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Five Reasons Why You May be Suffering from Fatigue

by Health News

In our modern world, schedules are busier than ever, and exhaustion is a common complaint.  While periods of tiredness are normal, continual fatigue could be an indicator of something other than a hectic lifestyle.  Discover five reasons you may be suffering from fatigue and a few tips for restoring energy.

With a hectic lifestyle, it is normal to experience intervals of fatigue.

1.  Diet

Diet can make a big difference when it comes to energy levels.  A latte and a doughnut get the day off to a lively start, but the sugary buzz only lasts for a few hours, and then fatigue sets in. 

According to Dr. Oz, people should trade simple carbs for protein in the morning.  A protein shake or a veggie omelet provides steady energy until lunchtime.  High fiber/high protein snacks also help maintain energy levels throughout the day.  For tasty options, try power bars, whole wheat crackers and tuna, veggies and hummus, or a handful of mixed nuts.

2.  Poor Sleep

Seven to eight hours of restorative sleep helps people wake refreshed.  Over time, less sleep can lead to chronic fatigue.  Tips for better sleep include reducing or eliminate caffeine consumption, getting a full eight hours of sleep, avoiding television or computers for at least 30 minutes before bedtime,  and setting the nighttime thermostat to around 68 degrees.

3.  Lack of Exercise

While it may seem counter-intuitive to exercise when tired, studies show it may be just the ticket for boosting energy.  Researchers from the University of Georgia tested the effects of exercise on a group of 36 subjects with persistent fatigue who did not exercise regularly.  

After six weeks at intervals of 20 minutes, three times per week, groups who performed low-intensity or moderate-intensity exercise showed an equal increase in energy levels of 20% as compared to the control group.  Interestingly, the low-intensity group reported 65% less fatigue and the moderate-intensity group reported 49% less fatigue than the control group.

Related:  The Many Benefits of Regular Exercise

4.  Anemia

Red blood cells deliver oxygen from the lungs to other body cells and tissues.  People who have anemia don't have enough red blood cells, which can leave people feeling tired.  Anemia can be caused by blood loss, chronic disease, or an iron or vitamin deficiency.  It is common among women of childbearing age due to menstruation or a need for extra iron while pregnant or breast feeding.  A simple blood test can determine whether anemia is an issue and iron supplementation is needed.  Foods high in iron include red meat, pork, poultry, beans, and leafy green vegetables.

5.  Thyroid Problems

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the neck.  It produces a hormone that helps regulate metabolism.  Production of too much thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism) makes metabolism speed up and too little thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism) makes it slow down.

Hyperthyroidism can cause muscle fatigue and weakness, weight loss, flushing, lighter menstruation, and thirst and is most common among women in their 20s and 30s.  Hypothyroidism can cause general fatigue, concentration problems, weight gain, heavier menstruation, and cold body temperature and is most common among women over the age of 50.  People concerned about thyroid problems can have a simple blood test to confirm diagnosis and get treatment.

While a busy lifestyle creates intervals of fatigue, chronic tiredness may an indication of another problem.  After medical issues are ruled out, people experiencing persistent fatigue can try changing their diet, getting better sleep, or exercising more often. 

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Weakness: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

by IVL Products

We can all experience physical weakness at times, perhaps after a serious illness, or when we’re tired, overworked or exhausted. Short-term weakness usually passes when the cause is rectified, whether it is lack of sleep, stress or fighting sickness. 

Weakness can affect the whole body

If you are experiencing ongoing weakness that does not seem to improve, you need to take steps to discover the cause and treat it. There are many possible causes of weakness including:

  • Poor diet
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Depression
  • Anemia
  • Colds and flu
  • Viral infection
  • Bacterial infection
  • Low blood sugar
  • Stress

It could also be caused by more serious medical conditions such as cancer, stroke or heart attack.   

Related:  Heart Health Benefits of Meditation

Let’s first eliminate some simple possible causes of weakness:

Poor Diet causes Weakness

If weakness is due to poor diet or intense weight-watching, analyze what you are eating. You should be enjoying a balanced diet with adequate protein, carbohydrates and fat. According to the Institute of Medicine, 45-65% of our daily calorie intake (2,000 calories total for men and 1800 for women) should come from carbohydrates, preferably multigrain bread, brown rice, beans and lentils. Ten to 25% should be derived from protein such as meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products, and around 30% of our daily calories should be from healthy fats which the body uses for energy or stores as glucose.

Colds and Sickness

In winter, colds and flu can weaken the body’s immune system. The after effects of any virus, sickness or surgical procedure can leave the body feeling drained and weak. Try eating well and include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables to boost vitamin intake and antioxidants. Consider taking a multivitamin or supplement to ensure your body is getting all the help it needs to restore itself to full health again. Another easy way to boost energy is with a green drink or smoothie to help boost immunity, provide antioxidant support and improve digestion.

Other Causes of Weakness

Try to analyze whether you are suffering from full body weakness or isolated weakness. Think back to when the weakness first began and to what it may be related. If you cannot find an obvious cause for general weakness and it does not improve, you may need to consult a doctor.

If at any time your weakness is accompanied by difficulty breathing, then you should call 911 immediately, as it could indicate a more serious medical condition. Your doctor will determine the underlying cause and treat accordingly.

In the meantime, make sure you enjoy a healthy balanced diet, maintain a healthy weight, enjoy daily exercise and any weakness should soon be a thing of the past. 

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Sweat Too Much? Four Ways to Stop Excessive Sweating

by IVL Products

Sweating is normal when temperatures are high or during exercise. At other times, suffering from excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) can be embarrassing, especially if it soaks through your clothing or makes your hands clammy and damp. It may help to know that you are not alone; an estimated eight million Americans have this problem.

There are ways to help reduce excessive sweating

Here are four suggested ways to help stop excessive sweating and gain control, simply by making a few lifestyle changes.

1.     Use Antiperspirant Twice Daily

Check that your deodorant actually includes an antiperspirant as well. Deodorants simply mask any odors while antiperspirants actually stop the underarm glands from producing sweat. You may need to change to a combination antiperspirant deodorant to control sweating.

