Vitamins & Minerals for energy and mental alertness.

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by TheShaun, Feb 19, 2009.

  1. TheShaun

    TheShaun Hall of Fame

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    What are some essential vitamins and minerals i should take to help me with energy and mental alertness? i'm studying for some industry related courses for work, and after the long day at the office and then workout, make dinner, etc. i feel drained a lot and not always able to focus 100% on my studies.

    I currently take the following on a daily basis:

    1 multi vitamin
    1 vitamin E
    1 vitamin C
    1 chromium

    should i add, fish oil, flax, etc.?
     
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  2. BabolatPureStorm

    BabolatPureStorm New User

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    Fish oil is not exactly needed, that is more for skin.

    But if you have dry flaky skin and thats why your stressing, yes get some fish oil in 'dat diet!
     
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  3. snoopy

    snoopy Professional

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    Try not to eat a lot of sugar. You will crash after your sugar rush. Try not to eat big meals, eat smaller meals throughout the day. Take a nap. Get enough sleep at night.

    Drink some coffee.

    You might also want to look into 5 hour energy. It looks like a scam but i have heard some people ay good things about it. I never tried it but its worth looking at.
     
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  4. maverick66

    maverick66 Hall of Fame

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    shouldnt the multi-vitamin have vitamin c, e and chromium? i would think those are things your already getting from the multi.
     
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  5. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    I am really surprised that vitamin B complex is not at the top of your list. You should be getting some of this in your food and your multi, but you'll probably want somewhat higher levels of various vitamin B constituents. The most important of these for energy/alertness concerns are choline, B3 (niacin), B6 and B12. You want to be sure that you are getting fairly high levels of these 4 (but do not go way overboard on the niacin or B6).

    Other important B vitamins include B1, B2, B5, B9 (folic acid), and biotin. You may want a bit extra of these as well. You also want to be sure to get some inositol (but this may be of somewhat less importance than the others unless you consume high levels of caffeine).

    DMAE is another important substance to consider. Altho' not considered a vitamin, it is related to the vitamin B family and is normally found in the human brain. Moderate levels of DMAE can be found in sardines and other fish such as anchovies. The following are good sources of DMAE:

    DMAE - Now Foods - 250mg
    True Focus w/Amino Acids - Now


    Vitamin A along with β-carotene and other carotenoids should also help with energy & anti-fatigue concerns. Mega-doses of straight vitamin A, a fat soluble vitamin, should be avoided so be sure to get some of your vitamin A in the form of βeta carotene and other food carotenes.

    As far as vitamin E is concerned, you might want to go with a natural E (d-Alpha Tocopherol) rather than a synthetic version (dl-Alpha Tocopherol). You probably do not need a daily dose than is any more than 100 IU of the natural (d) version or 200 IU of the synthetic (dl) version. Avoid taking any more that 400 IU of the latter per day. Try to make sure that your vitamin E source includes a full-spectrum mixture of tocopherols (and tocotrienols). Food sources (or full-spectrum supps) are the best way to ensure this.

    Your vitamin C source should include bioflavanoids. Food sources of C usually have these.

    Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) should also be included in your diet. If you are not getting enough from food sources then be sure to look for this in a supplement. Panax ginseng and other similar adaptogens (adaptogenic herbs) are also worth considering.

    For minerals, be sure that your are getting adequate levels of potasium (K), calcium (Ca), and magnesium (Mg). Other minerals that might help include zinc (Zn), selenium (Se), and chromium (Cr).

    Lastly, your might want to take some select amino acids. These are most effective when taken on an empty stomach (or in the absence of complete protein). Some of these amino acids can be found in the True Focus product that I listed above (see link). Again, the energizing effects of these select amino acids will be less effective if taken in the presence of other competing protein. These select amino acids include:

    L-Phenylalanine or DLPA
    L-Carnitine or Acetyl-L-Carnitine
    L-Arginine
    L-Tyrosine
    Taurine (not really a true amino acid)

    A good energy supplement will usually contain 2 or 3 of these amino acids. Some products to consider include ProEndorphin, 5-Hour Energy, 6 Hour Power or Rev3.

    .
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2009
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  6. TheShaun

    TheShaun Hall of Fame

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    SA, thanks for such a thorough reply. I'll be sure to look for a B complex and DMAE in the coming days.
     
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  7. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

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    Don't waste your time and money with DMAE unless there is good clinical evidence of benefit. It is a choline precursor, and choline loading strategies, whether choline chloride or lecithin (phosphatidyl choline) have NEVER been shown to affect the functionning of the brain or nervous system.
     
