10 Healthy Reasons to Get Good Sleep and How to Do It

People are now sleeping less than they did in the past, and sleep quality has decreased as well.

Here are 10 reasons why good sleep is important.

1. Poor Sleep Can Make You Fat

Poor sleep is strongly linked to weight gain.

People with short sleep duration tend to weigh significantly more than those who get adequate sleep.

In fact, short sleep duration is one of the strongest risk factors for obesity.

In one massive review study, children and adults with short sleep duration were 89% and 55% more likely to become obese, respectively.

The effect of sleep on weight gain is believed to be mediated by numerous factors, including hormones and motivation to exercise.

If you are trying to lose weight, getting quality sleep is absolutely crucial.

Bottom Line: Short sleep duration is associated with a drastically increased risk of weight gain and obesity, in both children and adults.

2. Good Sleepers Tend to Eat Fewer Calories

 

Studies show that sleep deprived individuals have a bigger appetite and tend to eat more calories.

Sleep deprivation disrupts the daily fluctuations in appetite hormones and is believed to cause poor appetite regulation.

This includes higher levels of ghrelin, the hormone that stimulates appetite, and reduced levels of leptin, the hormone that suppresses appetite.

Bottom Line: Poor sleep affects hormones that regulate appetite. Those who get adequate sleep tend to eat fewer calories than those who don’t.

3. Good Sleep Can Improve Concentration and Productivity

 

Sleep is important for various aspects of brain function.

This includes cognition, concentration, productivity and performance.

All of these are negatively affected by sleep deprivation.

A study on medical interns provides a good example.

Interns on a “traditional schedule” made 36% more serious medical errors than interns on a schedule that allowed more sleep.

Another study found short sleep can negatively impact some aspects of brain function to a similar degree as alcohol intoxication.

Good sleep, on the other hand, has been shown to improve problem solving skills and enhance memory performance of both children and adults.

Bottom Line: Good sleep can maximize problem solving skills and enhance memory. Poor sleep has been shown to impair brain function.

4. Good Sleep Can Maximize Athletic Performance

Sleep has been shown to enhance athletic performance.

 

In a study on basketball players, longer sleep was shown to significantly improve speed, accuracy, reaction times, and mental well-being.

Less sleep duration has also been associated with poor exercise performance and functional limitation in elderly women.

A study of over 2,800 women found that poor sleep was linked to slower walking, lower grip strength, and greater difficulty performing independent activities.

Bottom Line: Longer sleep has been shown to improve many aspects of athletic and physical performance.

5. Poor Sleepers Have a Greater Risk of Heart Disease and Stroke

 

We know that sleep quality and duration can have a major effect on many risk factors.

These are the factors believed to drive chronic diseases, including heart disease.

A review of 15 studies found that short sleepers are at far greater risk of heart disease or stroke than those who sleep 7 to 8 hours per night.

Bottom Line: Sleeping less than 7-8 hours per night is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

6. Sleep Affects Glucose Metabolism and Type 2 Diabetes Risk

 

Experimental sleep restriction affects blood sugar and reduces insulin sensitivity.

In a study of healthy young men, restricting sleep to 4 hours per night for 6 nights in a row caused symptoms of pre-diabetes.

This was then resolved after 1 week of increased sleep duration.

Poor sleep habits are also strongly linked to adverse effects on blood sugar in the general population.

Those sleeping less than 6 hours per night have repeatedly been shown to be at increased risk for type 2 diabetes.

Bottom Line: Sleep deprivation can cause pre-diabetes in healthy adults, in as little as 6 days. Many studies show a strong link between short sleep duration and type 2 diabetes risk.

7. Poor Sleep is Linked to Depression

Mental health issues, such as depression, are strongly linked to poor sleep quality and sleeping disorders.

 

It has been estimated that 90% of patients with depression complain about sleep quality.

Poor sleep is even associated with increased risk of death by suicide.

Those with sleeping disorders, such as insomnia or obstructive sleep apnea, also report significantly higher rates of depression than those without.

Bottom Line: Poor sleeping patterns are strongly linked to depression, particularly for those with a sleeping disorder.

8. Sleep Improves Your Immune Function

 

Even a small loss of sleep has been shown to impair immune function.

One large 2-week study monitored the development of the common cold after giving people nasal drops with the virus that causes colds.

They found that those who slept less than 7 hours were almost three times more likely to develop a cold than those who slept 8 hours or more.

If you often get colds, ensuring that you get at least 8 hours of sleep per night could be very helpful. Eating more garlic can help too.

Bottom Line: Getting at least 8 hours of sleep can improve immune function and help fight the common cold.

9. Poor Sleep is Linked to Increased Inflammation

 

Sleep can have a major effect on inflammation in the body.

In fact, sleep loss is known to activate undesirable markers of inflammation and cell damage.

Poor sleep has been strongly linked to long-term inflammation of the digestive tract, in disorders known as inflammatory bowel diseases.

One study observed that sleep deprived patients with Crohn’s disease (a chronic inflammatory disease of the intestines) were twice as likely to relapse as patients who slept well.

Researchers are even recommending sleep evaluation to help predict outcomes in sufferers of long-term inflammatory issues.

Bottom Line: Sleep affects the body’s inflammatory responses. Poor sleep is strongly linked to inflammatory bowel diseases and can increase the risk of disease recurrence.

10. Sleep Affects Emotions and Social Interactions

Sleep loss reduces our ability to interact socially.

Several studies confirmed this using emotional facial recognition tests.

One study found that people who had not slept had a reduced ability to recognize expressions of anger and happiness.

Researchers believe that poor sleep affects our ability to recognize important social cues and process emotional information.

Take Home Message

Along with nutrition and exercise, good sleep is one of the pillars of health.

You simply can not achieve optimal health without taking care of your sleep.

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Here are some top tips for getting good sleep from Nutrition Breakthroughs:

Tip # 1 – We live in an electronics-oriented world, from computers, to cell phones, to texting, to reading books on tablets. These tools help increase our efficiency and ability to work and learn and communicate, but when it comes to getting good sound sleep, they can interfere.

One study from a university in New York found that exposure to light from electronic displays can suppress melatonin by about twenty two percent. Melatonin is a hormone made in the brain that helps to regulate the sleep/wake cycle.

It is present in higher amounts at night. The researchers recommend shutting off all electronic devices at least one hour before bedtime and doing some relaxing things before bed.

Tip # 2 – Regarding sounder, deeper sleep resulting from taking walks, studies at the University of Arizona have found that walking more than six blocks a day at a normal pace significantly improves sleep at night for women.  Scientists suspect that walking helps to set our biological clock into a consistent sleep pattern.

Walking can help increase “endorphins”, which are protein-like chemicals made in the brain that can have a relaxing effect, a pain-relieving effect, and can also reduce stress and increase well-being.

Tip # 3 – Sometimes hunger can strike at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning and keep one awake. If this occurs, eat something with high protein such as turkey. Turkey contains tryptophan, which is an amino acid (a component of protein) that has a calming effect. According to Ray Sahelian, M.D., “Tryptophan ….can be converted at night into melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone.”

As a note, concentrated tryptophan capsules are not recommended as they can create grogginess in the morning and take some time to wear off. Other foods that are high in tryptophan include nuts, seeds, chicken, fish, oats, beans, lentils, and eggs.

Tip # 4 – When taking natural sleep aids, it’s good to remember that each person is a unique individual and doing some experimenting with the dosage can be instrumental in achieving success. At first, err on the side of taking too little rather than too much.

Another thing to keep in mind is that natural aids are not drugs and they may not work immediately with the first dose or even the first few doses. It can take up to a couple weeks to see results.

James F. Balch, M.D., author of Prescription for Nutritional Healing, writes: “A lack of the nutrients calcium and magnesium will cause you to wake up after a few hours and not be able to return to sleep.”

In one study published in the European Neurology Journal, researchers found that calcium levels in the body are higher during some of the deepest levels of sleep, such as the rapid eye movement (REM) phase. In the study, taking calcium restored normal sleep patterns.

