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Do Chia Seeds Have Any Negative Side Effects?

Despite their tiny size, chia seeds pack a powerful nutritional punch. These miniscule black seeds provide a substantial amount of nutrients but very few calories. The ancient civilizations of Mexico cultivated the desert plant Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family, for the potent little chia seeds it produced, and modern nutrition experts still recognize the dietary muscle these small seeds flex. But what chia seeds side effects do you need to be aware of before you start incorporating them into your diet or sports nutrition plan?

What Could Cause Chia Seeds Side Effects?

These small black seeds are loaded with nutrients. According to the United States Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database, a 1-ounce serving (about 2 tablespoons) of dried chia seeds contains 10 grams of dietary fiber, 5 grams of protein, and 8 grams of “healthy fats” (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated), with only 138 calories and 1 gram of saturated fat. They are a good source of niacin and thiamine, the B vitamins that turn food into energy and support the brain and nervous system. They also provide significant levels of important minerals such as selenium, manganese, phosphorous, and copper.

The National Library of Medicine of the National Institutes of Health notes that chia seeds contain high levels of calcium, the mineral that builds strong bones and plays a role in blood clotting and muscle and nerve function; iron, which helps form red blood cells and carry oxygen throughout the body; and magnesium, which helps regulate the body’s metabolism and supports the muscular and nervous systems.

The Mayo Clinic hails chia seeds as an excellent source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, containing 4,500 milligrams per serving.

Chia Seeds Side Effects That Are Good For You

With such a healthy nutrition profile, chia seeds can arguably be called a “superfood.” For most people, chia seeds side effects translate into healthy benefits. The American Heart Association recommends eating foods with high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids 3-4 times per week since Omega-3s are essential fats that the body needs to function properly but can’t make on its own. The AHA cites research showing that omega-3 fatty acids decrease risk of arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeats), which can lead to sudden death. Omega-3 fatty acids also decrease triglyceride levels, lower blood pressure, and slow the buildup of atherosclerotic plaque (clogging of the arteries which can lead to a heart attack or stroke).

image_1The Cleveland Clinic affirms that chia seeds have been shown to lower triglyceride cholesterol, and that it may also lower total cholesterol, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels while raising “good” HDL levels. The world-renowned medical institution also notes that chia seeds decrease c-reactive protein (a sign of inflammation) in type 2 diabetics. After studying the benefits, the Cleveland Clinic concluded that chia seeds are a safe and effective food source for the treatment of cardiovascular risk factors.

The significant amount of insoluble fiber in chia seeds helps prevent constipation, according to the National Institutes of Health. The added bulk that chia seeds deliver may also create a feeling of fullness and decrease the amount of food intake, potentially contributing to weight loss.

Be Aware of Potential Drug Interactions

It is important to discuss possible chia seeds side effects with your healthcare provider if you are taking other nutritional supplements or prescribed medications.

In its publication Possible Interactions with Omega-3 Fatty Acids, University of Maryland Medical Center cites specific medications that interact negatively with increased levels of Omega-3 fatty acids, resulting in potentially adverse chia seeds side effects, including:

  • Blood-thinning medications — may increase the effects of blood thinning medications, including aspirin, warfarin (Coumadin), and clopedigrel (Plavix).
  • Blood sugar lowering medications — may increase fasting blood sugar levels, resulting in the need for higher doses of blood sugar lowering medications, such as glipizide (Glucotrol and Glucotrol XL), glyburide (Micronase or Diabeta), glucophage (Metformin), or insulin.

UMMC also notes some medications that the use of some medications may be enhanced by Omega-3s, including:

  • Cyclosporine — Taking omega-3 fatty acids during cyclosporine (Sandimmune) therapy may reduce toxic side effects, such as high blood pressure and kidney damage, associated with this medication in transplant patients.
  • image_2Etretinate and topical steroids — The addition of omega-3 fatty acids (specifically EPA) to the drug therapy etretinate (Tegison) and topical corticosteroids may improve symptoms of psoriasis.
  • Cholesterol-lowering medications — Following certain nutritional guidelines, including increasing the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet and reducing the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio, may allow a group of cholesterol lowering medications known as “statins”, including atorvastatin (Lipitor), lovastatin (Mevacor), and simvastatin (Zocor) to work more effectively.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) — In an animal study, treatment with omega-3 fatty acids reduced the risk of ulcers from nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil) and naproxen (Aleve or Naproxen). The medical center noted that more research is needed to evaluate whether omega-3 fatty acids would have the same effects in people.

