Tag Archives: vitamin

food sources of magnesium

Here’s Why Your Skin Needs Magnesium

As the fourth most prevalent mineral found in every cell within the body, it should come as no surprise that magnesium is required for so many different bodily functions. In fact, your body uses magnesium in over 300 different enzymatic reactions.

When it comes to your skin, magnesium serves a number of different purposes, from clearing stress-related acne breakouts to preventing wrinkles, making it essential that you are providing your body with the required amount of magnesium each and every day.

Magnesium Reduces Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety are directly linked to the health of your skin.


Each time you feel stressed, your body releases the stress hormone, known as cortisol, which basically puts people into fight or flight mode.

However, when the body experiences chronic stress, cortisol levels begin to really build up, which then triggers the sebaceous glands to produce more oil.

The result?

Clogged pores, inflammation, and, ultimately, acne.

In addition to causing acne, stress can exacerbate other skin conditions, such as eczema and rosacea, and can also accelerate the visible signs of aging.

You’re probably thinking…

What does this have to do with magnesium?

Well, one of the incredible properties of magnesium is that it is a relaxation mineral, and supports adrenal function. Whenever cortisol is released into your body, your kidneys release some magnesium, as the mineral has the ability to regulate and reduce the effects that cortisol has on the body. This then minimizes the detrimental effects that stress can have on your skin.

However, when chronic stress is experienced, it does not take long for magnesium levels to begin running low…

When this happens, your blood vessels tighten and your blood pressure is raised, both of which end up magnifying the effects of stress.

In addition to using magnesium to help lower stress, you should back this up with other stress-relieving methods too, whether this may be a workout or eating foods that lower the cortisol in your body. 

Magnesium Improves Sleep

Your skin needs quality sleep every night in order to thrive, with the time that your body is sleeping being when your skin really works to heal and regenerate itself.  

After all, it is referred to as beauty sleep for a reason…

Without sufficient sleep each night, here are a few of the skin issues that you may experience:

  • An increase in inflammation, which leads to the breakdown of collagen, the protein that gives your skin its structure and firmness
  • Poor water balance, leading to dryness and accelerated aging
  • Increases cortisol in body, meaning it has the same effects on your skin as stress does  
  • Exacerbation of existing skin conditions, such as eczema, psoriasis and acne

So, how can magnesium help?

In a number of ways…

To begin with, as mentioned above, magnesium helps to reduce stress and anxiety, which in itself is enough to really help many people finally experience some quality sleep.

Magnesium also helps the muscles in the body to relax, which, as you would imagine, makes quality sleep much easier.

Another one of magnesium’s roles is in the synthesis of serotonin, which is the precursor of melatonin.

What is melatonin?

A hormone that your brain produces, which controls your sleeping and waking cycles. Studies have shown that those who take magnesium supplements have higher levels of melatonin in their bodies than those who do not.

Magnesium is a Powerful Anti-Inflammatory

There are many ingredients out there that are touted as being anti-inflammatory, but what exactly does this mean?

Well, inflammation is the way in which your body naturally fights off attackers, whether this may be bacteria, chemicals or even foods. In the short run, this is a good thing, but chronic inflammation is becoming increasingly common, and this is where the problems begin. 

Here are a few of the skin issues that inflammation can cause:

  • Acne
  • Rosacea
  • Premature aging, in the form of fine lines, wrinkles and sagging skin 

Magnesium has been proven to significantly reduce inflammation within the body, which would then help to reduce any skin issues that have been brought about by inflammation.

Magnesium also targets skin inflammation directly…


Well, one of the ways it does this is by inhibiting e-selectin, which is a molecule that is responsible for inflammation within the skin. When your skin is damaged, it is e-selectin that sends inflammation to the site of damage, but, in the case of chronic damage, which can be caused by anything from sun exposure to smoking, e-selectin never stops working.

Magnesium can help with this, and therefore minimize and prevent the angry red lesions that e-selectin causes.

Magnesium Helps the Gut to Thrive

Many people do not realize that the health of their gut can have a direct impact on their skin…

Here are a few of the skin issues that poor gut health can cause:

  • Acne
  • Eczema
  • Rosacea
  • Dry Skin
  • Psoriasis
  • Facial Redness

In addition to boosting immune function, mood and energy levels, improving the health of the gut has been scientifically proven to lead to clearer skin.

However, science has also proven that a magnesium deficiency will lead to noticeably lower concentrations of good bacteria in the gut.

There is an ideal balance required between good bacteria and bad bacteria in the gut, and, without the right amount of magnesium in your body, this gets completely thrown off.

bacteria in human gut

Are you wondering how magnesium actually affects the gut?

