What is a Nutraceutical?

NutraceuticalJacquieIconBy Jacquie Eubanks
BSN, RN

The term “nutraceutical” was coined in 1989 by Dr. Stephen L. DeFelice, founder and chairman of the Foundation of Innovation Medicine, a non-profit established to accelerate medical discovery by creating a more productive clinical research community. Essentially, nutraceutical is an amalgamation of the terms “nutrition” and “pharmaceutical.” According to Dr. DeFelice, a graduate of Temple University, former chief of clinical pharmacology at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and a member of the Harvard School of Public Health’s International faculty, he coined the term while strolling through the Piazza Navona in Rome late one night in the early 1980’s.

By definition, a nutraceutical differs from a dietary supplement. A supplement is defined in the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act as a product that is intended to supplement the diet. It may contain one or more dietary ingredients such as vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, enzymes, or other substances that are intended to be taken orally. A nutraceutical, on the other hand, is a food or a food component, typically botanicals or herbs, that in addition to its basic nutritional value may provide medical, health or physiological benefits, including prevention and treatment of disease. Theoretically, the goal of a nutraceutical is to promote general wellbeing and homeostasis, control symptoms or prevent or treat disease without the side effects that may occur with pharmaceuticals.

Currently the term nutraceutical has no regulatory definition nor is it recognized by the FDA, which terms them as dietary supplements or food ingredients. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the interest in nutraceuticals is growing rapidly as Americans focus on preventative medicine and increasingly recognize the importance of a healthy diet and lifestyle for overall wellness. As consumers seek to support healthy aging, prevent chronic illnesses and avoid the side effects of long term medications, many are looking to functional foods and natural plant-based remedies to delay the aging process, increase life expectancy, support bodily functions or improve the quality of life. FDA restrictions allow marketing of supplements to support the structure or function of the body only and do not allow any unproven claims of diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of disease.

Dr. DeFelice continues to advocate for clinical studies to assess how nutrients affect molecular processes, gene expression and health. Funding for studies remains relatively small, although a growing number of universities, in partnership with the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, are continuing to test the biological activity of nutraceuticals. In order to make true health claims, nutrigenomics (the scientific study of the interaction of nutrition and genes, especially with regard to prevention or treatment of disease), faces the same challenges encountered in drug development. Current permissible health claims include:

  • Support of cartilage and joint functions
  • Maintenance of cholesterol levels already within the normal range
  • Maintenance of healthy lung function
  • Relief of tension and stress
  • A more focused, less distracted mind

It’s important to note that there are many “qualified” permissible health claims. Qualified health claims authorized by the FDA must be supported by credible scientific evidence regarding a relationship between a nutraceutical and a disease or health-related condition. Some of these “may” include:

  • Calcium and reduced risk of osteoporosis
  • Fiber-containing products and reduced cancer risk
  • Folic acid and reduced risk of neural tube defects
  • Sterols/stanols and reduced risk of coronary heart disease
  • Potassium and reduced risk high blood pressure and stroke
  • Antioxidants and reduced cancer risk
  • Essential fatty acids and reduced risks of heart disease and cancer
  • Chromium picolinate and insulin resistance
  • Phosphatidylserine and cognitive dysfunction and dementia
  • B vitamins and reduced risk of vascular disease
  • Whole foods and grains and reduced risk of coronary heart disease and certain cancers

The NIH reports that 6 out of 10 Americans take some type of food supplement and 30 – 40% take herbal supplements. It concludes that supplementation is being driven by a disappointment with Western medicine and a strong interest in improving health and wellbeing. Again as reported by the NIH, “A 2001 poll by Harris Interactive (Rochester, NY, USA) revealed that 72% of those surveyed in the USA take supplements to feel better, 67% to prevent illness, 50% to live longer, 37% to build muscle and strength, 12% for weight management and 33% on the advice of a physician. Significantly, 53% said that nutraceuticals offer benefits not matched by conventional drugs, and 56% said they offered benefits comparable with drugs but with fewer side effects. Remarkably, 95% were satisfied with supplements.” Remarkably? Perhaps not.  

The following products from Ortho Molecular are designed to support specific health concerns:

Triplichol with NiacinTriplichol w/ Niacin – Developed using the most widely studied natural agents that support optimal cardiovascular health, this product contains cardio-protective synergistic ingredients such as DHA, plant sterols, flavonoids, antioxidants and time-release niacin.   Gluten free.

 

UT Response PackUT Response Pack – This proactive system is designed to provide immediate support for acute urinary tract challenges and to provide nutritional support to reestablish and sustain long-term urinary tract health. Contains specific natural and herbal ingredients such as berberine, bladderwrack and uva ursi leaf extract. Gluten free.

Mitocore (Formerly K PAX Pro)Mitocore – Scientifically formulated with key mitochondrial nutrients and phytonutrients to support immune function, increase antioxidant protection, and boost cellular energy production and mitochondrial reserves. Gluten free.

 

Glycemic Foundation Chocolate FlavorGlycemic Foundation – This unique formula contains a blend of powdered, beneficial ingredients that aid in supporting healthy blood sugar levels. Mixes easily with beverage of choice. Available in Chocolate and Vanilla flavored formulas. Provides 10 g of whole grain brown rice protein per serving. Gluten free.  

References:
Nutraceuticals and botanicals: overview and perspectives. 
What are Nutraceuticals?
A nutraceutical a day may keep the doctor away.
Debasis Bagchi, Nutraceutical and Functional Food Regulations in the United States and Around the World. Burlington: Elsevier Science, 2014.

Is Functional Medicine a Solution for Chronic Disease?

