Monthly Archives: March 2016
CanPrev’s D3 & K2 softgels contain organic coconut oil which can make them turn clear or cloudy depending on the temperature. Coconut oil solidifies at room temperature which is around 24ºC. If the temperature goes lower, the coconut oil will “freeze”, meaning it turns milky white or opaque. When it’s stored at a higher temperature, the coconut oil will liquefy and become clear. Fluctuating temperatures can cause the cycle to go back and forth but in the end doesn’t affect the quality, freshness or effectiveness of the softgels.
Fascinating fact: Did you know that the individual triglycerides in coconut oil are made up of a combination of three fatty acids, and that there are ten different fatty acids to choose from, each with its own melting point?
It’s a chain reaction! Saturated fatty acids have a higher melting point than monounsaturated fatty acids, which in turn have a higher melting point than polyunsaturated fatty acids. Furthermore, fatty acids with long chains of carbon atoms have higher melting points than medium or short chain fatty acids.
Coconut oil is composed mostly of medium chain fatty acids, which have almost the same melting points. While 24ºC is considered the official melting point, in real life, parts of coconut oil begin to freeze or melt a few degrees lower or higher than this. That’s why some of the oil might stay solid at 26ºC and some will melt at 22ºC. Hence the combination of white and clear D3&K2 capsules in the same bottle.
If you want to try a little experiment, hold a softgel in the palm of your hand and watch how it changes from cloudy to clear in a matter of minutes as your body heat warms it up.
Be forewarned – this can be a little mesmerizing!
You might think that stress only affects your nervous system; after all, that’s where you feel it the most. But stress also compromises your immune system, major organs and reproductive organs, too. Here’s a quick summary of how stress makes its way through your body and the damage it can leave behind.
Being under constant stress has an effect on serotonin transmission within the brain, putting you at major risk for developing depression. Living in a constant stressful state also triggers the production of substance P, a neuropeptide in the brain and spinal cord that dilates blood vessels and releases allergic compounds used by body when processing pain and intense stress. Too much substance P can affect your sleep, stress level tolerance, cause fatigue, and bring on skin issues and digestive inflammation.
Hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid gland) can result when inflammatory cytokines released during the body’s stress response reduces thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels and affect the conversion of hormones T4 to T3, which are needed to maintain a healthy, functioning thyroid gland.
If you want to steer clear of heart disease, reducing your stress levels might be a good place to start. Adrenaline and cortisol, two hormones released during the stress response, can cause elevated blood pressure and increased heart rate and lead to a greater chance of developing heart disease down the road.
Stress might sometimes cause butterflies in your stomach but that’s not the only effect it has. Being under constant strain is linked to prolonged and decreased blood flow to the stomach lining, which can result in erosion when exposed to the acidic pH of the stomach. A combination of stress and the emotions that come along with it can disrupt communication signals between the brain and gut and bring on irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and acid reflux.
Want to guard against type 2 diabetes? Then minimize your exposure to stress. Stress hormones can raise blood sugar levels by making your cells resistant to insulin, which in the long run may increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and insulin sensitivity. Being stressed also tends to lead to poor food choices, causing you to consume more sugar when you eat refined carbohydrates.
When your cortisol hormone levels are high, progesterone can be prevented from binding to cells, favouring estrogen dominance which then leads to PMS symptoms or even worse, infertility.
Cortisol naturally suppresses the immune system as a protective mechanism. Being under continuous stress may predispose you to infection and make you more susceptible to disease.
CanPrev Favourites for Stress Management
It can sometimes be hard to escape the effects of stress in our everyday lives. In fact, constant stress can turn into distress when one or more systems in the body are agitated for prolonged periods of time. Statistics show that about 43% of all adults claim that stress affects certain aspects of their health. Even naturopaths support the fact that reasons why 75 to 90% of patients visit primary care doctors is because of stress-related reasons.
Stress and chronic fatigue syndrome
Since chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) seems to have no physical cause, its diagnosis is deemed somewhat controversial. But seeing patients over and over again with the same symptoms typical of CFS has convinced many practitioners that it is a real and debilitating condition. New studies on the origin of CFS conclude that those who suffer from it have an imbalance in the HPA-axis, which can affect the cortisol and DHEA hormones in the body. It appears that unusually low concentrations of cortisol first thing in the morning may be connected to a higher incidence of fatigue in those who suffer from CFS, or what naturopaths identify as adrenal fatigue or hypoadrenalism.
