Here’s a handy chart on the sources and health benefits of vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K. It’s simple enough for kids, but a good overview for all of us!
Vitamin A is beneficial for healthy vision, strong bones and teeth and good immunity. It is found in apricots, peaches and other orange and yellow fruits, dark leafy green vegetables, sweet potato, carrots, liver, eggs and fish.
The B vitamins actually include 8 different vitamins such as B1, B2, B3, etc. They help form our nerves and blood vessels, keep our organs healthy such as the heart and liver, and also keep our metabolism strong. B vitamins are found in grass-fed meat, organ meats, fish, yogurt, cheese, seeds, nuts, beans, lentils, peas and whole grains.
Enjoy the chart below and eat vitamin-rich foods!
This natural health news is provided to you by Nutrition Breakthroughs, maker of 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, stronger hair, better nails and more energy.
By Dr. Joseph Mercola, a physician trained in both traditional and natural medicine who provides up-to-date natural health information.
This article is shared by Nutrition Breakthroughs, maker of the effective calcium, magnesium and vitamin D based sleep aid Sleep Minerals II.
A charley horse, or muscle cramp particularly in your calf muscles, is an incredibly common condition that results in your muscles becoming tight, stiff and extremely painful. If you’re an adult, there’s a good chance you’ve had one at some point (and likely multiple points) during your lifetime.
In case you’re a trivia buff and wondering why these muscle cramps are referred to as “charley horses” (a name that’s primarily used in North America), it’s said to be a tribute to Charley “Old Hoss” Radbourne, an 1880s-era baseball pitcher who often suffered from muscle cramps during games.
Another version states the term came from a lame work horse named Charley who limped around doing various jobs around the baseball park (also in the 1880s).
Whenever a baseball player would get injured or have a cramp in the lower legs, thus limping around like Charley the horse, teammates would call the player “Charley Horse.”Regardless of the name’s origin, the pain of a charley horse is unmistakable and can be excruciating.
What Causes a Charley Horse?
According to the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, about 1 in every 3 adults is affected by muscle cramps in their lower limbs. In many cases, the pain is temporary and goes away on its own, but for some the cramps interfere with sleep, quality of life and daily activities.
In one study of more than 500 people aged 60 years and older, 31 percent reported being woken up by muscle cramps and 15 percent had cramps more than three times a month. Anyone can get a charley horse, but they’re most common in the following populations and scenarios:
At nighttime, especially in the elderly
In pregnant women
In people with neurological disease
During kidney dialysis
It’s not clear what triggers a charley horse to occur, but it is thought the cramp may be related to a rapidly firing nerve (up to 150 electrical dischargers per second), which causes the muscle to tense up, as opposed to an issue with the muscle tissue itself.
Many medications are also associated with muscle cramps, including statin cholesterol-lowering drugs, ACE inhibitors (blood pressure drugs), certain asthma drugs, diuretics and more. In addition, the following factors may also increase your risk of a charley horse:
Poor blood circulation in your legs
Mineral deficiencies, including magnesium, potassium or calcium
Is Magnesium Deficiency Causing Your Charley Horses?
By some estimates, up to 80 percent of Americans are not getting enough magnesium and may be deficient. Other research shows only about 25 percent of U.S. adults are getting the recommended daily amount of 310 to 320 milligrams (mg) for women and 400 to 420 for men.
Magnesium is often thought of primarily as a mineral for your heart and bones, but this is misleading. Researchers have now detected 3,751 magnesium-binding sites on human proteins, indicating that its role in human health and disease may have been vastly underestimated.
Further, if you suffer from charley horses, low levels of magnesium could be to blame. Magnesium is necessary for activating muscles and nerves, and a key sign of ongoing magnesium deficiency can be muscle contractions and cramps like charley horses.
Magnesium deficiency may be particularly problematic for your muscles in the presence of an overabundance of calcium. Americans in general tend to have a higher calcium-to-magnesium ratio in their diet, averaging about 3.5-to-1.
If you have too much calcium and not enough magnesium, your muscles will tend to go into spasm. According to Dr. Carolyn Dean, a medical and naturopathic doctor:
“What happens is the muscle and nerve function that magnesium is responsible for is diminished. If you don’t have enough magnesium, your muscles go into spasm.
