Category Archives: Health & Wellness

Featured Brand – Genestra Brands™

GenestraSusanBiconBy Susan Brown
Health & Wellness Editor

For 28 years, Genestra Brands™ has offered comprehensive synergistic formulas backed by clinical research and science-based evidence and has been known for proven safety, efficacy and reliability. Genestra Brands™ imposes rigorous manufacturing standards from raw materials and preparation to bottling and storage to ensure the highest quality dietary supplements. All products are manufactured in compliance with FDA and GMP regulations. In addition, formulas are NSF certified, ensuring that products meet strict standards for public health protection. Pure, natural ingredients are sourced from trusted global suppliers and, in order to meet the needs of those with chemical or allergen sensitivities, all unnecessary agents are avoided.

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Genestra Brands™ adheres to full label disclosure, listing all ingredients, including standardization of herbal extracts and the true elemental weight of minerals. Independent testing validates the quality, stability, potency and purity of every formula from raw materials to finished products. Genestra Brands™ is committed to supporting the advancement of clinical excellence in patient centered care and does so by collaborating with naturopathic physicians, healthcare professionals and various healthcare institutions. Genestra Brands™ quality formulas are available solely through healthcare professionals.

Top selling customer favorites include:

HMF Forte (HEAT SENSITIVE PRODUCT)HMF Forte – This moderate level, long-term maintenance probiotic provides 2 strains of proprietary human-sourced Lactobacillus acidophilus, plus Bifidobacterium bifidum and the prebiotic fructooligosaccharides (FOS). Provides 10 billion CFU per dose. Gluten and soy free, vegan formula.

Liquid B ComplexLiquid B Complex – This easy to take, well balanced, high potency formula provides an excellent source of broad spectrum B-complex vitamins to aid dietary metabolism, red blood cell formation and maintenance of overall good health. Pleasant tasting, natural cherry flavor. Gluten and soy free, vegan formula.

Bio Enzymes (chewable)Bio Enzymes – Naturally peppermint flavored chewable tablets provide a complete spectrum of digestive enzymes in support of optimal digestion and absorption of nutrients. Gluten and soy free formulation.

D-Mulsion 1000D-Mulsion 1000 – This liquid vitamin D formula utilizes a patented emulsification process that potentially improves bioavailability. Great tasting spearmint flavored liquid may be dropped directly onto the tongue or mixed with liquid.   Gluten free.

Taking The Mystery Out Of Detoxing

By Jacquie Eubanks BSN, RN

If you are thinking about detoxifying your body for health, weight or energy challenges, you may need to first ask yourself, “Are my body’s natural detoxification systems working well?”  Our bodies are built to detoxify.  In fact, it’s happening 24/7 as our liver, kidneys, lungs, skin, lymphatic system and digestive tract all work tirelessly to prevent toxic substances from entering our bloodstream or to rid them before they can cause harm.  Our bodies themselves create toxins as a byproduct of normal metabolism.  Basic cell function includes taking in nutrients and eliminating wastes. 

Unfortunately, we live in a time when extraordinary amounts of toxins can be found in both our environment and our food supply.  External toxins come from environmental pollution, food additives, pesticides, industrial toxins, and chemicals in our cleaning products and personal care items.  Studies show that environmental chemicals are being stored within our bodies.  The Centers for Disease Control reported results of a study where toxic residues were found in the blood and urine of virtually every one of the 2,500 Americans tested.  Toxic residues can accumulate in our fat tissues as well, and over time that accumulation has been linked to numerous health concerns. 

Basically, to detoxify means to cleanse the blood and address the needs of individual cells.  Detoxification has been practiced for centuries in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine and involves resting, cleansing and nourishing the body.  The idea is that by first eliminating toxins and then feeding your body healthy nutrients, you can help prevent disease and restore your body’s natural ability to maintain optimal health.  The ability of our bodies to detoxify efficiently is based on factors such as genetics, the amount of individual toxic exposure and the availability of nutrients necessary for the detoxification process. 

There are some simple, effective lifestyle choices that can be made to help reduce the toxic burden on our bodies.  A simple short term program might entail resting the organs through fasting from certain foods, stimulating the liver to promote natural removal of toxins, promoting elimination through the kidneys, GI tract and skin, improving blood circulation and refueling with healthy nutrients.  Lifestyle habits that incorporate clean living can aid your body’s natural detoxing powers by lightening up on toxic load.  Minimizing the use of chemical-based household cleaners and personal care items and substituting natural alternatives is a good place to start. 

