Tag Archives: vitamins

Which supplements should you not overdose on?

Many people take supplements due to the belief that the food that we eat is not nutritious enough, or we cannot get enough of it in our diet and therefore there is a definite need for supplementation. Some people truly believe that they can cut out certain foods because they are taking a supplement for it. So I decided to write a post in order to help people who are curious about what is good and what is bad.Dietary-Supplements

Please whatever you do, do not cut foods from your diet with the belief that you can replace the real thing, because you cannot! It is like saying that taking vitamin D can replace the sun, if that were true then we would seriously be rich. The supplements do help a lot, for example :

VITAMIN D is recommended particularly in the months where we have little sun, as it helps with the absorption of calcium (calcium should be taken with magnesium also for best effects) and it reduces the chances for women in particular of getting osteoporosis. However, even if there little sunshine go out and get at least 30 min of sunshine a day. If you apply suntan lotion etc, you are going to block out the UVB rays you need to make the vitamin D in your body.

Having said that, dairy processors producing pasteurized milk have been fortifying milk with vitamin D since 1933. Today, about 98 percent of the milk supply in the U.S. is fortified with approximately 400 International Units (IU) of vitamin D per quart. While dairies used to fortify their milk with vitamin D2, most have now switched over to the far superior D3.

Because of this fortification, many people believe that drinking milk is enough to support healthy vitamin D levels, but it is very difficult to get enough vitamin D from food sources alone.

most adults need at least 8,000 IU’s of vitamin D a day in order to raise their serum levels to healthy levels.2

As for supplements, while safe sun exposure or safe tanning bed use are the best ways to optimize vitamin D, oral supplementation can be used. However, many are taking vitamin D2 (the type used in many prescription vitamin D supplements), unaware that this form is unlikely to give you the health benefits you’re seeking.

Vitamin D3 is approximately 87 percent more potent in raising and maintaining vitamin D concentrations and produces 2- to 3-fold greater storage of vitamin D than does D2.3

Regardless of which form you use, your body must also convert it into a more active form, and it is estimated that vitamin D3 is converted 500 percent faster than vitamin D2. Vitamin D2 also has a shorter shelf life, and its metabolites bind poorly with cellular receptor sites, further hampering its effectiveness. So if you decide to supplement with an oral form of vitamin D, make sure it’s D3, not D2.

SELENIUM is believed to reduce the chances of prostate cancer and help with conditions such as asthma, arthritis, dandruff and infertility. Some of these have not been proven to have been getting better with the supplementation.

Good natural food sources of selenium include:

While the body can to some extent regulate itself taking certain types of vitamins in excess can be dangerous. In the Journal of Nutrition  an article has been release showing that getting too much selenium elevated LDL cholesterol levels in test subjects by up to ten percent.Other studies have shown that high levels of selenium increase the risk of type 2 diabetes and open angle glaucoma.

Selenium Dangers: Selenium Toxicity

When there’s too much selenium in the body either from the diet or from taking supplements, a condition called selenosis can occur – a form of selenium toxicity. This condition can cause loss of hair and fingernails, nerve dysfunction, changes in personality, and digestive upset. If prolonged, the lungs and liver can be affected which can be fatal. Experts believe that selenium levels greater than 400 micrograms per day pose a risk for this condition. Surprisingly, some mushrooms, depending upon the soil they’re grown in, can have high enough levels of selenium to cause problems.

It is highly unlikely that you are missing selenium from your diet and I would avoid taking this type of supplementation.

VITAMIN C a pharmacist answered the question of whether you can overdose on vitamin C, below is the response.

it is generally not recommended to have more than 2g/day. vitamin C toxicity can result in diarrhea and stomach upset. also, vitamin C can become transient free radicals when they donate electrons, making them pro-oxidants (instead of anti-oxidants). While they are generally more stable and less damaging, too much can lead to more harm than good. high amounts of vitamin c can lead to the formation of kidney stones (vitamin c oxalate crystals)

further, vitamin c has not been shown to decrease symptoms associated with colds or to decrease duration. there is no good evidence of this, and one can conclude that it simply does not work. however, some studies have shown that vitamin c may be beneficial if given regularly BEFORE the onset of a cold (decrease duration by about 1/2 a day).

the fact that you have a cold already and you start doping yourself with vitamin c will simply not be beneficial at all. furthermore, the colds are caused by viruses and are self-limiting. they will go away on its own. save your money on something else…

the only proven thing to cure a cold is adequate hydration and good rest.

