Tag Archives: cod liver oil

Three Crucial Companions for Heart Health

3 Crucial Companions for Heart Health from Beeyoutiful.com

My husband’s family history of heart disease used to scare me. Honestly, with my background as a nurse, I felt that aside from some basic dietary precautions there was very little we could do to ensure he did not journey down the same path that his grandparents were walking. I frankly worried that I would eventually be the one in the recliner by the hospital bed, hoping to hear that he didn’t need bypass surgery.

3 Crucial Companions for Heart Health from Beeyoutiful.comThankfully, the more I studied and learned, the more delighted I was to realize that we could walk a different path and that heart disease might not be our story’s end.

In the past few decades, fat-soluble vitamins have increasingly taken their place and been recognized as major actors in heart health. Traditional lifestyles and diets were examined and concluded to be rich in fat-soluble vitamins from nutrient-dense whole foods, whereas conventional modern diets tend to be poor in fat-soluble vitamins and heavy in processed foods. Incidentally, cultures that have abandoned their traditional diets are documented to have a much higher rate of heart disease than their ancestors.

When Beeyoutiful began a few years ago to offer products like Cod Liver Oil, Butter Oil, and Katalyst, I thought it was a great thing to make Vitamin K available, since it does so much with the blood and its ability to clot. But there’s so much more to that vitamin that I had yet to discover!

​Vitamin K: Just For Clotting?

I really did not understand Vitamin K at all, specifically K2 (the form present in Katalyst and Butter Oil). The modern American diet is very low in K2 because we typically consume very little in the way of grassfed dairy (made from milk from cows that graze on pasture rather than eating grain) or eggs from truly free-range chickens, two primary sources of K2.

What I have learned about Vitamin K2 recently has caused me to prioritize these traditional foods in my family’s diet, and to decide to never leave off supplementing fat-soluble vitamins when I cannot get them from food sources.

There is a gentle dance in our bodies that involves many nutrients. Most need another nutrient to help them do their jobs properly. The complexity of these interactions is fascinating, and it explains how easily we can get out of balance when an important companion nutrient is deficient.

When Calcium Acts Alone

We are all well aware of the vital role that calcium plays in our bodies. It’s known for nourishing our bones and teeth, supporting heart health, helping nerves communicate, causing muscles to contract, and even supporting healthy blood clotting factors. In order for calcium to move around the body, it depends on other nutrients, and without them it simply takes the path of least resistance.

The ugly fact about calcium without its companion nutrients is that the path of least resistance leads straight to the soft tissues such as arteries and muscles. Those aren’t exactly the places where we’d like for our minerals to lodge, and these calcium deposits can cause plaque buildup in the blood vessels and pain in the joints and muscles.

​The Vital Companions: Vitamins D and K

One of calcium’s companions is Vitamin D3, helping to increase absorption of calcium through the intestines, directly helping bone health. But unfortunately Vitamin D can only get calcium as far as the blood stream; it cannot get it into the bones. Actually, if you stopped the process here, it’s possible that taking Vitamin D alone could lead to even more calcium buildup in the blood vessels. 

While D cannot move the calcium into the bones and out of the blood vessels, its other companion can! Vitamin K2 is a little-known supplement that functions as a cofactor that’s necessary to activate the two proteins that are responsible for moving calcium around the body. Without these two proteins (known as Osteocalcin and MGP), calcium simply remains in the blood vessels, creating buildup and contributing to a lack of calcium in the bones.

By simply adding K2 to your diet, you are benefitting both your heart and circulatory system, and your skeletal system. All three of these nutrients– calcium, D3 and K2– play vital roles in blood clotting as well, so you’re not only helping to ensure that blood vessels stay open and free, you are also helping to ensure the balance of clotting stays correct.

A Little Note About Vitamin A

While Vitamin A does not play a direct role in this cascade, what we do know is that A, D and K work synergistically together to regulate each other and protect the body. We highly suggest when supplementing with fat-soluble vitamins that you take Cod Liver Oil along with a Butter Oil to get a balance of all three.

Getting Adequate A, D, & K

The most superior way to take in fat-soluble vitamins is through grassfed butters, whole grassfed and raw dairy, cod liver oil, and fish. When these are not optimal in the diet, we highly recommend Cod Liver Oil and Butter Oil as a secondary option, or the pairing of Dynamic Duo and Katalyst as a budget-friendly backup plan.

It amazes me that the body is built to work with such intricate balance that when fed the correct nutrients it actually has the power to strengthen itself against future disease. Don’t shy away from the butter and enjoy those delicious farm-fresh eggs! Have another helping and call it a tasty contribution to your heart health.

For more reading on this topic, I highly recommend the following resources:

The Skinny on Fats
On the Trail of the Elusive X-Factor: A Sixty-Two-Year-Old Mystery Finally Solved
Diet & Heart Disease: It’s NOT What You Might Think by Stephen Byrnes, PhD, RNCP
Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox: How a Little Known Vitamin Could Save Your Life by Kate Rheaume-Bleu

BONUS POST: 10 Simple Immune-Boosting Strategies Anyone Can Use

Bonus Post: 10 Simple Immune-Boosting Strategies Anyone Can Use

You knew we’d come through with more than we promised, didn’t you? Here’s a BONUS POST in our Five Days of Immunity Boosters. Let us know which of the strategies discussed this week is your favorite!