To begin with, magnesium is key when it comes to activating the enzymes responsible for breaking down the food that you have eaten, meaning that, without enough of it, poor digestion will be experienced.

Magnesium is also important when it comes to controlling the contraction and relaxation of the bowel. Without enough magnesium, your bowel will be slower at emptying, which will then cause even more problems for the good bacteria in your gut.

Magnesium Helps to Fight Insulin Resistance

Just like cortisol, insulin is a hormone that is good in small doses, but detrimental to your skin when around for longer periods of time.

What exactly does insulin do?

It basically controls your blood sugar levels, keeping this low. It takes any excess glucose in your blood and helps to convert it into energy, rather than allowing it to become toxic to the body.

However, modern-day diets often contain far too much sugar, resulting in the body producing way too much insulin…

This then results in your cells becoming resistant to excess glucose, meaning that it is no longer converted into energy. The long-term result of this is diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

When it comes to the skin, insulin resistance increases the amount of oil that your sebaceous glands produce, which quickly leads to clogged pores, acne and inflammation.

However, studies have shown that those who increase the amount of magnesium they are consuming are able to lower their metabolic markers for insulin resistance by an impressive 71%. There are many other studies on this subject out there, with another one showing that magnesium was able to significantly prevent type 2 diabetes from developing.

How Much Magnesium Do You Actually Need?

When it comes to the amount of magnesium that you actually need, recommendations vary quite a bit, with some professionals saying around 300-400mg per day, while others say 800-1000mg per day.

So where do you actually get magnesium from?

Well, historically, magnesium was found in high concentrations in the soil, which meant that it made its way into the food that people would eat.

However, the soil that is used to grow our food today has been severely over-farmed, and is seriously depleted of magnesium.

Of course, magnesium can still be found in small amounts in certain foods, such as:

  • Dark, leafy greens – the darker, the better
  • Oily fish – such as sardines and mackerel
  • Seaweed and kelp
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Dark chocolate

10 foods high in magnesium

However, keep in mind that today’s food really only contains magnesium in tiny amounts.

For example, in order to consume your daily requirement of magnesium, you would need to eat more than 33 cups of spinach every day, or over 22 cans of sardines.

This is where magnesium supplements come in…

Unfortunately, in today’s world, this is really the only way to ensure that your body is obtaining its required amount of magnesium each day.

Even if you do not take any other supplements, magnesium is one that you really should consider. As you will have read above, this is a mineral that is so vital when it comes to the various daily functions within the body.

While it is usually better to opt for whole foods that contain the nutrients that you need, this just is not possible when it comes to magnesium, making supplements essential.

Choosing a Magnesium Supplement

magnesium supplement

There are so many different types of magnesium supplements out there, and it can be really difficult knowing which one you actually need.

Magnesium supplements are not all created equally…

The biggest factor that they vary in is how bioavailable they are to the body.

Here are a few of the most common magnesium supplement types:

  • Magnesium Oxide – inexpensive but can have a laxative effect
  • Magnesium Citrate – budget-friendly and more bioavailable than magnesium oxide
  • Magnesium Sulfate – also known as Epsom salts, these also provide sulfur, which is great for soothing aching muscles
  • Magnesium Chloride – highly bioavailable
  • Magnesium Glycinate – optimum bioavailability

Wondering how much you need to take?

As mentioned above, the guidelines vary quite a bit. Some people experience great results with just 250mg a day, whereas others need about 700mg a day to notice a difference.

Your best bet is to start off with a low dose, and then gradually increase this. You cannot really go overboard with taking too much, and it would be really difficult to cause magnesium toxicity, but, as always, exercise common sense.

Topical Magnesium

In addition to consuming magnesium, you can also apply it to your skin topically.

There are many skin care products out there that are formulated with magnesium, or, alternatively, you could use a magnesium oil. Since this is quite a concentrated product, it should not be applied to the face. Instead, apply it to a part of your skin that encourages absorption, such as your inner arm, and then let it soak in.

Epsom salts are another great source of magnesium, and you can absorb this mineral through your skin.


By taking a soak in an Epsom salt bath. Your skin will absorb just the right amount of magnesium that your body needs, and you will also be gaining the benefits of sulfur. Baths with Epsom salts have been proven to be an even better source of magnesium than consuming supplements, making this a method definitely worth trying.

How much should you be adding to your bath?

The recommended amount is around two cups for a well-filled bath, and you should soak in this for 10 to 15 minutes. While it may be tempting to indulge in the bath for a little longer, do not forget that leaving your skin to soak in hot water for so long will bring about its own detrimental effects. 

