Vitamins

How to Choose the Best Vitamin C Supplement

best vitamin c
Currently, vitamin C is one of the most popular supplements on the market. This powerful nutrient often makes a comeback to the display shelves every flu season. Given the unique circumstances of 2020-2021, it is no surprise that vitamin C has continuously been flying off the shelves more often than usual. Not only is vitamin C an important player in the immune system, but it also helps improve iron absorption, build collagen, prevent oxidative stress, strengthen arteries, and support brain health. Even with all these benefits, humans are the only mammals that cannot create their own vitamin C. This means that we must prioritize getting vitamin C through our diets every day. The main food sources of vitamin C are raw fruits and vegetables, and taking a supplement can ensure we are getting optimal doses every day. Types of vitamin C supplements It is easy to get overwhelmed looking at all the vitamin C options in the health food store. Not only does vitamin C come in different doses, they also come in different forms. Ascorbic acid The scientific name of vitamin C is ascorbic acid – the two names are used interchangeably. The ascorbic acid form is the most researched and widely available form of vitamin C. Compared to other forms, it is relatively cheap, though not as absorbable. Taking high doses can result in an accumulation of unabsorbed vitamin C in the intestines, leading to diarrhea. To counter the acidity of the vitamin, ascorbic acid should be taken after a meal so that the food can neutralize the pH. Ascorbic acid is also water-soluble and easily excreted through urine. As a result, this form tends to stay in the body for around 4 hours. When supplementing, taking frequent doses (1-3 times/day) ensures consistent levels of vitamin C. Best option: NOW Ascorbic Acid Powder 454g Calcium ascorbate (buffered vitamin C) Do not be confused when you see the word “calcium” on your vitamin C supplement. While ascorbic acid is acidic, ascorbate is bound to a mineral such as calcium, in order to make it neutral and better absorbed. For those that are prone to stomach upset, taking a buffered vitamin C can be easier on the digestive system. Because vitamin C is bound to a mineral, a lower dose of ascorbate can yield the same effect and absorption rate as an ascorbic acid that has a higher dose. Best option: New Roots Calcium Ascorbate Vitamin C 60 Capsules Vitamin C with bioflavonoids You may have seen some vitamin C supplements that contain an extra active ingredient known as bioflavonoids. These bioflavonoids are polyphenolic compounds naturally found in plants. Natural sources of vitamin C, such as fruits and vegetables, will contain their own bioflavonoids. Many well-formulated vitamin C supplements will mimic this by adding bioflavonoids to their product, increasing absorbability. Best option: Natural Factors Vitamin C 1000mg Plus Bioflavonoids & Rosehips 90 Tablets Liposomal vitamin C Liposomes are like little fat-soluble containers that carry the vitamin C cargo to the cells, where it is absorbed directly. Because they are fat-soluble, they can easily enter the cell membrane. Each cell is surrounded by a bilayer of fatty acids. Normally, water-soluble vitamin C has a tricky time getting absorbed directly because water and oil do not mix. By encasing the vitamin C in a layer of its own layer of fatty acids, the bioavailability of liposomal vitamin C increases dramatically. Vitamin C is absorbed into the cells directly, so almost all of it can be used for various body functions. Plus, because it is not water-soluble like ascorbic acid, liposomal vitamin C stays in the body longer and only needs to be taken once a day. Best option: Cyto Matrix Liposomal C 225mL Which vitamin C should I choose? Now that you understand the different types of vitamin C supplements, you can make a better choice for yourself. While the more absorbable forms of vitamin C are more expensive, they also tend to have a better effect and can yield better results. Depending on how much vitamin C you consume in your daily diet, how often you can remember to take your supplements, and your personal budget, you may decide to pick one type of vitamin C over the other. Author Grace Tien is dietetics and holistic nutrition grad. She creates sustainable, delicious meal plans to help clients with their health goals. Grace specializes in nutrition for healthy periods, you can find out more at @gracetien.ca on Instagram. 

Are you Missing out on this Superior form of Vitamin C?

