There are three main omega-3s – EPA, DHA and ALA. EPA and DHA are the primary omega-3s you need to support heart health and can be found in seaweed supplements or our bodies convert ALA to EPA & DHA. ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) is a true “essential” omega-3 because our bodies can’t make it on its own. We need to get ALA from our diet by consuming ALA-rich foods like flax and chia seeds. ALA is a precursor to EPA and DHA, but the conversion rate in our bodies is extremely low – often less than 1 percent of ALA is converted to EPA and DHA. The long-chain omega-3s EPA and DHA are known for supporting heart, brain and eye health at all stages of life. In fact, our heart, brain and eyes contain the highest omega-3 content compared to other parts of the human body. The human body does not produce significant amounts of EPA or DHA on its own, so you must get these important nutrients from the foods you eat and the supplements you consume. If you’re looking to get the heart health benefits of omega-3s, go straight to the source of EPA and DHA. EPA and DHA are naturally found in marine sources such as marine algae. Plant Sources of Omega-3s Flax, a relatively new term to most health-conscious individuals, has a much longer history than one would expect. Archaeologists date the consumption of flax back to 9,000 BC. In 650 BC, Hippocrates wrote of flax's value in the treatment of abdominal pains. And in the 8th century, the medieval King Charlemagne was so convinced of flax's importance to good health that he passed laws requiring his subjects to consume it regularly. This blue-flowered crop has proven to be quite versatile. Flax is used to make linen [...]
Vegan diets, rich in vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and legumes are much more likely to easily yield the amount and kind of fiber your body needs to maintain good digestive health. ... Peas, beans and apples contain soluble fiber, which slows digestion and helps the body absorb nutrients from food.Fiber is an important part of our diets and most people simply aren’t getting enough of it. Fiber is essential to the body’s digestive system and it helps to expel toxins from the intestines and the bowels. Fiber is actually a type of carbohydrate that the body doesn’t digest, but instead, passes to help to clear out some of the unhealthy junk we’ve been eating. The two types of fibers include soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibers absorb water from the body and helps move waste. Soluble fiber is related to lowering cholesterol levels and slowing digestion, which keeps our energy levels stable and helps to control our hunger. Inulin and psyllium are commonly used forms of soluble fiber but they differ in many ways. One of the main benefits of adding soluble fiber to your diet is that it adds bulk to stool, helping to relieve constipation. Soluble fiber absorbs excess water in your digestive tract, helping to prevent loose watery stools. Increasing your soluble fiber intake also aids in controlling your cholesterol and blood glucose levels, the University of Maryland Medical Center notes. Psyllium is more effective in these aspects because it does not get broken down by intestinal bacteria. Insoluble fiber helps to prevent constipation by fermenting and creating bacteria, which makes it bulky and helps to clean our digestive tract from leftovers. The recommended daily intake of fiber for women hovers between 21 and 25 grams of fiber per day, while for men it’s 30 to 38 grams [...]
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid and L-ascorbic acid, is a vitamin found in food and used as a dietary supplement. The disease scurvy is prevented and treated with vitamin C-containing foods or dietary supplements.Vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid) is abundant in vegetables and fruits. A water-soluble vitamin and powerful antioxidant, it helps the body form and maintain connective tissue, including bones, blood vessels, and skin.Vitamin C helps to repair and regenerate tissues, protect against heart disease, aid in the absorption of iron, prevent scurvy, and decrease total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and triglycerides. Research indicates that vitamin C may help protect against a variety of cancers by combating free radicals, and helping neutralize the effects of nitrites (preservatives found in some packaged foods that may raise the risk of certain forms of cancer). Supplemental vitamin C may also lessen the duration and symptoms of a common cold, help delay or prevent cataracts, and support healthy immune function. Deficiency symptoms include fatigue, muscle weakness, joint and muscle aches, bleeding gums, and leg rashes. Prolonged deficiency can cause scurvy, a rare but potentially severe illness. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the recommended vitamin C daily allowance (RDA) is: Men, 90 mg per day Women, 75 mg per day Pregnant women, 85 mg per day Breastfeeding women, 120 mg per day. Infants 0-6 months old, 40 mg per day Infants 7-12 months old, 50 mg per day. Toddlers 1-3 years old, 15 mg per day Children 4-8 years old, 25 mg per day children 9-13 years old, 45 mg per day Male teens 14-18 years old, 75 mg per day Female teens 14-18 years old, 65 mg per day Sources of Vitamin C Vitamin C is easy to get through foods, as many fruits and vegetables [...]
