Good Reads about Nutrition


Just came across this one , posting just a few links :


Just found this one . Here lots and lots of various nutritional questions are being answered by a professional nutritionist ( yes , in connection with cancer , but the answers are interesting for healthy people as well )

The nutrition experts at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center will help you follow a healthy diet during and after your cancer treatment. They have special training in oncology and nutrition, and base their advice on scientifically sound nutrition research.

Here is an interesting opinion on the validity of animal research as a starting point for humans :

What constitutes “scientific evidence” is always a topic of debate. There is a lot of confusion surrounding animal versus human studies, and it is important to understand how these two different types of research differ.

Animal studies are often a great and telling starting point for human research, but animal research is not a perfect model for the human body. Research is often conducted with animal models prior to human models to determine if a human trial would be safe. However, there are a multitude of variables that could make scientific findings in an animal model ineffective in a human model. While animal research can provide some helpful preliminary findings, research conducted in animals cannot give us conclusive findings regarding humans.

As long as a study does not indicate harm, we are supportive of research that shows new effects of food and nutrients. However, until research is conducted in humans, we cannot be completely sure that these findings will translate beyond the animal model.

And on the controversial health claims of Alkaline Water :

There is no scientific evidence that alkaline water helps treat or prevent any type of cancer. It is most likely not harmful but it may be expensive. Water alkalizing systems and bottled alkaline water can be pricey and may not be necessary to purchase.

Drinking plain filtered or tap water is the best option and staying hydrated is important for overall health

And this one on protein in a vegetarian diet :

Vegetarians typically eat a plant-based diet, but do not abstain from non-meat animal products, including milk, cheese, and eggs and sometimes fish. And in terms of protein, that provides you with a ton of flexibility.

First off, most people are overly concerned about the amount of protein they get in the diet. The typical American eats more protein than the body needs, and in the end that just equates to excess calories that turn into fat


Recieved this newsletter from the Harvard Medical School . I will post it here as I have recieved it . If you feel to comment , or to disagree , please do so .

Nutrients that work together—and that you should eat together

Nutrition guidelines can make things look very cut and dry. They tell us to get this amount of that vitamin and that amount of this mineral. Separating out nutrients this way makes the guidelines relatively easy to understand. And this kind of thinking probably helps us avoid diseases of nutritional deficiency, such as scurvy (not enough vitamin C) or pellagra (not enough niacin).

But most nutrients don’t fly solo. They interact—sometimes they join forces, other times they cancel each other out. You have probably heard before that eating vitamin-rich foods is better for you than taking a vitamin supplement. One reason why this is true is that food contains a mixture of nutrients that interact with one another in each mouthful.

The following is a list of nutrients that work in pairs. It’s just a sampler, and far from a complete catalog. But hopefully it will help you when you’re choosing what to eat.

Vitamin D and calcium

Like most nutrients, calcium is mostly absorbed in the small intestine. Calcium is important because it strengthens bones, but the body often needs vitamin D’s assistance to absorb the nutrient. Vitamin D also has many other benefits throughout the body.

There’s debate these days about whether to raise the daily intake goal for vitamin D. Right now, the official nutrition guidelines recommend that adults get 1,000 milligrams (mg) of calcium and 400 international units (IU) of vitamin D daily. For older adults, the recommended daily allowance is a bit higher: 1,200 mg of calcium starting in your 50s, and 600 IU of vitamin D starting in your 70s.

To give you an idea of how much that is, an 8-ounce glass of milk contains 300 mg of calcium and, because of fortification, 100 IU of vitamin D.

Sodium and potassium

Sodium is one essential nutrient that most Americans consume more of each day than they need (mostly in the form of salt).

Excess sodium interferes with the natural ability of blood vessels to relax and expand, increasing blood pressure—and increasing the chances of having a stroke or heart attack.

But potassium encourages the kidneys to excrete sodium. Many studies have shown a connection between high potassium intake and lower, healthier blood pressure. According to the current guidelines, adults are supposed to get 4,700 mg of potassium and 1,200 mg to 1,500 mg of sodium daily.

