Do calcium supplements have the same positive effect for your heart?

Yes. There is some evidence that taking just some form of calcium supplement can have the same effect. However, at this point in time, it looks like that actually something about the combination of nutrients in milk has even more effect on helping reduce body fat.

Does cheese fall into this category of calcium or is it just too fatty?

Cheese does fall into that category, but it is high in fat, most types of cheese anyway. You can go for the lower-fat cheeses, like the part-skim mozzarella, but there is still a modest amount of fat in it so you don’t want to overdo it. Some of the types of Jarlsberg and Swiss can be a little lower in fat too, so those would be your better choices in the cheese world.

Is there any food that’s surprising or unique where people might not really think that it could protect your heart?

Titchenal: Probably the ones that come to mind the most are the red meats and the lower-fat milk and yogurt products because they usually just don’t associate those with heart health. Also with meat, I really emphasize the low-fat red meats. The one that I have here is the top round and that’s lean meat. You also can go with pork tenderloin, which is a rather lean red meat as well. The beef tends to be a little higher in iron, but both are good sources of a lot of important nutrients. Both the milk products and the meat products are a good source of vitamin B12, which a lot of people may not be getting enough of. We know the combination of vitamin B12, which is only in animal products, along with folate or folic acid, which is in the fruits and vegetables primarily, and vitamin B6, which is in mostly fruits and vegetables, help reduce the homocystine levels in your blood. So a lot of people are taking supplements with those three B vitamins for that purpose because it’s one of those multiple factors for reducing the risk of heart disease.

If somebody changes his diet and starts an appropriate diet, what kind of impact could that have as far as heart disease is concerned?

Titchenal: If somebody makes the right changes in the direction of heart healthy eating in a balanced fashion, which is what I’m emphasizing here, he can expect to see a pretty big impact at some point down the line. Certainly, it’s one of many factors that play a role, but it’s an extremely important one. So, certainly I think if people cut down on the total fat in their diet, increase the variety of foods that are higher in fiber, and then keep some of these healthy foods, certainly they can see changes in blood cholesterol and things like that within a matter of months.

Source: Ivanhoe Newswire

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.

Vitamins B5 and B6

B5 (Pantothenic Acid)

Like the other elements of the vitamin B complex, B5 – pantothenic acid – is involved in the body’s metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. It is named “pantothenic”, which is derived from a Greek word that means “everywhere”, because this vitamin can be found, albeit in small quantities, in many, many different foods.

Functions of B5 in your body

• Aids in the formation of antibodies
• Aids in wound healing
• Helps convert food into energy
• Helps with fatty acid transport
• Helps your body use other vitamins
• Needed for synthesis of coenzyme A
• Needed to make fatty acids
• Stimulates adrenal gland
• Used in red cell production
• Used in the synthesis of several amino acids
• Used to make vitamin D

Dosage – 50 to 250 milligrams daily. B vitamins are water soluble and leave the body quickly, so they should be taken twice a day. Therefore, you should take 5 to 125 milligrams of B5 twice a day.

Diseases / disorders that can be treated with B5 – acne, adrenal dysfunction, allergies, cold sores, detoxification, elevated triglycerides, genital herpes, fatigue, infection, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, shingles and ulcerative colitis.

B6 (Pyridoxine)

Pyridoxine acts as a partner for more than one hundred different enzymes. As you get older, the efficiency with which you utilize B6 decreases, so it may be necessary to increase your intake of B6 as you age.

Functions of B6 in your body

• Detoxifies chemicals
• Involved in strengthening connective tissue
• Keys to the synthesis of several neurotransmitters, including the metabolism of tryptophan to serotonin
• Needed for REM sleep
• Needed for the absorption of fats and proteins
• Needed for the immune system
• Needed for the production of hydrocholoric acid
• Needed for the transfer of amino groups
• Used in the metabolism of amino acids
• Used in the methylation process, which lowers homocysteine levels (high levels of which can be a risk factor for heart disease and memory loss)

Symptoms of B6 deficiency – depression, fatigue, hyperactivity, insomnia, irritability, mental confusion, mouth ulcers, nervousness, numbness, skin lesions around the mouth and weakness.

Side effects and contraindications

At too high a dose (more than 500 milligrams a day), pyridoxine can cause a neuropathy (nerve disorder). If you are taking levodopa for Parkinson’s disease, do not take B6 without first consulting your doctor. Also, high dose supplementation of a single B vitamin can cause imbalances of other B vitamins.

