Preventing Diabetes with Nutrition

Diabetes_DietJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

 

 

Based on a comprehensive review of randomized clinical trials and observational studies of diabetes and nutrition, investigators at the Joslin Diabetes Center and Harvard School of Public Health have determined that an unhealthy diet is a major contributing factor in the development of type 2 diabetes. And, according to Osama Hamdy, M.D., Ph.D., Medical Director of Joslin’s Obesity Clinical Program and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, “Nutrition can be used as medicine to prevent and control diabetes in a very effective way.” The researchers found that certain foods and dietary patterns could help prevent type 2 diabetes, even without weight loss.

In recent decades, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes in the U.S and worldwide. Diabetes is associated with increased mortality, largely due to the vascular complications of the disease. While genetics, obesity, inflammation, family history, lack of physical activity and lifestyle factors, such as excess alcohol consumption and smoking, are all contributing factors, a nutrient dense diet appears to have a huge impact on prevention. While most people associate the word “diet” with fads or deprivation, your diet is actually everything that you consume on a daily basis, whether it’s nutrient dense foods or high calorie foods that contain no nutrient value.

Headlines can be confusing and often times dietary recommendations are contradictory. This much is known–genetics account for approximately 25% of your risk of early death and the remaining 75% can be attributed to your diet, even more so than exercise. While we can’t change our genes, we can control our diet and change our attitudes towards amending our unhealthy habits. According to the National Alliance for Nutrition & Activity, the combination of poor nutrition and lack of physical activity is responsible for 1 of 3 premature deaths. The good news is that, contrary to what many people think, our diets don’t need to be ridiculously restrictive to be healthy.

Simply adopting a more nutritious eating plan, which doesn’t require deprivation or result in rumbling tummies, can lead to a longer, healthier life, free of diabetes and other chronic diseases. Statistics show that those who choose to eat an anti-inflammatory diet, such as the Mediterranean style diet, have a lower risk of developing diabetes. Other eating plans, such as the low-carb/low glycemic index diet or a diet that includes quality plant-based proteins, can improve glycemic control and disease risk factors. Dietary foods that are associated with a higher risk of diabetes include red and processed meats, sugary drinks, refined grains and excessive alcohol.

According to the Joslin Diabetes Center, a diet that includes healthy fats, such as olive, avocado and nut oils, high protein foods such as fish, poultry, dairy, beans and legumes, and high fiber fruits, vegetables and whole grains, is associated with lower risks of developing diabetes and chronic diseases. With this type of eating plan, the quality and type of dietary fats and carbohydrates are more important than the quantity. In other words, when you eat healthy foods, you don’t have to go hungry nor do you need to count calories. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that only 10% of Americans eat a healthy diet. The Standard American Diet is too high in refined sugars, salt, refined oils and unhealthy fats, and too low in fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fiber. Additionally, 50% of Americans are not physically active, even though regular physical activity helps to prevent diabetes, heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure and some types of cancer. Sadly, 7 of 10 Americans who die each year die of a largely preventable chronic disease.

Nutrient dense foods provide your body with the necessary tools to repair itself, build strength and provide energy. Though we may hear it over and over again, adopting a largely plant based diet with lots of raw vegetables, fresh fruits, legumes and nuts gives your body the fiber, phytonutrients and antioxidants it needs for good health and longevity. Some say the health benefit of adopting a plant based diet is the equivalent of quitting smoking. And to keep things in perspective, if you eat healthy, whole foods the majority of the time, you can enjoy those occasional grilled steaks and sweet treats without harming your health.

Cardiologist Dr. Ken Williams, President of the American College of Cardiology puts it all in perspective by stating, “I don’t mind dying. I just don’t want it to be my fault.” Perhaps that’s something to consider before your next trip to the grocery store. Health conscious nutrition may take a little more planning, time and effort, but the health benefits far outweigh what some might consider inconveniences. Convenience, however, can come at a heavy price. Like anything you wish to accomplish in life, you need to put in some effort. If we continue to take good health for granted, we may wake up one day only to discover we no longer possess it.

References:
Research Evidence Affirms that Good Nutrition Can Help Prevent and Control Type 2 Diabetes. http://www.joslin.org/news/Research-affirms-good-nutrition-can-help-prevent-and-control-type2-diabetes.html
Diet, nutrition and the prevention of type 2 diabetes. http://www.who.int/nutrition/publications/public_health_nut4.pdf
Healthy Eating. http://www.diabetes.org/are-you-at-risk/lower-your-risk/healthy-eating.html
Preventing Diabetes. http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/diabetes-prevention/
Reducing Obesity, Heart Disease, Cancer, Diabetes, and Other Diet-and Inactivity-Related Diseases, Costs, and Disabilities. http://cspinet.org/new/pdf/cdc_briefing_book_fy10.pdf

Featured Brand – Biotics Research

BioticsResearchSusan Brown Health and Wellness Editor

Since their inception, Biotics Research has been a forerunner in the field of clinical nutrition. From conception to research to development to manufacturing, Biotics Research provides safe, effective, superior nutritional products for healthcare professionals and their patients. Research, innovation and development have always been the cornerstone of the company’s unique character. Combining cutting edge science with nature, Biotics Research isolates new compounds, assists in clinical research and implements new and effective delivery systems.

Video Featured Brand Biotics Research

Their products are manufactured in their own cGMP certified state-of-the-art facility, allowing for extensive pre-production control of raw material stability, in-process monitoring and finished product testing. All supplements are tested for identity, potency, biological activity, heavy metals and microbes. Biotics Research‘s superior line of vitamins and nutritional supplements are available solely through licensed healthcare practitioners.

