How Vigrx Plus Works And All The Amazing Effects Of Vigrx

VigRX Plus was recently improved from its original formula to help increase penis size. There are many advantages of this new formula, and it also provides the same great benefits as the classic version.

The VigRX drug enhances sex drive, and helps a man achieve a harder, bigger, and longer lasting erection. It also provides men with more intense and powerful orgasms and helps prolong the time that it takes for a man to ejaculate.

Additional benefits of using this product include the following:

  • You have less of a need to be anxious about “getting it up.”
  • A man and a woman enjoy greater intimacy together.
  • The man feels more confident that he will be “ready to go.”
  • It improves a mans stamina and increases his energy.
  • His sperm volume may increase.

The Inner Workings

VigRX works very well on a man in that it helps enhances the circulation within the arteries and veins of a man’s penis. This is accomplished as the peripheral tissue vasodilatation, which has a direct affect on the endothelial cells takes place.

As already mentioned above, this action takes place without raising a man’s blood pressure level. Likewise, as you already know a man is calmer while using this supplement because it relaxes his nerves.

Safety and Effectiveness

The VigRX Plus penis is considered non-invasive because no pain, needles, knives, or other instruments are needed to enhance a man who uses it. This natural enhancement pill also does not cause any side effects. This pill is said to be as effective as penis stretching tools, vacuum devices, and other mechanical male enhancement equipment.

Usage Tips

Men are usually advised to take two capsules of VigRX a day. The results are noticed after regular use. In order to improve their male enhancement efforts they might consider using recommended penis stretching and/or exercise routines.

Pros and Cons

The prices of VigRX are very reasonable, and are usually provided in cases of one to five packs for between $80.00 to $350.00. Furthermore, this product can be purchased from the privacy of your own home by visiting this URL https://www.ceraonline.org/vigrx-plus-review/

Furthermore, there is evidence from consumers that it does work. With that, the one reason why most men use this product do is because it has in it all natural ingredients.

Expected Outcome

VigRX users can expect to see a gain of two to three inches after about three months of use. They probably will notice at least a slight higher libido after only using this product for about a week.

Top UK Diet Pills – Recommended Diet Pills in the UK

There are various UK Diet Pills available in the market today. If you really want to lose weight, you may want to consider taking diet pills that can help you achieve your target weight. Of course, it’s important to know the diet pills you’re considering before you purchase one. And that’s why we’re here to help.

In order to attain your weight-loss goals, you will need to choose a credible diet pill that is backed up by consumers who have enjoyed amazing results. Another thing to look for is a diet pill that offers money-back guarantee. There are many UK diet pills that you can purchase online and through high-street shops and we have listed some of the best below.

These UK Diet Pills listed below are some of the most popular ones where a lot of dieters have successfully achieved their weight-loss targets. Take a look.

Phenq Pills

The Phenq diet pill is a fat blocker which blocks about one third of your fat intake. This helps your body avoid absorbing 1/3 of the fats you eat each meal. Phenq is Backed by Science, the only diet pill which was once among the most popular.

It is clinically proven to be an effective supplement in losing weight. There were no reported side effects. You can find a more detailed PhenQ Vs Phen375 here and you can also find links on how to purchase Phenq.

LipoBind Fat Binder

One of the popular diet pills you’ll find at retailers like Tesco, Superdrug, Holland & Barrett and Boots is LipoBind. It’s also avaialble at slimming.com for an even better price point. LipoBind is a fat binder just like Alli. Not only does it reduces the fat being absorbed in your body but it also suppresses your appetite. If you’d like to know more about Lipobind, you can read our review here. There are also links to where you can buy LipoBind.

Zotrim Fat Burner

Last but not the least, another famous diet pill in the UK is Zotrim. It’s a fat burner that you can get from Asda, Boota, Sainsburys and Tesco. It works by lessening the calorie intake and at the same time increases the calories being burned by the body.

Zotrim is backed up by a number o f clinical trials, showing how effective the pill is for losing weight. If you would like to know more about Zotrim, read our review on this diet pill. There are also links here to direct you to their official website where you can purchase Zotrim.

Collapsed Lung

A lung collapses when air enters the pleural space, which lies between the membranes (pleura) that line the chest cavity and the lungs. Although this can occur without a person having any symptoms, usually there is sudden, sharp chest pain, shortness of breath, and occasionally, a dry, hacking cough. With an open pneumothorax, out side air enters the space through a wound that penetrates the chest. With a closed pneumothorax, air may leak from the lungs or airways, either because of an injury or a spontaneous rupture. The latter, referred to as a simple spontaneous pneumothorax, sometimes occurs in a normal, healthy person who has a congenital weakness in part of a lung. This condition is most common among otherwise healthy young men, but it can occur at any age in both sexes. A complicated pneumothorax also involves a spontaneous rupture, but the condition is worsened by the presence of other lung diseases, such as emphy sema or cystic fibrosis. It occurs mostly in middle aged and older people.

Diagnostic Studies And Procedures

If apneumothorax is suspected, a doctor first listens to the chest sounds with a stethoscope, and then orders chest X-rays. In some cases, more invasive procedures such as thoracoscopy may be performed. For this examination a catheter with lighting devices is inserted into the chest cavity so that the doctor can view the pleural membranes and the space between them.

Medical Treatments

A small, simple, spontaneous pneumothorax that is confined to a limited portion of the lung often does not require any treatment other than repeated X-rays to make sure that it is healing on its own. A larger rupture is treated by inserting a tube into the chest cavity to allow air to escape from the pleural space. If the rupture is extensive, it may be necessary to insert a needle into the chest to remove the air. Needle insertion may also be required if the pneumuothorax is increasing in size. As a last resort, surgery may be performed to correct an underlying problem. Some patients have repeated occurrences of pneumothorax; in such cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the weakened segments of the lung. This procedure effectively prevents any future ruptures from occurring.

Alternative Therapies

A collapsed lung should always be treated immediately by a doctor. Alternative therapies can be applied as an adjunct approach during convalescence. These measures are also effective in treating some of the respiratory problems that increase the risk of a collapsed lung.

