Category Archives: Health
As a woman, are you committed to living a heart-healthy lifestyle? While we might think of older men when we hear “heart problems”, research tells us it’s time for women to look after their hearts, too.
According to the Heart Research Institute, heart disease is the number one cause of death in Canada for women over 55. What’s more, Canadian women are 16% more likely than men to die from the result of a heart attack. One of our current problems when it comes to women’s heart health is that, according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, 2/3 of heart disease clinical research focuses on men.
So what does that mean for you?
It means that, until more women-centered clinical research is completed, it’s essential that you educate yourself on natural, safe ways to care for your cardiovascular system and live heart-healthy every day. This includes keeping track of your cholesterol levels. Read on for what you need to know, plus our tips and recommendations to get you started.
Women, cholesterol, and heart disease
Heart disease is a women’s issue. Some research estimates that heart attacks are more deadly for women in part because our hearts are affected by the hormonal changes of the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause. Physiological differences also exist. For instance, women’s hearts and coronary arteries are smaller than men’s, with faster resting heart rate.
While there are many risk factors involved in heart disease in women, like high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, and obesity, cholesterol is a factor you need to monitor for heart health – especially once you reach menopause. That’s because, according to the NIH’s National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, high blood cholesterol levels raise the risk for heart disease, and menopausal women are at increased risk of high cholesterol due to the drop in estrogen production that happens at menopause.
Higher estrogen levels are associated with a rise in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, which offers protection against heart disease, along with a decline in total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, and triglycerides. (Confused about cholesterol types and what they really mean? We’re got you covered below, so read on!). To nurture heart health before, during, and after menopause, you want to keep your cholesterol levels within a healthy range.
Your cholesterol primer
Let’s dig into what cholesterol is, and more importantly, how it might affect women’s health. So what is cholesterol, anyway?
Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in every cell in the body. It’s both made by the body and absorbed from food. Cholesterol is essential because your body needs it to make important steroid hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and vitamin D. What’s more, the brain needs cholesterol and without enough of it, you might be at increased risk for depression, which is an independent risk factor for heart disease. Cholesterol is also used to make bile acids in the liver. In other words, cholesterol isn’t inherently bad.
But here’s the thing: excess cholesterol in the bloodstream can clog the arteries. These deposits (known as plaques) can result in atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries – which is a major cause of heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems.
Your total cholesterol level is a measure of the amount of cholesterol circulating in your bloodstream, which is divided in two major cholesterol types along with triglycerides:
LDL cholesterol: LDL or low-density lipoprotein. This is known as the “bad” cholesterol, which contributes to plaque buildup in the arteries as it undergoes free-radical damage. LDL rises after menopause in many women.
HDL cholesterol: HDL or high-density lipoprotein. It has been called “good” cholesterol because research suggests it helps the body dispose of LDL cholesterol. Low HDL cholesterol might be a more important heart disease risk factor for women than for men. What’s more, low HDL in women is one of the first measure of insulin resistance (another risk factor for heart disease).
Triglycerides: Triglycerides are the most common form of fat in the body. High levels of triglycerides could be a greater risk factor for heart disease in women compared with men. High triglycerides might be caused by conditions like hypothyroidism and PCOS and are associated with excess abdominal fat and high blood sugar, because the liver stores excess glucose as triglycerides.
Women-specific tips for healthy cholesterol levels and heart health
A heart-healthy lifestyle can go a long way toward keeping cholesterol levels in check and preventing heart disease in women. Work with an integrative doctor to track your cholesterol levels and make appropriate changes to your diet and lifestyle if your total cholesterol levels are high, if HDL levels are low, or LDL levels are elevated. Diet-wise, choose healthy fats and lower cholesterol intake from foods by opting for plant-based swaps whenever possible. If you’re overweight, do your best to shed the extra pounds.
Try nutritional supplements like Healthy Heart. Talk with other women and let your emotions flow freely – all of these are pathways to a healthy heart.
What Is It?
Selenium is a trace mineral naturally occurring in the soil, in certain foods, and very small amounts can be found in natural water sources.
Selenium’s main role is acting as an antioxidant and has many benefits to the body. Selenium is also a chief component of the molecules which are necessary for your body to be able to create and use thyroid hormones, called ‘selenoproteins’.
The top health benefits of Selenium include:
- regulating the thyroid
- boosting immunity
- reducing asthma symptoms
- supporting fertility for both men & women
- defending against heart disease, cancer, and oxidative stress
- increasing longevity
Antioxidants like vitamins A, C, E, and minerals like Zinc, Manganese, and Selenium are key in facilitating the phase I and phase II detoxification processes in the liver.
Selenium also plays an important role in prostate health, helping to maintain healthy levels of Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) which is the marker for prostate cancer.
More on the Benefits of Selenium
→ ANTIOXIDANT POWER, IMMUNE-BOOSTING & CANCER PREVENTION
Selenium acts as a powerful antioxidant and defends against oxidative stress. There is also a strong correlation between serum levels of Selenium and a reduced risk of several types of cancer.
Studies show that foods high in Selenium may prevent cancer by helping with DNA repair, preventing cancer cells from replicating and by reducing free radicals in the body .
This mineral is such an important factor in supporting the immune system that it’s a key ingredient in our Immuno Multi formula.
→ HEART HEALTH & REDUCED INFLAMMATION
Selenium-rich foods (and the selenoproteins that they help form) can also prevent platelets from aggregating (which improves blood flow), prevent oxidative damage to cells (e.g. prevent the oxidative modification of lipids) thereby reducing inflammation and lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease .
People with low levels of serum Selenium have been shown to be at higher risk of cardiovascular disease. For these reasons, experts have suggested that Selenium supplements could reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease or deaths associated with cardiovascular disease.
→ REGULATES THYROID FUNCTION
Selenium is probably most well-known for its role in maintaining thyroid health since it works together closely with Iodine – another important trace mineral.
Concentrations of Selenium are higher in the thyroid gland than anywhere else in the body. It helps to regulate and recycle our Iodine stores and is needed to produce the critical thyroid hormone T3, which regulates metabolism.
‘Selenoproteins’ protect the thyroid gland when we are under stress. They help flush out oxidative and chemical stress, and even social stress – which, as most of us have experienced, can cause many negative reactions in our body.
Signs, Symptoms, and Causes of Selenium Deficiency
A selenium deficiency is generally observed in areas where the soil does not contain much of it and the mineral content in soil can differ dramatically depending on location.
Even in food sources, the amount of Selenium is largely dependent on soil conditions that the food grew in. Therefore, even within the same food, levels of selenium can vary widely, and the mineral’s benefits may be more prominent in crops grown in certain locations more so than others.
Health Experts are becoming increasingly concerned as evidence suggests that a decline in blood Selenium levels is occurring in parts of the U.K. and other European Union countries. The worry is with several potential health implications that can result due to a deficiency in this mineral.
Selenium deficiency signs & symptoms include:
- Muscle pain or weakness
- Discolouration of hair or skin
- Whitening of the fingernail beds
- Thyroid dysfunction
- Weakened immune system
- Infertility in men and women
- Cognitive decline
While Selenium deficiency is very rare in Canada and the United States (unlike other nutrient deficiencies that are more common) it is certainly wise to ensure you’re getting enough.
There are some people who do, in fact, have a Selenium deficiency due to a poor diet and conditions like Crohn’s disease that impair absorption of the nutrients your body needs to heal and thrive.
Additionally, many studies tell us that having Selenium levels above the RDI (recommended daily intake) is when it starts to have therapeutic effects, like lowering PSA for example.
Best food sources of Selenium
- Brazil nuts (just 1-2 per day provides you with enough Selenium!)
- Yellowfin tuna
- Grass-fed beef
- Beef liver
- Sunflower seeds
- Chia seeds
While it’s important to try to acquire Selenium through quality food sources, you may not be getting enough (except if you’re eating a Brazil nut a day!) – and supplementation may be a wise choice.
Sources & Referenced Content:
 National Institutes of Health “Selenium: Fact Sheet for Professionals”
 The Lancet Journal 2012 “Selenium and Human Health”
Don’t Summer and BBQ’s just go hand-in-hand together?
Grilling just seems to make food taste better, no matter what you cook on the BBQ…meat, poultry, vegetables, even fruit! These foods all taste amazing when prepared on a smokey grill.
However, consuming grilled food too often in the form of muscle meat (beef, pork, poultry, and fish) can come with some risks.
When muscle meat is cooked at high temperatures, chemicals known as heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are formed.
These known carcinogens can cause changes in your DNA and, in turn, increase your risk of developing cancer if consumed in high doses, according to some studies.
Because barbecuing is usually hotter than other cooking methods, grilled food typically contains higher levels of these chemicals than food prepared using other techniques such as baking or broiling.
We’re going to offer up some best practices for your summer BBQ, as well as how to enjoy healthier grilled meat. But first…
Let’s learn more about HCAs and PAHs…
HETEROCYCLIC AMINES (HCAs)
HCAs are formed as a result of a chemical reaction that occurs during the cooking process – this is the creatine, amino acids, and sugars in muscle meat react to high temperatures.
Therefore, grilled meat is more likely to have higher levels of HCAs than meat prepared other ways, and even more so when meat is overcooked or charbroiled.
The following factors influence the formation of HCAs:
- Temperature (the most important – especially muscle meat cooked above 300°)
- The type of meat (carcinogens are typically formed in muscle meat)
- How long the muscle meat is cooked (the longer the food is cooked, the more HCAs are formed)
- How the muscle meat is cooked (grilling vs. roasting, stewing, and steaming)
POLYCYCLIC AROMATIC HYDROCARBONS (PAHs)
Exposing muscle meat directly to smoke is what contributes to the formation of PAHs.
PAH’s are also produced when meat is charred or blackened, or when fat from muscle meat drips onto the hot coals and the surface of the grill, which in turn forms PAHs in the smoke.
This smoke then infiltrates the food with PAHs as it rises. PAHs can also be found in other smoked foods, such as smoked meat & fish.
The following factors influence the formation of PAHs:
- Temperature (the most important – especially muscle meat cooked above 200°)
- How long the muscle meat is cooked (the longer the food is cooked, the more PAHs are formed)
- How the muscle meat is cooked (grilling vs. baking or roasting)
- The type of fuel used when cooking the food
- The distance between the food and the heat source
How to BBQ better and enjoy healthier grilled meat!
The case for meat as a cancer risk has been gaining momentum for years. A number of studies now show that people who report eating diets heavy in red (and processed meats) have higher risks of certain types of cancer, as well as heart disease and other chronic illnesses.
These findings certainly don’t bode well when you want to add barbecuing your meat on top of that!
However, it’s not all doom and gloom, and you still can enjoy the occasional meal that includes grilled meat.
