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Supporting Gut Health for Overall Health

Supporting Gut Health for Overall Health

The gut is the foundation of our overall health. The digestive tract breaks down the foods we eat so that it can absorb the fuel, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals that the body needs in order to function and thrive.

What we might not realize though, is that the gut is responsible for so much more than just digestion and nutrient absorption! The gut assists with detoxification by eliminating waste from the body via the colon. It acts as the control centre of our immune system, as 70% of our immune system is found the gut. The gut also produces and stores many of the hormones, including 90% of our serotonin and 50% of our dopamine, which impact our mood, sleep, appetite, and the nervous system.

Symptoms of digestive upset, gas, bloating, heartburn, and irregular bowel movements are signals that we may have an unhealthy gut environment. There may be damage to the integrity of the gut lining, inflammation in the digestive tract, or unhealthy bacteria living in the gut. These three factors can profoundly impact the ability of our digestive system to function, and in turn, also impact our overall health.

Prolonged issues with our digestion often lead to whole-body symptoms, including fatigue, anxiety, depression, food sensitivities, frequent cold and flu, acne, joint pain, and autoimmune diseases like eczema, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

If you are experiencing digestive symptoms, or suspect you may have leaky gut, there are many things we can do to support our gut health.

  1. Eat slowly: Digestion begins with chewing! Chew slowly, put down your fork between bites, and enjoy your meals. This helps you break down foods better in the stomach so that it is more well-received by the flora living in the gut.
  2. Eat prebiotics: Prebiotics are foods containing soluble fibre, and they feed healthy gut bacteria. Great sources of prebiotics include oats, artichokes, bananas, apples, asparagus, and flax.
  3. Avoid inflammatory foods: Refined sugar, processed foods, trans fats, and artificial sweeteners are all inflammatory and can negatively impact the gut. In some people, foods like gluten and dairy can also trigger or worsen digestive upset.
  4. Reduce stress: Make sure your body is in rest-and-digest state when eating, not in fight-or-flight mode. Try taking three deep breaths before you start each meal to promote calmness, avoid being in front of screens during meals, and remember that digestion functions best when stress is low.
  5. Take a supplement: Choose a supplement that sooths digestive symptoms, repairs the gut lining, reduces inflammation, and replenishes healthy gut flora.

GUT-FX targets and supports the three key elements of a healthy gut environment. It provides building blocks and mediators to heal the digestive lining, herbs to soothe digestive symptoms and limit inflammation, and probiotics to replenish healthy gut flora.

L-Glutamine, at an effective dose of 5000mg daily, is the most abundant building block in the gut lining, and it helps to rebuild the integrity of the intestinal wall. N-Acetyl-Glucosamine boosts the release of mediators that rebuild gut, so it acts like a construction worker who uses L-glutamine building blocks to repair the digestive tract.

Marshmallow Root, Aloe Vera Leaf Gel, and Slippery Elm Bark are three herbs that are soothing to the digestive lining. They improve symptoms of heartburn, digestive upset, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). These herbs also have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity, so they heal and protect the gut lining from damage.

Probiotics are helpful for the prevention of future flare-ups of digestive issues. Lactobacillus acidophilus (Whole Cell LA-14) colonizes the small intestine, and Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. Lactis (Whole Cell B-04) colonizes the large intestine. Together, they support a healthy gut microbiome and protect against the growth of unhealthy bacteria in the digestive tract. These probiotic strains also balance the immune system, support regular bowel habits, and reduce bloating.

Gut health is integral to our overall health. Digestive symptoms like bloating, diarrhea, constipation, heartburn, and indigestion are the body’s way of telling us that the gut may not be functionating in an optimal way and would benefit from support. GUT-FX is uniquely formulated to soothe symptoms, heal and restore the gut lining, and colonize the digestive tract with healthy gut flora to prevent future flare-ups. GUT-FX supports digestion to support our overall health!

Healthology GUT-FX FORMULA

Plan for a Good Nights sleep

Plan for a Good Nights sleep

We are happier when we feel relaxed and rested. If you have ever felt sluggish and groggy after a poor night’s rest, you understand how a lack of sleep can impact your mood and ability to function. Researchers now recognize that adequate sleep is as essential for good health, as diet and exercise. Experts recommend at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night for most people and have determined those who regularly get fewer than 6 hours of sleep are at a higher risk for degenerative conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cognitive decline.

