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Pre-menopausal Breast Cancer and Vitamin D Deficiency

Pre-menopausal Breast cancer and vitamin D deficiency

Pre-menopausal Breast cancer and vitamin D deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency is really in the spotlight at the moment.

I think it’s mostly because we’re only just beginning to unravel all the intricate functions vitamins and minerals play in the role of health.

As time goes on I suspect we will discover that all vitamins and minerals, including the lesser-known ones, play an essential role in health and disease.

The latest vitamin D study led by researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, found that vitamin D deficiency in the months preceding diagnosis may predict a high risk of pre-menopausal breast cancer.

The study of blood levels of 1,200 healthy women found that women whose blood levels of vitamin D were low during the three-month period just before diagnosis had approximately three times the risk of breast cancer as women in the highest vitamin D group.

Several previous studies have shown that low blood levels of vitamin D are associated with a higher risk of pre-menopausal breast cancer. However, researchers warned against using mega doses of vitamin D, unless prescribed by a doctor for short-term use.

The best way to keep your vitamin D levels topped up is to have 20 minutes a day out in the sunshine, as well as eating plenty of oily fish and eating free-range, organic eggs.

I would also suggest that you have your vitamin D levels tested. You could then take a supplement to correct any deficiency, do a re-test to make sure the level is back to normal, and then maintain your levels by taking a multivitamin and mineral containing vitamin D as D3.

Source: Low Vitamin D Levels Linked To High Risk Of Pre-menopausal Breast  Cancer. Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl.

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The Health Benefits of Avocado

benefits of avocadoAVOCADOS are rich in folate, vitamin B6 and betacarotene. They also contain monounsaturated fat, which is a good type of fat, so you don’t need to worry about eating them. The health benefits of avocado are endless…

Calorie-wise they average around 300 calories, or 150 for half, so with a salad and slice of whole bread. you have a nice healthy lunch that should keep you going throughout the afternoon.

Rich in potassium, vitamins B and E as well as high in fibre, avocados may help protect against lung cancer and rheumatoid arthritis. They also contain good amounts of fibre, around 11g to 17g per fruit.

Although officially classed as a fruit, avocados are generally treated as a salad vegetable. They are high in fat, however most of this is the heart-friendly monounsaturated variety, or more specifically, oleic acid, an omega-9 fat also found in olive oil. Monounsaturated fat has also been linked to a reduced risk of cancer and diabetes. Those who have difficulty in digesting fats are usually fine with avocados.

An excellent source of vitamin E, avocados are also high in beta-sitosterol, a natural substance which helps lower blood cholesterol levels and protect the prostrate. Vitamin E also helps prevent the oxidation of LDL, or bad cholesterol, and is important for healthy skin. This vitamin has also been shown to help boost fertility in men by protecting the sperm cell membranes from damage by free radicals and increasing sperm motility. For this reason avocados have been traditionally used for erectile dysfunction. Other uses include: constipation, nervousness and insomnia.

The Health Benefits of Avocado include Vitamin B6

the health benefits of avocadoAvocados also contain lutein, a carotenoid with natural antioxidant properties that help keep eyes healthy and also contribute to a healthy skin. One small avocado contains half the recommended daily allowance of vitamin B6 which is essential to the central nervous system function. Low levels of B6 have been linked to depression and chronic fatigue. Anyone taking the contraceptive pill, or antibiotics, would be wise to add avocado to their diet as both these drugs increase the body’s need for vitamin B6.

Avocados are High in Fibre

They are also a good source of fibre – around 11 to 17g per fruit. Rich in potassium with two to three times that of bananas, avocados also contain good amounts of folate, vitamin A as well as beta carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin.

Eating Avocados Reduces Lung Cancer Risk

Foods high in beta-cryptoxanthin protect cells from the damaging effects of free radicals and provide a good source of vitamin A. This carotenoid may also reduce the risk of lung cancer according to a study published in Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention. The 2004 study found beta-cryptoxanthin reduced lung cancer risk by more than 30 percent in those with diets providing the highest amounts. Studies have also shown beta-cryptoxanthin providing a 41 percent reduction in the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.

How to Reap the Health Benefits of Avocado

Avocado is excellent in salads, as a garnish, sandwich-filler or, of course, as guacamole. The small knobbly Haas varieties seem to have a nicer flavour than their smooth Fuerte cousins.

