I’ve included a health-enhancing chart below that gives the seven most common signs of vitamin D deficiency and also the top natural sources of vitamin D. Here are some of the most recent studies done on vitamin D and its role in supporting good health:
1. Vitamin D and Insomnia: One study on vitamin D supplements for people with insomnia was published in the journal “Medical Hypothesis”. The researchers followed 1500 patients over a 2 year period. A consistent level of vitamin D3 was maintained in their blood over many months. This produced normal sleep in most of the participants, regardless of their type of sleep disorder.
2. Vitamin D and Muscle Strength: Researchers in Brazil conducted a research trial and at the conclusion, the women who received the placebo ended up having reduced muscle mass and muscle degeneration of 6.8%. They also had twice as many falls as the vitamin D group. On the other hand, the women who took the vitamin D supplement had a major increase in their muscle strength of over 25%.
3. Vitamin D and Autoimmune Disease: A study from the Journal of Investigative Medicine found that vitamin D has important functions beyond those of supporting calcium and bones in the body. It concluded that vitamin D is a boost to immunity and a deficiency of the vitamin is common in autoimmune disease – a disease where the body’s immune system attacks healthy cells by mistake. These include multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease.
4.Vitamin D Inhibits Inflammation: ScienceDaily reports that researchers have discovered specific molecular and cellular events by which vitamin D inhibits inflammation in the body. Conditions with chronic inflammation include asthma, ulcers, arthritis, gum disease and liver disease.
5. How to Increase Vitamin D Levels: The vitamin D council recommends exposing as much of the skin surfaces as possible to sunlight for around half the time it takes for the skin to turn pink and begin to burn. For a fair, light skinned person, this could be fifteen minutes. For a dark skinned person, this may take a couple hours. During this time, the body may produce 10,000 to 25,000 vitamin D units. If a person is unable to get adequate sun exposure, then taking a vitamin D3 supplement is encouraged.
Enjoy the vitamin D chart below.
Maker of Sleep Minerals II with calcium, magnesium and vitamin D
This natural health news is provided by Nutrition Breakthroughs, a publisher of nutrition articles and supplier of effective natural remedies since 2001. Nutrition breakthroughs makes Sleep Minerals II, the effective natural sleep aid with calcium, magnesium, zinc and vitamin D, and also Joints and More, the natural solution for joint relief, aches and pains, stronger hair and nails and more energy.
This natural health news is shared by Nutrition Breakthroughs,
maker of Sleep Minerals II **************************************
A good night’s sleep is one of the four main pillars of health, with the other three being eating healthy food, getting regular exercise, and having a positive outlook.
The U.S. National Institutes of Health reports that up to 70 million U.S. adults experience sleeplessness and insomnia, with 63 billion dollars lost each year in productivity.
On a personal level, those who have trouble sleeping are familiar with the many ways it affects their lives. In an effort to help people sleep better, research scientists are discovering that eating certain foods can have a profound effect on the quality of sleep.
One good example is a recent study from the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Researchers in Norway have combined two of the major health pillars into one by proving that eating fish has a positive impact on good sleep and overall daily functioning.
In this study, 95 males were divided into two groups: one that ate salmon three times per week, and the other group that ate an alternative meal (chicken, pork or beef). During the 6 month study period, their quality of sleep was measured in several ways including the amount of time needed to fall asleep, and the actual time spent sleeping in bed vs. their time awake.
The results showed that eating fish had a positive impact on sleep in all the ways it was measured. The researchers mentioned that fish is a source of the amino acid tryptophan, which is a precursor for melatonin, and that other studies have found tryptophan in foods increases sleepiness in the evening. The fish group also reported better daily functioning, alertness and performance.
In this study, vitamin D levels were also found to have a significant impact on sleep quality. Blood samples were collected during the study that measured the participant’s vitamin D, and those in the fish-eating group had a level that was closer to optimum. The study revealed a major, positive relationship between daily functioning and a better vitamin D level. Those eating the salmon had higher levels of vitamin D and had better sleep quality, shorter wake times, and a higher percentage of sleeping time while in bed.
The study also uncovered that eating fish creates a positive improvement in heart rate variability. This is a measurement of the length of time between heart beats, and a greater variability between the beats shows that a person is stronger, more adaptive and physically flexible. In addition, the fish group had a significant increase in basic heart power.
