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4 Health Benefits of Vitamin D That You Didn’t Know About

Food sources of vitamin DWith the summer sun shining brightly across much of the country it’s easier than ever to get your fill of vitamin D, or the “Sunshine Vitamin”, as it is often called.  Our bodies produce Vitamin D naturally through direct exposure to sunlight, though you can also get the vitamin through various foods and supplements.  The National Institutes of Health recommends getting the vitamin through a combination of all three so as to avoid becoming vitamin D deficient.

So why does vitamin D matter?  It has a surprising number of health benefits.  It is perhaps most well known for promoting healthy bones and teeth through enhancing the absorption of calcium and phosphorus.  But new research is showing the vitamin goes well beyond  just promoting healthy bones.  Here are four surprising benefits of Vitamin D you may not have heard of before:

Combats High Blood Pressure

According to a study conducted by Boston University, patients with high blood pressure whose vitamin D levels were increased over a three month period saw their blood pressure levels brought back to normal levels.  After a period of nine months with increased levels of vitamin D, researches continued to see benefits to their blood pressure.  Research suggests that vitamin D inhibits the production of the hormone renin, which is believed to contribute to high blood pressure, thus helping to reduce abnormally high blood pressure levels.

Inhibits cancer cell growth

According to the National Cancer Institute,  “vitamin D has been found to have several activities that might slow or prevent the development of cancer, including promoting cellular differentiation, decreasing cancer cell growth, stimulating cell death, and reducing tumor blood vessel formation.”  While much research still needs to be done, vitamin D has shown promise in its ability to reduce the risk of certain cancers through the aforementioned methods.

Reduces Risk of Insulin Resistance and Elevated Blood Sugar

In a study published by the American Diabetes Association, a deficiency in vitamin D in middle-aged men and women was found to be associated with an increased risk of developing insulin resistance and elevated blood sugar levels.  According to Michael F. Holick, PhD, MD, of Boston University School of Medicine, vitamin D “also stimulates your pancreas to make insulin.”  So not only does vitamin D work to reduce insulin resistance, but it helps promote sufficient production of it in the pancreas.

Regulates your immune system

New evidence has emerged showing that vitamin D provides an extra boost to the immune system. According to the National Public Institutes of Health, “The implications of vitamin D deficiency on the immune system have become clearer in recent years and in the context of vitamin D deficiency, there appears to be an increased susceptibility to infection and a diathesis, in a genetically susceptible host to autoimmunity.” Long thought to be only of benefit to the skeletal system, it is now clear that vitamin D plays an important role in a healthy immune system as well.  Perhaps the ‘D’ could stand for ‘defense’, as the vitamin has various beneficial effects on the innate immune system.

As more research and studies are conducted, there will doubtless be more evidence for the wide variety of health benefits of this simple vitamin.  In the meantime, ask your doctor for the best way to get your recommended dosage and make sure you’re getting it!  We suggest spending 5-10 minutes in direct sunlight each day in addition to taking a daily supplement with at least 500 IU (for adults).

 

Why Methyl-B12 Is More Effective Than The More Common Forms of Vitamin B-12

When it comes to nerve health, Vitamin B-12 is an essential player.  Vitamin B-12 supports the protective covering, known as the Myelin Sheath, around the nerves.  If this sheath is damaged or weakened, the electrical signals in the body are unable to transmit properly, often resulting in severe pain or numbness.  In the event that the sheath is damaged, Vitamin B-12 plays a key role in repairing the damage.  Studies have shown it aides in the regeneration and growth of nerve cells.

methylcobalamine-vitamin-b-12In order to perform its duties, Vitamin B-12 must absorb into your system.  Unfortunately, while most b vitamins absorb easily into the body, Vitamin B-12 has a more complex absorption and is therefore more prone to failure.  Upon consumption, the body must first convert cyanocobalamine (the most common form of Vitamin B-12) into methylcobalamine in order to use it.  There is, however, a more bio-available form of Vitamin B-12 known as methyl B-12.  Compared to the more common form of B-12, methyl B-12 is more easily absorbed into the body as it is delivered to the body in the form of methylcobalamine.  This negates the need for the body to have to convert the cyanocobalamine to methylcobalamine, thereby increasing the success rate of absorption.

According to a study in the Journal of Neurological Science, methylcobalamine may increase protein synthesis and help in the regeneration of nerves.  In ultra-high doses, it is shown to produce nerve regeneration.  So how can you get Vitamin B-12?  Here are the most common ways to get your body the B-12 it needs:

Food Sources:

Vitamin B-12 is found almost exclusively in animal products such as meat, fish, eggs and milk.  For vegetarians or those with dairy allergies, some breakfast cereals can be a good source of B-12.  According to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, the majority of Americans are able to get enough Vitamin B-12 from the foods they eat.  It is not uncommon, however, for some to have difficulty absorbing the vitamin.  In fact, Vitamin B-12 deficiency affects up to 15% of the population in the U.S.

