To Maximize Muscle Protein Synthesis (MPS) After 40, Do This

Once you hit your 40s, your muscles begin to naturally shrink and you become less efficient at turning protein into muscle.

This causes many adults to turn to rapid weight loss diets, which absolutely destroy your body composition and your metabolism because 30 – 40% of the lost weight will come from lean tissue (muscle).

Here’s how to maximize muscle protein synthesis (MPS) after 40:

Eat at least 30-40 grams of protein your first meal of the day

The average American eats about 12 grams of protein at breakfast, which is inadequate to enter an anabolic state. In other words, the protein here gives you nothing but calories–you get no improvements in body composition from eating it.

Aim for at least 30 grams of protein with each ensuing meal

You need about 2.5 grams of the amino acid leucine per meal to stimulate muscle protein synthesis, which equals around 30 grams of protein. Until you get enough leucine, protein synthesis won’t run at 100%. This results in a lack of adequate protein, leaving you in a catabolic state, where lean tissue is broken down.

Drink twice as much water

If you shift to a higher-protein diet, you should drink 50% more water than you were drinking before. Protein is hygroscopic, which means it attracts water like iron filings to a magnet.

Don’t drink alcohol on days you lift

Alcohol devastates your body’s ability to regenerate and repair muscle and get it ready for a subsequent workout. Regularly consuming more than one or two drinks a day is not recommended if you’re trying to maximize muscle protein synthesis and lose weight/gain muscle.

End the day with a high-protein meal

People who consume protein prior to sleep see a greater increase in muscle mass and strength. Try a high-protein meal with at least 30-40 grams of protein as your last meal of the day. But watch the sugary, carb-laden snacks. Stick with sugar-free protein shakes, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, nuts, and seeds.

Takeaways

✓ Eat at least 30-40 grams of protein with each meal

✓ Drink twice as much water

✓ Don’t drink alcohol on days you lift

How Much Protein Can You Really Absorb in One Meal?

how much protein study

A new study published in late 2023 called “The anabolic response to protein ingestion during recovery from exercise has no upper limit in magnitude and duration in vivo in humans” concluded that ingestion of 100 g protein resulted in a greater and more prolonged (>12 h) anabolic response when compared to the ingestion of 25 g protein.

However, several key questions remain:

1. How does consuming 100g of protein compare to 40, 45, or 50g? The study only measured 100g vs 25g.

2. What are the effects of consuming 100g of protein in trained vs. untrained individuals? This study assessed the muscle protein synthesis (MPS) response after a resistance training session in untrained subjects. As Layne Norton, Ph.D. explains, “The protein turnover response in untrained subjects is massive & creates a huge demand for tissue remodeling. This allows for greater utilization of exogenous amino acids.”

3. What are the MPS effects of consuming 100g of other protein sources? This study only measured 80% casein (milk protein), which is a slower-digesting protein and has a much different anabolic response than other sources.

Protein researcher Dr. Don Layman and Dr. Gabrielle Lyon did a review of the study here:  

Dr. Layman told me that they also have an upcoming discussion with the study author coming out soon. 

Here’s my takeaway:

Is the study intriguing?

Yes.

Should it make us question conventional wisdom about how much protein we can absorb in a sitting?

Sure.

But let’s not jump to conclusions without thinking critically and understanding that there are still many unanswered questions here.

Optimal protein intake to lose fat and build muscle, according to science

how much protein do adults need

There’s one thing nearly all older adults have in common: a way-too-low daily protein intake.

The benefits of protein are no secret.

Protein helps with:

1. Muscle Building and Maintenance

2. Weight Management

3. Improved Athletic Performance

4. Aiding Muscle Recovery

5. Preservation of Muscle Mass

6. Metabolic Health

So, what’s the optimal amount of protein you should be eating each day?

It depends on your goals and current body composition. Physically active adults can optimize and maintain body composition, performance, and recovery with a daily protein intake of 1.4–2.0 g/kg (0.64–0.91 g/lb), with a preference toward the upper end of this range.

The most comprehensive meta-analysis to date on the effects of protein supplementation on muscle mass and strength found that the average amount of protein required to maximize lean mass is about 1.6 g/kg, and some people need upwards of 2.2 g/kg.

To optimize muscle gain, active adults should shoot for a daily protein intake of 1.6–2.4 g/kg (0.73–1.10 g/lb). To lose fat, active adults who are already lean may maximize fat loss and muscle retention with a daily protein intake of 1.6–2.4 g/kg (0.73–1.10 g/lb).

People who are overweight or obese should consume at least 1.2–1.5 g/kg (0.54–0.68 g/lb) … and I advocate for even higher than this because considering the health risks associated with overweightness and obesity, eating a diet higher in protein significantly reduces several cardiometabolic risk factors, including waist circumference, blood pressure, and triglycerides, while also increasing satiety.

Higher protein consumption also has a thermic effect on metabolism, meaning our bodies use more energy to process protein compared to fats and carbohydrates.

Long story short, most people would benefit from eating .75 – 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight per day.

If you’re struggling with your protein intake and need some help, then protein powder like Pure Food can be a huge asset!

Sources:

Thomas DT, Erdman KA, Burke LM. American College of Sports Medicine Joint Position Statement. Nutrition and Athletic Performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc (2016 Mar)

Jäger R, et al. International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: protein and exercise. J Int Soc Sports Nutr (2017 Jun 20)

Morton RW, et al. A systematic review, meta-analysis and meta-regression of the effect of protein supplementation on resistance training-induced gains in muscle mass and strength in healthy adults. Br J Sports Med (2018 Mar)

Antonio J, et al. The effects of consuming a high protein diet (4.4 g/kg/d) on body composition in resistance-trained individuals. J Int Soc Sports Nutr (2014 May 12)

Kim JE, et al. Effects of dietary protein intake on body composition changes after weight loss in older adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutr Rev (2016 Mar)

How Much Sleep Do You Really Need to Live Longer?

how much sleep do you need to live longer

People wear their lack of sleep like a badge of honor.

You often hear them say things like, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”

And they’re right–chances are, they’ll be dead sooner because they’re not getting sufficient sleep.

Sleeping is NOT a weakness.

It’s actually a superpower.

But there is a “sweet spot” when it comes to sleep (more on that in a sec). Too much can also be detrimental to your health and longevity.

Sleep duration and disturbances affect testosterone levels, muscle mass, and strength. A single night of sleep deprivation is sufficient to induce anabolic resistance and a pro-catabolic environment.

More alarmingly, if you sleep too little or too much, you have a much greater risk of getting heart disease and cancer and dying years sooner.

So what’s the sleep sweet spot?

7 hours.

7-hour sleepers experience the lowest risks for all-cause mortality, cancer, and cardiovascular disease, whereas those at the shortest (< 7 hours) and longest sleep durations (> 8 hours) have significantly higher mortality risks.

Make sleep a priority.

Get your 7 hours. Make it a habit.

And get stronger, get fitter, and live longer.