Vitamin C
Did you know that vitamin C is one of the only vitamins that your body cannot produce on its own? We rely completely on our diet to satisfy all our vitamin C needs. And with its many benefits, there are no shortages to the number of amazing effects we receive from this powerful vitamin. As a potent antioxidant, vitamin C helps protect each of your cells from free radicals, heart disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases, while keeping your immune system balanced and ready to fight! Whole food vitamin C vs. ascorbic acid Whole food vitamin C refers to fruits and vegetables that naturally contain vitamin C. Supplement companies have been able to work with farms to cultivate crops and freeze-dry these foods to use them as daily doses. Since the vitamin C content depends on how the crops were grown and how fresh they were before being freeze-dried, it is more difficult to control the vitamin C that you get from these types of powders or supplements. However, the form of vitamin C from whole foods is far superior to anything made in a lab from a synthetic source. Our bodies were designed to use and absorb vitamin C in conjunction with other compounds like flavonoids, and both are found naturally in fruits and vegetables. They also contain many other vitamins and minerals together that allow your body to easily recognize and absorb larger amounts of vitamin C. Should I throw away my vitamin C supplements? To be clear, supplements made with ascorbic acid are not harmful. These supplements have their own purpose, but whole food vitamin C for daily use can be more absorbable and natural. If you prefer relying on ascorbic acid for its accurate dosing, you can choose a vitamin C supplement that contains bioflavonoids in its formula to reap all the benefits. Option: AOR C + Bioflavonoids 200 Veggie Caps Whole food vitamin C supplement options Camu Camu This sour berry is a superfood that has one of the highest levels of vitamin C and other powerful plant compounds. They are harvested all the way from the Amazon rainforest and minimally processed to retain all their nutrients. Option: Ecoideas Camu Camu 120 Capsules Acerola Acerola is a type of cherry that is native to the tropical regions of the Western Hemisphere, such as Barbados, Mexico, and the Caribbean. They are a mix between cherries and berries, with their taste being somewhere in between. Most people find them very pleasant tasting. Option: Flora Acerola Powder 50g Oranges When it comes to vitamin C, we can’t forget about oranges. Orange juice is often advertised as an ideal source of vitamin C, and they’re not wrong. However, many companies add sugar, fillers, and preservatives to the orange juices, and many don’t contain many oranges at all. To truly reap the benefits of vitamin C from oranges, consider a supplement that sources oranges as their main ingredient. You will get way more vitamin C than eating a couple of oranges! Option: Mega Food Daily C-Protect 63.9g How to incorporate whole food vitamin C into your daily routine Many whole food vitamin C options will come in powder form, as they are simply freeze-dried versions of the original fruit. Because of this, they will not contain any fillers or preservatives that you may find in even the most expensive supplements. Think of it as an easier way to eat larger quantities of vitamin-rich fruits, without having to worry about freshness or the expensive price tag. To enjoy these foods on a daily basis, you can add them into smoothies, chia seed pudding, oatmeal, yogurt, or even plain old water. Once you make it a habit, you’ll be on your way to getting superior vitamin C without thinking twice! Author Grace Tien is a women’s health holistic nutritionist. She helps her clients optimize their nutrition habits so that they can get rid of afternoon slumps and live each day full of energy. Grace specializes in nutrition for healthy periods, you can find out more at @gracetien.ca on Instagram.