FunctionalMedicineSusanBiconBy Susan Brown
Health & Wellness Editor

Jeffrey S. Bland, PhD, FACN, CNS, author of the book, The Disease Delusion, raises the question: “If you had to choose between disease care and health care, which would you choose?” Those Americans who are fortunate enough to have health insurance might agree that we have high quality or better than adequate health care in the U.S. Yet, despite the development of new drugs and procedures, the rates of highly preventable chronic diseases have continued to escalate to the degree that approximately 40% of all American adults and 8% of our children have at least one chronic condition and nearly 1 in 3 have multiple chronic conditions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), chronic diseases are responsible for 7 of 10 deaths every year and account for 86% of our nation’s health care costs.

Conventional medicine is designed to treat acute disease, trauma, infections and emergencies and, in those instances, works exceedingly well. However, for treatment of chronic disease, defined as any disease lasting more than 3 months, conventional medicine tends to target and treat the symptoms, as opposed to finding any fundamental causes of disease. Since the invention of antibiotics, conventional medicine has depended upon finding “a pill for every ill,” resulting in 4 billion pharmaceutical prescriptions filled annually, many of which have multiple side effects. The standard model of conventional medical care is diagnosis of disease and matching that disease with a corresponding drug to mask or treat the symptoms of the disease. Sadly, we are failing miserably at getting to the root causes in the treatment of chronic diseases. Unfortunately, most doctors are not adequately trained to properly apply strategies such as nutrition, diet or exercise to either prevent or treat chronic illnesses, as medical students routinely receive less than 20 hours of training in nutritional and lifestyle instruction.

Clearly, something needs to change, as Americans’ life spans are shortening and we are growing sicker than ever. It appears that we are at a disadvantage and are losing a winnable battle of good health versus chronic illness. What’s causing not only Americans, but also citizens around the developed world, to increasingly suffer from life threatening chronic diseases and conditions that include hypertension, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, metabolic syndrome, obesity, depression, autoimmune diseases, cancer and our number one killer, cardiovascular disease? It appears that a person’s individual genetic make-up along with lifestyle choices are at the root of chronic illness and are key contributors in the development and progression of many preventable chronic medical conditions.

Functional medicine essentially shifts health care from a disease focus to a health focus. Dr. Bland, considered the father of functional medicine, states, “The future of health care and medicine lies in recognizing that lifestyle, diet and environmental factors influence how our genes are expressed into our health and disease patterns” and “that science-based solutions can help alleviate these ever more common conditions, leading to a lifetime of wellness.” In other words, functional medicine looks at the interactions of genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors that influence long term health. Those who suffer from allergic, digestive, hormonal, metabolic and neurological problems may find answers in the field of functional medicine.

What are some of the causes of chronic illness? Generally, disease is caused by an underlying dysfunction, such as digestive, absorption or mitochondrial dysfunction or an imbalance of bodily systems, including immune, hormonal, structural, inflammatory and detoxification systems. Treating just the symptoms may bring some temporary or minimal relief, but rarely leads to long-term heath or vibrancy. Functional medicine differs from conventional medicine in that it endeavors to understand the sometimes multiple origins of very complex chronic diseases, and takes an integrative, patient-centered, science-based approach in prevention and treatment with a goal of achieving wellness. Good health, it seems, is not only the absence of disease, but a state of immense vitality.

While our system of acute care and emergency treatment is effective and efficient, clearly, the dominant medical challenge facing us now is helping those with chronic illnesses regain their health. Unlike acute conditions, chronic disease is not self-limiting and will worsen over time. To win the battle, we need to change the messages that our diets, lifestyles and environments are sending to our genes and reverse the dysfunctions that are making us sick. The functional medicine approach seeks to find and address physiological network imbalances to deal with chronic ill health. What does this mean and how does functional medicine find and address imbalances? Although everyone has a unique genetic predisposition, we all have the same core physiological processes that can be addressed.

  • Assimilation and elimination – Digestion, absorption, utilization and elimination of nutrients is a multistage process. Imbalances at any stage of the process can lead to disorders.
  • Detoxification – These processes occur primarily in the liver, where toxic substances are converted into nontoxic by-products and eliminated. Genetics play a huge role in controlling the body’s detoxification processes. Any deficiency in detoxification ability typically results in chronic illness.
  • Defense – Our immune system is our great cellular defender that must not only protect us from infection and injury but must also eliminate old and dead cells and other debris that can accumulate in the body. Your immune system has a major and direct influence on your overall health and life span. Failure is not an option.
  • Cellular communication – Our cells continually communicate and influence our physiological processes both inside and outside the cells. Any altered cellular function can result in symptoms associated with many chronic illnesses.
  • Cellular transport – Our circulatory systems transport substances from one part of the body to another. Our blood is constantly refreshed, while nutrients are carried to cells and byproducts are carried away. Altered function of our transport system can result in a range of disorders, including cardiovascular disease, the most destructive chronic illness.
  • Energy – Processes that convert food into energy and manage its use occur in the mitochondria of the cells. Alteration of mitochondrial function typically results in chronic health issues associated with fatigue and pain.
  • Structure – Bodily structure that includes our bones and connective tissues support health and proper bodily function. Any changes in the structure results in changes in function, increasing the risk of chronic illness.

The goal of functional medicine is to identify, assess and address core clinical imbalances to improve wellness and achieve optimal long term health. The tools of functional medicine are comprised of diet, including medical foods, supplemental nutrition, such as nutraceuticals and phytochemicals, exercise, lifestyle and behavior therapies and environmental modifications. The more we realize that we are in control of our own wellbeing and that our lifestyle choices intersect with our genes to either support good health or contribute to chronic illness, the more likely we are to make the sustained lifestyle changes necessary to improve health. In summation, functional medicine aims to target your unique genetic potential to restore healthy balance to your own core physiological processes to enhance wellness and lead to a longer, much healthier life span.

References:
About Chronic Diseases.
Bland, Dr. Jeffrey S. The Disease Delusion. HarperCollins Publishers, 2014
The Good And Bad Of Alternative Versus Conventional Medicine. 
What is Functional Medicine?
Lifestyle Choices: Root Causes of Chronic Diseases. 
Chronic Diseases: The Leading Causes of Death and Disability in the United States.