Calcium causes muscle to contract. If you had a balance, the muscles would do their thing. They’d relax, contract and create their activity.”
This underscores the importance of eating a nutritious diet, which will naturally give you optimal amounts of the minerals and other nutrients your body needs.
Eating plenty of organic leafy green vegetables, nuts and seeds every day, and drinking fresh green vegetable juice will help keep your magnesium stores replenished. In addition, Epsom salt is a magnesium sulfate that can absorb into your body through your skin.
Soaking in a bath with Epsom salts is an excellent way to not only help prevent magnesium deficiency but also to soothe and relieve the pain of a charley horse.
Low Potassium Levels May Also Trigger a Charley Horse
Potassium is a mineral and electrolyte. (An electrolyte is a substance that produces an electrical conducting solution when dissolved in water. Electrolytes carry a charge and are essential for life. In our bodies, electrolytes include sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium).
Potassium is essential for your cells, tissues and organs to function properly. It plays a vital role in heart health, digestive and muscular function, bone health and more. One of the symptoms of low potassium levels is muscle cramps.
While potassium is found in many foods commonly consumed in the U.S. — including fruits, vegetables, dairy products, salmon, sardines and nuts — only 2 percent of U.S. adults get the recommended daily amount of 4,700 mg.
This is especially problematic because potassium is a nutrient that needs to be kept in proper balance with sodium in your blood. If you consume too much sodium, which is common if you eat a lot of processed foods, you’ll have an increased need for potassium.
Others who are at particular risk of low potassium, or hypokalemia, are those with chronic malabsorption syndromes, such as Crohn’s disease, or those taking heart medicine (particularly loop diuretics). However, anyone who eats a poor diet — an excess of processed foods and not enough fresh, whole foods — is potentially at risk of inadequate potassium levels and related muscle cramps.
Green vegetable juicing is an excellent way to ensure you’re getting enough nutrients for optimal health, including about 300 mg to 400 mg of potassium per cup. Some additional rich sources of potassium are:
Lima beans (955 mg/cup)
Winter squash (896 mg/cup)
Cooked spinach (839 mg/cup)
Avocado (500 mg per medium)
Too Little Calcium May Trigger Muscle Cramps
While too much calcium in the absence of magnesium can be problematic for muscle cramps, so too can a calcium deficiency. Low blood levels of calcium (as well as magnesium) may increase the excitability of nerve endings and the muscles they stimulate.
This may be a trigger for muscle cramps, especially in the elderly and during pregnancy. If you’re deficient in vitamin D, meanwhile, your body may have inadequate calcium absorption, again predisposing you to muscle cramps.
It’s very important to maintain a proper balance of calcium, magnesium, vitamin D and also vitamin K2, as these four nutrients perform an intricate dance together, with one supporting the other. If you’re calcium deficient, your best bet is to increase consumption of foods high in calcium before opting for a supplement. This is because many high-calcium foods also contain naturally high amounts of vitamin K2; nature cleverly gives us these two nutrients in combination, so they work optimally.
Good sources of calcium include nuts, seeds and raw, organic, grass-fed dairy especially cheeses, and vegetables, although veggies aren’t high in vitamin K2. One exception is fermented vegetables where a starter culture specifically designed to produce ample amounts of vitamin K2 was used.
Homemade bone broth is another excellent source. Simply simmer leftover bones over low heat for an entire day to extract the calcium from the bones. You can use this broth for soups and stews or drink it straight.
What to Do If You Get a Charley Horse
A charley horse often occurs without notice, sometimes waking you up from sound sleep. If you’re lying down when the pain starts, stand up and put some weight on your foot. Walking around will help to increase blood circulation to your muscles and possibly help to soothe and relax the cramp.
You can also try a simple stretch. If the cramp is in your calf in the back of your lower leg, pull your toes and foot upward until you feel a stretch in the back of your leg. You can also do this sitting down with your legs outstretched. Put a towel around your feet and gently pull both ends toward you until you feel a stretch.
As mentioned, soaking in an Epsom salt bath may also help to relieve pain (and possibly help with prevention). Massaging the area and applying a heat pack, which will increase blood flow to the area, promoting healing and soothing pain, may also help.
Staying well-hydrated is also important for muscle cramp prevention. You’ll want to drink enough pure filtered water so that your urine is pale yellow in color. In addition, performing regular stretching exercises on your legs may help reduce your risk of a charley horse.