The key to staying strong is a healthy immune system. These ten suggestions are the protocols that many of us at Beeyoutiful use to guard our own families against viruses, colds, and flu. We are not doctors and thus cannot diagnose or prescribe for your specific health situation. If at anytime you or a loved one becomes ill, please seek appropriate medical attention. Bonus Post: 10 Simple Immune-Boosting Strategies Anyone Can Use 1. Eat plenty of cruciferous vegetables. We’re talking about 5-7 servings per day. Consider serving things like cole slaw (especially if you can sneak in a little probiotic-rich yogurt and honey), steamed cabbage, and sautéed onions and brussels sprouts. Adding garlic or fresh herbs to these dishes will not only enhance the flavors, but will also add a small antiviral boost. Cruciferous veggies contain glucosinolates which directly stimulate the thymus. Your thymus is the control center for your immune system, so supporting and nourishing the thymus is very important for maintaining a healthy stasis.

2. Supplement with thymus and immune system-supporting nutrients. The following are some favorites used by our Beeyoutiful families. We tend to pick and choose between all of these options and rotate among them based on individual needs and specific immune system vulnerabilities.

  • Berry Well Syrups: Supports and nourishes the thymus gland and helps support the immune system in specific ways that makes it particularly beneficial in protecting against viruses. In addition, the elderberry provides terrific symptom relief by decreasing congestion.
  • Immune Boosting Supplements (Bee Immune, Ultra Immune and Colostrum Transfer Factor): You can take these in conjunction with each other, but we rotate them on and off while doing illness prevention protocols. Since up to 80% of our immune system resides in the extensive intestinal tract we refer to as the gut, also using high-quality probiotic support makes sense. We rotate between Tummy Tuneup and Ultimate Defense.
  • Key Nutrients: Make sure you are taking in or supplementing with Zinc, Selenium, Potassium, and Calcium and Magnesium.

3.  Vitamin D3 and Omega 3: There was a reason our grandmothers reached for the Cod Liver Oil bottle with each sniffle! It works to specifically support the parts of the immune system that effectively fight off viruses, and it’s also beneficial in reducing inflammation. You can either take these separately, or combined in Cod Liver Oil. Cook your foods with coconut oil and eat a diet rich in safe, wild-caught fish as well.

4.  Vitamin C: We have seen significant benefits from Vitamin C with lung-related ailments; eating your Vitamin C-rich vegetables or supplementing will help decrease mucus and increase lung health. Rosehip C is specifically good because it also directly supports the thymus gland to operate optimally.

5. Bone Broth: Keep those bones a-simmering! Add in a few herbs such as Rosemary, Thyme, Sage and Garlic. Don’t forget the veggies too! This is a great way to get key vitamins and minerals. Some of our little ones really enjoy sipping warm cups of nicely flavored bone broth. For some of the others we hide it as a base in soups, rice and noodles.

6. Bottoms Up: Take in fresh juices regularly. Here’s a favorite recipe. raw juice immune booster recipe from Beeyoutiful.com 7. Get some clean air! Enjoy some fresh sunshine and a few minutes of daily exercise. Using a personal rebounder is a great way to stimulate the lymphatic system which operates as the central highway system for the body’s immune system. It’s vitally important to keep it cleared out and working optimally in order to maintain healthy immune support. Bonus: rebounding also gets your exercise in at the same time!

8. Detox Baths: At least once a week, take a bath using a detoxifying agent (such as Eucalyptus Bath Salts, Epsom Salts, or Baking Soda).

9. Chest Poultices: These can be used weekly even when healthy, or as needed after being sick. Garlic, Lobelia, Chamomile, or Mullein are all great choices for chest poultices. Click here to see Steph’s 8-minute tutorial video on how to do a garlic poultice.

10. Diffuse those oils! Bandito Blend, Thyme, Rosemary, Eucalyptus, and Tea Tree Oil are our top choices. These can also be diluted and massaged onto feet where there are a lot of nerve receptors and thus are ideal for facilitating rapid absorption into the bloodstream. (Please note that some essential oil experts recommend not diffusing or using some of these essential oils around or on very young children. We encourage individuals to do their own research and do due diligence in sensitivity testing before using any essential oils on young children or while pregnant and nursing.)

Remember, we’re not doctors and thus cannot diagnose or prescribe for your specific health situation, but we hope some of these tips will help keep you and your family strong and healthy through the winter. If at anytime you or a loved one becomes ill, please seek appropriate medical attention.

The World-Conquering Power of Cod Liver Oil

The World-Changing Power of Cod LIver Oil

If you want to be as healthy and strong as Erik the Red, you might want to consider a special food that was an influential part of the Viking diet.

Norsemen such as Erik, being rooted in a seafaring culture, relied heavily on fish for their sustenance and carefully reserved the nutrient-laden fatty livers of the fish for use after the peak fishing season was over. Traditional methods were passed down through the generations to extract “liquid gold” from the livers, and this oil was prized for its health-giving properties.

The World-Changing Power of Cod LIver Oil

The purest fish oil was used for food, with the lower-quality batches being used topically on the skin for wound care and to treat aching joints. Not a drop went to waste as even the lowest-quality oil, left after the best had been extracted, was used as a fuel and lighting oil.

