Understanding Your Label: Vitamins, Minerals and Nutrients Explained!

Supplement labels can be puzzling, I mean macro vs. micro-nutrients; vitamins vs. minerals. What do they all mean? Why do we need them? What do they do? Understanding your label can sometimes be frustrating if you don’t know what all the different things are. In this post I’ll try and break down the different components of your nutritional supplements so you have a better understanding of what you’re taking and why.

I’m going to start by talking about minerals and what they are, where they come from and what they do. The Linus Pauling Institute (which is part of Oregon State University) tells us “minerals are elements that originate in the Earth and cannot be made by living organisms.” So, as human beings, we need minerals (either from our diets or supplements) because we are unable to produce them ourselves.

Some of the best sources of minerals are plant based foods because “plants obtain minerals from the soil, and most of the minerals in our diets come directly from plants or indirectly from animal sources,” according to LPI. Examples of minerals that are necessary for proper health include calcium, iodine, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, selenium, sodium, and zinc. Each mineral plays a different role in maintaining proper health. For example, magnesium is used in our body’s production of energy, while zinc plays an important role in the release of certain hormones.

Another category of minerals is trace minerals. Trace minerals include (but are not limited to): Boron, Carbon, Chloride, Chromium, Cobalt, Copper, Fluoride, Gold, Iron, Molybdenum, Nickel, Rhodium, Silver, Sodium, Sulfur, Tantalum, Titanium, Tungsten, and Zirconium. People can sometimes be apprehensive about the listing of trace minerals on their supplement. The thing about trace minerals is that if the product you’re taking has any kind of plant source ingredient, sea vegetation, etc. in it then the trace minerals are coming from that ingredient. These ingredients that come from the ground receive these trace minerals from the soil they grow in. According to health-report.co.uk, “Plants take up the minerals, we eat the plants, our bodies take in the minerals because they are bio-available and excrete the ones we don’t need on a regular daily basis.”

Understanding Your Label: Vitamins, Minerals and Nutrients Explained!

The Linus Pauling Institute says vitamins are “organic compounds required by humans in small amounts from the diet. An organic compound is considered a vitamin if a lack of that compound in the diet results in overt symptoms of deficiency.” While most vitamins include the word “vitamin” in their popular name (such as Vitamin A, Vitamin B12, etc.) there are a couple of necessary vitamins that do not. These vitamins are commonly known as Folic Acid (vitamin B9), Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) and Biotin (vitamin B7). The other vitamins required by our body to function are: Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, C, D, E and K. Vitamins are classified as either water-soluble or fat soluble, meaning the vitamin is dissolved in either water or fat before it is absorbed into the body (more on this here). Vitamins play an important role in many functions and systems within our bodies ranging from our metabolism to the formation of blood cells to the maintenance of healthy teeth and bones.

Lastly, I’ll address the topic of nutrients, namely macro vs. micro-nutrients. Onegreenplanet.org says, “macro-nutrients are those that provide energy (calories), and include carbohydrates, protein and fat.” On the other hand, most every other vitamin and mineral is considered a micro-nutrient. Micro-nutrients “are needed only in minuscule amounts, these substances are the “magic wands” that enable the body to produce enzymes, hormones and other substances essential for proper growth and development,” according to the World Health Organization.

This has only scratched the surface of explaining about minerals, vitamins, macro vs. micro-nutrients, and all their necessary functions. In the future I may write more in depth articles on each topic, but I hope, for now, this has helped to clear up some of the confusion you may have felt when trying to decipher your multivitamin label. While it may seem daunting, when you break it down there are just lots of things the human body needs in order to operate properly.

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What is Elemental Calcium?

We get asked a lot why there are two different amounts listed for the calcium in our Liquid Health Calcium product. There is an amount of calcium listed and then there’s an amount listed of “elemental calcium” – this is where people get confused. How can there be two different amounts of calcium in the same product? I decided to address this matter today by discussing what elemental calcium is.

