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Enzymes Set the Stage For Vibrant Health

by Health News

Wondering how to gain energy?

Natural health products like enzymes are critical to tHow to Gain Energy: Enzymes Set the Stage For Vibrant Healthhe performance of virtually every process in the body. Although most people understand the vital roles that vitamins and mineral play in keeping us healthy and energized, many do not understand the importance of proper enzyme balance.

Enzymes serve as catalysts for the body’s essential chemical reactions that support health and vitality. They work their magic by breaking down the nutrients in our body so that the nutrients can pass through the intestinal walls and eventually be absorbed into the bloodstream. Vitamins and minerals are referred to as “coenzymes” which means that they require an enzyme in order to work.

Enzymes are the driving force behind tissue regeneration, proper digestion, cardiovascular health, kidney and liver function and many other life-sustaining processes. The powerful antioxidant properties associated with enzymes help protect the body from disease. When enzymes become depleted the body suffers. Chronic enzyme deficiency or malfunction can lead to serious and sometimes life-threatening health problems.

Most scientists classify enzymes into three main groups: metabolic enzymes, plant enzymes and digestive enzymes. Because they play such a pivotal role in our health, it is essential to get the proper balance of enzymes. Ideally, we should get many of the enzymes we need from food, but that is rarely the case. Fruits, vegetables and other raw foods are good sources but the average American diet contains very few enzymes. In today’s fast-paced world most people turn to time-saving convenience foods that are overcooked and over processed to the point that essential enzymes are destroyed.   As we age, it becomes more difficult for our body to produce the enzymes it needs to thrive, so older people are at a higher risk for significant enzyme deficiency.   

As we have learned more about the critical role that enzymes play in our overall health, more and more medical researchers are recommending daily enzyme supplementation. Enzyme supplements can be purchased at natural health stores and come in powder, tablet or liquid form. The supplements make digestion more efficient by enhancing the absorption of vital nutrients. For best results choose an enzyme supplement which contains a blend of different enzymes. Your holistic health practitioner can help you determine which natural supplements will work best for you.   

Elevating the enzyme levels in your body through natural supplementation will result in improved metabolic and digestive function that will make you look and feel younger. Keeping enzymes in balance will also make you less susceptible to serious diseases. Consider adding enzyme supplements to your “stay-well” plan so you can enjoy vibrant health throughout your life.

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Increase Energy Naturally with Iron

by Health News

Natural Ways to Boost Energy with Iron If you’re a woman and you are tired all the time, an iron supplement might be one of the best natural ways to boost energy. A recent study* whose results were published in the CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) showed that premenopausal women suffering from “unexplained” fatigue who had low blood levels of iron experienced significant improvement after 12 weeks of iron supplementation.

For the study, Dr Bernard Favrat and his associates of the Department of Ambulatory Care and Community Medicine at the University of Lausanne enrolled 198 women, aged 18 to 53 in this double-blinded, randomized trial. Participants’ serum ferritin (iron) levels were less than 50 micrograms per liter and their hemoglobin levels were above 12 grams per deciliter (these levels are considered deficient) at the launch of the study. Subjects were divided to receive oral, timed-release ferrous sulfate containing 80 mg of elemental iron or a placebo daily for 12 weeks. The participants’ fatigue was evaluated and their blood analyzed for hemoglobin, ferritin and other factors at the beginning of the study (baseline), at 6 weeks and then again at 12 weeks.

For the women receiving the actual iron and not the placebo, hemoglobin, ferritin, and other factors increased after 6 weeks and continued to be improved at 12 weeks. Conversely, the participants in the placebo group had declining values in these areas by the end of the study.

The researchers found that in menstruating, iron-deficient, non-anemic women, iron supplementation for 12 weeks decreased fatigue by almost 59% from baseline; a significant difference of 19% compared with placebo.

The researchers believe that iron deficiency is an under-recognized cause of fatigue in menstruating women, and that this study underscores the importance of testing for iron deficiency in women with unexplained fatigue. The problem is easily treated, and for the woman, she might be spared the time, expense and frustration of being told it’s “an emotional problem.”

Iron supplements are widely available in tablet and liquid forms at most health food stores and supermarkets. It is important to note, however, that while the right amount of iron is excellent for your health, too much can lead to free radical damage and degenerative diseases. Before you begin an iron regimen, talk to your health care professional about the appropriate dosage for YOU.

*http://www.cmaj.ca/content/early/2012/07/09/cmaj.110950

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5 HEALTH BENEFITS OF DIETARY FIBER

by Institute for Vibrant Living

You likely already know that adding fiber to your diet is a great way to improve your regularity or to treat constipation.

