Posts Tagged nutrition

Brown Fat Burns Ordinary Fat, Study Finds –

Interesting!  Another good reason to exercise! 🙂  Also of note- in reference to my last post about Hcg- the claim to fame of that diet is that it prevents muscle loss and ‘mobilizes’ ‘pathological brown fat’…. Hmmmm not so good, after all!!

Brown Fat Burns Ordinary Fat, Study Finds –

Brown Fat, Triggered by Cold or Exercise, May Yield a Key to Weight Control

Fat people have less than thin people. Older people have less than younger people. Men have less than younger women.

It is brown fat, actually brown in color, and its great appeal is that it burnscalories like a furnace. A new study finds that one form of it, which is turned on when people get cold, sucks fat out of the rest of the body to fuel itself. Another new study finds that a second form of brown fat can be created from ordinary white fat byexercise.

Of course, researchers say, they are not blind to the implications of their work. If they could turn on brown fat in people without putting them in cold rooms or making them exercise night and day, they might have a terrific weight loss treatment. And companies are getting to work.

But Dr. André Carpentier, an endocrinologist at the University of Sherbrooke in Quebec and lead author of one of the new papers, notes that much work lies ahead. It is entirely possible, for example, that people would be hungrier and eat more to make up for the calories their brown fat burns.

“We have proof that this tissue burns calories — yes, indeed it does,” Dr. Carpentier said. “But what happens over the long term is unknown.”

Until about three years ago, researchers thought brown fat was something found in rodents, which cannot shiver and use heat-generating brown fat as an alternate way to keep warm. Human infants also have it, for the same reason. But researchers expected that adults, who shiver, had no need for it and did not have it.

Then three groups, independently, reported that they had found brown fat in adults. They could see it in scans when subjects were kept in cold rooms, wearing light clothes like hospital gowns. The scans detected the fat by showing that it absorbed glucose.

There was not much brown fat, just a few ounces in the upper back, on the side of the neck, in the dip between the collarbone and the shoulder, and along the spine. Although mice and human babies have a lot more, and in different places, it seemed to be the same thing. So, generalizing from what they knew about mice, many researchers assumed the fat was burning calories.

But, notes Barbara Cannon, a researcher at Stockholm University, just because the brown fat in adults takes up glucose does not necessarily mean it burns calories.

“We did not know what the glucose actually did,” she said. “Glucose can be stored in our cells, but that does not mean that it can be combusted.”

A new paper in The Journal of Clinical Investigation by Dr. Carpentier and his colleagues answers that question and more. By doing a different type of scan, which shows the metabolism of fat, the group reports that brown fat can burn ordinary fat and that glucose is not a major source of fuel for these cells. When the cells run out of their own small repositories of fat, they suck fat out of the rest of the body.

In the study, the subjects — all men — were kept chilled, but not to the point of shivering, which itself burns calories. Their metabolic rates increased by 80 percent, all from the actions of a few ounces of cells. The brown fat also kept its subjects warm. The more brown fat a man had, the colder he could get before he started to shiver.

Brown fat, Dr. Carpentier and Jan Nedergaard, Dr. Cannon’s husband, wrote in an accompanying editorial, “is on fire.”

On average, Dr. Carpentier said, the brown fat burned about 250 calories over three hours.

But there is another type of brown fat. It has been harder to study because it often is interspersed in the white fat and does not occur in large masses. Investigators discovered it in mice years ago. Now, in a recent article, Bruce Spiegelman, professor of cell biology and medicine at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and his colleagues report that, in mice at least, exercise can make it appear, by turning ordinary white fat brown.

When mice exercise, their muscle cells release a newly discovered hormone that the researchers named irisin. Irisin, in turn, converts white fat cells into brown ones. Those brown fat cells burn extra calories.

Dr. Spiegelman said the brown fat he studies is different from the type that appears in large, distinct masses in rodents, the type Dr. Carpentier was examining in his subjects. That brown fat is derived from musclelike cells and not from white fat.

Dr. Spiegelman suspects that humans, like mice, make brown fat from white fat when they exercise, because humans also have irisin in their blood. And human irisin is identical to mouse irisin.

