The brain normally only uses blood sugar in the form of glucose. However, people suffering from insulin resistance have impaired cellular uptake of blood sugar, causing an energy shortage of the brain. According to a recent Israeli study, insulin resistance may speed up impairment of the cognitive functions that include the ability to think, speak, and solve problems. Because insulin resistance is an early stage of type-2 diabetes that spreads like an epidemic, there is every reason in the world to start preventing or treating this condition. A few dietary adjustments combined with a blood sugar-regulating trace element may do the trick.
- but dietary and lifestyle changes make a difference
Approximately one in seven couple is childless. Although there can be many underlying causes, poor sperm quality is an increasing problem. It may be caused by a lack of certain nutrients and exposure to different environmental factors, but, fortunately, it possible to improve sperm quality and increase the chances of conception by means of relevant dietary adjustments and the use of specific supplements. New research shows that epigenetic factors (factors that affect the environment of the sperm cell) determine sperm health and are therefore crucial for activating the genes of the sperm cell so the fetus can develop.
Many older people sleep poorly and tend to have elevated blood pressure. Luckily, supplementation with melatonin seems to correct both problems. Melatonin can even improve sleep in people who take beta-blockers for high blood pressure. So what is melatonin, and why is this substance particularly useful for older people?
Vitamin K2 clears calcium from the bloodstream and embeds it in bone tissue. Therefore, vitamin K2 is of vital importance to bone building and the prevention of atherosclerosis. Medical News Bulletin has placed even more focus on vitamin K2’s role in maintaining strong bones and reducing the risk of a fracture. The question is, how much vitamin K2 do we really need for optimal bone health, and why is it important to know the difference between vitamin K1 and vitamin K2?
We consume far too much sugar from candy, soft beverages or in the form of concealed sugar in our food. This impairs the body’s uptake and utilization of calcium and magnesium. Sugar can skew the body’s mineral balance, thereby setting the stage for osteoporosis and an increased fracture risk caused by minor strains. Children and youngsters are particularly prone to bone weakening and osteoporosis from an early age, which is why there is good reason to lower the threshold level for sugar intake.
Folic acid plays a role in tissue growth and fetal development during pregnancy. A new study that was presented at an annual congress for British psychologists in Brighton shows that folic acid supplements may even improve the child’s psychological development. This is vital for the child’s ability to handle his or her own feelings and managing socially.
In May 2017, new data linking vitamin D and fertility was presented at the European Congress of Endocrinology (ECE) in Lisbon. The new findings contribute to our understanding of vitamin D’s impact on male testosterone levels and of our knowledge about whether vitamin D supplements may actually improve fertility in both sexes. Involuntary infertility, a widespread problem, may be a result of many factors, but if the reason is a vitamin D deficiency, it is easy to treat with increased exposure to sunlight and the use of supplements to keep vitamin D levels optimal all year round.
For decades, medical science has claimed that fish oil increases the risk of bleeding and has therefore warned against taking fish oil supplements prior to surgery. A large, systematic review of studies that is now published in the Danish Medical Journal shows that fish oil supplements do prevent blood platelets from aggregating, but this biochemical effect is not associated with increased bleeding risk in connection with surgery. It is therefore safe to continue taking supplements – and eating oily fish.
It is no coincidence that sclerosis is more prevalent at the northern latitudes. A major factor is lack of vitamin D, a nutrient that we only synthesize from sunlight during the summer. A new study published in the scientific journal Neurology shows that the risk increases even more if people are overweight, and children are particularly vulnerable. As part of the strategy for preventing sclerosis, we must pay more attention to weight management and make sure to get plenty of vitamin D all year round and throughout life. Furthermore, various campaigns that warn against sun exposure and recommend the use of sunscreen should at the same time advise children and adults how to get enough vitamin D from other sources.
Vitamin B3 (niacin) is important for our nervous system and mental balance. Epidemiological studies have shown that vitamin B3-deficient diets are linked to aggression, and increased prevalence of homicide and suicide among people and cannibalism among animals. More than 60 years ago, Dr. Abram Hoffer observed that high doses of vitamin B3 had a positive effect on schizophrenia, and later studies have shown similar results. Lack of vitamin B3 may be caused by genetic, dietary, or environmental factors that are easy to correct.
Vitamin B12 is important for the development of the brain, and young children with low levels of the nutrient are challenged when it comes to solving cognitive tests such as puzzles, letter recognition, and the ability to understand the feelings of other children. Vitamin B12-deficient children are therefore more vulnerable and generally have a more difficult start in life. Researchers have demonstrated this in a study that is published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Psoriasis patients are generally interested in their diet and how it affects their disease. So far, there has not been much data so far to support a connection, but a new American study has mapped out the exact effects of regular diet habits and various supplements.
Schizophrenia is a serious psychotic condition with delusions and hallucinations, which can be very taxing for the sufferer as well as for the rest of the family. Most people experience a slow and gradual worsening of the brain ailment, and the disease may even spread to other organs. On average, people who suffer from schizophrenia die 10 years earlier than the general population, which is why it is vital to prevent the disease or ameliorate its symptoms. Scientists have discovered that supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids has a positive effect for several reasons.
If you find it difficult to control your desire for chocolate, candy, cake, soft beverages, and stimulants in general, and if you struggle with tiredness, overweight, and other problems related to unstable blood sugar, you will be pleased to learn that Danish researchers have revealed that a hormone produced by the liver controls our desire for sweets and stimulants. The scientists therefore see a potential in developing a new type of medicine that can control the need for sugar. However, it is also possible to control your sugar cravings by means of simple dietary changes combined with supplements of chromium, a mineral that increases insulin sensitivity.
