Are You Getting Your Fill of Fiber?

fiberJacquieIconBy Jacquie Eubanks
BSN, RN
 

Those of us who consume the Standard American diet devoid of nutrients and fiber may simply be asking for health problems. Genetics aside, largely preventable lifestyle diseases, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease, result from poor lifestyle choices and a steady diet of processed foods, which lack nutrients but have plenty of sodium, chemicals and added sugars. Many of us may try to include a healthy daily intake of fiber and nutrient filled whole foods, but what actually constitutes a high fiber diet? How much fiber do we need to keep our digestive system working properly, to lower our blood glucose and lipid levels, to achieve a healthy weight or prevent chronic disease? The answer is very likely more than you are getting. Macronutrients necessary for good health include proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Although dietary fiber is technically not a “nutrient,” it is nonetheless a very important dietary component that plays a huge role in disease prevention.

Both the Institute of Medicine and the American Heart Association recommend adult women get a minimum of 25 grams of fiber daily and adult men 38 grams, with slightly lower recommendations for adults over 50 years old. The current average intake is approximately 15 grams daily, only about half the recommended amount. The best way to increase your fiber intake and improve your general health is to eat fiber and nutrient rich whole plant foods, as opposed to processed foods labeled “added fiber.” In fact, we need only to look at our Paleolithic dietary past to see that our hunter gatherer human ancestors were largely vegetarians who consumed upwards of 100 grams of fiber daily. There is plenty of scientific evidence to suggest that a plant-rich diet promotes health and, in some cases can actually reverse cardiovascular disease without drugs or surgery. Our finely tuned evolutionary heritage is not based on excessive amounts of animal foods or refined, processed junk foods but on plant foods, the only dietary source of natural fiber.

Dietary fibers, categorized as soluble and insoluble, are the edible portions of plant cell walls that are resistant to digestion. Soluble fiber attracts water, turning it into a gel-like substance, slowing digestion and allowing additional time for nutrient absorption. Soluble fiber is found in oats, nuts, beans, certain fruits and vegetables and psyllium, a common fiber supplement. Found mostly in whole grains, salad veggies and the outer peel of fruits, insoluble fiber does not absorb or dissolve in water and passes through the digestive system largely intact, pushing out waste and helping to keep the digestive system at optimal function. Many fruits and vegetables contain both soluble and insoluble fibers. Ensuring that you consume enough fiber means eliminating processed foods, including more beans, nuts, legumes and whole grains and getting your minimum allotment of at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily.

  • Soluble fiber is believed to slow down carbohydrate digestion, thereby slowing glucose absorption and aiding blood sugar control.
  • Studies show those who eat a high fiber diet may have a significantly reduced risk of developing heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, obesity and certain gastrointestinal diseases.
  • High fiber intake is associated with lowered blood pressure and improved insulin sensitivity in both non-diabetic and diabetic individuals.
  • Dietary fiber intake benefits children as well as adults. A child’s healthy diet should include lots of water and fiber to promote healthy bowel function and protect against constipation. Children with high fiber diets tend to consume more nutrient dense foods, are more likely to meet recommended daily requirements for key nutrients and are more likely to have a healthy weight.  
  • A high fiber diet or fiber supplementation promotes weight loss. Because fiber is filling, adequate fiber intake discourages overeating, while the fiber itself adds no additional calories.
  • As fiber ferments in the colon, it provides prebiotics that support healthy intestinal flora and in turn more optimal immune function.

Tried and true supplements for increasing your fiber intake include:

TruFiber™ by Master Supplements, IncTruFiber. – This non-gritty, tasteless powder contains soluble fiber along with bifidogenic enzymes uniquely formulated to enhance probiotic colonies in the digestive tract. Mix one level scoop daily in a non-carbonated beverage of your choice for improved intestinal comfort and regularity and improved nutrient absorption. Gluten, soy and diary free vegetarian formula.  
 
Organic Fiber-Clear
 
Organic Fiber-Clear by Advanced Naturals - This flavor and grit free natural acacia fiber dissolves quickly in room temperature liquid or in soft foods for a convenient fiber boost. It may be used in cooking or baking without altering the texture or flavor. Contains 100% organic fiber, nothing more, nothing less.
 
Fiber Plus Caps
 
Fiber Plus Caps by Ortho Molecular – These easy-to-take capsules provide a proprietary blend of organic psyllium husk powder along with rice bran, apple pectin and fig with the added benefit of the probiotic, lactobacillus acidophilus. Gluten-free.
 
 
 
MediBulk (SP621)MediBulk (SP621) by Thorne Research – This unflavored soluble fiber formula provides a proprietary blend of psyllium husk powder along with prune powder and apple pectin in support of a healthy GI tract and optimum digestive health.   Gluten, soy and dairy free, Non-
GMO formula.

