Tag Archives: Supplements

6 Basic Supplements Everyone Needs

The question is always whether you should supplement your diet for good health or not? Generally it’s better if nutrients come from food. But most people don’t eat an optimum diet and so can’t get the nutrients they require from their food. Supplements can be useful as they can fill nutrient holes in your diet. On their own they will never be enough to reverse lousy eating habits. But well selected, high quality supplements certainly have benefits. Most people don’t need to take handfuls but there are some basic supplements that everyone in our society would benefit by taking.

natural supplements

MULTIVITAMIN & MINERAL

Even when they eat well, most Aussies don’t get the optimum 6-8 serves of vegetables each day, or even the 5-6 recommended serves. Nor do they always get the recommended 2 serves of fruit.

Unfortunately Australian produce is affected by the low levels of minerals in our soils with the result that much of the produce we grow is also lacking in minerals and vitamins. This problem is worsened by modern commercial farming practices which further deplete the already starved soil (and produce) of nutrients.

If you only eat organic produce you may be getting enough vitamins and minerals from your foods. You will certainly get than from commercially grown produce, as it has been shown that organic produce contains much higher levels of vitamins and minerals. But the reality is that most people don’t eat only organic foods.

When you combine the vitamin and mineral deficiency in produce with poor dietary practices it becomes obvious that many Australians are significantly deficient in basic vitamins and minerals.

To make certain you are getting enough a quality multivitamin and mineral daily is almost a necessity.

Be wary! There are many around that are just junk. The vitamins and minerals in them are in a form that is not bio-available, which means your body is not able to absorb them properly and they pass through and out of your gut without being taken up. Money down the toilet, so to speak.

Minerals come in many different forms and some forms are better for you than others. Many multivitamins include inferior forms of minerals that your body can’t really use.

You need a certain amount of vitamins and minerals for them to be effective. If there is not enough they simply don’t do what your body needs. It is important to have sufficient amounts of each nutrient in the multivitamin you take.

Don’t get sucked in by brands flaunting ‘A-Z Vitamins and Minerals’. Chances are you don’t need all of these, and the bigger the range of nutrients the less there will be of each one in the tablet – after all the tablet can only be so big!

Before you throw your money away do some research or talk to your natural health practitioner. Look for someone who is professionally trained in nutrition (taught in natural health courses) including vitamin and mineral therapy. Most mainstream Medicine courses do not include much nutrition.

There are some excellent multivitamins around with the optimum balance of quality nutrients but often these are the ones you can only get from your Health Practitioner.
Cheaper products on supermarket shelves are not worth your time and money.

OMEGA 3

Omega-3 essential fatty acids are wonderful anti-inflammatories and excellent for reducing the symptoms of chronic disease. They are essential for brain function and strongly support heart health.

As the name suggests, these oils are essential for good health. Your body cannot make them so you need to obtain them from food or supplements.

Omega-3 is found in a range of foods, and is particularly high in fish oils, including krill oil.

Vegans and vegetarians are particularly at risk for omega-3 deficiency. While there are a number of vegetarian sources for omega-3 flaxseed oil is usually used for plant-based supplements.

Research into the effects of fish oils has shown that in addition to its wide range of cardiovascular and cognitive benefits it is particularly helpful in the treatment of autoimmune disease. It has been shown to significantly reduce symptoms in Lupus, reduce joint pain and stiffness in Rheumatoid Arthritis, and assist in inflammatory bowel disease.

Omega-3 also plays a role in the prevention of many diseases and reduces the symptoms caused by inflammation in others.

Fish is an excellent source of omega-3 but many people don’t like it. Plus there are concerns about the presence of mercury and other heavy metals in fish. With a high quality omega-3 supplement you avoid these problems.

1 gram – 1000mg, of combined EPA/ DHA each day is recommended for maintenance. But to gain real benefits and boost your health, especially if your health is compromised, you need more, up to 5 grams a day.

Be wary about cheaper omega-3 supplements. In some the processing causes the oil to go rancid. This is actually harmful to you, creating free radicals and inflammation in your body. Omega-3 supplements are very much a case of you get what you pay for!

drugs capsules

VITAMIN D

Most of us are deficient in Vitamin D, even in ‘sunny Australia’. We live and work inside far more than we ever did in the past and when we head outside it is under a thick cover of sunscreen, which prevents the vitamin D in the sun’s rays from being absorbed by the cells in our skin.

