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20/20 in 2020

20/20 in 2020

Your eyesight is important and taking preventative action to protect your vision is key. There are many simple things that can be done including wearing sunglasses year-round, reducing exposure to blue light and UV rays and incorporating nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin into your diet. Clinical studies have shown that supplementation can be one of the most effective ways to support total eye health1,2.

Total Vision Care™ is the only eye health supplement recognized by The Vision Institute of Canada. It is a comprehensive formula that is based on the clinically proven AREDS2 formula1,2. It goes further by including alpha lipoic acid, bilberry, citrus bioflavonoids, and grape seed extract for additional antioxidant protection.

Supports Vision Under All Light Conditions
Total Vision Care supports visual acuity under all light conditions including; glare and daytime and night vision. Vitamin A, lutein and zeaxanthin, found in abundance in the retina, support dim-light vision, colour vision and normal retina function5.

Digital Eye Strain
Lutein, zeaxanthin, zinc and vitamin C found in Total Vision Care play a role in protecting the eyes against damage from high energy blue light from digital screens.

Reduce the Risk of Developing Cataracts and AMD

Total Vision Care includes alpha lipoic acid, bilberry, and grape seed extract. These antioxidants work together to reduce free radical damage to both the lens and the retina. Alpha lipoic acid plays an important role in helping to maintain optimal amounts of glutathione and vitamins C and E in the lens of the eyes. The lens of the eye has one of the most abundant sources of glutathione in the body. Together these antioxidants protect the lens of the eye and the retina from free radical damage, reducing the risk of developing cataracts and AMD,4.

Superior Nutrient Absorption
Total Vision Care is made with Platinum Naturals’ Superior Nutrient Absorption™ delivery system that suspends the ingredients in healthy omega-3 fish oils. Superior Nutrient Absorption™ optimizes the absorption and delivery of the nutrients to the eyes, increasing antioxidant power and macular pigment density.

Your eyesight is precious. If you’re concerned about your vision, consider taking Total Vision Care to provide your eyes with the nutritional defense they need to protect your vision and reduce the risk of developing degenerative conditions

 

References

(1) Age-Related Eye Disease Study Research Group (2001) A randomized, placebo-controlled, clinical trial of high dose supplementation with vitamins C and E and beta carotene for age-related cataract and vision loss. AREDS Report No 9. Arch Opthalmol 119: 1439-1452.

(2) Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 Research Group (2013) Lutein and zeaxanthin and omega-3 fatty acids for age-related macular degeneration: The Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2) Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA 309(10): 2005-2015.

(3) Shi, J., Yu, J., Pohorly, J.E., and Kakuda, Y. (2003) Polyphenolics in grape seeds—biochemistry and functionality. J Med Food 6(4): 291-299.

(4) Ogawa, K., Tsuruma, K., Tanaka, J., Kakino, M., Kobayashi,S., Shimazawa, M and Hara, H. (2013) The protective effects of bilberry and lingonberry extracts against UV light-induced retinal photoreceptor cell damage in vitro. J Agric Food Chem 61: 10345-10353

(5) Nolan, J.M., Loughman, J., Akkali, M.C., Stack, J., Scanlon, G., Davison, P., and Beatty, S. (011) The impact of ocular pigment augmentation on visual performance in normal subjects: COMPASS. Vision Research 51: 459-469

Make Friends with Maca

Make Friends with Maca

The health benefits for the daily use of this Peruvian superfood can be significant for perimenopausal women. 

Along its vast 7,000 km length, the Andes Mountain range of South America hides many ancient secrets. One such secret – the lost mountain-top city of Machu Picchu – was rediscovered in 1911. More recently a natural remedy cultivated in those same mountains was finally revealed to the rest of the world – maca root.

Maca (Lepidium meyenii) is a turnip-like plant that grows at altitudes of 4000 m and higher. The cold, harsh Andean mountain environment with its mineral-rich soil contributes to maca’s root system being rich in natural alkaloids (including macaridine, exclusive to maca), minerals (calcium, copper, potassium and many others), vitamins, proteins and plant sterols (most importantly beta sitosterol). This unique combination of nutrients is the key to maca root’s traditional use by Peruvians as an energizer, a natural aphrodisiac for both males and females and a reliever of menopausal symptoms in women.

Maca root is considered an “adaptogen” because of how it helps the body perform normally when undergoing stressful mental or physical situations. While its traditional use for energizing has long been touted, some of maca root’s other benefits have been put to the test in published clinical human studies.