We all are exposed to some degree of air pollution, but a new study shows that supplements of vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids work like a dynamic duo with a highly protective effect on cells and the cardiovascular system. This is because vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant and omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties.
- that is involved in atherosclerosis, rheumatism, and most other chronic diseases
Scientists from Mexico, Iran, and Australia have gathered data from several studies and focused on a certain protein that is a marker of inflammation in the body. According to the researchers, magnesium supplements can significantly reduce levels of this protein. Because magnesium deficiencies are widespread, it seems obvious to administer magnesium supplements as part of the anti-inflammatory treatment, especially because inflammation is not always easy to detect and may even set the stage for a host of other chronic diseases. It is important, however, to balance magnesium with calcium. This is a general rule both in the prevention and treatment of all chronic inflammatory conditions.
- but only few preparations work
The plant extract Ginkgo biloba contains some biologically active compounds that improve circulation through blood-thinning and vessel-dilating actions. However, a study of 29 different Ginkgo biloba preparations revealed that only 10% of the investigated products actually contained Ginkgo extract. You can avoid this problem by only using Ginkgo biloba in the form of natural remedies, because they are registered as pharmaceutical drugs.
The mineral zinc has demonstrated a surprising ability to help the liver fight virus infections and prevent tissue damage caused by chronic liver diseases. By regulating a specific protein, zinc both strengthens the immune defense and counteracts undesirable inflammation. This was shown in a new Australian study headed by scientists from Westmead Institute for Medical Research.
It also turns out that minor to moderate zinc deficiencies are rather common. Most importantly, sugar, birth control pills, inorganic iron supplements, and ageing processes impair the body’s ability to absorb zinc. Moreover, it is often difficult to get enough zinc from vegetarian and vegan diets. Being zinc-deficient takes its toll on the immune system and the liver, but also has a negative impact on the countless enzyme processes that involve zinc.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the leading cause of infertility and hormone disturbances in women of childbearing age. The condition is often a result of insulin resistance, an imbalance in the sugar metabolism that is typically accompanied by fatigue, abdominal obesity (apple-shaped body), overweight, and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes. It makes perfect sense to stick with a blood sugar-stabilizing diet and to include a chromium supplement that increases insulin sensitivity and helps, indirectly, regulate the hormone balance. As a bonus effect, it becomes a lot easier to obtain and maintain your ideal weight.
Lack of magnesium makes your bones weak. However, according to a study published in the European Journal of Epidemiology, if you increase your magnesium intake from food or supplements, you can prevent bone fractures, which is a common problem among middle-aged and old people. Although calcium and vitamin D are normally touted as being important for strong bones, it is equally important to get enough magnesium and to generally be aware of factors such as diet, medicine consumption, and lifestyle, all of which can deplete levels of this essential mineral.
Recent studies reveal that vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids are able to prevent and ameliorate a number of neurological ailments such as depression, ADHD, bipolar disorder, autism, and schizophrenia. There is evidence suggesting that vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids work by controlling the synthesis of serotonin in the brain. The listed neurological conditions are all characterized by defects in the body’s synthesis of this important neurotransmitter. It is therefore vital to get plenty of sunshine, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids, as widespread deficiencies in all three most likely contribute to the increasing rate of different neurological disorders.
Zinc supplements help your immune defense fight colds faster. This was seen in a Finnish meta-analysis where the majority of cold-ridden subjects who took supplements had recovered from their colds after five days, as opposed to those who did not take extra zinc. It is important to choose high-quality zinc supplements, which the body is able to absorb. Moreover, it is vital that the dose is sufficiently high during those days where the immune system actively fights the cold. High-dosed zinc supplementation is not encouraged for therapeutic use in other cases.
Research conducted over the past decades reveals that vitamin D plays a major role in the brain and nervous system. Now, a Finnish study published in Scientific Reports links vitamin D deficiencies to chronic headaches. Vitamin D deficiencies are becoming increasingly common because we spend too much time indoors. Even during the summer period, it seems that we are unable to produce enough vitamin D because of our exaggerated use of sun cream. Sunlight is the best source of vitamin D and it is therefore important that you expose yourself to enough sunlight to ensure adequate vitamin D synthesis (without getting burned.)
- and provide other benefits
Zinc is a trace element that is necessary for around 300 enzymes that control the thyroid gland, fertility, the nervous system, the immune system, and a number of other functions. A team of scientists from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has found a close link between the body’s zinc status and cardiac function. Although clinical zinc deficiencies are rare, short-term subclinical zinc deficiencies are more widespread than previously thought. Even a minor zinc deficiency may affect cardiac health and the countless enzyme processes that depend on the presence of zinc. Besides, zinc is a powerful antioxidant that protects cells against oxidative stress. There are many reasons why it is important to get enough of this nutrient.
The low spring sun and bright sunlight can trigger a migraine attack. According to a new report, migraines may also be caused by a lack of vitamin D, which are common during the spring period. The combination of both is therefore rather unfortunate. Earlier and more recent studies show that lack of Q10, magnesium, and B vitamins can also trigger migraines, a condition that makes life miserable for millions of people. What is important is to detect and avoid the things that seem to cause these attacks and, at the same time, make sure to compensate for the nutrients, which the cells are lacking, in order to help the nervous system, the hormone system, and the cardiovascular system function properly.
