Monday, February 26, 2018

ABC's of Nutrition: Magnesium

Magnesium is second to potassium in terms of concentration within the cells of the body. 60% of magnesium is in the bone, 26% in muscle, and the rest in soft tissue and body fluids. The highest tissue concentration resides in the brain, heart, kidney, and liver. Calcium gets all the headlines, but magnesium is just as important.

The best sources of magnesium are whole grains, green leafy vegetables, seeds, nuts, legumes, and tofu. Processed foods have little or no magnesium. Most people consume far less than the RDA.

TRAACS glycinate chelate form of magnesium is one of the best. Magnesium bound with citrate, asparatate, or any other Krebs cycle intermediates are very good. Oxide form of magnesium is not bad, but it is difficult to absorb. Magnesium oxide is likely to cause diarrhea.

Magnesium deficiency is very common among Americans, and is higher in menstruating women and the elderly. Secondary factors that reduce magnesium absorption or increase secretion are high calcium consumption, alcohol, diuretics, liver disease, kidney disease, and oral contraception use.

The body becomes susceptible to a variety of diseases when magnesium levels are low, this includes heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney stones, cancer, insomnia, PMS, and menstrual cramps. If magnesium levels drop too low there is a likelihood of fatigue, mental confusion, irritability, weakness, heart disturbances, problems with nerve conduction and muscle contraction, muscle cramps, loss of appetite, and a predisposition to stress.

Magnesium is essential for many cellular functions, including protein formation, energy production, and cellular replication. Magnesium participates in more than 300 enzymatic reactions in the body, in particular ones that involve energy production, such as ATP. Magnesium is also required to activate the mechanism that pumps sodium out of the cells and potassium in.

Magnesium is referred to as “nature’s calcium-channel blocker” because of its ability to block the entry of calcium into smooth-muscle cells and heart cells. Magnesium assists calcium metabolism through the parathyroid and calcitonin hormones.

Vitamin B6 works with magnesium in many enzyme systems. B6 also increases intracellular accumulation of magnesium. A high calcium/high dairy diet decreases magnesium absorption.

by John Connor, CNC

ABC's of Nutrition: Calcium

Dairy products are a primary source of calcium. Rich plant sources in calcium include green leafy vegetables, spinach, kale, turnip greens, and tofu. The absorption rate from kale, as well as other members of the cabbage family (turnip, mustard, collard) are higher than in milk. Calcium from spinach is poorly absorbed.

TRAACS (The Real Amino Acid Chelate System) are some of the most bioavailable minerals available. The amino acid chelates are bonded to the mineral and carry it into the body as an amino acid. At the correct moment – in the jejunum (middle section of the small intestines) – the amino acid chelate is absorbed and the mineral is used at its fullest potential.

Microcrystalline hydroxyapatite concentrate (MCHC) is a concentrate of whole bone. Derived from organic veal bone, MCHC contains calcium, but calcium makes up only 20% of the entire structure of the bone. The other 80% include phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, collagen, and other key minerals. Because MCHC contains all the minerals naturally occurring in healthy bones in the right proportions, it makes the ideal “bone food.”

“The citric acid cycle is a series of chemical reactions used by all aerobic organisms to generate energy through the oxidization of acetate derived from carbohydrates, fats and proteins into carbon dioxide.” By binding or chelating an ion from the citric acid cycle to the ion of the mineral makes the mineral better absorbed because the body recognizes the chelate. An example of chelation is binding citric acid from the cycle to calcium, hence you have calcium citrate.

Avoid oyster shell calcium, bone meal, and dolomite unless the manufacturer provides assurance the product is lead-free. Carbonate and oxide chelates are also less desired forms of minerals.

Calcium deficiency in adults can lead to osteomalacia (softening of the bones). Extremely low levels of calcium may result in muscle spasms and leg cramps. Calcium deficiency in children can eventually lead to rickets, resulting in bone deformities and stunts growth. Long term low calcium levels may contribute to high blood pressure, colon cancer, and osteoporosis.

Calcium along with other key minerals builds healthy bones and might serve as a protection against high blood pressure and colon cancer.

Osteoporosis (means “porous bone”) and low calcium are synonymous with one another. Women and men both experience a decline in bone mass after the age of 40. Many factors play a role in excessive bone loss, but postmenopausal osteoporosis is the most common.

Dr. Michael Murray describes bone as a “dynamic living tissue constantly being broken down and rebuilt.” Normal bone metabolism depends heavily on nutritional and hormonal factors. Twenty-four nutrients are required for optimal bone health. Calcium and vitamin D are two of the most important cogs in the wheel.

Blood calcium levels work within very narrow limits. The parathyroid and thyroid glands secrete hormones to regulate normal calcium homeostasis. These hormones determine how much activity is needed for the cells to break down bone, how much calcium excretion by the kidneys needs to occur, and how much calcium absorption is needed in the intestines.

Estrogen deficiency can cause cells that breaks down bone to be more sensitive to the parathyroid gland. This results in increased bone breakdown, in turn raises blood calcium levels.

