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.


Do You Need to Invest in B Vitamins? Take This Quiz about the Benefits of B Vitamins

by Health News

If you are unsure about the benefits of B vitamins, take our quiz to see if you need to be getting more B’s in your diet. 

Q: Do you feel like you are not as strong as you used to be? Do you commonly lose your keys or having trouble remembering how to get home from a store you’ve shopped at for years?

A: Weak muscles, fatigue and low energy are symptomatic of a vitamin B12 deficiency. Confusion, feeling depressed, and having trouble remembering things that you can’t imagine ever forgetting are also signals.

Your body needs vitamin B12 (also known as cobalamin) to make red blood cells, which carry oxygen to your cells to be converted into energy. A low red blood cell count means your cells become starved for air and your body shuts down your muscles to conserve energy. Brain cells that are deprived of oxygen begin to die off, leading to reduced cognitive function like memory loss and confusion.

To get the 6 mcg recommended daily amount (RDA) of B12 in your diet every day, eat eggs, dairy products, meats and fortified foods. Vegans should take a supplement. 

Q: Do you have cracked skin at the corners of your mouth that no amount of moisturizer will heal?

A: A vitamin B6 deficiency is associated with a variety of skin ailments including painfully cracked skin at the corners of your mouth called cheilosis. A lack of vitamin B6 is also associated with an inflamed tongue, sores around the mouth, painfully cracked lips, and greasy or dry, flaky, peeling skin.

A vitamin B6 deficiency is pretty uncommon in the U.S. since many foods contain it. Since a deficiency in the vitamin also known as pyridoxine or pyridoxamine can also cause nerve damage, fatigue, and loss of balance—so getting the 200-milligram RDA is essential for good health. You can find it in nuts, chicken, fish, most vegetables, and bananas.

Q: Are you running to the bathroom more frequently?

A: Loose stools due to Irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s or celiac disease can cause a folic acid or B9 deficiency.  Being deficient in B9 is linked to anemia, fatigue, gray hair, mouth sores, and tongue swelling. 

Children who do not get enough folic acid may experience growth problems and pregnant women are at higher risk for delivering a low-birth weight baby.

You can get plenty of folic acid in your diet from foods like tomato juice, eggs, asparagus, chicken and pork and fortified cereals.

Related:  Hearing Problems Linked to Folate Deficiency Study Finds

Q: What do widespread muscle pain, constipation and loss of sensation in the hands and feet have in common?

A: These are all common symptoms of a thiamine or vitamin B1 deficiency.  The disorder is uncommon in the U.S. and tends to be a problem in countries where white rice is the main food source like South East Asia.  The bran in the outer covering of white rice is where the much-needed thiamine resides.

In the U.S. and in developed countries alcoholics are at risk for developing health issues due to a vitamin B1 deficiency.  However, if you consistently eat a diet of high carbohydrate low-nutrient foods like pretzels, chips, candy and most other common junk food items, you could be at risk for neurological disorders. Instead of vending machine fare, choose eat whole grain breads, peas, beans and fortified foods.

Q: Are your eyes itching, watering, bloodshot, and suddenly light sensitive?

A: If you are experiencing any of those problems with your eyes and have eliminated allergies as the culprit, you may be lacking enough vitamin B2 or riboflavin in your diet.

Riboflavin is essential for many metabolic processes in the body including normal cell growth and functioning, helping other B vitamins undergo the chemical changes necessary to be used by the body and is a powerful antioxidant. 

In addition to vision problems, a lack of vitamin B2 is also linked to skin disorders, anemia, and swelling of the throat and tongue. You can get plenty of it (0.5-0.6 mg/day) in your diet by eating dark green vegetables like broccoli and spinach, milk cheese and yogurt, whole grains and meat.


Q: Are you feeling unusually fatigued even after a full night’s sleep and a cup of coffee?

A: You could be deficient in any number of the B vitamins. A lack of them in your diet causes anemia, which is characterized by muscle weakness and extreme fatigue. B vitamins are essential for helping the body convert food into energy and supply your cells with oxygen for energy.  Because the B’s work together in the body, not getting enough of one kind means you may not be metabolizing others leading to a variety of health issues.

B Happy

The benefits of B vitamins are well researched and documented. Getting enough of them in your diet is fairly simple. If you consume a variety of lean meats, fruits, vegetables and whole grains, there is no reason you can’t B very happy and healthy!


Antioxidants and Skin Health: Three Steps to Consider

by Cindy Gray

Most folks know that eating foods and taking supplements with antioxidants are good for them.  Those critical nutrients found in vitamins like A, C and E are good for you, both inside and out.  

Consuming antioxidants and skin health go hand in hand, so to speak, and in just a few easy steps you can keep your skin looking younger for longer.

1. Layer It On

We are exposed to sunlight from our earliest days of life. Wearing sunscreen religiously every day is the best way to protect your skin from the ravages of the sun. However, most of us tend to skip it now and then.  And you may recall experiencing some sunburn back when you were just a kid. 

Those dark spots, dry patches and wrinkles are the result of cell damaging free radicals, which are molecules that have lost an electron.  Feeling bereft, these free radical molecules steal from healthy cells, which starts a chain reaction that eventually damages the cell leaving the evidence of their crime on your face in the form of wrinkles and sunspots.

If you neglected sun protection when you were younger, there is something you can do about it now.  Eat foods and take supplements rich in antioxidants like vitamins A, C and E.  They contain nutrients that generously give free radicals the electron they so desperately want, thus halting their cell damaging thievery and restoring healthy skin cells.

2. Don’t Fan the Flames

The body’s natural response to cell damage is to ignite a fire—such as inflammation—to try to destroy whatever is causing the trouble. Most people suffer from chronic inflammation caused by sun exposure, smoking, and consuming too many sugary foods and drinks, along with the daily activities of life.

Over time, the inflammation takes a heavy toll on the body, especially the skin, leaving it dry, red and sometimes with a pimple or two to add insult to injury. 

Consuming antioxidants is like throwing a bucket of water on the fire. They quench the burn and help damaged cells repair themselves.

