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Are Supplements Regulated by the FDA?

by theintituteforvibrantliving admin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Royal Jelly for Skin: Your Skin’s Best Friend

by Health News

What is royal jelly?  It sounds like something the queen of England would spread on her biscuits with tea.  Actually, royal jelly is a nutrient-packed bee product that can be taken as a nutritional supplement, but it also can take years off the appearance of aging skin.

Royal jelly transforms aging skin

Royal Jelly: The Who, What, Where, When, & Why

Honey bees produce the thick, milky substance known as royal jelly to feed their queen.  Royal jelly contains water, proteins, sugar, fats, vitamins, salts and amino acids.  Its composition varies depending on the geographical location and climate the bees live in.  It is the primary food source fed to female bees to greatly enhance their fertility and longevity, making them queen bees capable of sustaining the hive.

The pasty secretion of royal jelly is used for many different things in and on the body like:

  • Asthma and hay fever
  • Liver and kidney disease
  • Insomnia or sleep disorders
  • Ulcers
  • Skin disorders
  • Bone fractures
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • High cholesterol

The existence of royal jelly and its potential for treating a number of health problems has been known for centuries, and became more popular in the U.S. since the 1960s.  Research conducted identified a potent neurochemical that could actually prolong the lives of fruit flies given the substance.  This has led to speculation that royal jelly could be a potent anti-aging substance.

Related: Alpha Hydroxl Acids Benefits Your Skin

More recent clinical studies have confirmed that royal jelly is in fact a good friend to aging skin.  Researchers at the Nihon University of Japan found that the anti-inflammatory properties in it shortened the healing period of skin lesions.  It also seems to stimulate collagen production, the essential protein that makes up the support bands beneath our skin keeping it smooth and wrinkle free.

The Yin and the Yang of Royal Jelly

The concept of yin and yang is at the core of Asian medical models dating back thousands of years.  Yin represents the skin, bodily fluids, tendons and bones, which are thought to become drier and hotter over time, especially in women of menopausal age.

Royal jelly is particularly helpful to “yin deficient” or aging skin thanks to the many essential nutrients it contains.  Traditional Asian medicine has been using royal jelly as a healing and skin renewing treatment to restore “yin” for thousands of years because it is highly effective with no known side effects.

The complex combination of fatty acids, proteins, vitamins and minerals have strong anti-bacterial properties combined with its high water content make royal jelly very hydrating and nourishing to aging skin. 

  • The silicon content is what boosts collagen production leading to a smoother tighter complexion.
  • Royal jelly also contains a lot B-vitamins, B3 especially, that are highly effective in preventing redness, irritation, and discoloring from lifestyle and environmental damage.
  • The Journal of European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology reported in 2013 that the collagen-boosting fatty acids in royal jelly also have sun-blocking properties that can shield the skin from ultraviolet ray damage.

Healthier Skin with Royal Jelly

With thousands of years of use in Asian medicine and significant clinical research showing its health benefits, using royal jelly for skin is a safe, effective and natural way to turn back the clock and restore a more youthful glow.

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What You Need to Know About Fermented Foods and Constipation

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Antibiotics are used in medicine to kill harmful bacteria; in fact they kill off all bacteria in the digestive system, creating other problems. However, the opposite of antibiotics are probiotics. These beneficial bacteria aid digestion, fight harmful bacteria, act as chelators and detox agents to rid the body of heavy metals and toxins, and they help reduce constipation.

So where can we get a healthy daily dose of these useful probiotic bacteria? Fermented foods are the key. You probably already eat some occasionally without even realizing. Examples of fermented foods include fermented vegetables, such as sauerkraut and kimchi, which are fermented, not pickled. Examples of fermented dairy products include probiotic yogurt and kefir. 

How Does Fermented Food Aid Constipation?

Fermented food can help prevent constipation

Most fermented foods are made using an ancient form of food preservation. This fermentation process uses beneficial bacteria to create lactic acid. This environment is high in good bacteria and preserves the food by not allowing bad bacteria to spoil and rot it. Modern-day fermented foods may be processed using pasteurization which actually kills all bacteria. You need to find products that have been organically fermented, or do the process yourself.

Even a small amount of sauerkraut, which is fermented cabbage, will provide many benefits. It is full of vitamin C, reduces inflammation in the bowel, reduces pain and constipation associated with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), lowers bloating and contains high levels of antioxidants.

Related: Top 10 Foods for Fantastic Digestion

Eating cultured or fermented foods tops up intestinal flora (bacteria) which boosts natural immunity. They balance bacteria in the stomach and digestive tract, releasing enzymes to improve digestion. Fermented foods also produce an acid environment in the bowel which can be helpful in preventing constipation. These bacteria make it easier for the body to absorb nutrients and speedier digestion means less likelihood of constipation.