OMEGA FISH OIL is very good for you, it has been proven that reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and arthritis. It also helps with the texture of your hair, nails, skin and your brain health. It is really good to take it when you are pregnant for the brain and nervous system development of the child. This is one supplement I would definitely recommend.

According to the American Cancer Society, it is not yet known whether taking large quantities of omega-3 fatty acids is safe or not, nor have their interactions with other drugs been established. There are indications that overdosing on omega-3 fatty acids may increase total blood cholesterol and inhibit blood clotting. Overdosing on omega-3 fatty acids may have harmful effects, such as an increased risk of bleeding, and because of this, people who take blood-thinning medications or aspirin should not take extra omega-3 fatty acids, MayoClinic.com warns.

CALCIUM Millions of people take this supplement, some because of allergies and others to help keep their ageing bones in good condition. Calcium should not be taken without magnesium, as it reduces the magnesium in the system.

The symptoms of a single, acute overdose from accidentally or intentionally taking too many calcium supplements or calcium-containing antacids at one time include stomachache, constipation or diarrhea, headache, nausea and vomiting. An overdose can ultimately lead to mental confusion, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure and coma.

High doses of calcium supplements, vitamin D supplements, other nonfood forms of calcium such as antacids, and calcium-fortified foods consumed on a regular basis in addition to a high-calcium diet, can lead to hypercalcemia. If you are taking a multivitamin supplement that contains 100 percent or more of the daily requirement for vitamin D, do not take a calcium supplement that also contains vitamin D.Chronic high blood levels of calcium can result in kidney stone formation, kidney damage and failure, abnormal heart rhythms, calcification in areas of the body other than bone tissue, dementia and coma. Too much calcium can also interfere with iron absorption.Symptoms of mild hypercalcemia are almost nonexistent, while symptoms of more severe hypercalcemia are similar to those of an acute overdose. In addition, frequent urination and excessive thirst may signal hypercalcemia.A routine blood test indicating high levels of calcium in the blood may be the first indication of hypercalcemia. If you have mild hypercalcemia, drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration and kidney stone formation. If you have more severe hypercalcemia, your doctor may prescribe other treatments, depending on the cause.

Apart from taking supplements, you got to consider how you take them. If you take them in combination this may be rather dangerous or on the other hand not beneficial at all. For example taking calcium and iron together is a no no, because they cancel each other out.

Calcium Interference

Calcium may interfere with the absorption of iron from supplements or your diet. Although the mechanism by which calcium inhibits intestinal absorption of iron remains unclear, the threshold at which interference begins is approximately 300 mg of calcium. Most calcium supplements contain significantly more than this amount. If you are taking iron and calcium supplements, talk with your doctor about dosages, when to take each supplement and potential interactions with foods and medications. Taking your calcium supplement at bedtime and your iron supplement during the day may be a simple way to derive maximum benefit from both products.

Whatever you do decide to take, please make sure that you are not taking it in combination with medication or other supplements that you are not supposed to be taking. Ensure you never take more than the recommended daily allowance and always do your research. Natural foods are always better and advised.


Is it really organic?

Eating healthy is for some people almost an obsession. It seems like dieticians are constantly fascinated with new studies and they start throwing out names like antioxidants, fat free foods, non saturated fat foods etc. The list becomes so large and everyone has their own ideas that we begin to think that the only things that we can eat is pretty much only grass.

Then there are those that say you can eat just about anything as long as it’s organic and then we begin to feel this on our pocket. There are also dieticians that recommend that you don’t eat a wide variety of foods at once, as your digestion finds itself struggling to cope. While others say completely the opposite! On top of it all, some suggest you should eat a lot of meat and then there are some that say you should not eat meat at all.

I am a concerned eater due to my allergies. I been frustrated by all of this advice and lost hope at one stage trying to get it right. I tried absolutely everything under the sun, and although I am a healthy weight right now this used to swing like a pendulum that I had no control over.

The truth of the matter is at the end of the day that the studies are right and wrong, as any solution has two sides.

I always listen to my body, I know when it wants me to eat fruit or when I need to eat something meaty, because I really do crave for it. I could be sitting in front of the TV and my mind will say “I wish I was eating a carrot”. It’s an odd thing to think about, it sounds a bit nutty but if you listen to yourself you will find that the ultimate truth is within you. However, one thing that I have to completely agree with all the dieticians is that we really shouldn’t be eating foods containing those all so suspicious E numbers, colorants and preservatives, and definitely not eating sugar! There are substitutes for sugar and I don’t mean the poisonous sweeteners full of antidepressant substances, but honey for example.