There are plenty of ways you can reduce the levels of HCAs & PAHs in your food:
1. Flavor your food with herbs and spices – some herbs and spices can actually help prevent HCAs from forming due to the antioxidants they contain.
Recommended herbs and spices include:
– onion powder
Did you know that turmeric, an ancient spice that has hepatoprotective and anti-inflammatory properties contains beneficial polyphenols and offers powerful antioxidant support?
This is due to its high curcumin content and it works in both fat and water soluble tissues to protect the liver.
2. Cut off and discard charred pieces of meat before serving, as those pieces will contain higher levels of carcinogens. In addition, do not use meat drippings as gravy for your food, as there could be carcinogens in the meat drippings.
3. Certain types of marinades can reduce the levels of HCA and PAH – marinade serves as a barrier between meat and carcinogens.
Acid-based marinades that contain vinegar, lemon juice, lime juice, red wine, and yogurt can reduce the formation of HCA, while beer marinades (particularly marinades made with dark beer) can reduce the formation of PAHs.
You can also brush your food with a small amount of olive oil – just keep in mind, while this can help reduce HCA levels, the fat from the oil dripping on the grill can still increase PAH levels.
4. Use leaner cuts of meat for grilling – the less amount of fat that drips onto the grill, the less amount of PAH that will form.
Avoid grilling meat that is highly processed, such as sausage and ham, since they contain added nitrates and higher amounts of fat.
5. To shorten the cooking time of meat, cut meat into smaller pieces and cook it on medium to medium-high heat (do not cook on high heat).
Kabobs are a great way to utilize smaller pieces of meat and be sure to include some vegetable.
BONUS: vegetables do not create carcinogens, as they do not contain creatine and they lack fat, meaning there won’t be any flare-ups on the grill that result in smoke being created.
6. Clean your grill after each use with a quality brush (one where bristles won’t break off). This will help get rid of any residues from carcinogens that may have built up, and prevent them from being transferred to your food the next time you use your grill.
However, by using safer grilling techniques, you will reduce the number of carcinogens that infiltrate your food, making your grilled meat more safe to consume and effectively reducing your cancer risk.
 The Lancelet – Oncology, October 2015: Carcinogenicity of Consumption of Red and Processed Meat
 Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI), January 2017: Grilled, Barbecued and Smoked Meat Intake and Survival Following Breast Cancer
 Journal of Nutrition and Cancer, December 2012: Meat Consumption, Cooking Practices, Meat Mutagens and Risk of Prostate Cancer
 Journal of Cancer Science, 2004: Heterocyclic Amines: Mutagens/Carcinogens Produced During Cooking of Meat and Fish
Every woman needs these tips for better urinary health
In our daily lives, we take many steps to optimize our health and well-being.
For starters, you integrate that new mindfulness meditation practice into your mornings to revitalize your nervous system and invest in quality serums and lotions for your best skin health and natural glow.
Still, you rarely stop to think about urinary health—except when you’re struck down with a urinary tract infection, or UTI.
Most women will experience a UTI at least once in their lives, but for many others, urinary tract infections happen on the regular.
The great news is that you can curb your UTI risk naturally by following some simple daily habits, and when you do get a urinary tract infection, you can turn to natural remedies for symptom relief and treatment. How? Read on for our top tips to harness your best urinary health yet.
What is a UTI?
A urinary tract infection, or UTI, is a bacterial infection that commonly affects the urethra and bladder. The main symptoms of UTI include painful urination, a burning sensation while peeing, a pressure in the lower abdomen and above the pubic bone, and frequent urge to pee, even though little comes out when you do. When you have a UTI, you might be tired and need more rest than usual. What’s more, frequent and painful peeing might make you anxious about your daily activities, like going to work and playing sports.
What causes UTI?
A urinary tract infection is usually caused by bacteria. But other factors are also involved. For example, being a woman is a risk factor for UTI. And once you’ve had a urinary tract infection, you become more prone to a recurring one in the future. Finally, pregnancy can up your UTI risk, too.
Lifestyle habits linked with a higher UTI risk include sexual activity (from pressure on the urinary tract during sex, and more bacteria exposure post-intercourse), some forms of birth control (namely spermicides, and friction from condoms), and also wearing a diaphragm (for some women, it can slow urinary flow).
With proper treatment, a UTI will usually subside without further complications. But if you get regular urinary tract infections, you’ll definitely want to tweak your daily habits to hit reset on your urinary health. Read on for our healthful tips.
Daily tips to curb your UTI risk
To kick your risk of getting a urinary tract infection and to support better urinary health, up your daily intake of fluids. Drinking lots of pure water is the ultimate urinary health action plan because it helps flush out toxins and bacteria and maintain a healthy urine flow.
Keep hydrated by drinking pure water while also avoiding too much coffee, tea, and soda, which can be dehydrating.
Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes
While wearing tight-fitting jeans and nylon undies is fine for most people, if you’re prone to UTIs, you’ll want to swap them for cotton underwear and comfy clothes that let you breathe and don’t trap moisture. What’s more, you’ll want to avoid irritating, scented bath products and feminine hygiene sprays.
Boost your immune system
Supporting better immune health is your go-to approach to better urinary health and lower UTI risk. Fill nutritional deficiencies with a high-quality Adult Multi providing essential vitamins and minerals. Add an antioxidant Vitamin C boost to enhance immune function. Promote optimal pH balance in the body with pH Pro.
Diet-wise, choose natural and minimally processed nutrient-rich foods.
