Archive for the ‘VITAMINS’ Category


Monday, July 22nd, 2013


















Sunday, July 8th, 2012








You’ve heard of Superfoods, but…Superfruits? Not every fruit qualifies. Those deemed “super” by nutrition scientists are packed with antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals, and other nutrients that can help you live longer, look better, and even prevent disease.

Natures Brands Natural Health & Beauty Products

Best of all, most are widely available, even at your local supermarket or fruit shop, promises Keri Glassman, R.D., founder of and author of Slim Calm Sexy Diet. One caveat: Superfruits are best consumed whole, not processed. So if possible, try to buy and eat these fruits fresh. Experts estimate that you should be eating five to nine portions of fruit or vegetables a day, and the majority of them should be Superfruits.
Natures Brands Natural Health & Beauty Products

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Friday, December 3rd, 2010


Vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrient needed by the body for proper and healthy functioning. Numerous processes inside the body require the presence of vitamin D in order to happen. Vitamin D comes in different forms and the most relevant forms for the human body are as vitamin D ergocalciferol and vitamin D cholecalciferol.

The natural source of vitamin D is the sun and it is produced in the skin of the vertebral species after being exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet B. There are also synthetic sources of vitamin D. In some countries, the fortification of vitamin D in selected food products is required; this may include margarine, flour and milk. Vitamin D can also come in pill form. Other natural sources of vitamin D are meat, eggs, mushrooms, and fish.

Vitamin D for Healthier Bones

There are numerous health benefits of vitamin D to the body. And on one hand, there are also several health risks for not getting enough vitamin D.

The most important and observable benefit of vitamin D is its role in bone growth and bone health. It is a well known fact that the skeletal system needs as much calcium as it can get in order to grow properly and maintain strength and healthy density. But drinking plenty of glasses of milk everyday or taking calcium supplements may not be enough to achieve the full health benefits of calcium. Vitamin D is an important reactant for the absorption of calcium. It promotes the absorption of calcium in the intestines and at the same time supports bone restoration. It also allows proper bone formation by maintaining the levels of phosphate and calcium inside the body.

Studies reveal that vitamin D deficiency is strongly linked to the development of osteoporosis since it results to a decrease in a person’s bone density.  Also, changes in metabolic processes which are important in maintaining a health skeletal system occur. The high-dosed supplementation of vitamin D along with high calcium diet was also observed to be a potential treatment for patients with osteoporosis. Other studies showed that increased supplementation of vitamin D can increase bone density and may result to a lower risk of developing illnesses associated with weakened bones that may lead to fractures, commonly of the hip.

Medical experts will also recommend sufficient involvement in outdoor physical activities in order to maintain and promote bone health. Proper exercise helps in strengthening the bones and at the same time exposes the body to healthy levels of UV-B in order for the body to naturally produce vitamin D. Diet is a secondary method of supplying the body with its much needed demand for vitamin D. Eating the right kind of foods and taking supplements will ensure a long term approach to keeping the bones at tiptop shape.

Boosting the Immune System

The second most important benefit of vitamin D to the human body is its role in keeping the immune system prepared and well-equipped against the attacks of pathogenic substances that enters the body. It serves to enhance the phagocytic activity of immune cells called macrophages. Vitamin D also increases the production of substances produced by the macrophages in order to combat fungi, viruses and bacteria.

According to a study conducted by a team of researchers, results have demonstrated how vitamin D deficiency results to the weakening of T cells, the body’s natural soldiers against infection and diseases. The head researcher, Professor Carsten Geisler from the University of Copenhagen, said that immune cells will remain dormant until they are activated. Bacteria and viruses will remain inside the body and continue to do damage until the immune cells detect their presence; this process requires vitamin D. The study also suggested that without vitamin D, the immune system will be less effective in fighting infection and diseases. They added that vitamin D can be used to develop new vaccines by assisting immune cells to better detect infection and combat the source.

The studies evaluating the importance of vitamin D to the immune system further puts emphasis to the importance of the vitamin as a dietary need.

Vitamin D Supplementation Guidelines

The established daily intake recommendation of vitamin D is 600 IU. But the Maine Medical Center Research Institute from Scarborough in Maine is suggesting an increase in vitamin D RDA. They are recommending a raise from 600 IU to 800 IU and above for people ages 1 to 70 in order to maintain and optimize bone health. The new guidelines set by the institute also suggested an increase in calcium RDA. For children aged 1 to 3 years, the institute suggested that daily intake should not be lower than 700 milligrams of calcium and 1000 milligrams for those 4 years to adolescent age; the dosage increases as the person grows older.

