Nutrients, Nutrition

Vitamin D

This is probably one of my favourite vitamins and one I struggle with personally the most. Having tanned skin, spending most of my time working from home and having two genetic SNPs (polymorphisms) in my vit. D receptors means that often my levels are sub-optimal – even with supplementation!

In fact, the moment I stop supplementing my vitamin D levels drop to deficiency or even “severe deficiency” levels (yup, just did my blood test a couple of weeks ago after taking a break from supplements and, surprise-surprise, my levels were so low my doc told me to get a D injection asap).

But more than just being classified as “deficient”, when my levels are low I begin to feel really fatigued, my mood is low, I struggle to focus and my muscles feel achy with minimal exertion. Why does this sun vitamin have such wide-reaching effects? Simply because it is essential for so many bodily functions, including:

  • Calcium & phosphorus balance 
  • Bone health
  • Hormone health
  • Immune function
  • Cardiovascular function
  • Nervous system function
  • Cell differentiation (& cancer prevention)
  • Insulin production & glucose tolerance
  • Blood pressure regulation
  • Gene transcription & regulation of hundreds of genes*

*As you’ll find out in the Younger You book, vitamin D is a powerful DNA methylation adaptogen and an active demethylating nutrient, ensuring the right genes get turned on.

This fat-soluble vitamin is made in our skin and can be found in small amounts in:

  • Salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Sardines
  • Egg yolk

It’s best to assess vit. D status through a simple blood test and be aware that deficiency can produce profound signs & symptoms such as muscle & back pain, muscle weakness, high blood pressure, muscle cramps, achy bones & decreased bone density, insulin resistance & blood sugar imbalances, poor cognitive function, increased risk of infection (including viral infections), dysregulated & overactive immune function (autoimmunity) and the list can go on and on.

So do make sure you spend enough time out in the sun (15-30 mins will do) – it’s the quickest way to boost your vit. D levels!

References

  1. Lord R, Bralley J. Laboratory Evaluations For Integrative And Functional Medicine. Duluth, Ga: Genova Diagnostics; 2012.
  2. Higdon J. Vitamin A. Linus Pauling Institute. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/vitamin-D. Published 2022. Accessed January 26, 2022.
Body Signs, Nutrition

The Body Signs Series – #2 Muscle Pain & Weakness

Are your muscles weak & achy, even if you haven’t exercised recently? Then you may consider checking your nutrient levels because:

  • Vitamin D is needed for muscle fibre (especially fast-twitch fibres) and cell protein synthesis, as well as optimal immune function, hormone & heart health. It is also an important epigenetic regulator that influences the expression of hundreds of genes. Other signs of deficiency include myofascial back pain, loss of muscle strength, bone tenderness & pain, hypotonia (poor muscle tone) and joint pain. Vitamin D deficiency is also associated with accelerated ageing (btw did you know you can actually REVERSE ageing?).
  • Thiamin (vit. B1) is needed for the clearance of lactic acid and thus B1 deficiency can lead to muscle pain due to lactic acid build up. It is also needed for optimal function of the nervous system and so insufficiency can contribute to neurological pain and reduced signalling in muscle cells. Other signs of thiamin deficiency include glucose intolerance, tingling and numbness, increased heart rate, poor cognition (memory, confusion), poor coordination, burning feet syndrome, abnormal reflexes and more.
  • Dietary protein provides the building blocks (amino acids) necessary for muscle synthesis, amongst many other functions such as hormone & immunoglobulin production. Low intake of protein may not be the only reason for poor protein status – insufficient stomach acid and digestive enzymes can reduce the amount of protein our bodies absorb from our diet.

Of course, there are many other reasons why we may have achy, wobbly muscles. These include accelerated ageing, active viral infection (fever, etc.), chronic fatigue syndrome, thyroid, autoimmune & neuromuscular conditions, prolonged bed rest and certain medications.

P.S.

If possible, always check your nutrient status and speak with your healthcare provider before starting any supplementation.

Your body is talking, are you listening?

Body Signs

The Body Signs Series – #1 Cracked Tongue

Have you ever thought how impressive and intelligent our bodies are? Constantly ticking away, sensing and adapting to a whole host of internal and external inputs, and in the processes sending us a myriad of signs & clues about our state of health. Fascinating isn’t it?

