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Choose your supplements wisely

Not all supplements are created equal. Just as there are different levels of quality in the food we eat and the products we buy there are quality levels in supplements.

The nutritional health and wellness industry is growing by leaps and bounds (partly due to the aging baby boomers) and many companies are putting vitamins and supplements on the shelves and online.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to know if you are getting quality that you can trust.

A recent study shows that the likelihood of choosing a non-toxic and effective health supplement from the overwhelming array of products that are available is only 2.5%. In other words, there is a 97.5% chance that without investigating the reliability of the product yourself you could select a nutritional product that might be hazardous to your health!
(I call that a step in the wrong direction).

SO…. The question is “Who can you trust and what is actually good for you?”

It comes down to making choices.

Research your products and the companies that make them before you put your health on the line.

Many of us agonize over what clothes or car or TV we should buy but just grab the cheapest vitamin on the shelf. Its your body and your life. The choices we make now affect our future health and wellness.

So how do you choose the right supplement?

First let me educate you on some information that I wasn’t aware of until just recently.

The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) does not regulate the vitamin and supplement industry.

That means that what is written on the label of a vitamin bottle might be true but also might be just a scam trying to make the supplement look better than it is. There is no one regulating what can or cannot be said about the effectiveness of the supplement.

This also means that there are no laws regulating the serving size or amount of vitamin and/or mineral contained in each tablet or capsule you are ingesting. No one to make sure it is a dosage your body needs or can use to maintain health.

Many vitamins work together in your body and if the proper amounts of each are not ingested together they might as well not be ingested at all.

They could actually do more harm than good.

Another important thing I have learned during my supplement research is that many of the vitamins available use fillers and artificial ingredients in their products. I always thought if you bought Vitamin C then the pill was all Vitamin C. Turns out it might have things like petroleum in there too. It might even have more ‘junk’ then it does the actual vitamin.

The first step in choosing a vitamin or supplement is choosing a vitamin or supplement company.

Look at the label of any vitamin you plan on purchasing and see who the company is and check for contact information. Look them up on the Internet or even call them and find out some of their manufacturing practices.

  • Do they follow and meet with Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) compliance?
  • Are the products they make independently tested and analyzed for effectiveness?
  • Does the manufacturer test the supplements for purity and potency?
  • What types of ingredients are used? Are they natural or synthetic?
  • Is the product full of fillers and other artificial ingredients? Many companies use fillers, binders and coatings in their vitamin tablets. These are usually inactive ingredients that are unnecessary for your body and can actually do harm.

  • Fillers are just that. They fill up space and help form the tablet.
  • Binders help keep everything together. Many times these can actually be harmful and include such things as gum, carbopol and povidone.
  • Coatings help keep it all together and can contain artificial flavors to make it taste better. (if you are trying to cover up petroleum and other nasty things no wonder you need artificial flavors.)

  • Are the products bioavailable? Meaning does it actually get absorbed and used by the body and not just get passed through the system as waste.
  • Are your vitamins and supplements a food or a drug?

All of this information should be available on the company’s website or by contacting their customer service representatives. If you are unable to find it or if they are unwilling to share this kind of information then it is probably in your best interest to avoid these supplements.


Why is Skin Nutrition so important?

Skin is our largest organ.  An average adult has about 22 square feet of skin covering their body.  And this sometimes overlooked part of our body does much more than make us look good.

Your skin acts as a waterproof, insulating shield that guards the body against extremes of temperature, damaging sunlight, and harmful chemicals. It also repels bacterial attacks and helps prevent infection.  Your skin manufactures vitamin D for converting calcium into healthy bones. And if that wasn’t enough, skin is a huge sensor packed with nerves for keeping the brain in touch with the outside world. It is flexible, self repairing and allows us free movement in a multitude of environments.

So I think you can see why Skin Nutrition is so important in keeping this amazingly versatile organ healthy and working in top condition.  But for most of us the skin and its health and well being are often on the bottom of our nutrition list.

The following list will help you understand what you skin needs and what you can do to help maintain a beautiful, healthy, well functioning outer layer called your SKIN!

You might call it your nutrition mission for your skin aka Skin Care 101.

– Protein: Required to Build New Cells and new Skin.

You have about 300 million skin cells, and every minute you shed up to 40,000 of them.  So a good supply of protein is necessary to maintain your skin. Protein is one of the few substances we must ingest.    We cannot make up our own protein without the proper amino acid building blocks. A good Energizing Soy Protein means less toxic substances, less hormonal disturbances, less cholesterol, less acid and longer cell life.

Multi-Vitamin: A Proper Balance of all Nutrients

Most of us don’t eat a diet capable of providing us with the necessary amount of vitamins and minerals. Since your body cannot produce minerals, be sure your multi-vitamin includes the important trace minerals. Foods grown organically usually contain more minerals.

B-Complex: reduces stress reactions in the skin like canker sores & shingles

B-complex is one of the most important vitamins for our body. Lip problems, especially cracks at the corners of lips can indicate B complex deficiency. If your skin is too oily or to dry, B Complex can get it back in balance.