Stress and the link to depression
It seems that those who experience stressful situations on a regular basis are at greater risk for developing major depression. Scientists conclude that constant exposure to stressful conditions kills neurons and prevents the process of neurogenesis in the hippocampus, which is usually needed for a healthy stress response. Chronic stress also interrupts serotonin (5-HTP) neurotransmission by significantly reducing both 5-HTP neurotransmission and 5-HT1A autoreceptor sensitivity.
Stress and the connection to high blood pressure
As the body prepares its stress response, it releases adrenaline and cortisol, two hormones responsible for temporarily tightening the vasculature and increasing blood flow to the organs responsible for enforcing the “fight or flight” response. Continuous stress can cause sustained high blood pressure thereby increasing the chances of heart disease, particularly in those who also have high cholesterol levels. In addition, those who are experience stress on a regular basis are more likely fall into negative coping behaviours like smoking and overeating, which can also contribute to heart disease.
Stress and its effects on Irritable Bowel Syndrome
The enteric nervous system is sometimes called the body’s second brain. It’s part of the nervous system that has a special connection to the gastrointestinal system, which is sensitive to emotions like anger, anxiety and panic. These and other strong feelings can trigger pain and cramping symptoms in the gut. It is believed that stress and other emotions can affect the communication signals between the brain and gut and lead to symptoms of IBS.
Stress and infections
Chronic stress causes the body’s adrenal glands to continuously secrete high levels of a stress hormone called cortisol. Cortisol acts as a protective mechanism by subduing the immune system and reducing inflammation by suppressing T-cells and compromising the release of histamine. If a chronic stress pattern is allowed to continue, the immune system may become suppressed and increase a patient’s chances of infection and exposure to disease.
Stress and the association with migraines
Studies show that chronic stress triggers nerve cells to create a pain-producing substance called “substance P”. Substance P is capable of dilating blood vessels and releasing allergic compounds like histamine, which can trigger inflammation, pain and migraine headaches.
The relationship between stress and PMS
In the world of hormones, cortisol and progesterone compete for common receptors, meaning cortisol can interrupt progesterone activity and clear the way for estrogen dominance when one is chronically stressed and exposed to high levels of circulating cortisol. Estrogen dominance is affiliated with typical premenstrual syndrome symptoms, like mood swings, breast tenderness, fatigue, irritability and depression. Estrogen dominance can also affect fertility and reproductive function. We know that chronic stress can impair the release of serotonin, which is thought to be a mood regulator. If serotonin levels fluctuate, PMS symptoms can flare.
The stress/diabetes connection
When the body’s under stress it releases cortisol, which in turn prompts glucose stores to be released into the blood. This creates energy to fuel the muscles for a “fight or flight” response. Stress also raises blood sugar levels and increases cortisol which causes cells to become insulin resistant. The detrimental end result is high blood sugar. Indirectly, stress also causes us to eat poorly, resulting in increased blood sugar levels and a higher chance of developing diabetes.
Stress and thyroid issues
Studies show that chronic adrenal stress compromises the functions of the hypothalamus and pituitary, which are two critical glands used in the production of thyroid hormone. Inflammatory cytokines IL-1 beta, IL-6 and TNF-alpha, released during the body’s stress response, have also been shown to lower the HPA axis and diminish levels of thyroid- stimulating hormone (TSH). TNF has also been shown to interrupt the conversion of T4 to T3, the more active thyroid hormone. Also, inflammatory cytokines released during the stress response have been shown to alter thyroid receptor site sensitivity, especially when extended. This creates a condition similar to insulin resistance as thyroid receptors become insensitive to circulating thyroid hormone despite the fact that hormone levels are normal.
Stress and developing ulcers
When the body’s under stress, its defense mechanisms divert blood away from the digestive system in favour of organs like the muscles and the heart, which are involved in deploying “fight or flight” responses. If stress is allowed to be ongoing, blood flow to the stomach lining can decrease, with the end result being damage and weakness when the sensitive gastric epithelium is exposed to the acidic pH of the stomach. A type of erosion occurs and can contribute to stress-induced gastritis.