Is soy safe, soy is not only safe, but potentially beneficial. Soy has a long history of use in Asia, and within vegetarian populations throughout the world. Two of the healthiest, long-lived populations in the world – the Okinawan Japanese and the Seventh-day Adventists in Loma Linda California – are frequent soy consumers. The traditional Okinawan diet derives about 5-6% of calories from soy or about 2 servings a day. If soy foods were dangerous, its effects would be reflected in the health and longevity of these populations. Soy has been extensively researched – about 2,000 new studies on soy are released yearly. The value of soybeans for human health depends on the form and quantity eaten. There is considerable negative press about soy on the internet. It can usually be traced back to groups that promote animal-based diets. These groups are strongly invested in encouraging the consumption of meat, eggs and dairy, and they do an exceptional job of convincing consumers to steer clear of soy. When plant-based enthusiasts jump on the anti-soy bandwagon, they remove a whole category of food that has the potential to make the diet more nutritious, more healthful and more enjoyable. While it is not necessary to eat soy, it is not necessary to avoid it either. Some individuals need to avoid or limit soy due to allergy or severe thyroid problems, however, for most people, soy foods safe and nutritious. The nutritional benefits of soy are similar to other legumes, although soybeans are higher in protein and fat, and lower in carbohydrates. Soybeans derive about 25-38 percent of their protein from protein, compared with about 20 to 30 percent for other legumes. The quality of protein in soy is similar to that of animal products, and is better than that of other legumes. [...]
Probiotics are what is called "beneficial bacteria" and prebiotics are what feeds these bacteria. These are critical for the same reasons enzymes are; they operate as the work force in the body where as vitamins, minerals, protein, fat, and sugars work as building material essentially. Probiotic bacteria set the internal stage for all these nutrients to properly function for optimized health and performance. Probiotic bacteria are responsible for the biosynthesis of some nutrients and the proper absorption of nutrients. Examples of Probiotics are: Organic Natto, Kimchi, Sauerkraut, Yogurt, Kombucha, Kefir, Apple cider Vinegar, Pickled Tofu, Tempeh. Examples of Prebiotics: Onions, Garlic, chicory root, leeks, dandelion greens, asparagus, bananas, artichokes, inulin. A Synbiotic is a food which contains both probiotic and prebiotic qualities such as raw organic unsweetened cacao and homemade organic lacto- fermented pickled onions. A Psychobiotic is a food or strain of bacteria or food containing a specific strain of bacteria which when consumed provides a probiotic quality but also enhances mental health and functioning. As professor Ted Dinan defines Psychobiotics to be live bacteria and their food (probiotics & prebiotics) which, when ingested, confer mental health benefits through interactions with commensal gut bacteria such as B. infantis and L. reuteri. For a full list of psychobiotics refer to the Psychobiotic section under the Fermentation Module.
