Stay Healthy This Autumn

Autumn is a beautiful season, but unfortunately, it often brings with it the beginnings of cold and flu season, and because of that, it’s a great time to start a preventative immune-boosting regimen.

There are so many supplements that can be beneficial to the immune system, both preventatively and if you do happen to get sick, to help you to get better sooner.

Here is a great overview of past articles from our website on a variety of science-backed immune-boosting supplements:

  • Olive leaf is also great for the immune system, plus it lowers blood pressure.

  • Aged garlic extract is wonderful for the immune system, and also helps with cardiovascular health as well as lowering blood pressure.

  • Oregano oil and neti pots can be helpful for sinus infections or people prone to sinus issues.

  • Elderberry extract, also known as Sambucus, is an amazing antiviral, particularly against the flu. We have a new elderberry extract that we recommend- Nature’s Answer Sambucus. It’s the highest potency elderberry available. Elderberry is also safe for both kids and adults.

  • This is a helpful article for immune boosters that are safe for kids.

  • Quercetin is a great natural antihistamine that can also help with boosting the immune system, particularly for athletes.

  • This is a nice article that focuses on several different immune boosting supplements, particularly Vitamin D and mushroom extracts like beta glucan and AHCC.

  • Irwin Naturals Immuno Shield is another favorite since it’s a blend of a number of well-researched supplements that work to boost the immune system.  It can be used both preventatively or if you do happen to get sick to help to get better faster.  We also now having it for 25% off from now until the end of the year! 

Collagen Peptides: Beneficial for Skin, Bones, Joints, and More

I wanted to write about collagen this month, since it can have so many diverse and wide ranging benefits. Collagen is a protein that is very prevalent in our bodies- 30% of the protein in our body is made of  collagen and it is the main component of our connective tissues. Collagen is a crucial component of our skin, joints, bones, tendons, and ligaments.

We are born with abundant stores of collagen, and the human body produces copious amounts of collagen when we are young. Unfortunately, that production begins to decline every year after age 25, and decreases even more dramatically in women after menopause.

The decreases in collagen happen throughout our bodies, reducing bone flexibility, making injury more likely, and contributing to joint and mobility problems. One easy way each of us can see how our body’s stores of collagen have decreased is by looking at our skin. As we age, the lovely, plump skin we all had as young adults changes considerably;  lower levels of collagen is one of the main causes of that, since collagen helps to prevent thinning and wrinkling of the skin as well as loss of elasticity. Those outward signs of collagen loss mirror what is unseen inside our bodies, affecting our bones, joints, tendons, as well as many other parts of the body.

Bone health is a particularly important benefit of collagen which most people are unaware of. Collagen literally holds our bones together in a collagen matrix, and helps our bones to remain flexible and durable. 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.

Collagen supplements can be beneficial to help boost our body’s collagen stores, though not all collagen supplements are created equal. First of all, collagen is best taken as a powder. You need to take a fair amount of collagen to make a difference, and most collagen supplements in pill form are meant to be taken at around six at a time, which isn’t practical for most people. Another thing to look for is collagen in a peptide form, which basically means that the collagen is broken down into tiny molecules to enhance absorption (since if you’re not absorbing a supplement, it does nothing and you’re wasting your money).

Collagen peptides have been the study of numerous research studies in recent years. One placebo controlled study found that people using collagen peptides daily for three months had a 40% increase in skin elasticity, a 43% reduction in joint pain, and a 39% increase in mobility.

One very important thing to note about collagen is that there are many different forms, and each different form of collagen works in a different way in the body. For example, collagen known as “type I collagen” is helpful for skin, bones, and tendons, whereas “type II collagen” benefits joints, cartilage, and the digestive tract. Types I and II collagen are the most common, though there are actually many different forms of collagen that have varying benefits in body that affect the immune, cardiovascular, and reproductive systems, our hair and nails, even down to the health of our very cells!