 

References:
Health benefits of dietary fiber.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19335713
Increasing Fiber Intake.  http://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/increasing_fiber_intake/
Dietary Fiber – what’s its role in a healthy diet? http://www.eufic.org/article/en/nutrition/fibre/artid/dietary-fibre-role-healthy-diet/
Sources of Insoluble Fiber. http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/sources-insoluble-fiber-1413.html
Fiber and Your Child. http://kidshealth.org/parent/growth/feeding/fiber.html
Nutrition Reviews. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1753-4887.2009.00189.x/full

 

 

 

Featured Brand – NuMedica

numedicaSusanBiconBy Susan Brown
Health & Wellness Editor
 

As a pioneer in the development of innovative, high quality nutraceuticals, NuMedica® strives to improve health and life quality with carefully designed formulations. NuMedica defines innovation as the successful implementation of ideas to achieve physiological balance. NuMedica’s professional nutritional formulas are developed and manufactured to meet or exceed strict cGMP quality standards. Their science-based products are designed to improve outcomes with measureable results.

Some of our customer’s highly rated favorite products from NuMedica® include:

ImmunoG PRP PowderImmunoG PRP™ Powder – This natural whole food product contains pure bovine colostrum rich in Proline-Rich Polypeptides. It supplies protein, immune factors, growth factors, vitamins and minerals to ensure health and vitality. This formula is low heat processed for maximum biological activity. Hormone, antibiotic, gluten and rBST free. No artificial colors, sweeteners or preservatives.
 
Total Vegan VanillaTotal Vegan® Vanilla – This revolutionary plant protein blend features 5 hypoallergenic, vegan protein sources – pea, rice, hemp, chia and cranberry. In addition to providing a well balanced amino acid profile, this product features unique ingredients to support immune, bone and digestive health, body composition and detoxification. Gluten, dairy and soy free, vegetarian formula.
 
Glutenza (HEAT SENSITIVE PRODUCT)Glutenza™ – This gluten pulverizing formula is uniquely designed with powerful enzymes, prebiotics and probiotics to break down gluten proteins. Additionally, the highly specialized prebiotic PreForPro™ supports beneficial bacteria in the intestines, which plays a critical role in breaking down gluten and other proteins to promote a healthy intestinal tract. Gluten free and suitable for vegetarians.
 
Micellized D3 1200 IU
 
Micellized D3™ 1200 - This high potency, natural form of vitamin D is micellized to increase solubility, absorption and bioavailability. One drop provides 1200 IU of vitamin D3 as cholecalciferol. Dairy, gluten and soy free.
 
 
 Power Greens EspressoPower Greens® Espresso – An easy mixing, great tasting and energizing “phyto-nutrient” powder mix loaded with certified organic, whole food plant extracts. It also supplies a super blend of completely natural vitamins, ionic trace minerals, enzymes, antioxidants, phyto-nutrients and symbiotic intestinal flora for maximum energy, metabolism, fat burning, digestion, detoxification, immunity, repair, recovery, revitalization and longevity.

Why We Need L-Tryptophan

L-tryptophanJacquieIconBy Jacquie Eubanks
BSN, RN
 

L-Tryptophan is one of the 22 standard amino acids that are required for human biological processes. As one of the eight essential amino acids that cannot be synthesized within the body, it must be obtained through plant or animal dietary sources. Chemically bound L-tryptophan occurs naturally in high protein foods that many of us consume regularly, such as poultry, soybeans or dried peas. While L-tryptophan has had a somewhat checkered past, newer research shows it may have an exceptionally promising future. Prior to be being blocked by the FDA in 1989 due to some questionable additives found in imported Japanese formulas, L-tryptophan was commonly used as a sleep aid and as a natural and holistic treatment for mild to moderate depression. Restored to good graces in 2001, safe, reliable, well proven L-tryptophan practically calls out for supplementation to aid in the normalization of serotonin production. While L-tryptophan is found in the smallest concentration of all the amino acids in the body, it is the sole precursor to serotonin synthesis.

Serotonin, an important neurotransmitter, has wide ranging roles in many essential metabolic and psychological functions. It is widely believed that L-tryptophan aids the body in effectively regulating serotonin and acts as a building block to produce serotonin as needed. Serotonin, often referred to as the happiness hormone, directly and indirectly influences the majority of brain cells, affecting emotional moods and social behavior, appetite and digestion, sleep, memory, anxiety, stress, and sexual desire and function. According to the National Institutes of Health, the most widely held belief by neurobiologists is that an imbalance of the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine is a central element leading to mild or moderate depression. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs, which affect serotonin levels, are the most commonly prescribed antidepressant medications.

Regular exercise and foods that contain high levels of tryptophan are linked to improved mood and cognition. As dietary L-tryptophan is not found in free form and is chemically bound to protein, only a small amount may actually be absorbed by the body. Because the biochemical conversion of L- tryptophan to serotonin happens in the brain, L-tryptophan must compete with other amino acids to cross the blood brain barrier. Evidence suggests that eating carbohydrates along with protein or when taking L-tryptophan in supplement form may allow for more L-tryptophan to enter the brain. Carbohydrates necessitate insulin release, which drives some amino acids into body cells, reducing their blood levels. This increases the proportion of L-tryptophan to other amino acids in the blood and improves the chances of crossing into the brain.

