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B-group Vitamins Healthcare

Egg. What’s the truth

Every few years, scientists change the front, once proclaiming eggs with heart and vessel killers, again claiming to be the source of the most valuable substances.

What’s the truth? 

The fact is that eggs are a rich source of cholesterol, cholesterol is the main component of atherosclerotic plaques occluding vessels, leading to heart attack, stroke and organ failure. However, please do not draw too hasty conclusions from this! 

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Cholesterol level in the veins only slightly depends on how much we eat it, gobbling eg eggs or butter. Most (up to 80%) we produce … ourselves! During the day, we produce 700-800mg. Mainly in the liver (50%), skin (30%), intestines (15%), as well as in adrenal glands, skeletal muscles and brain (5%). This internal production is precisely regulated and sufficient for the proper course of metabolic processes. In addition, cholesterol is supplied with food (300-700 mg per day), of which in the European diet about 1/3 falls on eggs. During the day, the human body has to deal with the conversion of 1-1.5 g of cholesterol. Why do we make it when it hurts us? Well, although excess cholesterol can be fatal, its deficiency has equally catastrophic consequences. No cell of our body could work properly without cholesterol, because it is an indispensable component of cell membranes. As a compound with a large molecule consisting of as many as 74 atoms (C27H46O), and simultaneously hydrophobic (“disliking water”), it can separate from each other various water environments in which adverse chemical reactions take place. 

Mother! Eat eggs! 

Already at the stage of fetal development, cholesterol participates in the processes of tissue and organ differentiation. When it is not enough, serious disturbances may occur, for example cyclops (monocularity). The brain and nervous system can not grow without cholesterol, because this compound is the main component of the myelin that protects nerve fibers and ensures proper conduction of stimuli. In the presence of cholesterol deficiency, the hormonal economy is also limiting, because the synthesis of steroid hormones (such as cortisol – stress hormone, aldosterone – regulating blood pressure, and female and male sex hormones) decreases. The production of vitamin D3, which “hardens bones” is also weak. Cholesterol is also necessary for proper digestion as a raw material for the production of bile acids, through which we absorb food fats. Cholesterol, which does not form membranes, bile acids or nerve sheaths, circulates in the blood, looking for a job. His “chauffeurs are proteins called lipoproteins. Some, called “bad cholesterol” (so-called low-density lipoprotein – LDL), carry it with blood to the liver, and – what’s worse – to other tissues that have so-called. apoB receptor, including arterial walls. The second – high density lipoprotein (HDL), commonly referred to as “good cholesterol”, take the excess of this compound from peripheral tissues and blood and transport it to the liver, where it can be, among others, converted into bile acids and removed with faeces. Thus, they prevent the accumulation of cholesterol in the walls of the vessels. The more HDL circulates in the blood, the lower the risk of coronary heart disease and heart attack. In healthy people HDL concentration should not be lower than 40 mg / dl, and LDL concentration not higher than 100 mg / dl (maximum ratio 52). 

We’re guilty 

If there is more LDL in our blood, and less HDL, then the risk of atherosclerosis, heart disease and stroke increases. Here we come to the heart of the cholesterol riddle. Well, this risk is associated not with cholesterol alone, but with the concentration, more precisely – the ratio of concentrations of binding proteins. These, however, depend not on the amount of cholesterol consumed, but on the fat consumed. The unsaturated ones (from oil, olives, oils, nuts, avocados and fish) lower the LDL concentration, and increase the HDL. They therefore protect the heart and vessels. The saturated ones (from butter, milk, cheese, ice cream, red meat, chocolate and coconut) increase the concentration of both proteins. The worst are the so-called. trans fats generated in the hardening of oils. They are found in margarines (the harder, the more) and frying fats, in fries, fried ready-made dishes and most industrial baked cakes. They only increase the level of unhealthy LDL lipoproteins, and with it the risk of heart attack, stroke and hypertension. 

