The Rediscovery of Essential Oils

EssentailOilsSusan Brown Health and Wellness EditorTechnically, essential oils are not oils at all but are highly concentrated aromatic plant components derived from flowers, leaves, seeds, stems, roots or bark that have mental, physical, spiritual and emotional therapeutic benefits. These essences give plants and flowers their distinctive, oftentimes powerful fragrances, aiding pollination while also functioning as a repellent, allowing a living plant to grow and thrive. Many consider essential oils precious and potent gifts from nature; they have been in use for thousands of years in food preparation, beauty treatments and physical wellness. In fact, if we were able to take a peek into the ancient Egyptians’ medicine chests dating back to 4,500 B.C., we would likely find myrrh, cinnamon, frankincense, cedarwood and other highly valuable aromatics used for healing negative energy and releasing emotional trauma.

From ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, we know that priests and alchemists used essential oils to heal the sick, for religious ceremonies, cleansing spiritual rituals, and the embalming process. Hippocrates, was said to have utilized aromatherapy to enhance massage techniques, and theorized that the body possessed inherent natural healing powers, which he suggested should be nurtured. He believed physicians were guardians of this healing power, charged with keeping the body healthy and strong. China and India extensively embraced essential oils for use in herbal remedies in Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine. Essential oil references appear in both Christian and Jewish religious texts as holy anointing oils used in healing rituals; they were also purported to have been burned to fight sickness and plague.

greenair

Avicenna, a first century Persian philosopher, scientist and author of one of the most famous medical books, The Canon of Medicine, is credited with perfecting the distillation process for extracting essential oils. From ancient Greece, to the fall of the Roman empire, to the Renaissance, to the 1700’s, essential oils remained highly prized, precious aromatics. Research suggests that ancient peoples had a great understanding of the intrinsic medicinal and healing properties of essential oils. In the more modern era, as new medical philosophies and techniques emerged, the knowledge of the powerful protective properties of certain oils were forgotten or cast aside.

In the United States, Dr. Benjamin Rush, who served as Surgeon General in the Continental Army, along with Benjamin Franklin, established our first hospital in Pennsylvania in 1751. The two men differed in their approach to developing a national medical system. While Franklin agreed with Hippocrates, Rush was of the philosophy that “physicians were the masters of nature and that as opposed to allowing nature to follow its natural healing course, the business of healing should be taken out of her hands.” Until Benjamin Franklin passed in 1790, he continued to subscribe to his personal philosophy of healthy living, that included moderate diet, exercise, and self-control in all things, writing in Poor Richard’s Almanac, “Time is an herb that cures all diseases.”

The Pharmacopoeia of 1820 consisted mainly of herbal medicines. Today, you won’t find herbals, but will find that approximately 40% of pharmaceutical medicines are either a derivative of, or synthetically derived from herbs. During WWI, physicians began to rediscover the antibacterial and wound healing properties of essential oils. When the supply of antibiotics ran short during WW2, essential oils were shown to have a powerful healing effect on battlefield injuries. Today, the various medical properties of over 270 varieties of aromatic compounds have been identified. While Ayurvedic and Eastern medical practitioners have long touted the benefits of holistic and natural remedies, many people are adhering to healthy lifestyles and exploring the benefits of essential oils today.

Essential oils may be applied topically or inhaled using a diffuser. Three to five drops of highly concentrated oil may be diluted with one teaspoon of a carrier oil such as coconut, sweet almond oil or grapeseed oil and applied directly to and absorbed through the skin. Try placing the oil on the wrists, behind the ears or on the temples. Because essential oils are composed of very small molecules, the compounds can pass through the skin and into the circulatory system. Carefully inhaled oils allow oil molecules to enter the bloodstream though the lungs. To get the benefits of absorbing the oils through the skin, while also enjoying the therapeutic scent of the oils, some prefer to add 10 – 15 drops of oil mixed with ½ cup of Epsom salt to bath water. Try soothing oils such as lavender or eucalyptus.

Generally, when applying topically, a drop or two will not only suffice, but will provide the maximum benefit whether you are seeking spiritual or emotional wellbeing or total mind/body wellness. As essential oils are very powerful, it is recommended that they not be used excessively. It’s important to note that not all oils are food grade. Although some recommend that one drop of oil may be taken internally, it is suggested this usage only be undertaken with the guidance of a healthcare practitioner.

Professional Supplement Center carries these and many more essential single oils and blends. Suggestions for your home care essential oil kit include:

Lavender Oil by Now Foods

Lavender Oil by Now FoodsSave 30% This lovely scented calming oil is known for its stress relieving and relaxing effects. It may be applied topically to accelerate the healing of bruises, cuts or skin irritations. 100% pure lavender oil.

 

Peppermint Essential Oil by Amrita AromatherapyPeppermint Essential Oil by Amrita Aromatherapy– This versatile, stimulating oil may be used for exhaustion, mental fatigue or headache. Applied topically, peppermint oil helps to relieve sore muscles. Because of its anti-viral properties, peppermint helps to clear congestion and improve breathing by fighting respiratory and sinus infections when diffused. 100% pure, therapeutic quality essential oil.

Organic Lemon Essential Oil by Dr. MercolaOrganic Lemon Essential Oil by Dr. MercolaSave 12% Known for its cleansing properties, lemon oil helps to rejuvenate energy, stimulate lymph drainage and purify the skin. Mix with a carrier oil and apply for a healthy boost in mental alertness. Lemon oil is known to repel insects from both people and pets. 100% pure, food grade, Non-GMO organic essential oil.