Tried and True Supplements for the Flu Season

Are you worried about getting sick during these harsh times? Many of us are in the same boat and are wondering how to be proactive this season. As you know, eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep and exercising regularly is imperative to keep a healthy immune system strong. With these basic foundations in place, you can add on specific nutrients that your body needs to keep your immune system balanced and ready to fight off infections. These supplements contain ingredients with proven benefits to aid the immune system. Supplements for the Flu Season Vitamin D As the cold weather approaches, we spend less time outdoors. Vitamin D is produced in our skin cells when they are exposed to sun rays – so it comes as no surprise that vitamin D deficiency is the most prevalent from October to April. Vitamin D deficiency is extremely common and is associated with increased inflammation and deregulation of the immune system.[1] It is an essential part of keeping a balanced immune system that is ready to fight! Did you know that many of our immune cells have vitamin D receptors? This means that vitamin D can directly activate and increase the production of immune cells.[2] We suggest trying an emulsified vitamin D3 supplement, as it is the most absorbable.  Vitamin C One of the most popular vitamins for the cold and flu season is vitamin C. Why? Supplementing vitamin C improves immune cell activities so that the natural killer cells can get rid of pathogens in the body.[3] This powerful antioxidant helps alert immune cells to sites of infections and enhances their ability to kill microbes.[4] We suggest trying a fat-soluble, liposomal form of vitamin C because it will stay in your body longer than other vitamin C supplements. Vitamin C is naturally water-soluble and will be excreted in your urine throughout the day. Liposomal vitamin C ensures you are using up all the vitamin C in the supplement! Zinc  This mineral is needed for the growth, development, and maintenance of immune cells.[5] Zinc deficiency is common, as it cannot be stored in the body and has to be consumed daily to ensure adequate amounts. Zinc deficiency has been shown to impair immunity, delay wound healing, and increase inflammation in the body. [6] A deficiency in zinc can cause unfavorable changes to the thymus, the organ that produces immune cells. Luckily, the supplementation of zinc is able to reverse those changes and strengthen the signaling pathways of immune cells![7] Taking too much zinc is unlikely to cause symptoms, however, it can hide a copper deficiency. To be safe, it is advised to take a copper-zinc formula when supplementing the long-term.[6] Elderberry  These berries have traditionally been used to address cold and flu symptoms. Elderberries contain high levels of anthocyanins, which have antiviral activities and are able to boost immune function.[8] They are a popular home remedy for upper respiratory symptoms from influenza or colds, such as sinus congestion, sore throat, cough or fever. Elderberry supplementation has been shown to reduce the duration and severity of these symptoms.[8] It can also be taken as a preventative measure or at the onset of symptoms for the best results.  We suggest choosing elderberry that is commercially prepared and is standardized, to provide an effective option. This syrup from Suro Organic is a staple in our cupboards! When should you start supplementing for the flu season?  Keep in mind that the effects of supplements take time. Start today and build up your immunity sooner rather than later!  Author  Grace Tien is dietetics and holistic nutrition grad. She creates sustainable, delicious meal plans to help clients with their health goals. Grace specializes in nutrition for healthy periods, you can find out more at @gracetien.ca on Instagram.   References Sassi, F., Tamone, C., & D'Amelio, P. (2018). Vitamin D: Nutrient, Hormone, and Immunomodulator. Nutrients, 10(11), 1656. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10111656 Prietl, B., Treiber, G., Pieber, T. R., & Amrein, K. (2013). Vitamin D and immune function. Nutrients, 5(7), 2502–2521. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu5072502 Wintergerst, E. S., Maggini, S., & Hornig, D. H. (2006). Immune-enhancing role of vitamin C and zinc and effect on clinical conditions. Annals of nutrition & metabolism, 50(2), 85–94. https://doi.org/10.1159/000090495 Carr, A. C., & Maggini, S. (2017). Vitamin C and Immune Function. Nutrients, 9(11), 1211. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu9111211 Read, S. A., Obeid, S., Ahlenstiel, C., & Ahlenstiel, G. (2019). The Role of Zinc in Antiviral Immunity. Advances in nutrition (Bethesda, Md.), 10(4), 696–710. https://doi.org/10.1093/advances/nmz013 Maywald, M., Wessels, I., & Rink, L. (2017). Zinc Signals and Immunity. International journal of molecular sciences,&nbs ...

