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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

About Vitamin B

B vitamins are water soluble vitamins which greatly determine the health of the person.

As B Vitamins are water soluble, it is impossible to experience toxic effects since excess intake of B vitamin can be flushed out through the urine.

Therefore, it is important to maintain your levels of water soluble vitamins on daily basis.

B vitamins are group of vitamins. There are 8 B vitamins which are thiamine or vitamin B1, riboflavin or B2, niacin or B3, pyridoxine or B6, folic acid or B9, cobalomin or B12, pantothenic acid and biotin.

B vitamins are necessary for your body in many ways. They are important for your liver, skin, eyes, hair, and mouth as well as stomach and intestines.

B vitamins help in breaking down of carbohydrates into glucose, which is the basic sugar that your body’s cells use for fuel. As the B complex vitamins help to break down fats and proteins within the body, they aid in the functioning of nervous system.

You can get all the B vitamins by taking a supplement daily, but it is not difficult to get all the B vitamins you need from a healthy diet. B vitamins can be found in whole grain cereals, rice, nuts, breads, and brewer’s yeast. Certain animal products also contain B vitamins such as eggs, fish and milk. Vegetables such as potatoes, legumes and peas contain some level of B vitamin.

B vitamin deficiency can result in innumerable bad health effects. Beriberi, anemia, dermatitis, pellagra, diarrhea, memory and brain damage can occur if your body is not receiving the B vitamins it needs. Therefore it is important to know the recommended daily allowances for B vitamins to ensure that you are getting sufficient levels of consumption.

Thiamine or B1 should be consumed at a level of 1 to 1.5 milligrams per day. Riboflavin or B2, niacin or B3 should be around 1.2 to 1.8 milligrams. Pyridoxine or B6 should be consumed 1.4 to 2 milligrams per day. Cobalamin or B12 should be consumed around 2 milligrams for the average adult.

Pantothenic acid and biotin should be maintained by your own intestine by eating meat, liver, mushrooms and egg yolk which help assist your body in maintaining its supply. You can see many important body functions that are maintained by B vitamins.

Vitamin B3 helps lower cholesterol, increases good cholesterol levels and limits the damage of heart disease. Vitamin B12 is used for managing stress, anxiety and fatigue and improves memory.

Be sure that you are getting the nutrition and body building supplements that your body needs. If you are not getting B vitamins through diet, a multivitamin can help you to regulate your daily vitamin dosage.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

About Protein

Protein Overview

There are nine amino acids that must be supplied by our food intake. Out of more than 20 identified, our bodies cannot manufacture these and thus protein restriction will have its consequences

The body will only use the precise amount of protein it needs. The rest will be excreted in the urine and excess amount may even cause liver and kidney strain. It can also cause an increase in calcium loss in the urine as well as dehydration.


It's estimated that over 50 % of the dry weight of your body is protein. Proteins are everywhere in the body - in muscle, bone, brain cells, blood cells, genetic matter, skin, hair, fingernails, etc.

Constant processes of repair and renewal takes place inside our bodies with the aid of protein. Maintenance, repair and growth of body tissue is accomplished by the digestion of protein into subunits called amino acids. In this form these amino acids can enter cells where, following instruction from DNA, they can be synthesized into new proteins as is needed. Protein is therefore essential for healthy living.

There are nine amino acids that must be supplied by our food intake. Out of more than 20 identified, our bodies cannot manufacture these and thus protein restriction will have its consequences. Some specific proteins require these amino acids to synthesize and failure to provide them results in muscle breakdown and other protein functions named earlier. Muscle breakdown is detrimental to weight loss.

Protein cannot be stored and needs to be replenished daily. Muscle wasting can occur if protein intake is inadequate as it may be needed for more important body functions. However, most people eat more than they need in terms of protein. The train of though that strength athletes followed is that the more material you supply the body the more it will build. That is not true. The body will only use the precise amount of protein it needs. The rest will be excreted in the urine and excess amount may even cause liver and kidney strain. It can also cause an increase in calcium loss in the urine as well as dehydration.