———————————- Comment from Nutrition Breakthroughs: Interestingly, the same mineral deficiencies that can cause charley horses are the same ones that can cause sleeplessness and insomnia. Studies show that calcium and magnesium are effective natural sleep aids. Highly absorbable forms of these minerals are featured in the Sleep Minerals II softgels. For more information visit the Sleep Minerals II page.
An article from the science news website known as Eureka Alert has shared the results of a study on how calcium extends lifespans in women.
Here’s the news article:
Calcium supplements linked to longer lifespans in women – Study finds calcium-rich diet, supplements provide equal benefits
Chevy Chase, Maryland — Taking a calcium supplement of up to 1,000 mg per day can help women live longer, according to a recent study accepted for publication in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. (A note from the blog author Nutrition Breakthroughs: “endocrinology” refers to the actions of hormones in the body. Interestingly, in this study, the benefits of longer lifespans were seen when the calcium came from any source, including dairy foods, non-dairy foods or supplements. See a list of calcium-rich foods below).
Calcium, an essential nutrient for bone health, is commonly found in dairy products as well as vitamins. Although calcium is an essential nutrient for bone health, past studies have linked calcium supplements to heart disease risk. Researchers analyzing data from the large-scale Canadian Multicentre Osteoporosis Study sought to clarify this issue and found moderate doses of calcium supplements had a beneficial effect in women.
“Our study found daily use of calcium supplements was associated with a lower risk of death among women,” said the study’s lead author, David Goltzman, MD, of McGill University in Montreal, Canada. “The benefit was seen for women who took doses of up to 1,000 mg per day, regardless of whether the supplement contained vitamin D.”
The study monitored the health of 9,033 Canadians (over a 12-year period), between 1995 and 2007. During that period, 1,160 participants died. Although the data showed women who took calcium supplements had a lower mortality (death) risk, there was no statistical benefit for men. The study found no conclusive evidence that vitamin D had an impact on mortality.
“Higher amounts of calcium were potentially linked to longer lifespans in women, regardless of the source of the calcium,” Dr. Goltzman said. “That is, the same benefits were seen when the calcium came from dairy foods, non-dairy foods or supplements.”
From the blog author Nutrition Breakthroughs: Some of the best food sources of calcium include kale, collard greens, yogurt, cheese, sardines with bones, canned salmon with bones, broccoli, okra, almonds, figs, navy beans, sweet potatoes and spinach.
This natural health news is provided by Nutrition Breakthroughs, maker of Sleep Minerals II — the effective natural sleep aid with highly absorbable forms of calcium, magnesium, zinc and vitamin D.
Inflammation comes into play in our bodies when bacteria, viruses, damaged cells or unhealthy substances are recognized and attacked by our immune system. Without immunity and inflammation, healing would not take place.
This system defends our health and is made up of white blood cells, “lymphocyte cells”, “natural killer cells” and others – many of which originate in the bone marrow and then travel in the blood to organs and tissues.
In a healthy body, inflammation smooths the healing process but for some people, the body can become confused and begin to mount a defense against its own tissues. This can lead to arthritis, celiac disease, irritable bowel disease and others. In fact, inflammation has been shown to be at the root of the majority of health conditions we face such as heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, an inflammatory bowel and more.
Eating naturally anti-inflammatory foods can reduce the symptoms of inflammation and disease and help to repair and heal the body. Here are the top three food-based inflammation fighters.
Vitamin D Foods
Vitamin D has been the subject of many studies for its potent anti-inflammation properties. The foods highest in vitamin D include sardines, salmon, mackerel, herring, maitake mushrooms, cod liver oil, and organic vitamin D fortified milk and yogurt.
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 is common in autoimmune disease, where the body’s immune system attacks healthy cells by mistake.
Vitamin D has also been studied for its benefits for sleeplessness and insomnia. The results of a vitamin D study was published in a recent issue of the journal “Medical Hypothesis”. The researchers followed 1500 patients over a 2 year period. A consistent level of vitamin D was maintained in their blood over many months.
This produced normal sleep in most of the participants, regardless of their type of sleep disorder, which suggests that many types of insomnia may share the same cause. During the research, the authors discovered the presence of high concentrations of vitamin D “receiving sites” or “receptors” in those areas of the brain that are related to the onset and maintenance of sleep.