Tips to help with sleep and relaxation

  1. As your day begins to slow down, take a few minutes to prepare yourself for tomorrow. This will help to clear your mind from the busyness of today and prevent over thinking once you lay down to sleep.
    • Do food prep to make your morning easier with pre-made egg bites, overnight oats, smoothie in a bag and prepare lunches if needed
    • Layout your clothes and any changes you need for the next day
    • Make a to do list, writing things down can help your mind stop racing when you close your eyes
  1. Find activities that help you relax and create bedtime patterns. Set an alarm to tell yourself to stop watching Netflix or answering emails, it is time to start your unwind routine.
    • Prevent blue light exposure (computer screens & TVs) 30 mins prior to bedtime.
    • Read a book
    • Relax in a warm bath
    • Turn off the lights
    • Listen to calming music
    • Stretch or Meditate
  1. During the day limit caffeine and sugar consumption, eat a diet rich in superfoods and move your body.
  2. Add supplements to your unwind routine to help ease you to sleep.
    • Pharma GABA® is scientifically studied for improvements in sleep quality. GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid) is an amino acid produced naturally in the brain. Its main action is to calm, ease anxiety and quiet the mind. It helps with insomnia and improved sleep quality
    • Lemon balm naturally increases your levels of the neurotransmitter GABA which has a positive effect on your overall mood and reduces anxiety.
    • Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) contains compounds that help relax the central nervous system. This plant has been extensively researched, with several clinical studies supporting its use in the treatment of insomnia and anxiety.
    • L-Theanine promotes relaxation and encourages sleep by helping to elevate levels of GABA and other “calming chemicals” (serotonin and dopamine). Research shows L-Theanine improves quality of sleep, not through sedative action buy by helping lower anxiety and promoting relaxation.
    • 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is produced during the conversion of the essential amino acid L-tryptophan to serotonin. Serotonin is one of the principal neurotransmitters involved in regulating mood, happiness and sleep cycles.
    • Melatonin reduces the time needed to fall asleep and increases the total amount of sleep time.

Prairie Naturals Sleep Solution is a safe, non-habit-forming liquid sleep aid designed to quickly ease the transition to sleep. Formulated with Lemon Balm, Passionflower, L-Theanine, 5HTP, Melatonin and PharmaGABA®, a natural and superior form of GABA, Sleep Solution will help you sleep soundly and wake up feeling refreshed, never groggy.  Sleep Solution is synergistically blended to decrease the time required to fall asleep, to reduce the number of sleep interruptions, to create feelings of peace and calm and to support a good night’s sleep for most people.

Prairie Naturals Sleep Solutions Benefits:

  • Helps to regulate your sleep cycle
  • Helps to create feelings of peace and calm
  • Not habit-forming
  • Decreases the time required to fall asleep
  • Does not leave your feeling groggy after waking
  • Reduces the number of sleep interruptions
Prairie Naturals Liquid Sleep Solution

Your Secret Weapon to Stay Calm and Alert

Your Secret Weapon to Stay Calm and Alert

We often hear about our stress response being referred to as fight or flight or rest and digest. Our fight or flight response happens when our nervous system is in a “sympathetic” state, while a rest and digest response means our nervous system is in its “parasympathetic” state. Personal concerns, work deadlines, the news, traffic, and many of the events we experience each day can keep us in a sympathetic state. Being in this state for long periods of time may lead to increased inflammation, tissue damage and reduced immunity. Parasympathetic mode is much better for our health and longevity! Activities like yoga, deep breathing, meditation, walking in nature, and adequate sleep can help us get there.

Ever wonder why a cup of tea is often recommended to help calm us down? The simple act of taking time to pause and enjoy a warm beverage is calming and what’s in your cup can help too! Since ancient times, it has been documented that tea has been used to help promote relaxation. Studies show the high amount of L-theanine found in green tea is responsible for this relaxing effect. L-theanine has been shown to decrease excitatory beta brain waves that may contribute to stress and anxiety while increasing the alpha brain waves that promote feelings of relaxation.

