Wouldn’t it be great if there were a natural plant-based sweetener with zero calories that actually improved our health?
Many people would prefer to avoid eating a lot of white sugar as it affects everything from weight, to teeth, to immunity, to the health of our organs.
Although in the world of sugar substitutes, many of the options are artificial sweeteners made in the laboratory such as Equal (aspartame), Splenda (sucralose) and SweetNLow (saccharin – which is a coal tar derivative).
A recent study published in a medical journal that writes about metabolism reported that diet soda drinkers suffer with the same health problems as those who opt for regular sugared soda, including weight gain, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
At the same time that studies are discovering more and more health problems are from consuming artificial sweeteners, one natural option – the Stevia plant – is collecting positive research outcomes for stevia health benefits. It’s a South American plant from the same family that includes chrysanthemums and sunflowers. Honey is also natural, but it contains very concentrated sugars that can cause cells to store fat.
Stevioside is the natural extract from stevia leaves that gives it its sweetness. Stevia extract can taste 200 to 300 times sweeter than sugar, with one teaspoon equaling a whole cup of sugar. Very small amounts go a long way. One good thing is that Stevia is not absorbed well into the stomach and when it passes through the body, there is no accumulation of it.
The cells of the pancreas receive a healing effect from stevia. A study in the journal “Metabolism” found that stevioside reduced blood sugar levels after meals in type 2 diabetic patients. Regarding high blood pressure, one study in a British medical journal gave participants with high blood pressure stevia capsules for a year. The researchers concluded it is a well tolerated and an effective alternative therapy.
In a test tube study from “Antiviral Research” stevia was shown to be an effective antiviral substance that worked as a blockade to prevent a virus from attaching to other cells. Other stevia health benefits include inhibiting the growth of oral bacteria, which makes it a good ingredient for mouthwashes, toothpastes and bleeding gums.
Stevia is available as fresh or dried leaves, as a powdered extract or as drops. Its health benefits are best realized when the whole plant is used to make the extract. Truvia (made by Coca-Cola) and PureVia (made by PepsiCo) contain only portions of the active ingredients, not the entire plant. So look for stevia or stevioside amounts when purchasing this natural sweetener.
This news is brought to you by Nutrition Breakthroughs, providing natural health articles and effective natural remedies since 2002. Learn more about the Sleep Minerals II and Joints and More products made by Nutrition Breakthroughs.
What health benefits does stevia have?
In a test tube study from the journal “Antiviral Research”, stevia was shown to be an effective antiviral substance that worked as a blockade to prevent a virus from attaching to other cells. The cells of the pancreas receive a healing effect from stevia. A study in the journal “Metabolism” found that stevioside reduced blood sugar levels after meals in type 2 diabetic patients.
Is stevia good for you or bad for you?
Stevia is a natural, plant-based sweetener that may actually be good for our health. It is collecting positive research outcomes for conditions like high blood sugar and high blood pressure. It can also act as an effective antiviral and antibacterial substance.
Millions of people worldwide would like to have stronger, longer, more brilliant looking hair and nails. There are very few nutritional supplements supported by research studies showing they help hair growth and nail strength, but MSM for hair growth is one of them.
According to the book “The Miracle of MSM” by doctors Jacob and Lawrence, “MSM is one-third sulfur and sulfur has the reputation for being nature’s ‘beauty mineral’ for keeping the hair healthy and the complexion youthful.”
MSM sulfur (methyl-sulphonyl-methane) is a white, odorless, water-soluble element found in nature and in foods such as milk, fresh fruits, vegetables, seafood and meat. It is especially high in eggs, onions, garlic, asparagus and broccoli. Sulfur has a long tradition of healing and throughout history, doctors have prescribed mineral hot springs rich in sulfur to their ill patients. Food processing methods such as heating, washing and freezing, all deplete MSM in foods, making daily replenishment beneficial.
While MSM is best known for its arthritis and pain relieving benefits, it also helps to form keratin, which is the main protein found in hair, nails and skin. The ‘beauty mineral’ study was published in Total Health Magazine and was named: “MSM – Increased Hair Growth, Nail Length and Nail Thickness”. It was conducted by Ronald M. Lawrence, M.D.
