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Osteoporosis - Not Just a Calcium and Vitamin D Deficiency!

27 February, 2014

 

The most common word that people think of when discussing bone health is calcium. The public has been lead to believe that as long as you have adequate calcium in your diet then you have strong bones. Unfortunately, this is a half-truth and the numbers of individuals developing Osteoporosis is increasing despite efforts to increase calcium intake via dairy, fortified foods and supplements. The truth is your bones consist of many different nutrients, in addition to calcium, and there are diet and lifestyle factors that lead to osteoporosis. I would like to discuss some of these key points in this newsletter so that you have a more complete overview on how to keep your bones strong!

Nutrients That Build the Bone Matrix

Bone is a living tissue composed of minerals, proteins (mainly collagen) and water. Bone is constantly building up and breaking down, also known as remodelling. There are cells that are responsible for the building called osteoblasts and the ones that break bone down are called osteoclasts. You need both working properly to be healthy! As I mentioned calcium is not the only mineral required to make healthy, strong bone. Here is a list of minerals and two important vitamins necessary to allow the continual bone remodelling process to occur:

Zinc is involved in osteoblast, the bone-forming cells, production.

Manganese is required for the bone matrix formation.

Copper provides the stable adhesion of elastin to collagen to give bone flexibility so it is strong as steel but light as wood.

Silica is an essential nutrient for healthy bone metabolism, triggering the deposit of calcium and phosphate into bone.

Magnesium is as important as calcium to building bone and should be in a 1 to 1 ratio with calcium. Our diets with excess calcium, especially added to many foods, is creating a magnesium deficient state in many people.

Boron helps reduce urinary excretion of calcium and magnesium thereby preserving these two minerals for bone building.

Vitamin D is critical to facilitate the absorption of calcium from the intestines (from your food) into the bloodstream where it can be utilized by the cells.

Vitamin K2 has a direct bone building effect once calcium is absorbed into the bloodstream as K2 is responsible to deposit calcium into your bones and keep it out of the soft tissues like your joints, arteries and brain.

 

Foods That Build and Foods That Destroy Bone

I recommend eating a whole foods diet containing high quality animal and plant based products. All the essential minerals and vitamins necessary for excellent health come from these sources and I encourage you to purchase local, organic produce and free range pastured animal products when possible. This latter recommendation is especially important to obtain Vitamin K2 as it has become deficient in the modern diet because of industrial farming practices. Animals that feed on grass, especially in the summer months, obtain Vitamin K2 and then we either eat the eggs, dairy or the meat itself to ensure our supply. Since modern animals are fed only grain, Vitamin K2 is difficult to obtain leading to a functional deficiency as the bacteria in our intestines can manufacture small amounts, but not enough for robust health. Furthermore, the animal products that contain the most Vitamin K2 are the ones people have been dissuaded from eating in the last 40 years under the misguided theory of "they are bad for your heart" such as whole fat milk and dairy products like high fat cheeses such as Brie and Gouda, liver and egg yolks. A fermented soy product called natto, contains high amounts of Vitamin K2 but is not very popular in the West compared to Asia.

The foods that I recommend you remove from your diet such as processed, packaged, deep-fried, microwaveable meals contain very little of the essential minerals and vitamins required to build healthy bone. Furthermore, products like soda pop which are extremely acidic deplete calcium and magnesium stores rapidly, therefore weakening your bone structure quickly. Having a bit of junk food is not the end of the world when the rest of your diet is loaded with essential nutrients, but it goes to show what poor dietary habits do to your body as a whole, your bone matrix in particular!


Exercise to Prevent Bone Loss

Remember that bone is living tissue that requires regular physical activity in order to renew and rebuild itself. Peak bone mass is achieved in adulthood and then begins a slow decline. Exercise is very important in maintaining healthy bone mass. Weight-bearing exercise is one of the most effective remedies against osteoporosis. Your bones are actually very porous and soft, and as you get older, your bones can easily become less dense and hence, more brittle especially if you are inactive.

Resistance training can combat this effect because as you put more tension on your muscles it puts more pressure on your bones, which then respond by continuously creating fresh, new bone. In addition, as you build more muscle, and make the muscle that you already have stronger, you also put more constant pressure on your bones.