3. Eat Drink and Be Healthy

Here is a list of the top antioxidants that should be included in your healthy skin diet:


Known as a carotenoid, it is what gives certain food a red hue.  Lycopene helps improve the texture of your skin by supporting collagen production (a protein that makes up the support bands beneath the dermis) while it reverses free radical damage that causes wrinkles.  You can find it in cooked tomatoes, watermelons, grapefruit and sweet red peppers.

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

Vitamin C

This essential nutrient is showing to be a powerful weapon in the war on aging. It works as an antioxidant and collagen booster to help reverse the signs of aging by smoothing out wrinkles and encouraging healthy skin cell turnover to shed those dark spots for clearer, younger looking skin. You can find it in citrus fruits like oranges, kiwis and strawberries.

Vitamin A

This antioxidant plays an important role in bone growth, reproduction and keeping the immune system healthy. It also helps undo the damage from sun exposure by neutralizing free radicals. You can find it in sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, and spinach.

Because too much vitamin A can be toxic, it’s best to get it from your diet rather than supplements.

Vitamin E

Since sun damage is the top producer of free radicals that damage skin cells, vitamin E is a critical antioxidant for skin health.  When combined with vitamin C, it is very effective at protecting skin from UV damage by halting inflammation and limiting DNA damage.  It is also known as a-tocopherol so check for it on the ingredients list when choosing an antioxidant-rich supplement.  You can find it in abundance in foods like vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, asparagus and spinach.

Vitamin B3

Vitamin B3 is also known as niacin and has shown to be a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. It is especially helpful in getting rid of sunspots due to its depigmenting properties. Find it in pork, chicken and fish like tuna, farmed salmon and halibut or swordfish.

The Skin-ny:

Antioxidants and skin health are intertwined so if you want to keep your complexion radiant, eat foods rich in antioxidants and pop supplements with these essential nutrients. 


Antioxidants and Vision Health - Three Factors That Could Affect Your Vision

by IVL Products

What you eat may have a significant effect your vision. Research by the National Eye Institute (NEI) found eating foods and supplements with antioxidants and vision health are very closely related.

Antioxidants and vision health are very much connected

Here are some of the different foods and supplements loaded with antioxidants to help assist the body for improved vision health.

1. Taking Supplements

Losing visual acuity is a normal and largely unavoidable result of natural aging.  Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) causes nearly 10 million Americans to suffer permanent vision loss. Approximately two million cataract extractions (surgery) are performed annually. In some people, AMD causes a slow loss of vision over a long period of time, while for others it can cause a rapid loss in vision.

 In the NEI study, antioxidant vitamins and zinc supplements “reduced the risk of developing advanced AMD by about 25% in the study subjects who were at a high risk for developing the advanced stage of this disease.”

The study went on to say that those in the high-risk group for AMD taking the supplement also reduced vision loss by approximately 19%.  The researchers concluded that taking supplements with high doses of antioxidants could be a very effective way to could delay progression of AMD, especially those who are already at a high risk for developing it like:

  • Those over the age of 55
  • Anyone who has a family history of the disease
  • People who have high blood pressure
  • Those who are obese
  • Smokers

If you are at risk for age-related macular degeneration or cataracts, eating a diet rich in antioxidants could save your sight!

2. Free Radical Exposure

It should come as no surprise that eating foods with antioxidants and vision health are related.  The research and medical community has long known that antioxidants are the number one way to slow down the aging process from deep inside the body to the outer most layer of the skin.

Free radicals, those cells that made up of a molecule with an oddly-unpaired electron, are very unstable molecules that have lost an electron. They then attack the nearest stable molecule with a full set of electrons in its outer shell, stealing an electron, and rendering the mugged molecule unstable.  This can cause a chain reaction that eventually disrupts the viability of a living cell.  Free radical damage accumulates with age and is sped up by lifestyle factors like smoking, excessive sun exposure, and environmental pollutants.

Antioxidants are nutrients that neutralize free radicals by donating one of their own electrons and ending its electron-thievery.

Eye cells are delicate and years of free radical exposure can cause them to begin dying off, leading to vision loss and even total blindness.

RelatedThe Eyes are the Mirrors of your Health

3. Proper Diet

There are three main antioxidant vitamins: vitamins C and E and beta-carotene, which are converted by the body into vitamin A.  Many fruits and vegetables contain these vital nutrients that could greatly reduce your chances of AMD and other eye-related diseases.


Blue, black, raspberry, cranberry, and strawberries are a sweet way to get a healthy dose of antioxidants everyday.  Besides vitamins C and E, they also have other health benefits to benefit the entire body, so toss them in your breakfast cereal, salads and yogurt and you could be seeing “berry” well into your golden years.


These are not just something your grandmother eats to stay regular anymore. These dark purple gems ranked the highest in antioxidants according to a Kansas State University Study. They may not look pretty, but if you are not eating them regularly, you won’t be able to see them anyway.

Walnuts and Pecans

A mere ounce of these tree nuts has an ample amount of antioxidants in cholesterol- and sugar-free bite-sized portions that are great companions alongside the aforementioned berries in many dishes. You would be nuts not to add them into your diet on a regular basis.


This dark leafy green is not only a great source of antioxidants (fresh or cooked) but it also boasts a dose of iron, too.  In addition, kale, Brussels sprouts and even broccoli are rich in antioxidant power for healthy peepers.

Artichoke Hearts

These weird looking plants don’t resemble anything edible, but dig deep to get at the heart of the matter and you will be getting a good dose of antioxidants, along with fiber and other vitamins and minerals.

Green Tea

Tea for two, please—your left and right eye, that is.  This light, mild tasting beverage that is delicious served hot or cold is an easy way to sip a few antioxidants into your diet. If tea is not your thing, good old-fashioned coffee runs a close second in the category of best beverages with antioxidants for the eyes.

Eye Heart Supplements

The NEI study found that most Americans’ diets fall far short of the levels of antioxidants necessary to slow down age-related macular eye disease.  It can be difficult enough to include the abundance of fruits and vegetables needed to get the necessary antioxidants to be effective against vision loss, but with such strong research linking antioxidants and vision health, adding a supplement to your daily routine just makes good sense. See?