Libido enhancing is one of maca root’s most commonly noted effects. This effect has been seen in several studies involving both male and female participants. For females specifically, one study showed that in postmenopausal women, six weeks of supplementation with maca root significantly reduced the participants’ anxiety and depression symptoms as well as their sexual dysfunction issues.1 Interestingly, this increase in sexual desire was not accompanied with increased hormonal (estrogenic) activity. A full understanding of maca root’s biochemical effects is not yet known, but maca root does not contain phytoestrogens (plant estrogens) as are found in many other natural remedies for menopausal relief, such as soy.2

A second study looked at the ability of maca root to counteract the negative effects to normal sexual functioning associated with the use of SSRI (selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitor) antidepressants. This study suggested that maca root could in fact safely alleviate sexual dysfunction and increase libido in those taking SSRI’s over an eight-week period.3

A longer four-month study concluded that maca root might have potential as a non-hormonal alternative to HRT (hormone replacement therapy) in perimenopausal women.   Maca root was observed to reduce the frequency of hot flashes, night sweating, sleep interruptions and nervousness.  There was also evidence that maca was able to rebalance the women’s hormonal levels, not by phytoestrogenic means, but by strengthening with the hypothalamus-pituitary organs.4

One thing to note from the studies to date is that during the short-term both maca root and placebo treatments may show results. It is with the continued regular use of maca root that the most significant results are experienced.4

Maca root is a food with a long track record of safe human consumption; amounts up to 20 grams per day have been taken without issue. The amount of maca root you should take on a daily basis depends on the health benefits you are seeking. The potency of maca capsules can vary, but 750 mg per capsule is a common dosage. With a 750 mg capsule you should take:5

    • 1-4 capsules daily for antioxidant support
    • 3-4 capsules daily for mood balance during menopause
    • 4 capsules daily to improve emotional aspects of sexual health

You may want to consider looking for a maca root supplement that is noted to be “gelatinized.” Maca root is a very starchy, fibrous material that can be hard to digest. Gelatinization is a process that removes this starchy material to make the active nutrients in maca more concentrated, potent and more easily absorbed by the body.

Maca root’s safety for daily use and increasing clinically-backed evidence suggest that it can have significant benefits for those experiencing menopausal discomforts.

             

References:

  1. Brooks, NA et al. Beneficial effects of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) on psychological symptoms and measures of sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women are not related to estrogen or androgen content. 2008 Nov-Dec;15(6):1157-62. doi: 10.1097/gme.0b013e3181732953.
  2. Meissner, HO. Et al. Therapeutic effects of pre-gelatinized maca (Lepidium Peruvianum Chacon) used as a Non-Hormonal Alternative to HRT in Perimenopausal Women – Clinical Pilot Study. Int J Biomed Sci. 2006 Jun: 2(2) 143-159.
  3. A Double-blind, Randomized, Pilot Dose-finding Study Of Maca Root (L. Meyenii) For The Management Of SSRI-induced Sexual Dysfunction . CNS Neurosci Ther. 2008 Fall;14(3):182-91. doi: 10.1111/j.1755-5949.2008.00052.x
  4. Meissner, HO. Et al. Therapeutic effects of pre-gelatinized maca (Lepidium Peruvianum Chacon) used as a Non-Hormonal Alternative to HRT in Perimenopausal Women – Clinical Pilot Study. Int J Biomed Sci. 2006 Jun: 2(2) 143-159.
  5. “Maca”. Examine.com https://examine.com/supplements/maca/
  6. Health Canada. Natural Health Products Ingredients Database Monograph: Maca. http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/monoReq.do?id=1903&lang=eng.

Gran’s Shortbread Made Keto

Gran’s Shortbread Made Keto

Making Shortbread low crab

 

 

Shortbread was a staple in our house for holidays growing up. My gran was from Scotland and she made the best (in my totally biased opinion) Shortbread in the world. I’ve made her recipe for years and now that I find myself on a low carbohydrate diet I am really missing them this time of year. Based on the simple ingredients in shortbread I figured that it should be fairly easy to make her recipe Keto friendly and I was very happy with the results.

The most important thing to remember is that almond flour doesn’t absorb the same as traditional wheat flour so the butter to flour ratio is going to have to change. Beyond that the other ingredients are easy to swap out 1:1 to make the mouth watering shortbread that I’ve been craving.


Directions for Shortbread Cookies 

2 cups almond flour (preferably fine ground and blanched)

1/4 cup Lakanto powdered erythritol (more if you like it sweeter)

¾ cup grass fed salted butter (softened)

2 tbsp of Lakanto brown sugar

      All ingredients found at Homegrown Foods!


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F
  2. Use a non-stick baking mat or parchment paper on the cookie sheet
  3. Use a medium size mixing bowl and an electric mixer
  4. Cream together butter and sugars
  5. Mix in almond flour until it all sticks together
  6. Roll 12 1-inch balls and place them 2 inches apart (pro-tip: use a medium melon baller)
  7. Flatten each ball slightly using a fork
  8. Bake 8-10 minutes or until slightly golden brown on the edges
  9. Allow to cool on the baking sheet as the centres will be soft and fall apart until cooled

Optional: melt Krisda sugar free chocolate chips with butter and dip the cooled cookies in it or drizzle on top.

