Seniors and Malnutrition

old_malnutritionJacquieIconBy Jacquie Eubanks
BSN, RN

In order to support healthy aging, retain both physical and mental wellness and manage chronic disease, eating well as we grow older is critical. The diagnosis of malnutrition, which can be described as “insufficient food intake, as compared with nutrition requirements,” affects our most vulnerable populations, the very young and the elderly. Malnutrition among mentally competent seniors, who visit hospital emergency rooms nearly 20 million times each year, is startlingly high and a cause for increasing concern. According to The National Resource Centre on Nutrition, Physical Activity and Aging, one in four older Americans currently suffers from poor nutrition. Addressing the nutritional needs of our senior citizens represents an important public health issue, as the elderly population is expected to reach 72 million people by 2030. By 2050, fully 20% of the population will be over 65 years of age.

Research shows that malnutrition is not only prevalent, it is often misdiagnosed or unrecognized. Statistics show there may be over one million homebound seniors who are malnourished. Additionally, as many as 65% of hospitalized seniors and up to 50% of seniors living in long-term care facilities are undernourished. Malnutrition can lead to loss of weight and muscle strength, decreased immunity and mental confusion or disorientation. There are many causes of malnutrition among the elderly, who are put at higher risk for health issues when undernourished. Malnutrition is not an inevitable side effect of aging, although the aging process can promote malnutrition with potentially serious health consequences. The reasons for senior malnutrition can be attributed to physical, medical and social factors.

Physical factors may include:

  • Micronutrient deficiencies, which can lead to disease states and reduced energy to perform the tasks of daily living
  • Loss of appetite and the impaired ability to regulate food intake
  • Poor dentition, which can make chewing and swallowing food difficult
  • The inability to acquire and prepare food or feed oneself
  • Normal decrease in both taste and smell that often accompanies aging

Medical factors may include:

  • Depression, dementia and loss of cognitive abilities
  • Chronic diseases and conditions
  • Medications that may reduce appetite or negatively impact absorption and metabolism of nutrients

Social factors may include:

  • Living alone, especially for men
  • Stress and bereavement
  • Financial concerns where seniors may have to choose between food and medication or other necessities
  • Poor access to healthy food or difficulty getting to the grocery store

Uncovering signs of malnutrition at the earliest stages can help prevent later complications. If you are a senior or a caregiver, be alert for signs such as weight loss, poor wound healing, easy bruising or dental difficulties. Consult with your healthcare provider about the risks of malnutrition and the side effects of medications. Be sure to discuss nutritional supplements. Dietary changes can make a big difference, as food insecure seniors have demonstrated significantly lower intakes of vital nutrients, including protein, carbohydrates, saturated fats, B vitamins, magnesium, and zinc. Be sure to eat, or encourage your loved one to eat, nutrient dense foods, including fresh fruits and raw veggies, nut butters, eggs and whole dairy products. Make food more exciting by experimenting with spices and herbs and encourage healthy between meal snacking. Promote good health, increased longevity and independence by identifying and addressing elderly nutritional concerns sooner rather than later.    

Professional Supplement Center offers these and other high end quality supplements designed to support the nutritional needs of seniors:

Active Adult 50+ MultiVitamin (Formerly Active Senior Multivitamin)Active Adult 50+ MultiVitamin by Rainbow Light Nutrition – Designed for both men and women, this active senior multivitamin may be taken along with many prescription medications. Specially blended superfoods and essential nutrients support brain, bone, joint, heart and eye health, along with increased energy. The formula includes plant based enzymes and probiotics to support digestion and utilization of nutrients. Gluten, soy, dairy, iron, PABA and vitamin K free.  SAVE 15%

Senior SymmetrySenior Symmetry by Vitanica – Designed for women over 65 years, this hypo-allergenic, high-potency multivitamin and mineral supplement is formulated with highly absorbable premium nutrients. Depending on the dosage, this formula can complement a balanced diet, provide a well-balanced therapeutic level of nutrients or provide high-potency supplementation for chronic illness. Dairy, soy and wheat free vegetarian formulation.

Enzyme Nutrition Multi-Vitamin for MenEnzyme Nutrition Multi-Vitamin for Men by Enzymedica – Formulated specifically to meet the needs of men, this product provides 100% nutrient dense whole food, enzyme-activated nutrients along with guaranteed potency probiotics in support of heart health, immune function, increased energy and healthy aging. Dairy, soy and gluten free, Non-GMO formulation. Also available Enzyme Nutrition Multi-Vitamin for Women 50+.

Multi+Pro F50+Multi+Pro F50+ by Genestra – This advanced multivitamin formula, designed specifically for women over 50 years, provides support for overall health, immune function and menopausal symptoms. Proprietary probiotic strains are included for long-term maintenance of the digestive tract and immune support. Gluten and dairy free vegetarian formula. Multi+Pro M50+ formulated for men over age 50 also available.

References:
Malnutrition and Older Americans.  http://nutritionandaging.fiu.edu/aging_network/malfact2.asp
Malnutrition and aging.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2563720/
Malnutrition Threatens Many U.S. Seniors Seen at ERs. http://consumer.healthday.com/senior-citizen-information-31/senior-citizen-news-778/seniors-malnutrition-aem-release-batch-1327-690736.html
Senior Health: How to prevent and detect malnutrition. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/caregivers/in-depth/senior-health/art-20044699?pg=1

Featured Brand – Manuka Health

Manuka_HealthSusanBiconBy Susan Brown
Health & Wellness Editor

Professional Supplement Center is pleased to announce the addition of a line of unique premium natural products from Manuka Health. Based in Te Awamutu, New Zealand, Manuka Health is dedicated to providing high quality MGO™ Manuka honey and Propolis™ products that harness some of nature’s best scientifically proven bioactive compounds garnered from New Zealand’s native flora and fauna. Manuka honey has powerful germ killing properties and is used in hospitals worldwide for treatment of antibiotic-resistant superbugs.