However, the fact is that dietary fiber - ideally from plants and nuts - has many other important health benefits, including -  

5 HEALTH BENEFITS OF DIETARY FIBER

  1. Blood sugar control - because it is not broken down by the body, fiber in an apple or a slice of whole grain bread has no effect on blood glucose levels. Of course, most foods that contain fiber - such as fruits, vegetables, whole grain breads, cereals and pastas - also contain other types of non-fiber carbohydrates such as sugar and starch that do raise blood sugar levels. According to a recent study, people with diabetes who ate 50 grams of fiber daily - especially soluble fiber - were able to control their blood sugar much better than those who ate far less. The average person needs to consume between 20-35 grams of fiber every day.
  2. Better heart health - fiber-rich foods are clearly associated with lower risk of heart disease. Research shows that people who regularly consume a high-fiber diet have a 40 percent lower risk of heart disease. A high-fiber diet also lowers levels of LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol and reduces blood pressure (BP). 
  3. Stroke protection - getting more fiber can reduce risk of stroke. Researchers found that each seven-gram increase in total daily fiber intake was associated with a 7 percent decrease in first-time stroke risk. One serving of whole wheat pasta plus two servings of fruits or vegetables provides about 7 grams of fiber. 
  4. Effective weight loss management - a high-fiber diet tends to be low in calories and takes longer to eat. It makes you feel full sooner and for longer. Also, if you're eating more fiber, you're eating less of other foods that cause weight gain - which is also beneficial for heart health. 
  5. Radiant skin health - fiber helps to make your skin appear radiant and healthy. Along with water, fiber cleanses the body of fats and toxins. For example, adding psyllium husk to your diet helps to remove harmful yeast and fungus out of your body, instead of being excreted through your skin where they could trigger acne or rashes.

What are the best sources of fiber? 

Vegetables are a major dietary source including artichokes, cooked green peas and broccoli. Fruits high in fiber include raspberries and pears, eaten with the skin. Legumes - including split peas, black beans and lentils - are also an excellent source of dietary fiber. 

Another way to get adequate fiber in your diet is to take a daily serving of a psyllium supplement. One serving with 8 ounces of water will provide you with about 20% of your daily fiber needs.

Psyllium seed husks are hygroscopic, which means they expand and become mucilaginous on contact with water. Being indigestible, they are a source of soluble dietary fiber and are typically used to relieve constipation, irritable bowel syndrome and diarrhea. They are also used as a dietary supplement to improve and maintain regularity. 

Recent research has shown that psyllium seed husks may also be effective in lowering cholesterol and controlling certain types of diabetes. Other uses include gluten-free baking, where ground psyllium seed husks are used to bind moisture and make breads less crumbly.

 

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Healthy Aging: Supplements for Heart

by Health News

When it comes to heart health and aging healthy, most of us understand the importance of maintaining a healthy weight, eating a balanced diet rich in high-fiber vegetables and whole grains, and getting regular aerobic exercise.  But did you know that your heart, arguably the hardest working organ in your body, needs a steady supply of certain vital vitamin health supplements in proper balance? Here is a list of some of those minerals, and why the getting proper balance of them is essential for optimal heart health.

Supplements for Heart and Healthy Aging - Calcium, Magnesium, IronCalcium.
More than any other muscle in your body, you rely on your heart to contract regularly—and that’s a huge understatement. Calcium is vital for muscle contractions. Calcium is critical to healthy aging because it is stored in the bones, where it is released regularly to maintain a consistent level in the bloodstream. If you don’t consume enough calcium, you can get a condition called hypocalcemia, whose symptoms include muscle spasms and irregular heartbeat. Foods rich in calcium include dairy products, leafy greens and broccoli. Many foods are now fortified with calcium, such as bread, juice and cereals.

Iron.
This mineral is essential for heart health because it delivers its supply of oxygen through the hemoglobin in red blood cells. Without oxygen, your heart cannot function. If you don’t have enough iron in your body, you can get a condition called anemia. Severe anemia can actually lead to heart failure. Sources of iron include animal meat, seafood, molasses, tofu, spinach, peas, raisins and beans. Iron-fortified products include breads and cereals.

Magnesium.
Magnesium is essential for maintaining heart rhythm. But with magnesium, balance is extremely important. Magnesium deficiency can cause muscle spasms and weakness. Too much magnesium can cause the heart to stop beating! Consume green vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, peas and whole grains for a healthy supply of magnesium.

Talk to your health care practitioner about how much of these essential vitamin mineral supplements you need to keep your heart in top form and to set yourself on the path to healthy aging.

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Don't Reach for Antacids for Digestive Problems

by Health News

Digestive Enzymes versus Antacids

Most men and women over forty suffer from poor some type of digestive problem. It doesn't have to be that way. Natural food supplements such as spirulina and chlorella are the best health supplements for people with digestion issues, who are looking for a natural solution.

According to the American Pharmacists Association, Americans spend more than $3 billion a year on over-the counter antacids. Plus we spend another $13 billion on prescribed acid reducing drugs.

Worse than the expense: antacids cause a great deal more harm than good.

In fact, taking antacids regularly is one of the most dangerous things you can do for your health. Here are two reasons why they are dangerous and why you should stop taking them.

REASON #1: Antacids Prevent Digestion
Antacids work by neutralizing stomach acid, but you need acid to digest your food. Because digestion gets stopped, people eat more which is why antacids are one of the primary reasons why so many people are overweight.

REASON #2: Antacids Disrupt the Balance Of Power in Your Gut
Stomach acids do more than just break down your food. They also destroy dangerous bacteria in your food that could make you sick or even kill you. But when your stomach acid is neutralized, it can't destroy these dangerous microorganisms, so they get into your intestines. And unless you've got a healthy army of good bacteria in your gut (and few people do), you're going to get sick. Spirulina is especially good at helping people stop taking antacids and start eating again with gusto.

How?
Spirulina and Chlorella are both loaded with digestive enzymes and they help stimulate the production of good intestinal flora. Once you start using Spirulina, you'll never need to turn to an antacid solution again (which is no solution at all).