A recent research study in the journal “Nutrients” has a lot of good things to say about the benefits of walnuts. The authors say: “Walnuts could be predicted to be more anti-inflammatory than other nuts for two reasons. First, walnuts are the only nuts that contain substantial amounts of ALA (alpha-linolenic acid is a kind of omega-3 fatty acid found in plants).
ALA is described as one of the more anti-inflammatory fatty acids. And second, walnuts are also particularly rich in ellagic acid (a natural plant chemical found in fruits and vegetables), which has shown potent anti-inflammatory properties in experimental studies.”
Eating a handful of walnuts before bedtime may also be a good way to soothe sleeplessness and insomnia due to the melatonin they contain. Russel Reiter, Ph.D., a professor of cellular biology at the University of Texas says: “Relatively few foods have been examined for their melatonin content. Our studies demonstrate that walnuts contain melatonin, that it is absorbed when it is eaten, and that it improves our ability to resist the stress caused by toxic molecules. Walnuts also contain large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to inhibit certain types of cancer and to keep the heart healthy.”
Oleic acid is the main fatty acid found in olive oil. This substance has been shown to greatly reduce levels of inflammation in the body. A study from the “Current Pharmaceutical Design” journal writes that “Chronic inflammation is a critical factor in the development of many inflammatory disease states including cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, degenerative joint diseases and neurodegenerative diseases. Popular methods to deal with inflammation and its associated symptoms involve the use of non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, however the use of these drugs are associated with severe side effects.”
”Therefore, investigations concerned with natural methods of inflammatory control are warranted. A traditional Mediterranean diet has been shown to confer some protection against chronic diseases through the reduction of pro-inflammatory foods and this has been partially attributed to the high intake of virgin olive oil in this diet. Virgin olive oil contains numerous compounds that exert potent anti-inflammatory actions.”
The anti-inflammatory effects of olive oil also extend to brain health and it’s known to help with depression and insomnia. Olive oil can help balance hormones and keep the neurotransmitters in the brain functioning well.
Other top anti-inflammation foods include broccoli, green leafy vegetables, blueberries, bok choi, pineapple, coconut oil, turmeric, ginger, wild salmon, beets, garlic, oysters, yogurt and other probiotic dairy foods. Enjoy a wide variety of them to reduce inflammation, increase overall health, and ensure a good, sound sleep.
This natural health news is provided by Nutrition Breakthroughs, a publisher of nutrition articles and supplier of 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.
Ahhh Chooooooo! Twenty percent of Americans suffer from chronic allergies or hay fever and would like to benefit from natural remedies for the sneezing, runny nose, teary eyes and scratchy throat.
Allergies are the result of the immune system’s overreaction to a normally harmless substance, such as pollen, molds, animal hair or indoor dust mites.
Specifically, an allergy occurs when the immune system develops a sensitivity and attacks what it considers to be an invader. When the substance enters the body, the body produces many antibodies in the blood to attack it. The antibodies then bind to a certain kind of white blood cell and this binding causes the release of histamine, a chemical in the body which causes the uncomfortable, yet familiar allergy symptoms.
Remedies that have been proven useful for allergies include Nettle Leaf, Vitamin C, Quercetin, and air ionizers. Quercetin belongs to a class of water-soluble plant coloring agents called bioflavonoids. Bioflavonoids are found in many fruits and they aid in the absorption and metabolism of ascorbic acid (Vitamin C).
Quercetin is often recommended as a treatment for allergies and asthma. Several test tube studies have found it beneficial in stopping the release of allergenic substances and histamine in the body (Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology).
A study of the herb nettle leaf was published in the journal “Planta Medica”. In this study, 58% of the people experienced less symptoms of hay fever, including sneezing and itchy eyes, after taking doses of nettles for one week. Nettle leaf is high in vitamin C and trace minerals and is a rich source of chlorophyll.
Some people with allergies have experienced improvement in their symptoms after taking 1–2 grams of vitamin C per day (1,000 to 2,000 milligrams). A buffered form of vitamin C such as calcium ascorbate may work better for allergy or asthma sufferers than regular vitamin C (per a study in American Journal of Digestive Diseases).