Vitamin D is essential for a huge range of body processes. One of the most important is to work with calcium to build and maintain strong bones and teeth. It is also crucial for an effective immune system. Deficiency can increase your risk for asthma and cancer, cause daytime fatigue and affect thinking processes

The current recommendation for adults is 1000IU a day. But this is the bare minimum maintenance dose, great if your levels are at an optimum level but nowhere near enough if, like most, your levels of Vitamin D are lower.

Don’t DIY Vitamin D – it is possible to have too much. Most doctors will happily order a blood test to find out your levels. Good levels are up around 75 ng/ml.

Once you know what your level is, it’s important not to get complacent as your levels of Vitamin D vary greatly through the course of a year, being at their highest in late summer and their lowest in early to mid spring.

Discover how to optimize your time in the sun (without sunscreen) to get the most Vitamin D from the least exposure at Good Morning Sunshine: Just How Much Vitamin D Are You Really Getting?

To raise the levels in your body, rather than just maintain them, you need between 1000 and 5000 IU a day, depending on how low your levels are. Make sure you get the D3 form.

Again, there is quite a big difference between the quality of different brands and how well your body is able to utilize them. Be guided by your Natural Health Practitioner.

ALGAE

The two most commonly used forms of algae are spirulina and chlorella. These are some of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. Spirulina is one of my favourite supplements and I recommend it to clients regularly as well as taking it myself.

Chlorella is an amazing detoxifier which cleanses heavy metals from your body.

Spirulina is a great detoxifier but is higher in protein, so excellent to boost your energy when you feel flat, or simply every day. It is an excellent punchy source of nutrients and can help you feel healthier very quickly. Read more about it at Spirulina, The Supergreen Solution

Dosage requirements vary and you need to adjust for your requirements. Because algae are food you can’t overdose on them, and you can increase how much you take in times of greater need. But you may need to go gently especially if your health is poor because too much algae may provide too much stimulation for the body to deal with.

It is VITAL that your algae is well sourced. It MUST be organic or it will be loaded with heavy metals like mercury. Look for tablets or powder with an even dark green colour. Lighter specks indicate the presence of fillers.

Spirulina Bought Watermark29414713_s

PROBIOTIC

Probiotics occur naturally in your gut. They play an important role in your wellness, not only by improving your digestion, but also by boosting your immune system and keeping bad bacteria in check. They control yeast overgrowth and diarrhoea and inhibit lactose intolerance.

Our digestive system functions best with the aid of a quality probiotic. The trillions of good bacteria in your gut are essential for good health but can easily be destroyed or over-run by bad bacteria.

Numbers of these bacteria decrease as we age. Antibiotics are notorious for killing them. Poor diet or pollution can also destroy them. When numbers decline your system goes right out of balance and you can suffer many symptoms.

Probiotics come from two sources – fermented foods or a probiotic supplement.

Fermented foods include sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha tea, yoghurt and need to be raw or the probiotics will be dead.

If you don’t eat fermented foods every day taking a good quality, broad spectrum probiotic daily will repopulate your gut with good bacteria to fortify your health and return your digestion to normal.

Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria are the two most common and effective forms of probiotic. You need between 10 and 30 billion ‘live units’ each day.

COENZYME Q10 (CoQ10)

CoQ10 is a power packed antioxidant which delivers various substances including fat into your cells for a boost of energy. It is of great benefit in helping cells function properly and preventing cell damage.

CoQ10 provides great benefit for heart health, and offers anti-oxidant protection for a number of related cardiovascular conditions. It keeps your heart functioning efficiently.

As an anti-oxidant it protects cells against the stress of free radical damage and helps prevent chronic disease.

Once you reach the age of 25 the levels of CoQ10 in your body start to drop and you are likely to be deficient. When this happens DNA is damaged more quickly and you age prematurely. CoQ10 slows the process and may improve signs of aging like fine wrinkles.

CoQ10 seems to offer benefits for a wide range of diseases including chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia

When CoQ10 is used for specific diseases dosage varies wildly. But for general health and anti-oxidant protection between 60-150mg daily is sufficient.

 

I hope this short list helps you select supplements you need to include in your everyday health plan.

joy-401178_640

Disclaimer

All information and opinions presented here are for information purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before following any of the treatment suggested on this site, particularly if you have an ongoing health issue.