To begin with, when talking about calcium supplementation, knowing what elemental calcium is and the recommend daily intakes it’s important to know that the number you’re being given is the amount of elemental calcium you should be getting each day. The reason being is that, the amount of element calcium is the amount that your body can actually absorb. Different forms of calcium are different percentages of elemental. For example, calcium carbonate is 40% elemental, meaning for everyone 1000 mg of calcium carbonate you take you’re getting 400 mg of calcium and 600 mg of carbonate. Calcium citrate, on the other hand, is 21% elemental, so for every 1000 mg you’re getting 210 mg of calcium.

What is Elemental Calcium

Why, you ask, would you take any of the forms of calcium that have lower percentages of elemental calcium? Aside from knowing what elemental calcium is, it’s also important to know how your body reacts to the different forms of calcium. For example, people sometimes suffer from an upset stomach after taking calcium carbonate because of its dependence on stomach acid for absorption. Because of this, it’s usually recommended to take calcium carbonate with food. On the other hand, others find calcium citrate helpful if they have achlorhydria, inflammatory bowel disease, or absorption disorders because it is easier on their stomach. The different forms have different benefits and drawbacks.

Non-organic forms of calcium (such as calcium carbonate and calcium phosphate) have the highest levels of elemental calcium — 40% and 38%, respectively. These forms are the most commercially available forms of calcium due to their low cost and high elemental levels; however, they are the least absorbable and least beneficial to the body.

Organic forms of calcium are much more readily accepted and absorbed by the body, but have a higher cost and lower elemental level calcium. One of the most common forms of organic calcium is chelated. These include: calcium citrate, calcium malate, calcium amino acid chelate, calcium gluconate, and calcium lactate. These chelated calciums are bonded to amino acids so that the body will recognize if as food and absorb easier. Other forms of organic calcium can include those derived directly from vegetative sources such as seaweeds or algae. Liquid Health exclusively uses organic forms of calcium and minerals in its products to increase the effectiveness and absorption in the body.

Spotlight: Raspberry Ketone

I can’t seem to go anywhere on the web without reading or seeing something about Raspberry Ketone. Using a great combination of ingredients for optimal weight loss success, Liquid Health recently released our own Raspberry Ketone supplement. Liquid Health Raspberry Ketones helps to raise your resting metabolic rate, which means you are burning more calories throughout the day.

L-Carnitine USP – A 2011 study published on US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health states “The Carnitine group increased work output 11% from baseline in the performance trial, while Control showed no change.” Meaning that adding l-carnitine to your exercise routine could help increase your work output, meaning more calories burned.

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Raspberry Ketone – A 2005 study that looked at the effects of raspberry ketones on rats fed high fat diets found that raspberry ketones “prevented the high-fat-diet-induced elevations in body weight and the weights of the liver and visceral adipose tissues” and concluded that raspberry ketones “prevents and improves obesity and fatty liver.”

Green tea leaf extract (Camellia sinesis) (50% EGCG) (decaffeinated) – Abdul G. Dulloo, a researcher at the University of Geneva, Switzerland said of a study on the effects of green tea on weight loss: “Green tea has thermogenic properties and promotes fat oxidation beyond that explained by its caffeine content per se.” According to WebMD.com, thermogenesis can be defined as “the calories the body burns while digesting and absorbing food as it’s being eaten.”

Stevia leaf extract – WebMD.com says, “stevia is used as a non-caloric sweetener and flavor enhancer.”

Spotlight: Energy & Stress

Since I’m personally in need of a little energy boost right now, I decided to do this week’s spotlight on our popular Liquid Health Energy & Stress product! We’re always hearing a lot about “b complex vitamins” – but have you ever looked at what each individual B vitamin does? Here’s a little breakdown, with some outside sourcing, to let you know a little more about what’s in this product and why it’s in there!

