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How to Get Enough Protein on a Plant-Based Diet

How to Get Enough Protein on a Plant-Based Diet

Whether you’re new to the world of plant-based eating or you’ve been living a vegan lifestyle for a while, you’ve probably been asked “how do you get enough protein?”

Let us help you answer that question, so you don’t have to.

ALL ABOUT AMINO ACIDS

Our body converts protein into amino acids to be used to repair and rebuild muscles. A complete protein source is one that provides certain amounts of all essential amino acids: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.

Essential amino acids need to be consumed in diet. While not all plant-based sources of protein contain all essential amino acids in the proportions your body needs, eating a variety of foods, like beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains or consuming a protein shake like Vega Sport® Protein can provide a complete amino acid profile.

GIVE ME THE NUMBERS

Let’s talk digits. Individual needs vary however you can use this as a general guideline to calculate daily protein needs (in grams of protein per kilogram of body weight).

  • Adult Men and Women: 8 g/kg/day1
  • Endurance-trained athletes: 2 to 1.4 g/kg/day1
  • Strength-trained athletes: 4 to 1.8 g/kg/day1

Want to try this conversion out yourself? Let’s say you’re a 130 pound woman who is training for a marathon.

  1. Convert pounds into kilograms by dividing by 2.2. 130 divided by 2.2 is 59 kilograms.
  2. For your level of training, a minimum of 1.2 grams per kilogram per day is required. 59 x 1.2 grams = 70 grams of protein per day.

That’s as simple as three meals with 20 grams of protein each, and two snacks with 5 grams of protein each. Check the labels of your favourite foods to see how many grams of protein each serving contains. And for an easy way to add 20 grams of protein to your day, add a scoop of Vega One® All-in-One Shake to your morning smoothie.

CAN I BUILD MUSCLE WITH VEGAN PROTEIN?

Absolutely! Plant based protein can help support your goals. BCAAs are considered to be especially beneficial after a workout.

BCAAs

Branched chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine) particularly leucine signals muscle protein synthesis. Brown rice, hemp and pea proteins contain BCAAs.

WHAT ARE THE BEST SOURCES OF PLANT-BASED PROTEIN?

From beans to nuts to seeds to whole grains to greens like spinach, there’s plenty of ways to get enough protein on a plant-based diet.

Buckwheat

Though it contains the word “wheat,” buckwheat is actually gluten-free. Buckwheat groats make a fantastic alternative to rice pilaf and will give you 22 grams of protein per 1 cup.2

Tempeh

Tempeh is a traditionally fermented type of soy. It has 16 grams of protein per 1/2 cup.2 Tempeh soaks up all marinade flavours, so try it in a stir-fry.

Brussels sprouts

One cup of cooked Brussels sprouts has 4 grams of protein.2 Try roasting Brussels sprouts under your broiler for a flavourful side dish.

Broccoli

Whether sautéed or roasted, broccoli is a surprising source of protein. Per cup of chopped, cooked broccoli, you’re getting 4 grams of protein.2

Spinach

Yes, spinach. A cup of cooked spinach has 5 grams of protein.2 To eyeball that on your plate, picture the size of a baseball or roughly the size of your fist.

Green Peas

A perfect side dish to your dinner, green peas have nearly 9 grams of protein per cup once cooked.2

Chia Seeds

Though small, these seeds pack a protein punch—15 grams of protein per ½ cup.2 If you’ve already fallen in love with chia pudding, try adding chia to your protein bites.

Hempseeds

Raw hempseeds have 10 grams of protein in 3 tablespoons.2 With a pleasant nutty taste, hempseeds make a great addition to salads and stir-fries.

Pumpkin Seeds

Roasted pumpkin seeds make a great snack and contain 10 grams of protein per 1/4 cup.2

Kidney, Navy, and Black Beans

While lentils and split peas are technically legumes, these true beans are great in stir-fries or on salads. No matter the type, you’ll average about 15 grams of protein per cup of beans once cooked.2

Lentils

Lentils pack 16 grams of protein per cup once cooked.2 And since most only take 20 to 30 minutes to cook they’re ideal for a quick meal.

References:
1. Lemon, P. W. (1995, June). Do athletes need more dietary protein and amino acids? Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7550257
2. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference. Accessed on 5/22/2020 from: http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/

 

 

Protect Your Eyes from Blue Light

Protect Your Eyes from Blue Light

Protecting your eyes from the sun goes without question. But what about the digital devices we look at all day? From computers to televisions and smartphones, we’re constantly looking at digital screens. Plus, these screens are emitting blue light that is harmful to your eyes after prolonged use.

What is ‘Blue Light’?

Simply put, blue light is a type of high energy light with short wavelengths that penetrate deep into the eyes. Sunlight is the main source of blue light, however it also emits from digital devices that we’ve come to love and use with regularity. Exposure to blue light from digital devices is having short-term and long-term effects on our eyes – as in our new normal, our amount of screen time doubled. The average Canadian spends over half of their waking hours looking at digital devices. Over time, exposure to blue light can cause significant issues for your eyes.

