Category Archives: Minerals

Milk Allergies: Need More Options?

A friend of mine (thank you Ann!) forwarded me this link, and so I thought I would share it.  The author explains the possible dangers of synthetic vitamins namely Vitamin A and Vitamin D2 found in milk alternatives. Find article here: Coconut and Almond Milk in Cartons Not a Healthy Buy by Sarah in TheHealthyHomeEconomist.  I also like that the author gives three different homemade alternatives to the alternatives: check out how to make your own rice, coconut, and almond milk here.  Remember the things you eat the most of try to make the healthiest: that’s the best start to a healthier diet.

Its best to have your Vitamin A in beta carotene form and your Vitamin D in the D3 form.  This is especially important for pregnant women–check your prenatals.

Beautiful Bone Broth: An Ancient Food Tradition in All Cultures

20131107_6578I have been perfecting my bone broth and its a beautiful thing.  Can you see the gelatin consistency in the pictures?  That is what you want it to look like.  Beautiful!!  All ancient cultures have some form of a bone broth whether made out of fish, beef, or chicken.

Although low in calcium, bone broth has other trace nutrients, namely the amino acids proline and glycine, that are essential to building strong bones.  These amino acids are some of the key components to building collagen which is the structural component to bones, tendons, joints, skin, corneas, cartilage, the gut, and blood vessels. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, making up about 25%-35% of whole body content.

Dr. Kaayla T. Daniel has a well researched article called: Research Reveals Low Calcium Content in Bone Broth. A key point she brings up is that collagen is more important to bone strength and fracture resistance than calcium alone as it forms the cross links (or scaffolding/structural component) for your bones. Along with collagen supporting nutrients, it contains magnesium, phosphorus and silica–just to name a few.  Bone broth is a wealth of easily absorbable and digestible minerals.  So if your diet is low in calcium from milk you can benefit from bone broth for the re-mineralization and strengthening of your bones and joints.   Yes, its a super food that should be incorporated into every kitchen in America.


Using a Mason jar to store broth in the refrigerator

Lets dig a little deeper into how gone broth is beneficial to joints and skin. Bone broth contains gelatin (mostly composed of the amino acids proline and glycine), glucosamine, and chondroitin which are good for your joints and skin. For example, glucosamine increases hyaluronic acid in our joints and skin.  Hyaluronic acid helps lubricate your joints and improves skin moisture and smoothness (less wrinkles).  Get this-Cellulite is not just too much fat collecting but a break down of the structural component of skin called collagen which keeps fat in its place.

Thought: Could adequate collagen in your diet help prevent or lessen stretch marks?  Maybe.


Freezing as frozen cubes from an ice tray is a great way for adding to baby food or your own recipes

Another thought:  I believe bone broth is especially good throughout a person’s lifetime to keep their skin and joints in top condition.  Yes, we are a product of our genetics and what our ancestors ate, but we also can reverse predisposed genetic trends, keep the good genes working, and pass along healthy genes to our children.  Find a great explanation of the benefits and nutrients found in bone broth and a recipe: click here.

Want to increase the gelatin content? Add chicken feet to your sock.  To increase the your gelatin content in your diet 100% pure gelatin can be added to just about everything.  For supplementation, taking about 2 tablespoons per day for an adult is a good rule of thumb.  Two good sources are:  Bernard Jensen Gelatin or Great Lakes Gelatin.

Some good informational reads:

Give Magnesium a Chance!

Why is Magnesium important? 

One of the most important day to day roles magnesium plays is the transport of calcium and potassium across cell membranes which influences:  normal heart rhythm, muscle contraction, and nerve impulse conduction.  Pretty important to outdoor lovers for sure!  Its also plays a role in: blood sugar levels, blood pressure regulation, building of proteins, and the functioning of over 300 enzymes.

What about your bones?  Magnesium plays a major role in bone formation and influences Vitamin D to do its job in maintaining healthy bones.

Magnesium has a role in exercise as well.  Its a big player in muscle function, specifically helping your muscles with oxygen uptake, energy production, and electrolyte balance during exercise. Not enough dietary magnesium could possibly hinder exercise performance and increase oxidative stress on the body.  Research says that a magnesium intake less than 260 mg/day for male and 220 mg/day for female athletes may result in a magnesium-deficient status.

Additionally, adequate magnesium intake from natural whole foods decreases the risk of osteoporosis, migraine headaches, high blood pressure, type II diabetes, and preterm labor to name a few.

Also, magnesium doesn’t get talked about much when you are pregnant unless you have preterm labor.  I have found this mineral is extremely important for the pregnant woman–I mean you are building another human being!!.    It helps with building your baby’s structural support as in bones and teeth.  And it has a key involvement in  making proteins which are the building blocks of cells.  Cells are rapidly dividing and growing during pregnancy into the baby’s heart, lungs, eyes, legs, muscles….etc.  Also, magnesium from may reduce: leg cramps, preterm labor, risk of pre-eclampsia, and poor early fetal growth.

