Blogs on various topics
It is well known that calcium and vitamin D are important for bone health, but the role of protein has been controversial.
When protein is metabolized in the body, acid is generated. This acid has to be neutralized and calcium is a natural ‘buffer’. Since an increase in dietary protein results in greater calcium loss in the urine, it was thought that excess dietary protein pulls calcium out of the bones, and subsequently weakens them.
Is Protein Bad for Bone?
A scientific meta-analysis (where researchers do an exhaustive search of the medical and scientific literature and base conclusions on what the highest quality studies collectively demonstrate) found that protein did not have a negative effect on bone mineral density (BMD). In fact, there was a slight positive effect of dietary protein on BMD. There was no effect, either positive or negative, on fracture incidence (1).
So based on this extensive review, and commentary from other researchers (2-3), it can be concluded that protein is not bad for bone health. So will eating more protein increase your bone strength? Maybe, however large long-term studies are still needed to confirm this.
The Importance of Protein
Protein is an excellent source of energy and has multiple roles in the body: muscles, hair, skin, enzymes, antibodies, hormones, neurotransmitters and for storage and transport of other molecules. Unfortunately, many seniors, especially if they are living on their own, and subsiding on ‘tea and toast’, do not get enough protein in their diet.
A poor quality diet can lead to weakness, fatigue, sleeping problems, nutritional deficiencies, and a host of other problems. This is a disaster for the well-being of seniors, those most susceptible to osteoporosis, and may worsen the chances of a fall.
Improving Dietary Intake of Protein
In our low-fat world, many foods are being shunned because of their fat content. Eggs, nuts, cheese, milk and other dairy products are easy sources of protein for older adults and seniors. Additional dietary sources of protein include meat and legumes (but these often take more preparation and/or cooking time).
One of the easiest ways to add more protein to our diet is to have it at breakfast. It has been shown that having a caffeinated coffee and either a muffin, bagel, or donut at breakfast dramatically increases insulin levels in the body. Having this type of breakfast repeatedly over time, may increase your chance of developing diabetes.
All of us, no matter what our age, can benefit from having some protein in the morning. I personally start my day with a protein shake, made from high quality whey protein.
- Protein has a slight positive effect on bone mineral density, not a negative effect as previously thought.
- Protein is an important component of everyone’s diet, and should NOT be avoided by those with osteoporosis.
- Incorporating modest amounts of protein in the diet of older adults and seniors will enhance overall health.
- Having a protein shake or a protein-rich food in the morning is a healthier choice than a "coffee-and-a-carb" breakfast.
1. Darling, AL et al. (2009) Dietary protein and bone health: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr 90: 1674-92.
2. Kerstetter, JE (2009) Dietary protein and bone: a new approach to an old question. Am J Clin Nutr 90: 1451-2.
3. Bonjour, JP (2005) Dietary protein: an essential nutrient for bone health. J Am Coll Nutr 24: 526S-36S.
While my blogs normally feature information about drugs or nutritional interventions, I’d like to take a moment to switch topics.
A few months ago, I had the pleasure of meeting an exceptional young man from west Ottawa named Michael Tayler.
Michael is 20 years old and a Nepean High School graduate, now attending Carleton University. Michael competes in the Olympic sport of Canoe/Kayak Slalom, a dynamic sport where athletes race down whitewater rapids through a series of slalom gates.
Michael began kayaking at the age of eight and since then, has gone on to win 5 Junior National Titles, and achieve a Bronze Medal from the 2010 Oceania Open. In 2011, Michael won the National B Championships and then in April of this year, on the National A team, won a highly contested battle for Canada’s only Olympic kayak spot.
NutriChem is pleased to support Michael on his journey to the Olympics and we’d like to wish Michael, and all of the Canadian athletes, the best of luck as they pursue their Olympic dreams.
Please visit www.michaeltayler.ca to learn more about Michael.
If you don’t already know, Customer Appreciation Days is a 3-day event starting Wednesday July 18th until Friday July 20th! We’ll be having a sidewalk sale where you can save up to 60% off while supplies last! Come check out NutriChem and see what's happening, pick up some smoothie recipes and get some great deals!
You're gaining weight around the middle, your blood pressure is higher than normal, your blood sugar is creeping upwards...just signs of aging? No – these are signs of a serious metabolic disorder that can have significant life consequences.
Metabolic syndrome is the name for a group of risk factors linked to overweight and obesity. These risk factors include:
1. Fat "around the middle", also known as abdominal obesity. This type of fat is a greater risk than fat found elsewhere on the body
2. Higher than normal blood pressure
3. Higher than normal blood sugar - an early warning sign for diabetes
4. Elevated triglycerides (a type of fat found in the blood)
5. Low HDL, the so-called "good" cholesterol
If you have at least 3 of these 5 risk factors, you have metabolic syndrome, and have a significant increased risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
So what can you do? The best things you can do are lose weight, eat better, and get active. Pretty simple advice, although many people find it very difficult to put this into practice.