L-tryptophan depletion has been demonstrated to affect a variety of cognitive processes, such as well documented learning and memory impairments, aggressive behavior, and negative mood changes. Unhealthy eating habits, overly stressful lives and the miniscule amount of L-tryptophan contained in foods may make it difficult to meet individual needs through diet alone. L-tryptophan in pure supplemental form allows a higher concentration of L-tryptophan to compete with other amino acids for the transport mechanism that carries them across the blood brain barrier. Supplementing with L-tryptophan may improve sleep quality, regulate behavior, balance moods and help manage depression, reduce anxiety and stress, decrease appetite and have positive effects on energy production. As a precursor to serotonin, L-tryptophan contributes substantially to balancing our state of mind and has noteworthy and positive effects on our sense of wellbeing.

Recommended products for L-tryptophan supplementation include:

L-Tryptophan (SA501)
 
 
L-Tryptophan (SA501) by Thorne Research – One serving provides 1 g of L-tryptophan in support of serotonin production to benefit good mood, relaxation and sleep. Gluten, soy and dairy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formula.
 
 
 
 L-Tryptophan
 L-Tryptophan by Pure Encapsulations – This product provides L-tryptophan along with cofactors to promote serotonin synthesis and support emotional health and restful sleep. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formula.
 
 
 
L-Tryptophan (200448)
 
L-Tryptophan (200448) by Douglas Laboratories – This product provides L-tryptophan along with necessary cofactors to ensure the proper synthesis of serotonin in support of neurological function and healthy emotional wellbeing. Gluten, soy and dairy free vegetarian formula.
 
 
L-Tryptophan - Capsules 500mg
 
 
 L-Tryptophan – Capsules 500 mg by Source Naturals – Taken between meals and preferably with fruit juice, this product supports relaxation, restful sleep and positive mood.  
 
 
References:
 
L-tryptophan.  http://aminoacidstudies.org/l-tryptophan/
 
Use of neurotransmitter precursors for treatment of depression.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10696120
 
L-Tryptophan: Basic Metabolic Functions, Behavioral Research and Therapeutic Indications.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908021/
 
Better Brain Chemistry with Tryptophan. . http://www.lef.org/Magazine/2013/5/Better-Brain-Chemistry-with-Tryptophan/Page-01
 

Featured Brand – Apex Energetics

Apex_EnergeticsSusanBiconBy Susan Brown
Health & Wellness Editor
 

For more than 25 years, Apex Energetics has been committed to providing research-based, cutting-edge, high quality formulations developed by leading experts in collaboration with their own Scientific Advisory Board. These well qualified members provide a wide range of perspectives from conventional western medicine to functional medicine, traditional eastern medicine and complementary and holistic approaches. This ensures that important scientific insights and the latest research is incorporated into all their innovative formulas. In addition, Apex collaborates with top international experts to develop advanced nutritional and bioenergetic products and effective performance based nutritional health strategies.

Their homeopathic line includes an advanced series of remedies for addressing symptoms of toxicity, to counteract symptoms of chronic conditions, to support and balance meridians, organs and related emotions and to address allergic hypersensitivities and metabolic disorders.

Their nutritional complex line offers combination herbal and/or nutritional compounds that are well investigated for their optimizing effects on the endocrine system. Long term practical experiences by clinicians and scientists have been utilized in product designs.

A sampling of top selling customer favorite products:

Strengtia (K-61)
 
Strengtia™ (K-61) provides a targeted blend of pre and probiotics for enhanced intestinal support. This proprietary blend of 30 billion helpful microflora requires no refrigeration and is perfect for home, work or travel. Vegetarian formula.
 
 
 Gluten-Flam (K-52)
 
Gluten-Flam™ (K-52) is designed to provide powerful digestive support with a blend of specially targeted bioflavonoids, proline rich peptides and gluten digestive enzymes. Vegetarian formula.
 
 
 
Thyroxal (K-12)
 
Thyroxal™ (K-12) is formulated with bovine glandular, targeted phytonutrients, amino acids, coenzymes and ashwagandha in support of the thyroid and its interactions with the endocrine system.
 
 
 Immune Terrain (T-1)
 
Immune Terrain™ (T-1) is formulated with specially prepared suspended minerals, electrolytes, amino acids and key nutrients to provide nutritional support for immune health and function.
 
 
 AdrenaCalm (KR-16)
 AdrenaCalm™ (KR-16) provides B vitamins, CoQ10, essential oils and herbal extracts in a base of multi-use rejuvenating cream in support of a healthy stress response. Also available without essential oils as AdrenaCalm™ SE
 
 

Essential Oils and Aromatherapy

essential_oilsSusanBiconBy Susan Brown
Health & Wellness Editor
 

Essential oils have been in use since ancient times for a wide variety of applications including physical, cognitive and emotional wellness. Throughout ancient history, the healing power of essential oils was recognized and utilized in medical practice, religious ceremonies, personal hygiene and beauty products. In more modern times, the health and wellness benefits of therapeutic-grade essential oils and aromatherapy have made them more familiar as an alternative treatment for physical and emotional healing. While some continue to dispute the medicinal use of therapeutic oils due to lack of scientific evidence, clinical studies show that inhaling biologically active essential oils or massaging them onto the skin may reduce pain, improve mood, promote physical healing, reduce stress and enhance relaxation.