Omega-3 fatty acids are known to positively support chemotherapy by maintaining body weight and muscle mass. According to a new study that is published in the esteemed science journal, Nutrition, omega-3 supplements can even reduce different side effects of chemotherapy.
Lack of vitamin K2 increases your risk of stiff arteries and atherosclerosis, which is the leading cause of death worldwide. This was observed in two new studies, one that is published in the American Journal of Hypertension, the other in the journal Nephron. A third study that is published in Clinical Nutrition reveals that daily supplementation with vitamin K2 lowers the risk of early death caused by cardiovascular disease. Our diet used to provide substantially more vitamin K2 from fermented foods than now, and this type of food deserves a comeback. It is also important to know the difference between vitamin K1 and vitamin K2.
Mice that are genetically predisposed to glaucoma may avoid the eye disease if vitamin B3 is added to their drinking water. This was seen in a study that is published in the journal Science. The scientists behind the study say that vitamin B3 was surprisingly effective at eliminating the molecular alterations that normally occur with age-related glaucoma. They even see the vitamin as an inexpensive and potentially powerful tool for preventing this disease in the future. People should make sure to get plenty of vitamin B3, and it is also important to know that imbalanced diets, alcohol abuse, and the use of diuretics may easily result in a deficiency of the nutrient.
During spring and summer, many people suffer from allergy symptoms and hay fever because their immune system overreacts to airborne pollen. However, according to a new American study, it is possible that different lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria can help alleviate the symptoms. The explanation lies in our intestinal microflora and its importance for a properly functioning immune system.
Ageing processes are associated with loss of muscle mass and impaired physical performance, both of which tend to lower quality of life. It is commonly known that coenzyme Q10 plays a significant role in cellular energy turnover and protects against oxidative stress. Now, two independent cohort studies even show a relation between the body’s Q10 status and muscle strength. Earlier research even suggests that Q10 supplements may help older people develop more youthful muscle fibers. Individuals who take cholesterol-lowering statins are advised to take Q10 supplements.
According to a study that is published in PLoS Medicine’s Special Issue on Dementia shows that low levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids in the brain may speed up the development of Alzheimer’s disease. It is therefore vital not to shy away from dietary fats. What is important, however, is to consume unspoiled sources of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the proper balance. Polyunsaturated fatty acids have numerous functions in the brain, on which our nervous system, cardiovascular system, memory, learning ability, and lingual skills depend.
- that increases your risk of different diseases and premature death
Approximately one billion people worldwide lack vitamin D because they get too little sunlight, they overuse suncream, or they have chronic diseases that prevent proper utilization of the nutrient. This was shown in a new study that is published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. During the summer period, health authorities and organizations issue warnings against the sun and recommend the use of suncream. These campaigns, however, should ideally be accompanied by recommendations on how to get enough vitamin D from other sources. Otherwise, the campaigns may do more harm than good, as all cells in the body need this essential nutrient, and the sun is the single best vitamin D source.
Alzheimer’s disease causes brain malfunctions, and the condition is the leading cause of dementia. According to a studies of humans and mice, there may be a link between borderline vitamin A deficiency and an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Vitamin A is important for the immune system, but it is also a powerful antioxidant that protects neurons and other cells. Vitamin A deficiencies are widespread globally. In the industrialized countries, we mainly see vitamin A deficiencies in connection with unbalanced diets, ageing, and chronic illness.
- and the huge difference between the omega-3 forms ALA, EPA, and DHA
Most people lack omega-3 fatty acids acids that are vital for the brain, the nervous system, and the cardiovascular system. Omega-3 fatty acids also have anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting properties. It is important to consume omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the right balance in order to benefit from their many health effects. But how do we make sure to get enough omega-3 fatty acids that we can utilize? And what is the difference between ALA, EPA, and DHA?
- and stable blood sugar helps to prevent it
Science has found a link between unstable blood sugar levels, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease (the leading cause of dementia). Type 2 diabetes is spreading like a bushfire, and people many are unware that they have early stages of the disease, typically characterized by fatigue, overweight, and cravings for fast carbohydrates or stimulants. People with Alzheimer’s disease have insulin resistance of the brain, which is why this disease is now referred to as type 3 diabetes. Because it takes many years for Alzheimer’s disease to develop, there is every reason in the world to start early prevention with exercise and a blood sugar-stabilizing diet. Also, a particular trace element may help increase insulin sensitivity, which is why it is vital to get enough of this nutrient.
According to researchers, women with weak thighs and hamstrings have an increased risk of developing knee osteoarthritis. Of course, leg muscle exercise is important for preventing this condition, but adequate nutrient intake and maintenance of the right body weight also contribute. For those who are already affected by knee osteoarthritis, glucosamine supplements can be useful. Make sure to choose glucosamine sulfate and to stick with glucosamine supplements that are listed as medical drugs if you want to be sure to obtain the desired effect.
Schizophrenia, a brain disease, is an extreme burden to the patient as well as to the patient’s family. However, a large meta-analysis published in Psychological Medicine documents that adjuvant therapy with large doses of vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and biotin (vitamin B8) in combination with standard therapy can reduce the symptoms more effectively than standard therapy alone. It is an advantage to start taking high-dosed B vitamin supplements as early as possible in the disease course. There are several reasons why B vitamins have such a great impact on the brain and our mental health
- and what can we do when we cannot sleep?