Adding a Spirulina-based supplement as a daily food normalizes an under-active intestinal tract by enhancing the natural contraction of the intestinal walls; and by supplying cellulose, a form of fiber.

Aging Adults Guide to Healthy Digestion

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Natural Health Solutions: Vitamin E Deficiency & Diseases of the Digestive System

by Health News

Vitamin E deficiency may cause digestive problems and other diseaseVitamin E is one of the most important antioxidant nutrients our bodies need. It is found in nut oils, sunflower seeds, whole grains, wheat germ, and spinach. Not only is it a powerful antioxidant, it is also essential for child growth and development and for maintaining healthy tissues in adulthood. But what happens to people who don’t get enough of this important vitamin?

In infants, a Vitamin E deficiency can cause severe growth retardation. In adults, Vitamin E deficiency can have severe effects on the central nervous system including ataxia (difficulty coordinating body movements) and peripheral neuropathy. It can also cause anemia (insufficient red blood cells).

People who suffer from Vitamin E deficiency sometimes suffer from conditions or diseases of the digestive system that prevent them from absorbing fat. Because Vitamin E is fat soluble, people who can’t absorb fat properly will have a difficult time absorbing Vitamin E, even if they are getting plenty of the vitamin in their diets. Such people often get excellent results by taking Vitamin E as a nutritional supplement and may well see a reversal of the symptoms of deficiency.

Digestive problems? Download this guide to healthy holiday digestion.

Scientists also believe Vitamin E plays a role in preventing atherosclerosis (plaque buildup in the arteries) by helping prevent the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Several epidemiological studies have indicated that high dietary intake of Vitamin E is associated with high serum concentrations of alpha tocopherol, as well as with lower rates of ischemic heart disease.

The upshot? Eat plenty of foods that contain this important nutrient, and if you suffer from a condition or disease of the digestive system that prevents you from absorbing it properly, speak to your health care professional about taking a Vitamin E natural dietary supplement. 

Is your family taking enough Vitamin E?

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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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The Latest Anti-Aging Research and The Role of Supplements

by Health News

Healthy Digestion Tips and Anti-Aging researchIn recent years, a great deal of research has been given to anti-aging.  This should come as no great surprise, considering the millions of Baby Boomers scheduled to enter retirement.  Around the world, millions of Baby Boomers will be exiting the workforce, and they have billions in savings to spend.  This means that companies are seeing major dollar signs.  As a result, there has been a tremendous amount of research in recent years in the quest to find a way to slow or even stop aging.

Today, many experts feel that there are ways to greatly slow the aging process.  Few, however, are bold enough to flat out state that aging may soon be a thing of the past.  After all, no one wants to claim that the Fountain of Youth is around the corner and that many people alive today could live forever.  Whether or not slowing the aging process to this extent is possible is most certainly still up to debate.  Of course, for the time being, this issue remains in the realm of science fiction!

This is not to state that there is not considerable concrete research being done on anti-aging and healthy aging.  Numerous foods and supplements are receiving considerable attention for their ability to contribute to slowing the aging process.

One compound that has received considerable attention is resveratrol.  Resveratrol is a compound discovered in red wine, but also found in small amounts in grapes, raisins and a handful of other foods.  Testing indicates that resveratrol may actually serve to slow the aging process at least when in a concentrated pill form.  The amount of resveratrol found in red wine is considerable, but the real benefit of resveratrol is to be found in a supplement.  Whether or not resveratrol will actually extend the human lifespan is still to be seen.

Additional research is also taking place around the world with a wide variety of supplements and compounds.  For example, recent experiments fed mice a drug called rapamycin.  As a result, the lifespans of these adult mice was extended between 9-14 percent.  Some scientists also believe that they will be able to extend the human lifespan by deleting a gene in the body called SIRs.  As genetic research continues to evolve, we will likely hear more about these types of procedures.

Resveratrol may get the majority of the headlines about anti-aging, but there are many foods that you can eat in the here and now that can contribute to healthy aging.  Green tea, extra virgin olive oil and omega-3 rich foods, such as walnuts, wild Alaskan salmon, and sardines can all contribute to healthy aging.

It is important to realize that at the heart of anti-aging is a healthy diet that avoids fast food, processed foods and excessive calories.  Sugar, trans fats, chemicals and preservatives and high levels of sodium can all serve to dramatically harm your health and shorten your lifespan.  The foods that you don't eat can ultimately play just as important of a role in longevity, as the anti-aging foods and supplements that you take.  Seeing healthy aging as a process with many aspects and parts will go a long way towards helping you live a long and healthy life.

What are the steps you are taking on the road to healthy aging?

Healthy Aging: Guide to a Healthy Digestive System

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Which Supplements are Best for You?

by Health News

Which Supplements are Best? Get a Healthy Digestive SystemOne of the best ways to get a healthy digestive system is by taking dietary supplements. In fact, more than half of American adults take dietary supplements, but with hundreds to choose from, how do you know which supplements are best for you personally? Here is a rundown on some of the most common natural supplements and why you should include them in your daily diet.

Multivitamins

Those with a busy lifestyle who rely on fast food and microwave meals will almost certainly have a deficiency in vitamins and minerals. While daily supplements are not a substitute for a healthy diet in any way, multivitamins do make sure that trace elements and minerals such as magnesium and zinc are being consumed on a regular basis.