Dietary factors have been associated with osteoporosis – high acid diet; low calcium, high phosphorus intake from too much dairy; and an extremely high protein diet. A high fruit and vegetable diet is associated with a low risk of osteoporosis. Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body. Bones contain more than 99 percent of the body’s calcium.

by John Connor, CNC

Friday, February 23, 2018

Dieting and The Littles


When a person goes on a diet or makes a lifestyle change, such as a low-carb diet, there may be slip-ups, inadvertent cheating, or blatant cheating. It happens to the best of us. You may be at someone else’s house and you have no choice but to eat something that you know you shouldn’t. You may have a stressful day, throw caution to the wind, and eat something you shouldn’t. It happens.

In many cases these cheats are often done a little at a time. Here and there. I believe if someone is on a low-carb diet that they really are trying…but then little cheats occur. Which is why I coined the term, the littles.

Often times when I’m working with a client they tell me how healthy they eat…but they had a hand-full of M&M’s, and there was that one glazed doughnut, and then there was that half of a slice of cake–not a full slice, only a half of a slice–and come to think of it there was that one cookie. Only one.

As you see the littles added up to something big. Several small cheats can equal one big cheat. That is why I use the term the littles when talking to people about diet. A person may eat healthy most of the time, but then there’s a little cheat here and a little cheat there. Maybe it’s only one cheat a day, or maybe one cheat a week. That could be enough, just enough to make them plateau, or even cause a few pounds increase on the scale.

Sometimes the littles can be inconspicuous. The person wonders why they hit a plateau. The littles can be something as small as licking the knife or spoon when making a family member (not on the diet) a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

It’s good to be aware of the littles. The littles can be sneaky or in your face. But a little cheating here, a little cheating there, the littles can interfere with weight loss, blood sugar, energy, and adrenaline dominance symptoms such as ADD.

by John Connor, CNC

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Adrenaline Dominance in Men: The Road Rage Effect

Have you ever been driving down the road and all of the sudden somebody cuts you off and you have to slam on your breaks, nearly having an accident? What is the first thing that you want to do? If you are like most men, you will tailgate that individual, maybe even try to cut them off or roll down your window and shout profane words at them. Have you ever wondered where all of that built up emotion comes from? It is a hormone in your body called adrenaline.

Adrenaline, also called epinephrine or better known as the fight or flight hormone, is released in large amounts into the body when we face any type of threat which puts the body into gear for immediate physical action. For those who face danger or threat on a daily basis like law enforcement, military or athletes, adrenaline is a necessity. For the rest of us, adrenaline can be a real headache. Literally.

Since most of us do not face danger or threats on a regular basis, adrenaline can cause a multitude of
problems, and those problems can cycle right back around causing more adrenaline to be secreted into the body. You may be asking yourself, what kind of problems?

Here is a short list of things adrenaline dominance, or over production of adrenaline, can cause.
  • Severe anger 
  • Depression/anxiety 
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia 
  • ADHD 
  • Alcoholism 
  • RLS (restless leg syndrome) 
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure) 
  • IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) 
  • Fibromyalgia 
And of course the list goes on and on. Are you starting to see the problem?

Stress may be the number one cause of adrenaline dominance today. According to the American
Psychological Association, 76% of Americans are under some form of stress. There are a few things you can do to help reduce stress like, deep breathing exercises, meditation, physical exercise and prayer. Also, you can use supplements like L-Theanine, ashwaganda, and 5-HTP. 

The above products have been show to help people manage stress. However, the key to managing stress is to control excess adrenaline, and the best way to do that is to use a topical progesterone cream.

Bio-Identical Progesterone is the key. Now I know what your probably saying. “Hang on Matt, isn’t progesterone a hormone?” Yes it is. “But aren’t hormones just for women?” No they are not. Both men and women have a wide array of all different types of hormones. Progesterone is the only one hormone that you need to help control adrenaline. Progesterone comes in a topical form that you apply to your skin and will reduce the affects of stress. It eventually will diminish the underlying issue that causes each of the problems listed above. If any of those problems are affecting you in your life, then progesterone is what you need.

by Matt Connor

Monday, February 19, 2018

ABC's of Nutrition: Inositol

Inositol is chiefly present as a fiber source known as phytic acid (inositol phosphate). Beneficial bacteria release the inositol from the phytic acid. Good plant sources include nuts, whole grains, legumes, and seeds.

Inositol along with choline provide a “lipotropic” effect – promotes the exportation of fats from the liver. Severe liver disorders develop from excess fat and bile in the liver, which makes inositol’s lipotropics very important. Inositol is also essential for proper nerve, brain, and muscle function. Phytic acid (fiber) proves to be a possible anticancer agent.

Inositol is necessary for proper brain neurotransmitter action, including acetylcholine and serotonin. When brain inositol levels drop below nominal in the cerebrospinal fluid, symptoms of depression and panic attacks can develop.

Diabetic neuropathy is a nerve disease caused by diabetes which may be the result of insufficient inositol. Inositol supplementation may improve nerve conduction in diabetics.

Inositol is an unofficial member of the B vitamin family and functions closely with choline.

by John Connor, CNC

ABC's of Nutrition: Choline

One of the best sources of choline is egg yolks (as lecithin). Other good sources include legumes, grains, lettuce, and cauliflower.

A choline deficient diet may lead to poor liver function, where fats become trapped in the liver and block metabolism.