Studies done with strength trainers and aerobic trainers alike have concluded that the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of 0.8g per kilogram of body weight is too low for serious exercisers. Higher dosages have produced more strength gains than control groups and less muscle wasting in endurance exercise or rigorous strength training. But these are people who strength train 4 times per week and/or participate in aerobic exercise sessions lasting 60 to 90 minutes three times a week.

Beginners and even intermediate exercisers generally should not follow increased protein intake, being brainwashed by protein advertisements. The only way to build muscle is to stimulate it through exercise. Research shows that even on RDA of protein strength trainers built muscle as well as those on twice the amount (1). This is because the protein utilization increased in efficiency and exemplifies on how the body adapts to what is available.

The most concentrated sources of protein come from flesh sources like beef, chicken, turkey and fish. High protein diets should be avoided, especially from animal sources as they are usually high in fat, cholesterol and linked to early disease and death. Protein in animal and dairy foods should be avoided as they are high is saturated fats and cholesterol. Better sources are egg whites, legumes like beans, soy products, and grains. Poultry, fish and low fat dairy products should be used as optional protein sources.

Protein along with fats, are the building materials of the body. Therefore you must authorize construction by stimulating the body through physical activity like exercise. If you don't, minimal amounts of these foods should be eaten. Too much building material and not enough work inevitably cause a deposit which will inevitably contribute to weight gain. But perhaps the worst part is that these foods, (proteins and fats) are not the ideal storage foods as excess can contribute to heart disease, cancers and early death.


Scientific References:
1.Campbell, W. W., et al. 1995. Effects of resistance training and dietary protein intake on protein metabolism in older adults. American Journal of Physiology 268: E1143 -53.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Cardiovascular Disease And Prevention

Cardiovascular Disease (CVD)

CVD - namely heart disease and stroke -- is largely preventable through a healthy lifestyle that includes no smoking, healthy food choices, physical activity and maintenance of a healthy weight. Preventive care as appropriate to control blood pressure and blood cholesterol and other lipids is also essential. Studies show that Canadians have low awareness of the causes of CVD. A full 30% cannot name even one of the major risk factors for heart disease (smoking, high blood pressure, elevated blood cholesterol, sedentary lifestyle, diabetes).

Current Situation

  • Cardiovascular disease is the major cause of death and disability among Canadian women. The number of deaths from CVD are just about equal for Canadian men and women. In 1996, 40,037 men and 39,924 women died of CVD.
  • Two in three women have one or more of the major risk factors for heart disease.
  • In 1996, CVD in women accounted for over 2,569,333 hospital days, a greater number than that reported for other conditions, including cancer, pregnancy and neurological ailments.
  • In 1996, 26% of women aged 15 and over smoked. Forty-eight percent of women smokers aged 18 to 24, and 23% aged 25 to 34 also take oral contraceptives, thus significantly increasing their risk for CVD.
  • Thirteen percent of Canadian women have high blood pressure, and 45% have elevated blood cholesterol.
  • Women are under-represented in heart health research and prevention studies. The lack of data and the consequent difficulty of determining appropriate preventive interventions for women hamper their ability to deal with heart disease.

Health Canada Initiatives

The Canadian Heart Health Initiative (1988-2003) is a federal-provincial strategy Top of pageencompassing disease prevention, health promotion and healthy public policy; it is based on alliances with community, provincial and national partners. The Heart and Stroke Foundation is a major partner in the Initiative. Health Canada contributes $2 million per year. Approximately $300,000 per year from this Initiative is allocated to projects which specifically target women's heart health issues, including integrated action on nutrition, physical activity, tobacco reduction and psychosocial factors.


  • Participation in collaborative heart health promotion projects that address women and CVD prevention issues, such as the Tobacco Control Strategy and the Vitality Program (nutrition, healthy weight, active living).
  • Facilitate development and dissemination of evidence-based clinical and public health preventive guidelines for CVD risk factors and related conditions.


