Archive for December, 2019

lutein graphic

Lutein is a plant pigment, or phytochemical that belongs to the carotenoid family. They are responsible for giving plants their bright orange, red, and yellow colors, and contain many health encouraging properties like antioxidants. Lutein differs from other carotenoids because is taken up directly to the brain and eyes. Although lutein is not classified as an essential nutrient, it does provide some health benefits. Due to the fact that Americans are living longer, more are experiencing cataracts and age-related macular degeneration(AMD); both are vision issues. Research has found lutein’s antioxidant effects help prevent damage to the retina from the sun. It was also found that consuming foods that are high in carotenoid reduces the risk for AMD and cataracts.

Since the retina is an extension of the brain, the lutein gets to the eye through the barrier between the blood and brain. The tissue that makes up the retina and brain are similar in the amount of lutein they contain, and there is a positive correlation linking it with cognitive function. Studies show that lutein supplements in women have increased verbal fluency and cognitive function significantly. A similar study also provided subjects the experimental group lutein through avocados and the control group with the same amount of calories through chickpeas or potatoes daily for six months. Those that ate the lutein-high avocados scored higher in problem solving than the control group. These benefits are not seen at the levels of lutein which the majority of Americans consume. You can increase your lutein consumption by incorporating more eggs, yellow/red vegetables, avocados, and leafy greens. It is also important to note that lutein is a fat soluble, so the body can’t absorb it without a healthy fats, like olive oil or salmon, present.


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How to identify Vitamin B12 Deficiency

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Studies have found that around 20% of people over 60 years old are deficient in Vitamin B12, but many are not even aware of it. Vitamin B12 is responsible for creating nerves, DNA, and red blood cells.

vitamin B12 graphic

Order your own Vitamin B12 blood test at HealthOneLabs.com

Deficiency of this vitamin may present itself as shortness of breath, tingling/numbness of extremities, constipation, paranoia, and irritability. B12 deficiency can also be developed over time, and may present only a few or all symptoms. It is often overlooked to diagnose as symptoms presented can resemble other diagnoses, and if left untreated it could cause irreversible damage. The optimal amount of B12 you should be getting daily is somewhere around 2.4 micrograms, and it can be found naturally in animal products such as dairy, fish, eggs, and fish. For this reason many vegetarians and vegans are deficient in B12. Even those older adults that consume plenty of Vitamin B12 can lack sufficient amounts because the production of stomach acid reduces with age, which makes it more difficult to absorb B12. Certain medications like omeprazole and ranitidine can also affect B12 levels. Autoimmune disorders like pernicious anemia, usually present themselves in people over the age of 65, and is one of the most common causes for severe Vitamin B12 deficiency. If you believe you are suffering from any of the symptoms related to deficiency, you can check your vitamin B12 levels through a blood test. If your blood test determine you don’t have sufficient amount of B12, you can speak to your physician about possibly taking a B12 supplement. Your doctor will help you determine the best dosage for you depending on the extent of your deficiency. Always check with your physician prior to taking vitamin B12 supplements.

 


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