Sleep disorders are common in the western world, and many people find that the problem gets worse when we shift to daylight saving and get an extra hour of light in the evening. It can be difficult to fall asleep when it is still light outside, and this may even be a stress factor for those people who need to get up early the following day. Getting just one hour less of sleep can affect your concentration, mood, heart function, fertility, and a number of other things. Nevertheless, the sleep hormone, melatonin, combined with some practical advice may work wonders for your sleep, and proper sleep is of great importance to your health.
Medical science has claimed for decades that elevated cholesterol levels pose a health threat, especially if you have too much of the so-called “bad” cholesterol – or LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein). However, a team of international experts is now arguing that this theory is exaggerated. In fact, the experts specifically advise against taking cholesterol-lowering statins. Meanwhile, science is focused on how to improve the safety of statins by combining them with supplements of coenzyme Q10.
Selenium is crucial for your thyroid function, immune system, cardiovascular system, and even for preventing cancer. Fish and shellfish are among the best selenium sources, but even 200 grams of fish and shellfish five days a week won’t do the trick, according to a Danish selenium study. What makes it even more difficult to obtain optimal amounts of this nutrient is that the agricultural soil in large parts of Europe is stripped of vital nutrients like selenium. Margaret P. Rayman, one of Europe’s leading experts on selenium, says that there is a direct link between the decreasing selenium intake and the increasing rate of cancers, rheumatism, infertility, and numerous other health problems. The question is, how do we humans get enough selenium?
According to a Japanese study, some people with Parkinson’s disease may find that coenzyme Q10 helps to relieve their symptoms. Q10 occurs in two forms, both of which have vital functions, but the scientists observed that only the one form had a positive effect on Parkinson’s disease. Nonetheless, when supplementing with Q10, both forms are equally good. What matters is that the active compound can be absorbed. Once it has been absorbed, the body can shift from one form to the other, a process that also requires selenium.
A new study shows that patients with early stages of Parkinson’s disease may benefit from getting more vitamin B3 from their diet or from supplements. This is because the nutrient supports cellular energy turnover and helps repair damaged nerve cell DNA. It is vital to get sufficient amounts of vitamin B3 as part of the prevention of the much-dreaded disease.
Parkinson’s disease, one of the most common chronic disorders of the nervous system, is characterized by destruction of the nerve cells. This insidious disease normally appears around the age of 50-70 years. The symptoms are caused by a lack of the neurotransmitter dopamine. The brain constantly uses dopamine to control various movements and constantly produces and breaks down dopamine in an end-less loop. In patients with Parkinson’s disease, the production of dopamine is reduced due to the damaged nerve cells. This is how the shortage occurs. Parkinson’s symptoms include uncontrollable tremor, muscle stiffness, slow movements, poor balance, fatigue, and an impaired ability to control facial expressions.
Lack of vitamin B3 or poor utilization of the nutrient occurs as a result of consuming an unbalanced diet, overconsuming alcohol, antacids, and diuretics (which many older people take).
Damaged nerve cell mitochondria
The team of researchers from the University of Leicester in England studied fruit flies that had a gene mutation, which emulated the human disease. Their research identified a mechanism that affects the brain during the early stages of Parkinson’s disease, and the results point to various kinds of medicine that can help this group of patients.
Miguel Martins, a neurologist who headed the study, explains that nerve cells in the brain are destroyed for different reasons. In some cases, the main problem is that the energy-producing powerhouses (mitochondria) of the cells are either dysfunctional or destroyed. Because of the large energy turnover in the brain, it is vital to have effective mitochondria in the nerve cells. Also, the mitochondria have several other functions inside the cells that are important for their ability to carry out different tasks.
Mitochondria help control the following:
Mitochondrial gene protects against Parkinson’s disease
PINK1 is a gene inside the mitochondria that controls the quality of the mitochondria and protects them against dysfunctions. PINK1 is able to identify destroyed mitochondria, prevent destruction, and generate various types of activity in nerve cells. However, if the PINK1 gene itself mutates, it is no longer able to protect against mitochondrial damage, and if the problem accumulates, the mitochondria can no longer produce energy or carry out any of their other functions. The destroyed mitochondria also release toxic molecules that can do additional damage to nerve cell DNA and block the nerve cells’ production of dopamine. In many patients with Parkinson’s disease the PINK1 gene is unable to protect the mitochondria against stress-induced dysfunctions. It would therefore be desirable to support the PINK1 gene, thereby helping it to protect both mitochondria and nerve cells. This approach could be used as both a preventative and therapeutic strategy.
Vitamin B3 (niacin) activates NAD that protects mitochondria and nerve cells
The researchers point to a substance in the body called NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide), which is important for both energy turnover and DNA repair. They even speculate whether Parkinson’s patients lack this substance.
In order to investigate this, the fruit flies were given mutated PINK1 together with vitamin B3, which is converted into NAD in the body. It turned out that these fruit flies had fewer damaged mitochondria compared with fruit flies who got the same diet but without vitamin B3. It also turned out that vitamin B3 was able to prevent the loss of nerve cells in the fruit flies.
Afterwards, the neurologists investigated whether NAD was able to protect the fruit flies against Parkinson’s disease by stepping up DNA repair. By activating NAD with vitamin B3, the researchers discovered that they could switch on the function that keeps mitochondria and nerve cells alive. This improved the strength, mobility, and lifespan of the fruit flies.