Eucalyptus Oil by Now Foods

Eucalyptus Oil by Now FoodsSave 30% When used in a diffuser, eucalyptus helps to clear sinuses and clear congestion. It may also be used to relieve sore muscles and to promote feelings of relaxation. 100% pure eucalyptus oil.

 

Organic Tea Tree Essential Oil by Dr. MercolaOrganic Tea Tree Essential Oil by Dr. Mercola –  Save 12% Applied topically, tea tree is well known for its powerful antiseptic properties and its ability to treat wounds. To relieve skin inflammation, fungal infections or acne, dilute and apply topically. 100% pure, Non-GMO organic tea tree oil.

 

References:
Egyptian Art and Science of DNA Healing Transformational Masters. http://www.raindropeducation.com/id74.html
History of Essential Oils. http://airase.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/HistoryOfEssentialOils.pdf
Benefits of Essential Oils: 10 Natural Ways to Heal Yourself. http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/07/02/benefits-of-essential-oils_n_5536808.html

Featured Product – EZC Pak™

EZC_PakSusan Brown Health and Wellness EditorProfessional Supplement Center now carries EZC Pak™, a physician formulated nutritional support pack intended to provide the core components for appropriate immune support while reducing unnecessary antibiotic usage.  Concern over the rise of antibiotic-resistant superbugs led physician and Medical Director Sarath Malepati to tackle the fundamental problem of inappropriate antibiotic over-prescribing for common viral infections.  Misuse of antibiotics can have harmful consequences for both the patient and for global public health, as many scientists and health professionals are concerned about the rise of superbugs and antibiotic resistance.

Dr. Malepati developed EZC Pak to assist a “wait and watch” approach and relieve the pressure to prescribe unnecessary antibiotics.  He believes that, “While there is certainly a time and place for antibiotics, usage should be limited to the right medicine at the right time.”  EZC Pak™ is a vitamin, mineral and herbal OTC formulation based on the best available evidence of the active core components and the U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) guidelines.  Only high quality ingredients, including certified organic echinacea, zinc and vitamin C, are utilized in this well tolerated, appropriately formulated immune support pak.

EZC Pak™ contains 14 vegetable cellulose capsules intended for 5-day tapered immune support: 

Vitamin C – Water soluble vitamin C supports many metabolic functions and is found in high concentrations in the immune cells.  Vitamin C is believed to promote the immune response by supporting the immune cells that are involved in fighting viral and bacterial infections.  Regular intake of vitamin C has been shown to reduce both the incidence and the duration of illness.

Zinc – Zinc supports the immune system and a wide range of critical functions.  When initiated within 24 hours of the onset of illness, zinc has been shown to reduce the duration and severity of illness symptoms.  General recommended use of moderately higher doses of zinc is 5 days.

Proprietary Echinacea blend – Long used in traditional medicine, echinacea is believed to aid the immune system’s ability to help clear viral infections by promoting immune T-cell activity. Echinacea is intended to be used at the first signs of illness, generally within 48 hours of onset, and continued for 5-7 days.

Chronic Pain? Fatigue? Try Malic Acid

MalicAcidJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

 

 

Malic acid, a naturally occurring compound, is found in abundance in fruits and vegetables, especially tart, unripe apples and grapes where it gives a tart taste to wine. Because of this tartness, malic acid is commonly used as an economical food additive and flavor enhancer in foods such as sour candies, yogurts and fruit flavored drinks. As a result of its ability to block bacterial growth, malic acid is often used as a natural food preservative to prolong shelf life. Malic acid is essential ingredient in many OTC medications including throat lozenges and cough syrup, and is often found in mouthwash and toothpaste, where is helps to reduce dental decay and gum disease through its ability to stimulate saliva production.

As an alpha hydroxy acid, malic acid is often found in anti-aging skin care products. Applied topically, malic acid helps to rejuvenate the skin by removing dead skin cells and boosting collagen production, while unclogging pores, improving skin texture and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Often added to shampoos and hair conditioners, malic acid, helps to achieve an optimal acid-base pH balance. When taken as a supplement in appropriate amounts, malic acid’s health benefits include immune enhancement, oral health maintenance, and increased energy production.

Perhaps most importantly, included in the impressive list of beneficial uses, is the ability to help reduce pain. Along with increased energy production, pain reduction is frequently sought by those who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. In the U.S., it is estimated that 100 million people may struggle with chronic pain. Of these, approximately 10 million, mostly women, may be diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Those with fibromyalgia suffer from extreme fatigue that can interfere with normal life activities, and with widespread often debilitating chronic pain. Malic acid is a completely, natural organic compound present in all bodily cells that provides a natural alternative for healing and relieving pain. Malic acid plays a vital role in improving overall muscle performance, reversing muscle fatigue following exercise, reducing tiredness and poor energy levels and improving mental clarity.

While non-life threatening, fibromyalgia is chronic, and its symptoms vary widely from person to person, and may even fluctuate in a single individual. In most cases the symptoms never entirely disappear, and currently, while there are medical interventions, there is no cure. However proper self-care, including getting sufficient sleep and regular aerobic exercise, can improve symptoms and aid daily function. Those who consistently take malic acid in the form of magnesium malate have reported reduced muscle pain and soreness, along with a much needed energy boost. Magnesium malate is a blend of a highly absorbable form of magnesium, essential for cellular function, and malic acid, a completely natural substance that supports ATP energy production and reduces excess pain-causing lactic acid buildup in the muscles.

