Nutrients and Health Conditions
Nutrients and Health Conditions
Brain & Nervous System
- Brain atrophy is attributed to a nutrient-poor diet. The B vitamins (1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 12); vitamins E and C, omega-3s, and all the essential amino acids can slow the atrophy, preventing cognitive decline and maintaining the normal size brain.
- Impaired brain signaling via neurotransmitters can be reduced and prevented by consuming choline, vitamins B6, B12, and C, riboflavin, and certain amino acids (tyrosine and tryptophan). These nutrients are needed to synthesize neurotransmitters, which are the brain chemicals that communicate information throughout the brain, affecting mood, sleep, concentration, and body weight.
- Regeneration of brain tissue can be accelerated with the essential amino acids L-leucine, L-lysine, L-tyrosine, L-tryptophan, L-phenylalanine, L-isoleucine, L-valine, L-arginine, L-methionine, L-cysteine, L-threonine, and L-histidine.
- Phosphatidylserine (PS) is a fatty substance that protects your brain cells and carries messages between them. It is a major component of brain cell membranes and is involved with brain cell growth and communication. It is so well absorbed and used by the body that it can slow, halt, or reverse structural damage in the brain. PS has been studied extensively, and it has been shown to improve many aspects of memory. The benefits of PS are scientifically sound enough that the FDA granted it a Qualified Health Claim, which means that products containing PS may include a claim of benefit for treating dementia.
- Oxidative stress and brain damage can be combated with vitamins A, B, C, E and the minerals zinc and selenium. These nutrients are antioxidants and have been shown to counteract brain free-radical aging.
- One in three seniors will die with some form of dementia. It is a growing problem tied to diet, and is now referred to as “diabetes 3.” Healthy memory, focus, and concentration are tied to regularly consuming a diet rich in vitamins C, E, B12, B6, E, D, folic acid, pantothenic acid, thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin, the minerals chromium, selenium, zinc and omega-3 fats.These nutrients slow brain aging and reduce the risk of impaired cognition.
Bones, Joints & Arthritis
- Almost a quarter of the adult population has arthritis. There is a connection among arthritis, diet, healthy body weight, and immune function. Diets that are lower in fat, especially saturated fats, have been shown to put less “wear and tear” on the joints. Diets with a balance of all essential nutrients are important in maintaining joint health. In particular, calcium and vitamin D are vital components of any nutrition plan. Some studies have shown that omega-3 and omega-6 fats are also beneficial in arthritis treatment.
- Our bones support us and allow us to move. They protect our brain, heart, and other organs from injury. Bones store calcium and phosphorus - minerals that help keep them strong are released into the body when we need them for other uses. Calcium, vitamin D (needed to drive calcium into bones) and vitamin K, the B vitamins, omega-3, zinc, and selenium are all vital to bone health.
- 44 million people over the age of 50 have low bone mass (i.e., osteopenia and osteoporosis), which increases the risk of bone fractures, but this is NOT an inevitable part of aging. Eating nutrient dense foods, especially those with calcium, magnesium, and vitamins D and K, can help prevent osteoporosis. Other nutrients that prevent bone loss include potassium, omega-3 and -6 fats, whey protein, vitamin C, B vitamins, olive oil, zinc, copper, and magnesium.
Muscles & Energy
- Adding muscle mass requires exercise (of course), but certain nutrients have been shown to promote muscle growth. Protein (like whey) and branched-chain amino acids (i.e., leucine, isoleucine and valine) support muscle growth and fat burning. Other muscle building nutrients include the essential amino acids, omega-3s and vitamin D.
- One in 5 people suffer from profound fatigue that interferes with living a normal life.
- An energy diet contains adequate protein and a balance of carbohydrate and fat, including all essential nutrients but particularly iron, the B vitamins, vitamin C, zinc, magnesium, and calcium. Hydration with water, sodium and potassium is needed to maintain body fluids and energy levels. Limit processed carbohydrate-containing foods, especially sugar. Snacks should include protein, a little fat, and some fiber.
- Pregnancy is supported with essential nutrients like folate, iron (which is better absorbed with vitamin C), omega-3 fats, calcium, and vitamin D.