If you have been using the same brand of antiperspirant for years, a change to a different product may produce a more effective response. Choose one containing aluminum chloride for added effectiveness.  (However, many health-conscious folks choose to avoid antiperspirants because of the aluminum content.)

As well as using antiperspirant in the morning, reapply in the afternoon for added effectiveness. This is usually the warmest part of the day and your morning antiperspirant may already have rubbed off onto clothing.

Related:  Chlorophyll:  Nature's Remedy for Fatigue, Bad Breath and More

2.     Eliminate Spicy Food

Hot peppers used in spicy dishes contain capsaicin which activates nerves that are heat sensitive. They send signals to the spinal cord and the hypothalamus in the brain, activating sweat glands to produce sweat and cool the body. By avoiding those hot and spicy dishes, you can control excessive sweating.

3.     Avoid Caffeine

In a similar way to hot spices, caffeine boosts energy and alertness, but it also increases sweating when consumed in large amounts. Once the caffeine is metabolized, the sweating stops, but it could be easier to avoid that caffeine rush by drinking caffeine-free sodas, coffee and herbal or green tea—or replace with purified water.

4.     Try Detox Supplements to Reduce Sweating

Your body is full of toxins and metals which collect in the kidneys and liver and may contribute to excessive sweating. Try a 3-5 day detox diet eating only fresh raw vegetables and fruits. Drink lots of water and squeezed fruit juices and avoid alcohol and smoking. A detox diet will cleanse the whole digestive system, eliminating excess water and waste along with toxins.

Taking a dietary supplement can help to make the detoxification more effective. As well as feeling energized and revitalized, you should also sweat less afterward.

You may find a few other useful tips in this article on stopping excess sweating. Once you have excessive sweating under control, you can relax and concentrate on enjoying life without feeling self-conscious.   

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Three Herbs that Reduce Stress

by Health News

Stress is a normal part of life, and the body automatically reacts to it with a "flight-or-fight" response.  The adrenal glands release stress hormones that boost strength and energy in reaction to physical stressors and enhance focus and mental clarity during times of emotional upset.  Occasional stress is normal and healthy, but chronic stress can take a toll on mental and physical health.  While some people rely on prescribed medications for treatment, others prefer more natural ways to reduce stress.  Three herbs show promise for fighting stress.

Herbs that reduce stress include holy basil, kava, and chamomile.

1.  Holy Basil

An herb and a member of the mint family, holy basil is found in most tropical regions around the world.  Research shows that compounds in holy basil improve the body's response to stress.  One animal study examined the effects of holy basil on stress created by continual exposure to noise.  Albino rats were pretreated with holy basil extract for seven days and then exposed to noise containing a frequency of 10 kHz and a sound level of 100 dB.  While exposure to noise typically generates changes in acetylcholine and acetylcholinesterase activity in several areas of the brain, the treatment with holy basil prevented these changes.

2.  Kava

Kava is a root that comes from the islands of the South Pacific. Traditional use involves crushing the root and making it into a tea.  The drink offers relaxing or sedating effects but is non-addictive.  Kava is also available as a dietary supplement in powder, capsule, or tincture form.  When it comes to herbs that reduce stress and anxiety, kava has shown positive results in many studies. 

In 2013, an Australian study assessed the effects of kava in 75 people with generalized anxiety disorder.  Subjects were given kava or placebo each day for six weeks.  Levels of anxiety were measured using the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAMA).  For people with mild to moderate anxiety, kava significantly reduced symptoms as compared to the placebo group.  Results were even more significant in the group with moderate to severe anxiety.

Kava should not be combined with alcohol or psychotropic medicines.  It has been shown that long-term use of kava can harm the liver, so people should use it for three months or less, and consult with a qualified herbalist or your health care provider for guidance.

Related:  Natural Remedies for Mild Depression

3.  Chamomile

Originating in Europe, chamomile is a plant that belongs to the daisy family.  While its dried flowers are used for a variety of physical ailments, chamomile also offers relief from anxiety according to several studies. 

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania examined 35 people diagnosed with anxiety and depression or with a history of anxiety and depression, along with a control group of 22 people without either disorder.  For eight weeks, subjects received daily doses of chamomile extract or placebo.  Dosages were increased for people who showed less benefit on anxiety scores by one extra tablet daily each week, capping at week five. 

Based on the results of several rating scales, 57 percent of the people in the chamomile group experienced significant reductions in anxiety.  To date, chamomile has been shown to have no adverse side effects, which makes it one of the best and safest ways to reduce stress.

Chronic stress takes a toll on the body both physically and mentally.  Herbs that reduce stress help take the edge off when people are exposed to physical, mental, or emotional stimuli on a regular basis.  Before starting a supplementary regimen with any herb, people should always consult with their health care provider. 

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How to Reduce Food Cravings with Three Supplements

by Health News

Weight watchers and women going through menopause often suffer extreme food cravings that are hard to resist. Often those cravings are for sugary treats and comfort foods which, if indulged, can quickly lead to excess weight. If you want to know how to reduce food cravings, these three supplements could be your best weapons, and may help you to stay on track diet-wise. 

Three common health supplements can provide the answer to how to reduce food cravings

Decrease Hunger Pangs with 5-HTP

Some food cravings can be caused by a lack of serotonin which causes an increase in appetite. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that produces a "feel-good" factor as well as feelings of fullness after eating. Serotonin deficiency can cause cravings for sugar and carbohydrates as the body tries to increase serotonin levels in the brain.

The best natural supplement to boost serotonin levels is called 5-HTP (or hydroxytryptophan), a derivative of the amino acid tryptophan and a precursor to serotonin production. Taking a supplement of 5-HTP, according to the NBI, has been found in clinical trials to naturally boost serotonin production which is a powerful agent for those wondering how to reduce food cravings.

Taking 50-100 mg of 5-HTP with fruit once or twice a day can help reduce cravings for food, and as a bonus it can help to support a calm mood and healthy sleep patterns.