Manuka Health established a precise, scientific certification system for New Zealand Manuka Honey based on the concentration of the naturally occurring compound, methylglyoxal. The unique concentration of methylglyoxal contributes to the characteristics of Manuka honey and sets it apart from other honeys. Methylglyoxal honey testing is now a recognized standard for producers of Manuka honey. Working in conjunction with scientists, Manuka Health also pioneered the process of extracting and measuring the beneficial compounds of BIO New Zealand Propolis™, making it the world’s first propolis with certified levels of bioactives.

Manuka Health develops, manufactures and markets their own products to assure quality control and traceability from beehive to shelf. All raw materials meet rigorous standards of quality and safety to ensure bioactive compound levels are maintained. Every batch of MGO™ Manuka and BIO New Zealand Propolis™ is tested in their ISO certified in-house laboratory. Only the most sustainable practices are utilized in beekeeping, harvesting and processing to minimize the impact on the honey bees and the beautiful, unique and pristine countryside.

MGO 250+ Manuka HoneyMGO™ 250+ Manuka Honey – This 100% pure Manuka honey is certified to contain a minimum of 250 mg/kg of methylglyoxal, a naturally occurring compound with high levels of antibacterial and antioxidant properties. This delicious honey has other healing health benefits and is helpful for sore throats, intestinal distress, wound surface healing, energy support and general wellness.

Manuka Honey & Propolis Suckles MGO 400+Manuka Honey and Propolis Suckles MGO™ 400+ – This combination of high grade Manuka honey and Bio30™ New Zealand Propolis is naturally flavored with lemon oil and contains high levels of bioflavonoids, a natural source of antioxidants. Individually wrapped lozenges. Suitable for adults and children over 6 years of age.

ManukaClear™ Intensive BB GelManukaClear™ Intensive BB Gel – This ultra high grade MGO™ 600+ Manuka honey-based 100% natural proprietary formula helps clear trouble prone skin, smooth skin texture and maintain healthy looking skin. Non-drying, fragrance, chemical and preservative free, Non-GMO.

Manuka Honey Suckles – Lemon MGO™ 400+

Manuka Honey Suckles – Lemon MGO™ 400+ – These soothing honey and lemon lozenges contain high grade Manuka honey flavored with natural lemon oil. Individually wrapped and suitable for adults and children over 6 years of age.

Vitamin D and Your Good Health

VitaminDJacquieIconBy Jacquie Eubanks
BSN, RN

Vitamin D has been in the news a lot lately. It’s not surprising, considering that vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency is now considered a global public health challenge, affecting an estimated 1 billion people worldwide. According to new research, fully 75% of American teens and adults may have insufficient levels of vitamin D, a dramatic increase from about 40% in the last decade or so. Since the body can manufacture vitamin D when skin is exposed to sunlight, what’s causing the alarmingly high rates of deficiency in the general population?

For one thing, there are few food sources that contain naturally occurring vitamin D. Known dietary sources include wild salmon, tuna and mackerel, beef liver, mushrooms and fortified foods such as cereal, juice or dairy products. Throughout evolution, humans have depended on sunlight, rather than foods, to meet their vitamin D requirement. In addition, many of us don’t eat fish or drink milk and, as far as serving beef liver with mushrooms for dinner, well, good luck with that.

Spending too much time indoors, especially in winter, means little exposure to sunlight and without sunlight, our skin cannot produce the “sunshine” vitamin. Another very good reason for deficiency is the high use of sunscreens, which can block the skin’s vitamin D production by 99%, even with an SPF as low as 15. The recommendation to avoid all sun exposure, unless slathered with copious amounts of high SPF sunscreen or covering up from head to toe, has resulted in a marked increase in the risk of vitamin D deficiency. The body is designed to produce large amounts of natural vitamin D when lots of bare skin, such as the back or torso, is regularly exposed to sensible amounts of sunlight, ideally when the sun is high in the sky.

Sensible sun exposure varies and can mean as little as 5 – 15 minutes several times each week for a fair skinned person to more than an hour for a darker skinned person. Finding the right amount of exposure time is problematic, as you don’t want to burn, which can increase the risk of developing skin cancers. Sensible, frequent sun exposure is healthy, overexposure is not. After a bit of exposure, applying sunscreen, covering up and getting into the shade are considered safe ways to protect your skin from harmful rays.

One good rule of thumb for getting the most benefit from sun exposure to is pay attention to your shadow. If your shadow is longer than you are tall, as it is most of winter, you are not making much vitamin D. If your shadow is shorter, like it is in summer in the middle of the day, more vitamin D is being produced. The farther you live from the equator, the harder it is to produce vitamin D from sunlight, especially during winter. Aging, obesity, certain medications and health conditions, such as Crohn’s and celiac disease, are additional causes of vitamin D deficiencies.

Why all the fuss about deficiency? The most well-known consequences of deficiency are rickets in children and osteomalacia or osteoporosis in adults. Vitamin D promotes calcium and phosphorus absorption, important in the development and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth. Ongoing research has shown that vitamin D has many roles to play in human health. Vitamin D facilitates normal immune function and improves resistance against certain diseases. Mounting evidence links low levels of vitamin D to an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, dementia, depression, increased blood pressure, muscle weakness, bone pain and breast, colon, prostate, ovarian and other cancers.