To meet these criteria, you need to follow general healthy eating guidelines. To increase potassium intake, load up on fruits and vegetables. To decrease sodium intake, cut back on cookies, salty snacks, fast foods, and ready-made lunches and dinners.

Vitamin B12 and folate

Vitamin B12 and folate (also one of the eight B vitamins) form one of nutrition’s best couples. B12 helps the body absorb folate, and the two work together to support cell division and replication, which allow the body to replace cells that die. This process is important during times of growth in childhood, and throughout the body of adults as well. Cells that line the stomach and the cells of the hair follicle, for example, divide and replicate often.

Good food sources of vitamin B12 include:

• meat

• eggs

• milk

Natural sources of folate include:

• leafy green vegetables

• beans

• other legumes

Nutrition guidelines recommend 2.4 micrograms of B12 and 400 micrograms of folate daily. This can usually be achieved easily by eating a reasonably well-balanced diet.

However, vegans—people who don’t eat meat and other animal-based products—may have B12 deficiencies. And people who eat poorly or drink too much alcohol may have folate deficiencies.

Folate deficiencies can be corrected with multivitamins or folic acid pills. For a B12 deficiency, you can get injections every few months or take a pill daily.

Deficiency in either or both vitamins may cause a form of anemia called macrocytic anemia. B12 deficiencies can also cause mild tingling sensations and memory loss.

Zinc and copper

Copper and zinc don’t work together—they actually compete for places to be absorbed in the small intestine. If there’s a lot of zinc around, copper tends to lose out and a copper deficiency may develop.

One way the knowledge of the copper-zinc interaction has been put into practice is in treating people with an eye condition called macular degeneration. Some people with the condition are prescribed a special vitamin-mineral combination, called AREDS. The combination has been shown to slow down progression of the disease, which can cause blindness. The AREDS pills include 80 mg of zinc, enough to cause a copper deficiency, so 2 mg of copper were added to the pills.

Niacin and tryptophan

Niacin is one of the B vitamins, although it rarely goes by its B-vitamin moniker, B3. The daily niacin requirement is 16 mg for men and 14 mg for women. Niacin deficiency causes pellagra, a disease that causes a bad rash, diarrhea, and dementia. Tryptophan, an amino acid, is a source of niacin. So one way to avoid niacin shortfalls is to eat foods that contain a lot of tryptophan, including chicken and turkey


That really depends on your location. In many places the tap water contains contaminants in large enough amounts that you wouldn’t want to be drinking it long term.


Drinking plain filtered or tap water is the best option and staying hydrated is important for overall health

is a quote from the website itself , an answer formulated the nutritionist .

Yes , it raises some questions when one just mentions tap water , and at the same time gives no warnings for some particular locations .


Found this on the website of

a general introduction to amino acids :

Protein and Amino Acids - The Building Blocks

Did you know that protein is a major component of not only your muscles, but also your skin, hair, eyes, and internal organs? Its true. Protein is a constituent part of many of the tissues in your body and accounts for up to 20% of your body weight. We need protein for both growth and maintenance of body tissue.

What are Protein molecules composed of?

One way to answer the question is to say that protein molecules are composed of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen. However, protein can also be broken down into amino acids.

There are twenty standard amino acids and, of these, nine are considered to be essential. That is, they must be obtained from external food sources. The essential amino acids are as follows:

The remaining eleven amino acids are called non-essential as they can be produced internally by the body. The non-essential amino acids are:
•Glutamic acid
•Aspartic acid
Although amino acids are available in all foods, they are, of course, more abundant in protein-rich foods. Complete sources of protein are those foods that contain both essential and non-esssential amino acids. Complete protein may be obtained from animal sources, including beef, chicken, lamb, turkey, as well as animal by-products such as milk, eggs, and cheese.
There are also many vegetables that have adequate amounts of the essential amino acids though they may be low when compared to animal sources. Vegetables are typically lower in protein than animal based products. They are sometimes referred to as low quality protein.

Do Vegetarians and Vegans Receive Enough Protein?

Just because a person is a vegetarian or a vegan doesn’t mean that their diet is necessarily lacking in protein. It’s quite possible to meet the minimum daily protein requirements through such dietary lifestyles. In fact, many plant sources contain adequate amounts of protein. A few sources of vegetarian and vegan protein are nuts, beans, and whole grain. Achieving a well-balanced vegetarian or vegan diet can ensure that you receive all the protein your body needs.

