Vitamin D

Supplement Spotlight: Are you taking the best form of your supplements?

There are many supplements which are available in a variety of different forms, some of which are significantly better absorbed, and others which have benefits which may be helpful.  Several supplements are listed below where the form you choose can make a big difference.


Vitamin B12

This is the first that comes to mind when thinking of a supplement where its form really matters.  The most common form of B12 is cobalamin, though the form we recommend the most is the methyl form of the vitamin- methylcobalamin- which is significantly better absorbed.   It’s best to look for a sublingual form that dissolves in the mouth, since if B12 is swallowed in pill form it has a difficult time being absorbed as opposed to a sublingual form, which is absorbed directly into the bloodstream.   B12 can be helpful for energy, brain function, and nerve health.  Many seniors are critically deficient in this vitamin, the effects of which can even mimic demensia.


Vitamin D

Vitamin D should always be taken in the D3 form, since that is the best absorbing.  Vitamin D3 used to be sourced from fish liver oil, though nearly all of the brands we have in the store are now made from lanolin.  Vitamin D3 is most commonly from animal sources, but we have recently started carrying a plant based,vegan D3 from Country Life.  Vitamin D is important for bone health, calcium absorption, and the immune system.



There are two forms of CoQ10, the more commonly known form, ubiquinone, and the newer, better absorbed form ubiquinol.   Ubiquinol is the specific form of CoQ10 that the body uses, and is significantly more bioavailable than the regular form of CoQ10 (ubiquinone).  Ubiquinol is more expensive however, though if you have heart issues or compromised absorption it may be worth switching to the better absorbed form.  CoQ10 has been in numerous research studies for its benefit to heart health, also, statin drugs (a cholesterol lowering medication) further deplete the body’s levels of CoQ10, making supplementation even more necessary.



The most commonly seen form of calcium is calcium carbonate, which is unfortunately notorious for causing constipation and digestive issues.  There are many well absorbing forms of calcium available, calcium citrate among others, which will not cause constipation.  Calcium should also be taken in a complex with other co factors like magnesium, boron and/or vitamin D which enhance calcium absorption.  Also, it’s best to take calcium in divided doses, since the body can only absorb about 500mg of the mineral at once.


Please come by the store and we’ll be happy to help you find the supplement and its specific form that is right for you.  Also, feel free to bring in the supplements you’re currently taking so we can go over them with you.

Healthy Q & A: Seasonal Affective Disorder


I think I have seasonal affective disorder.   These dark days are killing me, and I just feel down and like I have no energy to do anything.  Do you have any ideas of something natural that could help?  I do not want to go on prescription antidepressants.


Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is very common this time of year as the amount of daylight is so short.  Some people who work in an office may hardly even see the sun in the winter months, which makes it very easy to become depressed.  First, I’d like to say not to absolutely rule out prescription antidepressants.  I am all for doing things naturally, and believe a natural approach should be tried first, but there are times when pharmaceuticals are both beneficial and necessary.


That being said, there are a number of supplements which can be very helpful for people with seasonal affective disorder.  The first thing that comes to mind, which has been shown to be incredibly effective for people with SAD, is a supplement called SAMe (pronounced “Sammy”) which is short for S-adenosyl-L-methionine.  SAMe works by helping to boost the manufacture of “feel good” or mood boosting neurotransmitters in the brain.


Research has shown it to be as effective as prescription anti-depressants (some studies have even found it to work better) without the side effects of conventional pharmaceuticals.  Instead of having side effects, SAMe has the side benefits of helping with pain and inflammation and also aiding in detoxifying the liver. 


SAMe is most commonly used for seasonal affective disorder and depression, but is also used effectively for fibromyalgia and joint pain.  Many natural mood enhancers can take a bit of time to gain full effectiveness; in fact, some like St. John’s Wort can take several weeks before the benefits are seen.  I particularly like SAMe since its benefits are felt quickly, usually within the first week and for some people within just a couple days. 


