Friday, March 6, 2015

Five Reasons Why You Should Be Taking a Multivitamin!

Five Reasons Why You Should Be Taking a Multivitamin

Many if not most doctors will claim that you get all the vitamins you need from your daily diet. They say this because they have almost no nutritional training at all. It's not good medical practice, nor is it good science, but you will more than likely get this advice from most medical professionals.

Needless to say the vitamin-mineral formula you take should have certain things in it. A good high end formula will run you about $30 to $40 a month. Don't shortchange yourself by buying some cheap supplement you see at Walmart or your local CVS.

There is no substitute for quality, so spend some extra money on the most worthwhile thing you CAN spend it on...YOUR HEALTH!

With that said...there are many reasons for using a good multivitamin, but here I will list just five of the most important reasons.

1) Poor food choices.

People mostly eat what they like. The problem with this is that our modern processed diet is engineered to make people crave these foods that are lacking in good nutrition. Most people give no thought at all as to how beneficial the foods they eat actually are.

I am not saying that you can eat diet of junk food and make up for it by taking vitamins. Eat as clean and nutritious a diet as your lifestyle and time will allow, but, using a high grade multivitamin will help fill in the gaps left from your daily diet.

2) Deficiencies caused by lifestyle and environment.

The environment we live in and our busy stressful lifestyles can actually cause us to burn through certain nutrients faster than we otherwise would. Most of us are deficient in nutrients like vitamin-d (which is actually a hormone), magnesium, and choline.

Using a good multivitamin can help address these deficiencies, even though good eating and stress relief is still essential for health.

3) Food absorption is aided by certain nutrients.

Most people aren't aware that certain vitamins and minerals are needed by your body in order to absorb your food properly. B vitamins in particular are needed in order for your body to take up nutrients properly and convert them to energy.

Since the b-vitamins (unlike some others) are water soluble and get eliminated from your system in your urine and stool, you need to supply them to your body every day. This makes a very strong argument for supplementing on a daily basis.

4) Nutrient depleted soils.

It is a known fact that our soils have been systematically depleted of important minerals though over-farming and lack of crop rotation. Modern fertilizers only put back nitrogen, and phosphorous. Many other minerals and trace minerals are needed for the body to function properly, and the food
grown in our depleted soil does not contain them.

5) To make up for age related malnutrition.

Most people are not aware (but would not be surprised to learn) that older people don't absorb nutrients as efficiently as younger people do. Thus they can still have nutritional deficiencies even if they eat correctly.

Some high end multivitamin formulas have digestive enzymes in them to help people absorb the nutrients in their food, which is why vitamin supplements should be taken with meals.

Recent evidence indicates that you should stay away from multivitamin formulas with added iron, because this can increase risk of heart disease. Iron is extremely reactive and adding extra to our diet via supplement form is probably not a good idea. 

Companies that I like for quality and price are Jarrow Formulas, Pure Encapsulations, Thorne, and Life Extension. 

Eat as well as you can within your personal circumstances, and do add a good multivitamin and multimineral supplement to your daily diet  for some extra insurance against nutritional deficiencies.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

3 Simple Ways to Lower Cholesterol Naturally

How can you lower cholesterol naturally without drastically altering your lifestyle and micromanaging your meals? It IS very simple, but first a few words about cholesterol levels and heart disease. The impact of cholesterol levels on heart disease has been greatly exaggerated. 

Here are a few facts about the relationship of cholesterol levels to heart attacks and strokes:
  • Half of all heart attack victims have normal cholesterol levels
  • In the famous Framingham Study people with the highest cholesterol levels lived the longest
  • In this same study it was found that people with the lowest cholesterol levels had the highest rate of death from all causes.
How could this be? Aren't we told that cholesterol causes heart disease and that we can never get it TOO low? Well this is a myth, and medical science has been caught flat footed to explain this to a confused public.

The truth is that while cholesterol is involved in the process of atherosclerosis, it does not cause or initiate this process. Atherosclerosis involves small dense highly inflammatory cholesterol particles called Lp(a) that get lodged in the arteries and form plaques that can block blood flow and if the plaques harden and break off they can travel upstream and cause blockages in smaller arteries called “ischemic strokes.”

The small dense highly inflammatory LDL particles get lodged in artery walls and cause the damage that leads to heart attacks and strokes. If your cholesterol levels are high (above 250) and you have these particles, you are at increased risk for heart disease. If however your cholesterol is high and your LDL particles are the large low density type, then your risk is very low.

Inflammation is the key when you are trying to determine your risk for heart disease and there are several tests that can be helpful. C-reactive protein, serum homocystiene, and fasting blood sugar, will tell you more about your risk of heart disease than the standard cholesterol profile that most doctors still use. So with all this said, why would you still want to lower cholesterol?

The answer is that you don't want to lower it by artificial means, using statin drugs block production of cholesterol which is a normal and necessary process. You want to lower cholesterol naturally by eating a diet of fresh non-processed foods, getting enough fiber, getting enough vitamin-D, exercising properly, and keeping inflammation low in your body.

Cholesterol is also an antioxidant, and it increases in response to inflammation in your body. So when your cholesterol is lowered naturally it means that your body does not have to make as much cholesterol to synthesize vitamin-D and fight oxidation in your body. So with that said, here are some of the simple steps you can take to keep your cardiovascular system healthy and thus your cholesterol at naturally optimal levels.

Make sure you get enough vitamin-D

When your vitamin-D levels are low, your body makes more cholesterol which in turn it uses to bio-synthesize vitamin-D. Thus you need to get at least 20 minutes of daily sunlight or if you live in a cold climate take supplemental vitamin D3 daily. How much? According to Dr. Stephen Sinatra, the minimum daily intake for a normal healthy person should be 2,000 units a day. If you have a medical condition check with your doctor to see if taking a vitamin-D supplement is safe in your particular instance.

Limit your intake of carbohydrates to under 150 grams per day

This includes both simple and complex carbs. Ideal carbohydrates would be non-starchy vegetables. Limit grains especially wheat, and stay completely away from simple sugars like deserts and alcohol. I little indulgence in these things from time to time is ok, but not on a steady basis.

Avoid long slow cardiovascular exercise

You need about 15 minutes of vigorous exercise 3 times per week. This can be in the form of circuit weight training, internal training, kettlebells, sprints on a track or elliptical machine, or an exercise system such as PACE by Dr. Al Sears. Long duration cardio training can raise your levels of stress hormones and actually accelerate the aging process.

Short brief but intense bouts of exercise have a much healthier effect on your hormonal system, and your blood lipid profile. Doing these simple things on a daily and weekly basis, you can greatly reduce your risk of heart disease, and you will get a leaner better looking body as well. When you lower cholesterol naturally your health benefits across the board.