Our bodies need a variety of vitamins in order to function. If we
don't get enough of the vitamins we need we can experience
fatigue, brain fog, depression, and our organs will not work
properly. Our bodies for the most case don't make vitamins and we
depend on the foods we eat to supply them. The problem today is
that the foods we have access to are much less nutritious because
of factors such as pesticide and fertilizer use, mineral depleted
soils and genetically modified foods. For this reason, many
people are turning to adding supplements to their diets to get
all the vitamins they need.
Food, Mood and Memory
Many researchers and doctors now agree that food has a dramatic
impact on our moods and brain functions. Specific food for the
brain is needed to keep our brains healthy and our moods stable.
There are many studies showing the negative and positive effects
that foods such as coffee, alcohol, sugar and fats have on mood
and brain function. For example, Prevention Magazine reported
results from one study in rats, that eating chicken soup led to
better agility, better sleep and feeling better in general.
According to Kate Geagan, RD, we need a combination of vitamins,
minerals and antioxidants to build energy and the ability to
handle life starting at our body's cellular level. That is what
she believes we should strive for rather than a quick sugar or
caffeine fix that causes a short lived rise in blood sugar levels
and leaves us tired or cranky after the crash.
Elizabeth Somer, Registered Dietician and author of Eat Your Way
to Happiness has this to say about the food mood link:
"Most people understand the link between what they eat and their
physical health. But the link between what you eat and your mood,
your energy, how you sleep, and how well you think is much more
immediate. What you eat or don't eat for breakfast will have at
least a subtle effect by mid-afternoon, and what you're eating
all day will have a huge impact today and down the road."
And Jennifer Nelson, M.S., RD. and Katherine Zeratsky, RD. sum it
up like this:
"...when you eat fruits, starchy vegetables and whole grains
throughout the day you keep your body fueled and your blood sugar
level on an even keel. And you're getting vitamins, minerals,
antioxidants and phytonutrients. Combining carbohydrates and
proteins enhances the availability of serotonin in your brain.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter said to have a calming effect and
to play a role in sleep. In addition, simply knowing you are
taking care of yourself can boost your mood. And we're all
familiar with the power of comfort foods. For example, drinking a
glass of milk before bedtime can trigger a comforting memory of
The Problem With Synthetic Vitamins
You can see how important vitamins and minerals and the right
foods are to our moods and brain functions. You may have already
realized this and are eating a balanced diet of whole foods to
get the nutrients you need naturally. If so, then we applaud you.
But most people in this country aren't doing this. With their
busy lifestyles and fast paced schedules, they are not getting
the optimal nutrition in their diets and instead are consuming
way too many fast food and processed refined foods. If they are
aware that their diet is not optimal, then they may be
supplementing, but with what? It's easy to pick up some bottles
of vitamins at the supermarket while shopping and too many people
are doing this thinking that it is improving their health. The
problem is that most of these vitamins are synthetic. Not only do
synthetic vitamins not work the same way in the body as vitamins
from whole foods, they can actually be bad for you.
Vitamins have various components such as enzymes, coenzymes,
antioxidants, trace elements, and activators that must all work
together to produce the results your body needs. Whole food
vitamins and supplements are made from concentrated whole foods
and have all these parts naturally whereas synthetic vitamin
supplements only have a part of the components. So when you take
a synthetic vitamin and it needs a component it is lacking it
takes it from your body's stores. This can lead to a depletion of
those nutrients in the body. This is why sometimes when you start
taking a synthetic vitamin, you feel positive results for a
while. These positive results then start to drop off because the
vitamin has used up the components it was taking from the body to
make it work and now has nothing to complete it. For example,
synthetic vitamins don't have the trace minerals needed and
therefore takes them from the reserves the body has which can
cause a mineral deficiency. An additional problem with synthetic
vitamins are some of the additives they contain to allow them to
have a long shelf life and increase the potency. For example,
many synthetic vitamins are created from coal tar derivatives.
