Posts Tagged ‘mind and body’

mind and body

Soft erections and what to do about them

Soft Erections and What to Do about Them

 

If you or a loved one struggles with soft erections, also known as erectile dysfunction, this article covers a lot of knowledge on this sensitive topic. The best approach to human health is treating it from the inside out, changing static patterns that contribute to poor health, and removing obstacles to promote health and wellness.

Soft Erections Master Tip!

blue Viagra pill on a red heartYou may recall back in 1998, the makers of Viagra hired a famous politician, Bob Dole, to raise awareness of this extremely common problem for men. Most men were not comfortable talking about erectile dysfunction with their partners or physicians, and so step one was raising the awareness of how common the problem is.

The next step is coming up with solutions, which means researching and understanding the contributing factors to erectile dysfunction. Years ago, a large compounding pharmacy based out of San Diego, California, formulated and manufactured several medications to help the issue. Most phosphodiesterase inhibitors, such as Sildenafil, Tadalafil, Vardenafil, have now become generic. Becoming generic has dramatically dropped the price of these drugs and made them more accessible.

man frustrated and alone in bedIf a man struggles with soft erections because of low testosterone, the solution may be as simple as applying a topical cream as a bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. However, there are often other contributing factors such as stress, high blood sugar, or cardiovascular disease.

Pharmacies manufactured many of tablets, called sublinguals, to combat these factors but sometimes even that wasn’t enough. Next came intracavernosal injections, which came in small doses of medicated injections directly into the penis. They’re known as Bimix, Trimix and Quadmix, and are quite effective.

However, simple lifestyle changes can make a difference in erectile dysfunction, or at least help medications work more effectively. Making the right changes may allow you to reduce the dose of your medication or eliminate the need for medication altogether!

man's hands breaking a cigarette to quit smokingThe first two changes that will make a difference in erectile dysfunction are quitting smoking and limiting your alcohol intake. Sure, alcohol can lower inhibitions and make you feel like a superhero but excess alcohol intake can contribute to erectile dysfunction and make medication less effective.

Lowering your stress can reduce cortisol levels and can boost testosterone levels. Simple deep breathing exercises for 10-15 minutes every day can improve the neurological function of your vagus nerve, which controls basically everything from the neck down – including the penis.

fruits and nuts rich in antioxidantsOf course, a healthy diet is always recommended. Aim for a diet rich in antioxidants, which means nine servings of five colors each and every day.

Vasodilators, a medication to open your blood vessels, can be effective for solving erectile dysfunction but it’s certainly not a cure. A few interesting studies based on imaging of penile blood flow have shown that any reduced blood flow is an independent risk factor. Reduced blood flow can be an indicator of diabetes and the development of cardiovascular disease, so it’s not just a problem of the penis. It’s an early indicator that the rest of your body is going to suffer.

Barbarian-XL supplement by Zenith LabsIf you have low testosterone levels, discovering why is important. Perhaps you’re stressed and have high cortisol levels, or perhaps you’re overweight and have high estrogen levels. Plastics, like phthalates and BPA, and sleep deprivation can decrease testosterone levels by 10 to 20%.

If you want to reverse the effects of erectile dysfunction, then quit smoking, limit alcohol intake, get stress under control, eat a diet high in antioxidants, take a vasodilator, and get your testosterone levels within normal limits.

At Zenith Labs, we’ve created a herbal supplement called Barbarian XL which boosts testosterone levels and improves erectile dysfunction. It’s well-researched and contains a trademarked ingredient specifically for improving testosterone levels.


dr ryan shelton of zenith labsIf you liked this video/article, do share it with your friends and loved ones. Subscribe to the Youtube channel for weekly tips on new tools and techniques to improve your health and well-being.

I believe in the original meaning of the word doctor, ‘docere’, which means teacher. I’m here to help educate you on how to take care of yourself in ways that you may not have heard of before, but that are effective. I always want to hear your ideas and feedback so be sure to leave me comments below!

 

 

 

glasses vision

Lutein For Improving Vision

 

Do you struggle with poor vision? Have you noticed your vision failing you? Are objects (either from a distance or very close up) becoming increasingly blurry in the bright of day or the darkness of night? If so, then you need to know about the two powerful antioxidants found in common foods that may help your vision health: Lutein and Zeaxanthin.