The new guidelines said that Canadians are getting sufficient dosage of calcium and vitamin D on a daily basis. But elderly people tend to get less of the nutrient including girls ages 9 to 18. Vitamin D is important to help in the absorption of calcium in the intestines and it also plays an important role in maintaining bone health.

Studies linking vitamin D deficiency to the development of diseases like diabetes, some types of cancer, and heart diseases are growing in numbers. Despite that, the evidences are limited to indicate causation. But further studies are expected to further establish facts and the medical experts are expecting the increase in vitamin D dietary requirement to demonstrate its benefits on an aggregate level. The committee members who recommended the increase in vitamin D RDA issued a disclaimer saying that taking the vitamin for more than 600 to 800 IU will not benefit the bones but may still benefit other bodily functions.

Sunlight Exposure for Vitamin D Synthesis

Exposing one’s self to the sun is one of the most effective ways of supplying the body with vitamin D. Sunlight provides the body with more vitamin D than some food sources. The skin has a natural mechanism that produces vitamin D and this is triggered by the exposure to UV rays. The synthesis of vitamin D is affected by sunscreens, geographic altitude and location and even the season. Light installations in homes will not give the body enough UV to synthesize vitamin D. Sun exposure may sound dangerous but the body will only need 10 to 15 minutes of sun exposure twice a week in order to help in the production of vitamin D.

Souced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Astaxanthin Introduction

Astaxanthin is a natural occuring compound responsible for the distinctive pink coloration in sea food like salmon, crustaceans, crayfish, shrimp, krill, trout, and some microalgae.  The compound is a phytochemical carotenoid. But unlike other carotenoid found in fruits and plants, astaxanthin is not converted into vitamin A in the human body. Vitamin A will have a toxic effect to the body when taken in excessive amounts but astaxanthin does not produce this adverse effect. Different studies have revealed the potential health benefits of the compound to the body. And astaxanthin demonstrates strong antioxidant property which was found to be 500 times stronger than vitamin E.

The biggest natural source of astaxanthin is haematococcus pluvialis, a microalgae that produces the most amount of astaxanthin in nature. But the compound can also be synthesized but is not recommended for human consumption due to its content of stereoisomers. A kilo of naturally produced astaxanthin is worth around $7000 in the market.

Astaxanthin is usually used as a feed supplement for animals and seafood. The compound is also used to enhance the color of salmon and make it look pinker. But astaxanthin used for this purpose is usually made synthetically from petrochemicals. On the other hand, the production of astaxanthin for human consumption is derived from natural sources, usually from microalgae. It is used as a food supplement due to its powerful antioxidant property. It has also been found to be beneficial against neurodegenerative, inflammatory, immune, and cardiovascular diseases. The compound has also exerted its effects in lowering the risk of developing cancer. The production and use of astaxanthin as a food supplement and aquaculture feed is regulated in the US by the Food and Drug Authority.

A Summary of the Potential Health Benefits of Astaxanthin

A new review on the potential health benefits of astaxanthin shows that the compound can reduce the risk of metabolic syndromes and improve skin health. Researchers from the Molecular Nutrition and Food Research in China conducted a series of controlled clinical studies evaluating the health benefits of astaxanthin.

The industry of astaxanthin both as a fish and animal feed and as food supplement is expected to have an annual turnover of $200 million by 2015. The compound is also used on fish products to enhance its pink color and make them more salable. The cost of astaxanthin for human consumption is estimated to be worth around $35 to 60 million according to a private firm Frost and Sullivan.

Astaxanthin food supplements are primarily used to improve skin and eye health. But the compound has also been found to improve joint health and prevent diseases caused by oxidative stress; the antioxidant property of astaxanthin has been found to be 500 times stronger than vitamin E according to clinical studies.

The review on the health benefits of astaxanthin concluded that the protective benefits of the compound against diseases are most likely to be caused by its antioxidant mechanism that prevents cellular damage caused by oxidative stress. Astaxanthin also inhibits the production of inflammatory substances like cytokines and improve the cells sensitivity and response to insulin.

The other health benefits of astaxanthin includes the reduction of damaged and abnormal cells in the liver, protection against eye damage caused by UV rays, alleviation from stress, prevention of neurodegenerative diseases like ALS, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease and protection against the development of cancer cells in the breast, uterus, bladder, bowels, oral cavity and the tongue. Astaxanthin has also been found to boost the immune system by stimulating the production of more antibodies and help the body better protect itself against diseases.