“What I would guess is that this is likely to be the explanation for some of the effects of exercise,” Dr. Spiegelman says. The calories burned during exercise exceed the number actually used to do the work of exercising. That may be an effect of some white fat cells turning brown.

Many questions remain. The only brown fat that can be easily seen in people is the muscle-derived fat that shows up in scans. And that brown fat, notes Dr. C. Ronald Kahn, chief academic officer at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, is visible in people only when it is turned on by making them cold.

Almost everyone of normal weight or below shows this brown fat if they are chilled, although individuals vary greatly in how much they have. But this brown fat almost never shows up in obese people. Is that one reason they are obese, or is their extra body fat keeping them so warm that there is no reason to turn on their brown fat?

There is also an intriguing relationship between the brown fat that emerges under the skin and the density of bone. Dr. Clifford Rosen, a professor of medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, is studying mice that cannot make brown fat and was astonished by the state of their bones.

“The animals have the worst bone density we have ever seen,” Dr. Rosen said. “I see osteoporotic bones all the time,” he added, “but, oh my God, these are the extreme.”

And while exercise may induce brown fat in humans, it remains to be seen how important a source of calorie burning it is, researchers say.

As for deliberately making yourself cold if you want to lose weight, Dr. Carpentier said, “there is still a lot of research to do before this strategy can be exploited clinically and safely.”


This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: January 24, 2012

An earlier version of this article misstated the academic affiliation of Dr. André Carpentier. He is at the University of Sherbrooke, not Laval University.



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Does Diet Soda Slow The Metabolism? | LIVESTRONG.COM

So glad I quit this stuff!!

Does Diet Soda Slow The Metabolism? | LIVESTRONG.COM.

Your metabolism will play a major role in your success or failure to lose weight. Elevating your metabolism causes your body to expend more calories, making it simpler for you to control your body weight. If this is a feat you are determined to accomplish, abstain from behaviors that may derail your attempts to live a healthier lifestyle. That may include limiting some of your favorite food and beverage items like diet sodas.

About Metabolism

Metabolism is the rate that your body expends calories. Everyone has a BMR, or basal metabolic rate, and an AMR, or active metabolic rate. The key to any successful dieting program involves increasing your BMR. Depending on the intensity, engaging in cardio exercise can boost your metabolism for up to 24 hours, according to a study published in 1999 by the American Council on Exercise.

Diet Sodas and Metabolism

Artificial sweeteners in diet sodas, such as aspartame and sucralose, cause your metabolic rate to slow by confusing your body. Normally when you consume foods or beverages that have a caloric value, your body responds by speeding its metabolism via the feedback loop involving the stomach, brain and hormones. The sweet taste of the diet soda tricks your body into thinking it is ingesting calories when it isn’t. If it becomes a regular occurrence, your body will compensate for the calories it isn’t getting by slowing its metabolism to preserve its energy stores.

Weight Gain

Many dieters choose diet sodas over other beverages because they assume that it will not impact their efforts to lose weight but according to researchers, it may cause you to gain weight. In August 2008, “Obesity” published a study conducted at the University of Texas Health Science Center that evaluated the effects of artificially sweetened beverages on long-term weight gain. The findings indicated the more diet soda the subjects consumed, the more weight they gained.

Calorie Deficit

The only way to lose weight is to create a calorie deficit. That is, you must expend more calories than you consume. Over time you may notice that your dieting efforts have reached a plateau. This occurs because your body reconfigures its caloric needs to match its caloric allowance and compensate for the calories you are no longer providing. Engaging in moderate intensity exercise for 150 minutes per week accompanied by a healthy diet that limits diet soda consumption will boost your metabolism and help you shed pounds.

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“Sooo…. What’s for Dinner?” – The SOLUTION!

I am SO EXCITED about this project!!!!  I have been working on it for about a month and it is finally a reality! 🙂  I really believe it is going to help us so much in terms of healthy eating, saving money, saving time and the stress and arguments over “What’s For Dinner?!??!?!?”

It’s 4:00 pm and the dreaded call from my husband…

Him: “So, What’s For Dinner?”