Egg rehabilitated 

When there is too much LDL in the blood, the body tries to get rid of these compounds. First, it increases the production of bile acids and removes cholesterol from them with faeces. When this method fails, it tries to store the excess where it is less harmful – in the skin (in the form of the so-called yellows), in the membranes of red blood cells and finally – in the walls of the blood vessels. The latter process leads to a reduction in the flexibility of the vessels and the narrowing of their light, i.e. to atherosclerosis. And here again comes the “egg motif. Each egg (specifically a yolk) is a real cholesterol bomb. It contains about 200 mg on average. This cholesterol must also be removed from the body, otherwise it will be harmful. No wonder that the eggs were stigmatized when the relationship between cholesterol and atherosclerosis and heart attacks was discovered. Only that later tests did not confirm that the removal of eggs from the diet had an effect on lowering cholesterol in the blood. On the contrary, from Harvard research conducted on about 80,000 nurses show that in healthy women, increasing the intake of cholesterol by 200 mg (one egg) for every 1000 kcal of daily diet did not increase the risk of heart disease. Paradox? It was explained by three researchers Sung I. Koo, Yonghzhi Jiang and Sang K. Noh. They showed that the cholesterol contained in eggs does not contribute to the development of atherosclerosis, because the accompanying compound – phosphatidylcholine – reduces its absorption in the intestine. Only a small portion of the cholesterol from the egg is absorbed into the blood. But she also becomes harmless to the walls of the blood vessels, because the lecithin absorbed with it acts as an emulsifier. It connects with cholesterol molecules, prevents them from sticking to the walls of the vessel, and even removes some of those that have stuck there earlier. It can be said that it works anti-atherosclerotic. In other words, the egg is a cholesterol guard. Because at the same time it is a treasure trove of nutrients, vitamins, minerals and trace elements, including those that act antiatherogenic (vitamins D and B12, riboflavin, folic acid), we can easily afford an egg a day. Only people who already have elevated cholesterol or other health problems, such as diabetes or hypertension, should limit themselves to two yolks a week (proteins can be eaten without restrictions). 

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You can read also: Egg or whey – that’s the question!

Categories
Health & Beauty Homocysteine Methylation Problems MTHFR

Homocysteine – normal ranges in blood tests. What does high level of homocysteine mean?

Homocysteine is an amino acid, which – similarly to high level of cholesterol – may be the cause of atherosclerosis. Due to excessively high level of homocysteine (hyperhomocysteinemia) the whole organism suffers. It is the enemy number 1 for our heart and blood vessels. However, it may be humbled! Check out what are the normal ranges of homocysteine in blood tests.

MTHFR gene mutation – it may increase the level of homocysteine and cause atherosclerotic changes.

In normal conditions, this gene is responsible for maintaining proper concentration of homocysteine in blood plasma. Its damage, however, causes the reverse effect.

Excessive level of homocysteine damages veins, due to which they are more prone to the development of atherosclerosis or thromboembolism.

It also causes that folic acid is badly absorbed by the organism and homocysteine cannot be converted to methionine. Folic acid deficiency is one of the main causes of hyperhomocysteinemia.

Excessive level of homocysteine damages veins, due to which they are more prone to the development of atherosclerosis or thromboembolism. Its high concentration may be decreased by providing the organism with a proper dose of folic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12. Their presence allows to maintain homocysteine level on a proper level.

Homocysteine – normal ranges

The amount of homocysteine in the blood plasma should not exceed 7 – 10 mol/l. It is a safe concentration for our organism. 15 mol/l is also treated as a normal range. However, increased level of homocysteine, between 11 – 13 mol/l, may already damage endothelial cells covering blood vessels. Hyperhomocysteinemia is diagnosed when its value reaches 20-30 mol/l.

Appropriate folic acid decreases homocysteine level

Applying large doses of folic acid to people with MTHFR gene mutation will not treat hyperhomocysteinemia. Quite the contrary, it may do more harm than good. Due to the fact that the organism of a patient is not able to process and absorb folic acid by itself, it needs to be provided in a methylated form. However, in order for a physician to prescribe such a “special” kind of folic acid, they first need to know if we really have a damaged gene. This question may only be answered by genetic tests.

What is atherosclerosis?