Source articles

http://www.drfranklipman.com/the-4-key-supplements-to-take-every-day

The 6 Supplements You Need to Take Every Day

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-7234/4-supplements-everyone-should-be-taking.html
http://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/coenzyme-q10/evidence/hrb-20059019

Spirulina, The Supergreen Solution

super spirulina

Spirulina is one of my favourite superfoods because it is one of the most nutritious plant-like organisms known to humans. I regard it as the ultimate superfood powerhouse. Although there are other super-greens such as chlorella, spirulina is almost like the supergreen equivalent of a “multi-vitamin”, a great all-rounder. Its nutritional benefits are both vast and impressive, making it an invaluable food especially for vegetarians, vegans, anaemics, diabetics and anyone who is nutritionally compromised.

Spirulina is one of the oldest life-forms on the earth and it helped produce our oxygen-rich atmosphere billions of years ago. Actually a blue green algae, it is a 100% natural and highly nutritious micro water plant. It is found in both the ocean and large warm alkaline fresh water lakes.

Spirulina is so nutrient dense you could survive on it and water alone.

Health Benefits

Spirulina earns its superfood powerhouse status because it has the highest concentration of digestible vegetable protein (60-70%) with a perfectly balanced combination of essential amino acids. This is more protein than you will find in beef, chicken or soybeans.

One of the most common vitamin deficiencies found in a vegan or vegetarian diet is vitamin B12. When you consider that Spirulina also contains large amounts of Vitamin B12, which is very difficult to find in other plant foods, it is easy to understand why it makes such a great choice for vegetarians.

Spirulina is loaded with other nutrients in addition to B12. It is very rich in iron, which is a mineral that is very commonly deficient. Spirulina also contains calcium, magnesium, and Vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K. There are also small amounts of a number of other minerals. There is no use in ingesting lots of minerals if they are not absorbed, but Spirulina actually improves mineral absorption and so the abundance of minerals it contains can be utilized properly by the body.

Spirulina is a wonderful plant source of the essential fatty acids linolenic acid (omega-3) and GLA (omega-6), offering a great source for anyone who cannot get their essential fatty acids from fish oil.

There is always some concern about the effect on processing and shelf storage on nutrients. But Spirulina only grows in extremely warm conditions and it has the ability to withstand the high temperatures that are always involved in processing, able to retain its nutritional value unlike many other plant foods which deteriorate at these temperatures.

It only contains 3.9 calories per gram and still has all of these great benefits. It is a low calorie, nutrient dense

The immune boosting qualities of spirulina can never be over stated. With its unique ability to fight infection, enhance cellular functioning, and even keep cancer at bay, it has a wide range of uses.

Here are some ways that Spirulina is beneficial:

  • Boosts energy – it is a source of life force or vitality
  • Protection against viruses including flu, herpes, mumps and measles
  • Promotes healthy nerve tissue
  • Increases antioxidant protection to fight free radicals
  • Improves digestion and gut health Improves age spots, eczema, acne, rashes
  • Fights the ageing process,
  • Curbs the appetite to help weight loss
  • Aids glaucoma, cataracts, poor vision
  • Improves allergies & respiratory function
  • Helps to detoxify radiation out of the body
  • Plus it fights heart disease, reduces arthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes and depression, and lowers bad cholesterol

Because it is so easily digested it packs a powerful punch when it comes to all these benefits.

What to look for

Good Spirulina has no side effects, and this is one product that you need to be absolutely certain of the quality. Contaminated blue-green algae is incredibly toxic to the system and can cause a range of fresh health problems such as liver damage. Because Spirulina easily absorbs nutrients from water, if the water contains pollution or heavy metals, these will be highly concentrated in the Spirulina cell. If this happens, then this kind of Spirulina is no longer suitable for human consumption. There are a number of Spirulina products on the market that are of questionable quality so select carefully. Either research well or buy from a qualified practitioner.

 

Spirulina Tablets
Spirulina Tablets

Spirulina comes in powder or tablet form and it is easy to tell if it is good quality or not. Quality tablets are made without sugar, starch fillers, animal parts, preservatives, stabilizers, and colours. They are a uniform dark green colour without any light coloured specks. You can take up to about twelve a day, and some people take even more. But start out with three and increase to six over a couple of days. You can take them all at once or spread over two doses. The recommended dose for adults is 5-10 per day.

When I am going on a long-haul flight I take lots of Spirulina on the day of the flight as well as the day before and the one after. It is part of my ‘flight regime’ to help overcome the bad effects of air travel.