- In infertility cases, losing weight with a balanced diet of refined grains and low sugar led to an increase in the number of pregnancies and improved ovulation cycles. Avoiding trans fats and including healthy fats (monounsaturated), low-fat dairy proteins and fiber is also key.
- During perimenopause and menopause, calcium and vitamin D (bone health), fiber (satiety and regularity), essential nutrients for satiety (control bodyweight), omega-3 and -6 (heart protection), and antioxidants are important in easing the transition. Salt, sugar, refined carbohydrates, red meat, and saturated and trans fats should all be limited. Adequate protein from soy or dairy proteins and iron are key, especially at breakfast.
- About 40 million women are post-menopausal, and diet is an important element to help manage life changes. A mixed diet (not low-fat/high carbohydrate) protects the heart, and limiting saturated fats from dairy and meat is important. Avoid too much salt, as it can affect your mood and consume calcium and vitamin D to support bones and joints. Finally, an essential nutrient-rich diet can produce 10% weight loss, while preserving bone mass and reducing metabolic syndrome risk.
- Chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, dementia, and osteoporosis accelerate aging. To slow it down, eat these nutrients: antioxidants (vitamins C and E, zinc, selenium); omega-3 fats (which lower blood pressure); all essential nutrients to avoid weight gain (excess body fat heightens the immune response); calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, potassium (support healthy bones); limit amounts of saturated and trans fats (to avoid dementia and heart disease); and high quality protein, low sugar and high fiber (to control blood sugar swings).
- Essential nutrients are required for hair growth, radiant skin, and strong nails. Vitamin C, selenium and copper are especially important for collagen formation.
- One amino acid, cysteine, is needed above all for proper nail growth and strength. Consume protein along with zinc so that absorption is enhanced. B vitamins, especially biotin and folate, have been shown to boost nail growth. Be sure that your diet includes some healthy fats like omega-3s and omega-6s, which promote the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins, A, E, D, and K – all of which are needed for nail growth.
- The high sugar content in many processed foods wreaks havoc with the layers of the skin, leading to skin problems. Some essential nutrients prevent and reverse oxidative damage from the sun: vitamins A, C, and E, and zinc and selenium. Omega-3s help prevent the appearance of dark spots and wrinkles, and keep the skin more hydrated. Specific nutrient actions: vitamin A (wrinkles), niacin (reduce redness), vitamin C (age spots), vitamin E (moisture), and vitamin K (dark circles under the eyes).
- Hair thinning or loss affects the majority of the population. By age 35, 2/3 of men will experience hair loss, and by age 50, 85% will. For women, thinning hair happens in 25% of a younger age group, and 50% have thinning hair by age 65 years of age. Healthy hair is tied to diet. Iron (take with vitamin C to boost absorption), copper, zinc, vitamin D, and the B vitamins (especially biotin) help hair follicles grow, so be sure to get them daily. Protein is key to promote cell growth and repair, including hair strands. The amino acid lysine is particularly important. Get at least 50 grams each day. Finally, omega-3 fats make the hair silky and shiny.
- Wounds occur all through life, and the body is designed to heal itself. There are 48 million surgical procedures each year in the U.S. If people make it out of the operating room, the #1 reason they don’t heal is poor nutrition. Nearly 5 million people have chronic wounds and many reside in nursing homes where diet is especially important to healing. All vitamins and minerals are needed for wound healing, but the antioxidants vitamins A and C, zinc, and selenium are especially important. Omega-3 fats also help control the immune response and promote faster wound healing.
- About 70% of the population is overweight, and nearly 40% of those are obese. This is a major cause of many health issues. Consuming essential nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, induces satiety and leads to significant weight loss. A balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fat is the best way to lose weight.
Diabetes & Metabolic Syndrome
- Diabetes has become a health epidemic - half of the population has diabetes (either diagnosed or undiagnosed). It’s caused by a poor diet, and it can be treated with a good diet. What’s a “good diet”? Complex carbs (satiety), fiber (good digestion and blood sugar control), healthy fats like omega-3s -6s (reduce heart disease risk), and limited salt intake (can raise blood pressure).