Thiamine (B1)“Some people use thiamine for maintaining a positive mental attitude; enhancing learning abilities; increasing energy; fighting stress; and preventing memory loss” – Medline Plus (a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine)

Riboflavin (B2)“In addition to producing energy for the body, riboflavin also works as an antioxidant by fighting damaging particles in the body known as free radicals.” – University of Maryland Medical Center

Niacin (B3)“Niacin (nicotinic acid) is a B vitamin that’s used by your body to turn carbohydrates into energy.” – Mayo Clinic

Energy And Stress Liquid Supplement

Pyridoxine (B6)“Vitamin B6 helps the body make several neurotransmitters, chemicals that carry signals from one nerve cell to another. It is needed for normal brain development and function, and helps the body make the hormones serotonin and norepinephrine, which influence mood, and melatonin, which helps regulate the body clock.” – University of Maryland Medical Center

Methylcobalamin (B12)Vitamin B12 is also used for memory loss; Alzheimer’s disease; boosting mood, energy, concentration and the immune system; and slowing aging.” – WebMd.com

Pantothenic Acid (B5)“In addition to playing a role in the breakdown of fats and carbohydrates for energy, vitamin B5 is critical to the manufacture of red blood cells, as well as sex and stress-related hormones produced in the adrenal glands.” – University of Maryland Medical Center

Eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus) leaf“Traditionally used to prevent colds and flu and to increase energy, longevity, and vitality, Siberian ginseng (also known as Eleuthero) is widely used in Russia as an “adaptogen.” An adaptogen is a substance that is supposed to help the body better cope with stress, either mental or physical.” – University of Maryland Medical Center

If you are looking for more information, or you are interested in carrying or purchasing our products, please do not hesitate to call us at 800.995.6607 or send us an e-mail at customerservice@liquidhealthinc.com.

Prostate Health: Things to Know

According to WebMD.com “Prostate cancer is the 2nd most common cancer among men” – if that wasn’t scary enough, there are no real known symptoms of prostate cancer, until the cancer is pretty developed. The promising thing is that when prostate cancer is detected early on, before it has a chance to spread to other parts of the body, it’s fairly treatable. According to the National Cancer Institute, local prostate cancer (meaning cancer that hasn’t spread beyond the prostate) makes up 4 out of 5 prostate cancer diagnoses. Factors that increase your risk of developing prostate cancer include age (this cancer is most common among men over the age of 65), having a family history of prostate cancer, being obese and, for unknown reasons, African American men are more likely than their counterparts to develop this form of cancer. While there is no official way to prevent prostate cancer, there are lifestyle choices that can be made to reduce your likelihood of developing it.

Although there are no symptoms of actual prostate cancer, there are signs to watch for that signal a problem in your prostate. If you need to pee a lot (especially during the night), leak urine when you laugh or cough, are unable to pee standing up, feel pain or a burning sensation when you pee, notice blood in your semen or urine, have a hard time starting or stopping your flow of urine or have a weak urinary stream you may have a growth that is causing a blockage in your prostate. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should consult your doctor right away to determine what the cause is.

Prostate Health: Things to Know

Because instances of prostate cancer are lower in countries that eat less red meats and high fat foods, it stands to reason that eliminating these things from your diet might decrease your chances of developing prostate cancer. Mayo Clinic suggests increasing your intake of lycopene, stating, “one nutrient that is consistently linked to prostate cancer prevention is lycopene, which can be found in raw or cooked tomatoes.” Mayo Clinic also suggests exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight as other ways to try and prevent prostate cancer. Their website says “There is some evidence that the men who get the most exercise have a lower incidence of prostate cancer when compared with men who get little or no exercise.”

One of the most important things you can do to maintain good prostate health, is to see your doctor regularly, never ignore potential warning signs, and get proper testing done, as you get older. There are medications available that may decrease your risk of developing prostate cancer. Another reason to work closely with your doctor on this matter is that the ability to detect this cancer early on, if it does start to develop, greatly increases the chances of eradicating the cancer.