Sources:

1. Grandner MA, Hale L, Moore M, Patel NP. Mortality associated with short sleep duration: The evidence, the possible mechanisms, and the future. Sleep Med Rev. 2010 Jun;14(3):191-203. doi: 10.1016/j.smrv.2009.07.006. Epub 2009 Nov 25. PMID: 19932976; PMCID: PMC2856739.

2. Lamon S, Morabito A, Arentson-Lantz E, Knowles O, Vincent GE, Condo D, Alexander SE, Garnham A, Paddon-Jones D, Aisbett B. The effect of acute sleep deprivation on skeletal muscle protein synthesis and the hormonal environment. Physiol Rep. 2021 Jan;9(1):e14660. doi: 10.14814/phy2.14660. PMID: 33400856; PMCID: PMC7785053.

3. Auyeung, T. W., Kwok, T., Leung, J., Lee, J. S. W., Ohlsson, C., Vandenput, L., Wing, Y. K., & Woo, J. (2015). Sleep Duration and Disturbances Were Associated With Testosterone Level, Muscle Mass, and Muscle Strength—A Cross-Sectional Study in 1274 Older Men. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, 16(7), 630.e1-630.e6.

How to Upgrade Your Home Gym

home gym equipment essentials

I know some of ya’ll love going to the gym.

But with all due respect (‘cuz I do respect anyone who is making an effort to exercise consistently, no matter where they choose to do it) … I love working out at home.

It saves me time. It saves me money. And it has helped me find the consistency to get in the best shape of my life after 40.

If you want to set up a killer home gym, here are some essential pieces of equipment I highly recommend (beyond the traditional barbell/bench set):

1. Adjustable dumbbell set. (Bowflex ones are great but Proform also has a set that is a bit cheaper). Cost: $200 – $400. You can also try picking up a used set on Craigslist, FB Marketplace, or a garage sale.

2. Resistance bands. Cost: $20 – $40

3. TRX straps with ceiling mounts. Cost: The real TRX ones will cost you $200+ but you can buy a pair of moving straps instead or find a knock-off brand for $50 or so. The mounts will cost you an extra $25.

4. Gymnastics rings. Cost: $30

5. Pull-up bar. Cost: $30 – $50

6. Parallette Bars. Cost: $40 – $100

7. Swiss ball. Cost: $20

8. Adjustable kettlebell handle. Cost: $20

9. Medicine balls. Cost: $20 – $50

10. Hanging ab straps. Cost: $30

11. Battle rope. Cost: $35 – $100

12. Hex trap bar. Cost: $70 – $100

13. Foam roller. Cost: $15 – $20

14. Lacrosse ball. Cost: $5

If you need recommendations on specific brands I use, leave a comment.

And if you’re a guy 40-70 who wants to build muscle, get stronger, and move better working out from home, then sign up for my free workout plans here.

Bovine Collagen Peptides: Uses, Types, Benefits

types and benefits of bovine collagen peptides

Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies, acting as the building block for skin, tendons, ligaments, and many other tissue types. Think of it as the glue that holds everything together.

There are a multitude of different types, uses, and benefits of collagen. In this article, we will focus on bovine collagen peptides. You’ll learn what they are, where they come from, the differences between bovine and other types of collagen, potential benefits, side effects, and more.

Here are the sections in this article … click/tap to navigate:

What are Collagen Peptides and How Do They Differ From Regular Collagen?

Collagen “peptides” are simply broken-down collagen molecules (which our bodies digest and absorb better).

Regular collagen is like that thick novel you’ve been meaning to read. Collagen peptides, on the other hand, are like its summarized, Clif’s Notes version.

Because of their smaller structure, peptides get absorbed more efficiently and get to work faster.

Comparing Bovine Collagen to Other Sources (Marine, Chicken, Vegan)

Bovine Collagen Origin, Types, Pros and Cons

  • Origin: Derived from the skin and bones of cows.
  • Primary Types: Mainly contains Type I and Type III collagen (more on this below).
  • Pros: Closest to human collagen. Supports skin elasticity, joint health, and overall body structure.
  • Cons: Those who have concerns about the ethics and sustainability of animal farming might steer clear.

Marine Collagen Origin, Types, Pros and Cons

  • Origin: Sourced from the skin and scales of fish, especially from species like cod or snapper.
  • Primary Types: Primarily contains Type I collagen.
  • Pros: Known for enhancing skin hydration and reducing wrinkles. High bioavailability and absorption rates.
  • Cons: Fishy aftertaste. Might not be ideal for those with fish allergies. Not ideal for mixing with most drinks because of the strong taste. Typically more expensive than other types.

Chicken Collagen Origin, Types, Pros and Cons

  • Origin: Extracted from the cartilage of chickens.
  • Primary Types: Predominantly Type II collagen.
  • Pros: Good for joint health, and especially noted for its support in conditions like arthritis.
  • Cons: More specialized; might not provide the broader benefits of Type I and Type III collagen from bovine sources.

Plant-Based / Vegan Collagen Boosters Origin, Types, Pros and Cons

  • Origin: Derived from ingredients like seaweed, wheat, soy, or various genetically modified yeasts and bacteria.
  • How It Works: Instead of providing actual collagen, these sources offer the necessary amino acids and nutrients that stimulate the body’s own collagen production.
  • Pros: 100% vegan and vegetarian-friendly. May also contain other beneficial plant-derived nutrients.
  • Cons: Not actually collagen but a “booster” that may help the body to produce more (although this has not been proven). Might not have the immediate efficacy of animal-derived collagen supplements.

Types of Bovine Collagen: What’s the Difference?

Bovine collagen mainly consists of Type I and Type III collagen, with Type II playing a cameo. Let’s unpack each of these …

Type I Collagen

The superstar of the collagen world, Type I makes up a whopping 90% of your body’s collagen.

  • Found in organs, skin, tendons, and more.
  • Highly associated with providing skin its structure. Hence, it’s the go-to for anti-aging, skin elasticity, and hydration.
  • It’s the strongest type, meaning it works superbly for maintaining the health of your tendons, organs, and bones.
  • Requires the support of other collagen types to ensure comprehensive health benefits.

Type II Collagen

Often sourced from poultry (chicken cartilage), it plays a smaller role in bovine collagen products.

  • Found predominantly in cartilage.
  • Has shown potential in aiding arthritis symptoms.
  • Primary benefit is for joint health, meaning it doesn’t have the broad spectrum of benefits that some other collagen types offer.
  • More often found in chicken sources, making it less prevalent in bovine collagen supplements.

Type III Collagen

The Robin to Type I’s Batman, Type III is the second most abundant collagen in the human body.

  • Supports the structure of muscles, organs, and arteries, promoting overall youthful vitality.
  • Often found alongside Type I, enhancing the benefits of both.
  • Rarely found in isolation and often needs the presence of Type I to function optimally.

How Bovine Collagen Peptides Are Made: Why Hydrolyzed Matters

Hydrolyzed collagen is collagen that has been broken down into smaller, more digestible pieces by a process called hydrolysis. The main benefit of hydrolysis is it makes it easier for our bodies to absorb the collagen.

