Articles

Make Healthy & Sustainable Choices

Make Healthy &  Sustainable Choices

Choosing plant-based ingredients means more than being “vegan” or “vegetarian”. Choosing to support Certified Organic, Non-GMO or Truly Grass-Fed products surpasses simply “eating clean”. What you choose to purchase and consume goes beyond what it does for you – what do all these choices do for our earth? Opting for plant-based proteins or whole food-sourced supplements, seeking out third party certified products or B-Corp certified brands, choosing to reuse or recycle packaging, and eating seasonally are sustainable habits that prioritize your health and the health of our planet.

A Daily Mantra: “Plants before processed, bulk over plastic”

Processed foods not only contain more added salt, sugars, fats and preservatives than their natural counterparts, but they also require more energy, more operational systems and more excess packaging to be created1. In a recent Canadian study, it was shown that 87% of plastic waste ends up in landfills or the environment, and 47% of this waste comes from packaging2. From the fruits individually wrapped in cellophane or prebagged in the produce aisle and the endless supplies of plastic bags at the checkout, plastic is everywhere. “What’s one plastic bag going to do?”, said 7-billion people. To prioritize sustainability, try choosing fresh fruits and vegetables before reaching for a snack bar with hidden sugars that is wrapped in plastic. Additionally, hand pick your produce and bring your own bag for smaller loose items, like nuts or seeds, and avoid the pre-wrapped and pre-bagged options.

 

“A B C, it’s as easy as seasonality” …

Being able to buy berries in the winter or squash in the summer is a nice idea, however, producing these fruits and vegetables out of their natural growing season requires a few not so sustainable elements: more pesticides, more fertilizers, more artificial heating or lighting, and more fuel emissions from international transport. A benefit to eating seasonal foods is long term reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and unnecessary pollution, proving to be more sustainable in farming as soils remain nourished and air quality remains clean. Buying seasonally is not only cleaner and more sustainable for the earth, but it’s more sustainable for your wallet! Local and seasonal fruits and vegetables are found to be not only cheaper but fresher and better quality. Compared to imported or out of season produce, they are more likely to be organic and free of growth and ripening chemicals.3

 

Be on the lookout for B-Corps!

To become B-Corp Certified, a brand must ensure transparency with their manufacturing products and practices, and their subsequent environmental and societal impact. Therefore, supporting a B-Corp Certified brand gives you complete assurance that the company is following strict standards for both environmental sustainability and societal welfare.4 Choose B-Corp Certified brands to keep your body and our ecosystem healthy.

 

 

All-in-Ones: All the Nutrients in One Package

On-the-go? Didn’t have time to meal prep? Hungry and fatigued mid-day? Store bought snacks and to-go meals often don’t sustain you the way you need nor are their plastic or foil wrappings (and ingredients) sustainable for the environment1. Your ability to fuel your energy and nutrient stores, as well as reduce waste from excess packaging, can be achieved by turning to a nutritional meal replacement shake. Simply shake a scoop into a shaker cup or bottle and have all the nutrients you need – without the extra cost or waste.

 

You don’t have to say ‘No Way’ to Whey

Not everyone was made equal and therefore not everyone can handle the fibrous content of legumes and grains, therefore making it harder to rely solely on these plant-based sources of protein. The good news is that you can still practice sustainability and ensure you are getting the cleanest ingredients by seeking out a Non-GMO and Truly Grass-Fed Certified whey protein powder. Grass-fed or pasture-raised animal protein sources reflect a higher quality nutrient profile, with more omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, while producing less agricultural chemicals and antibiotic residues5.

 

Make a Fresh Start with a Detox

Make a Fresh Start with a Detox

Make a Fresh Start with a Detox

Detoxification or cleanses are one of the basic foundations of natural healing. A good detox program cleanses the intestinal tract, the urinary tract, the liver, gallbladder, the blood and lymphatic system. It should include a wholesome diet focused on alkaline forming foods. It must also include lots of pure water and moderate exercise.

 

The advantage of a detox diet or cleansing program is:  You can eat like royalty. You can eat as much as you like, as long as you stick to an alkaline diet. All foods can be classified as acid forming, neutral or alkaline-forming. Since many health problems result when our bodies are overly acidic, a good detoxification program addresses the acid-alkaline balance of the blood. This means several dietary restrictions. A detox program restricts flour products: cakes, cookies, breads, pasta etc.; dairy products: milk, cheese, yogurt, (butter is OK). Tropical fruits, dried fruits sweets, processed food or preservatives are not allowed. A complete dietary list should accompany any detox program that you purchase.