Essential oils are natural products extracted from the roots, stems, leaves, flowers, berries, fruits or peels of certain plant species, with each part of the plant having its own chemical blueprint. Oil extracted from a single plant may contain hundreds of complex chemicals, which have therapeutic qualities designed by nature to protect the plant by aiding in reproduction, infection control, survival and other processes. Inhalation of diffused essential oils is believed to encourage homeostasis and wellness by promoting harmony of the mind, body and spirit. The unification of physiological, psychological and spiritual processes is believed to enhance innate healing processes and assist the body’s natural ability to balance, regulate and heal itself.

Aromatherapy is the diffusion of pure aromatic essences derived from plants and botanicals. Some researchers believe that our sense of smell plays a huge role in determining how essential oils aid healing. Inhaled essential oil molecules may stimulate certain areas of the brain that influence physical, emotional and mental health. Aromatherapy, as a type of alternative medicine, is widely used in France and Western Europe for the antiseptic, antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties of the oils. In the U.S., aromatherapy is becoming more widely accepted as a complementary or alternative treatment for a variety of conditions and is used in a wide range of settings from home use to health spas to hospitals.

  • Essential oils may be inhaled through use of a room diffuser, which disperses micro molecules into the air. Specific oils may be used to create a relaxing, uplifting or energizing environment or to dispel unpleasant odors. Diffusion is an effective and noninvasive way to reap the benefits of essential oils.  
  • A few drops of oil may be placed in water filled spray bottle, shaken well and sprayed into any area of the home or office to encourage wellness, tranquility or inspiration.
  • Several drops may be placed in a warm bath, which also enables the oil to be absorbed through the skin. Be sure to add a dispersant, such as bath salts, to ensure the oil mixes well with the water. Oils can make the tub slippery, so use caution and watch your step.
  • In general, essential oils should not be applied directly to the skin but rather should be diluted in a carrier oil, such as such as almond, jojoba or avocado oil, before applying or massaging into the skin.

The price and quality of essential oils can vary widely. Fresh botanicals and meticulous extraction methods separate quality, highly concentrated essential oils from lesser quality products. Pure essential oils are far more powerful than the original botanicals from which they were extracted. For example, it can take as many as 12,000 rose blossoms to distill 5 ml of authentic, unadulterated essential rose oil. Quality oils are 100% pure and are not processed or diluted with solvents or additives. Many are identified by their Latin names and are tested to meet the standards of the species.

Professional Supplement Center offers a nice selection of BPA-free aromatherapy diffusers from Greenair that are designed to work perfectly with essential oils. Find the one that’s right for you!

(For a great selection of essential oils to use in conjunction with your new diffuser and a selection of carrier oils for direct application, please see accompanying article, Essential Oils from Now® Foods.”)

SpaVapor+ Ultrasonic Oil DiffuserSpaVapor+ Ultrasonic Oil Diffuser – This quiet, ultrasonic, high-output diffuser atomizes microscopic essential oil particles and creates negative ions that help purify the air. This virtually silent diffuser features 4 rotating color LED lights and diffuses for up to 5 hours.
 
 
Serenity Ultrasonic Oil DiffuserSerenity Ultrasonic Oil Diffuser – This Asian inspired diffuser disperses water and essential oil into a fine therapeutic mist. In addition to diffusing essential oils, it acts as mini-humidifier, air purifier and ionizer. It quietly operates for 4-5 hours and features an automatic power off water sensor and a bottom blue LED light when misting.  
 
Jasmine Flower Porcelain Ultrasonic Oil Diffuser
Jasmine Flower Porcelain Ultrasonic Oil Diffuser - This stylish diffuser instantly utilizes 60 Hz ultrasonic action to produce negative ions that help purify the air while diffusing essential oils for up to 4 hours. Features a 1 and a 2 hour timer.
 
 
 
USB Aroma DiffuserUSB Aroma Diffuser – Perfect for the office, travel or small spaces, this diffuser utilizes a USB port to produce a micro-fine aromatherapy mist, remove odors and purify the air. Diffuses up to 4.5 hours and features continuous and intermittent output operation.
 
 
References:
Aromatherapy. http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/treatment/aromatherapy
How Do I Choose and Use Essential Oils?  http://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/explore-healing-practices/aromatherapy/how-do-i-choose-and-use-essential-oils
What is Aromatherapy?  http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/10884.php
How Do I Determine the Quality of Essential Oils. http://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/explore-healing-practices/aromatherapy/how-do-i-determine-quality-essential

 

 

Essential Oils from Now Foods

NowSusanBiconBy Susan Brown
Health & Wellness Editor
 

Family owned Now Foods was founded in 1968 with a goal of offering high quality affordable nutritional products designed to promote optimal wellness. Operating under CGMP manufacturing standards and with an emphasis on quality, purity and safety, Now® Foods’ Quality Assurance and Control departments adhere to specifications designated by the Essential Oil and Flavor Industry in producing and analyzing their line of essential oils. Now® is committed to offering the purest and most potent natural essential oils derived from botanicals grown free of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers and herbicides and extracted through natural distillation or cold expression methods.

