Vitamin D

Cholesterol and the Steroid Hormones

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

The human body is a roiling, seething, cauldron of chemistry. An apparently solid mass, which is in reality composed of and home to hundreds of trillions of endlessly morphing molecules and many thousands of different biochemical entities, none more important than the misunderstood, much maligned and massively functional molecule called cholesterol.

Cholesterol and the Steroid Hormones

By David Richfield (User:Slashme) and Mikael Häggström], via Wikimedia Commons

Cholesterol is THE key chemical entity of the human body. It distinguishes animals from plants (which do not make cholesterol), and plays and important part in muscle health, a well- functioning brain and nervous system and in helping maintain the moisturization and barrier properties of the skin. Yet of all the roles cholesterol plays in the helping sustaining the heath of the organism, none is more important than its parental responsibilities. Yes, cholesterol is a matriarch, a parent chemical that “gives birth” to many children.

The children of cholesterol are known as the steroid hormones. And the steroid hormones are the elites of the society of biochemicals. They regulate (i.e. control) many of the chemical reactions in the body. The cholesterol family is known for being hard working and very important in the society of the body. A couple of the offspring are Cortisol and Estrogen. These cholesterol children support the body in times of stress. Then there’s the virile and manly child Testosterone which is responsible for much of the body’s growth and repair. Pregnenolone and DHEA are cholesterol kids that are important for keeping the body happy and strong and resistant to disease. And perhaps the most potent and powerful cholesterol child, the one who has really made a name for himself in terms of impact is called Cholecalciferol, or as it’s more commonly known as Vitamin D. Thus, cholesterol is a parent, a chemical jumping off point, for many of the most important chemicals in the body. It is important stuff and a biological must-have.

Yet, sometimes the body’s cholesterol making machinery makes more than it needs. How much is too much, no one knows, (those silly cholesterol tests that measure HDL and LDL are based on correlations and statistics created by pharmaceutical companies that profit off the scores they invent) but the fact is that elevated cholesterol levels are associated with a leading cause of disease: dysglycemia and diabetes. But association is not cause. In fact, although elevated cholesterol levels are associated with diabetes it’s not the cause of messed up blood sugar, but rather an effect. This should come as no surprise. Biochemical breakdowns in blood sugar control messes up ALL of the body’s chemistry. Excessive cholesterol synthesis is an effect of poor blood sugar control. When you correct blood sugar and lower insulin secretion by changing the way you eat (basically eating less sweets, cereals, breads, pasta and potatoes among other sugar-rich foods) cholesterol synthesis slows down. It happens EVERY time! That’s because cholesterol synthesis is up-regulated as a result of the body being tricked by the intake of a high-calorie high sugar diet. These types of foods fool the body into initiating the processes of building cells and substance. And cells and substances require cholesterol.

In essence, excessive amounts of cholesterol are produced because of our lousy lifestyle choices. And, as always when it comes to lifestyle induced biochemical breakdowns, this is good news because we can fix the breakdowns simply by making better choices. Without drugs or doctors or health insurance. Reduce your intake of fast burning, high calorie carbs and your cholesterol levels will drop like a stone. And, it wouldn’t hurt to make sure you’re taking nutritional supplements that help the body process carbohydrates. Using niacin (200-500 mg timed release a day) and thiamine (500mg a day in divided doses) and chromium (200-600mcg daily, taken after meals) and magnesium (the glycinate form is best, try 1200mg daily) can help support sugar metabolism and they’ll help lower cholesterol as well. As a bonus you’ll lose weight and lower your blood pressure and reduce your risks of degenerative disease of all kinds and probably live longer too.

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health

Ten Ways to Lower Blood Pressure without Medication

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

Top Ten non-medical Tools to lower to lower blood pressure quickly:
#1 Reduce intake of foods that raise blood sugar and insulin. Potatoes, flour, cereal, pastries desserts are probably best avoided. Fruit juices and fruits aren’t so great either.

#2 Use insulin supporting nutritional supplements. The B-Complex is important and B3, Niacin is especially so. Consider taking several B-100 capsules daily; using the Beyond Tangy Tangerine and taking 100-20mg of TIMED RELEASE Niacin daily.

