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Blog posts tagged with 'vision'

Why This Popular Beverage May Also Support Good Health

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Why This Popular Beverage May Also Support Good HealthFor many people a cup of coffee is part of the morning routine with its warming aroma, taste and also, for a quick burst of energy to start the day. But many studies have shown that there's more to coffee than just caffeine. Unroasted green coffee beans contain plant compounds called chlorogenic acid that have been found to possess antioxidant health properties. Although the process of roasting tends to decrease chlorogenic acid levels, recent research has shown that the amount of chlorogenic acid present in coffee can still provide several health advantages.

The Eye Test of Antioxidants

In a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, scientists discovered that the chlorogenic acid found in coffee may help promote a stronger resistance to oxidative stress in the retina, preserving eye sight and protecting it from macular degeneration. The retina is said to be one of the most metabolically active tissues; it needs high levels of oxygen to function, which can make it more prone to oxidative stress. To test the protective effects of chlorogenic acid, a group of mice were treated with a substance which can generate oxidative stress and damaging free radicals. In the group of mice that were given chlorogenic acid pre-treatment, no retinal damage was found. "The study is important in understanding functional foods, that is, natural foods that provide beneficial health effects," said Chang Y. Lee, professor of food science and the study's senior author. "Coffee is the most popular drink in the world, and we are attempting to understand what benefit we can get from that," Lee said.

The Green Side of Healthy Weight Management

While chlorogenic acid's retinal protection properties may be news, it is not the most well-known benefit that can come from coffee, or more specifically unroasted coffee beans. For some time, researchers have studied chlorogenic acid's positive effects in managing weight, metabolism, and blood sugar levels. At the 245th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) Joe Vinson, Ph.D., presented findings from his numerous studies highlighting the benefits of chlorogenic acid. In a weight management study, for example, Vinson gave green coffee bean extract to a group of overweight volunteers over a 22-week period. After 22 weeks the subjects lost 10% of their body weight. In a more recent study Vinson sought to further investigate the effects that different doses of chlorogenic acid had on 56 adults with normal blood sugar levels. All volunteers were subjected to blood glucose tolerance tests to see how their bodies normally reacted to the sugar. Following the blood sugar tests they were administered various doses (100, 200, 300, or 400 mg) of green coffee bean extract containing chlorogenic acid. Yet again, Vinson found that green coffee bean extract supplementation produced effective results. "There was a significant dose-response effect of the green coffee extract and no apparent gastrointestinal side effects," Vinson said. "All doses of green coffee bean extract produced a significant reduction in blood sugar relative to the original blank glucose challenge."

Perk Up Your Health with Green Coffee Beans

The antioxidant properties of CLA found in green coffee beans have been shown to help protect eye health, but the benefits don't stop there. It's also been clinically shown to promote weight management and balanced blood sugar. As more research and studies are conducted, other potential health benefits of green coffee beans may also be uncovered, so keep your eyes open for future developments.

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The ABCs of Health: How Well Do You Know Your Vitamins?

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The ABCs of Health: How Well Do You Know Your Vitamins?Essential vitamins and minerals are vital to everyday health. Interestingly, the uses of many essential vitamins were discovered only when people observed the effects that their deficiencies caused. The more we understand about our health the more we realize our minds and bodies need proper daily support to function properly. How much do you know about the essential vitamins and minerals you need each day?

ACE Nutrition

Vitamin A (as known as retinol or beta-carotene) is said to help build good vision and promote bone development. It has antioxidant properties to support immune and cellular health. Vitamin C, also an antioxidant, is a water-soluble vitamin that is important for building connective tissues (such as joint cartilage and collagen), bones, and teeth. It assists in metabolizing other vitamins and is vital to proper immune system function. Vitamin E helps maintain healthy cells and may help promote cognitive function. Like vitamins A and C, it also functions as an antioxidant. Studies have shown that combinations of vitamin A, C, and E help protect the macula, the region of the eye that is integral for detailed vision. All three nutrients can be found in many different foods, so you aren't limited for choice:

  • Vitamin A – Sweet potatoes, beef liver, fruits and eggs.
  • Vitamin C – Citrus fruits, peppers, and greens like broccoli.
  • Vitamin E – Whole grains, nuts, and spinach.