 

Some of the built-up toxins will be neutralized and excreted in urine and feces. The detox should contain supplements meant to actively cleanse the whole system. These supplements along with the diet will encourage the body to release waste materials and toxins that have accumulated in the system since the last cleanse. A full body cleanse should help to eliminate heavy metals, chemical toxins, microbial compounds and the breakdown products of protein metabolism.

 

The Herbal D-tox that we use has three sets of tablets (for the intestinal tract, liver/gallbladder and blood/lymphatic system) and a tincture (for the urinary and lymphatic system). Two of each type of tablets and 30 drops of the tincture are taken twice daily. We often suggest the addition of digestive enzymes: 1 to 3 capsules per meal, (depending on the size of meal) to ensure complete digestion. Many people follow a general detox with a LiverD-tox.

 

Detoxification programs are safe and can be done 2 to 4 times per year by almost anyone. Detoxification is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding mothers.

 

Terry Willard, CIH, PhD, is a practitioner, teacher, director of the on-line Wild Rose College of Natural Healing and author of 12 books.

You can follow:  Dr. Willard on his twitter @willardterry or his Blog: DrTerry

Pure Love for Kombucha

Pure Love for Kombucha

What is Kombucha? Kombucha is a fermented tea that contains living cultures which aid digestion. There can be billions of living organisms in every bottle, accompanied by a naturally occurring fizz. This tangy and tart beverage is unlike soda and is typically made with fruits and herbal ingredients. It is not typically sweet but is very refreshing!

Kombucha possesses ancient healing properties that have helped bring good health to many people around the world, which is why this super-drink has gained so much popularity.

Drinking the fermented tea can have an equivalent effect to taking a probiotic. One of the main substances produced during the fermentation of kombucha is acetic acid, which is also abundant in vinegar. Acetic acid is able to kill many potentially harmful microorganisms and protect against infection-causing bacteria.

The story of GT’s

In late 1994, GT’s mom, Laraine, was diagnosed with a highly aggressive form of breast cancer. When she healed, Laraine shared with doctors that she had been drinking a very pungent, homemade tea. That tea was GT’s Kombucha.

Inspired by his mom’s experience, it became GT’s mission to make his Kombucha accessible for everyone, everywhere. At only 15, he began bottling his brew in the kitchen of his parents’ Southern California home and became the first to put Kombucha on shelves in the U.S.

We’ve stayed true to the authentic brewing process of this sacred elixir for over 20 years. Our #1 selling Kombucha is raw, organic, and naturally effervescent. We handcraft each unique offering in small batches to maintain and promote the living cultures, amino acids, polyphenols, and active enzymes this fermented tea contains. Always cultured, never compromised.

We craft seasonal Kombucha flavors for a number of reasons – most importantly, giving back to our community. Inspired by Nature’s beautiful offerings, it’s an opportunity for us to innovate with unique ingredients that complement each season and we use this as an opportunity to tell meaningful stories. Each seasonal offering promotes an important message, like maintaining a daily practice of gratitude, living life to your greatest potential, and celebrating the importance of love.

The inspiration behind #GTsPureLove is giving credence to the time & love spent handcrafting our raw & organic Kombucha. It’s a celebration of all expressions of love (which are limitless) and highlights the notion that time spent with the ones we love is the most precious gift of all. Fruity & Floral, GT’s Limited edition, Pure Love offering marries our organic & raw Kombucha with fresh pressed Blood Orange, Rose Buds & Petals, Hibiscus Flowers, and fragrant Rose Water. Handcrafted in small batches, we share this gift to offer the world a taste of Pure Love.

Vitamin B Your Best Self

Vitamin B Your Best Self

A promising combination of high-dose B vitamins and a super food for performance during stressful times offers support.

Stress. It’s something that all of us experience, regardless of job, geographic location or family situation. Stress is the body’s response to environmental stimuli (stressors). It’s natural and healthy to a degree; stress can motivate us and move us forward in life. Too much stress and an inability to manage it, however, can have dramatic health consequences for an individual. Nutrition can play a big part in how we cope and perform under stress.

B vitamins are coenzymes involved in numerous bodily functions in human health: the nervous system, brain function and the production of energy through the metabolization of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. They are essential to life and a deficiency of B vitamins can manifest itself as such symptoms as low energy, poor mental functioning or inability to deal with stress and anxiety.

