Nutritional Supplements - Why Do We Need Them?

T he puzzle of aging has undergone a partial deconstruct! Most scientists believe that aging can be traced to cellular damage caused primarily by the Free Radicals (unstable oxygen molecules circulating in our blood that oxidize tissue much as rust attacks metal), although other factors such as sun, alcohol or psychological stress contribute.

With every breath you take, Free Radicals are produced in your body. They attack surrounding proteins, fats and genes. During your youthful years your body's natural antioxidants swiftly repair most of the damage. But, once the reproductive years are over, nature lowers your body's defenses... its most important job, from nature's perspective, is done. Your body systems, thereon, function less efficiently to counter the attacks by the free-radicals, and damage accumulates rapidly.

In other words, aging is the result of oxidative stress, a process in which the body literally rusts over time.

Medical science has proved that free radicals are involved in more than 81 diseases, including heart and cardiovascular disease, cancer, arthritis and the diseases we associate with aging (like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and other neuro-degenerative disorders).

So what can you do? Take preventative measures using your knowledge of the newest treatments and products available.

Antioxidants are the elements that fight the free radicals that age our bodies and lower our defenses.

Alpha Lipoic Acid is one of the most powerful antioxidants known to man. It is found in several foods, yeast and liver, kidney,spinach, broccoli and potatoes. It acts both intra- and extra-cellularly while fighting oxidative damage in general, and also helps maintain a normal blood sugar metabolism.

"Preliminary data suggests that Alpha Lipoic Acid can protect against damage to the brain or neural tissue as well. This is generally thought to be related to potent antioxidant properties, which reduce oxidative damage. "

A breakthrough study on Anti-Aging was profiled in Readers Digest some years ago. Conducted by Dr Ames at the University of California at Berkeley, on an element know as L-Carnite, it found that the most potent effect was arrived at by combining the powerful antioxidant and "free radicals-fighter" Alpha Lipoic Acid with Acetyl-L-Carnitine.

L-Carnitine (the "L" refers to its chemical polarity) is used by the body to transport long chain fatty acids to the mitochondria in cells, where they are burned for energy. Since all muscular energy is derived from burning fat , lack of L-Carnitine may lead to low energy levels and muscular weakness. L-Carnitine deficiencies can also appear as mental confusion or cloudiness, angina (heart pain), and weight gain.

"Animal studies have also indicated that supplemental Acetyl-L-Carnitine can reverse age-associated changes in lipid metabolism."

Nutraceuticals - supplements with medicinal properties

NADH: The object of new and ongoing research is an element, a co-enzyme called NADH, short for Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide, with the H standing for hydrogen. On the basis of such research, NADH is considered by many to be amongst the most biological potent elements found in the body.

" Science is learning that NADH may have a direct positive involvement in enhancing the immune system,
fighting disease and in repairing the body damage caused by disease. "

NADH is also a potent energy producer that works directly with your metabolism to create more energy for every cell in your body, including muscle, nerve cells and the brain cells. While creating energy, it helps your body to burn all foods. And, it has a potent effect on the memory cells, too, in addition to being a mood enhancer (as it has a role in the development of serotonin and dopamine, that cause a feeling of well being).

Coenzyme Q10 : "It is an essential component of one of the most fundamental biochemical processes in living beings: the converting of fuel into energy. That process is what allows all our hearts to pump, our brains to work, our immune systems to fight disease. So a deficiency of coQ10 could lead to a wide range of illnesses and health problems -- and it could be fatal. Need I say more?"

"Biopsies on gums of individuals with periodontal disease have shown a deficiency of this nutrient. And, over the past 30 years, there has been growing research showing that coQ10 can help heal gum disease."
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Scientists currently researching the effects of supplements and drugs on the human body believe that the Human Race, particularly those living in the affluent, developed countries, will see a boost in their average life span from anything between 10% to 30% by mid 21st century; an additional 7 to 25 years of healthy, active life.

Not only that, scientists, doctors and nutritionists state that these extra years can be healthful years of vigor and productivity, provided we take active steps towards damage control by restricting the on-going negative effects of the free radicals within our body . There is no doubt, however, that Antioxidants provide the key!