Vitamin C:  For Collagen construction and tissue integrity

Vitamin C helps your body resist infection. Wrinkles and sagginess can be contributed to a deficiency of Vitamin C and/or protein. This deficiency can also increase allergy and skin problems. Adding a sufficient amount of Vitamin C to your diet will help with your skins resiliency.  Every day environmental pollution and stress can destroy your supply of Vitamin C so its important to supplement you diet.

Vitamin E: Delays aging process, De-activates free radicals.

Vitamin E helps in many ways.  It tones the muscles, improves the skin’s elasticity, and increases blood circulation which helps protect the cells membranes.  Vitamin E also assists your body in utilizing oils and can relieve itchiness.  Dry leathery skin has been shown to improve through the use of Vitamin E.

Lecithin: plumps the skin, Beneficial to Nerves and Skins Functions

Some people have also found lecithin to be helpful in reducing eczema.

Omega 3 Acids: Omega 3’s and Lecithin help to provide essential fatty acids.

Fatty Acids are needed by your skin in order to stay soft and supple.  If you are on a low fat diet your skin might be especially low on essential fatty acids.  Omega 3’s have also been found to be very helpful with psoriasis.

– Zinc:  Healing factor, helpful with Immune System and Acne.

Collagen manufacture has been shown to slow down without zinc.

– Herbal Laxitive:  the skin is just one avenue for the elimination of toxins.

A good Herbal Laxative insures proper elimination of wastes so that the skin has less of a work load.

Antioxidants: assist your immune system

Antioxidants found in Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin E as well as a good Multi-Vitamin are useful in preventing free radical damage and aging.

Beta Carotene: the Precursor for Vitamin A production

Without sufficient Vitamin A no one has healthy skin. Beta Carotene is the best way to get Vitamin A because it is stored in all the cells in the body, not just in the liver.

– Liver Detox:  a sluggish liver is the reason for fatty deposits in the skin

These fatty deposits are commonly called age spots or liver spots.  A good Liver Detox supplement can help to rejuvenate liver function and keep the skin young & healthy looking.

When talking about skin care what you put in your body is just as important as what you put on it.  A more radiant, healthy and glowing skin can be achieved through the power of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.

Many health experts agree that vitamins and minerals in all forms play an integral role in a healthy complexion, whether the source is your food or from supplements

“Your skin is the fingerprint of what is going on inside your body, and all skin conditions, from psoriasis to acne to aging, are the manifestations of your body’s internal needs, including its nutritional needs,” says Georgiana Donadio, PhD, DC, MSc, founder and director of the National Institute of Whole Health in Boston.

When combined with a good diet, the right dietary supplements can help keep your skin looking not only healthier but also younger.

So get out there and feed your skin.

Skin Nutrition: It’s something to think about!

Just a quick little blurb. I found this quote about the adverse effects of Synthetic Vitamins and it seemed to fit the theme of this site perfectly so I thought I would add a quick post.

Back in the 1960’s the federal government decided that it synthetic (artificially produced) vitamins where no different than vitamins straight from nature.  This is when the vitamin and nutrition companies decided that since synthetic vitamins were cheaper that was the way to go.  Very few kept providing the “real” natural vitamins.  Another winning decision from our government.  At least they are consistent.

The following is a quote from Dr. Shaklee concerning the adverse effects of synthetic vitamins. It’s short, brief and clearly makes the point.

“We are fooled by the chemist who give us inorganic synthetic material with the same molecular bond as the living form of food, and they call them vitamins!. What happens when you take this inorganic substance into your body? First of all, science tells us that your bodily enzymes cannot break down inorganic substances. Your body builds a toxic stimulus. The body goes into warfare against this toxin, which causes a surge of all the surplus hormones, antibodies and enzymes, which are stored, throwing them into your system and your feel peppy, just as in drug abuse. You are not nourishing a cell, but fighting the warfare of a toxin. You do not gain health.”
Dr Forrest C. Shaklee, Sr.

Like always, It is something to think about!

B12 deficiency is common in elderly patients. One study revealed a prevalence of 12 percent among elderly people. Other studies, focusing on those who are in institutions or who are sick and malnourished, have suggested a higher prevalence of 30 percent to 40 percent. Unfortunately, B12 deficiency is often unrecognized because the clinical manifestations can be very subtle. In fact, one of its manifestations — mild memory loss — can mimic the early stages of dementia. (source – The Journal of Family Practice)

Vitamin B is critical to so many of the bodies natural healthy functions and B12 is just one of the many B Vitamins that make up B complex.  Vitamin B 12 is helpful in many areas including:

  • proper food digestion and absorption
  • healthy nervous system function
  • formation of red blood cells
  • proper circulation
  • healthy immune system function
  • mood regulation
  • mental clarity, concentration, memory function

If you are a vegetarian or a vegan you could be missing out on some of the needed Vitamin B 12 as it is often found in animal food sources.  Other items that can create a deficiency in Vitmain B12 are:

  • Inadequate production of stomach acid — As we age, our bodies are less capable of producing as much hydrochloric stomach acid necessary to release B12 from the food we eat.
  • Long-term use of antacid/antiulcer drugs — If you take antacids, you are restricting the amount of hydrochloric acid your stomach is producing.  Since Hydrochloric acid is a requirement for the absorption of vitamin B12, you are artificially creating a B12 deficiency.  These Antacids can include drugs such as Zantac and Tagamet, and proton pump inhibitors like Nexium and Prilosec.
  • Use of the drug metformin for Type 2 diabetes — Use of metformin (brand names include Glucophage, Glucophage XR, Fortamet, Riomet, and Glumetza) may inhibit your B12 absorption, especially at higher doses.
  • Coffee consumption — Four or more cups of coffee a day can reduce your B vitamin stores by as much as 15 percent.
  • Gastric bypass surgery – reduction of the stomach size will again reduce hydrochloric acid production.
  • Exposure to laughing gas (nitrous oxide)

Some general warning signs that you may be lacking in Vitamin B12 could include:

  1. Fatigue
  2. Lack of energy
  3. Memory problems
  4. Trouble sleeping
  5. Mood swings

The scary part about B12 deficiency is that it might not show up for several years after your body has become deficient.  By this time irreversible damage to your body could have already occurred.

That is why it is so important to make sure you get plenty of Vitamin B into your body each and every day.  And not just Vitamin B 12.  The benefits of Vitamin B Complex are crucial to your bodies overall health and wellness.

There are eight known B vitamins and all good products have all eight, in a somewhat balanced form. The eight (8) are Thiamine (B-1), riboflavin (B-2) panothenic acid, niacin, vitamin B-6, biotin, folacin, and B-12. The are essential for human metabolism, growth, reproduction, general health, appetite, the normal functioning of the digestive tract, nervous stability and blood cell formation.

B vitamins are competitive in the body, thus the balance is important. B vitamins must be taken together in a balanced, complex form in order for your body to use them correctly. Your metabolism can be thrown off by taking an isolated component of the B’s alone.

B vitamins have many positive affects on our bodies. They are so important they are one of the few nutrients the federal government mandates to be added to certain foods.

The problem with depending on only foods for an adequate supply of B is that intense heat, slow cooking, light, baking soda and baking powder all destroy B vitamins.

Consuming sugar, alcohol, caffeine and processed foods also causes your body to lose its supply of B. If that weren’t enough, stress is another factor that can lead to a depletion of your body’s reserves.

So the moral of the story is:

Make sure you get enough of the B Vitamins.  For most of us that means taking Vitamins to supplement our diet.

Its something to think about!

The Vitamin D Study

The results from a Landmark Study on the benefits of supplements included an interesting finding related to blood levels of vitamin D. Long-term dietary supplement users had a blood levels well above the blood levels found in most Americans and well within the optimal range recommended by many vitamin D researchers.  But the general public – the average American – had less than adequate Vitamin D in their blood. 50%–78% of Americans had vitamin D blood levels less than a level thought to be adequate to support optimal health.

The higher vitamin D blood levels seen in the participants of the Landmark Study might be of great benefit because according to recent research, in addition to reducing the risk for osteoporosis, higher blood vitamin D levels have been linked to lower risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, certain cancers, all-cause mortality, infections, and more.

The Shaklee Corporation commissioned a follow-up to the Landmark Study. The new study was intended to compare vitamin D blood levels in long-term users, short-term users, and nonusers of vitamin D dietary supplements to compare and identify optimal vitamin D intakes, blood levels, and their impact on cardiovascular disease risk markers. In this cross-sectional study, blood samples were collected from 257 study participants in August 2008, and the results were certainly impressive.

Image 1 shows that increased vitamin D intakes from supplements are associated with increased vitamin D levels in the blood.

Image 2 shows that increased blood levels of vitamin D are associated with increased HDL cholesterol levels.

Higher HDL cholesterol levels have been associated with a lower risk for cardiovascular disease. Other results showed that increased supplemental intake of vitamin D also was also associated with decreased risk of metabolic syndrome and decreased waist circumference. (This sounds like fancy science speak for you might get skinnier!)

The results of these tests were presented earlier this year (May 2009).  If you would like to see the actual research results you can go here Shaklee/National Lipid Association Vitamin D Presentation (Its a little confusing, but if you are a doctor or research scientist you will probably understand it just fine)

You can also read more about the results in the August edition of the Journal of Clinical Lipidology(I was told that the research was accepted without any comments or revisions from the journal reviewers.  This is apparently a big deal and its is a nearly unprecedented event in scientific research publication.)

The study findings were so compelling that the Shaklee Corporation is already moving forward with the another study, a clinical intervention trial intended to confirm that specific vitamin supplementation can increase vitamin D status and HDL cholesterol levels.  By doing this it could be possible to decrease risk for metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease.

So even if you are not into all the science and research or maybe you just find it a little confusing, but it is very impressive that a nutrion company, a company that is selling vitamins, goes to this much trouble to create the best available products.

So when people ask me what brand of vitamins I take I don’t hesitate to answer Shaklee.  In fact, part of the Shaklee corporate stategy for the past 30 years has been sound scientific research.  This research has resulted in the publication of over 100 scientific papers, 90 of them in peer-reviewed scientific journals.  This is unprecedented in the world of Vitamin and Nutrition companies.

Its something to think about!