The key to the B vitamins is that they work together – synergistically – in their functioning within the body. It is true that certain B vitamins may be needed in higher amounts for a specific condition – like Vitamin B12 for specific cases of pernicious anemia or a specific B12 deficiency – but individual B vitamins still require the rest of the B family to perform their roles.  Often a deficiency in one B vitamin can be an indication of a deficiency in others.

For individuals who are experiencing low or normal levels of stress, a multi-vitamin containing basic levels of B vitamins, in the range of 5-25 mg/mcg of each, may be sufficient for daily needs. For those experiencing above-normal levels of stress, a “B-50” complex containing 50 mg/mcg per individual B can be helpful. And for those experiencing high levels of stress to the mind and body needing even more support, a “B-100” complex with 100 mg/mcg per B vitamin may be necessary, at least for the specific time period of excessive stress or anxiety. This group of highly stressed individuals can include athletes, office workers, and women experiencing menopause.

While additional B vitamins can be helpful to individuals undergoing stress, a traditional Peruvian food source can give further support. Maca root has been harvested and used in Peru as a nutritional food and natural medicine for thousands of years. Today, in the world of natural medicine it has become known as a “super food” for its wide range of health applications.

  • Maca root is rich in a multitude of vitamins and minerals including B complex vitamins, vitamin C, iron, iodine, calcium, magnesium, manganese, potassium and zinc. It is a true “super food.”
  • Maca root is an adaptogen. It helps the body to perform normally during stressful conditions by balancing the body’s hormonal production. Hormones that are too low get regulated upward by maca root and hormones that are too high get regulated downward. Maca root nourishes the pituitary and hypothalamus glands. This balancing helps women to deal with PMS, menopause and hot flashes and men to deal with libido issues.

By combining high-levels of B vitamins together with the super food maca root, even the most stressed of us can find it easier to get on with our daily lives.

 

The Power of pH

The Power of pH

Did you know that low energy levels accompanied by carbohydrate cravings, muscle soreness, low back pain or headaches, most likely indicate a pH imbalance? Many people are astonished once they realize the ill health effects caused by an overly acidic condition in the body. Yet, one of the most compelling nutritional discoveries in recent times is the role that balanced pH plays in our energy levels and overall health.

What is Optimal pH Balance?
pH is the measure of the alkalinity or acidic of a fluid. The body’s internal fluids are alkaline and are maintained at a pH close to 7.0, though the exact pH of different fluids varies. Sustaining healthy blood pH (pH 7.35-7.45) is one of the body’s most important tasks, since even slight deviations can severely compromise health. The body must constantly strive to maintain a pH balance of these critical internal fluids: blood, saliva, urine, extracellular and intracellular for all normal bodily reactions and functions to occur.  Ironically, as each cell performs its task of respiration, metabolism and other normal cellular functions it secretes acidic cellular waste!

What Creates Acidic Waste?
As we age, many factors contribute to the toxic acid load stored up in our bodies. Along with cellular function, acidic waste can be caused by high-acid foods and beverages, excessive stress, intensive and prolonged exercise, pollution, over-the-counter and prescription drugs, poor lifestyle habits and even negative thinking.  Fortunately, the human body is very effective at filtering out most of our daily acidic waste with the help of our lymphatic system.

Reducing Acidity Helps Maintain a Proper pH Balance
Our bodies have many ways of neutralizing or eliminating acidic waste products in order to promote optimal pH balance. Collectively, the lungs, kidneys, intestines, and skin are in control of the body’s pH balancing act. The body needs oxygen, water, acid-buffering minerals and bicarbonates to ensure adequate pH buffering. Regular breathing is a very effective way of reducing acidity. When oxygen is taken in and carbon dioxide released, carbonic acid levels are decreased in the blood. Just as important as breathing is the use of minerals and bicarbonates to neutralize or buffer acids within the cells, blood, kidneys, and the lymphatic system. Bicarbonates are naturally produced in the body, present in all body fluids, and play a major role in neutralizing acids throughout the body.

The body requires adequate alkaline reserves in order to neutralize excess levels of the following acids; carbonic, sulfuric, phosphoric, lactic, and uric. One example of this is the often-painful lactic acid created through exercise. Too much lactic acid tilts cell metabolism into excess free radical production, low oxygen levels, pain and inflammation.

