Tuesday, December 27, 2005

How to Choose a Good Vitamin Supplement

Choosing a good vitamin supplement can be a frustrating ordeal. There are 1000's of supplements to choose from - some are good, but many are total rip-offs.

Many vitamin companies depend on the average consumer not being very well informed and they'll take billions of dollars from them this year.

In this article, you'll learn vital facts 90% of vitamin buyers do not know. Plus - 5 sure-fire ways you can use to judge every new vitamin supplement that comes along. Once you're armed with the information revealed here, you'll be "bullet-proof" against vitamin supplement hype.


Not too long ago a TV news program showed a couple vitamin supplements found in hospital bed-pans. They were completely whole. You could even see the brand name on one of them. It was one of the most popular drug store vitamin supplements sold in America today. The hospital staff finds these often and call them "bed-pan bullets".

There are basically 3 types of supplement delivery systems. Liquid, tablets, and capsules.

Liquid, of course, is ready to go but there's not currently many choices. Liquid supplements are a bit inconvenient and taste like cough syrup. But, they're perfect for those having trouble swallowing pills - and for youngsters.

Tablets are the most common vitamin supplement. They are formed by mixing in an organic or inorganic cement and compressing into shape. To dissolve properly, an organic cement should be used - but it's more costly for the company. Also, there are coated tablets, as mentioned above, that look like little candy-coated M&M's. These are quite common with the one or two per day cheap drug store vitamins.

Capsules are loosely packed gelatin containers that dissolve quickly. My first choice. Because they're not compressed like tablets, you will usually have to take two of these to equal one tablet.


Fact is - studies have shown individual vitamin isolates in supplements are about 10% absorbed. Compare this to vitamins directly from a fresh plant source which are 77% to 93% absorbed. Minerals in a supplement are even worse - 1% to 5%. But, from a plant source like raw broccoli, the minerals are 63% to 78% absorbable.

The reason for this difference is, in nature, each vitamin and mineral molecule is attached to a protein molecule.

Dr. Gunter Blobel, in 1999, received a Nobel Prize for proving this attached protein molecule acted as a "chaperone". It's the chaperone that tells the body the vitamin or mineral is food, not just another chemical. He discovered this was the KEY to getting the vitamin or mineral into the blood-stream - and, most importantly, into the cells.

Vitamins in supplements are the very basic isolated form of each vitamin - completely stripped of any proteins. Like a Christmas tree with all the limbs cut off.

That's why vitamin supplements MUST be taken with meals - unless stated otherwise on the label.

In the digestion process, only about 10% of the vitamin and mineral molecules, with the aid of enzymes, will attach to protein molecules in your food. This allows them to be absorbed and used by the cells. Without these protein chaperones, the body sees the vitamin isolates as foreign chemicals. The body actually will absorb some of these too, but they're quickly filtered out through the kidneys.

Have you noticed a bright yellow urine soon after taking a vitamin supplement? Excess riboflavin causes the yellow color and it shows the body is getting rid of what it feels are foreign chemicals.


1. Does the supplement provide sufficient quantities of each vitamin? For example - 50mg. to 100mg. of the B vitamins, 500mg. of vitamin C, 1000mg. of calcium. Remember, 100mg. of a B vitamin is needed to provide your body with about 10mg. of actual, useable nutrition. This is usually plenty. Use the 10% rule to know exactly what you're getting. The one or two per day supplements only start with about 3mg. or less of the B vitamins. 10% of this amount is like taking nothing at all.

2. Look for the USP (United States Pharmacopoeia) or BP (British Pharmacopoeia) designation on the label. This means that the vitamin isolates are the highest quality you can buy, and are the most easily dissolved in the digestion process. Each vitamin that is USP or BP will have those initials next to that vitamin.

3. Look for "chelate" or "chelated" in relation to the minerals. This means the minerals are attached to protein before they are added to the supplement. This increases absorption both in the bloodstream and cells by an amazing 400% to 800%.

4. Look for enzymes in the formulation. These are, among other things, essential for attaching protein molecules to the vitamins in digestion. Cooking food destroys these enzymes.