Top selling products from Biotics Research include:

Bio-D-Mulsion ForteBio-D-Mulsion Forte – Each drop provides 2,000 IU of vitamin D3 in a concentrated liquid, micro-emulsion form. Designed for enhanced absorption and utilization, this formula is especially helpful for those with malabsorption issues. Gluten and dairy free.

 

PheniTropic™PheniTropic – This product contains a GABA derivative, a naturally occurring inhibitory neurotransmitter. Shown to have a calming effect, PheniTropic™ may assist in instances of stress, anxiety and occasional sleeplessness. Gluten and dairy free.

 

B-12 2000 LozengesB-12 2000 Lozenges– Each pleasant tasting lozenge supplies a high potency level of synergistic vitamins B12, B6 and folate. Gluten and dairy free.

 

 

ADHS (Adrenal Hormones and Adaption to Stress)ADHS – This non-glandular formula is designed to provide nutritional support for the adrenals and to support normal cortisol levels. Contains traditional herbal adaptogens and supportive vitamins and minerals in a gluten and dairy free, vegetarian formula.  

 

Mg-Zyme (Magnesium)Mg-Zyme – One capsule supplies 100 mg of supplemental magnesium in a blend of mixed mineral chelates in support of musculoskeletal, cardiac and immune health. Gluten and dairy free.

Now About Those Kidneys

Kidney_HealthJacquieIconBy Jacquie Eubanks
BSN, RN

How much do you know about the importance of kidney health and function? Unless, you already know you have kidney issues, the health of your kidneys is probably not at the top of the list of things you regularly think about. Every day, your hard working kidneys filter 200 liters of blood and release cleansed blood back into the blood supply, while filtering out and eliminating toxins. Healthy kidney function is essential to overall wellness, as these highly active organs are responsible for many life sustaining tasks, including mineral and fluid balance, blood pressure regulation, bone health support, hormone regulation, red blood cell formation and waste elimination. Diseased and damaged kidneys negatively affect not only kidney function but over time can cause other serious health problems, such as cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, stroke, anemia and high blood pressure.

According to the National Kidney Foundation, over 26 million Americans have chronic kidney disease (CKD) and 1 in 3 Americans are at risk for developing CKD, which often has no symptoms and can go undetected until very advanced stages. Like other chronic diseases, CKD is on the rise. This is largely due to the prevalence of diabetes and hypertension, which can damage the delicate kidney blood vessels and lead to kidney failure. While diabetes is the leading cause of CKD and high blood pressure a close second, additional risk factors for developing CKD include genetics, a family member who has kidney disease, diabetes or high blood pressure, aging and race, including African Americans, Hispanics, native Americans and indigenous Alaskans.

Video Now About Those Kidneys

Kidney health can be easily monitored. Early detection through a simple annual urine or blood test is imperative, as early diagnosis can often slow or even halt progression of the disease. Although most people may not have severe symptoms until the disease is advanced, the following signs might indicate a need to visit your healthcare provider:

  • Fatigue
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Poor appetite
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Nighttime muscle cramping
  • Swollen feet and ankles
  • Puffiness around the eyes
  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Frequent nighttime urination

Even if you don’t fit into any of the risk categories, taking care of the health of these critical organs can enable healthy function throughout your lifespan. Healthy kidneys go hand-in-hand with a healthy body. The following healthy lifestyle habits can help to prevent not only kidney disease but other chronic diseases as well:

  • Control blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol- Uncontrolled blood sugar levels accelerate kidney function loss. High cholesterol levels means increased risk for cardiovascular disease. High blood pressure can damage, stretch and weaken all blood vessels, including those found in the kidneys.
  • Maintain proper weight or lose weight if needed – Obesity increases the risk of diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease and heart disease.
  • Follow a nutritious diet – Proper nutrition is key to good mental and physical health. The DASH diet, designed to control blood pressure, is often recommended in early stage kidney disease. Many chronic diseases, including diabetes and high blood pressure, are preventable with good nutrition.
  • Get regular daily exercise – Exercise helps manage weight, keeps stress levels down and reduces risk factors for heart disease, diabetes and kidney disease.
  • Hydrate with plenty of water- Kidneys need water to function properly. If your urine is straw-colored, your body is well hydrated. If it’s darker yellow, drink up!
  • Take all medicines as prescribed and avoid excessive over the counter pain medicine- Most of us don’t think twice before popping a pill for minor aches and pains, but overuse or long term use of medications, even OTC medications, can cause acute kidney damage or lead to the progression of kidney disease.
  • Watch salt and unhealthy fat intake – Diets high in sodium can increase blood pressure levels. Eat healthy fats from olive oil, nuts and avocado and avoid refined oils and hydrogenated fats.
  • Don’t smoke – Smoking slows blood flow to the kidneys, reducing optimal function and increasing the risks of strokes and heart attacks.
  • Limit alcohol consumption – Excessive alcohol consumption can affect the ability of the kidneys to filter blood and can negatively affect blood pressure and fluid balance.
  • Know your vitamin levels – Low levels of vitamin C, vitamin D and B vitamins are often seen in early stages of CKD.

Professional Supplement Center offers these and other fine products to support kidney and overall health:

PGX DailyPGX® Daily by Bioclinic Naturals – As a highly purified fiber complex, this product is designed to support healthy glucose and cholesterol levels already within the normal range. This clinically studied, safe and effective proprietary formula contains 3 viscous natural fibers, which help to reduce appetite, ease food cravings, reduce overall cholesterol and normalize blood sugar levels. Dairy, gluten and yeast free formulation.

 

Ultra Glucose Control VanillaUltra Glucose Control™ Vanilla by Metagenics – This medical food is formulated for the nutritional management of the glucose response and is designed for those who may need additional support controlling their blood sugar levels. The formula contains a balanced ratio of carbohydrates, protein, fat and fiber in support of a healthy insulin response. Gluten free, Non-GMO formulation.

