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Vaccines, GMOs, and Big Pharma, All In One Film

Last week I received an email invitation to watch a free screening of Bought, subtitled “The Truth Behind Vaccines, Big Pharma, and Your Food.” Since all three are pretty hot topics, I settled back for what I knew would be one of those feel-bad movies. You know what I mean. Moonstruck is a feel-good movie, […]

Do Vegetarians Live Longer?

A recent article in JAMA Internal Medicine would certainly make it appear that way. Researchers from Loma Linda University recruited more than 73,000 Seventh Day Adventists (the university is an Adventist-affiliated school) and asked detailed questions about dietary and other lifestyle habits, including tobacco and alcohol use, degree of exercise, income, and education level. Enrollees were divided into non-vegetarians and vegetarians. Then the vegetarians were subdivided into vegans (no […]

Q&A: Tanning Beds to Boost Vitamin D and Serotonin?

Click here for the original post. Q: You write a lot about how sunshine increases vitamin D and serotonin. Do you recommend using a tanning bed or booth to accomplish this? A: Short answer: No. Longer answer: You shouldn’t be using ultraviolet tanning salons for anything. A World Health Organization position paper on tanning beds […]

Should I get the Swine Flu Vaccine?

By now, everyone knows there are two flus this season. First, the regular seasonal flu (for which you get an annual flu shot), as always requiring a slight change in vaccine formulation to ensure it targets this year’s flu strain. The second vaccine protects against the well-publicized H1N1 virus, better known as swine flu.

Vitamin K

In the 1930s, researchers in Denmark observed that chicks on a fat-free diet experienced bleeding problems. By l939, they were successful in isolating an alfalfa-based compound that effectively stopped the bleeding. Because of its ability to help blood clot–called coagulation–this substance was named vitamin K, for Koagulation. Over time, scientists discovered that “friendly” bacteria in the intestinal tract produce sufficient quantities of this nutrient to meet most of our body’s needs. Another 20% of this fat-soluble vitamin is acquired from foods (it’s particularly abundant in leafy green vegetables). Vitamin K helps to prevent excessive bleeding and promote strong bones. A number of other health benefits are currently being researched.

Vitamin E

Scientists identified vitamin E about 80 years ago, but only in the past few decades has its power as an antioxidant been revealed and fully appreciated. What this means is that you’ll have to get far more than the government-established RDA for this vitamin to benefit from its ability to stave off disease and enhance overall health. Unfortunately, most foods containing vitamin E–nuts, vegetable oils and margarine, for example–are high in fat. So to get the protective punch of vitamin E without adding fats to your diet, you need to seriously consider taking supplements.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is called the sunlight vitamin because the body produces it when the sun’s ultraviolet B (UVB) rays strike the skin. It is the only vitamin the body manufactures naturally and is technically considered a hormone. Essential for building strong bones and teeth, vitamin D also helps to strengthen the immune system and may prevent some types of cancer.

Vitamin C

In the eighteenth century, seasoned sailors found that by sucking on lemons they could avoid scurvy, a debilitating disease that often developed during long voyages when fresh fruits and vegetables were scarce. When the lemon’s key nutrient was formally identified in 1928, it was named ascorbic acid for its anti-scurvy, or antiscorbutic, action. Today ascorbic acid is widely known as vitamin C.

Vitamin C and Flavinoids

Vitamin C, an essential antioxidant, is often sold with plant-based substances called flavonoids in a single product. While each supplement can be purchased individually, there are several reasons to consider a product that combines the two.

For one, flavonoids–the catchall term for some 4,000 antioxidant compounds responsible for the color and numerous health benefits of fruits, vegetables, and herbs–enhance the body’s absorption of vitamin C. Key flavonoids include quercetin, rutin, genistein, grape seed extract, and naringen.

Vitamin B6

Day by day, there’s probably no nutrient as actively involved in keeping your system running smoothly as vitamin B6. Technically an umbrella term used to describe three B vitamins (pyridoxine, pridoxal, pyridoxamine), vitamin B6 partakes in no fewer than 100 chemical reactions throughout the body. It functions primarily as a coenzyme, working along with other enzymes to speed up chemical reactions in cells.