Other Clinical Studies on the Health Benefits of Astaxanthin

Different studies on the potential health benefits of astaxanthin against cancer have been performed on laboratory animals like rats. One study showed that astaxanthin protected mice from the carcinogenesis of the urinary bladder. The study used two groups of mice fed with carcinogens for a period of 20 weeks. The second group was fed with astaxanthin for another period of 20 weeks; the first group did not receive astaxanthin supplementation. The researchers observed that the control group has 42 percent incidence of bladder carcinoma while the second group only had 18 percent incidence rate. The study also evaluated the effects of astaxanthin on oral and colon cancer prevention. And similar to their first observation, there was also a significant reduction in cancer risk.

Another study showed that astaxanthin is effective in preventing ameliorating retinal injury and the degeneration of photoreceptors due to ageing. This proves the eye health benefits of astaxanthin. A different study concluded that astaxanthin is useful in preventing and treating neuronal damage linked to muscular degeneration brought by senility. The researchers also suggested that the compound has potential benefits against Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and in treating ischemic reperfusion injury, other injuries in the central nervous system and the spinal cord.

Sources, Safety and Dosage

A study on the recommendable dietary dosage of astaxanthin in order to obtain its health benefits without subjecting the body to potential toxicity ranges from 4 to 16 milligrams a day depending on the person’s body type. It is not an essential nutrient but the increased intake of the compound has been found to have numerous health benefits to the body. A natural source of astaxanthin is salmon which contains approximately 1 milligram per serving but pacific salmon may contain around 4 to 5 milligrams. Astaxanthin has a very low level of toxicity but this may become dangerous in young children, nursing and pregnant women and individuals with kidney and liver disease.

Astaxanthin as Antioxidant

Well-funded studies have been conducted in different countries to determine the potential health benefits of natural substances against oxidative stress. The damage of cells caused by free radicals had been linked to several diseases including cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. Carotenoids, the natural pigmentation in fruits and plants and plants, have shown significant effects against oxidative stress. Astaxanthin being a carotenoid also demonstrates this value. But further study is still needed to establish the health benefits of astaxanthin.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Understanding Thrombosis

Deep vein thrombosis is a common chronic health condition extensively present amongst adults. The condition is caused by the clotting of blood in the veins causing an obstruction in the blood flowing through the circulatory system. Whenever a vein experiences injury, fibrin and platelets forms a clotting in the blood to prevent further blood loss. But blood clot can also form under certain conditions. An obstruction in the blood passages of more than 25 percent of the artery walls affects the oxygen supply of the tissues resulting to a complication called embolism.

Thrombosis can be highly hereditary. A condition called hypercoagulability is a genetic deficiency wherein the blood has heightened tendencies to clot. The condition can also be caused by the quality of the walls of the blood vessels and the disturbance of blood flow due to an injured vessel causing blood stagnation; this may be brought about by sitting for a long period of time, for example.

Cases of thrombosis can be classified depending on where the condition is located. Deep vein thrombosis happens when the blood clots within the deep veins. This normally happens in the leg’s femoral veins. Superficial symptoms include reddening, swelling and chronic pain on the affected area. A study aimed at finding an effective means of alleviating the symptoms of deep vein thrombosis finds exercise as a potential supplementation to pharmaceutical intervention.

Study on the Benefits of Exercise on Deep Vein Thrombosis

A group of researchers from Canada conducted a study involving a group of thrombosis patients. They evaluated the effects of performing long-term leg exercises to the symptoms of the health condition. The researchers designed a specialized training program lasting for six months dedicated at improving leg flexibility and strength and overall fitness and they found that the program improves symptoms of deep vein thrombosis and its chronic complications. It has also been found to improve the symptoms of post-thrombotic syndrome. The study was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

A professor of medicine from the Division of Internal Medicine and Center for Clinical Epidemiology at McGill University, Dr Susan Kahn, said that given the divergence in treatment plans for managing the symptoms of post-thrombotic syndrome, the pilot study, aimed at determining the effectiveness of exercise training to treat post-thrombosis, establishes a new approach on more effective ways of fighting the condition. The researchers, led by Dr Kahn, gathered a group of 95 thrombosis patients. The authors said that findings of the small trial procedures will need further confirmation and that conducting a larger study is recommended. A variable was that most of the patients were young active and well-educated; results may differ on different demographics. Despite the preliminary quality of their findings, the researchers concluded that exercise training designed at improving leg flexibility and strength can help alleviate the pains of post-thrombotic syndromes.