 

                         


Nutritional Information

1 net carb per cookie




Curcumin Can Save Your December

Curcumin Can Save Your December

Inflammation is behind many of today’s most dangerous health conditions – learn how curcumin can help put out the fire.

Inflammation is the body’s natural defense against injuries and invading pathogens. The body uses a combination of heightened body temperature, free radicals, proteins and powerful macrophage cells to attack internal dangers and promote healing.  And now for the bad news…

While inflammation is an evolutionary development that has helped humans survive and adapt, it is a double-edged sword. The ability to regulate inflammation is critical. Aging reduces our ability to regulate our inflammatory reactions; when aging is combined with a diet high in unhealthy fats and sugars, exposure to free radicals via environmental toxins, obesity and an inactive lifestyle, inflammation can become systemic or chronic. Our body begins to attack its own nerves and organs leading to degenerative disease.1

In fact, the health conditions related to systemic inflammation reads like a “who’s-who” of today’s fastest rising and most debilitating diseases:

  • Congestive heart failure
  • Heart attack
  • Arthritis and joint pain
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Lupus
  • and many others.2

In looking for safe, natural ways to help reduce the effects of systemic inflammation, one particular culinary spice is gaining much attention. Curcumin, the pigment that gives the fiery Indian dish curry its signature yellow colour, has a long tradition of anti-inflammatory use and a present and future as one of the most research-backed nutraceuticals on the market. There have been over 2,0400 scientific reviews of curcumin, many showing its potential as an anti-inflammatory, anticarcinogenic, antiviral, immune-modulator and cholesterol lowering nutrient.3,4  Curcumin appears to work via its ability to down-regulate inflammatory enzymes such as COX-2 which can cause systemic inflammation and through its antioxidant properties.5

Although curcumin clearly has tremendous potential for overall health due to its anti-inflammatory properties, its poor absorbability has been a problem.6 It is estimated that as much as 75% of curcumin is directly excreted after ingestion.7 New research suggests that complexing curcumin with plant phytosomes (phosphatidylcholine) allows up to 20 times more cellular uptake of this valuable spice. More absorption means more anti-inflammatory effectiveness. Double-blind clinical studies have shown that curcumin phytosomes provide effective relief of inflammatory-related joint pain and immobility and lower blood levels of C-reactive proteins (CRP) which are indicative of overall inflammation.8

Whether you are suffering from the common inflammatory disease of osteoarthritis, or want help in preventing some of today’s other major health conditions, curcumin can be a useful partner in putting out the inflammatory fire.

 

REFERENCES

  1. MacWilliam, Lyle. Nutrisearch Comparative Guide to Nutritional Supplements. Northern Dimensions Publishing. 2007. P. 14.
  1. Physicians Desk Reference for Nutritional Supplements. Medical Economics Company. 2001. P. 119
  1. Jurenka, Julie S. Anti-inflammatory Properties of Curcumin, a Major Constituent of Curcuma longa: A Review of Precliinical and Clinical Research. Alternative Medicine Review. Volume 14. Number 2. 2009.
  1. Physicians Desk Reference for Nutritional Supplements. Medical Economics Company. 2001. P. 118
  1. Kidd, Paris M., PhD. Bioavailability and Activity of Phytosome Complexes from Botanical Polyphenls: The Silymarin, Curcumin, Green Tea, and Grape Seed Extracts. Alternative Medicine Review. Volume 14. Number 3. 2009. P. 226.
  1. Physicians Desk Reference for Nutritional Supplements. Medical Economics Company. 2001. P. 118
  1. Belcaro, Gianni, et al. Product evaluation registry of Meriva®, a curcumin-phosphatidylcholine complex for the complementary management of osteoarthritis. Irvine3 Circulation-Vascular Laboratory, Dept. of Biodmedical Sciences, Chieti-Pescara University, Italy.

Chronic Stress & Adrenal Health

Chronic Stress & Adrenal Health

Your adrenal glands consist of two triangular shaped glands that sit at the top of your kidneys, secrete hormones in your body. These hormones travel through the bloodstream and act on various body tissues and enable them to function correctly.

When we’re under stress, the adrenals produce a surge of cortisol and other hormones to calm the body. Levels generally return to normal once the stress threat has passed. But prolonged stress and elevated cortisol levels can interfere with blood sugar levels, cause weight gain or loss, increased risk of infection or cause bone density loss, muscle wasting, thinning skin and kidney problems. This increased demand puts a stress on the endocrine system, which may eventually affect the levels of the sex hormones like estrogen, testosterone and DHEA. Signs of adrenal fatigue may include low energy, body aches, low blood pressure, unexplained weight loss, lightheadedness and skin discolouration or hyperpigmentation. When your adrenal glands aren’t secreting the right number of hormones to keep healthy levels circulating in your bloodstream, extra support is needed.