Now you know the benefits of fermented foods on your overall health, banishing constipation, You may want to try adding some other fermented foods to your diet. Try fermented beets, tomatoes, radishes, onions, garlic, tomatoes, kimchi, green beans and sauerkraut. Dairy eaters can enjoy fermented yogurt, kefir, cultured buttermilk and some cheeses. Not only will these foods fight inflammation and disease-causing bacteria, you will also avoid unhealthy constipation, another big plus!

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Top Three Fermented Foods for Constipation Relief

by Cindy Gray

How healthy is your colon? The primary sign of a healthy colon and digestive system is if you have a bowel movement at least once a day. If you don’t, chances are that you are suffering from constipation and may need some help from nature. Eating fermented foods regularly will help provide constipation relief by improving your digestive process and cleansing your colon.

Your diet should contain plenty of fiber from your five daily portions of fruit and vegetables, whole wheat bread, pasta and cereals. If you need a little extra help, consider introducing these fermented foods into your diet. You’ll feel more energetic and alive once you have found relief for constipation. 

Fermented foods use an ancient form of controlled fermentation to produce lactic acid which will help keep all bad bacteria and decay at bay. The fermented foods then introduce this healthy flora into the gut, helping the digestive process, keeping food moving at a healthy pace, and helping to eliminate waste products through the bowel for effective constipation relief.

What is Kefir?

Kefir is a fermented milk product similar to yogurt. However, it is produced using a different method and contains high levels of healthy bacteria that colonize the intestines. It is made using milk kefir grains which contain yeast and live bacteria. The milk is then cultured at room temperature, unlike yogurt which needs heat to culture. Kefir can be drained to produce a more solid consistency and can then be eaten or made into cheese. It has a tart flavor but is a great ingredient for using in other recipes such as smoothies, salad dressing, soups, dips and desserts.

Related: The Benefits of Chlorella

What is Kimchi?

Kimchi is a good source of constipation relief

Kimchi is a spicy fermented vegetable dish which is popular in Korea. It can be made from scallions, radishes or cabbage. It is soaked in brine then the healthy lactobacillus bacteria ferment the cabbage during the process which takes several days. The fermentation gives the cabbage a sharp tangy flavor. Some people prefer to add seasonings such as garlic or ginger to make it tastier.

How Can Sauerkraut Help Relieve Constipation?

Sauerkraut is made using a similar process to kimchi. It should be fermented rather than pickled in vinegar to provide all the health benefits of the fermentation process as it produces millions of health supporting probiotic bacteria.

When eaten, these probiotics help break down food in the digestive system, making it faster and easier to process the food and eliminate waste. The benefits of probiotics and fermented foods for constipation relief are becoming more popular as people understand more about how these fermented foods work.

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What You Need to Know About Lead in Your Skincare Products

by IVL Products

Lead is a mineral that occurs naturally in the earth's crust at an average of 13 ppm (parts per million).  Amounts of lead in air, water, and soil are typically small enough to calm any health concerns, but lead used in manufacturing presents bigger problems.  Continual exposure to products containing lead raises risks for kidney problems, cardiovascular disease, reproductive disorders, and other health issues.  While paint and pipes make common culprits, people might be surprised to learn women's skincare products and cosmetics also contain lead. 

People might be surprised to know that women's skincare products and cosmetics contain lead.

EPA Restrictions

The Environmental Protection Agency restricts amounts of lead allowed in public drinking water to 15 ppm, lead in bottled water to 5 ppm, and lead in food intended for infants and children to 0.5 ppm.  For cosmetics and other skincare products, the agency allows lead levels up to 20 ppm.

This would be fine if the skin was a solid barrier that kept impurities from the bloodstream, but this is not the case.  Instead, the skin is a live, porous organ that absorbs impurities from anything with which it comes into contact.  In other words, what goes into the skin is just as important as what goes into the mouth.  For a healthy glow throughout life, women should take care when choosing skin care products and cosmetics.

Lipstick

When the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics brought forth concerns about lead in lipstick, the FDA tested hundreds of products.  Alarmingly, two back-to-back investigations found lead in every lipstick tested, with levels up to 3.06 ppm in the first test and levels up to 7.19 ppm in the second.  Because women lick their lips, eat, and kiss while wearing lipstick, ingestion of lead becomes a real concern.

Related: Lemon Juice Rejuvenates Skin

Mineral Foundations and Creams

Lipsticks that tested positive for lead in the FDA investigation shared one common ingredient – mineral pigments.  These can also be found in mineral foundations and creams.  According to a Canadian study, testing on mineral makeups showed 96 percent contained lead, with the average mineral makeup containing four of eight dangerous heavy metals.

