Even the best dietary supplements and vitamin products cannot replace what we get from food

Food As Medicine: Vitamins, Supplements & Other Dietary Products

EVEN THE BEST DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS AND VITAMIN PRODUCTS CANNOT REPLACE WHAT WE GET FROM FOOD

This blog was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. The site was deactivated in July 2013, but you can read the original post here.

Those of us who believe a long life is related to a good diet have something to celebrate this year. In 1912 the term vitamin was first used to describe the compounds in food necessary to prevent nutritional deficiencies.  Now our use of the word vitamin, and the supplements and dietary products they’re found in, is 100 years old!

A Brief History of Food

Before the isolation of the first vitamin and recognition of its importance to health, all people had to worry about when it came to food was getting enough to eat to stay alive. Food choice was based solely on availability. We ate what we could hunt, catch or gather, and when the “local” food supply diminished, we moved on to find food in other places.

Eventually, the ability to grow plants and raise animals made it possible to stay in one place a bit longer, but did not insure there would always be enough food to go around. Unpredictable changes in the weather and other environmental conditions made a feast or famine existence a way of life for most of the world right into the 20th Century.

Advances in agricultural practices in the mid-1900s resulted in bigger crop yields while improvements in storage and distribution allowed more food to reach more people. Finally, there was enough food to allow the nutritional quality to become a point of distinction when making food decisions.

Is the Food Supply Getting Better or Worse?

Many people today think our food is not as good as it used to be. There is no doubt in my mind that what I eat now is quite different from what I ate in my childhood, but I don’t think it has anything to do with the goodness of the food.

An increase in the variety and quantity of food available explains, in part, why what we eat has changed over time. Another reason is the increased information we have about food composition and our nutritional needs. It certainly has become easier to question the quality of our food since we started seeing Nutrition Facts on labels. They weren’t always there.

But I don’t blame the food industry for making food more appealing, convenient, and inexpensive. I also don’t blame them for using all of the technology at their disposal to develop new products and market them so people will want to buy them. That’s their job.

It’s my job to decide what I want to eat. At the end of the day, the quality of my food choices rests entirely with me.

That is why when people ask me what are the best dietary supplements, I always say choose your food wisely. Thirteen unique vitamins have been identified in the last 100 years. The most recent discovery was in 1941 for Folic Acid, also known as folate or vitamin B9. Other possible vitamins to be added to the list are currently under review.

The only way to be sure you are ingesting everything you need for optimal health is to consume a varied diet, because that is where the nutrients are. Vitamins and other dietary products can supplement what you eat, but cannot be relied on to replace food.

 

Celebrate Men’s Health with a these tips for a healthy prostate

What Every Man Wants: A Healthy Prostate

This blog was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. The site was deactivated in July 2013, but you can read the original post here.

HELP THE MEN IN YOUR LIFE WITH THESE TIPS FOR A HEALTHY PROSTATE

Knowing how to maintain a healthy prostate is as important for women as it is for the men they love.  Men with an enlarged prostate gland take longer to urinate, so when out together, women have to wait twice as long at public restrooms. Once to get into the Women’s Room and again waiting for her man to come out of the Men’s Room.

 Focusing on the Prostate for Men’s Health Month

Enlarged prostate is medically known as Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). Growth of the prostate gland is accelerated in men during adolescence and again around age 50. As the prostate gets larger it compresses the uretha (tube that carries urine from the bladder). As a result, the stream of urine gets slower and slower, and the waiting begins.

The good news is, BPH is not a sign of prostate cancer and does not increase a man’s chances of developing it. The test used to detect prostate cancer is the PSA (prostate-specific antigen) level. While an enlarged prostate can raise the PSA a few points, that reading is not the best, or sole, indicator of prostate cancer. Other tests musts be done to confirm a diagnosis.

Diet for a Healthy Prostate

If you are following a diet to reduce your risk for heart disease, the number one cause of death in the U.S. for men and women alike, you are helping to lower the risk of BPH, too. Ads promising quick results to shrink the prostate are preying on the “impatience” of those dealing with the problem. Don’t be fooled. There are no foods or herbs that can instantly make trips to the urinal shorter.