Address UTI symptoms now with these natural remedies
Snag some herbal remedies to help alleviate UTI symptoms. Try Dandelion leaf tea as a beneficial diuretic to help increase urine flow and flushing of bacteria and toxins. Find a Uva ursi extract as a urinary antiseptic, combined with mineral-rich horsetail. Another favorite plant remedy for UTI is pure, unsweetened cranberry juice.
Build your microflora
Restore optimal urogenital flora with probiotics, especially lactobacilli. Loading up on healthful probiotics helps lower risk of UTI while also helping you bounce back faster post-infection.
What’s more, probiotics are essential to restoring optimal flora if you decide to take a round of antibiotics for your urinary tract infection. Take a multi-strain probiotic in supplement form, or opt for live fermented and cultured foods like sauerkraut, kefir, or kombucha.
Rest and recover
When you’re fighting an infection, getting enough rest is crucial. Lower stress and anxiety by indulging in lots of quiet downtimes, restorative baths, and enough sleep. Don’t overbook your schedule, and give yourself time to heal. Learning to manage stress and be more mindful of your body’s needs will also help nix the chance of recurring infections in the long-term.
A holistic approach to preventing UTIs is the surest way path to optimal urinary health.
We do always recommend you work with a qualified healthcare practitioner before starting a new supplement or herbal medicine regime.
Optimizing nutrition when you’re an athlete (or even if you workout regularly) can make a significant difference in your health and performance on the court, field or at the gym.
Just like exercising your muscles through cardiovascular workouts or strength training is important, so is fueling your body properly through your diet. Unfortunately, when this doesn’t happen it can negatively affect performance, and in some cases, impair immune function.  
Increased Energy and Nutrient Needs
Focusing on some key nutrients can not only increase endurance in the athlete but also improve overall health by bolstering the immune system, improving bone health and minimizing oxidative stress.
Eating adequate amounts of micronutrients and vitamins is vital to muscle building and recovery from the physiological stress of intense activity or playing sports. Nutrient needs are increased when metabolic and biochemical pathways are taxed via exercise which is used to repair lean tissue.
Supplements can help but the idea is to make food your primary source of nutrients because your body utilizes food differently than supplements. 
Food also includes fibre, other vitamins and essential nutrients that work together to create energy and fuel cells. These important components in the diet are more depleted in athletes that don’t consume adequate calories and/or restrict or eliminate food groups.
The 6 Most Essential Nutrients For Athletic People:
Individuals who are athletic are especially susceptible to being low in zinc mainly because they aren’t eating enough rich food sources of this mineral.
Zinc plays a part in immunity, protein utilization, and metabolic efficiency as well as thyroid function, and all of these affect athletic performance in some way.
Foods that are high in zinc include meat and poultry, whole grains, oysters, milk and dairy, legumes and fortified breakfast cereals.
Those that are most at risk for a deficiency are vegetarians who don’t eat enough whole grains or meat. It must be noted that overdoing zinc supplementation can result in a copper deficiency. Be sure to consult your healthcare practitioner to discuss supplementation.
Iron is necessary for the metabolism of carbohydrates, protein, and fat as well as its capacity to carry oxygen. A deficiency may inhibit endurance as well as immune and cognitive functions.
Foods that are high in iron include red meat, fortified cereals eaten along with fruit or vegetables that are high in vitamin C. This vitamin will enhance iron absorption and improve iron status in an individual.
Calcium aids in muscle contraction and nerve impulses, as well as bone growth and increasing bone mass. Poor calcium intake can lead bone-related issues such as stress fractures.
Foods high in calcium include cheese, milk, yogurt, spinach, collard greens, almonds, sardines (with the bones!), fortified cereals and juices.
This vitamin is needed for adequate calcium absorption in the gut, to control serum calcium and phosphorus and to build strong bones. It also contributes to a well functioning nervous and skeletal system.
If a person lives in an area with little sunlight and they spend most of their time indoors, and because there aren’t many foods that contain vitamin D without fortification, they’re at a greater risk of having low Vitamin D – in this case, supplementation may be prudent.
The best sources are fatty fish like salmon, tuna or mackerel, and eggs. Fortified milk offers most of the vitamin D in the average diet with fortified orange juice beverages and certain cereals contributing a small amount. Again, supplementation is a wise choice!
Magnesium aids in more than 300 biochemical processes in the body that include:
- helps produce ATP, essential to the metabolic activities of every cell
- protein synthesis for muscle building
- relaxes muscles and nerves
- calms the mind
- aids in calcium absorption
- regulation of blood pressure & heart rhythm
All of which are concerns to an athlete!
Sources of Magnesium include green leafy vegetables, nuts, whole grains, seeds, meat and dairy. Some breakfast cereals are also fortified with Magnesium.
However, as we explained in “Nutrient Deficiencies: Why Nearly Everyone Has Them!”, the composition of what we eat and the quality of our foods has drastically changed over the past hundred years, and this has made it difficult to get enough of many key minerals, especially magnesium.
B vitamins all play a rather large role in energy metabolism and blood health along with building and repair of muscle tissue.
A deficiency can lead to fatigue, muscle soreness and apathy along with poor cognitive function. Meat, fish and poultry, as well as enriched grains, are good sources of B vitamins.
The bottom line on essential nutrients for everyday athletes:
Regular exercise and sports participation increases the turnover and loss of nutrients from the body, so greater calories, vitamins, and minerals are needed to cover these losses through the diet and in some cases supplementation.