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  8. albino smurf

    albino smurf Professional

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    I take Source of Life multivitamins once or twice a day. I love them.
    http://www.sourceoflife.com/products/product_details.asp?productNumber=3056&criteria=keywordSearchResults&category=15
     
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  9. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    And yet, choline is an essential nutrient. All of the most effective energy products (such as the ones I mentioned previously) will contain either DMAE or some choline compound. There are a few products that actually contain both. Two effective that I've tried include: Focus XT and NeuroStim+C. I've also tried an un-caffeinated version of the latter product in the past for evening/night use and also found it to be effective.

    Note that many, but not all,sufferers of ADD or AHHD, who lack focus or attention, have experienced a significant benefit from DMAE or Centrophenoxine (a DMAE compound). Some studies have shown a benefit for DMAE for attention/focus or vigilance/alertness:

    Efficacy of dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE)


    Other references:
    1. Oettinger L Jr. The use of deanol in the treatment of the disorders of behavior in children. J Pediatr 1958;53(6):761-75.
    2. Oettinger L Jr. Pediatric psychopharmacology. A review with special reference to deanol. Dis Nerv Syst 1977;38(12 Pt 2):25-31.
    3. Geller SJ. Comparison of a tranquilizer and a psychic energizer. JAMA 1960;174:89-92.
    4. Coleman N, Dexheimer P, DiMascio A, Redman W, Finnerty R. Deanol in the treatment of hyperkinetic children. Psychosomatics 1976;17(2):68-72.
     
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  10. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    If you decide on using DMAE or Centrophenoxine, it is best to take it in the morning or early afternoon. If high levels are taken at night, it can result in restlessness at bed-time.
     
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  11. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

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    I don't know what your experience is with the medical literature but you need to do more comprehensive reviews. One can find a little support for anything at all; the issue is where the preponderance of the support is. I ran the psychopharm unit that did some of the early work on Tacrine, the first drug approved by the FDA for the treatment of Alzheimers (Tacrine was subsequently superceded by Aricept, Razadyne and Exelon). I reviewed more than 30 studies of choline in Alzheimer's and cognition, and there is no support for choline or deanol as benefitting cognition. An isolated article here or there is not support. In fact, since deanol is a competitive inhibitor of choline transport across membranes, some have speculated in the literature that it might actually decrease cholinergic activity and thus impair cognition. Essential nutrients are generally nutrients that we get more than enough of in our diets, and there is zero evidence that more cholinergic precursor benefits cognition, in good studies. Wurtman at MIT showed the same for tryptophan and serotonin activity; loading with trypophan might increase levels of serotonin in the brain but that is worthless as firing of serotonin neurons is unchanged. If you understand neurophysiology, you would not expect loading with a precursor of acetylcholine similarly to have any effect on firing of cholinergic neurons.
     
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  12. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    ^ Have done a fair amount of reading & research on both DMAE & Centrophenoxine. I am well aware that some studies have indicated benefits from these substances while others do not. As you have indicated, these substances have been studied as a possible "cure" for Alzheimer's. From what I understand, these substances have been dismissed as an actual cure but are still used, in some cases, to treat some symptoms of dementia/AD.

    It appears that more success has been seen with use for ADD & ADHD. While it has not been effective for all sufferers that have tried it, many have derived benefits. I'm sure that it has a lot to do with the brain chemisty of the individual and the root cause(s) for the attention deficit. It appears that long-term improvements in memory may be rather limited with DMAE & Centro. However, their real strength seems to be as a mood enhancer. The benefits that are seen have much more to do with alertness or vigilance than with memory.

    My own experiences over the past decade-plus fall in line with this. However, even tho' many have touted Centrophenoxine as being superior in effect to DMAE, that has not been my experience. For my own brain chemistry, the effects appeared to be pretty much the same. I'm also acquainted with a number of ADHD sufferers who have been able to reduce their need (or dosage) of Ritalin & other stimulants by upping their intake of DMAE and omega-3 fatty acids.
     
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  13. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Note that cinnamon and peppermint have been found to reduce fatigue & improve alertness. The effect has been experienced even with the aroma of these 2 scents. I have been able to derive these mental benefits with cinnamon gum, sugarless of course, and with peppermint Altoids. I've also have seen some significant effects with the use of Tiger Balm (Red), which contains cinnamon. I'll put a bit on my forehead & temples as well as under each nostril. For those that find the scent a bit too strong, a dab at the base of the neck/throat instead of directly under the nose may do the trick.

    Check out my post on another message forum board and some other links for more info on this subject:

    MyBrainTrainer.com/board/topic.asp?topic_id=547

    WebMD article on cinnamon & peppermint
    NewsWise.com/articles/view/511290
    iol.co.za/?click_id=31&set_id=1
    .
     