How do I find lead-free products?

Women enjoy looking pretty, but it shouldn't come at such a high price.  When purchasing any personal care products, it helps to read labels, but a long list of chemicals makes the process confusing.  The best way to quell worries about lead and other toxins and to promote healthy aging skin is to purchase organic skincare products that are toxin-free. 

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Chronic Constipation? Avoid These Three Foods

by Cindy Gray

Four million people across America experience chronic constipation, a condition that causes inconvenience and discomfort. According to the National Institutes of Health, sluggish bowels account for over two million trips to the doctor each year. Because certain foods play a key role in digestive health, what you are putting into your mouth might be what is stopping things up. When it comes to the treatment of constipation, people should eliminate three types of food to see if their condition improves.

Chronic Constipation? Avoid These Three Foods

1. Gluten

People who suffer from chronic constipation may have gluten intolerance or celiac disease, a very serious form of gluten intolerance.  A sticky protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and triticale, gluten comes with a molecular structure that many humans have difficulty digesting.  In addition to constipation, people with gluten intolerance or celiac disease experience bloating, abdominal pain, sore muscles, very dry skin, mouth sores, fatigue, and weight loss.

2. Dairy

Frequent consumption of dairy products like milk, cheese, sour cream, and ice cream may cause constipation in some people.  Scientists aren't exactly sure why dairy causes constipation, but sensitivity to lactose, an enzyme in dairy products, can cause gas and bloating, which make constipation even more uncomfortable.  One study examining constipated Iranian children found that the removal of cow's milk and cow's milk products from their diet promoted more regular bowel movements. 

Related: Natural Treatment for Lactose Intolerance

3. Sugar

Sugar feeds harmful bacteria and yeast in the gut, which can help promote constipation.   In addition to straight table sugar, many sweet products like cakes, cookies, pies, and pastries also contain refined flour which is low in fiber and spikes blood sugar.  Constipation is the most common digestive problem for people with diabetes because nerves located in the digestive tract control how long waste stays in the intestines.  When these nerves become damaged from sustained levels of high blood sugar, constipation can result.

Healthy Constipation Treatment Plan for the Diet

All of the foods mentioned above share one thing in common:  a lack of fiber. While the American Dietetic Association recommends 20 to 35 grams of soluble and insoluble plant fiber each day, Americans typically take in only half of this amount.  Lack of fiber can result in a buildup of pathogens in the colon.  This can cause inflammation which can exacerbate chronic constipation and lead to other, more serious conditions.

Healthy treatment of constipation involves removing gluten, sugar, and dairy foods from the diet and replacing them with high-fiber choices like whole fruits and vegetables, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, and gluten-free grains like quinoa.  The introduction of a psyllium supplement is also a good idea, but people should start gradually to avoid gas, bloating, and other symptoms from the psyllium.

Non-Dietary Constipation Solutions

In addition to modifying the diet, constipation treatment might include getting regular exercise, reducing stress, or taking a daily probiotic that helps boost healthy bacteria in the gut.  People should also make sure to drink plenty of water each day – roughly 6 to 8 glasses should help. 

Free eBook - Digestion Problems

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Delicious Detox: Foods that Nourish and Cleanse

by Cindy Gray

Toxins are an unfortunate, inevitable fact of life. We are exposed to toxins through the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink and the chemicals we use to print copies, wash our cars and disinfect our homes. Over time, toxic substances take a toll on our overall health and make us vulnerable to illFoods that Help to Nourish and Detox the Systemness and serious diseases.

To help mitigate some of the dangerous effects of toxins, it’s important to regularly consume foods that help cleanse your body. Fortunately many of the foods you need to detox your body are as near as your refrigerator or pantry.  Here are just a few of the best detox foods:

Beets: Packed with antioxidants and fiber, beets top the list of the best detox foods. They contain betaine, a compound that protects against liver damage and helps the liver process fats. Add thinly sliced beets to a sandwich, serve them as a side dish, or use them to add flavor, color and texture to salads.

Garlic: The sulfur-rich compounds in garlic fight harmful bacteria and boost the body’s ability to detox by increasing the production of glutathione, which is needed to eliminate toxins. Garlic should be eaten raw and must be chopped or crushed in order to release the beneficial compounds.

Artichokes: This spiky green staple has been used in many cultures for hundreds of years to cleanse the liver and purify the blood. Artichokes contain two key phytonutrients (cynarin and silymarin) which are among nature’s best detoxifying agents.