Science has shown that both lutein and zeaxanthin bio-accumulates in the eye, particularly in the retina. This is where images of objects hit and the ophthalmic nerve submits those signals to the occipital region of the brain where we become conscious of what we’re seeing. This is why these two antioxidants are particularly important for vision health.

Where to find lutein and zeaxanthin

Although lutein and zeaxanthin are responsible for bright colors of many fruits and vegetables, they’re actually found in greatest amounts in dark, leafy, green vegetables. Interestingly, the chlorophyll in dark, leafy, green vegetables masks the color of lutein and zeaxanthin pigments so the vegetables appear green in color.

close up of kale leavesKale is one of the best sources of lutein, with about 115 micrograms per gram of kale. By comparison, a carrot may only have 5.1 micrograms of lutein per gram. Key sources of these two powerful antioxidants include:

  • Kale
  • Egg yolks
  • Parsley
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Peas
  • Paprika
  • Orange juice
  • Honeydew
  • Melon
  • Kiwis
  • Red peppers
  • Squash
  • Grapes

How to include lutein and zeaxanthin in your daily diet

a high lutein and zeaxanthin breakfast of poached eggs with steamed kale The great thing is that you can include most of these as breakfast. Egg yolks are extremely high in lutein and zeaxanthin. You can have a couple of poached eggs on a bed of lightly steamed kale, with diced red peppers and a sprinkling of paprika powder. As a side, have some honeydew melon and kiwis to start your day powerfully. It’s not too hard to start every day with breakfast foods that help improve your vision health!

 

vision-20 supplement by zenith labsHint: Fats actually improve the absorption of lutein and zeaxanthin so including fats into your diet may help the bioavailability of lutein and zeaxanthin. Adding some butter or coconut oil with your cooked greens or fresh salads is a great idea.

The team at Zenith Labs have created a supplement called Vision 20, which aims to improve vision health. Your diet should always come first, but supplements such as Vision 20 can give you a real boost. Check it out and let us know what you think!


dr ryan shelton of zenith labsIf you liked this video/article, do share it with your friends and loved ones. Subscribe to the Youtube channel for weekly tips on new tools and techniques to improve your health and well-being.

I believe in the original meaning of the word doctor, ‘docere’, which means teacher. I’m here to help educate you on how to take care of yourself in ways that you may not have heard of before, but that are effective. I always want to hear your ideas and feedback so be sure to leave me comments below!

 

 

 

will fruit

Will Fruit Make You Fat?

 

Have you ever wondered if eating fruit will make you fat? If it could cause weight gain? Because of the high sugar content and high carbohydrate content in fruits, many researchers have looked into just this question.


You’ll find the answer here. Scientific research has shown that eating more whole fruit will not cause weight gain. In fact, just the opposite is true. Incorporating more whole fruit into your diet may help with weight loss.

bowl of fresh fruit salad with strawberries, bananas, kiwis, and oranges in a glass bowlHistorically, our hunter and gatherer ancestors ate a tremendous amount of fruit. Today, it’s estimated that less than 10% of most Western populations consume adequate amounts of whole fruits and dietary fiber. The recommended daily intake is 40 to 50 grams of fiber every day. Yet only about 3% of men and 6% of women habitually consume over 14 grams of fiber per day. This intake is about half of the recommended levels.

Fruit fiber is a relatively small component of the total dietary fiber consumed in populations eating Western diets. Between the years of 2015 and 2020, dietary guidelines for Americans named fiber as a major shortfall nutrient and it became an important public health concern. The low fiber Western diet has contributed to an increased risk of weight gain, inflammation, chronic diseases, and other health concerns. There is also an increased risk of colonic, or intestinal micro bacteria dysbiosis causing the growth of bad bacteria in your gut, and reducing the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. A growing number of human trials support the prebiotic effects of whole fruit and fruit fiber in promoting a healthy microbiome in the gut for gut health, for brain health, for immune health.

fresh vegetables and fruits laid out on a tableIn 2016, a dose-response randomized control trial with 122 individuals consuming fruit found that the fiber content of fruit and vegetables was more important than the polyphenol (or antioxidant) content found in those fruits and vegetables.