To recap, we can get our vitamin D in three different ways — from sun exposure, dietary sources and by supplementing. Getting the right amounts of vitamin D seems tricky, but it doesn’t have to be. As you can’t really depend on getting adequate amounts from foods or on getting just the right amount of sun exposure, many people choose to safely increase their vitamin D intake by supplementing. If your goal is to lower your blood pressure, reduce your risk of diabetes, lower your risks of heart attacks, rheumatoid arthritis and autoimmune disease, inhibit cancer cell growth and improve your overall health, don’t neglect your vitamin D levels.

Some medical organizations, such as The American Academy of Dermatology recommend against getting any sun exposure at all. If you have concerns about sun exposure or have a history of skin cancer, supplementing with vitamin D3 is a very effective way to get the vital amounts of vitamin D your body needs for good health. Supplementation guidelines vary. In general, a therapeutic range for children one year and older is 600 – 1,000 IUs daily and adults 1,500 – 2,000 IUs. Depending upon your own personal health status, your healthcare provider can recommend optimal amounts for you. Consider taking vitamin K2 along with vitamin D3, as these two nutrients work synergistically to strengthen your bones and improve your health.

If you are pregnant, nursing or taking blood thinning medications, please consult your healthcare provider before supplementing with vitamins D3 and K2. Should you have any questions about vitamin D3 supplementation, please call or email Professional Supplement Center.

Liquid Vitamin D3 with K2Liquid Vitamin D3 with K2 by Ortho Molecular – This tasteless, odorless natural liquid formula provides vitamin D3 and K2 in a base of medium chain triglycerides (MCT). MCTs allow for superior absorption of the bone, immune and cardiac supporting nutrients.

 

Vitamin D3 2000 I.U.

Vitamin D3 2000 IU by Vital Nutrients – For those who prefer tablet form, this product supplies 2000 IU per dose and promotes bone health, calcium absorption and the maintenance of healthy serum calcium levels.

 

Bio-D-MulsionBio-D-Mulsion by Biotics Research – This highly absorbable liquid formula supplies 400 IU of vitamin D per drop. Necessary for musculoskeletal, cardiovascular and immune health, this popular formula works well for those with malabsorption issues. Gluten free.

 

Vitamin D/K2 Liquid (KD500)Vitamin D/K2 Liquid by Thorne Research – Naturally preserved with mixed tocopherols and in combination with MCT oil, this easy to take liquid formula provides powerful support for normal cell formation, healthy bones, immunity and maintenance of the cardiovascular system. Gluten, soy and dairy free.   No additional ingredients.

References:
Vitamin D deficiency soars in the U.S.  http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/vitamin-d-deficiency-united-states/
How do I get the vitamin D my body needs?   https://www.vitamindcouncil.org/about-vitamin-d/how-do-i-get-the-vitamin-d-my-body-needs/
Vitamin D Deficiency: a worldwide problem with health consequences. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/87/4/1080S.full#sec-3

Can Vitamin B3 Prevent Certain Cancers?

In_The_NewsSusanBiconBy Susan Brown
Health & Wellness Editor

Researchers at the Dermatology University in Sydney, Australia recently announced the outcome of a yearlong study which showed promising results for prevention of recurring skin cancer in those with a history of basal and squamous cell carcinomas, the most common types of skin cancers. The study did not involve melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer. The nearly 400 study participants, who had experienced at least two skin cancers in the previous five years, were given either 500 mg of nicotinamide, which is a form of vitamin B3, or a placebo twice daily for one year. The study showed that those who were given the vitamin supplements had a 23% lower incidence of recurrence, as compared to those who were given the placebo. This means that those who took this specific type of vitamin B3 developed fewer cancers on average than those who did not, suggesting that nicotinamide might modestly lower the risk of basal and squamous cell cancer reoccurrence in people with a health history of these troublesome growths.

More than 5 million cases of basal and squamous cell cancers are diagnosed every year in the United States. While these cancers are rarely lethal, they are persistent and often reappear, requiring removal through surgery, freezing with liquid nitrogen, or radiation. In addition to reducing the rate of skin cancers, use of the vitamin appeared to cut the rate of precancers, those scaly patches of skin known as actinic keratoses. Researchers say that vitamin B3 gives cells the energy boost they need to turn on the immune system to repair DNA in cells that have been damaged by sun exposure. As always, sun sensible behavior, such as avoiding overexposure, wearing hats and applying sunscreen, is still considered the best way to lower the initial risk of developing skin cancers.

Currently, nicotinamide is not suggested for those with no history of skin cancer. As always, Professional Supplement Center recommends checking in with your healthcare provider before starting any new supplement regimen. For those with a history of basal or squamous cell skin cancers, a nicotinamide regimen may potentially provide an enormous benefit and may help reduce the chances of reoccurrence. According to Dr. David Agus, director of USC’s Norris Westside Cancer Center, “The 23% reduction is a dramatic number that could make a dramatic difference in reducing cancer rates.”

