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Lack of Energy? Restore Vitality with Acai and Suma

by Institute for Vibrant Living

If the lack of energy is dragging you down you might want to consider two Brazilian superfoods to rev up your engine. Studies show that the acai berry and suma root provides energy-boosting nutrients that restore vitality and boost the immune system.  (FYI, Acai is pronounced ah-sah-EE.) 

The nutritional properties of acai and suma make them an energy-boosting supplement that enhances vitality and the immune system.

Demanding careers, inadequate sleep, poor nutrition, excessive stress, sedentary lifestyles and constant exposure to environmental toxins are taking their toll and millions of people spend their days feeling tired and sluggish.  Studies show that acai berries and suma root may be just what the doctor ordered for people suffering from a lack of energy. 

The purple-black acai berry, which is sometimes called Brazilian palm fruit, comes from the acai tree that is native to Central and South America. The acai berry surpasses all other berries in its antioxidant density and it is one of the few fruits that contain omega-3 fatty acids to support brain and joint health.  It has been lauded for centuries by natural healers as a healing, immune-boosting fruit that enhances energy levels.

RelatedHow the Antioxidants in Superfruits Keep You Healthy

Freshly picked acai berries have a short “freshness” window but they are available frozen, dried and in juice forms. Acai extract is an ingredient in many high-quality nutritional supplements.

Sometimes referred to as “Brazilian ginseng,” the suma root is another energizing superfood. Natives of South America have used it for thousands of years to increase strength and stamina.   Suma root contains potent levels of vitamin B and electrolytes, both of which are potent natural energy boosters. It is also rich in immune-boosting nutrients including vitamins B, E and K as well as minerals and amino acids.

While fresh suma root can be difficult to find in some parts of the country, it is available in powdered or supplement form online and at natural health stores. It is also an ingredient in many nutritional supplements.

If you are among the millions of Americans who struggle with a lack of energy, considering using acai berries and suma root to boost your vitality. This duo packs a nutritional punch that will put the spring back in your step so that you can enjoy a vibrant life and live each day to its fullest.

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Top Five Nutrients for Estrogen Dominance

by Health News

Estrogen dominance usually indicates an imbalance of hormones. It is not necessarily caused by an increase in estrogen levels, but rather by the sufferer having insufficient progesterone to balance the estrogen's effects on the body. Even someone deemed to have low estrogen levels can suffer from estrogen dominance symptoms simply because the compensating levels of progesterone are little or none. 

Vitamins and supplements play an important part in countering estrogen dominance

The term "estrogen dominance" was first used by Dr John R. Lee M.D. in his book "What Your Doctor May Not Tell You about Menopause". He describes the fact that our environment causes excess estrogen as we are exposed daily to plastics, industrial waste products, pesticides, carbon monoxide and many toxic products used in home furnishings and carpets.

These five nutrients are known to help keep hormones in balance naturally to counter estrogen dominance. 

  • Chasteberry
  • Lutein
  • Beta carotene
  • B Vitamins
  • Essential Fatty Acids

Vitex Agnus Castus, better known as chasteberry, is widely used for treating menstrual disorders in Europe. Many menstrual problems are caused by a deficiency in progesterone in the luteal (second) phase of the menstrual cycle, leading to estrogen dominance. Symptoms such as heavy periods, too-frequent periods or even lack of periods, can all be improved by chasteberry. It works by increasing luteinizing hormone production to boost progesterone levels, restoring the all-important estrogen/progesterone balance.

Lutein, found naturally in kale or taken as a natural supplement, can also have a balancing effect upon the body's hormones along with beta carotene. Present in kale and other fresh vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, mangoes, squash, spinach, cabbage, cantaloupe and apricots, beta carotene is a precursor of vitamin A. 

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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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Three Vitamins to Improve Bone Density

by Cindy Gray

Most people are aware that as we age, our bone density decreases. Unfortunately the decline typically begins in our early thirties. It's important to know how to increase bone density from an early age, in order to preserve what you have and give yourself the best bone health in older age.