Supplements to Help Build and Maintain Strong Bones

There are some good bone building formulas on the market which contain all of the previously mentioned vitamins and minerals. As you know I recommend a good quality multi vitamin and mineral supplement for everyone as most people do not get enough essential nutrients from their diet alone to experience optimal health. For those of you who take a multi, and eat a high quality diet but still want to ensure you don't get Osteoporosis, or for those of you who want to be extra proactive; take a bone building formula and some extra Vitamin K2. For those of you who are taking just calcium and Vitamin D, please add magnesium and Vitamin K2 to make sure you don't have excess calcium build up in your soft tissue, like joints or worse arteries! 
I never recommend high doses of Vitamin D without the balancing of Vitamin K2; either through dietary sources and/or supplement form.

This month's featured product is Preferred Nutrition's Vitamin K2 and they use the MK-7 version, which is the most long-lasting in the body. One capsule daily, containing 100mcg, is sufficient for a maintenance dose.

Hopefully, I have presented some information that will make you think about your skeleton differently and how important your living bone structure is to your overall health. Further information can be found from the sources below. I encourage you to purchase Dr. Rheaume-Bleue's book for the latest info on the forgotten nutrient, Vitamin K2.

 

Sources:

Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox “ Dr. Kate Rheaume-Bleue ND

The Bone “ Building Solution “ Sam Graci and Dr. Carolyn DeMarco MD

The Calcium Lie Every Woman Should Know “ Mercola.com Dec. 2010

How to get the healthiest, nutrient rich foods and when to supplement

15 August, 2013


Living Science soil depletion

I believe in quality over quantity when it comes to the food we put in our bodies. Eating the right amount of quality food for your body-type trumps trying to calculate each calorie of poor to average quality food any day!


There is so much discussion about whether “organic” truly means much healthier and if it is worth the extra money.  There is also confusion amongst the public and scientists as to whether organic foods contain more nutrients so what are you supposed to do?

I would like to give my opinion on this broad topic in this month’s newsletter to ensure you have the knowledge to remain on your path to excellent health. The following are some key points to the discussion:

1) Soil health and plant health = the level of YOUR health.

This quote is the one that really got me thinking years ago about getting enough minerals:

US Senate Document #265: “The alarming fact is that food – fruits and vegetables and grains are now being raised on millions of acres of land that no longer contain enough of the needed minerals – are starving us no matter how much of them we eat. No man of today can eat enough fruits and vegetables to supply his system with the mineral salts he requires for perfect health because his stomach isn’t big enough to hold them”. -  written in 1936!

This is the same situation in Canada and it has been known for years the soils are depleted of optimal levels of minerals and other nutrients. However, with lots of fertilizers and chemicals plants will still grow and we get something from the soil. It is just that we don’t get enough for excellent health.

Plus, there are numerous (100’s of tonnes per year) chemicals like insecticides, being sprayed on our food because the more the soil becomes depleted of nutrients and living organisms, the more chemicals you need to prop up weak plants. Our bodies need many nutrients to detoxify these chemicals and if many of the trace elements like minerals are not in your diet, your health suffers. So the cycle continues…

2) Organic food is usually better than “conventional” but not necessarily the best.

What I mean by this statement is that unfortunately the waters have become muddied by large corporations buying up some organic operations. This results in standards being watered down and costs being passed on to the consumer for “certified organic” status.
Furthermore, the cost of transportation has increased in the past decade bringing into question the purchase of an organic carrot from California versus a locally grown one from a Farmer’s Market?

Even organic beef is creating a dilemma as it costs more to feed the cattle certified organic grain BUT cows are meant to eat grass! I choose to purchase non-organic grass-fed beef for less money and you get a better product. I support local growers as much as possible and many more people are shopping at health stores who stock local products, purchasing from food co-ops, or even growing their own garden. With these choices you are most likely getting food with more nutrients and fewer chemicals-and you can ask the farmer directly!

3) “If I eat local, organic food do I still need vitamin and mineral supplements?”

I get asked this all the time and the answer is different for everyone depending on their family history, health history, job and stress levels.  My belief is that a person living in a rural setting (with clean air, water, eating local food, and has a stress-free lifestyle) has a better chance than a city dweller (breathing polluted air, fast food every meal and works 10 stressful hours daily) if they don’t take supplements.

Each case is different, however many of the best companies make whole food supplements with ingredients from the best soil-rich farms. The powder is easy to mix in water ensuring you obtain high amounts of nutrients, like minerals. This is a great addition to eating high quality foods and an exceptional insurance policy to avoid diseases related to nutrient deficiencies.

I hope I have given you some ideas to contemplate and, more importantly, initiate to keep you and your family in excellent health. For more information on organic food, gardening, soil amendment practices and getting optimal nutrients into your body, see the below links.

http://www.cog.ca/
http://www.nutritionsecurity.org/
http://www.acresusa.com/magazines/magazine.htm