Thursday, May 28, 2009

Top Ten Supplements For Kids

Top 10 Supplements for Kids

Proper diet and nutritional supplements may benefit children of all ages by boosting immunity and optimizing health. Presented here are some of the most commonly used supplements for children. Recommendations for specific health conditions common in childhood are available through our Health Encyclopedia or by completing our Vitamin and Supplement Profile.

To determine the best supplement recommendations for the age and sex of your child in each supplement plan, complete the general profile, entering the age and sex of your child.

A full-spectrum multivitamin and mineral product in a highly absorbable form is essential to ensure the foundation of health. Vitamins and minerals are necessary for proper growth, metabolism, digestion, immune system function, muscle and nerve function and detoxification processes in the liver Scientific studies have shown that the majority of us are deficient in many essential nutrients because of poor dietary habits and other factors which may deplete nutrient levels such as caffeine, drugs, stress or pollution. A daily multivitamin can help to keep your child’s energy and concentration levels at their best.

Acidophilus is the friendly bacteria that live in our digestive tract. Healthy bacterial balance in our digestive tract is easily affected by poor dietary habits and by the use of medications, such as corticosteroids and antibiotics. Everyone can benefit from the use of probiotics for healthy digestion and immunity. Acidophilus has also been found useful in the treatment and prevention of skin conditions and allergies. Children in daycare who take acidophilus supplements are found to have less frequent colds, flu and ear infections.

Vitamin C with bioflavonoids
Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant and a natural antihistamine and it also helps speed wound healing. Vitamin C’s immune-enhancing effect makes it essential in preventing infection as well as in shortening the duration of an illness. To maximize effectiveness vitamin C is best taken with bioflavonoids in divided dosages spaced throughout the day. Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin which is safe even at high doses. It may act as a natural laxative in certain individuals, so be sure to increase the dose slowly. Try chewables—they are a great way to get your kids to take the vitamin C they need to stay healthy and free of colds!

EPA/DHA fish oils

Healthy types of oils are necessary in the formation of every cell in the body. Eicosapentaenoic acid EPA and docosahexaenoic acid DHA (the components of essential fatty acids) are natural anti-inflammatory agents. Their anti-inflammatory action makes them useful in treating and preventing heart disease and they also have beneficial effects on cholesterol, triglycerides and on the tendency of blood to clot. Essential fatty acids help to moisten the skin and improve bowel function. Symptoms of depression, ADD/ADHD, schizophrenia and memory loss may improve with essential fatty acid supplements. Finally, fish oils are also very useful for the treatment and prevention of skin conditions like dry winter itch, eczema or psoriasis.

Zinc citrate
Research has found that many children and young adults with ADHD/ADD are deficient in zinc. Zinc is found in the brain's hippocampus and interacts with other chemicals to send messages to the sensory brain center, enhancing memory and thinking skills. It has a significant effect on visual memory, learning, emotional and behavioral state and overall cognitive function. A deficiency may result in learning impairments, poor memory and emotional and behavioral problems.

A study carried out on 135 males aged between 3 and 20 with a history of aggressive behavior found that many of the subjects were likely to have high levels of copper and low levels of zinc compared with non-aggressive people. Zinc and copper compete for absorption. Because of this inverse relationship, zinc supplements can be effective for lowering copper levels. Proper mineral balance is essential for the production of chemical signals in the brain that influence behavior. Both copper and zinc tend to be concentrated in the hippocampus of the brain, which is the area known to be associated with stress response.

Since it usually takes two to three months to overcome a copper-zinc imbalance, treatment with zinc supplements should be continued for a minimum of four months before determining effectiveness. Zinc deficiency can result from exposure to heavy metal toxins, such as cadmium (usually from exposure to cigarette smoke) and lead, which prevent its absorption. Poor dietary habits such as excessive consumption of sugar or carbohydrates are also known to reduce zinc absorption.

Magnesium is a trace mineral the body needs to function properly. A deficiency of this mineral has been linked to attention-deficit disorder and hyperactivity in children. In one study from Poland, children with ADHD were found to be more deficient than control subjects in a number of bio-elements. Of all the bio-elements, magnesium deficiencies were the most pronounced. Magnesium supplements can promote relaxation, focus, attention and restful sleep.

High DHA fish oil
Much of the gray matter of the brain is made up of fat, specifically the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The essential fatty acids recommended in this plan contain higher amounts of DHA which has been found in studies to protect and maintain healthy brain cell function because of its important role in the composition of the protective covering (myelin) around nerves. Daily oral supplementing of DHA has been shown to increase blood levels of DHA, to protect myelin and to improve the signaling of chemical messages between nerve cells in the brain. This often improves the symptoms of some mental and visual disorders. Children who take fish oils are calmer and have been found to be more productive in school.

