The Importance of Calcium for Children

Here is the big problem – soda has displaced milk. Calcium deficiency is not likely to be a frequent problem until school age. It is well known that breast milk and cow’s milk formulas are both good food sources. Unless the source is not available, or there is an absorption or allergy problem, we should not worry about our normal children until they enter the “pop” age. Sodas can displace milk intake at far too early an age. Many teenagers and young parents may think of milk as being the stuff for little kids and may substitute juice or water for milk if they are convinced that soda is bad.

Adolescence is the time to build bones. The issue of calcium intake is something very important to think about, especially for girls in their teens. This is the time when the good bones of women in their forties and fifties are being predetermined. For a growing child over five years old, recommendations vary from 800-1,200 mg of calcium per day.

Dairy products are still a good calcium source, and cultured dairy is especially good. For example, 1.5 ounces of hard cheese provides 300 mg of calcium, the same as 8 ounces of milk or yogurt. Cultured milk products, such as buttermilk and yogurt, have many health advantages. And low-fat yogurt (low- not non-, since some fat is needed for the good bacteria to feast on) weights in at 415 mg per 8 ounces (over a third better than plain milk). Another ready source is 300 mg of any common calcium-based (usually calcium carbonate) antacid. If the daily recommendation is not met by the end of the day, take a tablet containing 300 mg after dinner. When the diet is heavy in acid-forming meat and other protein sources and light in alkaline-forming fruits and vegetables, more calcium is used to neutralize urine and lost from the body, leaving less for bone metabolism. Along with adequate vitamin D and exercise, calcium issued more efficiently and not as much is needed.

Other sources do not come up to the level of milk products, but coupled with other lifestyle factors they may prove adequate. These are: sardines (91 mg in two little ones, soft bones and all), sunflower seeds (4 ounces contains 33 mg of calcium but a whopping 100 mg of magnesium, half the daily requirement), and leafy green vegetables (10 ounces of raw spinach contains 202 mg calcium and half a cup of boiled has 139 mg but is relatively heavy in magnesium at 65 mg). Peanuts and dried beans offer much less calcium but are a moderately good source of magnesium. Soybeans deserve a special dispensation in that, depending on how they are prepared, they are relatively abundant in both calcium and magnesium. A half-cup of raw, firm tofu yields 258 mg of calcium and 118 mg of magnesium. A half-cup of dry roasted soybeans yields 232 mg of calcium and 196 mg of magnesium, which meets the daily requirement. Other sources of calcium and magnesium include almonds, whole grains, and figs. (We have given magnesium values at the same time as those for calcium because magnesium is required to aid the metabolism of calcium).

Arrhythmia

An arrhythmia is any change in the regular rhythm of the heart. It is typically due to interference with the electrical pathways of the heart and are responsible for over 400,000 deaths each year. Some arrhythmias are harmless and some are life threatening. Often the first sign of hidden heart disease is sudden death, which is usually caused by arrhythmias.

Omega-3 fats

Omega-3 fats from fish oil may prevent sudden death. The Italian GISSI-Prevenzione was a trial of over eleven thousand participants who either took 1,000 mg of EPA and DHA (fish oil) or a placebo. The group taking fish oil had a 30 percent reduction in cardiovascular mortality and a 45 percent reduction in sudden death. A Harvard study showed that men who had higher blood levels of omge-3 fats had an 80 percent lower risk of sudden death compared with men with low serum levels of omega-3. Omega-3 fats may also help prevent atrial fibrillation.

Magnesium

Magnesium deficiency is associated with arrhythmias including atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter. Atrial fibrillation is the most common sustained arrhythmia. Magnesium strongly impacts heart cell membrane function and is a very important catalyst in many enzymatic reactions in the heart muscle cell (myocyte) and in more than three hundred enzymatic reactions in the body. Magnesium given by intravenously has also been shown to reduce the frequency of ventricular arrhythmias in patients with symptomatic heart failure. Magnesium helps to prevent both benign arrhythmias and serious arrhythmias. Magnesium helps to relax the heart and calm down and stabilize the heart’s electrical system.

Taurine

Taurine is the second most abundant amino acid in muscle. Foods that contain taurine include meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, and fish. Taurine prevents arrhythmias by limiting calcium overload of the myocardium and helping to prevent hypertrophy of the heart. The heart that is ischemic or lacking adequate oxygen is more prone to arrhythmia. Some researchers believe that arrhythmias due to acute myocardial ischemic may be due to a loss of intracellular taurine. Following either an ischemic event or heart attack, taurine levels drop to as low as one-third of normal levels. Taurine also protects the oxygen-starved, or ischemic, heart from reperfusion-induced arrhythmias.

