The Healing Power of Medicinal Mushrooms

The Healing Power of Medicinal Mushrooms


The healing powers of mushrooms have been well known to humans for thousands of years in Tibet, China, India and other ancient cultures.

For instance, Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus), this tree mushroom has been known to enhance memory and cognitive ability and calm the nervous system. Lion’s Mane stimulates the synthesis of nerve growth factor (NGF), a small protein crucial to the growth, maintenance and survival of cells within the brain. Cordyceps on the other hand helps the body to increase its output of energy by enhancing oxygen update by the cells. It helps athletes recuperate faster and improves a flagging libido. Whereas red reishi mushroom has been used to support better sleep, helps with calming and de-stressing the body and supports the immune system.

Modern medicine has used these mushrooms and other fungi to develop treatments from a wide range of conditions. Today, PURICA applies scientific methodology to these ancient healing substances, creating a safe, powerful and balanced range of product to help with chronic stress to modulating the immune system and improving memory.

To make these and other mushrooms even more effective, PURICA incorporates four advantages into everything it produces:

  1. Full spectrum formulation
  2. Therapeutic grade ingredients
  3. Highest quality
  4. Easily absorbed

Producing a full spectrum product means that PURICA uses the “entire mushroom” in all stages of the growth and life cycle – the mycelia, fruitbodies and spores and extracellular compounds – to produce each of its carefully formulated products.

Easy absorption is ensured through a process known as micronization which reduces large particles into fine, soluble particles, measured in micrometeres, which are easy for the body to absorb. (insert picture of before and after micronization).

Great care is taken in all stages of the growing, harvesting and processing of every mushroom used in PURICA products – a process that preserves active ingredients to deliver a consistent therapeutic grade product. Because of the high degree of quality control, each PURICA product qualifies as a healing superfood, grown on a certified organic plant base with trace minerals.

PURICA Immune 7 is an award winning formula that provides powerful immune support. This long-standing formulation consists of six carefully chosen medicinal mushrooms; agaricus, coriolus, maitake, shiitake, codyceps and reishi along with the proprietary blend Nutricol that consists of grapeseed and green tea. This can be taken daily as a immune optimizer as well as it complements mainstream treatments.

If you are looking for 360 degrees of optimal health, PURICA Complete 360 is a natural winner. This synergistic formulation of eight medicinal mushrooms – agaricus cordyceps, coriolus, reishi, shiitake, chaga and Lion’s mane – along with the ayurvedic herb ashwagandha (sensoril) provides both immune support and stress relief. Like all of PURICA mushroom formulations, PURICA Complete 360 is micronized for better absorption.

Using PURICA Immune 7 or PURICA Complete 360 can help to strengthen the walls in our castle and ensure that we optimize our immunity year-round.


Are You Getting Enough Calcium?

Are You Getting Enough Calcium?

Not all folks find dairy their ideal source of calcium, but getting enough calcium is important for so many reasons!

Calcium helps in the maintenance of teeth. Bet your teeth want to bite into that news! As for maintaining your ability to do some two-steppin’, calcium intake may reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Of course, that’s when calcium is combined with sufficient magnesium, vitamin D, a healthy diet and regular exercise. That’s right – you may want to start doing some bicep curls with your milk jugs or tubs of yogurt.

All joking aside, this is important – 25 percent of Canadian women and 12 percent of men over 50 years of age suffer from osteoporosis. Yikes!

But, before you grab the next calcium supplement you see, know that not all are created equally. According to a study done by the University of Auckland, high-dosage calcium-only supplements may be linked to increased incidence of heart attacks. However, food sources of calcium do not appear to have the same concerns.

A sustainable, non-dairy food source of calcium is red algae, Lithothamnion calcareum. It’s loaded with bone supporting nutrients! It contains over 30 percent elemental calcium, as well as magnesium and more than 70 other trace minerals. You can find this red algal branded as Aquamin™. Aquamin™ has been extensively studied. One study, done at the University of Michigan, researchers found Aquamin™ preserved bone structure and function in a group of rodents eating a Western diet. That’s great news for aging bones!

