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13 Medications that Can Cause Hair Loss

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Are you noticing more strands than normal in your hairbrush?  Many people assume that hair loss is a problem only experienced by men, but 40 percent of women across the country also deal with this unpleasant conundrum.  It's normal to shed from 50 to 100 strands of hair each day, but more than this may be cause for concern.  While there are a number of possible reasons for hair loss, a new medication just might be the culprit.

The Cycle of Hair Growth

Each strand of hair goes through its own growth cycle. The hair growth cycle begins with the anagen phase in which hair grows for two to six years.  In the catagen phase, which lasts approximately two weeks, the follicle shrinks.  This cuts off blood supply to the follicle and stops hair growth.  During the telogen phase, follicles rest for a period of one to four months. Finally, hair falls out, new hair emerges, and the cycle begins anew. 

Related:  Fight Hair Loss with these Vitamins and Supplements

How Medications Create Hair Loss

Certain medications interfere with the hair growth cycle, which can result in two types of hair loss called anagen effluvium and telogen effluvium.  Anagen effluvium occurs during the growth phase and affects the normal division of cells that produce new hair.  This type of hair loss often occurs shortly after beginning a medication.  It can be extreme and result in the loss of eyebrows, eyelashes and other hair on the body.  Chemotherapy medications are examples of medicines that can cause anagen effluvium.

The most common type of medication-related hair loss is telogen effluvium.  It typically occurs after an individual has taken a medication for two to four months.  The medication triggers hair follicles to enter the resting phase too early, which leads to loss of approximately 100 to 150 hairs strands per day.

Medications that Can Cause Hair Loss

In addition to chemotherapy medications, a number of other drugs can cause hair loss:

  • Acne medications that contain retinoids
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme (ACE) Inhibitors
  • Antibiotics
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Antidepressants
  • Birth control pills
  • Diuretics
  • Heart failure and hypertension medications
  • NSAIDs
  • Statins
  • Steroids
  • Thyroid medications

The type of medication, the amount taken and a person's level of sensitivity can all affect how much, if any, hair loss is experienced.  While many people re-grow hair as soon as a medication is stopped or the dosage is adjusted, others may experience permanent hair loss.  People taking a new medication who have concerns about hair loss should check with their pharmacist and health care provider.  Switching to a new medication may be all that is needed.

 

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Inflammation and Aging Skin

by Institute for Vibrant Living

When it comes to good health as we age, inflammation plays both good and bad roles.  In response to injury, acute or short-term inflammation helps promote healing, but chronic or long-term inflammation can harm just about every area of the body including the skin.  Conditions linked to chronic inflammation include acne, dermatitis, rosacea, rash, hives, and wrinkles.  Fortunately, following a few healthy tips can help prevent the development of inflammation and protect aging skin.

A number of environmental and lifestyle factors contribute to inflammation including tobacco, alcohol, stress, sun exposure, a sedentary lifestyle, and a high-sugar diet.  Engaging in healthy habits helps reduce levels of inflammation in the body and keeps aging skin looking and feeling as youthful as possible. 

Healthy changes involve quitting tobacco products, cutting down on alcohol consumption, wearing sunscreen, or getting regular moderate exercise.  Beneficial dietary steps include drinking plenty of water throughout the day, reducing the amount of sugar in the diet, and getting inflammation-fighting nutrients through food or dietary supplements.

Related:  Royal Jelly for Skin: Your Skin's Best Friend

Best Dietary Supplements for Inflammation

Research shows that a number of nutrients help battle the effects of chronic inflammation.  Many of these are available in the form of dietary supplements.  They include:

  • Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA)
  • Coenzyme Q-10
  • Curcumin
  • Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs)
  • Ginger
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E

Topical Ingredients that Combat Inflammation

Certain creams and lotions feature beneficial ingredients for aging skin.  Topical nutrients that offer anti-inflammatory properties include aloe, ceramides, grape seed extract, green tea extract, and pomegranate.

Food Sensitivities and Skin Changes

Food sensitivities can also cause chronic inflammation in the body, and symptoms can include congestion, irritability, stomach pain, headache, and skin changes like hives or rash.  People concerned about possible food sensitivities should consult with a health care professional for testing.

Additional Health Problems Caused by Inflammation

In addition to affecting aging skin, chronic inflammation can lead to the development of a number of other health problems as people get older.  These include:

  • Atherosclerosis
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Hay fever
  • Heart disease
  • Hypertension
  • Periodontitis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

Getting older does not mean people have to settle for premature wrinkles and age spots caused by inflammation.  A number of lifestyle changes, nutrients, topical products, and dietary testing can help promote healthy skin and encourage good overall health. 

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The Best Brain Supplements to Improve Your Memory

by Institute for Vibrant Living

It is natural to be concerned about memory loss as we age, but there are now some excellent supplements for memory support. We look at some of the best brain supplements on the market to help you make the right choice for your optimal mental health.

There are many supplements for memory support.

Nootropics is the term used for any product that improves mental capability such as concentration, memory and motivation. It covers both pharmaceutical drugs and natural brain supplements, which are proving to be equally effective at supporting brain and memory function as we age. Here are a few natural supplements for memory that you should consider.

Ginkgo Biloba

Popular as a memory booster in Europe, ginkgo biloba is one of nature’s best brain supplements on the market. It works by improving blood flow in smaller vessels and has shown promise in studies into the treatment of dementia. Sourced naturally from the ginkgo tree, ginkgo alters insulin levels and thins the blood, so it should not be taken in conjunction with other medications unless first approved by your doctor.

Related:  Effects of Overeating on Brain Health

Asian Ginseng

Asian ginseng is often used alongside ginkgo biloba as these herbs appear to work synergistically together. It helps counter physical fatigue and has shown promising signs of success in small group studies into supplements for memory support.

Omega-3 Fatty Acid

Sourced naturally from fish, plants and nuts, studies suggest that higher levels of omega-3, usually taken in supplement form, can lower the risk of Alzheimer’s and are one of the best natural supplements for memory.

Creatine

Popular with young gym enthusiasts, creatine is known to improve sports performance as well as improving memory and intelligence. Researchers found that taking a 5mg supplement daily for six weeks had a positive effect on improving memory.