Dr. Lawrence says: “We completed a placebo-controlled trial over the course of six weeks showing that 100 percent of the subjects on MSM had increased hair growth, compared to the group on placebo. 30 percent of the subjects on MSM showed improvement in hair brilliance, while none of the subjects on placebo showed such an improvement.”
The hair trial involved a total of 21 patients; 16 women and 5 men. Data was collected by certified cosmetologists under the doctor’s direction. The trial measurements included hair length, brilliance, and diameter of the individual hair shafts using industry standard measurement scales. All subjects that supplemented with MSM were impressed with the changes in the health and appearance of their hair. The cosmetologists could literally see which participants had taken MSM for hair growth by the appearance of their hair alone after six weeks of use.
A second placebo-controlled trial, conducted simultaneously, showed that 50 percent of the subjects on MSM showed increased their nail length, nail strength, and nail thickness compared to the group on placebo. Dr. Lawrence says: ”Based on the results of the two trials, we concluded that oral supplementation with MSM is a valuable addition to hair and nail growth. Hair and nail health was significantly improved in a short term of six weeks.”
One example of a natural remedy that contains all the benefits of MSM is Joints and More from Nutrition Breakthroughs. Joints and More is made from “organic” sulfur (meaning coming from living things) and is a 99% pure, simple molecule, indistinguishable from a molecule of MSM found in nature.
Stanley Jacob, M.D. the co-discoverer and ‘Father of MSM’ says: “MSM is a surprising supplement. When you start taking it, you may notice a number of good things happening in your life in addition to natural pain relief, natural joint relief, and allergy relief – such as more energy, cosmetic benefits such as softer skin, thicker hair and stronger nails; as well as decreased scar tissue and relief of constipation.”
Yes it can. The ‘beauty mineral’ study was published in Total Health Magazine and was named: “MSM – Increased Hair Growth, Nail Length and Nail Thickness”. It was conducted by Ronald M. Lawrence, M.D. At the end of six weeks of use, the cosmetologists could literally see which participants had taken MSM for hair growth by the appearance of their hair alone.
MSM for hair growth how much to take?
Stanley M. Jacob, M.D. says “It’s best to take MSM during or after meals. Over the years, thousands of patients have experienced healing benefits by taking 2,000 to 8,000 milligrams of MSM a day.” (This would be 2 to 8 capsules containing 1,000 mg. each). Start slowly by taking 1 capsule per day and increase as your tolerance allows. If you overdo it, you may develop stomach discomfort or more frequent, looser stools. Just cut back if this happens. Avoid taking MSM in the evening as it can increase one’s energy.
Chamomile flowers are a member of the daisy family, with their bright gold cones that shine in the center of white petals. There are many proven chamomile tea benefits for health.
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 fell into a deep sleep. From another study with animals that was done in Japan, calmness and relaxation were increased and the time needed to fall asleep was significantly reduced. Another study showed that chamomile greatly reduces anxiety and increases 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, Bone Health and Chamomile
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: Calcium and Magnesium
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.”
Summary for Chamomile and Calcium
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.
Why does chamomile make you sleepy?
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 fell into a deep sleep.
What are the health benefits of chamomile?
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.
Why is chamomile tea good for you?
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. Chamomile also has the ability to help mineralize bone cells and strengthen bones.
Which foods help you sleep better? The Nutrition Breakthroughs Blog has provided several articles on the best sleep inducing foods, and those that follow below are the top five most popular articles of all time.
This article features a chart that summarizes research studies on foods that are high in the natural sleep hormone known as melatonin. What foods are high in melatonin? Find out more about walnuts, cherries, almonds and more. Also included in this article are good sources of potassium, calcium and magnesium – all proven to help remedy insomnia.
Melatonin levels start rising in the evening and go up to a peak level in the early hours of the morning, perhaps around 2:00 or 3:00 a.m, and then they reduce.
This may partially explain why some people can sleep fine for a few hours and then suddenly find themselves wide awake and unable to go back to sleep.