One example of a mineral-based sleep remedy is Sleep Minerals II from Nutrition Breakthroughs. This sleep aid contains highly absorbable forms of calcium, magnesium and vitamin D. The ingredients are delivered in a softgel form with healthy carrier oils, making them more easily assimilated than capsules or tablets and providing a deeper, longer-lasting sleep.

Richard P. of Parkville, Maryland says: “The Sleep Minerals are making quite a difference. I was regularly waking up at around 3:00 a.m. and after a few days use my sleep improved quite a lot. I wake up once a night to go to the bathroom, but the great thing is, I then fall back asleep and sleep several more hours. This has been a great improvement.”

In summary, take the tips of recent research studies and take a walk each day, put the computers and cell phones away an hour before bedtime, and do something relaxing before bed. Keep a high-tryprophan snack next to your bed at night, and use an effective form of calcium and magnesium for a deeper, longer, less interrupted night’s sleep.

For more information on Sleep Minerals II, visit this page.

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Article source for the 10 Healthy Reasons to Get Good Sleep: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-reasons-why-good-sleep-is-important

How Vitamin D Rich Foods May Help Remedy Insomnia

vitamin d foods for sleepDo you struggle with falling asleep or staying asleep at night? If so, you are not alone. Every night, millions of people lie in bed hoping for a restful night’s sleep that does not come.

It is estimated that one in three people will develop acute insomnia every year, and about 10% of these individuals will struggle with insomnia for several months at a time.

Insomnia can wreak havoc on one’s ability to live a normal, productive life. In fact, lack of sleep can lead to mood changes, memory loss, and impaired judgement. In addition, unresolved or unmanaged sleep disorders can increase the risk of chronic pain, depression, and a compromised immune system.

There are a variety of sleep medications on the market to help manage insomnia. However, the side effects often lead to a new set of health complications. As a result, many people have begun searching for a safer, natural alternative to promote a healthier sleep cycle. Of the options on the market, vitamin D is proving to be a serious contender.

Vitamin D at a glance

Vitamin D has been making media headlines for over two decades. Originally believed to be important solely for bone health, research continues to uncover a wide range of additional health benefits of maintaining optimal levels.

Unfortunately, despite the thousands of studies that have showcased the body’s need for vitamin D, deficiency remains highly prevalent. This is due to a variety of factors, including but not limited to:

  • Indoor lifestyle
  • Sunblock use
  • Avoidance of mid-day sun exposure
  • Lack of supplement use
  • Imbalanced diet
  • Obesity

Often, people who are vitamin D deficient experience symptoms like fatigue, joint and muscle pain, frequent infections and insomnia.

How vitamin D status may impact sleep quality

Vitamin D is not just a vitamin, it’s a hormone. That means, after undergoing a couple of activation processes in the body, it binds to cells throughout the body to regulate a wide range of bodily functions.

Hormones are fat-soluble substances derived from cholesterol. They are produced by glands such as the thyroid, adrenals and pancreas, and then released into the bloodstream to reach target cells. These include cortisol made by the adrenals, testosterone, estrogen and yes, vitamin D.

So, how may vitamin D impact sleep? Vitamin D receiving points are located throughout regions of the brain that regulate our mood and sleep patterns. This has led researchers to theorize that vitamin D helps regulate the circadian rhythm, which is our body’s internal clock that instructs us when to sleep, eat, and rest.

  • Several studies have supported this theory by reporting a relationship between healthy vitamin D levels and improved sleep quality. In addition, a recent study found that vitamin D deficiency is associated with an 11-fold increased odds of resistance to sleep medication. This means that the people who didn’t respond to sleeping drugs had a lower level of vitamin D in their body.

Best sources of vitamin D

Thankfully, there are a variety of ways one can ensure they are receiving enough vitamin D to promote healthy sleep cycles.  This includes safe sun exposure (avoiding getting burned), supplementation, and eating a balanced diet.

Now more than ever, foods are being fortified with vitamin D in an effort to better support the body’s needs. However, people frequently ask, which form is better, vitamin D2 or D3?

Vitamin D2 is obtained through the diet and is produced by plants; whereas D3 is naturally produced when the skin is exposed to the sun and it can be consumed via animal sources in the diet.

Vitamin D3 is more bioavailable than D2, meaning this form is more efficiently utilized by our bodies. For this reason, experts recommend people ensure they are receiving ample amounts of vitamin D3 per day.

Top dietary sources of vitamin D

  1. Cod liver Oil is the most potent dietary source for vitamin D3. In just one tablespoon, you can receive 1,360 international units (IU) vitamin D3. In addition to vitamin D, cod liver oil is rich in vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids.
  2. Fatty fish, such as salmon, sardines and mackerel are the best dietary sources of vitamin D, with about 500 IU vitamin D3 content in just three ounces of cooked fish. Also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, these sources offer a heart-healthy option for those looking for a balanced dietary approach to maintaining healthy vitamin D levels.
  3. Plain greek yogurt is another healthy option to provide some of your daily vitamin D needs. Known for its probiotics, greek yogurt helps support a healthy intestinal tract. In addition, it is a great snack for people who struggle with hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) due to its high protein, low carbohydrate ratio. It also contains calcium, magnesium and about 80 IU vitamin D per 6 oz serving.
  4. Eggs offer another beneficial source of vitamin D3. They generally contain about 40 IU per yoke.
  5. Perhaps one of the most popular dietary sources of vitamin D is milk. It offers about 120 IU vitamin D3 per serving. Milk also provides a great source of calcium. For this reason, milk is an important dietary component to protecting bone health.

Final thoughts

If you struggle with insomnia and hope vitamin D may help improve your sleep quality, there are a couple important factors to keep in mind. First, consistency is key. Although time of day isn’t important when eating foods rich in vitamin D or taking an oral supplement, it is important that this is done on a regular basis.

Research suggests that taking a couple thousand international units (IU’s) of vitamin D per day between foods and supplements is ideal when addressing sleeplessness and insomnia.

One supplement that contains a good amount of vitamin D is Sleep Minerals II from Nutrition Breakthroughs. It also contains highly absorbable forms of calcium, magnesium, and zinc, which are all blended together with healthy oils to form an absorbable soft gel. Together, these vitamins and minerals work to help facilitate quality sleep.  Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can cause one to wake up in the middle of the night and be unable to fall back asleep.

One Sleep Minerals II user in Massachusetts says: “I had become dependent on sleeping drugs and couldn’t sleep without them. Now I take the Sleep Minerals before bed and can sleep through the whole night without drugs. I’m also able to easily fall back to sleep if I do have to get up.  Another benefit is this helps alleviate my chronic fatigue and aches and pains.”

Vitamin D is one of the master players in the game we all hope to win: Vibrant health, well-being and good sleep. Use it well in foods and supplements, as well as together with those minerals that are best-known for being relaxing insomnia remedies.

For more information, visit the Sleep Minerals II page.

Vitamins, Minerals and Fish Oil: Alternatives to Psychiatric Drugs

Greetings to you,

Studies from the Institute of Food Technologists have found that “Vitamins and mineral supplements can be the alternative to increasing psychiatric medicines for symptom relief of anxiety and depression.”

Bonnie Kaplan, Ph.D., professor in the faculty of medicine at the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, also said: “The supplements also can provide the mental energy necessary to manage stress, enhance mood and reduce fatigue.”

Dr. Kaplan conducted a number of studies in Canada.  Out of nearly 100 adults with depression and fatigue, those that took a higher amount of vitamins and minerals had considerably enhanced mental functioning.  The study participants kept a 3-day food journal and tracked their foods and supplements.

Another study from Toronto Canada examined the role of fish oil for depression and concluded that: “There is enough  … laboratory and clinical evidence to suggest that omega-3 fatty acids may play a role in certain cases of depression. Fish oil supplements are well tolerated and have been shown to be without significant side effects over large scale, 3-year research.”

For anyone currently taking psychiatric medications, they should work closely with their doctor if they seek to reduce drug dosages while adding supportive natural mental health remedies.

This natural health news is provided by Nutrition Breakthroughs, a publisher of nutrition articles and a supplier of natural remedies since 2002. Nutrition Breakthroughs makes Sleep Minerals II, the effective natural sleep aid with calming ingredients such as calcium, magnesium, zinc and vitamin D.