Research has shown that malic acid can help to ease pain caused by muscle and tissue hypoxia or insufficient oxygen levels in muscles. Even under low oxygen conditions, malic acid enhances cellular stamina and endurance by supporting ATP production. Aluminum toxicity is believed to play a role in fibromyalgia. In combination with magnesium, malic acid aids aluminum detoxification and helps prevent future aluminum buildup in the body. A number of specialists who have treated patients with a combination of magnesium and malic acid have found improved muscle heath and improved energy.

A case controlled study concluded that proper amounts of the essential nutrients magnesium and malic acid are critical to efficient energy production. Deficiencies in these nutrients may give rise to an inefficient anaerobic means of generating energy, resulting in an abnormal buildup of lactic acid causing muscle achiness and fatigue. In addition, researchers found that the pain relieving, energy producing, and mood stabilizing qualities of magnesium and malic acid can be particularly beneficial for people with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.

Professional Supplement Center carries these and other high quality supplement that support energy metabolism and proper muscle function:

Myo Malate by Ortho MolecularMyo Malate by Ortho Molecular – This formula combines magnesium malate, malic acid and vitamin B6 to support enhanced endurance and stamina and reduce pain and fatigue in those with fibromyalgia. Gluten and soy free formulation.

 

Mag-Malate (MGM) by Douglas Laboratories

Mag-Malate (MGM) by Douglas Laboratories – This product provides a highly bioavailable form of magnesium plus malic acid to support mitochondrial energy production and neuromuscular function. Soy free, vegan formulation.

 

Magnesium Malate (Replaces Magnesium Malate Chelate) by Designs for HealthMagnesium Malate by Designs for Health – This formula provides di-magnesium malate, a highly bioavailable form of magnesium bound to malic acid in support of energy production. Gluten free, Non-GMO formulation.

 

Magnesium Malate 1000 mg by Now FoodsMagnesium Malate 1000 mg by Now Foods – This product provides magnesium malate along with calcium carbonate in support of energy production and metabolism, muscle contraction, nerve impulse transmission and bone mineralization. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegan formulation.

 

References:
Exploring The Benefits of Malic Acid. http://thedailyhealth.co.uk/malic-acid-chronic-fatigue-syndrome-00974/
Malic Acid. http://acidpedia.org/malic_acid/
Questions and Answers about Fibromyalgia. http://www.niams.nih.gov/health_info/fibromyalgia/

Urinary Tract Health: Try D-Mannose

D-mannose_UrinaryTractHealthJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

 

 

Over the course of a lifetime, almost half of all women will be diagnosed with a urinary tract infection (UTI). The majority of the time, a UTI is the result of a type of E. coli bacteria normally present in the intestinal tract. When this bacterium gets into the urinary tract system and proliferates, it can result in frequent urination, burning and abdominal pain, all uncomfortable symptoms of a UTI. Most UTI’s are treated with a 7 to 10 day course of antibiotics, which often suppress the bacteria, relieving symptoms but not always producing a lasting cure. As a result, 30 – 40% of these infections reoccur within 6 months. Chronic UTI’s, that don’t respond to antibiotics or reoccur after antibiotic treatment, can lead to much more serious health issues including kidney infections and septicemia.

Recurrent infections are often conventionally treated with a low dose antibiotic taken daily for 6 months or more, increasing the risk of developing yeast infections and potentially wreaking havoc with the microbiome and the gastrointestinal system. What makes these infections so difficult to treat more than 20% of the time? When present in the urinary tract, E. coli is not eliminated by urination, as the bacterial cell walls have tiny fingerlike projections that cling to the walls of urinary organs. These sticky fingerlike projections, that consist of a sticky amino acid-sugar complex known as lectin, allow the bacteria to continually make their way upward towards the ureter and bladder.

D-mannose is a simple, naturally occurring sugar chemically related to glucose that has antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. D-mannose has been shown to be effective in eliminating E. coli from the urinary tract through its ability to coat the lectins. This renders them unable to cling to the inside walls of the bladder and urinary tract, and enables elimination of the bacteria through normal urination. Many may have heard of drinking cranberry juice as a home remedy for supporting a healthy urinary tract. D-mannose is the active ingredient found in cranberries and other fruits, including berries, apples and peaches, and some green veggies as well. Unlike cranberry juice, which is high in fructose that can spike blood sugar, very little D-mannose is metabolized so it doesn’t interfere with blood sugar regulation.

While the amount of D-mannose in cranberry juice is relatively small, taken as a supplement, D-mannose can provide a therapeutic dosage with up to 50% more healing power. Slowly absorbed and non-toxic, D-mannose is filtered through the kidneys and is quickly excreted along with the majority of the E. coli. A study to determine whether D-mannose was effective for the prevention of recurrent urinary tract infections showed that women with a history of recurrent UTI’s who received 2 g of D-mannose daily for 6 months had a significantly reduced risk of repeated UTI’s, even lower than study participants who took a prophylactic antibiotic. The women in the D-mannose group had substantially lower risk of a long list of unwanted gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, hepatic and respiratory side effects as compared to study participants taking a prescription antibiotic.

To maintain a healthy urinary tract system drink plenty of fluids, including water and herbal teas, don’t resist the urge to urinate, and consider taking a daily probiotic. Strong scientific evidence supports the use of a daily probiotic supplement containing 5 – 10 billion CFUs of lactobacillus acidophilus for the maintenance of gastrointestinal, immune and urological health.  Research has shown that consumption of foods containing probiotics, such as yogurt or fermented vegetables can help to promote good overall, immune and urinary tract health.