L-Theanine

Found in green tea and mushrooms, L-Theanine has been shown in various scientific studies to affect neurotransmitters in the brain. It appears to prevent beta-amyloid-induced brain dysfunction and improves cognitive performance.

Vitamin E

Recent studies have found that vitamin E can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and may help counter age-related memory loss. Recommended doses should be carefully adhered to as high doses may have harmful side effects.

Acetyl-L-Carnitine

This common amino acid has been found to help with memory problems and provides benefit to those with early-onset Alzheimer’s. Studies continue to look at the effectiveness of this natural ingredient in their search to find the best brain supplements for memory.

Other lifestyle factors that may help protect against memory loss include adopting a healthy Mediterranean diet high in olive oil, fish, vegetables and nuts. Moderate amounts of red wine and coffee many also help enhance your memory, although an excess of either can negate the benefits.

 

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What’s Causing Your Memory Loss?

by IVL Products

A forgotten appointment, misplaced keys, or struggling to find the correct word during a conversation…some people might chock these incidents up to simple absentmindedness.  For those in middle age or older however, episodes of forgetfulness can be scary, conjuring worries of Alzheimer's disease or dementia.  Fortunately, according to the National Institute on Aging, memory loss is often treatable once a cause has been established.  Becoming better informed can help people determine whether their forgetfulness is cause for concern. 

A number of factors can contribute to memory loss.

Memory loss can strike at any time in life and is influenced by many factors.  Here are some of the key causes:

Sleep Apnea

Memory loss accompanied by headache and recurrent daytime fatigue may be related to sleep apnea.  This condition causes breathing to stop for brief but frequent periods in the course of a night.  Research shows that untreated sleep apnea can impair spatial navigational memory, which is the type utilized to locate objects like keys.

Related:  Five Natural Supplements for Brain Health

Medications

Some medications can impact memory and may need adjustment.  These include:

  • Medications for anxiety
  • Medications for diabetes
  • Medications for pain
  • Medications for reducing cholesterol
  • Antihistamines
  • Antidepressants
  • Sleeping pills

Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Because vitamin B12 is important for healthy nerve function, a deficiency can result in confusion, memory loss, and other dementia-like symptoms.  Good food sources of vitamin B12 include dairy products, poultry, beef, and fish.  To ensure proper daily amounts, people can also obtain vitamin B12 through dietary supplements.

Anxiety, Depression, and Stress

High levels of anxiety or stress can affect attention, focus, and memory, particularly when paired with sleep problems.  Techniques like yoga, meditation, guided imagery, or tai chi can help manage stress and improve sleep.  

If left untreated, chronic anxiety can lead to depression, which can also impact memory.  According to the National Institute on Aging, people can try certain types of medication and/or counseling to ease symptoms of depression.

Silent Stroke

Sometimes people have a stroke without being aware of it.  While a silent stroke doesn't exhibit any of the normal symptoms, it does cause changes in brain function, which can affect cognition and memory.  Vascular cognitive impairment from silent stroke can range from mild to severe.

Tips for Preventing Memory Loss

According to a study from the School of Medicine at UCLA, healthy lifestyle strategies can have a beneficial effect on memory and cognition.  Take advantage of these tips to help prevent memory loss.

  • Don't use tobacco products.
  • Eat a nutritious diet, and drink plenty of water.
  • Get regular physical exercise.
  • Limit alcohol intake to no more than two drinks per day for men and one per day for women.
  • Manage stress levels.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Exercise the brain with word, number, or jigsaw puzzles.
  • Boost brain power by reading books, learning a new language, or taking up a musical instrument.

Conclusion

People with concerns about forgetfulness should consult with a medical professional for an accurate diagnosis.  Sharing symptoms and submitting to any required testing can help doctors determine what's causing your memory loss.  A few beneficial lifestyle strategies help to promote a healthy brain and a strong memory.

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Are You Suffering from Vitamin C Deficiency?

by IVL Products

Vitamins and minerals play a significant role when it comes to obtaining adequate nutrition and staying healthy.  Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, contributes to cell growth and repair, circulation, and iron absorption.  It is also important for the production of collagen, a protein found in blood vessels, skin, cartilage, ligaments, and tendons.  In most parts of the world, serious vitamin C deficiency (or scurvy) is relatively uncommon because vitamin C is found naturally in many foods and is added to other food as well.  However, smoking, excessive alcohol use, a compromised diet, or certain medical conditions can result in lowered levels of vitamin C in the body.

Foods like citrus fruits, papaya, bell peppers, and broccoli help prevent vitamin C deficiency.

According to medical center experts at the University of Maryland, vitamin C deficiency has been linked to various medical problems like atherosclerosis, certain cancers, gallbladder disease, and high blood pressure.  Animal studies also indicate that low levels of vitamin C can lead to biochemical changes in the body which affect behavior. 

A study from Vanderbilt University found that mice deprived of vitamin C showed depressive-like behavior, reduced movement and strength, and greater preference for sugar.  Behaviors returned to normal with restoration of vitamin C, with the exception of depressive-like symptoms.  

Signs of Vitamin C Deficiency

People with scurvy often develop anemia and swollen, bleeding gums.  Additional signs and symptoms that may indicate a vitamin C deficiency include brittle hair, easily bruised skin, and nosebleeds.

Related:  Vitamin E Deficiency

Sources of Vitamin C

Because it is water soluble, vitamin C is not stored by the body.  This means people need to get it through food or supplements.  Some excellent food sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, mangoes, papayas, bell peppers, strawberries, broccoli, and kale.  Vitamin C supplements come in tablets, capsules, effervescent powders, and liquids.  People who depend on supplements for vitamin C should strive for 250-500 mg, twice a day. 

Vitamin C deficiency can result in a number of uncomfortable symptoms.  Fortunately, they can be prevented with the consumption of certain foods or supplements.  People who are concerned about a vitamin C deficiency should first consult with a health care professional to rule out other possibilities. 

