Top 10 Nutrients of 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009
By: Byron J. Richards,
Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

This year saw an exciting expansion of scientific knowledge in support of the field of nutrition and dietary supplements to benefit human health.  The more scientists learn about genes the more they realize that it is nutrients that make all the difference in terms of being healthy.  This should not come as a surprise to anyone, since our bodies evolved in the context of using nutrients to aid survival.  In the following sections I rank the top 10 nutrients of the year (don’t leave home without them).

#10 – Vitamin C

The grand daddy of the natural health movement took on a rejuvenated importance this year, partly due to all the immune-related concerns sparked by the potential problem of Swine Flu and partly because it was found capable of actually repairing DNA (as different from its vital role as an antioxidant).

Don’t Forget Vitamin C for Swine Flu Prevention
German researchers have now demonstrated that a baseline amount of beta-interferon must be active in order for competent immune recognition and response to any viral invader, which of course includes the swine flu (H1N1). One of the many immune roles of vitamin C is to enhance the production of beta-interferon.

Vitamin C Corrects Lesions in Skin, Boosts Repair
Vitamin C’s antioxidant properties are legendary, which is why the nutrient is often fraudulently attacked by researchers whose agenda is the dislike of natural health. New scientific tools are proving the absolute value of nutrition to assist health. It is often the case the nutrients do multiple things in addition to the well-recognized understanding of their basic function. The fact that vitamin C can repair DNA damage in skin is not a trivial new finding.

Low Vitamin C Impairs Early Brain Development
Researchers have found that low vitamin C in early life results in 30 per cent less hippocampal neurons and markedly worse spatial memory (animal study). The researchers demonstrated the vital importance of proper vitamin C levels, showing that even a slight lack can cause significant brain development problems.

Vitamin C and Lipoic Acid Protect Eyes
New research is the first to show that eye health, even when there is an existing eye problem, can be maintained through the use of antioxidant supplements.

#9 – Bioflavonoids – Grape Seed Extract & Quercetin

Bioflavonoids are the synergistic and powerful partners of vitamin C.  At the top of the list are the bioflavonoids of grape seed extract and quercetin.  Last year I reported on grape seed extract’s powerful cardio protection as well as the merging findings relating to stopping Alzheimer’s plaque.  This year grape seed extract research shows its power in multiple health areas and we learn that a consistent dose gets into your brain best.  An array of new research on quercetin propels it to the head of the bioflavonoid line, with significant help for immunity, metabolism, and nerves. 

Consistent Intake of Grape Seed Extract is Best for Your Brain
A new study has demonstrated that consistent intake of grape seed extract is the best way to get it into your brain. The reason you want it in your brain is because it is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrient (modulating the gene signal NF-kappaB). It is being widely studied for the prevention and treatment of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.

Grape Seed Extract Restores Insulin Sensitivity
A powerful new study shows that grape seed extract turns back on gene signals that help insulin receptors work properly, a major discovery for any person concerned with their weight or diabetes.

Grapes Prevent Heart Damage
Grape seed extract works by multiple mechanisms to support your cardiovascular health. A new study shows that in addition to blood pressure lowering effects, grapes activate the key cellular antioxidant enzyme called glutathione – specifically resulting in less damage to the heart.

Grape Seed Extract Stops Leukemia Cells
A test tube study using grape seed extract found that it killed 76% of the leukemia cells within twenty-four hours. This is the first study to pinpoint the gene-related signaling system of grape seed extract. It was found to directly turn on signals in cancer cells that induced cell death.

Quercetin: A Rising Star for Nerves, Immunity, and Metabolism
Quercetin is a common flavonoid found in many fresh fruits and vegetables. It has been in widespread use in the dietary supplement industry for the past two decades due to its natural anti-histamine properties. New research is dramatically expanding our understanding of this nutrient, including its nervous system support, immune support, and weight management properties.

