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Right Motivation, Left Satisfied

The Beginning

Four years ago I spontaneously signed up for Run for a Reason, a 14 km run for charity. As I registered three days before the race took place I didn’t have much time to train for it. Furthermore, I had never ran more than 6 km in one go. I have done a lot of long distance cross country skiing, but long distance runs (read: more than 5km) were rather rare. I’m quite competitive towards myself and absolutely hammered my body during the event. I did the 14 kilometres in 1 hour and 10 minutes, and told myself I would never do that race again. The fright only lasted until the soreness of my muscles disappeared a few days after the run. It turned into a desire to pick up long distance running when I discovered the Nike+ app. This was the beginning of running being a big part of my everyday life.

In 2012 I did the HBF Run for a Reason again and raised money for Cystic Fibrosis. Again I ran it in 1 hour and 10 minutes, and again I was wondering why I would put myself through the pain of it. I found strength in thinking of all the people suffering from CF and how strong they are to cope with their condition every day.

Milestone Reached Today

Today I reached 1,000 km on my Nike+ GPS app! So I’m giving myself a big tap on the shoulder and celebrating with a massive green smoothie. Well, I suppose I’ve done more kilometers as I have travelled and used other phones when going for runs. But these are my first recorded 1000 kilometers.  I have developed a great appreciation for running and try and go for 4-5 runs per week. It is like meditation to me. I clear my head of all stress generated throughout the day and enjoy having quality me-time. If I’m ever angry or upset I’d go for a run, and by the time I’ve done the first 3km I have generally changed my mindset and come up with a solution. I don’t even feel that I’m running – its like my legs are on autopilot and my mind is unleashed and flies off wherever it desires to. This is also my most creative time. I enjoy painting, creating things as well as developing business ideas, and I always get my best insights when I’m out running.

nike

Retired: Mr Right Motivation and Miss Left Satisfied

I have to admit I feel extra encouraged to go for a run when I’ve got nice and colourful apparel. My shoes, Mr Right Motivation and Miss Left Satisfied, have served me well in that respect.  However, after more than 1,000 km around the world in all kinds of weather and conditions it’s time to trade them in for a pair of newies. I’m so grateful for getting into running and encourage everyone to give it a chance! Even if you start with short distances and keep a slow pace – something is far better than nothing! ★

I’m so thankful for all the great times I’ve had out running, and can’t wait to hit up the 2,000 km mark!

shoes

Kale

What is Kale?

Kale is a member of the cruciferous family and is a highly nutrient dense vegetable. It is an excellent source of calcium, iron, beta-carotene, vitamin A, Vitamin C and vitamin E. Kale is very often used in green juices and smoothies due to its health benefits.

Benefits & Medical Uses of Kale

medicinalWhen chewing kale, (and other brassicas broccoli and cabbage) they release sulphoraphanes, which boost the body’s ability to remove toxins. Moreover, the indole-3-carbinole in brassicas promotes DNA repair and may stop cancer-cell growth. Research suggests that kale is effective in preventing and fighting bladder, breast, colon, ovary and prostate cancer.

Vitamin E in kale can preserve elasticity in the skin and prevent stretch marks. It is also known to generally support pregnancy. Kale is also a great source of vitamin K, which is necessary for bone growth and needed to make thrombin, the substance that allows blood to clot.

Tip

To retain the most nutrients, eat raw, steam or stir fry rather than boil and chop the leaves at the very last moment.

Recipes with Kale

White Bean, Greens and Tomato Gratin

medicinal 24 servings. To make bread crumbs, whirl two or three slices of day-old French bread in a food processor or blender to fine crumbs.

  • 1 large bunch of kale
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 cups cooked or canned white beans, rinsed and drained if canned
  • 2 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • ½ cup vegetable broth
  • ½ tsp. dried thyme
  • ½ tsp. salt

Topping

  • 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • ⅛ tsp. salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 9-inch round or 10-inch oval gratin or baking dish. Remove tough stems from greens and rinse well. Stack greens and cut into thin strips.
  2. In Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and stir 30 seconds. Add greens and cook until tender, tossing often, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat. Add beans, tomatoes, broth, thyme and salt and mix well. Spoon into prepared gratin dish, spreading evenly.
  3. Topping: In small bowl, mix all ingredients. Sprinkle evenly over top of greens mixture. Bake until hot, about 40 minutes.

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Crispy Kale Chips

medicinal 2Betcha can’t eat just one of these light, crispy snacks. Nutritional yeast gives them a tangy, almost cheesy flavor. If you are concerned about gluten, check to make sure the brand of nutritional yeast you use was grown on beets, not barley.

  • 1 12-oz. bunch curly kale, center
  • stems removed, each leaf torn
  • into 4 pieces (6 cups)
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • 3 Tbs. nutritional yeast

1. Place kale in bowl. Rub oil, lemon juice, and salt into leaves with hands. Add nutritional yeast, and toss well.

2. Spread kale onto dehydrator trays without overlapping. Dehydrate 2 to 4 hours, or until dry and crispy. Turn off dehydrator, and cool completely.