  1. Raw Material Collection: It all starts with the collection of bovine parts, predominantly leftover “waste” products like hides, bones, etc. These are rich in collagen but not in the form your body can easily digest.
  2. Cleaning & Preparation: The collected materials are cleaned with a lime-alkaline solution to remove non-collagenous compounds.
  3. Extraction: The cleaned materials undergo a hot water extraction process. Here, the heat causes the collagen to turn into a gelatin-like substance.
  4. Enzymatic Hydrolysis: Here’s where the magic happens. The extracted gelatin is then introduced to specific enzymes that break the protein down into smaller chains of amino acids, aka peptides.
  5. Purification: The hydrolyzed mixture is then purified to remove any unwanted substances, ensuring you’re getting the purest form of collagen peptides.
  6. Drying & Milling: Once purified, the mixture is dried, often using a process called “spray drying.” After drying, it’s milled into a fine powder, ensuring easy mixability when you use it.

The Health Benefits of Bovine Collagen Peptides

Let’s touch on some of the main benefits of collagen now.

  1. Skin Health: Elasticity, Hydration, and Aging. Regular bovine collagen intake can boost skin elasticity, hydration, and even help reduce the appearance of those pesky fine lines and wrinkles.
  2. Joint Health: Arthritis, Pain, and Cartilage Support. Creaky knees and painful elbows? Bovine collagen offers support to our joints, reducing the symptoms of arthritis and other joint disorders.
  3. Bone Health: Density and Strength. Keep your bones robust and healthy as you age with a dash of bovine collagen in your daily routine (try a scoop or two in your morning coffee or tea).
  4. Muscle Mass and Athletic Performance. Looking to add lean muscle or enhance your athletic performance? Bovine collagen peptides make a great addition to your protein shakes.
  5. Gut Health and the Connection to the Microbiome. An unhappy gut is a precursor to many health issues. Collagen can play a role in strengthening the gut lining, promoting a healthier digestive system.

Potential Side Effects or Considerations

Bovine collagen peptides are largely beneficial for most people. However, there are a few potential side effects and considerations for a small number of folks:

  1. GI Issues: Some people might experience minor digestive disturbances when they first start consuming bovine collagen. This can include feelings of fullness, bloating, or a change in bowel habits. Most of the time, these symptoms are temporary and can be reduced by starting with a smaller dosage and gradually increasing to the recommended amount. A probiotic supplement can also help.
  2. Allergic Reactions: Though rare, it’s possible for someone to have an allergic reaction to bovine collagen. Symptoms might include itching, rash, or swelling. If you suspect an allergy, stop taking the supplement and consult with a healthcare professional.
  3. Taste and Odor Sensitivity: Some people might detect a particular taste or smell from certain brands of bovine collagen, especially if it’s unflavored. This isn’t a side effect in the traditional sense, but it can affect the palatability and overall experience of consuming the product. Try a few different brands if you notice a weird taste in yours.
  4. Interaction with Medications: It’s always wise to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement, including bovine collagen. This is especially important if you’re on medications, as there can be potential interactions.

How to Choose a Quality Bovine Collagen Supplement

When considering a bovine collagen supplement, here are our best tips:

  1. Look for a product with Type I and Type III collagen, given their complementary roles.
  2. Taste (or lack thereof) matters. Unflavored bovine collagen should not have a strong smell or taste.
  3. Mixability also matters. If your collagen forms large, gelatinous clumps, then that is definitely not an ideal experience.
  4. Make sure your brand is third party tested and manufactured in a GMP-certified facility.

How to Incorporate Bovine Collagen Peptides into Your Diet

Bovine collagen peptides are one of the most versatile protein sources. The neutral taste of most bovine collagen powders ensures that you get the health benefits without compromising the flavors of your favorite dishes.

Here are some ways you can use bovine collagen peptides:

  1. Beverages:
    • Coffee: Stirring bovine collagen into your morning coffee is a popular way to start the day. It dissolves easily, doesn’t alter the taste, and provides an early protein boost.
    • Tea: Prefer tea? Whether it’s green, black, or herbal, a scoop of collagen can seamlessly blend in.
    • Other Chilled Drinks: From iced lattes to refreshing lemonades, collagen peptides can be mixed into cold drinks. However, ensure you mix well as some brands clump more than others and might need a bit more stirring or blending in colder temperatures.
  2. Smoothies:
    • Protein Boost: Upgrade your post-workout smoothie by adding a serving of collagen peptides. Not only does it ramp up the protein content, but it also supports muscle recovery.
    • Flavor Neutrality (or Flexibility): With both flavored and unflavored collagen options available, you can either complement your smoothie’s natural taste or give it a new twist!
  3. Cooking:
    • Protein Pancakes: Give your morning pancakes a nutritional upgrade. By adding collagen into the batter, you can enjoy a protein-packed breakfast that keeps you satiated longer.
    • Soup & Stews: Collagen can act as a thickening agent. Next time you make a soup or stew, add a scoop for added texture and health benefits.
    • Baked Delights: Whether you’re baking bread, muffins, or cookies, incorporating collagen peptides ensures you’re getting a protein boost with every bite.
    • Savory Dishes: Don’t limit collagen to just sweets and drinks. Mix it into your pasta sauces, casseroles, or even sprinkle some on your salad dressings.
  4. Dosage and Frequency:

While a typical serving size provides about 10 grams of collagen and 9 grams of protein, it’s always best to refer to the brand’s recommendation.

Like any health habit, consistency is key to reap the full benefits, so find ways to make it a seamless part of your daily routine.

Best Bovine Collagen Brands: Pros and Cons

Before you plunge into the world of bovine collagen, remember: not all collagen brands are created equal. Sure, they might all glisten under the fluorescent store lights, but the quality, source, and additional ingredients can wildly differ.

That’s why it’s essential to read those labels, do your homework, and ensure you’re getting the crème de la crème of bovine collagen peptides. Let’s weigh the pros and cons of some of the most talked-about brands in the market, shall we?

Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides

Pros:

  • Sourced from grass-fed, pasture-raised bovine.
  • No added preservatives or artificial ingredients.
  • Highly soluble and mixes well with beverages.

Cons:

  • Slightly pricier compared to other brands.
  • Packaging might not be fully sustainable.
  • Some users report a mild aftertaste.

Live Conscious Collagen Peptides

Pros:

  • Ensures high-quality and purity with third-party testing.
  • Offers a satisfaction guarantee for its users.
  • Transparent about their sourcing and processing.

Cons:

  • Limited flavor options.
  • Some users might find the powder consistency less mixable.

 

Purely Inspired Collagen Peptides

Pros:

  • Enhanced with Biotin for added skin, hair, and nail benefits.
  • Affordable price point.
  • Easy-to-use serving scoops included.

Cons:

  • Sources of collagen aren’t exclusively bovine.
  • Some users might prefer pure collagen without added vitamins.

