By Natural Advocate | July 6, 2013 - 3:50 pm - Posted in Vitamins & Minerals

I’ll be honest. I really didn’t know much about the nutritional supplement (and naturally found nutrient in foods) niacin before I read an interesting article about how it is being used for heart health.

All I really knew about niacin is that it could cause facial flushing (redness) in the face if you took too much of it. I remember actually experiencing this facial flushing once years ago when I was taking some sort of dietary supplement that contained niacin within it.

So aside from the flushing aspect, I really didn’t know much. So what is niacin exactly?  Niacin is a B vitamin actually.  Its most popular use, which is to help promote blood flow and therefore in the process help with circulatory and heart health, is being called into question now.

The reason?  Researchers have shown that two different studies showed the vitamin had no significant effect on heart or circulatory health.  Interestingly, it is mostly sold on a prescription basis although the supplement is made as an OTC offering in smaller doses and less proprietary offerings.

Niacin is supposed to help your body maintain high levels of “good” cholesterol while also helping to lower the levels of “bad” cholesterol in the blood. This of course leads to  a healthier heart, better blood flow and may even impact your risk of having a stroke in a positive way since a stroke is usually due to high bad cholesterol levels in the blood.

Even though there are prescriptions for this vitamin, you should really try to get most of your niacin the way you should also try to get all the other vitamins and nutrients in your diet, in a complete and whole food.

Here are some of the foods that are naturally high in niacin:

Pork chops, beef and chicken may be high in niacin, especially if they are free roaming, grass and free range fed since they get better nutrients than the animals that are caged and unhappy.  Organ meats are also high in niacin, but I really wanted to give them minimal mention since most people don’t relish the idea of eating a heart or kidney (I know I surely don’t).

Many different types of fish are high in this B vitamin as well. I love a good piece of fish here and there, and you can really get this important nutrient by eating it lightly sautéed, or perhaps lightly baked.  There are plenty of great recipes to eat fish in a delicious and inventive way these days, and there are plenty of mild tasting fish (orange roughey and Pollack are two of the ones that are high in niacin and they are very mild).

Peanuts are high in niacin as well. So logic follows that peanut butter and other products containing raw peanuts would contain this nutrient as well. No reason not to get your B3 vitamin in nature.  If you eat any of these types of foods on a daily basis, then you are probably getting the right amount to keep your body healthy.

 

 

 

By Natural Advocate | October 17, 2012 - 2:10 pm - Posted in Vitamins & Minerals

We know that vitamin D is crucial to an effective and efficient immune system, cancer prevention and overall cell protection as well as the effective utilization of calcium by the body.  There are TONS of additional studies being done right now that are pointing to even more benefits of this inexpensive and easily attained vitamin.

The newest potential benefit of vitamin D is that it may one day offer the key to regenerated hair growth for men and women who have lost their hair prematurely or gone totally bald.  It appears vitamin D may be the “key” the fits into the missing piece of the puzzle for follicle health and function.

Somehow vitamin D prevents the “sleep” phase of the hair follicles. Normally our follicles go through an inactive phase – this is actually a normal thing that people with full heads of hair experience. However, the problem with balding people is that this sleep phase lasts forever and turns on for an indefinite time period, making hair growth impossible. 

So what is the best way to get your daily dose of vitamin D?

The best way is still to get about 15 minutes of solid sunshine exposure per day, with as much of your body exposed to the sunlight as possible. Preferably with no sunscreen, so that’s why such a small amount of time is needed. You never want to burn though of course. This defeats the “health” purpose of sun exposure.

Try not to shower for at least 6-8 hours or even longer preferably after you are exposed to the sunlight. Your skin still generates vitamin D from the interaction that occurs between the skin’s natural substance and the sunlight for hours after exposure. When you shower too soon, you’re actually interfering with the absorption of vitamin D.

The second option is to supplement with vitamin D.  This can be somewhat effective, but only when it is consumed in a fatty (oil) base. I prefer to use oil capsules, this ensures the best absorption of the vitamin D.  The best way is still UV exposure though.  Since the vitamin may now also dictate how much hair you have on your head, it’s even more important to get your daily dose.

By Natural Advocate | June 21, 2012 - 4:25 pm - Posted in Vitamins & Minerals

Vitamins are a vital source of strength and vitality (as well as disease prevention) for our bodies, and a crucial part of any diet. While it’s widely accepted that we should eat plenty of fruits and vegetables to maintain healthy intakes, there’s a growing demand for supplements to boost the vitamin consumption.

If you’ve had your ears turned towards the dieting industry, you’ll have heard recent discussion over the effectiveness of vitamin pills. The aim of most pills is to provide nutrients to the system and compensate for deficiencies, but this has been questioned with several experts casting doubt on the positive results.

Of course, the best way to get those vital vitamins is to make a lifestyle change and eat more greens. This shows you a multivitamin and super greens for optimum health: But just how important are natural vitamins?

Much of our growth and development is directly related to vitamins and minerals. It’s no myth that children and teenagers need healthy nutrients to build up a defence against diseases and deficiency related illness. There are several artificial means of boosting vitamin levels, but the downside to this is that not every method has been scientifically proven.