What to Do:

Maintain a healthy body weight. A large waist measurement, or “beer belly,” is associated with higher risk of BPH.

Get regular physical activity. Even if weight is normal, exercise improves the circulation and muscle mass, both important in keeping the prostate healthy.

Eat 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Vitamin C from vegetable sources, such as bell pepper, tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts, has been found to be especially beneficial.

Reduce fat intake. Choose lower fat milk and dairy products, light spreads, and lean cuts of meat and poultry for a lower fat diet.

Limit alcoholic beverages to 2 drinks a day. Studies have shown moderate drinking may inhibit risks of BPH while excess is questionable.

What to Doubt:

Saw Palmetto may or may not help due to variation in ingredients, purity and dosages. If you decide to take it be sure to tell your physician since it can affect other medications.

Zinc supplements or eating more foods high in zinc, like oysters and pumpkin seeds have not been proven effective.

Lycopene supplements or extra servings of foods high in lycopene, such as tomatoes and watermelon cannot shrink an enlarged prostate.

Vitamin D supplements unless being taken to meet daily requirements for general good health.

Beta-sitosterol supplements did not shrink the prostate or increase urinary flow in 4 studies of its effectiveness

The role of diet in reducing the risk of enlarged prostate is just one more piece of evidence that the diet that good for the heart is good for the whole body.

What you eat affects how you thinks and feel

Feeding the Aging Mind: What Foods Keep Your Mind Sharp?

YOUR DIET CAN SLOW THE PROCESSES OF AN AGING MIND AND HELP KEEP YOUR MIND SHARP

This blog was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. The site was deactivated in July 2013, but you can read the original post here.

Do you fear living with an aging mind more than an aging body? I do, so I’m always ready to learn more about ways to keep my mind sharp right up until my body wears out. The good news is the right diet can help keep both shape.

What Happens to as Our Brain’s Age?

The brain’s billions of neurons “talk” to one another through neurotransmitters, including norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine. These neurotransmitters send signals along the pathways in our brain and central nervous system. Neurons that can’t get their messages through the pathways are like cell phones that can’t get their signals through to other cell phones.

This inability of neurons to communicate effectively is responsible for most of the loss of mental function as we age.

Although people naturally lose brain cells throughout their lives, the process does not necessarily accelerate with aging. Chronic diseases like hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes do, however, accelerate it.

The big concern today is that we are living longer, so want those neurons to last longer. Some groundbreaking research offers hope. While it was long-believed that the central nervous system, which includes the brain, was not capable of regenerating itself, studies have found the brain is capable of making new neurons well into old age, but at a slower rate.

It’s More Than Antioxidants

The antioxidants in foods have been credited with helping to save our aging brains. I’m sure you’ve seen those lists of the latest and greatest “superfoods” ranked for their antioxidant capacity. But what those lists don’t reveal is that the brain doesn’t get charged up by just one or two antioxidants found in blueberries or kale, it wants whole foods.

That is why our total diet is so important. There are compounds in the foods we eat that nutrition scientists have not yet measured and named. But it is clear those compounds have benefits beyond what we get from the vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that have been identified. So our best bet for optimal nutrition is to eat a wide variety of minimally processed foods.

Foods That Feed the Aging Mind

Fruits & Vegetables: The more the better when it comes to raising the antioxidant levels of the blood. Keep fresh, frozen, dried, canned and 100% juice on hand to make it easier to have some at every meal and snack.

Beans & Lentils: They can take the place of meat at any meal or be used as a side dish with it. The big assortment of canned beans offers a way to have a different bean every day for weeks.

Nuts: Whether you like walnuts, almonds, pistachios or a mixed assortment is fine. Try using them as a crunchy topping on hot and cold cereals, salads, yogurt, and vegetables.

Fish: Keep the cost down with canned tuna, salmon and sardines and the right servings size. Just two 3-ounce servings a week are recommended.

Brewed tea: Green, black, white and oolong teas all come from the same plant and are rich in powerful antioxidants. Brewing your own from teabags or leaves you get the most benefit.