Effective therapies for intervention exist, but we must know which are for us, and how to use them. Also, learning more about the top health concerns specific to and for men and women makes us fore-warned and fore-armed. For men heart disease, cholesterol, stroke, prostate cancer, and lung cancer are high risk areas. Staying informed on other areas such as fertility and sexual dysfunction is also important.
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The unique health care issues women face throughout their lives include physical issues such as sexual and reproductive health, fertility, menopause, osteoporosis, urinary tract infection (UTI), fitness, and premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Women also confront vital psychological concerns like stress management, anxiety, depression, and even premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).
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Everyone who has any interest in health will advise that all the vitamins, minerals, elements that our bodies need must be ingested through a correct selection of foods! However, this does not always happen, although it is the preferred way.

If your food does not give you the dosage required you should think seriously about using supplements to fill deficiencies, as they may lead to complex malfunctions of the body systems.

It is particularly important to keep your Immune system in prime condition as it is your body's first line defense against all ailments. Boost your body's defenses naturally,
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We are not doctors or medically qualified to advise you, so we have stated below opinions of people whose advice we have taken. Unfortunately, since such opinions have been collected over the years for application on ourselves, we have not saved all the sources, and are unable to give due credits in all cases.

Read on to learn some of the effects that nutritional elements have on the human body : "The very least you can do is to take a multivitamin with minerals and moderate amounts of extra vitamins C and E"


Vitamin E : The daily guidelines recommended dosage is 200 IU. Foods rich in vitamin E include many vegetable oils, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, peanut butter, avocados and sweet potatoes.

A study by Tufts University researchers showed a 20% decrease in upper-respiratory infections in the elderly who took 200 IU everyday ..."It improves the ability of our immune cells to function and to fight against pathogens," ~ Dr. Simin Meydani, U.S. Department of Agriculture Nutrition Center and Tufts University

"Necessary amounts of vitamin E, however, are almost impossible to come by through food alone. "

Vitamin C : Excellent food sources are oranges, grapefruits, lemon and lime juice, tomatoes, and strawberries. Potatoes, broccoli, cabbage also have some vitamin C. And, green chillies, if you can take them, are rich, rich, rich in Vitamin C!

To ensure you're getting the right amount of C, take a nutritional supplement. It's a wise move for your overall health but particularly for your heart. We don't take any chances with this one!

Recent studies on vitamin C at the National Institutes of Health and the Harvard School of Public Health,
found that vitamin C supplementation appears to protect against heart disease.

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that an adequate intake of vitamin C might protect against stroke and heart attack by lowering blood pressure and LDL ("bad cholesterol") levels, and helping to thin the blood to protect against clots. It also helps prevent atherosclerosis (commonly known as hardening of the arteries) by strengthening the artery walls as it manufactures collagen, the protein that gives shape to connective tissues and strength to skin and blood vessels.

"Though vitamin C will not prevent colds and flu, it does seem to make them go away a day or two quicker, according to many studies. "

Guaifenesin: Derived from a tree bark extract called guaiacum, guaifenesin was first used during the 16th century. It has been found to be very effective in the treatment of colds and it helps loosen phlegm (mucus) and thins bronchial secretions to rid the respiratory passageways of mucus.

Vitamins B-6 and B-12 : Vitamin B-6 is found in a variety of items: potatoes, melon, bananas, spinach, turkey, meats, beans, to name a few. Vitamin B-12 is found naturally only in animal-based foods, such as beef, milk, oysters and fish. It's also found in fortified cereals and soy milk. Two new studies that showed how B vitamins (folic acid, B6 and B12) and vitamin E neutralize oxidative damage that contributes to heart disease.

"Vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and folic acid....are the keys to preventing heart disease. These nutrients can reduce and normalize homocysteine levels by converting it into cystathione and methionine, which are harmless and occur naturally in the body."

Folate (Folic Acid): Dietary folate intake is available from asparagus, lentils, chickpeas, most varieties of beans, and leafy green vegetables, especially spinach.

