4 SUPPLEMENTS that could change how you feel

VITAMIN K2

Most people have never heard of vitamin K2.  To date, this vitamin is rare in the Western diet and hasn’t received much mainstream attention.  However, this powerful nutrient plays an essential role in many aspects of your health. In fact, vitamin K2 may be the missing link between diet and several chronic diseases.

What Is Vitamin K?

Vitamin K was discovered in 1929 as an essential nutrient for blood coagulation (blood clotting).  The initial discovery was reported in a German scientific journal, where it was called “Koagulationsvitamin” — which is where the “K” comes from.

It was also discovered by the dentist Weston Price, who travelled the world in the early 20th century studying the relationship between diet and disease in different populations.  He found that the non-industrial diets were high in some unidentified nutrient, which seemed to provide protection against tooth decay and chronic disease.  He referred to this mystery nutrient as “activator X,” which is now believed to have been vitamin K2.

There are 2 forms of vitamin K:

  • Vitamin K1 (phylloquinone): Found in plant foods like leafy greens.
  • Vitamin K2 (menaquinone): Found in animal foods and fermented foods.

Vitamin K activates proteins that play a role in blood clotting, calcium metabolism and heart health.  One of its most important functions is to regulate  calcium deposits.  Some scientists have suggested that the roles of vitamins K1 and K2 are quite different, and many feel that they should be classified as separate nutrients altogether.

This idea is supported by an animal study showing that vitamin K2 (MK-4) reduced blood vessel calcification whereas vitamin K1 did not.  Controlled studies in people also observe that vitamin K2 supplements generally improve bone and heart health, while vitamin K1 has no significant benefits.

However, more human studies are needed before the functional differences between vitamins K1 and K2 can be fully understood.

BIOTIN

Also known as vitamin H, biotin is one of the B complex vitamins that help the body convert food into energy.

The word “biotin” comes from the ancient Greek word “biotos,” which means “life” or “sustenance.” Vitamin B, and specifically biotin, help keep your skin, hair eyes, liver healthy. 

Most people get the biotin they need from eating a healthy diet, but there have been many claims that getting more biotin can regulate your blood sugar, promote healthy hair, skin, and nails, and help pregnant moms have healthier babies.

Because it’s water-soluble, extra biotin will simply pass through your body when you urinate. While most people can handle biotin supplements, some people report mild side effects such as nausea.  There are no known toxicity symptoms associated with too much biotin.

Biotin can also be found in a number of foods, including:

  • egg yolk
  • nuts, like almonds, peanuts, pecans, and walnuts
  • nut butter
  • soybeans and other legumes
  • whole grains and cereals
  • cauliflower
  • bananas 
  • mushrooms

Because food-processing techniques like cooking can render biotin ineffective, raw or less-processed versions of these foods contain more active biotin.  It’s always best to get nutrients from natural sources

ROYAL JELLY

Royal jelly is a milky secretion produced by worker honeybees. It typically contains about 60% to 70% water, 12% to 15% proteins, 10% to 16% sugar, 3% to 6% fats, and 2% to 3% vitamins, salts, and amino acids. Its composition varies depending on geography and climate.

This product gets its name from the fact that bees use it to nurture queen bees. Some people use royal jelly as medicine. Don't confuse royal jelly with bee pollen, beeswax, bee venom, or propolis.  Royal jelly is used for the menopause and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

How Does It Work?
There is very little scientific information available about the effects of royal jelly in people. In animals, royal jelly seems to have some activity against tumors and the development of "hardening of the arteries."

FOR DECADES, SCIENTISTS thought an excess of something special, a substance called royal jelly, elevated a regular honey bee larva to a queen. However, new reasearch suggests we had it backward: It's what future queens aren't fed that matters.

Royal jelly, which also is called "bee milk," looks like white snot. More than half of it is water, the rest is a combination of protein and sugar. Special glands in the heads of worker bees secrete the stuff, which gets fed to babies.

A developing queen bee is fed royal jelly exclusively—not pollen and honey like her proletarian sisters. Some describe withholding royal jelly from worker bees as nutritional castration. These bees don't get the special Food of the Gods. Or, perhaps, food of genetic monarchies.  It turns out, it's the other way around. Not feeding an immature queen pollen and honey is what makes her royal, not her exclusive access to royal jelly.

The Benefits of Royal Jelly

  1. Anti-aging and wrinkle reducer
  2. Skin and wound healing properties (heals acne, scars, cuts, and wounds)
  3. Anti-inflammatory
  4. Antibiotic components
  5. Cholesterol-lowering
  6. Boosts fertility
  7. Antibacterial agents
  8. Cancer Preventative
  9. Contains complex B vitamins, amino acids, fatty acids, minerals, and enzymes.

SEA BUCKTHORN

Sea buckthorn is a shrub native to China and areas of Europe. It contains many medicinal compounds, as well as nutrients that include:

  • Vitamins
  • Amino acids
  • Fatty acids
  • Minerals

The leaves, flowers, seeds, and berries of sea buckthorn are used in teas, oils, or concentrates for a wide variety of health issues.

Why Do People Take Sea Buckthorn?

For hundreds of years, sea buckthorn has been used in Russia and China for its medical and nutritional qualities.

Sea buckthorn is thought to remove free radicals -- molecules that can damage cells. Most scientific evidence is from animal studies. Though not proven in human clinical trials, people say they take sea buckthorn specifically to try to:

  • Treat stomach or intestinal problems
  • Improve blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Prevent or manage blood vessel or heart disease
  • Complement cancer treatment
  • Boost immunity and prevent infections
  • Treat obesity
  • Improve symptoms of cirrhosis
  • Improve eyesight or dry eyes
  • Treat respiratory problems such as colds and pneumonia

There isn't enough evidence to confirm that sea buckthorn works for most of these health problems. But there is some limited research showing it might be helpful for:

  • Dry eyes
  • Atopic dermatitis

In animal studies, sea buckthorn has also shown some promise in slowing the growth of tumors and ulcers. But more studies are needed.

Can you get it naturally from a food source?

Sea buckthorn fruit or fruit juice can be found in certain jellies, juices, purees, sauces, drinks, and liquors. People do not usually eat the berries raw because they are acidic. The amount of sea buckthorn used in food is typically much less than that used for medicinal purposes.