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Nutritional Values in Kale

Nutrient Value pr 100g
Energy 49 kcal
Protein 4.3 g
Fat 0.9 g
Carbohydrate 8 g
Calcium 150 mg
Iron 1.5 mg
Magnesium 47 mg
Phosphorus 92 mg
Potassium 491 mg
Sodium 38 mg
Zinc 0.6 mg
Vitamin C 120 mg
Thiamin 0.1 mg
Riboflavin 0.1 mg
Niacin 1 mg
Vitamin B6 1.3 mg
Folate 31 µg
Vitamin A, RAE 500 µg
Vitamin A, IU 9990 IU
Vitamin K 704.8 µg
Saturated fat 0.09 g
Monounsaturated 0.05 g
Polyunsaturated 0.34 g

Resources

Watts, Charlotte (2011) “100 best foods for pregnancy” Parragon.

Manheim, Jason (2011) “The healthy green drink diet”. Skyhorse Publishing

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Fiber

What is fiber and what does it do?

Fiber is a substance found in plants. Dietary fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, and grains. It is an important part of a healthy diet.Dietary fiber adds bulk to your diet. Because it makes you feel full faster, it can be helpful in controlling weight. Fiber aids digestion, helps prevent constipation, and is sometimes used for the  treatment of diverticulosis, diabetes, and heart disease. However, if you have diverticulitis, some types of fiber can make your symptoms worse.

Food Sources

There are two forms of fiber: soluble and insoluble.

Soluble fiber attracts water and turns to gel during digestion. This slows digestion. Soluble fiber is found in oat bran, barley, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, peas, and some fruits and vegetables. Soluble fiber has been scientifically proven to lower cholesterol, which can help prevent heart disease.

Insoluble fiber is found in foods such as wheat bran, vegetables, and whole grains. It appears to speed the passage of foods through the stomach and intestines and adds bulk to the stool.

You should eat 20 to 35 grams of fiber a day. To get more into your diet, eat different types of foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and grains.

Vegetables, Legumes, and Nuts

Vegetables are a major source of fiber:

  • Lettuce, Swiss chard, raw carrots, and spinach
  • Tender cooked vegetables, such as asparagus, beets, mushrooms, turnips, and pumpkin
  • Broccoli, artichokes, squashes, sweet potatoes, and string beans
  • Vegetable juices

You can also get more fiber by eating:

  • Legumes, such as lentils, black beans, split peas, kidney beans, lima beans, and chickpeas
  • Sunflower seeds, almonds, pistachios nuts, and pecans

Fruits

Fruits are another good source of fiber:

  • Apples and bananas
  • Peaches and pears
  • Tangerines, prunes, and berries
  • Figs and other dried fruits

Grains

Grains are another important source of dietary fiber:

  • Hot cereals, such as oatmeal, farina, and Cream of Wheat
  • Whole-grain breads (whole wheat or whole rye)
  • Brown rice
  • Popcorn
  • High-fiber cereals (such as bran, shredded wheat, Grape Nuts, Ry Krisp, and puffed wheat)
  • Whole-grain pastas

Peeling can reduce the amount of fiber in fruits and vegetables. Eating fiber-containing food is beneficial, whether it is cooked or raw.

 Side Effects

Eating a large amount of fiber in a short period of time can cause intestinal gas (flatulence), bloating, and abdominal cramps. This usually goes away once the natural bacteria in the digestive system get used to the increase in fiber in the diet. Adding fiber gradually to the diet, instead of all at one time, can help reduce gas or diarrhea.

Too much fiber may interfere with the absorption of minerals such as iron, zinc, magnesium, and calcium. However, this effect usually does not cause too much concern because high-fiber foods are typically rich in minerals.

Recommendations

The recommendation for older children, adolescents, and adults is 20 – 35 grams per day. Younger children will not be able to eat enough calories to achieve this, but it is a good idea to introduce whole grains, fresh fruits, and other high-fiber foods. Add fiber gradually over a period of a few weeks to avoid abdominal discomfort. Water aids the passage of fiber through the digestive system. Drink plenty of fluids (approximately 8 glasses of water or noncaloric fluid a day).

 Resources

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002470.htm

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/patientinstructions/000193.htm

potatoes

Omega 3 & Omega 6

What is Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids & their known functions?

There are two major classes of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs): the omega-3 and the omega-6 fatty acids. They are distinguished by their chemical structure. Only the fatty acids alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and linoleic acid (LA) must come from the diet because they cannot be made by the body. ALA, an omega-3 fatty acid, is converted in the body to eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA and DHA also occur naturally in some foods. LA, an omega-6 fatty acid, is converted in the body to arachidonic acid (AA). Both EPA and DHA are metabolized through the same biochemical pathways as AA. Studies show that omega-3 fatty acids in general decrease triglyceride and very-low-density lipoprotein blood levels in hyperlipidemic individuals but may increase or have no effect on low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels.

