Saturday, April 3, 2010

Coffee And Vitamin/Mineral Depletion

If you drink coffee, you may be a special candidate for magnesium deficiency.

Since magnesium and calcium all work together to make your heart muscle contract in a regular rhythm, one of the first signs of a magnesium deficiency is an irregular heartbeat.

As a result of calcium/magnesium imbalance, calcium deposits may form on the heart muscle. If this happens, the heart cannot contract properly.

Magnesium is also important in breaking down fats you eat into fatty acids that can be useful in building body parts like nerve sheaths and cellular membranes. If those fats are not broken down properly, they begin to collect in deposits, which lodge on damaged arterial points. Thus a magnesium deficiency can increase you risks of contracting the two major degenerative heart diseases: atherosclerosis and arteriosclerosis. Another point to remember in this regard is that magnesium is necessary for the synthesis of lecithin, which also helps break down those fats.

Coffee floods nutrients out of your body via the urine. This includes Vitamins A, D, E, K and essential fatty acids. This diuretic effect which is created when drinking coffee can also interfere with your absorption of iron simply because so many nutrients pass so quickly through the kidneys.

Although coffee contains water, it causes the body to excrete more water than it actually takes in. The result is a fluid deficit, which, over time, can lead to a variety of health problems, including dry skin, constipation and bladder infections.

Coffee can lead to a chronic deficiency of B vitamins.

Coffee can cause a buildup of toxins within the body, which increases your need for vitamin C and other antioxidants.

Two cups of coffee may contain 30 mg of caffeine. This is enough to raise your blood pressure and pulse rate significantly.

It has been shown that drinking two and half cups of coffee can more than double the stress hormone adrenaline.

The liver is forced to detoxify the caffeine from coffee, this puts more strain on the liver.

Research that has been done:

Researchers from the Netherlands studied the effect of coffee consumption on blood levels of homocysteine, a naturally occurring substance that forms when the body breaks down protein.

Elevated levels of homocysteine have long been associated with an increased risk of heart disease. Exactly how this amino acid harms the heart is unclear, but our best guess is that it either makes the blood clot more frequently or damages the lining of blood vessels in the heart. (Genetic defects and vitamin deficiencies have also been shown to cause an elevation in homocysteine.)

The Dutch researchers focused on strong, unfiltered coffee, and their results are not great news for folks who drink large quantities of caffeine. After just a two-week period of drinking six cups of unfiltered coffee a day, homocysteine concentrations increased 10% in subjects who started out with normal levels.

At the same time, cholesterol levels shot up 10% and triacylglycerols (other fatty substances) 36%--both precursors to artery-clogging atherosclerotic plaque. The bottom line, according to the authors: drinking 48 oz. of unfiltered coffee a day may carry a 10% increase in risk for heart attack or stroke.

An incidental but equally important finding was that levels of vitamin B-6 decreased 21%.

Why would unfiltered coffee be more dangerous than filtered? A leading suspect is a group of substances called diterpenes, found widely in nature--and in coffee beans. Diterpenes are known to raise homocysteine levels, and the paper filters used in coffee machines are usually fine enough to catch them. Some coffee roasters prepare their beans with processes that remove some of the offending diterpenes. Check with your favorite brewer for details.

The good news for coffee lovers: increased levels of homocysteine aren't necessarily permanent. Removing the offending agent--in this case, unfiltered coffee--will help bring the levels back to normal, as will increasing your intake of the B vitamins B-6 and folic acid. Vitamin supplements, green leafy vegetables and citrus fruits are good sources of folate.
Recommended Supplements to help restore health and to take if you want to continue to drink coffee..

Vitamin B Complex - The need for handling homocysteine is to get an absorbable B vitamin (B6, B12, and Folate). These vitamins change the homocysteine to Cysteine which the body uses to make Glutathione, the body's master anti-oxidant.You also need to take extra Calcium and Magnesium.

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