  • A National Consultation on Women, Heart Disease and Stroke, took place in Ottawa in April 1998.
  • Co-sponsor of the International Heart Health Conferences, Victoria, B.C. (1992), Barcelona (1995), Singapore (1998).

Heart Health Facts

  • Eight times as many women die from heart disease and stroke than from breast cancer. 40% of all Canadian women's deaths are due to heart disease and stroke.
  • A woman's risk of death from heart disease increases 4 times after menopause. The rate of stroke also increases dramatically after menopause.
  • Some women may have different symptoms than men such as indigestion-like discomfort, vague chest pain, discomfort or pressure, nausea or back pain. These symptoms occur more often in women than men, and should not be ignored. It is important to know that 70% of women have similar symptoms of a heart attack as men, such as sudden strong crushing chest pain and shortness of breath.
  • Women with diabetes at any age are at more risk of developing heart disease and stroke than men who have diabetes. Compared to women without diabetes these women have triple the risk of heart attack and a much greater risk of a stroke.
  • Compared to active women, inactive women are twice as likely to die from heart disease and stroke.
  • Contrary to popular belief, hypertension (high blood pressure) is not usually caused by stress or anxiety. It is a condition that makes your heart work too hard. Have your blood pressure checked regularly.


  • Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
  • Canadians and Heart Health, Reducing the Risk, Supply and Services Canada, Cat. no. H39-328/1995E, 1995.
  • Canadian Heart Health Surveys: A Profile of Cardiovascular Risk, reprinted from CMAJ, June 1, 1992.
  • Fact Sheet: Cardiovascular Disease and Women (ICD-9390-448). Chronic Disease in Canada 1996; 17:28-30.
  • Heart Disease and Stroke in Canada. Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, 1995.
  • The Catalonia Declaration on Investing in Heart Health, Declaration of Advisory Board of the Second International Heart Health Conference (Barcelona, Spain, 1995).
  • The Victoria Declaration on Heart Health, Declaration of the Advisory Board, International Heart Health Conference, (Victoria, Canada, 1992).
  • Women in Canada: A Statistical Report, 3rd ed. Statistics Canada, Cat. No. 89-503E, 1995.
  • The Singapore Declaration: Forging the Will for Heart Health in the Next Millennium. Declaration of the Advisory Board, International Heart Health Conference (Singapore, 1998).
  • Stachenko, Sylvie. Challenges and Issues in Cardiovascular Disease Prevention: A Focus on Women. Journal of the Ontario Occupational Health Nurses Association, Spring, 1997

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Low-Down On Weight Loss Supplements

Every potential user probably already knows that weight loss supplements can come in many different forms; while some supplements are healthy, many can become addictive and cause permanent damage to the heart and nervous system. Before starting any new weight loss supplement, it is important to carefully read the packaging to check for possible side effects. It would be best to consult a physician before introducing any new supplements to make sure the right and safest choice is being made.
Although people rarely think about it, it has been proven that some weight loss supplements can cause permanent damage with just a few uses. Certain weight loss supplements, however, used correctly and in correct doses, can be very helpful, and a few little-known advanced dieting techniques can strip a body of fat quickly and effectively.

With all these different types of weight loss supplements to choose from, what should we take to most effectively aid the fat burning process?

Different types of weight loss supplements
There are several different weigh loss supplements in the market today, and people often complain of information overload because they’re finding it hard to figure out which ones are best for them.

There are over 300 different weigh loss supplements today on the market, including the following:

• Thermogenic Fat Burners

• Stimulant-Free Fat Burners

• Carb Blockers

• Fat Blockers

• Thyroid Hormone Increasers

• Appetite Suppressants

• Cortisol Blockers

• Transdermal Fat Loss Gels

• Other Fat Loss Products

Thermogenic Fat Burners

These fat burners don’t contain ephedra, which is probably their best property. If someone wants a good fat burner without ephedra, this is definitely the place to look. Some people simply don't tolerate ephedra because of their heart condition or other medical condition. Others just don't want ephedra because it makes them feel a little too jittery. In the past, fat burners without ephedra didn't work all that well, but research has intensified in this area, and the latest products are really helping people lose fat fast.