5. Look for a supplement that has a "food base". A food base is concentrated plant material to which the vitamins and minerals are added. These will contain the enzymes and nutrients to greatly boost the absorption and utilization of the vitamins and minerals. This makes a GREAT supplement package. But it does make them more bulky. Expect larger tablets, and more quantity needed per day.

All in all, keep in mind that nutritional supplements are not food and do not take the place of real food. They only provide an additional boost to our current food choices.

Most importantly, listen to your body! What's right for others may not be right for you. You definitely should FEEL a measurable difference in your health and energy within a few days with the right supplement. If you don't, try a different vitamin supplement.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

10 Easy Tips to Eat Your Way to Lower Cholesterol

So you have high cholesterol and need to lower it? That is no surprise considering how many people have high cholesterol these days. To help lower your cholesterol, here are 10 tips you can get started with today.

As with anything health related, diet and exercise are the two crucial components. What you eat is critical to lowering your cholesterol levels, so that is what is included here.

One thing you should know is the difference between LDL and HDL cholesterol. Simply think of HDL as "healthy" and LDL as "lousy." HDL can actually help carry cholesterol out of your blood vessels while LDL allows it to deposit inside your artery walls.

The good news is that you can change your cholesterol for the better. Here is how to do just that:

1. Have a nice sandwich on whole wheat bread or a pita with some lean turkey and lots of fresh veggies. Skip the hot dogs, bologna, and salami, and hold the Mayo. All of those are highly processed and filled with fat and cholesterol.

2. Fish, like salmon, is good. Look for wild red salmon varieties, which are very high in Omega-3 fatty acids (good fat.) Also, flax seed is a good source of Omega-3s.

3. Avoid Trans fats! Not only do they raise the lousy LDL cholesterol, they can also lower your HDL levels! Stay away from foods like margarine, shortening, and processed foods containing partially hydrogenated soybean oil.

4. Go ahead, go nuts! Look for walnuts mainly but also try almonds, macadamia nuts, cashews, and pecans. Nuts are high in fat, but it's the good kind. (Also, use natural peanut butter instead of the normal kind which contains unhealthy Trans fats.)

5. Limit desserts and try to eat only the healthier ones like angel food cake, graham crackers, Jell-O, and fat-free frozen yogurt.

6. Eat foods that are high in fiber. Examples include whole wheat bread, oatmeal, fruits, vegetables, beans, and some cereals. (Look for the boxes that say "may help lower cholesterol.")

7. Use the grill. If you're going to have steak or burgers, grill them at home and use lean meat. This practice avoids the grease, is fun, and the meat tastes great.

8. Find a new salad dressing. Most of them are full of Trans fats and cholesterol. Olive oil is good, and maybe add vinegar or lemon juice. Also, skip the bacon bits, croutons, and egg yolks.

9. Go overboard on fruits and vegetables. They contain no cholesterol and they have lots of nutrients like antioxidants.

Here are some examples: green peas, broccoli, cauliflower, apples, oranges, mangos, papaya, pineapple, tomato, garlic, onions, spinach, water chestnuts, bananas, apricots, blueberries, and kiwi.

10. Avoid fast food like french fries and anything else from the deep fryer. Those foods will raise your cholesterol like crazy, so stay away from the burger joints if you can.

11. Bonus tip: Use spices like pepper and oregano to add flavor to your dishes. They are a healthy alternative to other toppings like Mayo.

That was easy, wasn't it? Just make some of these changes and get plenty of exercise like walking, jogging, swimming, or playing basketball. You will have lower cholesterol in no time!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Understanding the Link Between Thoughts and Actions

The way you feel about yourself, your self-esteem, drives your thoughts. These thoughts transform into actions. The actions that you take are the key factors in getting what you want out of life. If you are not achieving your goals, take some time and evaluate how you feel about yourself.

Achieving your goals takes repeated action and you can't give up too early. High self-esteem can give you the drive, determination, and personal power necessary to take these actions and be persistent until you achieve success.

However, if you are constantly critical of yourself, then these feelings will lower your self-esteem. If you have low self-esteem, then it will be more difficult to take the right actions to enable you to achieve your goals. This link between thoughts and actions is what keeps you from getting started or what causes you to give up.