Coenzyme Q10

It is very useful in treating arrhythmias. CoQ10 is found in every cell of the body and helps manufacture energy. It also is believed to stabilize the heart’s electrical system and help prevent arrhythmias. It is especially effective for premature ventricular contractions.

Berberine

Berberine is the main active ingredient in the herb goldenseal, which has been used for years to treat intestinal infections. It has also been found to be beneficial for ventricular arrhythmias due to ischemia or a lack of oxygen. Berberine may also help prevent sudden death after myocardial ischemic damage. Researchers have studied berberine on patients with ventricular arrhythmias. They found that 62 percent of patients had 50 percent or greater, and 38 percent of patients had 90 percent or greater suppression of premature ventricular contractions. Berberine is typically recommended at a dose of 500 mg, twice a day.

Most all supplements that help congestive heart failure and ischemia will also typically help arrhythmias.

Nutrients for A Healthy Heart Muscle

Coenzyme Q10 – The antioxidant coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) functions as a coenzyme in the energy-producing pathways of every cell in the body and is an important antioxidant that will fight the oxidation that creates free radicals as well as the oxidation of LDL and other lipids. CoQ10 is found in many foods, such as broccoli, Chinese cabbage, spinach, raw nuts, ocean fish and shellfish, pork, chicken, and beef. However, in a normal diet, we only get 2-5 mg of this important vitamin-like compound, so it is wise to add it in supplement form as well.

CoQ10 is one of the best “electron donors” that gives its electrons freely to electron-deficient free radicals rendering them harmless. It also restores oxidized vitamin E into a useful form. By given electrons to vitamin E – which, as you recall, is another important antioxidant – it “recycles” vitamin E to get it back into the free radical fight once again. In this way, when supplements of vitamin E and CoQ10 are combined, LDL becomes more resistant to oxidation than when you take vitamin E alone. This combination has also been shown to reduce C-reactive protein (CRP) levels in laboratory animals. However, CoQ10’s most important function is probably within the mitochondria that facilitate the cycle of ATP to ADP to ATP – and so on – which is so crucial to the health of every cell and particularly important in the cells of the heart muscle.

When you take CoQ10 as a supplement, pay attention to what form it comes in. research has shown that since it is such a large molecule, it is hard to absorb. The best form to take it in is ubiquinol, which is the active form. As many as 30 percent of Japanese have a defective NQ01 gene that regulates coenzyme Q10 from the inactive ubiquinone to the active ubiquinol. Also, as you age, the conversion process slows down. For basic health, take the recommendation of 100 mg of ubiquinol a day. Also check the CoQ10 blood level and adjust the dose accordingly.

L-carnitine: Another “transport” molecule that helps in mitochondrial energy generation is L-carnitine, which facilitates moving long-chain fatty acids across the inner mitochondrial membrane to catalyze beta-oxidation, a process by which the fat is broken down so it can be burned as fuel and turned into energy. L-carnitine is one of the most easily used amino acids in our bodies and is also a precursor of nitric oxide and other metabolites. These fatty acids must be brought through the mitochondrial membrane to be processed in this way, and L-carnitine is the only carrier molecule that can do this. Thus the higher the level of L-carnitine in your system, the greater the rate of energy metabolism, and the lower the level, the more difficult it is to generate sufficient energy. Since the heart gets at least 60 percent of its fuel from such fat sources, L-carnitine is crucial to heart health and improving congestive heart failure.
L-carnitine is found in protein-rich foods such as peanuts, Brazil nuts, walnuts, coconut, milk and milk products, pork, beef, chicken, turkey, seafood, oats, wheat, and chocolate. However, with age, through genetic defects or eating carnitine-deficient diets (such as pure vegetarians often do), deficiencies of other vitamins and minerals important to L-carnitine, liver or kidney disease, and the use of certain prescription drugs are all associated with our bodies having insufficient levels of L-carnitine; therefore, supplementation is vital. L-carnitine should be supplemented in a dose of 500 mg, three times a day.

D-ribose is a simple five-carbon sugar found in every cell of the body. It is different from other sugars, such as glucose (a six-carbon sugar) because it both provides and sustains energy, especially in weakened hearts. D-ribose provides tremendous support to the mitochondria in assisting the mitochondria to product ATP, or the heart’s energy currency.

D-ribose is naturally present in some meats, but only in trace amounts so small it does not really make any meaningful impact on our bodies. Cells synthesize D-ribose is the best way to provide it within your body because it is easily absorbed and put to work.

