Blogs on various topics
April is Cancer month and the biggest factor in fighting cancer today is health education.
It was reported in the 2009 Canadian Cancer Statistics Report that each week 3,300 Canadians are diagnosed with cancer and 1,450 die of the disease. Even more disturbing is the fact that cancer rates continue to rise among teens and young adults in Canada, particularly among young women, aged 15 to 29, with new diagnoses increasing by about 1.4 per cent a year.
Today, researchers think most cancers may be related to lifestyle and environment – what you eat and drink, whether you smoke, and where you work and play.
An interesting study was recently published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Researches studied subjects with colon cancer and measured how much exercise they got before and after their diagnosis. Results show that those who were more physically active both before and after their diagnosis had much better outcomes.
Engaging in 150 minutes of physical activity per week reduced the risk of mortality by 42% Those who did not participate in regular exercise had an increased risk of mortality by a factor of 1.36.
The good news is that you can improve your health by taking control of things in your daily life such as exercising. Of all cancers, 60 to 80 percent are preventable and about 50 percent are curable. Most cancers are lifestyle-related, so it’s important to include daily physical activity, a healthy diet that includes adequate amounts of fruits, vegetable and fiber and limiting consumption of alcohol.
Campbell PT et al. (2013) Associations of recreational physical activity and leisure time spent sitting with colorectal cancer survival. J Clin Oncol 31(7):876-85
Vitamin D is such a cool vitamin since it can be synthesized in the body with a little help from sunlight. Today, is actually the perfect weather to go outside and soak up some vitamin D.
Vitamin D is a steroid vitamin, a group of fat-soluble pro-hormones, which encourage the absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorous. It is assumed that people who are exposed to normal amounts of sunlight don’t need vitamin D supplements. However, data collected in Miami, Florida where sun exposure is high showed a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency. Some common reasons include: sun block, clothing, skin colour and age.
How It’s Made
People obtain vitamin D from sun exposure, food and supplements. It is biologically inert and has to undergo two chemical reactions to become active in the body. The active form of vitamin D in the body is called Calcitriol (1,25-Dihydroxycholecalciferol).
Five forms of vitamin D have been discovered.
Vitamin D1, D2, D3, D4, D5. The two forms that are well-known to the public are vitamins D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol).
- Vitamin D2, (ergocalcifero - made from ergosterol)
Vitamin D2 is produced by invertebrates (animals without a spine), fungus and plants in response to sunlight. Humans and other vertebrates do not produce vitamin D2. Ergosterol is a good absorber of ultraviolet radiation, which can damage DNA, RNA and protein; consequently many scientists believe it may serve as a sunscreen that protects organisms from sunlight damage.
- Vitamin D3, (cholecalciferol- made from 7-dehydrocholesterol)
Vitamin D3 is made in the skin when 7-dehydrocholesterol reacts with sunlight
People require 10 to 15 minutes of sun exposure at least twice a week on the face, arms, hands, or back without sunscreen with a greater than 3 UV index for adequate amounts of vitamin D3. Longer exposure results in the extra vitamin supply being degraded as fast as it is generated.
Benefits of Vitamin D
The best-known role of vitamin D is a member of a large cast of nutrients and hormones that interact to regulate blood clacium and phosphorous levels
It is an immune system regulator
May help maintain a healthy body weight
Various studies have shown that poeple with adequate levels of vitamin D have a significantly lower risk of developing cancer, compared to people with insufficient or deficient level
May help maintain blood pressure
Vitamin D & Nutrition
Not that many foods contain vitamin D. Some fish, such as salmon, tuna and mackerel, as well as fish liver oils are considered to be the best sources. Some vitamin D is also present in beef liver, cheese and egg yolks. Most of these are Vitamin D3. Some mushrooms provide variable amounts of vitamin D2.
Most of the food source vitamin D in the western diet comes from fortified foods - where vitamin D is artificially added.
Vitamin D & Supplementation
Over the last few hundred years human lifestyles have changed. The industrial revolution resulted in more indoor work and less exposure to sunlight. Many societies around the world wore more clothing over the centuries, further reducing skin exposure to sunlight. These changes have brought with them a significant reduction in the natural production of vitamin D and subsequent diseases.
There is so many vitamin D supplements on the market. To help you make the right choice, you should first find out what your blood level is and get your vitamin D measured either at NutriChem or your general physician. After understanding your results, pick up the recommended dosage to help you obtain optimal health. You can talk to our Nutritionistsat NutriChem to help you get the necessary amount of vitamin D for your body.
1. Grosvenor M. and Smolin, L.(2002)Nutrition From Science to Life, Harcout College Publications, pgs 241-245
2. Levis S, Gomez A. et al. (2005) Vitamin D Deficiency and Seasonal Variation in an Adult South Florida Population, Journal of Clinical Epidemiology.