Quercetin – A Potent Sinus and Cell Antioxidant
Quercetin has long been regarded as the single best natural anti-histamine nutrient, and is widely used during the allergy season to help out with problems. A number of new studies continue to highlight quercetin’s powerful antioxidant activity.

Quercetin Inhibits the Formation of Colon Cancer
Thursday, February 05, 2009 - (Byron J. Richards, CCN)
A new animal study shows that quercetin is so successful at reducing inflammation in the GI tract that it is able to prevent changes in the digestive tract that lead to colon cancer.

#8 – Pantethine

Pantethine, the co-enzyme form of vitamin B5, supports the healthy function of so many enzymes involved with metabolism that it is truly an amazing nutrient.  This year new emphasis is added to its ability to help stimulate the production of new brain cells.

Pantethine – Boost Your Brain, Cardio Health, Metabolism, and Detoxification
Pantethine can dramatically change your health and improve your metabolism. Pantethine, like no other nutrient, directly fuels the production Co-Enzyme A (CoA). CoA is a pivotal energy-broker molecule in your metabolism, used in at least seventy metabolic pathways involved in the metabolism of fat, cholesterol, carbohydrates, and amino acids. Pantethine helps you clear toxins, boost your adrenal gland function, elevate your mood, clear your head, and is a vital nutrient for the health and well being of your brain and cardiovascular system.

#7 – Magnesium

Magnesium is so lacking in the American diet that correcting this simple deficiency would cause health care costs to plummet.  Research this year confirms the importance of this nutrient in the prevention of heart disease and diabetes, as well as highlighting its stellar ability to quench inflammation.

Magnesium Deficiency Sets the Stage for Plaque in the Arteries
A new animal study shows that low levels of magnesium promotes plaque formation in the arteries. During the study period magnesium deficient animals developed significantly more plaque in their aortas.

Low Magnesium Impairs Fetal Growth & Promotes Insulin Resistance
Mothers low in magnesium are more likely to have a smaller baby, along with low levels of adiponectin that set the stage for future insulin resistance and risk for eventually developing type II diabetes.

Magnesium & Fiber Reduce Diabetes Risk
A Hawaiian study followed 75,512 men and women for 8 years tracking their fiber intake, magnesium intake, and the glycemic load of their diets to see who developed diabetes.

Magnesium – The Anti-Inflammatory Mineral
A new study of 3,713 postmenopausal women shows that magnesium is a powerful anti-inflammatory nutrient. Each 100 mg of magnesium per day was associated with a significant reduction in various inflammatory markers.

Magnesium Needed for Healthy Adiponectin Levels
A detailed study comparing the metabolism of twins, which analyzed their basic dietary nutrients, found that magnesium intake was the most important dietary variable that determined adiponectin levels.

#6 – Whey Protein

Fine quality whey protein is a true super food with multiple health benefits. 

Which Whey to Go
In the world of dietary supplements and functional foods there are many choices in terms of product quality, and whey protein is no exception. This is especially true when a used-car sales pitch is used in an effort to make products look and sound far better than what is actually under the hood. While consumers should expect this from network marketing companies they are often taken aback when health professionals go out on a limb and push the envelope of truth.

Whey Protein at Breakfast Reduces Appetite
A new study confirms that having whey protein as part of your breakfast helps to reduce your appetite at lunch. The study compared the appetite effects of whey to soy protein and casein protein – and whey was superior.

Whey Protein Activates Bone Building
A cell study with whey protein shows that it activates the important bone building cells known as osteoblasts, in part by turning on gene signals important to bone building.

Whey Protein Enhances Fat Metabolism
A new study shows that whey protein, compared to fish, casein, and gluten proteins had a far superior ability to help reduce the amount of fat in the blood following a high fat meal.

Protein, Fiber, & Weight Loss – The Evidence Continues
It is very clear that getting enough protein and fiber are key fundamentals for anyone’s weight management efforts, especially as the months go by.

