails UltraHair/Skin/Nails Ultra by Pure Encapsulations – This formula provides key building blocks and proper nutrients that support skin elasticity and hydration, healthy hair, and nail strength. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.


BioSil® Skin, Hair, NailsBioSil® Skin, Hair, Nails by Natural Factors – This formula helps to thicken and strengthen hair, increase skin elasticity and strengthen nails. BioSil® aids in generating collagen by supporting the body’s own collagen producing cells. Gluten, soy and dairy free formulation.


Hair, Skin and Nails Plus Formula (82924-)Hair, Skin and Nail Plus Formula by Douglas Laboratories – This formula supplies beneficial amounts of the specific vitamins, minerals and botanicals that support the health of hair, skin and nails. Gluten, soy and dairy free formulation.


6 Nutrients for Healthy Hair. http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20734150_4,00.html
How hair grows. https://www.aad.org/how-hair-grows
What to eat for healthy hair. http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/what-eat-healthy-hair
Vitamins & Minerals For Hair That’s Healthier, Stronger and Shinier. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/18/vitamins-minerals-for-hair-health_n_3451747.html
6 Supplements for Glowy Skin and Gorgeous Hair. http://www.everydayhealth.com/pictures/supplements-skin-hair/#05

Protein – Too Much, Too Little or Just Right

proteinJacquie Eubanks RN BSN



If only we could choose the perfect amount of daily protein as easily as Goldilocks determined which porridge, chair and bed were “just right” for her. The research on the optimal amount of protein required for good health support and maintenance is ongoing. Some of us are concerned that we don’t get enough protein, while others worry about getting too much. The popularity of protein shakes and supplements is not limited to athletes looking to increase lean muscle mass, and shows that people are becoming aware that protein plays a vital role in our health management.

However, while many may look to protein simply for weight management and muscle support, proteins serve a variety of purposes, not the least of which is providing crucial life sustaining support for bodily functions. It is proteins that are responsible for a cell or organism’s unique characteristics, including the DNA and RNA responsible for our genetic code. Protein molecules are involved in virtually all cell functions, with each protein having a specific role. Some provide structural support or are involved in movement, while others defend against germs.

  • Antibodies – Specialized proteins travel through the bloodstream and aid the immune system in identifying, immobilizing or defending against pathogens.
  • Movement – Contractile proteins are responsible for muscle contraction and movement.
  • Enzymes – All enzymes are proteins. Enzymes facilitate all biochemical reactions, such as digestion.
  • Hormones – Hormonal proteins, such as insulin, regulate glucose metabolism and stimulate muscle growth by enhancing protein synthesis and facilitating the movement of glucose into cells.
  • Structure – Structural proteins, such as keratin, strengthen hair and nails, while collagen and elastin provide support for connective tissues, including tendons and ligaments.
  • Transport – Carrier proteins include hemoglobin, which transports oxygen, and other transport proteins that bind to minerals and distribute them around the body.  
  • Cellular repair – Proteins repair trauma to muscle tissue whether from athletics or injury, increasing muscle fiber and activating muscle growth. Specific proteins help cells repair DNA damage and help prevent damaged cells from replicating before damage is repaired, a critical function in preventing tumor growth and accelerated aging.

AskTheNurseProteins are made up of long molecules called polypeptides. Polypeptides are made up of thousands of complex combinations of smaller chemical compounds we know as amino acids, which link together to form chains. The sequence of amino acids determines each protein’s unique 3-dimensional structure and its specific function. A large percentage of our cells, muscles and tissue is made up of amino acids. While there may be thousands of amino acids, scientists have identified 20 that are vital for health, including 10 essential amino acids that cannot be synthesized by the body and must be obtained through daily diet or supplementation. The amino acid pool, available free amino acids in the body, is vital for achieving a balanced metabolism. Failure to obtain all amino acids in the correct combination limits protein production and may weaken metabolism.

So, how much protein is too much, how much is too little and how much is “just right?” The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is a modest 0.8 grams per kilogram (2.2 lbs) of body weight, approximately 56 grams for the average sedentary man and 46 grams for the average sedentary woman. The RDA recommendation is the specific amount you need to prevent illness, but not necessarily the proper amount needed to support optimal health. Getting the minimum RDA of protein would supply about 10% of the day’s total caloric intake for a relatively active adult. By contrast, most Americans consume about 16% of their calories in plant and animal proteins.