Herbal Medicine

Hyssop and lung wort teas or decoctions are advocated for treating mild lung problems and promoting respiratory health. Herbalists also suggest garlic because of its ability to fight off infection, build immunity, and generally strengthen the respiratory tract.

Nutrition Therapy

Vitamins A and C are said to strengthen the immune system and heal inflamed lung tissue. Some practitioners also believe that magnesium is beneficial to the muscles used in breathing. In general, maintaining a balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables will help promote healthy respiratory function.

Reflexology

In this form of massage, application of pressure to certain points on the feet and hands relieves tension in specific areas of the body. Lung disorders are treated by pushing the knuckles of the fist against the base of the patient’s toes and the ball of the foot. Pressing on the tips of the fingers and the middle of the palm is believed to improve breathing.

Self Treatment

There is no self treatment for a collapsed lung, because the situation may deteriorate very rapidly into a medical emergency. If you think you have this condition, go immediately to the nearest hospital emergency room. As a follow up to medical treatment, good self care may help prevent a recurrence, especially if bronchitis, emphysema, or another chronic lung disorder is present. If you are a smoker, make every effort to stop, and avoid smoke filled environments. If your job involves exposure to toxic substances or fumes, protect your lungs with the proper safety equipment. People with chronic lung disorders should also avoid going outdoors on days when the air pollution index is high.

Other Causes of Chest Symptoms

Chest pain accompanied by shortness of breath may be caused by angina or a heart attack. Breathing problems may also signal heart failure. Pneumonia and pleurisy, inflammation of the pleural membranes, may cause chest pain that feels similar to the pain of pneumothorax. Anxiety and panic attacks can also produce similar symptoms, particularly pressure in the chest.

The Effects of HGH

Have you ever wondered why some people manage to look youthful right into their sixties while others seem to wither away in their forties? Most people either blame their genes or unhealthy habits, both of which could be the culprit. However, there is a special hormone called Human Growth Hormone (HGH) which is actually the determining factor. Those who have an abundance of HGH in their body are youthful, healthy and energetic right into their old age.

HGH has generated a lot of buzz since television and celebrities, like CNN and Oprah, covered it in their shows. But what is it and why does it merit worldwide media attention? HGH is a natural hormone that is secreted by the pituitary gland located in the brain. It is one of the most important hormones in our body as it triggers the process of growth when we are young. Once we become adults, we stop growing but HGH is still important because it improves:

  • The elasticity of your skin and reduces wrinkles and age lines
  • Your heart function and blood circulation and restores energy and vitality
  • The immune system and protects our body from diseases
  • Your libido and enhances sexual performance
  • Your memory and vision
  • The strength of your bones and muscles

In short, the hormone restores our youthfulness, both in looks and deeds, and makes use healthier, stronger and more energetic. The above are just a few of the positive effects of HGH in our body. But by the time we are in our forties, the production of HGH trickles down to less that our body requires. This deficiency results in wrinkles, crows feet, age lines, sagging skin and other signs of old age such as reduced immunity, energy and vitality. By the time we are in our eighties, the production is down to almost nil.

Fortunately, we live in the age of innovation and there are ways to supplement HGH from external sources. Among the most popular methods are HGH supplement pills and oral sprays that are easy to administer. If taken daily as recommended, these supplements can restore your youthfulness, energy and vitality and make you look ten years younger.

High quality HGH supplements, such as GenF20 Plus and Styropin HGH Oral Supplement, are safe for consumption and do not even need the doctor’s prescription. However, you must make sure that they are FDA-approved because the market is flooded with cheap imitations that may have negative side effects.

Know Your Numbers: Cholesterol Testing

The reason for testing your cholesterol levels is to understand your risk for developing heart disease, stroke, or any of the other consequences of atherosclerosis. High blood-cholesterol has no visible symptoms. The only way to learn whether your cholesterol levels place you at risk for a heart attack or stroke is to measure your levels. You can get your cholesterol levels tested in your medical doctor’s office, at a medical laboratory, or at public screenings.

When to Check Your Cholesterol Levels

Although cholesterol levels alone are not predictive of heart disease in all people, knowing your levels is a valuable first step toward understanding your risk status. When you know your cholesterol levels, as well as the status of your other risk factors, you gain valuable insight into the health of your current lifestyle and what you need to do to create and maintain your well-being. Furthermore, for those people who learn that they fall into high-risk categories, the sooner they begin a treatment plan to lower levels of bad cholesterol and increase levels of good cholesterol, the sooner they can start to reduce their risks of heart attack or stroke.

Cholesterol Testing for Healthy Adults

Federal government guidelines recommend that all Americans check their cholesterol levels with a complete fasting lipoprotein profile at the age of twenty. The measurements taken by this test include your levels of total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. If test results indicate that all levels are in a healthy range, then government guidelines recommend retesting at a minimum of five-year intervals. The full lipoprotein profile test is preferred over a test that only provides data regarding total cholesterol and HDL levels. Since diabetes is considered to carry a risk equivalent to that of heart disease, it is also a good idea to have your blood glucose levels checked.

If you do not fast before testing your cholesterol, you can only measure total cholesterol and HDL levels. To receive more detailed information regarding your levels of LDL cholesterol and your triglycerides, fasting is necessary. If your test scores place you in a category for treatment, your health-care provider needs a complete, fasting, lipoprotein profile to plan your therapy.

Although federal government guidelines recommend cholesterol testing for adults at least every five years, if you have had a major change of lifestyle during that five-year period, your cholesterol levels may be different and, therefore, worth checking again before five full years elapse. For example, if you were a college student at age twenty and then became a working professional after graduation at age twenty-one or twenty-two, your physical activity levels, dietary choices, and stress levels may have changed significantly. All of these factors can impact your cholesterol levels. Therefore, it may be worth your time and effort to know your numbers as a measure of your health status in your new lifestyle.