Orgain Collagen Peptides

Pros:

  • Gluten-free, soy-free, and dairy-free.
  • Known for clean nutrition products and good brand reputation.
  • Easily found in many physical stores.

Cons:

  • Some users report a slightly gritty texture.
  • Unclear which country it’s sourced from.

Native Path Collagen Peptides

Pros:

  • Non-GMO and free from common allergens.
  • Contains Type I and III collagen.
  • Positive customer testimonials about skin and joint benefits.

Cons:

  • Limited distribution in physical stores.
  • Some customers find it less soluble in cold beverages.

Sports Research Collagen Peptides

Pros:

  • Certified Paleo-friendly and Keto-certified.
  • Sourced from grass-fed, pasture-raised bovine.
  • Offers a variety of product sizes.

Cons:

  • Only available in unflavored variant.
  • Some users report clumping in cold liquids.

Ancient Nutrition / Dr. Axe Collagen Peptides

Pros:

  • Formulated with multiple collagen types.
  • Clean ingredient sourcing.
  • Contains additional beneficial ingredients like probiotics.

Cons:

  • Priced on the higher end of the spectrum.
  • Might have a stronger taste compared to other pure collagen peptides.

Great Lakes Collagen

Pros:

  • Grass-fed, pasture-raised bovine.
  • Hydrolyzed collagen is easier to digest and absorb.
  • No added preservatives or artificial ingredients.

Cons:

  • A small subset of users report a distinct taste that they find unpalatable.
  • May not dissolve as well in colder liquids, causing a slightly grainy texture.

Conclusion

So, here we are at the end of our collagen journey. Are bovine collagen peptides a worthy contender to add to your supplement routine?

If so, our new product, Pure Food Collagen Peptides, is coming your way soon!

Our collagen powder is formulated using hydrolyzed bovine collagen, renowned for its exceptional bioavailability.

And unlike many collagen powders on the market, Pure Food Collagen Peptides Powder dissolves instantly in both hot and cold beverages and is completely odorless and tasteless. No unpleasant odors or overpowering flavors. No grainy or chalky textures like other protein sources.

Get Pure Food Collagen here

New Product Announcement: Lean Muscle / Fat Loss Bundle 

Pure Food Lean Muscle Fat Loss Bundle

I’m super excited to announce that we have an awesome NEW Pure Food Lean Muscle Bundle Pack available now!

This bundle can help you burn body fat, increase lean muscle, and boost your body’s ability to recover faster.

It contains one bottle of each of the following products, each of which has unique, proven ingredients for building lean muscle and burning fat:

  • 1 (300 g) Bottle of Pure Food CREATINE (for increasing lean muscle, recovering faster, and enhancing athletic performance). (60-day supply)
  • 1 (300 g) Bottle of Pure Food GLUTAMINE (for fueling muscle growth, improving muscle recovery, and improving exercise performance). (60-day supply)
  • 1 (60 ct) Bottle of Pure Food L-ARGININE (for increasing blood flow to skeletal muscle during exercise, reducing the burn during intense workouts, and improving exercise performance. (30-day supply)
  • 1 (60 ct) Bottle of Pure Food CARB BLOCK (for aiding in body fat reduction, reducing carbohydrate absorption, and improving insulin and triglyceride levels). (30-day supply)

We are NOT selling the creatine and glutamine supplements separately because they cost too much to source right now, but we’re passing along the best deal we can for you on these supplements by offering them in bundle packs with other synergistic products!

This bundle is normally priced at $111.90, which is a great deal at 20% off MSRP.

But with this limited-time offer, you can get the Lean Muscle / Fat Loss Bundle for just $99.90 by using coupon code LEAN23 at checkout.

Magnesium: Types, Benefits, and Recommended Dosing Guide

types of magnesium supplements

The super mineral magnesium is present in every cell of the human body and involved in over 300 biochemical reactions and bodily functions. 

But despite its significance, nearly half of the US population doesn’t meet the daily requirement for magnesium, which can be a precursor to a host of health problems.

In this article, we’ll explore the various magnesium types, benefits, and dosing, so you can determine the supplements best suited for your individual health needs. 

Health Benefits of Magnesium

First, we’ll explore some of the many health benefits of magnesium. 

Muscle and Nerve Function

Magnesium is fundamental to neuromuscular conduction and muscular contraction. It helps sustain normal muscle and nerve function, shielding against involuntary muscle contractions and spasms.

Without sufficient magnesium, our muscles would be in a continuous state of contraction. Recent research highlights the vital role of magnesium in these processes.

Heart Health

Magnesium is pivotal in maintaining cardiovascular health. It contributes to the regulation of a normal heart rhythm and blood pressure control. According to various studies, an adequate intake of magnesium may curtail the risk of heart disease.

Bone Health

Magnesium plays an instrumental role in bone health, contributing to bone formation, enhancing the synthesis of the bone matrix, and influencing the bone cells that govern bone homeostasis. A study published in Nutrients emphasizes the significant role of magnesium in bone health.

Mental Health

Emerging research has found correlations between magnesium levels and mental health. Conditions like depression, anxiety, and stress disorders may be linked with lower levels of magnesium. Several studies shed light on the importance of maintaining adequate magnesium levels for mental well-being.

Digestion and Metabolism

Magnesium is involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats, playing a crucial role in energy production and possibly contributing to weight management. This comprehensive review explains how magnesium is vital for various biological processes, including digestion and metabolism.

Role in Diabetes

Magnesium can improve insulin sensitivity, thereby playing a role in diabetes management. A deficiency can often be observed in individuals with diabetes, as noted in a study in the journal Diabetes Care.

Different Types of Magnesium and Their Specific Benefits

Choosing a magnesium supplement can be confusing as each type has unique benefits, differences in their absorption rate, dosing needs, etc.

Understanding the uniqueness of each type can help you select the most suitable one for your health needs.

Magnesium Citrate Benefits

First on our list is Magnesium Citrate, a type of magnesium that’s known for its positive effects on gut health. It is also well-regarded for its potent laxative effects, which can make it a good choice for those dealing with constipation.

Magnesium Citrate works by attracting water through the tissues by osmosis. Once in the intestine, it can soften the stool and induce the urge to defecate. A study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition demonstrates its effectiveness and the rapid relief it can bring for those suffering from constipation.

Magnesium Glycinate Benefits

Next is Magnesium Glycinate, a compound of magnesium and the amino acid glycine. This type of magnesium is known for its superior bioavailability, meaning it is highly absorbable and less likely to cause digestive issues such as diarrhea.

Moreover, Magnesium Glycinate is also known for its calming effects on the brain. Glycine works as an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system, thereby inducing a calming effect. This makes it a great supplement to take in the evening for anyone who suffers from poor sleep. 

Numerous studies have found this form of magnesium may help with conditions like insomnia, anxiety, depression, and chronic pain.

Magnesium Malate Benefits

Next on our list is Magnesium Malate. This type of magnesium is a combination of magnesium and malic acid. Malic acid is a natural substance found in fruits and vegetables and is particularly abundant in apples.