Article Source:

http://www.ift.org/newsroom/news-releases/2013/july/16/vitamins-and-minerals-can-boost-energy-and-enhance-mood.aspx

Best of health,

Jobee Knight
Nutrition Breakthroughs

11 Reasons You’re Always Tired (and Natural Remedies for Each)

Do you ask yourself, “Why am I so tired?” Do you feel like no matter how much sleep you get, you’re still tired all the time? As the National Sleep Foundation puts it,

Most of us know that getting a good night’s sleep is important, but too few of us actually make those eight or so hours between the sheets a priority. We’ve forgotten what being really, truly rested feels like. To further complicate matters, stimulants like coffee and energy drinks, alarm clocks, and external lights — including those from electronic devices — interfere with our circadian rhythm, or natural sleep/wake cycle.” (1)

Of course, getting a good night’s sleep is important for having plenty of energy, but there’s more to the story than just sleeping well. If you’re always struggling to keep your energy up, things like your diet, hormonal balance, exercise routine, the amount of mental stressors in your life and your genetics are all relevant factors to consider.

All of these influence your hormone levels in one way or another, and many can make it difficult to sleep at night and to deal with everyday sources of stress, leaving you exhausted.

Luckily, there are plenty of lifestyle tweaks that you can put into play in order to fight fatigue and reclaim your energy. If you are tired all the time, it is important to make sleep — high-quality sleep — a priority. But if you are reaching that eight-hour threshold and still feeling exhausted, your low energy level may be an indicator of an underlying problem. Let’s find out why you’re always tired.


11 Reasons You May Be Always Tired + Natural Remedies!

1. Thyroid Disease

Twenty million Americans suffer from thyroid disease, and 60 percent of these people are unaware of it (!), according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health. (2) Thyroid disease is especially a threat for women and older adults.

Thyroid disease can cause a wide variety of symptoms including:

  • fatigue
  • moodiness
  • muscle and joint pain
  • weight gain or loss
  • vision problems
  • poor work performance
  • changes in body temperature
  • changes in appetite

A thyroid disorder can show up in many different forms because the thyroid gland is considered a “master gland,” one that secretes hormones that in one way or another impact almost every bodily function. For example, the thyroid gland is responsible for regulating body temperature, heart rate, production of protein, and also helps control your metabolic rate and energy levels.

Thyroid Disease Causes:

How are thyroid disorders caused? There are believed to be four main contributing causes of thyroid disease, which may be the reason you feel like you’re always tired:

  • Hormonal imbalances caused by stress and diet
  • Food intolerances to things like gluten and dairy
  • Radiation and toxicity exposure
  • A nutrition deficiency in iodine or selenium

Natural Remedies for Thyroid Disease:

A thyroid disease may be causing you to feel sluggish. Here are some of the ways you can help recover:

  • Go gluten- and mostly dairy-free.
  • Avoid toxins and heavy metals like BPA (Bisphenol A) found in plastic bottles and aluminum cans.
  • Have your iodine and selenium levels checked and then include more food sources of both, or taking supplements if need be.
  • Detox your body of heavy metals by using products like milk thistle, turmeric, chlorella and cilantro, plus considering having metal fillings removed from your teeth.
  • Consume adatogen herbs and superfoods like maca powder, ashwagandha and tulsi.
  • Adjust your diet to have a lower carbohydrate intake, but include plenty of lean protein and healthy fat sources (especially foods like coconut oil, coconut milk, avocado, grass-fed beef, wild fish, chia, flaxseeds and hemp seeds).

(Click on chart to enlarge it for better reading)

 Always Tired and How to Fix, thyroid disease infographic

2. Adrenal Fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Adrenal fatigue is believed to affect up to 80 percent of adults worldwide and is caused by a hormonal imbalance, similar to a how thyroid disease develops. (3) Your adrenal glands are extremely important endocrine glands which release more than 50 different hormones, including the energy-regulating hormones cortisol and adrenaline.

Chronic fatigue syndrome causes similar symptoms to adrenal fatigue and is believed to effect up to 1 million people in the U.S. each year. Women are four times as likely to have chronic fatigue syndrome. especially those in their 40s or 50s, which is the age group that’s most impacted.

Symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome and adrenal fatigue syndrome are similar and include:

  • fatigue that doesn’t go away even after getting good sleep
  • difficulty falling and staying asleep through the night
  • muscle and joint pain
  • stiffness and tenderness
  • headaches
  • frequently getting sick, such as having a sore throat, cold or flu-like symptoms
  • weight gain
  • digestive problems like constipation or cramps
  • mental fogginess
  • trouble concentrating and remembering things clearly

These key hormones increase and decrease according to the amount of stress being put on your body. As a result, high stress levels and adrenal fatigue symptoms are closely tied — it’s also why feeling frantic, busy and high-strung equates to you feeling like you’re always tired!

Adrenal Fatigue Causes:

When you’re under a high amount of stress due to emotional, physical and mental circumstances — which is common in almost all adults in our busy modern society — your adrenals can suffer and fatigue can set in.  There are many potential causes of adrenal fatigue that make you feel completely wiped out, and they include:

  • stressful family events
  • environmental toxins and pollution
  • chronic stress due to finances or an unfavorable work situation
  • emotional trauma and abuse
  • lack of sleep
  • overexercising
  • drug and alcohol abuse
  • poor diet

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Causes:

People with chronic fatigue syndrome usually specific, measurable abnormalities that include:

  • hypothalamic activity (a gland in the brain)
  • pituitary dysfunction
  • poor immunity, including a low count of natural “killer cells”
  • hormonal deficiencies that are sometimes overlooked in a standard blood tests
  • frequent infections
  • yeast overgrowth

Natural Remedies for Adrenal & Chronic Fatigue:

In order to regain your energy, what can you do to solve adrenal fatigue or chronic fatigue for good?

  • Change your diet by avoiding caffeine, excess sugar and carbohydrates, hydrogenated oils, processed and packaged foods. Instead, fill up on hormone-balancing healthy fats, proteins and plenty of fresh vegetables.
  • Adaptogen herrbs can also be extremely useful for helping with adrenal and chronic fatigue. Medical studies have shown that adaptogens — naturally occurring foods that help balance hormones and reduce the body’s stress response — can help improve cortisol levels, insulin sensitivity and result in better energy. (4) So, try adaptogens like ashwaganda, holy basil and maca root, in addition to nutrients like omega-3 fish oils, magnesium, vitamin B5, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin D3 and zinc.
  • Limit stress by exercising regularly in a healthy way, getting plenty of sleep, and practicing various relaxation techniques like reading, journaling, praying and any other activities that work for you.

 

Always Tired, How to Fix, adrenal and chronic fatigue infographic3. Sedentary Lifestyle In today’s busy, office-oriented work environments, it is common for many people to develop a sedentary lifestyle.Sitting all day is very hard on your body and often causes soreness, pain in your neck, stiffness, back pain and chronic headaches — plus such an unenergetic lifestyle causes fatigue, making you feel like you’re always tired! Your body was made to move, so when it doesn’t get regular activities, you can experience mood issues, sluggishness, tiredness and weight gain.

What Causes a Sedentary Lifestyle:

  • desk job
  • lack of movement
  • back problems
  • chronic pain
  • habitual sitting
  • lack of motivation

Regular exercise can help balance hormones, improve insulin resistance and help you to get better sleep, all of which are important for fighting a lack of energy. Exercise does wonders for the body by releasing endorphins, boosting your stamina and lifting your mood. (Of course, it can also add more muscle tone to your body while burning unhealthy fat.)

One of the biggest perks of being more active?

It helps many people regulate hormonal patterns that allow them to sleep better at night. According to the Department of Exercise Science at the University of South Carolina, there is a uniquely potent effect of exercise on sleep. The researchers of a 2005 study concluded that “no other stimulus elicits greater depletion of energy stores, tissue breakdown, or elevation of body temperature, respectively. Exercise offers a potentially attractive alternative or adjuvant (supporting) treatment for insomnia … Exercise could be a healthy, safe, inexpensive, and simple means of improving sleep.” (5)

Even when you’re feeling tired, if you think that skipping your normal exercise routine is going to positively impact your energy, you might want to think again about blowing off the gym or that run you planned. Exercise can actually help wake you up! After all, the daytime was meant for us to be active and outdoors for at least 30 minutes a day … rather than chained to your desk or slaving away in the kitchen.

