Tag Archives: nutrients

  • Mediterranean Diet May Reduce Cognitive Decline

    We often hear that the Mediterranean diet is a great way to eat—when done right, it can be packed with good fats, fiber, fruits, veggies and antioxidants, all of which can help boost heart health, reduce inflammation and help stave off chronic diseases

    According to a study published last year in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the Mediterranean diet can also help reduce cognitive decline in the elderly. The study followed nearly 4,000 Chicago residents over the age of 65, tracking their adherence to the diet, as well their mental acuity at three-year intervals. The results showed that participants who most closely followed the Mediterranean diet saw the slowest rates of cognitive decline (even after controlling for smoking, education, obesity and other factors).

    In a similar study published this February in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, researchers focused on the connection between the antioxidants that are abundant in the Mediterranean diet with cognitive performance among older adults at high cardiovascular risk. The Spanish study followed 447 people, between 55-80 years old, to assess the effects of food intake on brain function. The team discovered that some foods were specifically linked to certain areas of cognitive function: olive oil may improve verbal memory; walnuts may improve working memory; and wine may improve scores on a test used to assess mental health and clarity.

    Want to get more of the Mediterranean in your diet? Here’s what the Mayo Clinic says:

    “The Mediterranean diet emphasizes plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts. It replaces butter with healthy fats, such as olive oil and canola oil, and uses herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods. Red meat is limited to no more than a few times a month, while fish should be on the menu twice a week.” (Click here for some great recipe suggestions from the Mayo Clinic.)

    Read more from a Pharmaca expert about other ways to maintain good brain health throughout your years, including sleep, exercise and supplements.

  • Identify your nutrient deficiencies

    One of the perks of having so many expert practitioners around is being able to take advantage of their knowledge. Awhile ago, Cat Pantaleo, an herbalist and nutritionist at our downtown Boulder store, led a workshop for the office on nutrient deficiencies. She brought with her this handy worksheet that shows common health issues and the nutrient deficiencies that often cause them.

    Follow these three steps to resolve your nutrient deficiencies.

    Step 1: Circle any symptoms you have.

    Symptom Nutrient
    acne Essential fatty acids (EFA), vitamin A, vitamin B6, zinc
    agitation calcium, magnesium
    alopecia copper, EFA, riboflavin, vitamin B6, zinc
    anemia copper, iron, magnesium, vitamin B6
    anemia (megoblastic) folate
    anorexia folate, iron, magnesium, niacin, thiamine, vitamin B6, zinc
    anxiety calcium, chromium, EFA, magnesium, niacin, pyridoxine, thiamine
    apathy folate, zinc
    brittle nails calcium, iron, zinc
    canker sores niacin
    cognitive impairment calcium, potassium
    cold hands and feet magnesium
    cold, sensitivity to iron
    constipation folate, iron, potassium, thiamine, vitamin B12
    delusions calcium
    depression calcium, copper, folic acid, iron, magnesium, niacin, potassium, riboflavin, rubidium, thiamine, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, vitamin C, zinc
    diarrhea EFA, niacin, vitamin D, zinc
    disorientation magnesium
    dizziness iron, riboflavin, vitamin B12, vitamin B6
    eczema EFA, zinc, calcium
    edema magnesium, potassium
    fatigue chromium, copper, folate, iron, magnesium, niacin, potassium, thiamine, vitamin A, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc
    gallstones EFA
    gums, bleeding vitamin C
    hair, dry EFA, vitamin A
    hallucinations magnesium
    headache folate, iron, vitamin B12, niacin
    hyperactivity calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, niacin, pyridoxine, thiamine
    hypercholesterolemia chromium, copper, potassium, selenium, zinc
    hypertension calcium, magnesium, potassium
    hypotension magnesium, potassium
    immunodepression copper, EFA, folic acid, iodine, iron, magnesium, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, selenium, vitamin A, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, zinc
    impotence zinc
    infertility (female) EFA
    infertility (male) zinc
    insomnia calcium, copper, folate, iron, magnesium, niacin, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin D
    irritability calcium, iron, lithium, magnesium, niacin, thiamine, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, vitamin C
    kidney stones magnesium
    legs, restless folate, calcium, magnesium
    lethargy zinc
    memory, poor folate, niacin, thiamine, zinc
    mental confusion iron, magnesium, niacin, thiamine
    muscle cramps calcium, magnesium
    muscle pain magnesium
    muscle spasms calcium
    muscle tension calcium
    muscle tremor magnesium
    muscle weakness magnesium, niacin, potassium
    nausea magnesium, niacin, vitamin B6
    nervousness calcium, magnesium, potassium, thiamine, vitamin B6, vitamin D
    numbness of limbs calcium, thiamine, vitamin B12
    palpitations calcium, iron, vitamin B12
    paranoia folate, zinc
    periodontal disease calcium
    skin inflammation niacin, riboflavin
    tooth decay calcium
    vertigo magnesium
    vision, blurred riboflavin
    weakness copper, folate, thiamine, vitamin B6
    wound healing, slow vitamin C, zinc, EFA, vitamin B6
    *Source: Nutritional Influences on Illness and Nutritional Influences on Mental illness, by Melvyn Werbach, Third Line Press.

    Step 2: Put a checkmark next to each nutrient that shows up next to a symptom. Nutrients that have four or more checkmarks are those you may be deficient in.

    Retinol (Vitamin A) _____
    Thiamine (Vitamin B1) _____
    Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) _____
    Niacin (Vitamin B3) _____
    Panthotenic Acid (Vitamin B5) _____
    Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6) _____
    Folate / Folic Acid _____
    Cobalamin (Vitamin B12) _____
    Vitamin C _____
    Vitamin D _____
    Vitamin E _____
    Essential Fatty Acids _____
    Calcium _____
    Chromium _____
    Copper _____
    Iodine _____
    Iron _____
    Magnesium _____
    Potassium _____
    Selenium _____
    Zinc _____

    3. Come speak with a Pharmaca practitioner about the best way for you to get these nutrients!

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