Featured Brand: Goddess Garden Organics

GoddessGardenSusanBiconBy Susan Brown
Health & Wellness Editor

Summer has arrived and school’s out here in Florida, where lucky locals can count on sunshine nearly every day of the year. While we may head off to Siesta Key and other local beaches, others around the country will head to parks, lakes and distant shores for summer fun in the sun. To protect tender skin and avoid sun damage and overexposure, most of us will slather on conventional sunscreen products that absorb ultraviolet rays. Unfortunately, many sunscreens contain unpronounceable chemically-based ingredients that are easily absorbed by the skin, circulate throughout the body and have been linked to hormone and endocrine disruption and cancer.

GoddessGarden Video

Goddess Garden Organics produces premium sunscreen products that provide serious sun protection using only synergistic plant-based ingredients and naturally occurring minerals, such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, that block both UVA and UVB rays. As opposed to chemically-based ingredients, these natural minerals are not absorbed into the skin but immediately form a sheer, non-greasy protective barrier that deflects 97% of the sun’s rays.  

Family owned and located in Boulder, Colorado, Goddess Garden Organics is committed to providing highly effective natural sunscreen products that protect and nourish even the most sensitive skin. All products are manufactured in a certified-organic production facility utilizing only natural ingredients such as lavender essential oil, aloe vera, sunflower and coconut oil, radish and shea butter. As our skin is our largest organ and is constantly exposed to toxic chemicals in personal care products and environmental pollutants, it just makes sense to use products that contain natural, organic ingredients and avoid products that deliver a harmful dose of chemical ingredients.

No toxic chemicals, synthetic ingredients or animal products are ever used. Non-GMO, vegan formulas, phthalate and paraben free. Gentle on the earth, 100% biodegradable and reef safe ingredients. Cruelty free, no animal testing. No nano particles.

The following Goddess Garden Organics products are now available at Professional Supplement Center:

Everyday Natural Sunscreen Continuous Spray SPF 30Everyday Natural Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30 – UVA/UVB broad spectrum SPF coverage is provided through a synergistic combination of naturally occurring zinc and titanium. Strong water resistance rated up to 40 minutes. Additional ingredients include red raspberry, coconut oil, aloe vera, shea butter and green tea. Also available as Everyday Natural Sunscreen Continuous Spray SPF 30.

 

Kids Natural Sunscreen Continuous Spray SPF 30Kids Natural Sunscreen Continuous Spray SPF 30 – Formulated for the company founder’s own children, this mineral based, lotion spray provides easy-to-apply natural, broad spectrum protection. Also available as Kids Natural Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30.

 

Baby Natural Sunscreen SPF 30Baby Natural Sunscreen SPF 30 – Protect and nourish baby’s sensitive skin with a simple formula of pure zinc oxide and safe, natural ingredients. Absolutely no chemical ingredients.

See ALL Goddess Garden products here.

Bye Bye Trans Fats

Trans_FatsSusanBiconBy Susan Brown
Health & Wellness Editor

Well, it’s taken more than 20 years, but the FDA has finally ruled that any amount of trans fat, also known as partially hydrogenated oils, found in manufactured food is not “generally recognized as safe” for human health. Food manufacturers are now required to reformulate their products and phase out all partially hydrogenated oils within the next 3 years. Over the last decade, in response to public pressure and the 2006 FDA ruling that required manufacturers to disclose trans fat content on food labels, many food manufacturers have removed all but trace amount of trans fats from their food brands. This new ruling means that trans fats will need to be eliminated from products that have not yet been reformulated. Ideally, all trans fats should be removed, as a little bit here and a little bit there can add up to a total of one gram or more of trans fat daily per person and, according to the FDA, that’s still too much.

Trans fats can be found in deep-fried foods, margarine, microwave popcorn, frozen pizzas, baking items such as frosting, cake and pancake mixes, canned soups, frozen foods, baked goods, chips and even coffee creamers. In fact, research shows manufacturers use artificial trans fat ingredients in 27% of the 84,000 processed foods found in local supermarkets, as trans fats enable a longer shelf life for manufactured foods and give food an appealing texture. Trans fat consumption is believed to lead to obesity, higher cholesterol levels and heart disease. According to the FDA, trans fats or partially hydrogenated oils are accountable for 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths each year.

The estimated costs to food manufacturers for the elimination of trans fats range from $6-14 billion and, according to the FDA, removal of these deleterious fats could save up to $242 billion in health care costs. Food scientists will need to research and test new ingredients, reformulate recipes and re-label products. Obviously, this is no easy or inexpensive task, which is why manufacturers have been given 3 years to comply. Some consumer groups are disappointed that the FDA did not set a shorter deadline. And there’s a caveat, a loophole that still allows food manufacturers to claim a product is “trans fat free” if there is less than 0.5 grams per serving. We all know that many packages contain multiple servings but are consumed as one serving, meaning that several grams of trans fats may still be consumed from a single product.

This ruling does not prevent the use of refined oils or full hydrogenated oils that may contain hidden sources of trans fats. In addition, the powerful and influential Grocery Manufacturers Association is reportedly petitioning the FDA to allow them to continue the use of trans fats if there is a “reasonable certainty of no harm” from some specific uses of the fats. If that doesn’t alarm you, maybe the notion of a “food scientist” designing your food should. In the meantime, it is still up to consumers to avoid trans fats by avoiding processed foods entirely and opting for healthier whole food alternatives.

The American Heart Association recommends limiting trans fat consumption to 1% or less of the total calories consumed daily. Healthy fats, such as those found naturally in fish, nuts and olives, support cardiac and brain health and aid in reducing blood pressure and triglyceride levels. Many are wondering how long it will take before the FDA officially recognizes that the saturated fats found in foods like grass fed beef and dairy products, coconut and cheese will be declared healthy once again. These foods had been enjoyed for centuries before being demonized by half truths and flawed science that unduly influenced the American Heart Association dietary recommendations and USDA dietary guidelines that recommended limiting all fats, even healthy fats.