Under current government guidelines, if you fall into a category that requires treatment for your cholesterol levels, you will have your cholesterol tested at much more frequent intervals to evaluate the success of the treatment program and to make any necessary adjustments. For example, if your health-care provider suggests that you adopt therapeutic lifestyle changes, the follow-up visit and test should be within six weeks. If your health-care provider suggests drug therapy, the initial follow-up visit and test should also be within six weeks. Subsequent visits for additional monitoring and adjustment of therapy should be scheduled at appropriate intervals depending on the nature of the individual therapy.

[ Read: Low Cholesterol Diet ]

Cholesterol Testing for Children

Evidence from research shows that atherosclerosis can start in childhood. If heart disease runs in the family, children should have their cholesterol levels checked regularly. In families that are high risk, it’s even more important that from two years of age onward, children follow a healthy lifestyle that includes a nutritious low-fat diet and regular physical activity.

Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper, M.D., M.P.H., of the Cooper Institute in Dallas, Texas, recommends that children have a baseline cholesterol test around age five or six. In the future, if any issues come up, this baseline reading can serve as a reference point. If no other problems occur, Dr. Cooper recommends that the next childhood cholesterol test be conducted when the child becomes a teenager.

Cindy Zedeck, Program Director of the Stanford Pediatric Weight Control Program at the Stanford Prevention Research Center in Palo Alto, California, agrees that cholesterol testing for kids is a good practice to motivate families to establish healthy habits for children at an early age. She states:

Many families with overweight children believe that the health risks from poor eating habits either will not occur to their child because their child will outgrow the overweight, or that the health risks are so far away that they will not worry about them now. Seeing the concrete result of high cholesterol may be just what it takes to motivate families to make changes now, reducing worse risk factors in the long run.

Cholesterol testing could also be .just the motivation for a child of healthy weight to improve eating and exercise habits. Many kids who are not “over­weight” do not make healthy choices and feel that they can “get away” with eating whatever they want. Since thin people also have heart disease, perhaps a concrete result of high cholesterol would also motivate a thin child and family to make healthier eating and exercise choices. This would prevent both future disease and the risk of eventually becoming overweight. Since only half of adults who are overweight were overweight as children, this means that a lot of these thinner kids will become overweight in adulthood, if they don’t change their unhealthy eating and exercise habits now.

Influence of Prescription Drugs

Certain prescription medications may also lead to an increase in cholesterol levels. These medications include the following:

  • ACTH (adrenocorticotrophic hormone)
  • Anabolic steroids
  • Beta-adrenergic blocking agents (beta blockers)
  • Corticosteroids
  • Epinephrine
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Phenytoin
  • Sulfonamides
  • Thiazide diuretics
  • Vitamin D

If you are taking any medications that have a potential adverse impact on your cholesterol levels, be sure to discuss this with your health-care provider. Make sure that you understand how you will monitor your cholesterol levels over time to ensure that they remain within a healthy range.

Your Blood Cholesterol Test

When you have your cholesterol tested, the test you should have is the full lipid profile. The results of this test include your levels of total cholesterol, HDL or good cholesterol, LDL or bad cholesterol, and triglycerides. For accurate results, you need to fast for nine to twelve hours before the test. That means you may have nothing to eat or drink but plain water during that time. It is important that you do not consume any alcoholic beverages, coffee, tea, or soda-only drink water.

Why is it so important for me to fast before a lipid profile test?

The reason it is important not to eat for several hours before testing is that after a meal, triglycerides spike. Testing your triglyceride levels immediately after a meal would not give a clear reflection of the typical amount of triglycerides that tend to flow through your bloodstream at all times.

What to Expect

Since you need to obtain a fasting profile, schedule your test for first thing in the morning. Your health-care professional will take a blood sample, either from a vein or from a finger stick. After the health-care provider has collected the blood, he or she will either send it to a lab for analysis-if the test is being performed via a finger stick, a portable testing device will be used to analyze the sample.

If you are on any medications that affect cholesterol levels, work with your health-care provider to determine whether you should not take your prescription for a certain period of time before you take your cholesterol test.

Cholesterol Skin Testing

In 2002, the FDA approved a method of measuring cholesterol levels by testing the amount of cholesterol present in the skin. According to studies by the test manufacturer, International Medical Innovations, Inc., of Toronto, Canada, skin contains approximately 11 percent of all body cholesterol as measured by weight. As the severity of coronary artery disease increases, the levels of cholesterol present in skin also increase.

The test, however, is not designed as a screening device. It only detects cholesterol that is present in large quantities in the skin, a characteristic of people with severe coronary artery disease. The test is more valuable when used together with a blood cholesterol test to identify which people have the most severe arterial blockages.

According to the test’s manufacturer, the skin test provides 4 to 15 percent more information about the risk of severe coronary artery disease than what is already available from blood cholesterol tests and an assessment of other risk factors.

Lipid is the chemical family name for fat. Its root is the Greek word lipos, meaning “fat.” A blood lipid is a fat that circulates in the bloodstream. Cholesterol and triglycerides are both classified as blood lipids. A lipoprotein is a combination of fat surrounded by a protein to enable the fat to circulate.

Public Cholesterol Screenings

You may find public screenings for cholesterol at health fairs, your place of business, or at community events. Make sure that a reputable company is providing the screening and that they provide appropriate educational information, properly trained staff, and referral to health-care providers. Typically, technicians at screenings use a finger-stick sample and a portable testing device to measure test results. This test can still provide you with accurate and valuable information.

Cholestech Corporation offers a portable cholesterol testing system that is used in public screenings as well as in physician office settings. The Cholestech LOX system provides lab-accurate results in five minutes from only a single drop of blood. The Cholestech technology uses a variety of tests that range from a fasting, full-lipid profile and blood glucose levels to a simple, non fasting, total cholesterol test. This technology facilitates quick results.

Share your test results with your health-care provider if you have your cholesterol tested at a public screening. Even if you are only able to take a nonfasting total cholesterol and HOL test, it can provide you with helpful information. If it is available, make sure that you still obtain the fasting, full lipoprotein profile. Keep in mind that learning the individual levels of LOL and HOL cholesterol and triglycerides gives you a much more accurate assessment of the health of your circulatory system.