Atherosclerosis is a diseases, which entails complete or partial obstruction of the lumen of blood vessels by atherosclerotic plaque made of cholesterol. Cholesterol, produced in the liver, is responsible for many functions in the organism, including the production of hormones and digestion. We may distinguish two basic kinds: high-density lipoproteins (HDL), the so-called “good” cholesterol and low-density lipoproteins, colloquially called “bad” cholesterol. There is also the so-called total cholesterol which constitute the sum of all types (fractions) of cholesterol. It is also worth knowing that we provide cholesterol with food. This is why, excessively high level of “bad” cholesterol is often the effect of improper, fat diet. Blood has no possibility to flow freely through an obstructed vessel. Blood provides cells of the human organism in oxygen and nutritious substances, therefore its proper circulation in blood is essential for life. Blood ensures our internal organs proper oxygenation and nourishment. Due to this, advanced atherosclerosis may lead to heart attack, stroke, coronary heart disease or lower limb disorders.

We may counteract atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis prophylaxis is based primarily on proper diet. We should eliminate the main sources of cholesterol from our menu, such as fat cheese, red meat and sweets. Instead, we should provide the organism with proper doses of folic acid. We will find it in cabbage, lettuce, Brussels sprout, broccoli, bean, pea, oranges and bananas. Folic acid decreases homocysteine level in blood, thanks to which it will not damage blood vessels any more.

Categories
B-group Vitamins Health & Beauty Healthcare Men Methylation Problems Senior Woman

VITAMIN B6 (pyridoxine) – what is it responsible for? In which products does it occur?

 

Vitamin B6, also called pyridoxine, is essential for the proper functioning of the organism. Vitamin B6 is responsible for the proper activity of the nervous system, influences blood pressure, muscle contractions and heart work and it also increases the organism’s immunity. What are other functions of vitamin B6? How to recognize its deficiency and excess? In which products does it occur?

 

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is a vitamin soluble in water, which appears in the form of six compounds, undergoing mutual transformations – pyridoxine, pyridoxamine, pyridoxal and phosphate esters of these compounds. After the application, it is absorbed from the digestive system and stored mainly in muscles and liver as pyridoxal phosphate.

Vitamin B6 is a coenzyme of more than 100 enzymes (i.e. a substance essential for the proper functioning of these compounds), accelerating a range of transformations in the organism. Vitamin B6 takes part in the process of transformations of protein, vitamins soluble in fats and tryptophan (it helps in its conversion to vitamin B3, i.e. niacin). Moreover, pyridoxine:

 

– influences glycogenesis (transformation of glucose into glycogen) and glycogenolysis (the process of glycogen breakdown) in muscles

– it is essential for hemoglobin production (red blood pigment)

– influences blood pressure, muscle contractions and heart work

– is responsible for the proper functioning of the nervous system

– increases immunity of the organism – takes part in the creation of antibodies.

 

Vitamin B6 – symptoms and effects of deficiency

Deficiency of vitamin B6 leads to inflammatory lesions of skin and mucous membrane of oral cavity. The consequence of its lowe level may be changes in the nervous system (resulting in depression, lower mood, sleeplessness etc.), increased susceptibility to infections, macrocytic anemia (hypochromic) and kidney stone. Moreover, in case of vitamin B6 deficiency, the risk of cancer development is higher. However, deficiency of this vitamin is rarely diagnosed.

Vitamin B6 – when the need is higher?

The need for vitamin B6 is increased in case of eating foods rich in protein. The optimal proportion of vitamin B6 is 0.02 mg per one g of protein.

 

Its higher doses should be taken by pregnant women and elderly people.

Vitamin B6 – symptoms and effects of surplus

The excess of vitamin B6 may take place as a result of long-lasting application of tablets at the dose of 200 mg / day. In such a situation, this vitamin is toxic and leads to:

 

– lack of muscle coordination

– increased feeling of cold

– limb tingling

– nervous tissue degradation.

 

Vitamin B6 – in which products does it occur?

One of the richer sources of vitamin B6 is buckwheat groats (0.67 mg/100g). It also appears in meat and cooked meats – chicken (0.31–0.55 mg/100 g) an turkey (0.28–0.59 mg/100 g). However, it is worth knowing that during cooking, frying and pickling of meat, the losses of this vitamin reach 30-50%.

The assimilability of vitamin B6 is limited by alcohol and drugs.