SAMe is most effective when taken on an empty stomach.  Most people find 400mg daily to be an effective dose.  If you suffer from seasonal affective disorder or depression, I would very much recommend giving it a try.  I know several people who take it with great success.  My one caution would be for people with bipolar disorder, since there has been some research which has linked SAMe supplementation with an increase in manic episodes for people with bipolar disorder.


Other supplements which can be of benefit to people with SAD (along with everyone else really), would be a quality omega 3 supplement as well as additional vitamin D.  One of the benefits of omega 3 fish oil is its help for brain function and mood.  Many people are deficient in omega 3 fatty acids since the body is unable to manufacture them- they must be obtained through diet, so unless you’re eating fatty fish several times a week, or consuming flax or chia seed regularly, you are likely deficient in that nutrient.


Vitamin D is great for everyone to take in the winter months, since it is usually made in the body from the reaction of sunlight on the skin.  Vitamin D can help with immunity, bone health, as well as proper mental health.

Healthy Q & A: Calcium Absorption


I’d recently read an article that was pretty much saying that calcium supplements were useless and that they didn’t really do anything since you’re probably not absorbing it.   What do you think?  I guess I’m looking for reassurance.


There is always going to be someone out there trying to say that supplements are a waste of time.  That being said, there is a lot of difference between different calcium supplements and formulations, which can make a big difference in how it’s used and absorbed by the body.


First, I’d like to say that it’s unlikely that the body can absorb more than 500mg of calcium at a time, so while everyone might want to just take one pill for their daily needs of calcium, it’s not really in your best interest.  Also, it’s important to think of your daily calcium consumption from foods.  If a person is eating 2-3 servings of dairy products a day, they might not need to take the entire recommended dosage of 1,000mg of calcium.


Calcium is the most well known supplement for the bones, and for good reason- calcium is key to building new bone.  When it comes to supplements however, calcium is not the end of the story.  There are a number of other important nutrients which can aid in calcium absorption and in helping the body to use the calcium correctly.   In fact, a person may be doing themselves a disservice by taking calcium by itself.


Magnesium is one of the most important supplements next to calcium.  It helps the body to absorb calcium and prevents the calcification of tissues in the body.   It literally helps calcium to go into the bones.  Vitamin D is also crucial for protecting the bones and for helping the body to absorb calcium (calcium is notoriously difficult for the body to absorb and utilize correctly).  Another supplement I really love that’s great for the bones is vitamin K2, it works as a traffic guard in the body- directing calcium to the bones and away from the arteries and soft tissues, helping to prevent and reverse arteriosclerosis.


The best calcium supplement I’d recommend is Jarrow’s Bone Up, it has the most bone co-factors compared to any other supplement including 1000mg of vitamin D3, as well as vitamin K2, magnesium, boron, and a host of other bone building supplements.  

Supplement Spotlight: Back to School Supplements for Children

It goes without saying that a healthy, balanced diet is important for children, but the fact is that most children’s (especially young children) diets are far from that.  It’s been said that the top two vegetables eaten by American children are French fries and ketchup, which should give everyone pause. 


Research from the U.S. Department of Agriculture has determined that “Less than half of children consume the USDA recommended number of servings in any give food pyramid group and almost 80% do not eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables.”

These missing nutrients can cause a number of problems for growing bodies, and can also evidence itself in concentration and attention problems at school.  One study, for example, researched kids ages 8-14 who took a multivitamin for three months and had “significantly improved cognition and mood”.


Another study found that “Children who took dietary supplements showed more positive emotions and fewer negative emotions.”  Yet another study found that multivitamin use among children improved cognitive performance.