Both AA and EPA are further metabolized to produce hormone-like agents called eicosanoids, which include prostaglandins, thromboxanes, and leukotrienes. Eicosanoids regulate fundamental physiological processes such as cell division and growth, blood clotting, muscle activity, secretion of digestive juices and hormones, and movement of substances like calcium into and out of cells. However, AA and EPA lead to the production of different subgroups of eicosanoids with sometimes opposing effects. Eicosanoids formed from AA (particularly the series-2 prostaglandins and series-4 leukotrienes) are released in the body in response to injury, infection, stress, or certain diseases. They increase platelet aggregation and enhance vasoconstriction and the synthesis of substances involved with the inflammatory process. Eicosanoids derived from EPA (particularly the series-3 prostaglandins), in contrast, decrease excessive series-2 prostaglandin production. As a result, adequate production of EPA-derived series-3 prostaglandins may help protect individuals against heart attacks and strokes as well as certain inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and asthma.

The omega-3 fatty acid DHA, while not involved in eicosanoid formation, is the major polyunsaturated fatty acid found in the brain and is important for brain development and function. Synapses are rich in DHA, which suggests that this fatty acid is involved in signal transmission along neurons. DHA is also required to produce one member of a family of compounds called resolvins that participate in the body’s response to inflammation in the brain. The DHA-derived resolvin in particular helps to reduce inflammation brought about by ischemic insults (reductions in blood flow). (EPA also helps to temper inflammatory responses by decreasing production of proinflammatory compounds such as cytokines.)

Most Western diets provide at least 10 times more omega-6 than omega-3 fatty acids. There is now general scientific agreement that individuals should consume more omega-3 and fewer omega-6 fatty acids for good health. It is not known, however, whether a desirable ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids exists for the diet or to what extent high intakes of omega-6 fatty acids interfere with any benefits of omega-3 fatty acid consumption.

What foods contains Omega 3 (ALA – alpha-linolenic acid)?

  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Vegetable oils such as canola and soy, and especially in flaxseed and flaxseed oil.
  • Good sources of EPA and DHA are fish (both finfish and shellfish and their oils and eggs) and organ meats.

What foods contains Omega 6 (LA – linolenic acid)?

  • Meat
  • Vegetable oils (e.g., safflower, sunflower, corn, soy)
  • Processed foods made with these oils.

The Institute of Medicine has established Adequate Intakes for ALA and LA (1.1-1.6 g/day and 11-17 g/day, respectively, for adults) but not for EPA and DHA.

Products available

Omega-3 fatty acids are found in a variety of dietary supplements. For example, products containing flaxseed oil provide ALA, fish-oil supplements provide EPA and DHA, and algal oils provide a vegetarian source of DHA.

Omega-3 fatty acids for cardiovascular health and disease

Epidemiological studies first published in the late 1970s noted relatively low cardiovascular mortality in populations such as Eskimos with high fish consumption. The apparent health benefits of fish are explained, at least in part, by the EPA and DHA they contain.

The three reports by the Tufts EPC focused on different areas of research concerning this relationship between omega-3 fatty acids and cardiovascular health and disease and involved systematic reviews of the available scientific-medical literature.

Cardiovascular risk factors and intermediate markers of CVD

Overall, strong evidence showed that fish-oil supplements had a substantial and beneficial effect on triglycerides that was greater with larger intakes of fish oil; most studies reported a net decrease of about 10-33%. There is also evidence of a very small beneficial effect of fish oils on blood pressure and possible beneficial effects on coronary artery restenosis after angioplasty, exercise capacity in patients with coronary atherosclerosis, and heart rate variability (particularly in patients with recent myocardial infarctions).

Cardiovascular disease

Overall, evidence from both the primary and secondary prevention studies supports the hypothesis that consumption of omega-3 fatty acids, fish, and fish oil reduces all-cause mortality and various CVD outcomes such as sudden death, cardiac death, and myocardial infarction. The evidence is strongest for fish or fish oil whereas the potential effects of ALA are largely unknown and the relative effects of ALA versus fish oil are not well defined. In the only RCT that directly compared ALA and fish oil, both treatments reduced CVD outcome.

The lessons to be drawn from all these studies to date regarding use of omega-3 fatty acids for preventing and treating CVD are not completely clear. Because the studies involved a variety of methods of estimating fish or omega-3 fatty acid intake, background diets, background risk for heart disease, settings, and methods for reporting results, the validity of applying the results of studies conducted outside the United States to the U.S. population is uncertain. Furthermore, dietary intervention trials are limited by the multiple and complex dietary changes in the trials that make it difficult to distinguish among components and determine which specific components or combinations of these diets are most beneficial. For example, the different types of fish consumed and the method of food preparation may cause different effects.

Omega-3 fatty acids for asthma

Basic research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids may affect asthma because they influence substances that are part of the inflammatory process involved with asthma, such as the series-2 prostaglandin PGE2.

Whether omega-3 fatty acids are effective in the primary prevention of asthma is unknown. Four observational studies in children support a positive association for dietary patterns that include all fish or oily fish, but a prospective study of adult nurses found no association between asthma onset and dietary fish intake.