A number of protective cohort studies have observed associations between diets containing fruits and vegetables, and weight control, weight loss, and risk of obesity. A study in 2015, systematically reviewed a meta-analysis 17 studies of over 500,000 participants showed that fruit intake was associated with modest reductions in body weight, waist circumference, and a reduced risk of obesity by about 17%.

top down view of a breakfast bowl full of fresh berries in yoghurt

In 2016, a review article concluded that consumption of increased levels of whole fruit was uniquely protective against weight gain and obesity. Pooled data from three United States protective studies, including nurses health studies and health professionals, showed that over 100,000 men and women showed improvement in weight and reduced risks for obesity.

There was a longitudinal study done in Australia on women’s health. Over six years with a group of 4,000 women, the study found that women who consumed 117 grams of fruits and vegetables gained less weight than those consuming fewer fruits and vegetables.

Health Benefits of Fruit

woman holding up fresh strawberries and smiling

Evidence of the health benefits of consuming adequate levels of whole fruits has been steadily growing, especially regarding their bioactive fiber, prebiotic effects, role in improving weight loss, weight control, wellness, and healthy aging. Whole fruit contains water, fiber, and powerful antioxidants important in a healthy diet. The beneficial health effects of consuming whole fruit include:

  • Improving gut health
  • Lowering elevate LDL cholesterol
  • Reducing the risk of excessive weight gain and obesity
  • Decreasing risk factors for cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, and mortality risk
  • Reducing risks of several types of cancers, stroke, and type II diabetes

Eating whole fruits is the best way to get the nutrients you need. However, you could try to get your intake through juices too. Although most of the fiber from whole fruit is removed from fruit juice processing, 100% fruit juice should contain similar levels of other healthy vitamins and minerals.

Fun Fact: Frozen fruit may provide more bioavailable proanthocyanidins than even fresh fruit. Fresh fruit is still recommended but frozen fruit are an acceptable alternative in a healthy diet. Avoid dried fruit because it removes water and degrades some of the powerful antioxidants contained in the fruit.

frozen berriesNow, there are a few caveats you should know about. There are high glycemic fruits and low glycemic fruits. These are different and can impact blood sugar control and risk factors for obesity, risk factors for diabetes. High glycemic fruits include bananas, pineapples, watermelons, dates, raisins, passion fruit, and mango. Lower glycemic fruits include cherries, berries, apricots, pears, apples, grapefruits, plums, and peaches.

Another caveat is that there are some fruits that are listed to be at risk for pesticides. For these fruits, you want to try to make sure to go organic as often as you can. These are fruits like strawberries, nectarines, apples, peaches, cherries, and pears.

Let us know what your favorite fruits are and how they have impacted your health and wellbeing!


dr ryan shelton of zenith labsIf you liked this video/article, do share it with your friends and loved ones. Subscribe to the Youtube channel for weekly tips on new tools and techniques to improve your health and well-being.

I believe in the original meaning of the word doctor, ‘docere’, which means teacher. I’m here to help educate you on how to take care of yourself in ways that you may not have heard of before, but that are effective. I always want to hear your ideas and feedback so be sure to leave me comments below!

 

 

 

The Single Best Daily Habit To Prevent A Heart Attack

The Single Best Daily Habit To Prevent A Heart Attack

Did you know that every 40 seconds in the United States someone dies of a heart attack? You likely know someone who has suffered the devastating, often deadly effects of a heart attack. A heart attack is called the silent killer because we don’t know when and where it’s going to happen.

The Single Best Daily Habit To Prevent A Heart Attack

What is a heart attack?

man having a heart attack, clutching his chestA heart attack begins with inflammation, which can be caused by chemicals that your body produces, environmental toxins you’re exposed to every day, or damage from high blood pressure. Inflammation causes damage to the interior lining of blood vessels, specifically your arteries.

That inflammation begins to attract white blood cells and platelets which thicken the arteries over time. A heart attack is a silent killer because a small clot of that thickening can unknowingly break off, travel down the bloodstream, and cut off blood supply to the heart.

We have to get inflammation under control, and I want to share with you my favourite habit for preventing heart attacks.

The Best Daily Habit to Prevent a Heart Attack

woman holding a plastic red heart in her handsMy son Maxwell loves riding his bike every day, and that’s an example of my recommended habit for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attacks. I recommend exercise and therapeutic movement for 75 to 150 minutes every week. If you can bump that up to 200 to 300 minutes per week, you would be doing yourself an even bigger favor and greatly reducing your risk of coronary artery disease.