It’s known for its role in the Krebs Cycle – a series of chemical reactions used by all aerobic organisms to release energy.

Magnesium Oxide Benefits

Although Magnesium Oxide is not as bioavailable as other forms of magnesium, it contains a high amount of elemental magnesium.

Magnesium Oxide can provide short-term relief from constipation, and it shows potential for migraine prevention. Magnesium Oxide’s benefits for migraine sufferers were detailed in a study published in Headache, which found that the daily supplementation of magnesium resulted in a significant decrease in the frequency and severity of migraines.

Magnesium Taurate Benefits

Magnesium Taurate is another type of magnesium, a chelate of magnesium and the amino acid taurine.

Both magnesium and taurine have been found to have beneficial effects on cardiovascular health. This particular combination may help to prevent arrhythmias and protect the heart against damage from heart attacks.

The cardiovascular benefits of Magnesium Taurate are supported by a study in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine.

Magnesium L-Threonate Benefits

Finally, we have Magnesium L-Threonate. This form of magnesium has the unique ability to penetrate the blood-brain barrier, which means it can directly benefit cognitive function.

A study published in Neuron showed that Magnesium L-Threonate improved both short-term and long-term memory in rats, suggesting its potential benefits for cognitive health in humans.

Understanding the different types of magnesium and their specific benefits can guide you in making an informed decision about which magnesium supplement is best suited to your individual health needs.

Once you know the type that’s best for you, then you can find out the dose you need. 

Understanding the correct dosage of magnesium is important for optimizing its benefits and avoiding potential adverse effects. The general recommended daily allowance (RDA) for magnesium varies by age and sex. 

Most adults, as advised by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), require around 300-400 mg per day. However, specific circumstances such as pregnancy, strenuous exercise, or high-stress conditions might necessitate different dosing recommendations.

For individual types of magnesium, the dosage often depends on the specific condition being targeted, and the bioavailability of the particular form of magnesium.

Here are some general guidelines by magnesium type: 

Magnesium Citrate Dosing

Magnesium Citrate is typically used for its laxative effects. For constipation relief, adults can take a dose of 240-480 mg of magnesium citrate, according to the Cleveland Clinic. It’s best to start with a lower dose and adjust based on the response.

Magnesium Glycinate Dosing

Due to its high bioavailability and calming properties, the dosage for Magnesium Glycinate can vary. For general health and stress relief, a dosage of around 250-400 mg per day is often recommended.

Magnesium Malate Dosing

The dosage of Magnesium Malate recommended can differ depending on the purpose. For fibromyalgia patients, a higher dose may be needed, often around 500-700 mg per day. For general use, a lower dose of approximately 200-400 mg per day may be sufficient.

Magnesium Oxide Dosing

Magnesium Oxide is often recommended in higher doses due to its lower bioavailability. For general health, around 400-500 mg per day is often suggested. For the treatment of migraines, the dose may be increased to around 600 mg per day, as per the American Migraine Foundation.

Magnesium Taurate Dosing

Given its cardiovascular benefits, the dosage of Magnesium Taurate is typically aligned with general health recommendations, around 300-400 mg per day.

Magnesium L-Threonate Dosing

Due to its unique ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, Magnesium L-Threonate often has specific dosing recommendations. For cognitive benefits, research such as the study published in Neuron suggests a daily dose of around 1,000-2,000 mg.

It’s important to understand that these dosage guidelines are generalized. Individual needs may vary greatly depending on a variety of factors including diet, overall health status, and specific health concerns.

Therefore, it’s always recommended to consult a healthcare provider before starting or adjusting any supplement regimen, including magnesium.

Signs of Magnesium Deficiency and Overdosing

Magnesium deficiency may include symptoms like loss of appetite, nausea, fatigue, and weakness. In severe cases, it can lead to numbness, muscle cramps, seizures, personality changes, and abnormal heart rhythms.

Conversely, while it is less common, magnesium toxicity can also occur, especially from excessive supplementation. Symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, abdominal cramping, and in extreme cases, irregular heartbeat and cardiac arrest. Therefore, it’s important to adhere to the recommended dosage and consult a healthcare provider if you’re experiencing any issues. 

Foods High in Magnesium

In addition to taking supplements, incorporating magnesium-rich foods into your daily diet is another easy way to meet your magnesium needs. Foods high in magnesium encompass a wide range of options across food groups. Here are some high quality food sources of magnesium:

  1. Green Leafy Vegetables: Spinach, Swiss chard, and kale are all good sources of magnesium. Add some to a salad, smoothie, or as a cooked side dish.
  2. Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, cashews, peanuts, and pumpkin seeds are also high in magnesium. Adding a handful of these to your diet can significantly contribute to your daily magnesium intake.
  3. Legumes: Foods like lentils, chickpeas, black beans, and pinto beans are high in magnesium and offer an array of other essential nutrients like fiber, protein, and iron.
  4. Whole Grains: Grains like quinoa, brown rice, and oats are rich in magnesium. Whole grain bread and pasta can also contribute to your daily magnesium requirements.
  5. Fish: Certain types of fish, particularly mackerel, salmon, and halibut, are good sources of magnesium.
  6. Avocados: Besides being a great source of healthy fats, avocados are also high in magnesium.
  7. Bananas: While known for their potassium content, bananas also provide a decent amount of magnesium.
  8. Dark Chocolate: Great news for chocolate lovers … dark chocolate is rich in magnesium along with being packed with antioxidants. Just watch the sugar intake.
  9. Tofu: Often a staple in vegan diets, tofu is also a good source of magnesium.
  10. Dairy Products: Milk, yogurt, and cheese, particularly hard cheeses, can contribute to your daily magnesium intake.

Conclusion

Given its critical role in the body, it’s clear that maintaining optimal levels of magnesium is essential for good health.

While the right diet can provide ample magnesium, supplementation may sometimes be necessary, particularly for those with specific health conditions or dietary restrictions.

Personally, I use magnesium glycinate to help with anxiety and mood. I find that it helps calm my mind and I sleep better when I take it at night.

If you’re looking for a high quality, NSF-certified magnesium glycinate supplement, then I definitely recommend checking out Pure Food Magnesium Glycinate.

It’s up to you to figure out which type of magnesium is best for your specific health needs.

25 Small But Mighty Health Habits That Can Add Years to Your Life

health habits to live longer life

Looking for science-backed tips to help you live a healthier, longer life? You’ve come to the right place! In this article, we’ll share 25 simple but powerful health habits (many of which you’re probably already doing!) that have the potential to add years to your life. Let’s dive right in!