Unfortunately, the oversaturation of trans fats in the American diet and 60 years of recommendations to avoid saturated fats and dietary cholesterol has led to the rise of sugar consumption and increased the risks for metabolic syndrome, high triglycerides and low levels of good HDL cholesterol. Even more concerning, it led to the development of the very lucrative cholesterol-lowering drug market and, in the opinion of author Dr. John Abramson, an “overdosed America.”

Americans are getting wiser and have made butter the comeback kid, as consumers reach for what science shows are actually healthier options. The food manufacturers had no choice but to follow, yet junk science still persists with an “anti-saturated fat” dogma. Don’t expect changing recommendations any time soon, as what’s really at stake here may not be just concern for public health but the protection of the multi-billion dollar cholesterol-lowering medication industry.  

So while we can applaud the new FDA rules, perhaps a slight deviation of “caveat emptor” should guide our nutrition choices. As opposed to “let the buyer beware,” maybe “let the buyer be aware” should influence how we shop for food, how we decipher food labels and what foods we choose to eat. Good health begins with good nutrition, so do your research, be your own health advocate and choose wisely. Scientifically designed food? Statins? No thanks, I think I’ll have an apple and some really wonderful aged cheddar cheese to go along with it. Perhaps then I’ll take a walk around the neighborhood to keep my healthy cholesterol levels up and the not so healthy cholesterol levels down.

References:
Final Determination Regarding Partially Hydrogenated Oils (Removing Trans Fat)
Time Magazine: We Were Wrong About Saturated Fats
FDA Trans Fat Ban Littered With Loopholes: Health Advocates
Artificial Trans Fat: A Timeline

Estrovera®

(Originally published 4/22/15)
UPDATE:  Some of our lucky customers may receive a FREE sample of Estrovera® with their recent orders. Should you have any questions about Estrovera® or if you would like to receive a complimentary sample of Estrovera®, please call or email Professional Supplement Center.

EstroveraSusanBiconBy Susan Brown
Health & Wellness Editor

Truly, this is one product I am never without. As someone whose hot flashes never abated, I tried every natural solution I could get my hands on. Although, there are other natural alternatives that appeared to work well for others, none really seemed to provide relief from my own uncomfortable menopausal symptoms. Then I discovered Estrovera®, manufactured by Metagenics. Within a short period of time, natural, safe and clinically proven Estrovera® dramatically reduced the multiple hot flashes I had experienced on a daily basis. Even now, one year later, I still take Estrovera® every day. Occasionally, I miss a dose or two and I notice how quickly my symptoms return. If you are for looking for non-hormonal support as you naturally transition through menopause, Estrovera® may be your solution as well.

Menopausal symptoms can vary for each woman and typically include hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, mood swings, brain fog and vaginal dryness. To relieve symptoms, some women opt for hormone replacement therapy, which has clear benefits for short-term use along with notable health risks for long-term use. For those who prefer the natural route, Estrovera is an exclusive, patented formula containing ERr 731®, an effective phytoestrogen obtained from rhapontic (Siberian) rhubarb root extract. Estrovera® does not contain any forms of estrogen nor any activators of estrogen receptors. In clinical trials, Estrovera®, which has been safely used for more than 20 years, has been shown to provide up to an 83% reduction in multiple menopausal symptoms, rivaling low-dose hormone replacement therapy without the adverse effects for long-term use.

How can Estrovera® help you? Clinical trials have demonstrated relief from a wide range of symptoms relating to menopause including sleep disturbances, irritability, physical exhaustion, urinary tract symptoms, sexual problems and, of course, hot flashes. Estrovera® provides a clinically effective dose with just one tablet daily. Metagenics recommends taking the tablet with food around the same time each day. Personal preference should determine the best time for you. For women who experience most of their symptoms during the day, mornings might be best. For those who experience most of their symptoms during the night, evenings may be the best approach. If you are experiencing more than 10 hot flashes a day, the suggested dosage may vary. Should you have any questions regarding dosage, please give us a call.  

Highly rated by our customers, many report finding relief within a short period of time. For sure, Estrovera® works for me!

Metagenics says…Although many women may experience a reduction of menopausal symptoms within 2 – 4 weeks, Metagenics recommends taking Estrovera for a minimum of 90 days to receive the full benefits. If after 90 days you are not satisfied with your results, Metagenics offers a full refund of your purchase price. Notify Metagenics at 800-692-9400 and fill out the form located at whyestrovera.com. See website for additional details. Purchase receipt required. Refund limited to one bottle of Estrovera®.

Do not use if pregnant or nursing or if you have endometriosis. This product is contraindicated for individuals with known or suspected hormone-sensitive cancers. If taking any medications, consult your healthcare provider before use.

Could You Have Metabolic Syndrome and Not Know it?

metabolic_syndromeJacquieIconBy Jacquie Eubanks
BSN, RN

While one distinct and obvious characteristic of metabolic syndrome is a large waistline, unless you visit your healthcare provider for a checkup, blood analysis and diagnosis, the answer is yes, you could. Metabolic syndrome is not easily self-diagnosed, but is determined by the presence of a perfect storm of conditions that raise the risk of heart disease, stroke, fatty liver and type 2 diabetes. If that sounds serious, it is. For many years, heart disease was considered the “silent killer,” however, the usurper, metabolic syndrome, is now the rapidly rising threat to a long and healthy lifespan. Along with obesity, metabolic syndrome disorder, formerly known as Syndrome X, is swiftly becoming commonplace, negatively affecting our long term health.

