vitamins, alternative medicine, antioxidants

Vitamin Stuff Blog

A Health, Nutrition, and Alternative Medicine Blog

Friday, February 29, 2008

Nutrition for Healthier Eyes

Eating properly can help to maintain excellent vision and even improve weak vision. An article at newstarget, in fact, outlines several different ways one can eat properly for vision and claims that a healthy diet is the foundation for excellent vision. If this is true, it may point to why so many Americans have failing vision, since our diets are noticeably lacking in vitamins, minerals, whole foods and superfoods.

The article, which does not advocate one certain diet for everyone, points out many ways one can use nutrition to improve their vision. The basic message is to eat more fruits and vegetables, such as dark leafy greens, colorful veggies full of phytonutrients like beets, carrots and squash, and fruits high in antioxidants, such as blackberries and strawberries. The article also advocates taking vitamin supplements, drinking fresh vegetable juices and adding superfoods, such as chlorella, spirulina, nutritional yeast to one’s diet.

In addition to eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, they also recommend reducing dietary sugars, which can diminish nutrients in the body and play a role in cross-linking of collagen fibers in the eye.

Other recommendations include getting enough essential fats, using herbal eye washes and resting your eyes by taking off your glasses.

To read the entire article, full of helpful resources and information, visit:

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Media Fallacies: Don't always believe the mainstream media

Do you look to mainstream media for information about nutrition and health? Do you trust the mainstream media to give you the most accurate information?

An article on was one of the only articles that reported a mainstream media fallacy in the world of nutritional supplements, reporting that although a study was done to show the benefits of vitamin C and vitamin E, the mainstream media took the information and twisted it on its head.

The study was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine and showed that a nine-year trial of women taking vitamin C and E supplements found a 31% reduction in stroke and a 22% reduction in risk of heart attacks. The problem with the study is that not all of the women actually took the vitamins on a regular basis. Unfortunately, the researchers ignored this fact and printed the findings while including the women that that did not take the vitamins. When they were included, the study found no significant benefits to the study.

The article, which was highly opinionated, stated that, “media outlets just can't wait to be spoon-fed the latest propaganda from drug company collaborators and then parrot it out to the public as fact.” The article also pointed out that it would be easy to give pharmaceuticals to a group and then include those who did not take the pharmaceuticals to prove they didn’t work.

The study, despite being flawed with regard to pointing out the findings of the women who did take the vitamins, resulted in a flurry of articles from various sources. Fox News reported: Antioxidants Do Not Protect High-Risk Women from Heart Disease. ABC News reported: Vitamins No Magic Bullet for Heart Health, and even Forbes, NY, reported: Antioxidants No Magic Bullet for Heart Disease in Women.

The article went out of its way to point out the many fallacies in our country by stating that we have: “an international reputation in ruins, a dysfunctional national press, a national health care system that actually promotes disease and cures no one, a mentally impaired President, a broken public education system, an irreversible addiction to oil, a drugged-up population of voters and a deeply-ingrained habit of spending itself into financial oblivion.”

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Acupuncture as an anesthetic and the Limbic System

Even though acupuncture has still not been approved as a medical procedure in the US and remains a ‘complimentary’ medicine and ‘alternative’ healing method, an article on BBC reports that acupuncture deactivates parts of the brain that register pain. The article, which highlights a study done on television, points out the findings of the study: with deep needling, the limbic system is deactivated.

The study was part of three-part series on complimentary medicine and showed brain scans for people having acupuncture. A control group was given superficial needling of only 1mm in the skin. Other volunteers were subjected to the normal 1cm needling of acupuncture points.

The group with deep needling showed that part of the pain matrix, the limbic system, was deactivated. Those with shallow needling showed a normal reaction to pain.

While the researchers were surprised, they still do not recommend it for anesthetic, although it is used in China. They do, however, admit that acupuncture has a huge effect on the human brain and that it can act as pain relief.

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Can Acupuncture help In Vitro Fertilization?

Many couples are resorting to IVF for pregnancy help. In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is the process of fertilizing the female egg with the male sperm outside the body to create an embryo that is then inserted into the womb. Researchers have been wondering if acupuncture can help this process, resulting in many studies and trials.

Recently, a study conducted by US and Dutch researchers (formerly published in the British Medical Journal) claimed that acupuncture does help IVF – with one out of every ten IVF cycles resulting in one extra pregnancy. The study concluded that acupuncture helps those in the US, but not as much in Europe.

The reasoning? Well, it appears that most of the studies were done in Chinese clinics, which have a lower pregnancy rate than the average European clinic. When the studies were compared to the European rate of pregnancy, no change was shown.

The study looked at more than 1,000 women from seven different trial studies, combining the results to get an overall picture of the effectiveness of acupuncture.