Eating a wide enough variety of foods from all the major food groups is what is needed for proper functioning of muscles, a strong immune system, and optimal performance during athletic endeavours.
 Science Direct. Vitamin and Mineral Status: Effects on physical performance, Elsevier Volume 20, Issues 7–8 (July–August 2004)
 Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology. Nutritional Strategies to Minimise Exercise-Induced Immunosuppression in Athletes (2001)
 JAMA Network. Essential Nutrients: Food or supplements? Where should emphasis be? (July 2005)
For many women, turning fifty is a milestone. It might be a time of transformation: from children leaving the family home to career shifts, or finding a new approach to your health and well-being.
You might notice that your body changes when you hit fifty. Staying up late and traveling, for example, might affect you differently than they used to. But your fifties and beyond can be a time of vibrant health and fulfillment.
Read on to learn about the main health concerns for women over fifty, plus which natural supplements should be on your radar.
What are the main health concerns for women over 50?
For women over fifty, one of the main health concerns is the transition of menopause. Altered hormone levels that come from the end of the reproductive years can cause unpleasant symptoms like hot flashes, mood swings, fatigue, and lower libido. Other health concerns as you move into this decade include heart disease and bone density. Finally, to enjoy your fifties and beyond, you want to support brain health and keep your mind sharp.
Here’s the great news: you can reclaim your health and enjoy yourself in the process. How? Address your health concerns with the right natural supplements.
Top 5 natural supplements for women over 50
Herbs for hormone balance
Medicinal herbs are widely used to support hormonal health during menopause. Herbal allies for women over fifty include black cohosh, chasteberry, dong quai, maca, and sage.
Black cohosh binds to estrogen receptors and works by affecting the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin. Preparations of black cohosh root have been shown to reduce hot flashes and night sweats, along with improving mood.
Chasteberry (also known as chastetree or Vitex) shifts hormone production toward more progesterone and less estrogen through its effect on the hypothalamus-pituitary axis. Several studies showed chasteberry to be effective in reducing breast pain and other PMS symptoms.
Dong quai is a staple of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and has been called female ginseng for its energy and mood boosting properties. Dong quai is recommended for irregular bleeding.
Maca, a Peruvian adaptogen, benefits the endocrine and reproductive systems. Preparations made from maca root boost the production of sex hormones and increase energy and sex drive. In studies, maca supplementation was associated with a substantial reduction of menopausal discomfort in early postmenopausal women.
Finally, sage is used to alleviate hot flashes, sweating, and other menopausal symptoms as a general tonic. A clinical trial showed the efficacy of sage over a two-month treatment period.
Find these herbs as dietary supplements in such forms as a powdered whole herb, liquid extracts, and dried extracts in pill form, or a convenient all-in-one herbal blend like Meno-Prev.
Vitamins & minerals
Sufficient intake of certain vitamins and minerals is essential for thriving in your fifties and beyond. You’ll want to supplement your diet with the following: calcium and magnesium, along with vitamin D and K.
Calcium supplements help make up for lowered assimilation from food sources as you age. Calcium is needed by every cell in your body and is especially important for women over fifty to prevent bone loss and osteoporosis risk.
Working in synergy with calcium, magnesium helps promote cardiovascular health and normal blood pressure (not to mention its sweet stress-busting properties).
Fat-soluble vitamins D and K play a crucial role in calcium metabolism. Controlled trials have shown the benefits of vitamins D and K on postmenopausal osteoporosis with a study duration between 8 weeks and 3 years. Try a formula like Osteo Prolong to fill your nutritional needs.
Fiber is one of the top supplements for women over fifty, thanks to its massive amount of health benefits. Think enhanced blood sugar balance, lower cholesterol, improved cardiovascular health, weight loss, and better gut health from curbing symptoms of constipation, diarrhea, and IBS. What’s more, fiber helps regulate hormone levels during menopause. Look for a dietary fiber supplement that contains both soluble and insoluble fiber for best results.
Women over fifty become more prone to chronic, low-grade systemic inflammation. To stay healthy throughout your fifties and beyond, fighting inflammation is your go-to action plan. Try turmeric, or better yet, highly bio-available Curcumin. Curcuminoids in turmeric slow the enzymes that cause inflammation, so you can count on the time-tested Ayurvedic remedy to keep you feeling healthy.
Keep your mind sharp and curb depression and memory loss with natural supplements like gingko biloba. Clinical trials have shown the beneficial effects of gingko biloba on cognitive function (especially concentration and memory). Try the Mind-Pro formula to fuel your brain as you enter what can be the best years of your life.
With spring finally here, you may feel inspired to clean out and organize the inside of your house! By incorporating detox methods into your everyday routine — you can also cleanse your insides.
Your body is continually undergoing natural detoxification methods as part of general maintenance – and especially when a season change is upon us. But many times, the detox organs (ie. skin, lungs, liver, kidneys and intestines), need extra nutritional and herbal support to ensure that they are working effectively and efficiently.
An overloaded and unsupported system can respond in the following ways: digestive complaints, fatigue, hives, skin conditions, low-grade infections, achy joints, brain fog, and frequent headaches.
Check out these detox tips to optimize your ‘internal cleanse’ this spring!
First – the liver
The liver is one of the main organs of elimination that cleanses the blood. Blood detoxification, being one of the most important functions of the liver, needs a good supply of nutrients in order to do its job effectively. Think of the best working vacuum cleaner, if its filter is dirty it surely won’t do a good job – the liver works quite the same! Without a supply of the right nutrients, it will dysfunction just like the vacuum.