Fighting Depression The Natural Way

The World Health Organization defines depression as “a common mental disorder that presents with depressed mood, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, low energy, and poor concentration.” Depression affects more people than you’d think, according to the WHO 121 million people worldwide are battling depression. One her website, Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, PhD, DAc, RNCP, ROHP, shares some ways to naturally fight depression. Since we at Liquid Health like doing things the natural way, whenever possible, I decided to share her suggestions with you.

Diet – Dr. Cook feels that our diet has more to do with our levels of depression than we probably realize. Eating a healthy and balanced diet can help to keep everything else in our bodies in order, from hormones to our blood sugar and our weight. Dr. Cook comments “For example, complex carbohydrates from vegetables, legumes and whole grains help the brain manufacture serotonin, a “feel good” neurotransmitter that is needed to prevent and treat depression.”

Food Sensitivities – Going along with eating a balanced diet is being aware of food that we may be allergic to, or have sensitivity to. Dr. Cook says the most common foods to look at are dairy, wheat, gluten, MSG, sugars, artificial sweeteners, and food colors. If you notice your moods changing in conjunction with eating particular foods, you may want to consult your doctor to check if you have a food allergy you never knew before.

Fighting Depression The Natural Way

Blood sugar fluctuations – Have you ever noticed if you go a long time without eating, you start to feel cranky? This is because your blood sugar levels dip, so Dr. Cook recommends eating small meals and snacks every few hours to keep your blood sugar levels consistent.

Essential Fats – Dr. Cook says “Essential fatty acids are necessary to treat depression, as they are required to create healthy brain cells and are involved in regulating neurotransmitters” – good sources of EFAs include: fish (and fish oil), flax seed, and leafy greens. There are also supplement versions of these essential fatty acids available if you think you won’t get enough from your diet alone.

Nutrient Deficiencies – When you’re having any kind of deficiency it throws your body out of its rhythm. When you’re out of rhythm you’re more likely to have hormones out of balance, which can lead to depression. This is another reason to try and eat a healthy and balanced diet and consider a multivitamin if you feel you’re not getting enough vitamins, minerals and nutrients.

B Vitamins – Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D. says on Mayo Clinic’s website: “Vitamin B-12 and other B vitamins play a role in producing brain chemicals that affect mood and other brain functions. Low levels of B-12 and other B vitamins such as vitamin B-6 and folate may be linked to depression.”

Balancing Serotonin – Serotonin is known as one of many neurotransmitters in our bodies. Brainexplorer.org says serotonin has many functions “in addition to mood control” – but because of this specific function, having healthy levels of serotonin in your brain can help you fight depression. Serotonin levels can be altered in many ways including exercise and exposure to sunlight, as well as supplementing with vitamins and herbs. Dr. Cook gives a few examples of things to consider supplementing with to increase your serotonin levels on her website, such as: vitamin D daily can help with depression, because it helps the body make serotonin” and “it (St. John’s Wort) also helps raise serotonin levels in the brain.”

Depression is a serious matter and should be dealt with as quickly and consistently as possible. The WHO lists social stigma surrounding mental disorders as one of the reasons people don’t seek help for their depression. While these natural suggestions for dealing with depression may not work for everyone, there are still many forms of treatment available and you should consult your doctor if you or someone you know are showing signs of depression.

Spotlight: Glucosamine

Anyone with joint pain knows that relief from the discomfort is a major thing, so finding a product that provides help is a big deal. This week I’ve decided to spotlight our very popular Liquid Health Glucosamine supplement. One of the first products developed by Liquid Health, our chondroitin glucosamine and msm combination has helped many customers over the years. This product combines 3 simple ingredients for big help in dealing with sore joints.

Glucosamine Sulfate (Pharmaceutical Grade)
According to the National Institutes of Health “In addition to relieving pain, glucosamine sulfate might also slow the breakdown of joints in people with osteoarthritis who take it long-term.”

Chondroitin Sulfate (90%)
“The consensus of expert and industry opinions supports the use of chondroitin and its common partner agent, glucosamine, for improving symptoms and stopping (or possibly reversing) the degenerative process of osteoarthritis.” – from the Mayo Clinic.