Even though the studies presented that those who combine acupuncture and IVF had a 65% higher chance of pregnancy, in the US many in the medical community are still not convinced.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Do ferrets kiss their owners?

Chloe - size comparison

Yes, at least Chloe does. How does a ferret kiss its owner? The same way a dog will kiss you, by licking you on the lips.

Interesting how all pet animals aim for the lips. With a dog, it can be a little sloppy and annoying, though well appreciated (I have been an owner of several wonderful dogs). With ferrets, the kisses take the form of little petite licks from tiny scratchy tongues that seem to be just as raspy as a cat's tongue.

When we first got Chloe, she was a little reserved as compared to now. That's probably understandable since she didn't come out of a good environment (Chloe was a "rescue ferret"). However, now, the first thing Chloe does when we take her out of her cage for "run around the house and destroy everything time" is kiss me or my wife. And I mean that is absolutely the very first thing she does. It's true affection.

Oh, the shot above is several years old and may even date back to when Chloe first graced our home (i.e. was thrust upon two naive and unsuspecting ferret owners to be). As you can see, there is a blank VHS video tape in the won't be long before they attain the same novelty as eight tracks, I suppose.

Chloe the ferret - a Mini Blog about Ferrets

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What's a Blogroll really for?

This is an interesting question and I wonder if it is one that really occurs even to most bloggers. After all, the purpose of a blogroll should be apparent. To list those blogs that you like, find commonality with, and want to keep up with.

Unfortunately, as with most things web-related, the original purpose of something online usually, at some point, becomes separated from its later (perhaps inevitable) pragmatic purpose. Thus, we see very often that blogrolls are often nothing more than reciprocal link exchanges.

Ok, I probably shouldn't get started on reciprocals. This is a hot topic for debate among SEO types and may forever continue to be...Are reciprocals dead?, Are reciprocal links devalued?, Are reciprocal links penalized by google?,etc, etc, yadda, yadda, who gives a flip.

On this subject, I will say that I personally don't care for reciprocals in most cases because the individuals who ordinarily approach you for link exchanges----A) maintain low quality sites, B) maintain sites that have nothing to do with your site and C) make me automatically think of the google-inspired phrase "linking to a bad neighborhood". What do I with letters requesting a reciprocal link exchange? Into file 13 with no consideration whatsoever.

Blogrolls, in too many cases, have simply degenerated to this level. They exist to algorithmically pump up the sites of friends and to pump up one's own sites (this is known as running a network). Blogrolls that are compiled by bloggers for this purpose typically have little value. Why? Mainly because the blogs that appear on such lists are not chosen because the owner of the blog has an intrinsic interest in them.

Which brings me back to the question of what a blogroll is really for. In my case, it's for this reason: to make it easier for me to get to the blogs that I have found, over time, that I like to read. No other reason. If people who come across my blog find that they like the blogs on the list, great. If it diverts that all-important web traffic away from my site, fine as well.

So, I've decided that I need to start compiling a list of blogs that, lately, I find I like to visit.

BTW, here are the latest definitions that have been added to the Health Nutrition Dictionary:


Vitamin Deficiency




Adenosine Triphosphate

Body Mass Index

Stretch Marks


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Pregnant Mothers Need Vitamin E to Reduce Asthma in Children

According to a study, expectant mothers should eat plenty of vegetable oils, margarine, nuts and sunflower seeds, as well as other foods rich in vitamin E, to help ward off the possibility of their unborn children developing asthma.

The study was done at the University of Aberdeen involving 2,000 pregnant women and their children. The team studied them over a five-year period and concluded that children of mothers with the lowest amount of vitamin E were five times more likely to develop signs of asthma by their fifth birthday. Those taking high amounts of vitamin E were less likely to see signs of asthma such as wheezing, coughing and tightness in the chest.

The researchers recommend a balanced diet, but claim that getting enough vitamin E during the first sixteen months of pregnancy is crucial, due to the fact that the airways are fully developed in the embryo by sixteen weeks.

The study was published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Surprising findings were that the children’s own diet did not seem to be a factor in whether or not they developed asthma.

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Organic food really is healthier

For the longest time, advocates of organic food have had to deal with the naysayers. A lot of people still think that organic food is mostly hype and a way to charge more money for practically the same items. They fail to recognize the benefits of richer, cleaner soil and the lack of pesticides and genetically modified chemicals.

The truth is that organic foods really are more nutritious and they actually do taste better. A study conducted by Newcastle University and funded by the European Union found that organic food contains higher levels of antioxidants and flavonoids, less unhealthy fats, as well as higher levels of valuable minerals.

The study also found that organic milk had 50% to 80% more antioxidants than milk from non-organic cattle and that many organic foods, from onions and cabbage to potatoes and wheat, had 20% to 50% more minerals than non-organic varieties.