30-Day Vibrant Living Challenge

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5 Signs and Symptoms You May Have a Vitamin B12 Deficiency

by Cindy Gray

Vitamin B12 is one of the B-complex vitamins that are essential for good health.  The body uses it to manufacture red blood cells, nerve cells, and DNA, and vitamin B12 is important to metabolism and cardiovascular health.  Like many other vitamins, B12 is not manufactured by the body, which means people must get it from food or supplements.  Consuming inadequate amounts of this important vitamin, or problems with its absorption, can lead to a vitamin B12 deficiency, a condition that is somewhat common, especially among older people.  Read on to learn about five signs and symptoms of deficiency

Clams are just one of the many food sources that help prevent vitamin B12 deficiency.

1.  Weakness

One of the first signs of vitamin B12 deficiency is body weakness, a natural consequence of reduced levels of red blood cells.  Because weakness is a symptom of a variety of physical conditions, people should consult with a medical professional to rule out possibilities.

2.  Gastrointestinal Disorders

Certain gastrointestinal disorders like colitis, celiac disease, Crohn's disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and leaky gut syndrome can affect absorption of vitamin B-12.  Supplements and B-12 shots can help prevent vitamin B12 deficiency in people with these conditions.

Related:  Five Simple Tips for Healthy Vision

3.  Vision Loss  

Low levels of vitamin B12 can have a negative effect on the optic nerve, but supplements can help.  A study from Japan examining 28 patients with glaucoma showed improvements with a daily dose of 1500 mcg of vitamin B12 over five years.  The participants receiving B12 experienced reduced peripheral vision loss, more stable visual acuity, and better control over eye fluid pressure than participants that did not receive vitamin B12.

4.  Shortness of Breath

Failure to absorb vitamin B12 can result in a reduction of red blood cells that can lead to a condition called pernicious anemia.  Symptoms of this condition include shortness of breath and fatigue.

5.  Memory Loss

Vitamin B12 deficiency can impact brain function, causing symptoms like disorientation, difficulty thinking, and memory loss.  Research shows supplements can help. 

A study from Australian National University found that older adults who received supplements containing vitamin B12 and folic acid over two years experienced better results on tests for short-term and long-term memory than participants who did not receive the supplements. Researchers speculated that results might be due to lower levels of homocysteine, an amino acid linked to poor cognitive function.

Sources of Vitamin B12

Natural food sources of B12 all come from animal products and good options include clams, beef, turkey, oysters, chicken, trout, and salmon.  People who are vegan, vegetarian, or those with absorption issues can benefit from foods fortified with synthetic B12 or B12 supplements. 

People need vitamin B12 to stay healthy, but according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, about 23 percent of adults above the age of 49 have some level of deficiency.  People who are concerned about vitamin B12 deficiency should visit a medical professional for a blood test and treatment options.

30 Days to Rethink How You Take Supplements

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Three Strange Signs You May Have a Vitamin Deficiency

by IVL Products

In a modern world, people are busier than ever, which can have an effect on daily nutrition.  An influx of fast or processed foods and high levels of stress make it easy to become deficient in certain key nutrients.  When levels of vitamins and minerals are low, the body reacts.  Common symptoms of deficiency include insomnia, fatigue, and irritability, but the body can also respond in more unusual ways.  Here are three strange signs that may indicate vitamin deficiency. 

People concerned about vitamin deficiency should visit a health care professional for blood tests.

1.  Muscle Cramps

People who experience muscle cramps in the legs, calves, feet, or toes may be deficient in magnesium, calcium, and/or potassium.  Adding some mineral rich foods to the shopping cart can help.  Load up on nuts and seeds like almonds, hazel nuts, and pumpkin seeds.  Try fruits like apples, bananas, cherries, and grapefruit and vegetables like bok choy, broccoli, kale, and spinach.

2.  Tingly Hands and Feet

Certain vitamins help ensure good nerve health like B6, B9 (folate), and B12.  When the hands and feet feel pins-and-needles tingly, a deficiency of these important B vitamins may be indicated.  Additional symptoms may include anxiety, depression, or fatigue.  For relief, stock up on asparagus, beets, clams, mussels, oysters, and poultry as well as pinto, black, kidney, or lima beans.

Related:  How to Improve Blood Circulation with Alternative Medicine

3.  Hair loss

Vitamin deficiency is responsible for hair loss in some people.  Those who are noticing more hair than usual in the shower drain may want to reevaluate their diet.  Low levels of iron or vitamin D may be to blame.  A study from Cairo University found that women suffering from telogen effluvium (TE) and female pattern hair loss (FPHL) showed low levels of these two nutrients, and the lower the levels, the more hair was lost. 

While the best way to get vitamin D is through the sun's rays, good food sources include wild-caught salmon and fortified milk and orange juice.  Foods high in iron include clams, eggs, liver, oysters, and spinach. People should always get their iron from foods first and consult with a medical professional before taking iron supplements.

The best way to avoid vitamin deficiency and resulting symptoms is to eat a well-balanced diet.  Taking a daily multivitamin helps fill in any nutritional gaps.  People concerned about deficiency of particular nutrients or absorption problems can speak to a medical professional for blood tests and proper treatment.

Healthy Living Starts Here... Free Resource Guide

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Women’s Top Five Health Concerns

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Advancing years, the sudden onset of illness, or the death of someone close can all make us think about our own health. According to Saralyn Mark, M.D. there are five main medical conditions that top the list of women’s health issues. We look at the risk factors for each and see how experts suggest we can be proactive in reducing or preventing such health problems.

Breast cancer is one of the top five women’s health issues

#1 Heart Disease

As the leading cause of death, heart disease is responsible for around 29% of all deaths in women, according to the CDC.  Although we eventually all have to die, it is the premature death or limitations caused by heart disease that is the greatest health concern.

Regular health checks to monitor blood pressure and cholesterol can help reduce the risk along with a healthy diet, regular exercise, non-smoking and maintaining a normal body weight. Any new symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest, and shoulder or jaw pain should be reported to your doctor and investigated.

Related:  Yoga Lowers Fatigue and Inflammation in Breast Cancer Survivors

#2 Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is understandably one of the main women’s health issues as it is the most common cancer for women. Risk factors include family history, age, alcoholism, lack of children, genetics and race, with Caucasian women having a higher risk of developing the disease than African-American women.