Omega-3 fatty acids for other diseases

The RAND EPC conducted a comprehensive search of published and unpublished scientific-medical literature on the health effects of omega-3 fatty acids in type II diabetes and metabolic syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, renal disease, systemic lupus erythematosus, and bone density/osteoporosis.

Type II diabetes and metabolic syndrome

Eighteen of the 34 RCTs whose subjects had type II diabetes or metabolic syndrome provided sufficient statistics to be included in a meta-analysis. The analysis found that omega-3 fatty acids had a favorable effect on triglyceride levels when compared with placebo but had no effect on total, LDL, or HDL cholesterol; fasting blood sugar; or glycosylated hemoglobin. A qualitative analysis of 4 studies concluded that omega-3 fatty acids had no effect on plasma insulin or insulin resistance in subjects with either disorder.

Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis)
In the 13 studies that reported outcomes in patients with inflammatory bowel disease, omega-3 fatty acids had variable effects on assessment scores (clinical, sigmoidoscopic, and histologic), induced remission, and relapse rates.

Rheumatoid arthritis

A meta-analysis of nine studies of patients with rheumatoid arthritis concluded that omega-3 fatty acids had no effect on patients’ reports of pain and disease severity, swollen joint count, or erythrocyte sedimentation rate (a measure of disease activity). However, an earlier meta-analysis found that the omega-3 fatty acids produced a statistically significant improvement in tender joint count as compared with placebo. A qualitative analysis of seven studies that assessed the effect of omega-3 fatty acids on anti-inflammatory drug or corticosteroid requirements found that six demonstrated reduced requirements. Overall, omega-3 fatty acids appear to reduce tender joint counts in individuals with rheumatoid arthritis and may reduce requirements for corticosteroids.

Omega-3 fatty acids and cognitive function, dementia, and neurological diseases

Omega-3 fatty acids appear to be important in brain development and function. Their effects on cognitive function in normal aging, incidence and treatment of dementia, incidence of several neurological diseases, and progression of multiple sclerosis were evaluated. A comprehensive search of the published and unpublished scientific-medical literature identified 12 studies that met inclusion criteria.

Multiple sclerosis and other neurological diseases

The quantity and strength of evidence for the effects of omega-3 fatty acids on cognitive function and decline, dementia, and neurological diseases vary greatly. Given the overall small number of studies and generally poor quality of clinical trials, substantive conclusions about the value of these compounds for these conditions cannot be drawn.

Omega-3 fatty acids for organ transplantation

Several laboratory, animal, and human studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil may improve outcomes in organ transplantation (e.g., decrease rejection; reduce hyperlipidemia, hypertension, and blood viscosity; and decrease the toxicity of the immunosuppressive agent cyclosporin A).

Resources

http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcidsandHealth-HealthProfessional/

Mixed Nuts

Iodine

What is iodine and what does it do?

Iodine is a mineral found in some foods. The body needs iodine to make thyroid hormones. These hormones control the body’s metabolism and many other important functions. The body also needs thyroid hormones for proper bone and brain development during pregnancy and infancy. Getting enough iodine is important for everyone, especially infants and women who are pregnant.

How much iodine do I need?

The amount of iodine you need each day depends on your age. Average daily recommended amounts are listed below in micrograms (mcg).

Life Stage Recommended Amount
Birth to 6 months 110 mcg
Infants 7–12 months 130 mcg
Children 1–8 years 90 mcg
Children 9–13 years 120 mcg
Teens 14–18 years 150 mcg
Adults 150 mcg
Pregnant teens and women 220 mcg
Breastfeeding teens and women 290 mcg

 What foods provide iodine?

Iodine is found naturally in some foods and is also added to salt that is labeled as “iodized”. You can get recommended amounts of iodine by eating a variety of foods, including the following:

  • Fish (such as cod and tuna), seaweed, shrimp, and other seafood, which are generally rich in iodine.
  • Dairy products (such as milk, yogurt, and cheese) and products made from grains (like breads and cereals), which are the major sources of iodine in American diets.
  • Fruits and vegetables, which contain iodine, although the amount depends on the iodine in the soil where they grew and in any fertilizer that was used.
  • Iodized salt, which is readily available in the United States and many other countries. Processed foods, however, such as canned soups, almost never contain iodized salt.

What kinds of iodine dietary supplements are available?

Iodine is available in dietary supplements, usually in the form of potassium iodide or sodium iodide. Many multivitamin-mineral supplements contain iodine. Dietary supplements of iodine-containing kelp (a seaweed) are also available. However, for a healthy person with a nutritious and balanced diet, it should not be necessary to take supplements with iodine.

Am I getting enough iodine?