The researchers are still trying to find out what the logical difference is to produce such staggering results. Ongoing research will try to find out why organic food has a higher nutritional content.

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

How the sexes fare when they reach 100 years

Old dog diagram

Lindsey Tanner, writing for the associated press, began a short article with a fairly bold statement: “Living to one hundred is easier than you might think”.

A person reading this line might tend to think “Hmm. Oh, really? That’s not what my occasional perusal of the obituaries tell me”. However, Ms. Tanner’s article had some very interesting things to say about which of us may achieve the status of becoming a centenarian, and how the sexes fare, comparatively speaking, when they get there.

First of all, how do we arrive at the ripe old age of one hundred years? Is it genetics, or environment (i.e. how we lived and what we ate during our life). Well, lately, scientists think that genetics may not tell as much of the story as previously thought. In fact, a study of men in their seventies found that those individuals who avoided smoking, becoming overweight and inactive, and who controlled their blood pressure and blood glucose levels, had a 54 percent chance of living into their nineties.

Those are fairly good odds and the fact that taking personal responsibility for one’s health can result in a significantly extended lifespan is wonderful news.

Now, how do men and women fare, comparatively, when they reach 100? The differences between the sexes are actually stark.

Among women this old, only about a third still retain the ability to attend to their own bathing and the ability to dress themselves. Men, on the other hand, who reach 100 have a 75 percent probability that they will still be able to dress and bathe without assistance.

Why the differences? No one is really quite sure. Are men better suited for the “longevity game”? Actually, no. The speculation is that only the hardiest of men live to the age of 100; whereas women are more likely to survive to 100 despite suffering significant limitations as a result of medical impairments.

Here are some more additions to the Vitamin Stuff Dictionary:




Fat Soluble Vitamins

Water Soluble Vitamins

Omega-6 Fatty Acids

Sugar Alcohols

Sodium PCA



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High Fat Diets and Vitamin C Create Carcinogens

Vitamin C is very high in antioxidants and may offer anti-cancer properties. Most people think that you can simply add vitamin C to your diet via food or supplements to receive anti-cancer benefits, but, according to a recent study, vitamin C mixed with dietary fats can produce carcinogenic compounds in the stomach.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Glasgow, was shared at the annual Society of Experimental Biology in Glasgow. What they found was vitamin C mixed with dietary fat produces carcinogenic N-nitrosamine, while reducing the antioxidant properties of vitamin C.

Basically, if you are eating a high fat, highly processed meat and dairy diet, taking vitamin C will not help add antioxidants to your diet, but will instead add carcinogenic compounds that can lead to stomach cancer. This happens when nitrate combines with stomach acids. Usually vitamin C hinders this process, but when mixed with dietary fats it does not.

The lesson I take from this is keep my fat intake to a healthy minimum, to avoid saturated fat and to get more monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat.

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Movie Jumper - it didn't land well

Entertaining and...
thoroughly disappointing

I could say all these things about this movie, preceded by the phrase, "Don't go see this movie because"----

1. The script has holes bigger than the space between Paris Hilton's ears.

2. The movie has a thoroughly unsatisfying end, mainly because it is obviously set up for a sequel that will never happen (Sam Jackson being deposited on the side of a cliff, Diane Lane the paladin giving her jumper son Chrisitian Haydensen (oops, got his name backwards---its Hayden Chistiansen, not that it matters) a head start, the irish jumper disappearing from the last ten minutes of the movie, etc).

3. Christian Haydensen's, I mean Hayden Christiansen's, acting is still pretty wooden.

4. They never explain just why the hell it is that anyone is bothering to pursue these jumpers. And if anyone should be pursuing them, it should be the U.S. treasury deparment and the secret service.

However, I have a fondness for Sci-fi movies, even bad ones. So, if you like sci-fi, go see it because---

1. The effects aren't bad.

2. Anakin Skywalker's acting, while wooden, is better than it used to be.

3. Samuel Jackson is so modsquad cool with that white skullhair.

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Grape Seeds - the seeds themselves are a nutritional element

We’ve all bought seedless grapes. Who wants those crunchy little buggers ruining their juicy grape experience? Well, we might be missing the most important nutritional element in grapes – proanthocyanidins – if we forgo the seeds.

An article at newstarget takes a look at the conventional view of grape seeds, as well as the alternative view, and points out several reasons you might want to start seeking out grapes with seeds. For one, they have been shown to hold antioxidant, anti-inflammatory (see inflammation), anti-cancer and anti-atherogenic properties. They are also thought to protect the heart, blood and liver, while fighting breast, lung and stomach cancers.

Why are so many seedless grapes being sold? The article suggests the public is being denied a natural, healing product.

If you’re already too fond of grapes without seeds, you may want to try a grape seed extract. There are many different brands and types that can be found in health food stores or on the internet.

