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Pure Vitamins Blog

  • Help Your Brain Stay Active

    My grandmother was affected by dementia in her old age. It was horrible to watch, and must have been even more distressing for her. The whole experience has made me determined to looking after my brain health as best I can - especially as I’ve recently learned that my family history of the condition slightly increases the likelihood of being affected by it myself.  Continue reading

  • Healthy Nails, Hair and Skin

    As well as resolving that I’m going to get better at managing stress this year, I’ve decided that it’s time to start taking better care of my fingernails. My skin and hair could do with some extra attention while I’m at it. Continue reading

  • Habits That Help Kids Build Healthy Bones

    Healthy Bones Pure Vitamins Habits that help kids build healthy bones

    It’s not something I’m proud of, but like many women now in their forties, I was a secret smoker in my teens. It was also pretty common for me to eat quite sparingly in a misguided attempt to lose weight.  Continue reading

  • Good Fats, Bad Fats

    Good Fats Pure Vitamins Good fats, bad fats

    Although fat has a bad reputation, and certainly shouldn’t be consumed to excess, it’s also essential to good health, and in particular to natural cholesterol management. The secret is to make sure your diet contains plenty of healthy fat sources (sometimes referred to as ‘good’ fats), and as few ‘bad’ fats as possible.

    Why do we need fat?

    Fats have many roles to play in the human body. For example they:

    • Provide the body with insulation
    • Enable the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K and allow them to be transported around the body for use by the cells
    • Are involved in hormone production

    What are the different types of fat?

    Dietary fats can be broadly classified into the following groups, which are named according to their chemical structures:

    • Unsaturated fats: The two groups of unsaturated fats are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. They’re predominantly found in fish, nuts, seeds, and the oils sourced from them
    • Saturated fats and cholesterol: These fats mainly occur in animal products such as meat, eggs and dairy products
    • Trans fats, hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated fats: Hydrogenated fats are oils that have been hardened to make processed foods such as margarine, biscuits and cakes; partially hydrogenated fats are only partly hardened. Foods made with hydrogenated oils contain high levels of trans fatty acids, which have been linked to increased rates of heart disease

    How do the different types of fat affect cholesterol?

    Healthy cholesterol levels are essential for good health. However, high blood levels of cholesterol and other lipids (such as triglycerides) can increase your risk of developing atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and are a potent risk factor for heart disease .

    The liver makes much of the cholesterol your body needs, but you also absorb cholesterol from some of the foods you eat .
    Saturated fats also contribute to your cholesterol levels by increasing your body’s cholesterol production, and consequently are best consumed in only limited quantities .

    Trans fats can exacerbate the situation by damaging good fats, raising levels of LDL-cholesterol (‘bad’ cholesterol) and causing chronic inflammation .
    On the other hand, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats may help maintain healthy cholesterol levels, especially when consumed in place of saturated and trans fats .

    Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are groups of polyunsaturated fats that are considered to be essential fatty acids as they cannot be produced by the body and must be obtained from our diets or supplements.

    Examples of omega-3 fats include eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which has anti-inflammatory properties, and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which is important for brain development and growth. EPA and DHA are found in abundant quantities in fish oil and krill oil. Linoleic acid, found in a wide variety of nut and seed oils, is an example of an omega-6 fat.

    It has been estimated that the typical Western diet contains up to 20 times more omega-6 fats than omega-3s, however optimal health may require the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 to be closer to 2:1 or even that the two groups of fats be consumed in equivalent quantities . To help improve the balance, aim to consume two or three servings of oily fish every week, and consider taking fish oil or krill oil supplements. (Flaxseed oil is a suitable alternative for vegetarians, but the omega-3 fats it contains are not as biologically available as those in fish).

    Omega-9 fatty acids can be produced in the body, so are not classified as essential fatty acids. However, we also consume them in our diets and they do have important health properties. The oleic acid found in extra virgin olive oil is an important example, and is believed at least partially responsible for the heart-health benefits of a Mediterranean-style diet.

  • Eat Your Way To Better Eye Health

    What you eat can really make a difference to your eye health.  In the long term, the quality of the fats you consume can have consequences for your sight and eye health.  Also, the antioxidant content of your diet can impact upon your eye health, because the eyes are particularly prone to free-radical damage.  Let’s take a deeper look at the impact on your eye health, of fats and oils, vitamins, minerals and carotenoids and other antioxidants. Continue reading

  • Do Your Muscles Need More Magnesium

    Magnesium Pure Vitamins Do your muscles need more magnesium?