A flavonoid compound from apples and onions, quercetin has natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties. Quercetin is best taken with vitamin C mixed with bioflavonoids as this improves the antihistamine effect. Vitamin C alone may also have beneficial effects on histamine levels by preventing histamine release from cells and by improving the breakdown of histamine.

Healthy Immunity Herbal Combo
For sneezing, colds, the flu or general immunity improvement, an herbal product that contains echinacea and other immunity-boosting herbs is a great way to shorten the duration of an illness as well as prevent the development of new ones. It is always best to increase immune system function rather than treat an infection that has already appeared. Echinacea is safe for the whole family to use, so be sure to use it when there are a lot of infections at school or work to keep you and your family free from illness.

Try one of the Truestar supplement plans specially formulated for many of the most common childhood conditions. Don't forget to complete the general profile, entering the age and sex of your child:

Allergy Plan: Children or teens experiencing nasal congestion, seasonal allergies, hay fever, hives, food allergies or allergic sinusitis may benefit from this plan. Asthma, bronchitis and chemical allergies may also improve with this plan.

Healthy Immunity Plan: This plan is suitable for children who frequently experience the common cold or the flu or for practicing preventative medicine. Eye, ear, throat, sinus or lung infections may benefit from this plan which contains immune-supporting compounds.

Optimal Wellness Plan: This is our program for health maintenance and health promotion for children with no specific health concerns. This plan contains the basic elements we believe are necessary for optimal wellness.

ADD Supplement Plan: This supplement plan contains products that may be effective for improving concentration, learning capabilities and behavior in children, teens and young adults with ADD/ADHD.

Healthy Digestion Plan: This plan is great for kids who complain of colic, cramping, gas, bloating or indigestion. A healthy digestive system is the foundation of health. Sixty percent of our immune system surrounds the digestive tract, so make sure you are doing all you can for your child’s health in the future.

Healthy Joints Plan: This plan is for children with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis or growing pains.

By Natasha Turner, ND

Are Supplements Effective for Weight Loss?

Are Supplements Effective for Weight Loss?

By Natasha Turner, ND

The quest for the perfect body is never-ending, and many will adopt any means necessary to achieve it. There has never been any doubt that exercise and proper diet are essential for a healthy body composition, but what about weight loss aids?

Many of the products marketed for weight loss do not have research or results to support their claims. However, as I have outlined below, there are a few products available that may actually work to increase fat burning and boost metabolism.

Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA): A study published in the Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology reported that CLA was one of only a few supplements researched and found to reduce body fat and assist in increasing lean muscle mass without a change in caloric intake. It seems CLA directs fats away from storage in fat cells while also increasing fat burning in the skeletal muscle. CLA is naturally present in dairy products and beef. It has also been found to have anticancer and antidiabetic properties and is useful in reducing arterial disease, potentially by affecting cholesterol levels. The dosage required is 1500 mg two times per day with food.

Hydroxycitric acid (HCA): HCA is derived from a fruit from India called Garcinia cambogia. Research has found that it helps to prevent the conversion of carbohydrates into fat by inhibiting an enzyme. The hormone insulin is a signal for fat storage; HCA helps reduce the secretion of insulin in response to glucose. HCA may also help reduce appetite.

Citrus aurantium: This is a natural stimulant derived from bitter orange. Unlike ephedra, which can have serious cardiovascular effects like increased pulse or blood pressure, auranticum is an effective fat-burning (thermogenic) and metabolic stimulant without negative consequences. It works by acting directly on the receptors of brown (thermogenic) and white (storage) fat cells to increase the breakdown of fat (lipolysis). Auranticum may also suppress hunger. The dosage required is an extract of 4% synephrine Citrus auranticum in a 500 mg capsule, 30 minutes before each meal three times per day.

Forskolin: Forskolin is obtained from the root of Coleus forskholii. Forskolin affects cell activity by stimulating an enzyme, cAMP, which acts as a messenger to regulate many vital cellular functions. Forskolin has many uses including treatment of asthma, high blood pressure, allergies and psoriasis as well as weight loss. Forskolin has been found to positively affect fat burning through the action on cAMP which increases the activity of fat-burning enzymes and stimulates metabolism by boosting thyroid function. Supplements of forskolin should be standardized to 4% and taken at 250 mg three times per day.