A new way to prevent and treat
According to Miguel Martins, the study results suggest that adequate amounts of NAD are a determining factor for mitochondrial health and the prevention of Parkinson’s disease. In support of this, it is relevant to mention that is not harmful to consume more niacin (vitamin B3) to increase NAD levels. Although vitamin B3 alone does not cure the disease, the vitamin is likely to improve the outcome of conventional treatment in those Parkinson’s patients who have mitochondrial defects.
How to get enough vitamin B3
Vitamin B3 is water-soluble. Because we are unable to store it in the body, we need to consume the vitamin regularly. Alternatively, we can synthesize it in the body in a process that includes tryptophan and vitamin B6. Good sources of vitamin B3 are protein-rich foods such as meat, fish, poultry, nuts, kernels, seeds, eggs, whole-grain, vegetables, and fruit.
Vitamin B3 supplements should ideally be taken together with other B vitamins. In order to achieve the best absorption and utilization of the B vitamins they should not be taken with antacids.
Consider taking a Q10 supplement
Coenzyme Q10 is involved in the energy turnover of the mitochondria and is at the same time a powerful antioxidant that protects mitochondria against oxidative stress.
University of Leicester. People with forms of early-onset Parkinson’s disease may benefit from boosting niacin in diet, research suggest. ScienceDaily. 2017
Lehmann S. et al. Enhancing NAD salvage metabolism is neuroprotective in a Pink1 model of Parkinson´s disease. Biology Open 2016
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- which may be caused by lack of melatonin and the presence of toxic substances in the brain
Night owls stay up late in the evening and get up late in the morning, and they risk depression, according to a new study. In fact, there seems to be a link between the increasing number of people with disturbed 24-hour rhythm who expose themselves to blue light from computer screens and other devices, and who become depressed. Lack of sleep at night and low levels of the hormone melatonin are a burden to the brain and nervous system in several different ways.
Asthma is the leading disease among children and adolescents in the Western world, and the rate has been going up for the past 20 years. A new Danish study that is published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that pregnant women who take supplements of fish oil are much less likely to give birth to children that develop asthma later on. The question is how much fish oil it takes to obtain the positive effect.
- and read more about why too much calcium and overconsumption of dairy products can be harmful
Fragile bones, also known as osteoporosis, is an insidious scourge. Science has its eyes on calcium and vitamin D, but osteoporosis may also be a result of getting too little vitamin K2 and magnesium, both of which are nutrients that must be properly balanced with calcium. If not, calcium may do more harm than good. Carbonated beverages, stimulants, and medicine (including statins) may also interfere with the bone-building processes. Therefore, strong bones require a lot more than calcium, and it is also important to remember daily, bone-challenging exercise.
Vitamin C is extremely important for the brain’s blood vessels, nerve cells, neurotransmitters, and connective tissue. An estimated 10 percent of the adult population is vitamin C deficient without specific symptoms. According to a scientific article in the Danish journal Aktuel Videnskab, vitamin C deficiency during pregnancy may harm brain development in the fetus.
– and why it is vital to get the exact right amount!
All our cells contain different selenium compounds that support a number of vital functions, and which have several cancer-fighting mechanisms. As an antioxidant, selenium prevents iron from developing some of the most harmful free radicals that can damage cellular DNA and lead to uncontrolled cell division. This is why a selenium deficiency combined with excess iron is a lethal cocktail. Although iron is essential, it is vital that we do not get too much. It is also important to get plenty of selenium from food and/or supplements and in a form that the body can absorb and utilize in each and every cell in order to be properly protected against cancerous substances.
Nothing beats a good night’s sleep. Still, sleep disturbances are widespread, and surprisingly many people struggle through the day, trying to survive on far too much coffee and other stimulants – and they cannot do anything about the problem. It turns out that many vegetarians, users of birth control pills, older people, and diabetics suffer from sleep problems because they lack vitamin B12. A vitamin B12 deficiency may also affect the nervous system and memory so it is vital to get enough of this nutrient.
– but will enrichment do the trick?
Even minor zinc deficiencies may cause poor digestion, infections, skin problems, and fatigue – and many other diseases may occur along the way. A new study shows that a diet with as little as four extra mg of zinc daily may strengthen cellular DNA and help protect the body. The four milligrams of zinc are about the same as populations with deficiency symptoms can get by eating zinc-enriched wheat and rice.
A team of scientists from Oregon State University in the United States has managed to explain why lack of vitamin E may cause neurological damage to the developing fetus, and why it increases the risk of spontaneous miscarriage. Their study is published in the science journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine and here, the scientists underline how important it is for both women who are pregnant and those plan pregnancy to get enough vitamin E.
It came as good news for vegetarians, vegans and sclerosis sufferers when Danish health authorities allowed strong vitamin B12 preparations on the market some years ago. It was also positive that the active methylated form of vitamin B12 was added to the list of approved ingredients.
Cancer researchers from the University of Iowa in the United States have finally clarified how extremely high doses of vitamin C given as infusions are able to kill cancer cells. It turns out that the low levels of the enzyme, catalase, in cancer cells make them vulnerable to vitamin C’s ability to generate free radicals. That way, vitamin C works like a type of chemotherapy, while, at the same time, stimulating normal activity in healthy cells. We are dealing with a treatment that is virtually devoid of side effects.
