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Are You Suffering from Vitamin C Deficiency?

by IVL Products

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

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

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

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

Signs of Vitamin C Deficiency

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

Related:  Vitamin E Deficiency

Sources of Vitamin C

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

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

30-Day Vibrant Living Challenge

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Lack of Appetite: Four Typical Causes

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Eating delicious foods can be one of the greatest pleasures in life, and a healthy appetite is a sign of positive wellbeing.  People who develop a lack of appetite lose their desire to eat.  They either experience complete disinterest, or the idea of eating makes them feel nauseous.  While a number of factors may cause appetite loss, four in particular are worth noting.

People who develop a lack of appetite either experience complete disinterest, or the idea of eating makes them feel nauseous

1.  Chronic Disease

Lack of appetite is a common symptom of a number of chronic diseases.  These include liver disease, celiac disease, Crohn's disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), dementia, HIV, hypothyroidism, gastroparesis, and kidney or heart failure.  People with cancer of the ovaries, pancreas, colon, or stomach may also find their appetite lacking. 

Nutritious snacks high in protein and calories help people with chronic illness or cancer maintain body weight while trying to recover.  Eating small amounts several times throughout the day and supplementing with liquid protein drinks can be helpful.  Supportive family members can keep favorite foods handy and record meals in a food diary for reference.

2.  Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is most common in women from 35 to 65 years of age.  It is a condition in which the thyroid produces too little thyroid hormone.  It causes a range of symptoms, including lack of appetite, fatigue, constipation, dry skin, and brittle nails.

A simple blood test can determine whether people suffer from an inactive thyroid.  Doctors usually prescribe synthetic T4 (levothyroxine sodium), in the form of a daily pill, to bring the thyroid hormone into the normal range.

Related:  Three Hormonal Causes of Depression

3.  Medications

Use of certain medications can affect the appetite.  These include:

  • Anabolic steroids
  • Antibiotics
  • Blood pressure medications
  • Codeine
  • Diuretics
  • Morphine
  • Sleeping pills
  • Tranquilizers

Regardless if it is listed above, people who experience a lack of appetite in conjunction with starting a new medication should consult with their doctor for solutions, which may include changing the drug or dosage.  People should not stop taking their medication without their doctor's approval.

4.  Depression

A change in appetite is one of the most common signs of depression.  For some people, depression increases appetite, and for others it leads to a lack of appetite.  When people experience appetite loss along with symptoms like sadness, guilt, disinterest in activities, digestive issues, sleep problems, or nausea, they should consult with a medical doctor or mental health care professional.

A healthy diet may help ward off depression.  According to research, a Mediterranean-style eating plan high in fruits vegetables, nuts, legumes, whole grains, and fatty fish can help lower risks for depression.  Studies also show that deficiencies in vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and tryptophan can have a negative influence on mood.

While periods of appetite loss are normal, a persistent lack of appetite is not.  It can be a symptom of chronic disease, cancer, hypothyroidism, depression or a reaction to a new medication.  People should contact their health care provider if appetite loss is chronic or if they are shedding weight without trying. 

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How to Get Your Appetite Back on Track

by Institute for Vibrant Living

If you are not enjoying the food you eat, or if you’ve seemed to have simply lost your appetite, there could be a number of causes. Sometimes illness, depression, worry, poor nutrition or even medication can contribute to a loss of appetite. However, lack of nutrition can quickly create more serious medical issues, so it’s important to coax that appetite back. Here are some simple fixes for what to do for loss of appetite.

Our article is full of ideas for what to do for loss of appetite.

Supplements Can Help

It’s important to ensure you have the correct balance of vitamins and minerals every day, particularly when you are eating less. Take a daily multivitamin that offers complete nutritional support but also includes probiotics, antioxidants and enzymes. 

One of the signs of zinc deficiency is poor appetite so if you are wondering what to do for loss appetite, consider taking a zinc supplement. You can read more about zinc in this article by Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D.

Eat Little and Often

If you cannot face eating three full meals a day, try to overcome the problem by having six regular snacks, light meals or even liquid smoothies full of goodness. It’s a good way to recover your appetite without feeling bloated and too full.

Related:  Foods that Lower Blood Sugar:  Peanut Butter

Drink Water Between Meals

It’s always important to drink plenty of water, but having a drink at mealtimes can fill your stomach before you even start to eat. Instead drink plenty of fluids between meals.

Medications and Loss of Appetite

Some medications cause foods to taste “metallic” or strange. If meat tastes unpleasant, switch to other forms of protein. If water doesn’t taste right, add slices of fruit, lemon juice or herbs to improve the experience. Chewing gum, brushing your teeth or using an oral rinse before meals can help awaken taste buds.

Mental Issues

Sometimes appetite is all in the mind. It could be boredom with the same meals week in, week out, or that you simply “can’t be bothered” with mealtimes. In this case you need to give yourself a mental shake and break the negativity with some new recipes and eating experiences.