Professional Supplement Center offers these and other high quality products that support urinary and vaginal health:

U-Tract Complete by Progressive LabsU-Tract Complete Powder by Progressive Labs – This comprehensive formula supports urinary tract health with pure D-mannose plus hibiscus and cranberry extracts. D-mannose creates an unfavorable environment for bacteria and interferes with their adhesion to the urinary tract lining, which allows for eradication of E. coli from the urinary tract. Yeast free formulation.

U.T. Vibrance Tablets by Vibrant Health

U.T. Vibrance Powder or Tablets – This formula combines D-mannose with carefully selected complementary botanicals traditionally used to support healthy urinary tract function. Gluten and soy free formulation.

 

Cranberry/d-Mannose by Pure EncapsulationsCranberry/d-Mannose by Pure Encapsulations – This combination proprietary formula provides D-mannose along with 100% cranberry fruit solids for time-tested, concentrated support of urinary tract comfort. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.

 

Pro-Flora Women's Probiotic by Integrative TherapeuticsPro-Flora Women’s Probiotic by Integrative Therapeutics – This formula provides two proprietary strains of lactobacillus to promote a healthy balance of vaginal microflora and a balanced vaginal pH. More than 20 years of clinical research supports the role of lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1® and lactobacillus reuteri RC-14® in promoting urogenital health. Gluten and soy free formulation.

Ultimate FloraMax Vaginal Balance 50 Billion by Advanced NaturalsUltimate FloraMax Vaginal Balance 50 Billion by Advanced Naturals – This once daily, extra-strength formula provides 10 probiotic strains for support of vaginal and urinary tract health, regulation of vaginal pH and promotion of healthy vaginal yeast balance. Gluten and dairy free formulation.

 

References:
D-mannose powder for prophylaxis of recurrent urinary tract infections in women: a randomized clinical trial. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23633128
Urinary tract infection in women. http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/condition/urinary-tract-infection-in-women
Chronic Urinary Tract Infection. http://www.healthline.com/health/chronic-urinary-tract-infection#Overview1

Featured Brand – Health Aid America®

Health_Aid_AmericaSusan Brown Health and Wellness Editor

 

 

Professional Supplement Center now carries Health Aid America®, a supplement line that includes vitamin, mineral, herbal and nutritional formulas. Launched in the United Kingdom in 1892, Health Aid America® began with a mission to provide high potency, European quality, innovative natural supplements to enhance health. Health Aid America® delivers carefully researched, nutritionally balanced products to supplement the various special and individual dietary needs of children, young persons, athletes and men and women in all stages of life. They remain committed to maintaining an innovative and creative approach to wellness by utilizing the latest research in the field of health and nutrition.

Video Health Aid America

To see the full line of products, please visit professionalsupplementcenter.com:

V-Vein by Health Aid AmericaV-Vein™ – This unique supplement is specially formulated with standardized herbal extracts to promote healthy blood circulation, support and strengthen veins and capillaries and aid in circulating clean, oxygenated blood throughout the body. Gluten, soy and dairy free, vegetarian formula.

ImmuProbio One-A-Day by Health Aid AmericaImmuProbio™ One-A-Day – This room temperature stable, highly potent, multi-strain pre- and probiotic formula contains 50 billion viable microorganisms per capsule in support of immune, gastrointestinal, vaginal and urinary tract health. ImmunoProbio™ contains acid and bile resistant strains ensuring that the microflora are not harmed by natural stomach acids as they travel to the intestines. Gluten, soy, dairy and yeast free formula.

2-Day Detox Plan by Health Aid America2-Day Detox Plan – This quick and easy detoxification program contains 13 carefully selected herbs specifically formulated to flush away toxins and support the body’s own natural elimination systems. This product helps to cleanse, purify, harmonize and balance the body and is useful after alcohol intake, prolonged stress or poor dietary choices. Gluten, soy, dairy and yeast free, vegetarian formula.

Ginkgo Vital 3 100 mg by Health Aid AmericaGingko Vital 3™ – This product contains the highest quality, naturally grown standardized herbal extracts including Ginkgo Biloba, Sibergin® Siberian Eleuthero, and Koregin® Panax Ginseng in support of mental clarity and enhanced physical strength and endurance. Yeast and sugar free.  No artificial colors, flavorings or preservative.  Non-GMO formulation.

Hormones and Weight Loss

Obesity_HormonesJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

Forty years ago, there were twice as many underweight people as there were obese people. Fast forward to 2016 and you’ll find more people are obese than underweight. Almost a fifth of the world’s obese adults live in just 6 high income English speaking countries, including the U.S., Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, and the U.K. In the U.S. alone, nearly 40% of adult women are obese. Factor in those who are in the overweight and the severely obese categories and you may begin to understand the public health crisis we are now facing. Although the U.S. accounts for only 5% of the world’s population, we account for approximately 13% of the global total of obese people. An estimated 160 million Americans are overweight or obese, including 60% of women, 75% of men and 30% of our children, who have an increased likelihood of carrying obesity into adulthood.

The rise in obesity is a major public health concern and the rising rate of obesity among children is especially troubling, as childhood obesity is known to have severe negative health consequences that include the development of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers. For adults, along with cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer, obesity can lead to health risks such as osteoarthritis, chronic kidney disease, fatty liver disease and a shorter life expectancy. To be sure, some people have successfully managed to lose weight, yet many others struggle to slim down or maintain any weight loss they have achieved. While it’s easy to blame an individual’s lack of willpower, excess calorie consumption or sedentary lifestyle, the fact that obesity is so prevalent suggests something more may be going on.