Supplements to Help With Depression

Supplements to Help With Depression Dr. Marita Schauch writes about supplements that can help people who are feeling the emotional strain of the time of year (SAD). The supplements she highlights can help any time of year and may alleviate some of the feelings of helplessness that many in today’s society feel. Please read on, and go to PNO.ca for any supplement information you would like to further explore or a Health Food Store or Specialty Pharmacy near you: I’ve taken some time this month to explore depression, given how Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) tends to run rampant at this time of winter. I’m a firm believer in people feeling empowered around their health care, and don’t necessarily prescribe any one treatment for depression. Always go and talk to your ND or MD if you’ve noticed the symptoms and want to pursue treatment. All of that being said, there are some key natural supplements that can have a big, big impact on the mood, and I’d be remiss not to share them with you! Vitamin B6 B6 levels are typically low in depression, especially in women taking birth control or on hormone replacement therapy for menopausal symptoms. Considering the many functions of vitamin B6 in the brain, including the fact that it is absolutely essential in the manufacturing of dopamine and serotonin, it is likely that many individuals with depression may be suffering as a result of low vitamin B6. AdrenaSense As mentioned above, treating the cause – the adrenal glands – may be an important strategy for mood disorders.  Herbs such as Rhodiola, Siberian ginseng and Ashwagandha are powerful adaptogens that help to balance stress hormones such as cortisol. Vitamin D New research shows that low serum levels of vitamin D are associated with clinically significant symptoms of depression in otherwise healthy individuals (Psychiatry Research 2015). Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid Folic acid, vitamin B12 and SAM-e function as methyl donors – they carry and donate methyl molecules to important brain compounds including neurotransmitters – serotonin and dopamine. One of the key brain compounds dependent on methylation is tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4). This compound functions as an essential coenzyme in the activation of enzymes that manufacture serotonin and dopamine.  BH4 synthesis is stimulated by folic acid and vitamin B12 and vitamin C. 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5 HTP) 5-HTP is the precursor to serotonin. Numerous studies have shown that 5-HTP is as effective as SSRIs and tricyclic antidepressants, better tolerated, and associated with fewer and much milder side effects (Psychopathology 1991). EstroSense A foundation for treating many hormonal imbalances is the concept of the liver’s role in the detoxification process. If the liver function is compromised, then estrogen metabolism is compromised, leading to excess estrogen levels and what is often described as estrogen dominance. Estrogen dominance may contribute to PMS as well as peri-menopausal symptoms. Saffron (Crocus sativus stigma) Saffron has shown to be an effective natural antidepressant in several clinical trials.  One study compared the effects of saffron with fluoxetine (Prozac), and both treatments resulted in significant improvements in depression symptoms and severity, with no difference in the amount of improvement between the two groups.  Saffron’s antidepressant properties seem to be related to serotonin metabolism. Chaste Tree (Vitex Agnus Castus) Vitex may be one of the single most important herbs for the treatment of PMS as well as other hormonal imbalances leading to poor mood. The effect of vitex is on the hypothalamus-hypophysis axis. It increases secretion of luteinizing hormone and also has an effect that favours progesterone. Probiotics Remember that a healthy microbiome promotes a healthy mood.  Support the gut! This article ahs been provided to you by Preferred nutrition blog. 

Magnesium Really is Mighty

Most people are not aware that Magnesium is needed in pretty much every area of our bodies from muscle recovery to heart to digestion. In fact, every single organ in our body requires magnesium in order to function properly. Most people are also not aware that the majority of the population is deficient in magnesium! In fact, it’s even more staggering when you consider that a whopping 20% of adults are so magnesium deficient that it can and likely is affecting their overall health. If you suffer from unexplained fatigue or weakness, abnormal heart rhythms or even muscle spasms and eye twitches, low levels of magnesium could be to blame. Magnesium is present in all cells of the body and is involved in over 300 biochemical processes – including energy production. Magnesium deficiency is one of the most common mineral deficiencies in North America and it can lead to a multitude of symptoms and health concerns. It surprises people to learn how they could potentially become magnesium deficient; overly sweet or gluten-laden foods, caffeine, pop, alcohol, too much stress, and some prescription medications are all contributing factors to magnesium deficiency. It’s easy to tell by that list if you might be deficient, as so many of us overly indulge ourselves in foods and drinks that are bad for us, and many of us live with constant stress. To be absolutely certain if your body is depleted in this utmost important mineral, you could go ahead have a blood test through your medical practitioner to see if in fact you are. However, only 1 percent of magnesium in your body is distributed in your blood, making a simple sample of magnesium from a serum magnesium blood test not entirely useful. Magnesium deficiency can make one feel upset or anxious, restless, and causes sleep issues, such as falling or staying asleep. It can also cause or exacerbate muscle aches or spasms, such as Restless Leg Syndrome or shin splints. What magnesium does for our body is help the muscles to relax so they aren’t in a constant state of contraction. It helps with muscle recovery so is popular among runners. But so many more of us could benefit from taking a magnesium supplement: It makes the kidneys, heart and digestive tract function better when our magnesium levels are optimal. We feel an overall better sense of wellness, and who wouldn’t want to feel less stressed or depressed? There are many different forms of magnesium, but magnesium bisglycinate has been shown to be more readily absorbed and bioavailable compared to other forms of magnesium, and can be found in a powder form such as our own MagSense. Most magnesium is stored in your bones and organs, where it is used for many biological functions. Yet, it’s quite possible to be deficient and not know it, which is why magnesium deficiency has been dubbed the “invisible deficiency.” Some medical professionals are even going so far as to declare it a medical epidemic. Recommended daily amounts of 310 to 320 milligrams (mg) for women and 400 to 420 for men are required for the optimal magnesium balance. You can find magnesium in foods such as dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, fish, beans, whole grains, avocados, yogurt, bananas, dried fruit, and dark chocolate, and you can safely supplement to make up the difference. Magnesium supplementation may be helpful for: Muscle cramping Supporting cardiovascular health Restless Leg Syndrome Headaches & migraines PMS & menstrual cramps Insomnia Mood stabilization & depression Metabolic syndrome & blood sugar balance Maintaining strong, healthy bones If you are interested in learning more about how and why our bodies become deficient and how we can go about repairing the damage magnesium deficiency causes, please read Mighty Magnesium: The Unlikely Health Hero by Bruce W. Cole. It is a thorough read and will show you where you can find magnesium in food and how to avoid becoming depleted. To Your Good Health! This article has been provided to you by Preferred nutrition blog. 