Related: 6 Ways to Prevent Kidney Stones from Forming

Apples: Known for their ability to “keep the doctor away” apples contain glucaric acid, which helps rid the body of chemicals and heavy metals. They are high in fiber which soaks up toxins and waste so they can be eliminated through the digestive process. Keep an apple handy at your desk for a health-boosting, nutritious snack. 

Olive oil: Hippocrates was the first healer to recognize the health benefits associated with olive oil. It is an effective tool for flushing out the liver and is particularly helpful in the prevention of gall stones. Make it go-to cooking oil and savor the fact that it’s on the list of the best detox foods.    

Broccoli: Cruciferous vegetables are nutritional powerhouses and broccoli is particularly potent.  Broccoli sprouts are especially important because they contain glucoraphanin which accelerates the body’s ability to detox from environmental pollutants.

Choose locally grown organic vegetables and products when possible. Certified organic vegetables are grown in chemical-free environments that support sustainable farming initiatives. Locally grown produce is healthier because vegetables and fruits lose much of their nutritional value when they are transported hundreds of miles. Opt for natural cleaning products and use air purifiers to mitigate pollutants in the air in your home and office.  Good luck, good health!

 

 

 

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The ABCs of Eye Floaters

by Cindy Gray

They come out of nowhere, those little dots, squiggly lines or strands in your field of vision.  They appear suddenly if you gaze at a bright white piece of paper or look up to admire a cloud-free, brilliant blue sky, then they vanish just as quickly as they appeared.  What are these pesky little eye floaters anyway?

The Ins and Outs of Eye FloatersThe good news is that eye floaters are generally harmless and only mildly annoying.  They are composed of clumps and strands of collagen, a substance produced naturally by the body.  They are a part of the natural aging process and usually appear more often between the ages of 50 and 75 years old.  They are most likely to appear to those who are very nearsighted or have had cataract surgery.

Over time, the millions of collagen fibers your body has produced can accumulate in the region of the eye known as the vitreous.  This is a thick transparent substance in the middle of the eye that makes up two-thirds of its volume.  They can alter the amount of light that gets through to your retina (the light sensitive tissue at the back of the eye) and appear as floaters.  In extreme cases, a doctor can replace your natural vitreous with a gel-like substance; but that is very rarely needed or recommended.

The best news is that floaters do not harm your vision or interfere with your ability to see clearly.  However, they can be annoying; and if you are near-sighted or have a family history of cataract surgery, you might want to take a few preventive steps to keep floaters at bay.

Related: Fruit May Help Reduce Vision Disabilities

Vitamins and Supplements

There are several dietary supplements you can use that have shown to help keep eyes healthy and lessen your risk of developing eye floaters as you age, such as:

Vitamin C – this essential nutrient plays a key role in eye health by encouraging healthy collagen production, which supports the connective tissue in the cornea.  It also keeps the delicate capillaries in the retina healthy.  Finally, this vital nutrient may help reduce your risk of forming cataracts or experiencing a loss of vision due to macular degeneration.

Vitamin A – is another crucial nutrient that keeps your eyes healthy.  It helps protect them from infection and eye disease, distinguish between a wide-array of colors and helps prevents night blindness.

Taurine – is an antioxidant that supports your body’s efficiency in getting rid of waste products and can help keep eye floaters from forming.

Bilberry – is a supplement, not a vitamin, which mimics vitamin C in supporting collagen production and strong blood vessels for good circulation to your eyes.

L-Methione – is an amino acid that assists the body in removing heavy metal toxins, which are especially damaging to delicate eye tissue.

Inositol – plays a vital role in maintaining cell membranes.  A low level of this substance in the body is linked to several health problems like eczema, constipation and eye issues. 

Minerals – magnesium, selenium, calcium, copper, chromium and zinc are all essential minerals that play important roles in keeping your eyes healthy.

Other Causes of Eye Floaters:

There are several things that contribute to increased eye floaters, such as:

  • Being severely nearsighted

  • Eye trauma

  • Stress (it causes problems for all parts of the body!)

  • Some liver or kidney medications

  • Pre-birth (you can be born with them)

Eye Floater 911

If you get a sudden increase in eye floaters that are accompanied by flashes of light, or you experience a sudden loss in your peripheral vision, get medical help immediately!  These are signs of a detached retina, retinal tear or internal bleeding in the eye.  All of these issues can lead to permanent vision loss so seek medical help immediately if you experience those symptoms.

Float Away

While you may not be able to completely avoid experiencing eye floaters, you can take preventive steps to keep them at a minimum with a few dietary enhancements. Adding some of the above supplements into your diet will probably help you “see” some great health benefits.