Five Myths about Vitamins

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Taking vitamins seems like a good way to stay healthy even when your diet isn’t. Or at least that’s what we would like to believe. Vitamin supplements can be a healthy addition to your diet, but they are not magic pills.  Let’s dispel the five most common myths about vitamins.

Myth #1:  Expensive Urine

You may have written off vitamin supplements because of claims by so-called experts that you can’t absorb extra vitamins and minerals unless it is from actual food; and they just end up being secreted from the body as “expensive urine.”

Fact or fiction? Fiction! If any dietary compounds like vitamin C are detected in your urine it means they were circulating in your blood stream at some point. If the vitamin was in your bloodstream, then you absorbed it and your body used it. 

Myth #2:  A Vitamin Pill Is the Same as Food

Why eat broccoli or salmon if you could just pop a pill, right?  While vitamins are a healthy supplement to your diet, they cannot replace actual food. Vitamins are called supplements because they are a good way to supplement your healthy diet of real foods.  Vitamins contain micronutrients, but we need both micro and macronutrients like protein, fats and carbohydrates to properly fuel our bodies.

It is difficult to get the recommended daily allowance of all vitamins and minerals through your diet, so taking supplements are a good way to cover those little nutrition gaps we all experience. The truth is that there are many compounds in food that are good for you, and many that cannot be duplicated in pill form.

Myth #3:  All Vitamins Are Pharmaceutical Strength

Here’s another one of the most common myths about vitamins. Not all vitamins are pharmaceutical grade just because you bought them in the vitamin shop at a pharmacy.  There are food grade (or store grade) and pharmaceutical grade vitamins.

Food grade vitamin capsules are allowed to have only 20% of the nutrients they say they contain. All the nutrients may have been in the batch but did not necessarily end up in each capsule.

Pharmaceutical grade supplements must meet the U.S. Pharmacopeia standards, which states that the capsule must contain more than 99% of the ingredients listed. They also must have a higher bioavailability than store grade vitamins. The best ones are whole food based and chelated.  Chelated means they are firmly attached to an amino acid or other organic compound so as to not disassociate in the digestive system.

Related:  Vitamin Deficiency Symptoms

Myth #4:  All Vitamin Are Safe

Generally this is true. Most of the supplements you purchase contain only trace amounts of the healthy compounds you take them for, making it hard to consume too many.  Water soluble vitamins dissolve in your bodily fluids while fat soluble vitamins like vitamins A, D, E and K, are stored in your fat cells. There is a chance of toxicity if you have too much of one vitamin build up in your system. They can lead to birth defects (vitamin A) or interfere with blood thinning drugs taken for cardiovascular or prevent normal blood clotting (vitamin K).

Some supplements can interfere with prescription drugs, so always consult your doctor before adding any supplement into your diet.

Myth #5:  It Doesn’t Matter Where You Store Your Vitamins

Wrong! Oxygen, light and water can render vitamins useless.  Many people store their vitamins in the bathroom medicine cabinet, which is the worse place for them. The humidity from the shower will seep into the container over time and start to break down the pills or capsules. 

Some vitamins like A and E are light sensitive, so sitting on the counter under the harsh glare of florescent lighting can cause photo-degradation.  Even exposure to oxygen can start to degrade the nutrients in vitamins.

The best place to store supplements with the cap screwed on tightly is in a cool dry place like a kitchen cabinet away from the stove or sink.   Always keep them out of reach of children. Look for those with childproof caps if you have curious little ones in the home.

Vitamins have an expiration date and overtime begin to degrade. Dispose of those over a year old or sooner if they look discolored, start to crumble or smell odd.

Myth Busters

Now that you know the myths about vitamins you can safely include them in your healthy eating plan and enjoy their many health benefits!


The Many Ways Spirulina Benefits the Health

by Health News

With a shift toward health and wellness on the rise, many people are on the hunt for more nutritious foods.  It doesn't get much more nutritious than spirulina.  This blue-green algae is chock full of important nutrients.  Spirulina is sustainable and provides more nutrition per acre than any other type of food.  With 18 amino acids and 62 percent pure protein, it makes a good food choice for vegetarians and vegans.  Because the protein is 95 percent digestible, spirulina benefits people with gastrointestinal issues as well. 

Spirulina offers an abundance of vitamins including vitamin A, vitamin B6, biotin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, and vitamin B12 and important minerals like magnesium, potassium, calcium, copper, and phosphorus.  If that weren't enough, spirulina also delivers important enzymes, essential fatty acids, and carotenoids like beta carotene, zeaxanthin, and lutein.  Packed with so many nutrients, it's not surprising this green superfood is often the subject of scientific research.

Allergy and Infection

By stopping the release of histamines, spirulina may offer a protective effect against allergy symptoms according to a number of preliminary test tube and animal studies.  Research in the laboratory also shows that spirulina boosts the production of antibodies that help ward off certain types of infection and chronic disease.  Studies continue to determine if spirulina helps prevent allergies and infection in people.  

Cholesterol and Blood Pressure

A study published in Lipids Health Digest showed that spirulina benefits cholesterol and blood pressure.  Without making any other changes to diet or lifestyle, 36 people consumed 4.5 grams of spirulina each day.  After six weeks, subjects showed lower readings for total cholesterol, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and body fat. 

Related:  Workout Tips to Lower Blood Pressure

Oral Cancer

People who chew tobacco sometimes develop white or gray precancerous lesions called leukoplakia.  One placebo-controlled study examined the effects of spirulina on these lesions in 77 tobacco chewers.  After taking spirulina supplements for one year, 45 percent of the subjects showed total regression of leukoplakia.  Several animal studies have also indicated that intervention with spirulina results in tumor regression.

Eye Disease

Due to nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin, many experts believe spirulina benefits could extend to eye health, especially if combined with astaxanthin, another eye health nutrient.  More research is needed to verify these beliefs. 