Still, according to a special supplement to the June issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN), “16% is anything but excessive.” While people in general think we consume too much protein, this research says we eat too little. Protein needs vary for individuals according to activity level, age, muscle mass, current state of health and physique goals, such as body building or weight loss. Physically active people, nursing mothers, seniors and those recovering from injuries require a higher protein intake. Endurance athletes or those looking to gain a significant amount of muscle mass, such as body builders, often increase their protein intake by 50% over the RDA for sedentary people.

Based on the research as reported in the AJCN article, 15 – 25% of total daily calories or up to twice the amount of RDA recommended protein is safe and within the proper range to support optimal health and body composition. This amount is more in line with the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendation that proteins should comprise 10 – 35% of total daily calories and should include more plant proteins, such as beans, legumes or quinoa. Protein intake of 25 -35% may aid weight loss as it may provide an increased feeling of satiety, resulting in decreased overall caloric intake. It appears that protein intake of about 30% may be “just right” for many people who want to lose weight, while maintaining muscle mass.

Protein deficiency is essentially an amino acid deficiency that prohibits the synthesis of a variety of proteins, which can cause muscle loss, fatigue, depression, anxiety and low libido. Excessive amounts of protein may promote the use of amino acids as fuel rather than building material and can overburden the kidneys, which are responsible for excess protein excretion and may cause vomiting or loss of appetite. Some think that consuming very large amounts of protein will increase muscle mass, but only physical activity can increase muscle mass and strength. Protein consumption post exercise optimizes glycogen storage and promotes muscle growth, repair and restoration.

Increase your daily protein the easy way with these high quality protein formulas:

Beyond Whey - PowderBeyond Whey® by Natura Health Products – This very high quality powdered formula features Proserum®, a proprietary non-denatured whey protein concentrate that provides a perfectly balanced blend of amino acids and peptides in support of lean muscle development and optimal digestion. Provides 6 g of protein per serving. Gluten and soy free. Contains dairy.  Learn More

PaleoMeal-DF VanillaPaleoMeal®-DF (Dairy Free) Vanilla by Designs for Health – This plant-derived pea protein powdered formula is designed to promote an optimal intake of protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and digestive enzymes necessary to support overall health and wellness. Peatein™ contains the full array of amino acids and includes high levels of branched chain amino acids. This easy to digest, natural vegan formula provides 17 g of protein per serving. Gluten and dairy free, Non-GMO hypoallergenic formulation. Also available in Chocolate or Berry flavor.  Learn More

Physicians' Protein Pure Vegetarian FormulaPhysicians’ Protein Pure Vegetarian Formula by Integrative Therapeutics – This formula combines high-purity pea protein and organic hemp seed to create a premium quality vegetarian protein complex that provides the full array of amino acids.   15 g of protein per serving. Soy, dairy and wheat free, Non-GMO vegetarian formula.  Learn More

Ultra Protein Plus Natural Chocolate Almond Flavor (57053)Ultra Protein Plus Natural Chocolate Almond Flavor by Douglas Laboratories® – This nutritionally fortified yellow pea protein powdered vegan formula provides 18 g of protein per serving along with essential nutrients and prebiotics. Gluten soy and dairy free, vegan formula. Also available in Natural Vanilla Bean flavor.  Learn More

Proteins. http://www.geogene.com/biology-basics.html
How much protein do you need every day? http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/how-much-protein-do-you-need-every-day-201506188096
Polypeptide Chain: Definition, Structure & Synthesis. http://study.com/academy/lesson/polypeptide-chain-definition-structure-synthesis.html
The Chemistry of Amino Acids. http://www.biology.arizona.edu/biochemistry/problem_sets/aa/aa.html
How do muscles grow? http://www.unm.edu/~lkravitz/Article%20folder/musclesgrowLK.html
A Protein’s Role in Helping Cells Repair DNA Damage. http://www.buffalo.edu/news/releases/2012/11/13777.html
DNA damage as the primary cause of aging. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7031747
Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010. http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2010/DietaryGuidelines2010.pdf