References:
Study: Vitamin B3 may help prevent certain skin cancers.  http://raycomgroup.worldnow.com/story/29057377/study-vitamin-b3-may-help-prevent-certain-skin-cancers
ASCO: Vitamin B3 Derivative Cuts Risk for New Skin Cancers. http://www.medpagetoday.com/MeetingCoverage/ASCO/51576

Omega-3’s for Vegetarians

Omega3_VegJacquieIconBy Jacquie Eubanks
BSN, RN

Omega-3’s are called “essential” fatty acids because the body requires them for the vital role they play in the health of all bodily cells. Although essential for optimal health, the body cannot manufacture these polyunsaturated fats and they must be obtained through dietary sources. Cold water oily fish and fish oil supplements are the main dietary sources of omega-3 eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) essential fatty acids. For decades, science has shown that the omega-3’s found in fish oils have numerous positive health benefits.

In addition to favorable cardiovascular protective effects, mounting scientific evidence shows that a diet rich in omega-3’s supports healthy brain function, promotes healthy eyes and vision, supports a healthy immune response and protects nerve and brain cells from oxidative stress and damage. Omega-3’s also promote healthy triglyceride levels, support joint mobility and flexibility, support digestive and gastrointestinal health, promote the metabolism of dietary fat and cholesterol and encourage a healthy inflammatory response. Whew! If you are not eating fish several times each week or taking fish oil supplements, the question is why not?

If the answer is simply that you follow a vegetarian diet or that you really don’t care for fish, be sure that you include plant-sourced alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) omega-3 in your daily meals. ALA can be found in palm, flaxseed, coconut and olive oils, in raw nuts such as cashews, pecans and walnuts, some seeds like chia and flaxseed and in some green vegetables such as kale, spinach and Brussels sprouts. Other dietary options include omega-3 enriched foods, including eggs and fortified dairy foods. As ALA is actually a precursor to EPA and DHA, a vegetarian’s challenge is the reliance on favorable circumstances for bodily processes to convert dietary ALA to the biologically active forms of EPA and DHA. Unfortunately, this conversion is often inefficient and may be negatively affected by age, genetics, health status and poorly designed diets.

Although conversion can be slow or incomplete, sufficient ALA intake may be enough to supply adequate levels to avoid deficiency but may not be enough for optimal health. Evidence shows that vegetarians’ blood and tissue levels of EPA and DHA are about one half that of non-vegetarians. Our body’s abilities to make EPA and DHA from ALA partly depends on the other types of fats we eat. High consumption of omega-6 fats, found in corn, safflower and other blended vegetables oils, can interfere with ALA conversion. Getting enough DHA is particularly troublesome, as possibly excessive amounts of ALA are required to produce more optimal DHA levels.

Ideally, we need a ratio of about 3:1 omega-6 fats to omega-3 fats. Our modern diet is skewed heavily in the direction of omega-6, which is pro-inflammatory and aids blood clotting, and seriously lacking in omega-3, which is anti-inflammatory and an anti-coagulant. Many of us, especially vegans and vegetarians, need to take a closer look at our diets to ensure not only a more balanced ratio, but that we are getting the omega-3’s we require for good health. Adding more plant based omega-3 fatty acids to our diets is a good idea for all us, as these foods also contain vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytonutrients. The amount of omega-3’s contained in fish is closely related to what the fish eat. Fish that eat algae and sea plants that are rich in omega-3’s contain the highest amounts of omega-3’s. Supplementing is a way for those who don’t eat fish to ensure they are getting optimal amounts of these healthy essential fats.

Because there are limited options for vegans and vegetarians to ensure sufficient amounts of DHA through diet, supplementing can reduce the risk of dietary deficiency and provide the numerous health benefits of omega-3’s, especially for those over 60 years of age. Minimizing oils high in omega-6 and cutting back on fried foods will also aid ALA conversion to EPA and DHA. In order to convert ALA, the body needs other nutrients including vitamins B3, B6 and C and the minerals zinc and magnesium. In addition to providing an excellent source of soluble and insoluble fibers, flax seeds is the richest source of ALA for everyone and especially suitable for vegetarians.

Professional Supplement Center offers these and other high quality omega-3 and multi-nutrient supplements for vegans and vegetarians:

Vegan Omega-3 DHA-EPA 300 mg

Vegan Omega-3 DHA-EPA 300 mg by Deva Nutrition – This 100% vegan product contains high potency omega-3’s derived from microalgae grown in a controlled environment in an FDA inspected facility. Free of gluten, dairy or animal products.

 

Flax Seed Oil Capsules Organic Cold Pressed
Organic Cold Pressed Flax Seed Oil by Ortho Molecular – Two softgels provide 2,000 mg of organic flax seed oil, known to have the highest amount of omega-3 ALA and LA essential fatty acids. Gluten and soy free.

 

Vegan 1-a-Day MultivitaminVegan 1-a-Day Multivitamin by Deva Nutrition – This formula, enriched with whole green foods, vegetable powders and special herbs, provides high potency, balanced multiple vitamins and minerals especially formulated to meet the unique nutritional needs of vegans and vegetarians. Free of wheat, gluten, dairy and animal products. 100% Certified Vegan.

MediPro Vegan All in One Shake - Chai (SP678)MediPro Vegan All-in-One Shake by Thorne Research – Ideal for vegans, vegetarians and dairy-sensitive individuals, this non-whey, vegetable based, multi-nutrient protein powder provides 27 grams of protein per serving. This formula contains a proprietary blends of pea, potato and chlorella proteins, fibers, fruits, vegetables, digestive enzymes and probiotics. Gluten and dairy free, Non-GMO vegan/vegetarian formula.