In this new series of posts called ‘Body Signs’ we’ll learn how to decode our bodies’ messages from a nutrition perspective (and you’ll be surprised with some of the things we’ll uncover!) But why is learning to read our bodies important? Well, being aware of what is happening in our bodies can help steer our health in the right direction, ease our anxiety, motivate us to take better care of ourselves and build a better relationship with our bodies.

So let’s start with the tongue. It is often one of the first areas of the body to show signs of nutrient deficiencies. Although this sign may not tell us exactly what’s out of balance, it can help guide further assessments.

Both iron and B vits are necessary for energy production, hormone and neurotransmitter function, immune health and DNA repair. All of which are critical processes for our overall health.

Blood tests are usually used to determine iron deficiency, whereas B vitamin levels can be assessed either through blood (standard) or urine (functional) testing. The advantage of a urine test is that it tells us whether your body has enough nutrients to function optimally (vs. a set reference range on a blood test).

Of course, such assessments should never be viewed in isolation – there are a lot of tools we can use in combination to build a clear picture of our nutrition status (including these physical signs and biochemical assessments).

Your body is talking, are you listening?

Nutrients

Vitamin A

Did you know that there are 13 vitamins essential for life? They are essential because each one of them serves a whole host of important functions in the body.

Take for example Vitamin A. It is needed for:

  • Eyesight
  • Immune function
  • Bone growth
  • Skin integrity
  • Reproductive health
  • Optimal gene expression
  • Red blood cell production

This fat-soluble vitamin is found in animal foods as preformed vitamin A and in plant foods as its precursor – carotenoids.

Top sources include:

  • Beef liver
  • Eggs
  • Butter
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Carrots
  • Dark coloured veggies (spinach, kale, collards, etc.)

Vitamin A status can be tested through a simple serum (blood) test and deficiency can produce notable symptoms such as vision problems, poor immune function, skin and hair conditions, thyroid dysfunction + more (we’ll explore some of those in our Body Signs series).

Zinc and iron deficiencies are often associated Vitamin A deficiency (zinc is needed for vit. A metabolism, whereas vit. A is needed for iron metabolism).

For optimal absorption consume vitamin A and carotenoid-rich foods with healthy fats.

References:

  1. Lord R, Bralley J. Laboratory Evaluations For Integrative And Functional Medicine. Duluth, Ga: Genova Diagnostics; 2012.
  2. Higdon J. Vitamin A. Linus Pauling Institute. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/vitamin-A. Published 2022. Accessed January 7, 2022.
Nutrition

Beginner’s Guide Part 4: The Supplements You Shouldn’t be Taking

By Laura Smith

Supplements are a multi-billion-dollar industry, and unless you have been living in a cave for the past twenty years, you probably have numerous supplements that you have bought over the years after being advised to do so by friends or family, or possibly reading some information on the internet.

However, there’s a smarter way to go about this and to get the biggest bang for your buck. How? By skipping certain supplements that are not necessary in the beginning of your fitness journey, or even at any point on your journey!

Calcium
Let me make myself clear – calcium is an important mineral for bone health. Osteoporosis and osteopenia are two debilitating conditions, so taking care of your bones is vital. Sure, there are studies out there that suggest taking calcium increases bone density, however the problem with those studies is that they always include other variables such as exercise and vitamin D. An osteoporotic bone isn’t just lacking adequate calcium, it also lacks magnesium, manganese, zinc, copper, and collagen.

So, why is supplementing with calcium usually a waste of money? Calcium is found naturally in dairy products, dark leafy greens and sardines. In addition, supplementing calcium by itself doesn’t actually help bone density significantly, even though that’s why most people take it.

Calcium works best with other nutrients like vitamin D, vitamin K2, and magnesium. The combination of all these forms a stack, which is when supplements work together towards a common goal.

So, in my opinion, the bottom line is, calcium deficiencies are rare, and can be easily fixed by slightly modifying your diet.

Fat Burning Supplements
You may have heard of fat burners – the magic pills that can make fat melt off your body, like ice in the Dubai heat, right? Not exactly.

Fat burners are supplements that are designed with ingredients that MAY give you an extra boost to help burn fat, but they can’t replace a solid diet and exercise plan.