It is important to note that not all blue light is harmful and some is even necessary for alertness, a positive mood, cognitive function and memory. Blue light is also responsible for regulating the circadian rhythm — our body’s sleep and wake cycle. Exposure to blue light during the day helps us maintain an accurate circadian rhythm. When we see blue light it tells our brain that it’s time to be awake, and a lack of blue light signals to the brain that it’s time to sleep. However, if we spend our evenings in front of a laptop, television or smartphone (all of which emit blue light) – we can disrupt this cycle, potentially leading to sleepless nights and daytime naps.

So, what can we do? Well, we can’t turn off the sun, nor can we completely avoid our man-made, blue light emitting devices. We can, however, mitigate potential damage by learning how to regulate the amount of blue light to which our eyes are exposed, and discover how to best support our eyesight.

What Can We Do to Protect our Eyes?

Exposure to blue light is unavoidable, but we can reduce harm to our eyes by:

  • Using blue light filter glasses/settings on our screens
  • Sitting at least an arm’s length away from your screen
  • Increasing font size to reduce strain
  • Following the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet away.
  • Eat nutrient rich foods, such as fruits rich in vitamin C, dark leafy vegetables, legumes, fish with Omega-3 fatty acid and much more.
  • Get 7-9 hours of sleep each night
  • Taking an antioxidant-rich supplement that has lutein and zeaxanthin

Special Nutrients for Your Eyes

The retina is rich in vitamin A, lutein and zeaxanthin, which are essential in supporting dim-light vision, colour vision and visual acuity. Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoid pigments that protect the macula from damage by blue light. Alpha lipoic acid, bilberry fruit and grape seed extract work together to protect the lens and retina from free radical damage. The lens of the eye is one of the most abundant sources of glutathione in the body and alpha lipoic acid helps keep optimal levels. Omega-3s have anti-inflammatory properties that are important for eye health. All these nutrients work together to support visual acuity and eyesight in conditions such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD). They can also help reduce the risk of developing cataracts.

Total Vision Care and Total Vision Care Vegan are comprehensive formulas that support total eye health and are recognized by the Vision Institute of Canada. They follow the recommendations of the AREDS2 (Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2) trial with a powerful combination of lutein, zeaxanthin, alpha lipoic acid and added antioxidant protection. Your eyesight is precious. Take care of your eyes today to help see a better tomorrow.

Platinum Naturals Total Vision Care

Natural Solutions for Pain and Inflammation

Natural Solutions for Pain and Inflammation

Natural Solutions for Pain and Inflammation

Active living people are subject to everything from bumps and bruises to strains and sprains, not to mention the common adversity of sore joints and stiff muscles. It’s part of the code of being a fitness-conscious person, weekend warrior or any kind of performance personality. Protracted periods of injury and pain are obviously best avoided simply because of how taxing they can be; physically, mentally and even emotionally.

The key for any of us – no matter the level of physical activity we are accustomed to – is how our body recovers in these circumstances. The good news is that we can all at least increase the chances of having an expedient and successful recovery by adopting a holistic approach that brings together all of the tools that we can use to fight pain and inflammation. These include purposeful adjustments in nutritional diet, lifestyle (including sleep and rest), and the right supplementation. In general, anything that keeps stress in check is helpful when it comes to containing inflammation, optimizing our immune system and our capacity to heal.

Getting to the root cause of pain is the mantra behind PURICA natural supplementation, and it’s perhaps best exemplified in two formulations: PURICA Recovery – the company’s flagship product originally developed more than 21 years ago — and PURICA Recovery 3.0, the next generation product featuring curcumin.

Working in tandem with proper nutrition and exercise, the original PURICA Recovery can enhance your cellular health and the very framework of your body formed by epithelial, connective, muscular and skeletal tissue.

It works in two specific ways. First, it increases the cell’s receptivity to anabolic (building) compounds such as insulin and thyroid hormone. Second, it reduces catabolic (destroying) action due to oxidation.  This two-pronged impact makes Recovery more than just a band-aid that masks the problem, potentially leading to further degeneration of the tissues.

PURICA Recovery features Nutricol® bioflavanoid concentrate, the proprietary blend of green tea and grape seed polyphenols recognized for their properties as antioxidants and inflammation modulators. Extra Strength Recovery contains MSM, vegan-sourced glucosamine hydrochloride, betaine HCL, vitamin C and an organic hyperberry formula made up of blueberry, blackberry, raspberry and cranberry, along with vegan hyaluronic acid, magnesium and natural vitamin E. These ingredients allow Recovery to treat the root of the problem; halting the damage that leads to discomfort. It improves digestion, enhances quality of sleep and strengthens the protective mucosal surface integrity of the gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts.

Meanwhile, PURICA Recovery 3.0 works very similarly by combating inflammation by reducing cortisol and c-reactive protein levels, both of which are typically triggered by stress. With Curcumin 30% BDMC as one of its signature ingredients, it delivers stress relief, serves as an anti-catabolic by healing damage at the cellular level and helps to control electrolyte balance. By addressing sleeplessness, irritability, and lack of concentration, it further supports the body’s natural recovery and repair functions.