A bad thing about most collagen supplements is that they usually only contain one variety of collagen, occasionally two, but rarely more than that, so you’re only getting a fraction of the benefits of the full spectrum of collagen. There is one collagen supplement that we recommend above all others- Collagen Peptide powder by Nature’s Plus. There are so many reasons we’d recommend that supplement in particular, the first of which is that it contains all six of the main collagen types, something I’d never seen in a supplement before this one. It’s also absorbed better than other collagen supplements because it is in the optimal peptide form as well as containing special enzymes that further aid in absorbing those beneficial collagen molecules.

I could go on and on about the reasons why this is the collagen I’d recommend above all others, but I thought it might be better to relay a few reports from my coworkers at Pass Health Foods who take this collagen from Nature’s Plus (I’m a vegetarian, so even though I believe in collagen supplements and the science behind them, I don’t personally take it since they’re from animal products). This particular collagen supplement is made from the highest quality collagen sources- grass-fed beef, cage-free chickens, and sustainably caught fish.

Liz, another one of the managers at the store, takes the Collagen Peptides every day in her coffee. It’s completely tasteless, so it can be mixed easily with foods or beverages. She feels like it has really helped with reducing joint pain and soreness after exercise. It’s the only thing she takes now for joints, and she says it really works. She and her daughter trained this summer for a one-mile swim to raise money for ALS, and she felt like the collagen supplement really helped with how her joints felt, particularly when compared with the joint pain she experienced before starting to use the supplement. Liz says she also likes the collagen peptides since they contain a good amount of natural protein. She feels like most protein supplements seem to bother her stomach, but she’s never had problems from the collagen. She says she also feels like there have been benefits for how her skin looks and feels.

Sarah, who also works at the store, has been using the same collagen peptide supplement and really loves it. She says she originally started taking it because she had a pulled muscle injury that wasn’t healing. She said that she felt relief after the first week, after what was turning into a lingering, painful condition. Sarah contracted an illness after going on a rafting trip and stopped taking all her supplements for a while. She said that her joint and muscle pain started coming back again after not using the collagen supplements for a few weeks, but that after starting them again she felt like her pain was better after just a couple of days of taking it.

Finally, Sam, the son of one of our owners, who just graduated from college, has been taking collagen peptides as well with great results. He had an injury from high school which had healed but where he was still having lingering, persistent inflammation. He has had several rounds of physical therapy and was even recommended cortisone shots by his physician, which he wanted to avoid since he’s still in his early 20’s. Since taking the collagen peptides, he has had consistently less pain. He loves to dance and this past weekend went to a dance competition and clinic. He said that he couldn’t believe it, but that he felt stiffer from being in the car for the three-hour drive than from dancing all weekend long.

We have the Collagen Peptides by Nature’s Plus that we recommend on an everyday sale of 20% off, to pass on the savings of a supplement we really believe in. That brings the price of a jar down to $19.99 for a month’s worth of one serving a day. Stop by the store for more information, we’d love to help you further.

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New Research: Probiotics May Help to Prevent Neurodegenerative Diseases

I’ve written numerous times about probiotics and their benefits to so many aspects of our health (here’s a good overview on probiotics on our website).

Probiotics help with digestion, the immune system, and reducing antibiotic side effects, though specific strains can be beneficial for IBS, vaginal health, gum disease, and more.

New research has come out linking probiotics and a varied microbiome as a preventative measure against a variety of neurodegenerative diseases.

Neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimers, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease are scary, since their onset can be unpredictable, and so much is still unknown about these uncurable diseases.

Scientists have begun to link viral infection as a possible cause of various neurodegenerative diseases (here’s a link to research on Pub Med), and have also linked good bacteria in the gut and a varied microbiome as a possibly preventative to the triggering of neurodegenerative diseases.

The colonization of good bacteria in our bodies known as our microbiome is still not yet completely understood, though now scientists are finding far reaching benefits probiotics and of maintaining a thriving and varied microbiome in our bodies, not just for digestion and the immune system, but also for mood, inflammation, and so much more.