Eat with Friends

Eating alone can put a damper on food. The answer to the problem of what to do for loss of appetite may be a social one. Invite friends round for a light meal or BBQ and make the effort to dine with family at least once a week. Part of any pleasant social occasion is food. Once you begin to enjoy your food again, you will soon find your appetite is restored.

We hope we have given you plenty of new ideas for what to do for loss of appetite. Bon appetit!

 

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Perimenopause and Mood: Understanding the Connection

by Health News

The “change of life” or menopause is a natural part of aging for most women when menstruating ceases. Around age 40, women may begin to notice irregular periods, increased feelings of anxiety and stress, have trouble focusing and even suffer from panic attacks. These mood changes are the result of declining progesterone levels, the phase that precedes menopause known as perimenopause.  This can last anywhere from 10 to 15 years and can wreak havoc on your physical and emotional wellbeing. 

The connection between perimenopause and mood.

Progesterone and estrogen live in harmony in a woman’s body after she goes through puberty and begins menstruating.  If these two hormones work harmoniously during the menstrual cycle, it promotes a feeling of balance and well-being.  If you become pregnant, progesterone levels increase and you experience feelings of contentment and happiness. After giving birth, estrogen and progesterone levels plummet and can cause post-partum depression until the hormones rebalance again.

It’s no secret to the medical community that progesterone has a profound effect on your mood.  There is plenty of clinical research documenting the increased rise in perimenopausal symptoms in women when they reach their late 30s and 40s, the time progesterone production begins to decline.  Most women only experience mild symptoms, but an unlucky few can be nearly incapacitated by the abrupt mood swings, stress and anxiety, sleep problems and have trouble focusing, making things difficult for them at home and work.

Take the Perimenopause Quiz

Take this brief quiz to determine if you may be experiencing perimenopause:

1.  Do you feel anxious or irritable more easily and more frequently than usual?

2.  Do you sometimes have difficulty focusing on the task at hand or suffering from occasional memory loss?

3. Are you experiencing sleep disturbances such as taking longer to fall asleep, difficulty remaining asleep, and not feel rested in the morning?

4. Are you experiencing physical changes, like weight gain even though your eating habits have stayed about the same?  Is your skin drier or oilier than usual?  Do feel more fatigued after your normal daily activities?

5. Are you experiencing feeling suddenly hot or waking up in the night with night sweats?  Do you feel palpitations in your heart for no apparent reason?

6. Are you experiencing vaginal dryness and a decreased interest in sex?

7. Are you urinating more frequently, even though you are not drinking significantly more liquids?

8. Is satisfaction and happiness with your life seeming decrease, even though nothing has change significantly in your career or relationships? Do you feel depressed sometimes without being able to explain why?

9. Have your periods become irregular, sporadic, or has your flow changed from what was once normal for you?

10. Are you in your late 30’s and early to middle 40’s?

If you answered yes to three or more of these questions, then you are most likely entering into the life stage of perimenopause.  No two women will experience it the same. Some will have say yes to all of the above while others may only be experiencing two or three changes from the norm.

Sometimes perimenopause can last for several years or more; but the good news is, there are ways to help ease the transition. 

Related:  Is There Such a Thing As Early Menopause?

Diet

Combat weight gain, stress and anxiety by cutting out high carbohydrate sugary foods, limiting the amount of caffeine and alcohol you consume and stay away from spicy foods that can trigger hot flashes. Filling up on vitamin and mineral loaded fruits and vegetables will help keep your weight in check, provide hydration to your skin, and help you avoid sugar crashes that will be more extreme with the fatigue that accompanies perimenopause.

Stress

Finding ways to relieve stress are critical when you are going through perimenopause and menopause.  Regular exercise will help you maintain a healthy weight, provide an outlet for anxiety and stress, and promote better sleep. Nothing is more stressful than insomnia and the severe fatigue and loss of mental focus that comes with it.  Keeping stress at bay will also help with symptoms of depression, which is common for many women going through perimenopause.

Supplements

It is especially important to get the proper amount of vitamins and nutrients in your diet to help ward off perimenopause and mood swings that are a result of radical hormonal changes. Getting plenty of vitamins C, E, and the complex B’s can improve cognitive function and are helpful to reduce symptoms.

Herbs like evening primrose oil can help relieve hot flashes and calm anxiety.  Ginkgo biloba has been linked to improved mental concentration, stimulates the libido and promotes blood flow to the brain.  St. John’s Wort is helpful for reducing insomnia, calming anxiety, relieving depression and also stimulates the libido.

Always be sure to check with your doctor before taking any supplements to avoid unfavorable and dangerous drug interactions.

Perimenopause and mood swings are an unavoidable phase of life for most women, but it does not have to be miserable.  Take charge of your symptoms with a few dietary changes, supplements to increase your progesterone levels and increased exercise. These changes can help you sail through the change to a positive new phase of life.

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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

Maca

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.

Conclusion

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. 

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Feeling Down? Try These Natural Remedies for Depression

by Cindy Gray

Everybody feels a little sad or depressed occasionally and often it is a normal reaction to loss or life’s inevitable struggles. For most people, the blues go away after situations are resolved. Others however, are not so lucky.  