So what can you do to conquer self-doubt and energize your actions? It all starts with positive thinking. Start off by spending some time congratulating yourself for what you have already accomplished in life.

Everyone has had their share of wins. Make a list of these accomplishments and what actions you took to make them happen. Think about the obstacles that you overcame or what special actions you took to reach each goal. This is a great way to acknowledge your successes and give your self-confidence a boost. Your list of wins will be the foundation that you build on for your future successes.

Remember that there is a link between thoughts and actions. It's time to take control of your thoughts. Whenever you start having doubts, pull out your list.

Negative thoughts are the greatest dream killer known to man! Telling yourself "I can't" will lower your self-esteem, reduce the effectiveness of any actions that you take, and prevent you from achieving your goals. Your list of wins is something that can reassure you whenever negative thinking tries to take over your mind.

Instead, tell yourself "I can". Positive thoughts bring confidence, optimism, and focused action which give you a much better chance of achieving your goals. "I can" is a great way to plant seeds in your mind for positive thoughts. The resulting high self-esteem will provide the extra edge that you need to drive away your fears and eliminate any doubt that keeps you from accomplishing your goals.

Monday, December 05, 2005

The Best Treatment For A Twitching Eye

I received this article today, and found it interesting:

"Have you ever wondered what makes the muscles around your eyes twitch and flutter from time to time? The answer to this question is relatively simple. And so is the remedy."

Read the rest here:

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Wellness: Not the Same as Fitness

Have you ever stopped to think about how to determine your current fitness and wellness levels? Does your doctor ask you each time you visit if you believe yourself to be fit and well? Probably not. Nor does he likely give you any method for determining where you're at for yourself.

There are fitness centers everywhere, most staffed with counselors who can test your fitness level. But what about your wellness level. Are they one and the same?

The fact is, being fit and being well are totally different conditions. However, both are essential to maintaining your health.

Your wellness rating depends on your immune system, including the vitamins, supplements and nutrition you intake. It's a fact that people who are fit can sometimes be unwell, and well people can sometimes be unfit. However, when you combine the two and use sound principles based on clean living, exercise and healthy eating, you attain a state of balance that helps you to maintain both fitness and wellness.

Many people don't take the time to completely understand the advantages of being both fit and well. We read and absorb the information we're given through the media and health organizations without ever questioning whether we're receiving the information we really need, or simply what is profitable for these companies to make available.

Fitness gyms need your monthly fees in order to stay in business, so they probably have no real concern about the condition of your immune system. Physical fitness is a condition of the body alone.

Hospitals and doctors need you as a patient in order to remain operational. They will tell you that you need to be fit and well, but often leave out important information that affect your wellness and, therefore, your ability to stay fit.

What about diet? What about vitamins? What role does our daily intake play in our health, wellness and fitness? The fact is, diet has more influence than you have been led to believe or understand.

Our body's ability to stay well is directly related to the nutrition you receive every day. The mind's ability to remain well is also a direct result of our nutritional intake.

For example, the human brain doesn't develop well without the necessary input of protein in our daily diet. No protein, no intelligence. If there is no intelligence, then none of the other states can be attained.

Spiritual input is another determining factor when establishing our wellness level. Spiritual reflection is a way to cleanse ourselves of the toxins of our daily life. Wellness encompasses our complete state of being, mind and health. It's a condition of the whole ... mind, body and soul.

So, for those who believe they are fit, it's also important to pay attention to your wellness as well. Finding the ideal balance is the best way to achieve a long and healthy life.

10 Tips To Avoid The Holiday Bulge -And Inner Thoughts About Them

Do you find it almost impossible to stay conscious and contentious about weight and nutrition during the holidays? Of course you do. More than half of all Americans are overweight. All American's are in this together.

You can take heart from a new government study which shows most Americans gain about a pound over the holiday. You're not alone. The study shows that during the holiday period, for the people in the study, two main things influenced the holiday weight gain: level of hunger and level of activity. Those who reported being less active or more hungry had the greatest weight gain.

If you can stay focused on dealing with just those two things, you'll probably win.