For more information and resources, visit the original article at: Eat the seeds

By the way, here are some definitions that have been added to the VitaminStuff dictionary:


Cruciferous Vegetables

Free Radical


Metabolic Syndrome


Thymus Gland

Type II Diabetes

Soy Protein


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Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Devil is, obviously, in the Details

Free breakfast offer modified

When I drove past this motel and restaurant, I couldn't stop laughing. My only guess is that, at one point, they'd been inundated with individuals in pursuit of free food.

If that had been the case, however, I wouldn't be surprised. The shot was taken in one of the worst areas of Fayetteville, North Carolina, a place I called home for many years and, truly, one of the ugliest cities you could ever drive into.

Mind you, the town is not completely ugly through and through. There are, in fact at least three, maybe four spots in the city that are not painful on the eyes. However, as others have remarked, there is no good way to enter Fayetteville. Any road or highway you choose as an entry point to the city leads you through something that looks like a burned out cinder, or one corner of a third world turf war.

And, of course, that's where you'll find "The Pancake House" and, I believe, the accompanying "Ambassador Motel". Ick.

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Eat Grapefruit for Healthy Gums

While it is known that citric acids can weaken tooth enamel and can cause tooth erosion, a new study shows a different take on vitamin C and oral health. Performed by Friedrich Schiller University in Germany, the study reported that eating grapefruit every day may help reduce bleeding gums and help promote the healing of gum disease.

Researchers had 58 volunteers with chronic gum disease eat two grapefruits a day and found that it had a positive effect on gum disease; this was true for smokers and non-smokers. The researchers believe this is due to the increase in vitamin C, which promotes healing of wounds. Each grapefruit contains over 90 mg of vitamin C.

The study was published in the British Dental Journal. If Vitamin C is the main component of healing bleeding gums, we are left to wonder if oranges and vitamin C supplements have the same affect.

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Inflammation allows the body to heal itself

Here's another definition that was to be added to the Vitamin Stuff dictionary. However, this is also, like Creatine, a duplication, i.e. I failed to realize that the definition had previously been written. Never one to waste good, even if redundant material, here's some information on "inflammation".

Inflammation is the way the body responds to foreign substances, irritation, infection, bacteria, viruses and other injuries. During inflammation, white blood cells and chemicals are released into the blood and affected tissues in order protect the body. This release of chemicals cause the signs of inflammation, such as redness, swelling, warmth, irritation, joint stiffness and pain.

Inflammation may also be accompanied by headaches, muscle stiffness, fever, chills and loss of energy. Inflammation is a mechanism that allows the body to heal itself.

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Creatine is a Natural Constituent of Skeletal Muscle

I'm in the process of developing a dictionary for Vitamin Stuff, one that will cover much of the terminology encountered in nutrition and health and fitness writing. It's not the easiest process, of course, and, as with anything else, there's the occasional flub.

Here's a definition for Creatine that's redundant (I had forgotten that a page devoted to Creatine already exists on Vitamin Stuff) but still worthy of posting.

Creatine, also known as phosphocreatine, is a natural constituent of skeletal muscle and is also produced by amino acids during digestion. The richest sources of creatine in food come from meat and fish.

While natural creatine is a protein derivative in muscle tissue, it is most commonly known for its use as a dietary supplement in the sport of bodybuilding for those seeking to enhance their physical performance. The reason it is used by bodybuilders is because it increases the amount of energy available from the muscles and improves one’s ability to sustain strength during intense exercise.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Hydrotherapy comes in Various Forms

Hydrotherapy is any form of therapy that uses water as the main source of treatment. Hydrotherapy may take the form of baths, sprays, whirlpools, douches, packs, compresses and even irrigation, such as colon hydrotherapy.

In hydrotherapy, water can be used as a hot application or a cold application, increasing or decreasing body temperature and the rate of blood flow. Hydrotherapy is not generally accepted by the medical community as a true therapy, due to the fact that medical practitioners have not studied and documented its effects. However, this type of therapy has been used for centuries all over the world and many individuals testify to its benefits and curative effects.

Here's a new article, written by Opal Tribble, titled " Hydrotherapy: Our Bodies React to Contact with Water .

More of Opal's articles can be found on this page: Opal Tribble, Vitamin Stuff Contributing Writer.

Also, here are some new definitions for the Vitamin Stuff dictionary, the building of which is in progress.

Saturated Fats

Herbal Tinctures

Carrier Oil



Simple Sugars




Polyunsaturated Fats

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Weight Training for Health

Do you do 20 to 30 minutes of cardio a few days a week to keep your health in check? Even if you do, cardio isn’t enough to keep you healthy and strong as the decades pass. New physical activity guidelines from the American College of Sports and Medicine and the American Heart Association encourage Americans to strength train in addition to getting regular cardiovascular exercise. They suggest at least two training periods a week to work out the major muscle groups.