According to the National Institute for Mental Health more than 14.8 million adults suffer from major depression which affects their health, relationships and ability to function.  Although there are many prescription medications that claim to help, most people prefer to seek out national remedies for depression.

Symptoms of depression include:

  • Fatigue
  • Sad, anxious feelings
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Chronic aches and pains
  • Digestive problems

People who are clinically depressed may look at external reasons for their sadness.  But in true clinical depression, outside factors are not often the primary reasons for depression.  Depression is influenced by the balance of brain chemicals and neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and norepinephrine.  The often-prescribed medications that are supposed to regulate neurotransmitters tend to be very expensive and most have side effects that range from unpleasant to dangerous.

Fortunately, Mother Nature has provided us with safe, effective natural remedies for depression. Recent studies have found a strong link between vitamin D deficiency and depression. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is present in eggs and fatty fish like salmon and mackerel. Your body can make its own vitamin D after exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun, but that can be difficult depending on the time of year and where you live.

RelatedNatural Supplements and Vitamins--Why They are Important

Vitamin D has also been associated with a decreased risk for Alzheimer’s disease and it also contributes to bone health, immune function and muscle maintenance. Because it is so important, millions of Americans take vitamin D supplements to help ensure they are getting sufficient amounts. Vitamin D is available in tablet, capsule, powdered, and in liquid forms. The needed amount varies from person to person so ask your holistic health practitioner to determine the dosage that best suits your individual needs.

Consider adding nutritional supplements to your natural remedies for depression. It’s also important to adopt an overall healthy lifestyle that includes proper nutrition, moderate exercise, adequate rest, social interaction and stress reduction techniques.

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

by Cindy Gray

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

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

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

Some of the major benefits of chlorophyll include:

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

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

Related What Everybody Ought to Know About Liquid Chlorophyll

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

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

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

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

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

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Two Natural Arthritis Treatments to GAG On

by Cindy Gray

Natural arthritis treatments use two specific supplements to maintain and rebuild worn cartilage which is the main cause of painful arthritis in the joints. Glycosaminoglycans, conveniently shortened to GAGs, are long unbranched polysaccharides containing amino sugars (N-acetylglucosamine or N-acetylgalactosamine) and gluronic acid.

Glucosamine is an Important Natural Arthritis Treatment

Glucosamine hydrochloride has been shown to be an excellent natural arthritis treatment. Derived from lobster, shrimp and crab shells, when taken as a supplement it stimulates the manufacture of amino acids, sulfur and chains of sugars to restore the gel-like cartilage content. This improves joint mobility and restores worn cartilage which is the cause of severe joint pain for arthritis sufferers.

Glucosamine supplements also reduce inflammation, another factor for those suffering from arthritis. If you are taking a joint supplement for natural arthritis treatments, look for those which contain glucosamine to help joint lubrication and support healthy cartilage.

Chondroitin Sulfate for Healthy Joint Cartilage

Another type of GAG, Chondroitin Sulfate works synergistically with glucosamine for maximum benefit of these painful swollen joints. It makes up to 20% of natural cartilage tissue and helps rebuild cartilage and replace lost synovial fluid.

Related: Hyaluronic Acid Use for Joint Health

Chondroitin stabilizes collagen, another important component of healthy cartilage, and is particularly effective when taken with vitamin C. It is an important supplement for arthritis as it helps maintain the collagen fibers in the bone.

Even if you do not have arthritis or painful joints, chondroitin sulfate helps prevent the breakdown of cartilage, preventing painful joints and arthritis in later life. It works with the glucosamine to promote a steady flow of nutrients and fluid to maintain healthy cartilage.

Dosage for GAG Supplements

Glucosamine can be taken as a supplement in capsule, tablet, powder or liquid form. Recommended dosage is 1500 mg per day. It is most effective when combined with chondroitin.

The typical dosage of chondroitin sulfate is 1000-1200 mg per day. However, it is most effective when taken in three separate doses during the day, of up to 400 mg at a time. If you are taking these supplements as natural arthritis treatments, you should start to see results within one month with less pain and increased movement in the joints. 

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How to Naturally Erase Age Spots

by Cindy Gray

Although age spots are harmless, these brown spots caused by the sun can be unsightly. But the good news is that there are several natural ways to help get rid of age spots.

First, you need to be sure that the problem is an age spot, or liver spot, and not something more sinister. Age spots are smooth and may be brown or black. If in doubt, get your doctor to check first that it is not a mole or other more dangerous skin issues such as a melanoma.

As age spots are caused by free-radical damage from the ultraviolet rays of the sun, it makes sense to treat them from the inside out.

Beta-Carotene for Age Spots

Free radical damage can be countered by eating foods high in antioxidants. Beta-carotene has been shown to be most effective as nature’s answer to how to get rid of age spots. Boost your diet with plenty of healthy foods such as carrots, kale, spinach, cabbage, sweet potatoes, squash, cantaloupe, mangoes and apricots. These natural fruits and veggies all have exceptionally high levels of beta-carotene to prevent age spots which are the result of free radical damage from the sun.

