supplements

Take Your Vitamins!

 
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“Do you know that most of us today are suffering from certain dangerous diet deficiencies which cannot be remedied until depleted soils from which our food comes are brought into proper mineral balance? The alarming fact is that foods (fruits, vegetables and grains) now being raised on millions of acres of land that no longer contain enough of certain minerals are starving us — no matter how much of them we eat. The truth is that our food vary enormously in value, and some of them aren’t worth eating as food… Laboratory tests prove that the fruits, the vegetables, the grains, the eggs, and even the milk and the meats of today are not what they were a few generations ago.”
— 74th Congress, 2nd session (senate document no. 264) 1936

It has long been thought we can eat a balanced diet and remain healthy, yet, increasing rates of illness and disease have proven otherwise. The Department of Agriculture has estimated that 99% of Americans have some type of nutrient deficiency. This becomes important when we understand that our body’s require adequate nutrition to simply stay alive and significantly more nutrients if we wish to optimize our health and lifespan in this increasingly stressful and polluted world.

Why has this happened? Very simply, the food we eat — fruits, vegetables, grains, etc. — is being grown in soil which has become depleted in minerals from modern agricultural practices. In turn, our soil has become so impoverished that it has negatively effected the nutrient yield of the foods we consume. Research from the Life Extension Foundation in 2001 showed the vitamin and mineral content of several foods has dropped dramatically between 1963 and 2000. For example: Collard greens were shown to have a 62% loss of vitamin C, 41% loss of vitamin A, 29% loss of calcium, 52% loss of potassium and an 84% loss in magnesium! Furthermore, in 2004 the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found similarly significant declines in the vitamin and mineral content of over 43 crops grown in US markets.

Adding proof to the claims of nutrient insufficiency through dietary intake, lets take a look at a 2002 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The authors examined  several nutrients including vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, E, K, Folic Acid and Carotenoids to which they concluded that the current US diet, while sufficient to prevent acute vitamin deficiency diseases, such as scurvy and pellagra, is inadequate to support long-term health. Continuing the theme, in a 2006 study from the journal Advances in Therapy it was stated: “Only supplementation was able to significantly boost nutrient levels and confer beneficial effects on general welfare, physical performance, and resistance to infections. Therefore, it appears that nutritional supplements are advisable for everyone.

How can we optimize our nutrient intake? Along with eating as fresh, local and wild as possible, the incorporation of a high-quality, nutraceutical grade supplementation program is warranted. It is essential to find a supplement company which guarantees both potency and purity of their products, can provide proof of their effectiveness in human trials, with all  ingredients are Generally Recognized As Safe. A good place to start is with The Comparative Guide to Nutritional Supplements by Lyle MacWilliam. This provides a comprehensive review of over 1,300 products in the United States and Canada.

What should I take? The following is a list of fundamental recommendations to get you started:

MultiVitamin
Most people do not meet their vitamin and mineral needs through diet alone, and as we have learned above, it would be hard to get all the nutrients we need from food alone. Supplementing with a MultiVitamin is essential to optimize health and performance, however most multivitamins you find in retail stores contain inefficacious, synthetic forms of vitamins and mineral that aren’t readily absorbed (or even usable) for your body. Therefore, it is imperative to find quality brands like NutriDyn or ATP.

 
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Nutri-Dyn - PhytoMulti
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Fruits & Greens Powder
A 2014 meta-analysis of 16 studies found that “higher consumption of fruits and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality, particularly cardiovascular mortality.”* However, less than 10% of Americans consume sufficient amounts of fruits and vegetables per day. The NutriDyn Fruits & Greens provides 20+ servings of fruits and vegetables in a single scoop and tastes great.

 
Nutri-Dyn - Fruits & Greens
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Magnesium
Magnesium is the second most abundant mineral inside human cells, or at least it should be. It is essential for over 700 enzymatic reactions in the body, such as normal nerve and muscle function, supporting the immune system, keeping a steady heart beat, helps bones remain strong and it is also needed to regulate blood glucose levels. According to Carolyn Dean, author of The Magnesium Miracle, as much as 80% of Americans are magnesium deficient. This is largely due to unsustainable farming practices and the use of Roundup which binds magnesium, removing 50% of what little is left in the soil.