Do bananas help you sleep? Learn more about the research study that shows how tropical fruits such as bananas and pineapples increase melatonin in the body. It was published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry.
This article focuses on articles from research journals that have studied which foods are best for inducing sleep, and it also has some doctor recommendations on good bedtime snacks.
This collection of natural health articles on sleep helping foods is brought to you 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.
Which foods help you sleep better?
Studies have shown that certain foods are high in melatonin and magnesium and can help with a better night’s sleep. These include bananas, almonds, walnuts and tart cherries or their juice. Magnesium rich foods include yogurt, avocado, figs, nut butter, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.
What foods are high in melatonin?
Learn more about walnuts, tart cherries, almonds, bananas and more. Also included in this article are good food sources of potassium, calcium and magnesium – all proven to help remedy insomnia.
Do bananas help you sleep?
Bananas are very high in potassium and a deficiency of potassium can interfere with restful sleep. Eating a banana before bedtime may help reduce nighttime awakenings and provide a better, deeper night’s sleep. Potassium is found abundantly in fresh vegetables and fruits, so these are a good focus as opposed to eating a lot of processed or packaged foods containing high salt.
What foods are sleep inducing?
Studies have shown that the following foods and beverages are sleep inducing: Bananas, tart cherries, tart cherry juice, almonds, walnuts, yogurt, salmon, pumpkin seeds, pineapple, nut butter, turkey, kiwi fruit and warm milk. Soothing teas shown to help sleep include chamomile, lavender, lemon balm and passionflower.
By Dr. Joseph Mercola, a physician trained in both traditional and natural medicine who provides up-to-date natural health information
Shared by Nutrition Breakthroughs,
maker of the effective calcium and magnesium based sleep aid Sleep Minerals II
*************************************** While the importance of vitamin D has become more fully appreciated, another vitamin that is just as important as vitamin D, vitamin K2, needs wider recognition. It’s a fat-soluble vitamin most well known for its role in blood clotting.
However, there are two primary kinds of vitamin K, and they serve very different functions. Vitamin K1 is the primary form of vitamin K responsible for blood clotting, whereas vitamin K2 is essential for bone strength, the health of arteries and blood vessels, and plays a role in other biological processes as well, including tissue renewal and cell growth.
In the 2014 paper, “Vitamin K: An old vitamin in a new perspective,” vitamin D expert Dr. Michael Holick and co-authors review the history of vitamin K and its many benefits, including its significance for skeletal and cardiovascular health. They also discuss important drug interactions.
Vitamins K1 and K2 are Not Interchangeable
The difference between vitamins K1 and K2 was first established in the Rotterdam Study, published in 2004. A variety of foods were measured for vitamin K content, and vitamin K1 was found to be present in high amounts in green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, broccoli, and cabbage.
Vitamin K2, on the other hand, is only present in fermented foods. It’s produced by certain bacteria during the fermentation process. Interestingly, while the K1 in vegetables is poorly absorbed, virtually all of the K2 in fermented foods is readily available to your body.
Examples of foods high in vitamin K2 include raw dairy products such as certain cheeses, raw butter, and kefir, as well as natto (a fermented soy product) and fermented vegetables like sauerkraut.
However, not every strain of bacteria makes K2, so not all fermented foods will contain it. For example, pasteurized dairy and products from confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are NOT high in K2 and should be avoided. Only grass-fed animals (not grain fed) will develop naturally high K2 levels.
Most commercial yogurts are virtually devoid of vitamin K2, and while certain types of cheeses, such as Gouda, Brie, and Edam are high in K2, others are not. It really depends on the specific bacteria present during the fermentation.
One of the best sources I’ve found is to ferment your own vegetables using a special starter culture designed with bacterial strains that produce vitamin K2.
My research team found we could get 400 to 500 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin K2 in a two-ounce serving of fermented vegetables using such a starter culture, which is a clinically therapeutic dose.
If you want to learn more about making your own fermented vegetables with a starter culture, you can watch the video at Mercola.com.