Regular self-examination can detect lumps at the earliest stage, along with mammograms. Fear and denial can stop women going to see their doctor when a lump is discovered, and this can be crucial for the best chance of survival. 

#3 Osteoporosis

Another disease that affects women is osteoporosis, due to lower estrogen levels after menopause. This “brittle bone disease” affects 44 million Americans, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF).

Clinical trials by the NOF show that taking 1,000 mg calcium and 400 IU vitamin D daily reduces the risk of hip fracture and osteoporosis. Those most at risk are small, thin women with a diet low in calcium and vitamin D, particularly Caucasian and Asian women or those with as family history of osteoporosis.

#4 Depression

Depression commonly affects women more than men, and according to the National Institute of Mental Health, around 12 million women are affected each year. It may be triggered after giving birth or due to hormonal changes. Those with a family history of depression, marital problems, a stressful life or taking medications known to cause depression are most at risk. Having a purpose in life such as a job, a pet, volunteering and community work can all help. Regular exercise also releases endorphins that lift mood.

#5 Autoimmune Diseases

Disorders such as type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis and lupus are among this group of chronic diseases. Autoimmune diseases are not widely understood and you may need to consult a specialist to diagnose and address these women’s health issues that affect three times more women than men. Worrying about your health can only make things worse. Instead, take every precaution to eat and exercise sensibly, top up with daily supplements and if anything is amiss, share it immediately with your doctor. 

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Sex and Menopause: Is it Normal to Lose Desire?

by Health News

Unfortunately, it’s a common myth that people age their sex drive takes a dive. While it may be true that some women’s sexual desire may decline following menopause, for the majority of women, desire does not decline.  In fact, a survey conducted by the American Association of Retired Persons, (AARP ) reported that 57% of women said they considered a satisfying sexual relationship to be one of the most important factors in terms of quality of life. Only 36% agreed with the statement that sex is less important as people age. In fact, sexual desire and satisfaction may increase after menopause. With factors such as children moving out of the home, no chance of unwanted pregnancy, no interruptions due to menstrual periods, and the deeper self-awareness and wisdom that comes with age, many women are pleased to experience their sexual drive and enjoyment actually blossoming.  

How to stay healthy and keep your sex life humming!

What Causes Desire to Wane?

If you find that your desire has shifted into low gear after fifty, a simple physical issue such as lower levels of estrogen is rarely the full explanation. Sex drive is complex and multifaceted. It is influenced by physical issues, and also by psychological, emotional, and relationship concerns; and even cultural beliefs.

Physical Problems: Your overall health and well-being—independent of hormonal levels—plays a significant role in your libido. Chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, underactive thyroid, depression, and bladder problems; or chronic pain and fatigue, can dramatically decrease sexual desire.  Add to that list: drug use, smoking, and certain prescription medications including tranquilizers, sedatives, steroids, antihistamines, antidepressants and peptic ulcer medication.  

The only biological condition that is clearly linked to a woman’s desire for sex is vaginal dryness. Lack of lubrication can cause pain, muscular spasms, and difficulty reaching orgasm. Lower estrogen levels are a major issue, but there are other contributors to this condition, including certain prescription medications; chemically treated sanitary products and synthetic underwear; and chemical deodorants, douches, and perfumes. The side effects of the treatment of certain health conditions can also lead to excessive dryness, especially treatments for cancer including radiation, chemotherapy, and estrogen-blocking drugs.

Related:  Is Your Lack of Sex Drive Due to Low T?

Psychological and Emotional Factors: The fire of desire can also be dampened by a variety of psychological and emotional factors. The most common include:

  • Excess stress. Around the time of menopause, a number of significant sources of stress often converge at one time. They may include raising teenagers, being a caregiver for an elderly parent, job-related issues, and marriage or relationship tensions.
  • Mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety.
  • Self-esteem issues. Being uncomfortable or self-conscious about your weight, aging body, or health problems can cause you to feel less attractive and desirable.
  • How you feel about your partner.  If you are upset with or feel distant from your partner, your desire for them won’t be burning. Likewise, your appetite for your partner may be poor if you find their bedroom skills disappointing. One third of women in the AARP study who reported having no sexual problems, said they had previously had problems, but when they changed partners, the issue went away.
  •  Beliefs about sex and aging. If you believe it is normal to lose sexual desire as you age, then more than likely, you will lose it.

Getting Your Mojo Back

If your lack of libido is due to physical issues, the best approach is to work on improving your health. There are no short cuts, quick fixes, or magic pills. Good health only comes from good habits, which include: 

  • Eating a diet high in organically produced fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and supplemental omega-3 fatty acids
  • Exercising daily—even brisk walking can do wonders for your sex drive, as well as the rest of your health
  • Getting enough quality rest by going to sleep by 10 p.m. and rising before 6 a.m.
  • Practicing effective stress-reducing techniques such as meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises
  • Keeping your weight ideal—either being significantly overweight or underweight can have a tremendous negative impact on your health

Improving Vaginal Dryness

If you suffer with vaginal dryness, there are many approaches that can improve or reverse the condition. The typical western medicine course of treatment consists of topical estrogens. Although they can increase your risk of breast cancer, the relative risk of topical estrogens compared to oral hormone replacement therapy is much less. I recommend always trying natural approaches first. Studies show that certain foods high in phytoestrogens, such as soy and flax seeds, can help reduce vaginal dryness without increasing your risk of breast cancer. The herbs black cohosh and ginseng have been documented by several studies to improve vaginal moisture. Vitamin E vaginal suppositories and supplemental oral omega-7 fatty acids (from a plant called Sea buckthorn) can also be of benefit. The holistic system of medicine Ayurveda recommends topical aloe vera gel and coconut oil for vaginal dryness, and the herbs marshmallow root and Shatavari for low libido.

Be sure to use natural lubricants without synthetic chemicals and toxins. Organic coconut oil and aloe vera are two of the best choices. 