  1. Hydrate Generously: Our bodies are about 60% water, and maintaining hydration is vital for pretty much every bodily function (1). Aim for at least 8 glasses of water a day. Staying hydrated aids digestion, nutrient absorption, and even cognitive function.
  2. Prioritize Sleep: Adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night (2). It’s not just about duration, but quality too. Create a relaxing pre-sleep routine, keep screens away, and ensure a dark, cool environment for optimum restorative sleep.
  3. Eat Whole Foods: Fill your plate with fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Whole foods are nutrient-dense and low in added sugars and unhealthy fats, reducing risk of chronic diseases (3).
  4. Meditate Daily: Meditation reduces stress, enhances self-awareness, and promotes emotional health (4). Just a few minutes of deep breathing daily can help. Start by focusing on your breath and progressively increase the duration. Here’s a primer on how to breathe better.
  5. Stay Active: Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week (5). Physical activity boosts heart health, bone health, mental health, and more. Find something you enjoy doing and you’ll be more likely to stick with it.
  6. Laugh Often: Laughter boosts mood, relieves stress, and may even strengthen your immune system (6). So, watch a funny movie or show, read a humorous book or magazine, listen to a podcast that makes you laugh, or share jokes with friends.
  7. Avoid Tobacco: Avoid all forms of tobacco, including smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes. They’re all linked to various forms of cancer and other health issues (7).
  8. Limit Alcohol: If you choose to drink, do so in moderation. Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to a range of health issues, including liver disease and certain cancers (8).
  9. Maintain Healthy Weight: Being overweight increases risk of chronic diseases. Keep your weight in check through balanced diet and regular exercise, aiming for a healthy BMI (9).
  10. Socialize: Staying socially active can improve mental health and longevity. Connect with loved ones, join clubs, volunteer … the key is to engage in activities that make you happy and feel connected (10).
  11. Practice Gratitude: Expressing gratitude has shown to improve mental health, reduce stress, and even improve sleep (11). Maintain a gratitude journal or simply reflect on what you’re grateful for each day.
  12. Limit Processed Foods: They’re typically high in unhealthy fats, sugars, and sodium. Excessive consumption can lead to obesity, heart disease, and other health problems (12).
  13. Floss Daily: Regular flossing reduces oral bacteria, protecting you from gum disease, tooth decay, and even heart disease (13).
  14. Stand More, Sit Less: Prolonged sitting is linked to increased risk of heart disease and early death. Try to incorporate more standing or walking into your day (14).
  15. Control Portion Sizes: This helps manage weight, lower cholesterol, and reduce risk of heart disease. Use smaller plates, check food labels, and be aware of serving sizes (15).
  16. Spend Time in Nature: Studies show that spending time in nature improves mental health, reduces stress, and increases longevity (16). Take regular walks in the park, garden, or simply enjoy a sunset.
  17. Take Regular Breaks: Take short breaks during work to reduce stress and increase productivity. Stand up, stretch, or take a short walk (17), preferably outside in nature (see above).
  18. Limit Added Sugars: Too much added sugar can lead to obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Limit sugary drinks and high-sugar foods (18).
  19. Eat Mindfully: Eating slowly and without distraction can lead to weight loss, improved digestion, and greater enjoyment of food (19).
  20. Have Regular Check-ups: Regular health screenings can detect potential health issues early. Stick to the schedule recommended by your healthcare provider (20).
  21. Cook at Home: Home-cooked meals are often more nutritious and lower in calories, sugar, and sodium than takeout meals (21).
  22. Wear Sunscreen: Protect your skin from harmful UV rays to prevent skin cancer and premature aging. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 (22).
  23. Exercise Your Brain: Activities like reading, puzzles, and learning new skills can keep your mind sharp and potentially ward off cognitive decline (23).
  24. Practice Good Posture: Good posture reduces the risk of back pain, enhances breathing, and improves physical performance (24).
  25. Embrace Aging: Accepting and embracing aging can lead to better mental health and a longer life. Aging is a natural process, so enjoy the journey (25).

The Power of Small Changes

These 25 health habits may seem simple, but their collective impact on your longevity can be profound. Start small, pick a few habits, and gradually incorporate more into your life. Remember, the journey to longevity isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon. It’s not about massive changes but about a collection of small, sustainable habits that culminate in a healthier, happier, longer life.

References

  1. Popkin, B. M., D’Anci, K. E., & Rosenberg, I. H. (2010). Water, Hydration and Health. Nutrition Reviews, 68(8), 439–458. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1753-4887.2010.00304.x
  2. Hirshkowitz, M., Whiton, K., Albert, S. M., Alessi, C., Bruni, O., DonCarlos, L., Hazen, N., Herman, J., Adams Hillard, P. J., Katz, E. S., Kheirandish-Gozal, L., Neubauer, D. N., O’Donnell, A. E., Ohayon, M., Peever, J., Rawding, R., Sachdeva, R. C., Setters, B., Vitiello, M. V., Ware, J. C., & Adams Hillard, P. J. (2015). National Sleep Foundation’s sleep time duration recommendations: methodology and results summary. Sleep Health, 1(1), 40–43. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sleh.2014.12.010
  3. Tuso, P., Stoll, S. R., & Li, W. W. (2015). A Plant-Based Diet, Atherogenesis, and Coronary Artery Disease Prevention. The Permanente Journal, 19(1), 62–67. https://doi.org/10.7812/TPP/14-036
  4. Goyal, M., Singh, S., Sibinga, E. M. S., Gould, N. F., Rowland-Seymour, A., Sharma, R., Berger, Z., Sleicher, D., Maron, D. D., Shihab, H. M., Ranasinghe, P. D., Linn, S., Saha, S., Bass, E. B., & Haythornthwaite, J. A. (2014). Meditation Programs for Psychological Stress and Well-being. JAMA Internal Medicine, 174(3), 357–368. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.13018
  5. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. (2018). U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. https://health.gov/our-work/physical-activity/current-guidelines
  6. Bennett, M. P., & Lengacher, C. (2009). Humor and Laughter May Influence Health IV. Humor and Immune Function. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 6(2), 159–164. https://doi.org/10.1093/ecam/nem149
  7. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2014). The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health.
  8. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). Fact Sheets – Alcohol Use and Your Health. https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/alcohol-use.htm
  9. World Health Organization. (2020). Obesity and overweight. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/obesity-and-overweight
  10. Holt-Lunstad, J., Smith, T. B., & Layton, J. B. (2010). Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review. PLoS Medicine, 7(7), e1000316. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000316
  11. Emmons, R. A., & Stern, R. (2013). Gratitude as a Psychotherapeutic Intervention. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 69(8), 846–855. https://doi.org/10.1002/jclp.22020
  12. Micha, R., Peñalvo, J. L., Cudhea, F., Imamura, F., Rehm, C. D., & Mozaffarian, D. (2017). Association Between Dietary Factors and Mortality From Heart Disease, Stroke, and Type 2 Diabetes in the United States. JAMA, 317(9), 912–924. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2017.0947
  13. Mayo Clinic. (2020). Oral health: A window to your overall health. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/dental/art-20047475
  14. Biswas, A., Oh, P. I., Faulkner, G. E., Bajaj, R. R., Silver, M. A., Mitchell, M. S., & Alter, D. A. (2015). Sedentary Time and Its Association With Risk for Disease Incidence, Mortality, and Hospitalization in Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Annals of Internal Medicine, 162(2), 123–132. https://doi.org/10.7326/M14-1651
  15. Rolls, B. J., Morris, E. L., & Roe, L. S. (2002). Portion size of food affects energy intake in normal-weight and overweight men and women. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 76(6), 1207–1213. https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/76.6.1207
  16. White, M. P., Alcock, I., Grellier, J., Wheeler, B. W., Hartig, T., Warber, S. L., Bone, A., Depledge, M. H., & Fleming, L. E. (2019). Spending at least 120 minutes a week in nature is associated with good health and wellbeing. Scientific Reports, 9(1), 7730. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-44097-3
  17. Schwartz, B. (2016). The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working. Simon and Schuster.
  18. World Health Organization. (2015). Guideline: Sugars intake for adults and children. World Health Organization.
  19. Harvard Health Publishing. (2020). Mindful eating – Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/mindful-eating
  20. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. (2020). Recommendations for Primary Care Practice. https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/recommendations
  21. Wolfson, J. A., & Bleich, S. N. (2015). Is cooking at home associated with better diet quality or weight-loss intention?. Public Health Nutrition, 18(8), 1397–1406. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1368980014001943
  22. Harvard Health Publishing. (2019). Sunscreen: How to Help Protect Your Skin from the Sun. https://www.fda.gov/drugs/understanding-over-counter-medicines/sunscreen-how-help-protect-your-skin-sun
  23. Park, D. C., Lodi-Smith, J., Drew, L., Haber, S., Hebrank, A., Bischof, G. N., & Aamodt, W. (2014). The Impact of Sustained Engagement on Cognitive Function in Older Adults: The Synapse Project. Psychological Science, 25(1), 103–112. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797613499592
  24. Neumann, D. A., & Kinesiology, T. P. (2010). Kinesiology of the Musculoskeletal System: Foundations for Rehabilitation. Mosby/Elsevier.
  25. Levy, B. R., Slade, M. D., Kunkel, S. R., & Kasl, S. V. (2002). Longevity increased by positive self-perceptions of aging. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 83(2), 261–270. https://doi.org/10

