Monthly Archives: October 2012

The Herbs of Smoothie Essentials: Vitamin K

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Add a boost with our Women’s Blend, featuring Vitamin K.

Vitamin K1[1][2] is a group of structurally similar, fat soluble vitamins that are needed for the posttranslational modification of certain proteins required for blood coagulation and in metabolic pathways in bone and other tissue. They are 2-methyl-1,4-naphthoquinone (3-)derivatives. This group of vitamins includes two natural vitamers: vitamin K1 and vitamin K2.[3]

Vitamin K1 is also known as vitamin Kj, phylloquinone or phytomenadione (also called phytonadione). Vitamin K1 is required for blood coagulation and is synthesized by plants, is found in green leafy vegetables, and can be found in soybean oil.

Vitamin K2 is involved in bone metabolism. Vitamin K2 homologs (menaquinones) are characterized by the number of isoprenoid residues comprising the side chain. Menaquinones are abbreviated MK-n, where n represents the number of isoprenoid side chains. Thus, menaquinone-4 abbreviated MK-4, has 4 isoprene residues in the side chain. Bacteria can produce a range of vitamin K2 forms, including the conversion of K1 to K2 (MK-7) by bacteria in the small intestines. No known toxicity exists for vitamins K1 and K2.

Three synthetic types of vitamin K are known: vitamins K3, K4, and K5. Although the natural K1 and K2 forms are nontoxic, the synthetic form K3(menadione) has shown toxicity.[1]

Vitamin K was identified in 1929 by Danish scientist Henrik Dam when he investigated the role of cholesterol by feeding chickens a cholesterol-depleted diet.[2] After several weeks, the animals developed hemorrhages and started bleeding. These defects could not be restored by adding purified cholesterol to the diet. It appeared that—together with the cholesterol—a second compound had been extracted from the food, and this compound was called the coagulation vitamin. The new vitamin received the letter K because the initial discoveries were reported in a German journal, in which it was designated as Koagulationsvitamin.

Vitamin K1 is found chiefly in leafy green vegetables such as spinach, swiss chard, and Brassica (e.g. cabbage, kale, cauliflower, broccoli, and brussels sprouts); some fruits such as avocado, kiwifruit and grapes are also high in vitamin K.

[1] Natural Health Products Ingredients Database – Vitamin K1: http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/ingredReq.do?id=11665&lang=eng

[2] Wikipedia – Vitamin K: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_K

[3] Health Canada. Product Licensing. Compendium of Monographs: Multivitamin: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/prodnatur/applications/licen-prod/monograph/multi_vitmin_suppl-eng.php

The Herbs of Smoothie Essentials: Barley Grass

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Add a boost with Green Blend, featuring Barley Grass.

Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) [1][2] a member of the grass family, is a major cereal grain. Important uses include use as animal fodder, as a source of fermentable material for beer and certain distilled beverages, and as a component of various health foods. It is used in soups and stews, and in barley bread of various cultures. Barley grains are commonly made into malt in a traditional and ancient method of preparation.

In a 2007 ranking of cereal crops in the world, barley was fourth both in terms of quantity produced (136 million tons) and in area of cultivation (566,000 km²).[3]

Like wheat and rye, barley contains gluten, which makes it an unsuitable grain for consumption by those with celiac disease. [1]

Barley contains eight essential amino acids. [4][5] According to a
recent study, eating whole-grain barley can regulate blood sugar (i.e. reduce
blood glucose response to a meal) for up to 10 hours after consumption compared
to white or even whole-grain wheat, which have similar glycemic
indices.[36] The effect was attributed to colonic fermentation of indigestible carbohydrates.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barley

[2] Natural Health
Products Ingredients Database: http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/ingredReq.do?id=13118&lang=eng

[3] “FAOSTAT”. Food and
Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Retrieved 2009-05-18.

[4] Womens-health-symmetry.com

[5] Essentialfood.co.uk

The Herbs of Smoothie Essentials: Vitamin E

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Add a boost with our Antioxidant Blend, featuring Vitamin E.

Vitamin E[1] [2] is used to refer to a group of fat-soluble compounds that include both tocopherols and tocotrienols.[3] There are many different forms of vitamin E, of which γ-tocopherol is the most common in the North American diet. [4] γ-Tocopherol can be found in corn oil, soybean oil, margarine and dressings[5] α-Tocopherol, the most biologically active form of vitamin E, is the second most common form of vitamin E in the North American diet. This variant of vitamin E can be found most abundantly in wheat germ oil, sunflower, and safflower oils.[6] [7] It is a fat-soluble antioxidant that stops the production of reactive oxygen species formed when fat undergoes oxidation.[8] [9] [10]  National Health Products Licensing, Compendium of Monographs: Vitamin E[11]  [12] α-Tocopherol Approved in the EU.[13]

[1]   Natural Health Products Ingredients Database – Vitamin E:  http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/ingredReq.do?id=1690&lang=eng

[3]   Brigelius-Flohe, B; Traber (1999). “Vitamin E: function and metabolism”. FASEB 13: 1145–1155.   http://www.fasebj.org/content/13/10/1145.full

[4]  Traber, MG (1998). “The biological activity of vitamin E”. The Linus Pauling Institute. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/sp-su98/vitamine.html. Retrieved Mar 6, 2011.