What happens when the adrenal glands can’t keep up?

Immune health

Elevated levels of cortisol during prolonged illness or stress can ramp up the production of cytokines – a group of proteins that promote and regulate immunity and inflammation. Cortisol also suppresses the production of lymphocytes, a major component of the immune system that help defend against disease-causing and infectious organisms.

Brain health

Chronic stress impairs serotonin transmission in the brain and increases activity in the amygdala, or the brain’s fear centre. In turn, cortisol levels rise and cripple the signals sent by the hippocampus – the part of the brain that dictates learning, memories, and stress control.

Thyroid health

The stress response actually starts with the hypothalamus, which stimulates the pituitary gland to signal the adrenal glands to release the stress-buffering hormone cortisol, and the thyroid to release the hormones T4 (thyroxine) and T3 (triiodothyronine). Together, T3 and T4 hormones regulate your body’s temperature, metabolism, and heart rate. Increased cortisol levels may actually inhibit or alter the body’s ability to produce these hormones.

Reproductive system

Women who are experiencing adrenal fatigue may also find they suffer estrogen-dominant symptoms such as PMS, endometriosis, irregular menses, fibrocystic breast disease, or fibroids. Severe cases of adrenal fatigue may also cause amenorrhea, or the cessation of menstruation altogether.In men, the hormone imbalance caused by adrenal fatigue invariably leads to common symptoms like fatigue, irritability, depression, anxiety and weakened immune function. In addition, low libido, erectile dysfunction and loss of muscle mass and strength are indicators of adrenal fatigue.

Recharge yourself with adaptogenic herbs

Adrenal-Pro™ is a blend of adaptogenic herbs and nutrients used in herbal medicine, specially formulated to provide an improved sense of well-being and help improve mental and physical performance after periods of exertion. This unique blend helps fatigued adrenal glands without overstimulation. The goal is to increase cortisol if there is too little and decrease cortisol if there is too much.

Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha has demonstrated anti-stress, antioxidant, mind boosting, immune-boosting and thyroid rejuvenating properties in studies.

Siberian Ginseng

Siberian ginseng is known for rich antioxidant power, helping to scavenge free radicals circulating in the bloodstream.

Schisandra extract

Schisandra extract is an herb used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for its adaptogenic properties.

Astragalus extract

Astragalus has been prescribed for centuries to treat chronic illness and to increase overall vitality and the connection between the pituitary and adrenal glands.

Nutrients vitamin B6, pantothenic acid and L-tyrosine are included in this blend to support thyroid and pituitary gland function, and many other hormones involved in the stress response.

Magnesium supplementation is another great way to be proactive about your adrenal health. It works on multiple levels when combating low energy fatigue. This mineral is involved in metabolizing glucose into available energy, restoring ATP to depleted muscles, and regulating stress hormones – because of this it usually promotes better sleep too!

Quality sleep, good daily nutrition, exercise and the right supplementation all play key roles in maintaining a healthy stress response.

 

 

Learn more at: http://www.canprev.ca/adrenal & magnesium.ca

 

CanPrev recommends that you consult your doctor before implementing any health treatment, including herbal supplements and natural remedies. The information above is for educational reasons only and is not to be taken as a substitute for medical advice.

The Impact of Prolonged Stress

The Impact of Prolonged Stress

Stress is an essential and normal physiological response to change. Many of us have experienced symptoms of short term or acute stress, while a study from Statistics Canada reports that 73% of adults ages 20 to 64 consider themselves stressed on a daily basis. Addressing chronic stress is an important piece of the puzzle when looking to boost your immune, nervous system and overall health. In fact, one of the most prevalent contributing factors to both acute and chronic illness is – stress.

Our Natural Response to Stress

Familiar ways our body might respond to stress include increased heart rate, appetite loss, susceptibility to infection, sharpened sight, or an immediate yet temporary boost of energy. These are the result of being in a “fight or flight” mode, due to the hormones cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenaline. These hormones are secreted into the bloodstream by our hard – working adrenal glands (which sit atop the kidney).

Our Body Decides What’s Important

Adrenaline and noradrenaline shunt blood flow away from functions that aren’t immediately required, like digestion. This could be one reason that loss of appetite can be seen in those suffering from stress. Meanwhile, blood flow is increased to areas like the muscles to help us accomplish more immediate tasks. Similarly, cortisol – our most commonly known stress hormone, depresses the immune system in order to help reduce inflammation in the body brought on by stressors.

Cortisol and Muscle Breakdown

This surge in cortisol can promote protein breakdown in our muscles to increase free fatty acids and amino acids, (nutrients the body needs to undergo a complex process called gluconeogenesis), specific to synthesizing glucose for energy. Cortisol levels generally return to normal once the stress trigger has passed.

