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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

RDA and RDI for Vitamins, minerals and nutrients.

What is good nutrition anyway?
Actually, we can define it as a diet that contains an adequate supply of essential nutrients: the elements required for normal body functioning that can’t be made by the body itself. Categories of these include vitamins, minerals, amino acids and fatty acids. The full range of vitamin and mineral requirements comprises 19 micronutrients in all, including vitamins A, C, D, E, and K, plus the B vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, selenium and iodine. An absence of any of these leads to the development of deficiency diseases.

The problem with RDA and RDI's. 
There’s just one problem with this - and it’s a big one.

Confused by RDA's? 
Most doctors still maintain that you can obtain all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients you need from a normal healthy diet.

Changing RDA's 
The U.S. government continually reviews new research on required nutrient intakes – but this is a vast and never-ending task, and the results are always controversial. There are surprisingly few data on which to draw conclusions, and as a result, its recommendations are based largely on interpretation.

Cause of degenerative diseases? 
In fact, for vitamins and minerals, there’s enough new evidence to justify updating our RDA levels immediately, or taking a higher level of nutrients than is recommended by the RDA.

Two challenges; doctors attitudes and degraded food 
As stated in a previous section it is unfortunate that doctors are trained to believe RDAs are the levels of nutrients needed for optimal health. In addition doctors generally have a bias against nutritional supplements. This causes a great deal of confusion.

What is an RDA and is it really important? 
An RDA is a recommended daily allowance - but the answer is not as simple as that!
As most of us know by now, an unhealthy diet and physical inactivity are two of the main risk factors for all kinds of diseases: raised blood pressure, for example, and obesity, as well as the major chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.

The fact is that nutrition is a foundation for health and development.
Better nutrition means stronger immune systems, less illness and improved health. Our children learn more easily when they are fed nutritious, body & mind building foods. Healthy people are stronger, more productive and better able to create opportunities for themselves. 

How do we know how much of these nutrients are “adequate” to keep us healthy? 
That’s where Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA), or Reference Daily Intake (RDI) comes in.
These are the daily dietary intake levels recommended by the governments of most countries. They’re printed on food labels and supplements, and are used for developing new foods. Basically, they’re intended to serve as nutrition guidance to the public and health professionals. 
The RDAs that everybody uses may not be accurate! You see, they were developed during World War Two by the U.S. National Research Council, and used for dietary recommendations for people on rations.

They were invented to help prevent outbreaks of rickets, scurvy and pellagra. Clearly, our dietary habits and the kinds of diseases we get are now very different.
The RDA standard has since been taken up by countries the world over, and now accounts for the minimum levels of nutrients needed for normal growth and development.
But although RDAs are revised from time to time, they still only suggest the minimum nutrient requirements, for nearly all (97–98%) healthy individuals.

But of course, we’re all different! 
Some people (older people, pregnant women, those with illnesses, you name it) need different amounts of nutrients. In addition, the type of food we eat has changed dramatically recently, populations are ageing, and people with sedentary lifestyles are now commonplace.
RDAs don’t really account for all this. It would be good if this was the case but because of the degradation of the food supply has become almost impossible to achieve a diet for optimal health and the prevention of degenerative disease.

One of the greatest reasons for confusion amongst doctors and physicians and therefore the general population is the reliance on RDA's.

The problem is really that somehow RDA’s have become a guide for optimal nutrition which is not what they were designed to do.

Optimal nutrition is the level of nutrition required to prevent chronic degenerative diseases such as arthritis, cancer, Alzheimers, osteoporosis, diabetes and heart disease. 
New nutritional guidelines being suggested by the few scientists and doctors that specialize in nutrition are describing levels of nutrients far higher than RDA’s for the maintenance of long term health and the prevention of chronic degenerative disease. 

If you look, you’ll see the RDAs for different countries at different times vary dramatically.
For example, some countries have lower RDAs than others, because they’re calculated based on the needs of a single cell, and not those of the whole body. Nowadays, governments are beginning to revise their RDA levels upwards.

They’re still not high enough, according to many experts, and there’s growing evidence to suggest that we can benefit from increasing our nutrient intake well above RDA levels in some instances. 
It shows that besides preventing deficiency diseases, higher levels of nutrients could play an important role in preventing chronic degenerative diseases, one of modern society’s major causes of illness and death.

RDA calculations currently don’t account for these. Evidence is also mounting on the importance of increasing micronutrients for better immune function, physical work capacity, and brain development, especially in developing children.

Actually, the levels of nutrients needed for optimal health are greater than RDA levels, as a host of modern medical reports will tell you. The problem’s compounded because many multivitamin products are poor quality, they don't always contain what the label says it does and are based on RDAs and not on the correct levels of nutrients needed for optimal health.