Before you take your two-steppin’ moves to the coast in search of some red algae to scoop out of the water, know it’s available at your local Health First® store. Health First® Cal-Mag Supreme contains Aquamin™. It also contains vitamin D3. A study published in 2014, noted that bone tissue regrowth and repair of Aquamin™ was further enhanced when vitamin D3 was present. You guessed it – Health First® Cal-Mag Supreme was created keeping all of the latest research in mind. Health First® Cal-Mag Supreme also contains other minerals and is also available with vitamin K2, which helps the body make use of calcium in the bones to avoid calcification of the arteries.

Keep smiling! Keep dancing! Enjoy aging well.


Aquamin Science
Phytother Res 2014.
Magnes Res. 2011 Sep;24(3):S115-21.
PLoS One 2014.

Pharmacist’s Favorite Immune Boosters

Pharmacist’s Favorite Immune Boosters

My immune boosting strategies include healthy lifestyle habits and consciously considering what I’m eating and drinking, as well as the supplements I’m taking on a regular basis. I want to share my own easy to follow set of guidelines that may offer help to others during this pandemic.

Here are my recommendations:

1. I take vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 daily with meals and fat-digesting enzymes (BileForce or KetoEnzyme).

During the Canadian fall, winter and spring months or if you have little UVB exposure, supplemental vitamin D is required to stay healthy. Adequate vitamin D is needed to activate the genes that produce 200-300 different antimicrobial peptides (AMPs). Increased production of AMPs destroys or inhibits the growth of microorganisms and suppresses excessive immune responses. Always take fat-soluble vitamins with fat-containing food for proper absorption.

2. I take two C-Force Ascorbate (755mg/cap Vit C) twice daily with meals and have vitamin C powder on hand for times when I might need to megadose.

Since they suppress immunity, sugars and sugary carbs should be kept very low. Follow a low carb, high fat, and medium protein diet along with additional vitamin C. Sugar may lead to depleted vitamin C levels. Many studies have demonstrated the usefulness of vitamin C against infections of various kinds. When sepsis (the body’s overactive and toxic response to an infection) occurs, the cytokine surge caused by sepsis is activated, destroying lung tissue. Early clinical studies have shown that vitamin C can effectively prevent this process. During the current novel viral epidemic which is considered a severe acute respiratory infection (SARI), randomized controlled trials on the clinical efficacy and safety of vitamin C are underway. Let’s not wait for the results!

3. At the first sign of infection, I take 3 to 5 cups of warmed Citrus Soother over a 24-hour period and get plenty of rest.

When it comes to fighting infections, nothing has a more soothing and protective effect than a drink made with hot lemon, honey and ginger drink. Add the therapeutic, healing power of vitamin C (500mg) and vitamin D (1000iu), along with immune-boosting zinc (5mg), Elderberry, Lemon balm, and Echinacea root. Now you have Citrus Soother – a delicious, instant natural cold and flu remedy. It is well-known that drugstore medications for respiratory infections can acidify the body and have many adverse effects. Correspondingly, natural herbs and nutrients (vitamins and the minerals) support the immune system, reduce stress and can help alkalize the body.

4. Both my husband and I take 3 mg Melatonin SL before bedtime. Neither of us experience restless or vivid dreams.

Avoid exhaustion and extreme exercise, both of which lower immunity and greatly increase one’s risk of serious reactions to viral infections. Attempt at least 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night. Yet even more important is living in balance with the natural circadian cycles – going to bed early and getting up early. If this is not possible, take 1.5 – 3 mg melatonin sublingually 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime. Melatonin plays a critical role in regulating the body’s biological clock and the research on melatonin and immune support is very convincing, especially in the elderly. Aging is associated with a decline in immune function, a situation known to correlate with increased incidence of cancer, along with infectious and degenerative diseases. “Melatonin has the potential therapeutic value to enhance immune function in aged individuals and in patients in an immuno-compromised state.”

5. Every morning I take my urine pH reading, then make a 16 oz Morning Rise & Shine (lemon, aloe and alkaline minerals) drink adding ½ serving of Aqua Greens powder as a boost to help fortify my morning drink.