- and for the prevention of allergies and inflammation
Every day, the intestinal immune system has to defend itself against hordes of microbes and toxins. If it fails to function optimally, there is an increased risk of infections, allergies, and inflammatory diseases. More and more research reveals that essential nutrients help to control the intestinal immune defense. Also, new research shows how important a well-functioning immune system is for our digestion and health in general. This article takes a closer look at the vitamins that are known to be particularly important for the intestinal immune system. Another thing that is vital is to have adequate amounts of gastric juice.
– especially among those with metabolic syndrome, an early stage of type-2 diabetes
Millions of people who are overweight suffer from blood sugar imbalances and metabolic syndrome – often without being aware of it. A study shows that people with metabolic syndrome are severely vitamin E-deficient. This poses a serious threat to their health, as vitamin E is important for the liver, the cardiovascular system, the nervous system, and the body’s ability to protect its cells against oxidative stress and carcinogenic substances. The study, which is published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, reveals that normal measurements of a person’s vitamin E status are misleading.
We all know the importance of eating a healthy diet, exercising, getting sufficient sleep, and sunbathing with caution. Still, life is not always that simple, and even if we stick with the official guidelines for healthy living, it can often be challenging to get adequate amounts of the essential nutrients. Nonetheless, supplements are useful as compensation for these shortcomings. In fact, the use of such products can be compared with plant fertilizers that make plants look healthy, flourish and thrive.
There is widespread potassium deficiency, and it is common knowledge that an increased potassium intake lowers the risk of hypertension, which is the leading cause of stroke, cardiovascular disease, and early death. However, not many people know that potassium has a vital impact on blood sugar levels and the prevention of diabetes, just as it counteracts side effects of diuretics. The question is how much potassium do we need – and how does the balance between potassium and sodium (salt) affect our health?
- and you also need magnesium for your bones
It has been discussed whether it is calcium or vitamin D that improves women’s cholesterol balance. Earlier studies of women who use combined supplements have not been able to determine whether the positive effect is due to calcium or vitamin D. However, a study from Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) reveals that the effect is down to vitamin D. If you want strong bones and a healthy cardiovascular system, it is a good idea to combine both calcium and vitamin D with magnesium.
- that cause many sick days and even deaths
Vitamin D supplements prevent colds, influenza, and intercurrent complications. This was seen in a large meta-analysis emphasizing that vitamin D is not only important for bone health but also for the immune system, which may require larger quantities. Because many old people or weakened individuals die of pneumonia, supplementing with vitamin D may potentially save millions of lives.
Nowadays, fruit, potatoes, and vegetables in general contain very little vitamin C, and the majority of people fail to eat the recommended amount of these foods, in the first place. Unhealthy diets and lack of vitamin C increase the risk of colds, influenza, and other infections, simply because the immune system consumes large amounts of vitamin C in connection with the first explosive attacks that prevent virus from causing an infection. Vitamin C also has an important role in battling infections and preventing them from dragging on and leading to complications such as bronchitis or pneumonia.
It is important for the health of the unborn child that the expecting mother keeps her vitamin D levels high during her entire pregnancy. According to a study from Southampton University, vitamin D supplementation is less effective, if a pregnant woman starts with low levels of vitamin D in the early stage of her pregnancy, has major and sudden weight gain, and gives birth during winter.
According to a new study, hormone-disrupting substances like bisphenol-A and phthalates can lower levels of vitamin D in the bloodstream. During the winter period, it is a problem to get enough vitamin D to begin with, as the sun sits low in the sky and we only get a limited amount of the nutrient from our diet. The combination of too little vitamin D and hormone-disrupting substances is rather unfortunate because lack of vitamin D increases the risk of infections, winter depression, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis, and cancer.
There is an increasing amount of science that links lack of vitamin D to autism. In a new study, 109 autistic children were given either a vitamin D supplement or placebo. According to the lead researcher, Dr. Khaled Saad, there was a distinct improvement in autism symptoms such as hyperactivity, social reclusion, and other function impairments in the children who took supplements of vitamin D, but not in the placebo group. The study is published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry (2016).
It is alarming that many babies are born with a vitamin D deficiency, or become vitamin D deficient later in life. The nutrient controls numerous processes in the brain – including gene control and regulation of serotonin (neurotransmitter) levels and inflammation processes.
New Year’s resolutions are often related to healthier living with better dietary choices, fewer stimulants, and more exercise. We want to stay as young and vital as possible with lots of energy. However, life is not always that simple, and nature often needs a helping hand. The following anti-ageing tips – including the essential beauty sleep – are based on a summary of articles that have all been published previously on this site.
- and lacking certain nutrients may play a vital role
New figures from the cancer database, Nordcan, reveal that Danish women hold the record in cancer prevalence, and both sexes still have the lowest cancer survival rate among the Nordic countries. Experts claim that this is linked to our lifestyle. However, cancer even occurs among people with healthy lifestyles, and international studies suggest that modern diets tend to lack optimal amounts of selenium, vitamin D and omega-3, all of which have cancer-preventive properties. Research also points to melatonin, also known as the sleep hormone.
Q10 is involved in the energy turnover in all cells. The highest concentration of the compound is found in the heart, as this muscle needs to pump day and night and to supply muscle cells with more blood when we are physically active. The cellular energy turnover takes place inside some minute powerhouses called mitochondria. A Danish-Swedish study has shown that the mitochondria in the muscle cells of top-notch athletes have a different construction that makes them able to produce up to 25 per cent more energy. Earlier studies show that Q10 is able to improve athletic performance, and it all boils down to optimizing the energy turnover in the cells.