Due to a wide range of wholesome nutrients and many proven health benefits, more people than ever are making spirulina part of their dietary plan.  Powdered spirulina makes a popular ingredient in green smoothies, or people can purchase dried spirulina in tablet form.  Before beginning any supplementary regimen, it is wise to consult with a health care provider, especially if on prescribed medication.


Discover How a Powdered Supplement Benefits the Health

by IVL Products

While many people strive to consume a healthy diet, it is nearly impossible to obtain adequate nutrients every day through eating.  Filling in nutritional gaps with quick and easy supplements helps.  According to research, a powdered supplement benefits the body over pills, tablets, and capsules by offering up to 95 percent absorption when blended into a liquid.  This is because nutrients in liquid form go straight to the bloodstream, bypassing the digestive process.  When it comes to pills, tablets, and capsules, nutrient absorption rates fall to around 10 to 20 percent.  In addition to offering better nutrition, liquid nutrients are much easier to swallow.  Three types of powdered supplements in particular make popular choices for supplementary nutrition.  

A powdered supplement benefits the consumer with ease of use and high nutrient absorption

Green Superfood Powder

Green superfood powder creates a beverage packed with vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients when mixed with water.  This powdered supplement benefits the body in many ways with a combination of healthful green ingredients like alfalfa, chlorella, spirulina, and wheat grass and many extras like fruits, vegetables, enzymes, and probiotics.

An animal-based study published in The American Journal of Chinese Medicine showed that one green ingredient ─ alfalfa ─ offered protective effects for the livers of rats when given in tandem with a known liver irritant.  Animal studies have also shown that alfalfa lowers blood glucose levels in diabetic mice, and this is just one of many healthful ingredients available in green powdered supplements.

Related:  Studies Confirm Benefits of Maca for Women During Menopause


Originating in Peru, the maca plant offers a host of vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and protein through its roots.  Research shows that supplementation with dried maca root powder may increase energy levels in healthy people and those living with various health issues.  In one study, researchers timed a group of healthy cyclists who completed a 40 km bike ride before taking maca and completed the same ride after taking maca for two weeks.  Results showed significant improvements in the completion times of the cyclists, which researchers attributed to increased energy levels.

Protein Powder

People who exercise regularly or who have trouble swallowing often appreciate protein powder that can be blended into a beverage.  Available in a wide array of flavors like chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and banana, protein powder comes with varying levels of carbohydrates dependent upon what is needed by the user.  Different types of protein may include soy, rice, whey, or casein protein.


A powdered supplement benefits the body in many ways.  Whether people need the nutritional punch provided by a green supplement powder or the occasional energy lift offered by maca powder, supplementary beverages make a delicious and easy way to obtain valuable nutrients.  Supplement powders can be found at local whole foods and nutrition stores or conveniently ordered online through natural supplement websites. 


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


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.


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.   


A Guide to Antioxidants and Brain Health

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Capable of thinking, reasoning, remembering, and more, the human brain is what distinguishes people from animals.  In terms of organs, the brain is our best asset, which is why taking care of it is so important.  When it comes to natural protection for the brain, "antioxidant" is a term that comes up often, but many people don't understand what antioxidants do and where to find them.  This guide to antioxidants and brain health may shed light on these powerful natural compounds, where to find them, and how they impact brain health. 

To understand the benefits of antioxidants, it helps to know about free radicals.  Byproducts of normal body processes and environmental influences like smoking and pollution, free radicals are unstable molecules that scavenge other molecules.  While some free radicals that destroy viruses and harmful bacteria prove beneficial to the health, too many free radicals can cause disease and promote aging in any area of the body including the brain.  Antioxidants help neutralize free radicals, and three in particular offer excellent benefits for the brain.

Berry Flavonoids

A review study published in The Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry examined prior cellular, animal, and human research for the effects of berries on brain health.  The researchers concluded that flavonoids found in berries protect cells from free radical damage and change the way neurons communicate in the brain.  This helps prevent inflammation that can lead to neuron damage and enhances cognition and motor control.

Related:  How to Spice Up Your Memory with Turmeric


A potent ingredient found in the spice turmeric, curcumin packs a number of important health benefits including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.  Curcumin can cross the blood-brain barrier, which is why it has been investigated for its effect on neurological disorders including Parkinson's disease.  Animal studies show treatment with curcumin lessens the effects of glutathione depletion, a condition associated with early Parkinson's disease.  Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant made by the body, and depletion leads to oxidative stress and an overabundance of free radicals. 

Lipoic Acid or Alpha-Lipoic Acid

When it comes to antioxidants and brain health, lipoic acid makes a powerful protector for several reasons.  It passes freely through the blood-brain barrier, and it destroys free radicals.  It also helps regenerate vitamin C and vitamin E, two antioxidants that become compromised when fighting free radicals.  People can obtain lipoic acid through foods like spinach and broccoli or take the synthetic version alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) as a supplement.

Research on very old mice treated with ALA showed reduced oxidative stress and improved learning and memory.  Humans with Alzheimer's disease who were treated with a combination of ALA and omega-fatty acids showed less cognitive and functional decline than subjects treated with placebo.


People who learn about antioxidants and brain health take the first step toward keeping the mind active and healthy well into the golden years.  Food and supplements containing potent antioxidants help keep inflammation, oxidative stress, and free radicals at bay for sharper focus, quicker thinking, and better memory.


Antioxidants and Heart Health

by Health News

Oxygen is necessary for important body functions like respiration and metabolism, but when oxygen reacts with some body tissues, it creates harmful free radicals.  These unstable molecules steal electrons from other molecules, which can result in tissue damage.  An overabundance of free radicals has been associated with a number of health problems including heart disease.  Fortunately, potent antioxidants like vitamin C and resveratrol help neutralize free radicals and keep body tissues healthy.  Learning more about antioxidants and heart health may result in a few new additions to the grocery cart and a healthier body. 

Because antioxidants and heart health go hand in hand, people may want to load up on citrus fruits and red grapes.

Vitamin C offers a number of benefits to heart health.  The powerful antioxidant helps keep blood pressure under control and is linked to lower levels of lipoproteins associated with stroke.  By neutralizing free radicals, vitamin C helps to prevent hardening of the arteries, and contributes to lower cholesterol by helping to repair damaged arterial walls.