The Health Benefits of Dietary Supplements

Overview While a healthy balanced diet often provides a source of vitamins and minerals, taking dietary supplements on top of your healthy diet may prove beneficial in ensuring your body may be the nutrients it needs each day. Dietary supplements, which are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, are marketed as a solution or preventative measure for a number of disorders, or to supplement nutrients lacking in your diet. To safely reap the benefits of taking dietary supplements, always consult with a physician before taking any supplement to help avoid negative side effects. Proper Metabolism After a meal, your body breaks down the carbohydrates, proteins and fats from your meal, and also absorbs the other nutrients in the meal. Absorbing these nutrients partially relies on a number of vitamins – the B-class vitamins – that you must consume each day. Supplementing your diet with B vitamins can help prevent the numerous effects of vitamin deficiencies, including skin disorders, joint pain, nerve damage and anemia, according to Colorado State University. Promotes Tissue Maintenance and Repair Consuming dietary supplements may also aid in tissue maintenance and repair, processes that occur throughout your life. Your day to day activities put a strain on your tissues, and specialized cells within your body continually produce proteins that make up healthy new tissue to replace old, damaged tissue. Defects in tissue repair and maintenance lead to diseases, such as osteoporosis, that develop from bone wasting that commonly occurs as you age. You can help promote proper tissue growth and bone strength by taking calcium and vitamin D. Prevents Disease The consumption of some dietary supplements may also help prevent cancer. A number of essential vitamins, including vitamins A, C and E, act as antioxidants in the body. They work to neutralize chemicals called free radicals that cause oxidative damage within your cells. The National Cancer Institute explains that oxidative damage to your cells promotes cancer development. While studies on the effect of antioxidant supplements in preventing cancer in humans have proved inconsistent so far, consuming moderate amounts of antioxidant vitamin supplements may prove beneficial to your health. This article is written by Sylvie Tremblay, MSc