Suntheanine® L-theanine is not an extract of green tea, but rather is produced via a patented process that mimics the natural process in green tea leaves, resulting in a 100% pure L-isomer-theanine. Suntheanine® is backed by more than 60 human clinical studies documenting its ability to help to temporarily promote relaxation while improving focus, alertness, attention, concentration, and even sleep. Clinical research suggests that 50 to 200 mg of Suntheanine® stimulates alpha brain waves, which are associated with a relaxed but alert mental state.

Since we can’t practice yoga in the forest all day drinking tea, you may need some extra support! Health First L-Theanine Supreme contains 100 mg of Suntheanine® L-theanine per chewable tablet. Naturally flavoured with chocolate and slightly sweetened with xylitol and monk fruit, the act of chewing these tablets combined with the L-theanine can help support a relaxed yet alert state of mind. Like all Health First products, they are made in Canada and are free from artificial colours, flavours and preservatives.

Health First L-Theanine Supreme

The Cold and Flu Fighting Power of Zinc

The Cold and Flu Fighting Power of Zinc

Set your family up for a healthy winter with adequate zinc! Zinc is part of more than 300 different enzymatic reactions in the body and is vital to immune function. It can be found in beans, nuts, whole grains, seafood, poultry, and eggs. For added protection, make zinc supplementation an immune staple for your whole family.

Zinc is the second most abundant mineral in the body after iron and functions in more enzymatic reactions than any other mineral. Because the body stores very little zinc as backup, we need to consume healthy sources regularly. That could mean a mixed bean salad, whole grain pasta, fruit and nut mixes, or eggs for breakfast.

Zinc is a cofactor for energy production and supports the liver through detoxification. This means that without adequate amounts, energy levels can suffer, bodies can struggle to clear toxins, and illness is more likely to occur.

It is also a vital component of thyroid function, which regulates our temperature, heart rate, metabolism, digestion, brain activity, and skin and bone maintenance. Zinc is a powerful mineral!

When it comes to our skin, zinc is handy for healing playground scrapes and wounds, and keeps pesky acne at bay. Acne is a byproduct of excess sebum production. Zinc can be supplemented to stunt its production and reduce acne.

Zinc deficiency can present as hair loss, weight fluctuations, poor wound healing, and even mental fog. It plays an important role in neural communication and without adequate amounts, we can find it hard to focus at work or school.

But if you’re most concerned about your household being taken down by a nasty cold or flu, make sure to have zinc on hand!

The immune system is twofold. Our innate immunity is first to respond to foreign invaders, defending against their entry. If they pass through, our adaptive immunity comes in as backup. Growth and development of both is necessary to ensure that our immune systems mature properly and function optimally. If you’re supporting little ones in their growth and development, it’s important not to overlook zinc.

While zinc supplementation can reduce the occurrence of the common cold, it has stronger fighting power when paired with the correct amount of copper. Their back-and-forth relationship goes a bit like this – increase your intake of one, and the other will begin to deplete. They need to co-exist in the body in correct amounts for our healthy functioning.

Copper food sources include oysters, spirulina (a blue-green algae that often comes as a powder), nuts and seeds, and leafy greens.

To guard your family against illness this winter, consider Family First Zinc Plus Copper. Supplementing with zinc daily helps support immune function and increases daily energy. Chalky, chewable zinc tablets are a thing of the past!

Health First Family First Zinc Plus Copper is made unique by:

  • Balancing the ratio of copper and zinc to make it suitable for the whole family: 12mg of zinc and 480mcg of copper. Keeping your family healthy is hard enough – buy one supplement that covers everyone!
  • Using zinc and copper citrate forms which are gentler on the stomach and easier to absorb.
  • Getting rid of the magnesium stearate found in most other zinc supplements and using an organic blend of rice hulls, rice bran, sunflower oil, and gum arabic instead.
  • Ensuring it’s vegan and free from gluten, dairy, soy and yeast.
  • Flavouring it naturally to taste like delicious elderberry!
  • Sweetening it with only xylitol and monk fruit.