Being Healthy Doesn't Need to "B" Complex

The B-complex vitamins are mostly concerned with energy production in your body. Vitamin B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), and B6 all help metabolize or produce energy. Vitamin B1 helps metabolize carbohydrates, while B3 releases energy from carbohydrates and fats. Vitamin B2 assists in energy production and red blood cell formation, while B6 supports nervous system function. Red blood cells are vital in transporting fresh oxygen to every part of your body and taking carbon dioxide back to the lungs. Another important B vitamin is B9 (folic acid). Folic acid is known to support a healthy brain and heart, and it also synthesizes proteins and DNA. Folic acid can be found in green, leafy vegetables and whole grains. A study done at the Department of Neurology, Oregon Health & Science University, on B vitamins as biomarkers showed favorable results for supporting cognitive health and brain function with folic acid.

D + Calcium = Healthy Bones

Vitamin D and calcium are two of the most important vitamins and minerals for the integrity of your bones and teeth. Even though vitamin D is quite well known, recent reports say many people still aren't getting enough. Research shows that, worldwide, an estimated 1 billion people have inadequate levels of vitamin D in their blood, and deficiencies can be found in all ethnicities and age groups. Vital to healthy bones and immune function, vitamin D can be produced in skin cells whenever you're exposed to UV rays from sunlight. Despite this fact, people may still not be getting enough sun exposure due to location and skin being concealed by clothing. Vitamin D also aids the absorption of calcium and phosphorus. Together, all three nutrients keep your internal structure strong and healthy.

"Zinc" Hard About Other Nutrients

Once you've checked off all the letter-vitamins on your nutrition list, don't forget to include minerals in your diet, too. Trace minerals such as iron and selenium are all important to your daily health, albeit in small doses. Iron is necessary to produce the hemoglobin found in red blood cells. Recent studies have also highlighted the importance of iron in brain development, showing it is needed for the mind as well. Selenium is an antioxidant that helps protect cells from free radical damage. Zinc is an essential mineral to many different bodily processes. Most notably it supports immune function. A recent study looked at the role that both vitamin C and zinc play in boosting immune health. Results showed that supplementation with a combination of zinc and vitamin C "was found to improve components of the human immune system such as antimicrobial and natural killer cell activities."

Multitask Your Nutrition with a Multivitamin

Keeping track of all the amounts and types of vitamins you need to take each day can be exhausting, but it's worth the effort because of all the ways they can positively influence your health. Luckily there are multivitamin supplements out there that can help you reach the recommended daily value of all these essentials. Multivitamins are often called a daily insurance policy on nutrition. By understanding the basics and where to get them, you can stay one step ahead in fortifying good, daily nutrition for healthy living.


Daily MultiChew
 
 

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How Vision Changes with Age

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How Vision Changes with AgeJust because we grow up, it doesn’t mean that our bodies stop changing. One aspect of health that continues to change throughout adulthood is vision health. Over the years, it’s quite common for people to experience eyestrain from staring at computer monitors, TV screens, or reading small print for too long. The lens of the eye also becomes less flexible with age, which makes it more difficult for the eyes to focus on objects that are too close or, conversely, far away. Poor circulation, clouding of the lenses, and degeneration of the macula are also more common with aging, and can affect healthy vision.

If you’ve been starting to experience some of these changes, it’s nothing to fret about too much because they’re fairly normal. However, you still need to do all you can to support your vision throughout your lifetime.

Eye Protection Is a Must

One way to protect your eyes is to keep them physically covered when doing activities that may expose them to harm. Too much direct UV light from sunlight can damage the macula, the region of the eye that allows you to focus on fine details. So if you’re going to be outdoors on a sunny day, put on some UV-protecting sunglasses. It should also be a no-brainer to wear protective eyewear if you play high-impact sports, work with machinery, or are exposed to chemicals.