 

Policosanol + GugulipidPolicosanol + Gugulipid by Designs for Health – This unique combination of synergistic nutrients has been traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries for its ability to naturally support healthy cholesterol levels and triglycerides. Gluten, soy and dairy free, Non-GMO formulation.

 

Kidney Support, Q.Kidney Support, Q. by Quantum Nutrition Labs – This quantum-state, broad-spectrum formula is designed to offer effective support for detoxification and optimal kidney health. Contains herbs, phytonutrients, mushrooms and organic greens in a highly bioavailable, non-toxic formulation. Vegetable capsule. No additional ingredients.

 

CLACLA 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.

 

References:
Awareness-Prevention-Treatment. https://www.kidney.org/
Keeping Your Kidneys Healthy. http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Kidneyhealth/Pages/Loveyourkidneys.aspx
Eating Right for Kidney Health. http://nkdep.nih.gov/resources/eating-right-508.pdf
7 Secrets to Keeping Your Kidneys Healthy. http://health.clevelandclinic.org/2015/04/7-secrets-to-keeping-your-kidneys-healthy/
High Blood Pressure and Kidney Disease. http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/kidney-disease/high-blood-pressure-and-kidney-disease/Pages/facts.aspx

Sugar Consumption and Your Health – Part 2

Sugar2JacquieIconBy Jacquie Eubanks
BSN, RN

Excessive sugar consumption is on the no-no list these days, as more people are becoming aware of the damaging health effects of overconsumption. Sugar, or more specifically glucose, provides energy and fuel for the brain and the body. Long ago, our ancestors depended on sugar-rich foods for the energy and the fat storage necessary for survival. Consequently, the human brain evolved with a voracious, almost insatiable appetite for sweet foods. Today, however, added sugar is ubiquitous in the human diet and, unfortunately, from an evolutionary standpoint, this overindulgence of sugary drinks and the propensity to eat processed rather than fresh foods harms more than helps.

While added sugar is difficult but not impossible to avoid, awareness of the added sugar content in dietary foods is essential to maintain or improve health. There are over 60 different names for added sugars that can be found in approximately 74% of processed foods, all meant to prevent the consumer from easily deciphering the sugar content of the food. Some of these names you will recognize and some you may not: agave nectar, barley malt, cane juice, corn syrup, fructose, dextrose, glucose, high fructose corn syrup, malt syrup, maltose, sucrose, treacle, turbinado, sorghum and multiple names for syrups and other sugars. It’s important to note that when metabolizing sugars, the body doesn’t distinguish between different types of sugars.

According to the National Institutes of Health, 15% of the calories in the American diet come from added sugars. And according to the Obesity Society, this number may be as high as 30%. That equates to about 22 – 28 teaspoons each day, mostly sourced from sugary drinks, such as soda, energy drinks and sports drinks. To put it in perspective, this non-nutritive calorie source results in consumption of an extra 500 calories daily. Even fruit juice should be consumed in limited quantities, as once the fiber is removed, the sugar content of the juice may spike blood sugar and offset the nutritional value. If you eliminate the majority of added sugars from your diet, you can enjoy that occasional sweet treat without sabotaging your health. In other words, if you eat real food, then you don’t have to worry so much about sugar intake.

As discussed in Part 1 of this series, new nutritional labels propose to include added sugars in addition to the natural sugar contained in the food. While big food and big sugar corporations are engaged in fighting the labeling and ultimately preparing for damage control, you can do your part by limiting your consumption of added sugars. By eliminating processed foods and sugary drinks and opting for water and dietary foods such as fiber-rich, whole fruits and vegetables and dairy products that contain only natural sugars, your body receives hydration, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals and other nutrients that are considered part of a healthy diet.

Here are some ways that excess sugar consumption affects your health:

Sugar and obesity – While recently a large corporation blamed the obesity epidemic on the amount of food that people eat and their lack of motivation to exercise, some scientists say these are consequences of, rather than the cause of, the obesity epidemic. While added sugars increase excess energy, they reduce the nutrient density of our diets and contribute to weight gain, obesity and diabetes.

Sugar and aging – Research has shown that a poor diet negatively impacts memory and may increase the chances of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, while whole, unprocessed foods help to boost memory and improve overall health. While earlier studies have shown that diabetes and other conditions that make it hard to control blood sugar levels were a possible contributor to the development of Alzheimer’s, newer findings also suggest that high blood sugar causes the accumulation of plaques in the brain which have harmful effects on cognitive function.

Sugar and the brain – Brain cells require glucose for fuel and brain power. Brain neurons do not store glucose, so a steady supply obtained from grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables is necessary. Excess sugar and refined carbohydrates can actually deprive the brain of glucose, depleting energy stores and compromising your power to concentrate, remember and learn. Additionally, studies have shown that sugars increase dopamine release, which over time leads to prolonged dopamine signaling, greater excitation of the brain’s reward pathways and the increased craving for more sugar, similar to other addictive substances.

Sugar, diabetes and insulin resistance – The insulin hormone facilitates the transfer of glucose from the bloodstream and basically unlocks the body’s cells so that they can use glucose for energy. A repeated overload of sugar takes a toll on the body’s ability to respond to insulin. As a result, when insulin receptors malfunction, the body becomes insulin resistant and blood sugar levels remain high, even as the pancreas continues to secrete more and more insulin in an effort to maintain glucose movement into the cells. In time, insulin resistance can lead to type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

Sugar and belly fat – Belly fat is visceral fat, the fat located between your abdominal organs.   According to Harvard Medical School Publications, visceral fat is particularly concerning, as it’s considered a key player in numerous health problems. Insulin is a fat storage hormone and insulin resistance leads the body to generate belly fat. The good news, belly fat can be reduced by increasing physical activity, eliminating excess sugar and eating more high fiber whole foods.

