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Vitamins for Hormone Health _Final

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>> Hi and welcome back. Now that you know all about macronutrients, that is fats and carbohydrates and proteins, in this section of the course, we are going to shift our focus to the small but mighty micronutrients. It's important to remember that with all types of nutrients, balance is the key. Do you know someone who seems to take more vitamins and supplements than they can count? Some people have a tendency to go overboard trying to consume as many nutrients as possible. Despite their healthy intentions, it's unwise to overdo any of these micronutrients, as this can actually be detrimental. In other words, there can be too much of a good thing when it comes to micronutrients. There are five categories of micronutrients. Vitamins, minerals, trace elements, phytochemicals, and antioxidants. We already discussed phytochemicals and antioxidants back when we covered plant proteins. So let's start with vitamins in this lecture and take a look at how they impact hormones. Vitamins are chemical compounds the body needs for metabolic and DNA functions but cannot create itself. There are 13 recognized vitamins. Vitamin A, the B vitamins including B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9 and B12, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K. Starting from the top of the alphabet, we'll take a look at all of them. You ready? Let's begin with vitamin A, which you can think of as the vision vitamin because it plays a critical role in maintaining healthy eyes. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin. It comes in two main forms. Retinol, which is the pre-formed type found primarily in animal liver and egg yolks. And beta-carotene, a vitamin A precursor found mainly in fruits and vegetables. In addition to supporting vision, vitamin A plays a role in immune function, in reproduction, particularly full-term pregnancy and proper development of the fetus, and in cell growth and differentiation. Beta-carotene must be converted into retinol in order to be used by the body, but this conversion process isn't very efficient. This is why animal sources of vitamin A are much more available for use by the body. This isn't to say that fruits and vegetables like sweet potatoes and carrots and spinach aren't great sources but they aren't as bio-available, meaning you would have to eat a lot more of these vegetables to get the same retinol you'd get from animal sources of vitamin A. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding require more vitamin A than men or non-pregnant women, and should consult their doctors for proper dosage. Studies have shown that vitamin A supplementation can positively impact thyroid function. Vitamin A also plays a role in balancing estrogen levels to maintain appropriate uterine wall thickness. Vitamin A deficiency has been linked to heavy periods. So for your clients who have compromised thyroids or heavy periods, taking a look at adding some vitamin A to their diet may be helpful. Now let's talk about the B complex of vitamins. You can think of these as the energy vitamins because one of their main roles is to convert food into fuel. There are eight B vitamins which share some common functions. Let's look at these shared similarities first. Vitamins B6, B12, and B9, otherwise known as folate, play an important role in keeping estrogen levels in check. What this means is that women who aren't getting enough of these B vitamins may develop increased levels of circulating estrogens. This can lead to estrogen dominance and conditions such as PMS, menstrual migraines, and painful heavy or long periods. Many of the B vitamins, as well as vitamin C, magnesium, and zinc, are used to help our bodies respond to stress. They help us produce hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, which are necessary for effectively handling stressful situations. B vitamins are also used to make neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, which support happy moods. This is an important component of cognitive functioning. So in general, you want to remember that B vitamins play a critical role in estrogen regulation, stress response, and cognitive functioning. Now let's take a closer look at each of the eight individual B vitamins and what they can do. Vitamin B1, also known as thiamine, is highly involved in energy metabolism. It influences the growth development and function of cells. Thiamine is found in meat, fish, and grains. It's also frequently added to many foods as a supplement. Thiamine is water soluble, so there's no maximum dose. This means that all the extra thiamine goes out in the urine. There's no harm in taking more than the recommended daily dose but there's no benefit either. A deficiency of this vitamin has been correlated with higher incidence of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Vitamin B2 or riboflavin is involved in energy production, cellular function growth and development, and metabolism of fats, drugs, and steroids. It's found most commonly in eggs, organ meats like kidneys and liver, lean meats, and milk. It's also supplemented in a lot of foods. In addition to dietary sources, bacteria in the large intestine produce free riboflavin that can be absorbed by the body for use. So luckily, it's hard to be deficient. However, people with thyroid hormone imbalances are at risk for riboflavin deficiency. This appears to be due to a deficiency in thyroxin or T4 which is responsible for converting riboflavin into its active form in the body. Vitamin B3 or niacin is involved in many cellular processes throughout the body as well as DNA repair. It's found in liver, fish, and whole grain foods, and is also frequently added to foods as a supplement. Niacin affects growth hormone and cortisol increasing