Powder is a better choice if you want to add spirulina to smoothies, juice or other foods. 100% pure powder is also a uniformly dark green colour.  You feel the effects very quickly because the powder is easily digested. Because Spirulina is a natural food and NOT a supplement you can’t take too much. If you take more than you need it is like overeating. You can take two or more tablespoons a day but a good way to start is with one teaspoon (5 grams) added to drinks or other foods. The drink or smoothie colour will change to dark green but it doesn’t really affect the flavour. You can gradually increase the amount over time to two teaspoons (10gms) per drink.

I use the brand Hawaiian Pacifica made by Microorganics in my clinic as I know it to be high quality and free from toxic heavy metals. Just for the record, I have no affiliation with this company or product, and only recommend it to you to help your health. (I also like this one personally as it is easy to swallow)

If you are very run down or have a debilitating illness keep the amount you take low. You will get enormous benefit from the smaller amount and the smaller quantity will not push your body too fast or too hard.

Avoid alcohol, soft drinks or coffee for about 30 minutes after taking the spirulina as these will destroy some of the nutrients and enzymes.

People with hyperparathyroidism or phenylketonuria should not take spirulina.

Spirulina powder
Spirulina powder

Disclaimer.

All information and opinions presented here are for information purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before following any of the treatment suggested on this site, particularly if you have an ongoing health issue. 

Source articles

http://www.australianspirulina.com.au/spirulina/spirulina.html

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/07/01/spirulina-the-amazing-super-food-youve-never-heard-of.aspx

http://hecticlifehealthygirl.wordpress.com/2011/02/12/what-is-spirulina-and-what-are-its-health-benefits/

http://www.naturalnews.com/033698_spirulina_superfood.html

http://www.naturalnews.com/041164_spirulina_superfood_supplements_immunity.html

http://www.naturalnews.com/036101_spirulina_superfood_nutrients.html

Related articles

Delicious Recipes Using The Superfood – Spirulina (susansmithjones.com)

Are You Well Enough To Weather Winter?

A question that is worth asking yourself right now is “am I well enough to weather winter?” If you build your health before winter arrives you are more likely to get through it without falling victim to lots of colds or worse, the flu.

If you build up your health before winter arrives you are far more likely to get through without falling victim to lots of colds or worse, the flu.   Photo credit: Flickr Winter Fog by Larisa Koshkina
If you build your health before winter arrives you are more likely to get through without falling victim to lots of colds or worse, the flu.
Photo credit: Flickr Winter Fog by Larisa Koshkina

During these last weeks of Autumn a really nasty flu/cough/virus arrived alongside the change in weather, and people have been struck down with it all around, including me. It seems to be tagged as ‘flu’ but mine was more of a really nasty cough & cold. Most of the viruses that look and feel like flu are in fact not, with probably less than 20% actually being flu. But this does not stop the others from being downright unpleasant and highly contagious.

Preparing your health for winter really needs to begin as soon as the weather begins to change from summer into autumn, with a careful plan to bolster your immune system. But if you have not prepared yourself and have already had a taste of the illnesses that lie ahead this winter then there are still various tactics you can use to help you get through with minimum damage.

While aspirin or other medications may make you feel better because you can forget your symptoms for a bit they only suppress the symptoms and don’t actually make you better any faster. For that you need to look at other options, as well as making a few changes right now.

When my family catch the flu or any other cough or cold we all reach straight for the best selected Homeopathic remedy, because they are so effective against viral infection (unlike Antibiotics which we would avoid anyway). This is what I took this week to get rid of the bout I have just had fast. Homeopathic remedies are great as they reduce the unpleasant symptoms such as aches and pains or headache dramatically as they clear up the infection. But to get the fast, complete resolution the choice of remedy needs to be made individually – the remedy that did it for me may not be the same as the one you need. So if you would like to use this wonderful treatment head off to a Homeopath or else look for a short course to learn how to home-prescribe for acute illnesses yourself.

While there are many great Homeopathic medicines that are awesome for the flu, it is much better not to catch the flu in the first place.

The very first indication you are coming down with a cold or flu is the time you need to take action. Photo credit: Flickr Sick Again by Miss Rogue
The very first indication you are coming down with a cold or flu is the time you need to take action.
Photo credit: Flickr Sick Again by Miss Rogue

PREVENT THE FLU

Here are some steps you can take to help prevent getting the flu. It is really important to make sure you follow these steps if you have come into contact with someone who has flu. But when flu is doing the rounds you can bet that you have been in contact with sufferers, at work, the train, the shopping centre, at school, or anywhere you have been.

Rest    Get plenty of rest. Your immune system recharges itself while you are asleep. When you are overtired your system is not strong enough to fight off infection. Try for eight solid hours a night.