A lot of vitamin B6 is also contained in vegetables, especially broccoli and potatoes. However, as a result of freezing vegetables and fruits, its content may be decreased by 15-70%.

 

The remaining sources of vitamin B6 are whole grain products, wheat grass, yeasts, soya, bananas, dairy products, fish and eggs.

 

 

Categories
B-group Vitamins Health & Beauty Healthcare Men Methylation Problems Strengthen immunity Woman

VITAMIN B12 – properties, occurrence and dosing of vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is a compound, the health properties of which are hard to overrate. Vitamin B12 soothes nerves, increases immunity to stress, prevents anemia and improves appetite. Moreover, it may decrease the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and mental diseases. Check out some other properties of vitamin B12, where it may be found and how to dose it.

 

Vitamin B12, also called cobalamin or red vitamin, is a compound, the health properties of which are invaluable. Vitamin B12, similarly to other B-group vitamins, positively influences mental health. It is also essential for the proper functioning of the circulatory and digestive system. Scientists prove that vitamin B12 may also protect from Alzheimer’s disease, cancers and mental diseases.

 

Vitamin B12 is responsible for the proper functioning of the nervous system in a few ways. Primarily, by the active influence in the biosynthesis of nucleotides and choline being the component of the myelin sheath, which surrounds nerves. Therefore, in case of vitamin B12, there are some disturbing signals in the nervous system, such as numbness and tingling, especially in lower limbs, balance and walking disorders.

 

Moreover, the “red vitamin” takes part in processing proteins, fatsand carbohydrates into energy. Therefore, it counteracts weakness and the feeling of fatigue. Moreover, it prevents memoryloss and increases concentration abilities.

 

Vitamin B12 also takes part in the synthesis of serotonin – a neurotransmitter, which, in proper concentration, has anti-depressant effect. If the level of vitamin B12 (and consequently – serotonin) is too low, irritation, fatigue and bad mood appear.

Increased need for vitamin B12 is observed in bowel diseases (Whipple, Zollinger–Ellison syndrome), disorders of the intestinal flora (also in case of the presence of parasites), in atrophic gastritis, overproduction of hydrochloric acid, deficiency of the Castle factor and in case of using some drugs.

In case of the increased need for vitamin B12, daily doses are higher, e.g. in case of Addison’s anemia without neurological symptoms: 250–1000 μg/d every second day for 1-2 weeks. In case of vitamin B12 deficiency after stomach resection or as a result of absorption disorders: 250–1000 μg 1 ×/month.

Vitamin B12 may prevent anemia and atherosclerosis.

Vitamin B12 takes part in the production of erythrocytes in bone marrow. Therefore, its deficiency may contribute to the appearance of anemia resulting from vitamin B12 deficiency (Addison’s anemia).

 

Moreover, vitamin B12 along with folic acid and vitamin B6 prevents the aggregation of homocysteine – a substance occurring during reproducing proteins in the organism, the excess of which may be harmful to health and cause circulatorydiseases. Homocysteine contributes to the creation of atherosclerotic plaques in the inner parts of blood vessels and consequently – it increases the risk of cardiovascular system diseases: heart attach, stroke or thromboembolic lesions.

 

It is worth knowing that in order to prevent hyperhomocysteinemia, it is recommended to use 400 μg of folic acid, 3 μg of vitamin B12 and 2 mg of vitamin B6 per day.

 

Vitamin B12 may support the treatment of liver inflammation.

Vitamin B12 may support the treatment of viral hepatitis type C, as Italian scientists claim in the “Gut” journal. According to them, vitamin B12, when included to standard therapy, i.e. interferon and ribavirin may increase the chance to get rid of HCV virus from the organism. Standard treatment eliminates HCV virus from the organism in ca. 50% of patients with genotype 1 and in 80% of patients with genotype 2 or 3.

 

Vitamin B12 – the symptoms of deficiency

Deficiency of vitamin B12 causes:

 

disorders in the nervous system

pernicious and megaloblastic anemia

degenerative lesions in the mucous membrane of the stomach

absorption disorders

hyperhomocysteinemia

Vitamin B12 – where are the highest amounts of this vitamin?