Keep well hydrated and pH balanced by checking first-morning pH levels with pH paper and a drop of urine. One of the most effective and convenient ways to reduce the body’s level of acidity is saturate the body’s cells with an alkalizing electrolyte drink first thing in the morning, then throughout the day. Lemon juice added to water provides alkaline minerals as well as 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 help neutralize the acids that accumulate in the blood and body tissues. As a super-alkalizing agent, lemon juice plays an important role in cellular detoxification and energy production.

6. My morning coffee is the easiest method I’ve found to incorporate some extra nutrients into my diet. I can add a half scoop Bone Broth or Collagen powder, ½ tsp Fermented Turmeric powder and 1 tsp Fermented Maca powder and still enjoy the taste!

Of all the immune-boosting foods, Bone Broth stands out as a shining star with its blood building and immune cell rejuvenation properties. It is fantastic for reducing inflammation, helping to healing the gut as well as supporting a restful sleep. Next on my list are the brassica vegetables including broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, turnip, radishes and Maca. Brassicas make an excellent addition to an anti-inflammatory diet to help alleviate inflammatory conditions such as asthma and arthritis.


Vitamin C Infusion for the Treatment of Severe 2019-nCoV Infected Pneumonia. Estimated Study completion: Sept. 30, 2020.
Melatonin, immune function and aging.

Fortifying our Immune Health

Fortifying our Immune Health

Our capacity to fight antigens is reduced when we endure protracted stress. That’s why an optimized immune system is one of the most important insurance policies we’ll ever rely upon. Maintaining a strong foundation when it comes to our immunity is important year-round, of course, but it’s particularly meaningful when life throws us a curve ball or two. Like with insurance, you typically don’t think about it, but when something happens, you’re very grateful you have the protection! With a robust immune response, we are more inclined to handle challenging situations, combat sickness or recover quicker if we come down with something after being exposed to bacteria, viruses or parasites.

Long-term, protracted stress is taxing to our immune system

The chronic, low-grade stress that is so common these days can cause immune dysfunction, accelerate aging and degeneration, and make us vulnerable to inflammation, pain and sickness. Although our body is well-equipped to deal with short-term stresses through the sympathetic nervous system (the fight-or-flight mechanism that kick-starts our adrenalin and helps us manage emergencies or immediate threats), the same is not true of long-term stress. Just like a car will eventually run out of gas even if it is just idling for an extended period of time, we’ll run out of gas if we don’t take steps to recharge our body. Over the long haul, protracted stress compromises our health. We need to look for ways to optimize our immunity by calming our sympathetic nervous system and shifting to our parasympathetic nervous system (the rest-and-digest response).

When we think of how our immune system works, it’s helpful to visualize our body as a castle. The walls of the castle – our skin, bone and connective tissue – work to keep antigens out in the first phase of immunity. Our mucosal membranes, genital urinary tract and eyes function like the moat in a castle. Meanwhile, an army of millions of cells inside our body maintain the fortress by preventing invaders from breaking through the walls of protection.

Balance is the key

Daily attacks from various antigens can be taxing for the protectors of our castle, especially if we are feeling run down or tired. An underactive or weakened immune system can make us more prone to infections and sickness. On the other hand, if our immune system is overactive, we can be left subject to allergies that can potentially trigger an autoimmune response. As in our castle analogy, an optimal immune system is a balanced one. And maintaining a healthy, balanced immune system is the prerequisite to keeping our defenses strong.

Among the most important things we can do is reduce the impacts of stress by deploying good nutrition and a positive lifestyle. Incorporating a “rainbow” of fruits and vegetables – organic where possible – will help support our immune system.

Lifestyle strategies can also reduce the impacts of chronic stress; including diaphragmatic breathing (also known as belly breathing), which can activate the rest-and-digest response, calming music and mindfully connecting breathing to movement – through yoga or going for a walk, especially in nature and green spaces.

Immunity optimization through supplementation

Above and beyond nutrition and relaxation-inducing activities, many of us can strengthen our defenses through supplementation, including the use of medicinal mushrooms. Incorporating B-vitamins, vitamin C and vitamin D3 and essential minerals such as Magnesium and Zinc is a worthy dietary goal, but it is not always possible to achieve sufficient levels without supplementation (up to 40% of Canadians do not consume enough Magnesium, as an example).