Vitamin D Guide: Sources, Deficiency, Benefits, Foods, and Supplements

Vitamin D, commonly known as the “sunshine vitamin,” plays a pivotal role in our overall health and well-being. It’s involved in various bodily functions, including bone health, immune system support, and mental well-being. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll help you better understand all things related to Vitamin D, covering sources, dosing, deficiency, benefits, foods, and supplements.

Sources of Vitamin D

Sunlight Exposure and its Role in Vitamin D Synthesis

Sunlight exposure is an important source of Vitamin D as it triggers the synthesis of Vitamin D in the skin through the conversion of cholesterol. When ultraviolet B (UVB) rays from sunlight interact with the skin, a chemical reaction occurs, leading to the production of Vitamin D3. Optimal sun exposure recommendations vary based on factors such as latitude, time of day, season, and skin color. Individuals with lighter skin produce Vitamin D more efficiently than those with darker skin tones due to variations in melanin levels.

Can you get enough vitamin D from sunlight alone?

Yes, you can, but it’s important to strike a balance between obtaining adequate Vitamin D from sunlight exposure and protecting the skin from the harmful effects of UV radiation. Generally, short periods of sun exposure, particularly during midday when the UVB rays are strongest, can contribute to Vitamin D synthesis. However, it is advisable to wear sunscreen and take other sun protection measures to prevent sunburn and reduce the risk of skin damage and skin cancer.

Recommended Intake and Dosing of Vitamin D

Vitamin D requirements: how much do you need per day based on age and life stage?

Individual vitamin D requirements may vary based on factors such as health conditions, sun exposure, and specific needs. Seniors, especially those above the age of 70, may have higher Vitamin D requirements due to potential age-related changes in Vitamin D metabolism.

Age/Life Stage Recommended Daily Intake of Vitamin D (IU)
Infants (0-12 months) 400-1,000
Children (1-18 years) 600-1,000
Adults (19-70 years) 600-2,000
Seniors (Above 70 years) 800-2,000

Daily Reference Intakes (DRIs) for Vitamin D

Daily Reference Intakes (DRIs) for Vitamin D serve as guidelines for Vitamin D intake. These recommendations are established by various organizations and may differ between countries.

For example, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in the United States recommends a daily intake of 600-800 IU for most adults, while the Endocrine Society suggests higher intakes of 1,500-2,000 IU for adults at risk of deficiency.

Factors affecting Vitamin D synthesis and absorption

Several factors affect Vitamin D synthesis and absorption in the body, including:

  • Geographic location: individuals living closer to the equator having more access to sunlight and therefore potentially higher Vitamin D synthesis.
  • Seasonal variations: sunlight intensity is reduced during winter months.
  • Sunscreen use: although crucial for skin protection, can hinder Vitamin D synthesis.
  • Skin pigmentation: affects the skin’s ability to produce Vitamin D, with individuals with darker skin tones requiring longer sun exposure to generate adequate levels.
  • Individual factors such as genetics, health conditions, and lifestyle also play a role in influencing Vitamin D needs. Some individuals may have difficulties absorbing or metabolizing Vitamin D efficiently, leading to a higher risk of deficiency.

Regular testing helps monitor Vitamin D levels and enables healthcare professionals to provide tailored recommendations for supplementation based on the individual’s unique needs.

Vitamin D Deficiency

Prevalence and risk factors for deficiency

Limited sun exposure, age, obesity, and certain medical conditions are common risk factors associated with Vitamin D deficiency. Sunlight exposure is the primary source of Vitamin D, and people who live in regions with limited sunlight or spend minimal time outdoors are at higher risk. Age-related changes in the skin’s ability to synthesize Vitamin D, as well as obesity and conditions affecting fat absorption, can also contribute to deficiency.

Signs and symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency is important for early detection and intervention. Fatigue, muscle weakness, bone pain, and increased susceptibility to infections are common manifestations of deficiency. Fatigue may be a prominent symptom, impacting energy levels and overall well-being. Muscle weakness can lead to decreased strength and endurance. Bone pain, particularly in the back, hips, and legs, may indicate compromised bone health. Additionally, Vitamin D deficiency weakens the immune system, increasing the risk of infections.

Health conditions associated with Vitamin D deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency is associated with various health conditions:

  • Inadequate Vitamin D levels can contribute to the development of osteoporosis, a condition characterized by weakened bones and increased fracture risk.
  • Rickets, a condition primarily affecting children, leads to soft, weak bones due to Vitamin D and calcium deficiency.
  • Autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, have been linked to Vitamin D deficiency.
  • Mental health disorders, including depression, anxiety, and seasonal affective disorder (SAD), have shown associations with low Vitamin D levels.

Diagnosis and interpretation of blood test results

Diagnosis of Vitamin D deficiency is typically done through blood tests, specifically measuring 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels.

Optimal levels of Vitamin D may vary, but generally, a range of 30-50 ng/mL is considered adequate. Interpretation of test results should take into account individual factors, such as age and overall health.

Levels below the recommended range indicate deficiency and may require intervention through sunlight exposure, dietary modifications, or Vitamin D supplementation.