    Recently, I’ve been experiencing muscle cramps every now and then. I’ll be lying in bed at night and suddenly a sharp twinge in my calf or the soles of my feet has me jumping out of my skin. They seem to come out of nowhere, and they’re agonising! Continue reading

  • Health Benefits of Coenzyme Q10

    3 billion reasons to look after your heart

    Coenzyme Q10 Pure Vitamins Health Benefits of Coenzyme Q10

    Have you ever stopped to think about how hard your heart works? Whether you’re awake or asleep, sitting still or exercising your hardest, it just keeps on beating, every single minute of the day.

    In fact, over the course of your lifetime, your heart will probably beat more than 3 billion times . It’s a mind-boggling number, isn’t it?
    And with cardiovascular conditions being responsible for around a third of all deaths in Australia each year , it stands to reason that you want to look after your heart.

    But aside from eating well and making regular physical activity a core component of your lifestyle, what can you do?

    For additional support of your heart and cardiovascular system, you may like to consider taking a coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) supplement. Here’s what you need to know about this vital nutrient and its benefits.

    What’s CoQ10?

    Although it comes in a capsule, CoQ10 isn’t a vitamin – it’s a co-factor that needs to be present in your cells in order for many of the multitude of chemical reactions that occur in your body every day to occur.

    What are the benefits of CoQ10?

    CoQ10 is vital for the energy production that occurs in every cell of your body.

    As you’d expect from all those heartbeats it needs to pump out, the heart uses lots of energy every day! As such, its cells contain significant concentrations of CoQ10.

    CoQ10 is also a powerful antioxidant that inhibits the effects of free radical damage  (for example due to smoking, stress and eating poorly), and helps replenish the heart-protecting antioxidant activity of vitamin E after it has been depleted by its own free radical-fighting functions.

    These antioxidant properties are also involved in CoQ10’s beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system. For example, CoQ10 helps prevent the oxidation of LDL-cholesterol. This is the form of cholesterol that’s sometimes called ‘bad’ cholesterol, which becomes more dangerous to health when it has been damaged by free radicals. By inhibiting its oxidation, CoQ10 may help to reduce the development of plaque in the arteries (atherosclerosis).

    Co Q10 benefits don't end there. Researchers also believe that CoQ10’s supportive effects on heart health are at least partially due to its ability to help maintain the energy-producing functions of heart muscle cells, as well as its ability to help support the health of these hard-working cells.

    CoQ10 is also a powerful antioxidant that inhibits the effects of free radical damage  (for example due to smoking, stress and eating poorly), and replenishes the heart-protecting antioxidant activity of vitamin E after it has been depleted by its own free radical-fighting functions.

    These antioxidant properties are also involved in CoQ10’s beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system. For example, CoQ10 helps prevent the oxidation of LDL-cholesterol. This is the form of cholesterol that’s sometimes called ‘bad’ cholesterol, which becomes more dangerous to health when it has been damaged by free radicals. By inhibiting its oxidation, CoQ10 may help to reduce the development of plaque in the arteries (atherosclerosis).

    At the same time, CoQ10 has been shown to modestly raise the levels of so-called ‘good’ form of cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, and this may also have flow on effects for protecting supporting heart health.

    Where can I get CoQ10?

    You obtain some CoQ10 your diet, but unless you’re taking supplements, your body manufactures the rest of the CoQ10 in your system.

    However, as you get older, your ability to produce CoQ10 declines. Consequently, taking CoQ10 supplements may be particularly beneficial for elderly people, and may help them maintain their general health and wellbeing.

  • Benefits of Selenium

    Selenium is a natural antioxidant that supports the immune system and plays a role in supporting male fertility and reproductive health.

    Selenium Pure Vitamins Benfits of Selenium

    However, perhaps the most important of selenium’s functions is as a component of the antioxidant glutathione peroxidase, which works with vitamin E in the body to address free radical damage to cell membranes. In addition to this important role, selenium also appears to exert antioxidant activity independently, and is involved in the production of thyroid hormone.

    What else does selenium do?

    Due to its antioxidant properties, research suggests that selenium may assist in the management of a number of health issues, including:

    • Male fertility: Selenium is required for testosterone production and sperm health, and selenium deficiency may result in impaired fertility. It appears that selenium may be particularly effective at supporting sperm health when it is taken in conjunction with vitamin E .
    • Thyroid health: The body needs healthy levels of selenium in order to make normal thyroid hormones, convert them into their active forms and then metabolise them. For this reason, healthy selenium levels are needed for normal growth and metabolism.