The best multivitamins are those specifically formulated for men or for women. Women need higher levels of iron, calcium and folic acid. A well blended formula for women can resolve issues such as irritability, mood swings, bloating, lethargy, cramps and breast tenderness while men benefit from ingredients such as beta-sitosterol and saw palmetto for healthy prostate function.

Fish Oil

Fish oil has been shown to significantly improve health when taken on a regular basis. From preventing heart disease to easing joint pain and arthritis with its anti-inflammatory properties, a good quality fish oil should be on everyone's supplement list. 

Some people avoid taking fish oil supplements due to the aftertaste. Choose a good quality brand from a reputable supplier.  If you still get nasty repeats, store the fish oil in the refrigerator and take them cold; and try taking them before going to bed. This allows the capsules to get deeper into the body before being digested which eliminates the problem. A good quality fish oil will also be properly distilled and processed to remove toxic metals and pollutants from the fish oil.

Calcium

More than 25 million Americans are diagnosed with osteoporosis and it is not just women that suffer from this "brittle bone" disease. It is too late to take a crash course once symptoms have been diagnosed. Our bodies need plenty of calcium (with vitamin D to help the body break it down) from an early age and throughout life. Calcium is also necessary for strong teeth as well as supporting the heart and nervous system.

Coenzyme Q10

CoQ10 is a relative newcomer to the health market yet its comprehensive benefits make it a top seller. It helps prevent heart disease and metabolizes energy from food. It also lowers cholesterol and blood pressure without the harmful side effects of prescribed medications. CoQ10 is found naturally in every cell in our body, but as we age it naturally diminishes and needs replenishing. It has been found to help prevent migraines, reduce inflammation and increase energy. The ideal daily supplement is around 100 mg per 100 pounds of body weight, although higher doses are beneficial to counter chronic fatigue. 

Once you have established a few basic supplements, continue to read and learn more about specific supplements. The best way to judge which are best for you is by trial and error. If you are receiving the correct nutrients and supplements, your body will feel fit, healthy and full of energy.

Want more tips on how to get a healthy digestive system? Get our FREE guide: The Aging Adults Guide to Healthy Holiday Digestion

Guide to a Healthy Digestive System

 

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Who Needs Dietary Supplements? - Healthy Aging Tips

by Health News

Who need's vitamin supplements? - Healthy Aging TipsIt'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.

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

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Supercharge Your Immune System Before You Travel

by Health News

Whether it’s for business or pleasure, travel requires careful planning. That’s why we develop extensive to-do lists that include filling up the gas tank, making airline reservations, obtaining maps and packing suitcases. Unfortunately most of us make travel plans that provide little or no focus on the most important thing of all - our health. 

Boost Your Immune System Naturally

While maintaining a strong immune system is critical for vibrant health every day of our lives, it becomes increasingly important when we are on the move. Travel can compromise the immune system because it upsets the internal body clock that regulates sleep, hunger and digestion. (This can be particularly troubling when you cross time zones.) Many travelers fall into poor eating habits and consume more caffeine and alcohol than their bodies can tolerate. 

To further complicate matters, travel also means increased exposure to germs and viruses that thrive when people are hoarded together in cars, airplanes, buses or trains. Poor air circulation contributes to the spread of illnesses and doorknobs, counters, banisters and other surfaces are likely to be contaminated by germs.   

With a little planning you can supercharge your immune system so that you can enjoy your travels and protect your health. One of the best ways to prepare your immune system for travel is to take nutritional supplements before and during your trip. Supplements containing green tea and resveratrol are particularly important. Green tea contains an agent called catechin polyphenol that is considered “jet fuel” for the immune system.

Resveratrol is another potent immune system booster that can help keep you healthy before and during your travels. This powerful antioxidant, which is present in red wine, fruit and the skin of grapes, is associated with a lower risk of developing cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Because it would be difficult to obtain optimal amounts of resveratrol from food and wine, many people use resveratrol supplements. 

Many people also add probiotics to their daily regime before and during travel to prevent gastric distress. Probiotics, which are available from natural health stores, populate the intestinal tract with “friendly” bacteria that limits the growth of “bad” bacteria such as salmonella, clostridia and E coli. 

The next time you make travel plans, make sure you take your healthy habits with you. Supercharge your immune system so that you can enjoy every second of your trip.  

What do you do to stay healthy while traveling?

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How to Pick the Right Probiotic For Your Digestive System

by Health News

How to choose a probiotic supplement

Scientists estimate that the human body is home to more than 750 trillion bacteria, and most of them exist in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. They are essential for the digestion of food, neutralizing hormones and supporting the body’s immune system. Having an imbalance of these bacteria can cause digestive or intestinal problems that manifest themselves as fatigue, depression, recurring yeast infections, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation or cramps.

You may be surprised to learn that people over 60 have 1000 times less “friendly” bacteria in their guts than younger healthy adults. Probiotics can play an essential role in aging healthy. Many studies suggest that overall health depends largely on the healthy functioning of the digestive system.

One major cause of an imbalance of bacteria is taking a course of antibiotics. They not only treat the virus that they are prescribed for, but also lay waste to the bacteria in our digestive tract. Other medications such as heartburn pills can also be harmful to gut flora as they alter the balance of intestinal bacteria.

If your gut has too many “bad” bacteria releasing toxins, your body will feel the effect with a range of health problems. If you lack sufficient digestive enzymes, a probiotic with a high count of bacteria can be taken to rectify the situation.

