Collagen for Bone Health and Increased Bone Flexibility

Collagen supplements are something that have been around for a long time. They’re well known supplements that have many great uses with benefits for skin, joints, digestive health, and even bone health (which I will write about more in depth in this article).

Collagen supplements are available in many forms including powders, chews, pills, and even in its natural form as bone broth- here’s an article from our website on bone broth and its benefits:

Bone Broth is Amazing for Joints, Digestive Issues, and More

Other than bone broth and bone broth concentrates and powders, the reason why collagen supplements are generally taken in powders or chews is that you need to take a fair amount of it to make a real difference, and if taken as a pill or softgel, generally you would need to take a good handful to  get the recommended amount (which is doable, but sometimes powders can be easier).

One collagen powder we really recommend is by NeoCell. It is a hydrolyzed collagen, which means the collagen has been broken up into smaller particles so it is easier for the body to absorb. The reason we most like NeoCell powders is that they are odorless and tasteless, so it can easily be added to foods or drinks without issue.

Collagen for Bone Health

Collagen is absolutely crucial for bone health. While our bones are made up of calcium crystals, they are held together in a bone collagen matrix. Collagen helps to make up our actual bone structure, and gives our bones flexibility and durability. When one thinks of “brittle bones” lack of collagen is a major factor contributing to that. Collagen helps to make the bones more stable and elastic.

Interestingly, in addition to helping with joint flexibility (which is part of the way our bodies avoid fractures) type 1 collagen can actually help to stimulate osteoblast formation, cells that help to regulate passage of calcium into the bones. Type 1 collagen can also help to reduce the formation of cells that break down the bone matrix.

Type 1 collagen is found in both skin and bones. While we can’t see our bones without a bone scan, we can see our skin. It’s easy to see the effects of collagen loss in our skin- as we age our skin becomes thinner with reduced elasticity and even becomes more fragile. Those can be outward signs of collagen loss, which affects our bones in similar ways that we cannot see, with our bones becoming more brittle and less flexible.

There are different types of collagen. Type 1 collagen is the kind most found in skin, tendons, and bones; while type 2 collagen is more present in bone cartilage and being beneficial to digestive health. Bone broth contains both kinds, being  a whole food product. We have a great bone broth powder concentrate by Jarrow available at the store, which is much more economical than buying liquid bone broth. We also have supplements of powders or chews which focus more on specific types of collagen with more specific benefits. Stop by the store so we can help you find the collagen products which are best for your specific needs.

Preventative Immune Health for Kids and Adults

Now is the time for preventative immune health for both kids and adults, particularly since it’s been such a warm fall, transitioning to cooler, damp weather can sometimes be a shock to the system- not to say that cold weather causes illness, but being indoors more frequently with other people’s germs makes falling prey to illness more likely. Also, interestingly, some viruses like rhinovirus (the cause of the common cold) replicates better at cooler temperatures, and the flu virus is thought to survive better in cool, dry temperatures.

Rather than reinvent the wheel, I’m going to post some links to previous articles about a variety of immune boosters which can help both prevent and reduce the duration of illness.

Our Favorite Immune Boosting Supplements

This article really runs down the full list of immune supplements and how they work.

Zinc Lozenges: Clinically Proven to Boost the Immune System

A Natural, Herbal Version of Tamiflu for Flu Recovery

Experts are already forecasting a bad flu season for this year (I can’t imagine how they know that, but I’m inclined to believe it). If there’s one thing that is best against the flu virus (and that’s backed up by research), it’s elderberry.

Vitamin D, How Much to Take?

Ester C, a Better Form of Vitamin C for Boosting Immune Function

Keeping Kids Healthy This Winter

We also have a new kid’s probiotic that I wanted to mention, a chewable kids probiotic from Renew Life called Ear, Nose, and Throat. It contains a combination of probiotics that have been specifically chosen for their researched benefits for the entire respiratory system (literally the ears, nose, and throat, like the name), one of the probiotics it contains has even been positively researched for its benefit in helping to prevent strep throat and other bacterial infections.

One study published on PubMed found that kids with recurrent strep throat who took this specific probiotic strain and had an 80% reduction in streptococcal infections when compared with the control group. I do feel like certain kids are more prone to strep throat for whatever reason, so while this probiotic would be great for all kids during cold and flu season, I would definitely recommend it for those kids who have had recurrent strep throat.