Protein Requirements

A number of institutions such as the World Health Organization have conducted independent studies to determine the amount of protein people need. They all conclude that the average daily protein requirement should be between 10% to 15% of our daily calorie intake.

Can you consume too much protein?

There is evidence that indicates that individuals who consume excessive amounts of protein may excrete excess calcium in their urine. This can increase the risk of osteoporosis. Excessive protein consumption can also result in impaired kidney function. Finally, researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found evidence to suggest that eating less protein can possibly protect us against certain cancers that are not directly associated with obesity.

Make Healthy Choices

The bottom line is to get a good mix of proteins in your diet. If your protein intake is derived largely from animal sources, read the labels and choose lean cut meat. The key, of course, is to make healthy food choices. Eating a wide variety of foods will ensure you that you are receiving all the amino acids and protein that you need.


Well , the body of the post is too long for what I wanted to post here , so I will look next day(s) where I could post it as one complete text online . It is some text about some amino acids in particular from Vitaminstuff , that I had saved on my laptop , but doesnot have a URL page ( anymore ) . Another option is that I will be posting from day to day some parts of this text .


I had quite a fun , going terribly off topic on my blog , but I will make an effort to post a series in bits and pieces on supplementation with amino acids . It is a very big file coming from Vitaminstuff , downloaded on my laptop . It was much too big to post it here on the forum in one go . Could not find an URL from Vitaminstuff back again for this information .

The series will be about the following amino acids :

Alanine …

Arginine …

Aspartic Acid …

Carnitine …

Carnosine …


Cystine …

Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid ( GABA )

Glutamic Acid …

Glutamine …

Glutathione …

Glycine …

Histidine …

Isoleucine …

Lysine …

Methionine …

Ornithine …

Phenylalanine …

Will update later the other amino acids with their link :



While this is mostly true as those may make up the majority weight, they also contain Nitrogen and Sulfur, and saying proteins can be broken down into amino acids is redundant, as proteins are composed of amino acids.


This is a very interesting article explaining why the health benefits of Vitamin E in the Tocotrienol form might be better than Vitamin E in the Tocopherol form

Certain members of the vitamin E family of nutrients called “tocotrienols” are emerging as having additional health benefits over “conventional” vitamin E family members, the tocopherols. Both tocotrienols and tocopherols are antioxidants, but only tocotrienols have been shown to reduce cholesterol, inhibit certain cancers and manage diabetes. It is very exciting to know that some nutrients can actually reverse atherosclerosis by removing so-called “cholesterol deposits.” There has been some confusion about the various forms of vitamin E, so I have asked Dr. Barrie Tan to bring us up-to-date

Richard A. Passwater, Ph.D. interviews Dr. Barrie Tan ( B.S. Chemistry , Ph.D. Analytical Chemistry ) :

Whoa there, Professor Tan, that may be just a little too much biochemical nomenclature for some of our readers. Let’s use a figure to show the molecular structures and point out that the “ring-like” structure in the molecule can be thought of the “head” of the molecule and the fairly straight chain of atoms coming from this ring (head) can be thought of as the “tail” of the molecule. (please see figure 2)

Figure 2: Molecular structures of tocotrienol and tocopherol.

Yes, the chromanol head of tocopherols and tocotrienols is the same, and hence they are both good antioxidants. On a molecular level, tocopherols and tocotrienols differ because of their lipid-soluble tails. Tocopherol has a longer saturated phytyl tail, embedding it in cell membranes and causing it to be less mobile. Tocotrienol, on the other hand, has a shorter unsaturated (three double bonds) farnesyl tail that increases its mobility in cell membranes. The increased mobility of tocotrienols allows them to move faster and cover a larger area of the membrane.