Alkaline Minerals and Bicarbonate-Producing Foods Groups Buffer Acidity
Research has revealed that the body’s natural ability to produce pH-balancing bicarbonates declines with age. Mineral-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables, are rich in precursors to bicarbonates in the form of organic acids (citric, malic, acetic etc.). The continual replacement of key minerals & bicarbonate-producing foods is essential. The most obvious source of mineral and bicarbonate buffers is the diet. The best foods are those that form the fewest acidic waste products and provide the greatest amount of acid-neutralizing minerals (potassium, magnesium, calcium, sodium) and bicarbonate precursors. The highest mineral-containing and bicarbonate-producing foods are: fruits (lemons, limes, melons, prunes, berries); root vegetables (celeriac, rutabaga, turnips, carrots, parsnips, sweet potato, white potato, onions); vegetable or vine fruit (tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, cucumbers); leafy greens (spinach, lettuce, kale, chard); stalks (celery, broccoli); mushrooms.

Start Your Day the Alkaline Way!
One of the most convenient and effective ways to reduce the body’s level of acidity is to hydrate and energize first thing in the morning and throughout the day with an alkalizing drink. Lemon juice added to water provides alkaline minerals and bicarbonate precursors in the form of citric acid. Citric acid can be converted by the kidneys into bicarbonate and used as part of its buffering system to neutralize acid accumulating in the blood. Lemons contain the highest amount of citric acid (up to 10%) of any food. As a super-alkalizing agent, lemons play an important role in cellular detoxification and energy production. When taken every morning, an alkalizing drink (lemon water) can aid the body in naturally releasing harmful acidic impurities and other toxic build-up that slow metabolism and add weight to the abdominal area.

8 Steps to Regain pH Balance:
1. Hydrate early in the morning & between meals with a lemon-based alkaline drink mix.
2. Eat a greener diet by including green superfoods (chlorella, spirulina, barley & wheatgrass).
3. Supplement with alkaline minerals in the form of potassium, magnesium & calcium citrate.
4. Take 100 to 200 mg of CoEnzyme Q10 and a Magnesium with Malic acid liquid supplement in order to help muscles sustain aerobic (oxygen giving) energy production longer with less lactic acid formation.
5. Reduce stress by incorporating meditation, yoga, Tai Chi into a daily routine.
6. Improve circulation by breathing through the nose with mild exercise, starting with a 20-minute walk.
7. Include massage, other lymphatic exercises (rebounding).
8. Detox regularly with systemic enzyme therapy (serrapeptase), alkalizing herbal cleansing formulas and lemon drinks.

Bringing your body into the optimal pH balance does not necessarily require a radical change to your total lifestyle or eating habits. Simply adjust your diet to include more fruits and vegetables, hydrate with a lemon-based alkaline drink mix one or more times per day and follow as many of the 8 Simple Steps as possible.  By focusing on alkalizing the body to maintain an optimal pH balance, you will experience a noticeable increase in your energy and overall health.

…………
RoseMarie Pierce, B.Sc.Pharm, earned her degree in Pharmacy from Dalhousie University in 1972. After extensive studies in herbal and nutritional medicine, RoseMarie integrated these disciplinary practices with her pharmacy education to become Canada’s first Holistic Pharmacist.

 

Canadians and Low Vitamin D Levels

Canadians and Low Vitamin D Levels

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 that we get sufficient amounts of this vitamin? Studies show that supplementation of Vitamin D, specifically D3, is an effective way to obtain Vitamin D3 . The costs of not getting enough Vitamin D are great.

 

Low levels of Vitamin D are associated with: 
• Over a dozen different types of cancer, including breast, prostate, colon, pancreatic, ovarian and bowel cancers.4
• Low bone density and poor calcium absorption.12
• Low energy and depressed mood from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) during winter months.1,14
• Congestive heart failure.9
• Backaches, muscle pain and painful joint inflammation, especially in seniors.1
• Greater incidence of falls in the elderly.5

 

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 1000 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. Amounts over 2,000 IU per day may lead to an excess of calcium absorption which can be hard on the liver and kidneys.6 It has been suggested that for the major disease prevention effects of Vitamin D, that it is better to take Vitamin D away from Vitamin A (retinol), as there may be a diluting effect.7 Vitamin D and Vitamin A are often combined in multi-vitamins. Studies show that most Americans only get 320 IU per day and Canadians get even less sunlight because of our northern location.3

 