Medicinal mushrooms have proven to be powerful allies in the fight against stress. They work as immunomodulators; substances that bring balance or calm and activate the immune system, as needed.  Medicinal mushrooms also share the remarkable qualities of adaptogens, which protect our bodies from all forms of stress, both physical and mental.

The PURICA line includes several immunity formulations, including the award-winning PURICA Immune 7, a blend of six organic medicinal mushrooms – Agaricus, Cordyceps, Maitake, Red Reishi, Shiitake and Turkey Tail (Coriolus) and the proprietary blend NutricolÒ (green tea and grape seed extract), along with PURICA Complete 360. Both rely on mushrooms that are potent, full spectrum, of the highest quality and easily absorbed. PURICA Complete 360 includes eight mushrooms and the ayurvedic herb Ashwagandha, another adaptogen.

The combination of good nutrition, lifestyle habits such as getting good sleep and natural supplementation can fortify our castles and help us stay strong in the face of the protracted stress that affects many of us.


Thankful for Good Digestion

Thankful for Good Digestion

Do you worry more about how comfortable your clothes are going to fit after you eat than how fashionable they are? Are you like Joey on Friends who has a specific pair of “eatin’ pants”? You are not alone, indigestion, also known as dyspepsia affects about 25% of the general population. Each person may describe their symptoms differently – stomach pain, stomachache, heartburn, bloating, or fullness after only small amounts of food.[1] Optimal digestion is important to overall good health and digestive enzymes may help.

Digestive enzymes are proteins your body uses to help break down the foods you eat. Picture a jackhammer breaking up a chunk of concrete – digestive enzymes convert food into smaller building blocks that your body can absorb for overall health and wellbeing. Taking an enzyme supplement with each meal may help improve your digestion and reduce the symptoms of indigestion.

Since we eat a variety of foods which contain many different nutrients, it’s important to look for an enzyme formula that has a diverse amount of enzymes to help with digestion across all ranges of food. This will help you get the most nutrients from your meals and reduce the symptoms of indigestion.  There are 2 things to look for when choosing an enzyme formula:

  • Type of enzyme – every nutrient needs a specific enzyme to help break it down. Think of it like a specific key to unlock a door. For example; protease breaks down proteins, amylase breaks down carbohydrates, lipase breaks down fats and lactase breaks down lactose.
  • Amount of enzymes – some people may have difficulty breaking down certain foods while others may have difficulty breaking down all meals, all the time.

Renew Life® has multiple digestive enzyme formulas for maximum effectiveness. Each plant-derived formula contains powerful enzymes chosen for their ability to break down protein, carbohydrates, fats, sugars, dairy and other nutrients. Whether you’re having trouble digesting certain foods or all foods, all the time, there’s a Renew Life® digestive enzyme formula that’s right for you!

  • DigestMORE® is a targeted formula made with a high concentration of plant-based enzymes, herbs and amino acids to help digest foods and soothe the digestive tract.
  • DigestMORE® Ultra Strength is a highly concentrated, plant-sourced enzyme formula that provides powerful digestive support.
  • DigestMORE® HCl is a comprehensive plant-derived digestive enzyme formula that contains Betaine Hydrochloride (HCl). It helps to digest proteins and supports optimal digestion.
  • LactoZYME contains ingredients to digest all three components of dairy (lactose, fat, protein). It can help prevent symptoms of lactose intolerance.

To keep your gut in tip top shape, feed it well with prebiotic and probiotic foods and take a multi-strain probiotic supplement. More than 1,000 strains of bacteria can be found in the human gut so choosing a probiotic supplement that has some strain diversity in the formula is important, but culture count is too. Culture count refers to the overall number of bacteria in each serving. A potent probiotic formula contains multiple strains of bacteria and has billions of live cultures per serving to help you get more of the friendly microbes to support a happy, healthy gut!

For Women
Renew Life® Ultimate Flora® VS for Women is a 50 billion active culture, 9 strain formula that supports women’s gut and overall health in a convenient once a day capsule. It is a predominantly Lactobacilli formula that not only mimics the prevalence of bacteria found in a healthy vagina and urinary tract, but also assists in restoring digestive harmony, helping you feel lighter, brighter and more energized.

