Tag Archives: vitamins

Why Supplement?

WhySuppBy Jacquie Eubanks BSN, RN

With all the confusing and conflicting information about vitamin supplements in the news these days, it’s no wonder that so many of us are baffled. 

Science does tell us that we need vitamins minerals and phytonutrients for growth, development, and health, and that it is difficult, though not impossible, to get all of our vitamins and minerals from a healthy, nutritious diet.  Common sense and numerous studies also tell us that we don’t eat enough vegetables or fruits, we don’t eat enough oily fish and healthy fats, we don’t eat enough whole grains and whole foods.  Nope, we eat fried foods, processed foods, prepared foods, fast foods, junk foods and non-foods such as preservatives, chemicals, artificial colors and flavors, and way too much refined sugar, salt and unhealthy fats. 

Does that sound like a diet filled with all the vitamins, minerals, fiber and vital nutrients we need for optimal health to you?  Not to me either. 

Fortunately, many of us are becoming increasingly aware that the foods we choose to eat affect our health and risk of chronic disease either in a positive or negative way.  Just as we can’t avoid exercise and expect to be physically fit, we can’t make up for a diet severely devoid of nutrients by taking a pill.  What we can do is choose to eat healthy, whole foods and then supplement with high grade products designed to fill nutritional voids, support specific health concerns or keep our systems functioning optimally, leading to greater overall health and wellness and a better chance of avoiding obesity, diabetes, and coronary heart disease. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only a quarter of Americans eat the recommended amount of vegetables daily and only a third consume enough fruit.  As a result of the lack of these and other nutrient-rich foods in our diets, 92% of Americans are deficient in one or more essential vitamins and minerals.  More than half of the U.S. population is deficient in vitamin D, vitamins B-6, B-12 and other B-complex vitamins, vitamin A, magnesium, calcium, and zinc.  Research continues to mount in support of omega-3 supplementation for cardiovascular health, yet most Americans are deficient in omega-3’s

In the U.S., diet-related chronic disease is the single largest cause of morbidity and mortality.  Evidence gleaned over the past 3 decades identifies multifactorial dietary elements, genetic susceptibility and environmental agents as the underlying causes of chronic disease.  The excessive consumption of industrial era refined foods such as cereals, sugars and oils universally underlies virtually all chronic disease prevalent today.  These foods have far reaching effects on our health and wellbeing. 

With the war against GMO foods, trans fats, and refined sugar and the growing demand for organic produce and grass-fed or free range animal products, Americans are beginning to change their own thought processes regarding their diets in relation to their health.  In the meantime, even as food manufacturers continue to refine all the goodness out of our foods, the healthiest among us will endeavor to eat well and take our vitamins and minerals to support our wellness and longevity and increase our chances of avoiding chronic disease. 

Barlean’s Greens by Barlean’s Organic Oils –  This great tasting premium superfood is formulated with vitalizing plant-based ingredients that are guaranteed to be of the highest quality and purity.  Contains proprietary blends of greens, pre- and probiotics, antioxidants, fiber and herbs in a 95% organic, gluten-free and non-GMO formula. 

LifeCore Complete by Ortho Molecular –  Hypoallergenic pure non-GMO plant proteins including rice, pea and potato in the preferred ratio of protein, carbohydrate and fat.  No gluten, soy, dairy or fructose.  With 20 grams of protein per serving this product is easily digestible and is available in natural chocolate and vanilla flavors. 

Multivite by Douglas Laboratories –  This natural food supplement provides high potency natural vitamins and organic minerals in a wheat, soy, corn and dairy free formula.  No artificial coloring, flavoring or preservatives. 

B-Complex by Innate Response Formulas This vegetarian formula, derived from 100% whole food, contains a balanced ratio of all the essential B vitamins and their inherent co-factors in their most bioavailable forms.  Gluten, dairy and soy free. 

Fabulously Healthy Skin

Fabulously Healthy Skin imageBy Jacquie Eubanks BSN, RN

Vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients have the power to give skin a more radiant, healthy, and youthful appearance.  Feeding your skin from the inside to meet its nutritional needs can  make a difference in how your skin looks and feels.  Health experts agree that vitamins and minerals play an essential role in a healthy complexion whether in the form of food, supplements, or beauty products.  A balanced diet will improve skin health just as it improves overall health.  The more healthy foods you consume, the better your skin will look.  The reverse is true as well.  When we don’t pay attention to a healthful diet and we starve our skin of nutrients, skin problems in the form of breakouts, chronic skin conditions, or signs of aging may result . 