There are 2 phases to this very important job (liver detox) and both require certain nutrients to complement each complex phase.
The first phase of liver detoxification (Phase 1) breaks down toxins into less toxic versions of their original chemical structure. From there a second step of detoxification should occur (Phase 2). This is where the liver will chemically alter the toxic by-product making it water soluble and easier to excrete via the intestines.
This all happens if liver function is optimal, which means the right kinds of nutrients need to be available to keep our hardest working organ-fueled!
Key factors and what to look for in a detox formula?
CanPrev’s Detox Pro is a 15 day cleanse that is jammed packed with a healthful blend of antioxidants, herbs and other nutrients that provide the liver with specific nutrients to support phase 1 and 2 of detoxification and to ultimately help rid toxins out of the body.
Powerful antioxidants such as n-acetylcysteine (NAC), which is a precursor to an endogenous antioxidant called glutathione as well as vitamins A, C and E, all help to neutralize the free radicals (damaging substances) from phase 1 waiting to enter phase 2.
The vitamin B family such as B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, folate and B12, provide energy and act as co-factors in the metabolic reactions that happen in phase 2 detoxification. Choline helps to metabolize fat, copper and zinc help make an antioxidant called superoxide dismutase work (an enzyme that helps break down potentially harmful oxygen molecules) and also supports a healthy metabolism.
Trace minerals such as molybdenum, manganese and selenium enable other vitamins or enzymes in the detoxification process to function.
Herbs for detox
Artichoke extract, also found in this formula, has strong antioxidant property, protects the liver and prevents depletion of glutathione.
Turmeric, an ancient spice that has hepatoprotective and anti-inflammatory properties contains beneficial polyphenols and offers powerful antioxidant support. Tumeric works in both fat and water soluble tissues to protect the liver.
Dandelion extract can help stimulate digestive glands and the liver. Green tea extract contains compounds called polyphenols that help to support Phase 1 and 2. Milk thistle extract’s active ingredient is silymarin, which has the amazing capacity to regenerate liver tissue. Rosemary extract is an antioxidant and inhibits some cancer-causing effects from carcinogens. Lastly, slippery elm forms a gel-like substance when mixed with water to protect the mucous membranes.
Additional factors to support healthy detox
Fiber and probiotics are important additions to any detox.
CanPrev’s Pro-Biotik 15B has five strains that ensure proper colonization of bacteria occurs in the correct places. Three different lactobacillus strains colonize the small intestine and vaginal tissue and two strains of Bifidobacterium bacteria colonize the large intestine to help prevent and control constipation and diarrhea.
CanPrev’s Fiber Flow is a combination of 3 herbal components that provide soluble fiber to keep bowels moving well – so that all those toxins can be eliminated before re-entering the bloodstream!
Unique to this formula is the glucomannan that helps both constipation and diarrhea. As well as a form of fiber extracted from New Zealand kiwifruit. Kiwifruit has been found to enhance gut health by easing constipation and modulating colonic microbiota. It also provides enzymes, prebiotics and antioxidants and promotes laxation!
Lastly, the pectin from apples is another soluble source of fiber the can help with satiation, binds cholesterol and helps maintain healthy glucose levels.
The fiber allows binding of certain metabolic by-products and directs it to the bowels to be eliminated and the probiotics help to ensure the elimination occurs.
Be sure to drink plenty of water if you choose to use this product and as always consult with a qualified health professional before adding a natural health product to your regime.
Thomas Edison once said: “The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest patients in the maintenance of the human frame, in diet, and in the prevention of disease.”
Connecting with a Naturopathic Doctor (ND) as part of your health-care team is a great way to incorporate a more holistic approach.
ND’s can educate, empower and motivate their patients to take personal responsibility for their health by guiding them in how to adopt a healthier lifestyle, diet, and attitude.
Taking charge of one’s health means learning how to prevent disease rather than just popping a pill for any given ailment.
But, the truth is out. As a dedicated Health Practitioner, running a busy clinic or practice can sink your own health – and your sanity by times!
It’s great that you feel called to help so many other people to re-prioritize, get healthier, and practice self-care, and it’s incredibly rewarding work – that’s why you do it!
Take your own advice, take care of yourself
You may genuinely feel that all of your efforts have propelled you ahead in your business, but all of that “busyness” can sometimes come with lots of added stress.
How to not lose sight of your own health needs while building your practice
Think of it this way – if you’re not feeling your best (body & mind), your work will suffer. As a busy Health Practitioner, this means that your business will also eventually suffer. It’s as simple as that. So, let’s try to change our own health-diluting practices with a few simple tips:
Make self-care a top priority
Self-care is not selfish or an indulgence, nor is it even an option anymore in our daily lives. It is paramount to our well-being as well as to our success in a health-focused business.
It’s those activities that negate the impact of both emotional AND physical stressors. Things like fueling our bodies with health-optimizing foods, moving our bodies regularly (breaking a sweat!), restorative sleep, and “decompression-type” practices like yoga, meditation & breathing exercises.
Basically, all the things that you’ve been guiding your patients in!
Be sure to schedule these practices into your own day and show yourself that you are just as worthy (as the patients you dedicate so much of your energy to) of time and space that is all yours.
Stay as active as you can
There’s no doubt that you’ve started to feel the negative effects of sitting at your desk in front of your computer for longer and longer periods of time. Things like eye strain, headaches, low back pain, neck pain, and poor circulation.