#5 – Colostrum

Bovine colostrum shows the power of Mother Nature to support immunity, a hot topic this year due to Swine Flu concerns.  Emerging science also supports its use as a metabolic assistant and interesting repair nutrient.

Bovine Colostrum: An Immune-Support Powerhouse
First milk colostrum is a nutritional tour-de-force. It contains nutrients required for metabolic activation as well as conferring immune system support to the untrained immune system of the newborn. The relative abundance of bovine colostrum has made it a popular source of nourishment in many countries around the world, especially helping to cut down on digestive infections. Bovine colostrum is documented to have many immune support nutrients, including sialylated oligosaccharides, substances known to act as viral decoys (a virus binds to it thinking it is a human cell to infect and is instead rendered inert). An array of new science supports the use of bovine colostrum as an immune support nutrient for any person of any age.

Bovine Colostrum and the Flu
Natural protection against bacterial and viral infection is required for the survival of humans. The undisputed powerhouse in this category is first milk colostrum, a mother’s gift of protection to the newborn child. It is clearly associated with fewer digestive and respiratory infections.

Colostrum, Digestive Immunity, and Digestive Repair
It appears that colostrum may be a major key to digestive health, not only protecting the digestive tract from nasty bacterial infections, but also reducing the toxicity of those infections and repairing the lining of the GI tract all at the same time – amazing!

Colostrum Improves Metabolism in Type II Diabetic Patients
First milk bovine colostrum is loaded with metabolically activating nutrients, including being the best dietary source of leptin available. In a study with 16 Type II diabetic patients it was found that taking bovine colostrum significantly lowered blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglycerides – all important improvements in healthier metabolism.

#4 – Coenzyme Q10

In the 1990s Q10 was ushered in as a great anti-aging nutrient.  Today, the vital role of Q10 in human metabolism is undeniable.  Since the ability of your body to make Q10 declines with age and since your cells have no way to substitue for Q10 in cellular energy production it can readily be understood that a lack of Q10 increases the amount of fatigue and the rate of cell malfunction – features that are fundamental to every aspect of a person’s health (since cellular energy is needed for any cell to do anything).

Coenzyme Q10 – An Energizing Immune Support Nutrient
Coenzyme Q10 is required for any cell in your body to produce energy, helping to finish the final steps of ATP synthesis (ATP is cellular energy). Your immune system requires a tremendous amount of ATP to aggressively mount a defense against any invader. Your body cannot substitute something else for Q10. This means that if you don’t have enough Q10, then your energy production and an efficient immune response will be reduced accordingly.

Q10 Boosts Circulatory Health in Statin-Treated Diabetic Patients
Researchers have demonstrated that 200 mg per day of Q10 can improve circulatory health in diabetic patients being treated with statins. Statins are well known to deplete Q10 as an adverse side effect. The fact that supplemental Q10 actually improves blood flow in this very difficult patient population is a significant finding.

Taking Q10 for a Test Drive – Is Ubiquinol Better?
Recently consumers have been greatly confused over the type of Q10 that is best to take. A new form of Q10 called ubiquinol has entered the marketplace, a form that may offer some advantages for some people. However, several companies have been making unsubstantiated claims of superiority that appear driven more by sales than science, making consumers wonder if the Q10 they are taking is any good.

Q10 Boosts Energy, Nerves, Muscles, & Metabolism
Coenzyme Q10 was the first anti-aging superstar nutrient, hitting the consumer market in the 1970s. In more recent times Q10 has demonstrated a significant ability to help nerves and muscles. New science shows that in addition to its antioxidant role, it also helps to stabilize the key gene signal underlying inflammation, NF-kappaB. Collectively, these benefits will assist overall metabolism, including weight loss efforts.

Coenzyme Q10, Statins, and Heart Health
Coenzyme Q10 is a top cardio-friendly nutrient. Your heart has very high energy requirements and never gets to take any time off. Q10 is required for the proper production of energy at an optimal rate, around your body and specifically for your heart. If you lack it, you will be more tired and you will make free radicals instead of energy. If you lack Q10 within your heart it will speed up the aging process and weaken your heart.