Glucosamine Liquid Supplement

MSM (Methyl-sulfonylmethane) (Pharmaceutical Grade)
A study posted on the NIH National Center for Biotechnology Information website concluded: “MSM (3g twice a day) improved symptoms of pain and physical function during the short intervention without major adverse events.”

Besides using ingredients shown to help joint pain, another benefit of this liquid vitamin supplement is that being in a liquid form makes this product easier to absorb, meaning you’re likely to feel results quicker. At the same time as dealing with the stiffness and pain, this product can also help to reduce inflammation and possibly help to slow down the breakdown within your joints. While any one of these ingredients, on their own, would probably offer some relief for your joint problems, using glucosamine msm and chondroitin in combination provides a 3-fold attack on the problem.

If you are looking for more information, or you are interested in carrying or purchasing our products, please do not hesitate to call us at 800.995.6607 or send us an e-mail at customerservice@liquidhealthinc.com.

Why is Vitamin B-12 Important?

Vitamin B12 is a vitamin which David L. Katz (MD, MPH, FACPM, FACP) calls “the most important nutrient you aren’t thinking about.” The reason it’s so important is Vitamin B12 has an essential role in the formation of red blood cells, normal nerve cell functions and the reproduction of DNA. According to WebMD.com, in addition to these necessary functions, B12 has also been used to treat memory loss; Alzheimer’s disease; sleep disorders; depression, mental disorders, and B12 has been used in lowering high homocysteine levels (which may contribute to heart disease).

While the majority of the people in the US get adequate amounts of Vitamin B12 there are still groups who are prone to B12 deficiency. These people include the elderly, those who suffer from pernicious anemia, people who have undergone gastrointestinal surgery or have gastrointestinal disorders, vegetarians, as well as nursing mothers who are vegetarians and their babies. Aside from the vegetarians, the other groups may be eating enough Vitamin B12, but their body isn’t able to properly absorb it for one reason or another. The Office of Dietary Supplements says “Individuals who have trouble absorbing vitamin B12 from foods, as well as vegetarians who consume no animal foods, might benefit from vitamin B12-fortified foods, oral vitamin B12 supplements, or vitamin B12 injections.”

Why is Vitamin B-12 Important

Vitamin B12 deficiency, while uncommon, is still something to watch out for. Katz, in his article on Dr. Oz’s website, states “common manifestations of vitamin B12 deficiency include weakness, numbness and tingling, fatigue, dizziness, swelling and irritation of the mouth and tongue, and irritability.” The Office of Dietary Supplements adds “additional symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include difficulty maintaining balance, depression, confusion, dementia, poor memory.”

Vitamin B12 can come from a variety of food sources, including: meat, poultry, eggs, milk, and milk products. Some cereals are fortified with Vitamin B12, but check the labels for the amount in each serving. Vitamin B12 is also commonly available in supplement and prescription form. While most of us don’t need to worry about bring B12 deficient, there are other reasons to consider taking a sublingual b12 supplement. B12 has been known to improve one’s mood, energy levels, ability to concentrate and possibly even slow aging. So if you’re looking for a natural energy boost, look no further than Vitamin B12!

ADHD Vitamins for Kids: What You Should Look For

There is a lot of debate about whether medicating a child with ADHD is the best decision, and while I have no direct experience with this, I would venture to say it has to be a case-by-case personal decision. This is definitely a situation where one size does not fit all and people have different resources available to them, so you have to do what is right for you and your child. With that being said, there are some minerals and supplements that have shown some promise in helping to reduce the symptoms of ADHD. So if you’re willing to or looking to try some adhd vitamins for kids, these are a few ingredients to consider:

Omega-3 Fatty Acids/DHA
A study done in Sweden, testing the affect of Omega-3 Fatty Acids on ADHD symptoms found the following: “A subgroup of children and adolescents with ADHD, characterized by inattention and associated neurodevelopmental disorders, treated with omega 3/6 fatty acids for 6 months responded with meaningful reduction of ADHD symptoms.”