Even worse, nowadays, there’s probably no way to get the optimal levels through food alone. That’s because it now contains less nutrients than it ever did before, thanks to over-processing, long storage periods and modern growing methods. Plus, the soil we used to grow our foods has been degraded, and our food is often full of chemicals, and GMO.

Luckily, there is a solution. Modern science has provided us with supplements to help us out of the problem!
So now, there’s no excuse for suffering needlessly in the future, as a result of inadequate nutritional intake now. With the right high quality nutritional supplements you can increase your chances of avoiding diseases and chronic ailments easily and effectively, so act today – and reap the benefits later! 

But how do your supplements rate?
According to independent scientists and published by Lyle McWilliam in the Complete Guide to Nutritional Supplements. Based on 20 criteria here's how your Canadian supplements rate, you might be surprised that you've been spending your mont on virtually nothing.


5/5            USANA: Essentials, HealthPak, Body Rox & Usanimals 

5/5             Douglas Labs Ultra Preventative X (pills are significantly larger than the USANA)
3/5             Thorne Research Basic Nutrients lV
2/5             Metagenics Gold for Women/Men
2.5/5          Seroyal Super Orti Vite
2.5/5          Isagenix Essentials Women/Men
3/5             Genuine Health Greens + Multi 
4/5             GNC Multi Ultra Mega Gold
3/5             Platinum Naturals, Women or Men 50+
0.5/5          Centrum Performance
1.0/5          Jamieson Vita-Vin
0.5/5          Life Spectrum Gold/Performance
0/5             One-A-Day Maximum 
0/5             Flintstone Kids Vitamins

So why settle for something that's not doing anything in your body, and not having in the bottle what they say is on the label.

Aren't we lucky we have USANA!
When taken twice daily these nutrient packed, bioavailable vitamins and minerals not only help rebalance your system with the proper nutrients they can help with: weight loss, promote natural detoxification, energize your system and help regulate digestion. When we have the proper nutrient levels in our body, our body can function at a higher level, it can detox, we can reduce cravings therefore decreasing our waistline, we can increase elimination decreasing toxin build up in our systems. We're just so accustomed to the feeling of being deficient, fatigue, toxic, we don't know how great we can feel when we are actually getting the nutrients we need. 

If you would like to find out more about USANA products and how they can benefit you, please contact me.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

7 Nutrient deficiencies that can make you sick

Tired? Depressed? Always under the weather?
You might not be getting the right amount of these vitamins and minerals.