Curly kale is full of vitamins – an easy lesson in how to increase bone density

Family history, diet, and the amount of bone we amass as a teenager, are all contributing factors towards our overall bone density. The more bone mass we have, the less likely we are to succumb to osteoporosis in later life. Although you cannot alter your genetic makeup, you can learn how to increase bone density through your diet.

Along with calcium, these three vitamins are the key to bone health.

How to Increase Bone Density with Vitamin D

No matter how much calcium you include in your diet, what really matters is the amount of calcium your body is able to breakdown and use. Vitamin D is crucial for maintaining strong bones as it helps the body absorb calcium.

It’s easy to meet the vitamin D recommended daily allowance (RDA) of 600IU from any or all of the following sources. Around 15 minutes exposure to sunlight three times a week will help the body produce vitamin D. Make sure you eat plenty of shrimp, vitamin-fortified cereal, orange juice, sardines, tuna and eggs, and replace any possible shortfall with a vitamin D supplement.

Related:  Are You at Risk for Osteoporosis?

How to Increase Bone Density with Vitamin K

In tests, it appears that vitamin K works best in synergy with vitamin D. While vitamin D boosts calcium absorption into the bones, vitamin K reduces the amount of calcium the body excretes. Vitamin K is important for providing protein to maintain healthy bones, so make sure you get your daily quota of vitamin K from green leafy vegetables such as kale, Swiss chard, spinach and broccoli.

How to Increase Bone Density with Vitamin A

Another important vitamin for those wanting to increase bone density is vitamin A (retinol). The RDA is currently 2330 IU (700 mcg) for women and 3000 IU (900 mcg) for men. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin found naturally in carrots, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, fish, liver and tropical fruits. In order to be absorbed, it needs to be consumed with some fat to make it effective. Vitamin A can be taken as part of a daily vitamin supplement, but this is one vitamin that should not be taken to excess. An excess of vitamin A can cause a decrease in bone density, similar to a deficiency of vitamin A, so use caution and stick with the recommended daily allowance for your gender.

It seems the key to how to increase bone density lies in eating plenty of leafy green vegetables, enjoying red/orange colored fruits and getting out in natural daylight. It's not too difficult! 

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Bioflavonoids May Decrease Risk of Macular Degeneration

by IVL Products

Bioflavonoids have been linked to a decreased risk for age-related eye problems such as cataracts and degeneration. These immune-boosting nutrients provide much of the flavor and color in vegetables and fruits. In addition to their eye health benefits, studies have shown that bioflavonoids play a key role to play in the prevention of allergies, inflammation and cancer. 

The healing properties of bioflavonoids make it important to help reduce risk of Macular Degeneration.

Macular degeneration is the gradual, progressive destruction of the macular that limits the central vision which is needed for everyday activities. Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in Americans over 55.

More than 11 million people in this country are affected by some level of macular degeneration and that number is expected to increase as the population ages. Risk factors include advancing age, family history, cigarette smoking, obesity and hypertension. Oxidative damage caused by excessive UV exposure and environmental toxins can increase the chance for developing vision problems.

Related: What Foods Help Improve Eyesight?

Although there are some factors, such as age and family history, that you can’t control, there are many lifestyle choices you can make to protect your vision. Smokers have a significantly higher risk for developing macular degeneration and other eye problems because smoking damages the delicate blood vessels in the eyes. People who smoke double their risk for cataracts and nearly triple their risk for macular degeneration.  

Obesity is another controllable risk factor. Manage your weight with a healthy diet and regular exercise. If you have trouble keeping the pounds off, talk with your holistic health practitioner to develop a safe, healthy weight loss plan. 

Because bioflavonoids provide protection against vision problems and other health maladies, it is important to include them in your daily nutrition regimen. Research suggests that bioflavonoids and vitamin C complement each other, making them more effective when they are ingested at the same time.  Foods that are rich in bioflavonoids include red bell peppers, strawberries, citrus fruits, broccoli, spinach, green tea and buckwheat.

If you aren’t getting enough fruits and vegetables in your diet, you might want to consider taking a nutritional supplement that contains lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene. Supplements are available online and at natural health stores. Boost your eye health with a healthy diet and nutritional supplements to reduce your risk for macular degeneration or other vision problems that could affect your quality of life and ability to function. 