 
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ATP Lab - Synermag
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EPA/DHA Fish Oil (Omega-3)
The majority of animal protein — beef, poultry, pork — in America is fed an unnatural diet of grains containing soy/corn. The downstream effect of this is inferior quality meat that is higher in inflammatory Omega-6’s and lower in Omega-3’s. On top of this, the Standard American Diet  consists of highly processed foods, also high in these same inflammatory oils. Historically, it has been estimated that humans evolved eating a diet close to equal in Omega-6 and 3 fatty acids**. However, the current ratio in the Western diet is closer to a 15:1 to 30:1 ratio. This is cause for a host of inflammatory diseases. Improving your Omega-3 ratio can improve insulin sensitivity, lower triglycerides, mitigate the effects of stress, and has the ability to turn on lipolytic genes (fat burning genes). Additionally, out of 14 omega-3 trials, which followed patients for an average of 2 years, the overall reduction in mortality was almost twice as good as statins, 25%. This is significant for at least 2 reasons: 1) that is a huge difference, and 2) the studies only lasted 2 years on average, meaning that the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids are fast-onset and robust. In other words, statins take ~50% longer and are only ~50% as good as omega-3 fatty acids.

 
Strength Sensei - Omega Drive
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ATP Lab - Liquid Omega-3
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References:

* https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6426a1.htm 

** Simopoulos AP. Omega-3 fatty acids in health and disease and in growth and development. Am J Clin Nutr. 1991 Sep; 54(3):438–63.)

Calcium Supplements May Damage the Heart

After analyzing 10 years of medical tests on more than 2,700 people in a federally funded heart disease study, researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine and elsewhere conclude that taking calcium in the form of supplements may raise the risk of plaque buildup in arteries and heart damage, although a diet high in calcium-rich foods appears be protective.

In a report on the research, published Oct. 10 in the Journal of the American Heart Association, the researchers caution that their work only documents an association between calcium supplements and atherosclerosis, and does not prove cause and effect.

But they say the results add to growing scientific concerns about the potential harms of supplements, and they urge a consultation with a knowledgeable physician before using calcium supplements. An estimated 43 percent of American adult men and women take a supplement that includes calcium, according the National Institutes of Health.

“When it comes to using vitamin and mineral supplements, particularly calcium supplements being taken for bone health, many Americans think that more is always better,” says Erin Michos, M.D., M.H.S., associate director of preventive cardiology and associate professor of medicine at the Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “But our study adds to the body of evidence that excess calcium in the form of supplements may harm the heart and vascular system.”

The researchers were motivated to look at the effects of calcium on the heart and vascular system because studies already showed that “ingested calcium supplements — particularly in older people — don’t make it to the skeleton or get completely excreted in the urine, so they must be accumulating in the body’s soft tissues,” says nutritionist John Anderson, Ph.D., professor emeritus of nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Global Public Health and a co-author of the report. Scientists also knew that as a person ages, calcium-based plaque builds up in the body’s main blood vessel, the aorta and other arteries, impeding blood flow and increasing the risk of heart attack.

For more information be sure to look at the article on Johns Hopkins Medical site.

Getting the Most Out of Your Workout

Pre-workout supplements have never been more popular. They provide you with increased energy and endurance for your workout; however, there are several issues to consider when choosing the best approach for yourself or your patients.

One of the most important things to consider when evaluating your options is that many popular pre-workout supplements are loaded with stimulants. There is nothing wrong with a little caffeine, but most of the pre-workout products on the market contain as much caffeine as five cups of coffee. In addition, many also contain food dyes and artificial sweeteners, with most powders being sweetened with sucralose. While food manufacturing companies and global health authorities have deemed sucralose safe for consumption, most health care providers know that this is not the case. According to a recent study in theJournal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, sucralose is a biologically active compound that decreases the number and balance of beneficial bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract; causes epithelial scarring, the depletion of goblet cells and glandular disorganization in the colon; and alters insulin, blood glucose, and glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) levels.1 

I started weight training 16 years ago and have been a competitive powerlifter for the past four years. I know the importance of nutrients for supporting focus, energy, and endurance. The challenge is finding good, health-promoting products that do not have excessive amounts of caffeine, while also being free of artificial sweeteners and food dyes.

These are some nutrients that I have personally found to be effective and safe to take prior to training: 

Creatine has been heavily researched for the past 20 years and is ideal for people who are sensitive to stimulants. Creatine supplementation can increase tissue concentrations of this nutrient to a level that is unobtainable through the diet alone. However, it is important to use a creatine supplement in a stabilized, alkaline form so it does not raise creatinine (a metabolite of creatine). Many of the side effects of taking high-dose creatine supplementation are not from the creatine itself, but are actually from creatinine.