Green tea: Recent research has found that catechins, the antioxidants in green tea, help increase fat burning and reduce the risk of cancer, high cholesterol and diabetes. Green tea may lower blood sugars by inhibiting enzymes that allow the absorption of starches and may decrease the absorption of fat from the intestine. Green tea also contains theanine which has a calming effect on the body while increasing energy. Typical dosage is three or four cups per day or a 300 to 400 mg capsule of green tea extract daily.

Guggulipids: Guggulipids are a resin extract from the Commiphora mukul tree which have been found to positively affect cholesterol levels and boost thyroid function, thereby increasing metabolism. Guggulipids may also reduce inflammation and have been found useful in the treatment of arthritis and in lowering C-reactive protein (an inflammatory marker, high levels of which are associated with an increased risk of arterial disease).

Chromium: Chromium is a mineral that is involved in regulating the body’s response to insulin. Chromium deficiency is very common and often results in insulin resistance, a condition characterized by weight gain (especially in the love handles area) and “crashing” after eating carbohydrates. Insulin resistance may result in type 2 diabetes if not properly treated with diet, exercise and supplements. Chromium picolinate, the most absorbable form of chromium, may help weight loss because of its positive effect on insulin response. Dosage is typically 200 to 400 micrograms per day.

Carnitine: Studies on L-carnitine’s ability to increase fat loss have produced mixed results, though in theory, it should work. An amino acid, L-carnitine helps transport fatty acids into the mitochondria to be burned and regulates cellular metabolic energy production. Taking 500 mg three times per day or 1000 mg twice per day on an empty stomach in conjunction with an exercise plan may help burn fat.

5-HTP: 5-hydroxytryptophan is a precursor to the hormone serotonin. Serotonin affects our memory, appetite, mood and sleep. Low levels of serotonin may result in increased food cravings, anxiety, depression, excessive appetite or insomnia. Derived from the griffonia plant, 5-HTP has been found in studies to effectively reduce food cravings and aid weight loss. Dosage ranges from 50 to 400 mg per day. It is best taken with food or before bed.

Vanadium Multitasking Minerals

Vanadium for weigtht loss?

Vanadium, a little-known trace mineral, has been getting some good press lately as a supplement that may reduce the risk of diabetes. Recent studies have found vanadium may improve the body’s response to insulin, important for preventing insulin resistance, a pre-diabetic condition. Some individuals have gone so far as to suggest that vanadium deficiency may be directly linked to the development of insulin resistance.

Insulin resistance
Insulin is the chemical signal that allows sugar to enter your cells to be used as fuel. Insulin levels also have a direct impact on body composition, as these sugars are later stored as fat if they are not consumed as a source of energy. Insulin resistance causes levels of insulin in the blood to increase. This increase is related to a reduced sensitivity of the body tissues, like muscle, to normal levels of the hormone. As a result, the body tries to overcome this by secreting more insulin from the pancreas. Type 2 diabetes ensues when the pancreas fails to sustain this increased demand for insulin.

Improves insulin response
It is currently estimated that one out of every four Americans has insulin resistance. A primary cause is excess intake of sugar or carbohydrates typical of many diets today. This includes foods such as pop or candy as well as cakes, muffins, pastries, chips, crackers and many other processed foods. Insulin resistance may also be attributed to lack of exercise, overindulging in alcohol, stress, a family history of diabetes, hypertension and excess body fat, especially around the abdomen. Finally, insulin resistance may occur in women with polycystic ovarian disease and in association with some cases of hypothyroidism in both men and women.

Insulin resistance and your health
The long-term health risks of insulin resistance include increased incidence of diabetes, obesity, hypertension and heart disease. The good news is that there are options for the treatment and prevention of insulin resistance. Vanadium has been found in human trials to improve insulin sensitivity and to stimulate glucose uptake into cells in both diabetic and pre-diabetic patients. Improved response to insulin may help decrease insulin levels, which can also be favorable for the loss of body fat. A complete treatment plan for insulin resistance is not unlike that for type 2 diabetes, with a diet that is balanced in carbohydrates, fat and protein, and an exercise plan that integrates weight training and cardiovascular activity.