There is also a shelf stable formula for convenience. Ultimate Flora® Women’s Daily Care is a shelf-stable, 25 billion active culture, 10 strain formula that is dairy and soy free.

For Everyone
Renew Life® Ultimate Flora® Critical Care is a 50 billion active culture, 10 strain formula in a convenient, once a day capsule. It contains a combination of 20 billion Lactobacillus and 30 billion Bifidobacterium cultures for a balanced gut.

If you like the convenience of a shelf stable formula, there is Ultimate Flora® Critical Care shelf-stable which is a 50 billion active culture, 12 strain, dairy and soy free formula perfect for on the go use.

Last but not least…

Chew your food well
Many people suffer from poor digestion simply because they do not chew their food properly. If you take the time to make yourself a good meal, you owe it to yourself to savour and enjoy it. Your gut will thank you for it.

Portion control
Your body is designed to digest food in small amounts so consider what you are putting on your plate. Small more frequent meals are best.



By Caroline Farquhar, RHN, EMP, BA
[1] MediResource Clinical Team. What Causes Heartburn and Indigestion? Available: Last accessed 30 Jul 20.

Herbal Solutions for Breathing Problems

Herbal Solutions for Breathing Problems

Just about everyone has some kind of health problem to solve. Nutritional therapy is proving to be a safe and e­ffective solution to many of our most common and debilitating health problems. While getting all the daily nutritional factors we need is one thing, absorbing them well is another matter altogether. Liquid & Ionic Solutions ensure optimal absorption of therapeutic nutritional factors in a pleasant-tasting liquid.

A growing number of Canadians are experiencing breathing difficulties. Deep breathing is essential to our health and wellbeing. Breathing deeply leads to a longer, healthier and fuller life. Being able to breathe without pain or constriction is one of the things most of us take for granted in life – until we encounter noticeable breathing problems.

Difficulty breathing can be frustrating and scary. Allergies, asthma, respiratory tract irritation and inflammation, air pollution, first and second-hand smoke, viral and bacterial infections such as colds, flu and pneumonia are just a few of the common threats to the quality of our breathing.

Prairie Naturals RespirSolution is a pleasant-tasting, fast-acting liquid solution infused with 10 selected herbal extracts which have been used traditionally throughout the world to alleviate and correct a wide range of respiratory system difficulties. Soothing, refreshing and healing, RespirSolution acts quickly to reduce allergic reactions and inflammation of respiratory passages to and support optimize unrestricted breathing.

RespirSolution provides 5 herbal extracts that are members of the mint family and are known traditionally for their ability to help reduce lung inflammation and allergies.

  1. Perilla Leaf Extract (Perilla frutescens)
  2. Rosemary Leaf Extract (Rosmarinus officinalis)
  3. Sage Leaf Extract (Salvia officinalis)
  4. Peppermint Leaf Extract (Mentha piperita
  5. Thyme Leaf Extract (Thymus vulgaris)

Additionally, RespirSolution provides 5 additional lung supporting herbal extracts that help repair the respiratory tract and reduce mucus production.

  1. Fenugreek Seed Extract (Trigonella foenum-graecum)
  2. Stinging Nettle Root Extract (Urtica diocia)
  3. Marshmallow Root Extract (Althaea officinalis
  4. Juniper Berries Extract (Juniperus communis)
  5. Mullein Leaf Extract (Verbascum thapsus)

Soothing, refreshing and healing, RespirSolution is a non-drowsy formula that acts quickly to minimize inflammation and optimize unrestricted breathing.

Experience the noticeable improvement that Liquid & Ionic Solutions make to your overall health, energy and well-being!

Advantages of liquid & ionic Solutions

  • Optimize absorption
  • No artificial ingredients
  • Fast-acting results
  • Pleasant-tasting
  • Simple to take
  • Easy to absorb
  • Convenient
  • For all ages


Keep Your Immunity in Check with Zinc

Keep Your Immunity in Check with Zinc

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 Citrate Plus Copper
Health First® Zinc Citrate 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.


