6 Nutritional Tips…Do You Know How to Test Your Vitamin’s Efficacy?

Soup Susan










I have long since taken down my shingle as a Nutritionist, but here’s the funny thing about stuff that you are passionate about: it stays with you, regardless of time.  It’s been almost 5 years since I’ve stopped counseling clients, but I still keep my ears open for health conversations, eager for a chance to jump in and share the knowledge which is now the fabric of who I am. This is the residual effect of loving something so much.

So here are a few pearls of wisdom that I’ve picked up along the way, 14 years distilled down into some my favorite soap boxes:

Reduce Your Sugar, Reduce Your Cancer Risk
Cancer cells love sugar. They have 4 times more glucose (sugar) receptors than normal cells. That’s why PET scans, which are used to detect the migration and accumulation of cancer cells, are comprised of radioactive sugar. So by reducing your sugar intake you are removing the favored food of a very unfavorable guest.

Don’t Make Antacids a Regular Routine
As we age, we have a harder time breaking down fats and proteins through our normal digestive process, because we start to lose the appropriate level of stomach acid that is needed for digestion (this begins around the age of 40). Not enough stomach acid means we don’t adequately break down food and the result is indigestion.  The impulse is to reach for an antacid,  but antacids reduce stomach acid even further, which leads to a continuation of non-digested food just sitting in your gut, leading to more indigestion.

So before you reach for antacids try this: do not drink liquids ½ hour before a big meal, and drink very little during a meal containing fats and proteins. This will preserve the acid that you need to break down those fats and proteins.  Wait an hour after to meal to drink water, which will then aid the process of metabolism.   You may also want to try a digestive enzyme with your meal as additional support. And by all means, chew.

Fix Kidney Stones with Magnesium
I had a client who thought I was a miracle worker because I suggested magnesium to help her with kidney stones and when she took my advice, the stones disappeared. Most kidney stones form when calcium in the body binds to a substance called oxalate.  Because calcium and magnesium are minerals that work best in a balanced ratio of 2:1, you must have enough magnesium in your diet in order to absorb calcium. As an added benefit, magnesium will also relax muscles and help with any constipation problems.  Soaking  in Epsom Salts is a great way to get  a good dose of magnesium (or use a supplement).

The Best Way to Lose Weight
This is not a silver bullet, but one of the best ways to lose weight is to keep your blood sugar balanced. A normal, healthy blood sugar level (also known as a glucose on a blood test and is considered normal between 80 and 99) means that your sugar level is not spiking too high or dropping too low.  When either of these events happens, your body triggers a stress hormone (cortisol) which in turn creates a domino effect throughout your system, spurring hormones and organ systems into action.

We are still primitive in our reactions to food and stress, so fasting or skipping meals only serves to exacerbate the process of weight GAIN in the long run. If you skip meals, your body thinks it is starving and sends out stress hormones – an alert that the system is unbalanced. Metabolism automatically slows down to conserve energy and it usually takes a while for it to rev up again. And once you start to eat again, a rush of insulin is released to gather up all the sugar possible and over store it, in preparation of the next famine event.  This extra fat is usually stored around the midsection.

Add protein or healthy fat to each meal to help balance a spike of sugar you might get from a carbohydrate. You’ll also feel more satisfied longer, and cravings will subside.  And again, get some sugar out of your diet. This also means not overloading on tons of fruit unless you work out enough to work it off.

Of course, exercise.  But I will leave this to the fitness experts.

Eczema: Try the Other Omega
Eczema is a skin allergic condition that produces itchy, red skin, and affects over 30 million Americans. Many treatments call for reducing skin irritations by removing trigger foods like dairy from the diet. But most don’t talk about a fatty acid called Gamma Linoleic Acid, an Omega 6 fat found mostly  in supplements such as Borage Oil, Evening Primrose Oil and black currant oil. Gamma Linoleic acid (GLA)  has been shown in studies to be deficient in those with eczema,  and supplementing with 1,000mg daily of GLA can really help.

I had the opportunity to experience this first hand when my daughter had slight eczema as a toddler. She wouldn’t take the capsules, but I did manage to open up the oil caps and spread it on the creases of her elbows and knees, where the rash had appeared. After a few treatments I began to see a difference.  Keep in mind that oral supplementation takes  longer for results to occur.

For other tips, check out Mei’s articles on eczema and Dr. Weil’s response to questions regarding GLA. 

Health Tip appTest Your Vitamins to See If They are Working
A favorite line of Nutritionists is “it’s not what you eat, it’s what you absorb.”  This is probably the most appropriate for the use of vitamins. If you are not absorbing the vitamins and minerals that are in your supplement then you are not benefiting from what they profess to do. So here’s a handy trick for determining how effective your vitamin is:  place one tablet or capsule in a bowl of apple cider vinegar and wait 20 minutes. The apple cider vinegar replicates HCL or hydrochloric acid in your stomach. After 20 minutes, that vitamin should be broken down and dissolved. If it’s not, start looking for another vitamin.

So here’s the take away to everything that I’ve written above: it’s all about balance. Our bodies need harmony in order to function best.  Add in the deficiencies, take away the excesses and through it all, respect the overwhelming fact that your body knows – absolutely —what it needs to be perfect.  You just have to observe and listen.

This is a nice, simple app for keeping health top of mind.

Do you have great tips to add? 


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