Diseases / disorders that can be treated with B6 – asthma, atherosclerosis, autism, carpal tunnel syndrome, constipation, depression, diabetes mellitus, eczema, epilepsy, infertility, irritability, monosodium glutamate (MSG) sensitivity or intolerance, nausea and vomiting related to pregnancy, nervous system dysfunction, osteoporosis, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), prevention of calcium oxalate kidney stones, schizophrenia, seborrheic dermatitis and sickle cell disease.

USANA Vitamins Mega Antioxidant contains carefully proportioned B-complex vitamins, which are fundamental to energy production, metabolism, growth, and maintenance of normal homocysteine levels, provided they are normal to begin with.* USANA Mega Antioxidant supplies advanced levels of vitamin B12 at 200 μg in one daily dose.* (*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.)

Combining food with medication

The food you eat can affect the medication you are taking. You should be aware, for example, that grapefruit can increase the risk of side effects from a wide variety of drugs. The side effects described below can occur from eating grapefruit while on the specified medications.

• Grapefruit can cause flushing, headaches, and increased heart rate if eaten while taking calcium-channel blockers (such as nifedipine, amlodipine, verapamil, and felodipine), which help decrease blood pressure.
• Grapefruit increase quinidine levels.
• Grapefruit can cause irregular heart rhythms if eaten while taking the antihistamine terfenadine.
• Grapefruit can increase levels of benzodiazepines (sedatives that include alprazolam, diazepam, midazolam, and triazolam).
• Grapefruit can cause kidney and lvier toxicity if eaten while taking cyclosporine.
• Grapefruit increases caffeine levels and can cause nervousness and insomnia.
• Grapefruit can decrease the absorption of macrolide antibiotics such as clarithromycin.
• Grapefruit can decrease the absorption of the antihistamine fexofenadine (such as Allegra).
• Grapefruit can increase the medication level of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statin drugs).
• Grapefruit can delay the absorption of Viagra, a male impotence medication.
• Grapefruit can cause hives if taken with the pain reliever naprosyn.
• Grapefruit can increase certain levels, which may lead to nausea, tremors, drowsiness, dizziness, or agitation, if eaten while taking carbamazepine (such as Tegretol).
• Grapefruit may elevate blood levels and cause nausea, drowsiness, tremors, or agitation if eaten while taking amiodarone.
• Grapefruit can increase estrogen levels in both men and women. No interaction with medication is necessary for this to occur.

USANA Vitamins Proflavanol® C100 is USANA’s groundbreaking bioflavonoid and advanced vitamin C supplement.

Combining Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins and minerals can interact with each other, as well as with other nutrients. These relationships and interrelationships can have various effects. The following examples show how certain vitamins and minerals interact.

• A certain amount of vitamin C is necessary for your body to use selenium effectively.
• Vitamin C can enhance the availability of vitamin A.
• Too much zinc can decrease calcium absorption.
• Vitamin D increases the absorption of calcium and magnesium.
• Vitamin D helps your body use zinc effectively.
• Too much copper can decrease the uptake of manganese in your system.
• A vitamin A deficiency can decrease iron utilization.
• Too much iron can lower your manganese and copper levels.
• Too much vitamin B2 (riboflavin) can cause a magnesium deficiency.
• Vitamin B6 can cause a decrease in copper absorption.
• A vitamin E deficiency can decrease absorption of vitamin A.
• A vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) deficiency can lead to a decreased use of selenium.
• Adequate phosphorus intake is needed to maintain vitamin D.

Combining vitamins with medication

Some medications can deplete your body of specific vitamins and minerals. Similarly, some vitamins can increase or decrease your body’s absorption of some medications. The following list provides common examples of both possibilities. If you are on any of the medications named here, you must discuss any nutritional changes with your doctor or healthcare professional. He will make sure your vitamins and medications do not interact, as well as aid you in replacing any depleted nutrients.