To boost the amount of magnesium that enters your skin during the bath, try giving your skin a dry brush beforehand.

Avoiding the Things That Inhibit Magnesium Absorption

While magnesium absorption is something that happens naturally, there are certain things that can inhibit this, and therefore leave you more magnesium-deficient than you would have thought.

Eating foods that have been laden with pesticides is one of these things, as is drinking water that contains fluoride.

Prescription drugs are also best avoided when possible, as is dairy, soda and sugar.

With around 80% of Americans being deficient in magnesium, this is a mineral that you need to take extremely seriously. The symptoms of a magnesium deficiency are so varied, so it is well worth trying out a magnesium supplement and seeing how this could not only benefit your skin, but also your overall health.

Your Guide To Making Summer Stains Disappear

vine vera banner Your Guide To Making Summer Stains Disappear

Quick! What do these things all have in common: ice cream, the beach, hiking, hot dogs, hamburgers, berries, and sweat? If you guessed all things to do with summer, you’re half right! What is the other half? All things likely to cause stains. Summer brings with it not only its own unique set of activities, but its own unique set of stains caused by those activities, and that could be bad news for your white crop top. But have no fear, for every stain, there is a solution. Here are some of the ways you can help keep your summer clothes stain free.

Ice Cream
What’s summer without ice cream, and what’s ice cream without a big chocolate stain on the front of your shirt? Don’t let run away scoop get in the way of your summertime pleasure. Rinse with cold water, apply a stain pretreatment, fill a sink with cool water, and a few drops of detergent, and let soak.

Ah, the berries of summer. A vast array of colorful fruits, all with a potential to do some heavy damage to your pastels. Don’t abandon your antioxidants! Use a spatula or knife to scrape off excess. Apply a formula of 1/2 teaspoon dish soap, and 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide and rinse.

Ketchup is the world’s most popular condiment and most likely to end up on your shirt. Don’t let it dampen your barbecue fun. Pretreat with stain remover. If any of the stains remain, use a clean toothbrush or eye dropper to apply white vinegar to lighten it.

With summer comes the opportunity to get out in the great outdoors. Unfortunately, the great outdoors is full of dirt. Don’t let dirt keep you from getting your vitamin D! Wait for the stain to dry. Scrape off excess. Dilute a gentle detergent with water and rub it on to form a lather. Rinse. If the stain remains, apply a solution of one part vinegar, and one part water to lighten it.

vine vera banner Your Guide To Making Summer Stains Disappear

Underarm Yellowing
Nothing like a good workout in the summer to yellow the underarms of your favorite white shirt. Don’t let a sweat stain stop you from getting in your daily aerobics! For a fresh stain, apply some shampoo. If the stain is older, make a paste by mixing four digestive enzyme tablets with 1 tablespoon of water, and let sit for an hour.

If you’re headed out to the ball game this summer, a hot dog may seem like a great idea until the mustard drips on the seat of your pants. Don’t let mustard stains keep you from rooting for your favorite team. Just flush the stain with some white vinegar, apply a dish soap solution using one tablespoon clear soap and ten ounces of water and let sit for fifteen minutes.

Summer and wine were meant to go together. Wine and your clothes, not really, If you’re carefree lifestyle is taking its toll on your clothes, never fear! For red: Coat the stain with salt, boil some water, and stretch the fabric over a bowl. Pour the boiled water onto the spot from a foot above. For white: Run cold water on the stain, spray with dish soap solution (one tablespoon clear soap, ten oz water), and dab with detergent.

Got summer stains? Let us know how you deal with them! We want to know!

Vitamin B for Youthful, Radiant Skin

vine vera banner presents Vitamin B for Youthful, Radiant Skin

The vitamin B complex. It may be fair to say it’s the vitamin complex that puts the ‘B’ in beauty. Sure Vitamin A is the “gold standard” when it comes to aging, and vitamin C and E are both powerful antioxidants, but when it comes to strengthening skin, hair, and nails, you can’t really beat the B vitamins. Let’s have a look at this beautifying octet and see why B vitamins are so essential for youthful skin, healthy hair, and tough as nails.

Vitamin B
First thought to be one vitamin, later found to be eight, the B vitamins work together to keep our bodies working like the well-oiled machines they are. B1, B2, B3, B5, B7, B8, B9 and B12 all perform slightly different functions that help provide nutrients to our bodies and prevent everything from memory loss to migraines. However, lately vitamin B has been coming into attention from the beauty world, with a large number of studies showing how vitamin B’s inclusion in face creams can be a key component in the prevention of aging.