Zinc supports the immune system by guarding our bodies against infectious invaders, protects the integrity of our skin and bones, and supports many of our most basic functions. Make Family First Zinc Plus Copper a staple in your household to keep everyone happy and healthy!

Health First Family First Zinc Plus Copper

How to Naturally Strengthen Your Immune System

How to Naturally Strengthen Your Immune System

Take Essential Vitamins Daily

Ensure that your body is getting all the essential nutrients it needs by taking a complete multi-vitamin every day. Your body needs proper essential vitamins and minerals every day to support your health and to keep you happy. Try honibe’s multivitamin + immune gummies for all the essential vitamins you need, plus immune boosting vitamins like echinacea, zinc and vitamin C!

Get Lots of Sleep

Getting enough sleep every night is crucial in supporting and maintaining your immune system. A minimum of 8 hours of sleep each night is necessary for your body to heal, repair, and to function at its very best. Making yourself a fun bedtime routine will help you relax, unwind, and give you something to look forward to at the end of a long day. Also, try honibe’s melatonin gummy for extra sleep support on nights when you need it most.

Exercise

We all know that exercise is a key factor in supporting and maintaining your health, but what benefit does it have in supporting your immune system? Physical activity increases your blood flow to help flush out toxins and bad bacteria, which aids your body in the fight against disease. Not into exercising? Try 30 minutes of yoga or stretching every day to get your blood flowing!

Get Outside

A little vitamin D and fresh air are the cure for everything, right? Life can get hectic at times but giving yourself 15 minutes to get outside and go for a walk is a great way to reduce stress, clear your head and get some fresh air. Try downloading your favourite podcast or playlist to listen to on your walk or, call and catch up with a friend! Also try honibe’s delicious and nutritious Vitamin D3 gummies.

Eat Lots of Veggies

Vegetables are packed full of essential vitamins and nutrients like potassium, vitamin A, folate, fiber, vitamin C, magnesium and more! Eating veggies will help replenish your body, boost your immune system and sustain your health. However, for some people this is easier said than done. Eating healthy can be challenging, but there are tons of healthy alternatives that you can introduce into your diet to help you take on this challenge. Try replacing rice with grated cauliflower, or using lettuce leaves instead of taco shells. Using vegetables as your base instead of carbs is an easy way to start introducing more veg into your diet, as well as a fun way to get creative with the food you eat.

Drink Lots of Water

We’ve all heard it a thousand times before, “DRINK MORE WATER!”. But why? Water makes up more than half of your body weight and is involved in many important functions to keep your body working properly. The 3 main functions that water is involved with are: flushing waste from your body, regulating body temperature, and helping your brain function. All of these things are crucial to your well-being. Staying hydrated can help flush out toxins and waste from your body and boost your immune system to prevent against potential disease and illness. On average, drinking about 8-11 cups of water per day is a sure-fire way to sustain your health and to naturally boost your immune system!

Wash Your Hands

Getting in the habit of washing your hands regularly is a great way to eliminate the spread of germs and virus’. With that being said, we don’t always have access to a soap and a sink at any given point during our day. Keeping a bottle of hand-sanitizer on the go either in your pocket, purse or stashed in your car is great to have on the fly at times when you may need it most!

Manage Your Stress

Stress is an unfortunate and inevitable part of life, and too much of it can cause serious damage to your body as well as your well-being. High amounts of stress can be linked to several ailments such as headaches: upset stomach, lethargy, and frequent colds or infections. High stress levels can put pressure on your immune system and eventually weaken it over time. Learning to manage your stress is a crucial factor in maintaining a healthy immune system. Managing stress can be done in several different ways, often it involves focusing on what makes you happy and helps you to relax. In other words, making time for yourself every day to do what makes you happy is an excellent way to help manage and relieve your stress. This could be simple things like taking a bath, reading a book, watching your favourite show, or practicing piano – whatever it may be, make time for it every day!

Honibe Honey-Based Vitamins and Gummies

The Honibe line of multivitamin and wellness Gummie Bees range from immune-boosting multivitamins to vitamin D3 bone support, omega-3 for brain health and melatonin for a better nights’ sleep. All made with the goodness of honey, and free from unwanted additives, soy, gluten, dairy, and common allergens.