While it might feel difficult to get started when you’re always tired, long-term exercise will result in better hormonal balance and prolonged energy as you get more used to it.

One study conducted by the University of Georgia, for example, found that when adults who were initially sedentary began exercising lightly over the course of six weeks — just three days a week for about 20 minutes — they had more energy overall compared to when they first began. (6)

How to Get Moving:

  • Try a standing desk or one that adjusts for standing and sitting.
  • Sit on a large exercise ball. It keeps your back straighter and engages your core without putting as much strain on your hips and legs.
  • Take “walk” breaks. Walk around your building, office area or parking lot for 15 minute blocks at a time.
  • Plan regular outdoor activities or exercise right before or after work. My favorite is a quick burst training workout first thing in the morning.
  • Take 5-minute stretch breaks for every hour of work.

 

Always Tired and How to Fix, sedentary lifestyle infographic

4. Depression 

Depression is one of the most common mental disorders and energy zappers in the U.S., with an estimated 16 million adults ages 18 or older having at least one major depressive episode per year. (7)

Depression Causes:

Depression is believed to be caused by such variables as:

  • high stress
  • unresolved emotional problems
  • neurotransmitter imbalances
  • hormonal imbalances
  • alcohol
  • nutrition deficiencies
  • lack of sunlight
  • toxicity from heavy metals
  • food allergies

Natural Remedies for Depression:

One of the biggest and most difficult symptoms to deal with regarding depression? Lack of energy and low motivation. Luckily, changes in your diet can really help alleviate depression. This is because foods can significantly affect our mood via the actions of neurotransmitters in our brain. Follow an anti-depression diet to start boosting your ability to produce “feel-good hormones”:

  • Drastically reduce your intake of processed and refined foods, fast foods, sugar-heavy foods, large amounts of simple carbohydrates, and caffeine and alcohol.
  • Replace these energy-busting foods with proteins, vegetables, healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids and coconut foods, and other whole foods that make up a healing diet.
  • You can also try incorporating exercise, relaxation techniques and essential oils into your daily routine.  Essential oils, for example, are an all-natural and cost-effective way to boost mood.
  • Try essential oils like rose, bergamot, lavender, roman chamomile and ylang ylang which have been proven to help elevate mood for many people suffering from depression and anxiety.

 

Always Tired and How to Fix it, depression infographic

5.  Poor Quality Sleep (Not Enough or Not Consistent)

Most adults need between 7–9 hours of sleep consistently, each and every night, to feel their best, according to the National Sleep Foundation(8)

Poor Sleep Causes: 

  • poor diet
  • stress
  • staying up late
  • drinking alcohol
  • certain medications or supplements
  • mood or hormone imbalance
  • trauma or abuse
  • adrenal fatigue
  • pain and chronic pain
  • GERD//acid reflux/digestive disorders
  • normal family life — infants, children, etc.

There is such a range of reasons why we may not be sleeping long enough or well — and many more reasons than what I’ve listed here. However, it is important if you want long-term wellness for you and your family, to actively pursue healthy sleeping habits.

 Sleep deprivation studies repeatedly show a negative impact on mood, cognitive performance, and motor function,” state researchers from the Department of Neurology, Emory University School of Medicine. (9)

While it’s no surprise that you need to sleep in order to avoid feeling like you’re always tired, you may be surprised to hear how just a small amount of sleep deprivation over time can really add up and harm your health and mood.

A sleep clinic study done by the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine found that chronic restriction of sleep periods (sleeping between 4–6 hours per night over a 14-day period) resulted in significant cumulative deficits in cognitive performance on all tasks. The study concluded that “chronic restriction of sleep to six hours or less per night produced cognitive performance deficits equivalent to up to two nights of total sleep deprivation. It appears that even relatively moderate sleep restriction can seriously impair waking neuro-behavioral functions in healthy adults.” (10)

It’s also worth finding out whether or not you suffer from sleep apnea, which is a disorder that causes poor sleep quality due to uncontrollable pauses in breathing, taking shallow breaths during sleep and suddenly waking up startled. During the night, someone with sleep apnea might repeatedly stop breathing up to 30 times every hour, often for very brief moments of time and without the person being aware of it at all. In fact, a scary finding is that many people with sleep apnea think that they actually get good sleep!

To confirm whether or not you have sleep apnea, a sleep study test called the polysomnogram will need to be performed.

Meanwhile, you will know by now whether or not you suffer from narcolepsy, a chronic neurological disorder that makes it difficult for the brain to control sleep-wake cycles. This disorder adversely affects the quality of life, as symptoms include extreme drowsiness and falling asleep unwillingly during an activity like work or school.

Natural Ways to Get to Sleep Fast:

  • Practice relaxation techniques that help you to unwind and fall asleep, such as journaling or reading.
  • Take an Epsom salt bath to soothe muscles and ease your mind.
  • Take magnesium supplements in the range of 300–400 milligrams, which promote relaxation and relieve muscle pain.
  • Use essential oils such as lavender or frankincense.
  • Avoid sugary and carb-heavy meals before bed which can give you a “sugar high,” keeping you up.
  • Limit caffeine to small amounts during the morning hours, or at least cut yourself off after noon.
  • Turn off all electronics two hours or more before bed to avoid blue-light exposure, which can disturb melatonin levels and make it hard for your mind to become sleepy.

 

Always Tired, How to Fix, poor quality of sleep infographic

6. Anemia

Anemia is a condition where a person has a lower than normal level of red blood cells.  Anemia is related to a low supply of oxygen reaching cells and tissues throughout the body.

Anemia symptoms include:

  • feeling like you’re always tired despite how much you sleep
  • weak bones and muscles
  • trouble exercising
  • being unable to concentrate

And in extreme cases:

  • tiredness, fainting
  • shortness of breath
  • heart attack, angina
  • spleen dysfunction
  • digestive issues
  • skin yellowing

Causes of Anemia:

  • Anemia occurs when there’s a problem with red blood cells making hemoglobin, a protein that carries oxygen throughout the body, especially to the brain where it’s much needed.
  • It’s connected to insufficient iron levels within the blood, in addition to low vitamin B12 and folate levels.
  • Anemia can also be caused by a loss of blood or a diet that’s too low in those essential nutrients and, thus, hinder the body’s ability to make enough hemoglobin.

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, “If you have anemia, your body doesn’t get enough oxygen-rich blood. As a result, you may feel tired or weak. You also may have other symptoms, such as shortness of breath, dizziness or headaches.” (11)

Natural Remedies for Anemia:

Anemia symptoms can be greatly reduced by improving your diet and including plenty of foods that are rich in iron, vitamin B12 and folate. These include:

  • Liver (from beef, chicken etc.) that’s extremely high in iron and B vitamins.
  • Blackstrap molasses, which a healthy natural sweetener high in iron.
  • Brewer’s yeast, or nutritional yeast, which is loaded with B vitamins and tastes something like cheese but is actually totally dairy-free.
  • Foods high in vitamin C that help with iron absorption, such as citrus fruits and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower.
  • Green leafy vegetables that have a significant amount of iron and folate.

 

Always Tired and How to Fix it, Anemia Infographic

7. Leaky Gut Syndrome

Leaky gut syndrome is a condition in which your digestive tract becomes damaged and small holes begin to develop in your gut lining. Small particles that normally can’t pass through your gut wall begin seeping through into your bloodstream. When someone has leaky gut syndrome, some of the things that can pass through the gut lining include proteins like gluten, bad bacteria and undigested foods particles.

Symptoms of leaky gut syndrome include:

  • feeling tired
  • digestive issues like cramps, bloating or diarrhea
  • skin irritations and rashes
  • trouble concentrating and learning
  • muscle and joint pain
  • headaches
  • weight gain
  • changes in mood

Leaky Gut Syndrome Causes:

  • prescription medication
  • antibiotics
  • eating foods high in phytates and lectins — such as glutenous grains, nuts, seeds (not soaked or sprouted)
  • GMO foods
  • processed foods, added refined sugars, high fructose corn syrup
  • thyroid disease
  • autoimmune conditions

When it comes to your energy levels, leaky gut is problematic because it can result in a nutrient malabsorption that cuts short your body’s working supply of essential vitamins and minerals.