This essential fat-soluble vitamin — which is vital for normal calcium metabolism, immunity, nervous system function, and bone density. Chronic deficiency puts you at risk for osteoporosis later in life. Make sure your diet shines with vitamin D (especially in the winter) to keep your bones healthy and reduce risks of cancer . Vitamin D has become the new superstar of the vitamin world. It was not so long ago that vitamin D was associated only with bone health and the prevention of rickets and osteoporosis. Over the past decade, the evidence that vitamin D plays a far greater role in health, has escalated. Research suggests that vitamin D may protect against numerous forms of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and gum disease. Vitamin D is unique relative to all other vitamins. It is a hormone which has receptors in cells throughout the body. We are just beginning to understand the critical roles this special nutrient plays in health and disease. It impacts body cells, bones, muscles, and other hormones, and it affects the nervous system and immune system. Vitamin D can be made by exposure to warm sunshine or other sources of UV light (UV lamps). Unfortunately, for many people, exposure to sunlight has dwindled to such an extent that our vitamin D production has been seriously compromised. What You Need: 15 mcg per day - (600 Iu) Sources: Supplementation needed for Raw vegans or also fortified raw nut milks. A great Supplement from herb is Vitamin D3 from Garden of Life Lichen is the only vegan source of Vitamin D3. A lichen is not a single organism. Rather, it is a symbiosis between different organisms - a fungus and an alga or cyanobacterium. Cyanobacteria are sometimes still referred to as 'blue-green algae', though they are quite distinct from the algae. [...]
Without vitamin E, we essentially turn rancid. Vitamin E is fat-soluble, that is, able to penetrate the fatty areas of our tissues. As it does so, it neutralizes toxic oxidants and protects oxidant-sensitive membranes. Thus vitamin E is justifiably known as an antioxidant, and for helping to prevent age-associated increases in oxidative insults to our bodies. Vitamin E is for the Excellent Eight. A family of eight antioxidants, vitamin E protects essential lipids from damage, battles free radicals, and maintains the integrity of cell membranes . Take Vitamin E to avoid impaired balance and coordination, muscle weakness, and pain and numbness in the limbs — all signs of extreme deficiency . Vitamin E comes in eight different forms, all of which are derived from plants. The eight E’s are divided into two classes: The tocopherols consist of 4 types of vitamin E, alpha, beta, gamma, and delta. The features distinguishing each are slight chemical differences (location and number of methyl groups) on its core structure. The tocotrienols are virtually identical to the tocopherols in structure, except for the presence of 3 unsaturated bonds (hence trienol). Alpha, beta, gamma and delta tocotrienols are more permeable to cell membranes because of their unsaturated bonds. This chemical difference imparts certain advantages over the less permeable tocopherols. The most potent antioxidant of the group is alpha tocopherol. For reasons still unknown, this form of E represents the bulk of vitamin E present in our serum. This is puzzling, since the plants we normally consume contain much more gamma tocopherol. Scientists originally speculated that our bodies require high serum levels of alpha tocopherol and have developed mechanisms to retain it. Thus, multi-vitamins almost always contain alpha tocopherol. It is becoming more evident, however, that all forms of E are important and that they serve very different functions. [...]
Potassium is a mineral that has many important functions, including controlling the balance of fluids in the body and correct functioning of the heart muscle. Potassium is a very significant body mineral, important to both cellular and electrical function. It is one of the main blood minerals called "electrolytes" (the others are sodium and chloride), which means it carries a tiny electrical charge (potential). Potassium is the primary positive ion (cation) found within the cells, where 98 percent of the 120 grams of potassium in the body is found. The blood serum contains about 4-5 mg. (per 100 ml.) of the total potassium; the red blood cells contain 420 mg., which is why a red-blood-cell level is a better indication of an individual's potassium status than the commonly used serum level. Magnesium helps maintain the potassium in the cells, but the sodium and potassium balance is as finely tuned as those of calcium and phosphorus or calcium and magnesium. Research has found that a high-sodium diet with low potassium intake influences vascular volume and tends to elevate the blood pressure. Then doctors may prescribe diuretics that can cause even more potassium loss, aggravating the underlying problems. The appropriate course is to shift to natural, potassium foods and away from high-salt foods, lose weight if needed, and follow an exercise program to improve cardiovascular tone and physical stamina. The natural diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is rich in potassium and low in sodium, helping to maintain normal blood pressure and sometimes lowering elevated blood pressure. The body contains more potassium than sodium, about nine ounces to four, but the American diet, with its reliance on fast foods, packaged convenience foods, chips, and salt has become high in sodium (salt). Because the body's biochemical functions are based on the components [...]