The other key ingredients in PURICA Recovery 3.0 are the organic medicinal mushroom chaga and the organic herb ashwagandha (Sensoril). These two ingredients are very important in supporting our adrenal glands and bringing the body back into balance after chronic stress, which heavily taxes our adrenals. Given that our adrenals are responsible for every physiological process in our bodies, this benefit is so important in ensuring a prompt recovery, not to mention returning our energy levels back to optimal. With better energy comes better moods and better overall health.

Add in the Hylauronic Acid that has been synonymous with the original PURICA Recovery, along with Magnesium, Vitamin C and Applephenon (70% polyphenols) and Recovery 3.0 is an extremely effective and potent anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-catabolic formulation.

Much of the pain and inflammation relief comes from the potent concentration of the 30% BDMC (bisdesmethoxycurcumin). Curcumin is the active compound in the turmeric root that is known for its brilliant antioxidant qualities.  Standard curcumin extract typically contains 1% of the BDMC, compared to the 30% found in the bioBDM30 found in Recovery 3.0. The other key is that it combats inflammation from not one but two target markers; MSK1 (mitogen-and stress-activated protein kinase 1) and KF-KB (Nuclear Factor Kappa-B). Regular curcumin only inhibits it from one; the NF-KB. The exceptionally high ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) value of 565,000 helps to also reduce oxidative damage to the cells.

It’s little wonder that Recovery 3.0 has quickly become synonymous with the rapid relief and optimal performance it is associated with, especially among active living people who want to do everything they can to keep on doing the things they love doing.

 

Can Digestive Enzymes Tackle an Upset Stomach?

Can Digestive Enzymes Tackle an Upset Stomach?

Can Digestive Enzymes Tackle an Upset Stomach?

Digestion is a complex and fascinating process that starts in the mouth and ends at the… well, the other end. The breakdown of large complex carbohydrates, fats and proteins relies on the mechanics of chewing, a good dose of acid secreted by the stomach, and on specialized enzymes that breakdown food particles into simple parts that can then be absorbed across the gut. Mechanical digestion of carbohydrates starts in the mouth with chewing. Next, a specialized enzyme called peptase, with the help of stomach acid, takes on proteins in the stomach. When the foods leaves the stomach the remaining parts are broken down by bile from the gall gladder, and enzymes secreted by the pancreas, as well as those situated along the intestines.

What can go wrong?

In a perfect world, digestion is seamless, but for many people, meals come with unpleasant burping, heartburn, bloating and discomfort. Indigestion is especially common around the holidays, a time where bad habits are amplified; eating large portions, eating too quickly, eating late into the night and enjoying many processed foods. These problems are exacerbated for those using pharmaceuticals such as NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs used for pain), antibiotics (which upset the balance of gut flora) and over-the-counter antacids (which disarm acid needed for digestion in the stomach). Smoking and excessive alcohol ingestion can also damage the stomach lining. For the aged population, diminishing reserves of both stomach acid, as well as enzymes, make for a perfect storm. Furthermore, when our brain registers that we are stressed (deemed the sympathetic state) many mundane but important activities like digestion, grind to a halt. Stress also goes hand-in-hand with disruptive habits such as eating too much, too fast, and consuming more processed foods. Emotional stress can manifest in your gut in many ways: abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating, heart burn, nausea and loss of appetite.

Enzymes to the rescue!

There is a reason why NOW® Super Enzymes is one of the best-selling enzyme products. This formula provides a comprehensive variety of digestive aids to target all of our macronutrients: fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Moreover, the sources include both pancreatic and food derived (papaya and pineapple) enzymes. Pancreatic enzymes have a long history of use in mainstream medicine, making them a mainstay of most formulas. However, the fruit derived enzymes are able to survive in a broader range of pH levels and therefore provide extra assurances of efficacy. One of the enzymes in this formula is a specialized acid-stable enzyme normally found in the stomach. This formula also contains bile, originating in the liver, and important for the processing of fats and fat soluble vitamins. Bile may also help with bacterial overgrowth and with the movement of food through the intestines. Some people may have reduced or poorly timed bile, especially those lacking a gallbladder. And finally, this formula contains acid (betaine hydrochloride) to assist with digestion in the stomach.

 

By Thalia Charney, MA, Holistic Nutrition and Wellness Coach
Nutrition and Health Education Manager, NOW Foods

What Are the Signs of Zinc Deficiency?

What Are the Signs of Zinc Deficiency?

What Are the Signs of Zinc Deficiency?

An intake of minerals is essential to all living creatures – plants, animals and humans. Minerals are essential elements found in soil through the erosion of mineral salts. We consume minerals by eating the plants that grow in the soil and foods derived from animals that consume plants. Minerals are utilized in the human body for numerous biochemical activities including the functioning of the nervous, musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems. Some minerals, such as calcium, are macrominerals needed in large amounts. Others, known as trace minerals, are needed in small amounts. One such trace mineral that is necessary for daily health is the mineral found at the end of the alphabetical roll call – zinc.