The 5 Best Vitamins For Healthy Hair

 While hair loss can be attributed to some medical conditions such as alopecia, it’s also a natural part of growing older.  But there are small things you can do every day that may help.  Here’s the lowdown on the top 5 vitamins that can help keep your hair healthy, strong, and help to lower the risk of potential loss. Biotin One of the most commonly known vitamins to promote strong hair is biotin, a B-complex vitamin that is sometimes referred to as Vitamin H.  Biotin promotes healthy hair by increasing the hair’s elasticity and protects against dryness, which also helps prevent breakage.In addition, Biotin helps produce keratin, a primary component of healthy hair. Some even believe that biotin can slow down age-related graying. While Biotin deficiency isn’t common, some of the symptoms, which may alert you to the need to supplement, are hair loss (sometimes resulting even in eyebrow and eyelash loss), chronic conjunctivitis, dermatological issues, and even mild depression.  Thankfully, deficiency and deficiency related symptoms are fixed simply by either taking it orally or by getting it through the following foods: Brown rice Bulgur Green peas Lentils Oats Brewer’s yeast Recommended daily doses should not exceed 100 mcg in adolescents or adults. Vitamin A Vitamin A is a commonly known antioxidant also known as retinol.  Its function is mainly to promote eye health; however, it’s also widely used as a means to promote healthy hair.   Vitamin A helps to produce healthy sebum, an oily substance secreted by the scalp, which keeps hair from drying out and breaking off.*  In addition, Vitamin A fights free radicals that weigh your hair down. Vitamin A is found in the following foods: Cod liver oil Krill oil Carrots Spinach Peaches While Vitamin A is essential to healthy hair, you must exercise caution, as too much Vitamin A can lead to toxicity and can actually result in the opposite effect – hair loss.  The maximum daily amount you should consume, either through supplementation, through your diet, or both combined is 25,000 IU. Vitamin E Vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps neutralize free radicals, is often referred to as the “good skin” vitamin, but its assistive properties go far beyond the skin. Vitamin E also helps the body’s blood circulation by increasing oxygen uptake, which in turn aids the body in producing new hair.  In addition, some believe that Vitamin E has an affect on the body’s immune function, further increasing it’s potential to reduce hair loss risk. It can be taken by mouth, applied topically or can be found in the following foods: Beans Soybeans Leafy greens Wheatgerm oil Nuts The recommended dosage of Vitamin E is at least 400 IUs a day.  However, caution must be exercised when supplementing with Vitamin E as too much has been known to cause bleeding due to blood thinning.   Because of its blood thinning properties, it’s also important to remember to discontinue the use of Vitamin E prior to any type of surgery. Pantothenic Acid Pantothenic acid, also called Vitamin B5, isn’t a commonly known vitamin, but is highly effective in the prevention of graying due to aging.  In addition, it can help reduce the natural loss of hair due to aging. Pantothenic acid is believed to help strengthen hair follicles and their cells, allowing them to function properly.  In addition, pantothenic acid also helps your scalp get rid of dead skin, clearing the way for new growth to occur. Pantothenic acid can be found in many Vitamin B complex vitamins, but can also be found in various foods, such as whole grains and eggs. Inositol The last vitamin that is important for healthy hair is Inositol.  Inositol is, unofficially, grouped into the Vitamin B group of vitamins.  It’s certainly not a commonly known vitamin, but is responsible for a number of support functions within the body.   Inositol aids in the health of cell membranes, particularly those in the eyes, intestines, brain, and bone marrow.*  However, one of the most recent findings show that men who took an extra dose of inositol daily reported that their hair loss had improved, with less hair falling out.   While Inositol can be produced by the body through the natural process of breaking down glucose, it can also be found in the following foods:   Beans Citrus fruits and cantaloupe Whole grain breads Brewer’s yeast Naturally, vitamin supplementation alone will never take the place of a healthy, balanced diet.  But with proper supplements, you can combat hair loss and slow down premature graying of the hair all while growing old gracefully.  Just remember to check with your health care professional before adding any supplements ...