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Why Aloe is So Amazing for the Reflux Diet

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Aloe vera has been one of nature’s medicinal remedies for centuries. As well as being effective in healing wounds, calming nerves, purifying the blood, reducing inflammation and promoting a healthy complexion, aloe vera now appears to be a key component in a reflux diet.

What is Aloe Vera?

The healing properties of aloe vera make it an important aid in any acid reflux dietAloes are spiky succulent plants with fleshy grey-green leaves. They grow wild in the Caribbean, southern USA and North Africa. The gelatinous extracts and juice from aloe vera have been used in herbal medicine for over 2,000 years.

Rich in vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids such as collagen and elastin, aloe vera is commonly used in beauty treatments to promote a youthful, healthy skin. Aloe vera also has natural antibiotic and anti-viral properties and boosts the immune system.

Related A Humble Houseplant Works Wonders with Skin Issues

Healing Properties of Aloe Vera

The excellent healing properties of aloe vera are well known. It effectively soothes burned skin, heals stomach ulcers, regulates the balance of intestinal flora and eases the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

The alkaline juice from aloe vera can also aid digestion, making it an excellent component for those looking to counter troublesome stomach acid by adopting the Reflux Diet. Aloe vera contains beta-sitosterol to reduce bad cholesterol, campesterol to reduce the cholesterol absorption in the intestines, and lupeol which is a powerful anti-inflammatory.

What is the Reflux Diet?

The Reflux Diet is made up of foods and substances that naturally control heartburn and the unpleasant symptoms of acid reflux. Diets that are high in protein and low in fat are known to help reduce acid reflux. Taking aloe vera as a supplement is an important part of any Reflux Diet. Eating smaller portions and avoiding citrus or spicy foods can also help to naturally control the problem without having to resort to medication.

By taking aloe vera in supplement form, you can support a controlled Reflux Diet to improve your digestive health.

Here are 12 More Reflux Diet Foods that fight acid reflux safely and naturally.

 

 

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Three Best Minerals to Improve Bone Density

by Cindy Gray

If you're concerned about how to improve bone density, the answer lies in three words: Calcium, Magnesium and Boron. These minerals are essential for building healthy bones and keeping them strong throughout the aging process. 

Dairy products and calcium-rich foods are nature's answer for improving bone density

The teens and twenties are the important years when we lay down the building blocks for bone density in later life. No one wants osteoporosis in their old age, yet it's almost too late to do anything about it once you reach middle age, or the age of menopause in the case of women. Here are three minerals that must be part of your diet for those who are serious about how to improve bone density.

Calcium

Calcium is one of the key building blocks for the development of healthy bones and teeth. However, simply having a high-calcium diet is not enough to avoid bone density problems in later life.

Studies show that postmenopausal women who increased their calcium intake did not see an improvement in bone density tests. It is important to couple calcium with vitamin D to give the body the tools it needs to break down and use that calcium. Yogurt, cheese, milk, spinach and collard greens are the main sources of calcium and you should consider supplementing your recommended daily allowance with a combination of calcium plus D supplement.

Related:  How To Prevent Bone Loss Naturally

Magnesium

Green leafy vegetables provide magnesium which is needed in small amounts for healthy bones. Scientists are unsure why magnesium is so important for how to improve bone density. However 99% of the magnesium found in the body is in stored in the bones and just 1% is recirculated in the blood. 

Boron

Another trace mineral that appears to be important for maintaining healthy bones and countering osteoporosis is boron. Athletes and bodybuilders take supplements of boron to help build muscle mass and maintain strong bones. Boron balances pH levels, increases estrogen levels and balances magnesium, calcium and phosphorus by producing enzymes.

Those looking for natural ways to improve bone density may be interested to learn that boron is linked with the prevention of osteoporosis as well as maintaining muscles and boosting memory. Adults require up to 20 mg per day of boron which is found naturally in coffee, milk, beans, whole grains, nuts, grapes, oranges and berries.

Calcium, magnesium and boron appear to be nature's answer for improving bone density and reducing the risk of osteoporosis as we age. 

