Wellness Solutions Blog

thoughts from our expert team

About Cypress Pharmacy

For more than 40 years, Cypress Pharmacy has provided excellent health and wellness services and programs, as well as astounding customer service. When you come into the pharmacy you can expect to be warmly welcomed by our pharmacy staff of caring professionals who are always readily available with answers and information regarding your medication questions. We believe that this is the kind of personal service and attention that you deserve and should expect from a family-owned community pharmacy.

The 2021 pollen-pocalypse: How to stay protected during allergy season in Southwest Florida


By: Justin Ceravolo, PharmD, pharmacist at Cypress Pharmacy

It’s that time of year again – the sniffling, sneezing and suffering of allergy season caused by the telltale yellow dust that blankets Southwest Florida for months.

With longer and warmer seasons each year, the spring and fall pollen is literally and figuratively growing worse. Right now, the biggest offenders like tree pollen, grass pollen and ragweed pollen are blowing through our breezy coastal region.

These tiny airborne allergens easily get inside your body, and when they do, your immune system goes into defense mode. To combat these intruding allergens, your body releases a chemical, called histamine, which triggers a familiar response you might recognize: sneezing, itchy throat, runny nose or teary eyes.

If you are an allergy sufferer, you are not alone. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundations of America, more than 50 million people struggle with it every year.

In its latest 2021 Allergy Capitals report, AAFA placed a Southwest Florida region on its top 50 list of most challenging places to live with seasonal allergies. Cape Coral was ranked No. 33 for allergies during spring season and No. 35 for the months during fall.

So, what can you do if you struggle with seasonal allergies and Southwest Florida is your home? A few proactive steps to recognize, prevent and manage symptoms will bring hope to those with the seasonal stuffy blues.

Reduce Your Exposure

  • Before planning your day, check local news or the Internet for the area’s pollen count forecast.
  • Keep doors and windows shut to avoid pollen from coming indoors.
  • Delegate outdoor chores, such as mowing the lawn and gardening.
  • Keep floors cleaned and maintain air filters inside the home.
  • Avoid air-drying clothes and bedding outside where pollen can stick to it.

Prevent Spread & Symptoms

  • If high pollen counts are forecasted, take allergy medication before symptoms start.
  • After outdoor activities, change into clean clothes and shower to rinse pollen from skin and hair.
  • Remove shoes, jackets and hats at the front door.
  • Wipe pets down with a towel after playing outdoors.
  • Wear a pollen or dust mask for outdoor activities.

Nonprescription Medication & Remedies

  • Oral antihistamines can help relieve sneezing, itching and runny noses.
  • Antihistamine eye drops can reduce itching and redness.
  • Specially formulated supplements may support healthy respiratory and immune systems.
  • Nasal rinse devices, such as a Neti pot, can flush out inhaled pollen and alleviate congestion.
  • Oral and nasal decongestants can offer temporary relief to help with nasal stuffiness.
  • Cromolyn sodium nasal sprays can help treat and prevent allergy symptoms.

When stubborn symptoms persist, your pharmacist or physician can identify which over-the-counter medicines are best suited to alleviate your symptoms. They can also help you navigate your options when more severe conditions must be addressed.

Treatment options to manage allergies can range from immunotherapy, such as shots, to prescription-strength antihistamines, decongestants and combination allergy drugs.

In addition, rescue inhalers and other medications can be prescribed for people diagnosed with allergy-induced asthma.

Amid the pandemic, a case of the sniffles, or hay fever, is the last thing you want to stress over. While allergies can’t be cured, they can certainly be managed. Having a seasonal action plan that attacks allergies first is a good place to start, and will keep you from playing catch-up once symptoms arise.

What you need to know about flu season and how to avoid a twindemic


By: Justin Ceravolo, pharmacist for Cypress Pharmacy

With the resurgence of new COVID-19 variants, the message to get vaccinated for the flu is loud and clear. The sooner, the better.

The typical flu season peaks from December to February, with 40 to 50 million flu illnesses, 800,000 hospitalizations and between 30,000 to 60,000 deaths annually.

However, last flu season could hardly be considered typical amid the year of COVID outbreaks and heightened safety measures.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says flu activity hit historical lows for the 2020-21 season. And while that may sound like a big win, it also has health officials concerned for what’s to come.

What’s Coming?

Reduced population immunity due to the lack of flu activity could mean more severe outbreaks and an earlier than normal start for the 2021-22 season, according to the CDC.