Several other foods have also been proven to help with sleep and insomnia such as bananas, walnuts, tart cherries, turkey, almonds, and supplements containing vitamin D, zinc, calcium and magnesium. In a study from the European Neurology Journal, researchers uncovered that calcium levels were higher in the body during the deepest levels of sleep and that insomnia is related to a calcium deficiency. When the blood calcium level was normalized, optimum sleep was restored.
This natural health news is provided by Nutrition Breakthroughs, a publisher of nutrition articles and a supplier of effective natural remedies since 2002. Nutrition Breakthroughs makes Sleep Minerals II, the effective natural sleep aid with calcium, magnesium, zinc and vitamin D, and also Joints and More, the natural solution for joint relief, aches and pains, stronger hair and nails and more energy.
By Kris Gunnars, CEO and Founder of Authority Nutrition, BSc (Bachelor’s Degree in Medicine)
Shared by Nutrition Breakthroughs,
maker of the effective calcium and magnesium
based sleep aid Sleep Minerals II **************************************
Coconut oil is one of the few foods that can be classified as a “superfood.”
Its unique combination of fatty acids can have profound positive effects on health.
This includes fat loss, better brain function and various other amazing benefits.
Here are 10 evidence-based health benefits of coconut oil.
1. Coconut Oil Contains Fatty Acids With Powerful Medicinal Properties
Coconut oil has been demonized in the past because it contains saturated fat. In fact, coconut oil is one of the richest sources of saturated fat known to man, with almost 90% of the fatty acids in it being saturated (1).
However, new data is showing that saturated fats are harmless. Many massive studies that include hundreds of thousands of people prove that the whole “artery-clogging” idea was a myth (2).
Additionally, coconut oil doesn’t contain your average run-of-the-mill saturated fats like you would find in cheese or steak.
No, they contain so-called Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) – which are fatty acids of a medium length.
Most of the fatty acids in the diet are long-chain fatty acids, but the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil are metabolized differently.
They go straight to the liver from the digestive tract, where they are used as a quick source energy or turned into so-called ketone bodies (substances produced during the metabolism of fats), which can have therapeutic effects on brain disorders like epilepsy and Alzheimer’s.
Bottom Line: Coconut oil contains a lot of medium chain triglycerides, which are metabolized differently and can have therapeutic effects on several brain disorders.
2. Populations That Eat a Lot of Coconut Oil Are Healthy
Coconut is kind of an “exotic” food in the Western world, primarily consumed by health conscious people.
However, in some parts of the world, coconut is a dietary staple that people have thrived on for many generations.
The best example of such a population is the Tokelauans, which live in the South Pacific.
They eat over 60% of their calories from coconuts and are the biggest consumers of saturated fat in the world.
These people are in excellent health, with no evidence of heart disease (3).
Another example of a population that eats a lot of coconut and remains in excellent health is the Kitavans (an island near Australia)..
Bottom Line: Plenty of populations around the world have thrived for multiple generations eating massive amounts of coconut.
3. Coconut Oil Can Help You Burn More Fat
Obesity is currently one of the biggest health problems in the world.
While some people think obesity is only a matter of calories, others (myself included) believe that the sources of those calories are critical too.
It is a fact that different foods affect our bodies and hormones in different ways. In this regard, a calorie is NOT a calorie.
The medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) in coconut oil can increase energy expenditure compared to the same amount of calories from longer chain fats (5).
One study found that 15-30 grams of MCTs per day increased 24 hour energy expenditure by 5%, totalling about 120 calories per day.
Bottom Line: The medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil have been shown to increase 24 hour energy expenditure by as much as 5%, potentially leading to significant weight loss over the long term.
4. Coconut Oil Can Kill Harmful Microorganisms
Almost 50% of the fatty acids in coconut oil is Lauric Acid.
When coconut oil is digested by enzymes, it also forms a type of fat called monolaurin.
Both lauric acid and monolaurin can kill harmful pathogens like bacteria, viruses and fungi (8).
For example, these substances have been shown to kill the bacteria Staphylococcus Aureus (a very dangerous pathogen) and the yeast Candida Albicans, a common source of yeast infections in humans (10).
Bottom Line: The fatty acids and breakdown products in coconut oil can kill harmful pathogens, potentially helping to prevent infections.
5. Coconut Oil Can Reduce Your Hunger, Helping You Eat Less
One interesting feature of coconut oil is that it can reduce your hunger.