Now’s testing specifications were carefully developed by experienced chemists based on the appropriate criteria for each oil’s aromatherapy use. Their in-house, state-of-the-art laboratory allows for highly specialized analyses of the main chemical markers, organoleptic (sensory organ stimulation) properties, and physical specifications of their oils to ensure unadulterated, pure natural essential oils.

Essential Oils for aromatherapy use:

Peace & Harmony Calming Blend
 
Peace & Harmony Calming Blend – This blend contains peppermint, patchouli, orange, lavender and basil oils and may be used for centering, calming and balancing. Aroma: Minty floral herb.  30% OFF  Get It Now
 
 
 
Cheer Up Buttercup
 
Cheer Up Buttercup – This blend of bergamot, orange, lime, grapefruit and lemon oils provides uplifting, refreshing and energizing benefits. Aroma: Light herbal citrus.  30% OFF  Get It Now
 
 
 
Clove Oil
 
Clove Oil - Steamed distilled from clove buds, leaves and stems, this 100% pure clove oil may be used for warming, soothing and comforting. Aroma: Warm and pungent.  30% OFF  Get It Now
 
 
 
Peaceful Sleep Oil Blend
 
Peaceful Sleep – This blend contains orange, tangerine, lavender, chamomile, ylang ylang and sandalwood oils and is useful for calming, relaxing, soothing or unwinding. Aroma: Floral citrus.  30% OFF  Get It Now
 
 
 
 Lemon Eucalyptus Oil
Lemon Eucalyptus - This blend contains pure lemon, eucalyptus and lemongrass oils formulated to be used exclusively with a diffuser. Lemon Eucalyptus may be used for clarifying, cleansing and invigorating. Aroma: Citronella-like.  30% OFF  Get It Now
 
 
 
Mental Focus Oil Blend
 
Mental Focus – This blend of lemon, peppermint, wintergreen, basil, rosemary and grapefruit oils may be used for centering, balancing and focusing. Aroma: Minty citrus with wintergreen.  30% OFF  Get It Now
 
 

Many essential oils may be applied directly to the skin. However, due to the concentrated strength of these oils, they must be combined with carrier oils before applying. Please consult a professional source for dilution ratios.

Sweet Almond Oil
 
Sweet Almond Oil - This 100% pure, easily absorbable almond oil is naturally derived from pressed almonds and is excellent for nourishing and reviving any skin type.  30% OFF  Get It Now
 
 
 
 
Avocado Oil
Avocado Oil - This all natural, 100% pure, nutrient-rich moisturizing oil contains collagen-supporting amino acids and proteins as well as vitamins A, D and E. This non-greasy oil is wonderful for massage as it soothes, hydrates and softens stubborn dry or cracked skin.  30% OFF Get It Now
 
 
 Argan Oil, Organic
Organic Argan Oil – This easily absorbed organic nut oil from Morocco benefits all skin types due to its rich fatty acid content. Easily absorbable, it soothes damaged and irritated skin and provides moisture for skin, hair, scalp and cuticles while maintaining healthy skin pH balance.  30% OFF  Get It Now

Kavinace by NeuroScience

kavinaceSusanBiconBy Susan Brown
Health & Wellness Editor
 

Feeling stressed, anxious, or having trouble sleeping? Top selling Kavinace® developed by NeuroScience may be the solution. Kavinace® is a nutraceutical formula that specifically targets neurotransmitter imbalances and promotes healthy levels of GABA. As one of MP kavinace buttonthe most prevalent brain neurotransmitters, GABA has an inhibitory influence, effectively calming excited nerve impulses. If you are feeling anxious or stressed, you may have a deficiency of this important biochemical. Available in 3 formulas, Kavinace® promotes calm and provides powerful ingredients to effectively address symptoms of stress, anxiousness and poor quality sleep.

Kavinace®Kavinace – Highly recommended by our customers, this proprietary formula combines vitamin B6 with taurine and 4-amino-3-phenlybutyric acid, a GABA derivative. These ingredients support the neurotransmitters that promote calm and aid the body in producing more optimal GABA levels. By enhancing GABA receptor function and by increasing GABA’s natural ability to control overactive neurons that can cause anxiety, Kavinace® has been shown to be very effective in promoting restful sleep, providing stress relief and reducing symptoms of anxiety.
 
Kavinace Ultra PMKavinace Ultra PM – Rated 5 stars by our customers, Kavinace Ultra PM is uniquely designed to promote healthy levels of the calming neurotransmitters and hormones that promote restorative sleep and a healthy sleep cycle. This formula provides stronger support than Kavinace® and helps maintain melatonin, GABA and serotonin levels to aid in the management of stress, irritability, anxiousness, restless sleep and difficulty falling or staying asleep.
 