Zinc, like most minerals, is needed for a variety of life functions. It plays a role in immune function and healing. It is a strong antioxidant important to eye health. Zinc plays a role in energy production, protein metabolism, enzyme activity and overall growth and development. Although we do not need large amounts of zinc, many of us still do not get enough of it.

Zinc Deficiency

While zinc deficiency is more common to those living in developing countries, it is not uncommon for those in Canada to have marginal zinc deficiencies that can have negative health effects. Health Canada estimates that 10-35% of Canadians are getting insufficient levels of zinc in their diet.1 That figure rises to 40% for men over the age of 70.2 Many theorize that our soils are becoming depleted of minerals such as zinc, due to modern farming methods.3

A lack of zinc can impair immunity and wound-healing and may lead to increased infections, undesired weight loss, hair loss, diarrhea, poor mental performance, as well as skin and male fertility issues.4

There are several groups that are more susceptible to marginal zinc deficiencies: those suffering from diarrhea, vegan and vegetarians, alcoholics, pregnant and breastfeeding mothers and anyone experiencing malabsorption issues, which often affect seniors.5

Eating a diet of zinc-rich foods is the key to maintain healthy levels of this nutrient. Both plant and animal derived foods are available with good zinc content – pumpkin seeds, cashews, mushrooms, egg yolks, and grass fed chicken, lamb and beef. For those who do not eat zinc containing foods or are unable to absorb sufficient amounts, zinc supplements are available. 

Zinc Supplements: Options and Benefits

Zinc supplements can be found in various strengths and sources. Zinc citrate, zinc bound with citric acid, is considered a well absorbed form of zinc. In one study that measured zinc absorption through isotope tracing, zinc citrate showed improved absorption versus gluconate and oxide forms.6 Dosages for zinc supplements in Canada typically range between 10 mg and 50 mg, with the proper amount depending on an individual’s deficiency level. Zinc supplementation has been recognized for the following benefits:7

  • Helps to maintain immune function
  • Helps in connective tissue formation
  • Helps to maintain healthy skin
  • Helps the body to metabolize carbohydrates
  • Helps the body to metabolize proteins
  • Helps the body to metabolize fats

Copper with Zinc for Balance

It is important to prevent zinc deficiency, but care must be taken when supplementing. Taking zinc as a single ingredient supplement can have unintended consequences. While helping to increase one’s zinc levels, supplementing with a high potency of zinc alone for long periods of time may cause a deficiency of another mineral: copper. This is due to competition in the intestinal tract between these two minerals. In fact, Health Canada recommends that any adult supplementing with more than 30 mg of zinc per day ensure they are getting at least 2 mg of copper.8 Copper, like zinc, is involved in human immune health.

A Balanced Solution: Zinc Plus Copper

Health First® Zinc Plus Copper is a good choice for those that are deficient in zinc. This formula is been designed for high absorption and mineral balance. It contains zinc from citrate source for easy absorption at a potent 50 mg level. The formula also contains 2 mg of copper, as per Health Canada recommendation, to maintain a proper balancing of the body’s copper levels.

 

Thriving on a Plant-Based Diet

Thriving on a Plant-Based Diet

Thriving on a Plant-Based Diet

More people are incorporating plant-based meals into their day-to-day lives, and are thriving as a result! Following a plant-based diet means including foods primarily from plants, such as: fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, oil, whole grains, lentils & legumes!

Turning to a more plant-based eating and mindfulness lifestyle can have a profound impact on our health and wellness. The benefits of being plant based are endless. Not only does it encourage us to explore new foods and preparation methods, being plant-based also decreases the risk of chronic disease. Meeting all our nutritional needs is important, however it can be difficult given the increasing demands from everyday life that include feelings of stress and burn-out, which are at an all-time high!

Two major problems people are experiencing these days are:

  1. Being stressed out (physically and mentally), and having difficulty recovering efficiently.
  2. Feeling burnt out and having trouble mustering the energy and motivation to start everyday activities.

While it can be tempting to stay stuck in bad routines and rely on coffee or a sweet treat to get you through the day, we think there is a better way. To address these challenges, here are a few tips:

  1. Eat balanced meals: include plant protein (chickpeas, lentils, tofu etc.), carbohydrates (rice, whole grains, root vegetables), healthy fats (olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocados) and a variety of fruits and vegetables in every meal.
  2. Stay active: try to incorporate at least 30 minutes of physical activity daily, to increase blood flow and oxygen throughout the body.
  3. Practice mindfulness and meditation to keep stress levels down.
  4. Incorporate Iron Vegan Superfoods & Greens, Balanced Energy & Rebound Recovery Blends into your daily routine

Iron Vegan has formulated new functional food blends. Broadening the scope of ingredients to include mushrooms like: chaga, cordyceps, reishi, and lion’s mane; adaptogens like holy basil, ashwagandha, and additional herbs like turmeric and maca. These blends were created to help with sustained energy throughout your day.