Heart Healthy Foods You May Have Missed

Some Heart Healthy Foods You May Have Missed

LOOK FOR THESE HEART HEALTHY FOODS THAT DON’T GET THE ATTENTION THEY DESERVE

This blog was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. The site was deactivated in July 2013, but you can read the original post here.

When looking for foods that can improve your heart health, many of the ones most often recommended are either expensive, not easy to find, or are foods you don’t like. That doesn’t mean you have no chance of lowering your risk factors for heart disease through diet. The same attributes in those commonly named “heart-healthy” foods are found in many other more palatable options.

56519362

Sardines – Salmon gets all the attention when it comes to fatty fish, but sardines are one of the most concentrated sources of the omega-3 fats DHA and EPA you can get, and at a much lower price all year round. The oils in fatty fish help lower triglycerides in the blood and reduce blood pressure and irregular heart rhythms. A 3-ounce serving eaten twice a week is all you need.

109232018

Black beans – Oatmeal is recognized as being good for your heart, but dry beans, like black beans, have the same benefits and are far more versatile in the diet. Beans are a good source of soluble fiber, which binds cholesterol and keeps it from being absorbed. They are also rich in phytonutrients, like flavonoids, that can inhibit the clumping of platelets in the blood. Eating ½ cup a day can make a difference.

130870550

Raisins –Like blueberries, raisins are rich in antioxidants that help reduce cardiovascular risk factors, such as blood pressure, total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, and markers for inflammation. Unlike blueberries, raisins are convenient to have on hand no matter what the season. Enjoy ¼ cup as a fruit serving daily.

109892391

Popcorn – Whole grains don’t just in the form of breads and cereals. Popcorn is a whole grain and a good source of polyphenols, a naturally occurring antioxidant, that improves heart health. It’s very budget friendly and a satisfying snack as long as it’s prepared without excess salt and oil.

137075987

Milk– Most often associated with calcium, milk is also high in potassium which is maintain the fluid balance in the body and help the kidneys eliminate excess sodium. With as much potassium as a medium banana, every 8 ounce glass of fat free milk you drink is a great way to keep your heart strong.

89804439

Plant Stanols and Sterols – These compounds are found in very small amounts in fruits, vegetables, and grains. They help block the absorption of cholesterol, but there is not enough of them in foods to get the 2 grams a day needed for cholesterol-lowering benefits. Daily use of foods fortified with stanols and sterols, such as Minute Maid Heart Wise Orange juice and Benecol spread, is an valuable way to supplement a heart-healthy diet.

There is a long tradition of using spices to spice up your love life

Spice Up Your Love Life With Spices

THERE IS A LONG TRADITION OF USING HERBS AND SPICES TO SPICE UP YOUR LOVE LIFE

This blog was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. The site was deactivated in July 2013, but you can read the original post here.

If you’re looking for ways to spice up your love life, you can start in the kitchen. Or more specifically, the spice rack. Adding more spices to your meals is a widely used practice to bring more passion into the bedroom.

Historians say spices are responsible for the spread of civilization across the continents (though not because they are aphrodisiacs.) The desire for more spices is what made people in Asia, North Africa and Europe venture out beyond their familiar borders over 5000 year ago. They crossed desserts, mountains, and oceans to get to the peppercorns, cinnamon and nutmeg on the other side.

As a result, the spice trade is credited with having caused one of the biggest population explosions of all time!

Can Spices Help Your Love Life?

If you understand the placebo effect, then spices will definitely improve your libido and increase fertility. If you need cold, hard, facts before spicing up your menus, then your coupling may be a bit bland.

Spices have long been used for medicinal purposes, including improving sex drive. Many of those traditional remedies have now been proven effective. Others have not, but belief in them remains strong, and that is often rewarded with good results.

Sexy Spices From Folklore and Science

Basil: The sweet scent is believed to make men lust after a woman wearing it. Ancient Greeks gave it to horses before breeding them.

Cloves: Used in aromatherapy to increase sexual desire. It improves blood flow and body temperature when eaten.