Picking the Correct Probiotic

Increasing the good bacteria in your intestine is easy. Yoghurt, miso and soy drinks all contain live cultures that can improve digestive or intestinal problems. The “good” bacteria thrive on nutrients called prebiotics which are found in onions, green leafy vegetables, bananas, artichokes and garlic. Bad bacteria thrive on sugars and fats from processed foods and these foods should definitely be avoided.

Live bacteria can be taken as supplements. There are many strains, each with a different function. It is wise to read the labels and learn more about what each probiotic does. For example, Lactobacillus casei (in the yoghurt drink DanActive) was found to reduce ear infections and gastrointestinal upsets in children. Studies on Bifidobacterium Infantis (found in the probiotic supplement Align) found it reduces the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

How to Take Probiotics
Some probiotics come in capsule form while others are in powder or liquid form and need to be kept refrigerated. Follow the instructions and never expose probiotics to heat or processing or they will be damaged or killed.

Most good probiotic supplements combine several beneficial bacteria with live yeast. Look for a probiotic containing billions of Lactobacillus acidophilus, Saccharomyces and Bifidobacteria. A supplement such as First Milk Flora is easy to take as a chewable tablet and contains 1.5 million colony forming units per tablet to promote healthy digestion. The best probiotics also include a prebiotic which helps the flora survive in the intestine.

To continue on a healthy aging path, consult your doctor before taking any probiotics as they may interfere with some medications. Once taken, you should begin to feel an improvement in your health after one to two weeks. If not, switch to a different probiotic to find one that aids your particular medical problem or gives a general boost to your feeling of wellbeing. As the probiotics change the acidic balance of your body, it is important to keep a record of any changes, and to consult a doctor beforehand if you are already taking medications. Cheers to maintaining your path of aging healthy!



Source:
http://www.livestrong.com/article/448920-the-best-probiotics-for-women/
http://www.wisegeek.com/how-do-i-choose-the-best-probiotic-acidophilus.htm

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Probiotic Supplements: Not Just for Intestinal Health

by Health News

If you’re taking probiotics to improve your digestion problems, current research suggests you’re not just helping your gut—you’re doing your entire body a favor! And if you’re not taking probiotics, you might want to consider starting. Read on to find out why!

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are live microorganisms such as bacteria or yeast in a person's digestive tract. These microorganisms are “friendly” (beneficial to the host). Among many benefits, they help degrade toxic and allergenic substances in the intestine and colon. Probiotics occur naturally in certain foods like yogurt and cottage cheese. They are also available as nutritional supplements which can be purchased in health food stores. 

Probiotic Supplements

How do probiotics help my whole body?

These tiny organisms can do some pretty amazing things! To name just a few:

They help you absorb nutrients. The friendly bacteria Lactobacillus acidophilus helps with the absorption of the B vitamins and vitamin K, along with fatty acids and minerals such as calcium.

They improve immune function. Beneficial bacteria have a critical and powerful effect on your gut’s immune system and your systemic immune system. They also aid in the production of antibodies to pathogens.

A study* published in the journal Pediatrics in 2009 looked at the potential benefits of probiotics in children during cold and flu season. According to the authors, “Daily dietary probiotic supplementation for 6 months was a safe effective way to reduce fever, rhinorrhea, and cough incidence and duration and antibiotic prescription incidence, as well as the number of missed school days attributable to illness, for children 3 to 5 years of age.”

They have a systemic, anti-inflammatory effect. While mechanism behind this benefit is not fully understood, recent studies strongly suggest that the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus works against inflammation. One such study** looked at biological markers for inflammation in patients taking the probiotics and those take a placebo. The researchers concluded “…probiotic bacteria have strain-specific anti-inflammatory effects in healthy adults.”

Another study*** from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, looked at the effect of Lactobacillus rhamnosus in infants with eczema, an inflammatory skin condition. The researchers concluded that infants receiving this probiotic had a significantly reduced risk of eczema symptoms.

So if you thought probiotic supplements were just for digestion problems, think again! Now you have many more reasons to consider taking probiotic supplements.

Digestive Health

Sources:

*http://www.umm.edu/pediatrics/residents/journal-club/probioticscolds.pdf

**http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?orig_db=PubMed&db=pubmed&cmd=Search&term=%22World%20journal%20of%20gastroenterology%20%3A%20WJG%22%5BJour%5D%20AND%202029%5Bpage%5D%20AND%202008%5Bpdat%5D

***http://www.umm.edu/pediatrics/residents/journal-club/Wickens%20Lactobacillus%20rhamnosus%20JACI%202008.pdf

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There’s an ongoing war for your health raging in your gut - whose side are you on?

by Health News

 

 

According to health experts, our health is being profoundly affected by an ongoing bacterial war raging deep inside our gut.Are the Bacteria in Your Gut Dangerous | Institute for Vibrant Living
 
Our body has 100 trillion bacteria in it, which live (mostly) in the gut with the surface area of a football field. Most experts say the optimal ratio is 85%:15% good to bad bacteria.
 
An excess of pathogenic bacteria has severe and widespread consequences for health. They create mold, putrefaction and release toxins into blood causing diarrhea, bloating, bad breath and even emotional problems, including depression. The liver has to work overtime to filter the toxins they make. Not only that - up to 80% of the immune system is in now believed to function in the gut, so immune function is also likely to be compromised.
 