One group of researchers proved that vitamin C reduces the tendency of the lung’s bronchial passages to go into spasm (Annals of Allergy), and another study in China showed that people with more vitamin C in their diet had greater lung volume — meaning they could exhale more air than those eating less of the vitamin.
Negative ion therapy can be a wonderful relief to allergy sufferers. The air we breathe contains molecules with electrical charges, both positive and negative. These minute electrified particles called ions, affect the environment in which we live and breathe. Researchers have shown that most of us who live, work and travel in closed spaces suffer some degree of negative ion starvation or the effects of too many positive ions.
Some allergy-provoking substances, such as dust and pollen, have a positive electrical charge. Negative ions appear to counteract the allergenic actions of these positively charged ions on respiratory tissues and people have experienced considerable relief from respiratory allergies (from the Book: The Ion Effect). A plug-in negative ion generator can work wonders in enclosed spaces.
Allergy symptoms can be greatly reduced with the right combination of herbs, vitamins, healthy food, and healthy air.
This health news is provided by http://NutritionBreakthroughs. Since 2001 Nutrition Breakthroughs has been providing natural health articles and effective natural remedies. Their mission is to provide nutritional supplements that get results and therefore help people to avoid drugs and their side effects.
Since 2009, their natural sleep remedy Sleep Minerals II has been keeping that promise – with highly absorbable calcium, magnesium, vitamin D and zinc. It soothes even the worst insomnia and helps everyone from teenagers, to menopausal women, to seniors to get a good night’s sleep.
K. C. of Homer, New York says: “I am writing to you a true believer of Sleep Minerals II. I never write product reviews…. good or bad. I had originally ordered your sleep minerals product and thought I would give it a try. Well I had given it to the entire family. We ran out of it and I really thought it wasn’t working. I quickly realized within a couple nights that without them the entire household was not falling asleep as easily as they were before! So I immediately ordered more. I will not let that happen again.”
To learn more about Sleep Minerals II, click here.
A 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.
Sleep is such valuable and vital part of life and health. Almost six out of ten Americans report having sleeplessness and insomnia at least a few nights a week, according to the National Sleep Foundation. More and more research is being done that connects the benefits of good sleep to greater well-being, lower disease rates, more happiness, sharper mental capabilities and less fatigue.
A newly completed joint study from the Division of Sleep Disorders at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston has found that 204 college students have been benefited greatly by getting regular, good sleep. These students, who were between the ages of 18 and 25, participated in a 30-day study that measured their sleeping times and duration.
When the students made the transition from irregular sleep patterns to regular sleep during the week, there were measurable, significant improvements in their levels of evening and morning happiness, a higher level of healthiness and better calmness and composure during the week. There was even increased well-being on the day following the week of improved sleep.
The lead author, Akane Sano, PhD, who is a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, said that: “Irregular sleep-wake schedules are common in our modern society. Our results indicate the importance of sleep regularity, in addition to sleep duration, and that regular sleep is associated with improved well-being.”
In another interesting study that was published by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, professional baseball players increased their hours of sleep over a five night period and then demonstrated significant improvements in mental processing speed. In addition, their tension, fatigue and sleepiness during the day, all decreased by over one-third.
Cheri D. Mah, lead researcher at the University of California San Francisco Human Performance Center said: “Our study indicates that short-term sleep extension of one additional hour for five days resulted in demonstrated benefits for the visual search abilities of athletes, as well as improvement in their quick response. Fatigue over a season can negatively impact performance and sleep extension during periods of high training volumes may be a practical recovery strategy.”
For a nutritional approach to insomnia, the minerals calcium and magnesium have been shown to be effective sleep remedies that can increase the quality of life. In a study from the University of Medical Sciences in Iran, research was done with 46 adults who were experiencing insomnia. Taking magnesium oxide tablets resulted in significant increases in sleep time and reduced the cortisol levels in their bodies, which is a stress hormone that can keep people awake.
In another research study from the Human Nutrition Research Center of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, scientists found that a high magnesium diet is associated with deeper, less interrupted sleep. Foods high in magnesium include green leafy vegetables, black beans, pumpkin seeds, almonds, avocados, figs, bananas, brown rice, and nuts and seeds.