The Value of Public Screenings

The true value of public screenings for cholesterol is in raising awareness of the prevalence of the risk of heart disease among the public. Public screenings help people who have no idea whatsoever of what their heart health might be to realize that they are in need of further testing and evaluation. According to Claude Lenfant, director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, “Americans at high risk for a heart attack are too often not identified and, so, don’t receive sufficiently aggressive treatment. Yet, studies show conclusively that lowering the level of low-density lipoprotein, or LOL, the ‘bad cholesterol,’ can reduce the short-term risk for heart disease as much as 40 percent.”

Public Screenings for Children

Both the federal government and the American Heart Association do not recommend mass public screenings of blood cholesterol for all children and adolescents. Health professionals are concerned that this type of mass screening would be costly and that it is likely to be inefficient. Children are often uncomfortable with needles and the sight of blood. Cholesterol testing for children is best conducted in the physician office setting.

According to the American Heart Association, about 10 percent of adolescents between the ages of twelve to nineteen years have total cholesterol levels higher than 200 mg/dL. This level is considered high risk.

Home Testing of Blood Cholesterol

At this time, home testing devices for cholesterol only measure total cholesterol and do not provide a breakdown of HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, or triglycerides. Lifestream Technologies, Inc., based in Post Falls, Idaho, offers a cholesterol monitor for home use that allows you to test your total cholesterol levels. The Lifestream LSP system is not meant to replace the role of a medical professional. Instead, the device is designed to serve as an aid for those who want to monitor their cholesterol levels on a regular basis from the convenience of home.

Possible Future Tests

As scientific research continues to create a clearer picture of the mechanisms behind atherosclerosis, investigators are focusing more attention on other lipid-related risk factors. Studies continue to reveal more information about the subclasses of LDL and of HDL. As knowledge increases about the more exact role that each of these particles plays in the atherosclerotic process, scientists are developing tests that can identify risk with greater precision than simply looking at total LDL or HDL cholesterol levels. The focus of these studies includes the following particles, some of which are mentioned in Chapter “Diagnostic Test for other markers of heart disease”:

  • Small, very dense, low-density lipoprotein particles
  • High apoliprotein B levels
  • Low apoliprotein A-1 levels
  • High lipoprotein a or Lp(a) levels
  • High remnant lipoprotein cholesterol and triglyceride levels
  • Low high-density lipoprotein 2b levels

Watch for results from future research trials and updates to guidelines that incorporate what is being learned about these particles. An understanding of the role of these markers and emerging risk factors may shed more light on why as many as 50 percent of people who do not have high total blood cholesterol levels develop atherosclerotic plaque that leads to heart disease and stroke.

Which is Better Omeprazole or Esomeprazole?

Esomeprazole (Nexium) and omeprazole (Prilosec) and are two of the most popular prescriptions for GERD (gastroesophageal reflux or acid reflux), but which one is better?

Why they’re prescribed?

Omeprazole and Esomeprazole are both PPIs and as such, they used to treat gastric acid-related conditions, including GERD, heartburn, esophagitis, or inflammation or erosion of the esophagus, duodenal ulcers caused by Helicobacter pylori, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

They have also been prescribed for the treatment of Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, a disease in which tumors cause the production of excessive stomach acid, Multiple Endocrine Adenomas, Several stomach ulcers, and Systemic Mastocytosis.
Both drugs can be gotten on prescription and over-the-counter (OTC). Omeprazole is available in tablet and capsule forms. While Esomeprazole can be gotten in tablet, capsule, and as liquid suspensions.

How do They Work?

Omeprazole and Esomeprazole belong to the class of drugs known as proton pump inhibitors (PPI). Proton pumps line the cells of the stomach and are responsible for producing hydrochloric acid (the main constituent of stomach acid). By inhibiting these proton pumps, Omeprazole reduces the amount of acid produced in the stomach.

These type of drugs have been used since 1981. They’re considered the most effective medication for reducing stomach acid. They work best when you take them an hour to 30 minutes before a meal. You’ll need to take them for several days before they’re fully effective.
By reducing the production of acid in the stomach, they stop the excess acid flowing back into the food pipe (esophagus) and so relieve painful heartburn symptoms associated with acid reflux. Omeprazole medication also allows the esophagus to heal if it has been damaged by the acid.

What is the Difference Between Omeprazole and Esomeprazole?

Omeprazole and Esomeprazole are remarkably similar. However, there are minor differences in their chemical makeup. The differences are more prominent in their branded variants. For example, Prilosec contains two isomers of the active ingredient omeprazole, while Nexium only contains one isomer.

While this may not be the biggest difference, it alters how drugs work. In Nexium (Esomeprazole), its ingredients are made to be processed more slowly than Prilosec (Omeprazole) in your body. This means that levels of the drug are higher in your bloodstream and that esomeprazole may decrease acid production for a longer period of time.

For this reason, Esomeprazole tends to work slightly faster than omeprazole in relieving symptoms. Esomeprazole is also created to be broken down by the liver, so as to reduce interaction with other drugs. Furthermore, pharmaceutical companies may add different inactive ingredients in producing branded variants of these drugs.

Omeprazole or Esomeprazole, which is Better?

Both drugs have undergone years of clinical trials, and results indicate that Omeprazole and Esomeprazole may offer some advantages to people with treating certain conditions.

An older study from 2002 found that esomeprazole provided more effective control of GERD than omeprazole at the same doses. According to a later study in 2009, esomeprazole offered faster relief than omeprazole in the first week of use. After one week, symptom relief was similar.

In 2007, American Family Physician published an article questioning some of the results of clinical trials. According to the article, the size of the studies, the condition of patients, the amount of active ingredients used in the studies, among other factors affect the results of clinical results.

After analyzing 41 studies on the effectiveness of PPIs, the article concluded that there’s little difference in the effectiveness of PPIs, especially when used for extended periods.

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Let’s Talk Nutrition: The Six Essential Nutrients

A framework for understanding vitamins starts with a definition of the umbrella under which these vital compounds are but one piece of the puzzle-nutrition. Any number of textbooks can provide a working definition, some more inclusive than others, but most would agree on that provided by the Council on Food and Nutrition of the American Medical Association:

Nutrition is the science of food, the nutrients, and the substances therein, their action, interaction, and balance in relation to health and disease, and the process by which the organism ingests, digests, absorbs, transports, utilizes, and excretes food substances.