On the other hand, having enough beneficial bacteria in the gut ensures proper nourishment, that foods are broken down and necessary macro- and micro-nutrients absorbed, vitamins B and K are made, minerals are extracted from the diet and retained, toxins do not damage the intestinal lining, colon cancer risk goes down and immunity is boosted. Thankfully, it’s relatively easy to ensure you have enough of the good bacteria in your system, simply by eating probiotic foods such as yogurt and soft cheese.
 
Antibiotics have dramatically changed the course of human history by lowering the incidence of many diseases to negligible levels. However, thanks to massive over-prescription and self-medication, today they actually act to damage health by eliminating most of the good bacteria with the bad.
 
Not only that - there are antibiotics in meats and dairy, non-organic foods are laced with pesticides and other chemicals and pollution is in the air. In other words, the environment is full of chemicals that threaten the well-being of gut probiotics - and by extension, our health as well.
 
A Native American elder once described his own inner struggles in this manner: ‘Inside of me there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time.’ When asked which dog wins, he reflected for a moment and replied, ‘The one I feed the most.’”
 
Which dog do you feed regularly?
 
Probiotic bacteria thrive on soluble fiber, which reach the colon more or less intact. The standard recommendation is six grams a day. On the other hand, feeding pathogenic bacteria requires sugar and processed foods low in fiber.
 
So creating the right bacterial balance in the gut is very simple: consume quality probiotics, consume fiber-rich, fresh foods and cut out as much sugar and processed food as possible.
 
You can also help the probiotics in your body stay on top by regular consumption of fermented foods including pickled vegetables, tempeh and fermented milk products like kefir or yogurt, natto and kimchi.
 
And while it would be ideal to get all the probiotics and the food they thrive on from the diet, that may not always be feasible - in which case quality probiotic supplements are invaluable.
 
So why not consult a dietician or nutritionist and start feeding your ‘good dog’ today?
 
 
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How Does Gut Flora Promote Better Health and Healthy Aging?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Gut Flora | Institute for Vibrant LivingIn an exciting new study, scientists at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging have shown that changing the relationship between gut bacteria and epithelial cells that line the intestine promotes health and increases lifespan in fruit flies, known as Drosophila.

These results support the newly emerging idea that having the right balance of gut bacteria may be the key to healthy aging and enjoying a long and healthy life.

In recent times, research in humans has linked the composition of gut bacteria with diet and health in the elderly - while unhealthy changes in gut bacteria are emerging as a crucial factor in the development of cancer, diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
 
However, health experts still don’t understand how we go from having a young, healthy gut to one that is old and diseased as we age.

This study looked at age-related changes in the fruit fly gut - including greater oxidative stress, inflammation, impaired immune response and overgrowth of stem cells. It also separated out these changes into cause and effect and identified ‘intervention points’ where the negative results of microbial imbalance could potentially be prevented.

The number of bacteria in fly intestines increases dramatically with age, leading to an inflammatory condition. This imbalance is driven by chronic activation of a stress response gene, which suppresses the activity of a class of molecules known as PGRP-SCs that normally work to regulate immune response to bacteria.

The rapid growth of bacteria in fly intestines triggers an inflammatory response, formation of free radicals and eventually leads to a dangerous pre-cancerous condition known as epithelial dysplasia.

Interestingly, when study researchers increased the expression of PGRP-SC molecules in fruit fly epithelial cells, gut microbial balance was restored and stem cell proliferation was suppressed. In fact, enhancement of PGRP-SC function was responsible for prolonging lifespan in these flies.

In other words, improving our understanding how aging affects gut bacteria in fruit flies as well as in people may turn out to be the key to both improving health and prolonging lifespan.

Millions of Americans suffer from digestive disorders ranging from irregularity and constipation to chronic diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). An easy and inexpensive remedy for these conditions is probiotics, or ‘good’ bacteria, which is now available conveniently as a supplement.

Take a probiotic supplement can improve digestive problems. Look for one that has a ‘delayed release’ to deliver the living probiotics necessary to balance your gut bacteria and relieve digestive disorders quickly - and as this study shows, likely to increase your chances of aging healthy and prolonging your lifespan.

 

Read more:
Could Stress Cause My Digestion Issues?
What are the signs of Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth?
Could Stress Cause My Digestion Issues?
Probiotics: Treatment For Hepatic Encephalopathy?
5 Ways to Increase the Effectiveness of Healthy Foods
How to Pick the Right Probiotic

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Altering Gut Bacteria Promotes Health and Prolongs Lifespan.

 

 

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Do Probiotic Foods Benefit Your Overall Mood?

by Health News

Do Probiotics Benefits Your Overall MoodDid you know that beneficial ‘probiotic’ bacteria in yogurt and other food foods keep more than your tummy happy?

A recent UCLA study shows that women who regularly ate yogurt had altered brain function and improved mood, likely because probiotics in their yogurt modified the bacterial environment in their gut.

In other words, when your gut is happy - so is your brain.

Researchers have known for a while now that the brain sends signals to the gut, which is why you sometimes get a tummy upset when you’re really stressed. But this study shows that signals travel from the gut to the brain as well.

36 women between the ages of 18-55 years participated in this study. They were divided into three groups - one group ate a yogurt containing several probiotics twice a day for four weeks, while another group consumed a dairy product that looked and tasted like the yogurt but contained no probiotics - and a third group ate no yogurt at all.

