Posts Tagged ‘macronutrient’

Inflammation – degrades health at the cellular level

anti-aging, disease, Fitness, Free Radicals, nutrition, performance, Recovery - Repair | Posted by admin May 25th, 2012

Inflammation is central to the body’s ability to defend, maintain and repair itself. Its symptoms appear as redness, heat, swelling and pain, announcing a part of the body that is inflamed.  Heat and redness are signs of blood rushing to the injured area. Swelling is from changes in the small blood vessels that allow plasma to seep into the tissues. Pain results from the release of compounds used by the immune system to draw defensive support to the injured area. The inflammatory response is regulated by hormones which both intensify and dampen the response.  Unchecked inflammation, or chronic inflammation, is abnormal, and occurs upon an imbalance of these hormones which inhibits the ability to turn off the defensive action when healing is complete.

Chronic inflammation extends beyond the location of the original injury, and spreads to areas of the body which are healthy. It is at the cellular level that chronic inflammation begins and is most often due to oxidative stress, brought on by the burning of energy in our bodies along with toxic elements in our environment. Toxins in the form of free radicals build up over time in our bodies, from both external and internal sources (internally, the consumption of fuel by our cells). These free radicals cause an inflammatory reaction at the cellular level, becoming chronic over time.

It is becoming widely known that this inflammation at the cellular level is at the root of over 200 common degenerative, chronic diseases.  A broad category of inflammation related disease is autoimmunity. These diseases include Type I Diabetes, Rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, eczema, coronary heart disease, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS, and even cancer.

There is also mounting evidence of a critical role of inflammation in the development of hypertension. Metabolic syndrome, marked by increased levels of C-reactive protein, is associated the inflammatory response, and a known precursor to high blood pressure, and an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

Oxidative stress promotes the inflammatory response because the body sees the oxidation of cells as injury, and where excessive oxidative stress exists, inflammation begins to cause the body’s immune system to attack otherwise healthy cells.

Inflammation can be avoided by choices in the diet.

The macronutrients (fats, carbohydrates, and proteins) and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, enzymes and phytonutrients) we consume have a direct role in maintaining a healthy inflammatory response.


We all know about the bad fats (the saturated fats) and the good fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats). The saturated fats will have a more pro-inflammatory response in our bodies. Some fats are extremely pro-inflammatory. These are the artificially hardened fats: margarine, vegetable shortening, and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. These products include oxidized fatty acids and trans fats. Balancing essential fatty acids (EFAs) is critical in maintaining the body’s ability to temper the inflammatory response. In general, the hormones synthesized from omega-6 fatty acids, which are abundant in our SAD (Standard American Diet) increase inflammatory reaction, while the hormones we create from omega-3 fatty acids have the dampening effect on this response. In the distant past our diets consisted of a more equivalent amount of these fats, but are now heavily weighted in the omega-6 fats. Unfortunately, omega-3’s are much harder to come by than omega-6’s. They are found in low concentrations in leafy greens, a few seeds and nuts (pumpkin seeds, walnuts, flax, hemp) and a few vegetable oils (soy, canola), sea vegetables, and oily fish from cold waters (salmon, sardines herring, mackerel, black cod, and bluefish). Animals that are allowed to graze on grass rather than being fattened on grains accumulate omega-3s in their fat. Oxidized fatty acids occur when oils are exposed to air, light and heat. Rancidity is a sign of oxidation; if your oil smells at all funny, toss it! This includes nuts and seeds, which do not have a long shelf life. The omega-3’s in these foods break down with oxidation, and as with oils, dispose of them when they begin to smell the least bit rancid. Refrigeration can extend their shelf life.


As with the fats, our sources of carbohydrates can be pro-inflammatory. The glycemic index and glycemic load are indicators of the oxidative stress that will occur as a result of ingesting certain foods.  As you eat more high-GI foods, such as bread, white potatoes, white pasta, sugars, chips, crackers and snack foods, your body processes these foods as simple sugars. It burns these sugars very rapidly, causing excessive oxidation which results in an inflammatory response. Eat foods with a low-GI such as whole grains, beans, sweet potatoes, winter squashes and other vegetables, temperate fruits (berries, cherries, apples and pears) and less refined or processed food. Eating these foods will avoid inflammation, as the body will process these foods in a more regulated manner.