Sub-Categories of Vitamin K2
Vitamin K2 (a fat-soluble vitamin) can be broken into two additional categories, called:
MK-4 (menaquinone-4), a short-chain form (a type of fat) of vitamin K2 found in butter, egg yolks, and animal-based foods. Short chain fats are often liquid at room temperature.
Avoid this in supplemental form, as it’s only available in synthetic form. MK-4 also has a very short biological half-life (the time it takes to reduce the amount of a supplement by one-half in the body) — about one hour— making it a poor candidate as a dietary supplement.
MK-7 (menaquinone-7), longer-chain forms. (A longer chain form has more chains of carbon atoms). (These are fats that are solid at room temperature) and found in fermented foods. There’s a variety of these long-chain forms but the most common one is MK-7.
This is the one you’ll want to look for in supplements, as this form is extracted from real food, specifically natto, a fermented soy product. You could actually get loads of MK-7 from consuming natto, which is relatively inexpensive and available in most Asian food markets.
The MK-7, which forms in the fermentation process, has two major advantages. It stays in your body longer, and has a longer half-life, which means you can just take it once a day in very convenient dosing.
Research has shown MK-7 helps prevent inflammation by inhibiting pro-inflammatory markers (substances) produced by white blood cells called monocytes.
Health Effects of Vitamin K2 Deficiency
Vitamin K2 is an important adjunct to vitamin D, without which vitamin D cannot work properly. K2’s biological action is also impaired by a lack of vitamin D, so you really need to consider these two nutrients together.
This means that if you take high doses of oral vitamin D you need to remember to also increase your vitamin K2 intake from either food or a MK-7 supplement. Failing to do so could cause harm, as without K2, your body will not be able to complete the transport of calcium into the proper areas, and arterial calcification could set in.
If you get your vitamin D primarily from sun exposure then this issue is largely circumvented, as your body is then able to regulate its vitamin D production. You simply cannot overdose on vitamin D from sun exposure.
Vitamins D and K2 also work synergistically with magnesium and calcium, so this quartet should ideally be taken in combination. Unfortunately, most people are deficient in both vitamins D and K, and magnesium insufficiency is also common.
At least 50 percent of the general population is at risk of vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency, and as many as 97 percent may be lacking in vitamin K2. This could very well be due to the fact that we stopped eating fermented foods with the advent of refrigeration and other food processing techniques.
While you likely get sufficient amounts of vitamin K from your diet to maintain adequate blood clotting, you’re probably not getting enough to protect you from a variety of other health problems that are more specifically associated with vitamin K2, such as:
Arterial calcification and cardiovascular disease
Leukemia and cancer of the lung, prostate, and liver
Neurological deficiencies, including dementia
Infectious diseases such as pneumonia
Beware: Statins May Deplete Vitamin K2
Statins are a group of drugs that act to reduce levels of fats, including cholesterol, in the blood. Besides a vitamin K2-poor diet, certain drugs may affect your vitamin K2 status. Research published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology suggests statin drugs may increase calcification in the arteries, and other research shows that statins deplete vitamin K2.
You may be aware that statin users need to take CoQ10 (or ubiquinol) as the drug depletes this nutrient, but they may also need vitamin K2 in order to avoid the cardiovascular risks associated with statins.
Why Vitamin K Is Critical for Cardiovascular Health
In the 1980s, it was discovered that vitamin K is needed to activate the protein osteocalcin, which is found in your bone. A decade or so later, another vitamin K-dependent protein was discovered: matrix Gla protein (MGP), found in your vascular (heart) system.
Without vitamin K, these and other vitamin K-dependent proteins remain inactivated, and cannot perform their biological functions. Another important finding was that MGP strongly inhibits calcification. When MGP remains inactivated, you end up with serious arterial calcifications, and this is why vitamin K is so crucial for cardiovascular health. Evidence suggests vitamin K can even reverse arterial calcification induced by vitamin K deficiency.
Vitamin K2 also helps prevent arterial calcification by shuttling calcium away from areas where it shouldn’t be (in the lining of your blood vessels) to where it’s really needed (such as in your bone). In the Rotterdam Study,which ran for 10 years, those who consumed the greatest amounts of K2 had the lowest risk of cardiovascular disease, cardiovascular calcification, and the lowest chance of dying from cardiovascular disease.