What Makes a Good Smoothie?

What Makes a Good Smoothie?

Taste preferences vary, but for starters, let’s abandon the assumption that smoothies have to be sweet. They don’t even need to include fruit. They can be savory, spicy or earthy, too.

Whatever your taste preference, there are 5 ingredients that every good smoothie recipe needs.

1. All About That Base

First, pick your favorite liquid – water, juice or plant-based beverage. If you’re trying to minimize your calories, stick to water. Juice is perfect for satisfying a sweet tooth. For an extra creamy texture, pick a plant-based beverage.

2. Ice, Ice, Baby

Who wants a lukewarm smoothie? No one. Toss in ice cubes to keep your smoothie cool. Frozen banana in place of ice cubes makes your smoothie extra smooth. Frozen is perfect during the middle of winter when “fresh” fruit is nowhere to be seen.

3. Green Is Good

Search the fridge and throw whatever greens are lying around. Spinach? Done. Kale? Check. Chard? Why not. Cucumber? Sure? An easy way to add greens is by using Vega’s Protein & Greens as your base.  Trust your instincts and you’ll be sure to find some combinations you absolutely adore.

4. Phat Fats

Think chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, coconut oil, nuts or seeds.

5. Protein

If you’re looking for more than just protein, reach for Vega® Protein & Greens. Deliciously smooth, Vega® Protein & Greens helps power your day with real food nutrition. Deliciously smooth, every serving has 20 grams of protein with a tasty twist of greens. Try smooth and creamy vanilla, chocolate, coconut almond, plain unsweetened, or berry.

Vega Protein & Greens Adds Convenience:

  • 20 grams plant-based protein
  • Tasty twist of greens
  • 110-120 calories
  • 1 gram sugar

Who doesn’t love to drink dessert? Turn a comfort food classic into an oatmeal cookie smoothie with over 20 grams of plant-based protein as well as veggies and greens with this recipe.

Protein Oatmeal Cookie Smoothie

Protein Oatmeal Cookie Smoothie

Ingredients

1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 serving Vanilla Vega® Protein & Greens
⅓ cup rolled oats, raw
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp maple syrup
A pinch of sea salt
½ cup of ice

Method

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.

 

Seasonal Secrets to Supporting Sleep

Seasonal Secrets to Supporting Sleep

The benefits of sleep are endless. It improves overall health, productivity, well-being, resilience, and quality of life. Getting adequate sleep means 7-8 hrs a night, deep and disruption free on a consistent basis. Sound like a tall order? The secret to quality sleep actually begins when we wake up in the morning!

This year, let’s do things differently and get the rest we need so we can truly experience the joy of the season. By making small adjustments, starting when we wake up through to lights out, we set ourselves up for better health.

We’ve been under increased stress and isolation for the last several years. Chronic stress can cause chronic disease. Lack of sleep adds fuel to the fire and makes coping with stress that much more difficult.

Sleep is our time to rest and repair. When we sleep, our immune system gets to relax too. Lack of sleep can activate pro-inflammatory activity throughout the body. Inflammation, an immune response, can build up as our immune system becomes overactive. Inflammation impairs mental and physical performance and can contribute to metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease.

6 ways to get quality sleep this season:

  1. Bundle up and get outside. By exposing ourselves to daylight upon waking, we support circadian rhythm, the system responsible for feeling alert during the day and tired at night. Starting your day on the right foot means ending on the right one as well!
  2. Avoid afternoon caffeine. We all enjoy the ritual of a warm beverage but often reach for caffeine for that afternoon lift. The problem is that stimulants in the afternoon can throw off circadian rhythm and blood sugar. Try a caffeine-free alternative such as herbal tea or one of the many new mushroom beverages on the market instead!
  3. Eat carbohydrate-heavy meals earlier in the day and avoid them close to bedtime. Sleep can be disrupted when our blood sugar spikes. One way to help avoid this is by incorporating carbohydrates into our meals earlier in the day. Try eating a dinner that is a mix of protein, non-starchy vegetables and good fats and see how it impacts the quality of your sleep.
  4. Instead of TV, play a game or read a book. Choosing an evening activity that doesn’t expose us to screens and blue light ensures we don’t disrupt our circadian rhythm which can prevent us from getting deep, restful sleep.
  5. Turn down the temperature to improve the quality of your sleep. Do your hydro bill and health a favour and turn the thermostat down to 16-20 degrees Celsius for a cool, comfortable sleep. Sleeping in a cool room naturally helps improves melatonin production, helping you fall asleep faster and reach deeper sleep.
  6. Create a bedtime ritual. Try meditation, yoga, gentle stretching, or simply deep breathing. Keep the lights low and create a soothing atmosphere with a diffuser or calming essential oil mist on your linens. A consistent evening routine will remind your brain and body that it’s time for bed.