The influence of proteins on inflammation is not as direct, but are more a result of their fat and carbohydrates. Animal fats are more commonly saturated, while they also come with greater environmental contamination than plant foods.  Toxins from this environmental contamination cause inflammatory response from the resulting oxidative stress. Vegetable sources of proteins include soy and other legumes. These sources of protein are no less nutritious than meat protein but limit and even aid in controlling chronic inflammation.  Fish is highly recommended in favor of meat for its omega-3 fatty acids, but it is desirable to avoid some fish, such as tuna or shark, for their levels of mercury and PCBs. Good choices are wild Alaskan salmon, Alaskan black code (sablefish or butterfish), and sardines.

If fish oil supplements are taken, they should be distilled and toxin free, and not from farmed fish as they will contain no omega-3s which are derived from plankton and other natural sources not available to farm fish.  If you are taking EFA supplements, try to find those which have parental rather than derived fatty acids, and contain the correct balance.


Vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and phytonutrients are obtained for the most part from fruits and vegetables. We are told by the FDA that we should consume from 5-9 servings of fruit per day (1 cup of raw or 1/2 cup of cooked is considered one serving).

However it is not recommended that variety and raw foods are extremely important considerations. But it is well known that these nutrients are critical in reducing oxydative stress and related inflammation.

Phytonutrients are indicated by the colors of fruit and vegetables. There are tens of thousands of known phytonutrients, and more are being studied every day.  For example, the phytonutrients creating the red, blue, and purple in fruits and vegetables contain anthocyanins, which are water soluble. Anthocyanins are part of a larger subgroup of plant compounds called flavanoids, which are a subclass of plant polyphenols.  Plant polyphenols are known to have significant antioxidant capabilities, and so in turn, limit inflammatory response. Plant polyphenols have been studied for some time now for their role in protecting cells against cancerous conditions.

Reference:  Nutrition-To-Wellness
Nutrition and Health Blog, Discover Wellness, by Vicky Berry

Pancreatic cancer – daily diet of sugar?

nutrition, performance, Recovery - Repair | Posted by admin October 31st, 2010

(NaturalNews) New research published in the journal Nature reveals that pancreatic cancer can take up to 20 years to grow to the point where it is diagnosed by the practice of conventional medicine. This was determined by sequencing the DNA of cancer tumor cells from deceased patients. Because cancer mutations occur in growing tumors at a known rate, scientists were able to map the timing of the development of full-blown pancreatic cancer tumors.

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute found:

• It takes an average of 11.7 years for one mutation in a pancreas cell to grow into a “mature” pancreatic tumor (which might show up on a medical scan).

• It can take another 6.8 years for the pancreatic tumor to spread and cause tumors to appear in other organs of the body.

How to grow and feed a cancer tumor

First of all, to grow a cancer tumor, you need to eat lots of sugar. Liquid sugars are the best (like soda?), but any form of refined sugar will do. You have to eat sugar daily if you really want to support cancer cell division and growth.

Next, you have to be vitamin D deficient most of the time.  That’s because vitamin D may halt the progress of 77 percent of all cancers (including pancreatic cancer), and when combined with other nutrients like selenium, may halt progress of even more.

By combining vitamin D and selenium nutrition with other anti-cancer nutrients such as fresh vegetable juice (on a daily basis), omega-3 fatty acids, a wide variety of fresh fruits (including citrus and berries), and even red wine (rich with resveratrol), you will create an internal biological environment in which cancer tumors cannot thrive.

This is especially true if you pursue a more alkaline diet that’s rich in vegetables and green foods rather than acidic substances such as sugar, fried foods and caffeine.

Combine all this with some regular exercise, good sleep, stress reduction habits and strict avoidance of cancer-causing chemicals, and you’ve got a recipe for blocking virtually all tumor growth in your body.

Cancer tumors simply cannot grow in an environment that’s rich in plant-based nutrients and life based on healthy, natural living.

So even if you have a wayward pancreatic cell that decides to mutate and try to become cancerous on its own, that cell will not have any long-term success in replicating inside your body because it’s surrounded by healthy cells and bathed in anti-cancer nutrients carried to it each day in your blood!