Phylloquinone or Menaquinone, formerly K1 and K2 is fine for maintaining human vitamin K status. The recommended intake is about 100 mcg. Not to be confused with its mineral chum potassium (which is also noted as a “K” on the periodic table), this essential fat-soluble vitamin is a must for normal wound healing and bone development . K is for “koagulation,” the German word for coagulation, or clotting. While blood clots sound menacing, consider the importance of scabs, which are simply patches of clotted blood to protect cuts and scrapes . Ladies taking birth control pills should be careful with overconsumption of vitamin K, as a combination of the birth control pill and excess Vitamin K could put you at risk for unwanted clots . Deficiencies in vitamin K include easy bruisability, bleeding, nosebleeds, and heavy menstrual periods. What You Need: Men = 120 mcg; Women = 90 mcg (AI) per day Sources : Attain the RDA with cooked broccoli (220 mcg per cup), kale (547 mcg per cup), parsley (246 mcg per ¼ cup), and Swiss chard (299 mcg per cup).
Zinc is a trace element that is a building block for enzymes, proteins, and cells. It is also responsible for freeing Vitamin A from its holding tank, the liver, through its enzymatic activity . Zinc also plays a role in boosting the immune system, mediating senses such as taste and smell, and wound healing . Zinc toxicity is rare, but zinc deficiency (most commonly occurring in the developing world) may lead to delays in growth and development, rough skin, cognitive impairment, a weakened immune system (leading in increased susceptibility of infectious diseases, particularly in kids), and more . What You Need: Men = 11 mg; Women = 8 mg per day - higher limit is 40mg per day Sources: Nuts, seeds and grains. 138g pumkin seeds = 10.3mg, 134g poppy seeds = 13.7mg, 150g sesame seeds = 15.4mg, 200g lentils = 6.9mg,
Iron helps hemoglobin, a component of red blood cells, and myoglobin (hemoglobin’s counterpart in muscles) bring oxygen to all the cells that need it. Iron is also important in the production of amino acids, collagen, neurotransmitters, and hormones . Since this mineral is more easily absorbed from red meat and poultry, vegetarians and vegans may want to consider iron supplements, or at least consume more iron-rich fruits and leafy green vegetables . But don’t go too crazy for iron: Acute overdose of iron can be lethal, and general excess can cause GI irritation, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation . What You Need: Men = 8 mg; Women = 18 mg up to a maximum of 45 mg per day Sources: Raisons, pears ,artichoke, kelp, 100g of spirallina = 30mg, 1oz of wheatgrass juice = .66mg, 1oz spinach juice = .77 mg, 200g of figs = 4mg, 164g of oatmeal = 6.4mg, 170g of quinoa = 15.7 mg, Take some Vitamin C with iron to help with absorption, also soaking nuts and grains will help release phytates so to maximise absorption of Iron.
Thiamin (Vitamin B1 ) Assists the release of energy from carbohydrates and protein The Metabolism of amino acids The functioning of the nervous system Daily Intake Recommendations: Men: 1.2 mg , Women: 1.1 mg Pregnancy: 1.4 mg Breast-feeding: 1.4 mg Sources: Fortified Vegan Milks, peas, macadamia nuts, sunflower seeds, beans, lentils, cantaloupes, avocado, and carrot juice. Vitamin B1 is sensitive to heat and diminishes with cooking. For example 100g fresh carrot juice, provides 0.01 milligrams of vitamin B1, One tablespoon of dried spirulina provides 0.17 mg of vitamin B1, or thiamine , One bowl of porridge is 0.30mg of B1 and 100g of sunflower seeds is 1.48 mg of B1. To ensure sufficient intake of B1. Ensure daily intake of oats, spirulina, and sunflower seeds ( other seeds such as flax) Read More about B1 Here Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) This water-soluble B vitamin helps convert food to fuel, encourages iron absorption in the intestines, and also enhances the health of hair, skin, muscles, eyes, and the brain . And some research suggests that riboflavin may be effective at combating migraines, too . Riboflavin deficiency is uncommon, but is associated with a sore throat, cracks and sores around the lips, an inflamed “magenta tongue” , and scaly skin . While enormous intake of riboflavin may turn your pee bright yellow (a phenomenon called flavinuria), this side effect is harmless. What You Need: Men = 1.3mg; Women = 1.1mg per day Sources: Almonds (0.23 mg per ounce) / roughly 5 oz of almonds (150g) Niacin ( a.k.a. Vitamin B3 or Nicotinic Acid) On the lookout for beautiful skin, hair, and red blood cells? Niacin is here to help! Like other water-soluble B vitamins, niacin is essential for converting food into energy. It’s also central for the health of skin, hair, eyes, liver, and [...]