According to WebMD.com “Several studies have shown a reduction in hyperactivity and impulsivity with zinc supplementation. The same studies, though, report no change in inattentiveness, which is another key symptom of ADHD. A 2005 study in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, though, did show a correlation between zinc levels and teacher- and parent-rated inattention in children.”

ADHD Vitamins for Kids: What You Should Look For

Dr. David Perlmutter is quoted on Healthcastle.com as saying Phosphatidyl Serine, Alpha lipoic acid, Coenzyme Q-10, and Ginkgo Biloba “have been clinically proven to protect the brain and enhance brain function, and he has had great success with them in his own practice.”

Valerian root extract and Melatonin may be beneficial for some suffering from ADHD because of their ability to calm moods and relax the person taking them. WebMD.com shares that children taking a stimulant medication for ADHD, who also took melatonin were noted by researchers to have “improved sleep problems in these children.”

Vitamin B6
A study reported on the National Institutes of Health website found “In almost all cases of ADHD, Mg-B6 (Magnesium/Vitamin B6) regimen for at least two months significantly modified the clinical symptoms of the disease: namely, hyperactivity and hyperemotivity/aggressiveness were reduced, school attention was improved.”

Kyorin University Medical School Researchers conducted a study on 60 sixth graders in 2005. This study tested the effects of GABA on brain function and stress levels while taking a math test. The group that was given GABA answered not only more questions than the other group, but also had 20% more correct answers, showing that GABA appeared to increase the brains ability to work quickly. The stress levels recorded in the GABA group were also lower than those of the other students. In response to this study, Michael T. Murray, ND said “there is no question that it (GABA) can be used very successfully during stressful times to increase feelings of calmness and improve mental focus, which may be beneficial to children who have issues with hyperactivity and/or focus.”

Only time and more testing will show the long term affects of these adhd vitamins for kids. Be sure to do your own research before starting any kind of liquid nutritional supplements on yourself or your children. And of course no major decisions should be made without first talking with your health care provider.

If you are looking for more information, or you are interested in carrying or purchasing our products, please do not hesitate to call us at 800.995.6607 or send us an e-mail at customerservice@liquidhealthinc.com.

Spotlight: Calcium and Magnesium

I’ve decided to start a new thing here on the Liquid Health website. Each week I’ll be spotlighting one of our wonderful products. I’ll tell a little about it and then, using outside sources, explain why each ingredient is important to the overall effectiveness of that particular product. I’ve decided to start this off with our Calcium and Magnesium Supplement.

We all need Calcium, especially children, older adults, postmenopausal women, those who are lactose intolerant and vegetarians, which is probably why it’s one of the most popular supplements on the market. Liquid Health’s Calcium and Magnesium Supplement is no different. It’s been one of our most popular products since it was first introduced. Aside from being in a liquid form which makes it easier to absorb, our calcium product contains a combination of ingredients to help you get the most from your calcium intake.

Vitamin D3 (as Cholecalciferol)
“The body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium. Without enough vitamin D, one can’t form enough of the hormone calcitriol (known as the “active vitamin D”). This in turn leads to insufficient calcium absorption from the diet. In this situation, the body must take calcium from its stores in the skeleton, which weakens existing bone and prevents the formation of strong, new bone.” NIH (National Institutes of Health) Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center.

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Calcium (Gluconate USP, Citrate, Phosphate, Chelate, Malate)
“Calcium is a mineral found in many foods. The body needs calcium to maintain strong bones and to carry out many important functions. Almost all calcium is stored in bones and teeth, where it supports their structure and hardness.
The body also needs calcium for muscles to move and for nerves to carry messages between the brain and every body part. In addition, calcium is used to help blood vessels move blood throughout the body and to help release hormones and enzymes that affect almost every function in the human body.”
NIH Office of Dietary Supplements

Phosphorus (TriCalcium Phosphate)
According to a study posted on the NIH PMC website “Higher phosphate intakes were associated with decreased urine calcium and increased calcium retention.”