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  14. albino smurf

    albino smurf Professional

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    ollinger and systemic, if you have a chance could you checkout the link to those vitamins in post #8 and tell me what you think. Your discussion of choline, etc. is very interesting to a non-medical dabbler. Thanks in advance.
     
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  15. beckham

    beckham Semi-Pro

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    You have to be careful though. An excess/overdose in vitamins can commonly lead to muscle weakness and headaches, along with others symptomes. Try not to take to much of one vitamin, unless instructed to by a medical professional.
     
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  16. Automatix

    Automatix Hall of Fame

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    From my personal experience Ginseng works best... if I have a deadline project or a hard exam ginseng keeps me up & alert.
     
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  17. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    It is primarily the fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K) that pose a threat in very high doses. The condition is known as hypervitaminosis. I believe that high levels of βeta-carotene (pro-vitamin A) are much safer than are safer than the vitamin A (preformed). Very high levels of βeta-carotene can result in carotenodermia, a relatively harmless (orange-yellow) discoloration of the skin.

    To my knowledge, the only water-soluble vitamins that pose a threat in super-high doses are niacin (B3) and vitamin B6 as I noted previously. Levels of B6 greater than 500 mg/day should be avoided. To be on the safe side, a max of 200 mg/day is probably a better idea unless prescribed by a medical professional. I'll have to look up the UL for niacin.
     
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  18. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    Choline Cocktail ;)

    Look into a product called Choline Cocktail from TwinLab.
     
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  19. S H O W S T O P P E R !

    S H O W S T O P P E R ! Hall of Fame

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    In your thredz, stealin ur bukkits
    Screw vitamins! Get some Red Bull and get a free pair of wings!

    But seriously, I use fish oil when I need a little more focus. It works as a short-term thing.
     
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  20. beckham

    beckham Semi-Pro

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    True, vitamins B3 and B6 in excess can cause a skin irritation.
     
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  21. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Not a huge fan of Red Bull and similar products at all. These ones that I mentioned previously are much more effective and do not contain the high sugar levels seen in conventional energy drinks. (Yes, I realize that you were not totally serious about this).

    Sources of omega-3 fatty acids does sound like a good idea for promoting mental focus as well as numerous other health benefits. I prefer to eat actual fish, especially salmon and sardines as my sources of omega-3s. Ground flax seeds can also provide some benefit. Note that vegetarian DHA, an omega-3 fat, can be found supplement form. This algae-based DHA will not contain the mercury or other contaminants found in some/many fish oils.


    Actually, I believe that the "niacin flush" is a relatively harmless action for the most part. However, very high doses of niacin could result in liver damage or other serious health issues. Sustained-release (slow-release) niacin has less of the flushing action but is probably more toxic to the liver at high levels (2000 mg/day?). Other forms of vitamin B3 such as niacinamide or inositol hexanicotinate (so-called "flush-free" niacin) should not cause any noticeable flushing. Much higher levels of these forms can also be tolerated by the liver and the body, in general, than niacin.

    Very high levels of Vitamin B6 can result in nerve damage, I believe.
    .
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2009
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  22. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    Niacin Flush is harmless...

    Though, it will give you a taste of what menopausal women go through daily! :D

    BTW, that tidbit of info is from my Mom... not me since I'm a man :-o
     
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  23. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Hope that you are not taking a full serving size of 3 tablets twice a day. For one thing, that would provide too much iron (Fe) for males (I'm assuming that you are also getting some Fe in your food as well). It also looks as if just 1 or 2 tablets a day would suffice for adequate vitamin intake. I would still try to get most of my nutrients from real food sources.

    The product contains an impressive list of nutrients, including flavanoids, phytonutrients, etc.. If you take 1 or 2 tablets a day as I suggested, you might want to add other supplements to get more choline and more minerals (except iron) if you feel that you are not getting enough from food sources. The vitamin levels in this product are very high comparted to the mineral and choline content. This is not unusual tho' since many high end products often provide mineral supplements seperate from vitamin supplements.

    It appears that DRI values (or Daily Values) for choline often not listed even tho' it is considered and essential nutrient. The AI and the RDA for choline are about 550mg (which is much greater then the 30mg listed for a full sering of 3 tablets of this product). You might consider some eggs (yolks) or lecithin to up your choline intake if it is a concern.

    One thing that concerns me about this product is that it is in tablet form. Given a choice, I usually opt for capsules or softgels for supps. With some of the cheaper tablet supplements, substandard binding agents are sometimes used. These cheap binders can often interfere with the absorption of nutrients in the small intestines. Some binding agents will even prevent the tablet from dissolving appreciably in the body, with much of the tablet ending up in the toilet.