Me: “Well, I don’t know!  You tell me!  I’ve been working all day- have not given it one thought.  I’m a busy person & don’t have time to come up with a new and exciting meal every night.  Why does this responsibility always somehow end up in MY lap?  Why don’t you figure it out?”

Him: “I’m easy- whatever you want, honey.”

Me: “No.  That is not an acceptable response.  That does not make it ‘easy.’  I still have to do the thinking, the planning and the figuring out if we have all of the ingredients for whatever I come up with and then if we don’t I have to re-think and re-plan…”

Him: “Jeez!  I’m sorry I asked!”

Okay, so to give him some credit- he does occasionally come up with dinner plans.  And, he doesn’t mind if I suggest eating out- but then he still wants me to decide WHAT we will be eating from outside.. and trying to come up w/ healthy options from outside is not easy, nor cheap, nor necessarily any faster… uggg.  Honestly, the hardest part ISN’T the cooking.  It’s the PLANNING.  And planning for healthy, cheap and easy is NOT easy!

I considered various methods: creating a google calendar, writing it down on a physical calendar.  I even tried using a dry-erase calendar on the fridge.  I tried the meal planners online- spark people etc. but they always included recipes i wasn’t familiar with and didn’t have the ingredients for… None of it seemed like a great solution- for a variety of reasons.  I am a visual person- I needed something that I enjoyed looking at- that would make me inspired, motivated & happy.  A black & white calendar or even one printed in color just wasn’t doing it for me… and if I got on the computer to create it I’d be tempted to look up new recipes all the time- which I don’t have the time or energy to incorporate into our routine on a regular basis- even with my best intentions.  I’ve been wanting to make butternut squash SOMETHING for months- I’ve bought at least 3 and they’ve all gone bad b/c I didn’t have what it took to find a good recipe and go do it.  And it takes a WHILE for those to go bad!!


So, I came up with a list of the meals we eat the most frequently that are healthy, cheap and easy.  That part wasn’t really that difficult.  I chose meals like Turkey Burgers, Grilled or Baked Salmon, Chicken Salad, Roasted Veggies, Steak, Cranberry Chicken- things that are easy to pre-prepare in the freezer, throw in the crockpot, in the oven or on the grill.  I selected healthy veg side items: roasted brussel sprouts, simple salads, stir-fried veggies and healthy carb sides: quinoa, low GI rice, sweet potatoes, whole grain breads…

Then, I made codes for: if I’m going to make extra of that meal to put in the freezer for later, if it’s already in the freezer and just needs to be pulled out, if we are having guests, eat with friends, out of town, if it’s a holiday and who will be cooking! (It seems to fall mostly on me but it’s just by default b/c he doesn’t seem to be able to do the planning and so I think of meals that I can make easily.. plus, the things he comes up with are not always the healthiest options… like, eggs & hot dogs…??) So, now he’ll be more involved in cooking, too! *evil laugh* *cough* I mean… 🙂

Here’s the prototype (before it transformed into a LIVE creature!)

ANYWAY.  This process took a while… measuring, formatting, coming up w/ how many magnets I would need etc.  It wasn’t super cheap- it cost around $65 I think, altogether.  But I LOVE IT! 🙂  And, I think it will be great when there are kids- they’ll love playing w/ the magnets and it’s a good opportunity to teach about diet, nutrition and meal planning.  And, I can recycle these over and over and over and over… you get the picture!!  I’m still looking for the ‘perfect box’ to hold my magnets- will have to make a trip to the container store… But I like this one for now.

Several of my friends have already asked for one!  I’m working on a smaller version that will fit on a fridge.

I am seriously considering selling these if I can figure out a way to lower costs… probably by buying in bulk…  I could sell a set of standard meals or customized magnets. 🙂

Haven’t decided if making a Breakfast/Lunch calendar would be worth it… that seems like a little much… breakfasts are fairly easy to come up with on the fly- shakeology, oatmeal, fruit, a protein bar if you’re in a hurry, eggs… would seem a little silly to plan that.  Lunches are another matter, though… But I’m afraid to try to plan too much at once.  I usually pack fruit, leftovers from the previous night, throw a salad together in the morning or make a stir-fry if I’m at home…  I should probably keep other quick-to-grab items ready… like frozen grilled chicken strips to throw on the salads… That’s a project for another day!