 

 

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A Fishy Solution to Smoking Cessation

by Cindy Gray

According to the Centers for Disease Control, tobacco use is the number one preventable cause of disability, disease and death in the United States.  Every year 480,000 Americans die premature deaths from smoking.  Despite these grim statistics, most smokers find it difficult to quit. However, if you’re looking for some natural ways to quit smoking, you’re in luck. New research out of Israel shows consumption of omega-3 fatty acids could significantly reduce cravings and provide a safe and natural way to help smokers kick the habit.

Natural Ways To Quit Smoking with Omega-3 Fatty AcidsMoth to the Flame

Why is it so hard to quit smoking? Tobacco use is a chronic disease and smokers quickly become addicted due the nicotine in cigarettes and other tobacco products. When they inhale or ingest the nicotine, in some way it causes the adrenal glands to release adrenaline, which stimulates the body’s central nervous system.  Just like cocaine and heroin, nicotine increases levels of dopamine, the neurotransmitter that controls the pathways to the reward and pleasure centers in the brain. 

Many smokers long to quit permanently, but most fail after repeated attempts. The withdrawal symptoms are terrible and are often a combination of the following:

  • Intense cravings for nicotine

  • Irritability
  • Sleep problems

  • An inability to focus or concentrate

  • Increased appetite 

Those who seek treatment to stop smoking may have some initial success, but often relapse after a stressful event, or they dislike the side effects of anti-smoking medications and stop using them. 

The Study

In a strictly controlled study conducted in Israel, the test subjects were 48 smokers between the ages of 18 and 45 who smoked a daily average of 14 cigarettes.  All the participants had been smoking an average of 11 years and were diagnosed with a moderate dependency on nicotine.  The test participants were divided into two groups: one that received omega-3 capsules and one that received a placebo.

The study was conducted as a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled research project, meaning neither the participants nor the researchers knew who received the omega-3 capsules and who received a placebo.  None of the participants were asked to change their smoking habits in any way.

Throughout the 30-day study, levels of nicotine cravings and the number of cigarettes smoked per day were recorded by the participants.  At the beginning of the study neither group showed any difference in smoking habits.  However, after 30 days the omega-3 supplement takers had reduced their average cigarettes smoked per day by two.  They also recorded greatly reduced nicotine cravings.  Even another 30 days after they stopped taking the omega-3 supplements, those participants reported less intense cravings.

The group taking the placebo showed no measurable decrease in nicotine cravings nor did they reduce the average number of cigarettes smoked per day.

How Omega-3 Fatty Acids Can Help

Levels of essential fatty acids like omega-3s are reduced in the brain by smoking.  Being deficient in these levels appears to cause damage to the nerve cells, interrupting the transmission of feelings of pleasure and satisfaction in the brain.  Smokers often having difficulty making decisions and experience reduced feelings of satisfaction by their accomplishments or efforts because of a lack of this vital nutrient.

Related: The Dangers of Krill Oil

What’s worse, not only is tobacco oppressing good feelings in the brain, it also interferes with your flight-or-fight response.  Just one stressful event can lead to a relapse for smokers trying to quit because of their reduced ability to handle stress.

Omega-3 fatty acids seem to reduce cravings for nicotine and help the brain cope better with pressure and stress.  Smoking has already been linked to depression and other mental disorders, so it’s not surprising that regular tobacco users experience less satisfaction and have more difficulty dealing with pressure, rejection or stress.

Safe, Natural and Healthy

Using omega-3 fatty acid supplements is one of the best natural ways to quit smoking because it is inexpensive and easy to obtain.  Plus, omega-3s have a long list of other health benefits besides helping you to quit smoking, such as reducing your risk of developing heart disease, stroke and some cancers.  It also helps keep your skin clear and supple and your hair shiny and strong; two things that also are greatly damaged by smoking.

Great food sources of omega-3 fatty acids are:

  • Fish (especially salmon and trout)

  • Flax, Olive, Canola, Coconut and Hemp Seed Oils

  • Avocados

  • Eggs

  • Walnuts

Since the study participants were taking larger doses than is generally recommended, it would be virtually impossible to get enough omega-3 fatty acids through food alone to help with smoking cessation.  A supplement combined with adding foods rich in the essential acid is the best way to keep those levels high in the brain and help stave off nicotine cravings.

 

 

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Natural Relief for Lactose Intolerance

by Health News

Natural Relief for Lactose IntoleranceWhat is lactose intolerance?

Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest the lactose sugar that comes from dairy products. When lactose intolerant individuals consume milk or milk products, they often feel gassy, bloated and the need to run to the restroom. It is estimated that in the United States, 15% of Caucasians over 50% of Mexican Americans and over 80% of African Americans suffer from lactose intolerance.

What causes lactose intolerance?