My favourite kind of exercise to recommend is the exercise you will enjoy each and every day. Maxwell riding his bike is the perfect example because it’s an activity he enjoys. It’s a form of play for him and he doesn’t even realize he’s decreasing his future risk factors. Maxwell is just playing, moving, having fun, smiling, and gaining the benefits of exercise.

heart-healthy diet with fruits and vegetablesThere are other contributing factors that can cause a heart attack and it’s important to get them under control.

To reduce risk factors, quit smoking, get your weight within a normal BMI, limit your alcohol intake, get plenty of sleep, reduce stress, and eat a balanced diet. Be sure to limit saturated and trans fats, and get healthy fats instead, like omega-3, 7, and 9. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, aiming for nine servings of five colors every day.

Remember though, the best strategy to reduce your risk factors for heart attack and coronary artery disease is engaging in exercise. Moderate movement like walking, biking, or cycling will reduce your risk factors for cardiovascular disease.


Dr. Ryan Shelton of Zenith LabsIf you liked this video/article, do share it with your friends and loved ones. Subscribe to the Youtube channel for weekly tips on new tools and techniques to improve your health and well-being.

I believe in the original meaning of the word doctor, ‘docere’, which means teacher. I’m here to help educate you on how to take care of yourself in ways that you may not have heard of before, but that are effective. I always want to hear your ideas and feedback so be sure to leave me comments below!

 

 

 

long life

The 5 Commandments Of Eating Healthy To Live A Long Life

If you’re feeling inundated, overwhelmed, and confused about the best dietary nutritional program that you should eat to reduce your risk factors for chronic health conditions – you’re not alone. There’s tons of information online and tens of thousands of scientific research articles to examine just this topic.

Fortunately, there are a few common trends that come up over and over again, and the medical scientific community (for the most part) are behind these recommendations because they consistently show that they’re successful in reducing risk factors for chronic health conditions and promote optimal health and wellness. For the sake of this post, we’ll call them the Five Commandments of Healthy Eating.

I’ve made some other posts about foods to avoid. And if you haven’t seen them, I encourage you to check them out. And again, the scientific community is, for the most part, agreed upon these, like avoiding or limiting trans fats, avoiding or eliminating fried foods and fast foods, avoiding or eliminating refined sugars, and avoiding any kind of food allergy or food sensitivity that you may have. Some research articles show that Americans may have as many as one to three food sensitivities or food allergies in as many as 25 to 33% of Americans.

The five commandments of healthy eating

1. Increase fruit and vegetable intakes

various fresh fruits and vegetables laid out on a table

Research has shown that as few as 10 to 15% of Americans are consuming adequate recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables. Fruits contain important macronutrients and micronutrients, complex carbohydrates, protein, essential fatty acids, and fiber.

Fiber is an important macronutrient that is severely under-consumed by Americans. It’s recommended that you take in roughly 40 to 50 grams of fiber a day. Fiber is only found in the vegetable/fruit kingdom where we get those insoluble fibers, which research consistently has shown may reduce risk factors for the development of certain kinds of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Plus fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants, polyphenols, and proanthocyanidins, that are important for every cellular function in the body. It is recommended to have nine servings of five colors each and every day.

2. Get sufficient essential fatty acids

different omega 3-and essential fatty-rich foods such as salmon, eggs, nuts and seeds

A report in 2010 showed that most Americans were not getting adequate amounts of essential fatty acids. The recommended intake is one gram per day (of both EPA and DHA), and even higher amounts if you have a pre-existing medical condition such as cardiovascular disease, or if you’re pregnant or lactating. Essential fatty acids can be found in seafood, nuts seeds, avocados, olives, and olive oil.

 

3. Plan meal schedules

a breakfast table with salad, fresh juice, eggs, fruits, croissants, and a cup of coffee“Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper”. Most individuals are backward to that. They have a scant breakfast or they skip breakfast altogether. They have a modest lunch, and they have a huge dinner. This can be detrimental for blood sugar control and cardiovascular disease. Make sure to get most of your calories in the morning, have a modest lunch, and fewer calories for dinner.

4. Include cruciferous vegetables

top down view of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sproutsCruciferous vegetables are high in indoles, sulforaphane, DIM, and kaempferol. Each of these components have been independently studied to reduce risk factors for the development of certain types of cancer. We also know that cruciferous vegetables are very helpful for both phase one and phase two detoxification pathways in the liver. We’re all carrying chemicals so we could do with a little help in detoxification. Include cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, and chard in your diet.