How much magnesium you need?

1 to 3: 80 mg

4-8: 130 mg
9-13: 240 mg
14 to 18: 360 mg
19 to 30: 310 mg
31 to 50: 320 mg
51+: 320 mg

4-8: 130 mg
9-13: 240 mg
14 to 18: 410 mg
19 to 30: 400 mg
31 to 50: 420 mg
51+: 420 mg

14 to 18: 400 mg
19 to 30: 350 mg
31 to 50: 360 mg

14 to 18: 360 mg
19 to 30: 310 mg
31 to 50: 320 mg

Food sources of magnesium

Magnesium is plentiful in nuts, seeds, whole grains, fish*, vegetables, and some legumes.

List of Selected Foods

FoodPortion SizeAmount (mg)
Pumpkin/squash seed kernels1 ounce156
Chard, Swiss, chopped1 cup150
Quinoa, cooked1 cup118
Oatmeal, regular, cooked1 cup112
Brazil Nuts, dried1 ounce (only eat 1-2 pieces/day107
Oat bran muffin1 small104
Beans, French, cooked1 cup99
Chocolate, dark1 square95
Halibut, cooked3 ounces91
Spinach, cooked from fresh, frozen, or canned1/2 cup78
Almonds1 ounce76
Lentils, cooked1 cup71
Black beans, cooked1/2 cup60
Flatfish (flounder and sole), cooked3 ounces49
Tofu, firm, nigari1/2 cup47
Yogurt, plain, nonfat8 ounces43
Rice, brown, cooked1/2 cup43
Pinto beans, cooked1/2 cup 43
Haddock, cooked3 ounces42
Banana1 medium31
Avacado1 medium29
Kale, chopped, raw1 cup23

View a list of selected foods high in magnesium

*Do not eat king makerel, swordfish, tilefish, or shark while pregnant

Preterm Labor: Check out this new fact sheet from the FDA on Magnesium Sulfate which is commonly used to stop preterm labor contractions


1.  NIH: Office of Dietary Supplements
2.  Report of the DGAC on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010
3.  Takay and Kaneko, “Small for gestational age in cord blood platelets: intrauterine magnesium deficiency may induce metabolic syndrome later in life”, Journal of Pregnancy, 5 pp. vol. 2011
4.  Nielson and Lukaski, “Update on the relationship between magnesium and exercise.”, Magnes Res 2006 Sep;19(3):180-9.

Calcium Recommendations: A New Perspective

“On the basis of the recent study in the British Medical Journal, as well as the overall totality of evidence, it seems that even for bone health, calcium in moderation is probably best.

(Risk for fracture actually slightly increases with calcium intake greater the the recommended RDA. The RDA for calcium intake is properly set at 1000mg/day for women until age 50 years and 1200mg/day for women 50 years and older.)

We may want to recommend that women try to get as much of their calcium as possible from dietary sources.” Dr. JoAnn Manson, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital. (Calcium Intake: More is not Better, June 17, 2011, Medscape News Today)

Vitamin D: The Sunshine Vitamin

Vitamin D also known as the “Sunshine Vitamin” is needed for calcium absorption and maintance of adequate serum calcium levels. It also aids in normal mineralization of the bone, bone growth, and bone remodeling, along with numerous other key functions. Currently, research is focused on the benefits to the muscle from Vitamin D. For example, Vitamin D binds to receptors in the muscle which then promote growth and strength. This is a key component to staying active for a lifetime.

How much can I get from sun exposure?
It has been suggested by some vitamin D researchers, for example, that approximately 5-30 minutes of sun exposure between 10 AM and 3 PM at least twice a week to the face, arms, legs, or back without sunscreen usually lead to sufficient vitamin D synthesis.

Individuals with limited sun exposure need to include good sources of vitamin D in their diet or take a supplement to achieve recommended levels of intake. (2011, NIH, Office of Dietary Supplements)

How much do I need per day?
Adequate Intake Level

  • birth to 50 years, 5 µg (200 IU)
  • 51–70 years, 10 µg (400 IU)
  • 71+ years, 15 µg (600 IU)

How much is too much?
Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL)

  • birth to 12 months 25 µg (1,000 IU/day)
  • children and adults 50 µg (2,000 IU/day)

“Furthermore, a consistent literature indicates physical and athletic performance is seasonal; it peaks when 25-hydroxy-vitamin D [25(OH)D] levels peak, declines as they decline, and reaches its nadir when 25(OH)D levels are at their lowest. Vitamin D also increases the size and number of Type II (fast twitch) muscle fibers.” (2009 Cannell, Athetic Performance and Vitamin D, Offical Journal of the American College of Sports Medicine, 1102-1110)

A 2009 study on adolescent girls found that individuals with higher levels of Vitamin D exhibited more muscle power and force. This was tested by measuring jump height, velocity, and power. (The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism Vol. 94, No. 2 559-563, 2009)