The new Iron Vegan SuperFoods & Greens use the power of functional food ingredients like organic mushrooms & sprouted grains/seeds, land & sea vegetables, plant-sourced digestive aids, which all provide a source of antioxidants!1 Sweetened with stevia and monk fruit, SuperFoods & Greens™ comes in two flavours, Unflavoured and Pineapple Orange, making it convenient to add into your favourite smoothie/shake or just with water!1

New Iron Vegan Balanced Energy Blends can be taken anytime during the day to help increase energy.2 The Balanced Energy Blend is designed to help you gear-up by providing adaptogen support, that not only increases energy levels but also combats mental fatigue.2 The ingredient line-up includes organic cordyceps, organic reishi, organic lion’s mane, astragalus, and maca.2

It is also important to promote relaxation and relieve inflammation, so one’s body can perform at its best. After all, if we continue to push the body without effective rest, burnout is likely to occur. This is where Iron Vegan Rebound Recovery shines. It includes ingredients such as Turmeric, which is an anti-inflammatory to help relieve joint pain.3 Iron Vegan Rebound Recovery puts your body and mind into an optimal self state.

The Iron Vegan SuperFoods & Greens, Balanced Energy Blends and Rebound Recovery Blend are easy to take: simply add a scoop to a shaker cup with water, and consume once a day. They are the perfect addition to your routine.

 

References:
1. Government of Canada. Product information. Accessed on June 15th, 2021 at http://health-products.canada.ca/lnhpd-bdpsnh/info.do?licence=80107729
2. Government of Canada. Product information. Accessed on June 15th, 2021 at https://health-products.canada.ca/lnhpd-bdpsnh/info.do?licence=80105929
3. Product information. Accessed on June 15th, 2021 at https://health-products.canada.ca/lnhpd-bdpsnh/info.do?licence=80106513
4. Nagata, Akira et al. (2006). Supplemental Anti-fatigue Effects of Cordyceps Sinensis (Tochu-Kaso) Extract Powder During Three Stepwise Exercise of Human. J-stage, 55:S145-S152.
5. Ito K, Nagato Y, Aoi N, et al. (1998). Effects of L-theanine on the release of alpha-brain waves in human volunteers. Agric. Chem. Soc. Jpn, 72(2): 153-157.

Vitamin D and Your Health

Vitamin D and Your Health

Vitamin D and Your Health

Vitamin D is a vital nutrient. We generally get the vitamin D we need from the sun’s rays, which give vitamin D its nickname as the “Sunshine Vitamin.” Unfortunately, two major issues prevent most Canadians from getting sufficient amounts of vitamin D. First, modern concerns about the harmful effects of sun exposure mean that Canadians tend to limit their time in the sun. Second, Canada is a northern country with very limited amounts of sunshine during winter months. Health experts believe as many as 80% of Canadians do not get enough vitamin D during the winter months from October to March.1 Quoted in the Globe & Mail, Dr. Rohan Gunasingham stated, “Starting from now [October], if you are in Toronto, you can forget it. You will not make any vitamin D even if you go and stand outside without any clothes.”2 

Insufficient vitamin D intake is associated with major diseases
How then, do we ensure we get sufficient amounts of this vitamin? Studies show that supplementation of vitamin D, specifically D3, is an effective way to obtain vitamin D.3 The costs of not getting enough vitamin D are great.

Low levels of vitamin D are associated with:

  • Over a dozen different types of malignant diseases including those of the breast, prostate, colon, pancreatic, ovaries and bowel4
  • low bone density and poor calcium absorption5
  • lowered immune modulation6
  • incidence of daytime sleepiness7
  • backaches, muscle pain and painful joint inflammation, especially in seniors1
  • low energy during winter months1
  • greater incidence of falls in the elderly8

How much vitamin D do you need?
Recent studies suggest that levels of 1,000 IU per day are required to prevent serious disease, although evidence that higher amounts above 1,500 IU may be appropriate is beginning to be investigated.3,4 Health Canada advises a recommended limit of 1,000 IU per day, while the USA-based National Academy of Sciences set the upper limit of vitamin D consumption at 2,000 IU per day. Some sources suggest amounts over 2,000 IU per day may lead to an excess of calcium absorption which can be hard on the liver and kidneys.9

Studies show that most Americans only get 320 IU per day and Canadians get even less sunlight because of our northern location.3 The D3 form of vitamin D, also known as cholecalciferol, is considered the most effective form, being better utilized by the body than the D2 form.

Vitamin D studies in the news

It seems like hardly a week goes by without new studies being featured in the media. Here is a summary of some of the recent headlines and research:

  • A 2007 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found a significant decrease in overall cancer risk in those postmenopausal women who took vitamin D and calcium.10
  • Adults at higher risk of having lower vitamin D levels should consider taking vitamin D supplementation of 1,000 IU/day all year round.
  • This includes people:
    • who are older;
    • with dark skin;
    • who don’t go outside often, and
    • who wear clothing that covers most of their skin.
    • Vitamin D is an effective anti-inflammatory to be used in the treatment of cardiovascular health.11
    • Elderly adults lacking vitamin D have a higher risk of falling down more, compared with those who get enough of the vitamin, a recent study at Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam suggests. Falls are a major cause of death in the elderly.
    • Vitamin D may help to combat SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Some studies have shown vitamin D supplementation to be more effective than light therapy in reducing seasonal depression symptoms.12

Many Canadians are lacking in this “sunshine” vitamin – especially in winter months – leading to increased risk of bone weakening, inflammation and major diseases.