Vitamin D Studies in The News

  • Vitamin D consumption was associated with a 50% lower risk of breast cancer in a University of California in San Diego study.3
    • A report in the Journal of Pathology suggests that Vitamin D can slow the progression of breast cancer by preventing cancer cells from multiplying.8
    • Vitamin D exposure through sunlight was correlated with a 25-45% reduction in breast cancer risk in women in a Mount Sinai Hospital (Toronto) study.3
    • Vitamin D is an effective anti-inflammatory to be used in the treatment of congestive heart failure.9
    • Vitamin D from sunlight increases the longevity of cancer patients (including lung cancer).11
    • An overall cancer study by Harvard School of Public Health showed that those with high Vitamin D intake had a reduced rate of cancer incidence by 17% and cancer death by 29%.4
    • Vitamin D may lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes.13
    • Northwestern and Harvard Universities report a 43% risk reduction of pancreatic cancer in those getting sufficient Vitamin D.7
    • 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.5
    • Vitamin D prevents tumours from growing by facilitating proper cell development and preventing blood vessels from feeding tumours.7,8,10
    • 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.14

 

Practice Self-Love with Carrier Oils

Practice Self-Love with Carrier Oils

Carrier oils are much like the oils you cook with, only they are used for cosmetic purposes. The term “carrier” is used simply because they are often used to dilute essential oils in order to be able to safely apply them to the skin. The therapeutic value of both the carrier oils and the essential oils make for fun and useful do-it-yourself projects. Carrier oils can be used to make massage oils, face and body moisturizers, natural perfumes, muscle relaxants, joint pain treatments, relaxing bath oils and more!

NOW® Solutions’ Carrier Oils. NOW® carrier oils come in 8 different varieties: Avocado, castor, coconut, sesame, sweet almond, apricot kernel, jojoba and shea.  All of these carrier oils are vegetable derived, cruelty-free, and quality assured though both extensive internal quality testing as well as adherence to a rigorous, internationally certified, quality standard known as UL (Underwriters Laboratories). These oils all come in UV protected containers to preserve freshness. Each oil has a different fatty acid profile, imparting a variety of characteristics useful for different skin types and purposes.

The formula for safe dilution. Using safe and clean cosmetics can go a long way in protecting and preserving your precious exterior. A great way to customize skin care, to match your skin type, is by combining select carrier oils with a combination of essential oils. While not all essential oils are appropriate for topical application, as a general rule of thumb, use a 1-3% dilution when adding essential oils to a carrier oil.  When applying to the face, however, stick to a 1% dilution if you are not experienced. The following describes the number of drops of essential oil that can be added to a NOW® Do-It-Yourself (DIY), empty, body care container, in order to create a 1-3% dilution:

  • 5 ml Atomizer: add 1-3 drops of essential oil to a full container of carrier oil
  • 10 ml Roll-On: add 2-6 drops of essential oil to a full container of carrier oil
  • 30 ml Amber Dropper Bottle: add 6-18 drops of essential oil to a full container of carrier oil
  • 60 ml Amber Spray Bottle: add 12-36 drops of essential oil to a full container of carrier oil

About NOW® Solutions’ Natural Carrier Oils

Avocado: Avocado, rich in vitamin E and beta carotene, is a great choice for very dry, chapped or simply mature skin. It also is helpful for scar tissue and stretch marks and supports skin elasticity.  If your pores tend to clog though go with something lighter.

Castor: Castor oil is one of the best-known emollients (which softens or sooths). It has some unique topical uses (owing in part to its ricinoleic acid content) including calluses, scars, dry eyes, inflammation (addressed using a castor oil pack) and skin problems like eczema.

Fractionated Coconut: This modified version of coconut oil is both light and nourishing. Unlike cold-pressed coconut oil it is odor-free, light and does not stain clothing. This makes it a popular choice for hair conditioning and as a base for massage oils. It also has a long shelf life, making it a great cosmetic carrier oil.  It is a good choice for dry skin that is also sensitive.

Sesame: Sesame oil is helpful for dry skin, especially attributed to chlorine and windburn. It may also help tighten pores.

Sweet Almond: This is our best-selling carrier oil. Rich in vitamin E and squalene (an antioxidant and emollient) it makes for a great skin conditioner ideal for dry, chapped, scaly, irritated or mature skin.

Apricot kernel: Apricot oil’s vitamin E, vitamin C, as well as oleic acid content are helpful for soothing dry, sensitive or inflamed skin. Being very light and non-greasy, it is also great for those who are acne prone.

Jojoba: This uniquely named oil is actually a liquid wax, often described as being similar to our skin’s naturally produced sebum. While great for any skin type, it is often recommended for acne prone as well as dry or mature skin. It has an impressive shelf-life for DIY cosmetics.