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Ease Chronic Constipation with Two Tropical Fruits

by IVL Products

One of the most common digestive disorders is chronic constipation. If you suffer from it, you will know that it can be painful, causing stomach cramps, discomfort and bloating. If left untreated, constipation and straining can lead to more serious problems, such as hemorrhoids, and even increased toxicity in the body due to waste retention. 

Eat, drink or blend tropical fruits to ease chronic constipation

Chronic constipation may be caused by medication, inadequate fluid intake or, most commonly, by a lack of fiber in the diet. Some of the delicious tropical fruits that can prevent or alleviate chronic constipation naturally are pineapple and papaya.

Pineapple for Improved Digestion

Pineapple, like many tropical fruits, consists of 85% water, which can help reduce the risk of chronic constipation. Pineapple also contains an enzyme called bromelain which aids digestion and helps break down proteins in the digestive tract. Bromelain also induces substances that help fight pain and reduce inflammation in the body.

Whether you choose to eat fresh or canned pineapple, you will get the benefits of improved digestion and less bloating. Just be sure to buy pineapple canned in natural juice rather than sugar-laden syrup. With an average 13g fiber per fruit, pineapple is a natural weapon to effectively lower the risk of chronic constipation. You can also benefit from pineapple’s natural nutrients by drinking a glass of pineapple juice or mixing a delicious drink with powdered energy green supplements.

Papaya for Chronic Constipation

Papaya, also known as pawpaw, is another good source of fiber, delivering around 5g per medium fruit. The high water content and fiber help prevent chronic constipation and they promote a healthy intestine and regular bowel movements.

This soft orange-colored fruit is another beneficial food to support the digestive system as it contains a powerful enzyme called papain. It is a great digestive aid and even makes an effective meat tenderizer!

Packed with vitamin C (one papaya fruit delivers 224% of your daily needs), along with vitamin A, lutein, beta carotene and the antioxidant lycopene, papaya is a good all-around aid to staying fit and healthy.

Add these two tropical fruits to your grocery list and look forward to a healthier digestive system, banishing chronic constipation forever.

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Three Fruits with Big Benefits as Constipation Home Remedies

by Cindy Gray

It’s a well-known fact that people who eat a diet high in fresh fruit and vegetables are less prone to ill heath, constipation, heart disease and sickness. If you are looking for natural solutions for increasing nutrient intake or constipation home remedies, buy guava, star fruit and passion fruit and experiment with them. These tropical fruits are packed with vitamins and antioxidants, and we highlight each one for its unique benefits to counter constipation.

Check out passion fruit for constipation home remedies

The Benefits of Passion Fruit

Passion fruit is a round fruit with a wrinkly skin containing soft green flesh. It is delicious to eat fresh, add to a smoothie or consume as a healthy drink. High in fiber and vitamins A and C, passion fruit is packed with antioxidants to counter harmful free radicals and reduce heart disease.

What’s special about passion fruit is that it has enzymes that aid digestion, which makes it an excellent food for constipation home remedies. Passion fruit appears to increase the digestive juices in the stomach during digestion. It boosts electrolyte levels and acts as an effective colon cleanser, which is what makes it so good for reliving constipation.

Guava is Great for Constipation Home Remedies

Ripe guava fruits are pear-shaped and soft to the touch with a pink blush to the light green/yellow skin. Inside, the fruit may be white, red or salmon colored and flavors range from ripe strawberry to fresh citrus, depending on the species.

Guava is high in fiber, giving it value as an important home remedy for constipation. The seeds are edible and can be chewed or swallowed whole as they are excellent laxatives. Guava retains water and cleanses the intestines as it passes through, making it ideal for those suffering with bloating or poor bowel habits.

Star Fruit Aids Constipation

Star fruits are easily identified with their five lobes which, when cut through horizontally, create a wonderful star-shaped slice of fruity goodness. The fruits are ready to eat when they are golden yellow all over and the taste is mildly sour.

What makes star fruit good for constipation home remedies is that it adds bulk and water to the bodily waste.