Stimulant-Free Thermogenics

Because some people want to avoid stimulants altogether, including caffeine, experts from this field came up with a great idea – stimulant-free weight loss supplements! Today, there is a number of effective stimulant-free fat burners available. Although they are not as effective as some stimulant supplements, they are safer alternatives for some people. Results vary, but typically people lose an average of 7-10 pounds with these.

Carb Blockers

Carb blockers are a great standalone weight loss aid, but they can also be used in conjunction with thermogenics or other fat burners. The most famous carb blocker is BSN Cheaters Relief, which works by blocking the absorption of certain carbohydrates. Carb blockers are safe with no reported side effects, and can make it a lot easier to lose weight by absorbing up to 35 grams of unwanted starches per meal.

Fat Blockers

In addition to carb blockers, there are also fat blockers which serve a similar purpose. Their most important ingredient is a substance called chitosan. Their exact mechanism of function is based on binding fat in the digestive tract before you absorb it. It can trap as much as seven times its weight in fat, so even if you eat a little extra fat each day, fat blockers can keep some of it from being absorbed into your body. A pretty intelligent solution!

Thyroid Regulators

Thyroid supplements are nothing more then actual thyroid replacements for what body would normally produce. A person can regulate and optimize the thyroid so that it performs at a higher level than it would on its own. Regulators optimize and increase the intensity of metabolism. Popular thyroid-enhancing ingredients are Guggulsterones and Forskolin.

Appetite Suppressants

The most popular form of weight loss supplement is the appetite suppressant. An appetite suppressant will reduce a person’s desire for food in order to help them loose weight. A popular form of appetite suppressant is a bulking agent, which will absorb liquid in the stomach and swell up larger, making a person feel full when really they aren’t. However, many of these supplements contain guar gum, which can cause obstructions in the stomach, esophagus, and intestines.

Cortisol Blockers

When under stress, the body releases its primary stress hormone - cortisol. Cortisol is a potent signal to do two things - increase appetite and store fat. This means that whenever we're under stress, the increased cortisol in our body tells our brain that we're hungry, while at the same time telling our fat cells to store as much fat as they can (and then hold on to it as tightly as possible). Cortisol blockers can inhibit this process.

Fat Loss Creams or Gels

The latest innovation in fat loss technology produced a fat loss trans-dermal gel. It is extremely easy to use – you rub it on wherever you want to lose the fat. The Cutting Gel and other Yohimbe-based creams work very well, especially in conjunction with another fat burner.

Metabolic Enhancers - pros and cons

• Health Damage: A metabolic enhancer will increase metabolism and energy level, which is good, but also increase heart rate and possibly cause damage to the nervous system. Ephedra has been removed from the market because of its damaging and addictive effects. Doctors from Belgium and Germany discovered that the Chinese herb Aristolochia fangchi, often found in fat burners, may cause not only kidney failure but urinary tract cancer.

• Addiction: Weight loss supplements are often highly addictive.

• Poor long-term results: Simply eating less would help anybody lose weight, but of course, that is the hardest thing to ask a person to do when they are used to eating whatever they want. The use of appetite suppressant drugs is rather popular because they seem to achieve very fast short-term weight reduction. However. the long-term results are usually poor, if no behavioral change takes place.

• Tolerance and misuse: Most appetite suppressant medication is very similar to amphetamines. There is a major risk of tolerance and misuse of these drugs. Every user should be strictly restricted to short-term medication (6-12 weeks), combined with change of eating behavior, exercise and behavioral therapy.