Most people get enough iodine from foods and beverages. However, certain groups of people are more likely than others to have trouble getting enough iodine:

  • People who do not use iodized salt. Adding iodine to salt is the most widely used strategy to control iodinedeficiency. Currently, about 70% of households worldwide use iodized salt.
  • Pregnant women. Women who are pregnant need about 50% more iodine than other women to provide enough iodine for their baby. Surveys show that many pregnant women in the United States may not get quite enough iodine, although experts do not know whether this affects their babies.
  • People living in regions with iodine-deficient soils who eat mostly local foods. These soils produce crops that have low iodine levels. Among the regions with the most iodine-poor soil are mountainous areas, such as the Himalayas, the Alps, and the Andes regions, as well as river valleys in South and Southeast Asia.
  • People who get marginal amounts of iodine and who also eat foods containing goitrogens. Goitrogens are substances that interfere with the way the body uses iodine. They are present in some plant foods includingsoy, and cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. For most people in the United States who get adequate amounts of iodine, eating reasonable amounts of foods containing goitrogens is not a concern.

What happens if I don’t get enough iodine?

Iodine deficiency is uncommon in the western world. People who don’t get enough iodine cannot make sufficient amounts of thyroid hormone. This can cause many problems. In pregnant women, severe iodine deficiency can permanently harm the fetus by causing stunted growth, mental retardation, and delayed sexual development. Less severe iodine deficiency can cause lower-than-average IQ in infants and children and decrease adults’ ability to work and think clearly. Goiter, an enlarged thyroid gland, is often the first visible sign of iodine deficiency.

What are some effects of iodine on health?

Scientists are studying iodine to understand how it affects health. Here are some examples of what this research has shown.

Fetal and infant development

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding need to get enough iodine for their babies to grow and develop properly. Breastfed infants get iodine from breast milk. However, the iodine content of breast milk depends on how much iodine the mother gets.

To make adequate amounts of iodine available for proper fetal and infant development, several national and international groups recommend that pregnant and breastfeeding women and infants take iodine supplements. In the United States and Canada, the American Thyroid Association recommends that pregnant and breastfeeding women take prenatal vitamin/mineral supplements containing iodine (150 mcg/day). However, only about half the prenatal multivitamins sold in the United States contain iodine.

Cognitive function during childhood

Severe iodine deficiency during childhood has harmful effects on the development of the brain and nervous system. The effects of mild iodine deficiency during childhood are more difficult to measure, but mild iodine deficiency might cause subtle problems with neurological development.

Giving iodine supplements to children with mild iodine deficiency improves their reasoning abilities and overall cognitive function. In children living in iodine-deficient areas, iodine supplements seem to improve both physical and mental development. More study is needed to fully understand the effects of mild iodine deficiency and of iodine supplements on cognitive function.

Fibrocystic breast disease

Although not harmful, fibrocystic breast disease causes lumpy, painful breasts. It mainly affects women of reproductive age but can also occur during menopause. Very high doses of iodine supplements might reduce the pain and other symptoms of fibrocystic breast disease, but more study is necessary to confirm this. Check with yourhealth care provider before taking iodine for this condition, especially because iodine can be unsafe at high doses.

Radiation-induced thyroid cancer

Nuclear accidents can release radioactive iodine into the environment, increasing the risk of thyroid cancer in people who are exposed to the radioactive iodine, especially children. People with iodine deficiency who are exposed to radioactive iodine are especially at risk of developing thyroid cancer. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved potassium iodide as a thyroid-blocking agent to reduce the risk of thyroid cancer in radiation emergencies.

Can iodine be harmful?

Yes, if you get too much. Getting high levels of iodine can cause some of the same symptoms as iodine deficiency, including goiter (an enlarged thyroid gland). High iodine intakes can also cause thyroid gland inflammation and thyroid cancer. Getting a very large dose of iodine (several grams, for example) can cause burning of the mouth, throat, and stomach; fever; stomach pain; nausea; vomiting; diarrhea; weak pulse; and coma.

The safe upper limits for iodine are listed below. These levels do not apply to people who are taking iodine for medical reasons under the care of a doctor.

Life Stage Upper Safe Limit
Birth to 12 months: Not established
Children 1–3 years: 200 mcg
Children 4–8 years: 300 mcg
Children 9–13 years: 600 mcg
Teens 14–18 years: 900 mcg
Adults: 1,100 mcg

Are there any interactions with iodine that I should know about?

Yes. Iodine supplements can interact or interfere with medicines that you take. Here are several examples:

  • Iodine supplements might interact with anti-thyroid medications such as methimazole (Tapazole®), used totreat hyperthyroidism. Taking high doses of iodine with anti-thyroid medications could cause your body to produce too little thyroid hormone.
  • Taking potassium iodide with medicines for high blood pressure known as ACE inhibitors could raise the amount of potassium in your blood to an unsafe level. ACE inhibitors include benazepril (Lotensin®), lisinopril (Prinivil® and Zestril®), and fosinopril (Monopril®).
  • The amount of potassium in your blood can also get too high if you take potassium iodide with potassium-sparing diuretics, such as spironolactone (Aldactone®) and amiloride (Midamor®).

Resources

http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iodine-QuickFacts/

Vitamin C

What is vitamin C and what does it do?