Enjoy experimenting with different ways to eat these three tropical fruits and enjoy the benefits of these natural constipation home remedies. You may also want to supplement them with a powdered green energy drink for an extra boost of energy and antioxidants.  Finally, here’s a tip for retaining the flavor in these tropical fruits: Never refrigerate them, unless they are over ripe, as they quickly lose their sweetness. Enjoy!

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Try Ginger for Nausea after Eating and Other Health Benefits

by IVL Products

While most people find eating to be a pleasurable experience, it generates an uncomfortable after-effect in a few:  nausea.  Whether caused by too much food, GERD, food allergies, pregnancy, or anxiety, nausea after eating is unpleasant and unwelcome.  Fortunately, ginger can provide relief

Ginger helps relieve nausea after eating by relaxing stomach muscles and neutralizing stomach acid.

How Ginger Works

Compounds found in ginger trigger the release of digestive juices and enzymes that help neutralize stomach acid.  Powerful phenols relax stomach muscles and sooth inflamed tissue. Ginger also promotes quicker digestion to move the offending food through the body faster.

Related How Do You Naturally Prevent Acid Reflux?

Ginger Sources

To relieve nausea after eating, people can try sipping ginger tea or authentic ginger ale, taking ginger supplements, or sucking on crystallized or fresh ginger.

Additional Health Benefits of Ginger

Ginger contains vitamins A, C, E, the B-complex vitamins, and beta-carotene. Valuable minerals found in ginger include calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, silicon, sodium, and zinc.  In addition to relieving nausea after eating, ginger offers anti-inflammatory properties for people with osteoarthritis, it protects against colorectal and ovarian cancer, and it boosts the immune system. By eliminating mucus and reducing sinus inflammation, ginger also helps relieve sinus congestion, and it offers anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties.

Precautions

Consumed regularly, some herbs and spices interact with prescribed medications.  People considering making ginger part of a regular dietary regimen should first consult with a health care provider.  Combined with certain blood thinning medicines, ginger may increase risks for bleeding, and paired with certain diabetes medicines, it may affect blood sugar levels. 

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Three Natural Arthritis Treatments in Your Kitchen

by Cindy Gray

Arthritis is a very common disorder that causes pain, stiffness and limited mobility in the joints.  Inflammation is the source of discomfort and often requires strong non-prescription and prescription pain relievers. However, there are several natural arthritis treatments that can be found in your kitchen.

Ginger

Many cultures around the globe have been using ginger in variety of medicinal ways. The root of the plant is where its many health benefits are contained. In addition to adding a spicy kick to many dishes, helping alleviate nausea, and being a rich source of antioxidants, ginger has powerful anti-inflammatory properties.

Research conducted in 2001 found that ginger oil reduced knee pain in participants diagnosed with osteoarthritis.  The journal Arthritis published a study that compared the effectiveness of ginger extract to medications like cortisone and ibuprofen for arthritis suffers.  The ginger extract was as effective in reducing cytokine production (a substance produced by the body with inflammatory effects, linked to arthritis pain).

That’s good news for those who want to avoid the unpleasant side effects of cortisone (aka betamethasone) like depression, seizures, muscle weakness and sleep problems, just to name a few.

If you are eating fresh ginger, two or three tablespoons grated into your dish are a correct amount for most people.  Taking ginger in capsule form (100 to 200 mgs) is the best way to reap the benefits of ginger as a natural arthritis treatment.

Turmeric

Turmeric is another natural arthritis treatment in your kitchen, and is a probably on your spice rack. Turmeric is not as widely used in the U.S., but is a staple in Chinese and Indian diets for its taste and many health benefits.

Related: Turmeric - The Natural Cancer Fighter in Your Curry

Curcumin, the main compound in turmeric, is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Like ginger, clinical studies comparing it to regular drugs for pain relief showed turmeric to be as effective for pain relief, but without the unpleasant side effects of OTC and prescribed medications.  In addition to being an anti-inflammatory, turmeric is an abundant source of antioxidants that help neutralize cell damaging free radicals.

Adding turmeric to your diet by taking a supplement is the best way to get maximum benefits.  Take a 300-milligram capsule with the meals to reduce pain and inflammation due to arthritis.