The power of vitamin K2

Catching up with K2 Since the first release of my book on vitamin K2 three years ago, research on the little-known nutrient with big health benefits continues to grow, with new studies confirming early findings. Of course, vitamin K2 science is still a decade or two behind that of its nutritional crony, vitamin D, but at least the ball is rolling. Here is a very brief look at some of the newly illuminated vitamin K2 benefits. Vitamin K2 is an artery-clearer. Well, okay, we knew that in 2011, but the evidence was in its infancy – some population-based research (including the compelling Rotterdam study), animal trials and case reports. Now the body of knowledge in this department is a full-fledged toddler, running fast although we can still catch up. A recent clinical trial looked at hardened arteries in hemodialysis patients – a group that is especially prone to this problem.  The study concluded that supplementation with MK-7 provides a novel approach to reducing vascular calcifications. This has important implications for everyone, since heart attacks caused by atherosclerosis are a leading killer of both men and women, even those without kidney disease. Vitamin K2 is an anti-inflammatory. This makes sense. Inflammation is central to the development of heart disease. Why bother reducing arterial plaque without addressing this fundamental contributor to the development of the disease? Vitamin K2 is a testosterone booster. More good news for you, guys. Vitamin K2 has been shown to enhance the production of testosterone in animal studies. The popularity of prescription testosterone replacement for mojo maintenance is huge right now, despite controversy over possibly raising the risk of heart attack. I’m not saying K2 supplementation will have the same effect as testosterone shots, but it is worth making an effort to optimize your natural androgen production before seeking the injections. It would be nice to see more human trials in this area, however since K2 is well-known to be non-toxic you’ve got nothing to lose, except arterial plaque. New research has also shown that MK-4 supplements, the synthetic form of vitamin K2, can be helpful in doses a lot lower than the traditional, yet seemingly random, dose of 45 mg (45,000 mcg). Recent trials have used as little as 600 mcg of MK-4 to boost bone density. This is still way beyond what Canadian consumers can legally purchase (I’m glaring in your direction, Health Canada), so it is still a good idea to stick with MK-7 supplements, which are beneficial at much lower doses. Studies continue to support the use of MK-7 in a 180mcg daily dose. This article has been provided to you by Natural factor

Vitamin D: What You Need to Know

Vitamin D: What You Need to Know We hear a lot about Vitamin D, especially once fall and winter roll around. The darker days can make it harder to get your daily dose of vitamin D, as it is an essential fat-soluble vitamin made naturally in the skin from exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. But why is Vitamin D so important in the first place? And how can we ensure we’re getting enough in the absence of the sunny days of spring and summer? How Is Vitamin D Made? Almost every system in the body has a finger in the pie when it comes to making vitamin D. When sunlight falls on your skin, it converts cholesterol within the skin into a form of vitamin D3 called calciol. Calciol travels to the liver, where it is turned into calcidiol (25-hydroxyvitamin D3), the inactive form of vitamin D3 that is circulated and stored in the body. The kidneys convert calcidiol into the active form of vitamin D3 called calcitriol. You also absorb vitamin D in the large intestine. What Does Vitamin D Do? Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, and the two nutrients work together to help you maintain healthy bones and teeth. Vitamin D also helps your muscles, nerves and immune system work properly. It helps white blood cells recognize foreign invaders and may also influence the release of protective proteins when needed. As well, vitamin D3 protects neurons to promote healthy cognitive function. This nutrient is in a class of its own, with receptors everywhere in the body, including the muscles and heart – a hint that it plays a role in many more physical functions than we know. Where Can You Get Vitamin D? Sunshine It is called the “sunshine vitamin”, after all. Your body makes vitamin D, but only when your skin is exposed to sunlight. The sun’s rays set off a chemical reaction in your body that ends in vitamin D. Be sure to expose your skin to the sun for 15-20 minutes a day – especially your calves and forearms. It’s important to know that wearing sunscreen interferes with the process, though that’s no reason to skip sun protection! Other things that affect your body’s ability to make vitamin D from sunlight: light filtered through windows, higher latitudes, winter, and darker skin (because skin pigment blocks sunlight). The process also becomes less efficient with age. Food Fatty fish (think salmon), mushrooms, nuts, beans, egg yolks, and liver all contain small amounts of vitamin D. One egg yolk offers up about 40 IUs of vitamin D – but since the RDA is 600 IUs, sunshine and supplements are still your best bet. UV Lamps and Lightbulbs If you’re at high risk for vitamin D deficiency – say, you live in Vancouver in November – a UV emitting device might be your answer. But they’re the same technology as tanning beds, just on a smaller scale, so they should be used on a doctor’s advice, and with protective eye gear. Supplements If you live North of California, chances are you don’t see the sun as much as you’d like in the winter months. If, for any reason, you’re not getting sun exposure, add a vitamin D supplement to your routine. Look for a liquid vitamin D supplement (because vitamin D is absorbed best in the presence of fat), and double check that you’re getting D3 (cholecalciferol) and not D2 (ergocalciferol), Vegans, rather than take D2, seek out vegan D3 sourced from plant lichens. Do You Need A Vitamin D Supplement? If any of the following apply to you, check in with your doctor or nutritionist – they can test for vitamin D in your blood to see if you need to up your intake – and by how much: Low levels of vitamin D Lack of sun exposure, due to inclement weather, winter, or shift work Living in a Northern climate Adults over 50, since which decreases the body’s ability to make vitamin D Vegetarian or vegan diet Darker skin tone This article has benn provided to you by Natural factors

Vitamin D: What’s the Right Amount?