Eating fish may not be the best way to get your Omega 3s

Omega 3s are absolutely crucial for our health; they’re called essential fatty acids because they must be obtained through either our diet or supplements and cannot be manufactured in the body. Omega 3 fish oil is beneficial to cardiovascular health, brain function, and joint health. Omega 3s can help to lower cholesterol, boost mood, and reduce inflammation in the body, and have been the subject of countless positive research studies for a long list of ailments over the years.

In the past, if a person ate fish a couple times a week, they would usually think that their omega 3 needs would be covered, though new research is finding that eating fish might not be equal to fish oil supplements.

Unfortunately, most of the fish available to us in the United States are farmed fish, which aren’t as high in omega 3 fatty acids. Additionally, popular fish like tilapia are more concentrated in omega 6 fatty acids than omega 3s. The American diet is very high in omega 6 fatty acids from vegetable oils and other sources, and low in omega 3s. Another popular fish, cod, stores very little omega 3 fatty acids in its flesh, and is often cooked in omega 6 oils.

Another concern, other than the lower omega 3 content of many fish, is the unfortunate impurity of our ocean waters. Many fish are now found with very high levels of mercury, including tuna, swordfish, orange roughy, king mackerel, tilefish, and more. Pregnant women are advised to avoid these fish, but in truth, no amount of mercury or other ocean contaminants are good for us.

In contrast, quality fish oil supplements (not all brands, so be sure to check) are tested to be free of mercury, lead, and other toxic metals. Additionally, omega 3 supplements will list exactly how much EPA and DHA (the beneficial parts of the omega 3 oils) that they contain.

95% of the American population does not consume enough EPA and DHA to benefit heart health, and since the potency of fish oil supplements can vary widely, it’s important to choose a product that is specifically made to have a high potency of EPA and DHA per pill, so you get the best benefit from your fish oil supplements.

A fantastic, high quality fish oil supplement that we recommend is Carlson’s Elite Omega. Carlson is a family owned Illinois company that specializes in wild caught, sustainably sourced fish oils from Norway. Their Elite Omegas have an amazing 1,600mg of omega 3s per serving, and also contain a bit of lemon oil inside their softgels, which can take care of any of the fishiness some people may experience from fish oil supplements.

Our Carlson Elite Omega Fish Oil Supplements will be on sale for 20% off for the month of October, so it’s a great time to give them a try!

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Why Certified Organic CBD is So Important- Plus a New Organic CBD Balm

Last year, CBD Oil was something people were just learning about, the hemp extract that has been shown to be so beneficial for pain, anxiety, and so many other issues. Back then CBD seemed to be difficult to find, and people were always excited to find that we carried it in the store.

Now, a year later, it seems that CBD is everywhere and is sold by a hundred (even more than that, truly) different brands. With the recent flood of different CBD products in the market, it’s even more important to be sure that you are choosing a quality brand with certified ingredients. Companies have even gotten caught selling “fake CBD”, here is an article from CBS News where 52 people became sick after buying fake CBD Oil.

With so many CBD products now available, we have remained true to the choice we made in the beginning, to sell only USDA Certified Organic CBD oil in our store, since we believe that having to comply with the USDA Organic Certification is just another level of standards. USDA Organic Certification of CBD products are rare, since it is a stringent and difficult process to comply with their standards, standards we think are especially important when it comes to CBD products.

Hemp is  a bio-accumulator plant that has been found to suck more toxins into its plant fibers than other plants, toxins which are then present in non-organic hemp and CBD products. Lots of brands say that they are organic or have organic ingredients, but in actuality will say nothing about organic on the label. If a product is truly organic, it should be listed on the label, you shouldn’t have to “take someone’s word for it” when it comes to quality or certifications.

The primary brand of CBD we carry is Green Gorilla, which has a variety of concentrations of organic CBD oil. We have also just found another certified organic CBD oil by Barlean’s that we are bringing in this month.

Another reason that Green Gorilla is our favorite CBD oil is that it contains absolutely zero THC, the part of both marijuana and hemp which shows up on a drug test. Legally, CBD products have to be less that .3% THC to be sold in the United States. While .3% isn’t enough to make someone feel “high”, it may be enough to show up on a blood test with regular use, which is why choosing an organic CBD without any level of THC is a good idea.

Green Gorilla as an organic brand also has the most seals and certifications that we have ever seen, their products are not only USDA Certified Organic, but are also independently verified, gluten free, cruelty free, vegan, and have the Good Manufacturing Seal and are also produced in an FDA Registered Facility.