Remember, your cells rely entirely on nutrients delivered by your blood, and if your blood is delivering anti-cancer nutrients each day, then “bad” cells will never be allowed to replicate and become cancer tumors.

Obviously, the composition of your blood is determined by what you eat. If you eat junk food, your blood will be junk blood, and it will deliver junk to your cells (cancer cells love junk!). If you eat healthy foods, you will have healthy blood, and cancer tumors will shrivel up and actually lose their blood supply then die.

With this in mind, your life and health are not a rehearsal.  Nutrition is the key to your health, strength and performance.  Learn what combination of nutritional foods support your health at the cellular level, then learn to like them.  In all cases, refined sugars need to be limited as much as possible.

If you’ve been pursuing a lifestyle of junk foods, processed foods, fried foods, excessive animal products and sun avoidance, then you are probably growing cancer tumors in your body right now. Almost as if you were trying to!

So you might be on year 10 of the 20-year cancer diagnosis plan. There’s no way to know because solid cancer tumors usually don’t show up in diagnostic tests when they’re only 10 years old. But if you’ve been following a cancer-promoting lifestyle, you can rest assured you have micro tumors in your body that are just waiting for more sugar and less vitamin D in your blood in order to divide and grow even more.

Consider yourself informed… Preventing cancer is its cure.

Adapted from Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor

Proper Intake of Macronutrients & Micronutrients – Young Athletes

nutrition, performance | Posted by admin July 12th, 2009

Critical Micronutrients:
Current research and trends point to deficiencies in calcium, iron, folate, vitamin B6, and zinc for young athletes. The functions, risks of deficiency, and recommendations for each vital micronutrient follow.

Proper intake of calcium is needed to support bone growth, increase bone mass, and aid in nerve impulses and muscle contraction. Poor calcium intake can lead to decreased bone mass and consequential increased risk for stress fractures and other bone-related injuries. Because a young athlete’s growing bones cannot handle as much stress as an adult’s mature bones, optimum bone health is critical; overuse and overtraining injuries are more apt to occur in a pediatric or adolescent athlete. To ensure proper bone health, keep in mind that the adequate intake of calcium for children aged 9 to 18 is 1,300 milligrams per day.

While iron is noted for its oxygen-carrying capacity, it is also a major player in the energy metabolism of carbohydrate, protein, and fats. For this reason, young athletes with iron-deficiency anemia may experience performance inhibition ranging from decreased work capacity to extreme fatigue, impaired immune function, and impaired cognitive reasoning. Because iron deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in the world, it is imperative that professionals working with young athletes are aware of the athlete’s iron intake. On the other hand, it is important to note that iron toxicity is the most common cause of poisoning death in young children. If you want to avoid recommending a supplement, you can recommend food items that are high in iron, such as red meat and enriched cereals and grains, coupled with fruits and vegetables that are high in vitamin C, which aids in iron absorption.

B Vitamins
Both vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and folate are members of the B-complex of vitamins and are critical components of energy metabolism and blood health. Both are critical for amino acid metabolism and good sources of each are enriched grain products and assorted animal products. Research differs on whether there are changes in folate and vitamin B6 levels during periods of heavy training. However, the conclusion is usually that exercise does not increase the requirements for these nutrients and the dietary reference intake should be followed. In general, a B-complex deficiency can lead to fatigue, muscle soreness, apathy, and loss of cognitive function.

While an extreme zinc deficiency is uncommon in the United States, athletes are at risk due to poor consumption of foods rich in this mineral. Zinc plays a role in more than 300 enzymatic reactions in the body and is critical for wound healing, tissue growth and maintenance, and immune function. Various studies have shown that zinc status directly affects basal metabolic rate, thyroid hormone levels, and protein utilization; thus, zinc is critical to athletes. Dietary protein enhances zinc absorption, and athletes who are most at risk of a deficiency may be vegetarians or those who primarily eat a grain-based diet. With the myriad critical functions to which zinc is linked, consumption of adequate levels of zinc should be stressed.