Fat burners work in a variety of ways. They can boost energy, help curb appetite, promote fat to be used for energy, and even increase your metabolism and core temperature so you burn more calories throughout the day. But, if you take a fat burner and then feast on burgers, pizza, and bagels, you won’t be seeing fat loss any time soon.

Even the mildly effective fat burners (e.g. caffeine) don’t make THAT big of a difference. Fat burners are also likely to cause side effects like sleep disruption (since most of them are stimulants). That can backfire, since poor sleep can cause overeating the next day, high cortisol levels and reduced recovery, all of which can result in lack of motivation to head to the gym.

All of the these side effects negate any small benefit that fat burners may have. Bottom line: most fat burners don’t have a great cost to benefit ratio.

Testosterone Boosters
Having low testosterone is not fun – it can cause issues such as mental fog, irritability, lower libido, lack of body composition changes. So taking a testosterone booster may sound like a great idea. But unfortunately they simply do not work.

Supplement companies may tout studies showing their supplements increase testosterone. However, keep in mind – too many people think that libido and testosterone are the same. Some supplements marketed as testosterone boosters can actually help increase your libido, yet make no difference in your actual testosterone levels.

Glutamine
Glutamine is an essential amino acid that has many roles in your body. It’s found in muscle tissue, so meat products naturally have high levels of glutamine. Adding glutamine to muscle cells causes them to grow.

Unfortunately, supplementing glutamine does not work for muscle building, because little of the glutamine ingested makes it over to the muscles. The intestines absorb much of it for themselves, so supplementing glutamine is actually really good for your digestive tract, but it’s not going to drive your muscles to grow more.

It should be noted that whey protein is also high in glutamine, so if you eat meat products and drink whey, then you are good to go and can save your money.

Bottom line: supplementing glutamine for muscle building does not work, however it does work for improving gut health along with probiotics and digestive enzymes.

Whey Protein
The benefits if whey protein are in no way being questioned. Whey protein is a superior protein source that provides many health and body composition benefits. This is a true statement that I am not going to argue with. There’s loads of research supporting the benefits of whey protein and it would be crazy for me to try and deny that it improves insulin sensitivity, suppresses appetite, has a high thermic effect, builds muscle, reduces oxidative stress, etc.

So you may be asking the question, why have I included whey protein on my list of supplements that are not needed? Whey protein is often used as a substitute for whole foods, which can prevent optimal nutrition being achieved. This can result in a lack of macronutrients, micronutrients, inflammation, poor gut health, and decreased physical performance.

One of the most common issues we face is bad digestion. By this I mean for one reason or another your digestive system is not able to make the most of the foods you eat. One of the most common food groups that we are unable to optimally absorb is dairy and whey products.

Too often whey protein is used as a meal replacement, not as a supplement. Additionally, some brands contain cheap fillers, artificial flavors and added sugars, which again can cause absorption issues, poorly functioning gut and inflammation.

So, bottom line regarding whey protein is that despite the countless benefits, it should not be used as a replacement for whole foods. Until gut health is functioning effectively, absorption is a major issue and whey protein can make things worse. My advice is to start with whole foods and progress to protein shakes and drinks.

Good luck!

Nutrition

Top 5 Reasons why we need Vitamin B

This week nutritionist and PT Laura Smith will take us through 5 important reasons to keep an eye out on our vitamin B levels.

Firstly, let’s think about what would be the possible reason for us not to ingest the amount of petty little B’s we would need to function and thrive optimally.

  • B vitamins are present in animal foods, such as meat, eggs, fish, poultry and dairy products. Well, are you a vegetarian? B vitamins are present in animal foods, such as meat, eggs, fish, poultry and dairy products, which means you may not be getting enough.
  • Are you focused on muscle gain, and therefore increased your protein intake as well as drinking BCAAs at every possible opportunity in search for gains? If so, this high intake of BCAAs can result in a depletion of vitamin B.
  • What about your gut function, any issues? If you do, and things are not working like clockwork you will be unable to absorb your Bs, and please don’t get me started on what a million medications do for your little Bs. I would need all day to write a list of the number of medications that deplete B vitamins!