The final product?  Well… I can’t share the whole thing b/c I’ve already set it for this month and well.. I don’t like to display when we are out of town on the internet.  (I couldn’t wait to start it at the beginning of the month!! lol)

But, here’s a sample:




Oh, and did I mention that it’s COLOR CODED?!?!  Ahhh!!!  I love it…

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It’s ABOUT TIME! :) The Personal Fitness & Diet update…

Oh my goodness!  I have been a WP Slacker!  There is so much to post… It gets overwhelming when you have so much to say and don’t know where to begin!  So, if you want a full update go stalk my Tumblr or my Facebook (feel free to ‘friend’ me!) 

So- where to begin?!



Whew!  This is an INTENSE workout!  I thought I would be a PRO after doing Turbo Fire but OH NO… not even close!  The first time I couldn’t even get through the warmup!  (I really stopped like 4 times!  By the end of the first month I could USUALLY get through it but not every time.  I definitely saw improvement in my Fit Test at the end of month 1:

Switch Kicks: 107 v 113, Power Jacks: 44 v 47, Power Knees: 83 v 94, Power Jumps: 29 v 28, Globe Jumps: 5 v 7 (That is A LOT of Globe Jumps!  Those suckers are HARD!), Suicide Jumps: 15 v 18, Push-up Jacks: 20 v 26 (wow!), Low Plank Oblique: 46 v 60.  So yeah, definite improvement!! 🙂

But, I haven’t seen significant changes in weight or measurements… but I do suspect that I have greater muscle mass vs. fat.  I’m going to invest in a scale that does BF% or one of those hand-held devices that measures it.  I’d really like to be able to track that!  I believe it is one of the best ways to measure progress along w/ Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, Fitness ability and Heart Rate.


Sadly, I have not been tracking what I eat… which I know has worked against me!  Mostly I have been eating clean- not a ton of junk food.  Still using Shakeology almost every day and have come to the conclusion after much research (including reading Dr. Weil’s Books- which I highly recommend) that supplementation w/ superfoods, probiotics etc. is essential to establishing and maintaining optimum health.  


You just can’t POSSIBLY get all of these nutrients from your diet!  You can’t physically eat enough!  I can’t even FIND maitake mushrooms to cook for myself- and wouldn’t WANT to eat them every day…  If I didn’t use this supplement I would absolutely be using at the very least a probiotic, an adaptogen, a phytonutrient and an antioxidant blend.  I know these would cost me $$. So, I’ve come to the conclusion that Shakeo is worth it to me.  Also adding flax seed (see previous post). Let’s see… have been eating less: breads, rice, red meat, lunch meats, ice cream, cereal, milk, yogurt, cheese (learning that dairy is not so excellent for you and the good yogurts are actually really high in sugars….  Eating more: quinoa, kale (roasted- YUMMO), sauteed veggies (onions, snap peas, zucchini (love!), peppers, korean sweet potatoes, LOTS of fruit including berries, mangos, bananas, more TEA (excited about this new addition!!  Decaf Herbals at night mostly- so far really like STASH’s blueberry the best), and more oatmeal (trying out stone ground).  Also eating Clif Bars as a mid-afternoon “on-the-way-home” from work ‘meal’ – trying to get ready to workout & also prevent the craving when I get home – doesn’t always work..

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Buuuuutt… in between meals have not been as fabulous and have included such items as: PEANUT BUTTER (especially when I arrive home… and before bed… WHY? I add 1 Tbsp to my Shakeo in the AM which would be OK except then if I have 1 TBSP when I get home & then another before bed I am eating nearly 300 cal/day in PB..), jelly bellies (they were on sale…?), marshmallows (hungry at the store..), rice cakes (on sale.. why did I buy those yesterday?), dog biscuits (Just kidding!  Making sure you were reading!), skittles (lunch was gross that day- didn’t have a mint to cover up the taste..) and luigi’s italian ice.  Now, I don’t think these things would be so bad BUT I shouldn’t be having them every day… I fool myself into thinking that “This is my ‘treat’ today.” and I usually don’t have more than one (I don’t have skittles & jelly bellies on the same day- for instance.)  But, I still shouldn’t be eating a ‘treat’ every day of the week.