Some natural ways to jumpstart the body’s internal housecleaning process might include:

Don’t go to extremes.  Gradually make changes to eliminate your exposure to toxins without jumping on the latest fad detox diet bandwagon.  When buying personal care items, food, cleaning products, etc., read labels and make the least toxic choices.  Let a healthy long-term lifestyle be your guide to supporting natural detoxification processes on a regular basis. 

Support your body with optimal nutrients.  Vitamins and minerals support the daily detoxification processes.  Be sure to get adequate amounts of vitamins C, E and B complex as well as zinc, magnesium and selenium.  Eat clean organic and pastured raised foods whenever possible to eliminate pesticides, hormones and antibiotics in your food.  Eat cruciferous vegetables such as kale, broccoli and cabbage and include onions and garlic, which are rich in detoxifying sulfur. 

Stimulate your digestive tract with fiber rich foods.  Fiber revs up the digestive tract, especially the fiber found in fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains.  When we don’t eat enough fiber-rich foods, toxins that should be eliminated through our bowels get reabsorbed into the bloodstream, resulting in harmful inflammation and compromising the immune system.

Eliminate processed and prepared foods.  As much as possible avoid foods that come in boxes and packages.  Processed foods are designed for shelf life not health.  Most contain refined flours, added sugars, chemicals and preservatives.  The body thrives on whole, real food that contains nutrients, vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants.  Whole foods, which take longer to digest, promote optimal weight, support balanced bloodsugar levels, increase energy and encourage good mood. 

Hydrate with an adequate amount of clean water.  Always address natural thirst.  Water, necessary for metabolic processes, keeps body salts balanced, transports nutrients throughout the body, flushes out toxins through urine production and keeps our bowels moving.  Eliminate sugary drinks and substitute water instead with a slice of fresh lemon or any fruit for additional flavor and nutrient benefit. 

Break a sweat.  Perspiration eliminates toxins, making it another good reason to exercise.   As part of its function as our largest organ, the skin eliminates excess body salt and other metabolic breakdown products.  Sweating helps to cleanse the skin, increases circulation, relieves stress and boosts cardiovascular activity. 

Learn to deal with stress.  Stress hormones add to the toxic load your body has to process.  Since all stress can’t be entirely eliminated, try to find healthy ways to deal with it.  Getting adequate sleep, exercising and finding some time to relax each day will all pay off towards a healthier you. 

There’s nothing wrong with taking a break from certain foods such as red meat, refined sugar or alcohol while emphasizing a more plant-based diet.  Gradually make more non-toxic choices and phase out bad habits.  Following a healthy life style and reducing toxic exposure over time can lead to increased health and vitality, better mental focus and a happier, longer lifespan. 

Nutrients that can aid the natural detox process:

Basic Detox Nutrients (VMD) by Thorne Research is a comprehensive multivitamin and mineral supplement that includes higher levels of nutrients commonly found to be deficient in those with chemical overload.  Includes B vitamins, magnesium and botanicals found to aid and protect the liver and restore antioxidant defenses. 

Metabolic Detox Complete by Metabolic Maintenance  provides 20 grams of hypoallergenic pea, rice and hemp protein along with all essential vitamins and minerals, omega-3’s, fiber and antioxidants for complete nutritive support during Phase I and Phase II detoxification. 

Bio-Detox Packs by Biotics Research  supplies convenient packets of multivitamins, minerals and nutrients providing broad nutritional support for normal detoxification pathways and support for digestive and  gastrointestinal health and function. 

Total Body Detox by Advanced Naturals  provides a 3 part blend of organic herbs, fiber and nutrients for a wholesome, effective cleanse and support of the natural detoxification processes. 

Vitamin D – Are You Deficient?