Critical Macronutrients:
With an increase in energy expenditure comes a subsequent need for an increase in the intake of carbohydrate, protein, and fat. Current research and trends point to deficiencies in overall total energy and carbohydrate intake. Also of concern is deficient fluid intake and consequent altered hydration status of young athletes. The functions, risks of deficiency, and recommendations for each vital macronutrient follows.

In athletes, poor carbohydrate intake results in inadequate glycogen stores and premature fatigue, which not only compromises performance but also forces the body to rely on another source for fuel: protein. Glucose from carbohydrate sources is essential to most body functions during exercise. If glucose is not available for use as fuel during physical activity, the body will take from its protein stores for energy via gluconeogenesis. Because carbohydrate is the preferred fuel for athletic performance, approximately 55% of total daily calories should come from carbohydrate. The young athlete has the capacity to store carbohydrate in the form of glycogen, but this capacity is limited, so carbohydrate must be consumed daily. Carbohydrate needs are based on body weight and intensity of activity. The American Dietetic Association (ADA) has set the following recommendations for the young athlete:
• 3 to 5 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram for very light intensity training;
• 5 to 8 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram for moderate or heavy training;
• 8 to 9 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram for preevent loading (24 to 48 hours prior); and
• 1.7 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram for postevent refueling (within two to three hours).

Protein is an essential part of the young athlete’s diet, and the role of protein for youth includes building, maintaining, and repairing muscle and other body tissues. It should be noted that an adequate protein intake with inadequate caloric intake prohibits protein balance, even when the recommended daily allowance for protein is consumed. Therefore, it is critical that young athletes consume enough calories to maintain body weight. While adult endurance and strength athletes may need more protein per pound of body weight, additional protein needs for young athletes have not been specifically evaluated. However, the ADA has set the following recommendations:
• Athletes who have just begun a training program require 1 to 1.5 grams per kilogram per day of protein.
• Athletes participating in endurance sports require 1.2 to 1.4 grams per kilogram per day of protein.
• Athletes who restrict calories must be certain to consume adequate protein for muscle building and repair. A minimum of 1.4 grams per kilogram per day is recommended.
• Vegetarian and vegan athletes should be counseled to ensure that adequate intake of protein is consumed from plant sources.
• Consuming an overabundance of protein can lead to dehydration, weight gain, and increased calcium loss. This is critical to monitor as research shows that the population of young athletes is already at risk for calcium deficiency.

While carbohydrate is often spotlighted as the preferred fuel for sports, there are some bodies of research suggesting that lipid or fat may be the preferred fuel for children. This may be due to the higher rate of fat oxidation in children. As a major energy source, fat is essential for light- to moderate-intensity exercise and for endurance exercise. Below are some easy-to-follow guidelines for consumption of fats:
• While a low-fat diet can be followed, it is important that young athletes consume an average of 20% to 30% of calories from fat.
• Like adults, young athletes should aim to significantly lower the amount of saturated and trans fat in their diet. The focus should be on an intake of healthy fat from plant oils and soft margarines made with vegetable oils and on limiting the amounts of fried and processed foods.

Maintaining fluid balance is critical for the young athlete. As rates of youth participation in endurance events climb, legitimate concerns about fluid status have arisen. Aside from the risk of heat-related illness, dehydration is strongly associated with fatigue during exercise. This risk is increased in certain environmental conditions such as high heat and humidity. Compared with adults, young athletes may be at a higher risk for altered fluid status for several reasons: Children experience greater heat stress and heat accumulation, and they have a greater ratio of surface area to body mass and absorb heat more readily. Signs of dehydration in children include dark urine, small urine volume, muscle cramps, reduced sweating, increased heart rate, headaches, and nausea. Specific recommendations for fluid consumption are as follows:
• Child and adolescent athletes should aim to replenish lost hydration stores during and after an event. This can be done by weighing the athlete before and after an event and replacing fluids lost (16 to 24 ounces for every pound lost).
• For activities lasting less than 60 minutes, select water for hydration.
• For activities lasting more than 60 minutes, select sports beverages for hydration, electrolytes, and energy from carbohydrate. Select a beverage that provides 6% to 8% carbohydrate.
• Lastly, be aware that children do not instinctively drink enough fluids to replace lost stores and thirst does not always indicate when the body is in need of more fluids.