So how will you know if you are low or deficient in vitamin B? Low levels of vitamin B can manifest in a number of symptoms, from feeling tired and lacking motivation, to trouble losing weight and digestion issues. Here are 5 reasons why do we need this mighty B vitamin:

#1. Detoxification

Your body is designed perfectly to detoxify itself, so there is really no need for a yearly cleanse, or crazy juice diet. Your body is exposed to environmental toxins all the time, for example benzene, found in cigarette smoke and car exhaust smoke. The first step at eliminating chemicals such as benzene from your body is through the use of vitamin B. Vitamin B attaches to the toxins and mobilizes them, allowing for powerful antioxidants to continue the neutralization process through the gut. Therefore vitamin B is vital for the initial detox phase within the body.

#2 Brain Protection

Although B vitamins don’t give you the endorphins of chocolate, or the energy buzz that coffee provides, they do play a crucial role in the protection of cognitive function and prevention of your brain from premature aging. Folate and B12 are both significantly associated with depression, low mood, and social isolation. The elderly population is at a much higher risk due to falling plasma levels of folate in the blood and spinal fluid. Studies have shown an improvement in cognitive function after supplementation of vitamin B. Some studies have even shown a more significant improvement than depression medication.

#3. Performance

B vitamins are critical for the nervous system and the ability of neurotransmitters too circulate. So this simply means that you need B vitamins in your body to be able to send all the signals you need form the brain to your muscles to perform. Therefore, the faster the signal the better the performance.

#4. Hormone Balance

Day to day, both men and women are seeing increased levels of estrogen as they exposed to chemical estrogen found in plastic, shampoo, cosmetics and cleaning products to name a few. Vitamin B6, 12 and 9 all promote the removal of excess estrogen. Effective removal can help with body composition as high levels of estrogen have been associated with increased body fat.

#5. Body Composition

Don’t think about fat burners or green tea to improve your body composition – think about optimal nutrients and gut health. Vitamin B1, which is called thiamine, plays a vital role in the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats. Therefore, even high calorie diets can result in malnutrition, if there is a deficiency of thiamine.

lifestyle

4 (Delicious) Ways to Ease a Cold

Got a cold? Here are the top 4 immune system boosters that can help ease the symptoms of the common cold:

 

Vitamin CDepositphotos_1805583_original.jpg
We have all been told to take vitamin C when we feel under the weather. But have you ever
wondered why? Vitamin C has been shown to have antihistamine properties which could help
dry up a runny nose. What’s more is that although Vitamin C doesn’t prevent colds, it can shorten the duration of your cold by one or two days (hooray!). Pass me the lemons!
Bonus tip:
Hot liquids are often soothing when fighting a cold, so a cup of hot water with lemon (and you can add ginger too!) should be your drink of choice.

 

Zinc

Apart from supporting the immune system to resist infection, zinc can help sooth the throat. Studies have shown that zinc lozenges help to kill viruses and can shorten the duration of cold symptoms, especially those related to the throat. It also prevents too much mucus from building up. In fact, many claim zinc is more effective than vitamin C when it comes to fighting colds.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is another nutrient essential for a healthy immune system and therefore should be taken in the long-term and not just during colds (in fact, it will not help during the illness). Vitamin D prevents colds by helping produce cathelicidin, a protein with virus-killing qualities. Therefore, it is important to keep adequate vitamin D levels throughout the year.

Omega 3s

Who knew that a fatty fish can boost your immune system?

Seafood Collage

“Omega 3s increase the activity of phagocytes—cells that fight flu by eating up bacteria—according to a study by Britain’s Institute of Human Nutrition and School of Medicine. Other research shows that omega-3s increase airflow and protect lungs from colds and respiratory infections.” – http://www.prevention.com

Bonus Tip: If you’re bored of the traditional chicken soup remedy, why not try a salmon-based soup, such as the russian soup “Uha”? This way you can also top up your vitamin D levels.

Nutrition

All You Need to Know About Superfoods

By Adrianna McDonald

Superfoods – what are they?

They are nutrient-rich foods with many benefits. They’ve become very popular and it’s only in recent times that they’ve been identified as superfoods with near super powers. And, since everyone is now into organic food, it’s become easier to find these foods in most places where you wouldn’t have found them even a few years ago.