One supplement with highly absorbable forms of magnesium and calcium is Sleep Minerals II from Nutrition Breakthroughs. These are the most well researched minerals for insomnia and waking during the night, as well as for heart health, aches and pains, bone strength and menopause insomnia. Sleep Minerals II includes vitamin D and zinc and is delivered in a softgel form with healthy carrier oils, making it more quickly absorbable than tablets or capsules. This provides a deeper, longer-lasting sleep.
L.R.C. of Massachusetts says: “I had become dependent on sleeping drugs and couldn’t sleep without them. Now I take the Sleep Minerals before bed and I can sleep through the night without drugs. I’m also able to easily fall back to sleep if I do have to get up. Another benefit is it helps alleviate my chronic fatigue and aches and pains.”
The benefits of achieving better sleep are appearing in countless research studies and the energy invested in obtaining it is well worth the effort. For more information, visit the Sleep Minerals II page.
By Kris Gunnars, CEO and Founder of Authority Nutrition, BSc (Bachelor’s Degree in Medicine)
Shared by Nutrition Breakthroughs,
maker of Sleep Minerals II, the effective natural sleep aid with
calcium, magnesium and vitamin D **************************************
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?
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.
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:
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
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
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.
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.
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.”
Chamomile flowers are a member of the daisy family with their bright gold cones shining in the center of white petals.
With more than one million cups of chamomile tea consumed every day and supplements of chamomile capsules, liquid extracts, ointments, and essential oils in wide use, chamomile is one of the most highly used and research-proven medicinal plants. It has been studied for use with insomnia, heart conditions, colds, inflammation, skin eczema, upset stomach, osteoporosis, anxiety, sore throat, wound healing and more.
Chamomile for Sleep and Insomnia
Chamomile has long been used as a natural sleep aid and insomnia remedy. The powerful oils contained in its flowers provide a calming effect for sleeplessness, nervousness and anxiety. In one study, heart patients were given chamomile tea and then fell into a deep sleep. In another study with animals done in Japan, relaxation was increased and the time needed to fall asleep was significantly reduced. In an 8-week study of people with anxiety, chamomile was shown to greatly reduce symptoms and increase well-being.
Stomach Conditions Helped by Chamomile
Chamomile is one of the main “go to” herbs for digestive disorders like upset stomach, ulcers, diarrhea and gas. It helps to relax muscle contractions, particularly in the smooth muscles that make up the intestines. In one journal study from Switzerland, the herbal combination of iberis (an herb in the cabbage family), peppermint and chamomile were shown to be effective in the treatment of stomach indigestion, irritation and inflammation.
Eczema and Skin Conditions
Inflammation of the skin is widely treated and remedied by topical chamomile preparations. It has the ability to penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin and help with eczema and other skin inflammations. In a European medical journal, a cream with chamomile extract was tested against a hydrocortisone cream. After a 2-week treatment, the chamomile cream showed a mild superiority in effectiveness over hydrocortisone.
Osteoporosis and Bone Health
In the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, chamomile extract was studied for its ability to prevent the bone loss that can occur as people age. Chamomile demonstrated the ability to help mineralize bone cells and showed an anti-estrogenic quality. The researchers noted that this may be due to chamomile having a quality as a possible regulator of excess estrogen in the body.
Calcium and Chamomile – A Winning Duo
Calcium is also directly related to our good sleep. In one study, called “The Nutritional Relationships of Magnesium”, the author notes that the type of insomnia associated with a calcium deficiency causes difficulty with falling asleep. This same study says that “Muscle cramps associated with a calcium deficiency often occur at night and without exertion.”
In another 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 when most dreaming occurs. This study discovered that disturbances in sleep, especially the absence of REM deep sleep or disturbed REM sleep, are related to a calcium deficiency.
Best Minerals for Sleep
One natural insomnia remedy showing good results is Sleep Minerals II from Nutrition Breakthroughs. This sleep aid contains powerful forms of calcium and magnesium, the best known minerals for relaxation and sleep, as well as for restless leg syndrome, stomach health, teenage insomnia and menopause insomnia. The ingredients include vitamin D and zinc and are formulated in a softgel with healthy oils, making them more quickly absorbable than tablets or capsules and providing a deeper, longer-lasting sleep.