Amino Acids & Essential Amino Acids : Amino acids are organic compounds composed of nitrogen, carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, along with a variable side chain group. Your body needs 20 different amino acids to grow and function properly. Though all 20 of these are important for your health, only nine amino acids are classified as essential. These are histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine. Unlike nonessential amino acids, essential amino acids can’t be made by your body and must be obtained through your diet. It is thought that The best sources of essential amino acids are animal proteins like meat, eggs and poultry however we are many vegan sources which are complete proteins and in a much more natural easily absorbable state. When you eat protein, it’s broken down into amino acids, which are then used to help your body with various processes such as building muscle and regulating immune function . Conditionally Essential Amino Acids There are several nonessential amino acids that are classified as conditionally essential. These are considered to be essential only under specific circumstances such as illness or stress. For example, although arginine is considered nonessential, your body can’t meet demands when fighting certain diseases like cancer . That’s why arginine must be supplemented through diet in order to meet your body’s needs in certain situations. The nine essential amino acids perform a number of important and varied jobs in your body: Phenylalanine: Phenylalanine is a precursor for the neurotransmitters tyrosine, dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine. It plays an integral role in the structure and function of proteins and enzymes and the production of other amino acids. ( Pumpkin seeds, Tempeh, hemp seeds, buckwheat, almonds ) Valine: Valine is one of three branched-chain amino acids, meaning it has a chain branching off to one side of its [...]
Enzymes & The Enzyme Theory: (Myrosinase & Allinase convert phytochemicals into active forms) Enzymes are the fundamental catalyst of all physical and mental functions. Every known break down of health has to do primarily which a depletion of "life enzymes" or "metabolic enzymes". When we eat a heavy cooked, processed, and animal based diet our body recruits healing enzymes to help break down the food. This causes our body to become crippled in micro-fractures over time slowing down the healing process and accelerating the aging process. Enzymes are catalysts, and they help to speed up chemical reactions in cells. They are almost always proteins, and because of that, they are easily damaged or destroyed. They have a limited life span and are constantly replenished by the body. It is often said that people would live about three weeks without food and three days without water, but people would probably only survive about three minutes without enzymes! People have no idea what enzymes really are. People tend to picture these things in plants that help humans, but there really is more to it than just that. There are three kinds of enzymes that have any kind of consequence for human health. Metabolic enzymes basically help run and maintain the body. Digestive enzymes are those that our bodies manufacture in order to break down the food that we eat; that way, food nutrients can be absorbed into the bloodstream. Food enzymes are naturally present in foods and in all raw plants. While plant enzymes may be helpful, they are not critical. Digestive enzymes are important for digesting food. Food enzymes are present in plants to ensure the survival of the plant. There are many societies that eat a predominantly cooked food diet, with a limited intake of plant enzymes, and they can live long and healthy lives. [...]