Kavinace Flash-EaseKavinace Flash-Ease – Formulated to address menopausal symptoms, Kavinace Flash-Ease supports the neurotransmitters and hormones that manage stress and encourage healthy sleep and mood. This neuro-endocrine approach is designed for women who are experiencing hot flashes, night sweats, sleep difficulties and/or other common symptoms of menopause.
 

Should you have any questions about these or any other products, please call or email Professional Supplement Center. Our knowledgeable staff is always happy to assist you.

Are You Insulin Resistant?

InsulinJacquieIconBy Jacquie Eubanks
BSN, RN

 

Insulin resistance, also known as pre-diabetes, has now become a pervasive health concern. It is estimated that over 80 million Americans may have insulin resistance, largely the result of obesity and a sedentary lifestyle. The human body regulates blood glucose levels to maintain the stability and balance that is necessary for bodily processes, including vital brain, liver and kidney function. Insulin resistance generally occurs with no noticeable symptoms, but it can silently damage your blood vessels, raise your risk of heart disease and stroke, and very often precedes the development of type 2 diabetes. Some may want to consider learning their own blood sugar levels in order to pre-empt a problem or take control of their health.

The pancreas plays an essential role in converting the food we eat into fuel for the cells by producing key digestive enzymes that aid in digesting fats, carbohydrates and proteins. Foods we consume are converted into sugar molecules or glucose, which circulate in the blood stream until taken up by muscle or fat cells to be stored and used for energy. Additionally, the pancreas secretes very important hormones including insulin, which acts to lower blood sugar, and glucagon, which acts to raise blood sugar. Insulin binds with insulin receptors within the cells, which then activate a series of enzymes to allow glucose transport into the cells. With insulin resistance, your body produces insulin but is unable to use it effectively, resulting in poor glucose absorption by the cells and a rise in blood glucose levels.

When cells do not respond properly to insulin, the demand for insulin increases, which results in higher insulin secretion to maintain normal glucose and lipid homeostasis. As the volume and frequency of insulin release causes receptor cells to become less sensitive, the resistance of cells to take in glucose continues to increase over time. When the pancreas can produce enough insulin to meet the increased demand, blood glucose levels might stay in the normal healthy range. Eventually however, the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin to meet the demand. Without sufficient insulin, glucose cannot enter the cells and remains in the blood stream, steadily rising and increasing the risk of developing diabetes and heart disease.

Insulin resistance plays a major role in the development of metabolic syndrome, which may include abdominal obesity, high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Insulin resistance can also be linked to fatty liver, type 2 diabetes and arteriosclerosis. You are more likely to develop insulin resistance if:

  • You are overweight or obese
  • Are physically inactive
  • Are over 40 years of age
  • Have poor nutrition
  • Have a close family member who has diabetes
  • Have had gestational diabetes
  • Have a history of metabolic syndrome or polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • Have certain hereditary factors that may negatively affect insulin receptors, glucose transporters or signaling proteins

If you are diagnosed with insulin resistance, consider it a warning. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can improve, reverse or prevent the onset and progression of insulin resistance.   Altering the diet by reducing or eliminating refined carbohydrates and added sugars can improve the cells’ sensitivity to insulin and decrease the amount of insulin released by the pancreas.   Additionally, weight loss and aerobic activity can increase the rate of glucose uptake by the muscle cells. Losing weight and exercising regularly are two of the best ways to improve and maintain your health. Improving your insulin sensitivity gives you more control over your current and future health by reducing the risks of developing chronic but largely preventable age related diseases.

Fasting blood sugar levels under 100 mg/dL are considered normal. Levels between 100 and 125 mg/dL may indicate pre-diabetes, and levels 126 mg/dL or above are diagnostic for type 2 diabetes.

Products that aid in blood sugar balance include:

Berberine-500 (SF800)
 
Berberine-500 (SF800) by Thorne Research – This versatile botanical compound contains 1 g of berberine extract per serving in support of glucose metabolism, healthy lipid levels, insulin sensitivity and cardiac support plus additional health benefits. Gluten, soy and dairy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formula.
 
Chromium (picolinate) 500 mcg
 
Chromium (Picolinate) 500 mcg by Pure Encapsulations - This highly bioavailable form of chromium promotes healthy glucose and lipid metabolism and may aid in reducing the risk of insulin resistance. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formula.
 
 
Ultra Glucose Control Starter Kit ChocolateUltra Glucose Control by Metagenics – Formulated for the nutritional management of sustained glucose and insulin responses, this product delivers a ratio-balanced combination of slow-release complex carbohydrates, high quality pea and rice proteins, monounsaturated fats and branch chain amino acids. Non-GMO formula. Available in Chocolate and Vanilla flavors.
 
 
Lipoic Acid Supreme
 
Lipoic Acid Supreme by Designs for Health – This product contains biotin, taurine and alpha lipoic acid in support of blood sugar and insulin balance. Gluten, soy and dairy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formula.
 