Nicotinamide, a vitamin B-3 derivative, in particular, has been shown to help the upper layer of skin retain moisture, with less dryness, flakiness, and fine lines, and has demonstrated skin brightening properties when added to moisturizers.

B Vitamins For Skin
Dull and unhealthy skin and certain chronic skin issues have all been associated with a vitamin B deficiency. B-12 regulates pigment location and production which can prevent darkening of the skin on certain parts of the body related to hyperpigmentation. Vitamin B3 can be used to minimize the appearance and degree of severity in some skin conditions, and B5 can help with acne by breaking down oils.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, supplementing with B5 can lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels to promote healthy skin indirectly, and can, more specifically help to prevent acne by breaking down the oils in these compounds. Vitamin B5 has also been linked with a fast healing of wounds, especially when combined with vitamin C.

B Vitamins For Hair
B vitamins metabolize food, which means nutrition goes to the whole body, hair follicles included. B1, B2, B3, and B5 deficiencies can all result in weak hair follicle cells, and lack of B9, or folic acid, can slow cell division in follicles, slowing down growth.

Vitamin B7 or biotin, otherwise know as the “beauty vitamin” can help maintain strength, tone, and texture of hair and can even prevent hair loss caused by poor thyroid health and biotin deficiencies. Biotin can also be used to treat cradle cap in infants.

B Vitamins For Nails
Strong nails require a number of B vitamins to stay healthy. Vitamin B12 or riboflavin helps with iron absorption necessary for nail health, too little of which results in white, thin, brittle nails, and even abnormal nail growth. B12 also plays a role in the formation of red blood cells, hence the prevention of anemia, one of the symptoms of which is unhealthy nails. Vitamin B9, or folate, helps with the development of new cells, which contributes to nail growth.

While the body usually produces its own vitamin B, food sources include fish, meat, and vegetables. Fish has the highest B content, with salmon, tuna, trout, and cod topping the list. Lamb, poultry, eggs meat, and dairy are also good sources of Vitamin B and certain fruits, vegetables and legumes also rank high on the list. Avocados, pomegranates, and berries are all high in Vitamin B, as are green leafy vegetables, potatoes, and squashes. Soybeans, lentils, and kidney beans also have high concentrations of the vitamin.

What do you think? Does Vitamin B complex put the “B” in beauty? Let us know!

Add Some Avocado Oil To Your Diet

Life seems to be getting better. First, olive oil becomes the new superfood, and Italian food is back on the menu. Then, we find out dark chocolate has antioxidants and our afternoon snack got a lot more interesting, But now, a true star has emerged, avocado oil, and indeed, it may be the happiest thing to happen to food thus far.

When scientist David Fairchild declared avocados to be, “the veritable fruit of paradise,” he literally said a mouthful. The avocado is in no way your usual fruit. It is full of healthy fat and produces oil. Avocado oil may not be as popular as olive oil, but it is certainly just as chockfull of health benefits and every bit as tasty.

avocado oil
Lowers Blood Pressure
The mono saturated fats in avocado oil can lower blood pressure naturally when used as a replacement for transfats and saturated fats in your diet. According to a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association, partially substituting carbohydrates with mono saturated fats and protein can improve lipid levels, lower blood pressure and reduce cardiovascular disease.

Eases Arthritis Pain
ASU is an extract made from a combination of soybean and avocado extract which has recently received prescription drug status in France as a treatment for knee and hip osteoarthritis. In Denmark, ASU is used as a dietary supplement for its anti inflammatory properties and ability to stimulate growth and repair of cartilage.

Benefits Skin Problems Like Psoriasis
Psoriasis is a common skin problem causing the buildup of dead skin cells. A study published in Dermatology proved a B12 cream with avocado oil to be effective as a topical treatment for psoriasis. Patients using the oil for 12 weeks showed regular improvement during the study period. This is a significant finding, as most psoriasis medications are associated with side effects. Avocado oil may offer a risk free alternative.

Lowers Cholesterol and Improves Heart Health
Because it is high in content of monounsaturated oleic acid, avocado oil has the ability to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease by raising the body’s “good” cholesterol and lowering bad cholesterol. Monosaturated fatty acids, such as oleic acid have also been shown in clinical studies to reduce risk factors for coronary heart disease, such as factors affecting formation of blood clots and insulin sensitivity.

Avocado Oil Uses
Boosts Absorption of Nutrients

A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that avocado oil can also help to increase the body’s absorption of carotenoids. Carotenoids are antioxidants that depend on healthy fats for absorption. Dietary carotenoids are thought to have numerous health benefits, including the ability to decrease risk of cancers and eye disease.