Pineapple

Sweet, juicy exotic pineapple is proving to be tough on inflammation and a powerful pain reliever.  Bromelain, an extract from the fruit’s stem, has been shown to be an effective anti-inflammatory that helps reduce pain and joint swelling.

Pineapple has actually been used in Hawaii and other tropical cultures as an effective treatment for sore throats and digestive issues.  Besides tasting delicious, pineapples are also rich in vitamin C and calcium. The digestive enzymes it contains are called bromelain and the source of the fruit’s anti-inflammatory effects.

For natural arthritis treatments, taking bromelain in capsule form is best. There is no standard dose, but in general, from 80-320 milligrams of the extract taken two or three times a day could offer pain relief without side effects.

Natural Relief

Using natural arthritis treatments makes dealing with arthritis pain and discomfort much more manageable without having to suffer the side effects of many prescription drugs.  Always be sure to consult with your doctor before taking any supplements to avoid unfavorable drug interactions and to get the best dosage for you.

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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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Vitamins A, C and E Can Enhance Sunburn Protection

by IVL Products

When it comes to sunburn protection what you put in your body may be just as important as what you slather on your skin. Studies show that vitamins A (as beta carotene), C and E provide added protection to prevent skin inflammation and dryness related to UV ray exposure. This trio of vitamins is so effective that some have referred to it as “internal sunscreen.”

Vitamins A, C and E Can Enhance Sunburn Protection

Vitamins A, C and E are all potent sources of antioxidants which are the body’s first defense against inflammation caused by sun exposure and free radicals. Regular intake of these vitamins increases the skin’s resilience and ability to safely absorb UV rays. Fortunately, supplements containing all three of these vitamins are available online and in natural health stores.

Related: 5 Ways to Get Great Skin

Of course, the supplements are meant to be used in addition to topical sunscreen. Be sure to select sunscreens with all-natural ingredients such as plant oils, lavender, aloe vera and shea butter.

To maximize sunburn protection, try to schedule outdoor activities for early morning or late afternoon. Wear a wide-brimmed and sunglasses that provide the maximum UV protection for your eyes. Drink plenty of water, stay hydrated!

One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, but in many cases it can be prevented by using adequate sunburn protection. Use your sunscreen, wear your sunglasses and make sure you take advantage of Mother Nature’s “internal sunburn protection” by taking supplements that contain vitamins A, C and E.  A little bit of sunshine is good for the body and soul, so get outside and enjoy the beauty that is so abundant this time of year. 

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How Do Doctors Define Constipation

by IVL Products

A healthy lifestyle is your best defense against constipationMedical professionals agree that healthy bowel function is essential to good health, but they don’t always agree on how healthy bowel function is defined. So how often should you “go?” According to the National Digestive Diseases Foundation, more than 2 million Americans visit their physicians each year seeking relief from constipation. More than $700 million is spent annually on over-the-counter and prescription medications to treat irregularity.

Mainstream doctors have varying opinions but most contend that a person is constipated when they have less than three bowel movements per week. Holistic practitioners, however, believe that a person should have one to three bowel movements per day to help ensure that toxins are being removed from the body. Some even narrow that down to one bowel movement per meal each day.

Related: How Vitamins and Supplement May Help Improve Your Liver Health

The liver filters toxins from our blood and sends them to the colon to be eliminated. When the toxins build up they become absorbed through the colon wall; and if not removed, our health can be adversely affected in a variety of ways. The toxins associated with constipation can cause bloating, sluggishness, abdominal pain and flatulence.

In a perfect world we would avoid toxins, but that is virtually impossible. We are exposed to toxins through the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink, and the chemicals we use to clean our clothes, wash our cars and disinfect our homes.

Holistic practitioners subscribe to the “more is better” theory of bowel function. If you are having less than one bowel movement daily, talk to your practitioner about natural ways to restore regularity.

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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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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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Why Vitamin D is Critical for Digestive Health

by IVL Products

Recent research into colitis, a painful inflammatory condition of the colon, showed that it could be caused by a lack of vitamin D. This allows an imbalance of flora to develop in the gastrointestinal tract causing inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease. 