Portrait2If you would like to know more about how you can eat more healthily and feel so much better, book an online consultation with me today… 

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Carrots may help prevent cancer

carrots may help prevent cancer

Carrots really may help to prevent cancer

EVERY year in the UK around 40,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer and more than 10,000 die of the disease. But the good news is that humble carrots may help prevent cancer. 

Studies by Professor Norman Maitland at the University of York have found a diet rich in vitamin A could be key in beating the disease by making it more treatable. The researchers discovered that carrots may help prevent cancer because they contain retinoic acid, a chemical made from Vitamin A which is found in foods including carrots, sweet potatoes and green leafy vegetables, and can reduce the ability of the cancer to invade surrounding tissue.

Prof Maitland said: “If the cancer is confined to the prostate it’s much more treatable with conventional medicine. This is about prevention rather than cure, but it can stop the spread of cancer. It has been known for many years that low vitamin A in samples of men’s blood is associated with prostate cancer, but nobody knew the mechanisms involved. This is an exciting new development which links an element from our diet to prostate cancer stem cells. Carrots may help prevent cancer.”

Raw carrots and carrot juice have been used in complementary medicine as a ‘cure’ for cancer for quite while now. So, maybe there is now some scientific evidence behind this alternative practice after all. Carrots contain beta-carotene, an antioxidant and pre-cursor used to make vitamin A in your body, along with carotenoid derivates such as zeaxanthin and lutein. Eating a diet rich in antioxidants, such as beta carotene and falcarinol, may help prevent cancer by stopping damage to the healthy cells in your body.

Falcarinol is a natural substance found in raw carrots, which according to research, can significantly reduce your risk of cancer. Studies have shown that falcarinol slows the growth of cancer cells, making it less likely to invade the body. Laboratory rats fed a diet of raw carrots or isolated falcarinol were a third less likely to develop full-scale, chemically-induced tumors than those in the control group.

A study by researchers from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in England and Denmark and published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found falcarinol, a natural pesticide that protects the roots of carrots from fungal disease, reduced cancer risk. The researchers found that it actually had a more powerful effect than beta carotene. So, yes, eating carrots may help prevent cancer.


Vitamin therapy reduces dementia and Alzheimer’s

beta caroteneMORE research has confirmed there are ‘super vitamins’ that can actually dramatically reduce changes in forgetfulness or even dementia as we age. These include vitamin C and beta-carotene, vitamin E, lycopene and coenzyme Q10. 

Alzheimer’s patients are low in all these vitamins, particularly vitamin C and beta-carotene, compared to healthy people who have remained mentally sharp.

Researchers from the University of Ulm found that the massage therapy can also protect against the milder symptoms of Alzheimer’s and dementia, such as forgetfulness, orientation problems and general cognitive decline, taking into consideration other factors that can also affect cognitive ability, such as education, alcohol and smoking, and weight.

Source: Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 2012; 31: 717-24

When to supplement with CoQ10


COENZYME Q10 (CoQ10), also called ubiquinone, is a vitamin-like compound found in practically every cell of the human body, but particularly in the heart. The hundreds of studies that have been carried out on it clearly show that it is vital to health, playing a crucial role in the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the body’s major form of stored energy. It is also a powerful antioxidant with more than 50 times the power of vitamin E in combating free radicals.

Low CoQ10 levels have been found in a wide range of medical conditions, including heart disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), gum disease and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). This may explain why supplementing with CoQ10 — shown to raise tissue levels of the nutrient —appears to be beneficial for a wide range of health problems.

If you are older, particularly stressed, or ill then it may well be a good idea to supplement with CoQ10. It is essential to supplement with CoQ10 if you are taking statin drugs because statins deplete your body of this vital nutrient.

Boost your immune system naturally


boost your immune system naturally

Lots of foods can boost your immune system naturally

OUR immune systems play such a huge role in disease prevention and keeping us healthy. Recent research has again found links between a lowered immune system and chronic disease. So how do you boost your immune system naturally?

According to a new research paper from the University Medical Centre Tubingen, the immune system can render tumours and cancerous cells inactive, permanently. So, if you boost your immune system naturally you have an effective cancer therapy without destroying any cells in the way chemotherapy does. But which foods can really help boost your immune system naturally?


An old folk remedy, extract from these dark berries appears to block flu viruses in test tube studies. However scientists do caution that further study is needed. The fruit itself is rich in antioxidants so may also have the ability to fight inflammation.