A diagnosis of 3 of the following health conditions – central obesity, high blood pressure, high triglyceride levels, low HDL cholesterol levels, high blood sugar and insulin resistance – is the agreed upon criteria used to identify metabolic syndrome, even when you are on medication to treat any of the conditions. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, more than one-third of American adults and young adults have a dangerous mix of metabolic risk factors that are collectively diagnosed as metabolic syndrome. Even more disheartening, the risk rises dramatically with age, resulting in almost of half of our aging population being diagnosed with metabolic syndrome.

Diagnosis, as a key indicator of tripled heart health risk and a 5-fold increase in diabetes risk, is supported by many prominent medical associations including the International Diabetes Federation, the American Heart Association, The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the International Association for the Study of Obesity. In general, researchers agree that the rise in metabolic syndrome directly correlates with the rise in abdominal obesity rates. With the estimation that the number of Americans who will be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes will exceed 44 million by 2034, preventing and reversing the disease is of the utmost public health importance.

Statistics show that approximately 5% of people of normal weight, 22% of those who are overweight and 60% of those who are considered obese have metabolic syndrome. Western diets along with a sedentary lifestyle are strongly associated with a higher risk of developing the syndrome, with progressive weight gain and low activity levels contributing significantly. Unfortunately, there is no easy or magic solution, but early diagnosis, encouraging a long term healthy diet, and lifestyle modifications appear to provide enormous benefit in terms of increasing life expectancy and improving cardiac health and quality of life. Exercise, with or without weight loss, has a beneficial effect on blood pressure, cholesterol levels and insulin sensitivity, aiding in prevention and treatment of metabolic syndrome.

Although genetics and aging are contributing factors, eating better, getting active, losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight can make a huge difference in reducing your risk factors for metabolic syndrome and lifelong chronic disease, and increase your chances of a longer, much healthier lifespan.

The following medical foods from Metagenics are formulated specifically to help manage conditions related to metabolic syndrome. For best results, follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations. Should you have any questions about these medical foods or any other products, please call or email Professional Supplement Center.

UltraMeal Plus Medical Food Vanilla w/Beta-SitosterolUltraMeal® Plus Medical Food – UltraMeal® Plus is designed to nutritionally manage conditions associated with altered metabolic function such as obesity, metabolic syndrome or compromised cardiovascular function. Clinically tested, low glycemic index ingredients provide targeted nutrition to help manage blood pressure, blood sugar and insulin levels, and blood lipid levels. Gluten and dairy free, Non-GMO formulation. Available in Natural Vanilla or Natural Dutch Chocolate flavors.

UltraMeal Plus 360 Medical Food Strawberry Supreme FlavorUltraMeal® Plus 360° Medical Food – Similar in design to UltraMeal® Plus but formulated with additional specific ingredients to provide additional metabolic support. This product is designed for those with conditions associated with metabolic syndrome and heart disease, such as elevated blood pressure, cholesterol and/or triglycerides, elevated waist circumference and/or blood sugar/insulin levels. Gluten and dairy free, Non-GMO formulation. Available in Natural Dutch Chocolate, Natural Vanilla and Natural Strawberry Supreme flavors.

Ultra Glucose Control VanillaUltra Glucose Control – Formulated with a ratio-balanced combination of low-release complex carbohydrates, high quality pea and rice proteins, unsaturated fats, fiber and branched chain amino acids, Ultra Glucose Control™ supports the nutritional management of the glucose and insulin response. Provides 15 g of protein per serving. Use under the guidance of a healthcare practitioner. Available in naturally flavored Chocolate or Vanilla.

UltraGlycemX ChocolateUltraGlycemX® – This medical food is formulated to meet the specialized nutritional need of those with type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance and hypoglycemia. Researched-based ingredients include Non-GMO soy protein, fiber, cinnamon, antioxidants and barley beta-glucans that provide a safe approach to help manage insulin and blood sugar function. Wheat and dairy free, Non-GMO formulation. Available in Natural Chocolate and Original flavors.

References:
What Is Metabolic Syndrome? http://www.heart.org/idc/groups/heart-public/@wcm/@hcm/documents/downloadable/ucm_300322.pdf
Metabolic syndrome continues to climb in the U.S. http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/10/15/us-metabolic-syndrome-idUSTRE69E5FL20101015
One-Third of Americans Have Dangerous Mix of Heart Risk Factors. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_152622.html
IDF Worldwide Definition Of The Metabolic Syndrome. http://www.idf.org/metabolic-syndrome
Metabolic Syndrome? http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0062969/

The Great Salt Debate

SaltJacquieIconBy Jacquie Eubanks
BSN, RN

What’s the deal with salt? We love it, our bodies require it and our modern diets make it almost impossible to avoid. Throughout history salt has been highly valued for its effective preservative and flavor enhancing qualities. We know that salt is an essential element, necessary to control our body’s fluid balance and support nerve and muscle function. There is great debate over whether certain types of salt are healthier than others and how much or how little salt is necessary for good health and bodily function. And like most things in life, there is a balance that needs to be met.

To prevent hypertension, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting sodium to less than 2,300 mg per day, even less for those who have medical conditions or are over age 51. High blood pressure is a known risk factor for heart attacks and strokes and lower sodium intake appears to modestly reduce those risks. Even so, other studies conclude that we don’t really know if low salt diets improve or worsen health outcomes. To be sure, too many Americans consume well above the recommended amounts of salt, especially those with diets high in processed, fast or junk foods.

There’s general agreement that avoidance of highly processed foods that contain high amounts of hidden salt will benefit health. Yet, consuming too little salt also brings consequences. Sodium is an essential nutrient that serves a multitude of functions. Our cells rely on sodium to regulate electrical activity, help control heart rate and aid brain cell signaling. Ironically, as sodium intake drops, the risks of insulin resistance and higher blood cholesterol increase, which may actually escalate cardiovascular concerns.