Sugar and your heart – According to the American Heart Association, added sugars significantly increase your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. Excess sugar contributes to obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels, all factors in heart disease risk. High blood sugar levels can damage heart muscle function as well, and one 15 year study showed that the odds of dying from heart disease rose in tandem with the percentage of sugar in the diet. Current recommendations support limiting sugars not naturally found in foods to no more than 6 teaspoons or 100 calories a day for women and 9 teaspoons or 150 calories a day for men.

Sugar and your liver – Excessive sugar consumption can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. While glucose can be metabolized by all body cells, only the liver can metabolize fructose. When the liver stores excess sugar as fat, it can lead to insulin resistance, the first step on the road to diabetes, metabolic syndrome and heart disease. It’s important to note that it’s the excess fructose, such as the ubiquitous high fructose corn syrup, that cause health problems, not the natural fructose found in whole fruits, which also contain fiber, water, nutrients and a low energy density.

The following quality products provide support for healthy blood sugar functioning:

PGX DailyPGX® Daily by Bioclinic Naturals – This clinically studied proprietary complex contains three viscous, natural, water-soluble polysaccharides or fibers that have been shown to effectively reduce the glycemic index of foods when consumed simultaneously. Fiber viscosity is associated with increased satiety and reduced appetite. This product improves regularity and supports healthy glucose and cholesterol levels already within the normal range, contributing to healthy glucose metabolism. Gluten and dairy free.

Cinnamon with Chromium PicolinateCinnamon with Chromium Picolinate by PhysioLogics – This product supplies clinically studied, bioactive ingredients for support of sugar, fat and nutrient metabolism. Traditionally used for overall wellness in Chinese medicine, cinnamon has been shown to enhance vitro glucose uptake and glycogen synthesis. Highly absorbable chromium picolinate is an essential trace element that supports proper carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. Gluten, soy and dairy free.

Alpha Lipoic Acid 400 mgAlpha Lipoic Acid 400 mg by Pure Encapsulations – This multifunctional and versatile water and fat soluble nutrient supports healthy glucose metabolism. As a potent antioxidant, ALA provides free radical protection and promotes healthy cardiovascular and blood vessel function. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO, vegetarian formula.

Berberine-500 (SF800)Berberine-500 by Thorne Research – Sourced from Indian Barberry extract, this natural botanical alkaloid compound aids in the maintenance of healthy lipid levels, provides cardiac support, benefits glucose metabolism and may help reverse insulin sensitivity. Gluten, soy and dairy free, Non-GMO formulation.

Ultra Glucose Control Starter Kit VanillaUltra Glucose Control™ 30 Day Vanilla or Chocolate by MetagenicsThis product is formulated for the nutritional management of the glucose response and sustained energy release. Designed for those who need additional support controlling their blood sugar levels, this formula delivers a ratio-balanced combination of pea and rice protein, slow-release complex carbs and monounsaturated fats in a 40-30-40 balanced ratio. Non-GMO formulation.

References:
Hidden in Plain Sight. http://www.sugarscience.org/hidden-in-plain-sight/
How Sugars and Sweeteners Affect Your Health. http://newsinhealth.nih.gov/issue/oct2014/feature1
Added Sugar in the Diet. http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/carbohydrates/added-sugar-in-the-diet/
U.S. Adult Consumption of Added Sugars Increased by More Than 30% Over Three Decades. http://www.obesity.org/news-center/us-adult-consumption-of-added-sugars-increased-by-more-than-30-over-three-decades.htm
Nutrition and Dementia: Foods That My Induce Memory Loss & Increase Alzheimer’s. http://www.alzheimers.net/2014-01-02/foods-that-induce-memory-loss/
Could high blood sugar be a cause of Alzheimer’s disease? http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/293581.php
The Human Brain. http://learn.fi.edu/learn/brain/carbs.html
Sugar Belly. How Much is Too Much Sugar? http://uhs.berkeley.edu/facstaff/pdf/healthmatters/NutritionActionSugarBellyApril%202012.pdf
Added Sugars Add to Your Risk of Dying from Heart Disease. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyEating/Added-Sugars-Add-to-Your-Risk-of-Dying-from-Heart-Disease_UCM_460319_Article.jsp

 

Sugar Consumption and Your Health – Part 1

SugarSusanBiconBy Susan Brown
Health & Wellness Editor

Everyone, it seems, has a natural primeval urge to seek out high energy dense or high calorie foods, as one type of sugar called glucose is literally our brain food. Our bodies make glucose by breaking down the carbohydrates, proteins and fats that we consume, so it’s actually unnecessary to add glucose to our diets. Science has shown that sugar is addictive and has a powerful effect on the reward centers of the brain. Sugar is pervasive in the standard American diet and the high level of consumption is a major contributing factor to the alarming state of unhealth of our citizens. The big sugar industry has known since the early 1970’s that excess sugar could be damaging to public health. And to protect their own corporate interests, the sugar industry set out to undermine science and subvert sensible regulation, an all too familiar tactic.

Back in 2003, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended that people limit their added sugar intake to 10% of daily calories. The sugar industry had no trouble taking their complaint to the U.S. Congress, which consequently threatened to pull WHO funding. Unsurprisingly, only 5 months later, the recommendation just simply disappeared. Politics aside, denial of the deleterious health effects of added sugars has become not only a health issue, but a moral issue as well. A food and beverage corporation recently attempted to blame the obesity epidemic on consumers’ failure to exercise, causing an uproar from scientists who say that exercise is good for you, but if you want to lose or maintain weight, you’ll need to cut back on sugar and processed food and opt for healthy nutritious whole foods.