The elements that made the Vikings such hardy folk included the powerful Omega-3 fatty acids (specifically EPA and DHA) and Vitamin A and its partner Vitamin D that are abundant in oil extracted from the livers of the Atlantic Cod. These nutritional building blocks are even more important to health now, as modern diets are chronically low in these and other crucial nutrients.

Science began revealing as far back as the 1800s that diets rich in nutrients from fish oil can protect healthy heart and brain function, contribute to strong teeth and bones, and can even have an impact on cognitive ability and emotional balance. Cod liver oil can boost immunity, especially valuable during the dark, germ-laden winter season when cold and flu are so prevalent and our own reserves of the “sunlight vitamin”, Vitamin D3, may be running low.

How can you incorporate these benefits in your daily life without going to sea and catching the fish yourself? Thankfully, there are several kinds of Cod Liver Oil (CLO) on the market today, each with its own advantages.

Regular

Standard CLO is extracted commercially through a steam process which cooks the livers and separates the oil from the organ tissue. The resulting liquid is then purified and sometimes encapsulated or flavored for ease of use. Beeyoutiful®’s Cod Liver Oil is screened for mercury and other impurities and is free of additives and preservatives.

This kind of CLO is readily available and inexpensive. It makes a concentrated source of fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins easy to find and use, making it a simple way to partake in a healthful habit that’s been proven over a millennia.

Extra Virgin

The highest quality and cleanest tasting of all the CLO options is Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil. It is extracted in Norway in a natural process that uses no heat, solvents, or mechanical processes, thus preserving intact a wide array of nutrients and micronutrients. Extra Virgin CLO is fresh, raw, and completely unrefined, resulting in a purity of both quality and taste that is beyond compare.

Butter oil and cod liver oil have been treated by traditional societies as sacred foods, important for pregnant and nursing mothers and young children, and has been recommended as a tool to help rebuild decaying teeth.

Helpful Links

Here’s a 2-minute video on how to use CLO in your diet to prepare for pregnancy, and more information on the crucial role played by fat-soluble vitamins in overall health and immunity. More details on Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil are here. The powerful combination of Butter Oil and Cod Liver Oil is discussed in reference to tooth decay here.

Bring a bit of Scandinavia into your health routine with the addition of Cod Liver Oil, and you just might find yourself empowered to conquer new lands and leave your mark on history just like the Vikings!

*Consult with your physician before using doses of Cod Liver Oil substantially higher than recommended, or taking this product if you are pregnant or lactating, diabetic, allergic to fish or iodine, using blood thinners, anticipate surgery, have a diagnosed cardiovascular condition, nutrient absorption issues, are dealing with a chronic disease, bleeding, or immune system disorders. 

A Toolbox for Children and their Brains

A TOOLBOX FOR CHILDREN AND THEIR BRAINS from Beeyoutiful.com

This post by Esther Ramsey originally appeared in our Fall 2014 catalog

Being the oldest of eight children, I expected motherhood to be easy. I naively thought that I could simply fix all the problems I saw other parents facing: obviously, my child would never be allowed to throw a tantrum in a store, or throw his food all over a restaurant.

And if at just sixteen I was already able to cook dinner with a baby sibling on one hip while also correcting my math homework, how hard could it be to raise a few of my own?

I remember the leather couches of the perinatologist’s office when he told us it would be a miracle if our unborn child was brought into the world without severe mental handicaps. Part of me died that day, even though the prognosis turned out not to be true, and it started a pattern of me being given grim news and then working to overcome it.

Then my son was born two months prematurely, which started us down a yellow brick road that went something like “failure to thrive”… ”developmentally delayed”… ”speech delayed”… and ”borderline autistic”. As he got older, the diagnosis morphed into things like “sensory processing disorder” and ”ADHD” (which was an improvement, but still discouraging).

If you asked any medical professional along our journey, she would have said there was no cure for the diagnoses my son has. Oh sure, there’s therapy and early intervention, and psychiatric drugs to help mitigate the more obnoxious symptoms, but nothing you can do to actually fix it.

However, I’ve learned a lot in the nine years since sitting on those leather couches, and contrary to how I felt that day, there is a great amount of hope. Science and research have come a long way, and whether you’re dealing with a dyslexic kid who is having trouble reading and writing, or a kid with Asperger Syndrome who can recite all the ingredients from every can of soup in your pantry, don’t give up.

There is a lot you as a parent can do to help, if not entirely reverse, neurological disorders.A TOOLBOX FOR CHILDREN AND THEIR BRAINS from Beeyoutiful.com (2)

Food, Probiotics, and Digestive Enzymes

The biggest factor has always been diet. For years, research has increasingly indicated that children with any sort of neurological impairment also have compromised digestive systems.

The gut is often referred to as the second brain because it controls so much of how healthily the brain functions. For a struggling child, the brain is like a war-torn ship trying to pump water out and patch up holes in whatever way it can, and the gut is like a 20-ton octopus attached at the bottom either helping or dragging the boat down further.

Whether the culprit originally was vaccine injury, birth trauma, heavy metal poisoning, or genetics, it all tends to swirl together like a perfect storm bent on sinking the ship.

Some kids are seemingly impervious to things like vaccines, and other kids sink like a torpedoed battleship after a simple flu shot. But diet can help to repair those holes. Both GAPS (Gut And Psychology Syndrome) and SCD (Simple Carbohydrate Diet) are the big guns of the gut healing world, with more moderate diets like Gluten free/Casein free also helping.