 

References:
Vegetarian’s Challenge – Optimizing Essential Fatty Acid Status. http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/020810p22.shtml
Omega-3 Fatty Acid Recommendations for Vegetarians. http://www.veganhealth.org/articles/omega3
Plant Sources of Omega 3s. http://my.clevelandclinic.org/services/heart/prevention/nutrition/food-choices/plant-sources-of-omega-3s

 

Featured Brand – Ayush Herbs®

Ayush_HerbsSusanBiconBy Susan Brown
Health & Wellness Editor

Ayush Herbs® combines the ancient principles of Ayurvedic medicine with the latest scientific technology to formulate the highest quality herbal supplements and essential oils. All products are formulated by Ayurvedic and Naturopathic physicians utilizing herbs that are naturally grown, harvested and wild-crafted in their pristine Himalayan habitat. The products are manufactured in the U.S. using ingredients grown on their own farms and processed at their wholly-owned, state-of-the-art ISO and GMP certified facility in Nagrota Bagwan in Himachal Pradesh, India.

All production is overseen by a team of biotechnologists and physicians in temperature, humidity and dust controlled rooms to ensure that Ayush® provides fresh, safe, natural, unadulterated excellent quality products. All raw materials undergo testing for heavy metals and microbials before processing. Potency, label verification and efficacy is assured by third party independent testing of every formulation.

Amla PlexAmla Plex – Formulated with a proprietary blend of 38 selected ingredients, including spices and herbal extracts, this ancient Ayurvedic recipe provides powerful immune and antioxidant support. It is designed to promote vitality and to support all bodily systems. Amla Plex offers nutritional support for all ages and is considered both a rejuvenate and an adaptogen. No added ingredients or fillers.

Carditone
Carditone® – One of our most popular producs from Ayush Herbs®, Carditone® is traditionally used to support blood pressure, kidney and cardiovascular health. No added ingredients or fillers.

 

AshwagandhaAshwagandha – One of the most highly regarded and widely used Ayurvedic herbs, Ashwagandha acts as an adaptogen to support the immune system and to nourish and strengthen the body. Used as a daily rasayana, Ashwagandha supports physical and mental health, healthy sexual function and healthy metabolism. No added ingredients or fillers.  

Macuna Plus
Macuna Plus – Based on an ancient Ayurvedic recipe and designed to provide cognitive and nervous system support, this product contains a proprietary blend of standardized extracts of valerian, ashwagandha and centella asiatica. No added fillers or ingredients.

Curcumin 97%
Curcumin 97% – This formula contains 97% pure curcuminoids to support a healthy inflammatory and metabolic response and to provide important antioxidant, detoxification and healthy brain support. No additional ingredients or fillers.

 

Natural Anti-Inflammatories for Pain Relief

Pain_ReliefJacquieIconBy Jacquie Eubanks
BSN, RN

There are actually millions of us who experience the occasional discomfort of acute pain, such as a seemingly sudden back ache or muscle soreness after exercise, which may be a normal consequence of strain or overuse. Then there are those who have steady, constant and sometimes debilitating chronic pain, which can be the result of an accident or health conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia or a serious infection. Pain is largely the result of inflammation, which is part of the body’s natural immune response to injury or disease as defenses kick in to protect and heal the body. Typically, pro-inflammatory cytokines play a well established essential role in the inflammatory and neuropathic pain signaling processes.  

For relief of inflammation-induced sporadic pain, many of us are quick to pop an OTC anti-inflammatory product that is generally recognized as safe. Alternately, severe chronic pain may necessitate diagnosis and treatment and may result in pharmaceutical prescription medications for relief, which often carry an array of possible side effects, including addiction and gastrointestinal problems. According to the National Institutes of Health, some side effects can be life threatening, including a higher risk of heart attack, stroke, and acute renal failure. In fact, the National Kidney Foundation asserts that the substantial overuse of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) is directly related 10% of kidney failures each year.

Because of the real health and safety concerns of side effects regarding the long-term use of both OTC and prescription medications for chronic and degenerative pain conditions, there is a greater interest in herbal remedies and dietary supplements that can reduce pain and inflammation by inhibiting inflammatory pathways in a similar pattern as NSAIDs. Alternative treatments for occasional pain might also include rest, chiropractic adjustments, massage or acupuncture and when the time is right, yoga, tai chi or other muscle strengthening exercises to reduce pain and enhance the quality of life.

Those seeking an alternative solution for temporary pain may want to consider natural anti-inflammatory compounds, which contain ingredients that have been effectively used for centuries to reduce pain and inflammation without undesirable side effects. Some may require patience for optimal results. Although non-steroidal medications can be effective, herbs and dietary supplements may offer a safer, and often an effective, alternative treatment for pain relief, especially for long-term use.

Omega-3 essential fatty acids – Research has shown that EPA and DHA, omega-3 fatty acids, are effective natural anti-inflammatory agents. The American Heart Association recommends fish oil supplements for prevention of vascular inflammation, an underlying cause of coronary artery disease. Many positive clinical studies have shown fish oil to significantly reduce joint tenderness and stiffness in arthritic persons, which may lead to a reduction in NSAID use.

Curcumin – Derived from turmeric, curcumin has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicines as an effective anti-inflammatory agent. As a result of its long history and its demonstrated effect on inflammatory pathways, curcumin is considered a viable natural alternative to non-steroidal agents for pain relief and treatment of inflammation.

Pycnogenol – This maritime pine bark has also been used since ancient times for healing and reducing inflammation. Because it naturally contains a potent blend of polyphenols, pycnogenol is considered one of the most effective antioxidant compounds.

White willow bark – Similar to pycnogenol, white willow bark is one of the oldest herbal remedies for pain and inflammation. Its use dates back to ancient Egyptian, Roman, Greek and Indian civilizations. White willow bark action has shown to have an efficacy similar to aspirin in that it blocks inflammatory prostaglandins, without the possible side effects of long-term aspirin use.  