- Over one-third of adults have metabolic syndrome. The stats are worse for seniors - over 50% of those over 60 years old have it. Metabolic syndrome is a well-defined cluster of body measurements that increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. A healthy diet low in saturated and trans fats, salt, and sugar can help. It should be rich in low-fat dairy products, omega-3s, fiber, and nutrient-rich from whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Weight loss improves every aspect of metabolic syndrome and is facilitated by essential nutrients that promote satiety.
- Good nutrition is essential for a strong immune system. Protein is a key part of the body's defense mechanism. Vitamin A helps protect against infections by keeping skin and tissues in the mouth, stomach, intestines and respiratory system healthy. Vitamin C stimulates the formation of antibodies and boosts immunity. Vitamin E works as an antioxidant, neutralizing free radicals and improving immune function. Zinc helps the immune system work properly and may help wounds heal. Vitamin B6, folate, selenium, iron, and fiber are also immune system boosters.
- Everything we do – breathing, digesting food, moving, and even aging – uses oxygen. Sometimes too much oxygen or poor quality air (city living) builds up in the body and turns into a toxin. This excess is referred to as oxidative stress. It can lead to the development of chronic and degenerative illnesses such as cancer, autoimmune disorders, rapid aging, cataracts, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. The antioxidants vitamins A, C, E, beta-carotene, zinc and selenium, and omega-3 fats can help combat it.
- A heightened immune response is associated with chronic diseases. Nutrients that control immune responses include vitamin D, magnesium, omega-3s, antioxidants like vitamins C and E, high quality protein containing arginine (a nitric oxide stimulus which aids circulation), and glutamine (fuel for your body's immune response that promotes wound healing and provides energy for intestinal cells). Avoid foods that make immune function worse: most processed foods and those with added sugars, preservatives and refined carbohydrates.
- Nutrient dense foods that contain all the vitamins, minerals, and essential amino acids and fat are essential to support growth to the fullest potential and mental capacity to the highest ability.
- Heart disease is the #1 cause of death in the U.S. Poor nutrition is a major contributor. Nutrient-dense foods promote heart health by controlling body weight, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure. The heart needs all essential nutrients but especially: antioxidants (e.g., vitamins C and E, zinc), potassium, omega-3s, high-quality amino acids (protein) and fiber. To keep healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels, it’s important to avoid excess sugar and salt, foods high in saturated fats, and trans fats. The heart is a muscle and needs high quality protein, rich in essential amino acids, to function properly.
- Strokes are the fifth leading cause of death. 80% are preventable and dietary changes can help reduce your risk. Limit salt, avoid high-cholesterol foods (burgers, cheese, and ice cream), and eat nutrient-dense foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and dairy products.
- Almost 30% of adults have high blood pressure. Left untreated, high blood pressure can cause heart attacks, heart disease, stroke, kidney damage, vision loss, erectile dysfunction, and memory loss. Studies have shown nutrients can repair blood vessels, maintain healthy heart function, and promote weight loss, all of which will result in lowering of blood pressure.
- 24 million people have COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and half of them don’t even know it. Lung constriction from COPD or asthma improves with smaller meals, each consisting of: low carbohydrates, moderate protein, and dietary fiber. Too much sugar, salt, saturated fat and trans fats can worsen breathing.
- A high-fiber diet helps to keep food moving through your digestive tract, making you less likely to get constipated. Both types of fiber - soluble and insoluble - should be consumed. Foods that are high in fat slow down digestion and cause bloating - limit these. Stay hydrated - water helps dissolve foods allowing an easier passage through your system.
- Most of the food and water that is consumed is absorbed in the small intestine, which is about 20 feet long. Nutrients that promote gut health include: probiotics, fruits and vegetables that contain vitamins, minerals, fiber, and water, and omega-3s.
- 10% of adults have liver disease. Drinking water and avoiding processed foods help your liver detoxify the blood. The antioxidants vitamins C and E, zinc and selenium, and all of the B vitamins also help.