Vitamin D..By Jacquie Eubanks BSN, RN

Vitamin D’s best known role is aiding the intestinal absorption of calcium, necessary for bone health including bone growth and remodeling.  Would it surprise you to learn that vitamin D has many other roles in the human body?  Many of the body’s tissues contain vitamin D receptors, including the heart and prostate, blood vessels, muscles and the endocrine glands.  Vitamin D is involved in cell growth modulation, neuromuscular and immune function and the reduction of inflammation.  It might also surprise you to learn that the active form of vitamin D functions as a hormone.  Currently, there are at least 200 genes that are known to respond to vitamin D.  Vitamin D breaks the rules for all other vitamins in that it is produced by the human body. 

Sunlight exposure, specifically ultraviolet B energy, converts the precursor to vitamin D3 in combination with naturally present cholesterol produced by the skin.  Vitamin D3 is then processed by the liver and the kidneys into an active usable form.  Approximately 10 minutes per day of direct mid-day sunlight exposure is all that is needed to produce vitamin D.  However, The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends using three sources to ensure sufficient blood  levels of vitamin D.  These include adequate sunlight exposure, fortified foods and supplementation.

Some of the roles of vitamin D are believed to include:

Immune function:  Low levels of vitamin D are believed to compromise immune function.  T-lymphocyte cells, the killer cells of the immune system, require vitamin D for activation.  When T cells detect a foreign pathogen, they activate a signaling device known as a vitamin D receptor.  Without sufficient vitamin D, mobilization of T cells does not occur.  T cells that activate successfully become either killer cells that attack and destroy pathogenic cells, or they become helper cells, which enable the body to recognize and remember the pathogen, effectively building immunity against a future encounter. 

Bone health:  Vitamin D facilitates calcium absorption by influencing calcium-binding proteins, allowing calcium from foods to be better absorbed.  Due to the increased absorption of calcium, parathyroid hormones (PTH) levels are better regulated.  When adequate levels of calcium are not maintained, increased levels of PTH lead to leaching of calcium out of the bone matrix, resulting in decreased bone strength.  Vitamin D works to increase bone strength by mediating the incorporation of calcium into the bone matrix, strengthening bone fibers. 

Cancer prevention: Vitamin D helps to regulate cell proliferation by promoting cellular differentiation.  It plays a role in the decreased proliferation of cells and their maturation.  Cells that reproduce quickly are at a greater risk of developing mutations.  Studies suggest that vitamin D helps prevent unrestrained cell multiplication by reducing cell division, restricting blood tumor supply, increasing the death rate of cancer cells and limiting their spread. 

Cardiovascular health:  Osteoporosis is linked to an increased risk of coronary artery disease.  Low blood levels of vitamin D are linked to increased coronary artery calcification, and increased risk of stroke and congestive heart failure. 

Autoimmune disease:  Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to multiple sclerosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis.  Vitamin D is also known as an immunomodulator.  It helps to regulate the function of lymphocytes, cytokines and macrophage activity.  Its role in immune function may aid in the prevention of autoimmune diseases when adequate serum levels are maintained. 

Diabetes:  Vitamin D plays a role in the secretion of insulin where increased levels of insulin are required.  Deficiencies of vitamin D are found to a large degree in people with poorly managed type 2 diabetes and correlates with the presence of cardiovascular disease in diabetics. 

Lifestyle factors and the environment have contributed to vitamin D deficiencies in up to 75% of the U.S. population.  Increasingly, those deficits are being blamed for many health concerns including osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer and diabetes.  Factors that influence vitamin D uptake include aging, skin pigmentation, sunlight exposure, location, obesity, diet, metabolic abnormalities, liver dysfunction, kidney disease and exclusively breast fed infants.  Populations at high risk for deficiency include the elderly, adolescents, darker skinned people, obese people and those with limited sun exposure. 

Highly bioavailable formulas for vitamin D supplementation include: 

Vitamin D3 1000 IU by Pure Encapsulations provides 1,000 IU of vitamin D3 in support of bone health, calcium absorption, immune cell activity and healthy cell metabolism. 

D3 1000 by Metagenics  supplies 1,000 IU of bioactive vitamin D3 as cholecalciferol to aid in bone strength maintenance and in support of cardiovascular and immune health. 

Vitamin D Liquid (D168) by Thorne Research  provides 1,000 IU of vitamin D3 in liquid form for easy dosing. 

Vitamin D 1,000 IU (83007) by Douglas Laboratories  provides 1,000 IU of vitamin D3 for osteo and general health support.