MSM – Methylsulfonylmethane, an organic sulfur compound, has many therapeutic benefits. Among these is its high degree of success in treating chronic pain caused by arthritis, muscle aches, sports and personal injuries and fibromyalgia. MSM has been shown to safely and effectively fight inflammation and reduce or eliminate muscle soreness, stiffness and cramping.

As with any dietary supplement, if you are pregnant, nursing or taking medications, always consult with your health care provider prior to starting any new regimen. Our knowledgeable staff is always ready to assist you and answer any questions you may have about any of our dietary supplements.  

OmegaGenics EPA-DHA 720OmegaGenics EPA-DHA 720 by Metagenics – This product provides a healthy balance of highly concentrated, pure omega-3 essential fatty acids. Sourced from cold water marine lipids and produced in Norway at a licensed pharmaceutical plant, these natural lemon flavored softgels are stabilized with natural antioxidants to ensure freshness. Gluten, soy and dairy free, Non-GMO formulation.

MSM powderMSM Powder by Pure Encapsulations – This patented MSM product contains 99.7% pure elemental sulfur, a naturally occurring organic compound that promotes healthy joints and provides crucial connective tissue support. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegetarian product.

Turmero Active (K-75)Turmero™ Active (K-75) by Apex Energetics – This liquid herbal formula provides a unique source of 95% concentrated curcuminoids in an emulsified micronized structure. The formula includes black pepper extract for enhanced utilization. Easily administered by oral syringe included with product. Natural orange flavor.

Pycnogenol 100 mg
Pycnogenol® 100 mg by PhysioLogics – One rapid-release capsule delivers 100 mg of pure natural plant extract obtained from French maritime pine bark grown in southwest France. Gluten, soy and dairy free formula.

 

TraumericTraumeric by Ortho Molecular – This natural anti-inflammatory product contains a synergistic blend of standardized turmeric root extract, bromelain, quercetin and rutin, which work to limit the action of certain impeding enzymes in the inflammation pathways in order to reduce acute inflammation.

 

References:
Natural anti-inflammatory agents for pain relief. Online. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3011108/
Choosing Natural Supplements for Arthritis Pain Relief. Online. http://www.healthnews.com/en/news/Choosing-Natural-Supplements-for-Arthritis-Pain-Relief/3KLokZr8H7SPvXriP7RZUd/
Pain In America. Online. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/chronic_pain/chronic_pain.htm#Is_there_any_treatment
What is inflammation? What causes inflammation. Online. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/248423.php#why_does_inflammation_cause_pain

Have You Fed Your Brain Today?

Feed_BrainJacquieIconBy Jacquie Eubanks
BSN, RN

Looking to boost your brainpower or preserve your memories? You may want to start with nutrition and hydration. Nutrition plays a critical role in both long and short term brain health. The brain is composed of 100 billion brain cells, called neurons, that require a steady diet of good healthy fats, protein, complex carbohydrates and micronutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients. While many know we need to drink water regularly throughout the day to stay hydrated, some may not realize that water is essential to optimal brain health and function and that even mild dehydration has a negative effect on brain performance. In short, our bodies need healthy nutrition and a good amount of water daily for optimal function. Unhealthy food choices can damage the brain and the body, and can cause every organ and cell of the body to work harder to maintain physical and mental functioning.

The better you feed your brain, the easier it is for your body to support elevated brain function and stabilize blood sugar and energy levels. Ideally, one should start with a nutritious diet at a young age and continue throughout life to get the most therapeutic benefit, but now is as good a time as any to change your diet to positively influence your long term health. In fact, studies of women who followed a healthy diet during middle age showed that they were 40% more likely to live well into their 70’s without chronic illness and physical and mental health challenges. It’s safe to say, we would all want to maintain our mental edge well into our golden years.

Growing research suggests that eating a healthy diet, such as the traditional Mediterranean diet, can help boost our cognitive function and may help to prevent age-related brain atrophy, thereby reducing the risks of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The Mediterranean diet incorporates low amounts of dairy and meats and high amounts of healthy fish, plus fruits, veggies, olive oils, legumes, whole grain complex carbs, nuts and, of course, a nice glass or two of red wine. On the other hand, the standard American diet is composed largely of unhealthy fats, processed foods, added sugars, simple carbs, unlimited amounts of meat and low amounts of fruits and vegetables, which does not support a healthy, nutritious diet or a healthy brain.  

Why is the Mediterranean eating plan so powerful for physical and mental health?

  • The diet helps to lower inflammation and oxidative stress, underlying causes of age- related chronic diseases and cognitive loss.
  • The high fiber grains, fruits and vegetables help to slow digestion and improve glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity, while providing antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals.
  • Diets high in antioxidants may improve memory by fighting the free radicals that can damage brain neurons.
  • Fish provides essential fatty acids, so important for maintaining normal cognitive functions, mental clarity, concentration and focus.
  • Dairy products provide vitamin D, which aids the growth of new neurons, supports memory functions and improves mood. Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to poor memory and cognitive function.
  • Nutrient-rich complex carbs provide glucose, the brain’s principal source of fuel. Complex carbs are the body’s main source of energy and help keep blood sugar levels stable, while elevating brain function. Simple carbs have no nutritive value and cause blood sugar to spike rapidly, followed all too soon by a crash that can leave you feeling depleted of energy.
  • The diet contains natural sugar not added sugars. Natural sugar found in complex carbs breaks down slowly to provide longer lasting energy. Excessive glucose in the form of added sugar can increase free radical inflammatory stress on the brain and can be detrimental to brain functions, such as attention span, short-term memory and mood stability.

