Thursday, November 29, 2012

Are vitamins and minerals safe in higher doses?

In last months article "The bioavailability revolution" we looked at some factors in choosing an effective nutritional supplement for multi-vitamin and minerals and at how many people are not meeting their Recommended Daily Allowance because of many factors such as the depletion of nutrients from our soils and modern farming and food processing techniques.

For those who choose to supplement their diet with a high quality multi-vitamin mineral formula, feedback we hear relatively often is, "I don't like taking too many capsules". In this article we will look at the relative risks of taking natural dietary supplements compared to other known risks. We’ll discuss the risks of taking too many vitamins and minerals compared to the risks of taking too few, in reference to established government safety levels.

To make it more relevant we will reference the ingredients and dosages in Naturezone Micronutritionals Self Defence and CNE, and we will also discuss data which relates to the safety of natural health products in general (including vitamins, minerals, and herbs) compared with the safety risks from various other causes.

Perhaps the best way to put natural health product supplement safety into perspective is to compare it with other known risks we can easily relate to.

In a country like New Zealand in the last 30 there is not a single known case of someone dying from taking a natural health product, but in order to compare it with other more well known risks we can imagine for a population like the United States for every 1 person who dies from taking a natural health product, 5 people die from being struck by lightning, about 100 people die from electrocution, 900 people die from eating food (either choking on it or having an adverse reaction to something like peanuts), more than 6,000 people die in car accidents, nearly 50,000 people die in motorcycle accidents, and nearly 100,000 people die from a reaction to a prescription drug.

In light of the fact that nearly 75% of the US population use some form of natural health products, you can see that supplements, in general, are extremely safe. Minerals and vitamins, in particular, are even safer. This though is hardly surprising because they are in all the foods we eat and are essential for life.

To give you another important vision of what nutrient safety really means, we’ve adapted this chart from the US Institute of Medicine to put safety in a broader context. This will give you a much better idea of how safety is determined by scientists and how supplements can play an important role in safeguarding your health by optimising nutrient intake.

We’ll walk you through the chart.

The risk of deficiency

The red curved line on the left represents the risks of inadequate nutrient intake. At any point along this red line, you are at considerable risk of serious illness caused by nutrient deficiency because your diet may not be meeting your body's basic requirements for health.

The safe zone

The green flat line represents “safe” nutrient intake. It makes sense that nutrients would have this safe zone, because they are essential for everyone’s bodies to function. For most nutrients, there is a long, flat green “meadow” of safety between what is known as the Recommended Daily Allowance (the RDA) and the safe upper level, which the Institute of Medicine calls the UL or Tolerable Upper Intake Level. You’ll notice that the safe upper level is still in the green. According to the Institute of Medicine, it is set at a level that is likely to pose “no risk of adverse health effects for almost all individuals”. The safe upper level is set very conservatively to ensure that in every possible situation (with the exception of certain rare medical conditions) a person could take this level for a lifetime without any danger whatsoever. Again, each nutrient in Naturezone Micronutritionals is below established safe upper levels. In setting safe upper levels for each nutrient, the US Institute of Medicine reviews all of the available medical literature looking for any reported adverse effects that have resulted from the intake of that nutrient.

The risk of excessive intake

Between the safe upper level and the red line, there is often a large zone of continued safe intake, where no adverse effects have ever been observed by scientists. Some vitamins are so safe that the US Institute of Medicine has not set any safe upper level for them. For these vitamins, there would be no red curve on the right (which represents danger of excessive intake).

Other nutrients do have a limit where there is danger of excessive intake and here’s an example of a nutrient that children could get too much of which shows how high these levels are compared to what is found in a supplement like Self Defence and CNE. On the labels for Self Defence and CNE there’s an FDA-required iron warning that appears on every iron-containing supplement, regardless of the level of iron. We’ll give you a little more information about this so you understand what iron levels would be fatal for a child. In cases documented by US Poison Control Centers, children who have died from taking iron supplements have taken more than 60 mg of iron per kilogram of body weight, which is more than a 1-year-old child would get from an entire bottle of Naturezone Micronutritionals CNE, eaten all at once!  So the risk to a child from iron overdose in taking CNE or Self Defence is extremely remote. For healthy adults, who have much more body weight, there is no risk

In summary, you can see that the safest level of each nutrient is your own personal optimal intake level—somewhere above the RDA and below established safe upper levels. Naturezone Micronutritionals are designed to deliver optimal nutrient levels when you take it at recommended levels with a healthy diet.