    Where can I find selenium?

    Good food sources of selenium include Brazil nuts, sesame seeds, whole grains, egg yolks, fish, prawns, canned salmon and meats.

    However, the amount of selenium in foods depends on the selenium content of the soil in which the plants in the food chain are grown, and selenium levels may be particularly low in some parts of Australia and New Zealand. Alarmingly, it has been suggested that modern agricultural practices may be causing further declines in our soil levels .

    If you decide to take a selenium supplement, look for a product containing an organic form of selenium such as selenomethionine, which is much more readily absorbed than inorganic forms (such as sodium selenite) .

    How much selenium do I need?

    Australian food authorities estimate that the average daily selenium requirement for adults is 50 mcg for women and 60 mcg for men. Unfortunately, many Australians don’t obtain this much selenium from their diets, with women over 50 years of age being particularly likely to have low dietary intake of selenium .

    Nevertheless, selenium is a trace mineral, which means you only need it in tiny amounts. In fact, selenium can be toxic in over-dose, so it’s important that you don’t overdo it. In Australia, supplements that are available for retail sale are not permitted to contain more than 150 mcg of (elemental) selenium per tablet or capsule. It is important that you don’t exceed the dosage recommendations on the label.

    Pic credit: Steve Johnson

  • Benefits of Berries: Bilberries, Acai and Rose Hip

    As you probably know, berries are amongst the most nutritious of all fruit and vegetables. Besides tasting delicious, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and cranberries are packed with antioxidants. Continue reading

  • Are You Getting Enough Calcium?

    My mum’s doctor has recently advised her that she has low bone density, and is at risk of developing osteoporosis and becoming prone to bone fractures as she gets older. This came as a bit of a surprise to her, as she’d always assumed that her diet contained plenty of calcium.

    It’s made me realise that I need to pay attention to my calcium levels now if I want to minimise the likelihood that I too will be at risk of developing osteoporosis in my older years.

    Which foods are rich in calcium?

    Calcium Pure Vitamins Are You Getting Enough Calcium?

    Dairy foods are the predominant source of calcium in the Australian diet , so if you don’t consume dairy in significant quantities, you need to take particular care to obtain calcium from other sources. These include sardines, salmon and other fish with edible bones,  tofu, calcium-fortified foods (such as soy milk, juice and breakfast cereal, which may all have added calcium), and leafy green vegetables such as bok choy, Chinese cabbage and Chinese mustard greens (but not spinach; the calcium it contains is difficult to absorb) .

    How much calcium do I need?

    It’s recommended that adults consume 1000 mg of calcium per day, increasing to 1300 mg for women aged over 50 and men aged over 70. Growing teens (12-18 years) of both sexes also need 1300 mg per day.

    To give you some context, a 250 mL cup of milk  (the full-fat variety, without any additional calcium added) contains 320 mg of calcium, and a small tin of sardines contains around 300 mg (assuming you eat the bones, rather than discarding them).

    Choosing a calcium supplement

    If you’re concerned that you may not be getting enough calcium from your diet, taking a supplement can be a valuable way to top up your levels of this important nutrient. Choose a calcium supplement that contains calcium in forms that are easily absorbed and used by the body. For example, calcium citrate has been demonstrated to help avert bone loss and stabilise bone density, and hydroxyapatite is a form of calcium that occurs naturally in our bones and is well utilised by the human body.

    In addition to the calcium in your supplement, also consider other vitamins and minerals that provide nutritional support for healthy bones, including :

    • Vitamin D3, which promotes the absorption of calcium and helps maintain its stores in the body, and supports bone strength
    • Magnesium, which helps maintain healthy bones and teeth, and is involved in vitamin D synthesis and the metabolism of calcium. We sell a great range of calcium and magnesium supplements
    • Manganese, which stimulates the activity of bone-building cells called osteoblasts to help increase bone mass
    • Vitamin C, which is involved in the production of connective tissues that form the base matrix of bone, and may be required by women aged over 45 to help minimise loss of bone density
    • Boron, a trace mineral with an active role in calcium metabolism and bone health, which helps decrease the body's excretion of calcium and magnesium
    • Copper and zinc, which are involved in bone formation

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