1. Health Canada. “Do Canadian Adults Meet Their Nutrient Requirements Through Food Intake Alone?” 2012. Cat. No.: H164-112/3-2012E-PDF.ISBN: 978-1-100-20026-2
2. lbid
3. “Dirt Poor: Have Fruits and Vegetables Become Less Nutritious?” Scientific American. April 27, 2011.
4. Physician’s Desk Reference. Monograph – Zinc. 2001. Pp. 536-537.
5. lbid
6. Wegmuller, Rita et al. ‘Zinc Absorption by Young Adults from Supplemental Zinc Citrate Is Comparable with That from Zinc Gluconate and Higher than from Zinc Oxide”. Journal of Nutrition. November 20, 2013. doi: 10.3945/jn.113.181487
7. Health Canada. Monograph: Zinc (from non-picolinate sources). Natural Health Products Database. 2016.
8. lbid

Adjusting to Our “New Normal”

Adjusting to Our “New Normal”

In this new normal that we are navigating, going back to school and work might look a little different this year and healthy routines are more important than ever. Good habits go a long way toward giving you and your kids a great head start. A healthy diet, adequate sleep, exercise and stress relieving activities are a great way to support your family’s health but even the best laid plans can go awry when children and adults are faced with going back to school and work.

The Best Defense is a Good Offence!

The bacteria that grow naturally in our intestinal tract aid in the nourishment and defense not only of the digestive system but of the entire body.[1] Renew Life’s comprehensive line of probiotic supplements for children and adults, continues to be Canada’s leading choice to empower people to elevate their quality of life through better digestive health.

Renew Life® Kids Daily Boost Probiotic is formulated with 10 billion active cultures and 2 clinically-studied probiotic strains to support kids’ digestive and respiratory systems. Taken daily, this innovative probiotic supplement helps support respiratory-tract and intestinal and gastrointestinal health. Offered in a convenient, Fruit Punch flavored fast-melting powder, it’s a format that’s fun for kids to take.

Renew Life® Kids Throat Defense Probiotic is a fast and easy way to support kids’ throat health and help prevent issues before they start. It is a specially formulated chewable probiotic packed with 10 billion live cultures, featuring 3 clinically studied strains to support children’s throat health and help support little digestive systems.

Both formulas are shelf stable, non-GMO and sweetened with tooth-friendly xylitol.

Calm from Within

For a lot of people, one of the first signs of stress is gastrointestinal discomfort such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and loose stools.[2] Renew Life® Ultimate Flora® Probiotic Plus Mood & Stress is formulated to help reduce gastrointestinal discomfort in those experiencing mild to moderate stress resulting from life events, and helps moderate feelings of anxiety. It includes 6 unique probiotic strains which provide 30 billion active cultures in a convenient once a day dose.

Renew Life® Ultimate Flora® Probiotic Plus Mood & Stress is formulated to not only support good digestive health but it also contains the clinically studied probiotic strains Lactobacillus helveticus R0052 and Bifidobacterium longum R0175 to help moderate feelings of anxiety and reduce gastrointestinal discomfort related to mild to moderate stress.[3]

Defend from Within

Maybe it’s your immune system that’s suffering. We all get run down from time to time and our immune systems get compromised by factors such as stress, poor diet and not enough sleep. What makes one person catch something and another person avoid it altogether? While lifestyle plays an important factor, it could also be based on the health of the gut. The human body contains trillions of tiny microscopic bacteria that are an essential part of our immune system. In fact, the gastrointestinal tract is home to the largest concentration and highest diversity of bacteria in the body. The GI tract contains the greatest amount of lymphoid tissue in the body, and it’s this lymphoid tissue that is responsible for synchronizing the defense strategies between the innate and adaptive immune systems.[4] Understanding this helps us to appreciate why good gut health is important for good immune health.

Defend from within with Renew Life® Ultimate Flora® Probiotic Plus Immune Support. It’s formulated to not only support good digestive health, but it contains the clinically studied probiotic strain Bifidobacterium bifidum R0071 which showed a reduction in the incidence of cold-like symptoms in stressed adults. It also includes 4 other beneficial strains to provide 30 billion active cultures in a convenient one a day dose. 70% of your immune system is in your gut; make sure yours is up for it!