What this means for a supplement like Self Defence or CNE

Now that we’ve reviewed the safety and benefits of the levels of vitamins, minerals, and other value-added ingredients in Naturezone Micronutritionals,  let’s talk briefly about the recommended daily dose. For your optimal health, we recommended that you take 4 capsules of Self Defence or 6 capsules of CNE per day. This may seem like a lot, compared to other multi-vitamin supplements. However, in formulating Naturezone Micronutritionals our primary goal was to deliver results, not just to make the ingredients fit into one or two capsules. Our recommended levels are based on extensive research conducted on our vitamin-mineral formulations over more than a decade. We’re confident that if you take these recommended safe levels designed to optimise your health, you will quickly find that there is no comparison. The health benefits you will see will be worth it.

In conclusion, there is plenty of good evidence that taking a supplement like Naturezone Micronutritionals as directed on the label is very safe. Perhaps the most important reason is that it can help you get an optimal level of each essential nutrient for your personal needs. This eliminates the very real risks of nutrient deficiency, which can cause serious, chronic health consequences. So it’s clearly much safer to take a supplement like Naturezone Micronutritionals Self Defence or CNE at the recommended dosage rather than than not to take it or take a smaller dosage.

Healthy and tasty juice recipes

Juicing provides a quick and easy way to assimilate vital nutrients without burning energy to do so. Making living juice a daily part of your diet can provide increased energy, a glowing complexion, strengthened immune system, stronger bones and improved immunity. Living juices can promote the flushing of toxins from your body, are good for your weight, heart, circulation and overall well-being.

We have recently introduced the OSCAR DA 1000 Juicer to Naturezone Health which is an outstanding juice extractor producing great tasting "Living Juice" due to a single gear, patented design auger extraction process.

Normal speed juicers and blenders can destroy the enzymes in the juice by subjecting them to heat, metal cutting blades and high speed centrifugal rotation. Rotating at a low 80 RPM the OSCAR Juicer produces no heat and ensures a living juice without any loss of enzymes or nutrients. Those living enzymes provide a fresh and vital juice which retains appearance, flavour and nutrients for many hours when stored in the refrigerator. Juice from conventional juicers deteriorates very quickly.

To inspire anyone looking to make some new tasty juices here are some of our favourite recipes you can try.

Apple Zinger

A terrific breakfast enlivener that perks up the whole system and really wakes up your taste buds.
2-3 whole apples
1 whole lemon peeled
1 cm cube of fresh ginger

Cabbage and Pineapple Zinger

This is a surprisingly yummy juice which children (and adults) will love as a substitute for sugary soft drinks. It has a surprisingly sweet flavour but without the white sugar. Cabbage aids digestion and is usually a vegetable that most people don’t enjoy. Europeans have long known the benefits of fermented cabbage (sauerkraut) for digestion. Try this and you will be pleasantly surprised.

⅓ green cabbage
¼ large pineapple
Juice of one lemon

Apples, Celery and Fennel

2-3 whole apples
2 sticks of celery
1 bulb of fennel

Apples, Pears and Berries

Berries are intensely flavoured vitamin bombs that are high in potassium and contain a remarkable range of other trace elements.
2 whole apples
1 pear
12 berries (or as many as you like, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries)

Carrot and Apple

This is the most basic juice cocktail,use it as the springboard for experimentation.Start by combining equal parts of the two juices and experiment until you find the proportions that suit you.