Choline is necessary to manufacturer the important neurotransmitter, acetyl-choline, and phosphatidylcholine (lecithin), a main component of our cell membranes. Choline is required for the proper metabolism of lipids.

Choline is a methyl donor, similar to vitamin B12 and folic acid. As a methyl donor is it essential for proper liver function – exporting fats from the liver, in particular.

Supplementing choline causes an accumulation of acetylcholine in the brain. Acetylcholine is an important brain chemical utilized in many brain processes, such as memory and may help those with Alzheimer’s. Choline works with other methyl donors and helps the body conserve carnitine and folic acid.

by John Connor, CNC

ABC's of Nutrition: Biotin

The best sources of biotin include organ meats and cheese. Good sources are soy beans, whole wheat, cauliflower, nuts, eggs, and mushrooms.

Biotin deficiency is characterized by anorexia, nausea, dry and scaly skin. In infants under six months old symptoms are hair loss and seborrheic dermatitis (cradle cap).

Biotin functions in the body as an essential cofactor for four enzymes. All four enzymes add carbon dioxide (carboxylase enzymes). This forms a carboxyl group. These biotin-dependent carboxylases assist in the metabolism of sugar, fat, and amino acids–specifically in utilizing glucose, the breakdown and utilization of fatty acids in energy metabolism, and the removal of the amine group in the metabolism of amino acids, cell growth and replication.

Biotin is also popular for increasing and strengthening nails and promoting healthy hair. The benefits of biotin and healthy hair may be reflect the improvement of metabolism scalp oils.

In diabetes, biotin enhances insulin sensitivity and increases the activity of the enzyme glucokinase. Glucokinase is responsible for the first step in the utilization of glucose by the liver. An increase of biotin could help with glucokinase activity and glucose metabolism in diabetes. Biotin also works synergistically with other B-vitamins and coenzyme Q10.

by John Connor, CNC

Resolutions Revisited

It’s a new year. You may be in full swing into your new year's resolution or possibly contemplating one. Weight management is a popular choice and makes it to many people's resolution list. In fact this particular resolution is one of the most revisted resolutions. After falling off the healthy ban wagon then people can fall into their old bad eating habits again. I have a feeling this year will be different.

In order to lose weight, a person needs a basic understanding of body fat. First, fat is not a toxin. It cannot be “flushed.” Fat is essentially stored energy ready for use. Glucose is the body’s conventional fuel source. Your brain uses more glucose than any other part of the body. When you consume more glucose than your body needs, the body will store the rest as fat. The body actually prefers using fat as energy because it's a longer, more sustainable energy source. Converting fat back into energy in the form of ketones is simpler than some might think.

People often chose whichever fad diet is on social media or in the news. People modify their eating habits in some way and appear to net results, then for some reason fall back into old habits, gain the weight back and here we are.

All popular diets have one thing in common–they are low in carbohydrates.

People often fall back into old habits because of stress and find comfort in comfort foods–all of them full of carbohydrates and processed sugar. Have you ever seen a person eat a big, healthy salad when stressed? No, because stress increases adrenaline, which is a "fight-or-flight" hormone. When adrenaline goes up it also increases the demand for glucose to fuel the brain and muscles. When under stress the body signals the need for high sugar foods to meet the demands of the adrenaline increase. Your body tricks you into eating unhealthy, sugar-latent foods.

Before going on a diet or joining a gym, start simple. It takes 21 days for the body to form a habit. For 21 days make an effort to avoid these foods: refined sugar, high fructose-corn syrup potatoes, and corn. These foods are very high in carbohydrates, inhibit fat loss, and is often a contributor to weight gain. When these foods are consumed they can turn into fat very quick. The first week may be the most difficult. Depending on your level of dependency to these mentioned foods will determine how severe the withdrawals will be the first week. Getting through the first 21 days is goal number one. The next step is to find a low-carb lifestyle that will work best for you, and stick with it. Even if you cheat, and you will, it's ok. Just keep moving forward eating low carb.

I have had success with a low-carb diet known as LCHF (low-carb, high-fat). Diet Doctor is a great online resource (www.dietdoctor.com/low-carb), and it's free.

This is the year you reach your goal. You can do it.

by John Connor, CNC

Friday, February 16, 2018

ABC's of Nutrition: Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxin)

Torula Yeast and Brewer’s Yeast are some of the highest sources of vitamin B6. Other good plant sources are whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, potatoes, cauliflower, bananas, and brussels sprouts.

Extreme vitamin B6 deficiency is rare but there are characteristics associated with such deficiency like asthma, PMS, carpal tunnel syndrome, depression, and kidney stones.

Other vitamin B6 deficiencies include depression, glucose intolerance, eczema, impaired nerve function, and cracking of the lips and tongue.

Over 60 different enzyme activities in the human body are required by vitamin B6. It is important for a proper functioning immune system, red blood cells, mucous membrane, skin, and a healthy pregnancy.

The basic defect in autism appears to be a decrease in numerous brain transmitters that require vitamin B6. Although it is not a cure for autism it can help improvement.

People with low pyridoxal (vitamin B6) levels in their blood have a five times greater risk of having a heart attack than someone with normal or high levels. A deficiency of vitamin B6 leads to a buildup of homocysteine.