their levels to encourage the formation of ketones from fat. Ketones are the preferred food of the brain, heart, and muscles. Additionally, niacin can be used to lower cholesterol. Vitamin B5 or pantothenic acid is essential to all forms of life. It's involved in nearly every cellular function in the body. It's common in foods of both plant and animal origin, and dietary deficiency is thankfully very rare. The highest levels of B5 are found in animal organs like liver and kidney, and in fish, shellfish, milk products, eggs, avocados, legumes, mushrooms, and sweet potatoes. B5 supplementation has been shown to increase levels of adrenal steroid hormones and progesterone. This could be helpful for clients who have low progesterone and/or adrenal fatigue. While deficiency again is rare, it can be associated with severe vitamin D deficiency and a proinflammatory state associated with autoimmunity. Vitamin B6 or pyridoxine is involved in protein synthesis, the process in which cells build new proteins. Additionally, it's involved in the production of neurotransmitters and in the maintenance of homocysteine levels. The richest sources of Vitamin B6 include fish, beef liver and other organ meats, starchy vegetables, and fruits but not citrus. There's some promising evidence that doses of up to 100 milligrams a day of Vitamin B6 can have a beneficial impact on premenstrual syndrome, including premenstrual depression. So you want to make sure that your clients who suffer from PMS or PMDD are getting an adequate amount of B6. Vitamin B7 or biotin is a necessary piece of the puzzle in a group of metabolic processes that are involved with generating energy from fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Egg yolk, liver, and yeast are rich sources of biotin, as well as some vegetables. Biotin can be rapidly depleted during pregnancy, malnutrition, and sudden weight loss, resulting in hair loss, brittle nails, skin rash, and mild depression. Clients who are pregnant or rapidly losing weight will want to be sure to get enough B7. Please keep in mind though that biotin supplementation may interfere with the accuracy of thyroid hormone testing. Vitamin B9, AKA folate or folic acid, is required for DNA synthesis and repair. It's also essential during pregnancy for the formation of the nervous system of the fetus. Now folic acid refers to the synthetic compound that's used in dietary supplements and food fortification, whereas folate refers to the various derivatives naturally found in food. Dark leafy green vegetables and beans like lentils and garbanzos are good sources of this vitamin. Folate is a key factor in a process called methylation, which is a complex biochemical process that takes place in every cell in our body about a billion times a second. It is critical to survival and well-being and is responsible for the creation of important substances like glutathione, myelin, coenzyme Q10, carnitine and creatine. The methylation process is impaired by the MTHFR genetic abnormality that we discussed earlier in this course. Folic acid supplementation isn't effective for people with this genetic mutation because the body has difficulty breaking it down into a usable form. This can be particularly problematic for pregnant women who may be unable to use folic acid as folate for development of the fetus and in the placenta. Especially for those with the MTHFR mutation, methyl foliate is the recommended supplement. Finally, folate may increase progesterone in premenopausal women, decreasing the risk of infertility. So in summary, folate is a crucial component of women's overall and reproductive health. Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is required for proper red blood cell formation, neurological function, and DNA synthesis. Good sources of it include fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk, and milk products. It's generally not present in plant foods and must be supplemented for vegans. B12 is bound to protein in food and is released by digestion in the stomach which requires a normal level of acid. Stomach acid is decreased in people who take medication for acid reflux. So make sure you ask your clients if they're on a medication like that. If they are, they could be at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency. There are a few different types of B12 supplements, the most popular being cyanocobalamin. However, this one is not recommended because it's a synthetic form of B12, and it's not easily utilized by the body. Another type of B12 is methylcobalamin, which is already activated and does not require the body to convert it into a usable form. There are sublingual, drop, and spray options that may help it to be better absorbed for clients who have gut health or absorption issues. Clients with hypothyroidism may be at an increased risk for B12 deficiency, although the mechanism responsible for this hasn't been identified yet. But B12 deficiency appears to exacerbate the symptoms of hypothyroidism, and symptoms have been shown to improve when B12 is supplemented. So as you can see, this is one big feedback loop where thyroid function affects B12 levels, and B12 levels in turn affect the thyroid function. Now let's move on to Vitamin C or ascorbic acid. You can think of this one as the repair vitamin because of its role in tissue repair and healing. Vitamin C is involved in protein metabolism, and it's required for the production of collagen, L-carnitine, and certain neurotransmitters. Collagen is an essential component of connective tissue, which plays a vital role in wound healing. Vitamin C also acts as an important antioxidant and has been shown to regenerate other antioxidants within the body, including vitamin E. It's found in citrus fruits, tomatoes, and potatoes, as well as red and green peppers, kiwi, broccoli, strawberries, Brussels sprouts, and cantaloupe. Multiple studies have shown that vitamin C helps to increase the production of progesterone. It may even increase estrogen, although further research is needed here. All of this may contribute to improving menstrual cycle function and fertility. Vitamin C is also important to the function of the adrenals which require and store large amounts of it to maintain their function. When the body is stressed, vitamin C is released from the adrenal cortex. This may be why vitamin C supplements can be helpful for clients experiencing chronic stress. Now let's talk about vitamin D which actually has two forms, D2 or ergocalciferol and D3 or cholecalciferol. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that acts more like a hormone than a typical vitamin. In fact, it's the only vitamin that's produced by the body. Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption in the gut and maintains adequate calcium concentrations, which in turn promotes healthy bones. Without sufficient vitamin D, bones can become thin, brittle, or misshapen. Together with calcium, vitamin D also helps protect older adults from osteoporosis. Vitamin D is important for both men and women, but you can think of it as the period vitamin because of its important role in improving fertility, menstrual cycle regulation, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and premenstrual syndrome. In men, vitamin D is essential for the healthy development of sperm, and it helps maintain semen quality and sperm count. Vitamin D also increases testosterone levels, which boost libido. Vitamin D can be made by the skin upon exposure to sunlight. However, few people actually get enough sun exposure to maintain adequate levels. Those with darker skin are also less able to make it. It's not common in very many foods, although it is found in some fatty fish, including mackerel, salmon, and tuna. Supplementation should be with the D3 version and not the D2 version to ensure bio-availability. It's very important that your clients get their vitamin D levels tested to determine deficiency before supplementing. There's a vitamin D receptor in the beta cells of the pancreas which secrete insulin. This implies that vitamin D influences both insulin secretion and sensitivity. The active form of vitamin D has also been identified as having an important function in maintaining the immune system. This has been shown to extend to improving autoimmune problems such as Hashimoto's thyroiditis. Vitamin E, also known as tocopherol, is also a fat-soluble vitamin. Alpha tocopherol, one of the active forms is a powerful antioxidant helping to protect cells from stress. It may also help to strengthen immunity. Plant seeds, especially, sunflower seeds, almonds, and hazelnuts are rich sources of tocopherol, and so is olive oil. Other sources include tomato, avocado, spinach, asparagus, Swiss chard, and broccoli. The efficiency of vitamin E absorption increases with the amount of fat in the food. So vitamin E absorption from supplements is likely to be poor when taken alongside low-fat meals. Clients looking to get more vitamin E through supplementation will want to maximize their dose by taking it alongside a meal containing healthy fats like avocado or olive oil. Vitamin E has also been shown to play a role in improving fertility in both men and women through its antioxidant effects on the cells that produce sperm and eggs. Vitamin K. Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that has two forms, K1 or phylloquinone and K2 or menaquinone. Vitamin K is essential to blood coagulation, bone metabolism, and prevention of calcification or hardening of the arteries. Vitamin K deficiency increases the risk of excessive bleeding or hemorrhage, which is why it's given to newborns to prevent bleeding into the skull. Phylloquinone or K1 is most commonly found in green leafy vegetables and broccoli. Menaquinone or K2 is usually found in animal livers and fermented foods. Deficiency is most commonly seen in people who don't eat leafy green vegetables and those with liver disease. Severe deficiency can result in hemorrhaging. The body has the ability to recycle it as it's used, so lapses in diet are well tolerated. Also in women, estrogen appears to have a protective effect against deficiency. Those taking Coumadin, the common prescription drug used to prevent clotting, should avoid foods rich in vitamin K as it blocks the action of that drug. Vitamin K is known to impact hormones in two ways. First, a protein called osteocalcin is dependent on Vitamin K, and it appears to have several beneficial effects on the body, including improving insulin sensitivity and reducing insulin spikes after a meal. Second, menaquinone may increase testosterone. Okay, that wraps up this lecture on the 13 recognized vitamins. To recap, we covered vitamin A, the eight B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K. We covered their dosages and their impact on our overall health and on our hormonal health. I know that was a lot of information, but don't worry, you don't have to memorize it. To help you out, we've created a handout called Micronutrients for Optimal Client Health that summarizes all of these important details. Go check that one out. So do you take any vitamins or supplements? Which ones? Why do you take them? Head on over to Facebook group and let us know. While you're there, please don't hesitate to let us know what stood out to you and what questions you have. We would love to hear your thoughts and your feedback. Thank you so much for watching. I'll see you again soon.

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Duration: 17 minutes and 25 seconds
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Language: English
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Posted by: ninaz on Mar 25, 2018

Vitamins for Hormone Health _Final

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