When combined with a good diet, the right dietary supplements can keep your skin looking younger and healthier.  The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) suggests the following vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support and nourish skin health, whether taken in supplement form, applied directly to the skin, or obtained from the foods we eat.   

  • Vitamin A – Vitamin A is necessary for skin maintenance, including cell building and repair.  Vitamin A is a nutrient proven to revitalize skin by increasing cell turnover, a biological process that replaces older skin cells.  Considered one of the best vitamins for promoting healthy skin, vitamin A may help reduce signs of aging while preventing dry skin and acne.  Vitamin A can be found in foods such as dairy products, eggs, leafy greens, and sweet potatoes, and in many skin lotions and creams as well.  
  • B Complex –  Redness, irritation, dermatitis and pigmentation can all be signs of vitamin B deficiency.  B vitamins are essential for healthy skin, hair and nails.  Vitamin B12 aids in cell reproduction and skin renewal.  B1 boosts circulation, which helps to give skin a healthy glow.  Vitamin B3 boosts hydration, reduces redness, aids in supplying oxygen to the skin, and helps in preventing and improving acne, eczema, and sun damaged, aging skin.  B vitamins can be found in shellfish, beef, cheese and eggs. 
  • Vitamin C –  Considered an all-around anti-ager, vitamin C plays a vital role in maintaining the health of your skin.  Vitamin C is key to the production of collagen, a protein that aids in the growth of cells and blood vessels and gives skin its firmness and strength.  As an antioxidant, vitamin C aids in neutralizing free radicals, promotes skin repair and may help reduce damage from sun exposure.  Citrus fruits, peppers and tomatoes are good sources of vitamin C.  Vitamin C can also be found in many topical skin care products. 
  • Vitamin E –   Vitamin E helps to keep skin smooth and may help prevent premature aging by reducing fine lines and wrinkles.  This powerful antioxidant aids in skin tissue repair and helps to neutralize the damaging effects of free radicals from too much sun exposure.  Vitamin E helps the skin retain its natural moisturizers, quelling dryness and  keeping skin supple and healthy.  Foods containing vitamin E include tofu, spinach, avocados and nuts. 
  • Probiotics –  Widely known for their beneficial role in gut health, probiotics help maintain a healthy digestive system, which is critical for nutrient absorption.  As more nutrients are digested and absorbed, your skin receives more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that aid in the elimination of free radicals and toxins, which can damage and age skin.  Research indicates that poor intestinal health can exacerbate skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and acne. 
  • Omega- 3’s – Essential fatty acids are responsible for the cell membranes that act as barriers for harmful pathogens and as the passageway for nutrients and wastes.  Cell membranes hold in water, which helps to keep skin plump and moist.  Omega-3’s offer protection from inflammation, which can harm skin cells.  The foods highest in omega-3 fatty acids include cold water fish, walnuts, canola oil, and flax seed.
  • Water –  A very basic part of any healthy diet, water is essential for skin health and beauty.  Water flushes away toxins, brings nutrients to the cells and supports organ functioning.  Well-hydrated cells are plump, which helps your skin look firmer and smoother. 

OmegaGenics EPA-DHA 720 by Metagenics –  This product features a highly concentrated source of health-promoting omega-3 essential fatty acids from cold-water fish.  Each softgel provides a total of 720 mg of EPA and DHA.

PureProbiotic (Allergen Free) by Pure Encapsulations Each capsule of PureProbiotic provides 5 billion CFU of Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium lactis and Bifidobacterium breve.

Vitamin A 25,000 IU (A97) by Thorne Research –  High potency vitamin A for maintaining healthy skin and immune system. 