People who consumed 45 mcg of K2 daily lived seven years longer than people getting 12 mcg per day. This was a profound discovery, because such a correlation did not exist for K1 intake. In a subsequent trial called the Prospect Study, 16,000 people were followed for 10 years. Here, they found that each additional 10 mcg of K2 in the diet resulted in nine percent fewer cardiac events.
More recently, a study published in a medical journal on circulation, found that MK-7 supplementation improved arterial stiffness in otherwise healthy postmenopausal women. This study has been lauded as significant because while previous studies have only been able to show an association, this is the first to confirm that long-term use of vitamin K2 in the form of MK-7 does result in improved cardiovascular health.
Vitamin K2 Is Crucial for Osteoporosis Prevention
As mentioned, vitamin K2 also plays a crucial role in bone health,and may be critical for the prevention of osteoporosis. Osteocalcin is a protein produced by your osteoblasts (cells responsible for bone formation), and is utilized within the bone as an integral part of the bone-forming process. However, osteocalcin must be “carboxylated” (take part in a salt-like reaction) before it can be effective. Vitamin K functions as a cofactor for the enzyme that catalyzes (allows) the carboxylation of osteocalcin.
A number of Japanese trials have shown that vitamin K2 completely reverses bone loss and in some cases even increases bone mass in people with osteoporosis. The pooled evidence of seven Japanese trials also show that vitamin K2 supplementation produces a 60 percent reduction in vertebral fractures and an 80 percent reduction in hip and other non-vertebral fractures.
A recent Chinese meta-analysisof 19 randomized controlled trials found that vitamin K2 supplementation significantly improved vertebral bone density in postmenopausal women, and reduced the risk of bone fractures.
Another three-year long placebo-controlled study done in the Netherlands found that postmenopausal women taking 180 mcg of MK-7 per day increased their bone strength and saw a decrease in the rate of age-related bone mineral decline and reduced loss of bone density, compared to those taking a placebo.
Vitamin K2 Is Also Important for Healthy Pregnancy, Cancer Prevention, and More
Vitamin K2 also plays an important role throughout pregnancy and during breastfeeding for the healthy growth of the child. Not only does it affect the development of both primary and adult teeth; it also helps develop proper facial form and strong bones. (During childhood, vitamin K2 helps prevent cavities.) It may be particularly important during the third trimester, as most women’s levels tend to drop at that time, indicating there’s an additional drain on the system toward the end of the pregnancy.
Since there are no reported cases of overdose of vitamin K2, and appears to have no toxicity issues, it may be prudent to double or even triple your intake while pregnant. Cancer prevention is another health benefit of vitamin K2. The 2010 European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study found that high intake of vitamin K2 — not K1 — leads to reduced cancer risk, as well as a 30 percent lower risk of dying from cancer.
The evidence also suggests vitamin K2 may reduce the risk for a type of lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes). Mayo Clinic researchers discovered that people with the highest intake of vitamin K2 had a 45 percent lower risk for this type of cancer, compared to those with the lowest vitamin K2 intake. They attribute this effect to vitamin K2’s ability to inhibit inflammatory cytokines, which are related to this type of lymphoma, and its role the life cycle of your cells. Researchers are also looking into other health benefits.
Vitamin K2 has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity; people who get the most vitamin K2 from their foods are about 20 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes
One 2012 study found vitamin K2 has the potential to improve disease activity in those with rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
Another study, found that vitamin K2 serves as an electron carrier for the energy producing portion of our cells, thereby helping maintain normal ATP production (ATP is the energy factory in our cells) and preventing dysfunction, such as that found in Parkinson’s disease
According to Dr. Holick’s paper, vitamin K2 has anti-inflammatory,
anti-oxidative, and anticarcinogenic properties, and in addition to cancer and diabetes, MK-7 in particular may also offer benefits for age-related macular degeneration in the eyes.
Are You Getting Enough Vitamin K?