If changing your diet could slash your risk of developing cognitive decline and neurogenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s, would you do it? A study recently published in the journal Alzheimer’s and Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, found that following a combination of the Mediterranean and the Dash diet, appropriately named the MIND diet, can lower the risk of Alzheimer’s by as much as 53% in those who closely follow the diet. The study showed that even those who follow the diet moderately well can reduce their risk of cognitive decline by about 35%.

Very similar in content to the Mediterranean diet, the DASH diet is aimed at preventing high blood pressure and is highly recommended by the National Institutes of Health and The American Heart Association. The diets are similar in nature and either is considered a top nutrition plan for heart and brain health and function, as both diets are nutrient and vitamin rich and high in fiber. The Mediterranean diet is slightly richer in heart and brain healthy fats and omega-3’s, while the Dash diet is lower in sodium and fats.  

Whichever way you choose to go, the combination of moderate daily exercise and a brain and heart healthy diet plan can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension and stroke and offer favorable protection against the risks of developing Alzheimer’s. While a number of factors may contribute to cognitive decline, including genetics, environment and lifestyle, good nutrition is now believed to be a very effective prevention measure.

Vitamins and minerals that boost brain power include antioxidant vitamins C and E, B complex vitamins, which support neurotransmitter production and help to preserve brain function and mental acuity, and magnesium, which helps to protect the brain against neurotoxins.

Professional Supplement Center offers these and other great products that support healthy brain function:

Cognitive Rx
Cognitive Rx™ by Complimed – This very comprehensive anti-aging brain health formula provides nutritive support for healthy mental function and memory, as well as antioxidant support for brain and nerve tissue. Gluten and dairy free vegetarian formulation.

Super Lion's ManeSuper Lion’s Mane by Mushroom Wisdom – Long used in Traditional Chinese medicine to promote immune and digestive health, Lion’s Mane has been shown to inhibit the formation of toxic peptide in brain cells and stimulate the synthesis of nerve growth factor (NGF), which may protect nerves in the brain and body from age-related deterioration. Wheat, soy and dairy free formula.

Vital Brain Powder
Vital Brain Powder by Vital Nutrients – This product supports brain health and vitality and cognitive function, including mental focus, memory, concentration, positive outlook and overall brain wellness. Gluten and dairy free. Contains soy.

 

ProDHA 1000 mg StrawberryPro DHA™ 1000 mg Strawberry by Nordic Naturals – This pure, high potency formula promotes neurological health and supports healthy mood, memory and cognitive function. Sourced from purified deep sea fish oil and third party tested for toxins or contaminants. Gluten and dairy free, Non-GMO formulation.

References:
Adopt a Mediterranean diet now for better health later. http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/adopt-a-mediterranean-diet-now-for-better-health-later-201311066846
New MIND diet may significantly protect against Alzheimer’s disease. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2015-03-mind-diet-significantly-alzheimer-disease.html
Mediterranean Diet Linked to Larger Brain Volume.
http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/843853
Have You Fed Your Brain Today?
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/prime-your-gray-cells/201109/have-you-fed-your-brain-today
Healthy Brain for Life.
http://www.healthybrainforlife.com/articles/school-health-and-nutrition/feeding-the-brain-for-academic-success-how
Mediterranean Diet for all.
http://www.mediterraneandietforall.com/mediterranean-diet-vs-dash-diet/

Featured Brand – Douglas Laboratories

Douglas_LabsSusanBiconBy Susan Brown
Health & Wellness Editor
 

For 50 years, Douglas Laboratories has been researching, developing and manufacturing superior science-based nutritional supplements that positively impact health and wellness. Their innovative formulas are produced in state-of-the-art cGMP compliant, FDA audited manufacturing facilities located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Douglas makes use of uncompromising operational standards and manufacturing regulations such as Vendor Certification Program (VCP) to ensure raw material quality and Veri-Match electronic label match-to-formula system to ensure content accuracy. Douglas is approved to produce Certified Organic products along with NSF Certified for Sport® products.

Their clinical advisors include doctors specializing in endocrinology, integrative medicine, chiropractic, holistic urology, biochemistry, molecular biology, medical acupuncture, gynecology and family practice physicians, many of whom are board certified and work together to share the gift of health. As a result, in 2013 Consumer Lab named Douglas Laboratories the #1 rated healthcare practitioner brand. Their innovative formulas are available through health care practitioners and high end specialty stores.

Some of our customers’ favorite products include:

Ultra Preventive® X (200569)Ultra Preventive® X (200569) – This supplement is ideal for those who are looking for highly absorbable, synergistic vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. This formula provides support for energy production, hormonal balance, the nervous system and healthy blood cell maintenance with no side effects or toxic buildup. Yeast, gluten, soy and dairy free, non-GMO vegetarian formula.
 
 
Multi-Probiotic 4000 (7497)
Multi-Probiotic 4000 (7497) – This product provides a proprietary blend of 4 billion beneficial microorganisms along with prebiotics in support of a healthy functioning intestinal tract. Regular use helps to establish and maintain healthy gut function and supports a healthy immune response. Yeast, gluten, soy, and dairy free, non-GMO formula.
 
 
Corvalen Ribose (57451P)Corvalen® D-Ribose (57451P) – This rapidly dissolved and readily absorbed all natural pentose sugar is designed to support cardiovascular health, energy production, and mitochondrial function. Clinically proven to meet the substantial energy requirements of the heart, muscles and cells, this product aids in quick energy restoration and reduces muscle soreness, stiffness and fatigue. Yeast, soy, gluten and dairy free, non-GMO formula.
 