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble nutrient found in some foods. In the body, it acts as anantioxidant, helping to protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are compounds formed when our bodies convert the food we eat into energy. People are also exposed to free radicals in the environment from cigarette smoke, air pollution, and ultraviolet light from the sun.

The body also needs vitamin C to make collagen, a protein required to help wounds heal. In addition, vitamin C improves the absorption of iron from plant-based foods and helps the immune system work properly to protect the body from disease.

How much vitamin C do I need?

The amount of vitamin C you need each day depends on your age. Average daily recommended amounts for different ages are listed below in milligrams (mg).

Life Stage Recommended Amount
Birth to 6 months 40 mg
Infants 7–12 months 50 mg
Children 1–3 years 15 mg
Children 4–8 years 25 mg
Children 9–13 years 45 mg
Teens 14–18 years (boys) 75 mg
Teens 14–18 years (girls) 65 mg
Adults (men) 90 mg
Adults (women) 75 mg
Pregnant teens 80 mg
Pregnant women 85 mg
Breastfeeding teens 115 mg
Breastfeeding women 120 mg

If you smoke, add 35 mg to the above values to calculate your total daily recommended amount.

What foods provide vitamin C?

Fruits and vegetables are the best sources of vitamin C. You can get recommended amounts of vitamin C by eating a variety of foods including the following:

  • Citrus fruits (such as oranges and grapefruit) and their juices, as well as capsicum (which has almost three times the amount of vitamin c than oranges) and kiwifruit.
  • Broccoli, strawberries, cantaloupe
  • Some foods and beverages that are fortified with vitamin C – read the product labels.

The vitamin C content of food may be reduced by prolonged storage and by cooking. Steaming may lessen cooking losses. Fortunately, many of the best food sources of vitamin C, such as fruits and vegetables, are usually eaten raw.

What kinds of vitamin C dietary supplements are available?

Most multivitamins have vitamin C. Vitamin C is also available alone as a dietary supplement or in combination with other nutrients. The vitamin C in dietary supplements is usually in the form of ascorbic acid, but some supplements have other forms, such as sodium ascorbate, calcium ascorbate, other mineral ascorbates, and ascorbic acid with bioflavonoids. Research has not shown that any form of vitamin C is better than the other forms. Through a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables is should not be necessary to take Vitamin C supplements.

Am I getting enough vitamin C?

Most people in the United States get enough vitamin C from foods and beverages. However, certain groups of people are more likely than others to have trouble getting enough vitamin C:

  • People who smoke and those who are exposed to secondhand smoke, in part because smoke increases the amount of vitamin C that the body needs to repair damage caused by free radicals. People who smoke need 35 mg more vitamin C per day than nonsmokers.
  • Infants who are fed evaporated or boiled cow’s milk, because cow’s milk has very little vitamin C and heat can destroy vitamin C. Cow’s milk is not recommended for infants under 1 year of age. Breast milk and infant formula have adequate amounts of vitamin C.
  • People who eat a very limited variety of food.
  • People with certain medical conditions such as severe malabsorption, some types of cancer, and kidney diseaserequiring hemodialysis.

What happens if I don’t get enough vitamin C?

Vitamin C deficiency is rare in the United States and Canada. People who get little or no vitamin C (below about 10 mg per day) for many weeks can get scurvy. Scurvy causes fatigue, inflammation of the gums, small red or purple spots on the skin, joint pain, poor wound healing, and corkscrew hairs. Additional signs of scurvy include depressionas well as swollen, bleeding gums and loosening or loss of teeth. People with scurvy can also develop anemia. Scurvy is fatal if it is not treated.

What are some effects of vitamin C on health?

Scientists are studying vitamin C to understand how it affects health. Here are several examples of what this research has shown.

Cancer prevention and treatment

People with high intakes of vitamin C from fruits and vegetables might have a lower risk of getting many types of cancer, such as lung, breast, and colon cancer. However, taking vitamin C supplements, with or without other antioxidants, doesn’t seem to protect people from getting cancer.

It is not clear whether taking high doses of vitamin C is helpful as a treatment for cancer. Vitamin C’s effects appear to depend on how it is administered to the patient. Oral doses of vitamin C can’t raise blood levels of vitamin C nearly as high as intravenous doses given through injections. A few studies in animals and test tubes indicate that very high blood levels of vitamin C might shrink tumors. But more research is needed to determine whether high-dose intravenous vitamin C helps treat cancer in people.

Vitamin C dietary supplements and other antioxidants might interact with chemotherapy and radiation therapy for cancer. People being treated for cancer should talk with their oncologist before taking vitamin C or other antioxidant supplements, especially in high doses.

Cardiovascular disease

People who eat lots of fruits and vegetables seem to have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Researchers believe that the antioxidant content of these foods might be partly responsible for this association because oxidative damageis a major cause of cardiovascular disease. However, scientists aren’t sure whether vitamin C itself, either from food or supplements, helps protect people from cardiovascular disease. It is also not clear whether vitamin C helps prevent cardiovascular disease from getting worse in people who already have it.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts

AMD and cataracts are two of the leading causes of vision loss in older people. Researchers do not believe that vitamin C and other antioxidants affect the risk of getting AMD. However, research suggests that vitamin C combined with other nutrients might help keep early AMD from worsening into advanced AMD.