Natural Methods of Preventing Thrombosis

The body has its natural means of repairing and maintaining itself. When the vascular system experiences damage like a cut or any incision that causes blood to flow out of the blood vessels, structures dedicated at preventing blood loss works to clot the blood. But not all blood clotting is healthy to the body. Serious health problems like stroke are caused by the undesirable clotting of the blood that leads to obstructed blood flow. The condition results to the insufficient oxygen supply to the tissues and, as a result, thrombosis develops. Research has found different reasons for a person to develop thrombosis.

Smoking has never been good to the body. The different toxins and other chemicals in tobacco have been found to cause different diseases. Cancer and pulmonary diseases are on top of the list. Smoking also reduces the body’s natural ability to protect itself against diseases by weakening the immune system. A common condition that results to the development of thrombosis is hypercoagulability. This happens when the blood easily coagulates with minimal or no reason to do so. Smoking results to myocardial infraction which is associated with hypercoagulation. Though primarily genetic, the condition can be developed by unhealthy practices like smoking and prolonged immobility and bed rest.

The common pharmaceutical treatments for thrombosis include aspirin, coumadin, heparin and ticlopidines. These medications are formulated to either prevent the coagulation of blood or to dissolve blood clots that obstruct healthy blood flow. But these medications have side effects. They can slowly impair the body’s natural ability to initiate and maintain blood clots even in situations where it is highly needed to prevent blood loss.

Lowering one’s cholesterol levels is one of the best natural ways of preventing the onset and development of thrombosis. Cholesterol is known to be one of the fatty acids that can form in the wall of the arteries and thwart blood flow. Other common health conditions associated with high cholesterol levels are mostly cardiovascular in nature. In the treatment of specific types of thrombosis, medications that work to lower cholesterol levels and remove any cholesterol plaques from the walls of blood vessels are also used. But it is also important to remember that the use of pharmaceutical agents can bring about unwanted side effects – adverse reactions that may be life-threatening. So when looking for a treatment regimen, it is emphasized that one choose what is healthy, effective, and safe.

The natural food ingredients that have been found to have high potential in preventing thrombosis are aged garlic, gingko biloba, nutrients like niacin, vitamin E, vitamin K, and other anti-inflammatory compounds. Aged garlic has been used to serve as a strong food supplement to promote the health of the cardiovascular system. Garlic increases the synthesis of a chemical messenger called nitric oxide that inhibits the clotting of the blood. A study on the food ingredient found that consuming one clove of fresh garlic in a day for a period of 26 weeks can result to approximately 20 percent reduction of serum cholesterol.

Benefits of Frequent Exercise

There are numerous health benefits of exercise – and this starts with the decision to get up from the couch and resolve to avoid a sedentary lifestyle. It is not necessary to go to the gym or burden over hours of heavy weights in order to achieve a healthy body. A simple walk in the park for a few minutes in most days of the year will give you the effects necessary in order to improve and maintain body functions.

  • Exercise exerts its effect on a person’s mood. It can serve as an effective means of alleviating stress and releasing body tension.
  • Different reliable studies around the world had also established the importance of maintaining an active lifestyle in order to lower the risk of developing chronic and degenerative diseases.
  • Frequent exercising, together with a balanced diet, is the most effective means of reducing and managing body weight.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Saturday, April 3rd, 2010

More Reasons to Make Sure You are Getting

Enough Vitamin D

Denmark researchers have found that if we aren’t getting enough Vitamin D our bodies are less able to fight infection.

If you want to keep your immune system strong and healthy, it is key to make sure you are getting enough Vitamin D.  For quite some time health news has been circulating that lack of Vitamin D is linked to a variety of diseases and ailments including depression, breast cancer, osteoporosis, chronic pain, and heart disease.

A new research study out of Copenhagen, Denmark has presented yet another reason why you should get as much Vitamin D as possible.  Scientists have found that this vitamin is necessary to activate the T cells (often also called “killer cells”) in our immune system. Although their name may cause you to think that killer cells are to be avoided, they actually are important to have in your system as they seek out and destroy diseased cells.  When your body has ample levels of Vitamin D, these killer cells can work in your benefit to fight elements that could potentially do you harm.

In the research study, Professor Carsten Geisler and his team traced PLC-gamma1, a molecule that allows the cell to fight disease. They found that when cells are not activated by Vitamin D, they barely express PLC-gamma1. However, when Vitamin D is received, the PLC-gamma1 increases by over 75%.

According to the scientists, “Scientists have known for a long time that vitamin D is important for calcium absorption and the vitamin has also been implicated in diseases such as cancer and multiple sclerosis, but what we didn’t realize is how crucial vitamin D is for actually activating the immune system – which we know now.”