Water  Drink enough water as it improves the function of every system in your body

Nutrition Increase fresh fruit and vegetable in your diet, preferably organic if you can. Fresh organic produce in a rainbow of colours is packed full of the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which are crucial for maintaining your immune health. Add spices such as turmeric, oregano, cinnamon and cloves have high ORAC scores   http://www.oracvalues.com which equates to high levels of antioxidants. Adding a high quality daily multivitamin will fill in any gaps in the full range you may have.

Exercise  Get regular exercise. Exercising for 30 to 60 minutes a day improves your immunity although it is not known exactly why. But it does need to be regular and consistent exercise, running occasionally won’t do a lot. However don’t overdo it as too much exercise makes you more susceptible to infection.

Hygeine Wash your hands often, especially before eating. You need to use warm water and soap and to really lather up. This is one of the best ways to avoid contracting the virus. Also, try not to touch your mouth, nose or eyes to prevent the virus entering your system.

Sugars Cut back on sugar and grains in your diet as they are both very weakening to your immune system.

The time you need to take steps if you want to fight the flu off is at the very first indication you are coming down with it because this is when the strategies work their best. Don’t just do a few things, you need to fight the virus off on all fronts by adopting every strategy you can – nutrition, sleep, exercise, supplements, calm.

Take some time off to rest up and recuperate. It is much better to rest for one day rather than getting sick for much longer, simply because you pushed on when your body was telling you to slow down

There are a number of supplements you can take to help to prevent flu which improve your immunity and help your mucous membranes stay healthy.

Vitamin D Most importantly get on to Vitamin D. It produces antimicrobial peptides in your body to kill viruses as well as bacteria. Huge numbers of the population are deficient in this crucial vitamin and because the source is sunlight their levels drop even further during the winter when sunlight is scarce or weak. 2000 IU a day has been found to keep flu away.

Vitamin C Adding a Vitamin C supplement during the flu season will provide your immune system with lots of extra power when it comes to warding off viral illness, as it acts as an antioxidant in your body. You can find it in many foods including lemons, limes, oranges, red pepper and broccoli.

Beta Carotene (Vitamin A) Vitamin A also acts as an antioxidant. It is of huge benefit to dramatically increase the amount you take each day if you do fall ill. Food sources are orange and yellow foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin as well as broccoli and dark green vegetables.

Zinc Strong immunity is dependant on good zinc levels but many people are deficient in this trace element, as the body has no way to store it. It increases production of infection fighting white blood cells and helps your immune system release more antibodies. If your levels of zinc are low you will be much more susceptible to infection. Your natural health practitioner can test your levels for you.

Vitamin E Another antioxidant, it improves immune function. If you have Hypertension make sure to take a water soluble version. Good food sources are olive oil, almonds, avocado and spinach.

Vitamin B6  Vitamin B6 deficiency leads to a weakened immune system. Vegetarians need to be particularly careful as most sources of B6 are animal foods.

Selenium It has been found that viruses tend to mutate easily into more damaging forms that lead to flu-related lung damage in people who are deficient in Selenium.

Olive Leaf Extract is a very effective immune system builder

Probiotics Studies show that long term use of lactic acid bacteria can protect against flu infection.

HERBAL HELP

There are many herbs that support and boost your immune system and help you stave off the flu, while also helping the mucous membranes, such as Astragulus membranaceus, Hydrastis Canadensis, Sambucus nigra, Shitake mushroom and Garlic. Echinacea is useful for the first twenty-four hours of the illness.

Garlic is one food that really gives you a huge boost. If you take your garlic as a food you need to know these first. The health benefits of garlic are destroyed by cooking, much better if it is raw. You need to be able to smell garlic for it to work – odour free tablets are useless. The inside of the clove needs to be exposed to the air to be effective, so cut or crush the clove before you eat it. You should take two cloves a day. If you cut it up very small and swallow the bits with water or  tea they will be easier to eat. Often when I need some garlic I squeeze the cloves right on the top of my pasta or casserole after I have served it and just eat it with the first mouthful. That way it is raw so still effective but the taste is masked by the taste of the food. Chew on parsley after taking garlic to avoid ‘garlic breath’

Reishi, Shitake and Maitake mushrooms have been used medicinally by the Chinese for over 6,000 years as they are excellent for increasing white blood cell activity to better fight off infection. There are many great mushroom supplements in tablet form available as well as the liquid herbs.