[1] Loyola University Health System Authors. (2010). How Bacteria Boost the Immune System. Available: Last accessed 23 Jul 20.
[2] American Psychological Association Staff. (2018). Stress Effects on the Body. Available: Last accessed 23 Jun 20.
[3] Michaël, M. et al (2011) Beneficial psychological effects of a probiotic formulation (Lactobacillus helveticus R0052 and Bifidobacterium longum R0175) in healthy human volunteers, Gut Microbes, 2:4, 256-261, DOI: 10.4161/gmic.2.4.16108
[4] California Institute of Technology. (2013). A home for the microbiome: Biologists identify how beneficial bacteria reside and thrive in gastrointestinal tract. Available: Last accessed 12 April 2018.

Do You Really Need a Multivitamin?

Do You Really Need a Multivitamin?

Clearly, the best way to get nutrients such as vitamins and minerals is through a healthy diet. Fruits and vegetables, legumes, lean meats, fish and dairy products are among the foods most dense in nutrients for maintaining daily health. The vitamins and minerals found in these foods are in a form that our bodies recognize and easily absorb. While this is the ideal situation, a multivitamin can play a role in our daily lives for a number of reasons:

  • Daily diet realities – While the diet outlined above sounds wonderful, it’s rarely reality. Most of us deal with busy schedules and don’t always eat the way we should. Processed foods that are high in unhealthy fats and sugars, dominate our culture and are designed to appeal to our taste buds not our nutritional health. And even when we do try to eat right, many of the foods traditionally high in nutrients, such as grains, have been stripped of much of their valuable nutritive content through depleted soils and modern processing methods. A multivitamin can act as insurance to make sure our body IS getting the base amount of vitamins and minerals every day for optimal health, no matter what direction the day’s diet goes.
  • Stress – The modern Canadian lifestyle is stressful. Balancing family and work demands combined with insufficient sleep and relaxation leaves our bodies, minds and immune systems vulnerable to running down. Getting consistent nutritional support can help us get through unexpected or prolonged stressful periods.
  • High performance – Those of us who are active and working out physically (or mentally) at high levels demand more out of our bodies. This extra activity uses up more nutrients. A multivitamin can help to top up even a healthy diet to help our body perform at its upper potential.

What’s in a multivitamin?

When we talk about multivitamins, it is a vague, general concept. What exactly are the nutrients in a multivitamin that we might want to supplement with on a daily basis? Some of the key nutrients are:

  • Vitamin D – Vitamin D supplementation is particularly important for Canadians. Because of the limited amount of sun exposure between October and April, all Canadians are challenged to get optimal levels of the “sunshine vitamin.” Obtaining sufficient vitamin D through the diet is not possible. Vitamin D is important for bone health and low levels have been linked to major diseases in several studies. The Canadian Cancer Society recommends supplementation of vitamin D for all adults to reduce disease risk. Good multivitamins will provide at least 400 IU of vitamin D.
  • Vitamin C – Supplementing with vitamin C is especially important for adults who do not eat enough fruits and vegetables. Vitamin C is important for the development and maintenance of bones, cartilage, teeth and gums. Vitamin C is also important for the formation of connective tissue, accelerating wound healing, enhancing immune health and as a protective antioxidant.
  • Vitamin B Complex – The family of B vitamins work together to support the nervous system and tissue formation and to metabolize carbohydrates, fats and proteins. People who eat a lot of foods containing refined sugars and starches may be depleting their B vitamins. The B vitamins Folic Acid and B12 help to form red blood cells. Higher levels of B vitamins help get us through periods of stress, low energy or highly demanding physical activities.
  • Calcium – This mineral helps in the development and maintenance of bones and teeth. Diet-wise, calcium is one of the most well-known supplementary methods for slowing bone loss. As the body ages, calcium is pulled from the bloodstream, making it less available to the bones, decreasing bone density, especially during menopause. Poor calcium absorption due to poor dietary choices, insufficient exercise, or various medications can also contribute. Calcium, vitamin D and magnesium work together as a bone-building team. Calcium supplementation is particularly important for people that are allergic to milk.
  • Vitamin A & Beta Carotene – These related compounds are important in maintaining eyesight, the development of night vision and immune health.
  • Magnesium – Magnesium works together with calcium for bone development and also in muscle functioning. 
  • Chromium – This mineral helps to metabolize fats and carbohydrate, as well as support healthy glucose metabolism.
  • Iodine – Helps in the function of the thyroid gland.
  • Zinc – Helps to maintain immune function and healthy skin.
  • Phytonutrients – Well-formulated multivitamins often contain phytonutrients, or plant-based nutrients, that work together with the more concentrated vitamins and minerals. Phytonutrients such as bioflavonoids, grape seed extract, cranberry and green tea extract offer excellent antioxidant support.