 
 
 
References:
Insulin Resistance.  http://www.emedicinehealth.com/insulin_resistance/article_em.htm
The Pancreas and Its Functions.  http://pancreasmd.org/education_home.html
What is Insulin Resistance.  http://www.healthline.com/health/diabetes/insulin-resistance-symptoms#Overview1
Insulin Resistance Syndrome.  http://www.aafp.org/afp/2001/0315/p1159.html
Insulin Resistance and Prediabetes.  http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/insulinresistance/
 

Fat Cats (and Portly Pups)

fat_catJacquieIconBy Jacquie Eubanks
BSN, RN
 

There’s little doubt that we love our canine and feline family members. In fact, according to the Association for Pet Obesity, we are loving them directly into a shortened lifespan and a reduced quality of life. Many of us consistently reward our pets with treats and feed them the leftovers from our dinner plates in addition to their own pet food. Statistics show that more than half of our dogs and cats are overweight and one in four is classified as obese. Many may not realize that, like obese humans, pets who are overweight are at an increased risk of osteoarthritis, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, ligament and joint injury, kidney, heart and respiratory disease and the list goes on.  

The epidemic of pet obesity in America is directly correlated to our own obesity rates and is mainly the result of overfeeding and lack of exercise. Just as the rate of obesity in humans has risen sharply, the incidence of pet obesity is startlingly high. Further contributing to the problem is the fact that a large percentage of pet owners do not know their pets are overweight. Nor do they recognize the health hazards of pet obesity. Are overweight pets the new normal? If you can’t tell just by looking, how do you know if your pet is overweight? Veterinarians use a 9 point scoring system, with 1 representing emaciation to 9 equaling grossly overweight. The ideal number to reach is 5, as that is considered the healthiest weight score.

To rate your pet, check the rib area first. You should be able to easily feel but not actually see the ribs. If you cannot feel them at all, your pet needs to lose weight. Still not sure? Check the area near the base of the tail, the spine, shoulders and hips. You should be able to feel a slight amount of fat over these areas. If bones are protruding, your pet is too thin. If you can’t feel any bones at all, it’s diet and exercise time. Now view your pet from above and you should be able to see a distinct waistline. If there is no waist or you see a protruding belly, your pet is grossly overweight. Lastly, look at your pet from the side. Although breeds vary, you should be able to see what’s called an abdominal tuck, where the area behind the ribs is smaller in diameter than the chest. A severe abdominal tuck means your pet is too thin. No abdominal tuck, your pet is overweight.

Before starting a pet weight reduction program, consult your pet’s veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical issues. Get advice on portion control and the proper food for your pet so you can help your pet to gradually reach and maintain an optimal weight and restore their energy, vitality and overall wellness. If you have determined that your pet is not overweight, take steps now to prevent obesity. Encourage exercise. Long walks are good for pets and their humans. Choose the correct type and amount of food to ensure your pet’s diet includes the proper amount of essential vitamins and minerals. Limit commercial treats to no more than 10% of your pet’s total daily calories.

Just as in humans, pet weight creeps up over time. Once you and your vet have selected a suitable food and determined how much to feed, weight loss should happen. Although overweight pets consume more calories than they require, eliminating calories too drastically is not recommended. Be patient and slowly increase physical activity to aid weight loss, help reduce appetite and increase your pet’s resting metabolic rate. In addition to regular walks, give your dog more opportunities to be active by taking them outdoors to play. Both you and your pet will receive the benefits of additional exercise and reduced stress.

Although obesity is less common in cats, we’ve all seen our fair share of overweight kitties. Encourage indoor cats to exercise by playing with them frequently. If you have an outdoor cat, it may be harder to monitor their food intake, as you don’t really know what they are hunting, catching and consuming outdoors. When possible, confine your cat to your house to better control caloric intake and give the neighborhood birds and small mammals a break.

The amount of daily calories that an average, lightly active spayed or neutered pet requires is surprisingly low. Absent a medical or genetic condition, a 10 lb. cat needs only 200 calories, a 10 lb dog 200-275 calories, a 20 lb dog 325-400 calories and a 50 lb dog 700-900 calories. It’s critical to measure the food and be sure everyone in the house is on board to ensure treats are limited. Better yet, switch out commercial dog treats for healthier items such as peeled apple or pear slices, steamed carrots or green beans, or sliced sweet potato. (Steer clear of grapes, raisins, onions, garlic and citrus, which are harmful or toxic to pets.)

When calories are restricted, your dog may increase begging for food. Be compassionate and caring and give them extra love and attention. If possible, try to feed several divided portions throughout the day, while being careful not to exceed the daily total. Weigh your pet every week or two to monitor progress. Expect to see a 1-2% weight loss each week based on total body weight. Restricting your pet’s food intake is not easy, but the returns are great. Pets who maintain an ideal weight often live an additional two years. In dog years, that’s a lot of additional time to spend with you.

Make a commitment to your pet’s weight loss and you may find yourself getting into better shape as well. A successful weight management plan requires permanent changes in the behaviors that encouraged the weight gain. If taking your pet for longer or more frequent walks gets you off the couch, all the better for everyone. Owning and walking a dog can have a measurable impact on your overall health, as studies show that dog owners are more likely to get their recommended 30 minutes of daily exercise and are more liable to stick with the exercise long term.