Supplementing with probiotics is something I absolutely believe in, particularly when using a quality probiotic with a good potency and a nice variety of different strains. Different strains of probiotics, or good bacteria, work in different ways in the body, so choosing a probiotic supplement with a diverse makeup is always a good idea.

We have just brought in a new probiotic that I wanted to highlight from a company called Vital Planet, that has a line of probiotics available in both refrigerated and shelf stable varieties at high potency. Their probiotics come in a variety of specific formulas, including some formulated specifically for men or women, and contain 60 billion probiotics per capsule from 60 different strains that also include probiotics, to help those good bacteria to thrive in the body. I’ve been using their Women’s Shelf Stable Probiotic and I really like it.

Our Vital Planet Probiotics will be on sale through the month of September for 25% off, so it’s a great time to try them. We also have a limited amount of $3 off coupons at the store, which make it an even better deal, so stop by to check them out!

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Supplements to Improve Athletic Performance

Q: I’m planning on running my first half marathon, and as I start training, I was wondering if you had information on supplements that might be helpful as I start increasing my mileage.

A: That’s exciting- congratulations! There definitely are supplements that could help.

The first supplement I’d recommend is CoQ10. CoQ10 is a nutrient that is best known for its benefit for heart health and is a common supplement used for cardiovascular health particularly in the aging population.

CoQ10 is a nutrient produced in the human body that works with the mitochondria in each of our cells. Mitochondria are the energy producers in each of the cells in our body, and CoQ10 works to support those energy producers in our cells. It’s almost like CoQ10 is food for those energy producing organisms, which in turn, helps our cells to run better.

Parts of the body that use the most energy, like the heart and other muscle tissues, have the most mitochondria- remember, the mitochondria are the power plants of a cell. Since CoQ10 supports those cellular power plants, it can help with proper cardiovascular functioning and protecting the heart. For example, CoQ10 is often recommended for congestive heart failure, since it has been shown in research to encourage the heart to run properly and have the energy it needs.

CoQ10 can also be beneficial for athletes or anyone on an exercise regimen, since studies have shown that CoQ10 can increase exercise performance, helping people to be able to exercise longer without fatigue.

CoQ10 has also been researched with positive results for helping to reduce muscle damage and soreness after exercise when used on a regular basis. Most studies used 100mg-200mg of CoQ10 daily, and CoQ10 should be taken with food for best absorbtion.

Omega 3 fatty acids can also be helpful in reducing exercise induced muscle damage and soreness. Omega 3s have also been researched with positive results in helping the muscles to repair themselves after exercise, which can improve performance, especially when on a training regimen.

Omega 3s are known as “essential fatty acids” meaning that they must be obtained through diet or supplements since they are not manufactured by the body. Also, be sure to look for a high potency omega 3 supplement that has a good dose of EPA and DHA (the beneficial parts of omega 3s) per pill, since the amounts of those nutrients in a fish oil pill can vary widely. One we would recommend in particular is Solgar’s Omega 950- each softgel has 504mg of DHA and 378mg of DHA, which are really good amounts. Any fish oil or omega 3 supplement should list the amounts of EPA and DHA they contain on the back of the bottle so you can compare. This one by Solgar is the strongest we’ve found, and I don’t really see why a person would take one that’s less potent, since taking a less potent version just seems like a waste of time.

Omega 3s can also help with brain function, joints, and reducing inflammation throughout the body- all good things. Omega 3s have even been researched for reducing cholesterol and helping cardiovascular function. Here’s an article from our website with more information about Omega 3s.

Another supplement that might help would be panax ginseng, also known as Korean ginseng. Ginseng has been used for thousands of years in Eastern medicine to help with energy and vitality. I personally take ginseng occasionally in a liquid form since it’s a great energy boost. Research has linked panax ginseng use with a reduction of fatigue and enhancement of physical performance, so it might be a supplement worth trying to see if it helps.