Button Mushrooms

Don’t dismiss the humble mushroom. It contains the mineral selenium along with other antioxidants. Low levels of selenium have been linked to increased risk of developing more severe flu. The B vitamins riboflavin and niacin, found in these mushrooms, play a role in a healthy immune system. Animal studies have also shown mushrooms have antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-tumour properties.

Acai Berry

Touted as a superfood in the same category as blueberries, the little acai berry’s dark colour means it is high in antioxidants called anthocyanins. While the acai isn’t scientifically linked to any specific disease or illness-fighting ability, antioxidants do help your body fight aging and disease and will boost your immune system naturally. Acai berries can be found most often in juice or smoothie form, or dried and mixed with granola.


Aphrodisiac … immune boosters …? Could be both, due to the zinc that’s found in oysters. Low zinc levels have been linked to male infertility. Zinc also has some antiviral properties, although researchers can’t explain why. However, they do know it is important for several immune system functions, including wound healing.


Hydrating and refreshing, watermelon also contains high levels of the powerful antioxidant, glutathione. Known to help strengthen the immune system so it can fight infection, glutathione is found in the red pulpy flesh near the rind.


This is a great source of immune-strengthening glutamine. Cabbage is easy and inexpensive to find during the winter months when it’s in season. Try adding cabbages of any variety (white, red, Chinese) to soups and stews to sneak in extra antioxidants and boost your nutritional value.


A handful of almonds may boost your immune system naturally from the effects of stress. A recommended 1/4 cup serving carries nearly 50% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin E, which helps boost the immune system. They also contain riboflavin and niacin, B vitamins that may help you bounce back from the effects of stress.


Grapefruits have a good level of vitamin C, but science has yet to prove that you can easily get enough vitamin C through foods alone, without supplementation, to help treat cold and flu. However, grapefruit is packed with flavonoids which are the natural chemical compounds found to increase immune system activation.  Don’t like grapefruit? Try oranges or tangerines.

Wheat Germ

Wheat germ is the part of a wheat seed that feeds a baby wheat plant, so it is full of nutrients. It contains zinc, antioxidants, and B vitamins among other vital vitamins and minerals. Wheat germ also offers a good mix of fibre, protein, and some good fat. Substitute wheat germ for part of your regular flour in baked goods and other recipes.

Low-Fat Yogurt

A daily cup may reduce your chances of getting a cold.  Look for labels listing ‘live and active cultures’. Some researchers believe they may stimulate your immune system to fight disease. Also look for vitamin D. Recent studies have found a link between low vitamin D levels and an increased risk of cold and flu.


Garlic offers several antioxidants that battle immune system invaders. Among garlic’s targets are H. pylori, the bacteria associated with some ulcers and stomach cancer. Cooking tip: Peel, chop and let sit 15 to 20 minutes before cooking to activate immune-boosting enzymes.


Known as a superfood, spinach is nutrient-rich.  It contains folate, which helps your body produce new cells and repair DNA. It also contains good levels of fibre, antioxidants, including vitamin C, and much more. Eat spinach raw or lightly cooked to get the most benefits.


Green or black? Both are loaded with disease-fighting polyphenols and flavonoids. These antioxidants seek out cell-damaging free radicals and destroy them. Caffeinated and decaf work just as well.

Sweet Potato

Like carrots, sweet potatoes contain the antioxidant beta-carotene, which soaks up damaging free radicals. Sweet potatoes also have good levels of vitamin A, which is linked to slowing the aging process and may reduce the risk of some cancers.


Easy to find and incorporate into dinner, broccoli is an immune-boosting basic. One study reported a chemical in broccoli helped stimulate the immune systems in mice. Plus, it’s full of nutrients that protect your body from damage.  It has vitamins A, vitamin C, and glutathione.  Add some low-fat cheese to round out a side dish with immune-enhancing B vitamins and vitamin D.


Health benefits of vitamin A

VITAMIN A comes in two forms: retinol and beta carotene. Retinol is the animal source of vitamin A, while beta carotene is derived from a variety of yellow and orange fruits and vegetables as well as leafy greens. Beta carotene is converted into vitamin A in the intestine and also in the liver.

Vitamin A Benefits

Vitamin A has many important functions that include good eyesight, growth and tissue healing and a healthy skin. It also plays an important role as an antioxidant, lowers cancer risk and regulates genetic processes. Studies have shown that around 25 percent of Americans get less than half the recommended daily allowance in their diets for vitamin A. This is most noticeable in people who do not eat many fruits and vegetables or those who eat highly processed foods which are lacking in vitamins.

Read more at Suite101: Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin A Benefits | Suite101
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