Related: Benefits of Mango: A Delectable Nutrient-Rich Powerhouse

Vitamin A for Age Spots

Research shows that higher levels of vitamin A can also help prevent, banish or fade age spots. Once again, sweet potatoes, carrots and dark leafy greens are a good natural source of vitamin A. It is also found in fish, liver and bell peppers, so there’s plenty of choice. The easiest way to ensure you have a daily dose of vitamin A is by taking spirulina in a greens-based powder. Just mix and drink – it’s that easy to get your daily requirements of vitamins and minerals.

How to Get Rid of Age Spots with Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a great natural aid for hyperpigmentation. As age spots are caused by the body producing melanin, a form of pigmentation, it makes sense to reduce age spots naturally with vitamin E. Take a daily supplement of vitamin E in the form of d-alpha tocopherol (400-600 IUs) for most people will be sufficient. However, those who are on insulin or have hypertension should take a lower dose of 100 IUs. 

These methods should all help fade ugly age spots. However, the best answer is to avoid getting age spots and other skin issues caused by the sun. Always wear an organic sunscreen of at least SPF15 whenever you go outside and save yourself from having those unsightly age spots on your hands and face in later life.

Remember to consume at least eight 8-ounce glasses of pure water each day.  Take good care of your skin on the outside by using a daily moisturizer, one filled with natural ingredients, and avoiding harmful ingredients such as petrolatum and dimethicone.   Don’t forget to remove dead surface skin cells by exfoliating with natural fine-grain sea salt mixed with water and a little natural liquid soap.  Another way to reduce age spots is by applying natural lemon juice to the surface of the skin.  

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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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The Health Benefits of Superfoods

by Health News

In the past few decades it has been determined that signs of aging like wrinkles and diminished skin elasticity are enhanced by oxidation, a process in which damaging free radicals begin to break down DNA.  Research is showing that we can slow the aging process with the consumption of antioxidant-rich foods.  Studies also show that the amount of antioxidants consumed is directly proportional to longevity.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends eight to ten servings of fruits and vegetables per day, but not all of these have the same effect.  The effects of antioxidants are measured by a food’s oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC).

Health Benefit of Superfoods - Avacado

Check out these ORAC-rich fruits and vegetables, and implement them into your daily diet to generate a youthful appearance. 

  • Avocado
  • Berries
  • Pears
  • Plums
  • Red Grapes
  • Oranges
  • Grapefruit
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli

Here are a few other superfoods that have shown great potential for enhancing a youthful appearance. 

Acai Berries – These tiny, purple berries can be found in the Amazon rainforest of Brazil.  In addition to boosting energy, this antioxidant-laden superfood is said to promote healthy hair, nails and skin.  Acai is available in supplement form in various powders and caplets.

Red Ginseng – A study published in the December, 2009 edition of the Journal of Medicinal Foods showed that red ginseng reverses wrinkles.  The study examined a group of female volunteers over the age of 40. The subjects took three grams of red ginseng extract daily for 24 weeks, and it was found that facial wrinkles were significantly reduced and collagen levels were increased.  Collagen is a product made from proteins in the body which is necessary for healthy skin.  Further, a gene that destroys collagen was inhibited and elastin, a protein that enhances skin elasticity, was increased.

Resveratrol - This important nutrient can be found in the skin of red grapes and in blueberries, cranberries and pomegranates.  Besides supporting cardiovascular health, resveratrol is said to promote a youthful appearance.  In addition to the fruits mentioned above, resveratrol supplements are available in whole foods stores and through natural supplement websites.

Sea Buckthorn Berries – This small, sour berry is found in harsh environments of Eastern Asia and is packed with vitamin C, providing 12 times more than an orange.  It is said to provide weight loss and immune system support and to foster good hair, nail and skin health.  Typically the fruit cannot be found in your local grocery store, but liquid and caplet supplements are available in stores and online.

Soy – Research that is soon-to-be-published in the British Journal of Pharmacology has concluded that soy can have positive effects on age-related skin changes in post-menopausal women. 

As adequate estrogen levels are required for youthful skin in women, an ovariectomy can accelerate aging of the skin.  This study examined the effects of soy on the skin of ovariectomized rats.  Researchers began treating rats six months after ovariectomy with genistein, a soy-derived isoflavone, for a period of 12 weeks.   At the end of treatment, the thickness of collagen and skin strength was significantly improved, which suggests that soy therapy might be a reliable alternative for age-related skin changes in post-menopausal women.

Healthy Aging - Superfoods Benefits

Everyone wants to look young for as long as possible and adequate nutrition is an easy fix.  In addition to a daily vitamin and mineral supplement, it might be worth a try to incorporate some of the foods above into your daily diet for a more youthful appearance.