Dietary Supplements:

Vitamin B-12 is readily available in supplement form.  As we mentioned earlier, there are different types of B-12, the most common being cyanocobalamine.  Due to its complexities, vitamin B-12 is often difficult to absorb, with one study suggesting that for every 500 mcg taken orally only 10 mcg is absorbed. Research suggests that methylcobalamine, a less common form of B-12, is more easily absorbed into the body and may be the most effective form available.

If you suffer from debilitating nerve pain or numbness, give your body its best shot at easing the pain and repairing the damage by getting the right amount of B-12 for your situation.  Check with your doctor to find out what amount is right for you and ask about the best sources for increasing your rate of successful absorption.  Your body will thank you!

Which Vitamin B1 is Best For My Neuropathy?

blog-vitamin-b1A quick search for Neuropathy Support Supplements online will reveal that most contain Vitamin B1, which is an essential vitamin for our body.  Vitamin B1 allows the body to properly use carbohydrates, which help provide energy and fuel for our central nervous and muscular systems.  Clearly, it has a potential benefit for anyone with Neuropathy.

But did you know there is more than one form of Vitamin B1 and that one has been proven more effective than the other?  The most common form of Vitamin B1 is Thiamine, which is what you will find in most supplements on the market.   There is, however, a more effective form of Vitamin B1 called benfotiamine.  Lets take a look at the two and see how benfotiamine outperforms its counterpart.

Thiamine:

The most common form of Vitamin B1 found in supplements, Thiamine,  does indeed have its benefits.  As a Vitamin B1, it helps the body carry out the essential functions previously mentioned.  The problem that arises, however, is that the body has a difficult time absorbing Thiamine and can in fact only absorb minimal amounts of it, thereby inhibiting its ability to provide maximum benefit to the body.

Benfotiamine:

Enter the other form of Vitamin B1: benfotiamine.  With a special open-ring structure, benfotiamine is able to pass directly through the cell membrane and into the cells.  It is anywhere from 5 to 25 times more effective than thiamine at absorbing into cellular tissue (depending on the specific tissue).  As such, it provides maximum benefit to you without the wasting nutrients.

As further evidence of the benefits of benfotiamine over thiamine, the University of Giessen published a laboratory study in which two different groups of diabetic lab specimens were treated with the different forms of Vitamin B1.  Those treated with benfotiamine for six months were shown to have increased their motor nerve conduction velocity (NCV) to near normal levels, while those treated with thiamine saw no further improvement.

Conclusion:

Now that you’re aware of both forms of Vitamin B1, pay special attention to the label on your supplements.  If you’re supplement contains thiamine instead of benfotiamine, know that you’re body is not getting the maximum benefit.  Consider switching to a supplement that contains benfotiamine and start enjoying all that this wonderful vitamin has to offer.

Two Things to Avoid When Taking Alpha Lipoic Acid for Neuropathy

bottom_rightIf you suffer from Neuropathy, R-Alpha Lipoic Acid (R-ALA) can be a powerful tool in your arsenal to reduce your symptoms.  R-ALA is a powerful antioxidant with the rare ability to cross the blood/brain barrier and go directly to where it is needed in the brain.  Among its many benefits, R-ALA has been shown to:

  • Regenerate itself and other antioxidants which help neutralize harmful chemicals (known as free radicals) in the body
  • Relieve the pain, numbness and burning associated with Neuropathy
  • Promote better blood flow and oxygen to the nerves
  • Improve cell “transporters” that carry and distribute glucose
  • Promote the entry and breakdown of glucose into cells (converting it into energy)

Given these amazing benefits, it is sometimes referred to as a “super antioxidant”.  Before you rush to order an ALA supplement, however, you should know that not all ALA supplements are made equally.  Here are a are a few key things you need to look out for when shopping for an ALA supplement that is right for you:

  1. Watch out for synthetics.  Many Alpha Lipoic Acid supplements on the market are in fact a mixture of the naturally occurring R-ALA and the cheaper synthetic version, or S-ALA.  Studies have shown stabilized R-ALA to be up to 12 times more effective than S-ALA.  Get the most benefit by seeking out supplements made with 100% stabilized R-ALA and avoid the cheap synthetics.  Be sure to check the label and make sure they say R-ALA.  If the ‘R’ is missing and it simply says ‘Alpha Lipoic Acid’ or ‘Lipoic Acid’, chances are you’re getting the cheaper/less effective combination of R-ALA and S-ALA.
  2. Avoid non-stabilized ALA.  R-ALA is available in both stabilized or non-stabilized form.  Both forms are a powdery type substance.  The non-stabilized R-ALA, however, can polymerize and lose its benefits if exposed to heat or light.  There are so many chances for exposure prior to the bottle reaching you (e.g. exposure to light in manufacturing, bottle exposed to heat in summer months as it travels in the mail, etc) that odds are the product will have spoiled even before reaching your home.  Stabilized R-ALA, on the other hand, is resistant to exposure and will maintain its proper form and therefore deliver the desired benefits to your body upon usage.

