Got Milk?

Got Milk? Now that’s a question that has received tons of controversy in the past 30 years. Is milk really good for you? Does it make you fat? Does it make you thin? Does it play a role in cancer or heart disease? Does it help promote bone development? Is whole milk better? Is skim milk better? What about pasteurization and homogenization? One day, milk is good for us. The next day, milk is bad for us. I will be honest, in my own personal research on milk, for every article I find praising milk, I can find another one tearing it apart. So, what should we believe? What is the truth? Well, the truth is milk can be good and milk can be bad for us. Huh? I believe the difference depends on some very important questions. Ask yourself, where does the milk come from (organic and pastured-fed or conventional and grain-fed), are their additives (synthetic Vitamin A, D, and thickeners like carrageenan), has it been pasteurized and homogenized, is it whole fat or skim, and finally, what if the person drinking the milk has a milk intolerance? The question of, is milk really good for us? depends on so many variables. So, for us to make an educated decision on choosing or not choosing to add milk to our diet we need to understand a few things… Organic and pasture-fed vs. conventional grain-fed milk. As I discussed in a previous blog, Where is the grass-fed beef? pastured, grass-fed cattle produce a far superior product than commercial, grain-fed cattle. This is not only true in the meat they...

What is up with Vitamin D?

What is Up With Vitamin D? The other day I was consulting with a new client (I’ll refer to her as Julie) about her recent lab work. One thing Julie had a concern about was her Vitamin D level…which was considerably low. Julie wondered how these levels could be so low since she played hours of tennis outside every day. She explained how she was out in the sun daily with only SPF 15 sunscreen. She thought she was getting enough sun…yet was she? It seems in today’s world that everyone is deficient in Vitamin D. I live in the sunniest place on earth, San Diego, and everyone I speak with has some level of Vitamin D deficiency. Knowing we can synthesis our own Vitamin D from the sun, why are we all so deficient? Who or what is to blame about this? Is it too much sunscreen? Poor diet? Liver problems? Kidney issues? Some combination of all four factors? Let’s go deeper so we can see…What is up with Vitamin D? What is Vitamin D? Vitamin D is an essential nutrient obtained from food or sunlight. Vitamin D can be attained by plant sources as ergocaliciferol (D2) and animal sources as cholecalciferol (D3). Its main function is to regulate calcium and phosphorous in the bloodstream and to promote healthy bone formation. With adequate amounts of sunlight, the body can synthesize Vitamin D. By definition vitamins must be obtained by the diet since they cannot be synthesized in sufficient amounts by the organism. This makes Vitamin D unique, since it can be obtained from a source outside of food...

What is Vitamin K?

Vitamin K?  “I didn’t even know there was a Vitamin K?” This is usually the answer I get when I start talking about this amazing Vitamin.  Who knew there was a Vitamin K?  Well, to be honest…you should know.   Vitamin K, although discovered back in 1929, has gained new press these days because of its association with increased bone density and decreased artery calcification.  In fact, Vitamin K could be the missing link scientists have been looking for, in solving the Calcium Paradox.  (The Calcium Paradox is the simultaneous excess of calcium in one part of the body, arteries, and lack in another, bones, which may occur regardless of calcium supplementation.)  So are you eating enough foods with Vitamin K?  Do you even know what foods contain Vitamin K?  No?  Well, good thing you are reading this blog… First:  what is Vitamin K? Vitamin K is a group of fat-soluble Vitamins needed for blood coagulation (blood clotting) increasing metabolic pathways of bone generation and decreasing arterial calcification.  There are two main natural forms of Vitamin K; K1 and K2. We will discuss both since they have significantly different functions. Vitamin K1. Vitamin K1 (also known as Phylloquinone or phytomenadione) was discovered in 1929 by Danish scientist Henrick Dam, and was referred to as Koagulationsvitamin.  As its name implies, Vitamin K1 is involved in blood coagulation.  Without K1 we could bleed to death from a simple paper cut.  Unlike your other fat-soluble vitamins (Vitamin A, D, and E) your body does not store high levels of Vitamin K1 in your tissue.  Luckily your body has a special mechanism that recycles...

The Great Egg Debate

Much like the milk and meat controversy, the egg debate has been going on for years. One day, eggs are a major power protein. The next day, they are as bad for you as cigarette smoking. Just last month, national headlines reported, “Egg yolks almost as bad as smoking”, “Eggs Are Nearly as Bad for Your Arteries as Cigarettes”, and finally, “What do egg yolks and cigarettes have in common?” We are once again left confused, and wondering if that three-egg omelet is really a good idea after all? Recently, a research study by Dr. David Spence, a professor at Western University of Ontario Canada, proclaimed that eating egg yolks regularly (at least 4.5/week) was 2/3 as bad as smoking. Yes, you heard it: eating eggs could kill you almost as fast as puffing away on a pack of Marlboros. Dr. Spence questioned 1,231 elderly men and women from the London Health Science Center, who were recovering stroke patients, on their egg consumption, smoking habits, medications and other lifestyle habits. Ultrasound was then used to measure the amount of plaque build-up in each of the patients. The study found that those who ate more egg yolks per week had almost 2/3 the plague build-up of heavy smokers. The study showed that those who smoked the most and ate the most egg yolks had the most plaque build-up. In comparison, those who smoked the least and ate the least amount of yolks had far less plaque build up. The study also concluded that those who smoked the most also ate the most egg yolks. Apparently, in this study, it seems...

Calcium Supplements…Do you need them?

Calcium supplements… Do you need them? I think this is a very important question to ask since it seems everyone I encounter these days — primarily women — are on some sort of Calcium supplement. Whether it was their doctor, last nutritionist, trainer, or the latest magazine article that told them to take it, most believe their Calcium supplements are necessary. And yes, for some this may be true. Especially since so many people these days are scared of dairy (the best source of Calcium) for one reason or another. Still the question stands, “do you really need it?” And if you do, is the supplement you are taking really working? Most of us know we need Calcium for bone health. Many of us know we need it for proper cell and nerve function. Yet, few of us really understand how Calcium works in the body and what other cofactors are needed for proper absorption and utilization. To really understand if we need to supplement our diets with Calcium and to understand if it is working in our body, we need understand so much more… only then can we make an educated decision on if we actually need a supplement. First, what is the role of Calcium in the body? *Bone and teeth structure *Blood clotting *Nerve and cell function *Muscular contraction *Regulates the heart beat *Lowers blood pressure by down-regulating parathyroid hormone (PTH) 99% of Calcium is stored in the skeletal system (the bones are referred to as Calcium banks). The other 1% is located in the soft tissue and blood. Every day there is a transfer of...