5. Eat organic

woman carrying a large wooden crate of fresh organic vegetablesIf possible, wherever possible, eat organic. They contain higher amounts of essential vitamins and minerals than non-organic produce. In addition, non-organic produce has been shown to contain a higher level of pesticide, herbicide, and fungicides. There are 12 foods that are particularly high in these chemicals: strawberries, spinach, kale, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery, and potatoes. If eating organic is too expensive, try to just eat organic for these 12 foods at least so as to avoid the consumption of these chemicals. Plus, organic foods inherently contain higher amounts of essential probiotics, the healthy bacteria for our gut, for our brain, for our immune system.

So, there you have it – the five commandments to healthy eating! Let us know what rules you abide by for a healthier life and your experiences with these five commandments.


dr ryan shelton of zenith labsIf you liked this video/article, do share it with your friends and loved ones. Subscribe to the Youtube channel for weekly tips on new tools and techniques to improve your health and well-being.

I believe in the original meaning of the word doctor, ‘docere’, which means teacher. I’m here to help educate you on how to take care of yourself in ways that you may not have heard of before, but that are effective. I always want to hear your ideas and feedback so be sure to leave me comments below!

 

 

 

The Single Best Daily Habit To Prevent Obesity

The Single Best Daily Habit To Prevent Obesity

If you’re struggling with an increased BMI (body mass index), elevated waist circumference, increased skinfold thickness, or if you’re overweight or obese, then read on. There’s one simple daily habit to incorporate into your life to help prevent weight gain. Dozens of studies have shown how effective this one habit is.

Daily Habit To Help with Obesity

Don’t overlook a healthy diet and regular exercise

three people walking down a dirt trail Now, that’s not to overlook how important daily movement and therapeutic exercise is to the prevention of weight gain. Simply walking for 20 minutes a day, three to five times a week is highly recommended. If you’re able to incorporate more vigorous exercise in your routine, that’s even better.

You can’t overlook how important a healthy diet is either. Try replacing the bad fats in your diet with healthy fats like omega-3s, -7s, -9s, and eating more fruits and vegetables. In order to get enough micronutrients and macronutrients, it’s recommended that you eat nine servings of fresh produce in five colors every day.

One simple tip to prevent weight gain

skillet of eggs and other healthy breakfast foodsHowever, there’s one simple tip that dozens of studies have shown will help prevent weight gain: don’t skip breakfast! Let’s take a look at six of the most impressive studies.

  1. The first study was done with 272 individuals over the age of 60, comparing those who ate breakfast to those who skipped breakfast. The individuals who skipped breakfast were 44% more likely to have obesity affect their lives.

    It’s already clear how important eating a good breakfast is. The gold standard is to eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.

  2. two women enjoying conversation over breakfast mealsThe second study showed that obesity was 1.5 times higher in individuals who did not consistently eat breakfast.
  3. A third study showed that individuals who skipped breakfast had lower energy levels, but individuals who did eat breakfast could engage in more physical activity throughout the day.
  4. In a study done with adolescents, skipping breakfast was associated with a worse lipid profile. These individuals had worse cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome.

    Clearly eating breakfast is important for weight management in both the young and old!

  5. The fifth study showed that breakfast significantly contributed to the daily micronutrient intake by providing an average of 24% more dietary fiber, 32% more iron, 30% more calcium, 32% more folic acid, and 37% more of a B vitamin called riboflavin.
  6. The last study showed that habitual breakfast skippers are at an increased risk for the development of cardiovascular disease, coronary artery disease, and high blood pressure. This study was conducted in India, and the consistent breakfast skippers were more overweight and more obese.

Trim-14 supplement by Zenith LabsDozens more studies that show the importance of eating breakfast daily. It’s a simple habit you can incorporate in your life, starting now! Remember, simple changes can affect the trajectory of your entire life moving forward. Incorporating breakfast in your daily routine is important for maintaining a healthy weight, and will reduce risk factors like cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, and more.

At Zenith Labs, we have developed a supplement call Trim-14. When you pair this supplement with good habits like eating breakfast daily and getting in healthy movement, it can help you achieve or maintain a healthy weight.


dr ryan shelton of zenith labsIf you liked this video/article, do share it with your friends and loved ones. Subscribe to the Youtube channel for weekly tips on new tools and techniques to improve your health and well-being.