Are You Getting Enough Phytonutrients?

coloredfruitvegsBy Jacquie Eubanks BSN, RN

Vitamins and minerals, which play a vital role in many metabolic processes, are found in whole foods, especially fruits and vegetables.  Plant foods, including fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds, legumes, herbs, and spices, also contain thousands of beneficial compounds known as  phytochemicals or phytonutrients.  Phytonutrients protect a plant’s vitality and offer defenses against disease, blight, weather, ultraviolet rays, insects, pollution or anything that threatens a plant’s survival.  When we eat these foods, we not only receive the vitamins and minerals contained therein, we also receive the benefits that phytonutrients provide.  These naturally occurring chemical compounds are thought to aid in human disease prevention. As different plants contain different phytonutrients, many nutritionists, physicians, dieticians and healthcare providers recommend a variety of fruits and vegetables daily, as part of a well rounded and healthy diet. 

The highly colored fruits and vegetables are known to have the highest concentrations of these beneficial compounds.  Categorized by the colors of red, orange, purple, light green and dark green, phytonutrients are considered to contain potent antioxidants and to have anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anti-aging, antibacterial, antiviral, and immune enhancing properties.  Phytonutrients help repair DNA damage, aid detoxification, and support healthy insulin glucose balance.  Eating at least one and preferably two foods from each color group daily will provide the best range of health benefits.  The more varied the colors the better for promoting health, as many scientists believe that phytonutrients work synergistically to promote their antioxidant and immune boosting effects. 

Phytonutrient compounds include carotenoids, resveratrol, indoles, lignans, and  flavonoids such as, polyphenols, isoflavones,and proanthocyanidins.

Carotenoids are natural fat-soluble pigments that can be found in yellow, orange, and red fruits and vegetables.  Carotenoids, including alpha- and beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene and zeaxanthin, act as powerful antioxidants and are believed to reduce the risk of some types of cancer and protect against heart disease, cataracts, and macular degeneration.  Other health benefits of carotenoids include improved blood sugar regulation, immune system support and nerve cell protection.  

Flavonoids or bioflavonoids are water-soluble compounds that give plants their blue, purple and deep red hues and include quercetin, rutin and hesperidin  These powerful antioxidants protect against oxidative stress and free radical cell damage while moderating the body’s reaction to microbes, allergens, and viruses.  They are believed to actively support anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and anti-cancer activity. 

Polyphenols, found in apples, onions, cacao, tea and red wine contain abundant antioxidant,  anti-inflammatory and cancer inhibiting properties and have beneficial effects on the cardiovascular and immune systems.

Isoflavones, mostly from soy, are thought to play a role in disease prevention and lowered risk of cardiovascular disease, prostate enlargement, and certain cancers.  Research shows isoflavones may help build bones, reduce the risk of osteoporosis, and ease menopausal symptoms. 

Proanthocyanidins benefit cardiovascular health by reducing blood pressure, promoting vessel flexibility, increasing blood circulation, and protecting the heart from damaging effects of high cholesterol levels.  Proanthocyandins help regulate blood sugar and aid in slowing glucose absorption into the bloodstream. 

Resveratrol, found largely cocoa, pomegranates and in the skins and seeds of grapes, contains potent antioxidants that help reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, improve cardiovascular health and protect the brain and nervous system.  It has antiviral, anti-cancer, and anti-aging  properties.

Indoles,  found abundantly in cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, are believed to inhibit the development of cancer in organs by inactivating carcinogens and protecting cells from DNA damage.  Additionally, they have antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects. 

Lignans are consistently associated with reductions in cardiovascular disease and cancer risks, especially colon, prostate, ovarian and uterine cancers.  Hundreds of lignans have been discovered and are found in sources such as flax, pumpkin, and sesame seeds, berries, and whole grains.  Lignans contain phytoestrogens which are naturally occurring estrogen-like compounds that are beneficial for bone and heart health and menopausal symptoms.  Studies have shown that high levels of lignans can support healthy weight and glucose metabolism, reducing the risk of insulin sensitivity, metabolic syndrome and diabetes

UltraNutrient by Pure Encapsulations This advanced formula combines core vitamins and minerals with antioxidants and standardized phytonutrient extracts for exceptional broad-spectrum nutritional support. 

NitroGreens by Biotics Research –  This product offers a rich source of phytonutrients including isoflavones, polyphenols, natural carotenoids, glucosinates, betalains, and isothiocyantes as well as naturally occurring enzymes, vitamins and trace minerals. 

Phytoganix by Metagenics –  This highly nutritious red berry formula provides a daily supply of phytonutrients from certified organic sources to support overall good health.  Includes antioxidant rich berries, cruciferous vegetables, flaxseed and polyphenol-rich green tea.