As the FDA prepares to refine nutrition labels to reduce confusion and make it easier for consumers to keep track of exactly how much added sugar they are consuming daily, groups such as the American Bakers Association and the Sugar Association are challenging the changes every step of the way. Even though more people are reading labels and attempting to decipher them as they currently stand, it’s time for us to take control of exactly what we are feeding our bodies. Knowing how much sugar is added to our food is a good step in the right direction. One thing we do know is, we can’t go on ignoring sugar consumption and good nutrition if we want to live longer and have healthier lives.

Video 10 Not So Sweet Facts About Sugar

While a recent Gallup poll reports that 63% of Americans say they actively avoid drinking soda and other sugary drinks, nearly half of Americans drink at least one soda per day. Just one can of cola for example, contains 44 grams or 10 teaspoons of sugar, surpassing the American Heart Association’s recommendation of a maximum of 6 teaspoons of added sugar daily for women and 9 teaspoons daily for men. Alarmingly, one sugary beverage per day equates to 50 lbs of excess added sugars a year, way more than our bodies are designed to handle. And that is only what we consume in our drinks. Annually, the average American consumes 130 lbs of refined sugars that contain no essential vitamins, minerals, enzymes or fiber. Processed, packaged and fast foods all contain hidden sugars, which can have harmful effects on metabolic processes. Proposed label improvements are imperative, as the current nutritional label is designed to keep us in the dark, and what we don’t know can be seriously detrimental to our overall health and longevity.

American attitudes are changing, as more people become aware that consuming excess sugar raises the risk factors for developing chronic diseases. The new nutrition facts label is designed to make servings sizes, calories and daily values of the various nutrients easier to understand. The proposed listing of added sugars, separately from the natural sugar the food may contain, has been the most controversial change. While the food and beverage industry opposes this modification, the added sugar labeling recommendations are necessary, as only a well informed consumer can make healthy dietary changes once they decide to improve their health and longevity and reduce their risks of developing chronic disease.  

A reckoning is not far off. Should the obesity and diabetes epidemics continue to escalate, 1 in 3 Americans will have diabetes by 2050. The impact on health care costs will be all consuming and unsustainable, as diabetes has a deleterious effect on the entire body and as such is a very costly chronic disease. As we struggle to contain obesity, diabetes and the alarming rise of other chronic diseases, our desire to change our diets or lose weight far exceeds our efforts. Ideally, the average American would like to weigh 15 pounds less than they do, yet many are not making the dietary changes that are necessary for weight control.  

And, while 7 of 10 Americans report eating fast food weekly, only 25% believe it has some degree of nutritional value. It appears that the appeal of sugary drinks and the convenience, taste and low cost of fast food products considerably outweigh the health concerns. The question remains, do you trust food and beverage corporations with your health? If your answer is no, opting for water in lieu of sugary drinks, and nutrition-rich whole foods in lieu of fast and processed foods are good ways to get started on a better path to a healthier life.

Up next: Part 2 – The Deleterious Health Effects of a High Sugar Diet

References:
How Sugars and Sweeteners Affect Your Health. http://newsinhealth.nih.gov/issue/oct2014/feature1
Daily Intake of Sugar – How Much Sugar Should You Eat Per Day. http://authoritynutrition.com/how-much-sugar-per-day/
Americans More Likely to Avoid Drinking Soda Than Before. http://www.gallup.com/poll/174137/americans-likely-avoid-drinking-soda.aspx?utm_source=alert&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=syndication&utm_content=morelink&utm_term=All%20Gallup%20Headlines%20-%20Well-Being

Featured Brand – Energetix®

EnergetixSusanBiconBy Susan Brown
Health & Wellness Editor

In 1995, Energetix® was founded on the concept that the practitioner is critical to the future of health and healthcare. Their vision was to assist and encourage practitioners to inspire patients to take control of and responsibility for their own health. As such, Energetix® is dedicated to providing the most effective and least invasive strategies for addressing health concerns. They offer the finest homeopathic, botanical and nutritional products designed for clinical use.   As a pioneer in BioEnergetic medicine, Energetix® offers therapeutic systemic formulations based on traditional healing and the latest scientific knowledge. By striking a balance between scientific sophistication and handcrafted quality, Energetix® provides superior products that work synergistically to support the entire body and provide long-lasting benefits.

Video Energetix

All Energetix® products, including botanical tinctures, dietary supplements and homeopathic medicines, are manufactured to the highest quality standards according to cGMP guidelines in an FDA registered facility. All raw materials are sourced from trusted suppliers and are tested for purity, potency and specified characteristics. Their carefully controlled processes ensure that the vital health-giving attributes of plants and nutrients are not only maintained but are blended and balanced to enable healthcare practitioners to assist patients in acquiring and maintaining a state of optimal health.

As Energetix® brand formulations are available exclusively through healthcare professionals, a consultation is required prior to the purchase of any Energetix® products.

Fields of FlowersFields of Flowers – This most popular homeopathic formula contains a unique blend of 38 traditional flower essences designed to address a multitude of emotional concerns. As an essential component of general wellbeing, these ingredients assist with the release of toxic emotions and anxiety as part of the overall healing strategy.

 

Phyto B ComplexPhyto B Complex – This unique formula contains biologically active B vitamins synergistically combined with adaptogenic rhodiola rosea extract. Biologically active ingredients do not require conversion before they can be absorbed and utilized at the cellular level, allowing for optimal benefit.  

 

ReHydrationReHydration – This homeopathic remedy is designed to address symptoms associated with fluid imbalances, such as excessive thirst, dry skin, mental sluggishness and dry mucous membranes.  Especially helpful for those who are chronically dehydrated, ReHydration supports the cells’ ability to absorb and utilize water efficiently.  