This month we also have a brand new topical organic CBD product that we are excited to share- a new CBD topical balm for pain by Green Gorilla. We’ve had several customers try it with good results. Stop by the store so we can show you our new variety of organic CBD products!


 


 

Q: Why don't you have a store brand?

Q: Why don’t you have a store brand?

A: While who can say what the future holds, the reason we do not currently have our own store brand is that it’s important for us to recommend the very best supplement for a person’s needs, and it’s impossible to find the best products for each category in one brand. Additionally, with new research and advancements, the best product for a specific issue can change. 

For example, for eyes, previously the very best product we had found for eye health was by NOW Foods, their Lutein and Zeaxanthin combination, which contains 25mg of the eye vitamin lutein as well as 5 mg of zeaxanthin (another nutrient crucial for eye health). Just this month, however, the company Jarrow Formulas has come out with an eye formula called Macula Protective Factors, which blows it out of the water, due to the rare form of zeaxanthin it contains that has been shown in scientific research to be much more effective than conventional zeaxanthin supplements (you can read more about the new Macula Protective Factors in the September issue of our newsletter).

Another example would be with curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric), a potent anti-inflammatory supplement. In the past, the best curcumin supplement we had found was Jarrow’s curcumin phytosome, which research found was 29 times better absorbed than regular curcumin. That changed when the company Solgar came out with a new curcumin supplement, a branded extract was able to increase curcumin’s absorption by an incredible 185 times when compared to standard curcumin supplements (a claim confirmed by scientific research).

We make a point to stay on top of new research about supplements and natural health, so we can recommend the most science-based, potent, and effective supplements, whatever the brand. We also offer extensive sales and discounts every day (15% off daily for seniors, college students, and firefighters and police with an ID, as well as 10% off with our “secret word” found in our email newsletter or website) to help make living a healthy lifestyle more affordable. 

Jarrow's New Macula Protective Factors: There is Literally Not a Better Eye Supplement

Jarrow Formulas has just developed a new eye formula that is one of the only products on the market today to contain meso-zeaxanthin, a unique form of zeaxanthin (a carotenoid- a nutrient related to vitamin A) that is particularly beneficial to eye health. The new formula called Macula Protective Factors, and we’re very excited to have it in the store.

Meso-zeaxanthin helps to increase pigment density in the center of the macula, which almost works like natural protective sunglasses in the eye.

Lutein is probably the best known eye supplement. Part of how lutein protects the eye is by increasing pigment density in the eye, though research has discovered that lutein primarily works on the periphery or outer side of the macula, whereas meso-zeaxanthin works in the center of the macula- where the most damage is done to our eyes. Meso-zeaxanthin has documented benefits not found in other forms of zeaxanthin or other eye supplements.

Meso-zeaxanthin is not found in foods, and while supplements where simply “zeaxanthin” is listed on the label may possibly contain some percentage of meso-zeaxanthin, there is no way of knowing exactly how much.

Interestingly, when we first received a prototype of this new supplement by Jarrow, Margot (who works at the store) started taking it and brought it to show to her eye doctor. When he saw the ingredients, specifically that it contained the rare form of meso-xeaxanthin, he was extremely excited and wanted more information about the supplement, since he knew the benefits of meso-xeaxanthin, but said it was usually hard to find.

Part of the uniqueness of meso-xeaxanthin is that unlike regular zeaxanthin supplements or other eye nutrients, it is able to cross the blood/retina barrier, and as such, is able to directly benefit and protect the eyes from damage. In studies, supplementation with meso-xeaxanthin led to the largest increases in macular pigment densities, which is the first defense for the eyes against radiation and the damaging blue light emitted from electronic devices.

Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss for people aged 60 and older. It is an irreversible destruction of the macula, which leads to a loss of detailed “straight ahead” vision needed for reading, driving, and other daily activities. Unfortunately, nothing yet has been found to restore damage to the macula, so protecting the eyes and mitigating damage is paramount.

Increasing macular pigment density helps to prevent age related macular degeneration, and the specific form of meso-zeaxanthin has been conclusively shown to increase that pigment density, especially in the center of the eye. Increasing macular pigment in the eye helps to naturally absorb damaging UV and blue light, reducing oxidative stress on the eye. Meso-zeaxanthin helps to neutralize the reactive, oxidative free radicals created by exposure to UV and blue light.