Sometimes we need a little supplemental help to complement lifestyle adjustments. Health First Sleep Supreme contains nutrients and herbs that help to bring your body into an optimal state for sleep:

  • PharmaGABA® is a fermented form of the neurotransmitter responsible for calming neuron firing and encouraging mental relaxation.
  • Inositol helps to regulate blood sugar, reducing the risk of being woken by a blood sugar spike!
  • Magnesium bisglycinate calms the mind by relaxing the body.
  • Passionflower is a herbal sleep aid that helps to alleviate restlessness and nervousness, especially during times of mental stress.
  • Jujube is a fruit used largely in traditional Chinese medicine for its sedative properties.

One thing that Health First Sleep Supreme is missing is melatonin: we kept melatonin out of the formula as it may cause daytime drowsiness, and no one needs that at this busy time of year!

Getting proper sleep is critical for good health, and it can’t be achieved by supplements alone. To support proper sleep, we formulated our Sleep Supreme to be paired with our Calming Mist. Together, you get the supplements you need along with a key lifestyle modification to put you on the road to better sleep and hopefully a new outlook for the holidays and new year ahead!

Reference:
1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3695049/

Health First Sleep Supreme and Calming Mist Duo

Heart Protection Now

Heart Protection Now

It’s never too soon to start thinking about taking care of your heart. “By far, the biggest killer of both men and women in the United States is atherosclerosis, which causes heart attacks, strokes and heart failure,” says Howard Schwartz, MD, an integrative cardiologist in New York. Atherosclerosis is the build-up of fatty deposits (plaque) in arteries that restricts the flow of blood through arteries and raises blood pressure, causing further damage.

Reduce your risk

The good news is that having a healthy lifestyle can go a long way toward reducing risk of heart disease. In fact, new research suggests that healthy aging of blood vessels may be possible even in people 70 years and older. Unfortunately, that’s uncommon with today’s Western diet and lifestyle. When scientists followed 3,196 adults from the Framingham Heart Study starting in their 20s, they found that by age 50, only 30 percent of the people had healthy arteries. By age 70, only 1 percent of people had healthy arteries. An unhealthy lifestyle can catch up with you sooner or later. If heart disease runs in your family, you may blame your genes. Although genetics do play a role, research confirms that a healthy lifestyle can go a long way in offsetting this risk.

Recently, researchers looked at medical data and genetic risk of 55,685 adults. They found that people following a healthy lifestyle had nearly a 50 percent lower risk of heart attacks and other heart events compared to people with an unhealthy lifestyle, regardless of their genetic risk. The two biggest lifestyle factors in healthy cardiovascular aging were keeping a healthy body weight and avoiding high blood sugar (type 2 diabetes). So, don’t wait to protect your heart, regardless of whether or not cardiovascular disease runs in your family. “If you don’t want to depend on medications and procedures, seek an integrative approach to heart health that not only includes a healthy diet and physical activity, but also stress reduction and the use of specific dietary supplements, as appropriate,” Schwartz says.

Natural Alternatives; Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract
By Dr. Matthew Budoff, MD, FACC, FAHA

There are several different types of garlic including raw garlic, garlic oil, crude garlic powders in tablets or capsules, and Aged Garlic Extract (AGE). I have found that only AGE provides the concentration and standardization required for effectiveness.