From my own perspective, I would certainly agree with this. Resistance training, a.k.a. strength training can payoff in a lot of different ways: burning more calories and reducing body fat, allowing one to add more muscle tissue which results in a heightened ability to burn more calories and reduce body fat, and stronger bones (resistance training improves bone density).

Of course, not everyone is cut out for hitting the barbells and dumbells (a variety of factors, including age and level of infirmity, could affect whether nor not this type of activity is suitable for an individual). Fortunately, strength training doesn’t necessarily have to mean bodybuilding or lifting free weights (i.e. anaerobic activity). Strength training can involve the use of machines and various resistance activities that work toward a similar goal, which is to make sure that the major muscle groups are "worked out" sufficiently.

Cardiovascular exercise is a definite must. But as research continues to indicate (and validate what strength training enthusiasts have known for decades) muscle training is also needed to keep a person strong, fit and healthy.

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Treatment for Knee Osteoarthritis May Not be Effective

The most common type of osteoarthritis in the United States is Knee Osteoarthritis. It is the main cause of disability in the U.S., with more than 10 million people reported as having it. The most common supplements for knee osteoarthritis are chondroitin and glucosamine, the most common surgery is arthroscopic knee surgery and the most common injections are hyaluronan (as in hyalauronic acid) preparations.

However, according to a review by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), none of these treatments are more effective than a placebo. The review stated that each of these treatments lacked scientific support and needed more testing.

If the supplements that are used to relieve pain and improve physical function have no effect and the injections used to lubricate the joint lack scientific support, as well as the procedure to clean out the joint by removing loose cartilage, then the entire medical community will need to determine new, effective treatments for the leading cause of osteoarthritis.

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Substituting Grape Juice and Grape Seed Extract for Wine

Most of us know that drinking a glass or two of wine a day is a great way to lessen the risk of heart disease and cancer, while lowering cholesterol levels. Unfortunately, too much wine can cause bodily damage over time and is not healthy for those with alcohol issues.

Fortunately, a new study suggests that you can substitute grape juice for wine with the same healthy effects, without the added alcohol. The study was funded by Welch's Foods Inc. and reported that eating both red grape skins and seeds, or taking grape seed extract was just as healthy as partaking of wine. Welch’s Food Inc. is a branch of the National Grape Cooperative Association.

However, not just any grape juice will do. Grape juice must have a high level of polyphenols to offer health benefits. Grapes offer resveratrol and proanthocyanidins, both of which offer cardiovascular and heart benefits.

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Smoking and Alzheimer's

Since I have a parent in her sixties, this is news that immediately grabbed my attention. A new study has found that older individuals who are age 55 or older and who smoke may increase their risk of developing Alzheimer's by as much as 50 percent.

Apparently, the nicotine found in cigarettes increases the effects of a particular brain protein that is known to cause Alzheimer's.

What is ironic about this is the fact that, previously, the medical establishment was of the opinion that nicotine actually reduced a person's risk of developing of Alzheimer's by limiting plaque formation in the brain.

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Friday, February 15, 2008

Are refrigerators dangerous to ferrets?

Small...but very tricky

They can be. I've read before how a ferret can get into a refrigerator's fan blades and get hurt and possibly killed. But I didn't really understand how easy this is until I had to pull my fridge back from the wall, unplug the power cord, and retrieve a piece of plastic that gotten stuck in the fan. It was then that I realized how big the blades are, how fast they turn, and how much damage this could cause the average overly-curious ferret.

BTW, the picture above illustrates just how small Chloe is compared to the average ferret. I have visited pet stores (I don't advocate buying a ferret from a pet store ever: 1.they don't keep them properly--ferrets need a quiet, dark, and enclosed sleep environment and plenty of out-of-cage time--and 2. there are too many ferrets in shelters that need to be adopted) and seen young kits that are much larger than Chloe and she is definitely as big as she will ever get (thank goodness).

Chloe the ferret - a Mini Blog about Ferrets

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The Sweetener Stevia and Diet Soda

It was several years ago, I believe, that I first began to hear about Stevia. From what I understand, Stevia is a zero calorie herb that has been used in Paraguay for centuries as a natural sweetner. Stevia extracts are reportedly three hundred times sweeter than sugar.

Of special interest to individuals with diabetes, of course, is that stevia has a neglible effect on blood glucose levels. Diabetics currently have a range of artificially sweetened deserts and candies available to them. However, many of them are sweetened with sugar alcohols that, while they have a lesser effect on glucose than sugar, nonetheless still affect glucose levels (and many have "disquieting" gastrointestinal side effects).