Individuals with hypothyroidism may also want to consider taking a vanadium supplement. A study dated over 10 years ago found that vanadium may have a beneficial role on thyroid function as well as blood sugar control. Hypothyroidism is often accompanied by hypoglycemia and weight gain. Further research suggests that there may be an increased risk of diabetes in some hypothyroid patients; however, this risk may be minimized with vanadium supplements.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Vitamin D deficiency too common in our climate

Posted: Wednesday, Dec 12, 2007 - 09:33:50 am PST

Nikki Luttmann Home Page

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For many years, Vitamin D has been a known cure for rickets, once common in young children and now rare. More recently, it has been shown to help boost calcium absorption in the body, preventing or slowing osteoporosis. Now, vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to other chronic conditions such as autoimmune disease (multiple sclerosis, for example) and even some forms of cancer.

Vitamin D, the only vitamin that is also a hormone, is made by the skin through exposure to sunlight or ingested in food or supplement form. After it enters the body, it is converted into an active hormone by the liver and kidneys to control calcium absorption. Without Vitamin D, calcium is passed through the body as waste, thus weakening our bones, teeth and muscles.

Though our bodies are efficient at making Vitamin D when exposed to the sun, there are several factors that contribute to how much of this precious vitamin we are actually absorbing. In northern climates, especially during the winter months, it is almost impossible to get all the Vitamin D our bodies need through sunlight alone.

To get the recommended amount, we would need to spend fifteen to twenty minutes several times a week outdoors with our face and arms exposed to direct sunlight (not through a window). Cloud cover, cold weather and sunscreen all contribute to making this difficult for a good portion or the year.

Also, it would be a challenge to get all the Vitamin D we need through our diet. We'd have to eat mass quantities of foods like sardines and egg yolks. So, that leaves sunshine and supplements as the best ways to get enough of this vitamin.

According to the Institute of Medicine Dietary Reference Intakes, the best way to get vitamin D is to take 1000 International Units (IUs) of Vitamin D3, the most readily absorbed form of the vitamin, in supplement form every day. Since Vitamin D is fat-soluble and can stay stored in the body indefinitely, there is a cap to how much we should take, as there's some concern that it could be harmful in large doses.

Therefore, check the Vitamin D amounts on the labels of all your supplements to make sure that you are getting just the 1000 IUs daily, and not more.

When taken with calcium, Vitamin D is good for the bone and muscle strength of men and women of all ages. And in our climate zone, it's important to be aware of how little we may be getting from the sun. Ask your physician about the new Vitamin D recommendations, and keep in mind that it is always a good idea to let your health care provider know what supplements you are taking.

• Nikki Luttmann is a community development specialist at Bonner General Hospital.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Learn How to Increase-Enhance Libido

Libido is the drive and passion for sexual interaction. How to increase libido is a frequent concern and issue amongst both men and women. Increasing of the sperm count is a good foundation to build upon. In order for the ovum, or egg, to become fertilized, a considerable volume of sperm is necessary. With regards to such sperm volumes, in relevance to fertilizing an egg, the numbers required can range from in the hundreds an on up into thousands and millions of individual sperms.

Daily diet is an excellent approach in how to increase libido. In both men and women, their respective bodies need a number of essential foods that possess both nutritional and supplemental value towards the adequate and ample productive volumes of both sperm, ovum or eggs. In a summary, there had to be sufficient eggs to fertilize, and, in conjunction, enough sperm has to present in order to fertilize the egg. Sexually charged enhancements, in how to increase libido, can be found in foods that are plentiful in zinc. In remaining on and enforcing the significant importance as to sufficient nutrition, particularly, in men growing adequate quantities of sperms, is to include vital foods and supplements that contain folic acids, lycopene, selenium and water, along with other vitamin and mineral sources that constitute a well-balanced daily diet, which are essential aspects towards how to increase libido.

In opposition, is in how to increase libido, by not consuming or ingesting the wrong elements, where diet is concerned. Men and women alike, though, in this instance, due to sperm count; the focus is more directed towards the male sex. Foods that are refined, in composition, such as flours and sugars, must be eliminated from the diet on a regular basis. As a supplemental counter effect, the consumption of any vegetables, particularly those of the green leafed variety, in the aiding support of how to increase libido.

To supplement one's dietary needs, in the continual pursuit of how to increase libido, is within the scope of another of nature's aspects. Such natural aspects, through the gifts of nature, have furnished us with provisions in how to increase libido, as well as for remedying a variety of circumstances, ailments and conditions, and, more targeted, in this instance, to the libido. Such enhancements and solutions can be resourced and obtained through herbal practices. Amid the vast variety of herbs, there are such herbs in existence for how to increase libido for optimum virility. Among those herbs suitable and appropriate in how to increase libido, include such ones as akarkara, salad misri, shilajit and kohinoor gold.