Why should you eat superfoods?

They are rich in nutrients and work wonders in keeping your mind and body healthy. But this is not all. Once you start consuming superfoods on a regular basis, you will start noticing the difference in not just how you feel, but also how you look.

Eating these foods regularly makes your body healthier, helps you flush out toxins more frequently and leaves you with a healthy glow. They are full of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, amino acids, essential fatty acids, polysaccharides, enzymes and glyconutrients to name a few.

However, the best part is that these foods are clean, pesticide-free, organic sources of these nutrients, so in effect they act faster and work better.

Here’s a list of the top 5 favourites:

1.Goji Berries

These berries are deep red in colour and are often dried and eaten as raisins.

Benefits:

  • Increases immunity
  • Protects liver
  • Improves eyesight
  • Improves quality of blood
  • Prevents ageing

Goji berries contain a number of nutrients like amino acids, vitamins, polysaccharides, and HGH (human growth hormone).

The Chinese believe that Goji berries can considerably enhance libido and improve sex life. They are also a rich source of antioxidants which are crucial to keep you young but also to improve vision and eyesight.

Goji berries are known to aid the production of choline, which stops the production of free radicals and prevents degeneration of the brain due to diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

These are also known to protect the arteries from narrowing down due to the build up of plaque along the walls, which can cause heart related diseases.

Goji berries can be added to teas or soups to make them healthier or you could just munch on them as you would with raisins. They can also be blended into smoothies or juices or added to other recipes to fortify them.

2. Acai Berries

Benefits:

  • Helps people sleep better
  • Makes the immune system stronger
  • Slows down the aging process
  • Regulates the levels of cholesterol in the body
  • Improves vision
  • Improves circulation and functioning of the heart
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Detoxifies the body

Açaí berries are known to contain significant amounts of essential fatty acids such as Omega 3 and Omega 6 as well as monounsaturated oleic acid. They also have a high concentration of blue pigmented antioxidants and one of the highest ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity) values amongst fruits. As we all know, free radicals are the cause of all harm in our bodies, including the ageing process and açaí berries are excellent in absorbing these free radicals.

These berries also contain plant sterols which are known for their cholesterol absorption qualities and  have as many as nineteen different amino acids. In addition, the dietary fibre in açaí berries helps with digestion.

They are a perfect snack as they’re low in sugar and have plenty of minerals such as calcium and phosphorus and vitamins such as beta-carotene and vitamin E. AçaĂ­ berries are also considered as a cancer fighter. This superfood can be consumed as a supplement or blended into smoothies.

3. Cacao 

These beans are actually much more than a source of chocolate. Cacao beans are superfoods in themselves and have some amazing health benefits, including:

  • Increasing the blood flow to the brain and enhancing brain function
  • Having a high concentration of antioxidants such as polyphenols, catechins and epicatechins. Antioxidants, as we all know, are the holy grail of youth and a disease-free life.
  • The magnesium in cacao is good for the heart, helps prevent constipation and even eases menstrual cramps.
  • Cacao also has iron, which makes it a great weapon to fight against anaemia.
  • Cacao contains chromium, a trace mineral which works wonders to maintain the balance of blood sugar.
  • Manganese, another trace mineral that can be found in cacao is great when it comes to building up of haemoglobin.
  • Zinc, another mineral that cacao contains is known for its essential role in enhancing our immune system.
  • Raw cacao contains vitamin C as well which has many benefits and uses.
  • It contains essential omega 6 fatty acids.
  • Cacao beans contain certain compounds that can trigger weight loss, make you feel good and improve your mood considerably.
  • The fibre in cacao beans works wonderfully to cleanse the digestive system.

An important thing to note is that cooked and processed chocolate contains rancid omega 6 fatty acids or trans fats which are not healthy for you. It’s best to look for raw cacao chocolates or make your own at home.

Cacao can be found as a cacao beans with or without the skin, nibs, cacao butter, powder or paste and ideally it should all be raw and organic. Include them in your usual drinks such as smoothies or coffee. You can also use cacao in desserts.