Quite a mouthful, and if you haven’t guessed, we are the organisms in question, along with any other species on earth that biologists consider to be alive. That definition is good for showing the scope of the science of nutrition, but it leaves out the more human factor of food behavior. And it is food behavior, or the food choices we make on a daily basis and why we make them, which determines how nutrition affects our health. Another way to say this is, once we know which foods and in what amounts are beneficial to our health, why don’t we eat those foods in those amounts?

Of course that’s the proverbial million-dollar question, and it doesn’t lend itself to easy answers. Cynics might respond that humans are inherently lazy and hedonistic, seeking after pleasure first and foremost. While that may explain it for some of us, a more enlightened response would be that our food behavior is influenced by culture, beliefs, heritage, socioeconomic status, lifestyle, and a host of other equally important factors. It’s no surprise, then, that simply knowing which foods are more health promoting doesn’t mean people actually eat those foods. But awareness is the first step, and only after acquiring correct information can a person choose to change his or her behavior.

A growing number of people are frustrated by what they perceive as conflicting information. Nutrition is a young science compared to other scientific disciplines, which means that nutrition studies got a late start and have continued to boom in the past few decades. In addition, as new reports came out, other researchers followed the scientific method and tried to repeat the same experiments. If the results of a study can be reproduced in similar studies, the conclusions are more reliable.

A good example is the recent flap about beta-carotene and lung cancer. Many studies have shown that people who eat lots of fruits and vegetables had lower rates of several different types of cancer (among these, lung cancer). Trying to figure out just what it is in fruits and vegetables producing the beneficial effect, however, is fairly complicated. Some subsequent studies have suggested that beta-carotene was the likely magic bullet, and researchers designed a special type of study to test that theory.

What they found was that smokers who took beta-carotene supplements actually had a higher risk for lung cancer! Since then, another study showed the same results. While even more studies would really convince everyone, the fact that the first results were reproduced in another study would suggest that smokers should avoid taking beta-carotene supplements. A look at the different types of studies that nutrition researchers do will help explain another reason for sometimes conflicting reports on diet and health, and will also prepare you for the upcoming chapters on vitamins, which focus on the latest research.

Why a Rat and Not a Person?

Another reason for the seeming contradictions in new nutrition information has to do with the different types of studies and the fact that the media tend to report results as soon as they are published, sometimes sooner. Because of this, no filtering occurs, which might help to put each single study in a broader context of what has come before and how to interpret the results. Research results can be difficult for experts to decipher, let alone a newspaper reporter who has no background in science. Yet this is how most Americans come by their nutrition information. Little wonder that each new report seems to add to consumer confusion instead of resolving it.

Scientists use four basic types of studies, each with its own strengths and weaknesses, to either prove or disprove a hypothesis, or a guess they may have about something. The first, and most familiar, is the laboratory study, which can include animals or simply test tubes. Lab studies can provide details on why a specific effect occurs, such as how vitamin C boosts immune function. One reason for doing this is that animals can be dissected after the study, in sharp contrast to human subjects.

Laboratory Study

Another strength of a lab study is the control that the researchers have over their experiments. They can use a specific breed of rat, knowing all the physiologic background of the strain, and are assured that all subjects will be extremely similar. In contrast, a group of seemingly similar humans presents many more variables than 100 “Sprague Dawley” rats Finally, researchers can use as many rats or rabbits as they can afford, and the greater the number of subjects, the more valid the results.

The major weakness of lab studies is obvious, however; just because a study works a certain way in a rat doesn’t mean the same applies to a human being. When the media report the latest research results, people often do not pay attention to the fact that it was an animal study and that applicability to humans remains to be proven. In addition, researchers have to be on their toes to use an appropriate animal model in a particular study because different species vary in how similar they are to humans with regard to a specific function. As an example, ferrets are the best animal for studying the absorption of beta-carotene, since their physiology most closely resembles humans in this regard.

Case Study

This type of study focuses on one individual, usually someone who has exhibited an interesting trait. A somewhat recent example comes to mind: a few years back, the New England Journal of Medicine reported that a man in his nineties, who had been eating an average of a dozen eggs a week, had the blood cholesterol levels of a healthy teenager. This obviously surprised his physician and countless nutrition professionals who read the published report, because age and male gender are both risk factors for high cholesterol. To add a dozen eggs a week, which conventional wisdom of the time implicated as raising blood cholesterol, was unthinkable! While these reports are intriguing and can lead to further research, the effect of diet on one individual is not significant.

Epidemiologic Study

So if one person isn’t enough, what about an entire population? Epidemiologic, or population, studies compare disease rates among groups of people around the world, and look for correlations between disease and dietary habits. It was this type of study that led researchers to the association between a Mediterranean-type diet and a lower risk for heart disease. Epidemiologic studies are useful in pointing to a possible connection between diet and disease, laying the groundwork for further studies. Unfortunately, these studies can only show a statistical association, but not cause and effect. In other words, just because a study reports that people who eat a high-fiber diet tend to get colon cancer less often, the study doesn’t prove that dietary fiber prevents the disease. It might just be that something else about the high-fiber diet, or the kind of people who eat that way, is protecting against colon cancer.

Intervention/Clinical Trial Study

An intervention study compares the effects of a treatment, or intervention, on a group of people or subjects, called the experimental group, to another group, who received no treatment, called the controls. The control group is sometimes called the placebo group, which simply means that they received a fake treatment or “sugar pill” instead of the real treatment. The intervention study is by far the most powerful of all research designs because it demonstrates the effect of a given treatment. Recent examples include the Physicians’ Health Study, which proved that a small daily dose of aspirin reduced the risk for heart attack in men.

So if this type of study is so good, why isn’t it used all the time? It’s very expensive to conduct clinical trials, partly because humans are involved, requiring longer periods of time for treatment than animal subjects. In addition, blood draws and other assessment methods require trained personnel, which adds to the cost. But even with powerful intervention studies, the results are only as good as another study’s ability to duplicate the results.