** So, tocopherols, relative to tocotrienols, have a longer, stiffer tail that acts more like an anchor holding the molecule in place in the membrane, whereas, tocotrienols, relative to tocopherols, have a more flexible and shorter tail that acts more like a flipper that enables them to move around more in the membrane.**

Yes, I always like to illustrate this by giving the example of the local policeman versus a state trooper. In this example, tocopherol is the local policeman (guarding city-wide), while tocotrienol is the state trooper (guarding state-wide). The bad guys are the free radicals. The local policeman and the state trooper both go after the bad guys, but the state trooper has a much greater area of jurisdiction than the local policeman, whose jurisdiction is confined to the town boundaries. In the same way, as antioxidants, both the tocopherol and tocotrienol go after the free radicals, but tocotrienol is anchored less deeply into the membrane and therefore, with its increased mobility, can hunt down free radicals across a much larger area. This concept is shown in the oft-quoted work of University of California/Berkeley’s Dr. Lester Packer, where tocotrienol is a 50 times more potent antioxidant than tocopherol.

While both tocotrienol and tocopherol are antioxidants, tocotrienol has added benefits, including cholesterol lowering, maintenance and reduction of triglyceride levels, and anti-cancer properties, to mention a few. Research is yielding that these features are unshared by tocopherols.

We will go over the benefits of tocotrienol in detail later, and we will also cover how alpha-tocopherol might interfere with tocotrienol’s beneficial effects. Tell us a little bit more about the different isomers of tocotrienol.

In addition to its shorter tail, the substitution of methyl groups on the chromanol head of the tocotrienol molecule also plays an important role in its efficiency. Tocotrienol isomers (as well as tocopherol isomers) are designated by the substitution of methyl groups on the chromanol head. If the chromanol head contains three methyl substitutes (trimethylated) at position C-5, -7, and -8, we have alpha-tocotrienol. Substitution with two methyl groups (dimethylated) is either beta-tocotrienol (substitution at position C-5 and -8) or gamma-tocotrienol (substitution at position C-7 and -8). Delta-tocotrienol has only one methyl group (monomethylated) at position C-8. In general, less methylated tocotrienols are more active than fully methylated tocotrienols, especially when C-5 is left vacant or unsubstituted. Most recent studies show that delta- and gamma-tocotrienol, which I have collectively named “desmethyl tocotrienols” (Des T3) (5), are the most potent in their effects. This is most likely due to the lack of stearic hindrance with less methylated tocotrienols, which allows them to penetrate deeper into damaged membrane, and at the same time regenerate (or recharge) the spent (or oxidized) tocotrienol faster (or efficiently). Translated, desmethyl tocotrienols can have easier access to action, and treat damaged membranes faster.

** What are some sources of tocotrienol, and what is the composition of these sources?**

Some of the more readily available sources of tocotrienol in the diet include oils and fats, grains (such as barley, wheat and corn), certain fruits, nuts, meat and eggs. However, the percentages in these are quite small. To date, the major sources of tocotrienol are rice, palm and annatto. This is my rule of thumb: Rice is composed of 50% tocotrienol and 50% tocopherol, while palm contains about 75% tocotrienol and 25% tocopherol. Annatto is the only known source containing 100% tocotrienol without tocopherol (see Figure 3).

Bold letter emphasis in quoted text above , is mine

The complete interview by Dr. Passwater with Dr. Tan , can be read on

This article made me decide ( years ago ) to use Red Palm Oil ( almost daily ) : the Vitamin E in it , is 75 % as Vitamin E in the tocotrienol form


Found a few lines on Vitamin E in the tocotrienol form on this article

point 1.6 Formulations and Variants

Tocotrienols can be transported in the blood, since their elevation in the blood following oral administration is present (and faster than tocopherols at an equal dose[32]) and they can be detected in serum platelets and adipose tissue following oral ingestion.[33][32][34] There also appears to be less efflux from tissues with tocotrienols (suggesting a greater reliance for loading and chronic effects),[35] but it is still possible for the benefits associated with tocotrienols seen in vitro to be overstated due to transportation issues.[35]

and also point 18.1 General

Tocotrienols could theoretically be a safer alternative than vitamin E in helping stop the spread of cancerous cells, since they possess higher bioactivity (thus needing a lower dose to exert the same effect) and accumulate in tissues and tumors rather than in the blood; these purported benefits are mostly hypothetical at this point in time, however, and more research is needed to confirm them.[426]

( bold letter emphasis in quoted text is mine )