The Cleveland Clinic notes that, while it would be unusual, it is possible that some people may be allergic to chia seeds. The National Institutes of Health states that anyone undergoing surgery may need to avoid consuming the seeds for a prescribed amount of time beforehand due to the blood-thinning nature of chia seeds side effects.

chia surge

WebMD offers additional special precautions and warnings. The website advises avoiding the use of chia seeds when pregnant or nursing, since not enough research has been done about chia seeds side effects in those situations. Additionally, anyone at high risk for prostate cancer should avoid consuming large amounts of chia seeds. Chia contains a significant amount of alpha-linolenic acid. Some research suggests that large amounts of alpha-linolenic acid in the diet might increase the chance of getting prostate cancer. Finally, WebMD recommends using a specific variety of chia called Salba. The site warns that eating some types of chia can make triglyceride levels higher, but Salba does not significantly increase them.

Vitalyte Chia Surge, Energy with Nutritional Value

Vitalyte’s Chia Surge Energy Gel fuels your body with extreme energy that has real nutritional value. Vitalyte has formulated the first energy product to combine the exceptional energy benefits of Palatinose with the lasting “superfood” health benefits of chia seeds. The result is an energy gel that is as great for your body as it is for your performance, delivered in a convenient portable packet of a single-serve dose of flavorful gel. Try some today.

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Chia Seeds and Weight Loss

Weight loss is big business. From fad diets to “miracle pills” and exercise trends, the search for quick and easy ways to shed pounds is seemingly endless. But those who want a reliable, healthy approach should consider the relationship between chia seeds and weight loss.

A Nutritional Powerhouse

Chia seeds are garnering attention as a so-called “superfood.” They are easily digestible, versatile to use, and full of nutrients and energy-boosting power. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, chia seeds are an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids, essential fats that the body can’t make on its own. Omega-3s are critical to cell functioning, hormone production, and protection against cancer and other conditions.

chia seeds

Chia seeds are an excellent source of fiber, and contain protein and minerals including iron (to form red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout the body), calcium (to form strong bones, aid in blood clotting and support muscle and nerve function), magnesium (to help regulate the body’s metabolism) and zinc (for a healthy immune system).

Food and Nutrition, a publication of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, states that as of 2013 there were only four published clinical trials of the benefits of chia, in which three found positive relationships between chia seeds and weight loss, reduced blood glucose, and reduced triglyceride (a type of cholesterol) levels.

Although there are few published studies on the health benefits of consuming chia or the relationship between chia seeds and weight loss, the nutritional profile of these small but mighty seeds offers anecdotal evidence of the role they can play in a healthy lifestyle.

The Relationship Between High Fiber and a Healthy Weight

While research may be lacking about the correlation between chia seeds and weight loss, the relationship between high fiber intake in preventing obesity is well-documented. As noted by WebMD, “When it comes to losing weight, one simple piece of advice may be more helpful than all the diet books, calorie counting, and portion measuring put together: Eat more fiber.”

healthy weightThe article cites a study which found that people who added more fiber to their diets — without changing anything else — lost almost as much weight as people who followed a heart-healthy, low-fat eating plan. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests that simply aiming to eat 30 grams of fiber each day can help you lose weight, lower your blood pressure, and improve your body’s response to insulin just as effectively as a more complicated diet. The participants in each group averaged 19 grams of fiber a day. Both groups lost weight, lowered their blood pressure, and improved their response to insulin. Those following the more complicated diet lost a bit more weight than those on the high-fiber diet, but both groups were able to maintain their weight loss for 12 months.