" Studies have shown that the dietary intake of folate may significantly reduce the risk of stroke and cardio-vascular disease (CVD). lowering homocysteine. Homocysteine metabolism depends on nutrients such as folate, vitamin B6 and B12."

A study done at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden has found a link between low levels of folic acid and incidence of Alzheimer's disease (AD).

"You can begin to increase your levels of folic acid and vitamin B12 (as well as vitamin B6) by eating citrus fruits and fresh green leafy veggies like spinach. But since our soil is so depleted of nutrients, you'd be wise to take nutritional supplements too." ~ William Campbell Douglass II, MD

Essential Mineral Products : "Minerals boost immunity"

Selenium and Zinc : Both minerals are found in protein-rich foods, such as oysters, steak, turkey, baked beans and nuts, as well as in standard multivitamin-mineral pills. But the single richest source of selenium is Brazil Nuts (1 oz. of which can supply more than the required dosage).

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" In addition to prostate cancer, selenium may lower the risk of breast, colorectal and lung cancers..... "In some men, BPH may actually be a symptom of zinc and essential fatty acid deficiency, so these supplements actually get to the root of the problem, rather than just treating the symptom "
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Magnesium : A normal range is anywhere between .66 and 1.23 mmol/L (millimoles per liter). If you're concerned that you might have a magnesium deficiency, ask your doctor to test your blood for magnesium levels.Make sure that your intake of this essential nutrient is being absorbed by your body.

In an article that appeared in the Journal of Hypertension, Dr. Rhian Toyuz, an associate professor at the University of Montreal, discussed how magnesium helps heart muscle cells relax. And in addition to the fact that magnesium deficiencies have been linked to heart disease, Dr. Toyuz reports that studies have shown
how diets rich in magnesium may also reduce blood pressure, especially among older people.

Other doctors state that magnesium has also been shown to lower serum homocysteine levels; one of the important markers for coronary heart disease. A study at Harvard University has recently also found a link between Diabetes and Magnesium defiency.

Potassium : Bananas are a good source of potassium (400 mg ea), and other rich sources are Lima beans, Cantaloupe, Fresh orange juice, Potato, Almonds, Whole milk , Salmon & Chicken The Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences says the daily potassium requirement for men and women is 2000-3500 mg, however, many of us don't get the amount we need because this mineral is lost when food is cooked.

" A diet that contains sufficient potassium may reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke. A decrease in muscular strength is often due to a lack of potassium in the diet. ..." Sufficient potassium in your diet helps soothe feelings of anxiety, irritability and stress."
~ Sources: United States Food and Drug Administration,
Colorado State University Cooperative Extension,
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Calcium and Vitamin D : Some of the best natural sources for calcium in a highly absorbable form are sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and figs. In fact, all three of these foods also contain magnesium and phosphorus, and each one also has a very efficient calcium delivery system. Calcium can be difficult for your body to absorb, but fortunately, magnesium and phosphorus help facilitate calcium absorption.

"If you are a man approaching andropause, you may be at risk for osteoporosis unless you get enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet."

Women who increase their intake of vitamin D as they grow older may be at less risk of hip fractures and other problems associated with osteoporosis, according to the results of an 18 year study, which also concluded that for older women, vitamin D intake provided better protection for bones than calcium.

"A study of more than 72,000 women by Harvard Medical School & others recommend that women who have a low intake of vitamin D should take supplements or increase vitamin D sources (such as dark fish) in their diets."

Essential Fatty Acids
These fatty acids are found in abundant amounts in sea food, fish roe and fatty fish, such as salmon, trout, mackerel, herring, cod and halibut. Our body - and especially our brain - depends on Omega-3 to function well mentally. Our body cannot itself produce the Omega-3 fatty acid DHA and must have it supplied through food or nutritional supplememnts.

" Low levels of serotonin in the brain are connected with low levels of the Omega-3 fatty acid DHA. This can again lead to increased stress and depression. "

A Norwegian research collaboration was recently started between NIFES (National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research) and scientists at the Institute for Biomedicine at Haukeland Hospital, with the objective of studying the link between seafood and mental health.