#3 Vitamin C not only has blood pressure lowering properties, but it plays a key role in strengthening blood vessels. Take 1000 to 5000 mg daily powdered in water; best to sip slowly

#4 Magnesium has multiple benefits for the cardiovascular system, not to mention the liver lungs brain and adrenal glands. Use 1000-2000 mg of Magnesium glycinate daily. All green leafy vegetables have magnesium

#5 Speaking of green leafys, make sure you’re eating lots of veggies. Veggie juices can be helpful too. Use a vitamix type blender so you don’t lose the fiber. Vegetables contain electrolytes that play a key role in keeping the blood pressure healthy. Think 1 pound of vegetables for every 50 pounds of body weight

#7 Coenzyme Q-10 is one of the most important of all cardiovascular supplements. I would be doing 100-200mg of the oil soluble capsules. They’re a bit pricey but well worth it. It’s great for the heart and liver and if you’re on a statin drug you’re ability take your own CoQ10 will be compromised. CoQ10 levels drop with age, so everyone should be supplementing as they get older.

#8 Lay out in the sun, (but don’t even come close to burning). Vitamin D can have a significant effect on lowering blood pressure.

#9 Omega-3s can be helpful and both fish oil and seed oils have their benefits. Both can thin the blood which will reduce pressure and help maintain fluidity. And lignins from flax have blood pressure lowering properties while Vitamin D from fish oil can support anti hypertension.

#10 And don’t forget to breathe. Slow deep breathing can have a rapid affect on lowering blood pressure. High blood pressure is a manifestation of the body’s generic response to stress. It indicates activation of the sympathetic (stress) nervous system. Deep breathing is the fastest way to attenuate to attenuate this sympathetic (stress) response. That means in addition to lowering blood pressure it support blood pressure health indirectly via other mechanisms. It can relieve anxiety and psychological stress. It can help you fall asleep too. And if you have issues with constipation it’s a great way to relax your bowels. All of these benefits can provide anti-hypertensive benefits. Make sure you’re breathing SLOWLY and DEEPLY into the lower part of your belly. If you can do three or 4 breaths a minute, 7 second inhale 7 second exhale or 10 second inhale and 10 second exhale.

Ten Ways to Lower Blood Pressure

Omron 7 Series Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor

Hypertension is a chronic elevation of blood pressure that affects at least 80 million Americans and increases their risk for strokes, aneurysms (burst blood vessels), and heart attacks. And that’s not all. Every single one of the 100 trillion cells in the human body is intimately dependent of the movement of blood through circulatory vessels. That means increases in blood pressure can have deleterious effects on the health of the brain, the kidney, the liver and the lungs among other organs and systems. . According to Dr. Sherry Rogers, writing in the book The Blood Pressure Hoax, 53 percent of deaths can be attributed at least in part to hypertension and high blood pressure triples the chances of an early demise.

Normal blood pressure which can be defined as the pressure or tension exerted on arterial walls as the blood circulates through the vessels is measures in a binary reading where the first number (the systolic measurement) indicates the arterial wall pressure as the heart is pumping and the second number refers to the pressure on the artery wall as the heart is relaxed (the diastolic measurement). Blood pressure readings are considered to be one of the most vital indicators of health and visit to a medical professional that will not include one. The standard unit of measurement is done millimeters of mercury and the desired range for normal adult is around 90-119 mm Hg (systolic) over 60-79 (diastole).

If you go to a physician and he determines that you have an elevated blood pressure, chances are pretty good you’re going to end up on medication and that is not a good thing. Blood pressure medicines do not address the causes of high blood pressure and come with potential for serious side effects. In fact anti-hypertensive, while among the most prescribed of all classes of medications is also among the most toxic. Even the most benign of blood pressure lowering medications, the diuretics (e.g. Hydrochlorothiazide or HCTZ), can increase risk for electrolyte loss, elevations in blood cholesterol and fats and heart arrhythmia, which are all interesting and ironic risks for a drug that’s supposed to protect the cardiovascular system. The more powerful of the anti hypertensives, the so called calcium channel blockers and beta blockers are even worse. Lethargy, digestive health issues, hypoglycemia and sexual problems are all common side affects as well arrhythmia, slow heart beat. Heart failure is not an unheard adverse reaction for these supposedly heart cardiac benefiting medicines. And, some raise the risk of cancer. In 2010, researchers form Case University Western Reserve university announced a …”modest but significant increase” in the risk of new cancer occurrences in patients taking so- called ACE inhibitor drugs, among the most popular of all anti hypertensive’s.