More and more people have been opting for special natural Vitamin D supplements. These have been advertised in a way that suggests they’re capable of cutting back on the risk of heart disease and diabetes. The scientific opinion is divided, but if you balance the supplements with a Vitamin D aided diet, the advantages are obvious.

Healthy intakes of Vitamin D are vital for the maintenance of our core skeleton, and the vitamin is directly related to the calcium levels in our bodies. A deficiency can lead to harmful conditions such as Osteoporosis, and several other bone related diseases.

Another important nutrient stems from Vitamin E. This vitamin is vital for fighting several forms of cancer, along with cardiovascular related disease. A healthy level will boost the potency of antioxidant and work to protect key cell membranes. You can reel off a list of many, many debilitating conditions which Vitamin E works to fight against.

Once again, you’ll find that there are a surprising number of supplements on the market. For Vitamin E, in particular, herbal products offering precise formulations swamp the industry and it can be a little tricky to choose between them. Do your research before you splash out on any natural dietary supplement. Check the ingredients and work out just how potent the product is going to be.

Many herbal products are so weak that they provide as little as 10%-15% of the nutrients required.

Most importantly, though, you should be aware that the best sources of vitamins come from a healthy diet. It can be easy to neglect healthy eating and rely on alternative means if you’re stuck in a habit, but real effort will bring real results.

Vitamins A, B, C, D and E should all be taken seriously when considering your diet. Together they combine to provide the body the strength it needs – not only to combat disease, but to produce physical results that will affect our every day lives. From the strength of the bones, to the protection of key organs, and even to fighting cancer – there can be no underestimating the benefits of natural vitamins.

 

By Natural Advocate | June 15, 2012 - 9:07 am - Posted in Vitamins & Minerals

Vitamin C is a really great antioxidant vitamin. It’s an excellent and very cheap way to help fight off the free radicals that deluge us and our bodies every single day. It’s water soluble, so that means you can eat foods with it and even take supplements on top of that without overdosing on it or getting vitamin C toxicity as you can get with fat soluble vitamins.

In other words, you pee out vitamin C every day rather than store it in your fat cells like some other vitamins (E for example).  While vitamin C is known primarily for it antioxidant virtues, it also has been found to have another interesting health benefit. Specifically to men who suffer from gout, which is painful inflammations in the joints resulting from excessive uric acid in the blood stream.

It affects men most often, and men who have it often have to be put on special diets or avoid certain foods that will increase uric acid levels even more.

The study on vitamin C and its potential effects on gout and gout prevention had some interesting findings. They found that men who had a higher intake of vitamin C via the foods they ate and/or the supplements they took actually had lower uric acid counts than the men who had little or less vitamin C intake in their daily diet regimen.

The thought is that the intake of vitamin C is somehow related to a lower uric acid count and therefore can both relieve the effects of gout if they are already present and also reduce the likelihood of gout even occurring if men have had a higher intake of vitamin C all along.

There was really no reason why the vitamin C was thought to help lower uric acid levels, but the relationship was definitely there in an identifiable way.  Studies have yet to be done on women to  see if the same relationship may be there, but the authors think it may affect women differently due to the different interactions and concentrations of hormones in a woman’s body as compared to that of a man.

 

By Natural Advocate | May 27, 2012 - 8:42 pm - Posted in Vitamins & Minerals

Vitamin D has emerged as a major player in the battle to prevent cancers from forming in the first place. This included several types of cancer, almost all of which affect both men and women. Why would a vitamin play such a pivotal role in the potential to prevent so many types of cancers?

Well, vitamin D has some powerful effects on both the immune system, which helps fight against cell death and cell mutation, and it also has some powerful anti-mutation effects on the cells themselves by affecting receptors in cells that protect the integrity of them.

Several studies have shown that risks of breast, colon and rectal cancers falls greatly when the blood levels of vitamin D reach 40 nanograms.  You would cringe to know how little of the population has failed to achieve these blood levels.

This is due to low RDA allowances from the fed recommendations.  They recommend too little of the vitamin to even make a dent in your ability to fight off cancerous growths.  They further act like these higher vitamin D levels can be dangerous while there is little proof of that.

There is actually more proof to the contrary, that higher vitamin D levels protect against cancer and boost immunity, both of which happen to go hand in hand.

Vitamin D levels have also been associated with a greater likelihood of survival after cancer has been diagnosed, and staying cancer free afterwards.  The funny part is that you are advised to avoid the sun like the plague, but this is your best and most effective form of vitamin D.

Sunlight exposure, particularly of the UVB spectrum, is what makes your skin make the vitamin, and this is the most precious form of this vitamin you can have because your body uses it more effectively than any capsulated form of the vitamin.

However, many experts still advise you get your capsules as well, preferably in a fatty suspension as it will absorb better this way, and preferably in the higher IU’s since your body is not as ready to absorb it in this form.  Vitamin D also absorbs better with calcium, and vice versa, so the two are often recommended as tandem supplements – especially for women.

The oxymoron is that excessive UVA/UVB exposure can also be a contributing factor to skin cancer, the most deadly form being melanoma.  However, if you monitor your sun exposure and most important NEVER burn yourself, sun is actually a very therapeutic and 100% necessity to the human body.

 


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