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Three Cellulite Home Remedies for Tighter, Smoother Skin

by IVL Products

When it comes to physical appearance, few things frustrate women more than cellulite, and it is an equal-opportunity annoyance.  From teenagers to seniors, cellulite affects up to 90% of women at some point in life.  While connective tissue in men forms in a crisscross pattern, female connective tissue takes on a honeycomb shape.  Any extra fat tends to bulge out and create a dimpled effect on the skin, particularly on the stomach, hips, and thighs.  Women are always searching for ways to reduce the appearance of cellulite, and three cellulite home remedies show promise according to anecdotal and scientific evidence.

When it comes to cellulite home remedies, many women use coffee.  Instead of drinking it, they rub the grounds on their skin.

1. Coffee Grounds and Olive Oil

Women looking to reduce cellulite should try this easy recipe:  add 2 T of olive oil to 1/2 cup caffeinated coffee grounds, and heat in the microwave for 10 seconds.  Massage the mixture into the affected areas and wrap with plastic wrap.  Remove after 20 minutes.  For the best results, repeat the process two or three times per week for six weeks.

How it works:  The olive oil helps bind the coffee grounds to the skin, and the caffeine within the coffee dilates blood vessels, which improves circulation.  This gives cellulite-ridden skin a firmer, more toned appearance.

Related: Drinking Coffee:  The Benefits

2. Gota Kola

Several studies verify that oral consumption of Gota kola supplements makes one of the better cellulite home remedies.  For optimal results, people should take 30 mg of Gota kola three times per day.  Use it for six weeks or less with at least two weeks in between re-use.  People with liver disease or diabetes, or people taking diuretics should not use Gota kola.  Check with your health care practitioner if you have any concerns.

How it works: 

Called triterpenoids, the active ingredients in Gota kola help minimize the appearance of cellulite by strengthening connective tissue which makes skin thicker and improves its elasticity. 

3. Grape Seed Extract

An herb used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine, grape seed extract is best known for its benefits to memory and cognitive function.  However, it also possesses antioxidants called proanthocyanidins that help reduce the appearance of cellulite.  People taking anti-coagulants or Phenacetin should not take grape seed extract.  Always check with your doctor if you have questions or concerns.

How it works:

Active ingredients in grape seed extract enhance circulation by strengthening blood vessels and inhibiting elastase and collagenase, enzymes that can damage human connective tissue.  The recommended dosage for grape seed extract is 50 mg twice per day.

Factors that Contribute to Cellulite

In addition to cellulite home remedies, becoming aware of factors that contribute to cellulite can also help people reduce its appearance.  These factors include:

  • Dehydration
  • Excess body fat
  • Hormonal changes
  • Poor nutrition or fad dieting
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Slow metabolism
  • Skin color and thickness

While many women spend a fortune on creams, teas, and other products for fighting cellulite, the truth is, most of them don't work.  Three cellulite home remedies that have shown success come at a reasonable price and offer minimal side effects.  Before purchasing the latest wonder cure for cellulite, women should try coffee grounds and olive oil, Gota kola, or grape seed extract. 

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The Connection between Perimenopause and Heavy Bleeding

by Cindy Gray

While many women associate declining estrogen and progesterone with menopause, female hormones actually begin to fluctuate years earlier during the transition period known as perimenopause.  With an average span of four years, perimenopause comes with a number of physical and emotional symptoms like hot flashes, sleep disturbance, vaginal dryness, reduced libido, mood swings, and headache.  Roughly 25 percent of women also experience heavy bleeding, or menorrhagia, which can cause weakness and extreme fatigue one to two days each month, and lead to anemia if severe.  Understanding the connection between perimenopause and heavy bleeding helps women better deal with this bothersome symptom.  

There is a connection between hormonal imbalance in perimenopause and heavy bleeding.

Menorrhagia Quiz

Women with concerns about perimenopause and heavy bleeding can start by answering a few questions:

  • Does your period arrive more frequently than every 21 days?
  • Does your period last longer than seven days?
  • Do you spot in between periods?
  • Is the amount of flow at least twice that of your normal period?
  • Are you changing even high-absorbency pads or tampons frequently?
  • Does menstrual flow contain large blood clots?

If you have answered "yes" to any of the questions above, you may be experiencing menorrhagia.  

The Cause of Menorrhagia during Perimenopause

According to Dr. Christiane Northrup, a prominent doctor and women's health expert, estrogen dominance (an imbalance in the ratio of estrogen to progesterone) causes menorrhagia in menopause.  Too much estrogen results in an overgrowth of uterine lining, which breaks down and sheds in a disorderly way.  This leads to irregular heavy bleeding or spotting in between periods.

Remedies for Menorrhagia

Natural progesterone creams may reduce the thickness of uterine lining, and women can also visit a health care provider for a stronger product in capsule form.  

An NSAID pain reliever like ibuprofen has the potential to cut menstrual flow in half by blocking prostaglandins.  The recommended dosage is 200 mg every six hours for the first few days of a woman's period.

The herb turmeric also shows promise for reducing menstrual blood flow.  It should be taken once per day throughout the month as an oral supplement. 

RelatedThe Probiotic-Menopause Connection

Research shows that women with diets high in phytoestrogens experience lighter periods.  Phytoestrogens compete with stronger endogenous estrogens that stimulate production of uterine lining.  Foods high in phytoestrogens include nuts, soy products, and flaxseed.

Women should incorporate foods with iodine into the diet.  Iodine has a down-regulating effect on estrogen receptors, which helps reduce the thickness of uterine lining.  Good sources of iodine include sea vegetables, scallops, cod, and yogurt.

Menorrhagia results from an overgrowth of uterine lining caused by hormonal imbalance. Women dealing with perimenopause and heavy bleeding can try several natural and/or prescribed remedies for relief.  Although 25 percent of women in perimenopause experience menorrhagia, it also results from certain medical conditions.  To rule out endometriosis, fibroids, infection, underactive thyroid, or uterine polyps, women with heavy bleeding should consult with a health care provider.  