Shea Nut Oil: This prized oil from West Africa is well known for its nourishing and moisturizing properties. Despite its very viscous nature, shea doesn’t clog pores. It is often recommended for very dry skin or as a protective barrier against cold, windy climates.

Love yourself enough to use natural non-toxic products on your skin. The simple DIY approach allows you control over the ingredient list of your skin care products, free from harsh chemicals. So go ahead – pamper yourself, guilt free!

 

Herbal Support for Gentle Aging

Herbal Support for Gentle Aging

Herbal medicine can help our bodies and minds as we move through life, and may encourage us to age more gracefully.

The aging process is, of course, natural and inevitable.  It is an accumulation of lessons learned and life lived, but with so many experiences available to us many people seek to slow down the aging process so that they can add life to their years while adding years to their life.  And it never hurts to look good too!

There are a few body systems that have the greatest impact on our physical and mental health.  When we support the underlying issues that influence whether someone looks older or younger than their actual years we can be pro-active in the aging process.  Elements that encourage aging of both body and mind include toxic burden, emotional/mental/physical stress, and inflammation.

To ease the load on our bodies and minds of these factors there are two key herbs to consider.

Turmeric

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is an herbal powerhouse with more than 5000 references in published medical journals!  It has three key actions on the body that have been well documented over several thousand years as a key herb in India and Ayurvedic medicine, as well as in modern day research trials. It is liver protective, anti-inflammatory and anti-neoplastic (anti-cancer).

 

By supporting the removal of toxins from the body through increased bile flow while supporting the health of the liver cells and protecting them from the very toxins they metabolize, as well as by reducing inflammation throughout the body, turmeric deserves a place in your supplement regime.  It is an edible spice and can easily be added to cooking, however, it can be difficult for most people to achieve a therapeutic daily dose through diet alone.  In our polluted world with low-grade inflammation linked to a myriad of health issues, a concentrated whole food turmeric supplement can be a game changer.

 

Inflammation is a necessary process in the body for healing from acute injury, infection, or trauma. However, when it becomes chronic it is associated with a variety of health concerns; from cardiovascular to pain with movement and can even cause depression and anxiety through the effects of inflammatory signals on the brain.  Regulating inflammation in the body is an essential component to feeling your best now and in years to come.

 

Another herb that shines with its ability to support longevity and healthy aging by addressing multiple systems at once is an additional Ayurvedic herb, ashwagandha.

 

Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is a calming adaptogen that benefits thyroid health.  Adaptogens are a class of herbs that help us to adapt to change, which in turn helps with our stress response.  Some adaptogens are stimulating and give an energy boost, while some are neutral and simply support the body over time. Ashwagandha is one of the few adaptogenic herbs that help us feel calmer and sleep better, simultaneously supporting our stress response over time.  It’s right there in the Latin name “somnifera” – “somnus” is Latin for sleep and ashwagandha has a long history of relaxing restless bodies and minds.

 

Ashwagandha can be taken in the morning for those who jolt out of bed with their heart pounding, already anxious for the day ahead, or it can be taken closer to bedtime to help promote a restful sleep.

 

When we sleep, we heal.  When we can laugh and let it go and roll with the curve balls that life throws, then we are in a better position to age gracefully both in body and mind.  When we are calm and balanced we are more likely to make better decisions for our ultimate well-being. Choosing good nutrition over fast food “treats”, or deciding to get some exercise or perhaps connect with a friend rather than more negative, self-destructive behaviors can result in more positive health. Ashwagandha can be a wonderful support in helping us reach and stay in that “better place”.

 

Liquid vs Dried Herbs

Liquid herbal extracts offer superior absorption to dried herbs in capsules as the medicinal actives are already in solution and ready for absorption.  Dried herbs that are not being steeped into a tea or tincture first have a limited window in the upper digestive tract to be solubilized and absorbed.  Botanica’s liquid capsules were originally extracted in a water and alcohol blend to access the full array of medicinal actives.  That extract is then added to glycerin and the alcohol and water are removed leaving behind a concentrated liquid extract that is delivered in a vegetarian capsule.  They offer the body a powerful dose of herbal medicinal actives in a liquid form that is convenient for travel, ideal for those who avoid alcohol for religious or other reasons, or who want the benefit of a tincture without actually tasting the medicine.