Feed Your Eyes Through Diet & Supplements

In addition to physically protecting your eyes, you should also support them at the nutritional level through a healthy diet and supplements. Antioxidant vitamins—such as vitamin A, C, and E—help protect the eyes from free radicals that can damage eye tissue. Brightly colored fruits and leafy vegetables also contain beta-carotene, which supports pigment cells in the macula. Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil also promote vision health and other health areas, so you’ll be giving your overall health an added boost. If you don’t get enough fish or vegetables in your regular diet (like most Americans these days), get the vitamins and minerals you need through supplements that you can take with every meal. You’ll not only be eating a more nutritious diet, but you’ll also be giving your vision a healthy boost as well.

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Omega-3s May Help Lengthen Lifespan

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Omega-3s May Help Lengthen LifespanFor years, researchers and nutritionists have been touting the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids for cardiovascular health. Because omega-3s play such a big role in overall nutrition, some studies have found that they may also support joints, memory, vision, and immune health. Now scientists have added another benefit to the list: omega-3s may help preserve telomeres.

The Telomere/Longevity Connection

Many researchers use telomere length as an indicator of cell longevity. Telomeres are regions on DNA strands that help protect the rest of your genetic information every time your cells replicate. When telomeres get too short, more errors are prone to occur during cell replication, which can shorten cell life—and your overall lifespan. In a five-year study on 608 patients who had a history of poor heart health, cardiologists found that patients who had higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their white blood cells experienced less telomere shortening over the five-year period compared to patients who had lower omega-3 levels.

Omega-3 from Fish Oil More Beneficial

Omega-3s can be obtained from a variety of plant and animal sources, but omegas from fatty fish, such as sardines and salmon, have been found to have the greatest health advantages, which is why the researchers in this study used fish-oil-based omega-3s. Since initial results have been so promising in people with preexisting cardiovascular health challenges, the researchers stated that double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled studies would provide further insight into the omega-3/telomere connection. In the meantime, omega-3 fish oils have loads of other health advantages, so if you’re already taking a fish oil supplement, continue doing so to rack up as many health benefits as you can.

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Vitamin D3, the Sunshine Vitamin, May Benefit Healthy Vision, Too

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Vitamin D3, the Sunshine Vitamin, May Benefit Healthy Vision, TooThanks to ongoing research, the list of benefits to vitamin D3 supplementation just keeps getting longer. In addition to supporting calcium absorption for healthy bones, the immune system, and cellular health, scientists now believe that vitamin D3 may also support eye health.

Animal Studies on Vitamin D3 Show Great Promise

Initial studies conducted on mice have shown that vitamin D3 may help reduce the accumulation of amyloid beta in cone cells inside the retina. The central retina, especially the macula of the eye—which is a region containing yellow pigment cells that filter out harmful blue light—contains a large number of cone cells that are responsible for high-contrast vision. Amyloid beta deposits around the macula may affect blood circulation reaching the cone cells, therefore affecting vision. Mice contain fewer cone cells in their eyes than humans, but small amounts of vitamin D3 were shown to have a significantly large effect in reducing amyloid beta accumulation in their eyes. Given these promising results, researchers believe that the effects of vitamin D3 in human eye health may be far more beneficial.

The Importance of Visual Protection

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the reduction of macular pigment in the retina. It is the leading cause of visual health challenges in adults aged 60 and older. Dietary intake of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin help support macular health, and they are crucial because they are the only two carotenoids capable of filtering blue light rays that may damage the inner rods and cones of the eyes. Bright red and orange fruits and leafy vegetables contain high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin. But poor eating habits may not get you enough of these important carotenoids from your foods, which is why you need to have a healthy balance of fruit and veggies in your meals. Now that you know vitamin D3 may also back up the protection of your macula, consider taking a vitamin D3 supplement, too. Although vitamin D is referred to as the “sunshine vitamin” because your skin produces it when you’re out in the sun, it never hurts to have added protection—especially where your eyes are concerned.

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