Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Essentials of Dietary Protein

The Rhyming RN is back! It has certainly been too long. But I am back with a very important subject, protein. Did you know that protein was named over 150 years ago after the Greek word proteios, which means "of prime importance". Without protein, we can't exist.

Proteins are made up of amino acid chains which are divided into the essential amino acids and the non essential amino acids. The body makes up about half of the amino acids we need, but the essential amino acids must be gotten from food.

Proteins have numerous functions in the body. They provide the building material needed for growth and repair of tissues. They make up vital parts of our skin, nails, hair, membranes, muscles, teeth, bones, organs, ligaments and tendons. Proteins regulate enzyme activity; they serve as certain hormones working as chemical messengers around the body; they work as antibodies to assist in immune fuction and resistance to disease; they assist in regulating the fluid balance in body compartments and they help regulate the acid/base balance of body fluids; they transport nutrients in and out of our cells around the body; they provide energy in the form of calories. Wow! They do alot!

Which proteins are best to eat? There are complete and incomplete proteins. Incomplete proteins are primarily plant proteins, and although in combination of several different foods, they make up all the essential amino acids we need, individually they do not. Complete protein, such as animal or soy foods do have all the essential amino acids needed by the body to make its own protein. A combination of both works best to meet the body's needs.

So, when planning a meal, keeping in mind that 25% should be some form of protein, eat a variety of protein sources and you'll be covered!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

COQ10 - The Heart Health Antioxidant

Donna Barnett, your "rhyming RN" is back again - this time with COQ10, also known as Coquinone. This is a very critical antioxidant for complete cardiovascular health.

All cells need energy to function. The mitochondria within the cell is where energy is produced. The cells then store the energy in a molecule called ATP. COQ10 is essential in the making of ATP. Heart cells have the highest need for energy and thus have the highest levels of COQ10.

COQ10 is also needed for antioxidant duty, because free radicals naturally occur during the making of energy in the mitochondria.

As we age, our levels of COQ10 decrease. The use of Statin drugs, illness, inadequate levels of Vitamins B, C and Selenium and excessive exercise can also deplete your levels.

In addition, COQ10 works with Vitamin E to increase HDL cholesterol levels. For more information on COQ10 and its significant relationship with Statin drugs, I urge you to read, The Cholesterol Conspiracy, by Dr. Ladd MCNamara. He contends that the muscle aches patients often experience while taking Statin drugs, is do to the depletion of COQ10. If you would like to know how to purchase this excellent book, contact me.

As with all the other antioxidants/vitamins I blog and rhyme about, please buy only supplements that are GMP standard, and guaranteed for potency, quality, manufactuing and bioavailability (how well they are absorbed). Contact me for more information and for what I take.

To your health!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Hello everyone in "I want to get healthy" land. I sure hope you are enjoying these videos as much as I am having making them. I have some ideas for the next ones, but would welcome ideas of what YOU would like to learn about. So, bring it on! Let me know what interests you and I will do my best to rhyme some information for you. Thanks, Donna

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Let the Sunshine in - Vitamin D is critical to your health

Welcome back to my blog. Vitamin D is really a "biggy"! Because we spend less time outside than we used to, and we use sunblock when we do, a Vitamin D deficiency is worldwide. There has been massive research and studies showing the amazing benefits of this inexpensive vitamin.

Of significant value is the reduction in incidence and recurrance of some cancers, especially breast and colon - up to 50% in some studies. Vitamin D can slow the growth of existing tumors and it is recommended that all patients with cancer should be taking elevated doses. Please watch the following video from, for further information about Vitamin D and cancer.


Inflammation is at the root of all disease, and Vitamin D is anti-inflammatory. It is therefore, linked to heart disease, mental health, congestive heart failure, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, blood pressure, osteoporosis, bone fractures, infertility, PMS etc.

And, of course, there is documented Vitamin D deficiencies in children, especially minority children. Please watch this informative video from CNN.