When the Adrenal Glands Can’t Keep Up

While our natural response to stress is a good thing – it helps us think clearly, and react quickly, prolonged stress can wreak havoc on our physical, mental and even emotional health. When our adrenal glands continuously secrete these hormones into our bloodstream, other physiological activities begin to take place. Elevated cortisol can ramp up the production of cytokines, a group of proteins that promote and regulate immunity and inflammation. Cortisol also suppresses the production of lymphocytes, white blood cells that help defend against infectious organisms. Not only is the immune system weakened under stress but the brain is also affected. Chronic stress impairs serotonin function in the brain and can increase activity in the amygdala, the brain’s fear centre. In turn, cortisol levels rise and cripple the signals sent by the hippocampus, the part of the brain that dictates learning, memory, and stress control.

Signs and Symptoms

Prolonged stress and elevated cortisol can impair immune function and cognitive health. It can interfere with blood sugar levels, cause weight gain or loss, increased risk of infection, bone density loss, muscle wasting, and even kidney issues. The impact of prolonged stress might be most commonly known for its role in contributing to anxiety. Stress hormones can negatively impact the little molecules that influence the activity of our brain (otherwise known as neuropeptides), like serotonin for example.

Keep Calm with Magnesium

Serotonin, along with dopamine and GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) are regulated by magnesium. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that affects our motor control, vision, and anxiety. Without these inhibitory actions, our brains cannot relax, leading to anxiety, stress or panic attacks. The mineral magnesium is highly responsible for helping to regulate GABA activity in our brain, and it helps reduce adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), a hormone that affects the amount of cortisol in the body – a good thing for someone who is chronically stressed! In addition, high cortisol levels can deplete magnesium, which further encourages the benefits of supplementation.

Magnesium bis-glycinate in particular is beneficial for anxiety. Along with its superior bioavailability, glycine helps to enhance the calming properties of magnesium. Like GABA, glycine is a significant inhibitory neurotransmitter, creating a sense of relaxation.

Support the Body and Relax the Mind

Other important nutrients for stress and anxiety are B vitamins. They each have specific roles, but together they keep up our energy and maintain a healthy nervous system. In particular, vitamin B5 supports the adrenal glands. B vitamins are water soluble, meaning they’re not stored in the body and need to be replaced every day.

To help relieve anxiety, a supplement to consider is L-theanine. This amino acid is found in green tea leaves and temporarily produces mental relaxation without sedation. Combined with a full spectrum vitamin B complex like CanPrev’s Synergy B, you can support the body while relaxing the mind.

Break the Vicious Cycle

Everything in the body is connected. When you take care of one system, you are simultaneously caring for others. You can now see how chronic stress puts a high demand on your adrenal glands, immune system and brain. Understanding the root cause and being proactive about nutrients your body needs to restore and recharge can help you bounce back from prolonged periods of stress and help avoid illness.

 

CanPrev recommends that you consult your doctor before implementing any health treatment, including herbal supplements and natural remedies. The information above is for educational reasons only and is not to be taken as a substitute for medical advice.


About the Author: CanPrev

“CanPrev”

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

They’re Called “Essential” Fatty Acids For a Reason

They’re Called “Essential” Fatty Acids For a Reason

Eating multiple servings of cold-water fish a week or a diet high in leafy greens, nuts and plant oils is a great way to get omega-3. However, it can sometimes be challenging to maintain an omega-3 rich diet and that’s where the convenience of an omega-3 supplements can help you maintain good health.

 

If you’re a vegetarian, you may also benefit from a plant-based omega-3, simply because it’s hard to get adequate EPA and DHA from diet alone.

 

How do I choose the omega-3 supplement that’s right for me?

 

It’s best to start by looking at the quantity of EPA and DHA per serving listed on the label, since some supplements may have lots of omega-3 but relatively low amounts of the most beneficial EFAs. Omega-3 supplements are available in both soft gel and liquid format, with the latter becoming increasingly popular in Canada – a single teaspoon a day can be a convenient way to get your omega-3 or you can just add it to your morning smoothie! Even better, it’s also possible now to get high EPA and DHA formulas in plant-based as well as fish oils.

 

Another important consideration is whether the product is free of contaminants and delivers the desired potency. Look for a third-party certification like PureCheck (www.purecheck.net) that tests each lot of omega-3 and posts the results online so consumers can access test results for potency, purity and oxidations themselves.

 

Among the omega-3 supplement brands we like to recommend are NutraSea and NutraVege. They’re widely available and proudly Canadian. As the names imply, NutraSea is the fish-based omega-3 while NutraVege is derived entirely from algal oils high in beneficial EFAs. This makes it easier for those on a plant-based diet, like vegetarians, to get the benefits of omega-3 for the maintenance of good health and to support cardiovascular health, brain function, and more.

