Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Bundled Up? What about Vitamin D

Brrrr! This winter has been brutal. And, probably not more than your nose has seen some sun for weeks. Ever stopped to wonder what your vitamin D status is lately?

Why care about Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is important for calcium metabolism and thus is needed for healthy teeth and bones. It's also important for skin cell regeneration - yep, vitamin D may keep you looking beautiful too! Still need more? Consider that research has linked low levels of vitamin D in many disease states including heart attacks in men; and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported a study concluding vitamin D reduced the risk of cancer in women.

How Much?
Good question - various sources will give you different answers as scientists around the world are still piecing together the full vitamin D story. But, if you live in Canada this winter it's a good bet you're not getting enough vitamin D from sunlight exposure. Supplementation guidelines for vitamin D range but 1,000 IUs seems to be the standard from most health organizations and practitioners - it's worth talking to a health care professional for advice, or do some research to see what's best for your personal situation.

My Confession - My daughter was born in the late summer so we spent our first winter with her giving her vitamin D drops... and because it was just easy, I'd drop some on my tongue too. Then, my son arrived and more vitamin D drops. Yep, as you can imagine life is busy in our house. So, for simplicity I've been putting vitamin D drops in our morning shakes along with our essential oils and probiotics - its nice to start the day knowing we've already consumed the nutrients that we're not likely to get in the foods we eat for the rest of the day.

Want to read the studies...

Giovannucci, E et al. 25-Hydroxyvitamin D and Risk of Myocardial Infarction in Men: A Prospective Study. Arch Intern Med. 2008;168(11):1174-1180.

Lappe JM et al. Vitamin D and calcium supplementation reduces cancer risk: results of a randomized trial1,2 Am J Clin Nutr June 2007 vol. 85 no. 6 1586-1591.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Green Coffee Bean Extract: Sift through the Facts and that Dr. Oz Factor

It’s hard to miss hearing about the new weight loss superstar, green coffee bean extract, as it’s endlessly being featured in magazines like Woman’s World and, on talk shows like Dr. Oz. There is a lot of hype behind green coffee bean extract, but what’s the science behind it?

There are a handful of published research papers investigating green coffee bean extract’s potential to help weight loss. The jury is still out, but it looks that green coffee bean extract has some promising effects on body weight. The studies to date suggest green coffee bean extract supplementation causes an average weight loss of about 2.5kg when compared to placebo. Is it the weight loss solution we’ve all be waiting for? Stay tuned for more details as scientists uncover more about this interesting bean.

Here’s a closer look at what the research is saying. A double-blind, placebo controlled study, out of the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, reported that green coffee bean extract appears to reduce weight in overweight adults. The study found overweight adults shifted into a healthy weight range while taking green coffee bean extract. How does green coffee bean extract cause weight loss? It is likely thanks to chlorogenic acid. Scientists think chlorogenic acid blocks fat absorption and slows the release of sugar into the blood stream. However, more studies are needed.

Here's the studies if you'd like to read more:

Onakpoya I., et al. The use of green coffee extract as a weight loss supplement: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. Gastroenterol Res Pract. 2011;2011. pii: 382852. Epub 2010 Aug 31.

Vinson JA, et al. Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, linear dose, crossover study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of a green coffee bean extract in overweight subjects.Diabetes Metab Syndr Obes. 2012;5:21-7. Epub 2012 Jan 18. 

My Confession:
Weight loss isn't easy! This time of year I LOVE to bundle up under a blanket on the couch and stuff my face with baked goods. I'm sure I'm carrying around a few extra pounds. And, soon enough spring will come, my clothes will be tight and I'll be faced with having to shed those pounds. How will I do it? More exercise, more vegetables, more water...and far less couch and baked goods. But, for now - it sure is cozy here on the couch.