Study Shows Vitamin D Prevents Major Pregnancy Complications

sun in trees

An important 2009 study shows that Vitamin D plays a very important role in preventing pregnancy complications. This is in addition to other studies that demonstrate the importance of getting enough of the sunshine vitamin while pregnant.

This particular study, carried out by Dr. Bruce Hollis and Dr. Carol Wagner of the Medical University of South Carolina, gave 600  women of various races, 4000 IU of Vitamin D per day, and followed them throughout their pregnancies and beyond (for 2.5 years). The control group received 400 IU per day, the official recommended amount of Vitamin D.

In the group receiving 4000 IU of Vitamin D, there were half the premature births as the c0ntrol group. Fewer babies who were “small for date” were born in the 4000 IU group. The treatment group also had 25% fewer infections. The “core morbidities” of pregnancy were reduced by 30%; these include diabetes, preeclampsia, and high blood pressure. Additionally, babies getting extra Vitamin D also suffered from fewer colds and less eczema after birth. In other words, consuming 4000 IU of Vitamin D per day, 10 times the RDA, was associated with better health of mother and child. And, during the course of the study, there were no adverse effects reported from taking that much Vitamin D.

Sadly, many Americans have now lost the ability to make Vitamin D because we are in the autumn, and the sun’s rays are not strong enough to cause our skins to produce Vitamin D. This means many mothers (and babies) will be at risk of preventable pregnancy complications, unless they take Vitamin D supplements.

Sun and Speed: Why Sunshine And Movement Are Essential To Your Health

fall landscape

No, I am not talking about doing drugs outdoors, but I’m referring to what ancient man (and woman) often experienced. They got a lot of sun, and they probably moved a lot, and it is safe to say that this is what we are probably the life we are meant to experience. While most of us may enjoy sitting down in a temperature-controlled room, we really aren’t physiologically wired to have this sort of experience every day of the year.

Think about it. When, in the history of humankind, until very recently, did people stay inside so much, and do such little activity?  The upper classes, few in number, perhaps had such an experience, but most did not. In fact, most people throughout human history have spent long hours outside and have been, whether as wandering nomads, hunter-gatherers, or simply working the fields, on the move.

You can’t take a human body, designed to be outside, and on the move, and stick it at an desk inside for 10 hours a day, and/or on a couch for 5 hours a day inside, and expect health and happiness. And this could be why many Americans are unhealthy and feel so darn unhappy.

There are many good reasons to actually be out in the sun, and one is Vitamin D production.  Studies show that many diseases are tied to low Vitamin D levels, including autism, cancer, depression, and multiple sclerosis, diseases becoming more common as Americans spend less-and-less time in the sun. While it is true too much sun exposure can increase the risk of easily treatable forms of skin cancer, and increase the rate that your skin will look “ridden hard and put away wet,” as local good-ol boys describe it, sun exposure likely helps prevent difficult-to-treat cancers like breast and colon cancer.

Ok, we need some sun, but do we need speed? Likely. One example is a study that shows that runners live significantly longer than non-runners, in part because running encourages new nerve growth.  And combining the two for some sun and speed, has some benefits as well.  For example, one study found that while exercising indoors reduced depression by 45% , exercising outdoors decreased depression by 71%, almost double the indoor rate. So basically, moving outside is much more effective at treating depression than exercising indoors. This could explain that while exercising at the Y can sometimes be a chore, I rarely have to be prodded to run outside, over the hills outside my old high school.

I often ponder these things while I am running outside, for example, yesterday in the blistering heat, which limited my time outside. One thing I thought of is that in the last 20+ years, we have been taught to value being inside, and honestly, to fear the outside. It seems as if parents are so worried about what may possibly happen to a child, that a lot of the stuff I did growing up outside (that kids had done for years earlier) is now off-limits. So, since a child can’t go outside and play at noon (the sun is too hot and a weird looking redneck just walked by), he sits inside glued to the computer, not that he would even want to go outside anyway, because he can just “go outside” on his video game.  Then when he does go outside for real, the sun has a kind of “it burns, it burns” feel, and being weighed down by too  many bags of snack-size Cheetos, he runs (not literally, of course) for cover for the nearest air-conditioned building. I am basically describing myself as a middle-schooler, except that my mom was never hysterical, and did encourage us to play outside, although since the Nintendo was inside, I often stayed there.