That something may have a lot to do with brain and gut hormones and how they impact not only our food choices but the amount of food we choose to eat. Why is it such a struggle not only to lose weight but to maintain any hard earned weight loss? Research has shown that there are numerous hormones that act on specific centers in the brain and impact hunger, satiety, and cravings. Insatiable hunger and overpowering cravings have to do with leptin, a powerful and influential hormone released by fat cells. Leptin suppresses appetite by signaling the brain, particularly the hypothalamus, when the body is satiated and its energy stores are full. The more overweight we are, the more leptin producing fat cells we have. So why does this not signal us to stop eating?

It has to do with leptin resistance, which happens with obesity and continuous overexposure to leptin. You may have plenty of leptin floating around, but the brain doesn’t recognize it’s there. Evolution may be partially to blame, as when the brain doesn’t receive the satiety signal it erroneously reacts as though the body is starving, although there may actually be more than enough stored energy. As a result, we consume additional calories, while the body reduces energy expenditure as it endeavors to achieve energy homeostasis, leading to fewer calories burned. Working in tandem with leptin, insulin acts as a hormonal appetite regulator. Insulin receptors are widely distributed within the brain, leptin’s primary target. Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, found that high levels of insulin block leptin at the brain. They concluded that in order to lose weight, insulin levels needed to be dramatically lowered, as both insulin and leptin resistance are associated with obesity. The impairment of their ability to transfer information to receptors places insulin and leptin resistance front and center as core factors in the obesity crisis, along with increased risk of chronic disease. As a result of our steady diet of sugar, processed foods and refined flour, our baseline insulin levels have increased.

Visceral fat or belly fat produces large numbers of inflammatory cytokines, which block the effects of leptin, contributing to resistance. One key to reducing leptin and insulin resistance is to reduce diet-related inflammation by avoiding processed foods and increasing soluble fiber intake. Consuming omega-3 fats and antioxidant-rich foods can also help to improve leptin and insulin resistance. There are many other brain and gut hormones that impact appetite regulation, including ghrelin, the hunger-stimulating hormone and dopamine, the reward hormone. To help manage and stabilize appetite hormones, eat on a regular schedule to prevent hormone spikes, eat a balanced, high fiber diet that includes high quality proteins, unprocessed carbohydrates and healthy fats, get sufficient sleep and commit to regular exercise.

Professional Supplement Center offers these and other high quality products that support weight management:

PGX Daily by Bioclinic NaturalsPGX® Daily by Bioclinic Naturals – This proprietary blend provides a combination of 3 highly viscous, water soluble fibers that support healthy glucose and cholesterol levels already within the normal range. PGX® helps to normalize blood sugar levels, improves regularity and supports reduced appetite and healthy weight loss. Gluten, dairy and yeast free formulation.

 

CLA by Ortho MolecularCLA by Ortho Molecular –  Conjugated Linoleic Acid supports reduced body fat and increased muscle mass when combined with a healthy diet and exercise. CLA helps to speed fat metabolism as well as aid in metabolizing fat deposits. Gluten and soy free formulation.

 

AntiOxidant Formula by Pure EncapsulationsAntiOxidant Formula by Pure Encapsulations – This broad spectrum, synergistic formula offers a range of antioxidant nutrients to support cellular health and enhance the body’s natural defense against free radicals. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO formulation.

 

OmegaGenics® EPA-DHA 500 Lemon by Metagenics®OmegaGenics® EPA-DHA 500 Lemon by Metagenics –  This formula provides a concentrated source of omega-3 essential fatty acids to promote cardiovascular and overall health and healthy blood lipids. Sustainably sourced from cold water fish. Contaminant free, gluten free, Non-GMO formulation.

 

References:
The vast majority of American adults are overweight or obese, and weight is a growing problem among US children. http://www.healthdata.org/news-release/vast-majority-american-adults-are-overweight-or-obese-and-weight-growing-problem-among
One fifth of adults worldwide will be obese by 2025, predicts study. http://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/mar/31/one-fifth-of-worlds-adults-will-be-obese-by-2025-study-predicts
Appetite Hormones. http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/070115p26.shtml
Hormonal Regulators of Appetite. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2777281/

A Word About Blood Pressure

BloodPressureJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

 

 

Blood pressure is vital for keeping the entire body supplied with life sustaining oxygen, nutrients and energy. Measured by two numbers, blood pressure is actually the force of blood against our artery walls, as blood circulates throughout the body. The upper systolic number is the measurement of force against the artery walls when the heart contracts. The lower diastolic number shows the pressure on the artery walls when the heart relaxes between beats. In general, a healthy blood pressure reading is considered to be below 120/80 mm Hg. A reading of 120-139/80-89 is considered high normal or pre-hypertension. Stage 1 hypertension begins at 140/90, Stage 2 at 160/100.  Any number above 180/110 is considered a crisis requiring emergency treatment, as blood vessel damage resulting from high blood pressure is a risk factor for heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure and premature death.

Approximately one in three or almost 70 million American adults have high blood pressure or hypertension. As blood pressure gradually increases with age, it’s important to know your blood pressure levels. Many with dangerously high levels often have no noticeable warning signs or symptoms. The 2013 guidelines for treatment of hypertension for people over age 60 suggest medication to lower blood pressure if and when blood pressure reaches 150/90. As it’s normal for blood pressure to fluctuate by 30 – 40 points throughout the day, one reading is insufficient for a diagnosis of hypertension. Over time, uncontrolled high blood pressure can damage your kidneys, eyes, brain and the lining of the blood vessels.

Those diagnosed with hypertension should also be checked for diabetes and high cholesterol, as many people with high blood pressure also have other risks factors for heart disease and stroke, mainly attributed to unhealthy lifestyle habits. Fortunately, high blood pressure is not inevitable for everyone, especially for those who follow a healthy lifestyle. While certain risk factors for hypertension, such as family history, age, gender and race, are not within our control, there are controllable risk factors that can help keep blood pressure levels within a healthy range. According to the National Institutes of Health, the majority of people who lead healthy lifestyles do not suffer from hypertension.