Published report on Fish Oil OMEGA-3 Fatty Acids and N-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids: "All three prospective randomized trials assessing fish oil for the secondary prevention of cardiac events showed positive results.
In the largest trial, over 11,000 postinfarction patients who received 850 mg of omega-3 fatty acids per day experienced a 45 % reduction in the rate of sudden cardiac death and a 20% reduction in total mortality rate. "

"If there is one supplement we recommend your taking, pharmaceutical grade fish oil is it ....(each gram of fish oil should contain at least 600 mg of EPA and DHA)."

Flax Seed : Loaded with fiber, flax seed is great for your digestion, blood sugar, and insulin levels! The soluble fiber slows your digestion, so reducing the rate of glucose absorption and helps control your blood glucose and insulin levels. The insoluble fiber, on the other hand, helps regulate bowel movement and prevent constipation. It also contains the insoluble fibers known as lignans, which were discovered to regulate cell reproduction. Lignans have also been linked to containing breast cancer.

Finnish researchers observed that post-menopausal breast cancer patients excreted very low levels of lignans compared with healthy people. Canadian studies tested foods that cause your body to produce lignans. They screened 68 foods and found that flax seed products had up to 800 times more lignans than other foods. 26 lbs of fresh broccoli causes the same lignan production as 1/4 cup of flax seed!

Garlic is a powerhouse of nutrients, containing vitamins A and C, the minerals potassium, selenium, phosphorus and zinc; and amino acids. It also has an unusually high concentration of the sulfur compound allicin, which is a potent antibiotic and the compound primarily responsible for garlic's healing properties. The curative powers of garlic have been confirmed by modern scientific research.

Studies at Tufts University suggest that eating two cloves of garlic a day helps reduce cholesterol as effectively as some cholesterol-lowering drugs. National Cancer Institute studies indicate that a diet rich in garlic may reduce risk of colorectal, stomach and prostate cancer by as much as half. Research also shows that garlic protects against infection and inflammation, may destroy certain flu viruses, and helps kill intestinal parasites.

Tea: Served iced or hot, black or green tea has been found to help prevent cancer and heart disease due to the antioxidant effects of the flavonoids and polyphenols they contain.

After water, tea is the most drunk beverage in the world - more popular even than beer or wine. And, in a rare reversal of an old adage (I’m referring here to the one that says that everything one enjoys is either a sin, health-destroying or fattening), tea has been recognized for its role in maintaining good health.

The three varieties of teas - green, black and oolong, which are naturally packed with antioxidants, have been officially recognized by Health Canada’s Natural Health Products Directorate (NHPD) in 2007, as a source for dietary antioxidants. As we all know, antioxidants are compounds that neutralize the body’s naturally occurring, but cell-damaging, free radical molecules. Antioxidants also help to maintain and support cardiovascular health. In addition, tea has been recognized for heightening alertness, while green tea extract has been approved to complement weight management programs.

This is certainly good news for people like us who, since the early teens, were woken up with a cup of tea served in bed (though times have changed since!!), and still hanker for a fternoon tea at 4 o’ clock. But not any or every tea can quench our thirst for this special beverage - we only drink special estate teas

We can use our beverages, as well as, foods to get our antioxidants and tea is a rich source of (it),….These oxidation reactions that occur in the body can be damaging to many tissues, including blood vessels,…so the higher the antioxidants we would naturally have in our diet, the more likely we are able to protect our blood vessels from damage…” ~ Dr. Carol Greenwood, Professor Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto

Heart Health - Steps to take -

* Promote blood vessel elasticity and proper water balance with magnesium.
* Achieve proper relaxation and dilation of artery walls with hawthorn.
* Maintain healthy circulation and blood flow with garlic.
* Prevent free radical damage with grape seed extract.
* Ensure strong and easy heart contractions with coleus.
* Maintain normal blood glucose levels with chromium.

During every phase of your life, it is up to you to determine your own quality of life. If you want a full, active and satisfying life, instead of one of decline and decrepitude, you must be prepared to take the correct decisions.

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