Phytochemicals are chemical compounds produced by plants, generally to help them thrive or thwart competitors, predators, or pathogens.Phytochemicals, also referred to as phytonutrients, are found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, beans, herbs, spices, nuts, and seeds and are classified according to their chemical structures and functional properties. Phytochemical benefits include the following: Anticancer activities: Block tumour formation Reduce cell proliferation Reduce oxidative damage to DNA Repair DNA damage Induce enzyme systems that help rid the body of carcinogens (cancer-causing substances) Antioxidant activities: Neutralise free radicals, which damage vital components of cells, including DNA Anti-estrogenic and weak estrogenic activities : Anti-estrogenic effects may reduce the risk of hormone-related cancers Weak estrogenic effects could help maintain bone density and improve blood cholesterol levels Anti-inflammatory activities: Antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral activities: Cardiovascular protective activities: Decrease damage to blood vessel walls Decrease oxidation of LDL cholesterol Decrease platelet stickiness Increase blood flow Lower blood pressure Reduce blood cholesterol levels Reduce blood clot formation Slow cholesterol synthesis Immune-enhancing activities: Increase activity of cells that protect the body from microoragisms that cause disease Modulation of cell-signaling pathways, which regulate the growth, division and death of cells Prevention of macular degeneration and cataracts Prevention of motion sickness Prevention of osteoporosis ------------------------------------------------- Phytochemical's, Class & subclass type, their sources and activities: Phenols and polyphenols Monopenols: Carnosol: Food sources: Rosemary Activities: Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer Carvacrol : Food sources: Oregano, thyme Activities: Antibacterial ------------------------------------------------------------- Flavonoids (Polyphenols): Anthocyanins: Food sources: Purple/Blue foods such as blackberries, black currants, blueberries, cherries, plums Activities: Antioxidant ----------------------------------------------- Flavones (such as Apigenin, Luteolin and Tangeritin): Food sources: Celery, parsley, thyme Activities: Beneficial effects against atherosclerosis, certain cancers, diabetes, osteoporosis -------------------------------------------------------------- Flavonols (such as kaempferol, myricetin and quercetin): Food sources: Apples, berries, broccoli, cherries, green tea, onions, red wine Activities: Anticancer, antihypertensive, anti-inflammatory, antimutagenic ------------------------------------------------------ Flavan-3-ols (such [...]
Magnesium plays an essential role in skeletal development, protein synthesis, muscle contraction and neurotransmission. Magnesium is a mineral that, among other things helps turn the food we eat into energy and helps to make sure the parathyroid glands, which produce hormones that are important for bone health, work normally. Magnesium plays an essential role in skeletal development, protein synthesis, muscle contraction and neurotransmission. Magnesium is a critical mineral needed for a variety of normal health functions. Headaches, insomnia, irregularity, moodiness, fatigue, general sadness or a lack of motivation, and even cramps or joint pain are said to be caused, by a lack of magnesium. The critical mineral is found abundantly in plants and it’s also the first that’s depleted by stress, fatigue, or too much calcium in the body. Calcium and magnesium both compete for absorption, and if one is out of balance, the other is as well. This may be one reason why excess dairy in a person’s diet leads them to experience more muscle fatigue, inflammation, nervousness or anxiety, and can even lead to constipation or worse, osteoporosis. Dairy milk may actually deplete calcium from the bones, along with other critical minerals such as magnesium, making it an unsafe source to depend on for our nutrient needs. Luckily, magnesium is found in so many delicious plant foods, while animal foods have little to no magnesium at all. If you fill up your plate with more magnesium-rich foods that also happen to be high in plant-based calcium, you can be sure you’re giving your body what it needs through your diet. Still, some people may find that if they work out a lot or suffer other forms of stress, an additional supplement of magnesium may provide benefits. Good sources of magnesium, Magnesium is found in a wide variety of foods, such as green leafy vegetables – such as [...]