Clearly, you want both vitamin K1 and K2, but you’re virtually guaranteed to not get enough K2 from your diet unless you eat the proper fermented foods. Dietary sources of vitamin K1 include:
Kale Spinach Collard Greens Broccoli Brussels Sprouts
As for a clinically useful dosage of vitamin K2, some studies — including the Rotterdam study — have shown as little as 45 micrograms (mcg) per day is sufficient. As a general guideline, I recommend getting around 150 mcg of vitamin K2 per day. Others recommend slightly higher amounts; upwards of 180 to 200 mcg. You can obtain healthy amounts (about 200 mcg) of K2 by eating 15 grams (half an ounce) of natto each day, or fermented vegetables. If you fermented them using a starter culture designed with vitamin K2-producing bacteria, one ounce will give you about 200 to 250 mcgs.
If you opt for a vitamin K2 supplement, make sure it’s MK-7. Also remember to take it with fat since it’s fat-soluble and won’t be absorbed otherwise. Fortunately, you don’t need to worry about overdosing on K2, as it appears to be completely non-toxic. People have been given a thousand-fold “overdose” over the course of three years, showing no adverse reactions (i.e., no increased clotting tendencies).
That said, people who are taking vitamin K antagonists, i.e. drugs that reduce blood clotting by reducing the action of vitamin K, are advised to avoid MK-7 supplements. As a last tip, keep in mind that vitamin K2 may not necessarily make you “feel better” per se. Its internal workings are such that you’re not likely to feel the difference physically. Compliance can therefore be a problem, as people are more likely to take something that has a noticeable effect. This may not happen with vitamin K2, but that certainly does not mean it’s not doing anything.
This article is shared with you by Nutrition Breakthroughs, maker of the original calcium and magnesium based natural sleep aid Sleep Minerals II, and Joints and More, the natural remedy for joint relief, aches and pains, stronger hair and nails, and more energy.
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.
Because of the natural sugars in fruit, one might think that it should be avoided in order to prevent diabetes.
On the contrary, a study recently published in the British Medical Journal has found that greater consumption of specific whole fruits, particularly blueberries, grapes, and apples, is significantly associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes (adult-onset diabetes), whereas greater consumption of fruit juice is associated with a higher risk.
Fruits are very rich in antioxidants, which are substances that protect our tissues from the reactions of oxygen inside the body. Natural processes such as digestion and metabolism create accumulated oxygen reactions that contribute to the aging and disease process. Fruits are good at neutralizing these particles and are also a valuable source of fiber and plant coloring and pigments that have beneficial health effects.
The study on fruit’s effect on diabetes prevention was centered at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston. Participants totaled 187,000 people and were women from the Nurses’ Health Study (1984-2008), women from the Nurses’ Health Study II (1991-2009), and men from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (1986-2008). They were all free of major diseases at the starting point. Questionnaires were used to collect detailed data.
While blueberries, grapes, and apples provided the most benefits for diabetes prevention, blueberries provided the greatest advantage when three servings per week were eaten — a 26% reduction in the odds to develop diabetes. Servings of cantaloupe on the other hand, increased the risk by 10%, and three servings of fruit juice increased the risk by 8%. Peaches, plums, apricots, prunes, oranges, and strawberries had a neutral risk for diabetes.
Blueberries have other significant health benefits as well. The bilberry fruit is a close cousin to the famous blueberry. During World War II, British fighter pilots reported improved nighttime vision after eating bilberry jam.
One of the most important studies on bilberries was done by researchers at the Human Nutrition Research Center in Boston, MA. The researchers used an enriched extract of bilberry in a test tube along with human retina cells. The cells were exposed to oxygen damage and bilberry was shown to have a profound antioxidant effect – protecting and reversing the damage.
Bilberry removed the stress in eye tissue, which is a strong indicator that it can safeguard the eyes against disorders of aging such as macular degeneration (blurred vision), cataracts (cloudy vision) and glaucoma (eye pressure on the optic nerve).
So let’s get that fruit out for dessert and eat it for refreshing, nourishing snacks!
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, arthritis, aches and pains, stronger hair, better nails, and more energy.