Using Avocado Oil
When purchasing avocado oil, make sure the oil is 100% pure, for the healthiest and highest quality. It can be used in the same way olive pile is used, that is as a dressing on a salad or sandwich, or to roast or sautee foods. Avocado oil is also known for its regenerative properties and can used in hair to moisturize and improve texture and in skincare for eye makefup removal, dry cuticles, and cracked heels and wrinkle reduction.

Have you tried avocado oil yet? Let us know how you used it, whether on your skin or in your food!

Using Aloe As A Go-To Skin Cleanser

Woman with aloe vera Those who have seen the movie, “The Campaign,” may remember the bumbling Will Ferrell character, Cam Newton attempting to recite the Lord’s prayer: “Our Father, Art, who is up in Heaven. Aloe Vera be thy name.” Although Cam may have been a little off base, it might not be that surprising if one were to find out that aloe vera is indeed included in the holy recitation. After all, aloe vera has quite a resume. It has been mentioned in the Bible, hailed by Mahatma Gandhi for helping him survive his fast, and praised by Christopher Columbus upon his landing in the New World.

In fact, the ancient aloe vera plant has been credited with everything from clearing up acne to assisting with digestive problems to fighting cancer and, as if this wasn’t enough, it now appears that aloe vera can add a new title to its impressive list; cleanser.

Protecting the Skin
The skin is the largest organ of our body and comprises our outermost, protective layer. This means it is an easy target for pollution, free radicals, and dirt which end up taking their toll, which is why women and men spend so much money and time on products and procedures to reverse the effects. The most basic of these products are cleansers.

Many products have been designed to clean skin, but some people are not so fond of the ingredients that some of them use, and find themselves bewildered by the unpronounceable ingredients on the product label. For those of you looking for an alternative, aloe vera, or products with aloe vera, may be just the solution.

Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera
Ok. Let’s take a closer look at this miraculous plant. Aloe vera is packed vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that can relieve skin and digestive complications and protect the body from free radicals, bacteria and inflammation. It also contains mucopolysaccharride, which locks in the skin’s natural moisture leaving it hydrated and fresh. Here are three ways to use it on your skin.

  1. Mix a half teaspoon of milk with a tablespoon of brown sugar in a cup. Let sit until the sugar no longer has a grainy appearance. Using a spoon, peel the aloe vera gel from its leaves and add it to the mixture. Spread the concoction on your skin allowing it to seep in for five minutes before rinsing with water.
  2. Spread the plant’s gel directly on the skin without combining it with any other ingredients. The gel can be applied as an overnight mask which should be washed off in the morning.
  3. Mix two smidgens of turmeric, a teaspoon of milk and two drops of rose water. When it turns to a pasty consistency, throw in some fresh aloe vera gel and stir it until it blends in completely with the paste. Apply the mixture to your neck and face and leave it on for up to twenty minutes before rinsing it off with warm water. Tip: Drain out yellow sap and wash off leaves before removing the gel from the plant.

If you tried any of these, we’d love to know how it went! Do you think we should add aloe vera to the Lord’s Prayer? Please drop us a line and let us know!

Vitamins in Skin Care Products

Woman buying beauty products

In 1933, a statement was released involving the “study of vitamins” and the “constant development of new and novel methods for their administration.”  The statement went on, “One of these is the application of ointments or creams rich in vitamin containing substances directly to the skin.” It followed that this practice would help to correct, “mild skin morbidities, large pores, lines, wrinkles, sallowness, etc.” Twenty years later, Helena Rubenstein’s released her Lanolin Vitamin Formula with vitamin A.  It would set you back $1.50 for a one month supply and $2.50 for a two month supply. We’ve come a long way since then! Well, whatever your “skin concerns” may look like, there’s probably vitamin for that today.

According to Mary Lupo, MD and professor of dermatology at Tulane University, “the body only delivers only a certain percentage of vitamins to your skin, no matter how much you ingest.” Our bodies do their best, but in order to guarantee that we’re hitting the target, we need to make sure that we help out by putting these vitamins there ourselves.  One of the best ways of doing so is by looking out for certain vitamins in your skin care products.

Vitamin E
Otherwise known as tocopheryl, vitamin E works in several ways to provide antioxidant benefits to the skin.  Although both natural and synthetic forms of the vitamin are beneficial, the natural form is more potent and longer lasting.  Vitamin E helps to protect skin from environmental pollutants and is found often in sunscreen because of its ability to defend skin against UV light.  Pair it with Vitamin C for a one-two punch against aging.