Acetyl L-carnitine is one of the most extensively researched brain nutrients with a proven ability to enhance mental energy. Most people associate acetyl L-carnitine with preventing age-related memory decline and slowing Alzheimer's; however, it is also very effective when used pre-workout for increasing mental focus and energy.

Glycerophosphocholine (GPC) is an activated form of choline that crosses the blood brain barrier. GPC is another brain nutrient commonly used for age-related brain conditions and brain recovery from stroke or trauma. GPC also has other benefits, such as enhancing growth hormone secretion. According to a study in Nutrition, plasma growth hormone secretion was increased significantly 60 minutes after taking GPC, whereas no significant change was observed with the placebo.2

L-Arginine is a non-essential amino acid that is important for many cellular functions. It is a precursor to nitric oxide, which increases blood flow, thereby raising the supply of oxygen and nutrients to muscles.

Medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) provide a great energy source for weight lifters. MCTs are quickly converted into energy, sparing amino acids from being used as fuel. This is essential for athletes restricting their carbohydrate intake, intermittent fasting, carb back-loading, or following the "warrior diet.”

Caffeine is definitely beneficial but not a lot is needed to get the job done. It also depends on the time of day that you are training. I prefer to mix coconut oil in tea (coffee may be preferable to many, but I myself do not drink coffee) prior to training. A good alternative is to use an MCT oil supplement containing coconut and palm oils.

Choosing the right supplements can have a large impact on what you are able to get out of your workouts, but sifting through the stimulants, dyes and unhealthy sweeteners can be discouraging. This list presents safe and beneficial nutrients that support athletic performance, as well as some brain nutrients that are often not thought of when formulating a pre-workout regimen, yet can be extremely helpful for focus and mental energy in athletes.  I can honestly say that I feel and see the difference in my workouts now.

by Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN

L-Glutamine vs. Glutamine

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Q. What is the difference between L-glutamine and glutamine, and the same for the other amino acids? Is one more effective as a supplement than the other?

A. Unfortunately the answer to this question will involve some chemistry, though it may not be necessary to completely understand all the chemistry to understand the gist of the answer.

All the amino acids in our bodies have a common structure that enables them to link up to one another by what is known as a peptide bond, producing the long strands of amino acids that we define as proteins. Without these long protein chains we could not survive. Amino acids are constructed so that two mirror images can exist, like your right and left hands. If you have ever tried to put a left-handed glove on your right hand you can see how difficult it would be for a "right-handed" amino acid to connect to a "left-handed" amino acid.

Louis Pasteur observed the "handedness" of amino acids and many other molecules in our bodies. He found that when you shine a beam of polarized light through a solution of amino acids, the light beam would be rotated counterclockwise. The amino acids are thus designated "levo" (left) or " " amino acids. A minor problem was that not every amino acid rotates light counterclockwise even though they all had the common chemical structure that allows them to link up. Pasteur solved the problem by calling all amino acids "L" amino acids (the capital letter is important) whether they actually rotated light clockwise or counterclockwise.

Whether the "L" prefix is present or not, all the glutamine that is found in our food or food supplements is L-glutamine because the mirror image of L-glutamine (called D-glutamine for "dextro" or right) has no nutritional value and is useful only for chemical lab research.

D-Amino acids occur in nature in small amounts. All the amino acids that are made into proteins are L-amino acids, but some bacteria use D-amino acids in their cell walls to help them resist the natural antibiotics that are produced by other bacteria. Mostly D-amino acids in foods are the product of bacterial fermentation and so are found in products such as yogurt and cheese. D-Amino acids in the amounts found in food are generally thought to be harmless to humans.

One D-amino acid has been proposed to have benefits in the human body, not for protein synthesis but as a pain reliever. D-Phenylalanine, the mirror image of L-phenylalanine, is not normally found in the body but may have a pharmacological effect on the production of enkephalins, the natural pain relievers our bodies produce in high-stress situations. The third World Congress on Pain recommended trials of D-Phenylalanine for pain relief, but unfortunately there have as yet been no "double-blind-placebo-controlled" studies, which are necessary to establish the credibility of a treatment for most clinicians. A mixture, DL-phenylalanine, is much more readily available than D-phenylalanine because it is cheaper and easier to make. DL-phenylalanine may also be an effective antidepressant drug on a par with imipramine, one of the first and, for a long time, the standard antidepressant in psychiatry. In clinical studies, DL-Phenylphenyl worked faster and with fewer side effects and was about as effective as imipramine. You should always check with your health care provider before trying DL-phenylalanine.

 

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