I believe in the original meaning of the word doctor, ‘docere’, which means teacher. I’m here to help educate you on how to take care of yourself in ways that you may not have heard of before, but that are effective. I always want to hear your ideas and feedback so be sure to leave me comments below!

 

 

 

mineral

Top 6 Mineral Deficiencies You Likely Have

 

If you’re struggling with a general sense of not being well, or you have poor health and it has not specifically been diagnosed as an underlying medical condition, you should read on. One of the potential contributing factors to why you may not feel at the top of your game has to do with mineral deficiencies.

Mineral deficiencies affect every system in the body and it’s important because it is actually rather common. We’ll be exploring the top six mineral deficiencies, seeing how and why those deficiencies can contribute to poor health, and the basic steps to take to correct mineral deficiencies.

What are minerals?

When we think about nutrition, there are basically two categories:

  1. Macronutrients: proteins, carbohydrates, fats, fiber
  1. Micronutrients: vitamins, minerals

fresh fruits in a transparent vitamin pill capsuleWhen we think about micronutrients, we tend to think about the importance of vitamins. Whilst vitamins are critically important for the body to work well, minerals are equally important and frankly, often overlooked and underappreciated.

Minerals are coenzymes required for your body to work. Enzymes basically control everything in every system in your body, from hormones to neurotransmitters, muscles and heart health to blood pressure. Every system in your body basically runs and churns on enzymes, and nearly all enzymes require minerals to work. If enzymes are deficient in those minerals, they do not work properly.

How to spot mineral deficiencies

scientist looking down a microscope doing micronutrient testingHow do you diagnose a mineral deficiency? The first step is just to learn about what the symptoms of deficiencies are. The second step is to get some laboratory testing to confirm those deficiencies.

Some mineral deficiencies are fairly straightforward and easy to diagnose. Examples include deficiencies in iron, iodine, calcium, and potassium. These minerals are tightly regulated in the body, and there are conventional standard lab testing that can help you find out the levels of these minerals in your body.

Other mineral deficiencies are more difficult to diagnose because they’re within the cells. They’re not freely floating around in the bloodstream so a typical phlebotomy or blood test may not pick them up as easily. There are specialty labs which take samples of your cells and grow them in a lab to help determine if you have micronutrient deficiencies of minerals, specifically minerals like magnesium and zinc. Micronutrient testing measures how micronutrients are actually functioning within your cells. These tests allow nutritional assessments for clinical conditions, general wellness, and the prevention of chronic diseases like arthritis, cancer, cardiovascular risk, diabetes, immune system health, and metabolic disorder.

The top 6 minerals

1. Ironiron-rich foods like spinach, eggs, red meat, and liver

Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in the world. It affects more than 25% of the world population, which is approximately 1.6 billion people worldwide. This figure rises to about 47% in preschool children. 30% of menstruating women may be deficient as well due to monthly blood loss, and up to 42% of young pregnant women may also suffer from iron deficiency.

Iron is an essential mineral. It’s the main component of red blood cells which binds with hemoglobin and transports oxygen to every cell in your body. It’s important for the electron transport chain (which involves energy production in the body), the production of thyroid hormones, and the production of dopamine in the brain.

There are two sources of dietary iron. The first is heme iron. This is very well-absorbed and it’s only found in animal foods. Red meat, in particular, contains high amounts of heme iron. The second source is non-heme iron. This type of iron is much more prevalent and common in our food chain, however, it is not as well absorbed as heme iron. Non-heme iron is found in vegetables and fruits.

The most common consequence of iron deficiency is anemia. The quantity of red blood cells is decreased and the blood becomes less able to carry oxygen to every cell in the body. Symptoms of anemia are fairly well known. They include tiredness, weakness, a weakened immune system, impaired brain function, and blue sclera.

Contributing factors of iron deficiency

  • Hypochlorhydria: Also known as having low stomach acid. Stomach acid is required to absorb iron.
  • Medications: Certain medications can inhibit the absorption of iron.
  • Over-supplementation: Over supplementation of other minerals like zinc, copper, or manganese can also inhibit the absorption of iron.
  • Large intake of various foods: A large intake of beans, legumes or grains can inhibit iron absorption due to phytates and lignans found in these foods. Hence, vegetarians and vegans have an increased risk of iron deficiency.
  • Beeturia: If you’re an individual that consumes beets, have a look at your urine the next time you pee. If it has a red tint to it, it may be a sign of iron deficiency.