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The 411 on Menopause and Hair Thinning

by Cindy Gray

Due to a number of uncomfortable symptoms, women don't typically welcome menopause with open arms.  Although most expect hot flashes and mood swings, many are unprepared for perhaps the most distressing symptom of all:  hair loss.  Statistically, hair loss in women during and after menopause occurs in about 40 percent of women.  

Most hair loss in women during or after menopause can be blamed on hormonal changes.

Reasons for Menopause Hair Loss

Most experts attribute hair loss in women during or after menopause to hormonal changes. Reduced estrogen levels result in hair that is thinner and drier in texture.  What's more, pre-menopause stores of estrogen block the hair-thinning effects of testosterone in the female body.  When estrogen drops, so does the blocking benefit.  In some women, the hair that comes back grows in progressively weaker.

Symptoms of Hair Loss

Unlike male pattern hair loss, female hair loss occurs over a broad scalp area.  At first, women may notice a smaller ponytail, a wider part, and higher-than-usual shedding in the hair brush and in the shower.  In some women, a whopping 50 percent loss can occur before the problem is visually noticeable.

Other Factors that Contribute to Hair Loss in Women

While hormonal levels offer the most common explanation for women experiencing menopause and hair thinning, other factors should be considered.  For instance, some women have genetic predisposition to hair loss.  Other causes include high levels of stress, crash dieting, nutritional deficiencies, and thyroid issues.

Related:  Black Cohosh Provides Safe & Natural Relief for Hot Flashes

Effects and Treatments

In addition to physical affects, hair loss in women causes psychological distress, from loss of confidence and reduced self-esteem to anxiety, depression, and social withdrawal.  Fortunately, a wide range of treatments can help, including prescription medicines, platelet-rich plasma injections (PRP), low-level laser therapy, and nutritional supplements.

Women concerned about hair loss should consult with a health care professional to determine the cause and to choose a treatment that is right for them.  It is important for women to give a therapy time to work and track results before abandoning it in frustration for a new one. Regrowth of hair can take time and subtle changes aren't always noticeable at first.

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Can I Take Supplements with My Current Medications?

by Health News

There is no doubt that the Internet has made finding the answer to a vast array of questions easier than at any time in human history, but there is a very big "however," that must be addressed. Many people attempt to answer the question, "can I take supplements with my current medications?" on their own or by reading various websites. In short, tackling these issues on your own can be quite dangerous. In this article, we will look at why you should not attempt to determine for yourself which drugs you can and cannot take together. 

Related Article: Prescription Drugs Contain Chemicals That Accelerate The Aging Process

Supplements Can Be Very Powerful 
The word "supplement" can be applied to a wide variety of compounds. It is important to remember that many supplements are natural herbs and other compounds that are very, very powerful. In fact, many of today's most powerful drugs are actually just reverse engineered versions of natural compounds. Why? It is not possible to get a drug patent on a basic herb such as cinnamon that has been in use by humans for thousands of years. However, when a drug company makes their own version, there is a serious profit to be made.

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Drug Interactions Can Be So Complex that Medical Professionals Miss Them 
The issue of drug interactions is so complex that even skilled pharmacists get the answers wrong on occasion. When they do get the answers wrong, the results can be deadly. In fact, every year thousands of people die from interactions between prescribed and legal drug medications. It is important to remember that many of today's prescribed drugs are very powerful and are designed to work in a very specific fashion. Introducing different prescription drugs together can have a lethal result.

Unfortunately, many do not understand the dangers of mixing prescription drugs. Even skilled and knowledgeable people in the industry, such as scientists, doctors, researchers and pharmacists, can make dangerous mistakes where prescription drug interaction is concerned.

Your Doctor Must Know of All the Drugs and Supplements You are Taking

Supplements and drugs are not the same thing; however, your doctor absolutely must know all the drugs and supplements that you are taking. There are drugs that can interact negatively with what seems to be the most basic and simple of supplements. 
As a result, you should "play it safe" and make certain that your doctor knows and understands all the supplements and other drugs you are taking. Above all, don't try and resolve this issue on your own, as this is what you are paying your doctor and other medical professionals to do. 

Supplements can be a great way to improve your health, but they must be used judiciously and in a sensible fashion. If you are on medication, it is important that you access all the factors that can impact the performance of those drugs.

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Are Supplements Regulated by the FDA?

by theintituteforvibrantliving admin

Natural supplements are not governed like drugs, as they are not drugs at all. However, they can be just as potent and those taking daily supplements should understand what checks are in place to maintain standards and support good health. You should be particularly careful of starting a new regime of natural supplements if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have chronic medical conditions or are on medications. 

The FDA has rules concerning dietary supplements that allow manufacturers to claim a product supports health or addresses a deficiency. However, the manufacturer must make a disclaimer that the FDA has not evaluated the claim.

Related Article: 10 Tips for Purchasing High-Quality Nutritional Supplements

Herbal supplement companies must follow good manufacturing practices (GMPs) and meet quality standards. GMPs ensure the right ingredients are included to match the product label and ensure that dangerous substances, such as lead, are kept out. Once a product is on the market, the FDA monitors it for safety and has the power to remove it if deemed dangerous. 

The FDA requires natural supplement labels to show the name of the supplement, the name and address of the distributor or manufacturer, a complete list of ingredients and the serving size, amount and active ingredients. This makes it easy to compare similar products from different brands or research more information. 

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The best protection is to buy natural supplements from a reputable supplier who has been in the market for many years and has a good reputation. Buy from a company that has good information available on its products, is willing to answer questions and backs up its products with a fair, money-back guarantee. 

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Green Tea: Food For The Brain

by Nancy Maneely

What’s not to love about a soothing hot cup of fragrant green tea?

It’s China’s favorite drink, and thanks to modern scientific research, we know it contains health benefits from its abundant antioxidants – making it the preferred beverage for healthy aging.

It’s long been established that green tea is a powerful agent for protection against cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related health concerns. In fact, many people concerned with cardiovascular health have started adding green tea to their diet as a high blood pressure natural treatment.

Green Tea: Food For The Brain

Now, new research from China suggests that drinking green tea may help boost the production of new brain cells – offering cognitive support for those of any age.

