Originally published October 15 2008
Four Inexpensive Whole Food Supplements
by Barbara L. Minton
(NaturalNews) There is no denying that times are tough for everyone. Some people may be considering cutting back on the amount they spend for supplements, thinking that they really aren't seeing any results, so why keep buying them. This may be a good time to find out that all the nutrients needed for complete and perfect health can be found in some very low cost forms that provide perfect synergy between the nutrients, and extremely high bio-availability.
Isolated compounds vs. whole food supplements
Supplements made with isolated nutrients are probably the least effective way to present the body with what it needs. A multivitamin with many isolated ingredients crammed into a capsule is no better. It may be tempting to think that the supplement that is best is the one that delivers the highest milligram amount of a nutrient. But the reality is that a small amount of a nutrient in whole food form is many times more effective than a large dose in isolated form. As food forms of nutrients are slowly digested and absorbed, nutrients become available to be utilized over a period of several hours. Much of the large dose of an isolated nutrient is wasted because the body can only use a small amount at one time.
Here is a short list of whole food supplements that provide a wealth of nutrition at very reasonable cost. Because these are whole foods rather than isolated compounds, they can be consumed depending on need in different circumstances. If the plan is to engage in strenuous mental or physical exercise, these supplements can be taken at the beginning, during breaks to keep the endurance level up, and as replenishment at the end of the exercise routine. Anyone who has a shelf full of expensive isolated compounds can replace most of them with some of these inexpensive whole food choices.
Bee pollen is an energy enhancer and restorative tonic. It is used around the world to improve vitality and endurance, aid recovery from chronic illness, promote longevity, regulate intestinal functioning, boost blood, prevent infection, alleviate menstrual cramps, promote fertility, vanquish depression and fatigue, treat migraine headaches, normalize cholesterol levels, help children overcome developmental problems, and prevent and treat cancer.
Bee pollen has more protein than any animal source per equal weight, and contains more free-form amino acids than beef, eggs or cheese of equal weight. The protein is highly digestible and absorbable, rendering much more nutritive value than equal amounts of animal protein. It contains an abundance of carotenoids, including lycopene, zeaxanthin and beta carotene that the body will convert to vitamin A as needed. It also contains the complete vitamin B complex including folate, biotin, choline and inositol. It has vitamin C, vitamin D, the complete vitamin E complex, and vitamin K. It is rich in trace minerals including iodine, and macro minerals including selenium. It contains bioflavonoids and natural sugars. Its fatty acid profile is impressive and includes caproic, capric, myristic, palmitoleic, oleic, linoleic, arachidic, and eicosanoic, depending on the source of the pollen.
All known enzymes and co-enzymes are contained in bee pollen, along with gums, starch, sucrose, glucose, waxes, resins, steroids, growth factors, growth isorhanetin, nuclein, amines, quercitin, nucleic acids such as RNA and DNA, phenolic acids, tarpenes, and many other as yet unidentified nutrients. Its amino acid profile is also impressive and includes tryptophan, leucine, lysine, isoleucine, methionine, cystine, arginine, phenylalanine, histidine, valine, glutamic acid, tryrosine, glycine, serine, proline and alanine.
Each ounce of bee pollen contains 28 calories, 7 grams of carbohydrate, and is 15% lecithin and 25% pure protein.
Most bee pollen labels suggest starting with a few grains and working up to a teaspoon or more a day. Organic bee pollen can be bought online from Vitacost for a cost of $6.14 for a ten ounce bottle. Lucky Vitamin sells good quality bee pollen for about $10.00 a pound.
Spirulina is another one of nature's most perfect foods. These tiny blue-green algae were designed by nature 3.6 billion years ago and were the generators of the oxygen found in our atmosphere which allowed all higher life forms to evolve. They are single celled organisms containing everything needed by life to evolve into the rich diversity seen on earth today.