Basically, the point is my post is that a lot of our modern problems, including depression and chronic diseases (like cancer) could be related to the fact that our modern way of living is just contrary to our wiring. Instead of immediately reaching for expensive drugs, long courses of therapy, or self-medicating with drugs, alcohol, or partying, we may just need a little more sun and a little more speed*. Of course, I say this while I type inside with the AC turned up…

* – Obviously depression is a real condition, and it is important to seek a doctor’s advice before going on or off depression medication, or before beginning an exercise program.

Review of Puritan’s Pride

Continuing my reviews of popular supplement companies, today, I want to review Puritan’s Pride in detail. This review is based on my experiences.

Overview

Puritan’s Pride is the mail-order, factory-direct, division of NBTY. Besides Puritan’s Pride, NBTY also manufactures Nature’s Bounty, Vitamin World, Rexall, Sundown, Solgar, and American Health products, some which are sold in supermarkets.

I have ordered from Puritan’s Pride since the summer of 2000, when I started getting into health again after a rather unhealthy hiatus, in which I ballooned up to 200 pounds. I had ordered from Lee Nutrition and Nutrition Headquarters in the mid-1990s, but by 2000, both companies were out-of-business, so I went looking for an alternative source of inexpensive supplements. Since 2000, I have ordered from them probably 30-40 times, so this review of Puritan’s Pride is based on quite a bit of experience. Some of the items I am familiar with include, B-Complex 50, Multi-Enzyme, and Fish Oil with Garlic.

Quality

Puritan’s Pride guarantees their products, and when tested by independent labs, all of Nature’s Bounty’s products, including those of Puritan’s Pride, perform very well. I feel very confident that Puritan’s Pride products are high quality. I haven’t had any quality problems with any of my Puritan’s Pride products.

Product Selection

Puritan’s Pride has a decent selection of products, most for great prices, although they seem to be slow to get some of the newer, cutting-edge products, and when they do, the price is often higher than their other products.  I wish they offered more multi-vitamins without iron, and with lower levels of Vitamin A (both of these concerns reflect newer research about supplementing with Vitamin A and iron). In this regard, their products seem kind of old-fashioned.  I am guessing most people with find what they need from Puritan’s Pride. I wish they had Bromelain 2000 GDU product, but I can easily get that elsewhere. Puritan’s Pride bought Doctor’s Trust a few years ago, and unfortunately, did not continue DT’s fine line of products.

Value

Puritan’s Pride always runs sales, and the key to getting the absolute best deal is to know which sale is running. I have never seen products sold for full price, so the deal you get depends on the sale they are having. They tend to have the following sales, listed below. I have placed the percentage savings off their regular price in parenthesis:

Buy 1, Get 1 free (50% off)

Buy 2, Get 3 free (60% off)

Buy 1, Get 2 free (67% off)

60% off

70% off

60-80% off

Rarely does Puritan’s Pride offer 70% off sales, or the 60-80% off sale (in which some items are 80% off, but not many). This means that the best regularly-offered deal is the “Buy 1, Get 2 free” special, which almost always runs every summer, and sometimes during other times of the year. Thus, I tend to stock-up from Puritan’s Pride products in the summer.

They also offer discounts on top of their other sales, so be sure to check and see what promotional offer is running concurrently with the advertised sales.

Puritan’s Pride does have several other sites, besides puritan.com, in which other sales sometimes run concurrently with the sale on puritan.com. These include puritansale.com, doctorstrust.com, vitamins.com, and puritancatalog.com. For awhile, puritansale offered 70%+ off many products, making it the best deal available, but unfortunately, most products on that site now are 50-60% off.

While I used to order almost all of my supplements from Puritan’s Pride, they have raised their prices on many products recently, and stopped offering some of their best sales as often as in the past. For this reason, I go to other sources for my supplements these days, since I wrote my original review.

Shipping

Usually the entire order is shipped out quickly, often arriving in a little less than a week. They always send out shipping notices via email, with tracking numbers. This makes keeping track of orders very easy.  A few times I have had to wait for back-ordered items, but very rarely. Typically, the back-ordered items are shipped out within a 10 days.