Coriander: In the tale, The Arabian Nights, a merchant who was childless for 40 years is cured by a concoction that includes coriander. Hippocrates made a wedding drink containing it to stimulate libido of the newlyweds.

Fennel: Contains estirol, an estrogen-like substance. Ancient Egyptians used it to boost libido in women.

Fenugreek: The seeds contain saponins, which play a role in increasing testosterone production. A 2011 study showed it raised libido in men.

Ginger: Improves circulation and is believed to increase blood flow to sexual organs.

Ginseng: Used by traditional healers to treat erectile dysfunction (ED) related to stress. Early evidence suggests it may be effective, but more research is needed.

Nutmeg: Valued it as an aphrodisiac by Chinese women, referred to as the “Viagra for Women” in Africa. Can produce hallucinations when used in quantity.

Saffron: An extensive review of food aphrodisiacs done in 2011 found just a few threads can improve ED, but was not as effective as Viagra.

When cooking, the amount of each spice used and when to add it is an important part of the recipe. Unfortunately, there are similar no recipes for properly seasoning your sex life. But don’t let that stop you. McCormick has plenty of ideas to help get your started.

Cooking together is enticing for me, what turns you on in the kitchen?

Diet for a healthy heart also helps to keep the brain strong

Diet for a Healthy Heart is Good for the Brain

FOODS THAT HELP MAINTAIN A HEALTHY HEART KEEP OUR BRAINS STRONG, TOO

This blog was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. The site was deactivated in July 2013, but you can read the original post here.

If it seems to you the foods that can help prevent heart disease grab all the headlines, your eyesight is fine! Heart disease is the number one cause of death for men and women alike in the U.S., so controlling it makes news. Keeping the brain sharp is also on people’s minds, but it takes more than cross-word puzzles to do it. What you eat can also help prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

The good news is that the diet that’s good for your heart is good for your brain, too!

The dietary guidelines that support a healthy heart include foods that won’t clog your arteries, supply plenty of anti-oxidants, help to keep blood pressure low, and deliver lots of nutrients.

To keep your heart and brain healthy you should be eating:

  • Dark green, deep orange, yellow, red and purple vegetables and fruits, such as spinach, carrots, peaches, tomatoes, and berries.
  • Whole grains and products made from them, such as whole oats, brown rice, whole wheat bread, and whole grain pasta.
  • Oily cold-water fish containing omega-3 fatty acids, such as tuna, salmon, sardines, lake trout, and herring.
  • Beans, nuts and seeds for their fiber, essential oils and micronutrients, such as kidney beans, chick peas, almonds, walnuts and sunflower seed.
  • Nonfat and low fat milk and milk products, such as yogurt and cheese.

Added Ways to Feed the Brain

Eat Fish Often –People who eat baked or broiled fish at least once a week – regardless of type – have been found to have more of the gray matter in their brains in the areas related to Alzheimer’s. Scientists believe the larger and stronger that area is, the longer it takes for the disease to destroy it. Eating fried fish was not found to provide the same benefits.

Season with Curcumin – This spice is the active ingredient in turmeric and used in Indian curries. Animal research has shown it reduces amyloid plaque, which is what accumulates in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s. Human studies have also found that those who ate the most curried foods had the highest scores on cognition tests.

Supplement with Vitamin B12 – Even if the diet is nutritionally adequate, certain medications and changes in digestive secretions can interfere with the absorption of vitamins needed for vital brain functions, such as Vitamin B12. Older adults with deficiencies of Vitamin B12 have been found to have smaller brains and lower scores on test measuring their memory, thinking and reasoning.

New research provides further evidence why we should prevent zinc deficiency as we age

Today’s Nutrition News: Preventing Zinc Deficiency

This post was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. The site was deactivated on July 1, 2013, so the post has been reproduced here.

NEW RESEARCH PROVIDES FURTHER EVIDENCE FOR WHY WE SHOULD PREVENT ZINC DEFICIENCY AS WE AGE

You don’t hear much about zinc deficiency in nutrition circles. My chief recollection of it from

undergraduate school was that it was responsible for the a loss of taste as we aged. Fearing that possibility, I’ve always paid attention to the zinc content of foods. (Baked beans, dark meat chicken, cashews, chick peas and Swiss cheese are my favorites)

Now a new study helps to explain why we develop zinc deficiency as we age. This research may lead to a better understanding of how we can continue enjoy the taste of our food as we grow older and benefit from the many other important functions zinc performs in the body.