The amount of macular pigments we naturally have decreases with age, which in turn gives our eyes less protection as the years go by. Also, people with light eyes naturally have less pigment density in their eyes, and because of that, their eyes are less effective at absorbing environmental radiation and protecting the retina.

Without hesitation, we would say that this new Macula Protective Factors by Jarrow is hands down the best eye supplement we have ever seen. It’s an exciting new advancement that I’m really happy to be able to share. In addition to containing the amazing meso-zeaxanthin, this new formula also contains lutein plus astaxanthin, a broad spectrum antioxidant that is active in the eyes (not all antioxidants are).

Eye health, and preventing the degradation of the eyes that nearly all of us will experience with time, is extremely important and directly affects one’s daily life and standard of living. In the past, most people would only begin to start thinking about eye health around retirement age, but new research is showing how eye nutrients can be beneficial and protective to people of all ages, even children and teenagers, who are exposed to damaging blue light from electronic devices and screens more now than ever before.

We will be offering Jarrow’s new Macula Protective Factors on sale at Pass Health Foods through the month of September for 25% off, so it’s a great time to try it.

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Back to School Supplement Lists

August heralds back to school for most kids, and while you begin to get back into the school routine, it’s a great time to begin a supplement regimen for your kids. 

We’ve made a list of the best products for back to school for kids of all ages. Each age group section (grade school, high school, and college) has the following items:

MULTIVITAMINS
Multivitamins are important for filling in gaps in the diet, particularly for picky eaters or kids on the go due to sports or activities who do not always have the best of diets.

PROBIOTICS
Probiotics are Important for the immune system and proper digestion. Probiotic use has been researched with children and has been found to dramatically reduce the amount of respiratory infections children contract (in research, probiotic use reduced respiratory infections by 30%).

OMEGA 3S
Omega 3 fatty acids are crucial for brain function in children. Omega 3s are not produced in the body and must be obtained through foods. If a child is not eating fatty fish or flaxseeds on a regular basis (multiple times a week), it is likely that they are deficient in omega 3s. Omega 3 fatty acids in children have been linked to fewer behavior and attention problems, and have even been in a recent study showing benefits for helping struggling children learning to read when compared with those who took a placebo.
 
OPTIONAL SUPPLEMENTS IF NEEDED

STRESS AND ANXIETY
Many children of all ages suffer from stress and anxiety at school. We recommend theanine, an amino acid found in green tea, which helps to produce a calm, focused state. Theanine reduces anxiety without feeling tired, drugged, or “out of it”. Theanine is effective whether it is used every day or only occasionally, and can help sensitive kids have an easier time of it.

EXTRA IMMUNE HELP
Probiotics are extremely helpful for the immune system, though we have also listed a few other products in this section which are helpful when taken at the first signs of illness to help to get better faster.

CALCIUM
Depending on a child’s diet, calcium supplements may be a good idea.Research has found that the majority of children aged 9 to 13 years are calcium deficient. Only about 12% of girls and 17% of boys consumed the recommended daily amount of calcium. For older teens, 42% of boys and only 10% of girls consumed enough calcium daily. Supplements are a simple way to ensure that kids have the proper amounts of calcium needed for healthy bones.

 

And so, without further ado- the lists!

We’ve made printable PDFs of each of the Recommended Supplement Llists, with information on the best specific supplements for each age, linked below:

 
Grade School Supplement Lists

High School Supplement Lists

College Supplement Lists



 

Carb Blockers for Weight Loss & Blood Sugar Control

 

Carb blockers have been around a long time, but I’ve always been kind of skeptical about them. Recently I’ve came across some new research on carb blockers which has made me take another look at them.

Carb blockers are supplements that inhibit the body’s absorption of carbohydrates, so they pass through the body undigested. When those extra carbs are not digested the body does not receive all the calories from that meal.

There is a branded carb blocking extract from white kidney bean called Phase 2, which is an alpha-amylase inhibitor. It’s unique in that it works to slow the digestion of excess starches without affecting the digestion of healthy carbs like those from whole grains and fruits.

Research on that Phase 2 carb blocker has been very positive. In one study of one hundred and twenty three volunteers, participants who took the Phase 2 carb blocker lost an average of seven pounds more than the placebo group over the course of three months. Additionally, 73% of the participants who lost weight with the supplement kept it off for the next six months (the length of time the study followed the participants). Interestingly, the people who took the Phase 2 carb blocker had less food cravings than those used tried dieting alone.