Vitamin B3
Vitamin B3 is best for reducing redness and boosting hydration. Also known as niacinamide, vitamin B3 increases productions of fatty acids and ceramides, which are both play major roles in the skin’s protective barrier. Says Leslie S. Baumann, MD and director of the University of Miami Cosmetic Medicine and Research Institute, “As that barrier is strengthened, skin is better able to keep moisture in and irritants out.”  The results of one study showed that moisturizers containing B3 tempered the redness caused by rosacea.  In addition, the wonder vitamin interferes with the transfer of pigment to cells in the skin, decreasing the appearance of dark spots.

vitamin c

Vitamin C
Also listed as ascorbic acid, Vitamin C is a superstar for diminishing  the look of dullness, wrinkles, uneven skin tone and fine lines. Vitamin C is a proven preservative of skin’s resiliency and helps to smooth and firm skin, while evening out skin tone, increasing hydration  and making it visibly more radiant. Hema Sundaram, MD, advises looking for moisturizers with this vitamin in the list of ingredients and see the benefits for yourself.

Retinol, or Vitamin A, more commonly, is probably the gold standard of ingredients for skin, providing benefits to combat everything from bumps, rough texture, wrinkles, and fine lines  According to Doris Day, MD and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at University Langone Medical center, “There are more than 700 published studies on retinoids.  They’re tried and true ingredients.  Anyone who wants younger looking skin should use one.”

Vitamin K
If you want younger, brighter looking eyes,  you may want vitamin K. One study concluded that daily use of vitamin K in an eye cream over four months lightened under eye circles significantly, but because of the retinol content in the cream, it was unclear which vitamin was responsible. However, Dr. Berman says the retinol may ease Vitamin K’s ability to be absorbed by skin and prevent darkness.

Let us know what vitamins your skin has been taking and how they’re working for you.  We love to get your comments and suggestions.

Nutrients You Might Be Missing from Your Vegan Diet

woman with salad
No matter what your take on veganism is, you have to give vegans credit. They gave up cheese for this. That means they can’t walk into the Cheesecake Factory and order a slice of White Chocolate Mousse. They can’t walk into a Pizza Hut and order the stuffed crust. They can’t munch on cheese doodles while watching the game, they can’t get a cheeseburger at MacDonald’s and they can’t eat those cheese doodles stuffed with more cheese. So good for them, you may say. Who needs to put all that junk in their bodies? Well, while it’s safe to say most of us could live safely, and probably for a much longer time, without ever eating the aforementioned for the rest of their lives, there is some proof that a vegan diet may be lacking in certain nutrients and not just cheese. Here’s what you need to know to make sure you get what you need while maintaining the lifestyle you choose.

Vitamin B 12
Known as the energy vitamin, your body needs B 12 for blood formation, energy production, reproductive health and DNA synthesis. Signs of Vitamin B12 deficiencies include fatigue, impaired function of the brain and megaloblastic anemia. It has also been associated with neurological and psychiatric disorders like an Alzheimer’s and heart disease.
If you are a hardcore vegan, Nori Seaweed and tempeh both contain small amounts of vitamin B12. If you do not eat these foods regularly, you should take a B-12 supplement to make sure you’re getting all the energy you need.

Woman with vitamin D3
Vitamin D3
You may have heard of Vitamin D3 as the steroid hormone you get from sun exposure. However, what you may not know is that it’s also involved in the machinery of all the cells and tissues in your body and is crucial for disease prevention Although sun exposure is the best way of getting Vitamin D, researchers are now finding that some foods contain some pretty meaningful amounts of it. It is estimated that the average adult in the central United States gets about 1,500 – 2,000 IUs of Vitamin D from food; specifically meat, egg yolk and fatty fish. However, even if you do eat these foods, most of your vitamin D does come from sunlight and, if you are not a fan of the sun, without a Vitamin D supplement, deficiency is all but guaranteed. So if sun is not your thing,make sure to stock up on the D supplements.

Animal-Based Omega-3 DHA
Docosahexaenoic acid is an omega 3 fat found in animals like krill and fish necessary for heart health and brain function. In addition, pregnant women with DHA deficiencies put their children at risk for developmental problems. Although plant based omega-3 fats can be found, it takes a combination of them to get a sufficient amount of DHA. If you’re determined to get your DHA from plants, try combining hemp and flax with krill oil, an animal based omega-3 with an antioxidant 48 percent more potent than fish oil. It is also sustainable and eco- friendly.