Type II diabetics with a deficiency of vitamin B6 have a greater risk of having neuropathy symptoms. Vitamin B6 can also help inhibit glycosylation of proteins.

The levels of vitamin B6 inside the cells is directly linked to the magnesium content in the diet. Vitamin B6 must have magnesium present daily.

by John Connor, CNC

ABC's of Nutrition: Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)

Vitamin B12 is only available in animal foods. Rich sources are liver, kidney, fish, cheese, eggs, and meat.

Vitamin B12 is the only water-soluble vitamin that is stored in the liver, kidneys, and other body tissue. Because of this, it can take up to five or six years of poor dietary B12 intake before a deficiency shows itself.

A classic vitamin B12 deficiency is pernicious anemia. B12 deficiency usually affects the brain and nervous system first. This can result in impaired nerve function, which can cause numbness, pins-and-needles sensation, or a burning feeling. Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause impaired mental function in elderly people that mimics Alzheimer’s disease. If the tongue looks red and irritated, that can be another sign of vitamin B12 deficiency.

Vitamin B12 plays a critical role in energy metabolism, nerve function, and immune function. Vitamin B12 with folic acid function as methyl donors. A methyl donor carries and donates methyl groups to other molecules, including cell membranes and neurotransmitters. As a methyl donor, vitamin B12 plays an important role in homocysteine metabolism.

The most common form of B12 is cyanocobalamin, but is only active in two forms, methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin. Methylcobalamin is active immediately upon absorption. The cyanocobalamin form is good when the intrinsic factor is included.

Contrary to popular belief, vitamin B12 injections are not necessary. Therapeutic dosages of oral methylcobalamin or cyanocobalamin with intrinsic factor are more than sufficient.

Vegans and vegetarians should supplement vitamin B12 in their diet. Meats are the only source of vitamin B12. It is rumored that fermented foods like tempeh are good sources but we do not know if the body utilizes the B12 from these vegan sources.

by John Connor, CNC

ABC's of Nutrition: Folic Acid

Green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, chard, beet greens, and Brewer’s Yeast provide the highest amount of folic acid. Other good sources include asparagus, cabbage, oranges, legumes, broccoli, and whole grains.

Folic acid deficiency is the most common vitamin deficiency in the world, despite the wide occurrence in food. Liver and plant sources (mentioned above) are poorly consumed. Folic acid is very sensitive and is easily destroyed by light, heat, alcohol, and some medications.

In a folic acid deficiency, all cells in the body are affected, especially the digestive and genital areas. This is due to a regression in cellular division and growth. Other symptoms include shortness of breath, insomnia, forgetfulness, loss of appetite, and depression.

Folic acid, along with vitamin B12 and SAMe, function as methyl donors. They carry and donate methyl molecules to facilitate reactions, including the manufacture of brain neurotransmitters and DNA.

Homocysteine may promote atherosclerosis by damaging the artery and reducing the integrity of the vessel wall. Folic acid with vitamins B6 and B12 help reduce homocysteine concentrations in the body.

Vitamin B12 should always be taken with folic acid to prevent masking underlying B12 deficiency.

Folic acid is available as folate and folinic acid (5-methyl-tetra-hydrofolate). In order for the body to use folic acid it must be converted first to tetra-hydrofolate and then add a methyl group to form 5-methyl-tetra-hydrofolate. Folate is the most active and best form to supplement.

Folic acid gets its name from the Latin word folium which means “foliage,” because it is found in high amounts of green leafy vegetables.

by John Connor, CNC

ABC's of Nutrition: Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)

Liver and other organ meats, milk, fish, and poultry are some of the highest concentrations of pantothenic acid. Good plant sources include whole grains, legumes, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, strawberries, and oranges. Brewer’s Yeast is one of the highest plant sources. There is no official RDA of pantothenic acid.

Severe pantothenic acid deficiency is characterized by “burning foot syndrome.” Symptoms are numbness or shooting pains in the feet. Fatigue is another sign of pantothenic acid deficiency.

Primary roles of pantothenic acid are to support adrenal function and rheumatoid arthritis. It is also used in the manufacture of coenzyme A (CoA) and acyl carrier protein (ACP). These two compounds play critical roles in the utilization of fats and carbohydrates.

Pantethine, an active form of pantothenic acid, is used to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Pantothenic acid works well with carnitine and coenzyem Q10 in fatty-acid transport and utilization.

An interesting fact about pantothenic acid’s name is that it's derived from the Greek word pantos, which means “everywhere.”

by John Connor, CNC

Caffeine Kicker

It’s no big secret that Americans consume too much caffeine in the form of energy drinks, sodas, coffee, and [sweet] tea. Why do people consume so much caffeine? How does caffeine effect the body?

When you’re stressed to the maximum, your adrenal glands become overburdened. This is known as adrenal fatigue.

When a person is suffering from adrenal fatigue–tired for no reason, trouble waking up in the morning, cravings for salty or sweet foods–the “go-to” source for energy is caffeine. Caffeine stimulates the adrenal glands causing an outpouring of adrenaline and a boost in energy.