Studies on antioxidants and heart health show excellent results for vitamin C.  One study found that men who consume at least 300 mg of vitamin C daily lower chances of dying from heart disease by 40 percent.  

Related:  Natural Weight Loss Supplement: Resveratrol


Certain foods like red grapes contain a powerful antioxidant called resveratrol.  Experts suggest that it may help reduce chances for heart disease by lowering levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, or what many people refer to as "bad" cholesterol.  A review study published in Cardiovascular Drug Review links regular consumption of resveratrol to lower levels of LDL cholesterol, healthier blood vessels, and fewer blood clots in animals, but more human studies are needed. 


When it comes to antioxidants and heart health, two in particular appear to offer preventative benefits:  vitamin C and resveratrol.  People can obtain vitamin C from dietary supplements or from fruits and vegetables like citrus fruits, cantaloupe, pomegranates, berries, bell peppers, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.  In addition to red grapes, other foods that contain resveratrol include blueberries, cranberries, and peanuts.  People can also get daily doses of resveratrol through dietary supplements. 

30 Days to Rethink How You Take Supplements



A Guide to Antioxidants and Skin Health

by IVL Products

Because the skin is the largest organ, taking care of it is important and antioxidants can help.  These potent nutrients battle free radicals, potentially harmful compounds that attack all types of body cells including those of the skin.  By neutralizing free radicals, certain antioxidants ensure healthier skin and may even help prevent skin cancer.  People who desire fresher, smoother skin can benefit from this guide to antioxidants and skin health.  

When it comes to antioxidants and skin health, people should consider lycopene, retinoic acid, vitamin C, and vitamin E


A carotenoid responsible for the color in red fruits and vegetables, lycopene promotes the production of collagen, the key protein in skin tissue.  A powerful antioxidant, lycopene helps neutralize free radicals that damage the skin and cause wrinkles.  In addition to these benefits, one study showed that people who consume tomato products containing lycopene regularly reduce chances for UV damage to the skin by 30 percent.  In addition to red fruits and vegetables like ruby red grapefruit, watermelon, and tomatoes, people can obtain lycopene through supplements or look for it as an ingredient in skincare products.  Because lycopene degrades easily, people should keep skincare containers well sealed.

Retinoic Acid

The active from of vitamin A in the skin, retinoic acid protects skin from further sun damage if applied topically as a gel or cream.  Because too much retinoic acid can lead to redness, dry skin, and peeling, people should start with a low concentration and apply it every second or third day.  In addition to offering a protective effect from photo-aging, a study published in The Journal of Dermatological Science showed that treatment with retinoic acid helps improve skin fibers and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Related:  A Humble Houseplant Works Wonders With Skin Issues

Vitamin C

Vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) is an essential nutrient often touted for immune system benefits, but scientists are also looking into its skin health properties.  While foods rich in vitamin C have not been shown to benefit the skin, researchers at Duke University Medical Center interested in antioxidants and skin health found that topical application of vitamin C offers protection from photo-aging, particularly when paired with vitamin E.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an antioxidant found in skin cells that boosts the production of collagen, helping to reduce the appearance of age spots, fine lines, and wrinkles.  Known for its anti-inflammatory properties, vitamin E has been shown in several studies to help prevent inflammatory damage associated with UV exposure.  People can obtain vitamin E through foods like almonds, sunflower seed, and olive oil or through dietary supplements and topical skincare products. 


Taking care of the skin not only benefits overall health, but helps people look better as they age.  A number of antioxidants like lycopene, retinoic acid, vitamin C, and vitamin E can help.  When it comes to antioxidants and skin health, people can consume certain foods, choose daily dietary supplements, or obtain these beneficial compounds topically through skincare products.

30-Day Vibrant Living Challenge


Tell-Tale Signs of Vitamin A Deficiency

by Cindy Gray

Everyone knows vitamins benefit the body, and good health starts at the beginning of the alphabet.  Vitamin A is an essential, fat-soluble vitamin important to the eyes, bones, gums, skin, reproductive system, and the respiratory and intestinal tracts.  Two different types of vitamin A are present in foods.  Preformed vitamin A (retinol) can be obtained through animal products, and pro-vitamin A (carotenoids) are found in certain fruits and vegetables.  When people don't get enough vitamin A in the diet, they may experience signs of vitamin A deficiency. 

Night blindness is one of the first signs of vitamin A deficiency

What is the first sign of vitamin A deficiency?

Because vitamin A plays a key role in eye health, people who are deficient in vitamin A first experience symptoms of night blindness.  While people with night blindness see normally during the day, they have problems adjusting when light fades.  A study published in The Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that consumption of a daily vitamin A supplement protects against the development of night blindness.  If not treated, vitamin A deficiency can progress to dry eye syndrome and other serious vision problems.

What is dry eye syndrome?

Continued vitamin A deficiency can affect the conjunctiva (or the covering on the whites of the eyes) that keep eyes moist and lubricated.  The conjunctiva dry out and ulcers appear on the cornea.  If left untreated, vitamin A deficiency can lead to vision loss.

What are some other signs of vitamin A deficiency?

Vitamin A triggers inflammatory response and boosts production of collagen, which helps with repair and healing of wounds.  People who don't get enough vitamin A may experience slower healing and greater risks for infection.  In studies, vitamin A supplementation has been shown to be particularly helpful for people who take steroid medications because steroids impair collagen synthesis.  In addition to the skin, vitamin A also contributes to tooth and gum health.

Related:   The ABCs of Eye Floaters

How does vitamin A promote healthy teeth and gums?

In addition to promoting healthy skin (outer body lining) vitamin A helps maintain mucous membranes (inner body linings) like those of the gums, and healthy gums help anchor teeth. When gums become inflamed, adequate levels of vitamin A help to speed the healing process, but vitamin A deficiency impedes the healing process.  People with chronic gum problems may want to check with a medical professional for testing of vitamin A levels.