Healthy Superfood Recipes

Sources:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/food_and_drink/article6986044.ece
http://theview.abc.go.com/blog/top-7-superfoods-women

Cho, S. et al.  Red ginseng root extract mixed with Torilus fructus and Corni fructus improves facial wrinkles and increases type I procollagen synthesis in human skin: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.  Journal of Medicinal Food, 2009 Dec;12(6):1252-9.

Polito, F. et al.  Genistein Aglycone, a Soy-derived Isoflavone, Improves Skin Changes Induced by Ovariectomy in Rats.   British Journal of Pharmacology.  2011 Aug 9. doi: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.2011.01619.x. [Epub ahead of print]

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Healthy Recipes: Vitamin C-rich Tangy Jicama Slaw

by Nancy Maneely

Healthy Recipes IVL ProductsA new report from scientists at the University of Michigan calls for an increase in the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin C in our diets.

The scientists say they have found compelling evidence that the U.S. RDA of Vitamin C should be increased to 200 milligrams per day for adults, up from current levels of 75 milligrams for women and 90 for men.

They cite a slew of research, including a recent analysis of 29 human studies that indicate that healthy levels of Vitamin C can support immune function, reduce inflammation which can lead to conditions such as atherosclerosis, and significantly lower blood pressure. One recent analysis of 29 human studies showed that daily supplements of 500 milligrams of Vitamin C significantly reduced blood pressure. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease.

The Michigan scientists noted that an optimum diet with the recommended 5 to 9 daily servings of fruits and vegetables, along with a 6-ounce glass of orange juice, could provide 200 milligrams of Vitamin C a day. But most Americans miss the mark when it comes to this optimum diet.

Most of us know that orange juice is a great source of Vitamin C, but many fruits and veggies also serve as excellent sources of this vital antioxidant nutrient. One that many Americans are unfamiliar with is jicama, a root vegetable enjoyed in Mexican and Central American cuisine with a delightfully crunchy texture and flavor similar to a water chestnut.

Jicama is very low in calories – only 35 per 100g serving – and an excellent source of oligofructose inulin, a soluble dietary fiber which does not metabolize in the human body (this makes it an excellent snack food for diabetics and dieters). Jicama is rich in Vitamin C, providing about 20.2 mg (34 percent of the current RDA) per serving. It also is a great source of the micronutrients magnesium, copper, iron, and manganese.

Look for jicama in your grocery store, Asian or Mexican food market. At home, store them as you would potatoes, keeping them in a cool, dark place for up to 3-4 weeks – but be careful not to keep them too cold or the starch will convert to sugar

This recipe for Tangy Jicama Slaw is quick, convenient and packs a mighty Vitamin C punch with the main ingredient plus the addition of lemon and lime – potent Vitamin C partners.  Make ahead and pack it for lunch, or take it to your next summer picnic.

Tangy Jicama Slaw

Ingredients

  • 1 jicama, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, minced
  • 1 large lime, juiced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 (11 ounce) can mandarin orange segments, drained, liquid reserved
  • salt to taste

Directions

Combine the jicama, cilantro, lime juice, lemon juice, and mandarin orange segments with a small amount of the syrup from the can in a bowl; mix to evenly coat. Allow mixture to sit 10 minutes. Season with salt and stir just before serving.

Nutrition Analysis

Amount per serving: Calories 67, Total Fat 0.2g, Cholesterol 0mg

What is your preferred source of Vitamin C?

Sources:
Science Daily
Allrecipes.com
Nutrition-and-you.com
 

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Liquid Health Vitamins: A Better Alternative to Pills?

by Health News

Liquid Health Vitamins:There are not nearly as many liquid nutritional supplement products on the market as there are those in the pill form, but their popularity is growing. What are some of the reasons for this?

They’re easier for people to swallow. While liquid vitamins might not taste as good, they are easier to swallow than pills or chewables. In fact, young children are particularly vulnerable to choking on chewable vitamins.  Older adults and those who have certain disorders that effect swallowing are also vulnerable to choking. To achieve the best of both worlds, liquid vitamin drops can be mixed in with a favorite juice drink.

They’re more readily assimilated into the bloodstream . It can take hours for vitamin pills to get into your bloodstream, but liquid vitamins are delivered in a fraction of this time. Depending on whether you drop it under your tongue or mix it into juice, liquid vitamins can start entering your bloodstream the moment you put the first drop in your mouth. When it reaches your stomach, there’s nothing to break down like there is with pills and capsules.

They’re easy on your stomach. Because there’s nothing solid to break down, they’re much easier to digest than pill supplements.

They’re convenient. You don’t need liquid to swallow them. If you keep the bottle in your purse or backpack, you can just take it whenever you remember, wherever you are!

They allow for dosing flexibility. Your dosage needs can change based on your age and health status. You can easily take more or less of a liquid without having to switch brands or break pills.

Talk to your health care practitioner and find out if liquid supplements might be a better option for you!

What do you think liquid vitamin supplements or pill form? Which do you take more often?