 

Both are available in a range of formulas, in liquid gels and in liquid format with light, tasty flavours ranging from lemon to cranberry orange, apple and chocolate. If you’re looking for a product with the added benefits for vitamin D3, try NutraSea +D or NutraVege +D – it’s delicious!

 

 

About the Author: NutraSea

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With an industry-leading portfolio of omega-3 products, NutraSea is a pioneer in great tasting liquid omega-3 as well as plant-based algal formulas. At the core of the brand are values such as environmental sustainability and conservation. To learn more visit nutrasea.ca

Banish Inflammation, Naturally

Banish Inflammation, Naturally

The majority of Canadians over 55 years of age experience some degree of the painful joint disease osteoarthritis. For many, osteoarthritis means constant pain, impaired mobility and seriously reduced quality of life.  Are there solutions for this suffering? Yes! Effective combinations of natural ingredients have received increased attention in recent years. Glucosamine Sulfate and Glucosamine HCL are extremely popular with osteoarthritis sufferers across Canada, who experience pain relief results without the damaging side-effects of drugs. Clinical studies show that Glucosamine outperforms the anti-inflammatories ibuprofen and acetaminophen for pain relief.1,2 Studies have also shown that Glucosamine Sulfate can actually regenerate new cartilage, helping re-establish the “cushion” between joints in the knees and hips.3

Other natural ingredients have been found to work well with Glucosamine compounds to reduce joint pain. Collagen – Type II has been studied for its anti-rheumatic properties. White Willow Bark is useful as a natural pain-relieving analgesic. The traditional Indian herb Boswellia, and Devil’s Claw, Yucca Root, Feverfew and Sarsaparilla are used worldwide for their anti-inflammatory properties. Bromelain is a source of protein-digesting enzyme activity that also assists in reducing inflammation.

While valuable on their own, natural ingredients in combination can make for even better joint pain relief. Ask your health professional about formulations containing a range of natural ingredients – and start enjoying life again!

Joints-First formulations work to reduce joint pain…

Joints-First Capsules Joints-First Liquid Ingredient Benefit 

Ingredient                          Benefit

Glucosamine Sulfate            Rebuilds cartilage Glucosamine Sulfate Rebuilds  cartilage

Glucosamine HCL                 Rebuilds cartilage Glucosamine HCL Rebuilds cartilage

Boswellia Extract                 Anti-inflammatory

Collagen – Type II                Rebuilds and repairs cartilage

White Willow Bark               Pain relief MSM Anti-inflammatory

Yucca Root Powder              Anti-inflammatory

Devil’s Claw Root Powder    Anti-inflammatory

Cat’s Claw                              Anti-inflammatory, immune enhancement and pain relief

Sarsaparilla                         Anti-inflammatory; Sarsaparilla Anti-inflammatory; circulatory assistance circulatory assistance

Feverfew Leaf Powder         Pain relief

Vitamin D                           Anti-inflammatory and pain relief

Bromelain                          Anti-inflammatory enzyme

Unfortunately, the same demographic of Canadians dealing with osteoarthritic conditions, tend to be the same group that ailing from circulatory conditions. A large percentage of this group is taking blood-thinning drugs to reduce their risk of a heart attack, as recommended by their physicians. Popular blood-thinners include aspirin, warafin and atovastatin.

While many natural supplements are effective in reducing the painful inflammation associated with osteoarthritis, users must be extra cautious in the products they consume if they are taking blood thinners at the same time. Some of the natural products that should be used with caution are:

  • Devil’s Claw – Health Canada recommends those taking blood-thinners avoid taking large amounts of Devil’s Claw, one of the most popular natural anti-inflammatories on the market.
  • Feverfew – Feverfew is an effective anti-inflammatory, but has been known to cause internal bleeding in those taking blood thinners.
  • White willow bark – Those taking aspirin as a blood thinner should avoid taking white willow bark, which is the precursor to aspirin and can further thin the blood.

Fortunately, your local health food store has a variety of effective natural ingredients for joint pain that do not interact with blood thinners.

Joints-First liquid is formulated using only ingredients that do not interact with blood thinners offering a safe alternative for those who need. But as always, when you are taking medications and natural supplements together, make sure you proceed with caution and consult your health care professional first.

When taking Joints-First formulas, Glucosamine: also consider…

Omega-First Super-Strength Fish Oil works wonderfully with Joints-First. The high omega-3’s in Omega-First act as an powerful anti-inflammatory for both osteoarthritic and rheumatoid arthritis. See your Health First™ store for more details.

 

References:

  1. Tapadinhas MJ, et al. Oral glucosamine in the management of arthritis: Report on a multi-centre open investigation in Portugal. Pharmatherapeutica 3, 157-168. 1982.
  2. Glucosamine Unum In Die Efficacy (GUIDE) trial, European Union
  3. Reginster JY, Deroisy R,Rovati LC, Lee RL, Lejeune E, Bruyere O, Giacovelli G, Henrotin Y, Dacre JE, Gossett C. Long-term effects of glucosamine sulphate on osteoarthrits pro gression: a randomised, placebo controlled clinical trial. Lancet 2001; 357 (9252): 251-6.