Sleepless Nights? We Have Solutions

SleepSolutionsJacquieIconBy Jacquie Eubanks
BSN, RN

Almost everyone has occasional bouts of sleeplessness, typically due to stress, anxiety, worry or overstimulation. This is normal and shouldn’t further add to your list of things to worry about, as what’s classified as acute insomnia is usually of brief duration and generally resolves itself. According to the National Institutes of Health, insomnia is a very common problem that affects approximately 30% of Americans. This occasional sleep disruption may result in symptoms such as fatigue, low energy or difficulty concentrating, which can affect your next day’s performance at work or at school. Daily life challenges, emotional upset, grief, hormonal imbalances and unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as overuse of caffeine, tobacco and alcohol, are all believed to contribute to poor quality sleep. While insomnia can occur at any age, women, middle-aged and older adults appear to be at increased risk of sleep disorders.  

Video Sleepless Nights

Chronic insomnia, however, can affect not only your mood and alertness, but also your overall health, your weight, your energy levels and your mental health. While some lifestyle choices may affect healthy sleep patterns, often with chronic insomnia there is a secondary or underlying cause. Medical conditions, such as depression, chronic pain or restless leg syndrome, or side effects of certain medications, such as those used for cardiac or asthmatic conditions, are common factors in chronic insomnia. When insomnia becomes a pattern and interferes with your daily life, you may have chronic insomnia and should see a healthcare provider for diagnosis if:

  • You lie awake and have difficulty falling asleep
  • You struggle to maintain sleep and wake frequently throughout the night several times a week for several months
  • You wake up too early and can’t go back to sleep
  • You have poor quality, restless, or non-restorative sleep
  • You have any combination of these symptoms

Fortunately, for the majority of us, adopting healthy bedtime habits often make it easier to fall and stay asleep. Many times establishing a routine is effective. Avoiding heavy meals and exercise within 4 hours of bedtime, sticking to a regular schedule of sleep and wake times even on weekends, limiting stimulating activities and evening TV and computer time, establishing a soothing wind down routine, making the bedroom dark and cozy and turning down the temperature are all strategies that can aid more restful sleep.  

Professional Supplement Center offers high quality supplement choices to promote restorative sleep.  Here are some of our customers’ favorite sleep support products:

Kavinace Ultra PMKavinace Ultra PM by NeuroScience – Our most popular sleep supplement, this proprietary blend is designed to relieve symptoms of insomnia, anxiety and stress by providing support for the calming neurotransmitters that promote restorative sleep and a normal sleep cycle. Gluten and soy free.

 

Insomnitol Chewable TabletsInsomnitol™ Chewables by Designs for Health® – These great tasting lemon flavored chewable tablets are formulated to supply nutritional support for calm brain activity. Insomnitol™ contains a blend of botanicals, nutrients and neurotransmitter precursors, which help promote the natural ability to fall and stay sleep. Non GMO formulation.

Sleep Time
Sleep Time by Nutritional Frontiers – Formulated to support the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin to effectively promote healthy sleep and reduce stress and anxiety. Vegetarian capsules.

 

References:
About Insomnia. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMHT0023585/
It’s Time to Do Something About Your Sleep. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/shrink/201403/its-time-do-something-about-your-sleep
Insomnia Overview. http://www.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/primary-insomnia/overview.html
Insomnia: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/9155.php?page=2

Featured Brand – Klaire Labs®

Klaire_LabsSusanBiconBy Susan Brown
Health & Wellness Editor

Founded in 1969, with the primary goal of providing nutritional support for those with severe food allergies and environmental sensitivities, Klaire Labs® has earned a well respected reputation as an innovator in the development of hypoallergenic supplements. Klaire Labs® works closely with clinicians and researchers to provide carefully formulated products to support healthy immune, gastrointestinal, neurological and detoxification system functions, while being well tolerated by even the most hypersensitive individuals.

Video Klaire Labs

Since its inception, Klaire Labs® has held an unwavering commitment to product purity and rigorous quality control through all stages of production. Their nutraceuticals are manufactured to exceptional standards in a licensed cGMP compliant, FDA registered manufacturing facility. Active ingredients are selected based on purity, bioavailability, identity, documented actions and safety characteristics. Purity and potency is verified by independent testing through outside commercial laboratories. All supplements are free of commonly recognized allergens, such as wheat, gluten, milk, lactose, peanut, soy and rice and contain no MSG, artificial sweeteners, colors or preservatives.  

Klaire Labs® brand products are available exclusively through licensed healthcare professionals. Prior to the purchase of any Klaire Labs® products, a consultation with our nurse Jacquie Eubanks, BSN, RN is required, learn more.

Ther-Biotic Complete (HEAT SENSITIVE PRODUCT)Ther-Biotic® Complete – This high-potency, hypoallergenic blend of 12 certified probiotic species offers a unique combination of colonizing and transient strains to provide broad support for healthy microflora balance. As a comprehensive, maximum-support formula, one daily capsule provides 25+ billion CFU’s of synergistic and complementary beneficial microorganisms to support intestinal and immune health. Also available as Ther-Biotic® Children’s Chewable Formula and Ther-Biotic® Infant Formula.  

Vital-Zymes CompleteVital-Zymes® Complete – This multi-enzyme, high-potency formula supports the maximum breakdown, absorption and utilization of nutrients and helps maintain normal enzyme levels that support healthy digestive function. The full spectrum plant/microbial based enzymes lend maximal support for those with compromised gastrointestinal function, dysbiosis and intestinal inflammation.