As new COVID cases continue to climb, stakes are higher for flu patients due to limited hospital capacity, and the looming threat of coinfection.

That’s why it’s vital to schedule your flu shot appointment early before viruses begin to spread. It takes approximately 14 days after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide the adequate amount of protection.

Flu Amid COVID

One of the major challenges of having influenza circulating among the coronavirus is their overlapping symptoms, which include fever, chills and body aches, along with upper respiratory symptoms, pneumonia, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

While there are a few symptoms they don’t have in common – like losing your sense of taste and smell – people should get tested for both flu and COVID if symptoms arise.

Scientists are still studying the severe and deadly impacts of coinfection among patients with both flu and COVID-19, assured that vaccinations are the best option for developing immunity against any dangerous disease.

Vax Facts

According to the CDC, flu vaccination prevents tens of thousands of hospitalizations each year. During the 2019-2020 season, studies show the flu shot prevented an estimated 105,000 flu-related hospitalizations.

Last flu season, out of an abundance of caution, receiving the influenza and coronavirus vaccines at the same time were not recommended. But with further research, this guidance has changed.

In fact, the CDC revealed it is safe and effective to get both shots on the same day, which is co-administered to different arms to reduce pain and swelling.

The CDC recommends annual flu shots for all people ages 6 months and older, with rare exceptions, and is fully covered by most health insurance plans without the need for copayment. And despite common misconceptions, the vaccine cannot cause flu illness. Some may experience soreness at the injection site or a headache, stuffy nose and sore throat that generally only last for a day, however, most people have no symptoms after getting the shot.

While the flu shot was once not recommended for those who were allergic to eggs, the CDC now advises that even people with egg allergies should receive an annual flu shot. To avoid any confusion, it’s important to consult a health care professional, pharmacist or credible source with any questions on the flu vaccine.

Staying protected

So, how will this year’s flu season pan out? The answer depends on us.

Along with the most common practices to prevent the spread of viruses – washing your hands and covering a cough or sneeze – take other important precautions to reduce your risk.

  • Get vaccinated
  • Practice social distancing
  • Wear a face mask in public, indoor settings

As flu season begins to move in, now is the time to roll up our sleeves for better health.

Stronger than diabetes: Ways to prevent and manage diabetes naturally


By Dr. Stan Headley, natural health consultant for Cypress Pharmacy

November marks National Diabetes Awareness Month. A time that focuses on the risks, prevention and cure of diabetes – a nationwide epidemic that affects more than 30 million Americans and counting.

According to the American Diabetes Association, approximately 88 million adults have prediabetes, although more than 84% don’t know they have it. Prediabetes is a serious health condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. It’s considered a warning sign for making smarter lifestyle choices now before it’s too late.

A physical, emotional and financial burden. Diabetes is not one but several chronic medical conditions that alter the balance of insulin and glucose, which affects how your body turns food into energy. Having diabetes dramatically increases the risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke. Without proper management, it can also lead to kidney failure, vision loss and the risk for limb amputation.

Can Diabetes be Prevented?

Well, yes and no – depending on whether it’s type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Both are important to understand and have consequences that can be devastating on the body.

In type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks and destroys the ability of the pancreas to make insulin. It can’t be prevented but it can be managed to reduce the risk of complications. Most people with type 1 diabetes are diagnosed in childhood with a strong family history of the disease.

Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90-95% of all cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and can often be prevented or delayed with proven lifestyle changes. With type 2 diabetes, the body either doesn’t produce enough insulin or the cells resist the insulin.

So, what can you do to reduce your risk of developing diabetes?

Path to Prevention

Small changes can lead to big results. Research shows that proven, structured lifestyle changes can cut the risk of type 2 diabetes in half. Here are a few simple ways to get started today:

  • Limit processed and prepackaged foods
  • Watch out for refined sugars and carbs
  • Control and measure portion sizes
  • Commit to staying physically active
  • Maintain a healthy weight

Another area where efforts can pay off is nutritional supplements. If taken at the right time and in the right amounts, they can have a profound impact on blood glucose levels, helping protect you against the debilitating effects of diabetes.

Consider some of these science-based nutritional supplements highly recommended for people with diabetes – turmeric, vanadium sulfate, chromium, lipoic acid, gymnema sylvestre, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium and vitamins A, C and E. Studies have also found that cinnamon and garlic may help for reducing blood sugar levels. Consult with a medical professional to determine the best supplements to support your diet and other factors that can affect your glucose levels.