The Benefits of Vitamin D

Maintaining bone health and preventing osteoporosis

Vitamin D plays a vital role in maintaining bone health and preventing osteoporosis, a condition characterized by weakened bones and an increased risk of fractures. Vitamin D works synergistically with calcium to promote bone health by enhancing the absorption of calcium from the intestines and ensuring its deposition into the bones.

Without sufficient Vitamin D, the body struggles to absorb and utilize calcium efficiently, leading to weakened bones and an increased risk of fractures. Numerous studies have shown a significant association between Vitamin D deficiency and an increased risk of fractures, particularly in older adults.

Ensuring adequate Vitamin D levels is essential for preserving bone density and reducing the risk of osteoporosis-related fractures. [sources: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26510847/, https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejmra070553, https://www.bmj.com/content/339/bmj.b3692]

Immune system support and impact on respiratory health

Vitamin D plays a crucial role in modulating the immune system, making it an essential nutrient for immune system support and respiratory health. Adequate Vitamin D levels have been associated with a reduced risk and severity of respiratory infections.

Research suggests that Vitamin D helps regulate the immune response, enhancing the body’s defense mechanisms against pathogens. Studies have shown that individuals with higher Vitamin D levels have a lower risk of developing respiratory conditions such as asthma.

Moreover, recent research has investigated the association between Vitamin D and COVID-19, indicating that maintaining optimal Vitamin D levels may have potential benefits in reducing the risk of severe illness and complications. [sources: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3166406/, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28202713/]

The relationship between Vitamin D and mental health

Some evidence suggests that Vitamin D deficiency is associated with an increased risk of mental health disorders such as depression, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and cognitive decline. Vitamin D receptors are present in various areas of the brain that are involved in mood regulation. Low levels of

Vitamin D have been linked to depressive symptoms, and studies have shown that Vitamin D supplementation may help alleviate symptoms of depression and improve overall mood. Additionally, Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with an increased risk of SAD, a type of depression that occurs seasonally, often during the winter months when sunlight exposure is limited.

Furthermore, research suggests that maintaining optimal Vitamin D levels may be beneficial for cognitive function and reducing the risk of cognitive decline, including conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. [https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23377209/, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22033249/]

Vitamin D from Food Sources

While sunlight exposure and supplementation play significant roles in maintaining optimal Vitamin D levels, obtaining Vitamin D from food sources adds an extra layer of support.

A well-balanced diet that includes Vitamin D-rich foods ensures that you are not solely relying on a single source for this vital nutrient. It also allows for the synergistic benefits of other nutrients found in these foods, promoting overall health and well-being.

What foods are high in Vitamin D?

  1. Fatty Fish: Fatty fish are among the best natural food sources of Vitamin D. Salmon, mackerel, sardines, trout, and tuna are particularly high in Vitamin D. Aim to include these fish in your diet at least twice a week to boost your Vitamin D levels.
  2. Mushrooms: While not as abundant as in fatty fish, certain types of mushrooms can provide Vitamin D. Exposing mushrooms to sunlight or UV light increases their Vitamin D content. Examples include shiitake, maitake, and portobello mushrooms.
  3. Egg Yolks: Egg yolks contain small amounts of Vitamin D. Including eggs in your diet can contribute to your overall Vitamin D intake, but it is worth noting that the concentration is lower compared to fatty fish and fortified foods.
  4. Fortified Milk, Yogurt, OJ, and Cereals: Many foods are fortified with Vitamin D to help address deficiencies. Common examples include milk (both dairy and plant-based alternatives), orange juice, breakfast cereals, and yogurt. Check food labels to see if they are fortified with Vitamin D.
  5. Beef Liver: Beef liver is a nutrient-dense food that contains Vitamin D along with other essential nutrients. However, it is important to consume liver in moderation due to its high cholesterol content.
  6. Cod Liver Oil: Cod liver oil is a concentrated source of Vitamin D and other beneficial nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids. It is available in liquid or capsule form and can be taken as a dietary supplement.

Vitamin D Supplements

Types of Vitamin D supplements: D2 vs. D3

When it comes to Vitamin D supplements, two main types are commonly available: Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). Vitamin D3 is the form naturally synthesized in the skin when exposed to sunlight, while Vitamin D2 is derived from plant-based sources.

Vitamin D3 is considered the more effective form as it is better absorbed and utilized by the body. It has a higher affinity for the Vitamin D receptors, leading to more significant increases in Vitamin D levels compared to Vitamin D2. Studies have shown that Vitamin D3 increases and maintains blood levels of Vitamin D more effectively than Vitamin D2.

Most experts recommend choosing Vitamin D3 vs D2 supplements whenever possible, especially for individuals with limited sunlight exposure or those at risk of deficiency. However, Vitamin D2 supplements can still be suitable for individuals following a strict vegan or vegetarian diet.

Factors to consider when choosing a Vitamin D supplement

When selecting a Vitamin D supplement, factors you should consider include:

  1. Dosage Form: Vitamin D supplements come in various forms, including capsules, tablets, softgels, liquids, and gummies. Choose a form that is convenient and easy for you to take based on personal preference.
  2. Quality Standards: Look for supplements that undergo third-party testing to ensure quality, purity, and accurate labeling. Certifications such as USP (United States Pharmacopeia) or NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) provide an extra level of assurance regarding the product’s quality and safety. Bonus points for ingredients sourced from and manufactured in North America because then you’re supporting more American businesses.
  3. Potential Allergens: Check the supplement label for potential allergens such as gluten, soy, dairy, or nuts if you have specific dietary restrictions or allergies. Opt for supplements that are free from allergens or suit your dietary needs.

Potential risks and side effects of excessive Vitamin D intake

While Vitamin D is crucial for health, excessive intake can lead to potential risks and side effects. It is important to avoid excessive supplementation and follow recommended dosage guidelines. Some potential risks of excessive Vitamin D intake include:

  1. Hypercalcemia: Excessive Vitamin D can lead to an imbalance in calcium levels, resulting in symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, excessive thirst, frequent urination, and in severe cases, kidney stones or kidney damage.
  2. Vitamin D Toxicity: Extremely high doses of Vitamin D over an extended period can result in Vitamin D toxicity. This condition can lead to symptoms like weakness, fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss, and even heart rhythm disturbances.
  3. Interactions with Medications: Vitamin D supplements can interact with certain medications, including certain diuretics, corticosteroids, and anticonvulsants. It is essential to discuss with a healthcare professional if you are taking any medications to ensure safe and appropriate Vitamin D supplementation.

Conclusion

Maintaining adequate Vitamin D levels is essential for our overall health and well-being. By incorporating Vitamin D-rich foods, considering supplementation when necessary, and seeking professional guidance, we can support our bodies in achieving optimal Vitamin D levels and enjoy the numerous benefits it offers.

If you’re looking for the highest quality vitamin D supplement (USA-sourced ingredients, NSF- and GMP-certified, lab tested for safety and purity) with free shipping, then check out Pure Food Food Vitamin D3 here:

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