Last, I’d say a protein shake is a good idea after exercise. Protein can help the muscles to repair themselves after strenuous exercise, but it’s important to note that there’s a “magic window” of about 45 minutes after exercising, where consuming protein has the most benefit for repairing muscles. Mega doses of protein aren’t necessary- a shake containing around 20mg of protein is ideal. You can make a protein shake into an entire smoothie with the addition of fruits and whatever else in a blender, but generally the easiest thing is just to mix protein powder in a shaker cup with water, which will also equal out to less additional sugar and calories. We have a good selection of protein shakes at the store including many suitable for people with allergies or dietary restrictions.

Finally, since you’re trying to increase the amount you’re running, you may think of investing in a pair of new shoes. The cushioning and support in running shoes does not last forever. We would recommend a running store in Palos Heights called Running for Kicks, which has been voted to be one of the 50 best running stores in the entire United States, and the people there are extremely knowledgeable about running and running shoes.

Good luck, and happy running!

Beneficial Supplements for Kids of All Ages

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. Below are several different supplement ideas that may be helpful to think for the kids in your life.

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. We have a great selection of all natural multis for kids at the store.

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%). We have probiotic capsules for older kids, but also a variety of chewable probiotics for younger children.

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. Most kids are not getting enough omega 3s through their diet, so supplementation with omega 3s meant for kids can make a real difference in proper brain functioning.
 
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. Theanine is safe for kids and adults of all ages. Also, for high school and college students, we also would recommend trying one of our THC-free CBD gummies, which can be very helpful for reducing stress and anxiety. Stop by the store so we can help you find the right product for your child.

EXTRA IMMUNE HELP
Probiotics are extremely helpful for the immune system, though we do have a number of other immune boosting supplements meant for children which are helpful for both keeping kids healthy, but also helping them to get better faster if they do happen to get sick, since classrooms (particularly in younger grades) are an absolute cesspool of germs.

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 are available in chewable forms for kids.

 

Here are a few other articles from our website which may also be beneficial. Please stop by the store so we can help you choose the right supplements for your kids.

  

Preventative Immune Health for Kids and Adults

Improving Children’s Concentration in School

A Helpful Tip: Chewable Gummy Vitamins for Kid’s Lunches

 

DIY Preventative Essential Oil Lice Spray for Hair

Fish Oil + Lutein for Kids to Protect the Eyes from Electronic Devices

 

Natural Help for Colitis- Backed by Scientific Research

Q: I have a family member with colitis who has been having a really difficult time. He has awful stomach pains and frequent diarrhea which makes living difficult. Do you have any suggestions of supplements that could make a difference for him?

A:  Colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease with a variety of symptoms which can include extreme weight loss, pain and tenderness in the abdomen, diarrhea and constipation, and loss of appetite. It can be a difficult thing to live with, so thankfully there are a number of science backed supplements that may help with colitis.

The first suggestion would be probiotics, since they help with normalizing digestive functioning and work to crowd out bad bacteria in the digestive tract. There are many different probiotics on the market, but I’d recommend one that is specifically geared towards people with digestive issues called Probi 30 by a company called Solgar. Here is a feature on that probiotic from a previous issue of our newsletter.

They did a study on the specific strain in the Solgar’s Probi probiotic on people with IBS that said that the study found an improvement in 95% of IBS patients who took the specific probiotic strain found in Solgar’s Probi 30. Every participant who took that LP229v strain of probiotics had a reduction in abdominal pain. Another found that the LP229v strain of probiotics reduced intestinal inflammation (linked here).

Another probiotic idea is a probiotic supplement called saccharomyces boulardii. It is a probiotic used for helping with diarrhea from a variety of causes, and is actually taken preventatively for people going to Mexico or on a cruise to prevent diarrhea from bacterial infections. It has been studied with positive results however for colitis (you can see the study here). Of the people with colitis that took the saccharomyces boulardii, 24 patients who completed the study and 17 attained clinical remission, which was confirmed endoscopically.