Related:  Sleep Deprivation:  Is It Dangerous To Your Health?

Control Blood Sugar Cravings with Chromium

Chromium is a mineral that helps control glucose levels. Sometimes cravings are due to low blood sugar levels or a deficiency of this mineral. Your body naturally urges you to eat sugar by creating strong food cravings, particularly for carbohydrates, sugar and caffeine.

Chromium supplements can provide support for those who are researching how to reduce food cravings safely and naturally. By balancing blood sugar levels, chromium can greatly reduce cravings. This was discovered in a 2005 study published by The Journal of Psychiatric Practice which showed chromium supplements were effective at reducing carbohydrate cravings for those with depression.  Taking 400 mcg of chromium a day as a supplement is a safe and easy way to help control those food cravings.

Suppress the Appetite Naturally with L-Tyrosine

L-tyrosine provides a double-whammy when it comes to the question of how to reduce food cravings. First, this supplement suppresses the appetite, making it easier to control cravings and help with weight loss. Secondly, this amino acid also increases the metabolic rate of the body, burning more calories for energy and helping to maintain a normal weight.

A study on 80 obese subjects published in 2006 in The International Journal of Obesity backs up these claims, showing that L-tyrosine helped increase thermogenesis and aided weight loss. Taking 500-1000 mg once or twice a day may have a powerful effect on appetite and cravings.

By using these supplements to regulate blood sugar levels, reduce hunger pangs, and suppress the appetite, you really can gain control over cravings and enjoy a healthy happy life.

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Battle Chronic Fatigue Syndrome with Two Red Superfoods

by IVL Products

Modern life comes with jam-packed schedules, making people more tired than ever.  While occasional fatigue is normal, chronic fatigue is not, especially when severe.  If people experience debilitating physical and mental fatigue that lasts for more than six consecutive months, they may have chronic fatigue syndrome, or CFS.  Additional symptoms associated with CFS include poor memory, headaches, sore throat, and pain in the muscles or joints.   

Watermelon contains an array of nutrients that may benefit people with chronic fatigue syndrome.

Cause and Treatment

Experts have yet to identify a lone cause, but some think chronic fatigue syndrome may develop from a number of triggers including immune disorder, infection, stress, trauma, or toxins.  While there is no known cure for CFS, treatment involves a number of strategies including cognitive-behavioral therapy, moderate exercise, sleep management techniques, and good nutrition.  A wholesome diet may help prevent or relieve symptoms of CFS.  Two red fruits in particular offer many benefits.

Red Apples

Red apple skins are a rich source of the antioxidant, quercetin.  This potent flavonoid helps fight free radicals that can cause cell damage and disease, and it raises energy levels by enhancing the immune system and increasing the number of mitochondria in cells. 

Studies on trained athletes show that treatment with quercetin supplements can boost endurance.  Another study from the University of South Carolina at Columbia tested the endurance of somewhat-active college students on an exercise bicycle.  After taking 500 mg of quercetin twice a day for one week, cycling endurance improved as well as lung function in all students.  The lead author of this study indicated the results might be good news for people suffering from energy-draining conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome.

Related:  Magnesium Deficiency and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Watermelon

While tomatoes offer a rich source of lycopene, scientists at the South Central Agricultural Research Laboratory (SCARL) in Lane, Oklahoma have shown that watermelon offers even more.  This powerful antioxidant and others in watermelon help fight harmful free radicals that contribute to disease.  Nutrients like vitamin B6, vitamin B1, magnesium, potassium, and L-citrulline found in watermelon also help people with CFS by boosting energy levels by as much as 23 percent.

Conclusion

A nutritious diet helps prevent a wide range of health problems.  Additional red superfoods that may help prevent or relieve symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome include tomatoes, strawberries, cherries, and raspberries.  In addition to whole fruits and vegetables, people with CFS should add lean poultry, wild fatty fish, whole grains, nuts, and seeds to the shopping cart.  It helps to eliminate processed foods and sodas and drink plenty of pure, clean water.  People with CFS shouldn't smoke, and they should limit consumption of alcohol.   

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Take Lack of Sex Drive to 'Super Libido' with Tongkat Ali

by Cindy Gray

Eventually, all men must face getting older, which comes with a host of side effects including diminished libido.   When it comes to reduced sexual desire, aging men look to any remedy that promises to help.  While 20 percent of American men over the age of 40 have tried Viagra for enhancing erectile function, this drug has virtually no effect on sexual desire.  What's more, roughly 50 percent of men experience side effects from Viagra like flushing, headache, nasal congestion, upset stomach, or visual problems.  Fortunately, men who suffer a lack of sex drive have a natural option in the form of tongkat ali, an herb from Southeast Asia. 

In addition to many other health benefits, tongkat ali helps replenish a lack of sex drive.

Tongkat ali is a shrub-like tree found in Borneo, Burma, Malaysia, the Philippines, Sumatra, and Thailand.  Dubbed "Asian Viagra" by the New Sunday Times, this herb has been used to treat men with a lack of sex drive, reduced sexual performance, and low energy levels. 

According to research, tongkat ali contains potent phytochemicals that increase muscle growth, boost mental alertness, support healthy sex organs, promote semen quality, increase muscle growth, boost mental alertness, and promote healthy testosterone levels in men.  In fact, consumption of tongkat ali has been shown to boost free testosterone and nearly double total testosterone in men undergoing clinical trials. 

A Malaysian study in 2012 examined 76 men.  At the beginning of the study, only 35 percent of the men showed normal testosterone levels.  Following 30 days of supplementation with tongkat ali, over 90 percent of the participants showed normal levels of testosterone.  Many animal studies have also found success with tongkat ali in boosting sexual arousal and frequency of sexual behavior. 

Related:  Five Common Myths about Prostate Health

Tongkat Ali and Male Fertility

While fertility may not be important to some men as they get older, other men might appreciate the fruitful benefits offered by tongkat ali.  Because it improves sperm quality, the herb also enhances male fertility.  One study of 75 men showed improvements in sperm quality that lasted for months following the study, and nearly 15 percent of participants reported resulting pregnancies in female partners.

