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 your childhood.”
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.