For example, B vitamins are crucial for energy production because they are responsible for turning the basic compounds found in the foods you eat — like glucose, amino acids and fatty acids — into useable “fuel” for the body. Iron and zinc levels (nutrients important for circulating oxygen throughout the body) may also become low due to leaky gut.

Natural Remedies for Leaky Gut Syndrome:

To effectively solve leaky gut syndrome, you need to adjust your diet and certain lifestyle factors, too:

  • The solution to healing leaky gut includes removing foods and factors that damage the gut (like gluten and sugar). Replace these with various healing foods such as fermented foods, bone broth, sprouted grains, seeds and nuts, healthy sources of protein, vegetables and lots of healthy fats.
  • Also consider taking gut-healing supplements like probiotics, L- glutamine, pancreatic enzymes and quercetin.
  • Make sure to fix any nutrient deficiencies by including plenty of whole foods in your diet that supply zinc, iron and B vitamins.

 

Always Tired, How to Fix it, Leaky Gut Syndrome Infographic

8. Dehydration

Dehydration occurs when there is an excessive loss of body fluids, especially of water and electrolytes — or not enough water taken in.  When you start to feel thirsty, you body is already dehydrated.

Causes of Dehydration:

  • Excessive exercise without replenishing
  • drinking soda or other beverages instead
  • being outside in the hot sun for an hour or more
  • illness — vomiting, diarrhea, sweating
  • diabetes
  • prescription medications
  • menstrual cycle
  • IBS
  • stress
  • neglecting to drink water
  • higher altitudes

The most common cause of dehydration is simply not drinking enough water, or substituting water intake with only soda or juice. This is a critical mistake as not only does that spike your blood sugar, but also your cells cannot get enough water to function properly!

The major electrolytes in the body — sodium, potassium, chloride and bicarbonate — are ion compounds that literally help your body to have energy via the force of electricity that keeps your organs and cells functioning. Some parts of the body that are more “electrically wired” and require a high amount of electrolytes and water include the brain, heart, nervous system and muscles.

Dehydration affects the actual viscosity (thickness) of your blood and the amount that your heart must beat every minute, as it tries to get oxygen to all your cells.

When you’re dehydrated, your heart sends oxygen and nutrients to your brain, muscles and organs at a slower pace; as a consequence, you begin to feel:

  • fatigued/exhaustion
  • lethargic
  • moody
  • like you have “brain fog”
  • weakness in muscles
  • unable to concentrate and perform tasks

According to researchers from the University of Barcelona’s School of Psychology, “being dehydrated by just 2 percent impairs performance in tasks that require attention, psychomotor and immediate memory skills.” (12)

Natural Remedies for and Prevention of Dehydration:

Drink more water throughout the day, increase your intake of vegetables and fruits, and make sure you’re getting plenty of electrolytes in the form of whole foods. When it comes to fruits and vegetables, some of the best options to obtain electrolytes and to stay hydrated include:

  • Coconut water
  • Celery
  • Watermelon
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cucumber
  • Kiwi
  • Bell peppers
  • Citrus fruit
  • Carrots
  • Pineapple

To calculate the amount of water you need to drink daily to avoid dehydration, take your weight in pounds, divide that number in half. In other words, if you’re a woman who weighs 140 pounds, you need to drink roughly 80 ounces per day, or roughly ten 8-ounce glasses of water to stay fully hydrated.

But this is only the amount of water if you do not exercise or do anything strenuous! If you work out or if you are active, then you ideally need to drink at least an extra eight ounces for every 30 minutes of exercise.

Always Tired and How to Fix it, Dehydration Infographic

9. Emotional Stress

Can tiredness be psychological? Well, emotional stress can take a huge toll on your energy levels, especially when stress progresses to the point of an anxiety disorder or a sleep-related problem.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (AADA), anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the U.S. ages 18 and older (which is 18 percent of the U.S. population). The AADA states that “anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only about one-third of those suffering receive treatment”. (13)

Emotional Stress and/or Psychological Causes:

Anxiety disorders are caused by a complex set of risk factors including:

  • genetics
  • brain chemistry
  • diet and lifestyle habits
  • It’s also very common for someone with anxiety to also have a form of depression, and vice versa — therefore, energy levels can suffer even more.
  • poor gut health

Natural Remedies for Emotional Stress:

To combat emotional stress, you’ll want to focus on adjusting your diet (more on that below), but also:

  • get plenty of sleep and exercise.
  • avoid stimulants, including those found in many processed foods.
  • Also try using essential oils, adaptogen herbs, and taking supplements like magnesium and B vitamins that support your ability to cope with stress.
  • probiotics.
  • consider a healing diet to more thoroughly resolve the problem.

 

Always Tired and How to Fix it, Emotional Stress Infographic

10. Blood Sugar Imbalance

Most people have blood sugar imbalances that can be easily fixed, but they aren’t even aware that this is a major contributing factor to their health problems and lack of energy. Chances are if you’re always tired, your blood sugar has something to do with it. Over time, imbalances in blood sugar can lead to serious diseases like type 2 diabetes, which has sadly become an “epidemic” in the U.S., with over 12 percent of the adult population now considered diabetic according the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. (14)

Symptoms of a blood sugar imbalance include:

  • feeling fatigued/exhaustion
  • food cravings
  • headaches
  • moodiness
  • anxiety

Causes of Blood Sugar Imbalance:

  • poor diet (processed foods, added sugars and simple carbohydrates)
  • type I & II diabetes
  • pancreatic function
  • parasites
  • candida

Blood sugar levels become unbalanced when your diet is too high in various forms of sugar, which enter the bloodstream rapidly and can cause mood swings due to extreme elevations in blood glucose. Sugary foods, especially processed ones that contain tons of added sugar, put you on a “sugar high” followed by a “sugar crash.”

Natural Remedies for Blood Sugar Imbalances:

To get blood sugar levels back under control, you’ll need to really reduce, or even to completely eliminate, all sources of refined sugar from your diet. These include:

  • All sugary beverages — which are some of the worst culprits — like all soda, fruit juice, energy drinks, and sweetened coffee or tea beverages.
  • Packaged snacks like all cookies, cakes, cereals and candy.
  • Even natural sweeteners like raw honey and maple syrup, which can still affect blood sugar levels.
  • Also consider cutting back or eliminating grains, especially gluten-containing grains like wheat products (including “whole wheat”). These contain large amounts of carbohydrates that are broken down into sugar within a few minutes of consumption. They can cause intestinal inflammation that affects hormones like cortisol and leptin, leaving you feeling weak and tired.
  • Conventional (nonorganic and pasteurized) cow’s milk and dairy products should also be eliminated. Stay away from dairy products that contain A1 casein, which is produced by conventional cows and found in most milk, yogurt and cheese that’s available in the grocery store. When buying dairy, only purchase raw and organic kinds from pasture-raised animals.

 

Always Tired, How to Fix it, Blood Sugar Imbalance Infographic

11. Poor Diet

You’ve probably noticed that almost all of the causes of you feeling like you’re always tired can be partially alleviated through changing your diet. That’s because your diet ultimately impacts your:

  • hormones, causing imbalances
  • neurotransmitter function, which make you prone to anxiety or depression
  • sleep cycles, making it hard to get enough restful sleep
  • mood
  • outlook on life
  • motivation and so much more

Causes of a Poor Diet Causing You To Be Tired:

  • habits
  • lifestyle
  • convenience
  • other influences
  • low-priority

One of the biggest risk factors for feeling tired all the time is being a “carboholic,” meaning someone who overeats grains, refined carbs and sugary foods. This same person also doesn’t acquire enough healthy fats, proteins, vegetables and essential nutrients that support ongoing energy.