    This is not to say that all tablet supps are inferior. Source Naturals appears to be high quality stuff with much of their product line being in tablet form. I would think that Source of Life is probably ok in this respect as well. I can't imagine a company putting all those extra nutrients (phytochemicals, flavanoids, etc.) and then ruining it with cheap binding agests. But I suppose it could happen.

    .
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2009
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  24. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    I've come across some listings for vitamin B6 that put the UL ([SIZE=-1]Tolerable Upper Intake Levels)[/SIZE] at 100 mg/day for adults and 80 mg/day for those 14-18 yrs old. Levels higher than this should only be taken under the advice of a medical expert or certified nutritionist.

    The UL for adults for choline is very high = 3.5 grams (3500mg). Synthetic Folic Acid has a UL of 1000 micro-grams for adults.

    .
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2009
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  25. TheShaun

    TheShaun Hall of Fame

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    SA, are you recommending vegetarian DHA over fish oil, or just over fish oil that contains mercury?

    I picked up a vitamin B complex at the drug store today, it contains a 150mg dose of vitamin C. I already take a 1000mg dose of vitamin C. is there such a thing as too much vitamin C?

    Here is the daily dose of the B complex i purchased. let me know how it is.

    vitamin C 150mg
    thiamin 100mg
    riboflavin 20mg
    niacin 25mg
    vitamin B6 2mg
    folic acid 400mcg
    vitamin B12 15mcg
    biotin 30mcg
    pantothenic acid 5.5mg

    the brand is Nature Made and it's called Super B-Complex. Picked it up at Target while in the US this weekend.
     
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  26. Fedace

    Fedace Banned

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    I have been reading up on this new medication called Resveratrol. Harvard medical school is involved in human studies at the moment. It is supposed to be a Miracle drug. I would not recommend it though til they finish their study and is proven to be safe.
     
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  27. TheShaun

    TheShaun Hall of Fame

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    thank you for your presence in this thread. no thread is complete without from fedace :)
     
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  28. albino smurf

    albino smurf Professional

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    Thanks a lot Systemic. I've been taking those supplements for over 10 years now and love them. I do only take one or two a day and try to get as many of my vitamins and nutrients from eating well. I'll try the gel cap form of them next time I get more. Some really interesting stuff in this thread.
     
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  29. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

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    An interesting aspect of all of this is that there's no dependable connection between what makes you feel alert or cognitively sharper and what might prevent memory disorders. As reviewed in the November Archives of General Psychiatry, for example, lithium (carbonate) is well known to have as a possible acute side effect memory impairment and confusion, yet it now appears that it may in the long run help prevent dementia, at least in those with mood disorders and perhaps in others as well (the latter assertion is as yet untested, and is based on the observation that lithium inhibits an enzyme that converts a pre-amyloid material to amyloid, one of the substances seen to accumulate in the brains of Alzheimer's patients.) Things aren't always as they seem.
     
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  30. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

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    Addendum -- this follows several years of research on brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), mood symptoms, and dementia. It's been known for years that depression seems to predispose to dementia, and probably anxiety predisposes as well. It's now quite apparent from lots of research that anxiety and depression lower BDNF levels, leading eventually to dementia. Two major depressive episodes in one's lifetime double the risk of dementia. Most antidepressants and antianxiety meds appear to elevate BDNF levels that are suppressed. So there's a VERY real secondary benefit to treating mood symptoms.
     
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  31. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    Resveratrol isn't new. It's found in grapes (especially Muscadine grapes) and some other plants.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resveratrol
     
    #31
  32. Kirko

    Kirko Hall of Fame

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    I take a multi-vitamin before I go to sleep ; "I think" its best to take it before I go to sleep , that is, no stress , I smoke and drink coffee during the day which leeches vitamins out. most people get tired during the day because they are dehydrated and theres no substitute for a solid nights sleep.
     
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  33. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

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    Interesting publication recently about teens who smoke -- triple the risk of multiple sclerosis later in life (for unknown reasons; a correlation study but a very strong finding.)
     
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  34. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Resveratrol naturally occurs in peanuts, red or dark grape skins and some other fruits. The highest food levels probably occur in red wine. For this reason, I will drink at least 1/2 glass of red wine each day (and will often eat peanuts as well). Significant levels can also be found in red grapes, purple (Concord) grape juice, and boiled peanuts. Somewhat lower levels will be found in blueberries, cranberry juice, and peanut butter.