I’ve included a great chart below that contains the top eight ways to select the highest quality food and the most healthy fruits and vegetables. Feel free to share it with others.
For example, studies have shown that organically-grown foods provide many benefits such as higher levels of health-giving plant chemicals, higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids in organically raised milk and beef, and a lack of pesticides. Pesticides are strong chemicals used to kill insects on fruits and vegetables and they’ve been linked to reproductive harm and other illnesses.
Animals that have free-range access to the outdoors (rather than being kept in crowded cages) and that are fed non-gmo feed, can truly give us a healthier way to eat meats.
There is an informative chart below with the top health benefits of yogurt and it’s healthy bacteria known as probiotics. These include improving digestion, reducing the risk of diabetes, helping with good sleep, assisting weight loss, reducing cholesterol, and stimulating a stronger immune system.
Yogurt for Stomach Health
One study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that consuming yogurt or the beneficial bacteria from it, has promising health benefits for many conditions and increases immunity and the ability to fight off infections. Some of these conditions include constipation, diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease, candida, stomach bacteria infections and allergies.
Bone Strength from Yogurt
A study on yogurt was published in the journal called “Archives of Osteoporosis”. It reviewed the ability of yogurt to strengthen bones and found that milk and yogurt are the best dairy choices for increasing bone mineral density in the hip.
Yogurt and Good Sleep
Yogurt is also a great choice to eat in the evening to help with sleep due to the high amount of calcium it contains. The beneficial bacteria in yogurt has been studied for its ability to create a deeper, longer-lasting sleep.
A 2017 study from the journal “Beneficial Microbes” tested the effects of yogurt probiotics on sleep. The researchers concluded: “These findings suggest that daily consumption of the Lactobacillus casei strain may help to maintain sleep quality during a period of increasing stress.”
Regarding the calcium in dairy products, 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 one of the top sleep-inducing foods.”
Plain, unsweetened yogurt is healthiest and Greek yogurt is a great, high-protein choice. Fresh fruit can be added as a natural sweetener.
Yogurt and Weight Loss
Yogurt is a boost to weight loss. A healthy supplement similar to the acidophilus used in yogurt was recently found in a Canadian study to help overweight women lose weight and keep it off. It was discovered that the supplement made the intestinal wall stronger and more able to prevent inflammatory, obesity-causing substances from passing into the intestine and entering the bloodstream.
Immunity Boosting Yogurt
Yogurt is great for strengthening and boosting one’s immunity against infection and illness per studies in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. In particular, yogurt with the Lactobacillus bulgaricus form has been shown to reduce the frequency of colds in older adults after they ate it over a twelve-week period.
This news is shared with you by Nutrition Breakthroughs, a provider of natural health articles and effective natural remedies since 2001. 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.
By Kayla McDonell, RD (Registered Dietician) | Courtesy of Authority Nutrition
Shared by Nutrition Breakthroughs,
maker of the effective calcium and magnesium based sleep aid Sleep Minerals II *************************************
Coconut oil has been getting a lot of attention lately, and for good reason.
It’s linked to numerous health benefits, including weight loss.
There have also been claims that it can clean and whiten your teeth, while helping to prevent tooth decay.
This article examines the latest research on coconut oil, your dental health and teeth.
What is Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil is an edible oil extracted from coconut meat, and is one of the world’s richest sources of saturated fat.
However, coconut fat is unique because it is made almost entirely of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs).
MCTs are metabolized differently than the long-chain fatty acids found in most other foods, and have many potential health benefits.
Lauric acid is a medium-chain fatty acid that makes up almost 50% of coconut oil. In fact, this oil is the richest source of lauric acid known to man.
Your body breaks lauric acid down into a compound called monolaurin. Both lauric acid and monolaurin can kill harmful bacteria, fungi and viruses in the body.
According to research, lauric acid is more effective at killing these pathogens than any other saturated fatty acid (1).
What’s more, studies suggest that many of the health benefits associated with coconut oil are directly caused by lauric acid (2).
The most popular ways to use coconut oil for your teeth are using it in a process called “oil pulling,” or making toothpaste with it. Both are explained later in the article.