Today’s average restaurant meal is more than four times larger than in the 1950s, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults are, on average, 26 pounds heavier. Despite the embarrassing abundance of food, many Americans still unknowingly suffer from nutrient deficiencies. Whether from vapid calories (hello, junk food), chemical-induced deficiencies, a lack of a variety, or any number of other factors, some of us just aren’t getting what we need.
The CDC’s Second Nutrition Report, an assessment of diet and nutrition in the U.S. population, concludes that there are a number of specific nutrients lacking in the American diet. Not only can nutrient deficiencies have long-lasting health effects, they can make you feel rotten. Here are some of the more common vitamins and minerals lacking in our diets, deficiencies that can cause an array of symptoms, from poor memory and bleeding gums to impaired work productivity and depression. 
1. Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is naturally found in many animal products, including fish, meat, poultry, eggs and dairy items; it is generally not found in plant foods. Fortunately for vegans, fortified breakfast cereals and some nutritional yeast products also contain vitamin B12. The vitamin is required for proper red blood cell formation, neurological function and DNA synthesis. Deficiency of this important vitamin is common, affecting up to 15 percent of the general population.
The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for males and females over the age of 14 is 2.4 micrograms (mcg).
Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include megaloblastic anemia, fatigue, weakness, constipation, loss of appetite and weight loss. Neurological problems like numbness and tingling in the hands and feet can also occur. Other symptoms include difficulty maintaining balance, depression, confusion, dementia, poor memory and soreness of the mouth or tongue. Vitamin B12 has also been linked to Alzheimer's disease.
2. Vitamin C
Most animals are able to synthesize vitamin C internally, but not humans; we need to get it from our food — lest we end up like the scurvy-ravaged sailors of lore. Citrus fruits, tomatoes, tomato juice and potatoes are major sources of vitamin C in the American diet. Other good contributors include red and green peppers, kiwi, broccoli, strawberries, Brussels sprouts and cantaloupe. Vitamin C is not naturally found in grains, but it is added to some fortified breakfast cereals.
The body uses vitamin C for the biosynthesis of collagen, L-carnitine and certain neurotransmitters, and it is also involved in protein metabolism. In addition to its biosynthetic and antioxidant functions, vitamin C plays an important role in immune function and improves the absorption of nonheme iron. The RDA for adults over 19 is 90 milligrams (mg) for males and 75 mg for females.
Vitamin C deficiency causes scurvy, the symptoms of which include fatigue, malaise, inflammation of the gums, loosening or loss of teeth, joint pain, and poor wound healing. Although scurvy is no longer the scourge it once was, but narrowly chosen diets and bulimia among teens has created a scurvy resurgence. It can also afflict alcoholics or older people whose ability to absorb vitamin C has diminished from excessive medications or poor eating habits.
3. Vitamin D
Not many foods naturally contain Vitamin D. Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, and fish liver oils are the best natural food sources. To a lesser extent, vitamin D is also found in beef liver, cheese, egg yolks and mushrooms. Fortified foods offer Americans most of the vitamin D they consume. Since the 1930s, nearly all of the U.S. milk supply has been fortified with 100 International units (IU) per serving. Breakfast cereals are also commonly fortified with vitamin D. And fortunately, our clever bodies make vitamin D when skin is exposed to sunlight; most people meet at least some of their vitamin D needs this way.
Vitamin D regulates calcium in the body and helps it to maintain strong bones. It is involved in healthy muscle movement, the nervous system relies on it, and it improves immune function as well as helping to reduce inflammation. The RDA for vitamin D is 600 IU for males and females between 19 and 70 years.
In children, vitamin D deficiency causes rickets, which has become less common since the 1930s but does still occur. With rickets, the bones become soft and bend. In adults, vitamin D deficiency leads to osteomalacia, causing bone pain and muscle weakness. Vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to daytime sleepiness.
4. Iodine
Iodine is a mineral found in ocean fish, seaweed, shrimp, and other seafood, as well as dairy products and products made from grains. Produce also contains iodine, although levels in fruits and vegetables depend on the soil they were grown in.
Iodine is used by the body to produce thyroid hormones that work to control other essential functions. Thyroid hormones are also required for proper bone and brain development during pregnancy and infancy. The RDA for those 14 years and older is 150 mcg.
Iodine deficiency during fetal and early-childhood development is a leading cause of brain impairmentsin much of the world. In adults, mild-to-moderate iodine deficiency can cause goiter, as well as impaired mental function and work productivity. Chronic iodine deficiency may be associated with an increased risk of some forms of thyroid cancer.
5. Iron
According to the World Health Organization, iron deficiency is the number one nutritional disorder in the world. Dietary iron comes in two forms, heme and nonheme. Heme iron is found in red meats, fish and poultry; nonheme iron is found in plants, like lentils and beans. Nonheme iron is the form that is added to enriched and fortified foods. Animal-derived iron is absorbed better than nonheme iron, but most dietary iron is nonheme iron. (Read more about iron for vegetarians here.)
Iron is essential for proper body functions. It helps transport oxygen to the cells, aids in blood cell creation, supports protein structures in the body and other important functions. The RDA for iron is 8 mg for males age 19-51, and 18 mg for females 19-51. For both males and females over 51, the RDA is 8 mg.
Symptoms of iron deficiency can include fatigue and weakness, poor work and school performance, slow cognitive and social development during childhood, difficulty maintaining body temperature, decreased immune function, increased susceptibility to infection, and inflamed tongue. (Read one writer’s experience with iron and overwhelming fatigue here.)
6. Magnesium
Magnesium is found in legumes, nuts, whole grains and vegetables, but American magnesium levels have dropped by half in the last century due to changes in agriculture and diet. Most Americans do not get the recommended amounts of magnesium, according to the experts.
Magnesium helps the body regulate more than 325 enzymes and plays an important role in organizing many bodily functions like muscle control, electrical impulses, energy production and the elimination of harmful toxins. The RDA for males 19-30 is 400 mg, and 420 mg for males 31 and over. Females 19-30 should aim for 310 mg; those 31 and over should get 320 mg.
Early signs of magnesium deficiency include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and weakness. As magnesium deficiency worsens, numbness, tingling, muscle contractions and cramps, seizures, personality changes, abnormal heart rhythms and coronary spasms can occur. One prominent study revealed that a magnesium-rich diet may lower stroke risk.
7. Zinc
Zinc is abundant in oysters, red meat, poultry and fortified breakfast cereals. Beans, nuts, whole grains and dairy products also provide some zinc, but beans and grains have compounds that keep zinc from being fully absorbed by the body. Because of this, vegetarians may need to eat twice as much zinc than what is recommended.
Zinc is important for helping the immune system battle bacteria and viruses. It also helps in the production of cells and during pregnancy and infancy; in childhood, zinc helps the body to develop correctly. Zinc helps wounds heal properly and plays a role in taste and smell. The RDA for zinc is 11 mg for adult men and 8 mg for adult women.
Symptoms of zinc deficiency include slow growth in infants and children, delayed sexual development in adolescents and impotence in men. Too little zinc can also be to blame for hair loss, diarrhea, eye and skin sores, loss of appetite, problems with wound healing, decreased ability to taste food, and lower alertness levels.
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