Other Uses for Tongkat Ali

Natural herbs often provide a host of health benefits, and tongkat ali is no different.  In addition to its use for lack of sex drive and diminished sexual performance, tongkat ali is said to benefit:

  • aches, pains, and fever
  • bleeding (as a coagulant)
  • dysentery
  • edema
  • glandular swelling
  • hypertension
  • sores and ulcers

Precautions for Supplementing with Tongkat Ali

While generally considered safe when consumed in appropriate amounts, tongkat ali sometimes causes side effects in doses higher than 1000 mgs.  These include insomnia, rapid heartbeat, and restlessness.  People should look for products that are certified for authenticity and free of mercury.   Before engaging in any supplementary program, it is always wise to consult with a health care professional. 

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Natural Remedies for Depression Include Three Healthy Foods

by IVL Products

Depression affects nearly 19 million people across the United States.  While a number of factors contribute to depression, many people fail to consider daily nutrition.  What we put in our mouths plays a big role in mood as well as mental focus and energy levels.  According to experts, some foods that reduce depression include garbanzo beans, turkey, and yogurt.  Each of these nutritional foods contains mood-enhancing properties and a few extra health benefits, making them must-haves for the shopping cart.  

Add foods that reduce depression like garbanzo beans, yogurt, and turkey to the shopping cart.

Garbanzo Beans

According to a 2004 study published in "Human Psychopharmacology," people with depression show high levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that can hinder recovery and endanger the heart.  Folic acid helps keep homocysteine levels in check, and garbanzo beans make a rich source of this valuable nutrient.  Studies also show that folic acid may enhance the effectiveness of prescribed antidepressants, but people should consult with their doctor before using folic acid supplements.  Garbanzo beans also provide a rich source of fiber for better digestive health.

Turkey

People looking for natural remedies for depression should consider foods rich in protein, particularly turkey.  Many lean sources of protein provide amino acids that help improve mood as well as support the immune system, repair body tissues, and boost energy.  Turkey goes one step further with high levels of tryptophan, a chemical that stimulates the production of serotonin, a mood-enhancing and sleep-promoting neurotransmitter in the brain.  This might explain why people feel so drowsy and content following Thanksgiving dinner.  Other dietary sources of tryptophan include cottage cheese, milk, brown rice, peanuts, beef, and soy products.

RelatedWays to Lower Risk of Depression

Yogurt

Low-fat dairy products like yogurt contain calcium, vitamin D, and protein as well as specific peptides that support wellbeing.  In addition to these healthy ingredients, yogurt offers a rich source of probiotics ─ microorganisms that help maintain a healthy bacterial balance in the intestines.  Some depressed people have an overgrowth of 'bad' intestinal bacteria, which can cause problems with the absorption of micronutrients.  These compounds are directly involved in the production of the feel-good neurotransmitter, serotonin.  To get the most health benefits, people should purchase plain Greek yogurt and sweeten it with fresh fruit or lemon juice and stevia.

In light of all their healthy properties, it makes sense to add these three foods that reduce depression to a dietary plan.  People who don't like the texture of garbanzo beans might try a smooth and creamy hummus spread with fresh veggies, crackers, or chips.  Natural turkey lunch meat makes a good alternative to a big roasted bird, and probiotic supplements make a good replacement for plain yogurt.

28 Superfood Recipes for Everyday

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The Multivitamin-Mood Connection

by Health News

We’ve all heard the saying "you are what you eat", but a recent study shows that diet does more than just affect our long-term body weight and energy levels - what we eat also controls our moods. Scientists now believe diet can even provide natural remedies for depression.

Study into Vitamins as Natural Remedies for Depression

In order to control and measure the association between depression and nutrient deficiency, scientists ran a study on a group of 50 healthy male volunteers aged between 50 and 69. They were given either a placebo or a multivitamin supplement for eight weeks.

The supplement contained a higher-than-recommended daily dose of 26 vitamins and minerals and extracts from 21 herbs, fruit and vegetables. At the end of the trial, the participants were required to complete a questionnaire on mood and stress levels before and after the trial to measure the possible effects of multivitamins as natural remedies of depression.

Those who took the supplement showed a significant reduction in depression, anxiety and stress compared to those on the placebo. They also noted an improved level of alertness. The study concluded that taking a daily supplement of multivitamins and minerals can improve mood and alertness. Supplement-takers also reported less negative mood symptoms and an improved sense of well-being, showing that a healthy diet high in vitamins and minerals can provide natural remedies for depression and poor mood.

RelatedIndigestion and Mood:  The Gut-Brain Connection

How Food Affects Mood

An example of how food affects our mood can be seen when we eat a heavy lunch and feel sluggish and dozy afterwards. That's due to higher blood sugar levels suppressing orexin, a chemical in the brain that's responsible for levels of alertness.

Similarly, when you are hungry and blood sugar levels are low, your brain triggers feelings of impatience and irritability – a throwback to when man was a hunter and needed to take action to address that hunger!

Understanding that food can affect our mood and feelings of happiness or depression can help us address the problems and find answers. Everything we eat has an effect on our hormones and neurotransmitters, which control our mood and energy levels.

Those suffering from feelings of depression are often low in dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine. Proteins can help boost the levels of these neurotransmitters and avoiding excess sugar can also help provide natural remedies of depression. As the study shows, the value of taking multivitamins and supplements in conjunction with a healthy diet can also be a powerful weapon, working together as natural remedies against depression

30 Days to Rethink How You Take Supplements

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Three Vitamins for Thinning Hair

by Health News

There's nothing like a few extra strands in the hair brush or on the shower floor to raise anxiety levels, especially for women.  While once considered a male problem, roughly 80 percent of women experience some hair loss in their lifetime.  On average, people lose about 100 hairs each day, but more than that could be cause for concern.  While many people turn to topical products, an easy hair-thinning treatment might be hiding in the bathroom cabinet or refrigerator.  Take a look at three effective vitamins for thinning hair. 