How to Correct a Poor Diet:

Instead of hitting the dreaded 2 p.m. “post-lunch coma,” try changing your diet to incorporate more of these energy-promoting foods:

  • Foods high in B vitamins — B vitamins are abundant mostly in protein-rich foods.  Try having plenty of sources like grass-fed beef, wild-caught fish, cage-free organic eggs and poultry, and all kinds of green leafy vegetables.
  • Foods high in calcium, magnesium, selenium and zinc, which can all help you to relieve stress and get better sleep — these include unpasteurized organic dairy products, avocados, wild-caught salmon, green vegetables, nuts and seeds.
  • Healthy sources of fats, including omega-3 fatty acids — wild-caught fish, seeds, coconut and olive oil, avocados, and nuts can help stabilize hormones and your mood, so you sleep through the night better and fight depression, stress, and thyroid (such as hypothyroidism) or adrenal disorders.

At the same time, try to limit or avoid the following …

  • High-sugar foods: Consuming too much sugar can negatively impact your energy by giving you blood “sugar highs” followed by “lows.”
  • Processed and refined flour: These “simple carbohydrate” foods act very similar to sugar in the body. They lead to fluctuations in blood sugar, mood swings, hormonal changes and food cravings.
  • Excessive caffeine: Too much caffeine can cause anxiety and hinder your ability to sleep well, even if you stop drinking it in the afternoon. Caffeine can remain in your system for up to six hours, so if you are going to have some, curb your intake by around noon each day.
  • Too much alcohol: Alcohol may help you to fall asleep, but it also interferes with REM sleep (rapid eye movement sleep), which is the deepest sleep state that’s needed to feel rested the following day. It can also increase anxiety and make it hard to manage stress.

 

Always Tired and How to Fix it, poor diet infographic

By Dr. Josh Axe, a certified doctor of natural medicine, doctor of chiropractic and clinical nutritionist with a passion to help people eat healthy and live a healthy lifestyle

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Shared by Nutrition Breakthroughs,
maker of the effective calcium and magnesium based sleep aid Sleep Minerals II
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Ahh Chooo: Study Shows MSM Effective for Allergy Symptoms

MSM Remedies Seasonal AllergiesMSM is a natural mineral made of sulfur that has been shown in studies to relieve arthritis, headaches, back pain, and also contribute to stronger hair and nails. MSM is known as “Factor N”, for returning cells to normal.

A recent study from the Genesis Center for Integrative Medicine in Graham, Washington has found yet another benefit of MSM — it’s effectiveness for seasonal allergies and hay fever.

MSM sulfur is a white, odorless, water-soluble element found in nature and in foods such as milk, fruits, vegetables, seafood and meat. It is especially high in eggs, onions, garlic, asparagus and broccoli. When food is heated, washed, frozen or processed, it becomes depleted of its natural MSM stores — making supplementation beneficial.

Seasonal allergies affect more than 23 million Americans each year. Symptoms can include sneezing, watery eyes, runny nose, congestion, coughing, itchy throat and fatigue. Side effects of antihistamines include drowsiness, and decongestants may result in insomnia or irritability. The goal of the MSM study was to evaluate whether a natural mineral can reduce allergy symptoms and to determine if it has any possible side effects.

The study was published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Fifty-five patients with seasonal allergies were given MSM at 2,600 milligrams per day. The MSM use resulted in significantly reducing upper and total respiratory symptoms within 7 days. Lower respiratory symptoms were substantially improved by the third week. Few side effects were associated with the use of MSM and no patients dropped out of the study from any adverse reactions. In addition, by day 14 the energy levels of participants had increased considerably.

The researchers concluded that MSM supplementation of 2,600 mg/day for 30 days is an effective and “side-effect free” remedy in the reduction of seasonal allergy symptoms. An unforeseen and valuable benefit of MSM was a significant increase in energy. For this reason, it’s best to take MSM early in the day rather than in the afternoon or evening too close to bedtime.

This health news is provided by Nutrition Breakthroughs. Since 2001 Nutrition Breakthroughs has provided natural health articles and effective natural remedies.  Their mission is to provide nutritional supplements that get results and help people to avoid drugs and their side effects.

Nutrition Breakthroughs makes Joints and More, which contains pure organic MSM for allergy and asthma relief, arthritis and headache relief, increased energy, and stronger hair and nails. For more information, visit the Joints and More page.

Nutrition Breakthroughs also makes Sleep Minerals II, the original calcium and magnesium based sleep remedy.  It’s been shown effective for sleeplessness and insomnia, as well as for restless leg syndrome, bone strength, menopause insomnia and teenage insomnia.  For more information, visit the Sleep Minerals II page.

Calcium and Vitamin D Proven Remedies for Gum Disease, Insomnia

healthy teeth and gumsA bright smile, white teeth and healthy gums are something everyone would like to enjoy.  Gingivitis is a very common form of inflammatory gum disease caused by bacteria in the mouth. It causes gums to become red, swollen and bleed easily during brushing or flossing. If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to an even more severe form of gum disease called periodontitis, which also may harm the bones underneath the gums.

Symptoms of periodontitis include bad breath, toothache, loose teeth, receding gums or tooth loss.  According to the study called “Prevalence of Periodontitis in Adults”, almost half of all American adults have mild, moderate or severe periodontal disease.  For those who are 65 or older, the percentage increases to 70%.

Researchers have previously discovered that people who consume low amounts of calcium and vitamin D can develop bone loss and osteoporosis.  Scientists at the Saint Louis University Center for Advanced Dental Education reasoned that because vitamin D also has antimicrobial effects and can remedy the inflammatory response, it would be reasonable to pursue a study to determine whether calcium and vitamin D may have a positive effect on periodontal disease.

The study included 51 people who were receiving periodontal maintenance therapy.  23 were taking vitamin D and calcium during the study and 28 did not.  All of the participants had at least two areas in their mouth that had loss of gum tissue and reduced support around the teeth.

At the end of the study, those taking the vitamin D and calcium had fewer bleeding sites, less attachment loss, and smaller open spaces between the teeth and gums.  The researchers concluded there was a good trend for improved health of the gums, teeth, and bones in the mouth with the use of these nutritional supplements.

Studies have also proven that calcium can prevent osteoporosis, reduce high blood pressure, relax the nerves and muscles, prevent colon cancer and kidney stones, and act as an effective remedy for insomnia and sleeplessness.

In one study called “The Nutritional Relationships of Magnesium”, the author notes that the type of insomnia associated with a calcium deficiency is one that causes difficulty with falling asleep. On the other hand, the classical sign of magnesium deficiency is insomnia characterized by falling asleep easily, but awakening frequently throughout the night, and with individuals finding themselves tired even after several hours of sleep.

It’s important to note that a balanced calcium magnesium ratio is important to overall health, and these two minerals should be taken together for best results (in a two to one ratio with twice as much calcium and magnesium).  The original research on this recommended ratio appeared in 1935 in the Journal of Physiological Reviews.

William Sears, M.D. writes: “Calcium helps the brain use the amino acid tryptophan to manufacture the sleep-inducing substance melatonin. This explains why dairy products, which contain both tryptophan and calcium, are some of the top sleep-inducing foods.”

Jobee Knight, a nutritional researcher and founder of Nutrition Breakthroughs in Glendale California, is someone who fought her own battle against sleeplessness and insomnia. She decided to put her background to use by searching out effective natural insomnia remedies for relaxation and deeper sleep.

The result was Sleep Minerals II, a natural sleep remedy that contains highly absorbable forms of calcium and magnesium, combined with vitamin D and zinc. These are the most effective minerals for sleeplessness as well as for menopause insomnia, heart health, restless leg syndrome and bone strength.  The ingredients are formulated in a softgel with healthy oils, making them more quickly absorbable than tablets or capsules and providing a deeper, longer-lasting sleep.

Tammy M. of Meridian, Idaho says: “I was plagued with insomnia for five years and desperate for a breakthrough. Nothing has helped me more than the Sleep Minerals.  I’m so sold on them I could go door to door promoting them.  I’m 60 years old and have never slept so soundly.”

Calcium and vitamin D are two of the key cornerstones of good health. They play many roles in the body and both should be included in the diet.

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 the original calcium and magnesium based natural sleep aid Sleep Minerals II, as well as Joints and More, the natural solution for joint relief, aches and pains, stronger hair and nails, and more energy.