As my readers know, I have been consistently advising people to consume Vitamin D for years.  So how do you get more Vitamin D into your system? The best way to get Vitamin D is to increase your exposure to sunlight.  Just 5-30 minutes of sun exposure can greatly increase the amount of D in your system.  This means that you don’t even necessarily have to go sunbathing, just a short walk on your lunch break will do the trick.  Now remember not to use sunscreen, as it typically contains cancer-causing agents.

Unless you are living in an area that is sunny year-round like Florida or San Diego, the best way to get Vitamin D in the winter months is through your diet and supplements.  There aren’t a ton of foods that contain Vitamin D, so choose carefully. Some healthy choices that I like to recommend include dandelion greens, oatmeal, low mercury tuna and sweet potatoes.

While the recommended dose of Vitamin D is 200 IU for people up to age 50 and 400 IU for people between 51-70, a general rule of thumb is to get as much Vitamin D as you can.  Make sure you get enough exposure to sunlight and be sure to include healthy foods containing Vitamin D in your diet

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 3rd April 2010


Saturday, April 3rd, 2010

A Natural Approach

to Protect and Maintain Healthy Eyes

Loss of vision can result from a number of different conditions or factors. Some of the most common include diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and cataracts. Some less common but very real conditions that can lead to vision loss are retinis pigmentosa and macular degeneration as well.

Other conditions that can include vision loss:

Uveitis – This condition is characterized by an inflammation of the iris, choroid and ciliary body, which all make up the middle layer of the eye. Many times, this condition is caused by an underlying disease like an infection or rheumatoid arthritis. Symptoms consist primarily of diminished or hazy vision but pain and redness may also be present. Anytime a blockage of a blood vessel that serves the retina – such as in the case of a blood clot – takes place, vision loss can occur as well.

Retinal detachment – In this case, the loss of vision is compared to having a curtain drawn across the field of vision. “Sparks”, flashes of light or an increase in the number of black floaters in the field of vision are also common.

Toxic amblyopia – With this condition, the optic nerve becomes damaged due to a toxic reaction. When this happens, a small “hole” which gets larger over a period of time is created in the field of vision. As the problem progresses, blindness may occur. In most cases, both eyes are affected and the condition is prevalent among smokers. For that reason, it is sometimes called tobacco mblyopia. Those who consume excessive amounts of alcohol or come into contact with methanol, digitalis, chloramphenicol, lead and other chemicals are also at higher risk of developing toxic amblyopia.

Inflammation of the optic nerve – An inflammation such as this, which may occur as a result of a systemic illness or infection can be another cause of vision loss. In many cases however, the exact cause cannot be determined. With this condition, it’s usually only one eye that is affected but sometimes it can affect both and vision loss in various degrees may occur over the course of a few days.

The regimen outlined below includes a holistic approach to maintaining healthy eyes, therefore preventing vision loss:

The eyes, like every other part of the body needed to be nourished and cared for properly. Eating a healthy diet which contains sufficient amounts of vitamins & minerals is essential in maintaining healthy eyes.

Vegetables like carrots, green vegetables, watercress, cauliflower, seeds, broccoli and raw cabbage should all be included in the diet.

Drink fresh carrot juice. This can help treat & alleviate some eye problems.

Sugar & white four should be eliminated from the diet.

Always protect the eyes from dangerous levels of UV exposure by wearing UV protective sunglasses when in the sun for long periods of time.

The following herbs and supplements are also beneficial in maintaining healthy eyes:

Free-form amino acid complex (take as directed on label) – Provides needed protein.

Glutathione (500 mg daily on an empty stomach) – Powerful antioxidant that protect the lenses of the eyes.

High-Potency Multivitamin and mineral complex (take as directed on label) – Provides are necessary nutrients in the proper balance.

Vitamin A (25,000 IU daily) Essential for proper eye function. Shields the eye from free radicals. Use emulsion form for easy assimilation.

Vitamin B complex (100 mg of each major B vitamin twice daily) – Needed for intracellular eye metabolism.

Vitamin C with Bioflavonoids (2,000 mg 3 times daily) – Antioxidant that reduces intraocular pressure.

Vitamin E (200 IU daily) – Important in healing and immunity.

Zinc (50 mg daily) – Deficiency has been linked to retinal detachment.

Cayenne, red raspberry leaves and bayberry bark when taken by mouth are beneficial.

Bilberry extract – Studies have shown this herb to improve normal and night vision.

* Please note: The recommended doses are for those over age 18 unless otherwise stated. Always check herb and vitamin use with your child’s health care practitioner prior to administering them.

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 3rd April 2010