The Last Word?

The next time a news headline screams, “Broccoli Causes Cancer!” take a few minutes to evaluate the study. Look at a few simple criteria, such as whether it was a human or animal study. If it was a human study, how many people participated? Was it an intervention study or an epidemiologic study? And finally, if the results contradict research that has preceded this study, remember that reproducibility of those results will be necessary before taking the information too seriously. Researchers are just doing their job by continually asking questions; generally, they end up with many more questions after doing a study than answers to the first question they asked. Smart consumers will wait before acting on the results of a new study.

Six, Count ‘Em: The Essential Nutrients

Nutrition concerns itself with the study of foods and the numerous compounds they contain. However, some preferential tre,atment is in order for the essential nutrients. The word essential refers to the fact that we have to ingest these compounds through our diet; our body can’t make them. We need these substances to grow and maintain our bodies. Adults don’t tend to grow as do infants and children, but they still need to repair and replace body tissues.

As an example, red blood cells have a limited life span of four months. After that time, the body has to make new ones. To do that, it needs specific nutrients. You might consider nutrients to be building blocks for all forms of life. In some ways, we are not too different from an ear of corn or a bowl of rice. Although the comparison isn’t exactly flattering, it illustrates that the human body is made up of similar components as the foods we eat, which is why those foods are nutritious to us!

The six essential nutrient groups which we must obtain through our diet are water, carbohydrate, fat, protein, minerals, and vitamins. Within each group, we need several nutrients. For example, we need thirteen vitamins and fifteen minerals. Water is by far the most vital: you can get by without vitamin C for a few months, but a shortage of water will be life threatening within days. This is generally true for all the nutrients, with a deficiency of some adversely affecting us sooner than others. Another important principle is that only fat, carbohydrate, and protein provide energy in the form of calories. Each of the billion cells in our bodies is a small microcosm of the whole, and while each needs all the essential nutrients, the most critical in the short term are water and energy.

Each essential nutrient has a particular function in the body which can’t be performed by any other nutrient. Overall, water, vitamins, and minerals help convert the energy nutrients, fat, carbohydrate, and protein into energy the body can use. Aside from the obvious need for energy to fuel our physical activity, the body uses energy to build and maintain its components such as muscle, bone, and blood. A chemist once described the human body as a mini-chemistry lab forced to conduct millions of chemical reactions every day. A fairly apt metaphor, and the vitamins are among the industrious little chemists working to change the food we eat into fuel, glue, bricks, and other building materials to keep the main building in good repair.

Quick Notes on Each Nutrient Group

This book, and especially the next three sections, focuses on vitamins, but a quick summary of each essential nutrient group’s functions is in order.

Carbohydrates

Although this group has sometimes gotten a bad rap, it includes a variety of compounds which have implications for health, with the basic function of providing energy for the body’s needs. Our main source is green plants, which convert water and carbon dioxide in the air to carbohydrate, with the help of sunlight and chlorophyll. Carbohydrates are either simple or complex, with simple carbohydrates consisting of sugars. The most common form of sugar, glucose, is the energy currency that travels in our blood to keep thecells fed.

Complex carbohydrate refers to starch and fiber, and of the two, humans can only digest and derive energy from starch. Although we don’t have the needed enzymes to break down fiber, it helps the body in other ways. The fact that we can’t break it down means that it keeps moving along the intestinal tract, stimulating bowel function and keeping it healthy. There is good evidence that a high-fiber diet can lower the risk for colon cancer. Friendly bacteria that live in the colon can break it down, and the by-products appear to have a healthful effect on colon function and in lowering cholesterol.

You can see that the bad rap is undeserved: far from being “fattening” additions to the diet, a generous intake of complex carbohydrate may actually help with weight control by replacing higher-calorie fats. Aside from its potential health benefits, fiber also makes a person feel full (called satiety), which may reduce calorie intake. The key is to emphasize complex carbohydrates, and use sugars only moderately. And finally, complex carbohydrates are one of the best ways to obtain the B vitamins, with whole grains being an excellent source.

How much is the right amount? That depends on you and your total energy needs in a day. Remember, the type of carbohydrate is everything. Load up on food sources such as fruits, vegetables, whole grain breads, cereals, and other grain products. Cut back on sources which are mainly desserts such as cookies, cakes, pies, candy, and sweetened drinks. To ensure that you get enough fiber in your diet, you might even consider limiting your intake of added sugars and processed grain products that offer no fiber. These include white bread, presweetened cereals, and crackers, muffins, and bagels that are not whole grain. Shoot for 50 to 60 percent of your total calories to eat as carbohydrates. If your daily calorie intake is around 2,000, you should take in slightly more than half, or 1,000 calories, as carbs. Illustrates a healthy example focusing on carbohydrate choices.

Fat

Most people think of fat as something to avoid in their daily diets to prevent heart attacks and keep from becoming obese. But as with carbohydrate, the reputation is largely undeserved, with different types of fat serving many vital roles in the body. The type of fat we carryon our bodies, triglyceride, is the same type we eat in foods. While we may complain about how fat we are, if we had to store our energy reserves as carbohydrate, we’d be huge! Fat takes up roughly half the space, in chemical terms, as carbohydrate. The reason for fat being the perfect form of reserve energy in the body actually accounts for its higher calorie value-9 calories per gram, compared to carbohydrate and protein at 4 calories per gram.

Fat is also useful as an insulator against temperature extremes, and it protects vital organs by cushioning them. On a smaller scale, fat molecules make up the protective membranes surrounding individual body cells and other important structures. The fat in foods adds to flavor, texture, and mouth feel;’ which is a food technologist’s term to describe the creamy sensation in your mouth when you eat a food containing fat. Fat also contributes to a feeling of satiety, a feeling of fullness after a meal. This may be one reason why people who dramatically cut back on their fat intake can’t seem to get enough food.