The U.S. National Institutes of Health have suggested that in the future, metabolic syndrome may surpass smoking as the top risk factor for heart disease. We all know how bad smoking is for you - so why are we not doing more to combat the obesity epidemic?
Why Is Magnesium Important?
Should You Be Worried About Your Magnesium Intake?
The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey showed that significant numbers of adults do not consume the recommended amounts of magnesium (2). Among adults, 68% consume less than the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of magnesium, and 19% consume less than 50% of the RDA (3). Adults who take supplements are more likely to meet the RDA for magnesium than those who do not (4). Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include fatigue, loss of appetite, irritability, anxiety, weakness, muscle contractions and cramps, insomnia, nausea, vomiting, numbness and tingling (1).
If you have chronic malabsorptive problems (i.e. Crohn’s; celiac disease), are a senior citizen, have diabetes, consume excess alcohol or take certain medications (i.e. specific diuretics, antibiotics or medications to treat cancer) you are at particular risk for magnesium deficiency.
Why Is Magnesium Glycinate Better Than Other Forms Of Magnesium?
Magnesium glycinate is easier on the bowel. Other forms of magnesium tend to be more disruptive to the bowel. Magnesium oxide tends to firm stools (leading to constipation), whereas the citrate, sulphate and chloride forms tend to loosen the stools (diarrhea). Magnesium glycinate is gentler, with less chance of bowel disruptions.
Magnesium glycinate is highly absorbable. It is absorbed better than other forms of magnesium, up to 5 times more than magnesium oxide (5).
What Conditions Benefit from Magnesium Supplementation?
Magnesium Supplements and Cholesterol
Magnesium supplements have been shown to lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol levels (6-9).
It is well established that diabetics often suffer from magnesium deficiency. More recent studies have shown that magnesium supplementation of diabetics will not only correct for the loss of magnesium that occurs in the urine, but may also help with reducing plasma fasting glucose levels and increase HDL cholesterol (10). It has been suggested that diabetics have a magnesium-binding defect, which may cause the insulin resistance and reduced insulin secretion associated with this disease. It is thought that this defect can be addressed with magnesium supplementation (11).
Adults with higher dietary intakes of magnesium have a lower risk of developing high blood pressure (12-13). Diets rich in magnesium are routinely prescribed to people with hypertension (14).
Magnesium Supplements and Menopause
Magnesium levels drop as estrogen levels diminish during menopause. It has been suggested by several authors that magnesium may be beneficial to alleviate hot flashes, and help maintain bone and cardiovascular health (15-17). We have anecdotal evidence in our clinic of its usefulness to improve hot flashes. Furthermore, inadequate magnesium intake in postmenopausal women has been shown to impair glucose tolerance, induce heart rhythm changes, and adversely affect the metabolism of other nutrients, including calcium, phosphorus, and potassium (18-19).
Researchers have determined that the low intakes of dietary magnesium are associated with metabolic syndrome (20-21).
Insomnia and Restless Legs
Magnesium has been shown to reduce surgery-related insomnia, and improve sleep in individuals suffering from restless leg syndrome (22-23). Magnesium has a key role in helping to regulate the "biological clock" (24).
Who Should Not Take Magnesium?
Certain individuals should not take magnesium without first talking to a pharmacist or health care practitioner:
People with kidney or severe heart disease
Individuals taking magnesium-containing antacids or laxatives
1. National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements (2005) Magnesium. http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/magnesium.asp
2. Ford E.S. and Mokdad A.H. (2003) Dietary magnesium intake in a national sample of U.S. adults. J Nutr. 133: 2879-82.
3. King D.E. et al. (2005) Dietary magnesium and C-reactive protein levels. J Am Coll Nutr. 24(3): 166-71.
4. Sebastian R.S. et al. 2007) Older adults who use vitamin/mineral supplements differ from nonusers in nutrient intake adequacy and dietary attitudes. J Am Diet Assoc. 107(8): 1322-32.
5. Schuette S.A. et al. (1994) Bioavailability of magnesium diglycinate vs magnesium oxide in patients with ileal resection. J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 18(5): 430-5.
6. Davis W.H. et al. (1984) Monotherapy with magnesium increases abnormally low high density lipoprotein cholesterol: a clinical assay. Curr Therap Res 36: 341-344.