You can’t simply patch up the ship, though. While you’re using bone broths and gelatin to repair the holes, you also need to hire sailors, and stock the ship with supplies. This is where probiotics (beneficial bacteria) and digestive enzymes (to make the most of food) come in.

Ideally, you should use a wide spectrum of probiotics and switch them up from time to time, like starting with Tummy Tuneup Jr and Toothie Tuneup, then switching out Toothie Tuneup for the stronger Gut Guardian. Add a digestive enzyme like chewable GoGoZymes and you’re well on your way to better gut health.

Cod Liver Oil

High-quality cod liver oil is the great-granddaddy-heavy-hitter of the brain world. Fish oil’s effectiveness (and CLO in particular) is so well documented that you can now buy the candy flavored gummy versions in just about any store from Costco to Wal-Mart.

Unfortunately, those probably won’t do much good, as they are more “candy” than health supplement. The amount of oil is low and the nutritional quality of the oil poor due to high temperature extraction techniques that damage the vitamins. The bio-available Vitamin A in a good fish oil stimulates the brain’s pathways to connect properly, and the EPA/DHA combo of fatty acids work like building blocks in the brain.

I noticed eye contact and verbal skills increased dramatically in my son after starting fish oil. (Pro tip: If you can’t get your kids to take it, try giving it to them via oral syringe after they’re asleep, or letting them chase it with whatever juice is their rarely-allowed awesome treat.)

Giving the Brain A Chill Pill

 If you’ve ever thought your child was acting like a jet engine attached to a row boat, get yourself two things: Magnesium and Vitamin B-12. In the case of my son, it wasn’t just his body that was bouncing all over the place (although some kids are like that); rather, it was his brain, and we all had to hang on for dear life as he tore through a million thought processes nobody could keep up with.

Apparently it’s impossible to sleep at night if you’re worried the door might be opened one tenth of a millimeter more than it was the night before, which may or may not allow for a new species of dragons to be let in, because we all know mythological creatures carry around tape measures to catch ignorant parents who don’t listen when their child tells them the door needs to be exactly three inches cracked open. 

The imagination? Awesome. The million-miles-a-minute anxiety? That needs to go bye-bye. Magnesium and B-12 worked wonders for this. My kids like the blueberry-flavored Bone Ami, which has the perfect amount of magnesium for a child.

Secondary benefit of Bone Ami? It also has calcium, and I’m convinced it’s the reason my sons have crashed off a hundred playground slides and swings without breaking anything yet. Tertiary benefit? The magnesium helps with constipation, which can be another big digestive problem for kids with neurological disorders.

The B vitamins in general are important for brain support and health, with B-12 being especially crucial for children with learning disorders. Simply put, it acts as a freeway for all cell growth and regeneration in the brain. If those freeways are broken down, or filled with bumper to bumper traffic every day, then the brain ceases to function optimally.

You know you’ve got Los Angeles-level traffic problems in your child’s brain when he has high anxiety, is neurotically freaking out about the littlest things, and overall is just unhappy. It’s time to bring in the B-12 vitamins. Thankfully these also come in a dropper or chewables and are easy to get into even the pickiest child.

Essential Oils

This is a new area of research for me. (And there’s so much to learn!) Until recently, I only thought of Frankincense as one of the three gifts brought to baby Jesus, and then I found out firsthand that the essential oil is quite the superhero when it comes to saving the brain. It’s the heavy hitting oil for mental clarity, dispelling brain fog and clearing up pathways for optimal thinking. I line up all of my children and apply a dilution to their big toes and the base of their skulls.

Lavender and Chamomile are the other two essential oils in my tool box for kids. I keep the lavender oil bottle right on the kitchen counter while we do schoolwork, where I can easily rub it on frustrated temples when multiplication and division concepts just don’t make sense to little minds. I’ve also been known to liberally apply Lavender on myself because no one wants a teacher yelling about how obvious it is that two baskets with three apples in each equal six apples!

Lavender oil and chamomile oil also work great for those middle of the night woes where you can’t figure out what your child is crying about. For nightmares and unidentified ailments, I mix lavender and chamomile with coconut oil and massage their little backs and foreheads. My husband says the boys room sometimes smells like an apothecary shop when he gets up in the morning. I tell him it’s merely a warning sign that I’ll need lots of coffee that day!

I’ve since discovered even more powerful benefits of essential oil blends, and wrote about how they impacted my family here.

The Special Agents With Controversial Agendas

One of the biggest factors in autism and developmental delays is heavy metal toxicity and its evil twin, unhealthy yeast overgrowth. Usually one doesn’t happen without the other, although it’s anyone’s guess as to which comes first. Did the heavy metal cause the body to lose its ability to fight the yeast, or did the yeast compromise the body’s ability to chelate the unwanted metals? Either way, both yeast and metals need to be evicted.

This is the reason diet and probiotics were the first tools I mentioned. When you starve the bad yeast from their beloved sugar-fuel (or anything that turns into sugar), and you start feeding your child nutrient-dense food, those bad bugs freak out and die by the thousands.