Some may wonder why salt has been demonized when it may actually be the processing that is causing it to be labeled as unhealthy. What we think of as table salt has been ground and subjected to high levels of heat while undergoing processing. Processing removes the natural trace mineral content of salt, stripping iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc along with co-factors, which help regulate hydration, digestive and immune systems and support proper thyroid and immune function. During table salt processing, anti-caking chemicals such as aluminum are added to keep it free flowing.

Since 1924, table salt has been fortified with iodine as a public health measure to prevent iodine deficiency, a leading cause of hypothyroidism and intellectual disability. Iodine is necessary for healthy thyroid function, hormone synthesis and metabolism regulation. At that time, iodine rich foods such as seaweed, dairy, eggs and seafood were not readily available to everyone. However, the addition of iodine applies to table salt only, as salt added during processed food manufacturing does not necessarily contain iodine.

All salt, whether mined from caves or salt flats or produced from evaporated sea water from today’s oceans or those that disappeared long ago, is the same chemical — sodium chloride. Some would argue that salts such as Pink Himalayan, Black Hawaiian, Celtic or kosher salts are healthier than table salt. To be sure, certain salt varieties that are minimally processed do contain the minerals, trace elements and co-factors that aid nutrient assimilation on a cellular level. Sea salt may also contain heavy metals that are found in the oceans, although the natural selenium content of sea salt may offset trace amounts of heavy metals and remove them from the body.

Some wonder why minerals are removed in the first place. Why not just avoid unhealthy processed foods loaded with highly refined salts and added chemicals and simply consume whole foods and salt in its natural original form? No one is advocating for heavy salt use, but adding a pinch of unadulterated salt to optimize the flavor of whole foods may be a healthier personal choice. As always, moderation is the key. Although natural sea salt does contain trace amounts of iodine, those who choose to avoid table salt in favor of natural sea salt should be sure to include some dietary iodine-rich foods. As opposed to added iodine, iodine that occurs naturally in foods is highly bioavailable, allowing your body to get the full benefit of the nutrient.

When you think about it, there are reasons why our perspiration and tears taste salty or why breathing salt air or swimming in salt water is good for our lungs and our skin. Salt is found in every cell of the body and amounts to about 1 cupful at any given time. A healthy body is able to adjust salt levels to maintain peak bodily functions. However, hydration is extremely important. With summer upon us, be sure to drink enough water to satisfy your thirst, as this helps to ensure that excess sodium is passed out of the body. And don’t neglect reading food labels to help track the amounts of sodium you are getting in your diet. Preparing whole foods at home and avoiding processed and packaged foods may be the best way to ensure a healthy sodium balance along with overall health.

Natural unprocessed, mineral rich sea salt will not be pure white and may be slightly pink or grayish in color.

Pink Salt, PremierPremier Pink Salt by Premier Research Labs – This premium unrefined salt blend combines solar evaporated Mediterranean Sea salt with pink Alaea Hawaiian sea salt, both naturally dense in trace elements. No anti-clumping agents, iodine or additives.

 

Kelp with Natural Selenium and Iodine
Kelp with Natural Selenium and Iodine by Ecological Formulas – This scientifically designed formula contains naturally sourced marine kelp, rich in iodine and other essential trace minerals. Wheat and yeast free.

 

Kelp

 

Kelp by Progressive Labs – This product is sourced from Atlantic Sea Kelp and is a good source of B vitamins, iodine, minerals and trace elements. Vegetarian capsule.

 

References:
Types of Salt: Himalayan vs. Kosher vs. Regular vs. Sea Salt. http://authoritynutrition.com/different-types-of-salt/
The Truth About Salt and Your Body. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/13/sodium-intake-truth-about-salt_n_4213554.html
Why Our Tears Are Salty. http://www.healthguidance.org/entry/3319/1/Why-Our-Tears-Are-Salty.html
Sea Salt vs. Table Salt. http://sodiumbreakup.heart.org/sodium-411/sea-salt-vs-table-salt/

Featured Brand – Pet Naturals® of Vermont

PetNaturalsVermontSusanBiconBy Susan Brown
Health & Wellness Editor

Professional Supplement Center is pleased to announce the addition of Pet Naturals®, a line of specialized animal health products. Pet Naturals® offers a wide variety of pet supplements for every category of health, and offers specific, complete and properly balanced formulas. Family owned and operated for over 40 years, their mission has always been to improve the lives of companion animals by providing natural alternatives for wellness. Manufactured in Vermont with great care and integrity, their extensively researched products utilize only the highest quality ingredients.

PetNatVideoButton

All raw materials are evaluated for purity and potency and are manufactured under high regulatory standards. Their membership in the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) assures all formulas meet specific control standards for quality, accountability and labeling guidelines, as well as successfully completed facility audits. Pet Naturals® also realizes that pets are their most discriminating customers and, with that in mind, formulate powerful ingredients into tasty formulas that help pets live healthier lives.

Skin + Coat for Dogs ChewsSkin + Coat for Dogs – These delicious chews contain cold-pressed oils to provide antioxidants and essential fatty acids in support of normal shedding, healthy skin and a shiny coat. The formula also provides a veggie blend of kelp, alfalfa, garlic and carrots for mineral balance and healthy skin tone. Recommended for dry or dull coats, dry skin, hair loss and show dogs. Natural duck flavor.

 

UT Tract Support for CatsUT Tract Support for Cats – These fish flavored chewable tablets supply a superior combination of ingredients that provide proper pH balance and support proper kidney function and the elimination of unwanted urinary tract materials. The formula is designed to maintain healthy urinary tract function and reduce the likelihood of crystal and stone formation. Not intended for long term use.

 

Scoot Bars for DogsScoot Bars for Dogs – Dog scooting is usually a sign of a health related issue. Scoot Bars contain 3 sources of fiber that are digestion resistant and easy on the GI tract. These chewy bars support fecal volume and healthy anal gland function and enhance the growth of friendly bacteria to maintain an healthy digestive tract. Natural duck flavor.