Many men and women experience hair loss, but a hair-thinning treatment might be hiding in the medicine cabinet or refrigerator.

  1. Niacin

Also known as vitamin B3, niacin is an essential water-soluble vitamin that offers many healthy properties including the transformation of carbohydrates into energy.  It also helps boost circulation, which benefits the scalp by delivering more oxygen to hair follicles.  People can take niacin in supplement form or find it in foods like eggs, tuna, beef, mushrooms, and nuts.

  1. Biotin

Part of the B-complex vitamins, biotin is also known as vitamin B7.  It plays a role in the production of fatty acids, glucose, and certain amino acids like valine and isoleucine.  A study at Harvard University found that biotin is essential for preserving the strength, texture, and appearance of hair.  Although there are no studies to support biotin as a hair-thinning treatment, hair loss is one of the symptoms of biotin deficiency.  While deficiency is rare, certain populations are more susceptible like athletes, the elderly, and alcoholics.  Good food sources of biotin include Swiss chard, eggs, carrots, nuts, and milk.

Related:  What Is The Best Source of Biotin-Rich Foods?

  1. PABA

Also one of the B-complex vitamins, Para-Aminobenzoic Acid (PABA) is a non-protein amino acid and non-essential, meaning it is manufactured by the body.  Some studies show that when combined with other nutrients like folate, biotin, and pantothenic acid, PABA may restore nature color to pre-maturely graying hair, and anecdotal evidence suggests it may be one of the more important vitamins for thinning hair.  People obtain PABA by taking a B-complex supplement or through foods like whole grains, liver, eggs, and brewer's yeast.

Hair loss is never fun for men or women, but the solution might be as simple as better nutrition.  Getting adequate amounts of niacin, biotin, and PABA may help pave the road to stronger, healthier hair.  Easy delivery methods include adding specific foods to the diet or convenient, daily supplements.

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The Estrogen, Serotonin, and Melatonin Connection: Balance is Essential

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Menopause management is a balancing act that can be very confusing for women who are suffering from hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness and other symptoms. Understanding the causes for menopausal symptoms can be difficult because there are physical, psychological and emotional components associated with the change of life. Recent studies have found a link between estrogen, serotonin and melatonin that might shed some light on the causes for certain symptoms. 

For a smoother transition into menopause, learn about how balanced estrogen levels lead to healthier serotonin and melatonin levels.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that carries nerve impulses from your brain to your body. It is often called the “happy hormone” because of its positive effects on mood. Low levels of serotonin can lead to depression, fatigue, sexual dysfunction and sleep disorders. Because estrogen is needed to produce serotonin, the declining levels of estrogen associated with menopause result in lower serotonin levels.

To further complicate matters, low serotonin levels lead to low melatonin levels. Serotonin is synthesized in the body to make melatonin, the hormone that is essential to restful sleep. Melatonin controls the body’s circadian rhythms to regulate sleep cycles.

RelatedNine Ways to Naturally Boost Energy

People with low melatonin levels are prone to sleep disorders that leave them in a perpetual state of fatigue. Chronic insomnia has adverse effects on all aspects of health and it can be especially troublesome for menopausal women.

Simply put, the estrogen, serotonin and melatonin imbalances can (and often do) create the perfect storm for menopausal symptoms mood swings and sleep disorders. The symptoms can become so troublesome that women seek help from their doctors who often prescribe hormone replace therapy (HRT) and sleeping pills. Both HRT and prescription sleep aids have unpleasant and sometimes dangerous side effects. 

Fortunately both serotonin and melatonin levels can be boosted through dietary changes and nutritional supplements. Studies show that tryptophan supplements help to increase serotonin and melatonin levels in the brain. Food sources of tryptophan include soy, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, peas, whole grains and low-fat dairy products.

Serotonin and melatonin supplements area available online and in natural heath stores. They come in pill, capsule or powdered forms. These supplements are a safe, natural alternative to prescription medications. Add them to your daily regimen to boost your mood, help you sleep and keep you healthy.  

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Three Herbs for Testosterone Support

by Cindy Gray

A hormone produced by the testes, ovaries, and adrenal glands, testosterone is essential for proper functioning of the reproductive system.  While the male body produces much more testosterone, females bodies need testosterone too.  It helps maintain bone density, muscle mass, red blood cells, sexual function, and a sense of wellbeing in both men and women.  As people age and testosterone levels diminish, many rely on natural testosterone boosters to keep hormone levels balanced.

Herbs to increase testosterone include damiana, ashwagandha, and gingko biloba.

The use of herbs for testosterone has proven safe and effective.  Three show particular promise, either used individually or in combination with other natural remedies.

Damiana

Native to Mexico, damiana leaves are used to produce herbal medicine and a type of liqueur. The plant contains an alkaloid that behaves like testosterone in the body, and it is purported to possess aphrodisiac properties.  Laboratory studies show that damiana extract inhibits the enzyme responsible for the conversion of testosterone to estrogen, thereby showing potential as one of the more promising herbs for low testosterone.

Ashwagandha

Also known as Withania somnifera, ashwagandha is a plant in the Solanaceae or nightshade family, and it is widely used in Ayurvedic medicine as a treatment for sexual dysfunction and infertility.  A study from India determined that men who took ashwagandha supplements showed improved semen quality and improved testosterone levels.  The herbal preparation used in the study also lowered oxidants and boosted antioxidants to reduce oxidative stress in subjects.

Related: Five Ways to Boost Your Testosterone Naturally

Ginkgo Biloba

When people think of herbs for testosterone, gingko biloba often comes to mind.  Many know gingko biloba by another name, maidenhair.  Derived from the oldest surviving tree species on earth, this herb offers a number of important health benefits.  According to a study conducted by researchers at National Taiwan University and published in the journal Hormones and Behavior, it was shown to boost levels of testosterone in lab rats making it potentially beneficial for humans.

Side Effects of Low Testosterone

Side effects of low testosterone in men include waning libido, infertility, increased body fat, reduced muscle strength, fatigue, sleep disturbance, mood swings, and depression.  Reduced testosterone in women can result in diminished libido, mood swings, and lower energy levels. 