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of weight gain," according to Dr. Samuel Klein. He is Director of the Center for Human Nutrition as Washington University in St. Louis, MO. "Preventing the increase in weight is a lot easier and better than actually gaining weight and then trying to get it off again."

The answer is simple. Eat less and exercise more.

The good news is that most of the people overestimate how much they had gained. Fewer than 10% gain 5 pounds or over.

The bad news is that although the one pound gained seems like a small amount, that weight WAS NOT LOST during the rest of the year and those single pounds accumulate over the years and add up to obesity.

Here are some helpful hints and tips put together by skinny people to help you avoid the tiny little weight watching issues you face during this joyous season [along with the thoughts going through weight watcher Wanda's head as she listened to the skinny people happily chirping out their advice. NOTE: Wanda isn't her real name.]

1)."You SHOULD stay active, darling. The best thing for you to do is to stick to your regular schedule and routine." [Routine? Wanda's family doesn't have no stinking routine in November and December. Wanda doesn't have no stinking time for her regular yoga classes, workouts at the gym, long dog walks, you ninny, because in addition to shopping, home decorating and cooking, Wanda has to take every one of the kids to EXTRA practices and activity for pageants, concerts and freaking fund raisers! Wanda's too ACTIVE to stay active, darling.]

2). "Don't let yourself get hungry. Don't arrive at the party starving. Be sure you eat your normal, healthy meals, especially breakfast. A protein rich breakfast "resets" the body and starts it off not hungry. Don't starve yourself, thinking you can "save up" calories. Fill up before the big holiday feasts with healthy vegetable snacks." [Normal? There ain't no stinking "normal" in November and December, and Wanda's not sure she ever has normal, healthy meals. She's got a life to run. Wanda doesn't't't know where YOU'RE having Thanksgiving, but Wanda's family's appetizer table has God's own Cheese Puffs and Ruffles with sour cream/onion dip, Brie on sourdough and 80 plates of cookies and bowls of peanut M&Ms on every available surface! There is nary a vegetable snack in sight.]

3) "How can you keep the pounds off at calorie rich parties? Stay away from the food! Literally ... stay on the other side of the room from the buffet table or appetizers tray. [Wanda liked this one. She'll just go plant herself in the bathroom and lock the door. Maybe she can find a place under the pile of coats in the back bedroom. A nap sounds nice.]

4). "Wear clothes which are slightly tight and your favorites. You'll think twice about the third helping if you can't let your belt out a notch. Always remember there's about 8 pounds between dress sizes." [What skinny sadist came up with this bright idea? Wanda bets she's a size 2, and hides an eating disorder!]

5). "Portion size is the real secret. Keep salad portions large and all other portions extra small. When it comes to sweets, think quality, not availability. Just because the candy corn is there doesn't mean you have to eat it. Don't be afraid to cut off "just a bite" of a high calorie treat. Put the rest back on the serving tray. If you're the hostess, pre-cut high calorie items into tiny portions to help your friends. Just a bite may be plenty to satisfy you. [Just a bite! Just a bite? Wanda's stressed to the max and darn it, Wanda DESERVES a candy treat ... and a WHOLE one. Heck, Wanda's double stressed, so she deserves ...]

6). "You don't need to be stressed. Take Time for You. Get a massage or a nice facial. Sit down and slip your shoes off." [Don't you know Wanda's facing a month and a half on shopping overdrive and the only place to sit down is at the mall's fast-food court? McDonald's doesn't have a massage spa. If Wanda slips her shoes off, she'll NEVER get them back on again, you fool.]

7). "Keep up your food diary ... every day of the holiday ... it will help you pinpoint your special weaknesses. Just one 150 calorie chocolate chip cookie each day will add up to an extra pound in only 3 weeks." [Wanda can't even find her food diary in chaos house. And, she really needed the information on the cookies. Thank you very much. Wanda just ate three, and she doesn't need any food diary to pinpoint this little weakness.]

8). "Only eat things you really want and care about. So what if your neighbor brought okra au gratin everyone's raving about? Use that space on your plate for a homemade roll, hot from the oven. Put real butter on it. Life is choices. Treat yourself to what you want and LEAVE THE REST IN THE SERVING DISH."[Good advice. How thankful do you think Wanda'd be after a feast of Brussels sprouts and tofu salad while she's passing the yams, potatoes and gravy to Aunt Lucille? Wanda bets Lucille's glad she got granddad's wiry build instead of those wonderful wide childbearing hips from grandma's "peasant" stock!]