- About 20% of the population has chronic constipation. The lower end of the intestinal tract (i.e., colon) is responsible for ridding the body of solid waste. In order for food to pass through the colon and avoid constipation, consume a diet rich in fiber and water. When you eat foods that have a lot of fiber, the extra bulk helps keep stools soft and speeds digestion.
- At least 80% of chronic diseases are related to lifestyle choices - you have more control than you think. Not smoking, maintaining a healthy body weight, exercising, and consuming a healthy diet will dramatically cut your risk.
- 40% of the population will be diagnosed with cancer. Cancer risk increases 20-50% in overweight people and 50-80% in those who are obese. Processed foods increase cancer risk as does red meat, saturated and trans fats, and added sugar, and salt. Specific nutrients related to reducing cancer include fiber, vitamin D, and folate.
- Obese individuals are at increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, death, depression, some cancers (e.g., breast, colon), poor quality of life, and limited physical activity. Weight loss using nutrient dense foods promotes satiety leading to a medically-significant weight loss thereby reducing the risk of these chronic conditions.
- 50-70 million adults experience sleep difficulty. Vitamin B6 boosts melatonin levels to help you fall asleep. Potassium, calcium and natural carbohydrates also help. Tryptophan (found in high quality proteins) helps the body make serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that helps control sleep patterns and appetite.
- Erectile dysfunction is the most common sexual dysfunction in men and it’s related to diet. Fifty percent of males have erectile dysfunction issues. ED is related to poor blood flow, which is typically caused by high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Without treatment of these heart-related issues, blood flow will continue to be low and libido will not improve. Weight loss will help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. The amino acid L-arginine may help the body make nitric oxide, which has been shown to improve erections.
- One-third of women have low libido. Job stress, partner performance problems, lack of emotional satisfaction with the relationship, the birth of a child, depression, and becoming a caregiver for a loved one are all contributors. Being overweight may also be a cause - excess body fat lowers testosterone levels, leading to low libido. Weight loss can help correct this. Finally, perimenopausal women may need iron.
- Seven percent of adults have depression (16 million people), and many more suffer from mood swings that are not clinically labeled as depression. Nutrient dense diets improve mood, especially vitamins A, C, E and D, selenium, as well as the B vitamins, fiber and healthy fats (i.e., omega-3s). Fiber, especially soluble fiber, promotes the growth of healthy bacteria and may lessen depression. The amino acids tryptophan, tyrosine, phenylalanine and methionine serve as precursors for mood-regulating neurotransmitters and are helpful in treating mood disorders.
- Why do hangovers feel so awful? Because your body is overloaded with toxins. Healing the damage requires carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and essential nutrients like vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, manganese, potassium, chromium, and omega-3s.
- The National Eye Institute states that a healthy diet is an important factor in eye health. Nutrients like zinc, omega-3, beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, and vitamins C and E are important for eye health.
- Twenty-five percent of adults over the age of 40 years have eye diseases: cataracts, macular degeneration, retinopathy (caused by diabetes), and glaucoma. Avoiding sugar and consuming a nutrient-rich diet especially lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamins C and E, folate, and zinc will support healthy eye function.
- The Institute of Medicine states that 40% of the population has chronic pain, which limits mobility and function, adds emotional stress, and reduces the quality of life. Essential nutrients are required by the body for healing. A diet rich in essential nutrients and low in sugar promotes weight loss and may benefit people with gout, a form of arthritis. Chronic headache sufferers benefit from a diet rich in omega-3s and -6s and low in saturated and trans fats. Children with intermittent growing-related aches and soreness benefit from vitamin D. People with fibromyalgia benefit from consuming a mostly raw, vegetarian diet, rich in essential nutrients. Finally, a proprietary blend of nutrients (e.g., choline, tryptophan, serine, arginine) help people with occasional backaches.
- Diet is a major cause of tooth decay and gum disease - sugar is the biggest culprit. Americans consume about 129 grams of sugar day and the recommended max amount is 50 grams. Other than high fructose corn sugar, the body does not differentiate among various sugar forms. If you want to keep your mouth healthy, cut down on the sugar and load up on nutrients.