 

References:
1. “Winter robs Canadians of essential Vitamin D”, www.ctv.ca, Oct. 16, 2006
2. Mittlestaedt, Martin “Get your sunshine vitamins,” Globe & Mail, Oct. 14, 2006.
3. “Vitamin D lowers risk of breast cancer, study says”, Associated Press, April 4, 2006
4. “Low Vitamin D Levels Associated With Increased Total Cancer Incidence”, www.medicalnewstoday.com, Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 2006; 98:451-459)
5. “Vitamin D could cut elderly falls”, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4247995.stm
6. Daniells, Stephen, “Vitamin D’s immune benefits: Cold, flu and beyond”, Nutra-Ingredients.com Oct. 18, 2012.
7. Gray, Nathan, “Significant link between daytime sleepiness and low vitamin D” Nutra-Ingredients.com Oct. 18, 2012.
8. “Vitamin D and the risk of falling over”, www.channelnewsasia.com, Oct. 3, 2006
9. “Vitamin D can lower cancer risk”, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/45633336.stm
10. Joan M Lappe, Joan M, Dianne Travers-Gustafson, K Michael Davies, Robert R Recker, and Robert P Heaney “Vitamin D and calcium supplementation reduces cancer risk:results of a randomized trial”, Am J Clin Nutr 2007;85:1586 –91.
11. “Low vitamin D status: a contributing factor in the pathogenesis of congestive heart failure?” University of Bonn, J Am Coll Cardiol. 2003 Jan 1;41(1):105-12.
12. Gloth FM 3rd, Alam W, Hollis B, The Department of Medicine, The Union Memorial Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland 21218-2895, USA. J Nutr Health Aging 1999; 3(1):5-7.

Parents Just Got (a little) Less Busy

Parents Just Got (a little) Less Busy

Why Did Health First Create the New Family First Line of Natural Health Products?

Simple. We wanted to make life (a little) less busy for parents. Until now, natural health products have focused separately on kids, adults and seniors. But this means buying a different product for different members of the family – and we know you don’t have time for that!

Here’s What’s in the Family!

Family First Multi

A multivitamin acts like an insurance policy to make sure that your whole family is getting its daily requirement of key vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients – especially during those more hectic times when healthy food preparation is most difficult!

Increased stress, a reduction of nutrition in our food due to depleted soil conditions, and fast-food choices can leave our bodies short on the nutrients we need.

The Family First Multi contains highly absorbable forms of vitamins and minerals, including active B vitamins, plant-sourced minerals, and buffered vitamin C, which is less wearing on teeth and gentler on tummies.

Family First ProBio Plus D

Probiotics are good bacteria that have been shown to offer a whole host of benefits to adults and children alike:

  1. Support for a healthy gut flora and good digestion
  2. Support for immune health – probiotics can increase the number of protective immune cells that help our bodies to fight off foreign invaders and even help to create a seal in the gut wall to stop pathogens from entering the blood stream
  3. Better absorption and metabolization of nutrients in the large intestine – vitamin and mineral absorption can be improved with adequate probiotic presence!

Family First ProBio Plus D offers a mix of strains from both the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria families to support the entirety of the intestinal tract. It includes strains that are stable, attach well in the gut, and compatible with one another. 400 IU of vitamin D is added as an immune and bone-building benefit for everyone in the family aged 3 and up!

Family First Omega Plus D

Like vitamins and minerals, it can be tricky to get adequate omega-3 fatty acids from our diets alone. Fish oil is naturally high in these good fats known as omega-3s. Omega-3s are high in EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which have been shown to help prevent heart disease, reduce high blood triglycerides and blood pressure, and improve cognitive health, brain functioning, and overall mood. In children, adequate EPA and DHA support healthy brain, eye, and nerve development.

Family First Omega Plus D is sourced from small, non-farmed fish species that are sustainably harvested. It is certified by IFOS to uphold the highest quality, safety, and purity standards for fish oil in the world. The added vitamin D helps to keep the family’s immune health in tip top shape!

Family First Vitamin D

In Canada, our long winter months coupled with an increased amount of time indoors limit our exposure to sunlight and vitamin D. Did you know it’s estimated that 80% of Canadians do not get enough vitamin D between October and March? Low levels of vitamin D are associated with low bone density, poor calcium absorption, lowered immunity, and fatigue. It’s important that your family get adequate vitamin D for strong bones, teeth, and immune function. It may even have a positive impact on mood!

The active, cholecalciferol form of vitamin D3 in Family First Vitamin D is much easier to absorb than vitamin D2.

Family First. One product for the whole family. Parents just got (a little) less busy.

The Family First line checks all the boxes for busy parents:

  • Dosing for everyone in the family, from kids to grandparents and everyone in between!
  • Highly absorbable nutrients because your whole family deserves the best quality natural health products
  • Really good tasting liquid and chewable formats
  • Clean non-medicinal ingredients and sweeteners
  • Free from common allergens, artificial colours, artificial flavours, preservatives, and GMOs
  • Made in Canada in sustainable packaging
  • Canadian community image and trivia question on the label bring family fun and learning to the supplement aisle!