 

Foundational elements to living well and aging beautifully include whole food nutrient dense meals, optimal digestion and detoxification, movement, sleep, and joy.  Botanica’s Turmeric and Ashwagandha capsules can help to support those elements directly (detoxification, sleep), and indirectly (increased mobility from decreased pain, and mood regulation).

 

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27228476

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30653773?dopt=Abstract

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26357876

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23439798?dopt=Abstract

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27055824?dopt=Abstract

Q & A to Keep the Doctor Away

Q & A to Keep the Doctor Away

Gifford-Jones, MD answers your questions on how to age gracefully and mindfully to ensure you live the best golden years possible!

Q: How do you know vitamin C and lysine work to protect against heart attack and stroke?

A: As we age, the body’s production of collagen slows down, which can result in aging skin, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, and many other conditions including declining cardiovascular health. Inadequate amounts of vitamin C results in poor collagen. Vitamin C is required to manufacture healthy collagen, the glue that holds cells together, just like mortar is needed for bricks. Lysine, like steel rods in cement, makes collagen stronger. Coronary arteries are under more pressure than any other artery in the body so keeping your veins and arteries healthy is essential for protection against a heart attack or stroke. Without sufficient vitamin C and lysine, the constant pounding in coronary arteries causes minute cracks in collagen, contributing to atherosclerosis, blood clots, or rupturing of a weakened artery, resulting in a stroke. Medi-C Plus® provides high dose vitamin C and lysine to help maintain cardiovascular health.

 

Q: Why such high doses of vitamin C and lysine?

A: Only 10 mg of vitamin C is needed to guard against scurvy. Standard multi-vitamins have 75 mg of vitamin C. Prescribing these small amounts to prevent coronary attack is like trying to kill an elephant with a BB gun. It requires several thousand milligrams of vitamin C and lysine, as found in Medi-C Plus, to support healthy collagen production, and as we know, collagen is the key to healthy coronary arteries.

 

Q: How can I avoid losing teeth?

A: Patients often appear surprised when I tell them that vita­min C will help them keep their teeth a lifetime. This is where collagen comes into play again, as the glue that holds cells together and keeps gums healthy. Gums lacking collagen lose their grip on teeth, resulting in tooth loss. Brushing and flossing regularly also goes without saying. I turn 96 this year and I am happy to say I still have my teeth!

 

Q: Can I take vitamin C if I have a cold or influenza?

A: People who have a cold or influenza, or who suffer a trauma actually have an increased need for higher doses of vitamin C. For instance, a dog who develops an infection and normally produces 5,000 mg of vitamin C daily, will increase the production of vitamin C to 100,000 mg. Humans do not have the ability to make their own vitamin C so taking a supplement like Medi-C Plus is a good idea for fighting viral infections.

 

Q: Why does Medi-C Plus come in both Calcium and Magnesium Formulas?

A: Medi-C Plus is available in Calcium and Magnesium formulas, both of which act as buffers for the vitamin C. The Calcium formula supports bone health and is suitable for those not getting enough calcium in their diet. Magnesium regulates heart rate and supports immune health, muscles, and neurological systems. Most adults don’t get enough magnesium in their diet and absorption decreases with age. So, whether you choose the Calcium or Magnesium Formulas – both provide effective support for heart health and more.

 

To maintain optimal health and improve your chances of reaching 90+, I recommend Medi-C Plus with high dose vitamin C and lysine – just mix with your morning juice.

 

For more health tips and to sign up for my no-nonsense advice for good health go to docgiff.com.

 

Here’s to Aging Mindfully

Here’s to Aging Mindfully

Whether you are looking forward to the end of your monthly cycles or are less enthusiastic about it, most women know that menopause marks the end of fertility. This major life transition typically happens somewhere in the early 50s and is marked by one-year period-free. But we don’t arrive at menopause overnight. Instead, the potentially long and winding road to this significant milestone in a woman’s life can last for years – and it can be a crazy ride!

 

Predictably Unpredictable Perimenopause

After approximately 30 years of somewhat regularity since your first menstrual period, symptoms of perimenopause can have you questioning everything you thought you knew about your body. No two months – or sometimes two days – are alike. Sudden fluctuations in estrogen can cause hot flashes or night sweats. Mood swings, sleep troubles, fatigue and easy tears become the new normal.

During this time, your ovaries are doing a cha-cha; some months, ovaries send out two oocytes. Other months, no eggs are released at all. Menstrual periods might seem like they are minutes apart or be separated by so much time that you think “this must be it” – and then a period arrives out of the blue on a day that you are totally unprepared. For some women, symptoms last only a year. Others may experience peri-menopausal symptoms for a decade or more. Fortunately, you can grab the wheel and help to steer your own transition.