Sitting goes hand-in-hand with being sedentary, and this deadly combo is associated with serious health concerns like obesity, high cholesterol, and metabolic syndrome.
The most serious damage to your body is when it is chronically in the same position with little or no movement for 60-90 minutes or more at a time.
Some practices to offset all of this prolonged sitting:
- Exercise daily – ever heard of Dead Butt Syndrome – or Gluteal Amnesia? It’s a thing! Focus on strengthening the posterior (back side) of your body – back, glutes, hamstrings and stretching the anterior (front side) – chest, pelvis and hip flexors.
- Take frequent and regular breaks – aim for once an hour or several throughout the workday.
- Invest in a stand-up desk – this will help you to become more aware of your posture and engage your core muscles.
- Consistent movement, whether sitting or standing – yep, you have permission to fidget while you work.
Get in the blue-free zone
In our highly digitized world, the amount of “screen time” we accrue is astonishing. In fact, children in North America are exposed to devices (phones, tablets and tv’s) for an average of 7.5 hours daily. WOW!
Adults aren’t that much better off as 91% of us rely on our smartphones for our everyday tasks from staying connected with people to online shopping to watching how-to videos on every subject imaginable.
While our screens are extremely helpful in daily life, they can also have a significant impact on our health. Of course, there are the ones we mentioned already, like eye strain, neck pain, and headaches. But, excessive screen time can alter our body’s natural circadian rhythm. Yikes!
For these reasons, you must cut down on the blue light exposure accrued from all devices.
A few ideas for “device detoxing”:
- Use the screen dimming function or night screen masking apps for your phone & tablet
- Blue light blocking (anti-glare) glasses to wear while using a computer or device
- A blue light blocker coating on your next pair of eyeglasses
- Set a defined limit of no screen work at least ONE hour before bed to allow your eyes and your brain to decompress and “detox” the blue light pollution – 2-3 hours is even better!
More ideas HERE in “The Day & Nighttime Blues” article over on the Orange Naturals blog.
Then, once you’ve finally got yourself into bed, there’s the sleep factor: good quality, restorative sleep is not only vital to functioning and performing effectively in our jobs but to our very survival.
Running a busy health & wellness business can be one of the hardest gigs out there because you’re trying to be the best possible health role model and key support person to so many others while trying to maintain your own health.
It’s imperative that you respect and honour your own health if you’re going to put your best body and mind forward in your practice – and in your business. Just like you would tell your patients – stay positive and be kind to yourself!
The development of allergies is becoming more and more common. The same goes for sensitivities to foods, chemicals and environmental factors.
Our immune system and cellular tissue can become compromised due to inflammatory responses from the mechanisms of each reaction – especially through responses from sensitivities.
Here’s a little more information on the what and why of allergy and sensitivity testing – from an ND’s perspective.
A type 1 hypersensitivity reaction is an immediate release of histamine by IgE antibodies when exposed to an allergen. This type of allergy shows up quickly and sometimes with life-threatening symptoms such as swelling of lips or face, difficulty breathing and anaphylactic shock. The cause of the reaction is usually quite clear such as peanuts and shellfish.
Immune complex disease
A type 3 hypersensitivity is mediated by IgG antibodies. This type of process antibodies bind to antigens and there is a gradual formation of antibody-mediated complexes (immune complexes) that can deposit in tissues and joints. Over time, this can lead to chronic inflammation, which can lead to an array of varying delayed onset of symptoms, like headaches, migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, asthma, joint pain, eczema, fatigue and many other health concerns.
type 1 hypersensitivity
Skin prick testing determines type 1 hypersensitivity, usually done through your medical doctor, where a purified allergen is injected just below the skin to produce a controlled reaction. This process usually tests for allergies like pollen, dander, dust mites, pet dander or certain foods.
If there is a known IgE reaction, foods that are causing an anaphylactic reaction must be avoided indefinitely.
type 3 hypersensitivity
Food Sensitivity testing exists to determine type 3 hypersensitivity reactions. It is a blood test done in a lab and usually requisitioned by a naturopathic doctor. This type of test can detect sensitivity for over 200 specific foods as well as yeast overgrowth (Candida albicans). It measures the food-specific IgG antibodies found in the blood.
The test may also reveal high levels of IgG antibodies to food that you never or rarely eat, but the same proteins can exist in multiple foods and this is explained by the test results. ‘Treating the root cause’ is one of the foundational naturopathic principles. From an ND’s perspective, testing is beneficial in knowing what the culprit is that is causing the IgG reaction.
Environmental allergens, however, are not so easily avoided. Developing preventative lifestyle methods such as introducing a high-quality air purifier in the house, cleaning dust & pollen laden surfaces, and closing windows, especially during the night, when pollen release is at its highest, can be helpful.
However, when it comes to foods that are causing a type 3 hypersensitivity reaction, a more preventative approach can be taken. First, removing the offending food(s) for a lengthy period of time is a must. Using substances to heal the gut and support the body’s digestive system while promoting proper elimination is the next step (see list below).
An intensive healing protocol, known as the Four R’s (remove, replace, repair and reinoculate is often used if the intestinal wall has been compromised due to ongoing inflammation from sensitivities).
Depending on the severity of the sensitivity and the tissue damage it may have caused, integration of the original foods that were eliminated may be slowly reintroduced while monitoring symptoms.