Getting back to vitamins, several of them require the presence of fat in foods to be properly absorbed and used by the body. Some people who have conditions causing difficulty in fat absorption end up becoming deficient in the fat soluble vitamins (those requiring fat for absorption). In addition, certain fatty acids, the compounds which form triglycerides by combining in groups of three, are essential nutrients linoleic and linolenic acids, found in plant oils.

While everyone is still worried about reducing fat intake, the evidence suggests that it is the type of fat you eat, rather than the amount, which determines the impact on health. Currently, a diet that is moderate in fat, around 30 percent of total energy, and emphasizes monounsaturated fat is considered the healthy choice. Saturated fat, the type which predominates in animal products, is associated with higher blood cholesterol levels, which in turn increase the risk for heart disease. shows the sample diet we used for the carbohydrate count, adding in foods which add fat, and substitutions for those that usually do, in the recommended amounts.

Protein

This nutrient had been the darling of the diet world starting in the 1960s and continues to hold the interest of bodybuilders and other athletes. The basis for their interest is not too farfetched: lean body mass, and specifically muscle tissue, is composed primarily of protein. While we say that protein is an essential nutrient, it is more accurate to say that the body requires specific amino acids, the building blocks of protein. Different protein-containing foods provide a mix of the various amino acids.

Protein is different from its other two energy-yielding partners, fat and carbohydrate, in that it contains the element nitrogen. A protein can contain twenty different amino acids, and when we eat protein, we get a mix of them. The body can make eleven of them on its own, but we have to eat protein containing the other nine, which are called essential amino acids.

Protein in the body is, by and large, functional. In other words, we don’t have extra protein taking up space for reserve, as we do with fat. Body protein is structural, as in muscle, the inner parts of bone and hair, tendons, and other body components. But it also works, forming enzymes which pave the way for chemical reactions, immune system compounds such as antibodies, and carrier molecules (that ferry things such as vitamins in the blood). In addition to carrying nutrients in the blood, a major blood protein, albumin, is responsible for keeping the body’s fluid in balance.

It’s obvious, then, how important protein is. What you might not know is that the average American takes in twice as much protein as he or she needs. The recommended amount of daily protein intake is based on a person’s weight. Of course, you don’t add extra protein if you have excess weight. The recommended amount is 36.4 percent of body weight. A moderately active woman who weighs 120 pounds needs 43 grams of protein every day. The sample diet, at about 2,000 calories, probably works for many people and provides more than twice the amount this woman needs. This amount of excess shouldn’t pose a problem for the average person, unless there is kidney disease, but you can see how calls for higher protein intakes are off base.

Vitamins

These compounds are the stars of the nutrition world, and it was their discovery, probably more than anything else, that fueled the explosion of research into human nutrition. The current list of vitamins, thirteen to be exact, have been known to be essential for human life for several decades. However, scientists continue to study these intriguing nutrients to learn more about them-everything from how the body absorbs them from different foods to possible interactions within the body’s cells. One thing is certain: as new facts unfold, new questions arise.

Although nutrition researchers still study vitamins to learn about what they do, we know some of their general roles. Some act like hormones in the body, sort of chemical messengers. Others are a part of enzymes, vital compounds that control metabolic reactions in the body. Many of the enzymes vitamins team up with can’t function unless they combine with specific vitamins, called coenzymes.

A useful way to sort vitamins is into two groups: those that dissolve in fat (fat soluble) and those that dissolve in water (water soluble). This gives you some idea of how the vitamins function and how they’re,handled by the body. In addition, solubility determines if a vitamin can be stored in the body and how easily it’s lost from the body as well as from foods during processing or preparation. And finally, knowing whether a vitamin dissolves in fat or water can give you a rough idea of which foods contain it.

You don’t need much of any of the vitamins-it works out to about an ounce if you add up all the vitamins you need for a day. But scientists use different units of measure for vitamins, including mg and micrograms. Just to get an idea of how little a microgram is, one of these tiny units is equivalent to one-millionth of a gram, and a gram is about one-thirtieth of an ounce! Retinol equivalents (RE), and sometimes International Units (IU), are the measurements used in industry for vitamins A and E.

Since there are thirteen essential vitamins (fourteen, if you count the newcomer choline), our sample meal would get a bit complicated, so we’ll look at two key vitamins that many Americans don’t get enough of vitamins A and C. What you’ll notice is that with few exceptions, most of the significant sources of both vitamins are fruits and vegetables. One important distinction is that even in these foods, there is a wide variability in the amounts notice that a banana and an apple provide negligible amounts of either nutrient. But the sample meal is perfectly balanced and provides our reference female with almost four times the recommended amount of vitamin A and more than seven times the vitamin C.

Minerals

Minerals are the most enduring of nutrients; that is, long after the human body has decomposed, and actually forever, the minerals in that human body will remain unchanged. Their indestructible nature tells us that cooking heat and other forms of food processing don’t lower the amounts of needed minerals in our foods. However, minerals are water soluble, so prolonged contact with water will leech them out of foods. In contrast to the complex forms of the other nutrients, minerals are the basic chemical elements familiar to us in useful things other than food, such as copper pipes and iron railings.

The minerals fall into two major categories, major and trace minerals. The difference between them is a matter of amount: the body contains major minerals in amounts greater than 5 grams and less than this amount of trace minerals. This gives you an idea of the amounts you’ll need to consume as well. As an example, compare the need for 800 mg of calcium, a major mineral, to that of 12 mg for the trace mineral zinc-a major difference! is a list of both groups.

The roles of the minerals are diverse, with many of these nutrients doing double and triple duty. As an example, sodium, familiar as the partner to chloride in table salt, helps to maintain the proper amount of acid in the blood and fluid balance outside the cells. In addition, sodium is involved in muscle contraction and nerve transmission, both vital functions considering that the heart is a muscle and has to keep beating.

As mentioned, the amount we need of each essential mineral varies depending on whether it is a major or trace mineral. Some minerals continue to prove challenging for some Americans to consume in the recommended amounts. As for toxicity, many minerals can prove fatal in excess amounts. A deadly example is copper, which because of its potential toxicity, was the drug of choice years ago for people in India wishing to commit suicide. One reason for easy toxicity has to do with the body’s handling of a particular mineral. Some minerals readily excrete into the urine when excess amounts arise, while others, such as iron, tend to accumulate in the liver, posing a considerable health risk.