This may be related to the way the fatty acids in it are metabolized, because ketone bodies (substances produced during the metabolism of fats) can have an appetite reducing effect.
In one study, varying amounts of medium and long chain triglycerides were fed to 6 healthy men.
The men eating the most MCTs ate 256 fewer calories per day, on average.
Another study in 14 healthy men discovered that those who ate the most MCTs at breakfast ate significantly fewer calories at lunch (13).
These studies were small and only done for a short period of time. If this effect were to persist over the long term, it could have a dramatic influence on body weight over a period of several years.
Bottom Line: The fatty acids in coconut oil can significantly reduce appetite, which may positively affect body weight over the long term.
6. The Fatty Acids in Coconut Oil Are Turned into Ketones, Which Can Reduce Seizures
A so-called ketogenic (very low carb, very high fat) diet is currrently being studied to treat various disorders.
The best known therapeutic application of this diet is treating drug-resistant epilepsy in children.
This diet involves eating very little carbohydrates and large amounts of fat, leading to greatly increased concentrations of ketone bodies in the blood.
For some reason, this diet can dramatically reduce the rate of seizures in epileptic children, even those who haven’t had success with multiple different types of drugs.
Because the MCTs in coconut oil get shipped to the liver and turned into ketone bodies, they are often used in epileptic patients to induce ketosis while allowing for a bit more carbs in the diet (16).
Bottom Line: The MCTs in coconut oil can increase blood concentration of ketone bodies, which can help reduce seizures in epileptic children.
7. Coconut Oil Can Improve Blood Cholesterol Levels
Coconut oil is loaded with saturated fats, which actually do not harm the blood lipid profile like previously thought.
Saturated fats raise HDL (the good) cholesterol and change the LDL (bad) cholesterol to a benign form.
In one study in 40 women, coconut oil reduced Total and LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL compared to soybean oil.
There are also rat studies showing that coconut oil reduces triglycerides, total and LDL cholesterol, increases HDL and improves blood coagulation factors and antioxidant status.
This improvement in cardiovascular risk factors should theoretically lead to a reduced risk of heart disease over the long term.
Bottom Line: Studies in both humans and rats show that coconut oil improves important risk factors like Total, LDL and HDL cholesterol, which may translate to a reduced risk of heart disease.
8. Coconut Oil Can Protect Hair Against Damage, Moisturize Skin and Function as Sunscreen
Coconut oil can serve various purposes that have nothing to do with eating it.
Many people are using it for cosmetic purposes and to improve the health and appearance of their skin and hair.
Studies on individuals with dry skin show that coconut oil can improve the moisture and lipid content of the skin (22).
Coconut oil can also be very protective against hair damage and one study shows effectiveness as sunscreen, blocking about 20% of the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
Another application is using it like mouthwash in a process called oil pulling, which can kill some of the harmful bacteria in the mouth, improve dental health and reduce bad breath (26).
Bottom Line: Coconut oil can be applied topically as well, studies showing it to be effective as a skin moisturizer and protecting against hair damage. It can also be used as a mild form of sunscreen and as mouthwash.
9. The Fatty Acids in Coconut Oil Can Boost Brain Function in Alzheimer’s Patients
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia worldwide and occurs primarily in elderly individuals.
In Alzheimer’s patients, there appears to be a reduced ability to use glucose for energy in certain parts of the brain.
Ketone bodies can supply energy for the brain and researchers have speculated that ketones can provide an alternative energy source for these malfunctioning cells and reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
In one 2006 study, consumption of medium chain triglycerides led to immediate improvement in brain function in patients with milder forms of Alzheimer’s.
Other studies support these findings and medium chain triglycerides are being intensively studied as potential therapeutic agents in Alzheimer’s disease (31).
Bottom Line: Studies show that the fatty acids in coconut oil can increase blood levels of ketone bodies, supplying energy for the brain cells of Alzheimer’s patients and relieving symptoms.
10. Coconut Oil Can Help You Lose Fat, Especially The Harmful Abdominal Fat
Given that coconut oil can reduce appetite and increase fat burning, it makes sense that it can also help you lose weight.
Coconut oil appears to be especially effective in reducing abdominal fat, which lodges in the abdominal cavity and around organs.
This is the most dangerous fat of all and is highly associated with many Western diseases.