Best sources of iron

The best dietary sources of heme iron include meats, organ meats, fish, shellfish, canned tuna, and canned sardines. The best sources of non-heme iron include beans and legumes. However, note that if you over-consume beans and legumes, the phytates and lignans found in beans can inhibit the absorption of non-heme iron.

Vegetarian sources include broccoli, kale, and spinach. In fact, one ounce of kale provides about 5-6% of your recommended dietary intake. However, you should never supplement with iron unless you truly need it. Too much iron can be pro-inflammatory for the body and frankly, may increase your risk factor for cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer, and other health conditions. Additionally, vitamin C can enhance the absorption of iron, so eating vitamin C rich foods like oranges and kale and bell peppers during the consumption of iron-rich foods can be beneficial.

The best way to take iron is in small doses throughout the day. The recommendation is 30 milligrams, three times a day. It may take six to nine weeks before you see improvements within your body.

2. Iodine

iodine food sourcesIodine is an essential mineral for normal thyroid function and the production of thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones are involved in many processes in the body, such as growth, brain development, metabolic rate regulation, and bone maintenance. Think of the thyroid as the accelerator in your car. If you’re pushing the accelerator too much, you reach that red line and the engine (i.e. your body) will be running too fast. If you press too little on the accelerator, you don’t go anywhere. Physically, your body will feel fatigued and possibly see weight gain.

Iodine deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in the world. It affects nearly one-third of the world’s population. The most common symptoms of iodine deficiency is an enlarged thyroid gland, also known as “goiter”. It contributes to an increased heart rate, shortness of breath, and weight gain. Severe iodine deficiency may also include serious adverse effects, especially in children.

Deficiencies can result in dry mouth, dry skin, lack of sweating, weight gain, enlarged thyroid gland, increased heart rate, shortness of breath.

Contributing factors of iodine deficiency

  • Excess intake of selenium, calcium, and vitamin A may inhibit the intestinal absorption of iodine.

Best sources of iodine

  • Dietary sources include eggs, fish, dairy, spirulina and sea vegetables such as kelp, kombucha and other seaweeds.
  • Iodized salt

Be aware of the potential serious side effects or risk factors of taking too much iodine. The recommendations for iodine intake tend to be in the range of about 75 to 150 micrograms per day. It’s a mineral that you have to supplement with caution because too much can cause problems.

3. Calcium

calcium-rich food sources such as milk, spinach, cheese, and yoghurtCalcium is essential for every cell in the body. It mineralizes bone and teeth, especially during times of rapid growth and development. It’s also helpful for the maintenance of heart health, immune health, and insulin control.

One survey in the US found that less than 15% of teenage girls and less than 10% of women over the age of 50 met the recommended daily intake of calcium. In the same survey, less than 22% of young or teenage boys and men over 50 met the recommended intake. Symptoms of severe deficiencies in calcium include osteoporosis and rickets.

Contributing factors of calcium deficiency

  • Lack of vitamin D
  • Certain medications
  • Over-intake of phosphorous can inhibit calcium intake. Phosphorous is found in canned soda, bottled soda, and cola products.

Best sources of calcium

The effectiveness and safety of calcium supplements have been somewhat debated in the last few years. Some studies have found that over-intake of calcium can lead to an increased risk for cardiovascular disease. It is still recommended to get your calcium intake from foods rather than supplements.

Dietary sources of calcium include boned fish, dairy products, dark lean, dark leafy green vegetables such as kale, spinach, bok choy, and broccoli. Vitamin D and magnesium are required for good calcium absorption so make sure you have a healthy intake of these.

If you’re over the age of 50, the recommended total intake of calcium daily is about 1,200 milligrams.

4. Magnesium

food products containing magnesiumBetween 2004-2007, it was found that 48% of the US population consumed less than the required amount of magnesium. Low intake of magnesium has been associated with several diseases including diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and osteoporosis. Low magnesium is particularly common among hospital patients and individuals over the age of 50.

Magnesium is a key mineral in the body. It’s essential for bone and teeth structure, and it’s also involved in more than 300 enzyme reactions. It is also important for muscles, nerves, and for activating ATP or adenosine triphosphate (which is basically the energy producer in the body). Furthermore, magnesium helps digest proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. It also serves as a building block for RNA and DNA synthesis, and it acts as a precursor for many neurotransmitters such as serotonin.