There’s no doubt that stress brings on many debilitating conditions. You’ll be hard pressed to think of any other disease where stress doesn’t play a role. Reducing stress levels and learning to manage stress effectively is a major part of practicing preventative medicine. It won’t only help manage current health problems, but may also have long reaching benefits.
CanPrev Favourites for Stress Management
Scan the beverage section of any grocery store and you’ll notice the ever-growing selection of sports drinks for both casual and elite athletes. Gatorade, a popular hydrating beverage first introduced in the mid 60’s was once every athlete’s choice, poking out of gym bags and lining team benches at the ready for players to guzzle. More recently, coconut water has become all the rage in the sports world, and is viewed as an all natural, healthy replacement for traditional sports drinks. But is it really? Here’s how the two measure up against each other.
An 8-ounce serving of unsweetened coconut water has approximately 50 calories and 12 grams of natural sugars, compared to approximately 50 calories and 14 grams of sugar for the same serving of Gatorade. Gatorade also contains brominated vegetable oils (derived from soybeans), high fructose corn syrup, glycerol (an ester of wood resin) and artificial colours. Coconut water certainly seems to be a “cleaner” sports drink. But compared to conventional sports drinks like Gatorade, coconut water is lower in two of the main ingredients that an athlete’s exhausted system would need after a tough workout: sodium, the main electrolyte lost through sweat, and carbohydrates, which help replenish the body’s spent energy stores. Though coconut water is an excellent source of potassium (430 milligrams per 8-ounce serving), and many of us don’t take in anywhere near the recommended daily amount of 4700 milligrams of potassium per day, it definitely lacks the requisite amounts of sodium and carbohydrates for adequate recovery after rigorous exercise.
The good news about coconut water is that it can be “dressed up” to perform like a regular commercial sports drink. A 2007 study by Ismail, Singh and Sirisinghe out of the University of Malaysia, showed that coconut water enhanced with sodium performed as well as a commercial sports drink in a post exercise rehydration test but with better fluid tolerance. Athletes also complained less of stomach fullness or stomach upset after consuming the sodium enhanced coconut water. So if athletes are looking for a healthy alternative to regular commercial sports drinks, then this recipe developed by dietician, sports nutritionist a professional athlete, Pip Taylor, might be worth trying. The ratio of sugar and salt in the recipe is based on the World Health Organization’s recommendation for hydration solutions: 3.5 grams of carbohydrate per 100 millilitres (or a 3.5 percent solution). According to Taylor, this combination of sugar and salt is important because the glucose will accelerate the body’s uptake of the solution, thereby speeding rehydration.
DIY Sports Drink: ‘Enhanced’ Coconut Water
- 2 cups (480 ml) coconut water
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 4 tsps honey, maple syrup or granulated sugar
- 1 large slice lemon or lime
- Mix all the ingredients together well, pour into water bottles and keep chilled until you are ready to use . Try making other flavours using 1 tablespoon fresh mint, ½ cup fresh berries, half of an orange or create your own custom taste!
This DIY Sports Drink can also be enhanced with CanPrev’s ElectroMag magnesium supplement. The fizzy mixture comes in convenient little sachets that can be quickly opened and added to any drink. It contains magnesium bis-glycinate, a chelated form of magnesium that provides energy production and muscle relief, and has some of the highest levels of absorption and bioavailability. Unlike other forms of magnesium, the bis-glycinate form doesn’t react in the stomach, making it gentle on the bowels and easier to absorb. ElectroMag also provides an extra boost of vitamin C and electrolytes for added antioxidants and energy support. The taste is electrifyingly delicious!
When should an athlete choose a sports drink or enhanced coconut water over plain water?
Generally for running or vigorous activity longer than 60 minutes, sports drinks or enhanced coconut water are a good idea. They have valuable carbohydrates that athletes’ muscles need for energy. They also contain electrolytes like sodium and potassium, which are lost through sweat but are integral to nerve and muscle function, and contribute to the body’s water balance. In terms of how much to drink, the level of thirst is generally used as a guide. White streaks or a gritty feeling on the face is an indication of sodium loss, so a traditional commercial sports drink or enhanced coconut water is the best option for replacement. It should be noted that for an athlete who perspires heavily, neither an enhanced coconut water nor a sports drink would contain nearly enough sodium or carbohydrates to replace what’s lost. In this situation, the individual would need to consume a quick source of energy like a banana, dried fruit, salty pretzels or rice chips.