It is recommended to have a blood level of 40-60 nanograms/ml of Vitamin D. You can get it by exposing 40% of your body to sunlight between 11 and 1pm. Food is an option, but you would need to drink 5 quarts of milk a day. That leaves supplementation of D3 calciferol - up to 2000 international units per day. And as I always emphasize, buy ONLY supplements that are GSP standard, with guarantees for potency, quality, bioavailability (how well they absorb) and manufacturing. Contact me for suggestions and for what I take.

Monday, October 5, 2009

It's Cool at my School - The Benefits of Fish Oil

Omega 3's are essential fatty acids that you can only get through food or supplements. Our bodies are not able to make them. The 3 types are eicosapentaeonic acid (EPA), docosahexaeonic acid (DHA) and alpha linolenic acid (AHA). They are extremely effective in reducing what we now know is the root of most diseases - inflammation.

They have wonderful health benefits for the cardiovascular system, brain function, pain reduction and fetal cognitive development.

The omega 3 fatty acids have been proven to lower cholesterol, tryglicerides, LDL's, and blood pressure, while increasing good HDL cholesterol. Strokes and heart attacks are caused from a blood clot breaking free from a vessel wall that is coated in plaque. The omegas can help break up those clots.

Research is also showing that fish oil can help with ADHD, depression, memory, psychosis and even schitzophrenia.

And as inflammation is being shown to be the root of most diseases, fish oil's anti-inflammatory properties help in relieving pain with arthritis.

Numerous studies are available involving the benefits for an unborn baby during pregnancy, including: lower incidence of asthma in childhood, enhanced visual and cognitive development and increased birth weight in low economic women. Studies show there is a 50% decrease in post partum depression with fish oil use during pregnancy.

About 25 years ago, Americans went "low fat", cutting out many foods that contain beneficial omega 3 fatty acids. We need these essential fats for optimal body function, and diet alone is not enough. Everyone should be supplementing with a high quality fish oil that is GMP standardized, and guaranteed for potency, bioavailability (how well it is absorbed) and quality.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Grapeseed Extract - A Super Duper Antioxidant

You've heard about it. You've read about it. You drink it. Cabernet. Merlot. Pinot Noir. What is it about red wine that is so good for you? Grab a seat (with a nice glass of your favorite red wine, of course), and I'll fill you in...

Stress (who doesn't deal with this everyday!), pollution (smog, car exhaust), smoking, poor dietary choices (like a Big Mac and fries), and a host of other factors all cause a metabolic reaction in the body that result in the production of free radicals (the bad guys). Simply stated, free radicals are unstable molecules that are capable of causing significant damage to the body. They accelerate the aging process (who wants wrinkles?), and they contribute to the development of cancer cells (been there...done that). To prevent this excessive damage, antioxidants (the good guys) are required to neutralize free radicals (the bad guys).

Oligomeric proanthocyanidins, more commonly referred to as grapeseed extract, is a powerful antioxidant that is extracted from the skin and seeds of grapes. Grapeseed extract belongs to a class of antioxidants known as the bioflavanoids, which are found in fruits, vegetables, grains and seeds. Grapeseed extract is considered to be 20 times more powerful that Vitamin C and 50 times more powerful than Vitamin E. And guess what...Red wine is full of grapeseed extract!

Because of its ability to protect the nervous system, bind to collagen fibers (improving strength, support, and elasticity of skin, organs, and vessels), prevent excessive platelet aggregation (which is too much sticking together), and relax blood vessel smooth muscles (improving circulation), grapeseed extract can help prevent strokes, lower LDL cholesterol (the bad stuff), treat cardiovascular disease, arthritis, varicose veins and assist in the destruction of cancer cells (now, that's more like it!).

In addition to the dietary choices already mentioned and red wine, grapeseed extract is available in supplemental form. Please be sure to ONLY use a pharmaceutical grade, GMP standardized product that is guaranteed for potency, quality and bioavailability (how well it is absorbed by the body).