Bottom line: a healthy lifestyle and diet are key to preventing or managing diabetes. Eliminate undesirable habits and replace them with new healthy ones by making small daily and weekly goals. Keep it simple with manageable steps to help you stick to your goals.

And remember – if you slip up, just start again.

So, you realize you need to get better sleep?


By Dr. Stan Headley, natural health consultant for Cypress Pharmacy

Restless nights. Tossing and turning. Waking up exhausted. Frankly, we just aren’t getting enough quality sleep these days. Spoiler alert: You’re not alone.

In fact, this affects one in three adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 70 million Americans suffer from some form of diagnosed sleep disorder. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society recommend people between the ages of 18 to 60 should sleep a minimum of seven hours each night to promote optimal health and well-being.

Hitting snooze

Lack of sleep is more than a slight inconvenience of temporary brain fog. Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that makes it difficult to fall asleep, stay asleep or both, and can have unwanted side effects like daytime fatigue, depression and anxiety. Insufficient sleep has been linked to the development and management of a number of chronic diseases and conditions, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity.

So, what exactly happens when you sleep? The brain cycles repeatedly through various stages of sleep.  Rapid-eye movement, or REM, sleep is the deepest stage of slumber, when we tend to dream. On average, studies show healthy adults go through three to five REM cycles per night.

Countless factors can have an impact on your quality and length of sleep each night, including stress, caffeine and alcohol, physical and mental health conditions and certain medications. Everything from what you eat to how much you exercise in a day can cause a positive or negative effect on your sleep. In many cases, people will turn to natural sleep aids and other effective ways to promote better sleep.

Natural sleep aids

Melatonin has become a popular natural sleep aid, with 3 million Americans using them in 2012, according to the CDC. However, dosage can be tricky and can often wear off before getting a full night’s sleep. While melatonin is still popular option for falling asleep, there are several other natural alternatives that can provide much better results without the potential for side effects.

For many people who face stress during the day, higher cortisol levels can interfere with the ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. L-theanine, an amino acid that down-regulates cortisol, can help effectively set the stage for improved sleep at bedtime when taken during the day.

For those who use a daytime product to help control elevated cortisol levels, magnesium can be a quality supplement to help restore the natural rhythm. Magnesium is highly recommended for anyone who has sleep issues because it acts as a calmative and helps our muscles relax, helping us fall asleep more easily.

Vitamins B12 and D3 have also been found to support better sleep. While vitamin B12 is well-known to generate energy in the body, people with B12 deficiencies can experience irregular sleep patterns and a lack of sleep. The intake of B12 can increase melatonin production and help regulate sleep patterns.

Vitamin D3 can also help support sleep cycles and your quality of sleep. Current research shows there’s a direct correlation between sleep disturbance and low levels of vitamin D.

Full-spectrum, pharmaceutical-grade CBD, or cannabidiol, oil is another natural option for achieving quality sleep. Current studies suggest CBD may help with falling asleep and staying asleep, according to Harvard Medical School. CBD-infused oil drops, administered under the tongue, appear to enter the bloodstream faster, binding to the targeted brain receptors through our body’s endocannabinoid system to induce REM sleep.

Combinations of natural sleep-inducing ingredients can also promote soothing and restful sleep. Blended formulas may include key ingredients such as valerian root, GABA, 5-HTP, chamomile, hops and passionflower to support healthy circadian rhythms for a peaceful night of sleep.

Better habits at bedtime

Sleep accounts for nearly one-third of the human lifespan. Melatonin, our natural sleep hormone, increases in the body about two hours before bedtime, which can be a good time to start your nightly bedtime routine.

If you’re looking to make every hour count, there are several ways to improve your sleep health through lifestyle changes, like limiting amount and timing of stimulants like caffeine and alcohol, limiting screentime prior to bedtime and increasing exercise including cardio, strength training and yoga. Even the food and drinks we consume can help improve sleep, including complex carbs, chamomile, ginger, peppermint and warm milk.

Ask your pharmacist or health care professional if the medications you are taking may be making it difficult to fall asleep. Many prescription medications, even medications prescribed for insomnia, can block the body’s natural production of melatonin.


How the pandemic has changed how we think about wellness


By Dr. Stan Headley, natural health consultant for Cypress Pharmacy

The pandemic has done more to change how we think of wellness than we ever could have imagined.