Service

Customer service is excellent and friendly. I have called them and emailed them in the past and they have always been helpful. I even emailed one of their representatives about the strength of their enzyme products (enzymes are measured by both activity and weight, and Puritan’s Pride only lists enzyme weight on their products), and she kindly contacted their scientists to find out the information I needed.

Overall

I used to consider them my primary supplement company, but now that belongs to Swanson, because Swanson currently seems to offer more variety and better prices. However, Puritan’s Pride offers high-quality products for a great price, and are well worth checking out if you think you are paying too much for your vitamins.

My Healthy Christmas List

A lot of us think of the temptations at Christmas (like endless cookies at work and parties in the evenings, with even more cookies, drinks, etc). One way to counter this is to shift your focus to healthy living, and one way to do this is to let your friends and family know that you want gifts that will help you maintain health, as opposed to lose it.

So, what do you get for someone who is really into health and fitness, who is really hard to buy for?

Rather than post this article in two locations, you can finish reading the article here. This is a slightly tongue in cheek article that contains plenty of gifts I actually use.

Do Women Like Jerks?

"scumbag Steve" - popular meme of a jerk

“scumbag Steve” – popular meme of a jerk

This is a controversial question, because it is not always politically correct to say “yes.”  However, ask any woman about some dirtbag her friend is dating, or ask any “nice” guy who has witnessed himself sitting at home on weekends while his bad boy roommate goes out with a string of women. The bottom line is that most women have an “I dated a jerk” story, or at least know tons of friends who dated jerks. They also probably know many “nice” guys that they themselves would never date but tried to fix up with friends (who also didn’t like, but tried to fix up with their friends). Unfortunately, attraction is not a logical choice.

So do women love bad boys? Do women love jerks?

The answer is “yes” — kind of. My hypothesis is that ‘”bad boys” actually present as attractive because they seemingly have attractive traits, like confidence, humor, and a high level of charm. However, these traits don’t come from real confidence or enlightenment, but from insecurity and narcissism.  So, once these guys get a female bonded to them (which easily happens via different brain chemicals, including Oxytocin), their true nature comes out, but by that time, the bonding has occurred.

This is why it is important to recognize jerk behaviors, such as lack of empathy and bullying, early, to avoid bonding to a total asshat.

Case of the Mondays

Sometimes it can be hard to get up and going on Mondays, especially if we have jobs that we don’t care for. Having a case of the Mondays is a normal occurrence for many of us. The Monday blues may not be a scientific diagnosis but it sure is a reality for many people.

But, we can make Monday a good day. It may not be as easy as making Saturday a good day. But it can be done.

I recommend that people start Monday with a good attitude. Begin with meditation or prayer. Then, keep the right attitude throughout the day. If your colleagues are grumpy then you’ll have to fight that. But, you can fight it by being in a great mood yourself.

I also think it’s important to set fun and goal oriented activities for yourself on Mondays. Meet a friend for coffee, go on a date, find an activity where you can feel accomplished. We need to find ways to feel good on Mondays. Make sure you identify those ways and then go out and do them.

Should Guys Shave Their Body?

shirtless shaved man

Image courtesy of photostock/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’ll admit, I’m not a huge fan of hair on the body, for either men or women. It’s not a romantic issue because I’m not gay. But, I still feel that even men should shave. I have an aversion of sorts to hair.

But, it’s not just my opinion. If you look around you’ll see that in ads, on television, in the movies, etc. all the good looking guys lack chest and back hair. I’m not going to get into the more intimate spots, but it’s definitely clear that shaving chest hair (as well as back) is becoming the norm.

If you decide on shaving your chest and back hair, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, you may not even want to shave. You can also wax and sugar. You can look those up for more information, but be aware that they are fairly painful.

However, waxing and sugaring do have some benefits. The hair grows back much more slowly than with shaving. You’ll probably have a week without hair and then it’ll be more like stubble for a couple weeks. You likely won’t need to wax again for another month. Also, waxing kills the hair follicles over time, so the hair will become thinner and less healthy.