If you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure, it’s important to recognize that drugs are not your best treatment option. In fact given the many healthful alternatives drugs shouldn’t be a Treatment option at all. As we’ve said drugs do not address the cause of the hype4rtension. And they do not come without health or dollar cost. If you have been diagnoses as hypertensive, your best is to start to employ some nutritional, dietary and even lifestyle changes immediately.

 

Blood pressure is typically recorded as two numbers, written as a ratio like this:

Systolic Diastolic Blood Pressure ExampleRead as “117 over 76 millimeters of mercury”   SystolicThe top number, which is also the higher of the two numbers, measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats (when the heart muscle contracts).
DiastolicThe bottom number, which is also the lower of the two numbers, measures the pressure in the arteries between heartbeats (when the heart muscle is resting between beats and refilling with blood).

What is the AHA recommendation for healthy blood pressure?

This chart reflects blood pressure categories defined by the American Heart Association.

Blood Pressure
Category
Systolic
mm Hg (upper #)
  Diastolic
mm Hg (lower #)
Normal less than 120 and less than 80
Prehypertension 120139 or 8089
High Blood Pressure
(Hypertension) Stage 1
140159 or 9099
High Blood Pressure
(Hypertension) Stage 2
160 or higher or 100 or higher
Hypertensive Crisis
(Emergency care needed)
Higher than 180 or Higher than 110
Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health

Some Thoughts on Vitamins

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

When the subject of nutrition comes up, oftentimes the conversational spotlight gets focused on the term vitamins, which gets tossed around as an all-inclusive, catch-all term for all nutritional supplements. In the interests of accuracy, it’s important to keep in mind that the term vitamins refers only a single component of the nutritional supplement world, which includes protein, essential fats, minerals, water, fiber, and carbohydrates, and accessory nutrients like NAC and alpha lipoic acid and probiotics.

Vitamins
The word vitamin is actually a slang term for nutritional substances that are more technically called “co-enzymes”. These being biomolecules that assist enzymes in their work of making biological chemistry happen.

The body is a seething, bubbling factory of chemical reactions. Every cell in the body, of which there are many trillions is capable of producing somewhere on the order of 10 thousand to 100 thousand chemical reactions per second!! To put it in even more dramatic, (if incomprehensible) terms there are quadrillions (!) of individual chemical reactions occurring in our bodies every minute we are alive. And each one of these chemical reactions depends on the action of enzymes and, in-turn, each one of these enzymes requires the assistance of coenzymes some of which are the vitamins. Considering most of our vitamin needs are met by foods or supplementation, in other words, they are not made by the body, the stupendous importance of making sure we are giving our body generous quantities of these critical molecules through the diet and through nutritional supplements become obvious.

There are two classes of vitamins, those that dissolve in water and those that dissolve in oil, the so-called water soluble vitamins, which are the B-complex and Vitamin C and the fat soluble vitamins, D, E, A and K. The water soluble vitamins critical as they may be are easier to work with than the fat soluble vitamins. You can and should take a lot of B-complex and vitamin C, they are multi-functional and used and excreted rapidly. The best way to make sure your getting enough of the water soluble vitamins is to take generous amounts, in water all day long, i.e. by drinking them. The fat soluble vitamins, D, E, A and K are much trickier to work with. Optimal assimilation of the substances requires a healthy and well-functioning digestive system including especially the liver and gall bladder. And, because they are transported around the body in the lymphatic system if things aren’t moving well in the lymph, fatty vitamin activity may be impaired. The same is true if you have liver problems or gall bladder problems, especially if you’ve had your gall bladder removed or if you have pancreatic health issues. If this is the case, you’re going to want to take the fatty vitamins with meals that include fatty foods. Digestive enzymes can help so can apple cider vinegar and perhaps pancreatin which contains digestive enzymes. You can also use se bile salts, maybe lecithin and you might want to consider including some choline which the body can use to make lecithin.

Take home message:

Use generous amounts of the B-complex and Vitamin C throughout the day. Put them in water or some other liquid medium and drink them down slowly for best results

Take fatty vitamin D, E, A and K supplements with meals that contain some kind of fatty foods. If you are dealing with digestive health issues i.e. those that involve the stomach, small intestine, liver, gall bladder or pancreas, you can improve the absorption of these fatty vitamins by taking them with digestive enzymes, pancreatin, bile salts, apple cider vinegar, lecithin and choline.

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Nutrition