The Health First and Family First lines of fine natural health supplements are exclusive to Health First Member Stores, your community destination for natural health and wellness.

 

The Secret to Beautiful Hair, Skin, and Nails

The Secret to Beautiful Hair, Skin, and Nails

Collagen is your beauty protein. During youth, you have a rich abundance of collagen. In addition, the collagen forms itself in a resilient “tight mesh” matrix. This “ideal” collagen condition prevents wrinkles from forming, gives skin elasticity, and helps create thick and strong hair. But starting at age 21, collagen diminishes by 1% per year. That’s when the vital collagen “mesh” begins to loosen. By age 30, the signs of reduced collagen on skin, hair, and nails become visible. In the first five years following menopause, women lose as much as 30% of their skin collagen.

For years, scientists searched for a method that would give the human body the ability to regenerate its own collagen. But it took the discovery of patented ch-OSA®, the active ingredient in BioSil™, to make genuine collagen regeneration a reality. ch-OSA® is clinically proven to directly activate key biological pathways that generate collagen, elastin, and keratin. It’s important to note that BioSil™ is not made out of collagen, it generates collagen. In fact, in the clinical trial the women taking BioSil™ reduced wrinkles by 30.0%*, increased skin elasticity by 89.0%*, and thickened and strengthened their hair by 12.8%** and 13.1%** compared to women not taking BioSil™.

Another unique feature of ch-OSA® is its ability to neutralize collagen-destroying homocysteine. Unless neutralized, homocysteine almost instantly begins to degrade collagen and suppress new collagen production. BioSil™ with ch-OSA® protects newly formed collagen and reduces collagen loss.

BioSil™ reduces fine lines and wrinkles “plumping” your skin from the inside out. The difference between smooth skin and wrinkled skin is the amount of collagen. Wrinkled skin contains fewer collagen fibres. This creates “gaps” between the fibres causing the skin to literally “cave in” – leaving behind a wrinkle. Fortunately, BioSil™ has the ability to increase your collagen formation. This greater quantity of collagen pushes the skin up and out, “plumping’’ out the skin, creating smooth, soft skin. That’s why BioSil™ is clinically proven to reduce fine lines and wrinkles by a full 30.0% – in just 20 weeks. Dry winter conditions and constant hand-washing can take their toll on skin as well. BioSil™ helps maintain skin moisture for extra protection. 

BioSil™ increases skin elasticity giving your skin “bounce back”. The amount of collagen (quantity) plays a vital part in skin elasticity. But equally important is the ‘‘pattern’’ the collagen fibres form (quality). With aged skin, the collagen pattern tends to be more ‘‘one-directional’’ (anisotropic). This ‘‘single’’ direction pattern is what causes skin rigidity, loss of elasticity, and ultimately skin creasing. In young skin, the pattern of collagen is ‘‘multi-directional’’ (isotropic). This ‘‘every-which-way’’ linking is precisely what helps to prevent skin wrinkling and creasing. BioSil™ not only increases the quantity of collagen, but helps it form into a tight “spring-like” mesh. That’s why in the clinical trial, BioSil™ increased skin elasticity by an astounding 89.0%.

BioSil™ thickens hair, increasing the diameter of each hair shaft. Keratin is the protein that makes up 97.0% of hair. BioSil™ ensures an abundant flow of growth rich nutrients that optimize the keratinization process in your hair. That’s why in clinical trials, BioSil™ thickened hair by 12.8%.

BioSil™ strengthens hair by increasing the hair shaft’s tensile strength. How strong your hair is depends not only on the quantity of keratin, but also how strong the “bonds” are between the individual keratin proteins themselves. That’s the reason BioSil™ strengthened hair a full 13.1%.

BioSil™ also fortifies nails by promoting keratin production. As with your hair, your nails are made up of keratin. The problem is keratin production declines starting at age 21. But there is a solution. BioSil™ creates a blood flow that optimizes the production of keratin. That’s why BioSil™ is clinically proven to increase your nail’s hardness. The subjects in the BioSil™ clinical trial reported that their nails became strong and chip resistant!

Only clinically proven BioSil™ activates your body’s own natural collagen-generating enzymes, so the collagen you gain is made by you. Numerous clinical studies prove beautiful results for hair, skin, and nails with BioSil™. BioSil™ works through your body’s natural pathways so the collagen it generates has your own DNA fingerprint. Completely natural to you. Not sourced from animal or sea origins. When you want to add collagen, make sure it’s not just any kind of collagen, but 100% your own!

  • Reduces fine lines and wrinkles
  • Increases skin elasticity
  • Thickens and strengthens hair
  • Fortifies nails
  • Clinically proven
  • Suitable for vegetarians/vegans

BioSil™ is completely free of animal parts and suitable for vegetarians/vegans. BioSil™ is also non-GMO, and gluten free. 

Try BioSil™ and see the results for yourself! Coming soon in NEW liquid vegetarian capsules! 