Bottom Line: Coconut oil is an edible oil extracted from the meat of coconuts. It is high in lauric acid, which has been known to kill harmful bacteria, fungi and viruses in the body.
Lauric Acid Can Kill Harmful Mouth Bacteria
One study tested 30 different fatty acids and compared their ability to fight bacteria.
Of all the fatty acids, lauric acid was the most effective (3).
Lauric acid attacks harmful bacteria in the mouth that can cause bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease (4).
It is particularly effective at killing an oral bacteria called Streptococcus mutans, which is a leading cause of tooth decay.
Bottom Line: The lauric acid in coconut oil attacks harmful bacteria in the mouth that can cause bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease.
It Can Reduce Plaque and Fight Gum Disease
Gum disease, also known as gingivitis, involves inflammation of the gums.
The main cause of gum disease is the buildup of dental plaque due to harmful bacteria in the mouth.
Current research shows that coconut oil can decrease plaque buildup on your teeth and fight gum disease.
In one study, oil pulling with coconut oil significantly decreased plaque buildup and signs of gingivitis in 60 participants with plaque-induced gum disease (5).
What’s more, a significant decrease in plaque was noticed after just 7 days of oil-pulling, and plaque continued to decrease over the 30-day study period.
After 30 days, the average plaque score decreased by 68% and the average gingivitis score decreased by 56%. This is a major decrease in both plaque and gum inflammation.
Bottom Line: Oil pulling with coconut oil helps decrease plaque buildup by attacking harmful mouth bacteria. It can also help fight gum disease.
It Can Prevent Tooth Decay and Loss
Coconut oil attacks Streptococcus mutans and Lactobacillus, which are the two groups of bacteria primarily responsible for tooth decay (6).
Several studies suggest that coconut oil can reduce these bacteria as effectively as chlorhexidine, which is the active ingredient used in many mouth rinses.
For these reasons, coconut oil can help prevent tooth decay and loss.
Bottom Line: Coconut oil attacks the harmful bacteria that cause tooth decay. Studies have shown that it can be as effective as some mouth rinses.
How to Oil Pull With Coconut Oil
Oil pulling is a growing trend, but it’s not a new concept.
In fact, the practice of oil pulling started in India thousands of years ago.
Oil pulling is the act of swishing oil in your mouth for 15 to 20 minutes and then spitting it out. In other words, it’s like using oil as a mouthwash.
Here’s how to do it:
Put a tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth.
Swish the oil around for 15–20 minutes, pushing and pulling it between teeth.
Spit out the oil (into the trash or toilet, since it can clog sink pipes).
Brush your teeth.
The fatty acids in the oil attract and trap bacteria so each time you oil pull, you are removing harmful bacteria and plaque from your mouth.
It’s best to do this right away in the morning, before you eat or drink anything.
Bottom Line: Oil pulling is the act of swishing oil in your mouth for 15 to 20 minutes and then spitting it out. It removes harmful bacteria and plaque.
Homemade Toothpaste with Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has many uses, and you can also make your own toothpaste with it.
Here is a simple recipe:
0.5 cup coconut oil.
2 tablespoons baking soda.
10–20 drops of peppermint or cinnamon essential oil.
Heat the coconut oil until it becomes soft or liquid.
Stir in the baking soda and mix until it forms a paste-like consistency.
Add the essential oil.
Store toothpaste in a sealed container.
To use, scoop it with a small utensil or toothbrush. Brush for 2 minutes, then rinse.
Bottom Line: In addition to oil pulling, you can make your own toothpaste using coconut oil, baking soda and essential oil.
Take Home Message
Coconut oil attacks the harmful bacteria in your mouth.
It can reduce plaque buildup, prevent tooth decay and fight gum disease.
For these reasons, oil pulling or brushing your teeth with coconut oil can significantly improve oral and dental health.
This nutrition article is shared by Nutrition Breakthroughs, maker of the effective calcium and magnesium based sleep aid Sleep Minerals II, as well as Joints and More, providing joint relief, better hair and nails, and more energy.