Normally, your stomach lining produces an enzyme called lactase which is used to break down lactose, the major sugar in milk. When we are babies, our lactase levels are highest but as we grow older, they get less and less. The less they are, the likely you are to suffer from lactose intolerance. When you drink milk or eat milk products and you don’t produce enough lactase, the lactose is not broken down into absorbable form (sugar, glucose and galactose). The milk passes through your stomach and through to your small intestine undigested, causing bloating, cramps, nausea and diarrhea.

If I am lactose intolerant, do I just have to avoid milk products?

While many people feel this is the best solution, giving up an entire food group is a pretty drastic measure, particularly when dairy products are so important for bone growth in children and bone density in adults. Fortunately, several studies suggest that supplementing the diet with certain probiotics is a safe and effective route to keeping the symptoms under control.

Probiotics, specifically certain strains of lactobacillus acidophilus, work by adhering to the intestinal lining and releasing lactase enzyme needed to digest dairy products.

A 1995 study* whose results were published in The Journal of Dairy Science showed that lactose-intolerant children who drank milk treated with probiotic lactobacillus acidophilus showed a significant reduction in symptoms.

A 1999 review** of hundreds of studies on the health benefits of probiotics found, among other things, that a certain strain of lactobacillus acidophilus has demonstrated consistent positive results against the symptoms of lactose intolerance. The author of this review states: “To date, its probiotic effects have been demonstrated in humans as reducing problems associated with lactose intolerance and as reducing levels of free amines in the intestine, thereby decreasing the risk of colon cancer. These properties make this strain of potential value in several patient populations.”

Digestion Health Problems - Free Ebook

 SOURCES:

*http://www.mendeley.com/research/effect-milks-inoculated-lactobacillus-acidophilus-yogurt-starter-culture-lactosemaldigesting-children/

**http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC99697/

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Ginger: Natural Digestive Relief

by Health News

In Western culture, ginger has mostly been used to add a distinct flavor to a variety of recipes from cookies, breads, candy to stir-fry and chicken dishes. But parts of the world, such as China and India, have been using this herb for more than 2,000 years for its therapeutic properties.

Over the last 20 years, numerous studies have demonstrated ginger’s efficacy in treating various conditions. In vitro studies suggest that ginger has antiemetic (anti-nausea) and anti-inflammatory effects and may even protect against Alzheimer's disease and cancer. But in clinical studies, ginger has shown most benefit to the gastrointestinal tract. 

Benefits of Ginger - Natural Digestive Relief

Ginger has been successfully used to treat various types of "stomach problems," including motion sickness, morning sickness, colic, upset stomach, gas, diarrhea, nausea caused by cancer treatment, nausea and vomiting after surgery and loss of appetite. Medical researchers believe two ingredients, shogoal and gingerol found in the ginger rhizome stimulate the flow of saliva, bile, and gastric secretions.

Ginger also has been found to suppress gastric contractions and improve intestinal muscle tone. Constituents in ginger are thought to interact with 5HT-3 receptors (receptors responsible for activating the vomit reflex) and may be partially responsible for the antiemetic (antinausea) benefits. 

Ginger products (as nutritional supplements) are made from fresh or dried ginger root, or from steam distillation of the oil in the root. It is available in extracts, tinctures, capsules, and oils and can be found in health food stores as well as many drugstores and supermarkets. Fresh ginger root can be prepared as a steeped tea.

The therapeutic dose of ginger, generally, should not exceed 4 grams daily, with the standardized dose being 75 - 2,000 mg in divided doses with food.

Digestion Health Problems Quiz

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Green Tea: Food For The Brain

by Nancy Maneely

Green Tea: High Blood Pressure Natural TreatmentWhat’s not to love about a soothing hot cup of fragrant green tea?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Understanding Leaky Gut Syndrome & Indigestion Home Remedies

by Cindy Gray

Leaky gut syndrome affects millions of Americans, and they may not even know they have it. This one condition may be at the root of an array of health problems, from indigestion and allergies to joint pain to autoimmune disorders.  While it sounds like a digestive problem, leaky gut syndrome affects various areas of the body if left unchecked.

indigestion home remedies

What is leaky gut syndrome?

Essentially, the walls of the digestive tract are lined with tiny pores that allow certain molecules and nutrients to pass through to the bloodstream.  Damage to these pores makes them bigger, allowing undigested food particles and other impurities to leak through.  The body reacts to these foreign invaders with an immune reaction.

What causes leaky gut syndrome?

An overabundance of unhealthy intestinal bacteria is a common cause of leaky gut syndrome, causing inflammation, irritation, and eventual damage to the intestinal wall.  Another cause is chronic constipation.  The stool sits in the digestive system and builds up toxins that irritate the intestinal lining and cause damage.

How does leaky guy syndrome affect the health?