Magnesium (Gluconate, Citrate)
“Every organ in the body — especially the heart, muscles, and kidneys — needs the mineral magnesium. It also contributes to the makeup of teeth and bones. Most important, it activates enzymes, contributes to energy production, and helps regulate calcium levels” – University of Maryland Medical Centers

Manganese (Chelate)
“A study in healthy postmenopausal women found that a supplement containing manganese (5 mg/day), copper (2.5 mg/day), and zinc (15 mg/day) in combination with a calcium supplement (1,000 mg/day) was more effective than the calcium supplement alone in preventing spinal bone loss over a two-year period.” – Linus Pauling Institute (Oregon State University)

Boron (Chelate)
A study discussed on the National Library of Medicines website stated: “Boron deprivation caused changes in variables associated with calcium metabolism in a manner that could be construed as being detrimental to bone formation and maintenance; these changes apparently were enhanced by low dietary magnesium. Because boron and/or magnesium deprivation causes changes similar to those seen in women with postmenopausal osteoporosis, these elements are apparently needed for optimal calcium metabolism and are thus needed to prevent the excessive bone loss which often occurs in postmenopausal women and older men.”

“Lysine can increase how much calcium the body absorbs. Taking calcium along with lysine can increase the amount of calcium in the body.” – WebMD.com

Silica (from Silicon Chelate and Horsetail Extract [equisetum arvense])
“Silica works with calcium to maintain bone strength.” – Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D. (from his website)

Are We the Only Ones Who Need Vitamins?

I’ve spent a lot of time talking about vitamins and healthy lifestyle choices for people on this website, now I’d like to turn some attention to the four legged friends in our lives! In this article I’m going to talk about vitamins for dogs, are they necessary, which should you consider and how to administer them.

According to Drs. Foster and Smith (on their website drsfostersmith.com) “Vitamins are necessary for literally tens of thousands of different chemical reactions in the body. They often work in conjunction with minerals and enzymes to assure normal digestion, reproduction, muscle and bone growth and function, healthy skin and hair, clotting of blood, and the use of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates by the body.” – So wouldn’t it stand to reason that if we need these things, so do our pets? I mean, they have chemical reactions and bone growth too, right?

Now something to consider when talking about vitamins for dogs, is a lot of dog food on the market today have vitamins and minerals added to it. So, if your dog is strictly eating enriched dog food, a multivitamin may not be totally necessary. However, if your dog eats lots of raw foods or even homemade dog food, you may want to consider adding a multivitamin to their diet.

Are We the Only Ones Who Need Vitamins

When it comes to choosing vitamins for dogs, you should be as careful as you would be for yourself. Webmd.com suggests a few guidelines when shopping for a vitamin supplement:

1.) Read labels. Know the name of the ingredient you’re looking for, so you won’t be deceived by sound-alikes.
2.) Look for a lot number on the product, a sign that the company has set up quality control checks.
3.) Know the seller. Cooperman says ConsumerLab.com has found fewer problems with supplements sold at vet’s offices, although they do occur.
4.) Look for certification from an organization that has independently verified a supplement’s contents.
5.) Be cautious about giving human supplements to dogs. Some products, such as garlic, can be dangerous for dogs.

Also consider whether your dog needs everything that’s contained in a multivitamin, or just a few of its ingredients. There’s always a chance of overdose when it comes to vitamins (especially fat soluble ones) so be careful and check the amounts in each dose before administering to your pup!

As for ways to administer vitamins for dogs there are a few options, I’ve found pills, powders and liquids. Since I don’t have a dog myself, I can only assume that you’d give them a pill the same way you’d give them a treat and just hope they eat it all and powders are probably sprinkled on their food. With liquids I think you can do it syringe style (like giving a baby medicine) or mix it with their food or water, you just have to make sure they eat it all to get the entire dose.