• Long-term use of antacids can lead to decreased folic acid absorption.
• Regular use of aspirin decreases folate levels.
• Birth control pills and other forms of estrogen replacement deplete the body of B vitamins.
• Too much vitamin B6 can decrease the effectiveness of levodopa (an effective treatment for Parkinson’s disease).
• Antiarrhythmic medications, such as Disopyramide (including Norpace) and Quindine sulfate, can cuase magnesium deficiency.
• Colchicine reduces the absorption of beta-carotene. It may also reduce the absorption of magnesium, potassium, and vitamin B12.
• Methotrexate, used to treat cancer and autoimmune disorders, can decrease beta-carotene, folic acid, and vitamin B12.
• Estrogen replacement increases calcium absorption.
• Anticonvulsants (seizure medication) can deplete the body of carnitine.
• Histamine-2 receptor antagonists (H2-blockers), such as cimetidine, can prevent or block the production of stomach acid and decrease vitamin D activity.
• HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statin drugs), used to lower cholesterol, stop your body from making coenzyme Q10.
• Medications to lower blood sugar, such as glyburide (including Diabeta), acetohexamide (including Dymelor), and tolazamide (including Tolinase), can lead to coenzyme Q10 deficiency.
• Digoxin (a medication usually prescribed for heart-related problems) can increase the rate of calcium excretion from the body.
• Fiber can decrease the absorption of digoxin.
• Diuretics (water pills) decrease magnesium, potassium, sodium, and zinc levels.
• Potassium-sparing diuretics deplete your body of folic acid, calcium, and zinc.
• Calcium can decrease the absorption of beta blockers.
USANA Vitamins Digestive Health products, such as USANA Probiotic can help maintain a healthy digestive system for optimal nutrient availability and waste elimination.

B Vitamins – Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B6 and Folate

Pantothenic acid is a water-soluble vitamin that helps create energy from carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. It also helps form hormones – messengers that deliver information from one place in the body to another.

A pantothenic acid deficiency is uncommon because it’s found in adequate amounts in so many foods; if it does occur, symptoms can include fatigue, nausea, abdominal cramps, or difficulty sleeping.

Excessive pantothenic acid does not appear to cause any adverse or toxic symptoms or effects.

Biotin

Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin that helps release energy from carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. It also helps create fatty acids and DNA.

The biotin content for many foods is unknown. However, it is found in a variety of foods, especially peanuts, almonds, egg yolks, milk, cheese, and vegetables.

Although a biotin deficiency is uncommon, some people might be at increased risk. Raw egg whites contain avidin, a protein that binds to biotin and could prevent its absorption. (Those who consume a lot of raw eggs are also at risk for foodborne illness caused by Salmonella). People who take certain anti-seizure medications can also be at risk for a biotin deficiency. Symptoms can include hair loss, dry skin; fatigue; loss of appetite; and muscle pains. It can also contribute to delayed growth and development and convulsions and other neurological problems.

Excessive biotin intake does not appear to cause any negative health effects.

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 (in various forms, including pyridoxine, pyridoxal, and pyridoxamine) helps the body metabolize and absorb proteins, use fats, break down glycogen (stored glucose), and create red blood cells. It also helps convert tryptophan (an essential amino acid) into niacin, another B vitamin.

Vitamin B6 is found naturally in organ meats, starchy vegetables, and noncitrus fruits as well as in some fortified foods.

Vitamin B6 deficiencies are rare. People who are alcoholic or have a damaged liver because of cirrhosis or hepatitis can be at risk for a vitamin B6 deficiency. Symptoms can include anemia, dermatitis and other skin problems, and neurological problems such as depression or consusion.

High intakes of supplemental B6 (2,000 mg or more per day) can lead to permanent nerve damage that causes numbness in the extremities and difficulty walking.

Folate

Folate is a water-soluble vitamin that plays several key roles in the body. It helps
• Form red blood cells
• Metabolize proteins
• In cell growth and division
• Lower blood homocysteine levels (that can reduce heart disease risk)

Folate is found naturally in a variety of foods, especially dark leafy vegetables, legumes (beans and peas), and orange juice. It is also found in fortified foods such as enriched cereals and grains. Foods naturally contain folate, whereas fortified foods and supplements contain folic acid – a more stable and better-absorbed form of folate.

A lack of folate in the diet can raise homocysteine levels (that can increase heart disease risk). It can also impair DNA synthesis; this can lead to megaloblastic anemia with symptoms such as weakness, fatigue, depression, irritability, forgetfulness, and disturbed sleep. Impaired DNA synthesis can also lead to diarrhea and impaired immune function. Too little folate in early pregnancy can cause an unborn fetus to develop neural tube defects such as spina bifida or anencephaly.

People are at greater risk for a folate deficiency if they are poor or suffer from eating disorders or alcoholism. Higher folate needs because of pregnancy or lactation or because of certain conditions (blood disorders or leukemia) can also make it a challenge to meet daily folate needs. Alcoholism or taking certain prescription medications can also lower folate absorption and increase deficiency risk.

Too much folate can cover up a deficiency of vitamin B12 by preventing the formation of altered red blood cells, an indicator that you’re not getting enough vitamin B12. Too much folate can also make symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency worse.

Some people might get hives or suffer from respiratory distress when they consume excess amounts of folic acid from vitamins supplements.