9). Drink water instead of alcohol which has empty calories and lowers will power. Avoid sugary sodas which throw your metabolism into pendulum swings. [You didn't mention eggnog. Eggnog is OK, then, right?]

10). "Don't eat while you cook. Those little "tastes" can turn into 1000 calories before you've blinked." [Wanda just spent 304 hours in the kitchen, cooking. She HAS to taste everything before she serves it, or they'll hate it and won't love her any more. And besides, cookie dough doesn't have any calories, does it?]

Well, that's all 10 pieces of holiday advice. Here's just one parting thought from Wanda.

[Santa's fat and everybody loves him! The baby Jesus is fat, too. The turkey is so fat it can hardly stand up! Nobody buys a skinny Christmas tree, do they? Get a grip. Get a life. Have a HAPPY holiday.}

Beating Depression By Action

Depression can come on us at any time of the year. Sometimes, holidays are the worst times for those that feel this down-in-the-dumps fear and worry and things just seem to happen to make us feel gloomy and sad. Note that this feeling happens to all of us at one time or another. How to recognize the feeling and know what to do about it is the purpose of this article.

No one can or should ignore this feeling. It is universal and the blues are very much ingrained in our world. Music and movies are legendary in handling this subject. If the feeling is too overwhelming, then sometimes professional help is the desired action. We will just talk here about the funk of depression, the knotted thinking that nothing is right and it will only get worse. The following things are suggested to help:

1. Laughing is the best medicine is an old adage, but so true. It is amazing how when you are depressed, just laughing about something and releasing the stress, can make you feel better. If you are having trouble finding something to laugh about, maybe you can find some people to keep close that cheer you up, that you can call when you feel bad, those who you know will let you apply the "strength in numbers" theory. Invite a few good friends over just to talk and have an appetizer and you will see how much better you feel afterwards.

2. Listening to music is another key to overcoming depression. If you can just relax and let the type of music you love drift over you and enter your senses, you will find that you calm down and feel better. Even as babies in the womb, we respond to music. Maybe you will find you want to get up and dance and there is nothing wrong with that - even without a partner! Just move to the beat and let all your stress flow out of your fingertips and toes.

3. Do some work and you will find you feel less depressed. There is something about a clean bathroom, living room, or kitchen that gives most women a sense of pride and order and joy. Men sometimes enjoy doing some of the same work and experiencing the same attitudes. The point is you just need to get out and do something that moves your body. Maybe you can shoot hoops in the driveway, ride a bicycle through the neighborhood and say "HI" to a few of your neighbors. There is something to be said for just watching a sunset and realizing how mighty the world is and how we are just one part of it. That sometimes seems to put our troubles more in perspective.

4. While we are on that thought, why not try prayer when you feel depressed? Try helping out someone less fortunate. Think of hospital patients and know that they most likely have things worse than you. Yet, you see happier children and adults in some of the worst settings in the hospital. Count your blessings. Hug someone or maybe go through some old pictures of happy times with your family.

Doing productive activities will always perk you up. Think positively about your life and the things you have been given and do not dwell on the problems. Take your dog for a walk and relish in the animal's unending enjoyment at seeing you and being with you. Sometimes simple undemanding love is all we need to overcome the blue feeling.

The last suggestion may sound unusual, but here it is. EAT ICE CREAM! Yes, just swirling that cold stuff around on your tongue and all the different flavors can make you feel good! The idea is to eat something that you totally enjoy and see how hard it is to be depressed when you have your favorite food and are enjoying it. The world just seems a little better!

Of course, all the suggestions given above may not apply to everyone. But give them a try and who knows...maybe they can help just a little. Keep this list handy and the next time you are feeling a little down, find something that triggers the best response to get you to feel happy again. Be aware that when depression creeps in, you need to take action and beat the depression back to the corner where it belongs.

We all have more important things to do in life than feel blue and depressed. Keep this thought in-mind and may your life be filled with joy.