Vitamin B12 may be mainly found in products of animal origin, i.e. meat, fish, milk, eggs, cheese and cooked meats. The largest amounts of vitamin B12 are in pike as well as liver and kidneys (more than 20 µg/100 g). A little less is found in other fish, such as herring, trout, mackerel and in rabbit’s meat (from 5 to 20 µg/100 g). The lowest amount (less than 1 µg/100 g) of vitamin B12 can be found in egg pasta, cooked meats, gammon, milk and its products (yogurt, kefir, curd cheese, cream).

Categories
B-group Vitamins Folic Acids Methylation Problems MTHFR

Folic acid (vitamin B9): properties. What is the role of folic acid?

Folic acid, also called vitamin B9, vitamin B11 or folacin, is essential for each human being and all cells of the organism. Unfortunately almost all people suffer from deficiencies of this vitamin. Lack of folic acid is especially dangerous to pregnant women, as it may cause serious fetus defects.

 

Folic acid (vitamin B9, vitamin B11, vitamin M, folacin or folate) is essential for all cells of our organism, from conception to old age. It is not a chemical compound, but the whole group of compounds encompassing ca. 20 pterin derivatives – a substance, which i.a. stains the color of wings of butterflies.

Folic acid: its role in the organism

Folic acid takes part in the synthesis of nucleic acids, from which DNA is produced, i.e. our genetic matrix. By the same token, it regulates the growth and functioning of all cells. Folic acid with vitamin B12 also takes part in the creation and maturation of red cells, therefore it has a blood-forming effect. We are in danger of anemia without folic acid. Scientists also claim that vitamin B9 most probably protects the organism from the development of cancer, decreases i.a. the risk of cervical cancer.

 

Folic acid and homocysteine level

Folic acid along with other B-group vitamins also influences the level of homocysteine – an amino acid our state of health is dependent on. Although average and low concentrations of this amino acid are not dangerous to us, its high concentration may disturb physiological processes of cells. It is especially related to tissues that intensively develop.

 

The level of folic acid in the organism drops when we live in stress, drink coffee and alcohol, smoke cigarettes, take acetylsalicylic acid and some kinds of contraception. Its supplies are depleted by bad diet and constant weight loss.

Recent studies prove that increased concentration of homocysteine also accompanies heart diseases, heart attacks, strokes and blood clots. This amino acid may facilitate the oxidation of “bad” cholesterol, which in such a form has larger influence on the creation of atherosclerotic changes. Moreover, homocysteine accelerates the development of atherosclerosis, damaging blood vessels and decreasing the level of nitric oxide – a compound which widens them.

 

The organism has two mechanisms of maintaining proper homocysteine level. It may transform it in cysteine appearing in almost all proteins, especially in hair creatine or in methionine. In the course of transformations, soothing serotonin is produced from methionine, thanks to which we fall in a deep and relaxing sleep and noradrenaline that influences our daily activity. Both these compounds are classified to the so-called happiness hormones, play an important role in the nervous system and take care of well-being. It was proven that e.g. deficiency of folic acid often appears in people with depression.

Folic acid – symptoms and effects of deficiency

Deficiency of lactic acid in the organism may lead to anemia, degenerative disorders, circulatory system diseases, osteoporosis or even cancer. Among women in the early stage of pregnancy, deficiency of this vitamin increase the risk of neural tube defects in the fetus.

Take folic acid before you get pregnant!

For the health of your child you need to take folic acid. As early as between 17th and 30th day after conception, the fetus starts to develop the nervous system, called neural tube. It is later transformed into spinal cord and brain.

Neural tube defects (NTDs) are the result of disturbing the process of “closing” it. In such a situation, amniotic fluid reaches the brain and spinal cord. The development of these organs is stopped. It leads to the development of cleft spine, anencephaly and myelomeningocele. A child born with anencephaly may survive only for a few hours. Cleft spine, on the other hand, often causes paralysis of the lower body part, often in connection with mental impairment.

In Poland these defects appear quite often, on average 1-2 cases per 1000 childbirths. In order to prevent them, all women before planned pregnancy should take 0.4 mg of folic acid per day. Thanks to this, they may decrease the risk of neural tube defects by 75%.