All the study subjects underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) before and after the four-week study on two occasions. First, their brains were scanned when they were doing nothing.

Next, their brains were scanned while they looked at pictures of people with frightened expressions - and matched them to other faces with the same emotions, a test known as emotion-recognition test, which measures how different brain regions respond to visual stimuli.

Women who consumed probiotic yogurt showed lowered activity in the insula - a brain region that is responsible for gut sensations - and in the somatosensory cortex, another brain region responsible for emotional reactivity tasks.

This study shows that probiotics change the way our brain works and how it responds emotionally to the environment.

Other studies have shown that what we eat alters the composition of gut bacteria. For example, people with high-vegetable, fiber-based diets have different gut bacteria than those who eat a diet high in fat and carbs. Clearly, our diet affects not only our metabolism, but also how our brain works.

So - do antibiotics affect the brain?

We typically take antibiotics routinely for various infections, which have been shown to eliminate certain types of gut bacteria - so they can certainly influence our brain function as well.

Also, can gut bacteria be used in the future to treat brain-related diseases such as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease and autism?

Only time will tell.

Do you currently take a probiotic supplement? 

Other related blog posts:

There’s an ongoing war for your health raging in your gut - whose side are you on?

The Power of Probiotics

How to Pick the Right Probiotic

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Are Probiotics a Good Mood Food?

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5 Ways to Increase the Effectiveness of Healthy Foods

by Nancy Maneely

Effectiveness of Healthy Foods“Eat healthy food” is advice we hear at least once a day. It comes from everywhere: TV, magazines, our doctor, well-meaning family and friends. So, we make smart selections at the grocery store and feel very good about choosing an orange for a midday snack rather than, say, a donut.

That’s a great start … but really, how do you know your body is getting the benefit of the healthy foods you eat? Unfortunately, your body doesn’t issue an itemized receipt every time, listing the calories and nutrients that were effectively utilized. In fact, you might be surprised at how little of the valuable nutrients actually reach their goal – that is, being absorbed and put to work doing what they are meant to do: keep you functioning at an optimum level.

Here are five simple ways you can increase the effectiveness of the food you eat:

  1. Take a digestive enzyme supplement. What are digestive enzymes? Our bodies make their own digestive enzymes that break down food in the mouth, stomach, and small intestine into smaller, absorbable molecules. However, while all fresh food contains enzymes, our modern habits destroy them. We grow fruits and vegetables in depleted soil, gas them to prolong shelf life, and cook them at high heat. All of this reduces their enzyme levels.
  2. Take a probiotic to increase friendly flora. Friendly bacteria help produce the enzymes we need to break down food. They also support immune health and help protect the vulnerable cells along the linings of the mouth, esophagus, stomach, and intestines.
  3. Chew your food! Mom’s advice was sound. Chewing produces amylase that breaks down carbohydrates and stimulates digestive juices.
  4. Slow down. The chemicals needed to for healthy digestion are produced when we are relaxed. A calm, quiet atmosphere signals the digestive system to kick in.
  5. Avoid taking antacids. In the stomach, high levels of acid are necessary to break down food (and kill off bad bacteria like H. pylori that can lead to stomach cancer). There are natural ways to reduce the problems of heartburn and acid reflux. Drinking enough water, reducing salt, eating fewer fats, and taking digestive enzymes and probiotics can take care of the problem.

Do you take probiotics or digestive enzymes? What benefits have you experienced?

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Four Foods Rich In Essential Magnesium

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Did you know that nutritional magnesium deficiency may have caused up to eight million sudden coronary deaths in the US between 1940 and 1994? This frightening estimate is based on census data and studies of similar deaths from magnesium deficiency conducted in other countries.

Globally, magnesium deficiency has reached epidemic proportions. In the US, the Dept. of Agriculture reported that only a quarter of 37,000 consumers they surveyed had a dietary magnesium intake that was equal to or exceeded the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) - while 39% of those surveyed ingested less than 70% of the RDA.

Four Foods Rich In Essential Magnesium

Magnesium is a vital mineral that is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It regulates enzyme reactions, helps energy production, assists in transporting ions across cell membranes and more. In fact, every one of the body's organs requires magnesium to function properly.

Magnesium deficiencies can lead to anxiety, restless leg syndrome, nausea, muscle cramps, insomnia and other health problems. Although poor diets are partially to blame, the biggest reason for magnesium deficiency is ongoing soil erosion, which has significantly reduced the earth’s mineral content.

If you want to prevent or correct magnesium deficiency through your diet, here are four foods that have still retained their magnesium content:

  1. Kelp - sea vegetables remain the best source of many essential minerals. A cup of kelp contains approximately 121 milligrams of magnesium (30 percent of RDA). Kelp is also one of the best sources of iodine, another mineral in which many people are deficient.
  2. Blackstrap molasses - the roots of sugar cane grow deep into the soil, so it’s able to tap into nutrients that other plants cannot reach. This is the reason why organic blackstrap molasses - the treacle-like byproduct of sugar cane refinement - is so rich in essential minerals like iron, calcium, manganese, selenium, potassium and magnesium. Just one tablespoon of this dark, viscous molasses will provide you with 48 milligrams of easily digestible magnesium.
  3. Cacao - magnesium deficiencies often manifest as chronic chocolate cravings, because cacao beans are one of the most magnesium-rich foods in the world. One cup of powdered cacao beans contains a whopping 429 milligrams of magnesium, or just over 100 percent of RDA. That’s why cacao and cacao products make you feel relaxed and energized after eating them.
  4. Rice bran - rice bran is the world's greatest source of magnesium. Just one cup of this byproduct of the rice milling process contains 922 milligrams of magnesium, or more than twice the RDA. It is also unusually high in manganese, phosphorus, iron and the B vitamins. Like blackstrap molasses, rice bran is an excellent gluten-free nutrient supplement and can be added to cereals, soups, muffins, cakes and other baked goods. In fact, a lot of recipes that incorporate blackstrap molasses can also easily incorporate rice bran, providing you with a double dose of essential magnesium.