The following daily dosages are recommended for the following concerns, however, you still need to check with your doctor before taking these suggestions:

• As a daily preventative of cardiovascular disease or those who exercise strenuously on a regular basis: 5-7 g a day (5 g is equivalent to 2 teaspoons)
• For someone with milk to moderate congestive heart failure, recovering from a heart attack or heart surgery, treatment of angina, or those with other significant vascular concerns: 7 – 10 g a day in divided doses
• For advanced congestive heart failure, dilated cardiomyopathy, frequent angina, and those awaiting heart transplants or suffering from fibromyalgia: 10 – 15 g a day in divided doses

Magnesium is a wonderful mineral for the heart and cardiovascular system across the board. If you’re suffering with congestive heart failure or arrhythmia, magnesium should be a significant help to you. In fact, magnesium deficiency is very common in those who have congestive heart failure. Studies show that as many as half of Americans lack the magnesium they should have, oddly enough roughly the same number that have cardiovascular complications.

Magnesium is present in nuts, grains, beans, and dark green vegetables. Alcohol and caffeine consumption encourage the excretion of magnesium. Certain conventional drugs for treating congestive heart failure, such as Lanoxin and various diuretics, may also deplete magnesium levels.

All individuals who have experienced congestive heart failure should take a magnesium supplement. It is also beneficial in treating arrhythmia, including atrial fibrillation, PVCs, and symptoms of mitral valve prolapse.

Testosterone supplementation is also very important for all people with Congestive Heart Failure (CHF). There are more testosterone receptors in cardiac muscle than any other muscles in the body. Testosterone will also help strengthen the heart muscle. Heavy metal detoxification, chelation therapy, and an infrared sauna are also very important for people with CHF. People with CHF many times have very high mercury, lead, and/or cadmium levels in their cardiac muscle, and their heavy metals are poisoning their mitochondria or their energy producing structures in the cell. It is also recommended to take omega-3 fats and glutathione-boosting supplements for patients with congestive heart failure.

What really helps with PMS

Lots of supplements promise “escape”, “relief”, or “support” for sufferers of PMS and menopause. And they’re pretty tempting – who wouldn’t want an easy fix for cramps, mood swings, hot flashes, seating, and all those other symptoms that can make you miserable for a few days or even a few years or more?

Well, the research shows that relief might not be as easy as popping a pill. It depends on your symptoms and how your body responds to treatment. Some products appear to help with PMS, but claims that they can ease menopause symptoms might be overblown. Here’s a rundown of the supplements you’ll find on store shelves and the summary of the research and experts’ perspective on what might be worth a try, including some simple lifestyle changes that can really help.

Help for PMS

For PMS, there’s pretty good evidence that some supplements can help. Keep in mind that supplement manufacturers can legally sell their products without first having to demonstrate that they’re safe and effective. And ingredients can vary. So if you try supplements, stick with larger, well-established manufacturers and look for the “USP Verified” mark, which indicates that the quality, purity, and potency have been verified by USP. Avoid products labeled “megadoses”, and ask your doctor or pharmacist about possible interactions with any medications. If you use any of the following, you should take them all month long, not just when symptoms strike.

Calcium, vitamin D and Magnesium – Blood levels of calcium and vitamin D can fluctuate along with hormones. And calcium deficiency and PMS share similar symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, and fatigue. Research shows that women with a high intake of calcium and vitamin D might reduce their risk of PMS. In fact, a recent study review showed that taking calcium supplements to relieve PMS symptoms works better than taking a placebo. But the research is unclear for magnesium, which plays a role in how the body regulates calcium. It might help with cramps and counteract the constipating effects of calcium pills. Your best bet is to try taking a combination supplement twice daily that delivers a total of about 1,200 milligrams of calcium, 300 milligrams of magnesium, and 800 to 1,000 international units of vitamin D.

Vitamin B6 – Your body needs this to make neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin, which affect mood. Unfortunately, clinical trials have failed to support any significant benefit from taking B6, though some studies suggest that continuous use of it might ease PMS symptoms, particularly a depressed mood. If you try it, stick to less than 100 milligrams daily from food and supplements; larger doses can lead to nerve damage.

Vitex Agnus Castus (Chaste tree) – A trial published in the British Medical Journal found that aobut half of the women who took chaste tree exact daily reported an improvement in PMS symptoms, compared with about one-quarter of those taking a placebo. Dosage varies by brand and type, so read labels and talk to your doctor.

Evening Primrose Oil – Trials of this herb have been of low quality; it might now work any better than a placebo at relieving PMS symptoms.

Some multivitamins aimed at women age 50+ contain more of vitamins B6 and C and various minerals than other multis, and possibly lutein, which might help prevent age-related macular degeneration.

Pregnancy

While pregnancy is not a disease, and is the most natural thing in the world, the suggestions ensure that everything is optimal, making both the pregnancy and delivery easier, and can in fact create a healthier and more intelligent baby. What happens to the mother during pregnancy can affect the baby for the rest of its life.