People can prevent signs of vitamin A deficiency by eating plenty of sweet potatoes, carrots, dark leafy greens, bell peppers, fish, liver, and tropical fruits or by taking a daily vitamin A supplement.  As of this writing, for men over the age of 18, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin A is 900 micrograms (mcg).  For women over the age of 18, the RDA for vitamin A is 700 mcg.  Pregnant or breastfeeding women should consume 770 mcg and 1,200 mcg respectively.  People who suspect a vitamin A deficiency should consult with a health care professional for confirmation before starting a supplementary regimen.


Why Plant-Based Powder Supplements are the Best

by Institute for Vibrant Living

All supplements are not the same. Synthetic extracts and "green" supplements may sound healthy and full of goodness,  but the truth is you need to take plant based vitamins and supplements made from whole-food plant-based powders to get the nutritional benefits you are searching for. 

plant-based vitamins and supplements

Here's why plant based vitamins and supplements are just what you’ve been searching for:

Plant Based Vitamins and Supplements Work Synergistically

Some health supplements and vitamins sound full of highly concentrated health-giving benefits, but they are made from extractions, which mean they isolate the particular nutrient from the rest of the plant to provide concentrated vitamin and mineral supplements. However, using the extracted nutrient in isolation from the plant from which it was derived means that they do not perform as nature intended, to their full capacity.

The way many plant based vitamins and supplements work is by their interaction with other micronutrients and metabolites found in the whole plant. The nutrients often work synergistically with the rest of the plant to maximum their efficacy. In order to get the full power of these secondary metabolites, you need to look for whole-food, plant-based powders to get the best possible health benefits.

For example, you may drink a healthy smoothie for vitamin C, but think how much more you would benefit if that supplement was made from whole plants, not just a vitamin C extract. The same shake could deliver fiber, antioxidants, immune-boosting phyto-nutrients, probiotics and enzymes as well as the desired vitamin C boost if it was made from whole foods.

Related:  7 Tips for Becoming a Plant Eater

Plant Based Vitamins and Supplements are Naturally Absorbed

Those people taking plant based vitamins and supplements generally understand the benefits of nature and want a natural safe approach to health and weight loss, not a laboratory-created pill. When you choose whole-food plant-based supplements, you know that your body is absorbing and utilizing the nutrients to maximum effect, as it was designed to do.

One big difference between synthetic and natural plant-based supplements is that plant based vitamins and supplements include enzymes. They play an important role is making those nutrients available, helping the body to absorb and utilize the accompanying minerals and vitamins. Absorption takes place at cell level and the enzymes and amino acids present in plant based supplements ensure that the supplement absorption is natural and efficient. By giving your body the tools it needs to stay fit and healthy, you are allowing your body to self-correct, protecting the longevity of your health.

If you want to boost your dietary intake of vitamins and minerals, it makes sense to deliver plant based vitamins and supplements in the same form that nature already provides. 

30 Days to Rethink How You Take Supplements


The Modern Rules of Plant-Based Superfood Proteins

by Cindy Gray

Vegetarianism and veganism is a growing lifestyle choice, but obtaining a healthy amount of daily protein can be a challenge for many non-meat eaters. While plant-based protein powders can be the answer, but you don't have to be vegetarian to enjoy the benefits of these superfood energy drinks. 

plant-based protein powder

Good Sources of Vegetarian Protein

Protein is essential for repair and restoration of muscle tissue, bones, blood, hair and nails. It is also an important source of energy. The easiest sources of complete proteins are meat, fish and dairy products, but there are other sources available for non-carnivores to include in their diet.

Vegetables such as sweet potatoes, peas and kale contain some protein. Avocadoes are one of the highest protein providers with 10 grams of protein per fruit compared to 5 grams in a cup of broccoli or spinach. These greens are commonly used in plant-based protein powder products.

Legumes are even richer in protein with one cup of soybeans typically delivering 28 grams of protein. Lentils and refried beans provide about half that amount in a one-cup serving. Garbanzo beans, commonly used to make hummus; and pinto, black, or kidney beans are also high in protein.

Nuts and seeds can be a staple for vegetarians. One ounce of peanuts provides 6.5 grams protein while cashews, sesame seeds, walnuts and pistachios are also good sources. Butter and spreads made from peanuts, almonds, and cashews provide a steady supply of protein which can be supplemented with plant-based protein powders for a varied diet.

Related:  Why Amino Acids are Important

The Importance of Amino Acids

Protein is broken down in the digestive process into amino acids which have specific functions within the body. As well as being an important part in the body's metabolism, amino acids are the building blocks of tissue, muscle and other body parts.

28 Superfood Recipes for Everyday

The body can produce 10 of the 20 essential amino acids it needs, but the rest must be provided regularly from the diet. The body cannot store amino acids and if any one of the essential amino acids is unavailable, the muscles and tissue in the body can begin to decline.

Plants have the ability to make all of the amino acids, making plants an ideal source of protein for vegetarians and vegans. It also makes them an important ingredient within any plant-based protein powder.

Health Benefits of Plant-based Protein Powders

Many plant foods have a selection of the complete proteins the body needs, but they may be high in one of the essential amino acids and low in others. The best way to ensure you get a balance of all 20 amino acids is by eating a variety of vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds to provide for the body's essential protein needs.

The easiest way to get the supply you need without having to shop for and prepare so many different foods is by enjoying one or two daily energy drinks made from plant-based protein powder. Easy to mix and drink at home, or on-the-go, these protein-rich sources of energy and vitamins are ideal for vegetarians, vegans and meat-eaters alike.


How Supplements Help to Correct Nutrient Deficiencies

by Health News

Studies into the benefits of taking daily supplements of vitamins for chronic disease all appear to reinforce the same message:  taking supplements has a definite and positive effect on our long-term health.

vitamins for chronic disease prevention

It seems hard to imagine that a tiny multivitamin tablet can make a difference to our long-term health, yet deficiency of certain vitamins and trace minerals is directly associated with an increased risk of chronic disease, particularly in the elderly.