4. Maca root

Benefits:

  • Increases stamina and libido
  • Helps the endocrine system function properly, thereby eliminating hormonal imbalances
  • Lowers anaemia and alleviates menstrual discomfort and cramps
  • Is also known to be effective in fighting stomach cancer and tuberculosis
  • It’s a rich source of fatty acids and sterols
  • Has a good concentration of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, sulfur, potassium, phosphorus as well as vitamins such as B1, C, B2 and E
  • It is known to help women deal with menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and mood swings
  • Works wonders at reducing the symptoms of altitude sickness

Maca root is usually dried and powdered and can be consumed as part of smoothies, teas, milk or coffee. Maca works best with cacao so you can combine these two superfoods and create your own super-charged powder mix.

A word of caution though. Maca is indeed one of the more potent types of superfoods because it can cause changes in the way you live and react due to the high levels of iodine it contains. It’s always advised to use superfoods cautiously and never in excess because of the potential side effects, such as elevated heart rate.

5. Camu Camu 

If you thought that tanking up on Vitamin C will keep colds away, you’re right. But don’t rely just on citrus fruits for this. Take a look at the Camu Camu berry.

This berry contains the highest amount of Vitamin C in any botanical source and you might be surprised to learn that while a lemon can contain 0.5 percent Vitamin C, the Camu Camu berry contains up to 4 percent.

It also contains calcium, potassium, phosphorus and iron. Amino acids such as leucine, serine and valine are also present in this excellent superfood. Other vitamins that are also found in the Camu Camu are thiamine, riboflavin and niacin.

Here are some of the benefits of the Camu Camu berry:

  • The huge amount of Vitamin C content ensures that your immune system stays in top condition
  • Helps improve your eye sight considerably
  • Great for the skin
  • Keeps away colds and other viral infections
  • Keeps your tendons, collagen and ligaments strong
  • Helps in keeping your lungs healthy
  • Works at reducing inflammation considerably
  • Regular consumption of Camu Camu helps you keep your cool in stressful times
  • Helps in keeping organs like eyes, brain, heart, skin and liver in good working condition

The Camu Camu berry is available as a dried powder which can be used in various ways. You can mix it with water to make an instant health drink or add it to juices and smoothies. The Camu Camu berry powder is tangy and flavourful so it’s a pleasure to consume it. Do note that excessive consumption could lead to diarrhoea, so take this superfood in moderation.

Nutrition

Protein Powders vs Real Protein

By Adrianna McDonald

There is no doubt and never will be about the importance of protein in your diet. It is an essential nutrient that helps the body to build, repair and maintain its organs, cells and tissues.

You can meet your daily protein requirements whether you drink shakes and/or eat whole foods, but nutrition from both is not equal.

Protein-rich whole foods are more nutritionally complex than shakes, so they offer a greater variety of vitamins and minerals. Chewing them takes a longer period of time and they satisfy your hunger, keeping you full for longer.

Protein powders were always present in the bodybuilding world but lately became popular with the general public as people realized the full potential of protein supplements in their everyday life.

“Before I start elaborating I want you to know that there is NO real substitute for real food!”

Protein powder is a supplement to your diet and should not be a replacement.

Protein quality has also been enormously overstated and even distorted for marketing purposes and most brands are full of sweeteners and other additives which your body may struggle with.

The variety is enormous : whey protein, beef, casein, plant, etc.thumb_IMG_6459_1024

The most popular is Whey Isolate and is largely used in the bodybuilding world.

Even though whey has a higher BV (biological value) than beef, chicken, fish, or milk protein, if the total quantity of protein you consume throughout the day is sufficient (best if you know your macros), then there is no need to substitute whey for food proteins as it won’t give you additional muscle gains.

 

thumb_IMG_6457_1024Myself and most of my clients tend to use it as a post-workout drink only. There is no evidence that protein supplements digest more efficiently than whole foods but they definitely digested faster which is most important after training. There is still lots of debate amongst the experts as to post-workout nutrition. There is not much proof if a protein-carb drink will produce better muscular growth than whole foods, as long as complete whole foods are eaten within an hour or so post-workout.

No doubt protein powders are convenient and supplementing with a couple of scoops a day (especially post-workout) is not a bad idea.

If you are a very busy individual and you struggle with your protein intake try adding protein powders to your meals instead of replacing them.