Multi-Vitamin ComplexMulti-Vitamin Complex – This one daily hypoallergenic formula provides enhanced intake of bioavailable and comprehensive vitamins, including A, C, D3, E and B vitamins. This formula excludes minerals for those who wish to boost vitamin intake only. One daily capsule supplies between 100-200% of RDA for most vitamins and up to 300% of the RDA for several B vitamins.

Multi-Mineral ComplexMulti-Mineral Complex – This hypoallergenic mineral formula provides an array of essential trace elements along with macrominerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. Daily dose supplies 100% or more of the RDA for each trace mineral. Contains iron.

 

 

Want a Health Boost? Get a Pet!

GetPetJacquieIconBy Jacquie Eubanks
BSN, RN

As if it weren’t already enough, man’s best friend appears to provide more than companionship and unconditional love. Undoubtedly, pets can bring joy to our lives, as no one can deny the comfort that snuggling up together can bring or the pleasure we receive when we play with our pet. Research shows that owning or interacting with an animal offers a number of physical and psychological health benefits. Caring for or spending time with a pet can help reduce stress and anxiety, as well as ease loneliness and depression. Pets help to fulfill the basic human need to touch, and stroking or petting a dog or a cat releases pleasurable brain chemicals that can rapidly calm us and lower our heart rate and blood pressure. Researchers have found that dogs can not only understand our commands, they are also attuned to our emotions, body language and our tone of voice.

According to the American Heart Association, the therapeutic effect of dog ownership is linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and may contribute to a longer healthier life span. One study of adults who had suffered heart attacks showed that dog owners were significantly more likely to outlive those who did not own pets. Another showed that married couples with pets had lower heart rates and blood pressure and had milder responses and a faster recovery from stressful situations. High blood pressure, often associated with a rapid heart rate, anxiety and stress, can be lowered by the positive emotions associated with the affection and relaxation brought on by petting.

Studies also show that dog owners, who regularly walk their dogs, are more likely to get the recommended dose of 30 minutes of daily physical activity and that both dogs and owners are less likely to be overweight. While adults are more inclined to skip exercise if the weather is not conducive, pets want and need to go out in all weather conditions. Regular walking keeps not only pets in good physical shape, it keeps owners healthier too. Older adults with pets were found to have greater mobility and were able walk longer distances with a faster gait than those without pets who didn’t walk regularly.

Dog walkers are likely to have increased social contact, as they are inclined to meet other like-minded pet owners while out walking, hiking or playing at the dog park. As older adults social circles grow smaller, feelings of isolation can grow larger. Having a pet can reduce loneliness and provide a sense of purpose, while helping people stay connected socially. Research supports that children who grow up with household pets, especially dogs, are likely to be better socialized and are less likely to be self centered, have allergies or miss school due to illness. For people in long term care facilities, animal assisted therapy provides comfort for those dealing with chronic illness and deteriorating mental health conditions.

Increasingly utilized in clinical and hospital settings, trained therapy dogs help to motivate patients and speed up the healing process. Dogs can encourage playfulness and laughter, boosting immune and mental health. Therapy dogs are also used by hospitals to help relieve patient anxiety before tests, such as MRI scans or other treatments. Some studies suggest that interaction with therapy dogs may decrease the levels of certain neurotransmitters associated with depression and anxiety, while increasing the level of oxytocin, a feel good hormone that helps reduce stress and boost happiness.  

Along with the health benefits of pet ownership comes both personal and financial responsibility. Practically speaking, in addition to love, attention and exercise, pets need nutritious food, shelter and veterinary care. Before you consider bringing a pet into your home, make sure you are committed to a lifetime relationship with your new family member. The most important thing to remember — happy, healthy pets equate to happy, healthy owners and vice versa!

Professional Supplement Center carries many quality lines of pet supplements to support your pets’ overall health, vitality and wellness.

Daily Probiotic For Dogs (Formerly Daily Digest)Daily Probiotic for Dogs by Pet Naturals of Vermont – Just as humans need to support the health of their digestive tract, pre and probiotics can support healthy intestinal microbial balance for proper digestion, regularity and immune function in dogs. This delicious chewable formula features a special probiotic strain along with high quality prebiotic fiber.

 

Canine Basic Nutrients (VETERINARY PRODUCT)Canine Basic Nutrients by Thorne Vet – This complete multivitamin and mineral complex provides a broad range of nutrients in support of your pets’ optimal health and vitality. Non-GMO formulation. Also available as Canine Geriatric Basics formulated to meet the nutritional needs of an aging pet.

 

Cardio-StrengthCardio-Strength™ by Vetri-Science – This comprehensive product features 11 synergistic ingredients and is specifically formulated to support heart muscles and cardiovascular health and function. Recommended for geriatric dogs or cats who may have sub-optimal cardiovascular functions or who may be predisposed to cardiovascular stress.

 

Daily Multi Vitamin and Mineral for CatsDaily Multi Vitamin and Minerals for Cats by Dancing Paws – This unique feline supplement is designed to provide optimal nutrient levels to promote normal growth and longevity. Capsules, which contain human grade vitamins, mineral and antioxidants, may be pulled apart to sprinkle ingredients directly on food. Also available, Daily Multi Vitamin and Minerals for Dogs chewable wafers.

 

Formula V3 Vet-Zimes (VETERINARY PRODUCT)

Formula V-3 Vet-Zimes by Ness Enzymes – This unique formula provides essential fatty acids and concentrated, specially cultivated enzymes in support of optimum digestion and healthy skin and haircoat for both dogs and kitties.  