Spirulina is 65% highly digestible vegetable protein. This protein is complete, providing all eight essential amino acids in the proper ratios and in a form that is five times easier to digest than meat or soy protein. These amino acids are isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, treonine, trytophan, and valine. Additional amino acids needed for the cells to manufacture enzymes, protein, hormones, brain chemicals and other products for metabolism are also contained in spirulina. These include alanine, arginine, aspartic acid, cystine, glutamic acid, glycine, histidine, proline, serine and tyrosine.
The waters favored by spirulina are so saturated with mineral deposits from ancient soil and mountains that no other plants can live there. Since spirulina thrives in this alkaline environment, it incorporates and synthesizes many minerals and derivative compounds into its structure. It is an excellent source of potassium, calcium, zinc, magnesium, manganese, selenium, iron and phosphorus. As is bee pollen, spirulina is an excellent source of the entire vitamin B complex, and vitamin E. It contains the yellow/orange pigments from which vitamin A is made, along with substantial amounts of other carotenoids including the powerful antioxidants, zeaxanthin, lutein and astaxanthin, protectors of the eyes and skin.
Spirulina is rich in pigments, without which the synthesis of many of the enzymes necessary for metabolism could not take place. It is a storehouse of chlorophyll, very similar in structure to the hemoglobin molecule found in human blood cells except it contains magnesium at its core which gives it a green color. When chlorophyll is ingested with sufficient iron, the magnesium can be displaced to yield a hemoglobin molecule, allowing spirulina to have positive effect on anemia. Chlorophyll also increases peristaltic action relieving constipation, and normalizes the secretion of digestive acids. It is soothing to the digestive tract. Chlorophyll appears to encourage regeneration of liver cells and dilates blood vessels to increase circulation to all organs. It aids in transmission of nerve impulses that control heart contraction. Phycocyanin, the bluish pigment, is important for healthy liver function and digestion of amino acids.
Spirulina is 7 percent fat, and most of that is in the form of essential fatty acids, including linoleic, linolenic and arachidonic acid. These fats are used to produce prostaglandins, the hormonal regulators of blood pressure and capillary resilience, and to aid oxygen transport to the cells. They are vital to health and also have a positive effect on hair, nails and skin.
What sugar is in spirulina is in the form of rhamnose and glycogen. It is very low in sodium. The average 500 mg tablet of spirulina contains only one to two calories.
Spirulina can be bought in tablet or powdered form. The recommended serving size of spirulina is 3 grams, although you can consume as much as you like. Each tablet is ½ gram. A bottle with 400 tablets of Nutrex spirulina costs $18.23 online at Lucky Vitamin. The powdered form can be bought in sizes up to a pound. One pound costs $28.49.
Chlorella is a single-celled fresh water-grown green algae that helps build the immune system and detoxify heavy metals and other poisons in the body. It improves the digestive and elimination system, normalizes blood sugar and blood pressure levels, increases and clarifies focus and attention, improves energy level, balances body pH, and cleanses the breath.
Chlorella contains slightly less protein than spirulina, and this protein is also highly digestible. It contains the complete vitamin B complex with more B-12 than liver, vitamin C, vitamin E, a broad spectrum of enzymes including pepsin for digestion, beta-carotene, iron, zinc, macro minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc, potassium, rare trace minerals, essential fatty acids including gamma linolenic acid (GLA), and polysaccharides.
Chlorella is 18% chlorella growth factor that is a fabulous rejuvenator of the body produced in its nucleus, up to 10% RNA, and up to 3% DNA. Its chlorophyll content is higher than the other algae and grasses. The tough outer cell wall of chlorella, which must be broken in processing to allow access to its nutrients, provides a fiber that eliminates toxins, pesticides and heavy metals by binding with them in the body. It aids the body in the breakdown of persistent hydrocarbon and metallic toxins such as DDT, PCB, mercury, cadmium and lead, while strengthening the immune system response. This fibrous broken outer cell wall also provides material that greatly enhances digestion and digestive tract health.