IF YOU STILL CATCH THE FLU

If in spite of taking preventative measures you are unfortunate and do catch the flu, here are some suggestions to help ease the flu symptoms a bit.

  • Hot water bottles or heated wheat bags are great for sore, chilly patients
  • Hot baths with Epsom salts: Put 1-2 cups of salts into a warm bath and soak . This helps draw out inflammation and ease muscle pain
  • Gentle massage can help increase circulation
  • Vitamin C in a powdered form in juice or water is easier to swallow than tablets and will ease inflamed mucous membranes as it passes over them.
  • Chicken soup can be good as it helps replace electrolytes plus has other healing properties
  • If you feel nausea ginger or chamomile tea may help
  • Here are some nice herbal recipes for the symptoms of viral colds and flu, including a Cold & Flu Tea and a Sore Throat Gargle

And don’t forget, when you start feeling better it is important to remember that you are more vulnerable than normal and so you should take things a bit easier for a while, cutting back your schedule and keeping down your stress levels.

What’s your best tip for combating the flu?

Take some time off to rest up and recuperate Photo credit: Kate Ter Haar
Take some time off to rest up and recuperate
Photo credit: Kate Ter Haar

Disclaimer.

All information and opinions presented here are for information only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before trying any of the treatment suggested on this site. 

Source articles:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/12/03/how-to-prevent-the-flu-easy-as-1-2-3.aspx

http://www.livestrong.com/article/365772-vitamins-for-the-flu/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/546106-selenium-for-the-flu/

http://www.naturalnews.com/019194_flu_the_health.html

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/12/13/zinc-for-colds-and-flu.aspx

Magical Magnesium

My sister is lucky and has a beautiful bathroom with a big, deep bath in it, and so this week I ordered her a bulk order of Epsom Salts for her long, deep bath soaks. She knows, like most people, that they are a great way to relieve tired and aching muscles and bring on a great sleep. But what she doesn’t know is that Epsom salts are rich in magnesium, a mineral that can be poorly absorbed internally.

Epsom Salts are a great way to relieve tired and aching muscles and bring on a great sleep
Epsom Salts are a great way to relieve tired and aching muscles and bring on a great sleep
Photo credit: Monica Arellano-Ongpin

Magnesium is often deficient in our diets but soaking in a bath containing Epsom salts can be a way to boost your magnesium levels, because it is absorbed very easily through the skin.

Most of the population does not get enough magnesium. In 2000 the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (in USA) found that the figure of deficiency was as high as 80% of adults, a figure most likely mirrored here in Australia. This figure is significant because the mineral magnesium plays a part in thousands of functions in your body, and it is also one that is easily depleted. Also, deficiency is often not detected because it manifests differently in each individual.

The mineral magnesium, plays a vital role in building and maintaining good health, working in conjunction with many other nutrients, particularly calcium and Vitamin D.

Most people know that they need calcium. And there is also growing awareness of the importance of Vitamin D. But the third side of this triangle is perhaps not so widely known about. Magnesium also plays a part in this picture, and while magnesium deficiency is quite widespread due to deficient intake, it is frequently not addressed with diet or supplementation in the way that calcium is. head-30160_640

Magnesium, calcium and vitamin D work in unison in the body. All three require the others to actually do their job, and it does not matter if you are getting adequate amounts of one of them, without all three it will not be able to do its job. Which means taking calcium supplements without adequate magnesium is not much use. Your body needs about twice as much calcium as magnesium, but many people actually have much, much more calcium and many times less magnesium.

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant element in your body. It helps to regulate over three hundred enzymes, it plays a vital role in muscle control, in sending electrical impulses along the nerves, in energy production and also it assists in the elimination of toxins.

Many common diseases of our modern life can be rooted in a magnesium deficiency, and it can lead to heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, arthritis and joint pain, digestive disorders, chronic fatigue, or illnesses resulting from stress. Magnesium deficiency has also been shown to contribute to SIDS. Long term chronic magnesium deficiency damage can even be fatal.

When we talk of muscles everyone usually thinks of those in the legs or back, and most people have experienced muscle cramps at some time, often in the legs or feet. But how many think of their heart as also being a muscle? Low magnesium levels can affect the efficient working of your heart, in the same way that they can lead to cramping of your leg muscles.