Heme Iron
Although iron is found in plant and animal foods, heme iron is found only in meat, usually red meat. The iron found in plants is not absorbed well by the body, which can increase the risk of anemia for vegetarians and vegans. If you need to supplement with heme iron, a safe form is carbonyl iron, as opposed to the often toxic ferrous sulfate.

Meat and fish are the only ways to get the amino acids you need to produce protein. Without animal protein, you increase your risk of sulfur deficiency. Sulfur is vital for the activity of enzymes and proteins. If you don’t have a sufficient amount, it can affect joints, bones, metabolic processes and connective tissue. A 2012 study showed that low intake of sulfur by vegans and vegetarians can result in increased risk of heart attack and cardiovascular diseases. If you are a staunch adversary of meat, seek your sulfur in coconut and olive oil. If you are looking to supplement, Methylsufonylmethane or MSM is the organic form of sulfur, naturally found in plants.

If veganism is part of your way of life, let us know about it. Do you miss cheese? We want to hear your struggle.

Signs And Symptoms Of A Vitamin D Deficiency

woman exposing to sun

Do you know that there is a theory that the reason the dinosaurs died out is because an asteroid blocked the sun and prevented the lizards from producing enough vitamin D to support them? Supporters back this with the evidence that only nocturnal rodents survived dinosaurs and sunlight certainly weren’t an issue for them.

Vitamin D is crucial for maintaining strong bones and assisting with the distribution of calcium throughout the body. Many people who have a Vitamin D deficiency are not aware of it because they assume that consuming foods with Vitamin D, such as milk, will guarantee that the body gets an adequate amount. However, very few foods have the needed levels of Vitamin D. Vitamin D is an irregular vitamin. It is a steroid hormone and its primary source is not food, but the sun.

Signs You May Have A Vitamin D deficiency
Although the only way to know for sure whether you suffer from a Vitamin D deficiency is by blood testing, there are some symptoms that may be early indicators.

Your Skin Is Dark
According to Vitamin D researcher Dr. Michael Horlick, your skin pigment provides natural sunscreen and the more pigment you have, the more difficult it will be to obtain Vitamin D. That means that African Americans need 10 times more sun exposure to produce the same amount of the vitamin as a light skinned person and are at greater risk of Vitamin D deficiency.

You Feel Depressed
Serotonin, the chemical in your brain that keeps you happy, increases with exposure to light. A 2006 study showed that patients with low levels of vitamin D are 11 times more likely to be depressed than those who obtained adequate amounts.

You Are 50 Or Above
As skin ages, it doesn’t produce as much Vitamin D as it once did. Furthermore, kidneys are less efficient in changing Vitamin D into a form which is usable by your body. Vitamin D deficiencies are common in people 50 and over.

You Are Overweight Or Have High Muscle Mass
Since vitamin D is fat soluble it sinks or gets absorbed by body fat. If you are overweight, your body is going to need to collect more sun than the average person to compensate for the quick absorption rate. People with high body weights caused by muscle mass are similarly affected and should also make sure to get adequate sun exposure.

Achy Bones
Many people who visit their doctors in hopes of seeking relief for achy bones and fatigue may be misdiagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia, when they are actually suffering from a lack of Vitamin D. It may be that the lack of vitamin D is interfering with the entrance of calcium into the collagen in the bones, resulting in the actual cause of bone pain.

Gastrointestinal Trouble
Since Vitamin D is fat soluble, a condition that affects the ability to absorb fat may also be responsible for low vitamin D absorption. Common causes are gluten sensitivity, Crohn’s Disease and inflammatory bowel disease.

Treating Vitamin D Deficiency
The optimal amount of daily vitamin D is between 50 and 70 mg. The best way to ensure that you get your recommended dose is sun exposure. Since so many factors, such as age and skin color, influence the optimum amount of sun exposure a person needs per day, Dr. Horlick recommends that , as a general guideline, you should spend enough time in the sun for your skin to turn a very light pink, or about half the time it would take to get a light sunburn. Vitamin D supplements are also available at most drug stores.

The Calcium – Vitamin D Combo Explained

Calcium and vitamin D

It has been said that beauty and is in the bones and, surely, there is truth in this saying  After all, it is the skull that is responsible for the shape of the face,  one of the most valued and obsessed over parts of our body.   Bones also make movement possible, allowing us to perform our all important exercise routines and to walk with ease and grace. Indeed, where would we be without these all-important tenants of the body?  We would be shapeless sacks of flesh.  Imagine how we would look in our jeans!  We should also note that bones are responsible for protecting our vital organs and sheltering our reproductive organs. But, while we are singing the praises of bones, we should also note that, if we want our bones to continue to keep us healthy and beautiful, we need to make sure they get plenty of calcium and, in order to make sure that calcium does its job,  it  needs to be paired with vitamin D.