Nutrition

Sports Supplements and Common Deficiencies

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Photography by Comfort

Written by Adrianna McDonald

If you eat a balanced, whole-food diet (be honest with yourself), you’re most likely getting the right amounts of the vitamins and minerals for adequate functioning.

If not (which applies to most), there’s a big chance your body is lacking in important nutrients. Although you may think you eat well, other factors like age and health conditions can impact your body’s ability to absorb the nutrients in your food.

Due to our environment and current farming methods our food is not as nutrient-dense as it was 20-30 years ago.

Nowadays soil quality, storage time, and the way food is being processed or handled has major impact on the quality of nutrients in your food.

Unless you’ve had a blood test done it’s hard to know what your deficiencies may be. Sometimes, even if you are seriously deficient for some time, you may not notice it. Unless you know what to look for. The most common deficiencies that I’ve come across are:

  • Vitamin D
  • Magnesium
  • Omega-3

** For more information regarding blood tests please contact Adrianna at Pinnacle Performance for a direct referral to a functional medicine doctor.

Photo 1-27-16, 1 24 53 PM (6).jpg

Vitamin D

The requirements for vitamin D are dependent on the individual, their skin colour, place of residence, and exposure to sun. The best way to reach optimal levels is through safe sun exposure or the only other way is through supplementation in the form of vitamin D3. The dosage can be between 2000IUs to 10000IUs or more a day, depending on the level of deficiency and lifestyle.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Magnesium

In my opinion this is the most important mineral for optimal health, performing a wide array of biological functions. It is a cofactor in more than 300 enzyme systems that regulate diverse biochemical reactions in the body, some including: protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, blood pressure regulation and helping digest proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.

However, only 1 percent of magnesium in your body is distributed in your blood.

There are different types of magnesium you can buy:

Magnesium glycinate is a chelated form of magnesium that tends to provide the highest levels of absorption and bioavailability and is typically considered ideal for those who are trying to correct a deficiency

**Highly recommend

Magnesium chloride / magnesium lactate contain only 12 percent magnesium, but has better absorption than others, such as magnesium oxide, which contains five times more magnesium

Magnesium carbonate, which has antacid properties, contains 45 percent magnesium

Magnesium citrate is magnesium with citric acid, which has laxative properties but is one of the higher quality magnesium supplements

Magnesium oxide is a non-chelated type of magnesium, bound to an organic acid or a fatty acid. Contains 60 percent magnesium and has stool softening properties

**Never recommend unless medically advised

Magnesium sulfate / magnesium hydroxide (milk of magnesia) are typically used as a laxative. Be aware that it’s easy to overdose on these, so ONLY take as directed

Magnesium taurate contains a combination of magnesium and taurine, an amino acid. Together, they tend to provide a calming effect on your body and mind

**Highly recommend

Magnesium threonate is a newer, emerging type of magnesium supplement that appears promising, primarily due to its superior ability to penetrate the mitochondrial membrane

MAGNESIUM DOSAGES

FEMALES 2,000MG CHELATED DAILY

MALES  4000MG CHELATED DAILY

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Omega-3 

Problem is that majority of diets are high in inflammatory omega-6 fats (think vegetables oils) and too few anti-inflammatory omega-3s. This is believed to be the cause of cardiovascular disease, cancer, depression, Alzheimer’s, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes
 (and many more).

The ideal ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats is 1:1. Its common to see a 17:1 ratio of omega 6:3 which is causing more and more issues.

The human brain is one of  hungriest for DHA. DHA is one main type of omega-3 fatty acid, and EPA is another. About 85%  of people in the Western world are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids. The recommended daily intake of EPA plus DHA is about 650 mg rising to 1000 mg/day depending on the individual.

Omega-3 fats are found in flaxseed oil, walnut oil, marine plankton and fatty fish although grass-fed beef is higher in omega-3s than fish.

In my opinion,  it’s good to know your blood work. We all are very busy and often our diets are compromised. That in fact is also a “problem” for a competitor. When preparing for a competition, the diet is very simple and in order to get our BF (body fat) down to a significant level we deprive our self from certain foods (i.e. dairy, fruits). And with the demands of training we ought to take supplements.

As a coach there are few protocols I follow but without the blood work or lab test I too would be guessing.