Reasons for Zinc Deficiency

The research was done by scientists at the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University and published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. They found signs of zinc deficiency in older rats that had adequate zinc in their diets. The cause was malfunctioning zinc transporters. In a convoluted process, the mechanisms used to transport zinc were disrupted by changes in DNA, and the DNA was damaged by the lack of zinc.

In humans as well as rats, zinc is needed to repair the damage to DNA that goes on in the body throughout life. This study and others suggest our ability to keep up with these repairs becomes less efficient over time while the need gets greater.

One of the most serious effects of low zinc levels is an enhanced inflammatory response. Excessive inflammation is directly linked to many life-threatening diseases, including cancer and heart disease. When the rats in this study were given 10 times their dietary requirement for zinc, biomarkers for inflammation retuned to the levels of younger animals.

Given the aging of the population and rising rates of degenerative diseases, the role of zinc in controlling inflammation may be its most important contribution to a healthy retirement.

Key Facts About Zinc in the Diet

Zinc is involved in the activity of over 100 enzymes and needed for proper immune function, DNA and protein synthesis, wound healing and cell division.

The combination of low dietary intake of zinc and poor absorption can lead to a deficiency. Government food intake surveys found the diets of 35%-45% of people over age 60 did not meet average zinc requirements. When zinc sources from both diet and supplements were measured, 20%-25% still had inadequate intakes.

Current Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) for zinc for people over age 19 are 11 mg/day for men and 8 mg/day for women. Due to lowered rates of absorption in older adults, many nutrition scientists believe the RDA for people over 50 should be increased.

Symptoms of zinc deficiency include frequent infections, hair loss, poor appetite, loss of sense of taste and smell, poor wound healing, and mental lethargy. Many of these symptoms are also associated with other health problems so a thorough medical exam is needed to make a diagnosis.

People with higher risk for zinc deficiency are those with digestive diseases, malabsorption syndrome, chronic liver or renal disease, sickle cell disease, alcoholics, and vegetarians.

There are no medical tests to adequately measure zinc status. A dietary assessment is the best tool along with a review of medical history and medication use.

Zinc toxicity can occur from overuse of dietary supplements and over-the-counter cold remedies. Signs include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. The Tolerable Upper Intake for men and women over age 19 is 40 mg/day.

Glutathione is an important antioxidant

Getting Your Fill of Glutathione

What antioxidant is found in every cell in your body and is the one produced most frequently at the cellular level? Here’s a hint: It’s often referred to as the “master antioxidant” due to the multitasking jobs it does fighting oxidation, boosting the immune system and aiding the removal of harmful toxins.

If you didn’t guess glutathione, you’re not alone.

Only 8 percent of consumers are even aware of glutathione according to research by Kyowa Hakko, one of the suppliers of the ingredient to the dietary supplement industry. But as we age our need for glutathione increases, so it’s my guess that this important antioxidant will be on the minds of more people in the years ahead.

Getting to Know Glutathione

You may not know much about glutathione because it is not considered an essential nutrient, meaning we can manufacture it in our bodies. It also may not be on your radar because early studies raised doubts about whether we could absorb it when taken as an oral supplement. But a study published in the European Journal of Nutrition in May 2014 has sparked renewed interest in this antioxidant because it proved glutathione can be absorbed by the body when taken by mouth.

Researchers at Penn State University conducted a 6 month randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial with 48 healthy adults, ages 30-791. Participants were randomly assigned to receive either 250 mg or 1000 mg Setria glutathione per day or a placebo. Levels of glutathione were measured in different blood components and in biomarkers of oxidative stress at the beginning of the study and after 1, 3 and 6 months, then again after a 1-month washout period.