It is commonly known that vitamin A is good for your vision, but most people are unaware that we also need specific nutrients in order for our hearing to function optimally. In this connection, age-related hearing loss is not necessarily linked to mechanical dysfunctions of the ear but rather to how the brain processes the sound information.
Fewer children have eczema around the age of 12 months if their mothers had higher levels of a particular B vitamin during pregnancy, according to a new study from the University of Southampton.
Living in contradiction with the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle may be life-threatening, as shift work reduces the body’s production of melatonin, which controls our sleep pattern and many general physiological processes. However, taking melatonin supplements may compensate for the lowered endogenous production and even for shift work and other disturbances of the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
- and may save the lives of many weak and older people
Supplementing with high doses of vitamin D may lower the rate of acute airway infections by up to 40 per cent. This simple trick may have the potential to save millions of lives, as many older people, cancer patients and others people with impaired resistance die of pneumonia.
Lack of vitamin E increases your risk of fertility problems, atherosclerosis, blood clots, and Alzheimer's disease. The diet contains eight different forms of vitamin E. The vitamin is also available in supplement form, either as natural or synthetic vitamin E, and there are huge differences in terms of their effect.
- which is involved in asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and most chronic diseases
This time of year, many people suffer from asthma, aching joints, or an exacerbation of other chronic diseases that involve inflammation. This is often because they lack vitamin D, as the sun sits too low in the sky for us humans to be able to synthesize the vitamin. Also, the diet and normal vitamin pills only provide minimal amounts vitamin D. It has been known for a long time that vitamin D counteracts inflammation. Now, a large systematic study is planned to investigate how supplementing with large quantities of vitamin D can affect the molecular mechanisms that counteract inflammation.
Vitamin K is primarily for its role in helping blood coagulate. Otherwise, the vitamin is heavily underrated. For instance, the bones depend on vitamin K, and those people who consume the greatest amounts of vitamin K have the lowest risk of cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis, and blood clots. It is important to know the difference between vitamin K1 and K2 and to know how well they get absorbed in the body.
- but ageing processes and cholesterol-lowering drugs inhibit the body’s Q10 synthesis
No matter how you twist and turn it, cholesterol is an essential substance, and we humans produce most of it ourselves. What is important is to make sure that the cholesterol we have in our blood does not oxidize, and that is something which Q10 and other antioxidants take care of. Stable blood sugar levels also help us maintain a healthy cholesterol balance.
A new study reveals that children of mothers’ who lacked vitamin B12 during their pregnancy are at increased risk of metabolic diseases like type-2 diabetes. The study also shows that too little vitamin B12 may lead to abnormal levels and malfunctions of the hormone leptin, which signals satiety.
A new study shows that adding eggs to your mixed salad increases the uptake of vitamin E from the vegetables, so don’t let your fear of fat and cholesterol keep you from consuming eggs. Eggs (yoke and white) contain a multitude of nutrients that are beneficial for your cardiovascular system and blood sugar.
Many people take a multivitamin this time of year. However, even if the manufacturers really squeeze together the ingredients it is impossible to put enough vitamins and minerals in one pill to cover our actual needs. In fact, the manufacturing process determines if we are able to absorb the different nutrients in the first place, and that is important for them to work properly in the body. Therefore, it is vital that you choose a supplement that has good quality, and you must make sure to focus on the vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids that we humans typically tend to lack.
Breast cancer is one of the most widespread cancer forms, with 80% of cases being classified as estrogen receptor-positive. The risk of this type of breast cancer increases when you receive hormone therapy with estrogen (estradiol). The risk is also increased by hormone-disrupting substances in the environment. However, a new study shows that melatonin is able to inhibit a gene that influences the estrogen receptors in breast cancer cells. Melatonin is primarily known for its role as a sleep hormone, but an increasing amount of research shows cancer-protective potential. It is therefore essential to make enough melatonin yourself or to compensate for deficiencies by taking melatonin supplements.
According to two clinical studies, daily supplementation with the omega-3 fatty acid, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which is found in fish oil, may prevent thousands of premature deliveries – before the 34th week of pregnancy. In addition, both mother and child may have other befits from the active compounds in fish oil.
Many people take calcium supplements to prevent osteoporosis. However, research shows that high-dosage calcium supplements may harm your heart and cardiovascular system. It is important that you take calcium in the right balance with vitamin D and magnesium if you want the calcium to get absorbed properly and get all the way into your bones.
According to a new study, supplementing with large doses of vitamin D may lower blood levels of estrogen, which may be vital for the prevention and treatment of the dreaded disease.
According to a Cochrane review, supplementing asthma medication with vitamin D may halve the risk of having a severe asthma attack and improve quality of life for those who suffer from this condition.
Insomnia is common among cancer patients. Sleep medicine is associated with serious side effects, but research shows that the natural hormone, melatonin, may help improve the sleep quality of cancer patients in several different ways. Melatonin even has cancer-inhibiting mechanisms that deserve a closer look in terms of prevention and treatment.
According to a new study from Melbourne's Swinburne University, supplementing with B vitamins gives you more vitality and surplus in mentally challenging situations, thereby reducing the subjective feeling of stress. The study is the first to use a special technique to reveal the circulatory flow through the brain.
Iodine's ability to protect against breast cancer has been demonstrated in animal studies. Furthermore, epidemiological studies suggest that consuming more dietary iodine lowers the risk of the dreaded disease, which represents 25% of all cancers in women.
For the first time ever scientists from California have discovered copper's role in the burning of fat. This improves the nutrient's reputation as an essential nutrient.