 
Stress-B-PlusStress-B-Plus (7452) – This comprehensive array of B vitamins provides all of the essential B vitamins along with their related nutrients and co-enzymes. B vitamins play an integral role in most major metabolic functions including energy production, metabolism, and nervous system function. Gluten, soy, yeast and dairy free, non-GMO vegan formula.
 
 

Is Obesity The New Normal?

ObesitySusanBiconBy Susan Brown
Health & Wellness Editor
 

Obesity affects people of all ages and incomes and is steadily increasing, not just in the U.S. but globally as well. As acceptance of obesity becomes more widespread, our perception of what constitutes a normal healthy weight is changing. Apparently, Americans now fail to recognize an unhealthy body weight, even as we are undergoing a population-wide obesity epidemic. Even more alarming, parents don’t notice that their children are overweight when they themselves may also be obese. When obesity becomes increasingly normalized, we are less likely to consider it a problem. The reality is that there are real health concerns and increased risk factors for chronic disease connected to obesity, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, metabolic syndrome and premature death. While our weight is on a steady incline, our health is on a steady decline.

Obesity is changing the world around us. Society is adapting by creating products to accommodate larger folks. Already hefty restaurant portions are increasing, door frames are getting wider and clothing sizes are subtly changing. A dress that was considered a size 8 in the 1950’s is now labeled a size 4, a perfect example of clothing manufacturers adapting to people’s growing sizes while not drawing attention to the fact. Another clever trick, not changing the label size but adding inches of material all around. These changes mean a person can gain 10 – 20 pounds and still fit into the same clothing size. It may stroke someone’s ego, but in the long run may also be increasing their risk of having an actual stroke. Sadly, even coffins are larger than ever, with one company manufacturing triple wide coffins that can hold a 700 pound person. 700 pounds! Something is terribly wrong here.

Many businesses are adapting to accommodate larger sized employees, as they see the value of highly productive workers who just happen to be obese. Some are creating special parking spots or are providing bigger office chairs, while some even remodel their office space to create a larger area between the desk and the wall. Doctor’s scales that used to top out at 300 pounds now allow for 400 or 500 pounds One place where you won’t see accommodation changes any time soon relates to airline seats. Individual passenger space is getting smaller not larger, with some airlines charging passengers for a second seat if they can’t comfortably lower the armrests. At issue is neighboring passenger comfort, as well as concerns over swift evacuation of obese persons and possible hindrance of others in an emergency.

A good two-thirds of our population is now considered obese. Obesity doesn’t occur overnight and weight gain is gradual. Increasingly, research indicates a new class of severely obese kids is steadily rising from the merely overweight to the more concerning extreme obesity. Growing children have traditionally been on the thin side as they burned up their energy running and playing outdoors. Now, inactivity, socioeconomic status, unhealthy diets, environmental influences and parents who are overweight themselves are all seen as contributors to the epidemic. Children can be set on a path to lifetime obesity by the age of 2, as statistics show that obese children have a 70% greater chance of obesity in adulthood. Of large concern is the failure of parents to recognize obesity in their own children, as gradual weight changes are largely invisible.

Despite being essentially preventable, childhood obesity has become a significant problem that can cause a multitude of health issues including diabetes, heart disease, fatty liver disease and hypertension. In order to improve their children’s health and self esteem, parents will need to recognize and accept their child’s weight problem yet encourage and support increased activity and the necessary dietary changes. Unfortunately, as excess weight becomes increasingly normalized, we are no longer alarmed by it and we are doing ourselves and our children a disservice. Early intervention is the key to preventing a lifetime of health problems related to excess weight.

The question remains, should we continue to tackle the obesity epidemic by installing larger seats at stadiums and theaters, which means fewer seats and higher tickets prices? Should hospitals be expected to stock heavy duty wheelchairs and stronger beds? Or should we expect people to turn their lives around and take control of their weight and their long-term health and longevity? When manufacturers compare chairs made with larger seats to a pair of comfy jeans and clothing companies continue to disguise true clothing sizes, it seems quite a huge (no pun intended) expectation to predict that the obesity epidemic will abate any time soon. When excess weight becomes increasingly normalized, we may fail to see our child, the person sitting next to us or the person in the mirror as overweight.

As our collective perception of normal weight is becoming increasingly skewed, the negative effects on our societal long-term public health is more than a little concerning. Alarmingly, the U.S. could be facing its first sustained drop in life expectancy in modern times. Over the next few decades, life expectancy for the average American, especially children and young adults, could decline by as much as 5 years, unless aggressive efforts are made to slow the rising and unprecedented normalization of obesity rates,. “Obesity is such that this generation of children could be the first basically in the history of the United States to live less healthful and shorter lives than their parents,” said Dr. David S. Ludwig, director of the obesity program at Children’s Hospital Boston. Very concerning, indeed.

References:
How obesity is reshaping our world.
http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-12354738
Severe Childhood Obesity Worrying Doctors.
http://www.medicaldaily.com/severe-childhood-obesity-worrying-doctors-fat-becomes-new-normal-275082
Workplaces Feel The Impact of Obesity.
http://www.npr.org/2011/10/27/141760591/workplaces-feel-the-impact-of-obesity
Obesity Is Now So Normal That Parents Can’t See It in Their Kids. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/obesity-is-now-so-normal-that-parents-can-t-see-it-in-their-kids/