7. Rasmussen H.S. et al. (1989) Influence of magnesium substitution therapy on blood lipid composition in patients with ischemic heart disease. A double-blind, placebo controlled study. Arch Int Med 149: 1050-1053.
8. Corica F. et al. (1994) Effects of oral magnesium supplementation on plasma lipid concentrations in patients with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. Magnes Res 7: 43-46.
9. Itoh K., Kawasaka T., Nakamura M. (1997) The effects of high oral magnesium supplementation on blood pressure, serum lipids and related variables in apparently healthy Japanese subjects. Br J Nutr 78: 737-750.
10. Song Y., et al. (2006) Effects of oral magnesium supplementation on glycaemic control in Type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis of randomized double-blind controlled trials. Diabet Med. 23(10): 1050-6.
11. Wells I.C. (2008) Evidence that the etiology of the syndrome containing type 2 diabetes mellitus results from abnormal magnesium metabolism. Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 86(1-2): 16-24.
12. Song, Y. et al. (2006) Dietary magnesium intake and risk of incident hypertension among middle-aged and older US women in a 10-year follow-up study. Am J Cardiol. 98(12): 1616-21.
13. Ascherio A. et al. (1992) A prospective study of nutritional factors and hypertension among US men. Circulation 86: 1475-84.
15. University of Maryland Medical Center http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/magnesium-000313.htm
16. Kass-Annese B. (2000) Alternative therapies for menopause. Clin Obstet Gynecol. 43(1):162-83.
17. Seelig, M. et al. (2004) Benefits and Risks of Sex Hormone Replacement in Postmenopausal Women J Am Coll Nutr 23: 482S-496S.
18. Nielsen FH, et al. (2007) Moderate magnesium deprivation results in calcium retention and altered potassium and phosphorus excretion by postmenopausal women. Magnes Res. 20(1):19-31.
19. Nielsen FH, et al. (2007) Dietary magnesium deficiency induces heart rhythm changes, impairs glucose tolerance, and decreases serum cholesterol in post menopausal women. J Am Coll Nutr. 26(2):121-32.
20. Ford, ES. Et al. (2007) Intake of dietary magnesium and the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome among U.S. adults. Obesity 15(5):1139-46.
21. He K, et al. (2006) Magnesium intake and incidence of metabolic syndrome among young adults. Circulation. 113(13):1675-82.
22. Tramer MR, et al. (1996) Role of magnesium sulfate in postoperative analgesia. Anesthesiology. 84(2):340-7.
23. Hornyak M, et al. (1998) Magnesium therapy for periodic leg movements-related insomnia and restless legs syndrome: an open pilot study. Sleep. 21(5):501-5.
24. Durlach J, et al. (2002) Chronopathological forms of magnesium depletion with hypofunction or with hyperfunction of the biological clock. Magnes Res. 15(3-4):263-8.
For a number of people the smell of bacon and eggs frying causes the mouth to water. Others just need a quick breakfast fix such as an muffin or Waffle that will get them through the morning rush. What if I tell you that you’ll be craving something sugary by mid-morning to help you get the extra boost in energy.
When you eat simple carbs or sugar, all of the ingested sugar quickly rushes into your bloodstream. You typically feel a quick rush of energy. Your body reacts to this sudden spike in blood sugar by having your pancreas produce additional insulin to remove excess sugar from your blood. And for the moment you have significantly lower blood sugar as a result of the insulin doing its job, resulting in a sense of needing more fuel, more energy and more calories. And as you hit that residual low blood sugar, you begin to crave more and more simple sugars initiating the downward spiral of sugar cravings.
A breakfast high in protein can give you the perfect start to your day. Protein can be a great way to fuel, help stabilize your blood glucose levels and prepare you for any physical and mental challenges throughout your day.
Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are a group of drugs that reduce the production of stomach acid. They are commonly prescribed for GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), ulcers, and are used in combination with antibiotics for eliminating Helicobacter pylori (a bacteria that contributes to ulcers).
There are significant long-term risks to taking PPIs by prescription, but you should not stop taking them on your own unless you consult with a health care professional.
What do you think is the biggest risk factor for breast cancer in this 65-year old woman?
She has gained about 25 pounds since she was 18 years old.
She drinks 2 glasses of wine a day.
She is on hormone replacement therapy.
If you said hormone replacement therapy, you’d be wrong. In fact, the hormones, alcohol consumption and weight gain all increase her risk by about the same amount. But the media have positioned hormones as the worst thing women can do for their health (the biggest risk in this scenario is her age, but more on that later).
While we’re NOT promoting “hormones for all”, we think it’s important for women to know that questions are arising about the way hormones have been portrayed in the media and that women are suffering because of it.