    Reveratrol has been available as a supplement for a number of years now. I believe that this substance would not be characterized as a drug. However, in very high quantities or concentrations, much higher than those found in red wine and other foods, it might possibly have drug-like effects. The very same thing can be said of vitamin E, a nutrient. At levels much higher than 400mg, vitamin E can take on drug-like properties according to some sources.


    Too much vitamin C is not usually a problem unless you happen to be taking a fat-soluble version. Note that the regular versions of vitamin C are water-soluble. Fat-soluble versions are labeled either as Ascorbyl Palmitate or Vitamin C Ester (not Ester C).

    The UL for vitamin C is up around 2000mg per day. However, if you are taking the normal (water-soluble) version of vitamin C you should divide up a high daily intake so that you are taking no more than 500mg every few hours. If you take a single dose that is much higher than 400-500mg, the excess will probably end up in the toilet.

    I'll answer your DHA/fish oil query in my next post.
     
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  35. TheShaun

    TheShaun Hall of Fame

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    SA, thanks for your help with this thread and many others. looking forward to the next post...
     
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  36. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    My preference is to get my omega-3 (ω-3) fatty acids from a variety of sources. My first choice is eating Salmon or Sardines 2-3 times/week. These fish are very high in omega-3s (EPA & DHA). Unlike larger predator fish, these types of fish typically have lower levels of mercury (Hg), dioxins and other types of contaminants (than fish that are higher on the food chain).

    Some farmed salmon, particularly salmon from the North Atlantic, can contain undesirable levels of contaminants. However, these levels are probably still much lower than levels in Shark, Swordfish, King Mackerel, or Tilefish. Most salmon from the Pacific is not farmed and does not have high levels of contaminants (even the farmed Pacific salmon, I believe).

    Albacore
    tuna has moderately high levels of EPA/DHA but also have more Hg & other contaminants than sardines and salmon (but not as high as the other fish previously mentioned). However, troll-caught albacore has much lower levels contamination and much higher levels or EPA/DHA than conventionally caught albacore. Altho' light tuna has lower levels of Hg & other contaminants than albacore, it also has much less EPA/DHA.

    My 2nd source of ω-3 fats is ground flax seeds. Like other plant sources, the ω-3 fats are not EPA & DHA. Instead, they contain primarily LNA, linolenic acid. This fatty acid is sometimes known as ALA, alpha linolenic acid. Note that LNA is considered the real ω-3 essential fatty acid (EFA). However, it does have some drawbacks. In order to derive many of the benefits of ω-3 fatty acids, it must 1st be converted to EPA and DHA.

    The LNA is first converted into a couple of intermediate fats before being converted into EPA. It takes a couple of more steps to turn some of the EPA into DHA. The conversion of LNA into EPA & DHA is rather slight for most individuals -- only a few % of the LNA might be converted. This % is dependent on the age, health and gender (sex) of the individual. Still, the EPA and DHA derived from plant sources is very fresh as far as the body is concerned (since it is produced within the body). If enought flax seed is consumed, a decent amount of EPA and DHA can be produced. Gound flax seeds have numerous other health benefits as well.

    My 3rd choice for getting sufficient ω-3 fatty acids is by supplementing with fish oils, algae-derived DHA (often referred to as DHA Neuromins), or both. Note that the levels of Hg and other contaminants is unknown for many fish oil supps while algae DHA has very little, if any Hg or other contaminantion. If your major source of ω-3 fats is fish oil, then you may want to consider a high-quality supplement that takes extra measure to ensure very low contamination levels. Some of the Source Naturals fish oil products are such suplements:

    NutritionalCenter.com/site/en/search/ArcticPure/product/0

    If you decide to go with a fish oil supplement that has unknown levels of Hg/contamination then you might want to consider alternating it (or suplementing it) with DHA Neuromins:

    NutritionalCenter.com/site/en/search/Neuromins/product/0

    .
     
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  37. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Feb 25, 2006
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    Stuck in the Matrix somewhere in Santa Clara CA
    Note that DHA is very important for brain function and for vision. EPA is more directly responsible for the anti-inflammatory action, as well as preventing degenerative cardiovascular changes.

    If the body takes in LNA, it will convert some of it in EPA which, in turn, will be converted to DHA. If the body takes in a lot more EPA than DHA, then some of the EPA will easily be converted to DHA. Note that the body can also back-convert some DHA into EPA if insufficient amount of EPA are present. Note really sure how much DHA can be back-converted tho'.

    One strategy might be to take in LNA from ground flax seeds and DHA from a DHA Neuromins supplement. EPA can then be derived from LNA and also back-converted from the DHA source.

    Note that there is at least one algae-based product on the market that contain some EPA in addition to DHA: www.water4.net
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