The chlorophyll in chlorella like that in spirulina has a magnesium ion at its center, giving it the same remarkable red blood cell building ability. Chlorella is also an excellent transporter of oxygen to the body and brain. Its chlorophyll cleanses the bowel, bloodstream and liver.
Chlorella stimulates the activity of T-cells and macrophages by increasing interferon levels, enhancing the immune system's ability to combat foreign invaders such as bacteria, viruses, chemicals and foreign proteins. It is a power cancer fighter.
NSI brand chlorella can be purchased online from Vitacost for $29.99. The bottle contains 1500 tablets. The suggested consumption amount is 3 grams which would be 15 tablets, yielding 100 servings per bottle. Kyoto chlorella from Swanson Vitamins is a high quality chlorella with packaging that allows the chlorella to remain extremely fresh. Swanson charges $35.99 for 1500 tablets. There doesn't seem to be much powdered chlorella around at a reasonable price with the exception of NOW Foods' powdered chlorella, selling at Lucky Vitamin for $25.06 a pound. Unless the cell wall of the chlorella has been broken, the product is worthless. Check the labeling information.
Alfalfa has roots that grow 130 feet into the earth and is one of the most mineral-rich foods known as it is able to seek out minerals inaccessible to other plants. Its minerals are in a balanced form that promotes proper absorption. It has helped many arthritis sufferers, and aids in the healing of intestinal ulcers, gastritis, liver disorders, eczema, hemorrhoids, asthma, high blood pressure, anemia, constipation, body and breath odor, bleeding gums, infections, burns, athlete's food, and cancer.
Alfalfa is an important source for calcium, carotene, chlorophyll and xanthophyll. Its roots saponins inhibit increases in blood cholesterol by 25% in experimental animals fed a high cholesterol diet. The saponins have been shown to be antifungal.
Alfalfa is a vitality augmenter, and is excellent used as a spring tonic. It is one of the best sources of protein, and is high in vitamins A, E and B-6. It is one of the few vegetable sources of vitamin D, providing 4740 IUs of vitamin D per pound. It is rich in magnesium, phosphorous, iron, potassium, trace minerals, and several digestive enzymes. It also contains sterols, flavonoids, coumarins, alkaloids, and acids.
French scientists have shown that alfalfa can reduce tissue damage from radiotherapy. Alfalfa is a fiber that is able to bind and neutralize various types of agents carcinogenic to the colon. It has been shown to induce activity in a complex cellular system that inactivates dietary chemical carcinogens in the liver and small intestine before they have a chance to do harm.
Alfalfa is high in vitamin K, essential for the clotting of blood and a preventative against hemorrhages. Women who have just delivered babies have eaten large amounts of alfalfa to shorten their postpartum bleeding time. It helps to bring in milk in a nursing mother, and is instrumental in lowering high blood pressure.
Other important nutrients in alfalfa are copper, sulfur, manganese, and a range of B vitamins that includes thiamin, niacin, pantothenic acid, choline and biotin. Its amino acid profile is composed of arginine, methionine, cystine, phenylalanine, histidine, threonine, isoleucene, tryptophan, leucine, tyrosine, lysine, and valine.
Alfalfa contains a good amount of vitamin U that acts as a healing agent for ulcers.
The suggested serving for alfalfa is just over 3 grams. 1000 Source Naturals alfalfa tablets, 648 mg. each, can be bought from Vitacost for $11.21. Many consider alfalfa juice to be the best way to consume alfalfa. Powdered alfalfa juice capsules are available from NSI at Vitacost for $6.29 per 180 capsules, each containing 550 mgs.
"Bee Pollen", Encyclopedia of Herbs.
"Chemical Analysis of Honeybee Pollen", Envirobee.
"Spirulina's Nutitional Analysis", Natural Ways.
"Chlorella: A Natural Wonder Food". Dragonfly Health.
"Alfalfa The New Food", Purlife.
About the authorBarbara is a school psychologist, a published author in the area of personal finance, a breast cancer survivor using "alternative" treatments, a born existentialist, and a student of nature and all things natural.
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