In a large study, older people with AMD who took a daily dietary supplement with 500 mg vitamin C, 80 mg zinc, 400 IU vitamin E, 15 mg beta-carotene, and 2 mg copper for about 6 years had a lower chance of developing advanced AMD. They also had less vision loss than those who did not take the dietary supplement.

More research is needed before doctors can recommend dietary supplements containing vitamin C for patients with AMD. However, people who have or are developing the disease might want to talk with their doctor about taking dietary supplements.

The relationship between vitamin C and cataract formation is unclear. Some studies show that people who get more vitamin C from foods have a lower risk of getting cataracts. But further research is needed to clarify this association and to determine whether vitamin C supplements affect the risk of getting cataracts.

The common cold

Although vitamin C has long been a popular remedy for the common cold, research shows that for most people, vitamin C supplements do not reduce the risk of getting the common cold. However, people who take vitamin C supplements regularly might have slightly shorter colds or somewhat milder symptoms when they do have a cold. Using vitamin C supplements after cold symptoms start does not appear to be helpful.

Can vitamin C be harmful?

Taking too much vitamin C can cause diarrhea, nausea, and stomach cramps. In people with a condition calledhemochromatosis, which causes the body to store too much iron, high doses of vitamin C could worsen iron overload and damage body tissues.

The safe upper limits for vitamin C are listed below:

Life Stage Upper Safe Limit
Birth to 12 months Not established
Children 1–3 years 400 mg
Children 4–8 years 650 mg
Children 9–13 years 1,200 mg
Teens 14–18 years 1,800 mg
Adults 2,000 mg

Are there any interactions with vitamin C that I should know about?

Vitamin C dietary supplements can interact or interfere with medicines that you take. Here are several examples:

  • Vitamin C dietary supplements might interact with cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy. It is not clear whether vitamin C might have the unwanted effect of protecting tumor cells from cancer treatments or whether it might help protect normal tissues from getting damaged. If you are being treated for cancer, check with your health care provider before taking vitamin C or other antioxidant supplements, especially in high doses.
  • In one study, vitamin C plus other antioxidants (such as vitamin E, selenium, and beta-carotene) reduced the heart-protective effects of two drugs taken in combination (a statin and niacin) to control blood-cholesterollevels. It is not known whether this interaction also occurs with other statins. Health care providers should monitor lipid levels in people taking both statins and antioxidant supplements.

Where to buy Vitamin C

Vitamin C is available in bulk from from online supplement retailers like Powdercity.com. They offer Vitamin C Supplements (Ascorbic Acid) in variants of: 100g, 500g and 1kg. All of their products are 3rd party lab tested and they offer free shipping to orders over $25 in the US.

Resources

http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-QuickFacts/

Folate (a B Vitamin)

What is folate and what does it do?

Folate is a B-vitamin that is naturally present in many foods. A form of folate, called folic acid, is used in dietary supplements and fortified foods.

Our bodies need folate to make DNA and other genetic material. Folate is also needed for the body’s cells to divide. This is particularly important for people with Cystic Fibrosis to have in their diets.

How much folate do I need?

The amount of folate you need depends on your age. Average daily recommended amounts are listed below inmicrograms (mcg) of dietary folate equivalents (DFEs).

All women and teen girls who could become pregnant should consume 400 mcg of folic acid daily from supplements, fortified foods, or both in addition to the folate they get naturally from foods.

Life Stage Recommended Amount
Birth to 6 months 65 mcg DFE
Infants 7–12 months 80 mcg DFE
Children 1–3 years 150 mcg DFE
Children 4–8 years 200 mcg DFE
Children 9–13 years 300 mcg DFE
Teens 14–18 years 400 mcg DFE
Adults 19–50 years 400 mcg DFE
Adults 51–70 years 400 mcg DFE
Adults 71+ years 400 mcg DFE
Pregnant teens and women 600 mcg DFE
Breastfeeding teens and women 500 mcg DFE

What foods provide folate?

Folate is naturally present in many foods and food companies add folic acid to other foods, including bread, cereal, and pasta. You can get recommended amounts by eating a variety of foods, including the following:

  • Vegetables (especially asparagus, Brussels sprouts, and dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach and mustard greens).
  • Fruits and fruit juices (especially oranges).
  • Nuts, beans, and peas (such as peanuts, black-eyed peas, and kidney beans).
  • Grains (including whole grains; fortified cold cereals; enriched flour products such as bread, bagels, cornmeal, and pasta; and rice).
  • Folic acid is added to many grain-based products. To find out whether folic acid has been added to a food, check the product label.

Beef liver is high in folate but is also high in cholesterol, so limit the amount you eat. Only small amounts of folate are found in other animal foods like meats, poultry, seafood, eggs, and dairy products.