Adrenaline enhances mental and physical energy by increasing the amount of glucose to the brain and muscles. If the person is under emotional or physical stress, cortisol is released to combat the stress. Cortisol’s first function, like adrenaline, is to increase blood sugar so the body has more fuel to deal with whatever is causing the stress. Too much adrenaline combined with an imbalance of cortisol and insulin is a condition called adrenaline dominance.

There may be a link between caffeine and mood disorders. Several studies have shown that depressed patients tend to consume higher amounts of caffeine. There are two types of depression: reactive and endogenous. Reactive depression is related to some negative event in a person’s life. Endogenous depression comes from within. The person is depressed but doesn’t know why. Endogenous depression may be caused by excess adrenaline.

High adrenaline levels are the most common cause of anger problems. Anger is a powerful emotion. People release their anger in different ways–hitting a wall or yelling–while others hold it inside. When anger is unconsciously suppressed it can manifest as depression. People who are depressed are nine times more likely to develop an anxiety disorder.

High glycemic foods–potatoes, corn, and refined sugar–along with caffeine can worsen the effects of adrenaline dominance since they both stimulate the adrenal glands. Eating a low glycemic diet is the foundation for healthy adrenal glands. Many health experts advise adrenal fatigue sufferers to cut caffeine completely from their diet.

Rather than depend on caffeine for adrenal fatigue, it is best to address the stress head on. We cannot eliminate stress but there are ways to cope with stress. I recommend a stress outlet. Exercise is great because it burns off excess adrenaline and cortisol. Relaxation techniques–such as prayer–combat the negative effects on stress. Set aside five or ten minutes each day for relaxation. There are nutritional supplements that help fight adrenal fatigue and stress. Vitamin C and pantothenic acid are two essential nutrients for the adrenal glands. There are several amino acids that can help reduce stress. Bio-identical progesterone can also reduce excess adrenaline and stress.

by John Connor, CNC

Thursday, February 15, 2018

ABC's of Nutrition: Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

Rich food sources of niacin include organ meats, eggs, fish, and peanuts. These foods are high in tryptophan. The body can then convert tryptophan into niacin. Other good food sources are legumes, whole grains (except corn), avocados, and milk.

Niacin containing enzymes play a vital role in energy production; the manufacturer of sex and adrenal hormones; and fat, cholesterol, and carbohydrate metabolism. It functions in the body as a component in coenzymes NADP and NAD, which are involved in over 50 chemical reactions in the body.

Niacin is also involved in antioxidant mechanisms, blood sugar regulation, detoxifications reactions, and is best known for its lipid lowering activity. Niacinamide may be a preventative to insulin-dependent diabetes.

Niacin is ornately involved with the other B vitamins in energy metabolism. It can be taken in conjunction with lipid-lowering medications.

Some nutritionists believe that niacin is not an essential nutrient as long as tryptophan is present. Niacin is a blood vessel dilator. This chemical reaction is what causes the “flush” sensation or redness. To avoid skin flushing, the best form of niacin is inositol hexanicotinate. Sustained release niacin is the least preferred choice of all niacin forms.

by John Connor, CNC

ABC's of Nutrition: Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

Organ meats such as liver, kidney, and heart are a rich source of riboflavin. Good plant sources are green leafy vegetables, mushrooms, whole grains, and almonds. Brewer’s Yeast is one of the highest plant sources.

There are distinctive riboflavin deficiencies including an inflamed tongue, visual disturbances such as sensitive to light, cataract formation, cracking of the lips and corners of the mouth, burning and itching of the eyes, lips, mouth, or tongue. Riboflavin deficiency can also cause anemia.

A key benefit to riboflavin is the production of energy in the body. It also helps regenerate glutathione, one of the main cellular protectors against free-radical damage.

Some studies have shown that migraine headaches may be caused by a reduction of energy production in the mitochondria (cellular energy producer). Riboflavin has the capability to increase mitochondrial energy making the cells energy output more efficient.

Riboflavin is destroyed by light but not by cooking. It gives urine a distinctive yellow color and is not a sign of vitamin wasting. Thiamin (vitamin B1) works closely with riboflavin.

by John Connor, CNC

ABC's of Nutrition: Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)

Rich sources of thiamin are soybeans, brown rice, and raw sunflower seeds. Good sources include unprocessed whole wheat and raw nuts. Thiamin is sensitive to alcohol, tannins in coffee and black tea, and sulfites, rendering it useless.

A severe thiamin deficiency results in beriberi. Symptoms of beriberi may include weight loss, emotional disturbances, and impaired sensory perception. Although severe thiamin deficiency is uncommon, many Americans do not consume the RDA in their food.

Thiamin functions as an enzyme that helps with energy production (especially in the brain), carbohydrate metabolism, and nerve cell function. It also mimics the important neurotransmitter involved in memory. In high enough doses (possibly 3 to 8 grams per day) thiamin may help with Alzheimer’s and other age-related mental impairment.

Thiamin was the first B vitamin discovered, hence it is called B1. Magnesium is required to convert thiamin into its active form.

by John Connor, CNC

ABC's of Nutrition: Vitamin C

Contrary to belief, citrus fruits do not contain the highest amounts of vitamin C. Broccoli, peppers, potatoes, and brussels sprouts contain higher amounts of vitamin C. Exposure to air destroys vitamin C, that is why it’s important to use these fresh vegetables and fruits as quickly as possible. For example, sliced cucumbers left standing lose as much as 49 percent of the vitamin C content within three hours. A salad bar may be a healthier choice, but only a fraction of vitamin C is consumed compared to fresh sliced vegetables.