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What am I doing to try to counter these poor choices?  Well…. I learned how to make Shakeology no-bake cookies & peanut butter cup candies!  & YUM – YES, YUM!!  Using PB2 instead of regular PB- 1/4 the calories, all natural, less sugar & fat, no preservatives & junk!  Trying to replace nighttime cravings w/ herbal tea (not quite working just yet…) I need something to ‘chew on’… Any suggestions what I could add to my tea?!?  Like… a chewable stick or something?!  lol

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And yes, I really did make those beautiful candies!  They were not nearly as difficult as I thought they would be- I’ve never made candy before. 🙂  I’ve also been carrying fruit with me (mostly apples but also peaches, bananas, cherries or blueberries)  Problem: when they are not ripe… 😦  I get very disappointed & discouraged… Hmm should try carrying pears too.. those are pretty tough suckers & not too sensitive to heat… (peaches & other soft fruits can be problematic.)




Ok- That’s enough for this post.  I won’t overwhelm you with everything all at once!! 🙂  

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Turbo Fire: Week 5 Reflection

Week 5 Done! 🙂

Exercise:  It was a little tougher this week.  Things were complicated around here.  I made do – had to change around my workout location a couple times and missed one day. Boo.

2 things I still struggle with: 7 step (can’t make my feet move fast enough!! and in Core 20 the elbow plank with hip drop – OMG I can only do 2!!  But I have improved in other areas.

Favorite song: “I got your boyfriend” – heh 🙂

Diet:  Still using Loseit!  I checked out MyFitnessPal and a few others but I am just a sucker for the cute little food pictures I guess… it’s just really easy to use.  Anyhoo- mostly doing well.  Problem: eating too much at night!  We eat “dinner” at 4:00pm here – ??? So I’m starving my 9:00 and have to eat something.  I should be eating my protein bars but instead eat a bunch of fruit (I know- healthy but the calories add up when you eat a banana, 2 oranges, an apple and THEN need something salty – like chips or nuts or whatever..)  I’ll eat a protein bar tonight instead- they keep me full and I’ll only eat 200-240 calories instead of around 500-600.  Whoops.

Results: I think I lost 1 lb this week… it’s hard to tell w/o my scale.  The BIG NEWS is my heart rate! This is a true ‘objective’ measure of fitness.  I have an app on my iphone that measures it.  When I first got it I was reading around 75 bpm.  When I started exercising and all through last year it read around 65 bpm.  I was truly excited about this – it really showed that my heart was becoming stronger and healthier!  TODAY – 5 weeks after starting Turbo Fire – my HR is measuring 52 BPM!!!!!  I have the HR of an ATHLETE!!!   WHAT?  I am so excited about this!  My efforts – while the weight loss may be (somewhat) slow – are truly working!  My body is becoming healthier and stronger!

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Considering a Paleo Diet?

So… as a health, fitness and weight loss blog I have come across some interesting trends.  One of them being the so-called “Paleo” diet/lifestyle.  I wasn’t familiar with it so did a little reading…

According to

Paleo diet, also known as paleolithic diet or caveman diet, is all about natural foods to help achieve great health and a perfect physique. The human body evolved for more than 2 million years with the food found in nature: game meat, fish, vegetables, wild fruits, eggs and nuts. The human race was thriving on this diet high in animal fat and proteins and low in carbohydrates, but things changed when we introduced unnatural foods to our bodies.It sounds warm and fuzzy and appeals to our sense of ‘natural’ and is a sort of throw-back to our ancestors.

My Critique

1. Eliminating Entire Food Groups – I am generally not a fan of diets that eliminate entire food groups.  Paleo recommends that you do not eat any: dairy, grains, vegetable oil, legumes, and ‘excess’ sugar.  The premise is that these products were not available to the paleolithic man and so our genetic makeup does not properly accept them as a food source.  All of these products have been shown to provide essential nutrition.  Dairy is a great source of probiotics (yogurt), calcium, and protein.  Whole grains are rich in phytochemicals, antioxidants, and fiber.  Olive oil and legumes are excellent sources of essential fatty acids.  I’m not sure what ‘excess’ sugar means…

2. Evolution – In doing research for “Are Starchy Foods Making You Fat?” – I found that research has shown that we have, in fact, evolved.  Just because the paleolithic man (supposedly) did not have these foods available to him does not mean that he would not have benefited from them.  Neither does not mean that he would not have been able to process them.  Even if paleolithic man could not process these foods – it does not mean that WE can’t.