Here are some early symptoms of a magnesium deficiency:

  • Restlessness
  • Muscle cramps, tremors & twitches
  • Restless or fidgety legs
  • Pain in the feet

Some other indicators of a possible magnesium deficiency:

  • Migraines, cluster headaches 
  • Anxiety, stress & panic attacks
  • Fatigue, sluggish
  • Poor sleep & waking up tired – difficulty falling asleep or waking with muscle stiffness
  • Low energy levels
  • High blood pressure & cholesterol levels
  • Period pain & PMS – deficiency can also lead to infertility and pregnancy problems
  • Nervousness – heightened sensitivity to external stimuli like lights and noise, with exaggerated emotions
  • Irritability of the nervous system – depression, restlessness, psychiatric conditions including bipolar and epilepsy.
  • Kidney stones
  • Poor memory & confusion
  • Calcium or potassium deficiency
  • Autism spectrum, ADD/ADHD, other neurological conditions

 

Magnesium Foods

Magnesium can be obtained from a number of foods. Good sources of magnesium are

Continue reading…

Disclaimer.

All information and opinions presented here are for information only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before trying any of the treatment suggested on this site. 

Source articles

http://truththeory.com/2013/04/02/16-signs-youre-magnesium-deficient-symptoms-of-low-magnesium-levels/

http://truththeory.com/2013/04/02/16-signs-youre-magnesium-deficient-symptoms-of-low-magnesium-levels/

http://www.ancient-minerals.com/magnesium-sources/dietary/

16 Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms – Signs of Low Magnesium Levels

http://unames.com/floating/epsom.htm

The Magnesium Factor, Seelig, Mildred. 2003

Good Morning Sunshine: Just How Much Vitamin D Are You Really Getting?

Here comes the sun

Sunny days are here again but are they really going to lift your spirits, or your health? Vitamin D deficiency is often the result of inadequate exposure to sunlight. It is essential for a healthy immune system and plays a role in many functions within your body. Vitamin D deficiency is linked to many illnesses including depression and schizophrenia. So it’s vital you maintain healthy levels with this information.

Chances are if you had a blood test for anything recently, the level of Vitamin D in your blood was tested at the same time, and if you are one of about 70% of us “Sunburnt Country-ites” your levels were below the level needed for good bone health, or worse, like 30% of the country your levels were deficient. So what does this all mean, and probably most importantly, what are the implications of this?

You all know that one of the reasons for this situation is that over the last few years Australians have been urged to ‘Slip, Slop, Slap’ all the time, or even to avoid going out in the sun altogether. Now with the discovery of just how widespread the problem of low Vitamin D levels is, and growing awareness of the important role that it plays in the prevention of so many diseases, the advice regarding sun exposure has suddenly been dramatically changed.

Vitamin D is n fact not actually a vitamin but rather a hormone which is made by your body.  But it needs sunlight to trigger production of the Vitamin D precursor in your skin.

There are two types of UV light rays, UVA and UVB.  Both can trigger skin cancers, but UVA have long wavelengths that reach into the deeper layers of your skin while UVB rays are shorter and only get into the surface layers. More importantly, UVB rays are the only ones that contribute to Vitamin D production. UVB rays are more intense in the middle of the day and decrease at either end of the day while UVA rays stay constant through the day. This is why the recommendation has changed and it is now is to get your sun exposure at lunchtime. By going out in the sun at that time you get more exposure to the UVB rays relative to the UVA rays and so get greater Vitamin D benefit from the same exposure, “more bang for your buck”, so to speak.

Evidence  shows that our connection between sunlight exposure and melanoma has previously been far too simple as it seems that Vitamin D is the factor that actually assists our bodies in not developing skin cancers. This actually makes good sense when you remember that we evolved to live harmoniously with sunlight long before sunscreen came along. By always coating in sunscreen and avoiding the sun we do not have adequate levels of Vitamin D to gain the protection we need.

Short exposure in the middle of the day is best

The new recommendation is to go out in the sun in the middle of the day, with face and arms uncovered, for only the amount of time that it takes for your skin to just begin to feel like it is going to start ‘pinking up’. Of course this is going to differ for each of us, with fairer skinned people needing very little exposure and darker skinned maybe three to four times as much. Every time we are outside we have some sun exposure, and even when inside cars or buildings we are getting exposure as UVA rays can pass through glass. Unfortunately, UVB rays that activate Vitamin D do not pass through, something worth remembering when the sun streams through the car windows.