Key therapies in practice
L-glutamine is an amino acid that repairs cells when damage has occurred from food sensitivities, like inflammation. This inflammation can create spaces between the cells in the gut which allow for bacteria, food and toxic by-products to enter the bloodstream and cause subsequent ailments.
Vitamin C acts as a natural antihistamine in high doses and helps strengthen the immune system by increasing white blood cells, improves the linings of mucous membranes to reduce pollen and other airborne allergens. Vitamin C can be easily be taken just before bowel tolerance (at the point it causes diarrhea) to make sure maximum absorption and benefit have occurred.
Probiotics like CanPrev’s Pro-Biotik 15B, help strengthen the immune system by reducing inflammation and keep toxins moving through the system and out through the bowels efficiently.
Antioxidants like vitamins A, C, E, Zinc, Selenium, and CoQ10 and N-Acetyl-cysteine are key at providing phase 1 and phase 2 in the liver with the nutrients it needs to process allergens efficiently so they can be eliminated through the colon.
Omega 3 fatty acids have an amazing anti-inflammatory effect, thus calming down the symptoms associated with allergies but also improving the immune system at the same time.
Detoxification is very important for chronic allergies, such as seasonal, asthma and hives, and is an area I usually begin with when developing a patient’s treatment plan that will properly address their allergies. This approach not only helps with treating the current symptoms but also addresses the root cause of improving the functioning of the elimination organs to reduce overall allergenic potential.
This, in turn, allows food and toxins to be processed properly, reducing toxic buildup from waste particles from inflammatory reactions.
Using supplements to support liver health, such as CanPrev’s Detox Pro, can ensure the liver has the nutrients it requires to neutralize toxins and get them out of the body. Along with eating a healthful anti-inflammatory diet, lots of water and fiber are all essential to enhance these detoxification systems, improve one’s immune response and decrease food sensitivities and allergy symptoms.
Visit Dr. Laura Anderson ND online: http://www.lauraandersonnd.com/
Find a naturopathic doctor by visiting this link: http://www.findanaturopath.com/
You probably don’t think about them too much, except maybe which polish colour to choose next? But, you would be surprised what those little keratinized extensions of our fingertips (your fingernails) can tell us about our nutrition, and our health status overall.
Naturopaths often include an examination of a patient’s nails as part of their routine health evaluations. Signs on the nails may be an indication of certain conditions or deficiencies. However, it is not a definitive diagnosis without also looking at many other aspects of an individuals health in order to get the most informed view and create a holistic treatment plan.
What’s considered normal differs in everyone, but generally, fingernails should be clear, smooth, pliable and peachy-pink in colour.
There are numerous conditions that can affect the nails – too many to mention here, but in many cases, it is a nutritional deficiency that may be causing your nails’ odd appearance. However, it may also be that your body is not effectively absorbing nutrients or you may even be low in stomach acid – vital to digestion.
The 5 nail health signs to watch out for
Ever noticed white spots on your nails? While this is most often due to mild trauma (like nicking your nail), it can also indicate a zinc deficiency.
Zinc is found in such foods as oysters, red meat (especially lamb), legumes, nuts, egg yolks, oats, pumpkin seeds, green leafy vegetables, and cocoa or dark chocolate.
Lack of Vitamin C can cause pesky and often painful hangnails. Vitamin C-rich foods are citrus, berries, mango, peppers, tomatoes, cabbage, and leafy greens.
Horizontal lines, ridges and spoons
What about horizontal lines or ridges across your nails? Sometimes called Beau’s lines – these may also be due to a zinc deficiency but could be indicative of low iron or anemia. Nails can be spoon-shaped at the tips with iron deficiency as well.
To pump more iron into your day, try spinach and other dark leafy greens like kale. Also, red meat, liver, egg yolks, beans, shellfish, dried fruit and blackstrap molasses – are all good sources.
It’s a good idea to pair those iron-rich foods with sources of Vitamin C for better absorption.
Example: fresh spinach and strawberry salad, topped with lean chicken for extra protein – also vitally important for healthy looking nails.
Dry, brittle and peeling
Dry, brittle, thin or peeling nails? Could just be dry nails, but possibly a lack of protein, Vitamin D &/or B Vitamins in your diet.
Food sources of Vitamin D are limited as it’s naturally attained by exposing your skin to sunlight, hence being dubbed the Sunshine Vitamin. However, fish, liver and egg yolks are reasonable sources, as well as many fortified Dairy products.
Be sure to incorporate Vitamin B-rich foods into your diet as well, such as whole grains like brown rice and oats, eggs, yogurt, milk and cheese, poultry, lamb, mushrooms, pumpkin, cabbage, broccoli, asparagus, spinach, tomatoes, cauliflower and many types of beans.
No half moons?
Ever noticed the lighter-toned half-moons at the base of your fingernail? Or perhaps you haven’t noticed them because they’re absent!
This is usually due to a Vitamin B12 deficiency and is associated with anemia. Vegetarians often have trouble attaining enough B12 as it’s found primarily in animal foods, so they’re encouraged to sprinkle cheesy-tasting nutritional yeast onto foods – or supplementation may be prudent.
As always, getting your full complement of nutrients is encouraged through whole food sources, but sometimes our diet just isn’t meeting all of our needs and this is where supplementation may be necessary – for all of the reasons we discussed in the article “Nutrient Deficiencies: Why Nearly Everyone Has Them!”
Check your nails weekly for something that may be out of the “norm” for you and inform your health practitioner. Be sure to discuss what nutritional deficiencies, digestion and/or absorption issues may be a contributing factor to the problem.