What kinds of folic acid dietary supplements are available?

Folic acid is available in multivitamins and prenatal vitamins. It is also available in B-complex dietary supplements and supplements containing only folic acid.

Am I getting enough folate?

Most people get enough folate. However, certain groups of people are more likely than others to have trouble getting enough folate:

  • Teen girls and women aged 14–30 years (especially before and during pregnancy).
  • Non-Hispanic black women.
  • People with disorders that lower nutrient absorption (such as celiac disease and inflammatory bowel disease).
  • People with alcoholism.

 What happens if I don’t get enough folate?

Folate deficiency is rare in the United States, but some people get barely enough. Getting too little folate can result in megaloblastic anemia, which causes weakness, fatigue, trouble concentrating, irritability, headache, heart palpitations, and shortness of breath. Folate deficiency can also cause open sores on the tongue and inside the mouth as well as changes in the color of the skin, hair, or fingernails.

Women who don’t get enough folate are at risk of having babies with neural tube defects, such as spina bifida. Folate deficiency can also increase the likelihood of having a premature or low-birth-weight baby.

What are some effects of folate on health?

Scientists are studying folate to understand how it affects health. Here are several examples of what this research has shown.

Neural tube defects

Taking folic acid regularly before becoming pregnant and during early pregnancy helps prevent neural tube defects in babies. But about half of all pregnancies are unplanned. Therefore, all women and teen girls who could become pregnant should consume 400 mcg of folic acid daily from supplements, fortified foods, or both in addition to the folate they get naturally from foods.

Since 1998, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has required food companies to add folic acid to enriched bread, cereal, flour, cornmeal, pasta, rice, and other grain products sold in the United States. Because most people in the United States eat these foods on a regular basis, folic acid intakes have increased and the number of babies born with neural tube defects has decreased since 1998.

Preterm birth, congenital heart defects, and other birth defects

Taking folic acid might reduce the risk of having a premature baby and prevent birth defects, such as congenital heart problems. But more research is needed to understand how folic acid affects the risk of these conditions.

Cancer

Folate that is found naturally in food may decrease the risk of several forms of cancer. But folate might have different effects depending on how much is taken and when. Modest amounts of folic acid taken before cancer develops might decrease cancer risk, but high doses taken after cancer (especially colorectal cancer) begins might speed up its progression. For this reason, high doses of folic acid supplements (more than the safe upper limit of 1,000 mcg) should be taken with caution, especially by people who have a history of colorectal adenomas (which sometimes turn into cancer). More research is needed to understand the roles of dietary folate and folic acid supplements in cancer risk.

Heart disease and stroke

Some scientists used to think that folic acid and other B-vitamins might reduce heart disease risk by lowering levels of homocysteine, an amino acid in the blood. But although folic acid supplements do lower blood homocysteine levels, they don’t decrease the risk of heart disease. Some studies have shown that a combination of folic acid with other B-vitamins, however, helps prevent stroke.

Dementia, cognitive function, and Alzheimer’s disease

Folic acid supplements with or without other B-vitamins do not seem to improve cognitive function, but more research on this topic is needed.

Depression

People with low blood levels of folate might be more likely to suffer from depression and might not respond as well to treatment with antidepressants as people with normal folate levels.

Folic acid supplements might make antidepressant medications more effective. But it is not clear whether these supplements help people with both normal folate levels and those with folate deficiency. More research is needed to learn about the role of folate in depression and whether folic acid supplements are helpful when used in combination with standard treatment.

Can folate be harmful?

Folate that is naturally present in food is not harmful. Folic acid in supplements and fortified foods, however, should not be consumed in amounts above the safe upper limit, unless recommended by a health care provider.

Taking large amounts of folic acid might hide a vitamin B12 deficiency. Folic acid can correct the anemia but not thenerve damage caused by vitamin B12 deficiency. This can lead to permanent damage of the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. High doses of folic acid might also increase the risk of colorectal cancer and possibly other cancers in some people.

The safe upper limits for folic acid are listed below.

Ages Safe Upper Limit
Birth to 6 months Not established
Infants 7–12 months Not established
Children 1–3 years 300 mcg
Children 4–8 years 400 mcg
Children 9–13 years 600 mcg
Teens 14–18 years 800 mcg
Adults 1,000 mcg

Are there any interactions with folate that I should know about?

Folic acid supplements can interact with several medications. Here are some examples:

  • Folic acid could interfere with methotrexate (Rheumatrex®, Trexall®) when taken to treat cancer.
  • Taking anti-epileptic medications such as phenytoin (Dilantin®), carbamazepine (Carbatrol®, Tegretol®, Equetro®, Epitol®), and valproate (Depacon®) could reduce blood levels of folate. Also, taking folic acid supplements could reduce blood levels of these medications.
  • Taking sulfasalazine (Azulfidine®) for ulcerative colitis could reduce the body’s ability to absorb folate and cause folate deficiency.

Resources

http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Folate-QuickFacts/