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Top 10 Men's Vitamins

by Health News

Looking for the best vitamins for men's health? Here is a list of the top ten vitamins that should be on every man's list.Top 10 Men's Vitamins

  1. Pumpkin Seed Oil may enhance prostate health. Components in pumpkin seed oil seem to immobilize this enlargement. Pumpkin seed extracts offer a higher concentration of healthy properties than the seeds themselves.
  2. Nattokinase may provide support of healthy blood pressure. Research has shown that nattokinase supports the body in dissolving blood clots and has been shown to be four times more effective than plasmin, which is an anti-clotting enzyme produced in the blood.
  3. Gymnema Sylvestre promotes healthy blood sugar. Gymnemic acids have anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic and anti-sweetener properties. It is said to curb diabetes by impeding the buildup of sugar molecules in the body.
  4. Vitamin D is essential for proper absorption of calcium in the body and for maintaining calcium and phosphate levels in the blood which encourages normal mineralization of bone.
  5. Curcumin - a chemical found in turmeric - may help enhance brain abilities and avert the onset of Alzheimer's disease. Research has suggested that curcumin inhibits the growth of amyloid plaques which are harmful protein deposits found in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease.
  6. Hyaluronic Acid is a component of synovial fluid which helps hydrate and carry needed nutrients to the areas of the body where it is manufactured including the skin, eyes and cartilage. Supplementation can improve the thickness of the synovial fluid in the skin, eyes and cartilage and reduce pain and swelling within the joints.
  7. Maca Root is effective for regulating the body’s hormone levels and enhancing both male and female libido. As opposed to synthetic hormones which can have hazardous side effects, Maca root is natural and has a long history of safe use.
  8. Wheatgrass can help to restore blood alkaline levels and therefore balance pH, which is defined as potential of hydrogen and represents the ratio of acid to alkaline in the body. This may help cells efficiently absorb needed vitamins and minerals and properly excrete waste.
  9. Pleurisy Root is an important supplement for men and women, as it is said to relieve chest pain and ease breathing problems. The herb is often used as an expectorant helping to force phlegm from bronchial and nasal passages.
  10. Liquid Vitamins and Minerals are great supplements for the immune system and overall health of men. They have a higher absorbency; the body responds and starts benefiting from them immediately.

Is there a vitamin that you take daily that isn't on this list?

 

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How to Boost Immune System

by Health News

Having a strong immune system is key to a healthy life. Being sick is no fun and during the How to Boost Immune Systemcolder months our immune system needs all the support we can give it. Certain natural supplements and vitamins are known to help counter bacteria and viruses and should play an important part in boosting your immune system this winter.

Provide Your Body with Good Nutrition
If you are undernourished, either generally or lacking specific groups of vitamins and minerals, your body will be susceptible to disease and sickness. Eat nutrient-dense whole foods and concentrate on eating five portions of fruit and vegetables every day. Avoid sugars and processed foods as they are known to decrease the function of your immune system and should be avoided at all costs if you are on the verge of sickness. Also drink plenty of clear liquids every day – water and herbal teas are best – to keep the body flushing out any toxins.

Get Plenty of Sunshine or Vitamin D
There is compelling evidence showing that colds and flu are related to a deficiency in vitamin D. Spending ten minutes in the sunshine each day, exposing arms and legs, is sufficient to allow your body to produce its own vitamin D. If you live in an area where that is not practical, then make sure you take a vitamin D supplement daily.

Take Vitamin E
Vitamin E naturally strengthens the immune system by stimulating the production of immune cells that create antibodies to fight germs and disease. In a study on vitamin E supplements conducted by Tufts University in Boston, the patients who received 200mg of vitamin E for four months produced more antibodies in response to vaccines for tetanus and hepatitis B than those who were given a placebo.

Consider Echinacea
Studies in Germany are way ahead of the U.S. and in double-blind, placebo-controlled studies Echinacea users had less frequent virus infections and less severe symptoms than those taking a placebo. Echinacea is most effective if taken when you feel a cold coming on, when you are under extra stress or when entering a situation that will challenge the immune system, such as returning to school after a break. A 300mg dose taken three times a day will be an effective natural immune booster.

Keep Active
Exercise helps boost the immune system as the increased blood flow stimulates all the body’s cells. Regular exercise allows the immune system to counter bacteria and viruses before they can cause problems, resulting in less colds, sickness and flu.

Get Plenty of Sleep
Your immune system will function best if you are well rested. During the cold and flu season your immune system is at its most stressed, so make a special effort to get plenty of sleep.

Manage Stress
Chronic stress is known to suppress the immune system. Studies have shown that people living stressful lives have a lower count of white blood cells, an indicator of a poor immune system. Laughter helps lower the stress hormones that circulate when you are under pressure, so make sure you laugh with friends or have a few good comedies to watch to boost your immune system and ward off illness the natural way this winter.

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How Safe are Supplements and Natural Medicine? Part 1

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Dear Reader,

First let me welcome you to my first blog post. I am excited to share my thoughts with you. I look forward to our discussions and hope you enjoy my writings.