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Lack of Energy? Restore Vitality with Acai and Suma

by Institute for Vibrant Living

If the lack of energy is dragging you down you might want to consider two Brazilian superfoods to rev up your engine. Studies show that the acai berry and suma root provides energy-boosting nutrients that restore vitality and boost the immune system.  (FYI, Acai is pronounced ah-sah-EE.) 

The nutritional properties of acai and suma make them an energy-boosting supplement that enhances vitality and the immune system.

Demanding careers, inadequate sleep, poor nutrition, excessive stress, sedentary lifestyles and constant exposure to environmental toxins are taking their toll and millions of people spend their days feeling tired and sluggish.  Studies show that acai berries and suma root may be just what the doctor ordered for people suffering from a lack of energy. 

The purple-black acai berry, which is sometimes called Brazilian palm fruit, comes from the acai tree that is native to Central and South America. The acai berry surpasses all other berries in its antioxidant density and it is one of the few fruits that contain omega-3 fatty acids to support brain and joint health.  It has been lauded for centuries by natural healers as a healing, immune-boosting fruit that enhances energy levels.

RelatedHow the Antioxidants in Superfruits Keep You Healthy

Freshly picked acai berries have a short “freshness” window but they are available frozen, dried and in juice forms. Acai extract is an ingredient in many high-quality nutritional supplements.

Sometimes referred to as “Brazilian ginseng,” the suma root is another energizing superfood. Natives of South America have used it for thousands of years to increase strength and stamina.   Suma root contains potent levels of vitamin B and electrolytes, both of which are potent natural energy boosters. It is also rich in immune-boosting nutrients including vitamins B, E and K as well as minerals and amino acids.

While fresh suma root can be difficult to find in some parts of the country, it is available in powdered or supplement form online and at natural health stores. It is also an ingredient in many nutritional supplements.

If you are among the millions of Americans who struggle with a lack of energy, considering using acai berries and suma root to boost your vitality. This duo packs a nutritional punch that will put the spring back in your step so that you can enjoy a vibrant life and live each day to its fullest.

Easy Superfood Recipes

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Chlorophyll: Nature’s Remedy for Fatigue, Bad Breath & More

by Cindy Gray

If you struggle with fatigue, bad breath and excessive sweating your body might need to detox with chlorophyll. Foods containing chlorophyll can help neutralize and remove the toxins that cause tiredness and body odors. Chlorophyll is the green pigment in plants that collects energy from sunlight. Eating foods rich in these green pigments helps to cleanse the blood. 

If you struggle with fatigue, bad breath and excessive sweating, you may need to detox with chlorophyll.

Algae, seaweed and wheatgrass are among the most potent sources of chlorophyll. Other good sources include green leafy vegetables, sprouts, green juices and wild edible greens. Foods containing chlorophyll detoxify the body and work with the liver to restore vibrant health. They also absorb toxins from the intestinal tract and support the growth of “friendly” bacteria.

Some of the major benefits of chlorophyll include:

Neutralizes Body Odor:  Because chlorophyll cleanses you from the inside out, it can help reduce body odor. Chlorophyll has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that fight body odor at the source. It is so effective that it is often referred to as “nature’s deodorant.”

Eliminates Bad Breath: Foods containing chlorophyll fight bad breath because they cleanse the digestive tract.  Chewing on the leaves of parsley, dill, basil and cilantro can immediately freshen bad breath. Chlorophyll provides a natural alternative to chemical-laden mouthwashes and breath mints.

Related What Everybody Ought to Know About Liquid Chlorophyll

Removes Toxins: Toxic metals in the environment can take a toll on your health. Chlorophyll attaches to toxins and heavy metals and removes them from your body. It also increases your blood's oxygen-carrying capacity by stimulating red blood cell production. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of chlorophyll contribute to its cleansing effects.

Boosts Immune System: Chlorophyll-rich foods contain essential vitamins and minerals that are needed for disease prevention and vibrant health.

Speeds Healing: For the past 100 years researchers have studied the healing properties of chlorophyll. Studies show it speeds the healing process because it is a natural disinfectant and it fights inflammation.

Because it has so many beneficial health effects, many people use chlorophyll supplements to make sure they are getting recommended amounts. The supplements come in capsule, powder and liquid forms and can be obtained online and through natural health stores.

Boost your energy levels and eliminate embarrassing breath and body odors the natural way. Chlorophyll is a safe, plant-based detox method that can cleanse your body from the inside out. 

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Is There such a Thing as Early Menopause?

by IVL Products

Early menopause causes many unpleasant symptoms including moodiness and depression.According to the National Institute on Aging, the average age for the onset of menopause in American women is 51. Early menopause generally refers to cases where menopause begins before the age of 40, either naturally, in response to surgery such as a hysterectomy, or due to other medical reasons. 

Menopause symptoms include some or all of the following:

  • Cessation of periods
  • Hot flashes and night sweats
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Moodiness
  • Lack of sex drive
  • Depression/crying
  • Headaches
  • Joint and muscle pain

Water retention may become an issue, along with cravings and weight gain. Generally, these symptoms are a sign that the ovaries are producing less estrogen.

Early Menopause or Premenopause

Many women who experience the symptoms of menopause may actually be in premenopause, not to be confused with peri-menopause.

Premenopause syndrome (PMS) is related to the menstrual cycle becoming upset, triggering some of the symptoms of menopause, but hormone levels remain stable.

Peri-menopause is the period of a woman's life immediately prior to her entering menopause. Those in peri-menopause and early menopause tend to have more severe symptoms than normal menopause sufferers, particularly anxiety, irritability, bloating and weight gain.

Related:  Natural Energy Boost with Green Supplements

Sufferers of early menopause (i.e. experiencing the symptoms of menopause under the age of 45) may experience irregular menstrual cycles causing problems conceiving. They may suffer brain fog, feel weepy and have problems concentrating.