Ascorbic acid is the most widely used form of vitamin C. In recent years a “superior” form of vitamin C came into being known as Ester-C. Manufacturers of Ester-C make the claim that it absorbs better due to the esters (repeating chains) of the vitamin C. Absorption studies do not indicate the body absorbs it better. To justify paying up to three times more for Ester-C the absorption would have to be close to three times the absorption and the research does not support the case.

Taking vitamin C with bioflavonoids may offer the best absorption benefits, but only at a meaningful level. In order to get the greatest benefit to vitamin C, bioflavonoids would have to be equal or greater to the amount of vitamin C per dose.

Scurvy is a severe vitamin C deficiency that primarily affects those in Rome, Greece, and Egypt. Symptoms of scurvy are bleeding gums, poor wound healing, extensive bruising, and more susceptible to infection. In 1742, British physician James Lind may have been the person that linked scurvy to a dietary deficiency. When giving citrus fruits like lemons to his scurvy patients, they healed remarkably faster. Little did Dr. Lind know it was the vitamin C in the lemons that prevailed the deficiency. It wouldn’t be until 1928 that vitamin C was isolated in its ascorbic acid form.

The primary benefit of vitamin C is its manufacturing capabilities of collagen, the main protein substance found in the body. Vitamin C assists in joining the amino acid proline to form hydroxyproline. The result is a stable collagen structure. Collagen is what holds our body together, from connective tissue to cartilage and tendons. Vitamin C is vital for wound repair, healthy gums, bruising, and may be a natural chemical detoxifier.

It is widely debated whether vitamin C directly aids in fighting a cold or flu. We do know from a biochemical view there is overwhelming evidence that it enhances white blood cell function and activity, increases interferon levels, antibody responses, antibody levels, and secretion of thymic hormones.

In times of stress (physiological, chemical, emotional, or psychological) the renal system excretes vitamin C at an excessively higher rate, thereby elevating the body’s need for vitamin C intake during these times.

Vitamin C works as an antioxidant in the water environments of the body, inside and outside of the cells, making it the first line of antioxidant protection in the body. Vitamin E and beta carotene are the primary antioxidant partners to vitamin C because they are fat-soluble. Vitamin C works along side antioxidant enzymes such as glutathione peroxidase, catalase, and superoxide dismutase. It can also help regenerate oxidized vitamin E in the body henceforth potentiating the antioxidant benefits of vitamin E.

Customers are bombarded with “the next great antioxidant supplement.” When doing a side-by-side comparison to a “super antioxidant” product and vitamin C, vitamin C is superior in cost and benefit.

When combining vitamins C and E, selenium, and beta carotene together, they work more effective than as an individual antioxidants. An interesting fact about vitamin C is that animals manufacture their own whereas the human body does not.

by John Connor, CNC

New Research Shows Benefits of Progesterone

A group of scientists from the University of Adelaide in Australia and at Cancer Research UK have confirmed what we in the natural medicine field (referring to those who use bio-identical hormones) have known for over ten years about the benefits of bio-identical progesterone.

Until recently, doctors [especially in the great state of California] have been divided on the effects of progesterone compared to its synthetic counterpart–progestin. Some doctors assumed progesterone promotes breast cancer like progestins do.

Let’s talk estrogen and progesterone receptors.

Estrogen and progesterone receptors are proteins found in some cells in the body, such as breast cells. The receptors are a mechanism that allows estrogen and progesterone to change the behavior of those cells. When an estrogen or progesterone molecule comes in contact with its respective receptor the molecule binds to the receptor and activates it. Once it enters the nucleus of the cell it can “turn on” or “turn off” specific genes that governs the behavior of the cell. The receptors can only do their work if the body provides them with enough progesterone or estrogen to activate them.

For years scientists have known that when activated by most forms of estrogen, estrogen receptors turn on genes with cancerous cells that program those cells to multiply rapidly and stay alive rather than die off as normal, healthy cells do. That means most forms of estrogen, especially estradiol [and it’s metabolites] are potent fuels for breast cancer.

In the latest research study scientists wanted to learn more about progesterone receptors, since most research prior has been spent on the effects of estrogen and their receptors. Which is why we know estrogen receptors fuel cancer cells. But what do progesterone receptors do?

These scientists took breast cancer cells and exposed them to just enough estrogen and progesterone to activate both the estrogen and progesterone receptors. What happened next amazed them.

When activated by progesterone, the progesterone receptors attached themselves to the estrogen receptors. At once the estrogen receptors stopped turning on genes that promoted the growth of cancer cells. Instead it turned on genes that promote the death of cancer cells and the growth of healthy, normal cells.

Many people are deficient in progesterone due to stress caused by adrenaline dominance which can cause a person to become estrogen dominant. If estrogen dominance occurs in women there is more estrogen for estrogen receptors to turn on the genes that promote [breast] cancer cells. A 5% bio-identical progesterone cream can help in a number of ways. By activating progesterone receptors that turn off genes that promote cancer, but also help decrease the symptoms of adrenaline dominance–stress, depression, hyperactivity, irregular blood sugar, and sleep depravation.

by John Connor, CNC

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

ABC's of Nutrition: Vitamin K

Dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, lettuce, cabbage, and spinach provides the richest source of vitamin K. Asparagus, oats, whole wheat (unprocessed), and fresh green peas contain moderate amounts of vitamin K.