Waist circumference is easily measured and is a great marker for the amount of fat in the abdominal cavity.
In a study in 40 women with abdominal obesity, supplementing with 30 mL (1 ounce) of coconut oil per day led to a significant reduction in both BMI and waist circumference in a period of 12 weeks (19).
Another study in 20 obese males noted a reduction in waist circumference of 2.86 cm (1.1 inches) after 4 weeks of 30 mL (1 ounce) of coconut oil per day.
This number may not seem too impressive on the surface, but be aware that these people aren’t adding exercise or restricting calories. They’re losing significant amounts of abdominal fat simply by adding coconut oil to their diet.
11. Anything Else?
In order to enjoy the health benefits outlined in the article, then you must get organic, virgin coconut oil… NOT the refined stuff.
I personally cook almost everything I eat in coconut oil and my health has never been better.
This health news is shared by Nutrition Breakthroughs, a publisher of nutrition articles and supplier of effective natural remedies since 2002. Nutrition Breakthroughs makes the original calcium and magnesium based sleep aid Sleep Minerals II.
By Adda Bjarnadottir, MS (Master of Science Degree in Human Nutrition |
Article Courtesy of Authority Nutrition
Shared by Nutrition Breakthroughs, maker of the effective
calcium and magnesium based sleep aid Sleep Minerals II *********************************************
Reading labels is a tricky business.
Consumers are more health-conscious than ever, so food manufacturers use misleading tricks to convince people to buy their products.
They often do this even when the food is highly processed and unhealthy.
The regulations behind food labeling are complex, so it’s not surprising that the average consumer has a hard time understanding them.
This article briefly explains how to read food labels, and how to sort out the junk from the truly healthy foods.
Don’t Be Duped By The Claims on The Front
One of the best tips may be to completely ignore the labels on front of the packaging.
Front labels try to lure you into purchasing products by making health claims. Manufacturers want to make you believe that their product is healthier than other, similar options.
This has actually been studied. Research shows that adding health claims to front labels affects people’s choices. It makes them believe a product is healthier than the same product that doesn’t list health claims (1, 2, 3, 4).
Manufacturers are often dishonest in the way they use these labels. They tend to use health claims that are misleading, and in some cases downright false.
Examples include many high-sugar breakfast cereals, like “whole grain” Cocoa Puffs. Despite the label, these products are not healthy.
This makes it hard for consumers to choose healthy options without a thorough inspection of the ingredients list.
Bottom Line: Front labels are often used to lure people into buying products. However, most of these labels are highly misleading or downright false.
Look At The Ingredients List
Product ingredients are listed by quantity, from highest (first) to lowest amount.
That means that the first listed ingredient is what the manufacturer used the most of.
A good rule of thumb is to scan the first three ingredients, because they are the largest part of what you’re eating.
If the first ingredients include refined grains, some sort of sugar or hydrogenated oils, you can be pretty sure that the product is unhealthy.
Instead, try to choose items that have whole foods listed as the first three ingredients.
Another good rule of thumb is if the ingredients list is longer than 2–3 lines, you can assume that the product is highly processed.
Bottom Line: Ingredients are listed by quantity, from highest to lowest. Try looking for products that list whole foods as the first three ingredients, and be skeptical of foods with long lists of ingredients.
Watch Out For Serving Sizes
The backs of nutrition labels state how many calories and nutrients are in a single serving of the product.
However, these serving sizes are often much smaller portions than people generally eat in one sitting.
For example, one serving may be half a can of soda, a quarter of a cookie, half a chocolate bar or a single biscuit.
In this way, manufacturers try to deceive consumers into thinking that the food has fewer calories and less sugar than it actually does.
Many people are completely unaware of this serving size scheme. They often assume that the entire container is a single serving, while it may actually consist of two, three or more servings.
If you’re interested in knowing the nutritional value of what you’re eating, you have to multiply the serving given on the back by the number of servings you consumed.
Bottom Line: Serving sizes listed on packaging may be misleading and unrealistic. Manufacturers often list a much smaller amount than most people eat as a single serving.
The Most Misleading Labeling Claims – and What They Actually Mean
Health claims on packaged food are designed to catch your attention and convince you that the product is healthy.
Here are some of the most common ones, and what they actually mean:
Light: Light products are processed to reduce either calories or fat, and some products are simply watered down. Check carefully to see if anything has been added instead, like sugar.