Glutathione levels in the blood were higher when tested at each interval compared to baseline for both doses. A reduction in oxidative stress was also seen in both groups based on decreases in the oxidized to reduced glutathione ratio in whole blood after 6 months. Levels of glutathione then returned to baseline a month after supplementation ended, suggesting long-term oral supplementation with glutathione may be effective in maintaining body stores.

Where to Find Glutathione

Just like most other foods rich in antioxidants, the best sources of glutathione are fresh fruits and vegetables. Freshly prepared meats are also a good source, while dairy foods, grains and highly processed foods are not.

Results from of two studies that measured dietary intakes of glutathione by Americans found a wide range due, in part, to losses that occur during food processing2,3. Based on these studies, it is estimated most Americans get less than 60 mg day from food sources.

The level of glutathione in different tissues of the body also varies widely, so it is difficult to estimate actual requirements, but it is known that our need increases with normal aging, health problems, medication use, excess weight, cigarette smoking, and alcohol abuse. Environmental conditions such as pollution and exposure to other toxins further increase our need for glutathione.

Why Do We Need Glutathione?

While breathing is essential to life, it is also a major cause of aging due to the oxidation of the cells that occurs with every breath. If cells become damaged by oxidation, free radicals are formed that can attack the body and cause disease. That is why antioxidants, like glutathione, are so important. They protect us against the damaging effects of these free radicals, which in turn, helps to promote a healthy immune system.

In addition to fighting free radicals, glutathione helps the kidneys and liver do their job of detoxifying the body by binding to ingested toxins so they can be excreted. And it is found in the lining of the entire gastrointestinal tract where it can neutralize toxins before they are absorbed.

It is impossible to know whether we produce enough glutathione to get the protection it can provide, but we do know our dietary intake can be erratic and many factors of modern life – including normal aging – increase our need. Doses of 3 grams per day of glutathione have been used experimentally with no adverse effects4, but taking 150-250 mg per day of supplemental glutathione appears to be reasonable a way to insure your needs are met.

Disclosure Statement: I was compensated for my time to write this blog by Kyowa Hakko, an international health ingredient manufacturer, but all opinions expressed here are my own.

REFERENCES

  1. Richie JP Jr, et al. Eur J Nutr. 2014 May 5. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 24791752
  2. Flagg EW et al. Am J Epidemiol. 1994;139(5):453-65
  3. Jones DP et al. Nutr Cancer. 1992;17:57-75
  4. Witschi A et al. Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 1992;43(6):667-69
Diet plays a major role in protecting eye health

Food As Medicine: Nutrients for Eye Health

DIET PLAYS A MAJOR ROLE IN PROTECTING EYE HEALTH

This post was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. The site was deactivated on July 1, 2013, so the post has been reproduced here.

Which of your five senses do you most fear losing? I know it’s my sight, and apparently 55 percent of other baby boomers feel the same way. Concerns about eye health are right up there with worries about heart disease and cancer according to a survey by the Ocular Nutrition Society done in 2011.

So why aren’t we doing more to protect our vision?

Nearly half of the survey respondents said they don’t typically have an annual eye exam and even fewer were aware of the ways to keep their eyes healthy. This is a problem we need to focus on (pun intended) since the National Eye Institute projects the number of eye health issues among Americans will double over the next 30 years due the aging of the population.

Nutrients That Protect Your Eyes

Four of the biggest causes of vision trouble – cataracts, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic retinopathy – are linked to good nutrition. Do you know if your diet and supplements are meeting all of your visual needs?

Most people know that Vitamin A is important for good vision after hearing all those carrot jokes growing up. But three other equally important nutrients are less familiar: Omega 3 fatty acids, lutein and zeaxanthin.

The percentage of survey respondents not aware of the role of these nutrients in maintaining eye health were:

  • 60% for Omega 3 fatty acids
  • 66% for Lutein
  • 89% for Zeaxanthin

Omega 3 fats are the ones in oily fish, like salmon and sardines, and in walnuts and flax seeds. Lutein and zeaxanthin are plant pigments most abundant in leafy green vegetables, but also found in pistachio nuts, corn, and egg yolks. A diet including two 3-ounces servings of fish each week 2-3 cups of vegetables every day is a good way to get the needed amounts of each.