Dr John Anne is an Herbal and Sex Specialist having years of experience in the field of Sexual Health Care

Learn How to Increase-Enhance Libido

Why The Magic of Manganese Isnt Just In The Name

Why The Magic of Manganese Isnt Just In The Name

Manganese is one of those elements commonly referred to as "trace" minerals within the human body, because they're found and required only in relatively tiny quantities. But that description should not be taken as reducing the importance of manganese in any way. Indeed the very name is derived from the Ancient Greek word for magic; evidencing the special powers which they attributed to it. Modern science is probably too cautious to go as far as that, but there's no doubt that manganese has a number of vital functions within the body.

Manganese is an essential element in the production of a number of vital enzymes. Perhaps particularly important amongst these is superoxide dismutase, an anti-oxidant enzyme which has a crucial role in protecting the mitochondria of every cell in the body from the oxidative free radical damage which can lead to DNA damage, premature ageing and even, eventually, degenerative disease. Manganese dependent enzymes are also essential for the effective metabolism of protein and carbohydrates from the diet, as well as cholesterol.

In addition to helping maintain normal cholesterol levels, it has also been noted that cardiac patients tend to have depleted levels of manganese in the heart muscle, and there is research evidence to suggest that manganese may also help protect against arterial damage.

Manganese is also regarded as important for bone and joint health. Some commercial preparations containing glucosamine, a popular supplement marketed as an aid to joint flexibility and for reducing the pain of osteo-arthritis, also contain significant quantities of a manganese compound, and there's evidence that manganese, like glucosamine, has a significant effect in helping the repair of joint cartilage. Low blood levels and deficiencies of manganese have also been associated with an increased incidence of osteoporosis, ie brittle bones; and wound healing depends on prolidase, another manganese activated enzyme.

Although orthodox medicine remains reluctant to accept the link, there is evidence that low levels of manganese are associated with the glucose intolerance characteristic of diabetes, and, coincidentally or not, it has also been noted that many so-called "natural" nutritional therapies for the disease are often based on manganese rich herbs. No one is claiming that manganese supplements may act as an alternative treatment for diabetes, but many practitioners maintain that when taken together with a manganese rich diet, they may well assist sufferers to manage their blood sugar levels. Finally, a number of research reports have confirmed an associative, but not necessarily causal, relationship between low manganese levels and brain (epileptic) seizures in both humans and other animals. Whilst it is generally recognised that more research is required, it seems reasonable to suggest that ensuring good levels of manganese in the body may have some protective effect. The US Food and Nutrition Board has recommended an upper safe limit for manganese intake of 11 mg a day for adults, and there are potential concerns about manganese toxicity. These appear to arise, however, from the direct inhalation of manganese dust and the consumption of manganese contaminated water or heavily polluted air, rather than from diet or supplements.

These external pollutants apart, there is much more likely to be a deficiency of manganese than an excess. Whole grains, leafy green vegetables, certain fruits and green or black tea are reasonably good sources, but many modern Western diets may still struggle to provide even the minute amounts required. As usual, the stripping of nutrients from the soil along with our increased dietary reliance on heavily refined grains are the main culprits. But in the case of manganese this problem is compounded by its negative interaction with other essential minerals needed by the body in larger quantities. It appears, for example, that the absorption of manganese from food decreases in proportion with the amount of iron contained in that food, and the amount of iron stored in the body.

Blood levels of both manganese and the important anti-oxidant, superoxide dismutase have been found to be reduced in individuals following a program of iron supplementation, and similar results have been found in people supplementing with magnesium, as is very commonly recommended in the interests of cardiac and cardiovascular health.

Relatively high doses of calcium supplements have also been found to reduce the absorption of manganese and perhaps also increase its rate of excretion from the body. But none of the above effects should be taken as reasons not to supplement with these other minerals should such a program be regarded as potentially beneficial. They are, however, yet more evidence of the holistic operation of the body's systems and the mutual interdependence of all the many nutrients on which these rely.

Thankfully, though, the answer to the problem is simple enough. It is to ensure that no supplements of minerals, or for that matter vitamins, are ever taken in isolation, but only in the form of comprehensive multi-vitamin and multi-mineral supplements. And of course, these should always be regarded as being in addition to a nutritionally well balanced diet rather than a replacement for it. Such a multi-mineral supplement should provide more than sufficient manganese but it is also worth noting that good intakes of both vitamin C and zinc, in particular, appear significantly to improve manganese absorption.

by Smith

Why The Magic of Manganese Isnt Just In The Name


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