Alarmingly, a recent NIH-funded analysis of more than 14,000 young adults showed that 19% of men and women between the ages of 24 and 32 have high blood pressure, possibly attributed to a high salt diet, alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking, a sedentary lifestyle and genetics.

Regular exercise, weight control and a healthy eating plan, such as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet are the first line of defense against developing high blood pressure:

Exercise to maintain blood pressure and insulin levels. The Mayo Clinic considers exercise a drug-free approach to lowering and controlling blood pressure. While it can take one to three months for exercise to positively impact blood pressure, regular exercise strengthens the heart so it can pump more efficiently, decreasing the force on the arteries and lowering systolic blood pressure by as much as 11 points. Exercise helps to stabilize blood pressure that is already within the normal range and can help prevent blood pressure from rising with age. Regular exercise also helps to maintain a healthy weight, further contributing to blood pressure control.

Eating real food will not only help to maintain blood pressure, it will improve overall health. The DASH diet emphasizes vegetables, fruits, lower-fat dairy, and moderate amounts of whole grains, fish, poultry, nuts, seeds, legumes and healthy fats.  A diet rich in vegetables and fruits provides phytonutrients for healthy blood pressure and cardiovascular health support. As we age, our sense of taste may fade and some tend to use more, not less, salt. While there is controversy over how much dietary sodium is ideal, those with high blood pressure should monitor their sodium intake, as salty foods can raise blood pressure. For those with hypertension and those over age 50, federal guidelines recommend a maximum of 1,500 mg of sodium per day.

Optimize vitamin D levels to raise the level of nitric oxide on your skin, which helps to open blood vessels and reduce blood pressure. Vitamin D deficiency is linked to insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, inflammation, arterial stiffness, impaired vascular function and coronary heart disease. In conjunction with a healthy lifestyle, normalizing vitamin D levels may effectively help normalize blood pressure levels.

It is estimated that up to 80% of the population may be deficient in magnesium, a mineral important to healthy blood pressure and cardiac function. Known to be important for heart health, magnesium has been prescribed for those with heart disease for decades. One study of people with hypertension found significant decreases in both diastolic and systolic blood pressure after taking a magnesium supplement for three months. As calcium is also known to help stabilize blood pressure and works in tandem with magnesium, those who wish to support their heart, blood vessel and blood pressure health, should consider supplementing with both calcium and magnesium.

Grape seed extract contains high levels of polyphenols, which help to increase the blood levels of antioxidants. Researchers have found that grape seed extract may help to support cardiovascualar health, including healthy blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels and a normal inflammatory response.

As stress is known to raise blood pressure, use strategies to manage stress. Adequate sleep, meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises or massage are all techniques that help to lower stress. Work to efficiently manage your time to further lower your stress level. Be mindful of stressful situations and make changes where you can to lower your stress response and keep blood pressure steady.

Professional Supplement Center carries these and other high quality product for support of cardiovascular health and energy production.

Perfusia-SR (SA525) by Thorne Research

Perfusia-SR® by Thorne Research – This sustained release formula provides L-arginine, an amino acid that supports optimal blood flow and cardiovascular health, and promotes nitric oxide production, resulting primarily in blood vessel relaxation. Non-GMO, vegetarian formulation.

Grape Seed Extract 100 mg by Now FoodsGrape Seed Extract 100 mg by Now Foods30% OFF! This highly concentrated natural extract supports vascular health and a healthy response to biological stress. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegan formulation.

 

 

Reacted Magnesium 235 mg by Ortho MolecularReacted Magnesium by Ortho Molecular – This product supplies a fully bioavailable chelated form of magnesium to support cardiovascular health and energy production. Gluten and soy free formulation.

 

 

Vitamin D3 1000 IU by Pure EncapsulationsVitamin D3 1000 IU by Pure Encapsulations – This formula provides support for cardiovascular, immune, bone and colon health and promotes intestinal calcium and phosphorus absorption. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.

 

 

Pantothenic Acid 500 mg (7919-) by Douglas LaboratoriesPantothenic Acid 500 mg by Douglas Laboratories – Also known as vitamin B5, this coenzyme formula is essential for energy production and the metabolism of lipids, carbohydrates and proteins. Gluten, soy and dairy free formulation.

 

 

References:
Things you need to know about blood pressure and hypertension. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2560868/
3 Things to Know About the New Blood Pressure Guidelines. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/12/18/3-things-to-know-about-the-new-blood-pressure-guidelines/
Exercise: A drug-free approach to lowering blood pressure. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/in-depth/high-blood-pressure/art-20045206
Your Guide to Lowering Blood Pressure. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/files/docs/public/heart/hbp_low.pdf
DASH diet: Healthy eating to lower your blood pressure. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/dash-diet/art-20048456
How to Normalize Your Blood Pressure. http://www.dietdoctor.com/blood-pressure
7 ways to keep stress – and blood pressure – down. http://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/7-ways-to-keep-stress-and-blood-pressure-down
Stress and Blood Pressure. http://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/7-ways-to-keep-stress-and-blood-pressure-down

Prescript–Assist™ Broad Spectrum Probiotic & Prebiotic

PrescriptAssistSusan Brown Health and Wellness Editor

 

 

Professional Supplement Center now carries professional grade Prescript-Assist™ Broad Spectrum Probiotic & Prebiotic. This balanced proprietary formulation of 29 symbiotic probiotic species provides a matrix of highly resilient, inherently viable microbiota that have been clinically shown to promote a healthy gastro-intestinal environment. Commonly referred to as “spore formers,” these specially selected beneficial organisms are naturally adapted for survival in the GI tract and mimic the natural flora found in traditional and Paleolithic diets.