As the body heals, it starts naturally flushing the mercury, lead, and aluminum that acted like a ball and chain in the brain. As the evil stuff is tossed overboard (sometimes literally, I’m afraid to say… so be ready with activated charcoal!), you have to repopulate the gut with good bacteria. Use kombucha, sauerkraut, kefir, and any other living, fermented foods that you can get your hands on, and supplement with even more strains of probiotics.

But sometimes those metals are stubborn and that yeast refuses to budge. The gentlest way to escalate your war against yeast and metal is to start out with diet, and then slowly add other forms of detoxification. Yeast Assassin is a veritable ninja on yeast, but it’s powerful stuff so start with a half capsule after a week of the GAPS protocol and work up from there. (Consider the Lite version, if your kids can swallow large pills.)

Chlorella binds and flushes heavy metals, but if your child’s body isn’t working properly it ends up being like a busy airport with no traffic controller: planes going everywhere with the luggage and flight paths all mixed up. Ideally, add Chlorella after your child is well past the initial detox stage and has been doing some sort of gut healing protocol for at least a month.

Even then, chlorella is somewhat controversial as it hasn’t been studied well enough to know the time frame of its chelating properties, making it a bit like trying to schedule those airplanes without a super accurate clock. A lot of people report great success with it, so I’m putting it in the toolbox even though I haven’t personally used it yet.

Last But Not Least

There’s good ol’ fashioned sunlight, or rather, one of its gifts, Vitamin D3. Recent studies show that a lot of children are deficient in Vitamin D thanks to shifting cultural paradigms and the widespread use of sun block. Kids with neuro disorders also have a harder time absorbing Vitamin D3, and research suggests they need a much higher dose than most other people.

Vitamin D3 works to moderate brain development and is responsible for the growth of neurons. Ideally I like my kids to get Vitamin D3 from playing outside, but I also give them Vitamin D3 drops not only to supplement what they’re getting naturally, but also to ensure their body has it available to use from several different resources. If I had to pick only one thing to give my children, it would be Vitamin D3. The drops are flavorless and potent, making it an easy supplement to give even babies.

Don’t Give Up

My son was re-evaluated recently for special ed, and shockingly, he’s almost all caught up to his peers. The language and social skills that were so absent when he was five are now neurotypical and age appropriate. The math and reading he once struggled to understand are now whipped through with speed (he’s still a jet engine attached to a row boat).

Esther Ramsey from BeeyoutifulIt isn’t always easy. We have regressions, and we have breakthroughs. My other sons have their own set of health challenges that keep me researching, and I’m sure my toolbox of remedies will have to grow and expand. Every child is different, and no two neuro disorders are exactly alike, but hopefully with the right tools, you can find the healing and support their little bodies and minds crave.

Esther is the mom of four rambunctious boys who keep her in a semi-constant state of insanity. When she is not coming up with creative ways to get bone broth and other nutrients down her kids, she’s a book addict who is convinced there is nothing that cannot be learned with enough research. She lives in Southern California where she thinks the ocean is nature’s ultimate spa, the sun is an antidepressant, and gardens are pharmacies.

Are there children you love who struggle with neurological issues? Share this post with a friend who might need it!

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Got Fat (-Soluble Vitamins)?

This post originally appeared in a slightly different form in our Fall 2013 catalog.

Are you struggling with prematurely-aging skin, poor vision in dim light, or decreased immunity?

What about muscle aches, joint pain, lowered resistance to infection, depression, difficulty managing your weight, or susceptibility to respiratory conditions such as asthma?

Do you bruise easily, have poor gut health, or suffer from any of a number of blood disorders?

While that might sound like an advertisement for the side-effects of a prescription drug, you can tell it’s not, because there is no mention of “and in rare cases, death.” For many of us, these are symptoms of an easily reversible problem: a deficiency of fat-soluble vitamins.

One of the most widely accepted dietary travesties in our civilization is the “low-fat diet”. Fats in all shapes and sizes, good fats and bad fats, have been vilified for causing obesity. Meanwhile, the real problem grows as junk food, sugars, and simple carbs are consumed in ever greater quantities. Not coincidentally, obesity rates are skyrocketing. Plus, all of the nutrients that are found in good fats are missed including vitamins A, D, and K.

FAT-SOLUBLE and WATER-SOLUBLE

Vitamins are either fat-soluble or water-soluble. Most of us are more familiar with water-soluble vitamins, like vitamin C and the B vitamins. Water-soluble vitamins are found mostly in foods from plants, they dissolve easily in water, and are not stored in the body in any great quantity. We need to ingest these vitamins daily because the body cannot manufacture them and when the body burns what it needs, the excess is expelled through the urine. Most of us are also familiar with pro vitamin A, otherwise known as Beta Carotene, another water soluble nutrient. Some people think that taking Beta Carotene is the same as supplementing or eating Vitamin A. It is not. Beta Carotene must be converted in the presence of fats in order to become Vitamin A. This conversion is inefficient at best and in some individuals it just doesn’t happen at all.

But the fat-soluble vitamins are either made by the body or come from animal products (traditionally-raised, that is!). The body stores these nutrients in the fatty tissues for later use. Because the excess of these vitamins is stored, there is a possibility of toxicity from overdose which has led to a lot of misinformed fear-mongering. That is why most of us have never heard of the importance of these vitamins, why there is little or none of them in multivitamins (in their most bio-available, fat-soluble form), and why many people are deficient. Prepare to be informed!