Chia seeds are high-fiber champions, delivering a whopping 10 grams per ounce (about 2 tablespoons). By adding chia seeds to smoothies, salads, fruit and other foods that already have fiber, it would be easy to meet the 30-gram-per-day recommendation. The study results suggest that if you get enough fiber with the help of chia seeds, weight loss will follow.

fat burning

How Does It Work?

Fiber isn’t a mystical fat-burning agent. The Journal of Nutrition points out that fiber has unique physical and chemical properties that help you feel full sooner, signaling to your brain that it is time to stop eating.

Without adding a lot of extra calories to your diet, fiber fills the stomach, stimulating receptors that tell your brain that it’s time to stop eating. As it absorbs water and takes up more room in the stomach and digestive system, fiber not only helps you feel full sooner but it also helps you to maintain that feeling for longer periods of time. You need to to drink plenty of water, about eight glasses a day, to move fiber through your digestive system, and that helps fight against hunger pangs too. The water contributes to feelings of fullness and controls thirst, which can often be confused with hunger.

Celebrity nutritionist and alternative health specialist Lindsey Duncan is a proponent of chia seeds. He says that chia absorbs up to 12 times its own weight and expands to curb your appetite, so adding just an ounce or so of chia seeds to your diet can reduce caloric intake and help lower the energy density (or calories) of foods, plus double the amount of fiber you receive.

So while there may be limited definitive research results on the relationship between chia seeds and weight loss, there is evidence that, like other high-fiber foods, chia seeds can play a role in helping you achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

Where Do Chia Seeds Come From?

Chia seeds come from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family. The plant is believed to have originated in Mexico and Central America where the seed was a staple in the ancient Aztec and Mayan diets, around 3500 B.C. Chia seeds were considered close to magical because of their reputed ability to increase stamina and energy over a sustained period of time. Legend has it that the name chia is derived from the Mayan word for “strength.”

Vitalyte Chia Surge, Energy with Nutritional Value

Vitalyte’s Chia Surge Energy Gel fuels your body with extreme energy that has real nutritional value. Vitalyte has formulated the first energy product to combine the exceptional energy benefits of Palatinose with the lasting “superfood” health benefits of chia seeds. The result is an energy gel that is as great for your body as it is for your performance, delivered in a convenient portable packet of a single-serve dose of flavorful gel.

Vitalyte Chia Essentials Bars

Vitalyte Chia Essentials nutrition bars are convenient snack bars perfect for on-the-go nutrition for athletes or anyone with an active lifestyle. Packed with 2 grams of whole seed chia, these superfood bars are an ideal meal replacement, pre-workout energizer or post workout snack. Enjoy these delicious bars any time of day to boost your energy, manage your hunger, control blood sugar or support your weight loss plan. They come in delicious Blueberry and Peanut Butter Chocolate flavors.

Shop Vitalyte to satisfy all of your chia needs!

 

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The science of summer hydration, using “VITALYTE PRE WORKOUT ENDURANCE FUEL”!

unnamedAs summer rolls in, it becomes more apparent that hydration is more important than ever!  While the cold can push you past your limits and require plenty of hydration, it’s much more forgiving on the human body than the heat!  Hydration is just as necessary during winter as it is during summer, however, your bodies ability to cool itself down during summer is void!  Your core temperature peaks and as the human body begins to overheat, it reacts in a similar fashion as a radiator does without Antifreeze!

I’ve come to realize that sodium is an essential part of the electrolyte makeup, however sugars just as valuable!  The need for sugar and salt become apparent when pushing past your threshold, during any Ultramarathon!  You’ll notice that the standard cookie cutter aid station layout, for any Ultramarathon is as follows (Electrolytes, salty snacks, fruit with high sugar content, water, salty broth, etc.)!