I don't claim to know the history on Stevia. But for some reason, Stevia was banned for use in the U.S. as a food, meaning that it, likewise, cannot be used in food. It can be brought in for use as a supplement, though...How this makes sense, I don't know. If the ban on stevia use in food concerns the issue of safety, then, logically, Stevia shouldn't be avaible for importation for any purpose.

The Coca-Cola company would seem to be an advocate for Stevia and reportedly has the aim of pushing the FDA to change the way it views this natural sweetener. Why? So it may market new products using Stevia. Which may not be a bad thing since aspartame breaks down into aspartic acid, an excitotoxin and formaldehyde (however, it should be said that the scientific evidence, to date, does not conclude that it is possible to consume enough aspartame to cause problems with regard to formaldehyde and blood levelf of aspartic acid).

What's interesting for me is that Stevia has been shown in lab studies to have the potenial for improving insulin sensitivity and even the potential for promoting the production of insulin. If these early indications pan out, Stevia could be a boon to type I and type II diabetics as well as beneficial to soft drink makers and other companies desiring to cash in on a natural sweetening agent.

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Omega-3 Fatty Acids - its not hype

There is a plethora of nutrition information out there and much of it, unfortunately, focuses on claims that range from the dubious to the preposterous.

Lately, the buzz is all about Omega-3’s and our deficiency in this micro nutrient. While you may want to ignore all the nutrition propaganda in the headlines, a recent article states that you should listen to, and head the information about, Omega-3’s .

The article, written by, referenced the study “Fish Consumption, Fish Oil, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, and Cardiovascular Disease” which was released by The American Heart Association in 2002. The study showed tremendous evidence that Omega-3’s decreased triglyceride levels, decreased the risk of arrhythmias, lowered blood pressure, and decreased growth rates of atherosclerotic plaques.

Omega-3 fatty acids are also thought to offer positive, and potentially healing, effects for medical conditions such as lupus, multiple sclerosis, menstrual pain, Crohn’s Disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and migraines.

To get your dose of Omega-3’s, eat plenty of fresh wild salmon, sardines, cod, herring, krill oil, anchovies, and mackerel. Some dairy products also add Omega-3’s (check labels to find the healthiest dairy products, though).

If you are a vegetarian, you can get your Omega-3’s from Omega-3 eggs and if you are vegan, or follow a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet, good sources of this nutrient include flaxseed, pecans, walnuts and hazelnuts.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Would I ever undergo Lasik?

At this point, I would have to say no. And by that I mean hell no. Here's why: roughly 2-3 percent of Lasik patients experience complications. What do complications include? They can include blurred vision, dry eyes, ghosting (where something is seen in overlapping copies of itself) and visual quality that, according to one recent report in my local newspaper, is equivalent to attempting to see through a grease-smeared, cracked pane of glass.

Two to three percent might seem like an acceptably low margin for some people. But, frankly, as far as I am concerned, it's about ten times too high. Try consoling yourself with such statistics if you end up as one of the unlucky patients with lifelong visual defects as a result.

I actually went to a Lasik screening about a year ago at no cost. The screening did seem fairly thorough and exhaustive. One thing I didn't like about it, however, is that it had the feeling of factory production.

Nope. My eyes are not widgets to be adjusted on someone's high volume production floor.

Postscript: some individuals who have had complications and deterioration of their vision following Lasik have been helped by a Michigan optometrist, Ed Boshnick. Dr. Boshnick, as the Raleigh News and Observer reports, has had success fitting patients with special contact lenses that can restore the shape of the cornea and either eliminate or improve the visual defects caused by the Lasik procedure.

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Dietary vitamin E can boost physical health for the elderly

We all know that vitamin E is a great antioxidant that protects the body against free radical damage and helps in the formation of red blood cells, but according to an article from BBC it may also help those 65 and older from physical decline that happens with age.

The article noted a study that was performed by Yale University School of Medicine, which appeared earlier in the Journal of the American Medical Association. In the study, 698 volunteers had their blood measured for vitamin levels and performed tests over a three year period on shorts walks and standing form a seated position, as well as balance.

Though the article stated that researchers decided that dietary vitamin E may be help reduce decline for the elderly, it also stated that they could not say why it helped keep the body healthy.

Only one person in the study was noted as taking vitamin E supplements, so they could not conclude that supplemental vitamin E would show the same effects.

To get a healthy amount of vitamin E in your diet, consume plenty of nuts, olives, leafy greens and seeds. As with anything, too much vitamin E can have negative effects at any age.

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Getting more fiber in your diet

Here's a new article by Opal Tribble (which you'll also find placed on the homepage for Vitaminstuff).

The article is titled "Dietary Fiber: Benefits of Adding Fiber to the Diet " and it provides a useful discussion of the benefits of both soluble and insoluble fiber.

One line in the article that stuck in my mind was this: "Consuming large amounts of soluble fiber has an added benefit for those suffering from diabetes; soluble fiber slows down the absorption of glucose by the small intestines".

