Posts Tagged ‘vitamin deficiency’

Why Am I Gaining Weight? Maybe It’s The Weather

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In many parts of the country, hibernating animals are busily preparing for the winter, eating and eating and eating as they build up the energy stores that will sustain them until spring. And many humans are doing something similar!

What happens during hibernation?

During hibernation, animals’ metabolism, oxygen consumption, heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature all decrease to ensure that the animal burns as few calories as possible thus extending their energy stores. In this state of decreased metabolism, the animal’s body uses lipids (fatty acids) rather than carbohydrates to produce energy. During the hibernation period, an organism will lose about 40% of its body weight.

Can humans hibernate in winter?

As much as some humans might want to curl up in a ball and hibernate during the cold months of the winter, our bodies are not made to undergo the drastic metabolic changes necessary to enter a true hibernation. Many humans, however, do notice bodily changes associated with the drop in temperatures.
People who suffer from a specific kind of depression called seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, often liken their condition to hibernation, and researchers have suggested that SAD is in fact a bodily reaction to the shorter daylight hours in winter. But unlike major clinical depression, where people typically lose their desire to eat and have trouble sleeping, people with SAD frequently sleep more than average and note an increase in their appetite and food consumption, often leading to weight gain.

Have you put on some extra “insulation” for winter?

As winter approaches, if you find you are putting on pounds, be sure to consult with your doctor. In addition to talking with you about a healthy diet and exercise, your doctor may want to run some blood tests to see if there is any cause for concern related to your weight change. Some of the tests your healthcare provider may recommend include:

  • Cortisol: Also called the “stress hormone” or the “fight or flight hormone,” cortisol increases adrenaline production in stressful situations. While it can benefit the body, increasing awareness and immunity as well as reducing pain in the short-term, too much cortisol on an ongoing basis can damage the thyroid, bone, and muscle. It can also decrease long-term immunity and contribute to the production of belly fat.
  • Homocysteine: A risk factor for heart disease, this protein is typically elevated in people with insulin resistance.
  • Insulin and Glucose: Those with diabetes do not produce sufficient insulin to process the body’s glucose. But high insulin is also problematic, causing the body to accumulate glucose as stored fat but not allowing the body to metabolize that stored fat for energy.
  • Liver Function:  If liver function is compromised, the body can struggle to remove hormonal waste and burn fat.
  • Testosterone: This hormone (found in both males and females) is responsible for sexual function and development, but it is also crucial for brain, bone, muscle, and vascular health, as well as fat dispersal.
  • Thyroid Tests: The “master gland,” the thyroid produces hormones that are crucial for healthy metabolism. If it is not functioning properly, the body will not be able to properly process food’s energy.
  • Vitamin B-12 and Folate (also known as Folic Acid): In order for the body to work effectively as a fat burner, insulin levels must be steady, and these are key ingredients for creating that stability.
  • Vitamin D: Vitamin D deficiency can cause the body to accumulate belly fat, as well as improperly process food. It is also a crucial element for bone health.

While there are many potential causes of weight gain, the results of these lab tests can help your healthcare provider assess the condition of your body and offer suggestions on the best approach to weight loss.

Learn more about these and other value-priced blood tests available through www.HealthOneLabs.com


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Carotenoids May Reduce Cancer Risk

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A new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, suggests that women with higher carotenoid levels in their blood have a reduced risk of breast cancer.  

What are Carotenoids and Why are they Important?

Simply said, carotenoids are substances in fruits and vegetables that give them their bright colors.  Carotenoids are prevalent in many orange colored vegetables and typically the darker the pigment in the food, the more carotenoids they contain.  Carotenoids act as antioxidants which prevent damage to our cells.  It is easy to add anti-oxidants, especially carotenoids to your diet:

carotenoids prevents breast cancer article

  1. carrots
  2. sweet potatoes
  3. pumpkin
  4. cantaloupe
  5. apricot
  6. papaya
  7. red and orange peppers
  8. tomatoes

The study indicated that women with the most carotenoids in their blood were 19 percent less likely to develop breast cancer than those with the lowest levels.   Lycopene was the best carotenoid to protect against breast cancer. Those with the highest lycopene levels had a 22% reduced risk of cancer.  Tomato products are loaded with lycopene.  So besides the red/orange colored fruits and veggies in your diet, add tomato sauce, salsa, fresh tomatoes, watermelon and pink grapefruit to your diet.  This research confirms that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is beneficial to your health.

Since carotenoids are fat-soluble, it is important to add a little healthy fat to your diet.  An example is to add olive oil to your salad of vegetables or saute some garlic in olive oil before simmering tomatoes in the sauce.  This will allow the body to absorb the nutrients and providing the benefit of lowering your risks of cancer.

Individuals can order their own lab tests to measure carotenoids with a simple blood test for Vitamin A and Carotene.
Resource: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, published online December 6, 2012.

Take Control of Your Health

Medical Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. The writer is not a physician or other health provider.


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Vitamin D Testing. Is it Necessary?

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It’s well documented that vitamin D is critical in bone remodeling but is also plays a key role in maintaining other aspects of overall health.  Recent research revealed that people with higher levels of vitamin D have reduced the risk in certain cancers including:

  • prostate cancer
  • endometrial cancer
  • skin cancer
  • pancreatic cancer
  • colorectal cancer

Those with decreased vitamin D levels have been linked to an increase risk for the following:

  • cardiovascular disease
  • hypertension
  • autoimmune diseases
  • type 1 diabetes

vitamin d image

Increasing your vitamin D Levels

Both diet and exposure to sunlight are two ways to get vitamin D.  Since the normal diet is relatively low in vitamin D, supplementation may be necessary with D3 pills which are available without a prescription.

Appropriate Test Levels

The levels for Vitamin D are as follows:

  • less than 10ng/mL would be considered Deficient
  • 10-30ng/mL is considered Insufficient
  • 30-100mg/mL is considered Sufficient

Why Get Tested?

It is estimated that up to 50% of the population, is deficient in vitamin D and this could adversely affect their health.  A simple blood test can provide the information you need to see if your are deficient in vitamin D.  The test is inexpensive and you can obtain a discount lab test for under $50.

Take control of your health.

Medical Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. The writer is not a physician or other health provider.


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