Benefits of a Rainbow of Phytonutrients on Your Plate

Lycopene

Reduces the risk of prostate, breast, and skin cancer; reduces the risk of heart attacks

Tomato-based products (tomato juice, spaghetti sauce, tomato soup, tomato paste), watermelon, pink grapefruit, fresh tomato, guava

Anthocyanins

Reduce the risk of cancer; powerful antioxidants; help control high blood pressure; reduce the risk of diabetes complications; reduce the risk of heart attacks, reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease

Red raspberries, sweet cherries, strawberries, cranberries, beets, red apples (with skin), red cabbage, red onion, kidney beans, red beans

colorfulfruitsandvegetables1

Astaxanthin

Potent antioxidant, particularly for the liver; Gastroprotective effects; Immune stimulant; Chemoprotectant.

Microalgae, yeast, salmon, trout, krill, shrimp, crayfish, crustaceans,

Orange Phtyonutrients

Beta-carotene Powerful antioxidant; boosts immunity; reduces risk for cancer; reduces risk of heart attacks; helps maintain good vision.

Carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, butternut squash, cantaloupe, mangos, apricots, peaches

Bioflavonoids

Powerful antioxidants; Works with vitamin C to reduce the risk of heart attacks, reduce the risk of cancer, and to help maintain strong bones/teeth, healthy skin, and good vision.

Oranges, grapefruit, lemons, tangerines, clementines, peaches, papaya, apricots, nectarines, pears, pineapple, yellow raisins, yellow pepper

Yellow-Green Phytonutrients:

Lutein/Zeaxanthin Helps maintain good vision; reduces the risk of cataracts or macular degeneration.

Kale, spinach, leafy greens (turnip, collard, mustard),romaine lettuce, broccoli, green peas, kiwifruit, honeydew melon

Indoles

Reduce the risk of cancer (particularly breast and prostate cancers); reduce the risk of tumor growth in cancer patients.

Broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, arugula, Swiss chard, turnips, rutabaga, watercress, cauliflower, kale

Chlorophyll

Powerful antioxidant

All green vegetables

Folate

Methylation; cell growth.

Leafy greens

Blue/Purple Phtyonutrients:

Anthocyanins

Reduce the risk of cancer; powerful antioxidants; reduce the risk of age-related memory loss; help control high blood pressure; reduce the risk of diabetes complications; reduce the risk of heart attacks; reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease

Blueberries, blackberries, purple grapes, black currants, elderberries

Phenolics

Powerful antioxidants; may slow some of the effects of aging.

Dried plums (prunes), raisins, plums, eggplant

White Phytonutrients:

Allicin

Boosts immunity; helps lower high cholesterol; helps control high blood pressure; reduces the risk of heart attacks; reduces the risk for spread of cancer (particularly stomach and colon cancer)

Garlic, onions, leeks, scallions, chives

A NYC Chiropractor/Applied Kinesiologist Asks: Are Supplements Really Harmful or Was the Study Flawed?

Lately we have heard of a medical research study in the Oct 2011 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine talking about use of supplements and death rate among more than 38,000 older women enrolled in the Iowa Women’s Health Study. The study reported the possibility of a slightly increased risk of death among women who took multivitamins and other supplements, including vitamin B6, folic acid, iron, magnesium, zinc and copper. The researchers also found a reduced risk of cancer and death associated with taking calcium supplements.

First, this study was based on the recall of the women who took part. They were asked in three separate years, 1986, 1997 and 2004, to fill out a 16-page questionnaire on their supplement use and the frequency with which they ate 127 different food items. In these kinds of studies, there’s no way to verify the accuracy of participants’ recall. These types of study are observational in nature, it doesn’t tell us anything about cause and effect. Indeed, the most the researchers could say in their conclusion was that taking certain supplements “may be associated” with an increased death rate.

The strongest association seen was between iron supplements and mortality rates. This doesn’t surprise me as a daughter of someone who had iron overload. I have for years only recommended iron for menstruating women and a low dosage at that. Iron is one of the few minerals we cannot eliminate (except through blood loss or blood donation), and accumulations in the body can rise to toxic levels. Iron is an oxidizing agent that can increase the risk of cancer, diabetes, liver problems, arthritis and heart disease. Please see http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/hematology_and_oncology/iron_overload/primary_hemochromatosis.html and http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/hematology_and_oncology/iron_overload/secondary_iron_overload.html Men and post menopausal women should not take iron in their supplements unless they have had blood tests showing they are iron deficient.

And I have questions about the rest of the study’s findings. We don’t know the dosages or quality of the supplements the women took which can have different absorption rates and bioavailability in the body. Vitamins/minerals like Vitamin B6 or zinc for example can be helpful taken at the right dosages but very harmful if you take too much. And bioavailabity can be affected for example by the source of the supplement and fillers in the supplement.

What do we know? We know that between 14 to 17 percent of the women were smokers; seven to 13 percent of the women were on hormone replacement therapy  and between 35 and 38 percent had high blood pressure. So generalizing about this group is questionable since the women were not completely healthy to begin with.

So in my opinion the study was flawed and pointed to something any nutritionally knowledgeable doctor (unfortunately MD’s get very little training in nutrition) should know which is too much iron will make you sick and in time kill you.

So please talk to a doctor who has had nutritional training (that includes chiropractors, naturopaths and osteopaths or an MD who has taken additional studies in nutrition) about taking a good quality vitamin/mineral supplement that would be right for you.

© 2012-Dr. Vittoria Repetto

Want more information on Dr. Vittoria Repetto and her NYC Applied Kinesiology/Chiropractic practice; please go to www.drvittoriarepetto.com.

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