Given the many health problems associated with magnesium deficiency, why not add one or more of these nutritious foods to your diet today?

Source: Four Foods Rich in Essential Magnesium.   

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7 Dietary Ingredients That Unclog Your Arteries

by Institute for Vibrant Living

As you’re probably already aware, progressive clogging of the arteries - scientifically known as atherosclerosis - is the number one killer on the planet. 7 Dietary Ingredients That Unclog Your Arteries | Institute for Vibrant Living

And while it’s true that atherosclerosis is a complex process that involves autoimmunity, infection, dietary incompatibilities, along with many other known and unknown factors - it’s both entirely preventable, and in some cases reversible as well.

For instance, there is plenty of peer-reviewed, published scientific research proving that regular consumption of these seven dietary ingredients prevents, and in some cases even reverses atherosclerosis:

  1. B vitamins - a doubled-blind, randomized 2005 study found that daily consumption of 2.5 mg folic acid, 25 mg vitamin B6 and 0.5 mg vitamin B12 for one year led to significant reductions in arterial thickness. Niacin or folic acid alone has also been shown to have this effect in patients. It’s always better to go with natural sources of these B vitamins rather than synthetic supplements.
  2. Garlic - has been shown to reverse plaque buildup in arteries, along with providing many other potentially life-saving health benefits.
  3. Pomegranate - this super fruit has been shown to reverse the process of atherosclerosis in both animal and human studies.
  4. Fermented cabbage - kimchi, a Korean recipe which includes fermented cabbage, hot pepper and other ingredients, appears to slow down atherosclerosis in animal models.
  5. L-arginine - this amino acid is capable of preventing arterial thickening, as shown in more than 30 animal studies. Other studies also show that L-arginine is capable of correcting the underlying condition typically associated with cardiovascular disease, known as endothelial dysfunction.
  6. Turmeric - more than 30 studies so far have shown that the main polyphenol in the cooking spice turmeric - known as curcumin - is an excellent cardioprotective agent. For instance, one study showed that curcumin prevented damage to arteries associated with blockage.
  7. Sesame seed - appears to be ideally suited for preventing the progression of atherosclerosis. One animal study found it was capable of preventing atherosclerosis lesion formation.

Remember - heart disease is not a natural process, one that you need to accept as inevitable based on your family history. Scientific studies have repeatedly shown that you can significantly influence your risk for this deadly condition by managing what you eat or don’t eat, along with your other lifestyle choices.

As the examples above clearly show, you can literally use food as medicine and regain control of your health with proper, life-giving nutrition.

Source: Seven Dietary Ingredients that Unclog Your Arteries.   

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How Olive Oil And Veggies Protect Against High Blood Pressure

by Institute for Vibrant Living

According to a new study led by King's College London, a diet that combines unsaturated fats such as those seen in olive oil, nuts and avocados along with nitrite Best Diet for Lowering High Blood Pressureand nitrate-rich vegetables like lettuce, spinach, celery and carrots, can protect against high blood pressure (BP).

These findings may help to explain why the so-called ‘Mediterranean diet’ has previously been shown to lower BP, along with reducing other risk factors for heart disease.

The Mediterranean diet uses olive oil for cooking and is typically rich in fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds, whole grain bread and unrefined cereals. Dairy products, eggs, fish and poultry are consumed only in low to moderate amounts, with little or no red meat and moderate consumption of wine.

Combined with a healthy lifestyle such as increased physical activity, moderate alcohol consumption and not smoking, this diet has previously been shown to lower death rates caused by heart disease.

Key to this protective effect appears to be that when unsaturated fats are combined with nitrite and nitrate-rich foods, compounds called nitro fatty acids are formed.

Researchers in this study investigated whether nitro fatty acids lower BP in mice. Specifically, they examined whether nitro fatty acids can inhibit an enzyme known as soluble Epoxide Hydrolase, which is known to regulate BP.

As the study results show, consumption of nitro fatty acids lowered BP in normal mice. On the other hand, mice that were genetically engineered to be resistant to inhibition of soluble Epoxide Hydrolase still had high BP despite being fed the same diet.

This study concludes that the protective effect of the Mediterranean diet has to do at least in part from the generation of nitro fatty acids, which inhibit soluble Epoxide Hydrolase to lower BP.

These findings may help to explain why the Mediterranean diet - supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil and nuts - has been shown to reduce the risk and incidence of cardiovascular events like stroke, heart failure and heart attacks.

Given the many health benefits of the Mediterranean diet, why not adopt it today?

Source: How Olive Oil and Veggies Protect Against High Blood Pressure (BP).
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