During my training season, I’ve found that the VITALYTE PRE WORKOUT ENDURANCE FUEL, helps to not only keep me hydrated, but recover during my runs!  Unlike any other electrolyte/endurance fuel out there, VITALYTE PRE WORKOUT ENDURANCE FUEL, supplies endurance athletes with just the right amount of sugars, electrolytes(Magnesium, Potassium, Calcium, Sodium),  Vitamin A,B,C and BCAA’s(Branch Chain Amino Acids) for recovery!

Typically, most endurance drinks avoid the use of BCAA’s(Branch Chain Amino Acids) which are essential building blocks and help aid in the recovery of muscle tissue and tendons!  These essential components are great in recovery drinks, but why wait til post competition/training to recover?  Why not keep fully charged and train/compete at 100%, by repairing your muscle tissue and tendons while you compete/train?  Remember, BCAA’s not only build lean muscle mass, but help to recover, which is essential during any Ultramarathon!

This is a solid reason to try VITALYTE TRI-PHASE ENDURANCE PRE WORKOUT ENDURANCE FUEL!  Remember, hydrating before training/racing is just as important as during!  Be sure to hydrate with VITALYTE TRI-PHASE ENDURANCE PRE WORKOUT ENDURANCE FUEL, at least 30 minutes before competing/training and every 30 minutes thereafter!  Water is just as essential, so be sure to hydrate with water in between!  For instance, drink water every 5-10 minutes leading up to the 30 minutes, then replenish with the VITALYTE TRI-PHASE ENDURANCE PRE WORKOUT ENDURANCE FUEL!  Thank you and enjoy those trails!

“The only way to get there faster is to keep working hard!” Lenny Futterman

Try hardMay was another month for selection regattas for the USA Rowing Team. I decided since it was my first year on the elite rowing circuit, it was very important for me to have some positive results by myself in the Single Scull.
The next big race on my schedule National Selection Regatta #2. I knew that my main competition would be from one of my good friends, Willy Cowles, who used to row out of my club, but recently moved to a different program in Vermont.
Once again, due to high winds, the Time Trial was pushed to a 7:30 PM start time. It should be noted, that on the average night, I am usually eating my dinner and starting to get to bed at that time! Regardless, I settled into my new pre-race ritual, drinking some Vitalyte Tri-Phase Endurance, pedaling on the indoor bike for 30′ and listening to some old Bruce Springsteen. I survived the messy conditions and managed to place 2nd behind Willy.
The final was another rough day out, but I rowed through it the best I could. I got to the start line early, took some Chia Surge and got ready to blast off. Again through all the chop I finished 2nd. I was certainly not happy that I lost, but as everyone keeps reminding me, I am “young” on the elite rowing scene and I’ll have my day in the sun soon. The only way to get there faster is to keep working hard!
photo credit:Pinterest

“April was an exciting month indeed!”–Lenny Futterman

Brand Ambasssador_lenny_fluttermanApril was an exciting month in the rowing calendar because it marked the beginning of spring selection for the national team. The first of these selection regattas is in the double scull (two people, two oars each).
A few weeks ago my double partner and I drove to Princeton for this regatta. We had shown decent speed in practice and were excited to see what we could do against the country’s best scullers.
The first day was a time trial. We executed our race plan, but truthfully, when it was over, I had no idea how we had done. It was only on the dock when another rower yelled to us “Hey Guys, good job!” that we found out that we got 2nd overall.
The next day, even at 6am, the weather was nasty with 15-20mph winds. Regardless, we suited up, got in our boat and started warming up for our semi final. It was only 10 minutes before the race that the officials announced that the racing would be canceled for the day and would resume the following morning.
When our semi finally went off the next morning, we had a composed race which we won in the 2nd fastest time of the day. At that point, we were just happy to have gotten to race, n though the wind was still kicking at 11mph.
On saturday we had the Grand Final. After the successes of the last few races, we expected to beat crews that we had been beating or posting faster times than all week. We finished fourth in a tight race (2nd to 4th was .8 seconds!), but we realized that although it is not how we wanted to finish, it was still a solid result and a great way to start the season.
I have another selection regatta in a few weeks, this time in the Single Scull. If I win this regatta, I will be able to compete at one of the world cups.