When the immune system responds, it builds up antibodies to food particles and other foreign invaders.  This can lead to inflammation throughout the body causing a wide array of symptoms:

  • Digestive problems

  • Fatigue

  • Food sensitivities

  • Headache

  • Joint pain

  • Metabolic syndrome

  • Skin problems like acne, rash, and rosacea

  • Thyroid conditions

  • Weight gain

Leaky gut can affect absorption of key nutrients including iron, zinc, and vitamin B12.  In addition, there is some evidence to suggest that if left unchecked, leaky gut can lead to autoimmune disease, chronic fatigue, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, anxiety, and depression.

Indigestion Home Remedies: What are some natural ways to soothe a leaky gut?

Modifying the diet and making other lifestyle changes can help heal a leaky gut.  People should eliminate foods that contain sugar and grain and replace conventional beef and lamb with grass-fed versions.  It is important to swap tap water for filtered water or pure spring water, and always eat organic fruits and vegetables.  People should not smoke or drink alcohol when trying to heal a leaky gut, and they should limit the use of NSAIDs and antibiotics.

Related: Start the Day out Right – Eat Breakfast

Foods that are especially helpful for leaky gut include:

Bone Broth – Collagen and important amino acids found in bone broth help repair damaged cell walls.

Coconut Products – Because medium-chain fatty acids in coconut are easier to digest than other fats, they take less of a toll on the system.  In addition, the antibacterial properties of coconut oil encourage a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut.

Fermented Vegetables – Organic acids and probiotics found in fermented vegetables like sauerkraut and kimchi encourage proper pH balance and a healthy bacterial balance in the gut.

Foods High in Omega-3 Fats – Because of the anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3 fatty acids, foods like wild-caught salmon and grass-fed beef help sooth certain symptoms of leaky guy syndrome.

Yogurt – Probiotics found in yogurt help populate the gut with healthy bacteria and promote healing.

Supplements that help sooth a leaky gut include:

Probiotics – A supplementary version of the good bacteria found in yogurt, probiotics help encourage healthy intestinal balance.

Digestive Enzymes – Products that contain protease, lipase, and amylase encourage better digestion of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, lowering the chances that these particles might damage intestinal walls.

L-Glutamine – An essential amino acid with anti-inflammatory properties, glutamine helps encourage growth and repair of the intestinal lining. 

Quercetin – Because it promotes the production of tight junction proteins, quercetin helps repair damaged intestinal walls.  Studies show quercetin also curbs the release of histamine, a compound associated with immune response to allergies like those associated with food.

Because of a wide range of symptoms, people experience leaky gut syndrome in different ways. Taking advantage of a few natural methods can help repair intestinal walls and ease symptoms.  If these methods are unsuccessful, people who suspect they may have leaky gut syndrome should consult with a health care professional.

 

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Processed Foods Cause Digestive Issues Like Abdominal Bloating

by Cindy Gray

Food has changed a lot over the last century.  In the not so distant past, people preserved foods with natural methods like fermentation, curing, and sun drying.  Now, food manufacturers use nearly six thousand different additives and chemicals to process and preserve food.  The problem with processing is that it strips food of important enzymes, fiber, minerals, and vitamins necessary for good health.  Regular consumption of processed foods contributes to a number of health problems including digestive issues such as abdominal bloating, constipation and diarrhea.

Processed Foods Cause Digestive Issues Like Abdominal BloatingReal Foods vs. Processed Foods

Real foods have a shelf life, and they mold or spoil over time.  Processed food is any food that has been changed from its natural state.  Processed foods include real foods that have been altered for longer shelf life like lunch meats, frozen meals, quick oats, and flavored yogurt.  Processed foods also include junk foods that contain very little nutritive value like many snack chips and baked treats. 

Processed Foods and Digestion

Because many processed foods lack enzymes and fiber needed for proper digestion, they take a long time to pass through the system, causing problems like bloating, constipation, and irritable bowel.  Certain sweeteners added to processed foods can also contribute to poor digestion. One artificial sweetener, sorbitol, cannot be digested at all, and many people have difficulty digesting fructose, a natural sugar added to many processed foods.  Reading food labels helps consumers learn the levels of processing for foods and ingredients added.  Basically, if you’re looking for constipation cures, eating a cleaner, less-processed diet can help enhance the digestive process and boost overall health. 

Related: Healthy Fast Food Choices

Other Ways to Improve Digestion

In addition to limiting processed foods in the diet, people can make these changes to improve digestion:

Eat More Fiber

By keeping food moving through the digestive system, soluble (dissolves in water) and insoluble (does not dissolve in water) fiber help ensure regularity and reduce abdominal bloating.  Fiber helps slow digestion so more nutrients are absorbed, and it adds bulk to stools and softens them for easier passage.  Good sources of soluble fiber include apples, pears, blueberries, beans, and oats.  Good sources of insoluble fiber include fresh vegetables and whole grains.