Because magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in your body, a deficiency can wreak havoc on your entire system. The fact that researchers have detected more than 3,750 magnesium-binding sites on human proteins should give you a sense of how important the mineral is for your body’s optimal functioning.

Contributing factors of magnesium deficiency

  • Certain prescription medications
  • Low levels of stomach acid
  • Stress
  • Processed foods
  • Fertilizers in the production of produce

Deficiencies of magnesium can cause constipation, eye twitches, muscle spasm, headaches and migraines, high blood pressure, heart arrhythmias, irregular heartbeats, coronary spasms, low energy, fatigue and loss of appetite. More subtle long-term symptoms that you may not notice include insulin resistance and high blood pressure.

Best sources of magnesium

The best source of magnesium happens to be the magnesium salt, magnesium aspartate. Other dietary sources of magnesium include avocados, nuts and seeds, brown rice, dark leafy green vegetables, oily fish, raw cocoa, and seaweed. Include these as part of your healthy diet.

Intake over the age of 40 is suspected and recommended to be above 420 milligrams for males and 320 milligrams for females. What seems to help magnesium absorption is calcium, potassium, vitamin B6, and vitamin B1, also known as thiamine.

5. Potassium

foods containing natural potassium such as bananas, broccoli, kiwi, walnuts and grapefruitPotassium is mostly inside cells. Sodium is mostly outside cells. Now the ratio of sodium to potassium has changed dramatically since the hunter-gatherer days because potassium is mostly in hunter-gatherer Paleo-type foods. Recent research shows that about a third to as much as half of individuals presently are consuming far less potassium than they need to be.

Contributing factors of potassium deficiency

  • Certain prescription medications like antibiotics and diuretics

Potassium deficiency can contribute to cardiovascular disease, fatigue, muscle cramps.

Best sources of magnesium

The best source is potassium aspartate, however food sources are always the best for these minerals. There are high levels of potassium in veggies, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, fruits, meats, and dairy. An interesting fact about potassium is that there is a difference in potassium levels between boiled and steamed foods. With boiled foods, about 10 to 50% of potassium is lost compared to steamed foods where only three to 6% of potassium is lost.

The FDA has limited the potassium of supplements to 99 milligrams per serving.

6. Zinc

foods highest in zincAt least two billion people worldwide are thought to be zinc deficient. It’s due to a number of reasons, our processes of farming and our changes in dietary habits.

Zinc is important for DNA and protein synthesis, vision, hearing, taste, sexual development, wound healing, immune function, and skin health.

Zinc is thought to be an aphrodisiac and help sperm production in men, but it will only raise testosterone levels if the user is deficient in zinc. In very high doses zinc can act as an aromatase inhibitor in females and reduce estrogen levels, so use with caution if you’re menopausal or postmenopausal.

Contributing factors of zinc deficiency

  • If you’re an alcoholic, vegetarian, pregnant, or lactating
  • If you have a digestive disorder
  • High levels of sweat (athletes should be cautious)

Best sources of zinc

Dietary sources of zinc include dairy products, nuts, red meat, eggs, and seafood. Plant sources of zinc are slightly less well absorbed than animal sources.

If you’re over the age of 20, the recommended daily intake for males is about 11 milligrams, and 8 milligrams for females. The maximum daily dose of zinc supplementation is around 40 milligrams per day and it’s actually important to take copper along with zinc because excess intake of zinc can actually cause copper deficiency.

When you’re taking a mineral, it’s important to look at what salt it is. It’s always zinc with a salt. So it may be zinc sulfate, zinc gluconate, zinc methylthionine, or elemental zinc. All of these are absorbed very differently and affects the quantities you should take. Some examples:

  • Zinc sulfate – as much as 220 milligrams
  • Zinc gluconate – as much as 380 milligrams
  • Zinc methylthionine – 230 milligrams

It’s important to note that supplementation and recommended dosages should be considered on a case-by-case basis, based on pre-existing medical conditions and other minerals you might be taking. As you’ve learned, if you take too much of any one mineral, you can disrupt the absorption of other minerals.

The team at Zenith Labs have created a supplement called Pure Greens, which is a green powder high in minerals but well-absorbed because they’re complexed with their original foods. It’s a safer way than taking mega doses of individual minerals so do check it out and let us know what you think!


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