[5] Brigelius-Flohé R, Traber MG (1 July 1999). “Vitamin E: function and metabolism”. FASEB J. 13 (10): 1145–55. PMID 10385606. http://www.fasebj.org/cgi/pmidlookup?view=long&pmid=10385606.

[6]  Brigelius-Flohé R, Traber MG (1 July 1999). “Vitamin E: function and metabolism”. FASEB J. 13 (10): 1145–55. PMID 10385606. http://www.fasebj.org/cgi/pmidlookup?view=long&pmid=10385606.

[7]  Reboul E, Richelle M, Perrot E, Desmoulins-Malezet C, Pirisi V, Borel P (2006 Nov 15). “Bioaccessibility of carotenoids and vitamin E from their main dietary sources”. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 54 (23): 8749–8755. doi:10.1021/jf061818s. PMID 17090117.

[8] · National Institute of Health (5/4/2009). “Vitamin E fact sheet”. http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminE.asp.

[9]  Herrera; Barbas, C (2001). “Vitamin E: action, metabolism and perspectives”. Journal of Physiology and Biochemistry 57 (2): 43–56. doi:10.1007/BF03179812. PMID 11579997.

[10]  Packer L, Weber SU, Rimbach G (February 2001). “Molecular aspects of α-tocotrienol antioxidant action and cell signalling”. Journal of Nutrition 131 (2): 369S–73S. PMID 11160563. http://jn.nutrition.org/cgi/content/full/131/2/369S.

[12] Brigelius-Flohé R, Traber MG (1 July 1999). “Vitamin E: function and metabolism”. FASEB J. 13 (10): 1145–55. PMID 10385606. http://www.fasebj.org/cgi/pmidlookup?view=long&pmid=10385606.

The Herbs of Smoothie Essentials: Echinacea

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Stay healthy and active with Immune Support Blend, featuring Echinacea

Echinacea [1][2] is a genus of herbaceous flowering plants in the daisy family, Asteraceae. The nine species it contains are commonly called purple coneflowers. They are endemic to eastern and central North America, where they are found growing in moist to dry prairies and open wooded areas. They have large, showy heads of composite flowers, blooming from early to late summer. The generic name is derived from the Greek word ἐχῖνος (echino), meaning “sea urchin,” due to the spiny central disk.

Recognized by the FDA as GRIN #: 14798 [3] National Health Products Licensing, Compendium of Monographs: Echinacea [4]

  • Traditionally used in Herbal Medicine to help relieve the symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections (Barnes et al. 2007, Blumenthal et al. 2000, Ellingwood 1983[1919], Felter and Lloyd 1983[1898], Grieve 1971[1931])
  • Traditionally used in Herbal Medicine to help relieve sore throats (Blumenthal et al. 2000, Moerman 1998)

A 2007 study by the University of Connecticut combined findings from 14 previously reported trials examining Echinacea and concluded that Echinacea can cut the chances of catching a cold by more than half, and shorten the duration of a cold by an average of 1.4 days.[2][5] However, Dr. Wallace Sampson, an editor of Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine and a Stanford University emeritus clinical professor of medicine, says that the referenced trials lack the similarities necessary to provide definitive results when combined into one report. “If you have studies that measure different things, there is no way to correct for that. These researchers tried, but you just can’t do it.”[6]

[1]Natural Health Products Ingredients Database – Echinacea: http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/ingredReq.do?id=6092&lang=eng

[2]Wikipedia – Echinacea: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Echinacea

[3]GRIN Echinacea: http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/taxon.pl?14798

[4]Health Canada. Product Licensing. Compendium of Monographs: Echinacea- http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpidbdipsn/monoReq.do?id=78&lang=eng

[5]Sachin A Shah, Stephen Sander, C Michael White, Mike Rinaldi, Craig I Coleman (July 2007). “Evaluation of echinacea for the prevention and treatment of the common cold: a meta-analysis”. The Lancet Infectious Diseases 7 (7): 473–480. doi:10.1016/S1473-3099(07)70160-3. ISSN 1473-3099. PMID 17597571

[6]Study: Echinacea Cuts Colds by Half WebMD Health News, June 26, 2007

Immune Support Blend