3. Availability of Foods – I find it highly doubtful that paleolithic man did not have access to legumes (peas, beans, lentils and soy are pretty easy to find…)  No access to dairy products?  Really?  If they were eating goats I’m pretty sure they knew that it produced milk… The paleo diet also promotes eating eggs… ummm… that would qualify as a ‘cultivated’ food by farming… probably not commonly eaten by hunter-gatherers.  Grains are also pretty difficult to avoid – have you seen the rice fields in asia?

4. Health – So, yes, we know that “Syndrome X/ Metabolic Syndrome” that encompasses Obesity, Type II Diabetes, Hypertension, Hypercholesterolemia, Cardiovascular disease etc. has been increasing over the past 100 years.  Does this mean that the paleolithic man had a longer lifespan?  Was he healthier?  Have you ever met one?  Exactly how are we supposed to know that these ancient people didn’t die at 35 due to a heart attack from atherosclerosis?  Perhaps they all died from wars with neighbors, being eaten by giant tigers or other accidents before they died of heart attacks.  In other words, how much do we actually KNOW about the health of ancient people?  Last I heard we didn’t have any of their electronic medical records…


With all that said, yes, I do take issue with the premise of the diet.  I don’t think it is founded on solid scientific evidence.  Just because our ancestors believed in tree spirits doesn’t mean it was right or that it was better for the human race…  And, just because they ate certain things then doesn’t mean that it is the right way for us to eat NOW.

HOWEVER: I do agree that the way we CURRENTLY eat is seriously flawed.  The scientific community is trying to determine exactly what we are doing wrong.  What makes sense?  We know that fruits and vegetables are good for us.  Lean meats and whole grains.  Antioxidants and Probiotics.  Reasonable portion sizes and regular exercise.  (Yes, those are fragments – just making a point.)

But, I don’t think it is a BAD diet… I think you could get all of your nutrition within the limitations of this diet provided that you ate the right balance of foods.  Moderate portion sizes and regular exercise would still be essential.  Animal fat DOES increase cholesterol and is high in calories.  I don’t think it is better, nutritionally than other ‘healthy’ diet.  I don’t think it is the answer to all of your health conditions or to magical weight loss.  But, if you wanted to try it I wouldn’t try to talk you out of it.  I would just encourage you to visit your MD on a regular basis to get your cholesterol checked. 🙂

What are your thoughts?

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Turbo Fire – What’s in the Box?

I am so excited about Turbo Fire!  I know, I sound silly… but I really do love Chalene, the moves, the music & how I feel after I do these workouts… I thought I would give you a little preview of what comes in the box…

Haven’t heard of Turbo Fire?  Check it out (and disregard the infomercial-ness…) 🙂

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Vitamins: Too much of a Good Thing?

More is not always better. Did you know that you can develop toxicities from things that seem ‘harmless’ including vitamins? Vitamins A,D,E & K are “fat-soluble” meaning that they are able to dissolve in fat.  These can be stored in your body if you take in too much of them.  “Water-soluble” vitamins are more easily eliminated by your body unless you have liver or kidney disease.

What vitamins should you be worried about?

The vitamins you should be most concerned about are Vitamins A, D and B6 (Pyroxidine).

Vitamin A: Upper Limit is 3gm/day Toxicity is: Headache, double vision, nausea/vomiting, vertigo, fatigue

Vitamin D: Upper Limit is 50 mcg/day (2000 intl units)/day Toxicity is: Anorexia, hypocalcaemia, soft-tissue calcification, kidney stones, and renal failure

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): Doses greater than 50mg/day may cause severe sensory neuropathy

So, the next time you are choosing a multivitamin or taking a supplement you may want to take a second look at the content of these three vitamins.

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