Both probiotics could be used together, though it may not be a bad idea to take them one at a time to see the results of one over the other. 

Additionally, something that may be helpful is taking aloe vera gel internally. Aloe is very soothing and healing to the entire digestive tract, although the more common aloe vera juice naturally contains an ingredient that can have laxative effects. Aloe gel has the healing effects of the juice without the laxative effect. Here is a link to a placebo controlled study on Pub Med about aloe gel and colitis.

Most people do a ¼ cup of aloe morning and night, though the colitis study linked above gave them 100ml twice a day, which is a little less than half a cup. We have aloe gel at the store that is meant for internal use- it is different from aloe gel in a tube that is meant for topical use.

Something else that may be beneficial, depending on one’s specific issues, are peppermint gels. They can be helpful for reducing intestinal cramping. Here is a link to an article with more information on peppermint gels. Again, it’s talking about for people with IBS, but the benefits could also help with someone dealing with colitis if that is a symptom they’re experiencing. 

Finally, I’d recommend turmeric supplements, and one turmeric supplement in particular by the company Solgar called their Full Spectrum Curcumin. Turmeric is the yellow spice often found in curry powder, and it has strong anti-inflammatory effects. Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric, but turmeric contains only 4% curcumin, and even in a curcumin extract, it is difficult for the body to absorb.

This company Solgar has made a curcumin extract that has been shown in research to be absorbed 185 times better than standard curcumin or turmeric supplements, so I would recommend that product specifically. Turmeric and curcumin are great anti-inflammatories and can help with a variety of issues. This curcumin supplement can be especially helpful for inflammatory digestive issues since because it is so well absorbed, it does not need to be in a mega dose, which is good because turmeric or curcumin in high doses can be irritating to the stomach.

 

In regards to diet, doing an elimination diet may be helpful since different foods can be triggers to digestive problems, which can be different for each person. This link has more information on how to do an elimination diet.

Following a “gastritis diet” may also be helpful, which eliminates all irritating foods from the diet for a time. Doing this can sometimes help calm an irritated digestive tract and help things to get back to normal.

One step further from a gastritis diet would be the BRAT diet, which stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. The BRAT diet uses foods which are very bland and can help with calming the digestive tract.

With all of the above diets, they are not meant as a forever thing, but to be used for a time especially during a flare up of symptoms to help calm and soothe the digestive tract.

Unfortunately with colitis or other inflammatory bowel diseases, sometimes it takes a bit of trial and error to discover what may help. Please stop by the store so we can help you further.

New Every Day CBD Sales

CBD is something that rarely goes on sale, but we have been working out a deal with our main CBD company, Green Gorilla, to be able to offer an ongoing sale for two of their products that we can pass on to our customers.

The first is the one I’m most excited about- a 25% off discount on their 1500mg bottle of CBD. The reason I’m so glad that we were able to get that size bottle on discount is that it is a higher potency bottle, and because of that, it’s on the pricey side. Still, we have many customers with more extreme pain or anxiety who have really found benefit from taking a higher dose of CBD, but because it’s a higher dose bottle, it’s more expensive. This sale makes us really happy to be able to pass on this discount so it’s more affordable, particularly for people who need a higher amount of CBD.

With our 1500mg bottle of CBD from Green Gorilla, each pump of CBD oil contains 10mg of CBD, and a bottle contains 150 pumps. For people who need higher amounts of CBD for relief, it’s a great product since it’s so concentrated, though we do have a number of people who are using it for a more standard 20mg dose of CBD. With the 1500mg bottle only 2 pumps are needed to get 20mg, so the bottle would contain 75 20 mg servings, which for most people would last two and a half months.