Limit Fats

Too many fatty foods overwhelm the stomach and delay emptying, causing bloating, discomfort, acid reflux, and heartburn.  To lower fat content, replace fatty beef and pork with fish, chicken, or turkey.  Trade whole-fat dairy products for low-fat or non-fat versions, and replace butter and margarine with healthier fats like olive oil or coconut oil.

Add Probiotics to a Daily Routine

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria similar to those found in the human gut.  Taking a daily probiotic or eating foods that contain probiotics like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi, help improve bacterial balance in the gut and normalize digestion.

Stay Hydrated

Water helps ensure regularity and softer stools.  People should aim for 64 ounces of pure water every day and even more when exercising.  Clear urine throughout the day is one way to tell if water intake is adequate.

Exercise

Exercise improves blood flow to organs and stimulates muscles in the gastrointestinal tract, which makes the digestive process quicker and more efficient.  Whether walking, cycling, swimming, or playing sports, 30 minutes of daily exercise does wonders for digestion and overall health.

While they may taste good, processed foods wreak havoc with the digestive system by making it sluggish and inefficient.  Limiting processed and fatty foods and integrating fiber-rich foods and probiotics into the daily diet can help.  Adding plenty of water and daily exercise to the mix keeps the digestive system in tip-top shape.

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Health Benefits of Fiber – Stop Overeating & Lower Your Cholesterol

by Cindy Gray

Health professionals encourage people to eat 30 to 35 grams of fiber each day, but some people don't know exactly what fiber is.  This might explain why the average American consumes just 15 grams of daily fiber.  Knowing the ins and outs of fiber can help people make more informed choices when it comes to nutritious eating and good health. It can even help people stop overeating, control food cravings, and more.

Muesli, Breakfast, Bowl, Food, Healthy, Meal, CerealWhat is Fiber?

Fiber is the material within plant foods that the body cannot easily digest, such as the fiber in fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes.  The two types of fiber include soluble and insoluble fiber.  Soluble fiber dissolves in water, while insoluble fiber does not.  When it comes to health benefits, these differences are important.

Best Sources of Fiber

The two types of fiber affect the body in different ways.  A good mix of soluble and insoluble fiber helps ensure optimal health. 

Good sources of soluble fiber include:

  • Oatmeal or oat bran

  • Peas, lentils, black beans, kidney beans, and navy beans

  • Apricots, grapefruit, mangoes, and oranges

  • Asparagus and Brussels sprouts

  • Flaxseed

Good sources of insoluble fiber include:

In addition to providing the body with a number of important phytochemicals and antioxidants, fiber offers an abundance of other health benefits.

Related: The Guide to Natural Weight Loss

Lowers LDL (Bad) Cholesterol

Soluble fiber binds to cholesterol and bile acids, moving both through the body for excretion. To make more bile acids, the liver needs more cholesterol, which it pulls from LDL molecules in the bloodstream, thereby lowering LDL cholesterol levels. In layman’s terms, eating fiber can help to lower cholesterol.

Type 2 Diabetes

Research from Harvard University on male and female health professionals linked diets high in cereal fiber to a lower risk for type 2 diabetes.  Additional studies like the Black Women's Health Study have come to similar conclusions.

Digestive Health

Insoluble fiber draws water to the intestine, which adds bulk to waste products and helps move them through the body.  Both types of fiber soften stools, making them easier to pass. 

Heart Health

According to research, boosting the consumption of soluble fiber is likely to reduce risks for the development of heart disease by lowering triglycerides in the blood.  What's more, soluble fiber can slow the progression of heart disease once it is diagnosed.

Skin

According to the author of "Fat Flush for Life," certain types of fiber bind with yeast, fungus, and other toxins, moving them through the digestive system to be excreted with waste products.  Without the help of fiber, toxins and impurities can be excreted through perspiration, causing skin rashes and breakouts.

Weight Management

Insoluble fiber adds bulk to foods.  Because bulky foods require more time for chewing and enhance a sense of fullness, they can help people stop overeating and control food cravings.   A 12-year study from Harvard Medical School found that women who increased consumption of high-fiber or whole-grain foods were 50 percent less likely to become obese as compared to women who lowered consumption of these foods.

Adding foods to the diet that are high in soluble and insoluble fiber result in many health benefits.  Eating more whole grains, nuts, legumes, and plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables helps maintain a healthy body weight and lowers risks for some types of disease.  In order to avoid uncomfortable symptoms like gas and bloating, people not accustomed to eating fiber-rich foods should start gradually.