Doctors can

• Regularly check the mother’s weight and blood pressure, and the baby’s progress.
• Prescribe 5mg of folic acid daily to reduce the incidence of spinal and brain defects such as spina bifida and hydrocephalus.
• If the mother’s iron levels are low, or if she becomes anemic she should take iron tablets.

What the mother can do

BEFORE becoming pregnant. Because the spine and brain develop very early in the fetus – before the mother knows she is pregnant – many mothers at that time will not be taking protective folic acid. The only safe way to protect your baby is to be taking a supplement containing folic acid ALL THE TIME when conception is possible. So as soon as the baby is conceived, the nerve tissues will have plenty of folic acid.

What the mother eats will supply both her own and also her baby’s needs. She generously gives to her baby before herself, so she must eat a good healthy diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, avoiding toxins and preservatives as much as possible and eating organic food, to provide a better outcome for her developing baby.

She should avoid chemicals and drugs, both ingested and on the skin, as much as possible, because again these find their way into the baby. If possible use preservative free skin care products, without parabens and sodium laurel sulphate. Avoid dental work which may stir up mercury in the mouth, because babies are very sensitive to mercury. Because fish can have a high mercury content, even though fish oils can have major benefits, health authorities now recommend that pregnant women eat less than one fish meal per week.

Regular exercise, such as walking, is important, as is have a good night’s sleep and often a nap during the day.

Nutritional supplements

Supplementation seems so obvious that it is hard to understand why many in the medical profession ignore this idea. Perhaps it is because most supplements have such poor contents and so give little benefit. Some supplements may contain potentially damaging impurities with no guarantee of their contents. Examples of these include mercury in fish oils, and lead, which is frequently found in cheaper calcium supplements. However there are supplements made to pharmaceutical levels which provide all the nutrients the body requires. Pregnancy is not a time to take any risks. So give your baby and yourself the best supplements you can.

• A good multivitamin/multimineral ensures that mother and baby have all the nutrients and minerals required to function, grow and develop perfectly. Make sure that it contains at least 5mg folic acid. Also make sure that the supplement contains beta carotene not vitamin A because vitamin A can build up in the baby and cause toxic effects.
• Omega 3 fish oils, 1-2 grams daily, are very important for good brain function and development in the fetus. Studies have shown that mothers who eat plenty of fish or fish oils during pregnancy have babies with higher IQs. Omega 3 oils also improve the tissue elasticity which can be a great help during childbirth. However, since eating fish can expose the baby to high mercury levels, use quality fish oil supplement which guarantee that they are mercury free and are made to pharmaceutical standards.
• Calcium and magnesium, 800-1,000mg/day. Magnesium has a very calming effect and helps with sleep. This dosage provides mother and baby with enough calcium to maintain and develop bones. Magnesium can also help with nerve function and reduce night cramps.
• Extra fiber in the diet can help prevent or reduce the risk of developing piles (haemorrhoids).

Migraine

This debilitating headache can destroy a person’s quality of life. It usually starts with an aura – jagged visions, unusual light, sounds or even smells and other unusual sensations. This is then followed by a severe thumping headache, often with nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light. Some things like chocolate, cheese or red wine can precipitate a migraine. In women it may be premenstrual.

Doctors can

• Investigations. These are usually unnecessary because the history gives the diagnosis.
• Treatments. There are a number of drugs which can be tried as preventatives: beta blockers, clonidine, pizotifen. Note that these do have side effects and it is best to try more “natural therapies” first. In the past, injections of ergotamine were given to treat migraine, but today, a newer drug (sumatryptan, also known as Imigran) orally or by injection can be very effective.

Every time you have a migraine, look back on what you have done, eaten or drunk in the preceding 24 hours and see if you can find a common cause. If you do, then avoid this in future if possible. Avoid bright lights or flashing light areas.

Nutritional supplements

These can make a real difference in the treatment of migraine and it is hard to see why more people are not given this information.

• Magnesium helps the arteries to relax, and reduces the spasm, which creates the “aura”. It takes some months for the full effect to occur, but over time 800-1,000mg taken daily may eliminate migraine completely.
• Some doctors give an intravenous injection of magnesium when the migraine occurs which can stop it. Once gram is given over 15 minutes.
• A good multivitamin/multimineral ensures that the arteries have all the nutrients and minerals required to function optimally.
• Omega 3 fish oils, 1-2 grams daily. These, when incorporated into the artery walls and the brain tissue, can help in the prevention of migraine.
• Grape seed extract (proanthocyanidins) is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory which can help in the prevention of migraine.
• Sometimes hormonal changes cause migraine attacks and the use of some hormones (especially natural progesterone) can be helpful.