Pumpkin Seed Oil Found to Help Reverse Balding

Vitamin D for Beginners: A Guide to Benefits and Sources

By Kris Gunnars, CEO and Founder of Authority Nutrition, BSc (Bachelor’s Degree in Medicine)

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Shared by Nutrition Breakthroughs,
maker of Sleep Minerals II, the effective natural sleep aid with
calcium, magnesium and vitamin D
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You may be surprised to learn that vitamin D is completely different from most other vitamins.

It is actually a hormone, a steroid hormone that is produced out of cholesterol when your skin is exposed to the sun.

For this reason, vitamin D is often referred to as the “sunshine” vitamin.

However, sun exposure is often inadequate these days, making it necessary for people to get more of it from the diet (or supplements).

This is important, because vitamin D is absolutely essential for optimal health (1).

Unfortunately, only a handful of foods contain significant amounts of this vitamin, and deficiency is extremely common (2).

In fact, according to data from 2005-2006, a whopping 41.6% of the US population is deficient in this critical vitamin/hormone (4).

This article explains everything you need to know about vitamin D.

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is one of the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K), meaning that it dissolves in fat/oil and can be stored in the body for a long time.

There are actually two main forms found in the diet:

  • Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol): Found in some animal foods, like fatty fish and egg yolks.
  • Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol): Found in some mushrooms.

Of the two, D3 (cholecalciferol) is the one we’re interested in, because it is almost twice as effective at increasing blood levels of vitamin D as the D2 form (6).

Bottom Line: Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that can be stored in the body for long periods of time. There are two main forms, D2 and D3, of which D3 is much more effective.

What Does Vitamin D Do in The Body?

Oil Capsules

Vitamin D is actually pretty useless at first.

It needs to go through two conversion steps to become “active” (8).

First, it is converted to calcidiol, or 25(OH)D, in the liver. This is the storage form of the vitamin in the body.

Second, it is converted to calcitriol, or 1,25(OH)2D, mostly in the kidneys. This is the active, steroid hormone form of vitamin D.

Calcitriol travels around the body, going into the nuclei of cells. There it interacts with a receptor called the vitamin D receptor, which is found in almost every single cell of the body (10).

When the active form of vitamin D binds to this receptor, it turns genes on or off, leading to changes in the cells (12). This is similar to how most other steroid hormones work.

It is well known that vitamin D affects various cells related to bone health, for example telling the cells in the gut to absorb calcium and phosphorus (14).

But scientists have now found it to be involved in all sorts of other processes, including immune function and protection against cancer (15).

So people who are deficient in vitamin D will be deficient in calcitriol (the steroid hormone form), so in effect they are deficient in one of the body’s critical hormones.

Bottom Line: Vitamin D is turned into calcidiol, the storage form of the vitamin, which is then converted into calcitriol, the active steroid form. Calcitriol binds to the vitamin D receptor inside cells, turning genes on or off.

Sunshine is The Best Way to Get Vitamin D

Vitamin D can be produced out of cholesterol in the skin, when it is exposed to the sun. The ultraviolet B (UVB) rays from the sun provide the energy needed for the reaction to occur (16).

If you live where there is abundant sun year round, then you can probably get all the vitamin D you need by just going outside and sunbathing a few times per week.

Young Woman Laying on Grass in The Sun

Keep in mind that you need to expose a large part of your body. If you’re only exposing your face and hands then you will produce much less vitamin D.

Also, if you stay behind glass or use sunscreen, then you will produce less vitamin D, or none at all.

This makes the advice to use sunscreen to protect against skin cancer highly questionable. It raises your risk of vitamin D deficiency, which may lead to other diseases instead (17).

If you decide to get your vitamin D from the sun, just make sure to never, ever burn.

Sunshine is healthy, but sunburns can cause premature aging of the skin and raise your risk of skin cancer (18).

If you’re staying in the sun for a long time, consider going without sunscreen for the first 10-30 minutes or so (depending on your sensitivity to sun), then apply it before you start burning.

Vitamin D gets stored in the body for a long time, weeks or months, so you may only need occasional sun to keep your blood levels adequate.

All that being said, not everyone (including myself) lives where there is sun year round. In these cases, getting vitamin D from foods or supplements becomes absolutely essential, especially during the winter months.

Bottom Line: Sunshine is the best way to get vitamin D, but sunscreen blocks its production. Many people don’t have access to sunshine for most of the year.

Very Few Foods Contain This Vitamin in Significant Amounts

Here is the vitamin D3 content of a few select foods:

Vitamin D in Foods

Although fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, swordfish, trout, tuna and sardines are decent sources, you would have to eat them almost every single day to get enough.

The only really good dietary source of vitamin D is fish liver oils, such as cod fish liver oil, containing up two to times the daily value in a single tablespoon.

Keep in mind that dairy products and cereals are often fortified with vitamin D (21).

Some rare mushrooms also contain vitamin D, and egg yolks contain small amounts.

Bottom Line: Cod fish liver oil is the single best source of vitamin D3. Fatty fish is also a good source, but you have to eat it very often to get enough.

Vitamin D Deficiency is Serious Business

Unhappy and Frustrated Doctor

Vitamin D deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies.

Some people are at greater risk than others. Although the average is around 41.6%, this percentage goes up to 82.1% in black people and 69.2% in Hispanics (4).

Elderly people are also at a much greater risk of being deficient (22).

People who have certain diseases are also very likely to be deficient. One study showed that 96% of heart attack patients were low on vitamin D (23)

Unfortunately, vitamin D deficiency is a silent epidemic. The symptoms are usually subtle, and may take years or decades to surface.

The most well known symptom of vitamin D deficiency is a disease of the bones called rickets, which is common in children in developing countries.

However, due to public health measures back in the day, they started fortifying some foods with vitamin D, which mostly eliminated rickets from Western societies (24).

Deficiency has also been linked to osteoporosis, reduced mineral density and increased risk of falls and fractures in the elderly (25).

Studies have also shown that people with low vitamin D levels have a much greater risk of heart disease, diabetes (both type 1 and type 2), cancer, dementia and autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis, to name a few (26).

Vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to a significantly increased risk of death from all causes (27).

Whether being vitamin D deficient actually contributes to these diseases, or whether people who have low vitamin D levels are just more likely to get them, is not as clear.

Bottom Line: Vitamin D deficiency is a well known cause of a bone disease called rickets in children. However, deficiency has also been linked to many other health problems, as well as reduced life expectancy.

Health Benefits of Getting Plenty of Vitamin D

Fish Oil Capsules

Vitamin D has received considerable mainstream attention in recent years and decades.

Research on it has gotten lots of funding, and hundreds of studies have been done.

Here are some potential benefits of getting plenty of vitamin D:

  • Osteoporosis, falls and fractures: Higher doses of vitamin D can help prevent osteoporosis, falls and fractures in the elderly (30).
  • Strength: Vitamin D supplementation can increase physical strength, in both upper and lower limbs (31).
  • Cancer: Vitamin D may help prevent cancer. One study showed that 1100 IU per day, along with calcium, reduced cancer risk by 60% (32).
  • Depression: Studies have shown vitamin D supplementation to cause mild reduction in symptoms in people with clinical depression (34).
  • Type 1 diabetes: One study in infants found that 2000 IU of vitamin D per day reduced the risk of type 1 diabetes by 78% (35).
  • Mortality: Some studies have shown that vitamin D supplementation reduces people’s risk of dying during the study periods, indicating that it may help you live longer (36).
  • Insomnia: (A note from Nutrition Breakthroughs): Vitamin D is a proven insomnia remedy.  The results of a clinical trial of vitamin D supplementation was published in a recent issue of the journal “Medical Hypothesis”.  The researchers followed 1500 patients over a 2 year period and 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 the type of sleep disorder they were experiencing. (end of the note from Nutrition Breakthroughs).

This is actually just the tip of the iceberg.

Low vitamin D levels have been linked to all sorts of diseases, and supplementation has been shown to have numerous other benefits.

However, keep in mind that much of this is not definitely proven. According to a recent 2014 review, more evidence is needed to confirm many of these benefits (38).