When early menopause is triggered suddenly, due to surgery, illness or genetic issues, the rapid decline of estrogen, often referred to as an estrogen crash, causes the sufferer to enter menopause more quickly than the normal onset of menopause. In a post-surgical survey of early menopausal women, they all reported sudden development of many symptoms of menopause, such as mood swings, tiredness and hot flashes, all in quick succession. These problems were severe and lasted for more than eight years.

Those going through the stage of menopause, premenopause or early menopause, need extra understanding and support from family and friends. It's a time to lower stress as you deal with turbulent emotions and physical changes, but rest assured, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Learn more about the symptoms of menopause with this video blog.

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Three Fruits with Big Benefits as Constipation Home Remedies

by Cindy Gray

It’s a well-known fact that people who eat a diet high in fresh fruit and vegetables are less prone to ill heath, constipation, heart disease and sickness. If you are looking for natural solutions for increasing nutrient intake or constipation home remedies, buy guava, star fruit and passion fruit and experiment with them. These tropical fruits are packed with vitamins and antioxidants, and we highlight each one for its unique benefits to counter constipation.

Check out passion fruit for constipation home remedies

The Benefits of Passion Fruit

Passion fruit is a round fruit with a wrinkly skin containing soft green flesh. It is delicious to eat fresh, add to a smoothie or consume as a healthy drink. High in fiber and vitamins A and C, passion fruit is packed with antioxidants to counter harmful free radicals and reduce heart disease.

What’s special about passion fruit is that it has enzymes that aid digestion, which makes it an excellent food for constipation home remedies. Passion fruit appears to increase the digestive juices in the stomach during digestion. It boosts electrolyte levels and acts as an effective colon cleanser, which is what makes it so good for reliving constipation.

Guava is Great for Constipation Home Remedies

Ripe guava fruits are pear-shaped and soft to the touch with a pink blush to the light green/yellow skin. Inside, the fruit may be white, red or salmon colored and flavors range from ripe strawberry to fresh citrus, depending on the species.

Guava is high in fiber, giving it value as an important home remedy for constipation. The seeds are edible and can be chewed or swallowed whole as they are excellent laxatives. Guava retains water and cleanses the intestines as it passes through, making it ideal for those suffering with bloating or poor bowel habits.

Star Fruit Aids Constipation

Star fruits are easily identified with their five lobes which, when cut through horizontally, create a wonderful star-shaped slice of fruity goodness. The fruits are ready to eat when they are golden yellow all over and the taste is mildly sour.

What makes star fruit good for constipation home remedies is that it adds bulk and water to the bodily waste.

Enjoy experimenting with different ways to eat these three tropical fruits and enjoy the benefits of these natural constipation home remedies. You may also want to supplement them with a powdered green energy drink for an extra boost of energy and antioxidants.  Finally, here’s a tip for retaining the flavor in these tropical fruits: Never refrigerate them, unless they are over ripe, as they quickly lose their sweetness. Enjoy!

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Maintain Normal Blood Sugar Levels with Astaxanthin

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Carotenoids are naturally-occurring compounds responsible for the color in certain foods, and all promote good health.  Nicknamed the "King of the Carotenoids," astaxanthin is the compound responsible for the reddish or pink color in shrimp, salmon, lobster, crab, and red algae.  Many scientists believe this powerful antioxidant gives marine life the energy to swim upstream.  For humans, it offers a number of health benefits including the power to maintain normal blood sugar levels.

Astaxanthin helps bodies maintain normal blood sugars levels and more.

Oxidative Stress and Diabetes

Oxidative stress causes unstable free radicals called ROS (reactive oxygen species) to damage cells, tissues, and organs.  By stealing electrons from other molecules ROS transform the damaged molecules into more free radicals.  Oxidative stress plays a big role in diabetes, either through increased ROS levels or through a lack of antioxidants.   It occurs because of consistently high blood sugar, problems with the metabolism of carbohydrates, or limited release of insulin from the pancreas.

Related Ginger: A Diabetic's Best Friend

Important Research

Researchers from Japan found that astaxanthin reduces oxidative stress caused by chronic high blood sugar in pancreatic beta cells (the cells that produce insulin).  This allows the beta cells to make the correct amount of insulin when needed, improving the body's ability to maintain normal blood sugar levels.

Another study from India found that increased blood sugar and excessive insulin resulting from a diet high in sugar and processed fat could be prevented with astaxanthin supplements.  The study also suggests astaxanthin might prevent the occurrence of more body fat, a fatty liver, or suppressed immunity in people with a diet high in processed fat and sugar.

More Reasons to Take an Astaxanthin Supplement

As if helping to maintain normal blood sugar levels wasn't enough reason to take a daily astaxanthin supplement, here are more benefits offered by this potent antioxidant.

  • Provides relief from pain and inflammation
  • Improves athletic endurance, muscle recovery, and strength
  • Supports good eye health
  • Boosts the immune-protective properties of white blood cells in the lymphatic system
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Green Supplements to Help Boost Your Afternoon Slump

by Health News

Fatigue Treatment: Green Supplements Help Boost EnergyAre you tired of being tired? Check out these tips for successful fatigue treatment.

Take a quick break from work every day and walk briskly around the block. This raises the cardiovascular system which in turn increases energy. Make sure you drink plenty of water during or after this exercise as dehydration in itself can cause exhaustion.

Add a few drops of natural energy-boosting monatomic minerals which quickly gets to work to re-mineralize, re-alkalize, re-vitalize and re- energize your body and bring it back into balance.

Adding a green drink supplement, not only provides your body with the recommended five servings of vegetables and fruit. The end result is a day-long supply of natural energy as green drink supplements counter the body’s acids, flush out toxins and improve digestion. 

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Inability to Focus? Feed your Brain!

by Cindy Gray

When your body lacks food, it tells you by slowing down and losing its normal efficiency. In the same way, when your brain needs a boost, it lets you know by becoming slow, muddled and lacking its normal clarity.  Several foods appear to boost memory and cognitive function, as if they are brain superfoods. Next time you feel the inability to focus, try these brain foods.Feed your Brain, Increase Focus

Maca for Brain Power

Maca is an unusual turnip-like root which thrives where other crops fail. It was grown by the Incas high in the Andes in places like Machu Picchu. This amazing food can be grown at altitudes of 9,000 to 14,000 feet, even in cold winds and strong sunlight.