This subject of how safe supplements and natural medicine is is not an easy one. It's one of those things where if you ask six different people about it, you get a similar amount of answers. Personally, I've always believed in the healing power and the safety of supplements and natural medicine, if they are used correctly, with knowledge and common sense. The problem is, when it comes to people in general, there is a shortage of common sense. Common sense, unfortunately, has yet to be bottled and sold. But if it was, would the Food and Drug Administration approve it? It could be disruptive...

Let's first offer a bit of definition.
  
What are dietary supplements? The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), (created by the FDA) defines a dietary supplement as a product that:

  • supplements the food you eat;
  • contains one or more dietary ingredient (including vitamins; minerals; herbs or other botanicals; amino acids, and other substances);
  • comes in pill, capsule, tablet, or liquid form; and
  • is labeled as a dietary supplement.
Natural Vitamin Mineral Supplements - How safe are they?

There are different types of dietary, or nutritional, supplements. Vitamin and mineral supplements are types of dietary supplements containing micronutrients meant to help a healthy body function smoothly. Herbal (or botanical) supplements are dietary supplements that have a medicinal purpose. Herbal supplements generally support a specific area of the body’s health, such as the liver, bones or skin.

How do you determine which supplements or natural medicine treatments you take?


Tune in on Friday for Part 2 of my discussion on how safe supplements and natural medicine are....

 

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What are the Best Sugar Substitutes?

by Health News

Do you see a lot of sugar substitutes in your natural vitamin supplement facts panels? If so read more to better understand what those ingredients are.

Stevia

According to Donna Gates, co-author of The Stevia Cookbook: Cooking with Nature's Calorie-Free Sweetener (Avery Trade, 2004), “Stevia is the safest sweetener. Period.” She also says that people who have tried Stevia powder and didn’t like it might actually like the liquid better. Stevia contains zero calories, but its one downfall is that it doesn't work well for baking.

Related Article: Sweet Solutions: The Best Sugar Substitutes

Date Sugar

Date sugar is very sweet. It clumps and doesn’t melt so it can’t be used in all the ways we use white sugar. Still you can usually substitute it in recipes that call for brown sugar.

Best Sugar Substitutes

Raw, Organic Honey

Even though honey contains higher fructose levels than other sugar substitutes, it is also a rich source of antioxidants. Because it has a low glycemic index, you can still add it to your tea, oatmeal or yogurt and not experience the blood-sugar “crash” that you might experience with regular sugar. And honey is more than just a great, natural sweetener. It’s also soothing to the skin and helps wounds heal faster.

Black Strap Molasses

If you’re more concerned about “empty calories” than you are about calories in general, then this is the alternative sweetener for you. Black strap molasses may have a high calorie index, but it is also a rich source of iron, potassium and calcium. The one drawback is, according to Dr. Christine Gerbstadt, MD, PhD, RD, spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, black strap molasses, as well as other calorie-containing sweeteners, are not recommended for diabetics.

Dangers of Sugar - Tips

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Mood-Boosting Vitamin And Herb Supplements Offer Natural Solutions To Depression

by Health News

How do you know which vitamin supplement is right for you? The symptoms of depression vary widely from person to person so your holistic practitioner can work with you to develop a nutritional supplement regimen that best suits your individual needs.

Everybody suffers from a “blue mood” from time to time. For most people minor bouts of sadness are short-lived and soon forgotten.  But for the 17 million Americans who suffer from clinical depression, extreme sadness is a crippling fact of life that robs them of the simple joys of living and escalates into symptoms so severe that it is impossible to function.  The prescription medications that are used to treat depression have unpleasant and sometimes dangerous side effects. That is why holistic practitioners recommend mood-boosting vitamin and herb nutritional supplements for their patients who suffer from depression.  

Some of the vitamin and herb supplements used to boost mood and treat depression include:

SAMe:  S-adenosylmethionine, which is usually referred to as SAMe, is a compound that occurs naturally in the brain. Studies have shown that it boosts the production of serotonin and dopamine, both of which have significant mood-boosting effects. 

St. John’s Wort: This medicinal herb which has been used in Europe for centuries to treat depression has gained recognition in the United States during the past decade. The leaves and flowers of this herb are harvested and then dried before being converted into a pill or liquid form.  St. John’s Wort is particularly helpful in the treatment of seasonal affective disorder, which is a type of depression that occurs in some people in the winter months. 

Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Omega 3 fatty acids boost mood by regulating brain function and numerous studies have shown that a deficiency can significantly increase the risk for depression. Omega 3 fatty acids are abundant in certain types of fish and statistics show that depression rates are lower in countries where fish consumption is high (like Japan).

Ginkgo Bilboa: Traditionally used in Chinese medicine, ginkgo extract comes from the leaves of the ginkgo bilboa tree. This extract, which is available in liquid or pill form, improves blood flow to the brain which helps in the treatment of depression.

Mood-boosting nutritional supplements are most effective when they are used in conjunction with healthy lifestyle choices like regular exercise, adequate rest and a high-fiber, low-fat diet. Exercise is particularly important because it releases feel-good brain chemicals called endorphins. Yoga, gardening, soothing music and spending time with supportive friends can also make a major difference.