Bottom Line: Taking vitamin D supplements has been shown to have numerous benefits related to cancer, bone health, mental health and autoimmune diseases, to name a few.

How Much Should You Take?

The only way to know if you are deficient, and whether you need to take a supplement, is by having your blood levels measured.

Woman Holding Bottle of Oil-Filled Capsules

Your doctor will measure the storage form, calcidiol or 25(OH)D. Anything under 12 ng/mL is considered deficient, and anything above 20 ng/mL is considered adequate. (Note: Some medical tests report results in nanograms (ng) per millilitre (mL). A nanogram is one-billionth of a gram. A gram is about 1/30 of an ounce. A millilitre measures fluid volume equal to 1/1000 litre).

The RDA for vitamin D in the US is as follows (39):

  • 400 IU (10 mcg): Infants, 0-12 months.
  • 600 IU (15 mcg): Children and adults, 1-70 years of age.
  • 800 IU (20 mcg): Elderly and pregnant or lactating women.

Although the official cutoff point for vitamin D deficiency is 12 ng/mL, many health experts believe that people should aim for blood levels higher than 30 ng/mL for optimal health and disease prevention (40).

Additionally, many believe that the recommended intake is way too low, and that people need much more to reach optimal blood levels of the vitamin (41).

According to the Institute of Medicine, the safe upper limit is 4.000 IU (42).

For people who are at risk of deficiency, this may be a good amount to aim for. Sometimes doctors recommend taking much more than that.

Just make sure to take vitamin D3, not D2. Vitamin D3 capsules are available in most supermarkets and health food stores.

Vitamins A, K2 and Magnesium Are Important as Well

It’s important to keep in mind that nutrients usually don’t work in isolation.

Many of them depend on one another, and increased intake of one nutrient may increase your need for another.

Some researchers claim that fat-soluble vitamins work together, and that it is crucial to optimize vitamin A and vitamin K2 intake at the same time as supplementing with vitamin D3 (43).

This is especially important for vitamin K2, another fat-soluble vitamin that most people don’t get enough of (45).

Magnesium intake may also be important for the function of vitamin D. Magnesium is an important mineral that is often lacking in the modern diet (46)

What Happens if You Take Too Much?

It is actually a myth that it is easy to overdose on vitamin D.

Vitamin D toxicity is very rare, and only happens if you take insane doses for long periods of time (48).

I (Kris Gunnars) personally live where there is very little sun year-round, so I take 4000-5000 IU per day of a vitamin D3 supplement.

I’ve been doing this for many years now, and consider it to be an essential component of my personal health strategy.

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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 mineral-based sleep remedy Sleep Minerals II, containing calcium, magnesium, vitamin D and zinc.  It has been shown to be effective for sleeplessness and insomnia, as well as for heart health, restless leg syndrome, bone strength, menopause insomnia and teenage insomnia.

Doctor P. of Houston, Texas says: “I had developed sleeping problems and took two different sleep medications over the course of several weeks. When I discontinued them, the insomnia came back even worse. I literally got about 20 hours of sleep in 6 weeks time. Sleep Minerals II was just what I needed. I*ve been taking it for a couple weeks and getting many hours of sleep a night. As a doctor I would definitely avoid prescribing sleeping drugs.  I would recommend Sleep Minerals II.”

For more information visit the Sleep Minerals II page.

Article source: https://authoritynutrition.com/vitamin-d-101/

Are Eating Habits Affecting Your Sleep? from Natural News

By Helen Thomas, an independent writer who writes about the natural health benefits of food, alternative medicine and natural home remedies | Courtesy of NaturalNews.com

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Shared by Nutrition Breakthroughs,
maker of the effective calcium and magnesium based sleep aid Sleep Minerals II *********************************************

The best and worst foods to promote sleep

Let me ask you a question, when was the last time you enjoyed a really good night’s rest? For many, they may need to really think about that answer. The reason is according to the National Sleep Foundation found that almost 40 million Americans suffer from some sort of sleep disorder. In addition, lack of sleep affects women more than men. However at this time it is unclear why females experience more sleepless nights than their male counterparts.

Nonetheless, lack of sleep is a very serious issue that can lead to depression, increased stress levels, irritability, mood swings, weight gain and slowness of response time. So let’s take a closer look at what can be done to prevent you from becoming one of the 40 million sleep-deprived individuals.

The first step is the make the decision that you will avoid taking medications to get more sleep. The reason is simple, you don’t want to rely on, either physically or mentally, a drug or OTC (over the counter) medicine. Instead let’s focus on making simple eating changes to help you restore your sleep.

Avoid Certain Foods

It’s true that certain types of food can keep you awake at night. These include:

  • Alcohol
  • Coffee, pop or soda
  • Spicy foods
  • Dark chocolate
  • Fried foods (French fries, fried chicken, etc.)

These types of foods place stress on your body and when your body is stressed it can’t function properly. In addition, if your body begins to function improperly, it not only increases the stress level but the imbalance will also increase.

The foods on the above list should be consumed at least five hours before you go to bed. This gives your body enough time to absorb and then eliminate any remaining components.  Also, the consumption of spicy foods should be done either at breakfast or lunch. This will allow enough time for complete digestion. In addition, fried foods also need time to be fully digested and eliminated, too.

Foods to Consume

Here are some of the top food choices to add to your diet to help improve your sleep patterns and avoid insomnia.

  • Plain ole drinking water
  • Protein-based foods (egg, meat, etc.)
  • Greens and vegetables
  • Tart Cherry Juice

In regards to the last one, tart cherry juice, this is one drink you should enjoy on a regular cherry juice sleep basis. Not only is it a good source of water, it is a natural source of melatonin. The best way to make tart cherry juice is to mix one ounce of tart cherry juice concentrate with seven ounces of water to make one eight ounce glass. One glass provides a good amount of water. However, in addition to the water the one ounce of the concentrate is packed with almost 150 nanograms (15% of a gram) of naturally occurring melatonin.

The presence of the melatonin will help you sleep better, but it is also a powerful antioxidant that will help to fight free radicals in the body.  (Definition from Nutrition Breakthroughs: an antioxidant can protect tissues from the damage caused by oxygen in the body.  The natural processes of digestion, as well as consuming unhealthy foods and drinks, can create excess oxygen.  A free radical is an unstable molecule that attacks other molecules and plays a major role in the aging process and degenerative diseases).

So, with the diluted tart cherry juice you’ll be getting a triple dose of benefits. You’ll be getting more water into your diet. You’ll be enjoying a better night’s sleep and will fight insomnia — while also giving your body the added antioxidants to free the disease causing free-radicals.

Regarding protein, a recently published study indicated that individuals who experienced less sleep ate less protein, were overweight, and didn’t take a daily dose of vitamins and minerals. This information was compared to people with normal sleeping patterns.

Also, another study revealed that people who usually got five to six hours of sleep per night drink less water and ate more fatty foods than a normal sleeper.

Finally, a normal sleeper with the longer sleep time, consumed more protein, drank more water and was not overweight. This simply means that taking care of yourself, drinking water and watching what you eat will have a positive impact on your overall length and quality of sleep. Also, adding a glass of tart cherry juice concentrate probably can’t hurt either.

magnesium benefitsComments from Nutrition Breakthroughs: Other minerals and foods proven to help with better sleep include magnesium, calcium, potassium, walnuts, almonds, bananas, fish oils and salmon.

Eating more vegetables can also increase melatonin levels in the body.  One Japanese study tracked consumption of vegetables such as tomato, pumpkin, spinach, Japanese radish, cabbage, carrot, etc., and discovered there was 16% more melatonin in the women with the highest vegetable intakes.

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.

Article source: http://blogs.naturalnews.com/eating-habits-affecting-sleep/

Ten Proven Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

Woman Holding a Cracked CoconutCoconut 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

Girl Eating Coconut

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

Coconuts

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

Running Away From Pathogens

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

Man Drinking From Coconut

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

Open Coconut

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

Cracked Coconut

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

Cracked Coconut With Peels

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

Doctor With Thumbs Up

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

A man who needs to lose weight

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.

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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.

Article Source: https://authoritynutrition.com/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-coconut-oil/