Multigrain: This sounds very healthy, but basically just means that there is more than one type of grain in the product. These are most likely refined grains, unless the product is marked as whole grain.
Natural: This does not necessarily mean that the product resembles anything natural. It simply means that at some point the manufacturer had a natural source (for example, apples or rice) to work with.
Organic: This label says very little about whether the product is healthy or not. For example, organic sugar is still sugar. Only certified organically grown products can be guaranteed to be organic.
No added sugar: Some products are naturally high in sugar. The fact that they don’t have added sugar doesn’t mean they’re healthy. Unhealthy sugar substitutes may also have been added.
Low-calorie: Low-calorie products have to contain 1/3 fewer calories than thesame brand’s original product. However, one brand’s low-calorie version may contain similar calories as the original of another product.
Low-fat: This label almost always means that the fat has been reduced at the cost of adding more sugar. Be very careful and read the ingredients listed on the back.
Low-carb: Recently, low-carb diets have been linked with improved health. However, processed foods that are labeled low-carb are usually just processed junk foods, similar to processed low-fat junk foods.
Made with whole grain: There is probably very little whole grain in the product. Check the ingredients list and see where the whole grain is placed. If it is not in the first 3 ingredients, then the amount is negligible.
Fortified or enriched: This basically means that some nutrients have been added to the product. For example, vitamin D is often added to milk.
Gluten-free: Gluten-free does not equal healthy. It simply means that the product doesn’t contain wheat, spelt, rye or barley. Many foods are gluten-free, but can be highly processed and loaded with unhealthy fats and sugar.
Fruit-flavored: Many processed foods have a name that refers to a natural flavor, such as strawberry yogurt. However, there may not be any fruit in the product, only chemicals designed to taste like fruit.
Zero trans fat: Trans fats are made during partial hydrogenation of vegetable oils, which means infusing them with hydrogen. “Zero trans fat” actually means “less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving.” So if serving sizes are misleadingly small, the product can actually contain a lot of trans fat (5).
All of this being said, there are many truly healthy foods out there that actually are organic, whole grain, natural, etc. However, just having these labels does not guarantee that the product is healthy.
Bottom Line: There are many words that people link with improved health. These are often used to mislead consumers into thinking that unhealthy processed food is actually good for you.
Different Names for Sugar
Sugar goes by countless names, many of which you may not recognize.
Food manufacturers use this to their advantage. They purposely add many different kinds of sugar to their products so they can hide the actual amount.
By doing this, they can list a “healthier” ingredient at the top, and mention sugar further down. So even though a product may be loaded with sugar, it doesn’t necessarily appear as one of the top 3 ingredients.
To avoid accidentally consuming a lot of sugar, it may be wise to look out for the following names of sugar in ingredient lists:
Types of sugar: beet sugar, brown sugar, buttered sugar, cane sugar, caster sugar, coconut sugar, date sugar, golden sugar, invert sugar, muscovado sugar, organic raw sugar, raspadura sugar, evaporated cane juice and confectioner’s sugar.
Types of syrup: carob syrup, golden syrup, high fructose corn syrup, honey,agave nectar, malt syrup, maple syrup, oat syrup, rice bran syrup and rice syrup.
Other added sugars: barley malt, molasses, cane juice crystals, lactose, corn sweetener, crystalline fructose, dextran, malt powder, ethyl maltol, fructose, fruit juice concentrate, galactose, glucose, disaccharides, maltodextrin and maltose.
There are many more names for sugar, but these are the most common.
If you see any of these in the top spots on the ingredients lists, or several kinds throughout the list, then you can be sure that the product is high in added sugar.
Bottom Line: Sugar goes by many names in ingredient lists, many of which you may not recognize. These include cane sugar, invert sugar, corn sweetener, dextran, molasses, malt syrup, maltose and evaporated cane juice.
Always Choose Whole Foods Whenever Possible
Obviously, the best way to avoid being misled by these labels is to avoid processed foods altogether.
However, if you decide to buy packaged foods, it is necessary to sort out the junk from the higher quality products.
Keep in mind that whole food doesn’t need an ingredients list, because the whole food IS the ingredient.
This health news is shared by Nutrition Breakthroughs, a publisher of nutrition articles and supplier of effective natural remedies since 2002. Nutrition Breakthroughs makes the original calcium and magnesium based sleep aid Sleep Minerals II.