The studies with mice, published in the August issue of the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, found that epigallocatechin-3 galate (EGCG), an antioxidant found in green tea, boosts production of neural progenitor cells. These progenitor cells can help promote neurogenesis - the formation of new brain cells (neurons) in the hippocampus, the part of the brain that transfers information from short term to long-term memory.

Related Article: Green Tea: A Promising Anti-Cancer Superfood

The new cells appear to sharpen memory, improve learning and ward off degenerative diseases. The research also noted that the mice treated with EGCG and trained to run mazes could accomplish this task faster than mice that didn’t receive EGCG. They found that, in mice, the new cells appear to improve memory, learning and combat degenerative diseases.

If you’re not a tea drinker, now is the time to start! Create a “green tea ritual” and view it as a few minutes of your day when you take the time to slow down, take a few deep breaths and treat your body well. The simple act of preparing the hot water and steeping the tea can provide that moment of quiet and calm in the midst of a hectic day. Soon you will find yourself looking forward to your daily tea ritual!

Talk to your doctor to see if taking green tea supplements as a high blood pressure natural treatment is right for you.

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Natural Heart Health: Test Your Doctor

by Health News

Natural heart health starts with the conversations you're having with your doctor. Once you get to a certain age, your physician should talk to you about heart health, including high blood pressure treatments if you have high blood pressure. If you are younger but have noticeable risk factors for heart disease, they need to approach the subject. When you have concerns about your heart and your health, bring them up. Let’s see how your doctor responds. Do they:

Heart Health & High Blood Pressure Treatments: Test Your Doc

• Ask you about your diet?
• Offer ways to reduce your risk factors?
• Perform blood work to determine various levels like cholesterol, insulin and C-reactive protein?
• Do a thorough examination?
• Ask about family history?

If your doctor is on top of things, any one of the above points can get the conversation started on heart health. But, don’t be shy, join in on the conversation. If you are afraid you might forget your questions, write them down ahead of time.

Ask your doctor about the results of your tests. What do the cholesterol numbers mean? What is my blood pressure? Are there alternatives to medication? What if I experience side effects?

You can begin online. All the information you ever wanted to know is there. You can employ your doctor to explain what you don’t understand. Use it as a guide to getting the answers you want from your doctor not to replace your doctor.

Get Additional Resources

Your doctor can help you by recommending supplements for high blood pressure, nutritionists, internists and other professionals to help you protect your heart. Some people don’t know enough about supplements for high blood pressure to choose the best option and nutrition to choose better foods. Or, they don’t know how to get started with exercise. Your doctor has resources to lead you in the right direction. After a complete physical, they can also tell you what type of exercise is right for you.

Your doctor works with you to protect your heart. If you have questions, ask. The important thing is to go and see a doctor to get the ball rolling. Participate in your own heart health. 

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Is Plastic safe? The Dangers of Plastic.

by Institute for Vibrant Living

For years, we’ve heard that eating or drinking anything that is canned or comes in plastic is bad for your health. But do you really understand why? The quick answer is bisphenol-A (BPA).

BPA is one of 800 different endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), compounds that interfere with the action of hormones in the body. Two of the most prolific EDCs in our environment—and often in our daily activities of life—are phthalates and BPA.

Is Plastic safe? The Dangers of Plastic.

The reason comes down to our reliance on plastic. While phthalates are used to soften plastic and make it more flexible, BPA is used to harden plastic.

When it comes to BPA specifically, it is a known cancer-causing xenoestrogen, meaning it is an estrogen-mimicking chemical. Sadly, this carcinogen (which has been declared “toxic” in Canada) is used daily here in the U.S. to harden plastic bottles and as an inner liner for many canned goods.

In addition to increasing your risk for cancer, BPA has also been linked to reproductive issues and even elevated glucose level. And now, according to a study published in Hypertension in February 2015, you can add increasing blood pressure levels to the list of BPA side effects.

In this randomized, crossover study, researchers asked 60 adults age 60 and older to visit their study site on three separate days. On one visit, the participants drank a beverage from two glass bottles. The second visit, they drank the same beverage from two cans, and on the third visit, they drank the beverage from one glass bottle and one can.

On all three occasions, researchers tested urinary BPA concentration, blood pressure, and heart rate variability two hours after the beverages were consumed. They found that BPA levels increased after drinking the canned beverages by more than 1,600 percent versus the glass containers.

While heart rate variability was not significantly different with any of the container options, researchers found that when participants drank the two canned beverages, their systolic blood pressure increased by an average of 4.5 mmHg (as compared to the glass containers). Researchers concluded, “The present study demonstrated that consuming canned beverage and consequent increase of BPA exposure increase blood pressure acutely.”

This one is a no-brainer. If you are consuming beverages or food from plastic containers or cans, be sure they are BPA-free. If they are not, do not use them. Period.

Next, do a mild detox to rid your body of the likely BPA stored in your cells. This means using a daily greens powder supplement along with a good liver-cleansing supplement that contains milk thistle (200-400 mg), turmeric (50-100 mg), and dandelion (150-300 mg).

Finally, if blood pressure is a concern for you, try using a few targeted nutrients to keep your blood pressure healthy in the normal range. This includes nattokinase (80-160 mg), cranberry concentrate (60-120 mg), and/or acetyl-L-carnitine (250-500 mg).

Free Download - 15 Healthy Recipes

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Does Banaba have Anti-Diabetic Properties?

by Cindy Gray

Chances are you’ve never heard of Banabá - also known as Giant Crape-myrtle, Queen's Crape-myrtle and Pride of India - a plant found all over tropical South Asia.  The leaves and other parts of this potent medicinal plant are used widely in the Philippines, Taiwan and Japan for making tea. In fact, Banabá is one of 69 herbal plants promoted by the Philippine Department of Health.Are There Anti-Diabetic Properties in Banaba?

Much to the interest of health experts, corosolic acid (CRA) - a natural compound present in Banabá - was seen in a 2006 study to lower glucose levels in human subjects. In this study, 31 subjects were given corosolic acid five minutes before an oral glucose tolerance test. Of these, 19 subjects had diabetes, seven had impaired glucose tolerance, one had impaired fasting glucose, and four had normal glucose tolerance.