There are three main forms of vitamin K. Vitamin K1 is all natural and comes from plants, vitamin K2 is synthesized from gut bacteria, and vitamin K3 is the less preferred form because it is synthetically derived.

All three forms of vitamin K are best known for their coagulating function–manufacturing clotting factors like prothrombin. Vitamin K1 and K2 play a role in bone health.

Vitamin K1 is responsible for converting a bone protein from an inactive form to its active form. Osteocalcin is the main non-collagen protein found in the bone. Vitamin K1 is responsible for allowing the osteocalcin protein to join with calcium and holding the calcium within the bone.

Calcium-regulating proteins in the arteries are called matrix Gla. These proteins are the locking mechanism that keeps calcium from entering into the arterial walls, damaging the arteries, that can lead to atherosclerosis. If enough vitamin K2 is present then the calcium-regulating proteins will not allow calcium to harden the arteries.

It’s important to remember that the body needs calcium. Sometimes it needs to be directed where to go.

Vitamin K may counteract the anticoagulant actions of medications like Coumadin. Anticoagulant drugs prevent clot formation by blocking vitamin K’s activation of prothrombin. Aspirin and certain antibiotics may antagonize vitamin K action.

by John Connor, CNC

ABC's of Nutrition: Vitamin E

Nuts, seeds, and whole grains are good sources of vitamin E, but cooking (heating) or processing these foods, especially flour, reduce their vitamin E content. Other good sources of vitamin E are asparagus, avocados, berries, green leafy vegetables, and tomatoes.

Vitamin E is available in natural and synthetic forms. The natural forms of vitamin E are designated d- and the synthetic forms dl-. Even though the dl- form has antioxidant properties, it inhibits the natural d- form from entering cell membranes. Natural vitamin E has greater antioxidant benefit, whereas synthetic vitamin E should be avoided.

Tocopherols are the compounds that exhibit vitamin E activity. D-alpha tocopherol is the most active antioxidant form, but d-beta, d-gamma, d-delta tocopherols, and other compounds called tocotrienols also utilize antioxidant properties. Natural vitamin E supplements containing mixed tocopherols offer the greatest benefit.

Severe vitamin E deficiency is rare. There are conditions that are associated with low levels of vitamin E – fat malabsorption syndromes (celiac disease and cystic fibrosis), premature infants, and hereditary red blood cell disorders (sickle cell disease).

Vitamin E is a chief lipid phase antioxidant in the body. It incorporates itself into the fat portion of the cell membrane along with carrier molecules. Vitamin E helps to stabilize and protect the cell structure from toxic elements like mercury and lead. Drugs, radiation, and the body’s free-radical metabolites are also protected by vitamin E.

It is primarily an antioxidant, protecting against damage to cell membranes, but vitamin E is also important for immune function. It can help protect white blood cells and the thymus gland from being damaged.

Vitamin E prevents the oxidation of cholesterol and its carriers, and helps prevent initial damage to the arteries that can ultimately lead to hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis).

In addition to vitamin E’s natural anti-atherosclerotic properties, it has the ability to reduce LDL cholesterol peroxidation and to improve LDL plasma breakdown. Vitamin E may help increase HDL cholesterol levels and fibrinolytic activity.

The dosage of vitamin E is partially dependent on the amount of polyunsaturated fats consumed in the diet. Cooking oil made from nuts and seeds are very high in polyunsaturated fatty acids. Polyunsaturated fats are prone to oxidation and rancidity that can damage the cell membrane, but vitamin E helps to prevent against this damage. As the intake of polyunsaturated fats increase, so should the need for vitamin E.

Vitamin E interacts vastly with other antioxidant nutrients such as vitamin C and selenium. It also improves the usage of vitamin A and may be necessary to convert B12 into its most active form, methylcobalamin (or adenosylcobalamin).

by John Connor, CNC

ABC's of Nutrition: Vitamin D

Cholecalciferol, also known as vitamin D3, is the most common dietary form of vitamin D. It can be derived from cod liver oil, cold water fish, butter, and egg yolks.

Ergocalciferol, or vitamin D2, is a vegetable source of vitamin D. Although vitamin D3 is the preferred source of vitamin D, consuming portabella and shiitake mushrooms and alfalfa will provide small amounts of vegetarian vitamin D.

The body can produce vitamin D by sunlight coming in contact with the skin. Dietary and supplementary forms of vitamin D are preferred.

Vitamin D deficiency can result in osteomalacia in adults and rickets in children. This causes an inability to calcify the bone matrix, resulting in bones that become soft and brittle. Deficiencies are most commonly found in women and elderly people either not getting enough sunlight or not supplementing vitamin D. This will lead to bone loss and joint pain.

Vitamin D is best known for insuring the absorption of calcium. The liver stores vitamin D and then uses it as needed. Cholecalciferol is converted in the liver into 25-hydroxycholecalciferol and then into 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol, a more potent form of vitamin D, to promote calcium absorption in the bones and calcium re-absorption from the kidneys. Vitamin D is also very important for proper immune function. Many increase their intake for the winter (i.e. cold and flu season).