#3 – Tocotrienols

The evidence supporting the incredible protective benefits of tocotrienols continues to mount.  While tocotrienols originally started out as a top cardiovascular support nutrient they are now showing their ability to significantly support many aspects important to health.

Tocotrienols Improve Insulin Function & Protect Kidneys
Diabetic patients have malfunctioning insulin and the longer their blood sugar remains elevated the more likely they are to experience deteriorating kidneys. Two new animal studies suggest that tocotrienols are a powerful tool to assist any person with blood sugar concerns.

Tocotrienol E Stops Kidney Damage from Diabetes
Kidney damage resulting from diabetes is a long term and common consequence of the problem. A new animal study shows that the tocotrienol form of vitamin E was able to stop the kidney damage by regulating inflammatory gene signals at the most fundamental level. This is further evidence that tocotrienols are far and away the most effective form of vitamin E.

Tocotrienols Offset Alcohol-Induced Nerve Damage
Excess alcohol consumption induces inflammatory damage to nerves resulting in cognitive dysfunction. A new study shows that the tocotrienol form of vitamin E is superior to plain d alpha tocopherol in reducing alcohol-induced nerve damage.

Gamma Tocotrienol Assists Bone Strength
A new study shows that vitamin E, and in particular the form known as gamma tocotrienol, helps build stronger bones with better biomechanical strength.

Gamma Tocotrienol in the War on Cancer
A flurry of recent studies demonstrates that gamma tocotrienol, a unique form of vitamin E, offers protection at the molecular level from a number of different types of cancer.

Tocotrienols Stop New Fat Cells from Forming
One of the great problems involved with being overweight is the extreme ease with which new fat cells form. A new study shows that alpha and gamma tocotrienol can help prevent baby fat cells from turning into adult fat cells.

Tocotrienols Kill Cancer Cells
Researchers have demonstrated for the first time that gamma tocotrienol accumulates in cancer cells and delays tumor growth by promoting death signals to the cancer, based on new evidence from animal and cell studies.

#2 – Vitamin D

Vitamin D may be the most researched nutrient in the world – and it is one of the most deficient in the U.S. population especially in the winter.  Because it acts more like a key regulatory hormone than anything else, lacking in it has profound adverse effects on health.  You will continue to hear a great deal more about vitamin D in the years to come.

Breast Cancer Linked to Low Vitamin D
Vitamin D helps regulate so many genes that a deficiency has multiple and significant adverse effects, including increasing the risk for breast cancer. Researchers are now recommending that every woman with breast cancer be given large doses of vitamin D. Yes, it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Racing for a cure may not be as important as spending some time in the sun.

How Vitamin D Prevents Breast Cancer
It has been known for some time that vitamin D inhibits breast cancer cells and tumor growth. Scientists are now trying to understand how vitamin D works its magic. New research shows that vitamin D activates tumor suppressor gene activity, and that activity is supported in direct proportion to the amount of vitamin D.

Vitamin D Stops Plaque Build Up In Arteries
Scientists have now proven that a lack of vitamin D helps damaged cholesterol (oxidized cholesterol) form plaque and that adequate vitamin D stops damaged cholesterol from forming plaque. This should make it painfully clear that the “public health” advice of the American Cancer Society to use sun block and stay out of the sun has directly contributed to heart disease in a major way in America.

Can Vitamin D Help Prevent H1N1 Swine Flu from Spreading?
It seems simple enough to understand. A well person contracts swine flu from a sick person, who, once sick, passes it along to another. In the case of H1N1 swine flu, most of the population is not familiar with the virus, thus it has the potential to readily spread from sick to well. Sick people are supposed to quarantine themselves to prevent transmission. Everyone else is supposed to get a vaccine. One small problem – what if the sick people aren’t really the ones spreading the infection? At first glance that sounds preposterous. A second look may cause you to pause and ponder.