Remember that depression is a treatable illness and there are many natural approaches that offer relief.   Reach out to your holistic practitioner and explore ways to manage depression so you can enjoy all of the joys life has to offer.

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Mineral Supplements – Are You Getting Enough?

by Health News

There are 22 essential minerals that our bodies need in trace amounts on a regular basis. Those who participate in endurance sports such as running and marathon training need to be especially sure that they are getting enough essential minerals to obtain peak performance and endurance. Here’s the list of the most important dietary minerals and how to receive the daily-recommended levels of them all.

Vitamins Minerals Supplements IVL Products

Calcium
We all know that calcium is crucial to healthy bones, but it is also plays an important part in fat storage and muscle contraction. Runners in particular need sufficient calcium to develop strong bones to cope with the vigors of training as well as maintaining a lean body composition. The recommended daily intake is 1,000 to 1,300 mg which can be obtained with three servings of dairy or soy products per day, such as a cup of milk (8 fl.oz), low-fat yoghurt, soy beans, seeds and egg yolks. However, research suggests that calcium supplements, taken in conjunction with vitamin D, are more effectively digested for maintaining bone density than dairy products.

Iron
Iron is another essential mineral that our body needs. It helps produce red blood cells which carry oxygen to the muscles during exercise. Anemia, or lack of iron, is a common cause of tiredness and fatigue – the last thing an athlete wants to suffer from.

The recommended daily iron intake is 10 grams per day for men and 15 grams for pre-menopausal women. It can be found in beef, chicken and tuna and supplements are a good source of iron. However, you should not exceed daily recommended amounts without the advice of a physician as too much iron can be toxic.

Sodium
Sodium, commonly known as salt, is needed by the body to transmit electrical signals throughout the body such as contracting the muscles when required. As sodium is lost in sweat during exercise, athletes may need a slightly higher intake than non-athletes. However, daily requirements of sodium are 500 mg per day and the average American consumes seven times that amount in a typical processed western diet. The best way to keep sodium in balance for athletes is by consuming a sports drink during exercise, especially in the heat. This prevents the blood volume from decreasing through sweating and keeps cardiac performance at its optimum during exercise.

Zinc
Zinc plays many crucial roles in our body’s immune system and performance. It is a vital component of enzymes that helps remove carbon dioxide from the blood. Adequate zinc intake is essential for optimum health and is found in beans, nuts and whole grains. The recommended daily intake is 8 mg for women and 11 mg for men.

Few of us have a perfectly balanced, unprocessed diet as nature intended and it is particularly important for athletes, those on a high-carb diet or suffering from lethargy to ensure their mineral intake is meeting the recommended amounts of those 22 essential minerals. The best way is by eating sensibly and taking a carefully formulated daily supplement, which tops up any shortfall. Try adding a few drops of a liquid mineral supplement to water to re-mineralize and re-energize your body for optimal health.

Do you currently take any mineral supplements?


Sources:
http://www.180nutrition.com.au/2011/06/19/essential-minerals-how-are-you-getting-yours/

http://www.healthyeatingworld.com/healthy-eating/5550-are-you-getting-enough-essential-vitamins-and-minerals

http://www.healthyeatingworld.com/healthy-eating/5550-are-you-getting-enough-essential-vitamins-and-minerals

 

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Natural Vitamin Supplement Echinacea

by Health News

Have you ever wondered what are the benefits and side effects of Echinacea, a natural vitamin supplement?

Echinacea, sometimes called cone flower, is a wildflower found mostly in meadows and wet valleys in the Midwestern United States. It is most known for its natural medicinal properties, but it is also commonly grown in gardens because it’s so pretty, with striking, purple daisy-like flowers. The natural medicinal properties of the plant are found in the flower, leaves and the root.

Echinacea’s Therapeutic Potential

Echinacea is a natural immune system booster. It stimulates white blood cells, which attack the viruses and bacteria that lead to illness or infection. Because of this, Echinacea is being researched as a potential benefit to people with AIDS, though it is not currently part of current AIDS treatment because its full effect on the immune systems of patients with AIDS is still not fully understood.

Echinacea is commonly used to treat acute respiratory ailments like colds. Some research has found Echinacea to be effective as an antiviral anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. In some parts of Europe, Echinacea is taken in an IV as supplemental treatment for some forms of cancer. Some European medical professionals also inject Echinacea to remedy urinary tract infections.

Many people have also used Echinacea externally to help skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis and insect bites. It has also been used as an ingredient in hemorrhoid treatments and to soothe sunburn.

Echinacea Side Effects and Precautions
In rare cases, some people experience allergic reactions, including rashes, increased asthma, and anaphylaxis. In clinical trials, the most common side effects were intestinal discomfort (pain, nausea) and dizziness. These side effects were generally mild and temporary.

Echinacea is available in whole herb or extract powder or liquid extract, either by itself or as an ingredient in a nutritional supplement. Echinacea can be purchased in most health food stores and some drug and grocery stores.

Is Echinacea a natural supplement you would be interested in trying?