VITAMIN A

Vitamin A plays two roles in the health of cells: it protects existing cells from damage as an antioxidant, and lends crucial assistance to the growth of new cells. This can be especially evident in the skin, bringing the youthful, resilient qualities we so desire. It also boosts the immune system, guarding against infection and disease.

Vitamin A, and the other fat-soluble vitamins, enhance the mineral absorption of the digestive system. It makes the minerals in your food more bio-available to the body, unlocking them for efficient use. On a plant-based diet without sufficient fats, the body may be literally starving for minerals despite the high dietary levels, simply because they are not partnered with the appropriate nutrients to assist in processing.

VITAMIN D

Calcium deficiency, responsible for porous and weakened bones, can often be blamed on insufficient vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 increases the absorption of calcium and works in concert with vitamin A to process minerals into useful forms that contribute to healthy bones and teeth. D3 is also incredibly important for the immune system and is especially good for combatting viruses!

VITAMIN K2

After vitamins A and D have overseen the process of protein production, a near-magical substance activates the proteins, turning them on for use in the body. The renowned Dr. Weston A. Price noticed its powers in his studies, but its actual identity remained a mystery and he referred to it as “Activator X.” It was later identified as vitamin K2.

Vitamin K2 is probably best known for its essential role in blood clotting. The liver needs it in order to produce prothrombin, a substance that helps the coagulation of blood. Without K2, even a small cut could result in major blood loss.

While vitamin D helps increase calcium absorbtion, vitamin K2 tells it where to go. We don’t want calcium to contribute to plaque deposits in our arteries or any other soft tissue, and K2 helps direct it to bones and teeth where it’s really needed.

Synergy!

The relationship between A, D, and K2 is important. When fat-soluble vitamins are taken together rather than as isolated supplements, they form a synergy, a cooperation that works better than when the parts are alone. For example, large doses of vitamin D or vitamin A taken alone without its partners may have little benefit and could even prove toxic. However, massive doses of A, D and K2 have been given to animals without toxicity, when they were in proper proportions. It appears that a unique buffering and protection happens to prevent toxicity when all three are consumed together. This is why it’s always best to get vitamins from a nourishing diet built around nutrient-dense foods and high-quality, food-based supplements.

How do I get enough?

Back in the 1930’s, Dr. Weston A. Price discovered that cultures with traditional lifestyles took in ten times more of the vitamins A and D than Americans did. Note that back then, the average American diet was still fairly nutritious, with a lot of whole, locally-grown, home-prepared foods. In the years since Dr. Price’s research, there was an explosion of factory farming and processed convenience foods, so now, eighty years later, it isn’t much of a stretch to presume our deficiency is even worse. How can we reverse this trend?

Vitamins A, D3, and K2 are found only in animal products (and in the case of D, through sunlight synthesis); a plant-based diet or a processed-food diet won’t have enough of these crucial nutrients. Seafood, especially fish eggs, fish livers, fish oil, and certain fish and mammals, provide high amounts of this trio. Wild-caught seafood that is fresh, frozen, or dried are higher-quality sources of fat-soluble vitamins than canned or farm-raised seafood.

Regular sunshine, about twenty minutes daily, can help raise your body’s vitamin D reserves. It is best if the sun is directly overhead, especially midday in the summer; the skin is not as efficient at D-production with the slanted rays of morning or evening sunshine. Darker skin is slower at absorbing sunlight and often requires longer exposure to the sun to raise vitamin D levels. Because many of are unable or unwilling to get out enough in the heat of the day, sunshine alone is often inadequate and most of the world (unless you live along the equator!) will need to include a dietary source of vitamin D3. If we can’t get enough sunlight ourselves, we can get it from grass-fed animals raised in sunlight.

You can find high concentrations of the fat-soluble vitamins in the meat and organs of traditionally-raised animals as well as in butter, cream, egg yolks, and animal fats such as lard and duck fat. Industrially-raised animals that are not pastured have only negligible levels of vitamins A and K2, and without sunlight, D as well. To optimize your grocery investments, target the highest quality possible for eggs and butter. Look for foods from pastured animals instead of grain-fed. Nutrient-dense sources pack a mighty punch in a small package. Don’t waste valuable space filling your grocery basket with high-calorie but low-nutrient foods!

Add cream or butter to soups to provide more nutrients and to enhance the absorption of the nutrients present in the vegetables. Top cooked vegetables with high-quality butter or coconut oil. Eat salads with rich homemade dressings made from fresh, healthy fats such as olive oil.

Dynamic Duo

Cod liver oil and butter oil are some of the best sources of fat-soluble vitamins. Paired together they offer an incredible health boost. We believe this to be the highest quality whole food supplement available for this vital trilogy of fat soluble nutrients. For a more affordable option, Beeyoutiful’s Dynamic Duo provides vitamins A and D3 in good proportions to each other and is sourced from fish oils. D3 is available in a liquid and gel-cap form as well.

A diet rich in leafy greens will provide adequate amounts vitamin K1, but vitamin K2 is still needed. K2 is found in grass-fed animal products, especially cheese, meat, liver, and egg yolks. Supplementing your diet with one capsule of Beeyoutiful’s Katalyst every day could help increase vitamin K2 reserves and prevent a deficiency of this crucial nutrient.