Low Vitamin D Linked to Obesity, Low HDL, and Increased Cardiovascular Risk
A brand new study shows that those low in vitamin D have a 31% likelihood of having full blown metabolic syndrome, whereas those adequate in vitamin D have only a 10% likelihood. Vitamin D is one important nutrient required for healthy metabolism of calories.

Seventy Percent of U.S. Children Lack Vitamin D
For the first time researchers looked into a large number of children (6000) from across the U.S. in an attempt to determine the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in this population. The results were shocking, a whopping 70%. This poses an immediate problem for flu-related immunity, a medium-range problem for obesity predisposition, and a long-term problem for future heart disease and cancer.

Overweight Postmenopausal Women are Low in Vitamin D
Vitamin D is emerging as an important metabolic nutrient, having a definite role in the health of stored fat – although that role has not yet been clearly defined. Nevertheless, a new study using x-ray absorptiometry measurements of total body and regional fat mass in overweight postmenopausal women without osteoporosis found that fat mass significantly increased as vitamin D levels declined.

Vitamin D Status Linked to Dieting Success
An interesting new study finds that a person’s vitamin D status entering a diet predicts the likelihood of success.

Vitamin D Reduces Bacterial Infections During Pregnancy
Bacterial vaginal infections are common and result in pregnancy complications. A new study shows that women with higher vitamin D levels are much less likely to have such infections. Infection levels declined in direct proportion to higher vitamin D levels.

Vitamin D Improves Cardiovascular Markers During Weight Loss
During a 12 month weight loss program individuals taking 3,320 IU of vitamin D per day (83 µg/d) significantly improved various parameters indicating better cardiovascular health.

Folic Acid and Vitamin D Help Allergies and Asthma
Two new studies help to show the power of nutrition to assist allergies and asthma. In one study people with higher levels of folic acid in their blood had had fewer IgE antibodies, fewer reported allergies, less wheezing and lower likelihood of asthma. In another study researchers found that lower blood levels of vitamin D in children were linked to allergy and asthma severity.

Low Vitamin D Sets the Stage for Inflammatory Decline
A recent study has shown that vitamin D levels in healthy women are inversely related to their amount of inflammatory TNFa. TNFa is a potent immune system signal that induces the inflammatory response. This information sheds light on the mechanism involved with how a lack of vitamin D leads to so many health problems.

Can Vitamin D Help Fibromyalgia Pain?
If you happen to be an individual who struggles with chronic pain, then some recent research findings by the Mayo Clinic will certainly interest you. Individuals low in vitamin D need twice as much narcotic pain medication to get the same level of relief compared to someone with adequate vitamin D status.

Vitamin D is Lacking in Americans, Elderly at Risk for Fractures
Two new vitamin D studies add to the now overwhelming body of vitamin D data that says Americans need more vitamin D to prevent fractures and live healthier and longer. The first study found that taking greater than 400 IU of vitamin D per day significantly reduced fractures in the elderly. The second study showed that during the past decade vitamin D levels had fallen by 6 points in American population.

Vitamin D Intake and Teen Weight Problems
Just about everyone knows that vitamin D is vital for your bones. A new study lends more support to the idea that a lack of vitamin D may also help set the stage for weight gain and obesity in teenagers.

#1 – DHA

The long chain essential fatty acid known as DHA continues to be of extreme importance to human health at all ages.  Amazing new research results for many health issues build on the thousands of existing studies.  Of course, there is a huge difference in quality DHA fish oil, compared to other products that are faking people out and trying to pretend to be better.  Consumer beware, you need a certain number of milligrams of DHA in your diet for optimal health benefits.

Quality Fish Oil
Over 1 billion people rely on fish as their primary source of protein. Additionally, certain types of fish are rich in the essential omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. These essential fatty acids are woefully lacking in the American diet. Health authorities around the world are recommending higher intake of fish oil for the prevention of heart disease. The question arises – what is quality fish oil?