 

Lifestyle Road-Map

A smooth transition involves a focus on promoting healthy estrogen production and reducing harmful estrogens. We can do this in two ways. First, we need to avoid exposure to estrogen-like chemicals found outside of our bodies called xenoestrogens. (Xeno means false.) These hormone disruptors are close enough in molecular structure to estrogen that they can bind to estrogen receptor sites in the body and can cause dangerous health outcomes. Some of the most researched xenoestrogenic chemicals are BPA (bisphenol-A), phthalates (say “thay-lates”) and parabens.

Common sources of xenoestrogens include body care products and cosmetics, home cleaning products, gardening supplies, and home décor (paint, candles, room deodorizers) as well as charred meats. Choose organic foods and products to limit exposure.

But endocrine disruptors are not the only cause for concern. A woman’s lifetime exposure to natural estrogen has been identified in medical research as a likely cause of estrogen-associated cancers, especially breast and endometrial cancers. Our bodies can thwart this process through natural detoxification processes in the liver. The problem, of course, is that the liver is so busy cleaning up pollution, xenoestrogens, medications, chemicals in food, alcohol and other toxins that it can get over-worked. As someone who might be a partner, mother and grandmother, aunt, daughter, sister, volunteer, friend, entrepreneur or employee – you can likely relate to how your liver might feel about the workload!

 

Love Your Liver

Ease the burden on your natural detoxification processes with a few simple diet and lifestyle switches. Limit or avoid caffeine, alcoholic beverages and charred meats, and choose organic foods when possible. Improve your bowel function with a varied diet of fibre-rich fruits and vegetables, as constipation can lead to reabsorption of estrogen after it has been processed by liver.

You absolutely want to include cruciferous vegetables, including bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, and turnips. These veggies are rich sources of sulfur-containing compounds known as glucosinolates. After undergoing breakdown in your stomach, glucosinolates produce indole-3-carbinole (I3C) which then transforms into various compounds, including 3,3′-diindolylmethane (DIM). Both I3C and DIM are involved in the metabolism and elimination of many xenobiotics, including drugs and estrogens, and studies suggest that these compounds promote healthy breast, cervical and endometrial tissue. Broccoli sprouts, in particular, are especially high in sulphoraphane, which is a phytochemical that has been shown to stimulate production of detoxification enzymes that eliminate environmental estrogens.

 

Symptom Relief

If liver detoxification is a life-time road trip, you can think of support nutrients as comfort breaks along the ride. Herbs that calm symptoms of peri-menopause and menopause include black cohosh for hot flashes and to improve sleep. Chastetree berry (vitex) has been shown to be helpful for mood, excess worry, food cravings and sleep. Sage and Dong quai can also improve hot flashes and perspiration (night sweats). Along with I3C and DIM, these herbs are available in supplement form for easy relief – and a more comfortable ride.

 

Selected References

Jiang, K., Jin,Y., Huang, L., Feng, S., Hou, X., Du, B.,  Zheng, J., & Li, L. (2015.) Black cohosh improves objective sleep in postmenopausal women with sleep disturbance, Climacteric, 18:4, 559-567, DOI: 10.3109/13697137.2015.1042450

Johnson, A., Roberts, L., & Elkins, G. (2019). Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Menopause. Journal of evidence-based integrative medicine24, 2515690X19829380. doi:10.1177/2515690X19829380

Kargozar, R., Azizi, H., & Salari, R. (2017). A review of effective herbal medicines in controlling menopausal symptoms. Electronic physician9(11), 5826–5833. doi:10.19082/5826

Niroumand, M. C., Heydarpour, F., & Farzaei, M. H. (2018). Pharmacological and Therapeutic Effects of Vitex agnus-castus L.: A Review. Pharmacognosy Reviews12(23), 103–114.

Sanlier N, Guler Saban M (2018) The Benefits of Brassica Vegetables on Human Health. Journal of Human Health Research, 1: 104, 1-13 http://article.scholarena.co/The-Benefits-of-Brassica-Vegetables-on-Human-Health.pdf

Santoro N. (2016). Perimenopause: From Research to Practice. Journal of women’s health (2002)25(4), 332–339. doi:10.1089/jwh.2015.5556

 

 

 



About the Author: Lisa Petty, PhD (Candidate)

Lisa Petty, PhD (Candidate) is an expert in women’s well-being.
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