Calcium is a mineral that is naturally found in foods and is necessary for bone formation and maintenance.  Because our bodies don’t produce this mineral, it is vital that we obtain it from outside sources.  Vitamin D is necessary for the absorption of calcium from the stomach, hence the calcium vitamin D combination.  Used together, they can prevent calcium deficiencies and osteoporosis.  So how can we make sure that we are getting enough of both?

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation,  the recommended dosage of calcium for the average adult is between 1000-1300 milligrams daily.  It is generally higher for women over 50.  It is recommended that people get 200- 800 international units of Vitamin D.  You can find both these vitamins in supplement form, but be warned those of you who choose to go this route!!  You may avoid calories, but you will sacrifice benefits.  Synthetic supplements contain chemical binders, toxic preservatives, artificial fillers and even coal and tar derivatives!!  We are far better getting our calcium and Vitamin D from natural sources.  Some of the best food sources of calcium include okra, spinach, collards, kale, soybeans, white beans and OJ.  You can get your vitamin D from fatty fish (like tuna, mackerel, salmon), cheese, egg yolks, and beef liver.  Doctors also recommend exposure to sunlight as a way of getting your Daily Dose of D.

And, this just in!  To give the calcium and vitamin D a major boost, add Vitamin K!  According to Doctor Joseph Mercola, Vitamin K is a vitamin generally used in blood clotting.  However, it has been newly discovered that it can also move calcium around to the proper parts of your body, like your bones and teeth.  Although exact numbers have not been confirmed, it is recommended that a person gets 180 to 200 mgs. of Vitamin K per day.  K can be found in leafy, green vegetables.

So now your set!  You’ve got your calcium for strong bones, vitamin D to make sure the calcium is absorbed and Vitamin K to make sure it gets to the right place.  So go out and get your vitamins and be beautiful!!!

Aloe Vera Cure All

Aloe Vera
Aloe vera. It’s in most of our medicine cabinets and used in our favorite skincare products. But did you know that in Chinese medicine it is recommended in the treatment of fungal diseases and has widespread use in the cosmetic, pharmaceutical and food industries? In fact, the manufacturing of aloe vera extracts is one of the largest botanical industries in the world. Find out what it can do for you.

Soothes Rashes and Skin Irritations
Sure, when we have a rash or sunburn, aloe vera may be the first thing we reach for. But did you know that numerous reports have explored the role of topical aloe vera and its effectiveness in treatment of psoriasis, surgical wounds and burn remedies yielding astonishing results?

A 1996 study done at the Department of Clinical Physiology in Sweden tested 60 patients with chronic psoriasis and found results when part of the group used aloe vera vs. others who used a placebo. Those who used aloe vera came up with a cure rate of 83% with no relapses reported in a 12 month follow-up. Also, a systematic review of 40 studies was performed in 2009 showing that the oral administration of aloe vera in mice can heal wounds, decrease the number and size of papillomas (small growths on skin) and reduce the incidence of tumors by more than 90% in the liver, spleen and bone marrow. The studies also show that aloe vera effectively treats genital herpes, cold sores, dermatitis, frostbite, burns and can be safely used as an antifungal and antimicrobial agent.

Aloe Vera
Moisturizes Hair and Scalp

Aloe vera is also a great hair and scalp moisturizer. It’s nourishing properties and tons of vitamins and minerals will keep hair strong and healthy. It’s antibacterial and antifungal properties help with dandruff and the gel’s enzymes can rid the scalp of dead cells and promote regeneration of skin tissues around the hair follicles. Unlike many shampoos and conditioners, aloe vera is free of chemicals that can damage hair and cause skin irritations.

Treats Constipation
Aloe latex is a fluid derived from the inner lining of the leaves of the aloe vera plant. This juice has a natural fiber that aids digestion and improves bowel movements. Experts recommend drinking two ounces of aloe vera juice daily when constipated.

Boosts Immune System
The enzymes present in aloe vera break down what we eat into amino acids which turn the enzymes into fuel for every cell in the body, allowing the cells to function properly. Bradykinase, an anti-inflammatory mediator found in aloe vera, stimulates the immune system and kills infections. Since zinc is an important component in aloe vera, it could also help those with a zinc deficiency. Other vitamins present in aloe vera include Vitamin C which protects the body from cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, eye disease and skin wrinkling; and Vitamin E which reduces free radical damage, fights inflammation and helps naturally slow the aging process.