Another benefit of carb blockers goes beyond weight loss. Carb blockers can also be useful for diabetics or people watching their blood sugar. One study gave volunteers four slices of white bread and margarine; half the group received the branded Phase 2 carb blocker. The researchers reported that carbohydrate absorption was inhibited by 66% in the supplement group. The participant’s blood sugar readings also returned to normal after eating faster for those who took the carb blocking supplement.

The research is definitely positive on carb blockers, but for them to be effective, it’s important to pair them with a healthy diet. I think sometimes people think of carb blockers as a free pass to eat junk, but that is not the way that they will help you lose weight.

Another nice thing about carb blockers is that they do not boost metabolism, so they can be taken at night without interfering with sleep, or taken by people with high blood pressure who may not be able to take other weight loss supplements.

When paired with a healthy diet and exercise, carb blockers are supplements that seem to really be able to help! Stop by the store so we can help you to find the product that's right for you!

Activated Charcoal for Food Poisioning and Vomiting

Last month I wrote about preventing diarrhea, well this month I’m writing about the other end, and so begins my cautionary tale…  

I was having a party for my daughter’s birthday, and while my house was full of guests, out of nowhere, I felt horribly nauseous. I don’t know what caused it, because no one else at the party got sick, but there must have been a bit of something bad that got into me, because by that evening I was throwing up all night. I was absolutely miserable.

It wasn’t until the next day that I thought of activated charcoal (a special form of charcoal made for internal use), and how I wished that I had had some in the house, since it’s fantastic for food poisoning and removing toxins from the body. It is actually used in hospitals for treating food poisoning, since it is so effective at binding and absorbing toxins so they can be removed from the body.

The book, Prescription for Natural Cures, recommends taking three capsules every two hours for three doses to help absorb toxins from food poisoning. It works best when taken at the first signs of food poisoning, which makes it a great thing to have in the house “just in case” for your emergency kit.

Activated charcoal capsules are best used only occasionally when needed, since its mechanism of absorbing toxins is so effective that when taken long term, it can actually absorb and remove nutrients from the body causing malabsorption issues (though that’s not something to worry about when taken for acute issues).

Activated charcoal has also become a popular ingredient in toothpastes and tooth powder (we have a number of great ones at the store), since its absorbent action can actually help remove stains from the teeth and toxins from your mouth. Unlike taking activated charcoal internally, oral use is completely safe for every day.

 

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Natural Help for Leg Cramps

If you’ve ever experienced a leg cramp in the middle of the night, you know how awful it can be!  Leg cramps are very common, particularly as we get older. They can have a variety of causes, including dehydration, mineral deficiencies, and overexertion.

Thankfully, there are a number of simple natural remedies available that can help.

The first thing we’d recommend is to try to increase the amount of water you drink during the day (though try to do it earlier in the day so you’re not going to the bathroom all night long), since dehydration can cause muscle cramps.

Mineral deficiencies are another common cause of leg cramps. Increasing your potassium intake can help to make leg cramps less frequent. Here is a great list of potassium-containing foods on our website. 

Magnesium can also be extremely helpful for people suffering from leg cramps. The USDA has reported that between seventy five and eighty five percent of Americans do not receive the recommended dosages needed to meet their body’s requirements, and one of the ways that deficiency can present itself is through leg cramps, particularly since magnesium can help with relaxing the muscles. For helping to prevent leg cramps, we recommend supplementing with the glycinate form of magnesium, which is a very well absorbed form.

Topical magnesium can also be very effective for muscle cramping and pain. We have a great magnesium oil spray which works exceptionally well, and quickly. 

The last mineral that we wanted to mention in regards to muscle cramps is calcium. When we think of calcium, bones are usually the first thing we think of, but proper amounts of dietary calcium are also needed for the muscles to function properly and a deficiency can cause muscle tenderness and cramping, so if you aren’t consuming enough calcium through diet (and many aren’t), adding a bit of supplemental calcium can be a good idea.

Something else a little different for leg cramps that is actually a favorite at our store, is an old Amish remedy from a company called Caleb Treeze that is said to stop leg cramps in under two minutes. They recommend drinking a capful when you’re in the throes of a leg cramp. It can also be taken preventatively before bed. My aunt Joanne (one of the owners of the store) swears by it. She keeps a bottle by her bed just in case, but will also often take a capful before bed to prevent cramps, especially if she’s been on her feet a lot that day. It isn’t the best tasting thing around, but she really feels like it does work.

Stop by the store so we can help you further.

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