Multivitamins – One of several nutritional “building blocks”

As we have seen in the paragraphs above, there are compelling reasons linked to diet and lifestyle that make supplementing with a multivitamin a wise insurance policy. Do keep in mind that no matter that how well a multivitamin is formulated, other additional “building block” or foundational supplements should also be considered for a program of complete health:

  • Omega-3’s: The “healthy fats” found in fish oil help with cardiovascular health, brain functioning and reducing inflammation. Because omega-3’s are liquid and potentially unstable requiring soft gel encapsulation, they are rarely found in sufficient quantities in multivitamin formulations.
  • Calcium: If you are in a high-risk demographic for osteoporosis or low bone mineral density, such as females over 40, keep in mind that due to space limitations, multivitamins can’t supply the high amounts of calcium that may be required. Consider a quality calcium supplement to go with your multivitamin.
  • Probiotics: Proper digestion and nutrient absorption are vital to health. Supporting your “healthy” intestinal bacteria with a probiotic supplement can benefit overall health and assist in absorbing the nutrients in a multivitamin.
  • Greens/fibre: Green supplements rich in fibre and phytonutrients are a great complement to a multivitamin, assisting with digestion and antioxidant support.

So, life IS good. Now it can be even better with the support of a daily multivitamin.


Balanced Entertaining with Aloe Vera

Balanced Entertaining with Aloe Vera

Aloe vera gel is a summer staple as its moisturizing, soothing and cooling properties are fantastic at treating skin burns and irritations. Did you know keeping liquid aloe on hand all year round can help soothe the digestive tract too? Just as the gel soothes our skin, the liquid has a comparable action on our digestive tract.

Also referred to as our gut, our digestive tract is one of our first lines of defense when it comes to foreign invaders (i.e. viruses). If our digestive tract isn’t functioning optimally, we can be more susceptible to illness. Supporting our gut health thus helps prime our immune response.

This summer as we begin to open our social circles and consider entertaining again to support our mental health, the importance of supporting our physical health is still of utmost priority.

Take the opportunity to support yours and your social circle’s gut and immune health this summer by incorporating health promoting aloe into your traditional summer libations. Not only will your guests thank you for such delicious and refreshing elixirs, but their digestive system will too!

Pomegranate Aloe Vera Margaritas

2 ½ ounces Health First Aloe Vera Juice – Pomegranate Flavour
1 ounces agave tequila (optional)
1 lime (juice half and slice other into wedges for garnishing)
1 tablespoon honey syrup (mix of half tablespoon honey and half tablespoon water)
Salt for rimming

Add aloe vera juice, tequila, lime juice and honey syrup into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake well. Strain into a salt rimmed glass and add lime wedge. Cheers!

Tropical Aloe Vera Smoothie

1 cup fresh pineapple
1 banana
1 lime
1 tablespoon organic MCT oil
1-2 ounces of rum (optional)
½ cup Health First Aloe Vera Juice – Original Flavour

Combine pineapple, banana, lime, MCT oil and aloe vera juice in a blender and blend until smooth. Add ice to thicken smoothie to your liking. Aloe-ha!

Aloe Vera Hydrator

¼ cup Health First Aloe Vera Juice – Original or Pomegranate Flavour
1 cup unsweetened coconut water
½ lemon juiced
Handful of fresh mint and/or basil

Combine aloe vera juice, coconut water, lemon juice and herbs over ice and enjoy your glass of goodness!


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