I knew this intuitively, but hadn't given it much recent thought. However, this is why a low GI style of stealing (see the article by Opal titled " The Glycemic Index System for Ranking Carbohydrates") is beneficial for individuals with either type I or type II diabetes. And, if you'll notice, a lot of foods that have a low glycemic index rating (the lower the number, the better) are fiber rich foods.

Here's the article: " Dietary Fiber: Benefits of Adding Fiber to the Diet ".

To read more articles written by Opal Tribble

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Protein Burns More Energy

The last post was about low carbs and low carb dieting. "Lower carb" diets such as Atkins and the South Beach diet (I used the term lower carb since Atkins is much more strict regarding actual grams of carb intake while South Beach focuses on the types of carbs that are ingested) usually involve a higher protein intake.

Well, here's an interesting factoid regarding protein consumption and low carb dieting. According to Dr. Jeff Volek at the University of Connecticut, the simple act of increasing one's consumption of dietary protein may have an effect on weight loss.

This is because protein is not an ideal energy source for the body. It is more difficult to break down than carbohydrate and, thus, it requires more energy, i.e. calories.

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Low Carb Diet versus Low Fat Diet

This debate may never be settled. What is more effective, a low carb diet or a low fat diet? Mind you, the question was not "what is healthier?", but, rather, what is more effective for weight loss?

My own personal experience tells me that, to achieve significant and sustained weight loss, a low carb diet is best. In fact, whenever I wanted to drop weight quickly in the past (e.g. sports), I lowered my intake of carb grams and over several weeks I lost substantial weight, though I am sure the initial weight loss was mostly water. According to the journal, Nutrition and Metabolism, seven out of ten male subjects in one study lost more weight on a low carb diet versus a low fat diet.

Some individuals, of course, will immediately jump to the conclusion that a low carb must naturally be high in saturated fat. Where they get this idea, however, I haven't a clue. A person can adjust their diet to lower their carb count while not allowing their fat intake to rise to unadvisable levels. The trick is to eat lean meats and include dietary food choices such as legumes. However, it should also be pointed out that not all fat is bad. While trans fat should be eliminated from one's diet, monounsaturated fats are good fats that offer distinct advantages.

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Thursday, February 7, 2008

Sleep, Carbs, and Food Cravings

Ok, I just experienced something that I never have before. I was taking a swig of my lipton diet green tea and right as I was pouring it into my mouth, I sneezed.

Can you imagine? Honestly, I couldn't have before it happened to me...and there's really nothing like the sensation of sneezing at the precise moment that you trying to drink something.

Here's factoid number 2:

Getting sufficient amounts of sleep, regularly is important. For one thing, our bodies repair while we are engaged in deep level sleep (individuals with fibromyalgia often complain of sleep deficits and fibromylagia patients have ongoing pain--increasingly this is thought to be related to insufficient amounts of deep level sleep).

However, here's another reason for getting enough sleep. A study that was published in the annals of internal medicine found that sleep deprivation can have the following effect: increased cravings for calorie rich and carbohydrate rich food.

Perhaps you've experienced this yourself after pulling an all-nighter in college. I know from my own personal experience that anytime I went completely without sleep in preparation for something either school or work related I became famished by the time the sun came up. And my hunger was not for protein, but, rather, anything densely packed with calories and carbs.

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DHEA Levels, Beer, and...erectile dysfunction, arthritis, etc.

If anyone can tell me of a comfortable way to type/blog/compose/whatever while using a laptop and sitting in bed, please tell me. Because, I really could a tip.

Ok, I've decided that it would be a good idea to post "factoids" on this blog. This will allow me to post helpful and informative information about health and nutrition topics (probably, for the most part, regarding micronutrients).

So, without further adieu, here's----

Factoid Number 1:

DHEA, or dehydroepiandrosterone, is being studied as a treatment for certain autoimmune diseases and also as a possible treatment for degenerative conditions such as arthritis. A dutch study has found that consumption of beer in moderate levels increases DHEA levels.

Hmmm. This is not the first post I've had on this blog that points to possible advantages regarding alcohol consumption. Typically, however, those posts seem to involve red wine and resveratrol.

Frankly, I've just never really liked beer that much, myself. And, I've found that despite the many different brands out there, they all tend to taste the same. They're the wild game equivalent of chicken, I suppose.

Additional information regarding DHEA:

1. DHEA supplements are taken by some dividuals for muscular development, as well as to increase libido, and to treat erectile dysfunction.

2. Some studies suggest that DHEA may help treat conditions such as atherosclerosis, crohn's disease, and depression.

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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Multiple Sclerosis and the Best Best Diet

If you follow health and nutrition news, you may have heard about a new diet that has proven to be beneficial to multiple sclerosis sufferers. Multiple sclerosis, of course, is an autoimmune disorder that causes the white blood cells to attack the myelin that covers nerve cells throughout the body.