Taking Vitamins for Chronic Disease Prevention

So what's the evidence showing that taking vitamins for chronic disease prevention really works? Almost 50 years ago, research by Dr. Myron Brin showed that even slight deficiencies in nutrients could cause serious psychological and physiological issues. These problems included insomnia, irritability, nightmares and slower brain function.

In a more up-to-date study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, scientists reported that vitamin deficiency was associated with a higher risk of chronic disease. In some cases, the deficiency was found even in those who adhered to the recommended daily allowance (RDA), showing the recommended amounts to be dangerously low. 

Vitamin deficiencies are known to contribute to inflammation in the body which damages cells and tissue. In the longer term, insufficient vitamins for chronic disease can result in organ damage, premature aging and death.

The AMA study concluded that “Most people do not consume an optimal amount of all vitamins by diet alone. Pending strong evidence of effectiveness from randomized trials, it appears prudent for all adults to take vitamin supplements.”

RelatedHow to Store Vitamins and Supplements

How Much is Enough?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) publishes and occasionally updates the RDA for vitamins adjusting for new findings in research. This is intended to give safe guidelines for how much is sufficient when it comes to taking vitamins for chronic disease and a healthy lifestyle.

The RDA is gradually being replaced by the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) which suggests quantities of vitamins that are necessary to prevent deficiency and lower the risk of chronic disease. Many researchers still feel the RDAs of vitamins are woefully inadequate, so they should be considered a minimum guideline.

There is plenty of supporting evidence to show that "hoping for the best" when it comes to our modern-day diet is not good enough. Taking daily vitamins for chronic disease prevention needs to start when you are young and healthy to avoid the chronic diseases that blight the lives of the elderly. So start your new healthy lifestyle plan today!

30-Day Vibrant Living Challenge



Are You Vitamin D Deficient? Take This Quiz

by IVL Products

Take our quiz to see if you are showing any signs of vitamin D deficiency. If you can answer yes to one or more of the questions below, you need to take action!

Taking daily supplements can help to counter the signs of a vitamin D deficiency.

Question #1:  Do you live in a northern climate?

Scientists have found that those who live in the colder northern latitudes are more likely to have signs of vitamin D deficiency. This is caused by the darker northern winters when days are short and skies are overcast. The lack of natural sunlight means the body is unable to make sufficient vitamin D. Even if you have no visible symptoms of a lack of vitamin D, it’s a good idea to boost vitamin D intake in other ways, such as through daily supplements and a diet high in oily fish, maitake mushrooms, cheese and eggs.

Question #2:  Do you suffer from sadness and depression?

If you have bouts of feeling "blue" or depressed for no rational reason, you may be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This is a medically recognized condition caused by lack of bright light and sunshine. It may be due to living in a less sunny climate or having an indoor lifestyle with artificial lighting. Recognize the dangers by getting outdoors on a bright day and topping up with foods high in vitamin D as in Q1.

Question #3:  Do you have darker skin?

African Americans and those with a naturally darker skin have an increased risk of developing the signs of vitamin D deficiency. This is because the pigment in your skin acts as a natural sunscreen, protecting you from harmful UV rays, but also blocking out the sun's exposure which allows the body to make vitamin D.  According to Dr. Michael Holick, a leading researcher into vitamin D research, those with darker skin may need up to 10 times more exposure to the sun to generate sufficient vitamin D.

Related:  Vitamins and the Natural Health Benefits of Vitamin D

Question #4:  Do you have digestive upsets?

If you suffer from gastric problems including Crohn’s, celiac and non-celiac gluten sensitivity or inflammatory bowel disease, fat-soluble vitamin D in your diet may not be properly digested and absorbed. This means that getting outdoors whenever possible and taking a daily vitamin D supplement is even more important to avoid the signs of vitamin D deficiency.

Question #5:  Do you have aching bones?

Dr. Holick states that many people who are diagnosed with fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome are actually suffering from typical signs of vitamin D deficiency. This important vitamin is essential for strong bones and teeth. A lack of vitamin D can cause osteoporosis in later life; and also reduces the calcium in the collagen of the bone structure, causing throbbing aching bones. Try vitamin D supplements first and see if that solves the problem. The Vitamin D Council recommends that adults lacking sunlight take 2,000 IU daily.

As you can see, vitamin D is essential for optimal health, preventing everything from rickets and osteoporosis to cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases. Taking a daily supplement is the only way to ensure that you consistently have enough, and boosting levels with careful exposure to sunlight and eating vitamin D rich foods will help to support a healthier you. 



Are You Malnourished?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Malnutrition is unfortunately all too familiar in developing countries where people do not get sufficient nutrients in their diet. Signs of malnutrition may be all too obvious in underweight children and adults, but there are other causes of malnutrition which are evident in the U.S. and other developed nations today.

Are you showing signs of malnutrition?

Here are some common signs of malnutrition:

  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Lack of energy
  • Dry  or unhealthy skin
  • Wasted muscles
  • Stunted growth in children

Weight Loss Causes Signs of Malnutrition

A common modern-day cause of malnutrition is dieting. Skipping meals, eating unhealthily and starving in the name of weight loss, fashion, or peer pressure can all result in a lack of essential protein, minerals and vitamins that our bodies need to survive healthily. An obsession with size can lead to eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia. Other causes of malnutrition can be drug addiction, elderly people living alone, or families and students struggling to make ends meet.

Poor Soil Causes Signs of Malnutrition

The University of Texas compared the content of calcium, iron, proteins, phosphorous and vitamin C in fruit and vegetables in 1950 and again in 1999. Although crop size and rate of growth has improved, the nutritional content of the crops has significantly declined.

According to the Kushi Institute, levels of calcium are 27% lower, iron is 37% lower and vitamin C levels are 30% lower in fruits and vegetables produced in 1997 compared to 1975. Intensive farming and lack of crop rotation is blamed for the lower nutritional content of our fruit and vegetables. This clearly indicates the importance of taking multivitamin or daily supplements to provide the essential nutrients our body needs to avoid signs of malnutrition.

Related:  Are Gut Microbes Responsible for Severe Malnutrition?