Prescript-Assist™ provides optimal digestive support and maintains a normal balance of gut microorganisms to help to alleviate uncomfortable gastric distress. Shelf stable without refrigeration and supported by peer-reviewed clinical studies, this next-generation proven probiotic replenishes heathy beneficial microflora, promotes bowel regularity, relieves occasional indigestion, nausea, abdominal discomfort and bloating and supports immune health, overall wellness and vitality.

Prescript Assist™ Broad Spectrum Probiotic and Prebiotic – This gluten and dairy free, vegan pre- and probiotic formulation is perfect for travel, during times of high stress, after prolonged antibiotic use or for anyone wishing to ensure a thriving and well balanced intestinal environment.

For questions about Prescript Assist™, please call, email or visit Professional Supplement Center. 

Does Environment Contribute to Food Choices?

FoodChoicesSusan Brown Health and Wellness Editor

Do you ever wonder which is the more difficult path–breaking unhealthy lifestyle habits or committing to a healthier diet? Neither is easy, but either choice will make you feel and look better and will contribute to your long term health. Unhealthy habits, like regularly skipping meals or mindlessly snacking in front of the TV, become so ingrained they become second nature. Cleaning up your diet requires changing not only your eating habits but your environment as well. The key is to switch things up and create good dietary habits that then become automatic themselves, such as reaching for a piece of fruit instead of a bag of chips. As eating is stimulated by cues in our environment, taking the time to change that environment can have a huge impact on mindless eating and your overall food choices.

Changing your habits is difficult but changing your environment is relatively simple:

  • Clean up your kitchen. Part of creating new healthier eating habits is creating a different environment in your kitchen. One study showed that a cluttered, chaotic kitchen can negatively influence your eating behavior. A stressful environment, such as a messy kitchen, can make one feel particularly out of control and result in poor food choices and overeating. Clearing the counter and putting out a bowl of fruit leads to a 70% increase in fruit consumption. Keep tempting foods stashed away or don’t keep them in the house at all. It’s very hard to resist temptation when tempting foods are in your line of vision.
  • Cues in our environment can influence how much we choose to eat. Serving food family style results in having seconds 30% of the time. Serve the food in the kitchen before you sit down or set the table with empty plates and place the food at least 6 feet away. Unless you are really hungry, you will be much less likely to have additional food when you have to get up for more.
  • You’ve heard it before but using smaller plates and tall, thin glasses actually does help you to eat and drink less. Filling a smaller plate or taller glass is as visually satisfying psychologically as full dinner plate. When you don’t have to think about portion control, you are naturally stimulated by your environment to eat a normal amount.
  • To fully enjoy your food, put your devices away during meals. Texting, playing games, or scanning social networking sites takes your attention away from eating, which makes it hard to realize how satiated you actually are. Distracted eating often results in consuming 20-60% more calories and detracts from one of the great joys of life.
  • When dining out, don’t follow the crowd, especially when it’s food you would not typically choose. Although research shows that dining partners influence our food choices, you don’t have to order what your friends order. If you are the first to order and choose a salad, chances are good others will follow suit.
  • Get a handle on portion sizes. Though lacking in nutrients, typical sweet and salty snack foods are tasty and addictive, which makes it very easy to overindulge. The revised nutrition labels coming in the next year or two should increase our awareness of serving sizes. In the meantime, break the habit of eating snack foods straight out of a bag or package, which only encourages overeating and runaway portions. To make you more conscious of how many servings you are actually consuming, take one serving and go back for another if find you really want more.
  • Plan your meals. Spend some time on the weekend to plan your meals for the week. Keep your kitchen well stocked with items, such as chicken breasts, beans, frozen veggies, whole grains, greens, and eggs, that you can quickly and easily turn into healthy meals. Investing time on the weekend to make one pot meals, that you can then portion out and freeze, ensures a healthy meal when you may be time constrained on weeknights.
  • If you are eating well all week but splurging on weekends, you are sabotaging a week of good effort. Think of other ways to reward yourself that don’t involve eating and limit yourself to one special treat on the weekend.
  • Close the kitchen after dinner. To avoid nighttime noshing, try thinking of the kitchen as being closed until morning. Some find that brushing their teeth after dinner before settling in to read or watch TV helps to remind them that they have finished eating for the day.
  • Set mini-goals. Start with small steps that add up to a change of habit. If you habitually skip breakfast, try preparing something the night before that you can grab on your way out of the door in the morning. This can prevent you from settling for the doughnut in the lunch room when hunger pangs set in, and may prevent overindulging throughout the day. If you goal is to eat more vegetables, try adding some to pizza, sandwiches or salads or choose a new vegetable each week when you do your grocery shopping.

Remember, healthy eating is not about depriving yourself of all the foods you love. It’s about changing your environment and creating sustainable eating habits that you can easily do to stay healthy, reduce your risk of developing chronic disease and increase your longevity. While some are making a concerted effort to support or regain their good health, researchers who analyzed data from a 2013 Behavioral Risk Factor study found only 6.3% of the 395,343 study participants engaged in all five recommended behaviors for chronic disease prevention and increased longevity. These include maintaining a normal body weight, not smoking, participating in regular physical activity, sleeping 7 to 8 hours nightly and a zero to moderate amount of alcohol consumption.