3. Vitamin D (Calcitriol) http://www.vivo.colostate.edu/hbooks/pathphys/endocrine/otherendo/vitamind.html
Speculation of fish oil benefits has been swimming through the papers - “Omega-3 fish oil supplements questioned”. The results published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed no benefit for cognitive function with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation among cognitive healthy older people. What they did not underlie in the papers is the method of the study.
Omega-3 fatty acids are among the most extensively studied nutrients for their potential cardiovascular and cognitive benefits. A large body of evidence from experimental, clinical and epidemiological research has demonstrated the potential benefits of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) rich and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) rich fish oil for proper body functioning and development.
Method of Study & Observations
DHA is proven essential to pre- and postnatal brain development, whereas EPA seems more influential on behavior and mood. For cognitive development, the focus should be on the DHA amount.
The study that illustrates that Omega-3s are not beneficial had participants receive either 1 g of Omega-3 fatty acids containing 465 mg of EPA and 375 mg of DHA or placebo containing about 1 g of olive oil.
Firstly, the amount of DHA is low compared to supplements you see on the market today. In one teaspoon of Pure Premium Fish Oil you receive 1825 mg of EPA and 925 mg of DHA. Other studies have shown the DHA and EPA combinations have benefited ADHD, autism, dyslexia and aggression. For the affective disorders, meta-analyses confirm benefits in major depressive disorder (MDD) and bipolar disorder. And finally studies on accelerated cognitive decline and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) correlate with lowered tissue levels of DHA/EPA, and supplementation has improved cognitive function! These studies show promising methods and compared to the negative study on fish oil, the duration of the trail is longer than 2 years.
Benefits of Fish
Research suggests these benefits from fish or fish oil as part of healthy diet:
Against heart disease (supported by most studies)
- Reduce abnormal blood clotting, help sustain more regular heartbeats, and reduce inflammation of many body tissues, including the arteries of the heart
- Reducing blood triglycerides
- Delay hardening of the arteries
- Relaxation of blood vessels, mildly reducing blood pressure
In infant growth and development (well researched and accepted)
- Normal brain development in infants. DHA concentrates in the brain’s cortex, the conscious thinking part.
- Normal vision development in infants. DHA helps to for the eye’s retina
1. The New England Journal of Medicine http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1203859?query=featured_home#t=articleMethods
2. M.Laidlaw et al.(2003) Effects of supplementation with fish-oil derived n-3 fatty acids and gamma-linolenic acids on circulating plasma lipids and fatty acid profiles among women, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
3. Kidd. PM Omega-3 DHA and EPA for cognition, behavior, and mood: clinical findings and structural-functional synergies with cell membrane phospholipids.
4. Harper, Charles et al. (2001). The Fats of LifeThe Role of Omega-3 Fatty Acids in the Prevention of Coronary Heart Disease Arch Intern Med.161(18):2185-2192.
Too much exposure to ultraviolet radiation (both UVB and UVA rays) is a major contributor to skin cancer. You may want to think twice before you lather yourself up with tanning oil in order to get that bronze look throughout summertime. You may look great now, but the underlying fact is that it may cause damage to your cells and accelerate the aging process.
Okay…so these hero’s don’t have big muscles or a dazzling smile but they do protect our bodies from harmful villains like Dr. Chronic Disease and his evil sidekick Virus. Superfoods are powerful enough to help you lower your cholesterol, reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, and other ailments.
What Makes Superfoods So Super?
Superfoods are foods that have high concentrations of nutrients and phytochemicals. Most superfoods are plants and are most beneficial when consumed in their whole, raw form. Not only do they assist in disease prevention, they can actually enhance our health in many ways, like putting you in a better mood!
NutriChem’s Top 5 Superfoods
Goji Berries: rich in antioxidants and Vitamin C, warding off free radicals and toxic accumulation. Add ¼ cup to your morning smoothie.
Turmeric: reduces inflammation and irritation, allowing for proper function of all systems for a successful cleanse. Add 1/2tbsp when cooking your beans or grains.
Spirulina: amazing source of chlorophyll and very alkalinizing, riding the body of acidic waste. Sprinkle it on any meal or mix it with water and lemon before bed.
Raw Cacao: highest concentration of antioxidants and a great source of magnesium for relaxation of the bowels. Blend it with some nut milk and honey for a delicious hot chocolate or milkshake.
Chia Seeds: high in omegas and fiber, helps lubricate the intestinal walls and scrape it clean. Mix 1tbsp ground with ¼ cup warm water for an egg substitute when baking.
Of course there are much more superfoods than five! In fact, just about every brightly coloured fruit and vegetable fits the category of a superfood as do nuts, beans, seeds, and brightly coloured herbs and spices. The beneficial properties of each one of these superfoods could fill an entire book!
What’s your favorite superfood?
For a small vegetable, garlic sure has a big, and well-deserved reputation. Although garlic may not always ward off vampires, it is guaranteed to transform any meal into a bold, aromatic and healthy culinary experience.