Vitamin D is an essential vitamin, primarily involved in calcium metabolism. Certain drugs like cholestyramine, Dilantin, and phenobarbital can interfere with vitamin D absorption. Some body care products and mineral oil can also interfere with absorption.

Vitamin D is also considered a hormone due to sunlight converting into vitamin D through the skin. By correct definition vitamin D is both an oil soluble vitamin and hormone.

by John Connor, CNC

ABC's of Nutrition: Vitamin A



Carotenes represent the most wide spread group of naturally occurring pigments in nature, often red or yellow. Carotenes help transform light into energy through the photosynthesis process.

Retinol is a isolated, pure form of vitamin A. This form of vitamin A is termed retinol because there is an alcohol involved in the function of the retina in the eye. Two other forms of retinol are retinal, an aldehyde, and its acidic form, retinoic acid. Some scientists believe that retinol serves as a precursor to these two forms.

Retinal (aldehyde form of retinol) is primarily involved with vision and reproduction. A synthetic form of retinoic acid can be used to treat some skin conditions and certain types of cancer.

The most common food sources of vitamin A comes in the form of beta-carotene. Yellow-orange vegetables that include carrots, sweet potatoes, yams, and squash. Dark green leafy vegetables like collards and spinach also contain high amounts of carotenes. Carotenes are responsible for the pink hue in wild salmon. This comes from krill, a primary food source for salmon.

A variety of factors influence the absorption of carotenes and vitamin A. Bile acids and pancreatic enzymes are required to facilitate absorption of carotenes. Other factors for absorbing vitamin A and carotenes include the presence of fat, protein and antioxidants in the food. The absorption of dietary vitamin A is high while dietary beta-carotene is much lower.

Once consumed either through food or dietary supplementation, the liver stores up to 90% of the vitamin A in special cells called Ito cells. Vitamin A is stored in a complex form called retinyl esters. As the body needs vitamin A the retinyl esters are broken down and transferred into the blood stream as retinol.

The most common benefit of vitamin A is its effect on the visual system. Vitamin A can play a role in the synthesis of glycoproteins (i.e. mucus). Vitamin A is essential to the immune system because of its role of mucosal secretions and can enhance numerous immune processes. Carotenes in general have a significant antioxidant property. It is believed that vitamin A and beta-carotenes can help increase fertility and reproduction.

Vitamin A is vital for the immune system. Carotenes as an antioxidant can help prevent cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Vitamin A was the first to be recognized as a fat soluble vitamin. Type II diabetics cannot convert beta-carotene into vitamin A.

by John Connor, CNC

Hyperactive Enigma: The Effects of ADHD in Today's Culture

One in ten children ages 5 to 17 has been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Why are so many children being diagnosed as hyperactive? Were children one hundred years ago as hyperactive as today?

ADHD is all about excess adrenaline.

Adrenaline is produced by the adrenal glands. As a neurotransmitter in the brain, adrenaline helps to increase clear thinking; as a hormone, it enhances physical energy.

ADHD is not a learning disorder; it’s an interest disorder. There are three basic types of ADHD according to Dr. Michael Platt, M.D.: a “typical” type, a “creative” type, and a “mixed” type which is a combination of the first two.

In typical type ADHD, adrenaline functions primarily as a hormone, acting on the muscles to cause physical hyperactivity, impulsive, disruptive behavior, or temper tantrums. In extreme cases of typical type ADHD, it can cause anger and aggression (e.g. bipolar disorder).

In creative type ADHD adrenaline functions mainly as a neurotransmitter in the brain, making the brain hyperactive. Adrenaline enhances creativity. In adults we see this type in workaholics, or “type A” personality. I believe most people diagnosed with an attention disorder fall under the “creative” type.

Adrenaline is released when the brain is not getting enough fuel in the form of glucose. The brain uses more glucose than any other tissue in the body.

The body is not designed to consume high-sugar foods. Consumption of high-sugar foods causes an outpouring of insulin, the hormone whose primary function is to regulate the sugar level in the blood. Insulin reduces blood sugar by forcing sugar into muscle cells and fat cells. As excess insulin pushes excess sugar into cells, it can precipitate another drop in sugar level, which prompts another release of adrenaline. A sequence that can continue cyclically.

Electronic devices also stimulate an outpouring of adrenaline. When a child adds an electronic stimulus such as a smartphone, tablet, or video game to a high-sugar diet with little to no physical activity you have a neurological and physiological ticking time bomb that could explode in the classroom or at home.

To my way of thinking, the answer to the hyperactive enigma is a low-glycemic diet, limit the use of electronic devices considerably, and increase physical activity.

One hundred years ago children consumed very little sugar compared to today’s standard diet. They were not overstimulated with noisy electronic devices. Children would play outside and do chores which would burn off excess adrenaline.

We also use a bio-identical USP progesterone cream to expedite results. Progesterone lowers excess adrenaline naturally.

by John Connor, CNC

The Benefits of Probiotics

Probiotics have gained popularity due to their many health benefits. But what are probiotics and how can they benefit you? Probiotics are ...