Even Tough Guys are Targets

Even Tough Guys are Targets

Urinary dysfunction associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a significant health risk in men over the age of 40. Fifty percent of men over 50 are diagnosed with it, and 70 percent of men over 60 show some pathological modifications of the prostate.  However, BPH sufferers are often reluctant to discuss their condition and seek treatment, because they are misled in thinking that such treatment will interfere with their sexual capabilities. Most men also believe that this condition is a normal, unavoidable consequence of aging.

 

The prostate is the male genital gland that wraps around the urethra, the canal through which urine is expelled.  Located under the neck of the bladder, it secretes seminal fluid, a constituent of sperm that facilitates spermatozoa mobility.  By the age of 40, the prostate may become enlarged, causing a narrowing of the urethra which can promote a plethora of problems. Men can experience an urge to urinate; dribbling and scanty urination; difficulty in urinating; urination more frequent at night than during the day; as well as a sensation that the bladder never empties completely.

 

Apart from the enlarged prostate, it is well-known that older men can also suffer a decline in sexual function such as loss of libido or difficulty obtaining an erection. These problems are usually seen as part and parcel of growing older and often accepted as such.

Natural Relief for prostate Problems

Since the 17th Century, the fruit of Saw Palmetto has been mostly used for male afflictions like testicular atrophy, incontinence and prostatitis. Stories from natives in Florida told about Saw palmetto berries and their ability to increase sexual appetite in men.

 

There are dozens of published studies on Saw Palmetto and its role in the treatment of BPH. One of the most impressive, was a three year study done in Germany. This study was headed by Urologist and surgeon Dietmar Bach. It included 435 out patients with BPH and associated urinary tract symptoms: excessive nighttime urination, frequent urination with incomplete emptying of the bladder, and dribbling. The study used Prostate 1, the A.Vogel extract of Saw palmetto. The results included a 50% reduction in residual urine: patients experienced less dribbling and less pressure on the bladder that gave them the sensation of needing to void.

 

Another aspect of the study revealed Prostate 1’s effectiveness compared to drugs usually prescribed for BPH symptoms: 73% of patients on Prostate 1 showed a decrease in nighttime urination compared to the Finasteride group.  Both patients and physicians rated the effectiveness of Prostate 1 as good or very good in over 80% of cases. It was further concluded that Saw palmetto herbals tended to reduce the incidence of surgery.

 

Another study, published in April 2012, was the first to provide scientific proof of the benefits of Prostate 1 with regards to sexual dysfunction. The clinical trial recruited 69 men with enlarged prostate symptoms experiencing problems with sexual function.

 

Researchers found that bladder symptoms improved by 51% during the 8 week study – this was in line with other research data proving the effectiveness of the herb. However, the study was also able to show that during the 8 week period of the trial, ability to achieve and maintain an erection improved by 64% and their sex drive improved by 54%.

 

Not all Saw Palmetto products are the same

A.Vogel Prostate 1 Helps Men Feel and Perform Their Best!

Fresh herbs retain more of their phyto-chemical properties and deliver a higher concentration of active ingredients necessary for superior healing results compared to dried plant extracts. Saw Palmetto products made from powders or dried herbal material will not contain as much of the oils and fatty acids as an oily capsule. This is an important difference to look for when considering the effectiveness of the available Saw Palmetto products on the market.

A.Vogel’s Prostate 1, made from organic saw palmetto soothes prostate symptoms in a natural way and helps to regulate testosterone levels.  It also acts against inflammatory alterations of the prostate and urethra.  Accompanying swelling and irritation are reduced and thereby also the voiding problems.

 

With proven results of equal efficacy to synthetic products, such as Finasteride, without the negative side-effects, A.Vogel’s Prostate 1 makes an excellent natural alternative for men suffering from BPH. Plus it can be easily found at health food stores without the need for a prescription.

 

Prostate 1 is made from Organic Saw Palmetto fruit extract (Serenoa repens), equivalent to 2280 – 3840 mg of fresh berries; and not less than 85% fatty acids.

 

 

References:

Eugen Riedi, Andreas Suter, Reinhard Saller, Michael Heinrich; Improving BPH symptoms and sexual dysfunction with saw palmetto preparation, Phytotherapy Research 2012; doi: 10.1002/ptr.4696. Published in http://www.wileyonlinelibrary.com

Riedi E, Schoop R, Suter A. Natural Treatment for BPH. ARS MEDICI, 2005; 2:3. Rosen R, Altwein J, Boyle P, Kirby RS, Lukacs B, Meuleman E, et al. Lower urinary tract symptoms and male sexual dysfunction: the multinational survey of the aging male (MSAM-7). Eur Urol. 2003;44:637

Roehrborn CG. Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms, Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, Erectile Dysfunction, and Phosphodiesterase-5 Inhibitors. Rev Urol. 2004 Summer; 6(3): 121–127

Choose Natural Remedies for Cold & Flu!