- and older people should ideally consume more than the official recommendations
Undernourishment and lack of protein is common among older people. Evidence even suggests that the recommended daily intake of protein is too low, at least as far as seniors is concerned. The problem is most likely a slowdown of the muscle-building enzyme processes. The quality of protein also has something to say just like the amount of physical activity is a factor.
Several studies show that nutritional supplements may help against aggressive behavior in children. Based on this knowledge, American researchers have tested the effect of combining supplements of fish oil, vitamins, and minerals with psychological treatment - and it appears to improve the outcome.
Melatonin is primarily for its role as a sleep hormone. However, it also increases the effect of tamoxifen and reduces side effects in the aftercare of breast cancer. Science has known about melatonin's cancer preventative properties for quite some time, and by embedding the hormone in small "lipid bubbles", tamoxifen is able to destroy even more breast cancer cells, according to Iranian research.
Q10 is a coenzyme that is involved in cellular energy production and protection of our cells. There are numerous cosmetics with Q10 that are believed to delay skin ageing. However, only limited amounts of data have been available to prove the effect of Q10 on skin - until recently.
Many people suffer from chronic heart failure - often without knowing it. Numerous studies have shown that supplementing with Q10 can improve quality of life and even reduce mortality. An article published in Pharmacologic Therapy reviews the many Q10 studies and makes a point of saying that it is important to choose a Q10 preparation with good bioavailability.
Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of death. It is therefore vital to get enough magnesium because according to research, low blood levels of magnesium are linked to an increased risk of atherosclerosis, hypertension, and type-2 diabetes.
Lack of vitamin D and selenium increases your risk of catching a cold or the flu or accompanying complications. Many people resort to Echinacea, ginger, and smoothies filled to the rim with vitamin C and secondary immune compounds, but these measures can never replace the two essential nutrients, selenium and vitamin D.
There are several reasons why pregnant women have an increased need for folic acid. Overweight women should even pay special attention, as folic acid reduces their risk of having babies who are also overweight. This was seen in a new American study that got published in JAMA Pediatrics.
- increasing your risk of pancreatitis and other complications
A new American study shows that chronic alcohol abuse impairs the ability of the pancreas to absorb vitamin C, and that increases the risk of infection of the pancreas (pancreatitis) and other diseases. Lack of certain B vitamins may also damage the pancreas and increase the risk of encephalitis.
Apparently so. According to a new study, vitamin B3 (niacin) is a powerful antioxidant that, by means of enzyme processes, protects the body against aging and diseases caused by oxidative stress.
Periodontal disease affects most people at some stage in life. However, according to a recent study that is published in Contemporary Clinical Dentistry, supplemental use of Q10 and tea tree oil may have potential benefits.
According to a new study that is published in the British Journal of Nutrition, even minor zinc deficiencies may cause poor digestion, skin problems, and fatigue - and lead to numerous other health problems in the long run. You should therefore avoid zinc shortages, and people with poor diets, vegans, vegetarians, and older people should make sure to get enough zinc.
For decades, science has had its focus on vitamin D in terms of cancer prevention. A new study shows that this applies particularly to women older than 55 years. It may be because cancer often takes many years to develop and because our ability to utilize the vitamin decreases as we grow older.
Women who eat a healthy diet may prevent or delay their physical deterioration. But what type of diet has the best effect? And how can specific nutrients, which are difficult to get from the diet, improve the overall effect?
Many people suffer from insulin resistance that impairs the cellular uptake of glucose from the bloodstream. Insulin resistance typically causes untimely hunger or a craving for stimulants accompanied by fatigue, mood swings, tension, overweight, and numerous other problems that arise as a result of the cells producing too little energy. The condition increases the risk of type-2 diabetes, even among children. But how does magnesium affect our blood sugar levels, and how do we make sure to get enough of this nutrient?
It has long been known that vitamin D deficiencies increase the risk of sclerosis. According to a study that is published in JAMA Neurology, having too little vitamin D is even a problem during pregnancy, as it increases the child's risk of developing sclerosis later in life.
Inflammation appears to be a key factor in the majority of chronic illnesses such as e.g. rheumatism, type-2 diabetes, and cancer. Science has primarily focused on EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), but new research points to supplementation with DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) as being even more effective in healthy patients with too much abdominal fat and subclinical systemic inflammation.
If you are pregnant it may be wise to eat salmon. According to a new study it lowers your child's risk of developing asthma, which is a rather common ailment. But what is it in salmon that prevents asthma, and what about those who dislike the taste of fish?
Low blood levels of vitamin D are associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. Also, breast cancer patients with optimal levels of vitamin D in their blood can expect to live longer than breast cancer patients with low blood levels of the nutrient. But how much vitamin D is needed to prevent the dreaded disease?
Cataracts is a common cause of impaired vision, especially among the elderly. However, a new study of twins and the impact of genetic and environmental factors shows that higher intake of vitamin C may have help prevent this eye disease.
It pays off to make sure to get enough omega-3 from your diet or by taking supplements. Studies show that the content of omega-3 fatty acids in the blood are linked directly to a lower risk of developing atherosclerosis and dying of a heart attack. This was ween in a large epidemiological study that is published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.
A selenium deficiency may increase the risk of gluten intolerance/celiac disease, which can lead to metabolic disorders and vice versa. Because selenium deficiencies may be a result of eating a poor diet and suffering from malabsorption, this may easily turn into a vicious cycle.