KatalystStephWebsiteFor supplementation we recommend a ratio of 4-10:1 A to D3, and 10:1 D3 to K2. As always, for full utilization of nutrients extracted from their food form, take with a meal, as the body is designed to process nutrients from a food source rather than from an isolated supplement taken on an empty stomach. You’ll get more from both your supplements and your food.

Fat-soluble vitamins are crucial for health and a long life and are only available to the body through traditionally-raised animal products or careful supplementation. Don’t allow your health to stay permanently compromised due to a lack of these crucial, health supporting vitamins. Buy high quality whole food sources as life logistics and personal budgets allow. If life constraints are such that food sources are not an option the supplemental form of these nutrients will do exactly what they are designed to do, bridge the gap.

Products Mentioned in this Article:

Cod Liver Oil

Butter Oil

Katalyst

Dynamic Duo

shop Beeyoutiful.com

Pre-Pregnancy Preparation- Fall 2010 Catalog

Pre-Pregnancy Preparation

For Mom’s to Be

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By Mary Ewing

When I married seven years ago, I was almost 26, and my husband and I knew we didn’t want to wait to have children. Although many women have children after thirty, we both wanted a large family and weren’t sure how long our “child-bearing years” would go on. Even so, we were slightly surprised when just six weeks after the wedding we found ourselves expecting our first child. Excitement filled our house! To add to our own joy, this would be the first grandchild for both his parents and mine.

At this time, I was a practicing registered nurse (I have since retired to be a mom). Although I did not work in obstetrics, I have always been fascinated with the study.  Yet despite the fact that I had scored a perfect 100 ranking among my peers that year in the OB/GYN nationals competencies. I understood little about the importance of preparing to be a mom. I knew I needed to take a prenatal vitamin once the pink line appeared on the pregnancy test. I knew the importance of Folic Acid. I knew I needed to generally take care of myself. But I did nothing to really prepare for pregnancy.

My pre-pregnancy diet consisted largely of fast food, meals from a box, and sodas. I had done nothing to eliminate my chronic gut problems, build nutritional storehouses, or make sure my body was in shape for the miraculous event. Due to work hours during pregnancy, my entire day’s nutrition consisted of an orange for breakfast, half a sub sandwich for lunch , and half for dinner (and when I say sub, I mean a foot-long white bread sandwich with nothing but processed cold cuts, American cheese and jalapeno peppers.) I washed that all down with the largest cherry limeade I could buy, because it had to last my entire shift-a healthier choice, I figured since it did not have caffeine. I often went an entire week without a real meat, fresh vegetable, and whole grains.

My bouts with morning sickness-to the point of throwing up-lasted from early in the pregnancy until three days after my baby was born. Along with my second pregnancy, came nine months of migraine headaches and then my son’s chronic health issues. I finally decided there had to be a better way to do pregnancy! The challenges have leg me to some fascinating ingredients that make for a healthier momma and, therefore, a healthier baby.

The 2-Way Gift of HealthMichelle

Our health is a gift, not just from the Creator, but also from our parents. The health of our parents when they brought us into the world plays a large role in determining what our level of health will be. Likewise, your health plays a major role in your children’s health.

People generally assume that most health issues depend on the genes we pass on-that they determine what makes us  more or less vulnerable to various diseases and health conditions. Typically, we do not make the connection that we directly pass on to our children a reflection of our own health. As a result, our children often suffer from the same digestive, immune, and chronic health issues that we do-not just because of genes but also because of how we care for ourselves. It should not be a surprise that your child is colicky if you have had problems with your digestion. So before you think about having a baby, you should first rebuild and restore your own health. Not only will you be passing on to them a head start in health, but the habits you develop will benefit them throughout life.

Getting Your Gift in Shape

The place to start building your health is with your diet-your nutritional lifestyle. Nutrients are the building blocks of cells, and it is vital to take in nutrients that build healthy cells. Diets full of healthy fats, grass-fed and organic proteins, fermented foods, properly prepared grains, and fresh fruits and vegetables are vital. While there are several very good diet suggestions out there, I recommend Diet for Pregnancy and Nursing Mothers (http://www.westonaprice.org/childrens-health/311-diet-for-pregnant-and-nursing-mothers.html) , published by the Weston A. Price Foundation. It offers great guidance for nourishing your body and preparing the inner stores necessary for pregnancy.

While most people recognize the need for protein, iron, and vitamins from fresh fruit and vegetables, it is only recently becoming known that healthy fats are needed as well. A British publication noted that for a healthy reproductive systems, a woman needs 25 to 30 percent body fat, and the American recommendation for women of child-bearing years is 21 to 33 percent. Healthy fats include coconut oil, whole milk, extra virgin olive oil, grass fed butter, avocados, and grass-fed meats (with healthy portions of the fat included). A great primer in the study of fats is Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon (found on page 14).NourishingTrad_1

Just as important as what you put in your body, is what you don’t put in. Fats to avoid are shortening, margarine, vegetable oils like corn oil, soybean oil, canola oil and the like. Other no-no’s include artificial sweeteners, white sugar, white flour, MSG, High Fructose Corn Syrup, caffeine, and soft drinks (even cherry limeades!). Not only are they empty calories, they are often toxic to the body.file_5_11

Another crucial part of your lifestyle evaluation is your level of physical activity. At any time in life, exercise keeps the body feeling well, the joints moving, aches and pains dispelled, and there is an overall vitality. To “get in shape” for pregnancy, it’s important to incorporate into daily life activities and exercises that increase stamina, flexibility, and cardio function. If you’re wary of exercise because of pain, I recommend you read Pain Free (see page 14). I’ve followed its guidelines for almost a year now and have found incredible relief from aches and pains, while increasing my flexibility and balance.

