All Posts In Nutrients to Know

Nutrient to Know: Quercetin

by in Nutrients to Know, August 5, 2013

onions
This lesser-known nutrient is becoming more mainstream. Find out if quercetin is plentiful in your daily diet.

What is it?
Quercetin is classified as a bioflavinoid, a plant substance with important physiological qualities. It’s plentiful in a wide variety of foods but has become increasingly popular in supplement form. But buyer beware: Large doses from supplements may be unsafe and cause kidney damage.

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Supplement Savvy: Kids’ Vitamins

by in Nutrients to Know, November 3, 2012

childrens' vitamins
Thinking about giving your kiddies a daily multi-vitamin? Or maybe you already are. Make sure you’re supplement savvy!

Dangers
Because of less-than-stellar regulations, dangers can be lurking in supplements, no matter who they’re made for. For obvious reasons, little clinical testing has been conducted for this age group. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, food should come first, but there are some cases where a supplement can be beneficial. If your child has special dietary needs, check with your pediatrician.

Thankfully many of the supplement makers are very conservative with their ingredients when it comes to children’s formulas, but some brands include amounts far beyond the needs of youngsters. Remember that the first line of defense is a good diet!

Safety is an issue for a number of reasons. Since most kids’ vitamins come in colorful, chewable forms, it should be made clear to everyone in the house that vitamins are NOT candy. Parents need to be sure to store all supplements in a safe and out-of-reach location.

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Nutrient to Know: Vitamin B12

by in Nutrients to Know, June 5, 2012
milk
Milk: there's vitamin B 12 in there.

There are a lot of misconceptions about this vitamin. Get the facts about B-12.

What is it?
Less commonly known as “cobalamin” this water-soluble vitamin is almost always found in multi-vitamins and B-complex supplements. Unlike most other water-soluble vitaminss, B-12 requires stomach acid for absorption. It’s also stored within the body for many years, unlike others like riboflavin and thiamin that are quickly passed in the urine.

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Nutrient to Know: Zinc

by in Nutrients to Know, November 14, 2011
oysters
Zinc is found in oysters, but if you're not a fan, there are plenty of other food sources.

You may have heard of this trace mineral but do you know how important it is to your health? Get the facts about zinc.

What is it?
Zinc is plentiful in foods like oysters, beef, pork and chicken, but it can also be found in nuts, yogurt and beans.

Zinc supplements are often taken to boost immunity and fight symptoms of the common cold. While there’s a small amount of research to support that zinc lozenges might decrease the duration of a cold, their effectiveness is not well established.

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Nutrient to Know: Calcium

by in Nutrients to Know, October 25, 2011
greek yogurt
One cup of nonfat yogurt contains 400 mgs of calcium. Are you getting enough calcium in your diet?

This important mineral is essential to both bone and muscle health. It also happens to be one of the nutrients most folks don’t get enough of.

What is it?
Calcium is a mineral that’s plentiful in dairy products but is also found in eggs and some green veggies. Orange juice, soymilk and other foods are fortified with calcium for those who have trouble digesting dairy (see examples below).

Once in the body, calcium can be a little finicky. Your body can’t absorb large quantities at one time and it needs vitamin D around to be absorbed. It can also stand in the way of the absorption of minerals like iron and zinc. Your best bet is to spread out calcium intake throughout the day and get plenty of vitamin D.

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Supplement Savvy: Diet Pills

by in Diets & Weight Loss, Nutrients to Know, October 21, 2011
diet pills
Is it ever a good idea to take diet pills?

These various concoctions of vitamins, herbs, caffeine (and who knows what else) promise to shed pounds in the blink of an eye. Not only are these pills and potions too good to be true, they’re downright dangerous!

Dangers
Diet pills are some of the most dangerous supplements out there. They’re unregulated mixtures of bizarre ingredients and people tend to take them often and in large quantity quantities. We’ll remind you again – the supplement industry is poorly regulated and just because you can buy it over-the-counter doesn’t mean that it’s safe!

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Food Fortification: How Much Is Too Much?

by in Food News, Nutrients to Know, October 11, 2011
cereal and milk
Cereal

Most health conscious folks are looking for foods full of vitamins and minerals, but some products tout good stuff that doesn’t exist there naturally. Is pumping foods with extra nutrients just as good? We’ll give you the facts.

What is Fortification?
Fortifying or “enriching” foods is the process of adding supplemental vitamins and/or minerals. Since the amount added can vary, read labels carefully. To see if a food has been fortified check the ingredient list, any nutrients listed as ingredients were added in.

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Supplement Savvy: Protein Powders

by in Nutrients to Know, October 4, 2011

protein powder

It’s a common misconception that you must take an extra protein supplement to build muscle. Most folks are getting plenty of protein from food so there’s no need for more from a supplement. But if your diet is too low in muscle-building protein, then a supplement may be a good idea. The question then becomes — if a protein supplement is warranted, are how can you be sure it’s safe and effective?

Dangers
Walk into any health food store or vitamin shop and you’ll find a mountain of powder-filled canisters promising to help you bulk up or lean out. Unfortunately, the majority of the protein powders on the market come loaded with a variety of other vitamins, minerals and herbs. These can be dangerous when taken large doses or in combination with certain medications or other supplements. If you’re on any medication, always check with your doctor before taking any vitamins or supplements.

Too much protein can also be a bad thing – mega-doses can cause stomach upset, dehydration, and in severe cases, kidney problems.

When choosing a brand – simple is best. Check labels for a source of protein (see examples below) along with some flavoring – that’s all you want in there!

Read more about supplements to watch out for and how much protein is right for you.

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Supplement Savvy: More Popular Supplements

by in Nutrients to Know, August 9, 2011

vitamins
We’ve been filling you in on the good, bad and ugly details about popular vitamin, mineral and herbal products but there are a lot of other supplements out there. Here are the facts on five of the most common – are they worth it?

Multivitamins
While they seem harmless, multivitamins can be a cocktail of dangerous ingredients including toxic amounts of vitamins and minerals, herbs and other substances that may cause side effects and interact with medications. If food allergies, dietary restrictions, or pregnancy warrant taking some extra nutrients from a multivitamin, look for one that only contains vitamins and minerals. Beware of bizarre herbs, “proprietary blends” and other ingredients you don’t recognize. Pass on products that have more than 500% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) listed on the label.

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Supplement Savvy: Herbal Supplements

by in Healthy Tips, Nutrients to Know, August 2, 2011
herbs
Is it safe to take herbal supplements?

It’s a common (and dangerous) misconception that herbal supplements can be taken without worry. We’re giving you the facts on 5 of the most popular herbs.

Dangers
Just like vitamins and minerals, herbal supplements are subject to loose regulation and labeling standards. In fact, the purity of these supplements is questionable and many are associated with dangerous side effects.

Popular Herbal Supplements
Echinacea
Taken to boost immunity and help cure the flu and common cold, echinacea is one of the most popular herbal supplements sold in the U.S.. Research on the effectiveness of this herb is mixed. While some studies found no benefit, others did point to its ability to reduce the occurrence or duration of a cold. Taking appropriate doses of echinacea for up to 12 weeks is considered safe, yet adverse reactions including stomach upset, fever and allergic reactions have been reported.

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