It may be hard to decide between these choices, it may come down to price or convenience for you. If you want a little help knowing which will be best for your dog, I would remind you of my article on sublingual vitamins a couple of months ago. Vitamins in a sublingual spray or liquid form have been proven to absorb into the body much faster than other forms.

It can be hard knowing what the best thing to do is, especially since our dogs can’t always tell us what they think or need. Be safe and smart when deciding if you want to add any vitamins for dogs to your pup’s routine. If you’re ever in doubt, about any of this, always talk with your dog’s vet before starting or adding something new.

Healthy Habits We Should Adopt from Our Pets!

Even though our pets may not be able to talk to us, that doesn’t mean they don’t have things to teach us! Things that are good (or bad) for pets can also be good (or bad) for us – so let’s look at a few of these practices we would be wise to copy from our four-legged friends!

Forget Multitasking
Our pets don’t multitask. When we’re playing catch with them they are 100% focused on the ball. We, on the other hand, think it’s advantageous to talk on the phone, while checking our email, while watching TV. According to cnn.com “newly released results of scientific studies in multitasking indicate that carrying on several duties at once may, in fact, reduce productivity, not increase it.”

Take Naps
Has your pet ever gone an entire day without taking a nap? It’s doubtful, and for good reason. Healthcentral.net states “Studies show that taking a nap is a great way to increase alertness and reaction times, improve mood, and reduce accidents.”

Walk Every Day
A daily walk is good for pets and it’s also good for us. Getting exercise daily not only helps us lose weight, but according to WebMD.com other benefits of regular walking include: fighting depression, lowering your risk for type 2 diabetes, keeping your mind sharp, and it keeps your bones strong.

Healthy Habits We Should Adopt from Our Pets!

Drink Water When You’re Thirsty
Have you ever seen your pet gulp down a sports drink or an energy shot while out playing? No, because these things aren’t good for pets! Likewise, neither of these things is as good for us as plain old water! Our bodies are approximately 60% water, according to Anatomy & Physiology for Nurses, so of course it would stand to reason that we’d benefit from drinking more of it when we’re exerting ourselves.

Eat Fish
Cats know what’s good for them! Fish are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which have been proven to be good for your heart. Mayo Clinic recommends “fatty fish, such as salmon, herring and to a lesser extent tuna, contain the most omega-3 fatty acids and therefore the most benefit, but many types of seafood contain small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.”

From the National Institute for Play website: “Anyone who has ever tossed a Frisbee to a beloved dog knows that playfulness crosses species lines. What does this mean? For humans and other animals, play is a universal training course and language of trust. The belief that one is safe with another being or in any situation is formed over time during regular play. Trust is the basis of intimacy, cooperation, creativity, successful work, and more.”

Make Time to Groom
Our feline friends are known to take extensive time to groom and clean themselves, should we do the same? Aside from the cleanliness of it all, personal hygiene can have an effect on your work and personal life. Livestrong.com states: “Maintaining a professional appearance gives you a confidence boost and demonstrates to your supervisors that you are serious about your job.”

Stretch Often
Healthguidance.org lists a few benefits of regular stretching, including: an increase in circulation, reduction in stress and fatigue, it serves as a warm up before physical activity, and it can protect you from aches. The website also states: “Stretching regularly helps to relieve the tension within the muscles.”

Seek Out Shade
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a dog lying outside tanning. Sure they like the run in the sun for periods of time, but they always take a break in whatever shade is available to them. We would be wise to do the same. Always wear sun block when heading outside and consider a hat or umbrella if you’ll be out for an extended period of time with no shade available.

Stick to a Schedule
Your pet doesn’t know the difference between a Saturday and a Wednesday, and neither does your body’s internal clock. This is why it’s beneficial to try and stick to a bit of a routine. Going to bed and waking up at the same time, even eating at the same time, can keep your body in a good rhythm, which can lead to better quality sleep.

Thanks to WebMD.com for this list! I found some additional references for each of the suggestions and added my own remarks. So, in conclusion, our pets can not only be good friends and companions, they can also be good examples of healthy conduct we should implement in our own lives!