AGE goes through an extensive two-year proprietary process that removes the odour-causing compounds and enhances and concentrates the herb’s active beneficial components. I have found that patients and research participants prefer a garlic supplement that is truly odourless. This increases compliance and ensures the product is taken consistently. I also like the fact that AGE uses organically grown garlic. Amazingly, there are presently well over 750 published papers in peer reviewed scientific journals featuring AGE.

Clinical studies have also shown AGE is more bioavailable. This means it is found in blood, urine, and body tissue after consumption. Because it is more bioavailable, the body can utilize it more effectively. The aging process also increases the potency of S-allylcysteine (SAC), an important sulfur-containing amino acid. There are only small amounts of SAC in raw garlic.

I presented my research on AGE at the Experimental Biology 2014 conference. During earlier studies, my colleagues at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and I demonstrated that AGE enhances blood flow, clears arteries of deposits, and reduces multiple risk factors for heart disease. In two successive randomized trials, we have shown conclusively that AGE has cardiovascular benefit.

In one of our studies, we chose to evaluate 65 patients who were at intermediate risk of developing heart disease. We used a proprietary combination of AGE, the three key B vitamins (B6, B12, and Folate) and L-arginine, a heart-healthy amino acid. The group that took the supplement had less calcified plaque progression, lower total cholesterol, and reduced homocysteine levels compared to the participants who received a placebo.

We did another study using this same formula and demonstrated it significantly improved circulation and halted calcified plaque progression in the arteries of patients who did not have heart disease symptoms but did have subclinical fatty deposits in the arteries.

AGE has a great safety record. While other forms of garlic may interact with blood thinning medications like warfarin (Coumadin), researchers from the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center at the University of California, Los Angeles David Geffen School of Medicine found that no such interaction occurred in those taking AGE. Their clinical trial of 48 patients taking warfarin found that AGE posed no threat of increased bleeding or blood clots breaking loose. However, it’s always wise to let your physician know of all dietary supplements you are taking, especially if you are scheduled for surgery.

Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract™ Everyday Support Extra Strength Formula

Menopause and the Modern Woman

Menopause and the Modern Woman

You’re vivacious, strong, confident, and beautiful. You strive to find balance between a heavy workload, family, social relationships, and your physical and emotional well-being. But the world can be overwhelming. Tech keeps evolving, the work force is changing, expectations and demands are high, and you just can’t keep up the way you used to. You want to maintain your usual quality of life, but need a little extra support!

Health First Whole Woman Supreme is made for you. It combines EstroG-100® with key adaptogens to support the health and wellness of modern, mature women. Reducing menopausal symptoms and mental fatigue     while improving stamina and supporting a healthy stress response is key for women in today’s world!

Menopausal Support with EstroG-100®

EstroG-100® is a patented blend of three herbs that have been clinically proven to alleviate common symptoms of menopause. Angelica gigas, Cyanchum wilfordii and Phlomis umbrosa are used in traditional Chinese medicine to support the health of mature women. EstroG-100® combines these three herbs and has been shown to reduce symptoms such as hot flashes, insomnia, mood disorders, fatigue, vertigo, rheumatic pain, and vaginal dryness by an average of 86% in study participants after one month of use1.

Stress Support with Medicinal Mushrooms and Adaptogens

Historically, our stress response was triggered by the threat of an oncoming, imminent risk – such as an approaching tiger! Today, physical stressors have been replaced by professional and personal hurdles. Our bodies can no longer distinguish between different forms of stress, meaning the modern woman may be in a constant state of stress. Increased respiratory rate, anxiousness, a racing mind, and trouble sleeping are all symptoms of stress. Over time these symptoms can have a significant impact on our health. Without intervention, chronic stress can tear down muscle tissue, cause cognitive impairment and reduce the immune response.

To support a healthy stress response, lion’s mane, reishi, astragalus, and ginseng have been added to Health First Whole Woman Supreme. Lion’s mane and reishi medicinal mushrooms are a source of polysaccharides, which help to support both the digestive system and our response to stress. Promising research is showing the benefits these mushrooms may have on our immune response as well as on our cognitive health.