Now that you know about the different types of Alpha Lipoic Acid available on the market, you are armed with the tools you need to find the right product to fight your Neuropathy.  Stabilized R-ALA has the clear advantage in offering you the most bang for your buck and giving your body its best chance at fighting the symptoms of Neuropathy.  If you’ve had success taking stabilized R-ALA supplements, we’d love to hear your story.  Share it with us on the official Neuropathy Treatment Group Facebook Page!

Knowing Your Nerve’s Limits

Treatment For Peripheral NeuropathyGet help when you need it and don’t put it off until tomorrow. Neuropathy, like many other incurable conditions, has the distinct ability to incapacitate the victim for several days causing them to miss out on various family events and work-related appointments. The neuropathy accomplishes this through the symptoms that the neuropathy exudes like depression, neck tension issues, muscle problems and of course, uncontrollable nerve pain. Now even though the neuropathy episodes are not curable, the symptoms can be quelled through the use of neuropathy treatment options. And you don’t have to be restricted to just one treatment option; many neuropathy sufferers have a treatment plan that could include supplements and massage therapy or prescription meds with acupuncture. As you can see, there are a number of treatment options available to the neuropathy victim so make sure you consult with your primary care physician to determine which treatment or treatments would be the best for you.

Causes For Nerve Pain

A person who has just had the unfortunate experience of being diagnosed with neuropathy can often feel overwhelmed when it comes to finding the perfect neuropathic pain treatment that will most effectively eliminate their symptoms. While more than 100 types of neuropathy pain have been identified, each with its own set of symptoms, development, impaired function and symptoms, the good news is that this feat can be accomplished. Knowledge is the key in finding a neuropathic pain treatment specific to the condition and symptoms an individual person is living with. Many cases of neuropathy are of unknown causes, however for the majority of patients with nerve pain there are known causes. Some of these causes include but are not limited to; Alcohol abuse, chemotherapy, physical trauma or injury, Tumors, Autoimmune Diseases, Toxin exposure, and of course Diabetes.

Poking Pressure Points

Acupuncture is an alternative option for treating certain ailments and condition by way of needle. Needles are strategically inserted into the body and then manipulated in order to help with the lack of blood flow to damaged areas. Acupuncture historically is an ancient Chinese medical treatment that the Chinese believe to be a technique that is used to allow the body to flow and re-balance. Within the last three decades, acupuncture has gained popularity here in the western world and is used and recommended by many medical professionals.

Do You Get Bad Circulation?

Due to the sensitivity often felt in the foot area, neuropathy sufferers find it difficult to walk without excruciating pain. Even surfaces such as carpet and grass create an intense level of pain that men and women suffering with nerve pain symptoms like tingling, numbness and muscle weakness would rather spend their days in a chair than walking about enduring foot pain. Though walking and putting pressure on the feet may cause pain, it helps provide circulation, range of motion and muscle strength. If someone suffering with neuropathy chooses to reduce the amount of movement his or her joints receive, they run the risk of developing stiff muscles, loss of movement and further nerve damage from the lack of blood flow. In order to prevent a loss of mobility, neuropathy treatments such as physical therapy, massage therapy and occupational therapy can be had to help lessen nerve pain as well as improve mobility.  Next, we will look at a natural supplement that can help with neuropathy.

How Soluble Vitamins Help Nerve Pain

Methylcobalamine is a type of water soluble vitamin, more commonly known as a new form of the vitamin B-12. This supplement is affordable, effective, easily attainable, well tolerated, free of side effects, and a natural therapy! Methylcobalamine is known for having a key role in the functioning of the nervous system, which is of extraordinary interest to those searching for a foot neuropathy treatment. Another benefit seems to be that the symptom relief associated with Methylcobalamine seems to last much longer than other forms of traditional medication or therapies. Methylcobalamine has beneficial effects on symptoms that are so often associated with foot neuropathy. Methylcobalamine has shown beneficial effects with somatic symptoms, such as pain, associated neuropathy. It has also been shown to improve autonomic symptoms; in fact studies show that symptomatic relief may be greater with the use of Methylcobalamine than with electrophysiological therapies.

Massage Out Your Nerve Pain

Massage therapy is looked at as a complimentary therapy that when used in combination with other neuropathy treatments can be beneficial in reducing nerve pain. One complication of neuropathy is the development of still muscles due to poor circulation or from lack of use. Adding weekly massage therapy sessions, one can improve blood circulation as well as help loosen stiffened muscles thus providing relief to the damaged area. It appears as though research has shown through several studies that massage therapy has a way of calming the stressed nerve endings and relinquishing the pent up stress found in the nerve endings.

 

Neuropathy Treatment Group - All Rights Reserved 2014

The statements made on our websites have not been evaluated by the FDA (U.S. Food & Drug Administration). Our products are not intended to diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Neuropathy Treatment Group is not affiliated with any of the studies mentioned on the website. The testimonials on this website are individual cases and do not guarantee that you will get the same results.