DHA, Krill Oil & Green-Lipped Mussel – Which is Best?
DHA is the most biologically useful omega 3 fatty acid. Over the past year sellers of dietary supplements have promoted various forms of DHA-containing oils such as krill oil or green-lipped mussel as superior to DHA-containing fish oil. The purpose of this brief review is to set the record straight as well as explain the extreme value of DHA to your health.

Neptune Krill Oil Joins Forces with Bayer
By now most of you already know what I think about krill oil – drastically overpriced and over-hyped for the amount of omega 3 oil it contains.  Now we find that the primary producer of krill oil is joining forces with part of the evil empire – Bayer.  Neptune is teaming up with Bayer to produce an omega 3 krill oil drug – gag, gag, gag.

Lack of Omega 3 Fatty Acids Kills 84,000 Per Year
A new taxpayer-funded study by the Centers for Disease Control estimates that in 2005 obesity killed 216,000 people, another 191,000 lost their lives to laziness, and 84,000 died because they didn’t have enough omega 3 fatty acids in their diet.

DHA Stabilizes Carotid Artery Plaque
The plaque along the walls of arteries is itself a biologically active. If macrophages are cranking out inflammation then the plaque takes on various features associated with unstable plaque on the verge of coming loose and causing a stroke. A new study of human carotid artery plaque has found that those with the most unstable plaque have the least amount of DHA in the plaque.

DHA Improves Infant Intelligence
A controlled trial with DHA-fortified infant formula shows that DHA intake is likely to result in a more intelligent child.

DHA May Help Prevent Macular Degeneration
The omega 3 essential fatty acid known as DHA is intimately involved with eye health from a very early age and a number of epidemiologic studies have indicated that omega 3 oils may reduce the risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD). A new animal study by researchers at the National Eye Institute (NIH) sought to identify molecular mechanisms involved. The researchers showed that a diet high in omega 3 oils can significantly prevent and in some cases reverse the AMD-like lesions in their animal model.

DHA Helps Combat Cancer
A new animal experiment offers hope for many facing cancer. The research found that DHA had a specific anti-cancer effect on its own, as well as being able to boost the effectiveness of a cancer drug (cisplatin). Furthermore, DHA was able to stop the toxic kidney-related side effects of this cancer treatment.

Fish Oil Lowers Aggressive Prostate Cancer Risk by 63%
Researchers from the University of California San Francisco have demonstrated that fish oil can reduce the most serious form of prostate cancer by 63%. The researchers also found that in men with a weakness in the inflammatory COX2 gene, 500 mg of omega 3 fatty acids per day could compensate for the genetic weakness and reduce the risk of aggressive prostate cancer in this group of at risk men by 500%.

DHA Lowers Inflammation in Men with Metabolic Problems
Elevated triglycerides are an important independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease and they also signify a significant problem with leptin resistance. Both problems have inflammation associated with them. A new study shows that in men with elevated triglycerides, 3000 mg of DHA per day is able to lower various inflammatory markers like CRP and IL6.

DHA Rejuvenates Aging Brain Cells
A new cell study sheds light on the importance of DHA for brain cell growth and rejuvenation. The study shows that DHA helps to turn on gene transcription factors for neural stem cells to grow. This data indicates how good nutrition can help to promote healthier brain function and offset the wear and tear of aging.

How Fish Oil Rescues Metabolism from Obesity
DHA in particular, and fish oil in general, have been shown to have a powerful influence on the health and well being of your stored fat, as well as other aspects of metabolism such as insulin resistance. In a new study working with the obese leptin-lacking mice, researchers demonstrated the precise novel ways in which fish oil can protect against obesity, even in an animal that has no choice but to become obese.

Fish Oil Reduces Depression in Middle-Age Women
A study of 120 women, ages 40 to 55, was undertaken to determine if fish oil could help the depression that is commonly associated with menopause and perimenopause. Over an 8-week period the symptoms of depression significantly improved in the fish oil consuming women, compared to those getting the placebo.

 

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