The oral glucose tolerance test is used to test for diabetes and insulin resistance. A fixed dose of glucose is given to a subject and blood samples taken afterward to determine how quickly it is cleared from the subject’s blood.  Subjects treated with corosolic acid had lower glucose levels from 60 to 120 minutes after the oral glucose challenge, showing for the first time that a natural compound in Banabá has an anti-hyperglycemic effect in humans.

Other studies have also shown that Banabá extracts trigger glucose transport similar to insulin in a laboratory setting, further confirming that Banabá may be useful for prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes.

You may want to consider this if you’re concerned about your blood sugar levels but you’re not sure what to do about it. 

Check out the available nutritional supplements designed to improve your insulin response and maintain normal blood sugar levels. Some contain no less than nine high-quality nutraceutical-grade botanical extracts including bitter melon, Shilajit, turmeric, fenugreek, Gymnema sylvestre - and of course Banabá. Each one of these natural therapies, used traditionally in Ayurveda, has been shown to stabilize blood sugar naturally with no known side effects.

So if you want to manage your blood sugar levels and lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, why not check out Banabá today?

 

Source:

Does Banabá Have Antidiabetic Properties?  

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Vitamin Deficiency Symptoms

by Health News

If you are eating a healthy diet you may simply assume that you are getting all of the vitamins that you need. However, increasingly, people have different vitamin deficiencies and aren’t even aware that this is the case. If your body is lacking in essential vitamins like Vitamin D, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C, your health can quickly deteriorate.

If you’re experiencing frequent digestive problems or other regular health issues, your body may be lacking in essential vitamins.

If you’re experiencing frequent digestive problems or other regular health issues, your body may be lacking in essential vitamins.

In order for your body to function optimally, your body should be exposed to ample amounts of every key vitamin. After all, each kind of vitamin serves a vital purpose in the body. You may not immediately realize that you have a vitamin deficiency. However, there are signs that you can look for.

Do you get an upset stomach or experience other digestive problems on a regular basis? Your body may be having a hard time absorbing the nutrients from the food you eat. It could also be you're lacking in the proper amount of good bacteria and enzymes in your stomach needed to break down and digest your food. Probiotic supplements can help in these instances to provide your body with the bacteria it needs to support a healthy digestive system. It's important to consult your doctor about these symptoms.

One sign of vitamin deficiency that you can easily recognize occurs via changes in your hair, skin, teeth and nails. For example, is your skin is dry and cracking? Do you have dandruff?   Further, your nails and hair may break easily, and you may also experience hair loss due to vitamin deficiencies. Lack of Vitamin C in the body can also cause impaired wound healing, loose teeth and bleeding gums, while lack of Vitamin A can cause dry hair, and acne. People also commonly have eye problems, like dry eye and night blindness, when they have deficiencies in Vitamin A.

You might think that you are just depressed or tired. However, mood related issues could also be caused by lack of vitamins in the body. For example, a B12 deficiency can cause depression, fatigue, personality changes, and even psychosis. Lack of Vitamin D has also been traced to memory impairment in seniors. If you are finding that you are suddenly experiencing problems with your mood and just don’t feel like yourself, this could also be due to a vitamin deficiency.

Deficiency in Vitamin D is also a serious issue that is increasingly of concern to scientists and doctors. Research has linked this lack of Vitamin D to a variety of serious illnesses including cancer, cardiovascular disease and immune disorders. If you have a vitamin deficiency in D, there are measures you can take such as drinking fortified milk that is rich in Vitamin D. Also exposure to sunlight will help to maintain your body’s natural production of the vitamin.

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Who Needs Dietary Supplements?

by Health News

It's important for everyone to benefit from taking dietary supplements, mainly because the majority of the foods grown today are grown in depleted soils.  Taking dietary supplements is even more important under these circumstances:  

  • You have poor eating habits, or you consume less than 1,600 calories a day
  • You are a vegan or a vegetarian who eats a limited variety of foods
  • You are pregnant, trying to get pregnant or you are breast-feeding
  • You are a woman who experiences heavy bleeding during your menstrual period
  • You are a postmenopausal woman concerned with healthy aging (remember men experience hormonal changes too, so supplements for men are very important to consider)
  • You have a medical condition that affects your digestive system and how your body absorbs, uses or excretes nutrients, such as chronic diarrhea, food allergies, food intolerance or a disease of the liver, gallbladder, intestines or pancreas.
  • You have had surgery on your digestive tract and are not able to digest and absorb nutrients properly.
  • You are very athletic, and perhaps are in some sort of intense physical training; or your job is very demanding physically
  • You smoke or drink.  While everybody knows it's not good for us, many do it anyway. Although dietary supplements will not reverse the effects that alcohol and smoking will do to your body, they can help your body deal with the demands placed on it by these habits.
  • Your age.  The older you get, the more you need to make sure that you are getting the correct nutrition your body needs.  Educate yourself, and ask a trusted health care practitioner what may be the best dietary supplement for you.
  • Peace of mind.  Since most of us are not getting enough nutrients from the foods we eat, taking a quality dietary supplement can ease your mind.

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AND DON'T FORGET:

  • Read and understand supplement labels. Product labels should tell you about the ingredients and which nutrients are included; also recommendations for use, such as the serving size and the amount of nutrients in each serving.
  • Check expiration dates. Dietary supplements can lose potency over time, especially in hot and humid climates. If a supplement doesn't have an expiration date, don't buy it. If your supplements have expired, discard them.
  • Store all vitamin and mineral supplements safely. Put supplements in a locked cabinet or other secure location out of children's reach (and pets). Don't leave supplements on the counter or rely on child-resistant packaging. Store dietary supplements in a dry, cool place. Avoid hot, humid storage locations, such as in the bathroom.
  • Don't overdose your supplements. Some vitamins such as vitamin D, vitamin A and vitamin B6 can be bad for your health when taken in extremely large amounts for extended periods of time. Follow the dosage instruction on the label.
  • Tell your doctor. Some dietary supplements can interact with medications, so tell your doctor about the dietary supplements you take.

Healthy Aging: Tips for a Healthy Digestive System