If we go back to our sample day’s intake and consider two minerals which pose problems for many American women, calcium and iron, we’ll see that only certain types of foods provide significant amounts of each. And our sample menu again stands up to the test, providing our reference woman with about 20 percent more than the recommended amounts for calcium and iron. A final note that isn’t apparent just by looking at the numbers: for several minerals, and especially for calcium and iron, the body appears to better absorb and use those nutrients from animal sources compared with grains and vegetables.

Water

Although water is so essential to life that even a few days without it can kill a person, most people don’t give much thought to this vital nutrient. And while everyone knows the importance of vitamins and minerals, people may not realize that water, along with those nutrients and fat, carbohydrate, and protein, together make up the six nutrients essential for human life.

Water is a very simple compound from a chemical standpoint, consisting of only two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen. However, its simplicity gives rise to functions which support every aspect of human physiology, the most basic being a near perfect solvent and the medium for most of the body’s chemical reactions. In addition, water brings nutrients to each cell and carries away the cell’s waste products. It is part of the chemical structure of cells, tissues, and organs. Water also acts as a lubricant and cushion for joints and lubricates the digestive tract and other mucosal tissues. Another important role is in body temperature regulation because of its ability to change temperature slowly.

The need for water is based on caloric intake, and therefore body size. Under normal conditions, the average adult needs about one milliliter for every calorie consumed, or about 13.6 milliliters per pound of body weight. However, fluid requirements are affected by factors such as internal and external temperature, physical exertion, and environmental humidity level. In addition, several compounds and certain conditions can act as diuretics to promote fluid loss or cause retention of body fluid.

Naturally occurring diuretic compounds include caffeine, alcohol, and chemicals found in certain vegetables such as asparagus. Compounds which promote retention of water include high salt intake and the body’s production of certain hormones, such as antidiuretic hormone and vasopressin. A person’s age also influences the need for fluid, with infants requiring a higher proportion because their body composition includes a higher amount of water.

Many people believe that they need to drink eight glasses of water every day to maintain proper fluid balance, which is an erroneous assumption based on overlooking the fluid contained in foods. Most foods consist of 50 to 90 percent water, which provides about 60 percent of the adult need for water. Foods such as fruits and vegetables contain the most fluid, so depending on intake, fluid provided by foods can vary. Additionally, although drinking plain water can be beneficial, it is not essential, since other beverages contain water. Exceptions include coffee and other caffeine-containing beverages and alcohol, which because of their diuretic effect tend to deplete fluid beyond the amount they provide.

Our reference woman who eats the sample menu is taking in about 2,000 calories. This means her fluid need is 2,000 mI, or 66.6 ounces. Looking at the water contained in just the beverages, two cups of milk and one cup of juice, she has already consumed 21.6 ounces, since both milk and juice are about 90 percent water. If we only give her credit for her apple, banana, and carrots, now she’s up to about 30 ounces, which doesn’t include the additional water from other foods. Another four and a half cups of any liquid, including water, puts her where she needs to be.

Anything Else in There?

By now, you may be wondering about some of the other substances you’ve heard of in the news lately: fiber, phytoestrogen, flavonoids, and many more. Scientists refer to these as nonnutrients, of which the phyto chemicals are one type. The word nonnutrient simply means that the compound is not one of the known nutrients which we need, while phytochemicals have some kind of activity in the body. There is increasing evidence that some of these compounds may be beneficial in preventing chronic diseases. But not all of these nonnutrients are helpful: cabbage and other plants contain compounds called goitrogens that interfere with the thyroid hormone, possibly causing a goiter. Fortunately, the heat from cooking destroys these compounds, so it’s not normally a problem. Scientists who study toxins (toxicologists) tell us that plant foods are rife with potentially toxic substances.

Most of the consumer excitement regarding phytochemicals may seem recent, but food scientists have known for some time of their existence. Other nonnutrients have been acknowledged for several decades, such as dietary fiber. Although evidence continues to mount that different types of fiber are beneficial for human health, from aiding normal bowel function to preventing colon cancer, strictly speaking, fiber is not an essential nutrient. In other words, humans could theoretically survive without it. Quality of life, however, might be another matter!

The consideration of nonnutrients seems to pose another question: How do nutrition scientists figure out if something is an essential nutrient? Part of the answer relates to the history of vitamin discovery, which we’ll save for upcoming chapters. But more recently, scientists have used a combination of the various types of studies to determine essentiality. Animal studies are the most obvious choice because of the method researchers use. To find out if a nutrient is essential, they feed the animal a diet, usually a formula, devoid of that compound but containing all the other nutrients they know to be essential. If the animal can grow, develop normally, and not suffer any ill effects, the compound is not essential. If the animal shows signs of deficiency, the compound is an essential nutrient.

Human case studies have also proved invaluable, usually the result of trial and error. In the not too distant past, say, forty years ago, scientists developed methods of feeding people who couldn’t eat normally. Eating normally means taking food through the mouth and all the way through the intestinal tract. Doctors had to figure out another route for feeding people who had a problem somewhere in the intestinal tract. Over the years, they’ve refined the methods by feeding people either through a tube inserted somewhere into the intestinal tract or, for people with a nonfunctioning intestine, directly into the bloodstream. You can see, then, that they learned fairly early on what nutrients had to be added to the formulas to prevent nutrient deficiencies. Although technology has advanced greatly, some questions remain about other compounds the formulas still might need.

How Does Your Diet Add Up?

To get the most out of this book, you may want to consider doing a bit of detective work about your diet. Completing the following form will enable you to do the “How Your Diet Adds Up” quiz at the end of each section relating to a specific vitamin. The first rule of thumb for keeping a food record is to do as many days as possible. It’s best to do a minimum of three, and consider two weekdays and one weekend day. The more days you evaluate, the more likely your intake for that time is representative of your diet in general. The reason for including a weekend day is that most people eat differently then. Try to avoid using a day that is not typical for you, such as a special occasion (a wedding or a party).