References:
Clutter, Chaos, and Overconsumption: The Role of Mindset in Stressful Chaotic Food Environments. http://eab.sagepub.com/content/early/2016/01/28/0013916516628178.abstract
6.3% of adults engage in 5 key health behaviors for chronic disease prevention. http://www.healio.com/internal-medicine/preventive-medicine/news/online/%7Bf57cfe24-c581-48b8-aa36-522cd2b04a9f%7D/63-of-adults-engage-in-5-key-health-behaviors-for-chronic-disease-prevention
5 Bad Eating Habits and How to Break Them. http://www.professionalsupplementcenter.com/Enzyme-Nutrition-Multi-Vitamin-for-Women-by-Enzymedica.htm
How Our Friends Change What We Eat. http://www.livescience.com/46666-dining-out-group-ordering.html

To Salt or Not to Salt

HowMuchSaltSusan Brown Health and Wellness Editor

 

 

Strict dietary guidelines for daily sodium consumption have been around for more than 30 years. The 2015 USDA dietary guidelines recently reaffirmed that we limit salt intake to approximately one teaspoon or 2,300 mg per day, and those with high blood pressure should consume even less. However, when it comes to nutrition advice, once again we find ourselves on “shaky” ground. The average American consumes closer to 3,500 mg daily, much of which can be attributed to high sodium levels in processed and restaurant foods. According to Elliott Antman, President of the American Heart association, “Everyone agrees that current sodium intake is too high.” Everyone, that is, except a group of researchers led by Dr. Andrew Mente, Associate Professor of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at McMaster’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine and lead author of a major worldwide study recently published in the Lancet. According to Mente, “There is no longer any valid basis for the current salt guidelines.” Suzanne Oparil, former President of the American Heart Association, now a Professor of Medicine at the University of Alabama concurs, “The current salt guidelines are based on almost nothing.”

Why the controversy? The long established view of reduced sodium consumption is based on the observation that reducing salt intake can lower blood pressure for some people. Additionally, it was assumed that since high blood pressure is a fairly common condition, recommendations for limited salt intake would benefit everyone, even those with normal blood pressure. The study suggests that only those with high blood pressure who have a high salt consumption should conform to a reduced sodium diet. The study, which involved more than 130,000 people from 49 countries, found that regardless of whether people have high blood pressure, low-sodium intake is associated with more, not less, heart attacks, strokes and deaths compared to average intake. These findings may be very important for people who do not have high blood pressure, as elevated sodium levels were not linked to poor health outcomes.

The American Heart Association was quick to condemn the study, stating that ample research supports the link between low sodium consumption and more optimal health. Dr. Walter Willet, Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition and Chair of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health, cheekily recommends the study be taken “with a grain of salt.” According to Willet, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines that advise a maximum of 2,300 mg of sodium per day is robustly supported by evidence, and efforts being made to reduce sodium in our food supply are strongly justified. Dr. Willet contends that the American Heart Association, based upon “meticulously reviewed scientific research,” recommends all Americans limit their daily sodium consumption to 1,500 mg daily, the amount currently viewed as more appropriate for those with hypertension.

Yet, for decades, these policy guidelines have failed to convince Americans to eat less salt. Other studies, published in the American Journal of Hypertension and the Journal of the American Medical Association, found no strong evidence that cutting back on salt reduced the risk of heart attacks, and also found a greater the risk of dying from heart disease with the presence of low urinary sodium excretion. But then, evidence linking salt to heart disease has always been tenuous at best. In fact, for every study that suggests too much salt is unhealthy, there’s another that suggests it isn’t. Although these findings run counter to advice recommended for years by the World Health Organization and the Heart and Stroke Foundation, there remains a small but vocal group of researchers who challenge the idea that large decreases in sodium consumption support better overall health for everyone, and contend that for people with normal blood pressure, elevated sodium levels are not linked to poor health outcomes.

Along with the differing opinions on the low-fat versus higher fat diet, the low-salt and higher salt intake may remain controversial for many more years. Although the findings suggest that only people with hypertension and high sodium intake should reduce their salt intake, this study will not change the public health message that we all continue to monitor and reduce salt intake in order to achieve optimal health. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, hypertension is the most common modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease and death. In an effort to reduce sodium consumption, the FDA has just issued draft guidance to the food industry for voluntarily reducing sodium in processed and commercially prepared foods. Even so, it may take many more years of sustained effort to get even close to the recommended 2,300 mg of daily dietary sodium. Getting individuals to the 1,500 mg range may be a lofty goal indeed.

References:
It’s Time to End the War on Salt. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/its-time-to-end-the-war-on-salt/
The New Salt Controversy. http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/the-new-salt-controversy/
Is the American diet too salty? Scientists challenge the longstanding government warning. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/04/06/more-scientists-doubt-salt-is-as-bad-for-you-as-the-government-says/
Low-salt diets may not be beneficial for all, study suggests. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/05/160521071410.htm
Low Sodium Intake – Cardiovascular Health Benefit or Risk? http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMe1407695
Salt Intake Not Associated with Mortality or Risk of Cardiovascular Disease, Heart Failure in Older Adults. http://media.jamanetwork.com/news-item/salt-intake-not-associated-with-mortality-or-risk-of-cardiovascular-disease-heart-failure-in-older-adults/
Low-sodium diets don’t benefit health? A closer look at the maddening debate over salt. www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/health/low-sodium-diets-dont-benefit-health-a-closer-look-at-the-maddening-debate-over-salt/article30189988/
FDA issues draft guidance to food industry for voluntarily reducing sodium in processed and commercially prepared food. http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm503874.htm