• Short-term side effects: Possible short-term side effects include

o dry mouth
o irritability
o blurred vision
o stomach upset
o a raise of heart rate and blood pressure

• Inefficacy: Pyruvate is an ingredient found in a variety of different weight loss products, and is often represented as a natural alternative to prescription diet pills, acting as a muscle builder as well as aiding in weight loss. Studies, however, have shown very little improvement in weight.


Weight loss medications and supplements should be avoid in a case of history of anxiety disorder, heart problems, high blood pressure, glaucoma, thyroid disorders, epilepsy or antidepressant medication with MAO-inhibitors. Any use of appetite suppressant medication during pregnancy or nursing should be avoided.


Monday, May 4, 2009

Cardiovascular Disease and Fitness

In addition to following a healthy diet and incorporating important heart nutrients, you must also exercise to maintain the health of your heart. Exercise can help you prevent as well as reverse heart disease.

According to the American Heart Association, you should include a minimum of 30 to 60 minutes of moderate intensity exercise, three to four days a week.

Why is exercise important?
Many studies have proven conclusively that making improvements to and maintaining your physical fitness will significantly lower your risk of developing heart disease and all other illnesses. Put simply, regular exercise keeps your body in a healthy condition, and a healthy body can ward off disease much better than an unconditioned one.

Let's take a look at the various types of exercise and why it can improve your health:

Aerobic Exercise
The word aerobic means "oxygen-producing", and as such aerobic exercise stimulates the production of oxygen. Aerobic exercises include those where you are in motion including walking, running, biking, swimming, etc., exercises which make your heart rate increase for an extended period of time.

When your heart rate increases, this means more blood is being circulated around your body, providing necessary oxygen to your cells and tissues. Regular aerobic exercise is very important for maintaining heart health.

Anaerobic Exercise
Anaerobic exercise comprises short-lived, intense bursts such as sprints and weight lifting. Whereas aerobic exercise is best for cardiovascular strength and endurance, anaerobic exercise is best for muscle strength and flexibility. This will help you maintain your health and avoid injury.

Should you do aerobic or anaerobic exercise?
Although it depends on the time you can allot to exercise each day, we recommend a combination of aerobic and anaerobic exercise if possible. This way you can improve your cardiovascular health as well as increase your muscle strength. Adding stretching to your routine will also warm up and loosen your muscles so you can avoid injury.

Following are the many benefits of a regular exercise routine. It's easy to see why exercise is so important:

1. Improving cardiovascular efficiency - heart & lung functioning.

2. Improving strength and endurance.

3. Increasing energy levels and metabolism.

4. Relieving stress and tension.

5. Increasing range of motion and flexibility.

Cardiovascular Disease and Fitness - Some Tips to Follow

1. Before you start any exercise program, consult your physician to make sure you don't have any heart conditions or other health problems that might prevent you from safely performing certain exercises. Your physician also might be able to recommend a program that is right for you.

2. Set aside time each week to exercise, and make sure you are consistent. Try to work out at least 30 minutes 3-4 times per week, with a combination of aerobic and anaerobic activities (i.e. running on the treadmill and lifting weights).

3. Start slow! Don't rush into an exercise program. Rather, take your time and ease into it, increasing your time, intensity and/or weights gradually as you go along. You will see much better results like this, rather than going overboard with it.

4. Make sure you stretch before and after exercising. It is important that you warm up before you begin any activity, and cool down once you are finished. if you do not adequately stretch your muscles before and after you exercise, you will be much more susceptible to injury or muscle tearing. We recommend 5-10 minutes of warming up before you begin, and at least another 5 minutes of cooling down post workout.

5. Keep water with you at all times, make sure you are hydrated throughout your workout.

6. Maintain a steady workout regimen. Sporadic workouts are not the way to go about it. Stick to a schedule. Also, make sure you maintain a heart healthy diet and include important heart nutrients to improve and maintain your heart health.

Regular exercise is only one element in reducing your risk of developing heart disease.