The regular price for the 1500mg bottle of our Green Gorilla CBD is $149.99, but with this new discount, it takes $37.50 off the list price, bringing the 1500mg size down to $112.49- still a bit expensive, but it works out to be significantly more economical if it’s something you’re using on a regular basis when compared to lower potency bottles. For example, our 600mg bottle of CBD works out to be $2.83 for one 20mg serving (that’s the regular price, not including senior or newsletter discounts), whereas the new sale price on our 1500mg bottle works out to be just $1.50 per 20mg serving, plus the bottle lasts a lot longer.

Our Green Gorilla CBD is one of the only USDA Certified Organic CBD products available in the United States, and it’s also guaranteed to be THC free, and Green Gorilla (as well as all of the CBD products we sell) regularly undergoes third party testing on each of their products to guarantee that what it says on the label is what it really is. A recent study found that 70% of CBD sold online did not match up with what it said on the label when tested, which just shows how important it is to make sure you’re using a quality product. The market is absolutely flooded with CBD as it grows in popularity, and unfortunately many of those products (as determined by research) are not legitimate.

The other CBD product we’ve been able to get a discount that we can pass on is on our new Green Gorilla CBD Gummies. We still recommend liquids as the best way to take CBD, since CBD as an ingredient is difficult for the body to absorb, and liquids are better absorbed since they are first absorbed through the soft tissues in the mouth before being swallowed and digested. Gummies, however, and very convenient and are great for “on the go” for relief while you’re out and about. We have a number of customers who keep a bottle of our CBD gummies in their desks at work to help with stress and anxiety during the day. Our Green Gorilla CBD Gummies are now also on 25% every day sale. Stop in the store and ask to try a sample if you’d never had them! They’re made with entirely organic ingredients, and are vegan and THC-free.

Stop by the store at 7228 W. College Drive in Palos Heights for more information. We also are happy to ship bottles to anywhere in the continental US- shipping for one bottle is $3.50. Call the store to order at 708-448-9114.

A "Miracle Cure" for Sunburn

Sunburns as an adult are so terrible since we’re not children, we should know better. Still, it happens. I wanted to share about what I now think of as a “miracle cure” for sunburn- I wanted to write about it last month but there just wasn’t room in last month’s newsletter.

In May, Liz and I from the store went to Revival’s Yoga Fest in Palos Heights (if you’re not familiar with them, they’re an amazing yoga studio in Palos Heights with fabulous people). It was an absolutely gorgeous day. We had a booth there outside to talk to the people there about supplements and whatever else. It wasn’t that hot and since it was still May, and Liz forgot to use any sunscreen- she was just there in the morning until just a bit after noon, so generally you wouldn’t think the sun would be that strong at that time anyway.

Well, when I saw her at work the next day, her arms were as red as a tomato and she was in so much pain (as anyone who has been badly sunburned will attest to). She took some of our Sovereign Silver First Aid Gel (which has had research done on its benefit for healing burns) from the store as well as Alba Botanicals After Sun Gel, a favorite of both of ours that mixes aloe with cooling plant extracts that are soothing and healing to the skin.

She alternated using both the First Aid Gel and the aloe gel several times throughout the day on her arms, which she felt were absolutely radiating heat. By the NEXT DAY she said her sunburn was so much better, and then when I saw her the day after that, her sunburn was completely gone, and even more amazingly, she had no peeling whatsoever from where her skin was damaged.

To be honest with you, if I had not seen what happened with her sunburn with my own eyes, I would not have believed it. It was literally like a miracle, particularly since I saw how red her arms were in the beginning.

So, first I would definitely recommend using sunscreen if you’re going to be outside, obviously. If the worst happens, and you do forget and find yourself sunburned, I would definitely recommend using this combination. I actually just picked up a bottle of the First Aid Gel by Sovereign Silver to have in the house just in case.

Aloe in general is of course wonderful, but the After Sun Gel by Alba is really worth having- I feel like it’s less sticky and gloppy than other aloe gels I’ve used. In addition to the aloe, their After Sun Gel also contains green tea extract which has been shown in studies to help repair sun damaged skin when used topically as well as probiotics, which have been shown in research to help to reduce skin sensitivity and redness from sun damage when used topically.