4 carrots
1 whole apple

Citrus Zinger

1 orange
1 grapefruit
1/2 lemon or lime
1/2 lime
1 cm cube of fresh ginger

Double Whammy

4 to 5 carrots
A handful of dandeloin leaves
2 whole pears

Fab Five Fruit Juice

This is a great fruit punch,the recipie can be varied with different fruits substituted according to seasonal availability.
1/2 apple
1/2 pear
1 tangerine
12 red grapes
1 peach

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The ultimate quinoa breakfast

Breakfast is a very important meal and it can have a big impact on your body chemistry and blood sugar levels for the day ahead.

This Quinoa based morning cereal (pronounced keen-wah) is the perfect way to start your day.

Quinoa is an ancient super grain, revered as the ‘mother of all grains’. It is a balanced amino-acid source of high quality protein. Perfect for all diets including vegetarians/vegans. It is naturally gluten free, wheat free, with a very low Glycemic Index of 35. It has a unique pleasant flavour. Together with the mix of nuts, seeds and fruit this is the perfect way to start your day. The nuts and seeds can be mixed beforehand and kept in a container so that it is quick and easy in the morning. Feedback shows that most people don’t need to snack between breakfast and lunch when they start their day with this tasty, nutritious and healthy breakfast.

Per person:

(Use organic ingredients wherever possible)

1 heaped Tablespoons Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) flakes.
Recommend Ceres Organics Quinoa Flakes.

Add approx. 1/2 cup cold water.

For a milkier taste, but just as yummy without, add also 1 tablespoon
organic full cream unsweetened yoghurt.

Add all, or a selection of, the following:

1 heaped teaspoon ground flax seed
1 teaspoon Pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon Sunflower seeds
1 teaspoon whole raw almonds (chopped up if preferred)
1 teaspoon whole cashews
1 teaspoon walnuts (chopped up if preferred)
1 teaspoon raisins
3 Brazil nuts (chopped up if preferred)
3 Pecan nuts (chopped up if preferred)

We also empty 1 -2 capsules of our Greenbac Probiotic into the mixture

Add up to 3 varieties of fruit, berries or melon, e.g.

3 – 4 teaspoons of Blueberries
1 Gold kiwifruit - diced
1/8th Rock melon - diced
1/8th Prince Melon - diced
½ Papaya – diced (avoid if irradiated)
½ Mango – diced (avoid if irradiated)
3 Feijoa - diced
1 Nectarine - diced
1 Pear – diced
1 Apple (grated or diced)

As you are preparing the ingredients the water will be absorbed and may require adjustment to get the consistency that you prefer.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The bioavailability revolution

This month we are taking a quick look at how nutritional research is providing new and better ways to deliver essential vitamins and minerals to the body.

Many of us know that the human body, when given the right environment, foods and nutrients has an amazing ability to repair itself and return to a normal and healthy state. Some of the great advances in natural health products in recent years have been in improving how we deliver essential nutrients and minerals in an effective way so we can really make use of them. This is known as making the ingredients more Bioavailable. However this can be more difficult than you might think.

The ideal situation is to get as many of our essential nutrients as possible from our food, as food offers the best bioavailability. Unfortunately this has become more difficult over the last 100 years or so due to many factors such as the depletion of nutrients from our soils and modern farming and food processing techniques, as the following graph shows:

The following graph shows dietary deficiencies of essential vitamins and minerals in the US population.

What to look for in a nutritional supplement

Here are some key things to be aware of when choosing from the bewildering array of Mineral and Vitamin supplements on the market today.

  • Solubility: Did you know that 54% of the leading Mineral and Vitamin supplements on the market today do not even dissolve in your stomach?
  • Balance: Our bodies are incredibly complex and a deficiency in one nutrient has been shown to interfere with the absorption and/or metabolism of other nutrients. A chain reaction can result in multiple deficiencies, so taking just one mineral or vitamin is not likely to bring things back to normal. Nutritional supplements are often used to compensate for lifestyles which result in a deficiency of one or two vitamins or minerals, but what is now being recognised is how much different nutrients depend on each other in order for the body to fully utilise them.
  • Completeness: 61% of vitamin and mineral supplements on the market today are single ingredient products which cannot possibly overcome multiple Vitamin / Mineral deficiencies, and 75% of the Multi Mineral – Vitamin formulations have less than 30 ingredients.
  • BioavailabilityWhereas the nutrients in your food have been prepared for you by nature’s own chelation and micronisation processes, the best Multi Mineral Vitamin companies need to devote a lot of their resources to studying and imitating Natures ways of delivering nutrients to improve the bioavailability of their products. Chelation involves wrapping minerals in organic molecules and binding them to proteins which the body finds easier to recognise and digest than the mineral on its own. Micronisation is the art of making the mineral particles small enough for the body to capture.