Second, if you do shave, then you might need a little help. While shaving your chest is easy, it takes some flexibility to shave your back. I typically shave as much of my back as possible, then get help for the remaining parts.

If you’re going to be shaving, it’ll help to also improve your body. After all, if you’re removing the hair, you might as well reveal more of your body and make that body worth revealing.

So, should guys shave their body? For me, the answer is yes. It also seems to be the consensus of popular culture as well.

It’s Time To Start Tanning

sun coming through treesIt’s finally past April 15th and it’s time for a little excitement. No, I’m not talking about the deadline for filing taxes and the relief completing that can sometimes bring.

I’m referring to the fact that it’s now possible to make Vitamin D in the United States again.

So, it’s time to start thinking about going out and getting some of that sunshine and making Vitamin D. Here are few of our tips to make tanning a little easier and more fun. We’ve also written a few tanning tips for men you might like from our other website.

First, try to find fun places to tan. It could be the beach, parks, or anywhere you can relax and meditate while tanning. However, sometimes people prefer a more private setting. I find that a trampoline is a good place to tan. It’s away from bugs and with the netting is somewhat private.

Second, make sure to not overdo it. Tanning can actually be addictive for some people. But, don’t fall into that trap because tanning too much is really bad for the skin. You can always tell people who tan way too much. Their faces have a leathery look and they wrinkle prematurely.

Finally, keep your face protected. You face receives a lot more sun typically than the rest of your body. In other words, during your official tanning times you’re exposing your face to more harm than good. So, even when you’re out tanning, try to use sunblock or at least screen.

Now that it’s time to start tanning, I hope these tips were helpful.

The Dating Game Can Be Tough

heartThe dating game certainly isn’t easy for those of you actively involved in it. This is true at whatever age. While humans don’t have a mating ritual like animals (a dance, etc.), we still do have our fair share of rituals that confuse and frustrate people.

It’s why dating tips for men is a highly searched term on Google! But, women have similar problems. It’s a problem that plagues the majority of people.

The dating game can be very tough, let me tell you. When I was younger, I found it very frustrating because I watched as other guys “had all the luck.” Granted, they behaved differently than I did. But, it obviously had to be luck. The reality of course is different.

Just like star athletes are better at their sports than the rest of us, so others are better at the dating game. For a guy, succeeding typically involves being powerful, strong, and confident. For a woman, it involves being open to interaction, flirty, and feminine.

Some people try to get around these rules by trying online dating. However, there are lots of problems with online dating too that many people don’t even realize. Online dating is a great way to meet other people. But, it can’t change your ability, or lack of it, to get dates and keep relationships.

So, my best advice to succeed at the dating game is to follow the gender specific advice above, but also to keep trying. Approach lots of new people. Don’t be afraid to take risks. If you like someone ask for her number. And, finally, don’t be attached. Relax and take it easy. Life’s too short to turn something great (love) into something miserable.

The Value Of Youth

young girl playingWe live in a very youth oriented culture. Whether this is a good or bad thing can be debated, but you can’t deny that it’s true. Just have a look at all the different products and gimmicks out there for creating a younger look.

The market is saturated with facial creams, miracle supplements, and weight loss products, all of which are aimed at making people look younger. In addition, there are various books and other products that have the sole purpose of teaching people how to look younger at a supposedly reasonable price.

It’s evolutionary in many ways since the valued attraction traits for humans mostly occur when we’re young: six pack abs, raw beauty, athleticism and strength.

So, if you are getting up there in age, you can take comfort in the fact that, at least with attitude, sixty is supposedly the new forty (and I guess that makes forty the new twenty). But, even if you have the best attitude in the entire world, if you look seventy when you’re sixty, it’s not a good thing!

So, when thinking about your eating habits, fitness goals, and overall health, it’s always important to consider the value society places on youth. While looking younger shouldn’t be your main concern (and neither should conforming to society), if you want to be considered beautiful and popular, you’ll at least have to keep in mind the youthfulness connection.

So, we hope you enjoy your Friday! Don’t be depressed about being older. Knowing how to look younger isn’t necessarily that difficult. We have lots of tips on this blog and on some of our companion blog. Live and think young and best of luck in doing it!