One area where supplements are important for children (I would almost venture to say that they may be even more important than a multivitamin) are omega 3 fatty acids.  Omega 3 fatty acids are absolutely crucial for brain function and development.  It’s important to note that the body cannot manufacture its own omega 3s, and that they must be added to the body either from foods or supplements.  Omega 3s can be obtained from fish or flax, though for children and brain function fish is greatly superior, though there are vegetarian forms that are as effective as fish oil (it’s important to look for vegetarian products with DHA).  Most kids aren’t a big fan of fish, plus there are concerns about mercury contamination, so supplements are an ideal choice.


For most parents the idea of getting their child to take a fish oil supplement is laughable, but there are some fantastic and great tasting fish oil supplements on the market.  The one I most recommend isBarlean’s Omega Swirl, which is made in a way so that the texture is similar to a cream or yogurt and it’s not at all fishy.  My daughter would literally drink the entire bottle if I’d let her. 


There are a large amount of positive studies on the benefits of omega 3 fish oil supplements for children and its help in concentration, impulse control, depression and hostility.  For children with ADD/ADHD, supplementation is even more important, as research has found that those children are often severely deficient in omega 3s.  I even had a woman who came in the store literally in tears because she was so grateful at the night and day difference in her daughter after giving her fish oil.  While I can’t say that results like that are going to happen for everyone, I do firmly believe that omega 3 supplements are of great benefit for everyone, especially children.


Other areas of importance are of Vitamin D, especially in the winter, since vitamin D deficiency can cause brittle bones and osteoporosis in later life.  Vitamin D also enhances immune function, and vitamin D supplementation has been found in research to reduce the risk of illness in children, especially respiratory infections.  Calcium supplements are also important for children, especially those on dairy free diets.


We have a lot of very high quality children’s vitamins and supplements at the store, so come by- we’d love to help you.

Health Q & A: Detoxing


My new year’s resolution s to be healthier.  I wanted to kick it off with a cleanse of some kind, but I’m unsure of which to do since I’ve heard stories of people doing colon cleanses and then being stuck in the bathroom all day.  I don’t want that lol.  Do you have any recommendations or ideas for me? 


A goal to be healthier this year is a wonderful resolution, and a whole body cleanse is a great way to begin.  Many people are afraid to take cleansing products for the reason you mentioned, but we have a number of great ones at the store which are gentle but still very effective.  A new product we’ve gotten recently in that I really like is Nature’s Plus Complete Body Cleanse.  It’s a formula with vegetarian capsules that are taken morning and night.  It contains three different bottles- a cleansing formula with probiotics and organic herbs which helps to detoxify the liver, colon, lymphatic system, blood, kidneys and more; a fiber formula, and a gentle nighttime herbal laxative formula which also contains probiotics and probiotics.  I’d say it’s definitely the most complete whole body cleanse we have and the one I would recommend above all others.


For general health after your cleanse, there are three supplements which I think everyone should take, the first being a quality multivitamin which will help to fill in nutritional gaps in your diet.  The next woule be vitamin D, which most Americans are deficient in, especially in the winter months.  Vitamin D is crucial for the immune system, bone health, cardiovascular health and a myriad of other benefits.  The third supplement would be omega 3 fish oil.  Omega 3 fatty acids are needed for proper brain function and also help with reducing inflammation in the body as well as lowering cholesterol (specifically triglycerides) along with a long list of benefits for other health conditions.  It's important to note that the body cannot produce omega 3 fatty acids- they must be obtained through diet.  If a person is not eating fatty fish or flax/chia seeds on a regular basis, it is extremely likely that they are deficient in omega 3 fatty acids.


A quality diet is also important for vibrant health, with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains, as is being physically active.  Exercising can be difficult in the winter months since the freezing temperatures aren’t really conducive to outdoor exercise.  Groupon has been having good deals lately for exercise classes in the area, sothat’s worth looking into.  There are also some great free exercise videos available online.  Fit Sugar is a website I really like that has wonderful quick 10 minute workout videos.   Another good one is Fitness Blender.  They have a fast 8 minute workout that’s really great and still gets the heart rate up.