If your body is used to consuming sugars and you don’t cut it out for at least 3 months, you won’t really be able to rely on your cravings because your body is craving anything to add energy into your system when you are in that sugary slump. Your pancreas is on overdrive and your heart is beating faster than you know why.

Also, don’t ever think that you will ever be able to achieve eating everything that is recommended in those diet books in a day, you’ll end up eating yourself half to death. There is no way a person can stuff their face with everything that is good for them in a single day. Variety is key, but overdoing anything is a disaster.

Then there is this huge speculation as to whether you should buy organic or non organic foods. So the organic foods are slightly more expensive, but when you think about it, if the vegetables/ fruit have been sitting on the shelves on the supermarket store for more than 3 days then they probably lost just as many nutrients as the non-organic. I stand to be corrected in terms of thinking that organic foods have more nutritional value than non organic. A very detailed study was performed to find out the truth, I have just copied some of the facts onto my blog, please feel free to read the full article. This article describes that they studied the articles that had been submitted as evidence trying to substantiate that organic foods are better. Out of 50 000 articles only 55 are relevant, as the rest have no founding evidence and are not backed up by facts.

This well-conducted comprehensive review, identified over 50,000 articles but found that only 55 were of satisfactory quality. It found only 11 papers with direct relevance to human health, five of which involved testing cell cultures rather than people. Of the six human studies, four included fewer than 20 participants, giving them little statistical power. The taste, surface pesticide content or appearance of the food was also not researched.

When the authors looked at only those studies of a satisfactory quality, conventionally produced crops had a significantly higher nitrogen content, which is a measure of specific fertiliser use. Organic crops had a significantly higher content of phosphorus and higher titratable acidity (a measure of ripeness of the fruit at harvest). They found no evidence of a difference in the remaining eight crop nutrient categories from the 11 analysed.

When the authors analysed the limited database on livestock products available, they found no evidence of a difference in nutrient content between livestock products produced organically and conventionally.

What interpretations did the researchers draw from these results?

The researchers say that there is no evidence of a difference in nutrient quality between foodstuffs produced organically and conventionally.

They go on to explain that the small differences in nutrient content relate to differences in production methods or were biologically plausible, meaning that they relate to differences such as fertiliser use or the timing of harvest.

Read more.

Of course you make your own decisions about what is wrong or right, but there are facts to be considered.

Regarding soya foods, used commonly by our vegetarian and vegan friends. One thing to note is to alway make sure that you soya has not got soya protein isolators, which affects the thyroid function and is linked to Alzheimer’s Disease, as the soya is put into an aluminium tank in order to allow the acid within it to strip the soya bean of its carbohydrates.

I think when you considering what to eat follow the below guidelines:

1. Have I got at least 3 different veggies on my dish …. (don’t over boil and overcook these so that they keep their vitamins), salad does cover a lot of bases as it can be made with a variety of veggies
2. Have I eaten berries or fruit as snacks throughout the day (2 -3 different types)
3.  Have I got something stable on my plate ie. wholegrain rice or pasta (a complex carbohydrate for slow releasing energy and also something that will allow me to feel full for a long time)
4. Additionally have some form of meat, at least 2 times a week I recommend eating fish

I generally don’t like eating dairy and meat together, because this gives me stomach cramps. I really like snacking on nuts and fruit, like a parrot. Oh, and I really really love olives!

I don’t eat chocolates or sweets, if I do its once in a blue moon. I don’t worry if things are organic or not. I don’t measure my food, although I don’t eat more than when my tummy says stop. Generally one plate of food is the maximum. I never dish up seconds as it is overindulging. 3 course meals are ridiculous and I cannot really manage this, so I break it down to 3 separate meals.

In the last 6 years since I have changed my diet, I haven’t had weight fluctuations. I have had the flu only 3 times in the 6 years and this occurred during the very stressful moments of my life, when I have moved house / country / job all at the same time. Stress related illnesses are the worst, because even food won’t save you there.

Listen to your body it knows you well. I can’t tell you what’s wrong or right for you, you need to figure it out. Start eliminating things and build your pyramid up. What works for some people doesn’t work for others. Diets die and lifestyles are forever.