Veterinary products that support weight loss, nutrition and overall health include:

Vetri-Lean Plus For Dogs
 
Vetri Lean Plus Chewable Tablet by Vetri-Science – This advanced chicken liver flavored formula for dogs contains clinically tested ingredients that aid weight loss by supporting appetite control, muscle building and fat burning.
 
 
Canine Basic Nutrients (VETERINARY PRODUCT)
 
Canine Basic Nutrients by Thorne Vet – This product provides a complete range of highly absorbable multivitamins and minerals in support of canine health and vitality. Non-GMO formula. Canine Geriatric formula also available.
 
 
 
Nu-Cat Bite-Sized Soft Chews
Nu-Cat Bite-Sized Soft Chews by Vetri-Science – This complete multivitamin and mineral formula is suitable for kittens and cats of all ages. Specific formulation contains over 40 nutrients including digestive enzymes to support absorption and utilization, and omega-3 and 6 fatty acids for additional overall support.
 
 
Formula V1 Vet-Zimes (VETERINARY PRODUCT)
 
Formula V1 Vet-Zimes by Ness Enzymes – This formula for dogs contains multiple digestive enzymes for optimal assimilation of all nutrients. Highly active enzymes are concentrated from cultivated plant sources in a base of pure plant fiber in support of overall health.
 
 
 
References:
 
How Do I Determine if My Dog is Overweight?  http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+1659&aid=661
 
Overweight Pets. https://oregonvma.org/care-health/overweight-pets
 
Overweight Dogs.  https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/overweight-dogs
 
Fruits and Veggies for Pets.  http://trupanion.com/pet-care/fruits-and-veggies-for-pets

SPECIAL EDITION: Not All Supplements Are Created Equal

created_equalIn the news this week came the accusation that some companies are producing, mislabeling and selling fraudulent herbal supplements.  This type of exposure might make someone doubt the ingredient quality, efficacy, label claims and legitimacy of all supplements and reaffirms the need to ensure that the products you use are developed and manufactured according to the highest standards. 

Professional Supplement Center is here to reassure you that we carry products from top of the line manufacturers who are committed to improving health and are recognized worldwide for their excellence in purity, consistency, legitimacy and quality in manufacturing.

Quality suppliers manufacture products based on unbiased scientific research and clinical support.  They work closely with healthcare professionals to provide effective nutritional solutions and are leaders in nutritional research, product development and innovation. They are dedicated to producing supplements of superior quality and integrity with the highest degree of safety. 

Adherence to cGMP regulations assures the identity, strength, quality and purity of products for safe and effective use.  Professional Supplement Center offers these and many other high-end, scientifically based product lines manufactured to the highest standards in FDA compliant, cGMP certified facilities:

  • Pure Encapsulations utilizes an extensive product testing program that involves verifications of label claims, potency and purity.
  • Metagenics verifies ingredient safety, identity, purity and quality at multiple steps for reliable and effective use.
  • Integrative Therapeutics tests all their ingredients and products in an on-site state-of-the-art analytical laboratory to ensure the highest quality standards, such as identity, safety, potency and bioavailability, are met.
  • Thorne Research manufactures innovative, hypoallergenic supplements formulated with highly absorbable, pure quality, effective ingredients with no added fillers or lubricants to ensure the best possible benefits. 
  • Apex Energetics provides high quality, performance-based, effective nutritional formulas developed with scientific insight, clinical knowledge and the latest research.   
  • Ortho Molecular partners with health care providers to formulate products according to proven science and uncompromising standards of superior raw ingredients. 
  • Douglas Laboratories, as a forerunner in nutritional health, researches, develops and manufactures superior quality, science-based products to support the improvement and maintenance of health and wellness.

Although the FDA does not require supplement manufacturers to obtain approval before marketing and distributing its products, top manufacturers ensure their products are safe, that no false or misleading claims are made and that products comply with the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act regulations.  Their goal is to produce highly absorbable nutrients that the body has the greatest chance of using to promote optimal health.
Manufacturers that are producing high end, pharmaceutical grade products adhere to strict quality controls, source premium raw materials and require their suppliers to meet rigorous testing by independent labs.

The quality of dietary supplements can be measured by:

  • Authenticity: The ingredients listed on the label must match the ingredients in the product.
  • Potency: The product will contain the labeled level of every key active ingredient throughout its shelf-life.    
  • Purity: The product does not contain unlisted additives, contaminants or fillers. 

AskTheNurseBy supplementing our diets with great quality vitamins and supplements, we can provide our bodies with complex nutrients often missing from our modern diets.  These nutrients should be delivered in an easily absorbed and complete form that our bodies can recognize and utilize efficiently.  The most important link between professional strength supplements and consumers is the presence and guidance of a qualified healthcare professional.  At Professional Supplement Center,  you can speak with our registered nurse or licensed pharmacist who will answer all your questions and assist you in selecting  products to optimize your health.