Coal tar is a carcinogen. Yuck! At the very least, these vitamins
are often a waste of money because since the isolated vitamin
can't be used by the body in many cases, like if there are no
stores of the components it needs for it to steal from the body,
then the body simply eliminates it through the urine. Have you
ever taken certain vitamins and then noticed a bright yellow
color to your urine? If so, you were more than likely taking a
synthetic vitamin and literally flushing money down the toilet.
Not only is this hard on your wallet, but also on your kidneys.
How To Judge Your Vitamin Supplement
So how do you know if a supplement is synthetic or natural? First
take a good look at the label. If it says
"100% natural", then you are off to a good start. If it only says
"Natural", then keep looking. That's because manufacturers are
allowed to say a product is natural as long as it has 10% natural
food sources included. The other 90% could still be synthetic.
Next look for the list of ingredients. If the ingredients contain
actual food names that have the vitamins in them then you have a
whole foods product or a natural supplement. This means that the
nutrients and vitamins are coming from foods the natural way the
body was intended to receive them rather than synthetically made.
For example, if the label says Vitamin C, then you have a
synthetic, but if it says Vitamin C from acerola cherry powder
then that is a natural supplement. Another clue on the label as
to whether you have a synthetic or natural whole foods supplement
is to see if there are ingredients ending in –ate or –ide. These
are salt forms which are synthetics added for increased
stability. If you see acetate, bitartrate, chloride,
hydrochloride and other similar ingredients listed then that is a
clue it is a synthetic product. Also, anytime you see the "dl"
form of a vitamin listed then you have a synthetic. An example of
this is "dl-alpha tocopherol" for the form of Vitamin E.
To insure you are getting high quality natural whole food
supplements and vitamins, look for ingredients that come from
real foods so they are as close as can be to the natural way the
body should be getting its nutrition. Another thing to check is
the company that is manufacturing the product. See what types of
ratings the company has or certifications that cover all aspects
from harvesting, to processing, manufacturing practices, testing,
packaging and quality control. Make sure it is also a company
that is of long standing with a good reputation for quality and
that can show clinical studies to support product claims.
Natural Whole Food AFA Bluegreen Algae
Our AFA bluegreen algae products you can be assured will always
show you the whole food sources right on the label along with a
variety of certifications they qualify for including certified
organic. This is a company of long standing with a list of
scientific studies behind it supporting the benefits of bluegreen
algae and whose products are manufactured in a NSF Good Practices
registered facility ensuring that the product contains only what
is listed on the label and nothing else.
When it comes to food for the brain to boost mood and memory,
this supplement not only gives
you the whole food nutrition of AFA bluegreen algae, but also the
natural whole food mushrooms Lion's Mane, agarikon, and
cordyceps, standardized American ginseng and resveratrol.
Resveratrol is a polyphenol with antioxidant properties found in
the skin of red grapes, some berries like blueberries, some
Chinese herbs, cocoa and peanuts and has been found helpful in
increasing blood flow to the brain and these particular mushrooms
have been found to have benefits for brain health including
memory function and mental clarity.
This form of algae with the cell
wall carefully removed provides you with an abundant source of
raw materials from whole foods for enhancing activity in the
brain. But don't just take our word for it. Take a look at what
others have to say about their results with AFA bluegreen algae.
"I eat Super Blue Green Algae because it is a whole, wild-grown
food that has helped me build a strong, healthy, energetic body
and a sharp mind. I will be 64 this year going on 40 and I live
my life accordingly."
- Marylin Ash, Peterborough, NH
"I looked for something for more energy and less stress for the
past 30 years. I never got the results from the vitamins,
minerals, and herbs I have tried. I am sure I tried them all. I
received information on the algae in 1995, thought it was too
good to be true; it wasn't. I will never be without my algae. I
love feeling energetic and being able to handle everything with
such focus and stamina."
- Pat Shoup, Mansfield, OH
For optimal health, eating a balanced diet of organic whole foods
can't be beat. But when you need some help getting the nutrition
your body needs and turn to supplements, make sure you are
getting natural whole food supplements. Synthetic just won't do
the job and can do more harm than good in some cases. Hopefully
we've given you some things to think about when it comes to your
nutritional habits and you'll know how to find the best products
to supplement your diet.