Choose Natural Remedies for Cold & Flu!

Cold and flu season is upon us! The late fall through early spring is the peak period for the usual suspects of viral infections; influenza-like illnesses including the flu, and upper respiratory tract infections such as the common cold. Although it can be annoying and downright inconvenient to have a cold or flu – sometimes it’s our body’s way of telling us something important about our state of health.  Sneezing and coughing, along with a runny nose and watery eyes can be the body’s way of releasing toxins, including acidic waste build-up from a year or more of accumulation. This natural process plays an important role in releasing an overburdened body of toxic load.

 

Healthy Immunity & pH Balance are Key

A healthy immune system is the best protection against colds and flu. The factors that can contribute to a less than optimally functioning immune system include poor quality sleep, excessive exercise, stress, smoking, recurring or chronic illness, or an unhealthy diet. All of which contribute to creating an acidic environment within the body’s internal fluids. Since the body’s natural healthy state is alkaline, when an acid condition prevails, cellular oxygen is decreased. Bacteria and viruses thrive in an acidic, oxygen-deprived environment and the converse is also true – they cannot survive when the pH is properly balanced to an alkaline state.

 

The Natural Approach

Herbs and herbal extracts traditionally have been used for centuries to help strengthen the immune system and offer relief from the unpleasant symptoms associated with colds and flu viruses. Herbs, along with immune supporting nutrients such as vitamin C and zinc, may be helpful in reducing the severity and duration of illness. In combination with eating alkaline-forming foods these herbs and nutrients are most helpful.

 

Certain plant compounds have been shown in studies to have immuno-stimulating properties.  They appear to help stimulate viral defense mechanisms by activating immune cells. Herbal tea mixtures or cooked decoctions have long been used in many cultures because of the synergistic effect of the herbs.

 

Science Supports Natural Remedies for Colds & Flu

Recent research suggests that the high molecular weight polysaccharides present in Echinacea purpurea have potent non-specific stimulatory actions on the immune system (2).

Echinacea is generally recommended to be used at the very beginning and throughout the course of an illness and then tapered off.

 

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), has been traditionally used as an immune strengthening remedy with colds and flu. Several components (e.g., rosemarinic acid and caffeic acid) are reported to possess antibacterial and “viro-stopping” properties (3). Lemon Balm is widely used as a mild sedative to calm the nerves and producing a relaxing sleep – ideal in times of stress and infection. Sleep deprivation is associated with disruptions of immune function (4). Vitamin C, elderberry extract and zinc are a better choice than antihistamines at the start of a cold or flu.

 

Elderberry binds to and prevents infection with influenza H1N1 virus (5). Studies suggest that black elderberry can inhibit the growth of influenza viruses and shorten the duration of influenza symptoms while enhancing antibody levels against the virus.

 

Vitamin C and zinc help to overcome an infection by strengthening mucous membranes of the nasal passages and throat from virus penetration. A Cochrane systematic review performed a subgroup analysis of 642 very healthy adults engaged in highly physically stressful activities (marathon runners, skiers, and soldiers on subarctic exercises) showed a 50% decrease in the risk of developing a cold among those who took vitamin C supplements (6).

 

Vitamin D is an important immune regulator, stimulating innate immunity and moderating inflammation, in addition to its well-known effects on bone health. A suboptimal level of Vitamin D is associated with weaker production of anti- microbial proteins that work with immune system cells to kill pathogens (7).

 

Taste the Power of Honey, Lemon & Ginger

Hot tea with honey, lemon and ginger is another popular remedy during winter months. Honey is a home remedy commonly used to treat the symptoms of respiratory infections, particularly scratchy throats and coughs.

Lemons are high in vitamin C, and lemon juice’s anti-inflammatory qualities soothe sore throats and irritated membranes.

Ginger helps stimulate perspiration, which cleanses the system and reduces body temperature. Like lemon, ginger has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger also acts as a cough suppressant and has remarkable sleep-inducing, analgesic properties. In Chinese medicine, ginger is used for its warming properties.

 

Keep Hydrated!

During a cold or flu, dehydration can dry the respiratory mucosal surfaces. Ensure adequate fluid intake while avoiding deficiencies of essential nutrients by sipping on natural hot lemon, honey and ginger drinks during the day and before sleep. Natural remedies can be effective as preventative or therapeutic and their use is becoming increasingly supported by enlightened healthcare providers as a safer and healthier alternative to over-the-counter cold and flu medications.

 

By RoseMarie Pierce, BSc. Pharm

References

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