Study connect vitamin D deficiency with inflammatory bowel diseases

Colitis is a serious and painful condition. The inflammation of the lining of the colon can cause diarrhea and abdominal pain. Ulcerative colitis, an autoimmune illness similar to Crohn’s disease, is another inflammatory bowel disease possibly connected to vitamin D deficiency.

Colitis is known to be caused primarily by infections, viruses, bacteria, food poisoning and parasites in the gut. These develop when good bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract are low and are unable to keep these infections at bay. Causes of low gut flora include stress, taking antibiotic medicines which kill gut bacteria, and drinking excessive alcohol. However, no one has previously made a connection between a lack of vitamin D and the presence of these colitis-causing bacteria and infections.

Vitamin D and Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

A study by the University of Toronto investigated whether vitamin D deficiency could be implicated in the development of Crohn's disease and similar inflammatory diseases of the bowel. They found a positive association between lack of vitamin D and a corresponding lack of good bacteria in the gut (dysbiosis) in those diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.

Related: Diet soda can be dangerous to your health

Two further studies looked at the same issues. The first study, based on information supplied by the U.S. Nurses’ Health Study I and II, found that there was a much higher incidence of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis in those who lived in the northern states. The lower levels of sunshine mean lower levels of vitamin D, which the body produces naturally when sunlight falls on the skin. The study found that women who lived in the southern states during their 30s were 50% less likely to develop Crohn’s disease in later life, and 35% less likely to suffer from colitis.

The second study by Cornell looked at whether the symptoms in patients already diagnosed with inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s could be improved with vitamin D supplements. After 26 weeks, those given higher doses of vitamin D showed an improvement in their symptoms, compared to those on a lower dose.

Researchers conclude that vitamin D can keep gut flora healthy and balanced, which in turn improves conditions for those with inflammatory bowel diseases.

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Indigestion Symptoms: Five Signs of Unbalanced Beneficial Bacteria

by IVL Products

Did you know that the gastrointestinal tract, commonly called the gut, is lined with trillions of bacteria? They all have a job to do and are important in digesting the food we eat and controlling our health status.

There is a wide diversity of different bacteria, and not all gut bacteria are equal. Some “good” bacteria help improve digestion of food, manufacture essential vitamins, and strengthen the immune system.

Unbalanced bacteria trigger indigestion symptoms

The presence of “bad” bacteria may cause poor skin conditions, mental issues, nightmares, and indigestion symptoms such as constipation and diarrhea. The body cannot selectively banish all bad bacteria, but by creating an environment where good bacteria can flourish, the bad bacteria can be held in check. Probiotics are the answer.

The balance of bacteria in the gut can indicate how healthy we are (or are not). The presence of some bacteria causes inflammation while other bacteria strengthen the immune system or affect how the brain works. This is a wide topic of study, but the important fact is that if the balance of bacteria is off, it will affect our overall health.

Related: Natural Treatment for Lactose Intolerance

If you suffer from any or all of these indigestion symptoms, it may indicate low levels of good bacteria or flora (dysbiosis):

  • Painful bowel movements, usually caused by hard stools and constipation
  • Altered bowel habits, bloating or cramping pains may be caused by an irritable bowel. Diarrhea or loose stools may be caused by a bug, but more commonly they are a symptom of an imbalance of bacteria in the gut
  • Bad gas is another warning sign of poor indigestion. Symptoms such as excessive gas are caused by gut bacteria improperly digesting food. It may be caused by certain foods, such as beans, or by a sudden change of diet. Either way, managing your gut bacteria with probiotic-rich foods will help
  • Parasite infections can cause you to feel sick, or cause other symptoms of ill health. Normally these unhealthy parasites are controlled by good gut bacteria
  • Food allergies and food sensitivities can both cause irritable bowel movements, bloating, constipation and diarrhea

These common indigestion symptoms tend to indicate that there is an imbalance which can be addressed by introducing probiotics into the diet to improve the presence of healthy bacteria. Consider taking a probiotic supplement or add some fermented foods and live yogurt to your diet to raise levels of good bacteria and banish troublesome indigestion symptoms forever.