 


 



New Heart Health Research

 I’ve come across a couple new heart health studies that I wanted to share. Heart health isn’t a “trending” subject when it comes to supplements, but is really important when you consider that heart disease still remains the number one cause of death in the United States. Below are two supplements that are not traditionally thought of as things for heart health, but that have been researched lately with interesting results.

Beets and beet juice have been popular lately, and a new study confirms their benefits for heart health and increasing blood flow. The study followed people with something called reduced ejection fraction, which means that the heart isn’t contracting effectively and is not providing enough oxygen rich blood to the body. It’s a condition often seen with heart failure and can impact activity since your heart literally is not working to circulate enough oxygen needed for body and brain function.

In the study, the people using the beet juice supplement had significant increases in oxygen uptake during exercise and they were able to exercise longer and remain more active. Frequently athletes will take beet juice supplements for this reason, though the benefits can be seen for most adults, particularly older adults or people with heart issues. The nice thing about supplementing with a beet juice supplement is that there are no negative side effects. Beets are also a fantastic antioxidant

Another study on calcium found that people with lower levels of calcium in the blood had increased rates of sudden cardiac arrest. Sudden cardiac arrest is fatal in 90 percent of cases and the majority of people experiencing sudden cardiac arrest had no history of heart disease or other high risk warning signs.

Calcium is a tricky thing since it’s necessary for the body, but too much can also be a problem. Calcium supplements should always be taken in divided doses of no more than 500mg at a time, since that is all the body can absorb at once. Also, not all calcium supplements are created equal, so be sure you’re taking a well absorbing form.

 

Natural Help for Perimenopause and Hormone Balance

This month I wanted to write about a supplement that Sarah at the store uses and loves- DIM + CDG by Jarrow. That’s a lot of letter abbreviations, but they stand for Diindolylmethane, an extract from cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, and Calcium D-Glucarate a nutrient found in fruit. So I guess it’s definitely easier to just use the letters.

DIM + CDG is an amazing supplement to help with hormone balance, specifically that it helps your body to be able to balance its own hormones correctly. It can be helpful for women of all ages with hormone related issues, but Sarah has found that it really helps her with regulating her emotions during perimenopause- she actually calls it her “anti-crazy pill”. Jarrow was out of stock of it for a while due to manufacturing issues, and during that time that she didn’t take it, she said she could really feel a difference.

She has said that for her, during perimenopause, she has been feeling “irrationally emotional”, some days going back and forth between crying and laughing and then crying again. She says she sees a huge difference between the times she has been using the supplement and the times when she hasn’t.

DIM, or diindolylmethane, is a supplement that can help the body to balance its own hormones better. It’s not a hormone supplement, but rather, it helps the body to balance the natural estrogens that can form in women’s bodies to achieve better hormone balance and to reduce the negative effects of hormone imbalance so common in perimenopause and menopause. One of the ways those hormone imbalances manifest themselves is in mood swings, which are extremely common in women in the throes or perimenopause.

This supplement by Jarrow is so nice in part because it combines DIM’s hormone balancing action with a supplement called CDG, which actually works as a sort of hormone cleanse, detoxing the body from negative forms of estrogen and working to remove excess estrogens from the body. It’s due to these actions that CDG has been found to be able to reduce the risk of hormone related cancers. GDC and DIM also have a synergistic effect on women’s hormones, working together to be more effective than either product taken alone.

Sarah says she felt like she could feel the DIM + CDG working from within the first week, though each woman’s experience may be slightly different due to their own unique hormone makeup. Still, it’s a supplement that we definitely recommend for hormone related issues for women of all ages, since I think everyone would benefit from a little hormone balance. Plus they’re in easy to swallow capsules that are in a one-a-day formula. Also this month our Jarrow DIM + CDG will be on sale for 25% off, so it’s a great time to try it to see if it works for you!

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