Maca has been used as a food and a medicinal plant for thousands of years. The Inca people believe the root is a source of energy and endurance but it also improves memory and brain power. You may not be able to grow maca in your own backyard, or find it in the supermarket, but maca is available as a health supplement in powdered form and can easily be added to power smoothies and shakes.

Maca root is high in antioxidants which are known to aid memory and cognitive function. It comes in three forms: black, red and yellow maca. Clinical studies on maca found that black maca had a positive effect on the brain, with most people citing it helped them improve memory. Scientists believe that the antioxidants reduce oxidative stress in the brain, allowing it to be more clear thinking and productive.

Cacao for Clarity and Alertness

Cacao, the raw form of cocoa and chocolate, contains over 300 beneficial compounds. Unfortunately many of these are destroyed by heating, refining and processing the cacao into chocolate.

Cacao has been shown to increase the activity in the brain's neurotransmitters, not only lifting mood and promoting a sense of well-being, but also increasing alertness and mental clarity. It works by stimulating the levels of endorphins and serotonin that makes us feel happy. It also prompts the brain to release anandamide, known as the "bliss chemical", along with phenylethylamine (PEA) which improves mental focus and alertness.

Related: Can Exercise Prevent Alzheimer's Disease?

Other benefits of cacao include dilating the blood vessels which allows better circulation to the brain; balancing mood and brain chemistry; providing a shield against stress and increasing mental sharpness.

Look for chocolate with a high percentage of cacao and proportionally less sugar, dairy and soy products to get the maximum benefits from nutrient-rich cacao.

Reishi Mushrooms for Boosting Mental Capacity

Certain types of mushrooms are known to affect the mind, sometimes positively, and sometimes negatively. Reishi mushrooms are referred to as the "King of Herbs" in Eastern medicine. This fungus has a positive mental benefit as it helps maintain equilibrium and balance in the whole body.

A balanced body is essentially healthy and has a strong immune system which leads to a positive and healthy outlook on life. It also allows us to deal with stress more easily, lowering anxiety levels that can otherwise inhibit brain function.

Reishi specifically strengthens the vagus nerve which connects the gut to the brain and this is thought to be the reason for the improvement in mental capacity.

Reishi mushrooms, along with maca root powder are key ingredients in several popular, powerful, and palatable meal replacement drinks used to boost energy and feed your brain.

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Improve Your Memory With Supplements

by Institute for Vibrant Living

It’s no overstatement to say that your brain can be considered the “leader” of your entire body. After all, it controls everything that you do, think, feel, see, and hear—both consciously and subconsciously. 

Maintaining the health, wellness, and optimal functioning of your brain is essential if you are to remain capable of carrying out the many complex activities of human life in its most evolved state. And the key to this optimal functioning depends on a variety of neurotransmitters and hormones.

Improve Your Memory With Supplements

In addition to memory and emotions, these brain chemicals are also responsible for stress, blood pressure, pleasure and pain, motivation, learning, attention, muscle movement, energy, thyroid function, reproductive function, sleep, and even your very heartbeat. In other words, virtually every body function you can think of.

While many people realize that the brain performs all of these functions, most of us think of memory and/or comprehensive first and foremost when we think brain health. And, in our darker moments, these thoughts may turn to Alzheimer’s disease and/or dementia.

This makes total sense when you consider that more than five million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, which is the most common form of dementia in the U.S. And while most adults fear the idea of Alzheimer’s, the majority of treatments for the disease center around treatment rather than prevention. Ludicrous, isn’t it?

That’s exactly what researchers from Switzerland thought. Rather than look at ways to treat the disease, they foods at ways to prevent the disease by focusing on maintaining a healthy neural function in an effort to protect against the development of dementia and/or Alzheimer’s disease.

They found that the essential fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), as well as B vitamins and vitamins C, D, and E all play a role in brain health and work to delay brain aging. This makes perfect sense!

First of all, vitamin C is a potent antioxidant, which is known to fight the free radical damage that has been associated with both dementia and Alzheimer’s. Similarly, vitamin E is an antioxidant powerhouse, working to prevent cell damage throughout the body.

To this point, a Johns Hopkins University study examined the use of vitamins C and E in 4,740 patients ages 65 and older. Researchers found that the people who took both vitamins had significantly lower incidence and severity of Alzheimer’s disease compared to the people who took one or neither of the nutrients.

Vitamin D supports brain and nervous system function and correlates with cognitive function and mood. Additionally, there is evidence that low levels of vitamin D are correlated with low mood and poor cognitive performance. 

B vitamins are a group of 11 separate water-soluble vitamins that are known to support brain health and boost energy levels. Within this group, vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid appear to be the most beneficial for brain health.

Vitamin B6 is important to a healthy inflammatory response, and one disease in particular that has been associated with inflammation is Alzheimer’s disease. Vitamin B6 is also critical for the synthesis of neurotransmitters.

Similarly, vitamin B12 is also important for the synthesis of neurotransmitters. Plus, it helps in DNA synthesis, nervous system health, and brain functioning. 

Folic acid is known to prevent neural tube defects in the first eight weeks of pregnancy, and research indicates that folic acid helps with brain health, DNA synthesis, and neurotransmitter function. Additionally, folic acid deficiencies have been associated with depression and dementia. 

Lastly, the omega-3 fatty acid DHA is a natural brain booster. Your brain needs DHA to create healthy nerve cell membranes. Your brain uses nerve cells for mood, attention, and memory.  

Given all this, it’s no wonder the researchers concluded, “The use of vitamins and DHA for the aging population in general, and for individuals at risk in particular, is a viable alternative approach to delaying brain aging and for protecting against the onset of AD pathology.”

What does this mean for you? Simple. If you aren’t already, immediately start taking a high-quality multinutrient and fish oil supplement that is high in DHA. Your body—and your brain—will thank you.