 

Hairball Relief PlusHairball Relief Plus – This unique formula for cats is designed to support optimal skin and coat health, while minimizing hairball formation and supporting proper GI tract function. The chicken liver flavored formula contains zinc, essential fatty acids and cranberry to support skin hydration and urinary tract health.

 

Hip + Joint for DogsHip + Joint for Dogs – This comprehensive hip and joint formula is designed to support mobility and overall comfort by promoting healthy connective tissue strength. These chewable chicken liver flavored tablets include glucosamine chondroitin sulfate, MSM, manganese and vitamin C, naturally occurring ingredients that provide the building blocks for healthy joint and connective tissue function.  

For more information on Pet Naturals® products, please call, email or visit our website professionalsupplementcenter.com

Nutritional Support for Pets

nutrition_petsJacquieIconBy Jacquie Eubanks
BSN, RN

Did you know that Professional Supplement Center carries an array of quality supplement lines for dogs, cats, kitties and senior pets? Similar to their human caregivers, all pets need shelter and lots of love and attention. Additionally, pets require a nutritious diet, exercise, annual dental and medical checkups and protection from outdoor pests. Regular vet visits and preventative steps can help to support total pet wellness. In addition, pets can benefit from nutritional supplements to keep them healthy, prevent chronic disease and support health concerns. General health concerns for pets include heartworms and common parasites, intestinal issues, obesity, infectious diseases, kennel cough, urinary tract infections and bladder stones, dental disease, skin problems, joint issues, allergies and cancer.

PetNutVid

Vitamins and minerals are as critical to a pet’s health as they are to human health, as they aid, support and help regulate bodily functions from joint health to digestion to muscle growth. Even with a well balanced, high quality diet, pets can develop vitamin and mineral deficiencies, which can sometimes have serious and long lasting health effects. In addition to overall health support, specific reasons for supplementing can include:

  • Joint discomfort – Aging pets often develop painful and debilitating joint conditions. Larger breed dogs are more susceptible to joint disease than cats or smaller dog breeds. Common signs of arthritis include stiffness, limited movement and noticeable pain.
  • Home cooked meals – Preparing fresh healthy meals for your pets is wonderful, but may not provide all the essential vitamins and minerals on a daily basis. Consider fulfilling nutritional gaps with a multivitamin and mineral supplement.    
  • Diagnosis of vitamin or mineral deficiency – In this case, your veterinarian may recommend a single supplement. Many commercial dog foods contain fillers and starches and may not contain the proper amounts of nutrients to adequately support pet health.
  • Diagnosis of a disease – Often times allergies can result in dermatitis, a chronic skin disease that will progressively worsen, causing itching and discomfort. Zinc deficiency is often an underlying cause. Zinc supplementation, especially when combined with essential fatty acids, can be helpful in resolving symptoms of dermatitis and improve the quality of the skin and coat. Urinary tract infections and stones are a common pet problem. After treatment for the infection, probiotics may be recommended to help prevent recurring UTIs and support immune and digestive health.

Along with proper nutrition, daily exercise and weight management, nutraceuticals can help to keep pets healthy and comfortable as they age. As part of an overall wellness strategy, supplements that are commonly recommended for pet health maintenance include:

  • Essential fatty acids – Essential fatty acids provide anti-inflammatory effects, aid body performance, boost the immune system and help maintain critical brain function. Plus, they help to maintain healthy joints and a shiny coat. Taken in conjunction with joint supplements, essential fatty acids may help ease arthritic pain and other joint symptoms.
  • Glucosamine with Chondroitin Sulfate – Popular for both humans and pets, this combination formula helps maintain healthy joints, improves flexibility and assists joint cartilage hydration.
  • Probiotics – Probiotics, which provide healthy microbiota to aid digestion, also support the immune system and may help reduce symptoms of stress.
  • Antioxidants – Antioxidants such as vitamin C are vital to support the health of bones, blood vessels, teeth and the immune system. This essential nutrient is particularly helpful during times of sickness, stress or separations from owners and may play a role in protecting against some normal aging processes.

Multivitamins and minerals aid overall health for pets of all ages. Growing puppies must get the vitamins and minerals they need to ensure proper growth, healthy tissues and strong bones. Senior pets tend to absorb less nutrients from their food and may not meet their daily needs for optimal health. Obese pets that are put on restricted diets often lack adequate vitamins and minerals. Super active pets or pets under stress may also require supplementation of essential nutrients. Ill or recovering pets with limited appetite may not be receiving adequate daily requirements. In addition, processing and storage of commercial pet foods may destroy the nutrients they are meant to contain.

As always, it’s a good idea to discuss pet supplementation with your veterinarian before embarking on a supplement program. Remember also that not all supplements are created equally, so be sure to choose a high quality brand you trust to help your furry family member live a long and healthy life.

Professional Supplement Center offers these and many other high quality pet supplements. Questions? Call us. We would be happy to assist you.

Joint Care for Medium and Large Dogs (VETERINARY PRODUCT)Joint Care for Medium and Large Dogs by Nutritional Frontiers – This comprehensive and synergistic formula contains glucosamine, MSM, essential fatty acids and chondroitin sulfate in support of hip, joint and connective tissue function in dogs of all ages. These tasty chicken liver flavored chews provide the specific ingredients needed to support joint structure, flexibility and comfort for healthy, aging or injured dogs. Also available Joint Care for Cats and Small Dogs.

 

Canine Basic Nutrients (VETERINARY PRODUCT)Canine Basic Nutrients by Thorne Vet – This complete vitamin and mineral formula contains a broad range of highly absorbable nutrients necessary for optimal health, vitality and quality of life. Canine Geriatric Basics also available to support the needs of aging pets.

 

Nu-Cat Bite-Sized Soft ChewsNu-Cat Bite-Sized Soft Chews by Vetri-Science – These chicken liver flavored soft chews provide complete vitamin and mineral support for cats of all ages and breeds. The formula also provides digestive enzymes, essential fatty acids and amino acids for total physical and mental wellness support.