Malabsorption of essential vitamins and minerals can cause signs of malnutrition even in those who eat a healthy balanced diet. Such cases may be a caused by digestive disorders such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease. Those suffering from persistent vomiting or diarrhea will also not be benefitting from their food intake. Some medications can also prevent the body's ability to absorb essential nutrients, leading to malnutrition and poor health.

Treatment for Signs of Malnutrition

Any evidence of malnutrition needs to be swiftly addressed with a proper diet, and possibly with the help of a professional dietician or advisor. Less serious cases of malnutrition can be remedied with regular daily supplements of multivitamins and minerals.

With our busy highly stressed lifestyle, poor eating habits, denuded soil quality, malabsorption and medication issues, everyone needs to take a multivitamin daily to ensure that the minimum amounts of calcium, vitamins and minerals are part of our daily diet.

Challenge Yourself to Get Moving Today


“B” Calm At Work: News Ways to Reduce Stress

by Cindy Gray

Long, stressed out days at the office, in traffic, and even at home is the new norm for most Americans.  Finding ways to reduce stress is critical to maintaining good health.  While it’s good to make time to meditate or go on relaxing vacations, the great news is to simply add more B vitamins to your diet and reduce stress on a daily basis!

An Australian study published in 2011 detailed a clinical trial that divided participants into two groups:  one group took a daily B complex multivitamin; and the other group took a placebo. The before and after assessment of the mood, personality traits, and work-related stress, found that the group taking the vitamin B reported significantly less personal stress.  They also reported less confusion, feelings of depression or rage, and were not as fatigued as the placebo group.

To “B” or Not To “B”?

It’s no secret that the body relies heavily on B vitamins to function properly physically and mentally.  Vitamin B12, folic acid and vitamin B6 are essential for mental function.  Those who do not get enough B’s are often more irritable, have trouble focusing and report more feelings of depression or sadness. 

The human body cannot produce vitamin B12 or folic acid so we must eat foods rich in those nutrients or consume it in supplement form.  It’s best to get it from both food and supplement sources.  Fish, chicken, clams and oysters are good sources of vitamin B12.  Egg yolks, almonds, dried beans, wholegrain breads, and many fruits and vegetables contain folate, which becomes folic acid when absorbed by the body.

Meat and animal products are great sources of vitamin B12 and folic acid.  So for vegetarians and those who consume little meat, supplements are recommended, and should be combined with daily grains, fruits and vegetables.

A B (vitamin) By Any Other Name Is Still As…Healthy

Vitamin B 12 is also known as cyanocobalamin, and folic acid is the alias for B9.  Thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin, pantothenic acid (B5) and biotin are all other names for B vitamins, so look for them in the list of nutrients in your supplements.

Thiamine keeps the nervous system healthy which greatly affects mood and can increase cognitive functions like memory and focus.  This can help you be more productive and focused on the job and in your work.

Niacin is important to the digestive and nervous systems. Without enough of it in your diet, you can feel more depressed, irritable and stressed out.  B6, (or pyridoxine), is important for the plentiful production of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which helps reduce stress and feelings of anxiety while boosting the immune system. 

RelatedFor a Longer Life, Take B Vitamins

What Dosage Would B Healthiest?

It’s almost impossible to get all the B vitamins you need every day through diet alone, especially since we are a breakfast skipping, fast food nation. Taking a B-complex vitamin is one of the simplest ways to reduce stress in your job and in your life in general.

The average adult should aim for:

  • 75 mg B1 (thiamine)
  • 10 mg B2 (riboflavin)
  • 100 mg niacin
  • 68 mg B5 (pantothenic acid)
  • 25 mg B6
  • 30 mcg B12
  • 20 mcg biotin
  • 150 mcg folic acid

Don’t Worry “B” Happy

If you have been feeling irritable and more fatigued than usual, it could be that you’re not getting enough vitamin B’s in your diet.  Exit the traffic on your daily commute and pick up a bottle of B-complex vitamins and you’ll be feeling better in no time!


How to Reduce Stress with L Theanine

by Cindy Gray

Learning how to reduce stress in your daily life can have many positive long-term health benefits.  Unlike our caveman ancestors who depended on stress hormones to energize them to escape a saber tooth tiger or thundering herd of mammoths, we rarely need to flee for our lives. Having ascended to the top of the food chain has helped us live longer, but the new stresses of daily life, work, family, traffic, and Wi-Fi are taking a harsh toll on us.

Luckily, through research we have learned that there is an easy way to help keep us calm and relaxed:  Sip a cup of green tea!


Green tea has numerous health benefits; by drinking it, taking it in supplement form, or by using creams containing green tea are all great ways to improve your health. It’s full of antioxidants that help cells repair themselves and reverse the signs of aging.

Green tea contains another wonderful compound known as L-Theanine, an amino acid that is known to produce a sense of calm and relaxation without making you feel sleepy.  It is also responsible for aiding in the production of the neurotransmitter serotonin, one of the so-called, “feel good hormones.”  Those who have low serotonin levels often report feeling anxious, unable to cope with life’s daily stressors, and poor sleep habits.

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

While there is still a lot of research that must be done, it’s been observed in clinical studies that L-Theanine appears to boost alpha brain waves, leading to a feeling of relaxation, while staying and alert and calm.  Alpha waves are associated with sleep and relaxation, so drinking green tea with it can also help you feel less stressed out during the day and sleep better at night.

Being stressed out all day, day after day, is linked to poor sleep and outright insomnia. It’s also well documented that sleep deprivation is a major trigger for stress and anxiety, too. So if you’re seeking solutions for how to reduce stress, drink up!

Side Effects and Dosage

There are really no known side effects to consuming tea with L-Theanine. Possible side effects are headache, dizziness or gastrointestinal distress, but these are rarely associated with even the consumption of supplements with L-Theanine.

There are some chemotherapy and cholesterol lowering drugs that should not be combined with L-Theanine, so be safe and check with your doctor before taking any supplement to avoid possible drug interactions.

Getting enough L-Theanine to have positive effect on you is difficult through drinking green tea alone. So a supplement of 200 to 250 milligrams is a good idea for adults looking for ideas on how to reduce stress in their lives.


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.


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


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