Kimberly B. of Troy, Michigan says: “I have been taking Sleep Minerals II for about a month now. I have tried everything out there and this supplement is amazing. I have suffered with insomnia for 2 1/2 years. I have also had restless leg syndrome my entire life and this is the first relief I’ve ever had…gone for a month now.”
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.”
Anyone who has a strong allergy to plants like daisies or ragweed (with its tiny green flowers) should start with a very small amount of chamomile, whether using it as a tea, supplement or skin ointment. Most people can gain benefits from chamomile without any reactions. It is one of nature’s most potent herbs and can help with calming insomnia, anxiety, muscle spasms, PMS, skin inflammations, stomach disorders, hemorrhoids, diarrhea, arthritis and more.
As a first line of defense against sleeplessness and insomnia, chamomile and calcium are good bets. Coming from the worlds of herbal and mineral sleep aids, they are normally taken safely without addictive qualities or side effects.
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.
The link between what we eat and how we sleep is closely related, especially when it comes to consuming healthy fats.
In an article from the journal “Endocrinology – An Integrated Approach” (endocrinology deals with the glands and hormones), the author writes that all hormones are made from cholesterol. This includes estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, adrenal gland hormones, vitamin D, and the sleep hormone melatonin.
Eating healthy fats with our meals can play a vital role in helping us sleep better and achieve greater health, as these provide the basic building blocks for cholesterol production and hormones. The best fats to eat are nutrient rich foods like eggs, natural butter, salmon, sardines, shrimp, cod liver oil, avocados and coconut oil.
Dr. Joseph Mercola, a physician trained in both traditional and natural medicine who provides up-to-date natural health information says: “If you’re confused about cholesterol, it’s not your fault. Cholesterol has been a highly publicized scapegoat for causing heart disease for decades, and many have diligently cut all cholesterol-rich foods (which are often also nutrient-richfoods) from their diets as a result.”
For good heart health, Dr. Mercola says to: “Replace harmful vegetable oils and synthetic hydrogenated fats such as margarine with healthy fats, including olive oil, butter, avocado, pastured eggs and coconut oil (remember olive oil should be used cold only — use coconut oil for cooking and baking).”
Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, M.D., says: “Hormones accomplish a myriad of functions in the body, from regulation of our metabolism, to energy production, mineral assimilation, brain, muscle, and bone formation, to behavior, emotion and reproduction….People whose bodies are unable to produce enough cholesterol do need to have plenty of foods rich in cholesterol in order to provide their organs with this essential-to-life substance.”
Milk is well-known for its positive effects on sleep, and dairy foods contain cholesterol, however some people are not able to digest dairy well and are better able to assimilate fermented dairy foods. Milk also has the benefit of containing calcium, which has been found in studies to soothe insomnia.
In one study from the European Journal of Clinical Neurology, researchers tested the use of milk that was fermented with yogurt cultures for its effect on sleep quality. They discovered that there was a significant improvement in the time needed to fall asleep, as well as a reduced number of night time awakenings for the participants who drank the fermented milk daily. No significant changes in sleep were observed for the placebo group.
Regarding the use of minerals for better sleep, one study called “The Nutritional Relationships of Magnesium”, notes that the type of insomnia associated with a calcium deficiency causes difficulty with falling asleep. The classical sign of magnesium deficiency is insomnia characterized by falling asleep easily, but awakening frequently throughout the night, with individuals finding themselves tired even after several hours of sleep.
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 as magnesium. The original research on this recommended ratio appeared in 1935 in the Journal of Physiological Reviews.
In addition, a softgel form containing healthy carrier oils mixed with the minerals is more digestible than tablets or capsules and provides a deeper, longer-lasting sleep. One popular formula that has these qualities is Sleep Minerals II from Nutrition Breakthroughs. Sleep Minerals II contains highly absorbable forms of the best minerals for relaxation: calcium and magnesium, combined with vitamin d, zinc, and heart-healthy rice bran oil in a softgel.
Kimberly B. of Troy, Michigan says: “I have been taking Sleep Minerals II for about a month now. I have tried everything out there and this supplement is amazing. I have suffered with insomnia for 2 1/2 years. I have also had restless leg syndrome my entire life and this is the first relief I’ve ever had…gone for a month now.”
In summary, eating good healthy fats and also taking enough sleep-inducing minerals, can be a good combination for achieving better sleep.