When you exercise, it’s important that you not burn too much fat. High impact aerobics and long distance running often burn more than recommended amount of body fat for a healthy pregnancy. The key here is to research the regimen you will be participating in and maintain a level that’s right for you.

Our Food Doesn’t Always Cut It

Ideally, you would get all your nutrients from food, but that is just not possible these days with our nutritionally-depleted food supplies, busy lifestyles, and other deficiencies. That’s where the wonderful resources of Beeyoutiful are invaluable if you’re preparing for one of life’s greatest joys-and hardest tasks.supermom_superdad

Both parents should take a multivitamin derived from whole sources, easily absorbed, and one that works within the body to help build and restore. SuperMom and SuperDad are excellent multivitamins which also feature “bonus” nutrients such as spiralina and cholorella. Bear in mind, that dad contributes on the front end to the baby’s health, so he needs to take his vitamins to build his system as well.folicacid1_1

In addition to the multivitamin, Folic Acid is a must. A sufficient level of Folic Acid in both parents decreases the rate of several genetic problems including spina bifida and Down Syndrome. Although SuperMom and SuperDad offers 400 mcg of Folic Acid, most midwives and health practitioners advise 800 mcg per day for those anticipating pregnancy. For more on the benefits of Folic Acid in pre-natal care, check out Beeyoutiful’s Fall 2009 article “Pre-natal Peace of Mind” (available in the online archives at http://www.beeyoutiful.com/pre-natal-peace-of-mind).

To make sure your body can use the foods and supplements you’re giving it, you’ll need to do all you can to keep your digestive system working is best. Even if you are blessed with an iron-clad stomach, you have likely taken antibiotics sometime in your life or have been exposed to toxins that could wreak havoc on digestive flora. I’ve outlined below two key supplements to help build a strong digestive tract.tummy_tune_120_1

1.       Tummy Tuneup, taken daily, rebuilds good intestinal flora which will pass to the baby growing inside of you. It is also protecting against harmful bacteria. And a big plus I wish I had known during my first stomach-churning pregnancy: Daily use of probiotics can help decrease nausea while pregnant.

2.       Digestive Enzymes are crucial because enzymes are the tools your body uses to extract nutrients from food. Most people are deficient and unable to use well what their food offers. Without sufficient enzymes, many people experience fatigue, constipation, diarrhea, food cravings, and various stomach complaints. Eliminating these problems before pregnancy will help you feel better during pregnancy. And it will help maximize the “building blocks” or nutrients available to your child.DigestiveEnzymeWebProPillS

Cod Liver Oil, One of my new personal favorites. I wish I’d taken it prior to all my pregnancies, not just the current one. Cod Liver Oil provides the EPA and DHA required for proper brain development. I suggest using Rosita Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil along with Organic 3 Extra Virgin Butter Oil because between the two you get Omega 3’s and good amounts of Vitamins A, D, and K. These three vitamins work together to help build strong bones, maintain the cardiovascular system, keep skin clear and healthy, balance the clotting in your blood, reduce the chance of diabetes, strengthen the immune system, and a myriad of other great things. Taking these vitamins in the form of Fermented Cod Liver Oil and Butter Oil helps you receive the greatest benefit. Since these are fat soluble vitamins, it is also crucial to take them with a meal containing a moderate amount of healthy fats.

RedRaspberryLeavesWebProPillS

Red Raspberry Leaves. This herb is invaluable to women of all ages, but specifically for pre-pregnancy, Red Raspberry Leaves are known to increase fertility in both men and women, prevent miscarriage and hemorrhage, and decrease morning sickness. Many midwives agree that Red Raspberry Leaves are safe to take throughout your pregnancy, but some advise against use during the first trimester, so (as always!) check with your preferred health care provider before continuing any supplement during your pregnancy.

A Matter of Timing

The plans I’ve shared here should be started six months to a year prior to pregnancy if at all possible. Certainly, if you are experiencing specific health concerns such as thyroid issues, extreme fatigue, chronic sinus problems, et al, it would be best to get control of them immediately-whether or not pregnancy seems to be in your future. Either by diet modification or through adding supplements or working with a naturopath: the more you work to restore your health now, the less work it will require to restore it in the future-and you’ll reduce the chances of passing on these problems to your children.

Whether your first or your tenth, pregnancy is one of the most exciting times in life! Every baby brings a wealth of expectations, joys, and new experiences. So as you contemplate bringing a life into this world, I hope you can learn a little from my bad choices and the subsequent better ones. For me, the most rewarding part of all has been my youngest child, who is by far healthier than my older two. We are so looking forward to our fourth addition in December and seeing firsthand how our hard work has paid off!

Mary Ewing is a part-time employee for Beeyoutiful as well as wife, mom and aspiring homesteader. She stays at home with her three children and enjoys exploring life with her brood as they cook, clean, garden, and play. Her passions are traditional cooking, essential oils, gardening, learning about raising livestock, and traditional art forms such as sewing, crocheting, knitting and smocking!

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