If your diet is not that consistent, a dietary supplement may be needed to fill the gaps. The Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) for Omega 3 fatty acids is 1.6 grams/day for men and 1.1 grams a day for women. The National Academy of Sciences has not established aDRIfor Lutein/Zeaxanthin, butcurrent recommendations are 6-10 mg/day for adults.

Other Ways to Take Care of Your Eyes

  • Wear sunglasses, safety glasses and protective sports lenses
  • Replace liquid and creamy eye makeup every 3 months and whenever you develop an eye infection
  • Look away from computers screens for 20 seconds every 20 minutes

At what age did you first need help to correct your vision?

 

 

 

 

Fish oil supplements provide needed omega 3 fatty acids not found in most diets

Why You Shouldn’t Stop Taking Fish Oil Supplements

FISH OIL SUPPLEMENTS PROVIDE NEEDED OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDS NOT FOUND IN MOST DIETS

This post was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. The site was deactivated on July 1, 2013, so the post has been reproduced here.

If this week’s headlines have you thinking you can stop taking your fish oil supplements, keep reading. The headlines and news coverage of the study they were based on do not tell the whole story. But as I’ve said before, it is never a good idea to make a dietary change based on a single news report unless it’s for a food recall, and here’s why.

The research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association investigated whether people taking fish oil capsules had less risk of heart disease and death than those who did not. While the headlines said they did not, several factors limited the findings. The biggest one being that the subjects were not a healthy population, but people who had already suffered heart attacks and strokes. Since most people with a history of cardiovascular disease are taking multiple medications, it simply may not have been possible to tell what impact their fish oil supplements were having on lowering their risk factors.

Key Take-Away: This study provides no indication of how fish oil supplements benefit healthy people, but plenty of others do.

Why Take Fish Oil Capsules?

Fish oil capsules are a source of essential omega 3 fatty acids. An essential nutrient is required by the body, but cannot be manufactured by the body. That means we must get it from food or supplements.

What Types of Omega 3 Fatty Acids Do We Need?

There is not just one omega 3 fatty acid. The name omega 3 simply indicates that there is a double bond (between two carbon atoms) in a specific location on the fatty acid. For dietary purposes, we are most concerned with the types of omega 3s found in fatty fish, called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and the type found in plants called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).

What Role Do Omega 3 Fatty Acids Play in the Body?

Omega 3 fatty acids play a role in several metabolic processes, including reducing inflammation, lowering high triglyceride (blood fat) levels, reducing the pain and stiffness of rheumatoid arthritis, improving cognitive function with aging, aiding the treatment of depression, and enhanced brain development in infants. Research also shows omega 3 may reduce the risk of plaque build up in the arteries, inflammatory bowel disease, Attention Deficit Disorder, bone loss, and psychiatric disorders.

How Much Omega 3 Do We Need?

The Institute of Medicine of the U.S. National Academy of Science establishes the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI) for essential nutrients for both the U.S. and Canada. The DRI are intended to satisfy the nutrient needs of most healthy people in each age group. The Acceptable Intake (AI) of omega 3 fatty acids for males and females aged 40-50 years is 1.6grams/day and 1.1 grams/day respectively.

How Much Omega 3 Do We Consume?

Eating 8 ounces a week of a variety of seafood supplies about 1.7 grams of EPA and DHA, which is enough to meet the DRI for adult men and women noted above. But the mean intake of all types of fish eaten by Americans is 3.5 ounces per week, less than half the amount needed to meet the Acceptable Intake. Plant sources of omega 3, such as seed oils, walnuts, and soybeans, supply 1.3-2.0 grams a day of ALA, but less than 5 percent of it is converted to DHA and EPA.

Do We Need Fish Oil Supplements?

All dietary supplements are meant to help fill in the gaps created when we don’t eat all the foods we need in the amounts we need to meet our nutritional needs every day. Fish oil supplement are an excellent way to get essential omega 3 fatty acids if you are not eating 8 ounce/week of seafood, such as salmon, sardines and tuna.

Are you eating all the fish you need each week to get your omega 3s?