To take more than 1000 IU/day or not, that is the question. How much should we be taking? Recently, some Vitamin D research was released suggesting that Canada’s (and the USA’s) current vitamin D recommendations are too low due to some statistical errors that were made when calculating the RDA for vitamin D. If this is true, it could have serious implications for the health status and disease risk of Canadians. After reviewing the evidence and the error claims put forth, the IOM (Institute of Medicine in the US) and Health Canada concluded that no error was made in the statistical calculation of recommended vitamin D intake. Some fear that increasing vitamin D recommendations would cause more harm than good, but the evidence doesn’t seem to support this notion, at least up to 10,000 IU/day for most people. One study found that in adults taking 1000 IU/day of vitamin D3 for 11 weeks, their 25(OH)D values increased but their 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D values didn’t change. This is partly what prompted the Edmonton-based researchers to question the current RDA’s in the first place. 25(OH)D is apparently the most accurate marker of vitamin D status, but it must then be converted into 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, the active form of vitamin D. It is generally accepted that blood levels of 25(OH)D should be between 30-50 ng/mL, and that anything less than 30 ng/mL is likely insufficient and any more than 50 ng/mL could be detrimental to some but not all. The only FDA-approved pharmaceutical form of vitamin D is vitamin D2, not D3. D2 enters the bloodstream but is not converted as efficiently into D3 and therefore 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D. Toxicity usually occurs at extremely high doses (ie. 50,000-100,000 IU/day), and these high doses are usually the result of physician-directed treatment with vitamin D2. Vitamin D toxicity can indeed cause hypercalcemia in adults, and these effects are even more pronounced in infants. However, researchers speculate that documented cases of vitamin D toxicity in infants that occurred at low doses (1000-1500 IU/day) in the past were probably the result of an underlying disease (ie. William syndrome or a vitamin D hypersensitivity disorder). While Health Canada allows up to 1000 IU/day for people of all ages to be given in supplement form, the Canadian RDA is still just 600-800 IU/day for adults. Osteoporosis Canada recommends that older adults or adults at high risk take up to 2000 IU/day. In the US, the FDA just increased their RDA for Vitamin D from 400 IU/day to 600 IU/day.4,000 IU/day is Health Canada’s safe upper limit, and the IOM’s upper limit for adults and teens in the US is 10,000 IU/day. This at least gives some latitude for health care practitioners and the public to make informed decisions about their health needs and vitamin D requirements. Public nutrient recommendations tend to be more on the conservative side for good reason, and this is due to the need for responsible decisions that affect an entire population with varying body chemistry and needs. There are always exceptions where certain people cannot tolerate a higher dosage recommendation (for example, people with a vitamin D hypersensitivity), and there are always those who require more to reap full benefit (for example, dark-skinned pregnant women). In addition, people of varying race and age may have different requirements (for example, older adults and darker skinned people do not synthesize vitamin D in the skin from sun exposure as easily as younger, lighter skinned people). Therefore, the Canadian Council of Food and Nutrition recommends that public health practitioners familiarize themselves with the current research when working with clients on dosing recommendations. This ensures that each person is being recommended the accurate dose for their specific needs. A one size fits all approach to supplementing and medicine is never the best approach, although unfortunately this is the way we tend to function. Therefore, it is important to note that while Health Canada’s recommendations are probably lower than necessary for most Canadians, they must exercise their responsibility to protect the masses. It is therefore up to health care practitioners to educate their clients and for consumers to seek education and nutritional counseling around the dietary needs for themselves and their families. So while Health Canada and the IOM have not increased their vitamin D RDA to the proposed 6000 or 7000 IU/day as suggested, the tolerable upper limit rests at 4000 IU/day for adults in Canada. Excessive amounts of a good thing are not always a good thing, so use wisdom and consider your individual situation when deciding how much more vitamin D to take than the standard 1000 IU/day.   Buy Vitamin D by clicking here