 

References:
Can Pets Keep You Healthy? http://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2009/February/feature1.htm
What are the health benefits of pet ownership? http://kb.rspca.org.au/what-are-the-health-benefits-of-pet-ownership_408.html
The Health Benefits of Dogs (and Cats). http://www.helpguide.org/articles/emotional-health/the-health-benefits-of-pets.htm
Pet therapy: Man’s best friend as healer. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/in-depth/pet-therapy/art-20046342
5 Health Benefits of Therapy Dogs. http://www.therapydogcertification.com/5-health-benefits-of-therapy-dogs/
Benefits of Owning a Pet. http://www.hopeforpets.org/Benefits%20of%20Owning%20a%20Pet.htm

Have You Had Your Flavonoids Today?

FlavanoidsJacquieIconBy Jacquie Eubanks
BSN, RN

Flavonoids, you say? You may not have heard of them, but you are likely experiencing some of their health benefits if you are regularly drinking tea, eating colorful fruits and veggies, or are enjoying a glass of red wine with dinner. There are over 5,000 identified compounds of naturally occurring plant pigments known as flavonoids. In general, the more colorful the plant-based food, the more beneficial flavonoids it contains. As antioxidants, flavonoids play a role in reducing heart disease, stroke and cancer risks and may protect against cognitive and age-related functional decline. Flavonoids, however, are not just your average antioxidants. Scientists have discovered that certain flavonoids have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antimicrobial, anticancer and antihistamine benefits and may have mood and memory enhancing properties as well.

Flavonoids are bioactive phytonutrients that are chemically classified as polyphenols. Also known as flavonols, isoflavones and anthocyanidins, flavonoids play a wide variety of roles in human, plant and animal health. Flavonols are believed to be plant protective and play a functional role in plant wound repair and providing living plants protection against pests and diseases. In the human diet, whole plant foods provide life sustaining essential nutrients and other beneficial compounds. In addition to basic nutrition, the bioactive components found in functional foods are not only health promoting, they also play a significant role in chronic disease prevention. According to The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it is estimated that one third of all cancer deaths in the United States might be avoided with appropriate dietary changes, including increased consumption of nutrient dense fruits and vegetables, legumes and whole grains.  

In addition to fruits and vegetables, tea is rich in polyphenols, the antioxidants that counteract cell-damaging free radicals. Green tea, for example, contains high concentrations of the polyphenol EGCG, which has great antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic properties, along with distinctive benefits for protecting the brain and nervous system against diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Research suggests that those who drink 2 cups or more of tea daily have lower total and LDL cholesterol and are less likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke. There is also evidence that tea drinkers have lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and are able to recover more quickly from stress related issues.  

Good news for chocolate lovers — dark chocolate with a high cocoa content (70-90%) contains flavonols that may reduce arterial inflammation, lowering the risk of plaque formation in the arteries that can lead to heart disease and atherosclerosis. And according to Harvard Health Publications, dark chocolate and unsweetened cocoa may help lower cholesterol and blood pressure and may have positive effects on blood clotting and insulin sensitivity. The bad news — you don’t need to eat much to enjoy the health benefits. Just a few small squares or about 1/2 oz. daily is all you need. And watch out for added sugar and milk, ingredients that drastically reduce the beneficial effects. Ideally, raw organic dark chocolate is the healthiest, as the darker and less processed the chocolate is the more cacao seeds and healthy compounds it contains.

The National Academy of Sciences recommends consuming a minimum of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily to promote adequate intake of their synergistic health promoting and disease preventive phytonutrients. Two good things to remember — take a walk on the wild side and choose a wide variety of colorful foods, including some you may not have tried before. And be sure to include some raw foods, as the closer the food is to its natural raw state, the higher its nutritional value, providing greater benefits for your overall wellness.  

For those who shy away from veggies or those who consume more processed foods than whole foods, here are some high quality supplement options:

PhytoganixPhytoganix™ by Metagenics – Designed to provide a daily supply of certified organic phytonutrients, this convenient, delicious and highly nutritious powdered formula supplies antioxidant-rich superfoods along with polyphenol-rich green tea, herbs, vegetables and fruits. Gluten free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.  

 

NitroGreensNitro Greens® by Biotics Research – This whole food concentrate supplies an all organic proprietary blend of greens, veggies, fruits and sprouts to supply a rich source of phytonutrients, including polyphenols and isoflavones, as well as naturally occurring enzymes, vitamins and trace minerals. Gluten and dairy free.

 

Bioflavonoid Complex (80116-)Bioflavonoid Complex by Douglas Labs – This synergistic formula supplies naturally sourced antioxidant citrus bioflavonoids to aid in supporting circulatory and immune health and the healthy metabolism of collagen, cholesterol and histamine.   Gluten, soy and dairy free.

 

Ultra Greens pHUltra Greens pH by BioGenesis Nutraceuticals – This nutrient-rich powdered greens formula contains phytonutrients, antioxidants and supportive enzymes and provides a simple and convenient way to improve overall nutritional balance and support balanced body pH.

 

Ester-C® & FlavonoidsEster-C® & Flavonoids by Pure Encapsulations – This formula provides natural, non-acidic, bioavailable and highly absorbable vitamin C plus complementary flavonoid compounds in support of synergistic antioxidant, immune and vascular integrity support. Non-GMO formulation.

 

References:
Health Protective Effects of Phytonutrients: Green Tea Extract. http://www4.dr-rath-foundation.org/research_news/articles/issue-38-health-information-protective-effects-of-phytonutrients-green-tea-extract.html
Flavonoids in food and their health benefits. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15678717#
Health benefits of cocoa flavonoids. http://www.eufic.org/article/en/artid/health-benefits-cocoa-flavanoids/
Health benefits of fruit and vegetables are from additive and synergistic combinations of phytochemicals. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/78/3/517S.full
What are Flavonoids? http://www.news-medical.net/health/What-are-Flavonoids.aspx