In the end many of the improvements in the bioavailability of natural health products are developed using nature a guide. Eating a healthy variety of food, including un-processed and organic food is your best primary source of essential nutrients. However, due to the lower nutritional density of today’s foods, supplementing your diet with a premium Multi Mineral Vitamin formula that delivers completeness, balance and bioavailability is both an effective and convenient way to ensure that your body is receiving an adequate or even an abundant supply of essential nutrients, and may also help to resolve any known or unknown nutritional deficiencies.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Digestion and nutrition

We often hear people say "you are what you eat". But maybe more accurately you could say "you are what you digest". A compromised digestive system will not be able to absorb nutrients efficiently. Bloating, Constipation, loose bowels, stomach pain, heartburn and excessive wind can all be signs of probiotic deficiency related digestive problems. We have offered a range of probiotics over the years, with each new formulation offering more benefits than the last, the latest and best one being Greenbac Probiotic.

Sauerkraut is the original probiotic superfood

Sauerkraut is a popular traditional German recipe which has gained a marvellous reputation for promoting intestinal health thanks to its probiotic properties.

You don’t need to eat a lot - a few tablespoons a day is sufficient, making it a great side dish or something to add to your salads.

You can find Sauerkraut in the supermarkets but it is the traditional version made from only Cabbage and salt that has developed a reputation for supporting intestinal health. If you have difficulty sourcing this or just want to make your own unpasteurised batch (unpasteurised is better) it is quite easy.


10 lbs (4.5 kg) shredded cabbage (preferably organic)

6 tablespoons canning or pickling salt


Prepare half of the cabbage at a time. Discard outer leaves and any insect damaged areas.

Rinse heads under cold running water and drain. Cut heads in four wedges. Discard cores, shred or slice to a thickness of a 50 cent piece.

Put 5 lbs (2.2 kg) of cabbage in a suitable fermentation container, and add 3 tablespoons of salt. Mix thoroughly, using clean hands. Pack firmly until salt draws juices from cabbage.

Repeat shredding, salting, and packing until all cabbage is in the container. Be sure the container is deep enough so that its rim is at least 4 or 5 inches (10 – 12 cm) above the cabbage. If juice does not cover cabbage, add boiled and cooled brine (1 ½ tablespoons of salt per quart (1 quart = 1.14 Litres) of water.


Place a plate that fits snugly inside the fermentation vessel so that it covers the cabbage, and is below the waterline. Place weights on the plate. Weights can be two to three sealed 1 litre jars filled with water or a well cleaned rock. The plate is used to keep the cabbage about 5 cm under the brine during fermentation.

Cover the fermentation vessel with a clean, heavy bath towel to help prevent contamination from insects and mould.

Fermentation time varies according to temperature:

At temperatures below 12 degrees C the product may not ferment.

At temperatures from 12 degrees to 18 degrees C allow 5 – 6 weeks.

At temperatures from 21 degrees to 24 degrees C allow 3 – 4 weeks. This is the ideal temperature range.

The product may spoil at temperatures higher than 26 degrees C.

Check the kraut 2 or 3 times a week and remove any scum if it forms.

Once the kraut has fully fermented in the container, you can pack it into glass bottles, pack tightly so that the juice covers the cabbage, a thin layer of olive oil at the top of the glass bottle will help prevent the product from spoilage. It will keep for several months when sealed and kept in a cool, dark place (e.g. in the refrigerator).