 

References:
*Barel, et al. (2005) Arch Dermatol Res, 297:147-153. Results may vary.
**Wickett, et al. (2007) Arch Dermatol Res, 299:499-505.

Achieving Hormonal Harmony

Achieving Hormonal Harmony

Achieving Hormonal Harmony

There is something so soothing about balance. A balanced diet. Work-life balance. It’s something we aim for. It’s often not until the balance is disrupted that we realize its importance. The same is true for our hormones – when they’re out of balance, it becomes increasingly evident the impact they can have on us. This rings especially true leading up to, during and post menstruation.

What are hormones?

Hormones are chemical messengers in the body that relay signals and instructions to and from cells. Humans have dozens of hormones circulating and fluctuating throughout the body at any given moment.

Let’s focus on some of the steroid hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and androgens. They’re not only involved in the menstrual cycle but also fertility, mood regulation, fat distribution, and even our bone and skin health.

What causes hormonal imbalance?

Factors that offset our regular hormone function are called endocrine disruptors. There are several internal and external factors that can lead to hormonal imbalance:

  • Air pollution
  • Chronic stress
  • Medication
  • Aging
  • Health complications
  • Impaired detoxification pathways
  • Pesticides
  • High sugar diet
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Conventional cleaning products
  • Conventional body care products
  • Smoking and alcohol consumption

The stress connection

Stress is a common cause of hormonal imbalance. Steroid hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and cortisol are all made from cholesterol. In stressful scenarios the body prioritizes making cortisol, the stress hormone, over sex hormones. This has been called “the pregnenolone steal”.

Tackle hormonal imbalance from all angles

Diet, exercise, stress management, and supplementation all contribute to feeling great. When it comes to diet and nutrition for healthy hormones, choose whole, real foods as often as possible.

This includes:

  • Nutrient dense fruits and vegetables
  • A daily dose of fibre from whole grains, beans and legumes
  • Healthy fats from fatty fish, avocados, and coconut
  • Quality protein sources

Exercise is great for blood sugar, mood, and overall health. Bonus: exercise also helps to ease stress. Find healthy ways of managing stress – whether it’s through releasing toxic food sources, improving relationships, finding a new hobby that engages you, or including some stress-busting loose leaf herbs (Chamomile, Fennel, Ginger, Holy Basil, Cinnamon) into your after work mocktail.

Combine key nutrients for hormone harmony

While herbs can be a great choice for easing stress their benefits are also associated with balancing hormones and relieving painful periods too.

Research shows when you combine herbs with specific key nutrients there is a synergistic effect that can help ease PMS and balance estrogen and progesterone.

Healthy Hormones – for estrogen dominance
PMS symptoms like low back pain, painful and/or irregular periods, breast tenderness, unexplained weight gain, low mood, and anxiety are telltale signs hormonal dysregulation might be an underlying issue. Does this sound like you?

Healthy Hormones formula is designed to help stabilize your menstrual cycle, manage PMS symptoms, and metabolize excess estrogen. It’s formulated with balancing plant extracts like I3C, chaste tree, and black cohosh plus vitamins D3, B6, and magnesium.

Naturally found in cruciferous vegetables, I3C is an antioxidant that supports the liver and detoxification of excess estrogen. Chaste tree (vitex) affects luteinizing hormone (LH) and prolactin which help improve the estrogen to progesterone ratio and decrease breast tenderness. Black cohosh works to modulate the effects of estrogen throughout the body. Vitamin D3, B6, and magnesium support the liver, estrogen metabolism, and mood.

Cramp Relief – managing painful periods
Painful cramping during menstruation (dysmenorrhea) is a common symptom of hormonal imbalance. To manage painful periods while balancing your hormones, Healthy Hormones can safely be paired with Cramp Relief.

Cramp Relief is a unique blend of herbs and nutrients to help relieve that achy discomfort and pain. Cramp bark targets inflammation and cramping of all types of muscles including digestive, uterine, and skeletal muscles. Ginger, sweet fennel, and cinnamon help to calm any digestive upset. Skullcap safely helps to ease the restlessness and nervousness that can accompany painful periods.

Healthy Mood – promoting mood balance
If you’ve ever experienced PMS, you know that changes in hormones can seriously alter your mood and anxiety levels. Mood can be affected by a multitude of other factors as well: neurotransmitter imbalance, life’s stressors, nutrition, and activity levels.

Healthy Mood takes a multi-pronged approach to regulating neurotransmitters and the stress response with key mood supportive nutrients and plant extracts. The star ingredient in the Healthy Mood formulation is saffron. It helps to reduce symptoms of low mood and anxiety, and has also been studied for its positive effects on PMS, fertility and libido.

Balancing hormones can be a tricky process. Listen to your body. If something feels off, chat with your MD or ND and ask them to run some hormone level tests.

About the Author: CanPrev

“CanPrev”

At CanPrev, our mission is to keep advancing naturopathic medicine tools, working with the body’s natural healing ability, in order to improve quality of life. We’re working to put your health back into your hands. Learn more at canprev.ca.

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