 

Vetri-Probiotic BD Chicken Liver FlavorVetri-Probiotic BD™ Chicken Liver Flavor by Vetri-Science – This canine product contains pre- and probiotics along with digestive enzymes to support proper digestion, normal bowel regularity and gas reduction. These ingredients support healthy immune function along with microbial balance.

 

Small Animal Anti-Oxidant (VETERINARY PRODUCT)Small Animal Anti-Oxidant by Thorne Vet – Formulated for both cats and dogs, this complete formula provides potent plant-based antioxidants along with amino acids to aid in promoting eye, heart, blood vessel, liver, lung, skin, neurological and immune health.

 

References:
The Top Ten Dog Health Problems. http://www.everydayhealth.com/pet-health/common-dog-health-problems.aspx
10 Pet Health Tips. http://pethealthnetwork.com/dog-health/dog-checkups-preventive-care/10-pet-health-tips-new-year/page/0/7

Amp Up Your Free Radical Defense With Antioxidants

defence_antioxidentsJacquieIconBy Jacquie Eubanks
BSN, RN

Here’s the caveat: Oxidative reactions are crucial for bodily functions, yet oxidative stress causes damage to cell structure and plays a significant role in the development of chronic inflammation and many age-related chronic diseases. An antioxidant, as defined, is any substance that prevents or repairs the damaging effects of the chemical reaction known as oxidation. Oxygen, of course, is essential to life and the very act of breathing results in the continuous generation of thousands of free radicals, inescapable byproducts of the breakdown of oxygen during normal cell metabolism and energy production. Additionally, we are constantly bombarded with externally generated sources, including environmental pollutants, radiation, cigarette smoke, poor dietary habits, excessive exercise, infections and medications, which all increase free radical production. Even so, not everything about free radicals is destructive.

Free radicals are necessary to several essential metabolic processes, but play a dual role as they are both beneficial and deleterious to health. At low or moderate levels, free radicals have beneficial effects on cell division and hormone production, and support immune function, as the immune system releases free radicals to combat and destroy pathogenic invaders. Conversely, as unstable molecules, free radicals can drastically alter the structure and function of cells, disrupting homeostasis and damaging and interfering with cell membrane functions, protein synthesis and cellular nucleic acids. Their instability is the result of an unpaired electron, which causes them to steal from healthy cells to stabilize themselves. This electron theft turns the formerly healthy cells into free radicals themselves, triggering a domino effect as more and more free radicals are produced.

As there is a limited supply of naturally produced antioxidant enzymes available to cells, the amount of free radicals can exceed the body’s ability to scavenge and neutralize excess and unnecessary free radicals. An overload of free radicals results in the condition known as oxidative stress, essentially an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the body’s ability to combat or neutralize them. Oxidative stress plays a major role in the aging process and the development of chronic and degenerative illnesses, including cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases, autoimmune disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, cancers and other age-related diseases. Diseased cells, such as cancer cells, are particularly vulnerable to free radical take over.

Antioxidants are essentially electron donors that provide the missing electron to counteract a free radical without becoming destabilized themselves. As antioxidants combat oxidative stress by preventing, reducing and repairing free radical damage, they enhance immune defenses and defy the aging process by lowering the risk of developing age-related degenerative diseases. Aging in itself is not an illness, but it does make the body more vulnerable to disease. Healthy cells use naturally produced antioxidant enzymes as well as those obtained through diet and supplementation to protect themselves against free radical damage. The body’s ability to produce the antioxidants glutathione, ubiquinol and uric acid is influenced by aging, genetics, lifestyle habits and exposure to environmental pollution. When we are constantly exposed to environmental pollutants and don’t make the healthiest diet and lifestyle choices, we put ourselves at a higher risk of oxidative stress and, consequently, illness and disease.

Research suggests that free radical damage has a significant negative influence on aging, and that damage can be controlled with adequate antioxidant defense. Optimal intake of antioxidants may positively impact quality of life and lead to a longer, healthier life span. Along with naturally produced antioxidants, vitamins C and E, phytochemicals, flavonoids and beta-carotene, may be obtained through diet and supplementation, which can help suppress or break the chain of free radical production. As not all free radicals are alike, a variety of antioxidants that work synergistically may provide the most effective defense, which is one of the many reasons why a colorful and varied diet is so important for optimal health.

Professional Supplement Center carries many high quality products for antioxidant supplementation. Here are just a few suggestions for you:

Astaxanthin 4 mgAstaxanthin 4 mg by Pure Encapsulations – This powerful antioxidant supports skin, macula, joint, immune and cardiovascular health. Formulated from Hawaiian microalgae and cultivated under pristine conditions, this product also includes vitamin E for its synergistic effects. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO, hypoallergenic formula.

Ubiquinol CoQ10 100 mg

Ubiquinol CoQ10 100 mg by Vital Nutrients – This activated CoQ10 offers superior bioavailability, increases cellular energy and naturally supports the cardiovascular system. Contains Non-GMO soy lecithin.

 

Renewal Antioxidants™Renewal Antioxidants™ by Source Naturals – This product provides broad spectrum support for multiple body systems and includes a wide range of free radical protection for cells and tissues. Contains wheat and soy.

 

Supercritical AntioxidantsSupercritical Antioxidants by New Chapter – This patented formula delivers multiple, concentrated, carefully selected, synergistic natural herbs that promote cell protection and serve as a proactive approach to healthy aging. Gluten free, Non-GMO formula.

References:
Free radicals, antioxidants and functional foods: Impact on human health. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3249911/
Antioxidants. Balch, Phyllis A., CNC: Prescription for Nutritional Healing. The Penguin Group, 2010.
Free Radicals, Antioxidants in Disease and Health. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3614697/
Online Resources for Disorders Caused by Oxidative Stress. http://www.oxidativestressresource.org/