Researchers have come up with a theory that once these myelin look-alike proteins are released into the blood stream, the immune system goes into “hyper drive”, which in turn causes multiple sclerosis flare-ups to be more severe and to occur more frequently.

The new diet is known as “The Best Bet Diet". The Best Bet Diet suggests that avoiding certain common foods that have a molecular structure that is comparable to that of healthy myelin helps the body avoid "immune system overdrive".

Some of the ordinary foods that have molecular structures similar to myelin are animal milk, cheese, yogurt, and butter.

Additionally, gluten and legumes also have molecular structures that are similar to myelin; consequently, wheat, rye, barley, oats, peas, beans, and pulses must also be avoided.

The Best Bet Diet goes on to suggest that multiple sclerosis sufferers should avoid all refined sugar, because it increases food protein leakage into the bloodstream, along with making the immune system more effective (this is a negative when the immune system is attacking healthy myelin).

The developers of The Best Bet Diet for Multiple Sclerosis indicated that it is extremely important for individuals to have an ELISA test to determine food allergies that may cause an exaggerated immune response, which in turn causes the body’s immune system to destroy healthy myelin.

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Successful management of osteoarthritis

According to a recent article, osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a progressive, inflammatory condition that results from wear and tear on the joint cartilage. Currently, there is no cure for osteoarthritis. Consequently, it is very important to prevent damage and maintain joint health.

The article that I read explores the benefits of managing your symptoms with an alternative treatment, which involves a balanced overall health plan and pharmaceutical grade supplements. Due to success in clinical tests and a high level of safety, supplements such as chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine are gaining popularity among medical professionals.

Chondroitin sulfate is extremely safe because it has no drug interactions and may be an appropriate treatment option for individuals with diabetes and hypertension. Research has shown that when chondroitin and glucosamine are taken together, they have a modifying effect that reduces synovitis (inflammation of synovial membrane) and pain.

Of course, taking the supplements is just one phase of an overall joint health plan. In addition to glucosamine and chondroitin, the best way to prevent further damage is to rest joints, if pain begins, for about twenty-four hours. Additionally, an osteoarthritis sufferer should implement an exercise plan (approved by their physician).

After all, exercises such as walking, swimming, and biking help build muscle, manage weight, and improve endurance.

Naturally, if osteoarthritis pain continues, there are other options such as prescribed pain medications, cortisone shots, or even surgery.

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More Definitions added

More definitions have been added to the Vitamin Stuff dictionary. Building this type of reference is certainly taking a fair amount of time. However, I believe this information will be useful in providing background information for articles that reference these terms.

Lactic acid
Monounsaturated fat
Dietary fiber
Fast twitch muscle fiber
Slow twitch muscle fiber

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Sunday, February 3, 2008

Working out to improve your sleep cycle

I have a terrible predisposition for being a night owl and a workaholic. And with a number of websites to either administer, build, expand, or promote, its easy for me to fall into the habit of being chained to a desk, chair, and monitor, lasting into the wee hours of each and every night.

It goes without that saying that that's not healthy. And it's not healthy for a number of reasons. It's sedentary. It's a bit boring. And it leads to chronic sleep deprivation and a sleep cycle that's off kilter with the rest of the world.

Here's a good fix. Or, at least, my fix. Late night workouts. I find that heading to the gym around eight o'clock at night and getting in some cardio, plus some good old fashioned anaerobic exercise (a.k.a. bodybuilding) does the trick.

At the end of my workout routine, I feel relaxed and tranquil. Competely mellow. And so much of the muscular tension that I've developed throughout the day (which I now see a massage therapist to deal with) tends to just dissipate, lost in a nice rush of endorphin release.

I told my workout partner this evening that endorphins are chemical substances that are classified as neurotransmitters, like serotonin, and they are natural opiates. The feeling you get from their release is really unmatched by any external substance a person might choose to indulge in (and probably shouldn't, of course).

What do I do at the end of a late day workout? Perhaps something I shouldn't do. I grab something to eat, because weight lifting just has that effect on me. It makes me hungry. And for good reason. Your muscles want to build, grow, become stronger. And to do that, they need fuel.

Personally, I don't think there's anything wrong with a late night meal, following a workout, as long as it leans more toward protein and is a fairly small meal that's characteristically low carb. If you'll notice, many individuals who have trouble with indigestion following an evening meal have loaded up on carbohydrate -rich food. Italian dinners are a great example of that.

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The Vitamin Stuff Health Nutrition Dictionary

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for informational purposes and is not medical advice. Individuals wishing to use supplements or alternative medicine therapies should consult with their doctor beforehand.

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