Boron Boron is a trace element, which means the body only needs very small amounts of it. Boron is thought to help the body make use of glucose, fats, oestrogen and other minerals, such as calcium, copper and magnesium, in the food we eat. Boron is found widely in the environment, in the oceans, rocks, soils and plants. Food sources of boron include green vegetables, fruit and nuts Chromium Chromium is a trace element thought to influence how the hormone insulin behaves in the body. This means chromium may affect the amount of energy we get from food. Good sources of chromium, Chromium is found widely in the environment, in air, water and soil, and in plants. Good food sources of chromium include lentils, broccoli, apples, bananas, grains and spices. Cobalt Cobalt is a trace element that forms part of the structure of vitamin B12 – one of the B vitamins. Good sources of cobalt, Cobalt is found widely in the environment. Good food sources of cobalt include nuts, green leafy vegetables – such as broccoli and spinach and cereals – such as oats Copper Copper is a trace element that has several important functions. For example, it helps to produce red and white blood cells, and triggers the release of iron to form haemoglobin – the substance that carries oxygen around the body and is thought to be important for infant growth, brain development, the immune system and strong bones. Good sources of copper, include nuts, Spirulina and sesame seeds Manganese Manganese is a trace element that helps make and activate some of the enzymes in the body. Good sources of manganese, Manganese is found in a variety of foods, including tea – which is probably the biggest source of manganese for many people, nuts, cereals and green vegetables – such as peas and runner beans Molybdenum Molybdenum is a trace element that [...]
Vitamin A is a group of similar molecules that includes retinol, retinal, and retinoic acid. It is an essential nutrient that we need to get from our diets. It is needed for growth, healthy skin and hair, mucus membranes, digestive juices, our immune system, and also for good eye health and vision. Its name, retinol or retinal, comes from its abundance in the retina of the eye. Vitamin A works with vitamin D to normalise immune tolerance and vitamin A deficiency predisposes individuals to gut mucosal damage.1 Vitamin A levels are also important in thyroid health as it is needed for the uptake of Iodine2 and is required for the thyroid hormone triiodothyronine (T3) to bind to intracellular receptors. The most important fact about vitamin A is the difference between retinoid and carotenoids. The vitamin A from animal sources is retinoid, also called retinol, while plant sources of vitamin A is carotenoids, specifically three forms which are α-carotene, b-carotene and β-cryptoxanthin which can be from food or supplements and converted to Retinol. There are three other carotenoids, Lycopene, Lutein, and Zeaxanthin all of which cannot be converted into retinol but also have their own specific role in human health. Whilst fat assists in the absorbtion of carotenoids and conversion to Vitamin A, Fibre can inhibit this process. Whilst cooking some foods can give a higher carotenoid and higher antioxidant level with great absorption and therefore greater conversion to Vitamin A, the heating process will diminish other vitamin properties within the food source such as Vitamin C which unlike the Fat soluable Vitamin A, Vitamin C is water soluable. a-Carotenoids – converts at a ratio of 1/24 (24mcg of a-carotenoids = 1mcg of retinol) b-Carotenoids – converts at a ratio of 1/12 (12mcg of b-carotenoids = 1mcg of retinol) b-Cryptoxanthin – [...]
Iodine is used by the thyroid gland to make thyroid hormones and is essential for the thyroid gland to work properly. Most of the iodine on the earth is found in the ocean. The amount of iodine in soil varies considerably. Areas close to the ocean have more iodine in the soil because of mist from the ocean. Mountainous regions are often low in iodine because the erosion of the exposed soil leaches iodine. Low-lying areas that are frequently flooded are also typically low in iodine. Soil iodine content is important because it influences the amount of iodine in crops grown on that soil. Fruits and vegetables grown on iodine-rich soil are higher in iodine than those grown in areas where the amount of iodine in soil is low. Up until 1924, the year when iodine was added to salt in the United States, iodine deficiency was fairly common in the United States, especially in the Midwest and Great Lakes regions, the so-called Goiter Belt. Goiter (an enlarged thyroid gland) can be due to iodine deficiency. After iodized salt was introduced, the incidence of iodine deficiency dropped. In the United States, both iodized and non-iodized salt are sold. Only about 70% of the table salt sold in the United States is iodized, according to the Salt Institute. Iodized salt is identified on the package label. Food manufacturers, the fast-food industry, and restaurants frequently do not use iodized salt. As people eat out more often and buy more processed foods, iodine intakes in the United States have declined. The iodine content of food is rarely listed on food packages so, for most foods, consumers have no way of knowing the iodine content. Foods that are high in iodine include iodized salt, dairy products (because of iodine in animal feed and iodine in [...]