The most recent figures that I have for the number of Australians deficient in Vitamin D are about 30-50% with 75% having levels too low for optimal bone health. These high figures are very surprising for citizens of the Sunburnt Country. I read recently that in order to get enough sun exposure to maintain adequate Vitamin D levels in Melbourne during July one would have to be outside in the middle of the day, fully naked for twenty minutes. As the temperature at lunchtime in July is often no more than a mighty eleven or twelve degrees, I will not be trying that out. Because those with dark skin need so much more time to get adequate Vitamin D from sun exposure they are more at risk for Vitamin D deficiency.  Obviously it is easier to get sufficient exposure further north and more difficult down in Tasmania.

I normally stress that vitamins and minerals are best obtained from foods. Although there are small amounts of Vitamin D available in a few food including oily fish, mushrooms, and eggs (you would need 10 a day to get enough Vitamin D), as well as dark green leafy vegetables you will never be able to get anywhere near what you need from your diet and the form occurring in plants is not really useful.

During the twentieth century Vitamin D deficiency was mainly associated with rickets, a disease where bones soften and weaken. At that time it was recognized that this Vitamin played a big part (along with calcium and phosphate) in maintaining good healthy bones. But as we have become more aware of the many body processes that involve this amazing vitamin we are also becoming more aware of the far reaching impacts of its deficiency.

There are so many health problems in which Vitamin D deficiency is now known to play a part including SLE (Lupus), heart disease and high blood pressure, diabetes, PMS, Rheumatoid Arthritis and osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, teeth problems, epilepsy, fibromyalgia, autism, mental health, migraines, MS, skin problems like psoriasis, infections, colds and flu, Hypothyroidism and diseases which have fat malabsorption such as Coeliac Disease. Even chronic pain – bone pain, muscle pain, back pain – can be due to a Vitamin D deficiency.

Vitamin D deficiency is also quite common in children and has been shown to be linked to an increased likelihood of developing allergies. Late teething, irritability and poor growth are all a sign of a deficiency and even seizures and asthma seem to be linked.

It is now becoming more common to suspect vitamin D to be ‘the’, or at least one of the most crucial factors in the prevention of a large number of diseases. There has also been research conducted into Vitamin D and cancer prevention   Interestingly, and not surprisingly, research so far has shown that the doses required to prevent serious diseases are much, much higher than RDA’s (recommended daily amounts) and it is worth remembering that an RDA is set at the level needed to keep you alive, not the level required for good or optimum health.

Vitamin D allows your body to absorb calcium through the small intestine and plays a crucial part in the prevention of osteopeania and osteporosis, however, many people have taken calcium supplements for a long time without the necessary Vitamin D to actually absorb the calcium properly. Vitamin D turns out to be a major factor in keeping this disease at bay.

After getting the results of their blood tests many Australians find they require Vitamin D supplemets. Supplement quality varies! You can get them in the form of a capsule, tablet, liquid or as a drop that you place on your hand and lick off. Another great source is cod liver oil. In the past it tasted vile but these days it comes in fruit flavours to hide the fishy taste. Cod liver oil also provides you with vitamin A and EFA’s as a great bonus. But again, quality varies.

It is always really important to take a good quality supplement, whatever type of supplement it is. Basically, with supplements you get what you pay for. Poor quality products are often just a waste of money, especially if your body is excreting them because they are not in a form that you can absorb properly. And just because the product is advertised as being a ‘best-seller’ or ‘more popular’ does not mean it is even remotely any good!

Many people come to me after having been tested for Vitamin D levels and I keep seeing that the amount of Vitamin D supplement that most have been prescribed is inadequate to address their own personal Vitamin D deficiency and raise the levels in their body sufficiently. As is usual with the prescribing of supplements, a ‘one dose fits all’ use of Vitamin D

Get out and soak up (some of) those rays

is not appropriate or likely to get the best outcome possible. It needs to be tailored to the individual. Many doctors have not had the training in nutrition that is gained in Complementary Medicine (CAM) Courses, and which provides knowledge of the intricacies of vitamin/mineral interaction that enable the tailoring of supplement prescribing to an individuals needs.

So even though the days are lengthening and we can get out and soak up those rays, the reality is that your Vitamin D levels may still be below par. If you find you are craving carbohydrates more, your spirits are low or you are showing any of the signs linked with a deficiency, head off to the GP and have a talk about having your levels tested. Then if they are lower than optimal get some expert advice from your CAM practitioner about the dosage you personally require as well as which high quality supplement will improve your Vitamin D status. If you are hunkering down to face winter in the Northern latitudes it is even more important to be on top of your Vitamin D levels as they normally drop over the winter months.

Disclaimer.

All information and opinions presented here are for information only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before trying any of the treatment suggested on this site.