Adaptogens help to bring the body back in balance, induce a state of calm when stress is high, and provide energy when it is low. American ginseng is an incredible adaptogen that helps to support a healthy stress response and relieve restlessness and nervousness in the body while also working to balance blood sugar levels. Blood sugar represents the amount of sugar in our blood at any one time, and preventing highs and lows is essential for keeping us balanced! Balanced blood glucose levels equate to a more balanced mood, better sleep, more energy, and the ability to better manage weight.

Astragalus is another fascinating adaptogen that supports a healthy stress and immune response. It has been long used in traditional Chinese medicine to bring balance back to the body by helping to manage fatigue and prevent colds. Its ability to support the immune system while improving energy makes it an important addition to the modern woman’s daily health regime.

There’s every reason in the world to remain your strong and vivacious self throughout these changing years. Health First Whole Woman Supreme was created to support not just menopausal symptoms, but all aspects of your health to ensure you feel your very best.

Get to Sleep Sooner and Stay Asleep Longer

Get to Sleep Sooner and Stay Asleep Longer

Are you one of the many Canadians suffering from a lack of quality sleep? A recent Canadian study showed that 55% of women and 43% of men between the ages of 18-49 experience sleep issues.1 Melatonin is a supplement that can help you get to sleep sooner and stay asleep longer for a better next day.

Melatonin is the hormone that helps get our bodies ready for sleep. It is produced in the pineal gland of the brain. Due to several modern-day challenges, many individuals are not producing sufficient melatonin:

  • Aging – As humans age, our brains naturally produce less melatonin. Also, aging causes melatonin production to occur later in the night, delaying sleep onset.
  • Excess stress – When stress levels are high, cortisol – the stress hormone – is also high. Elevated cortisol can interfere with melatonin production.
  • Exposure to light – Melatonin production is disrupted by light exposure. With the amount of artificial light exposure increasing due to electronics and LED lighting, a lack of melatonin is becoming more common.
  • Sleep disturbances – Anything that can disrupt normal sleep patterns, including shift work, travel (jet lag), excess caffeine or sugar and late nights may lead to insufficient melatonin production.

Supplementing with melatonin has been clinically-proven as an effective way of helping to ease sleep issues. Getting the right quality of melatonin and the proper formulation, however, is not so simple.

With the new Health First Melatonin Supreme you get the best quality melatonin in a formulation designed to mimic natural melatonin flow during sleep.

MelaPure™ melatonin: Melatonin Supreme uses the highest quality melatonin available. Produced in Italy under a patented process, MelaPure™ melatonin is USP grade – meaning it meets the strict requirements of the United States Pharmacopeia for melatonin.

Recent lab testing of melatonin supplements in the Canadian market done at the University of Guelph have revealed serious concerns for potency levels and impurities. Many of the supplements contained much less or much more than the claimed melatonin content. Concerningly, more than one-quarter of the melatonin supplements tested in Canada contained unlabeled serotonin hormone – a controlled substance in Canada that could cause serious side-effects if taken in high doses.

With many melatonin supplements sourcing raw material extracted from the pineal glands of animals from China, the risk of impurities is elevated. The need for a pure, quality-made melatonin like MelaPure™ is crucial to product safety and effectiveness.

Time release – Many of the most positive clinical studies on melatonin and related improvements in sleeping patterns have been conducted with time release formulations. Health First® Melatonin Supreme is a time release formula that delivers its melatonin active ingredient over a period of 6-8 hours, the normal, healthy period of sleep for humans.

Melatonin in non-time released formulations is absorbed and metabolized within 60 minutes – effective for helping the onset of sleep, but not optimal for maintaining sleep. The time release formulation of Melatonin Supreme helps the user to get to sleep faster and sleep throughout the night.

Melatonin Supreme contains 3 mg of melatonin per tablet. High amounts of melatonin are not necessary – science shows that the brain is very responsive to melatonin supplementation at the onset of night, even at low dosages.

Several studies have confirmed that taking at least 2 mg of melatonin in a time release formula is effective for getting asleep, improving quality of sleep, without side effects on daytime activity or withdrawal issues.2,3,4

If you’re ready for some quality, sustained, deep sleep, it’s time to give Melatonin Supreme a try.

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