As we recognize National Wellness Month, it’s clear that COVID, quarantine, vaccinations and more than a year of uncertainty have brought a bright spotlight to the importance of staying healthy, ultimately shifting how we view health and health care. In fact, almost 60% of Americans say they are more focused on their health and wellness since the pandemic started.

This aligns with the World Health Organization’s definition of health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” as an important concept, particularly now.

Several wellness-related trends have emerged or have been reaffirmed throughout the pandemic:

  • The power of human connection. When life went virtual, we often had little choice but to embrace the idea. However, we are seeing the negative impact of virtual support groups on the mentally ill, isolation of seniors from their families and communities and the impact of virtual school on the mental health of children. Research shows that a good social support network has numerous physical and mental health benefits.
  • The recognition that helping others is a wonderful way to find your own happiness. Helping others can reduce stress and improve mood, particularly when you are feeling powerless. An attitude of gratitude relaxes communication between various regions of the brain associated with anxiety. The more you focus on the good, the more good you may be able to find.
  • The importance of digital detox. Disconnecting from technology allows us to be in the moment, pursue social interactions and focus on ourselves and others.
  • The priority of mental and emotional well-being. With a more proactive and preventative approach to mental health, consumers are seeking to manage their mental health as well as physical health. This includes an increasing emphasis on quality sleep to manage anxiety and stress.

So, what can we do to keep this positive trend of preventative health for overall wellness? The tips are not new, even if the focus may be:

  • Eat a health-focused diet. Nearly 40% of Americans report overeating or eating unhealthy foods because of stress. Instead, follow a diet that is rich in vegetables, fruit, lean meat, fish and whole grains.
  • Get quality sleep. During sleep, our immune systems release proteins called cytokines, which help fight infectious diseases and reduce risk of obesity diabetes, heart and cardiovascular diseases.
  • Stay fit. Regular exercise offers a host of physical health benefits, including strengthening the heart and improving circulation. Beyond this, exercise also helps our bodies release feel-good endorphins, which can result in improved mental well-being.
  • Balance nutrition. Lack of essential nutrients can lead to numerous health concerns. The CDC says over 95% of the population has serious nutritional deficiencies. Blood testing can help evaluate nutrient levels and determine when the nutritional support of vitamins and supplements may be advantageous.
  • Consider CBD. Derived from the hemp plant, CBD works by interacting with the endocannabinoid system. Cell receptors are located throughout our bodies, and CBD will bind to the brain receptors responsible for regulating anxiety, appetite/hunger, depression, immune function, memory, mood, motor control, pain, pleasure and reward, reproduction and fertility, sleep and temperature and more.
  • Focus on self. Self-focused activities such as meditating, pursuing your passions or learning something new can help bring joy and create greater balance in your life. Research suggests self-care helps foster resilience, lengthens life and helps manage stress.
  • Build connections. According to the Mayo Clinic, adults with strong social support have a reduced risk of many significant health problems, including depression, high blood pressure and an unhealthy body mass index (BMI). Studies have even found that older adults with a rich social life are likely to live longer than their peers with fewer connections.

As a natural health advocate, I believe that lifestyle choices are the most effective way to impact well-being. Getting adequate sleep, drinking plenty of water, reducing alcohol intake and stress and not smoking will help keep the body in balance. Lifestyle measures including a healthy diet, exercise and regular health checks for chronic conditions are critical.

If we learned anything during the pandemic, health and wellness are a lifetime pursuit worth focusing on all year long.

Do You Know Your Vitamin ABCs?


By Dr. Stan Headley, natural health consultant for Cypress Pharmacy

March is National Nutrition Month, serving as a timely reminder of nutrition’s important role in fostering better health.

Vitamins and minerals are essential to ensure normal body function. For your body to complete daily tasks at optimal levels, it requires a complex variety of vitamins including, vitamins A, C, D, E, K, and the B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12 and folate). Without these resources, nutritional deficiencies can occur, resulting in unhealthy outcomes including weakness, fatigue, depression, weight change and more.

Consuming a varied and balanced diet is the best source of essential vitamins and minerals, yet daily intake requirements are likely not being met. In fact, the CDC reports that fewer than 1 in 10 U.S. adults and adolescents eat enough fruits and vegetables. Furthermore, deficiencies can still occur even when consuming proper amounts of fruits and vegetables and can also develop with certain health conditions and medications that alter absorption. The Harvard School of Public Health recommends incorporating a multivitamin in your daily regimen to ensure that you’re obtaining all the nutrients needed to be healthy.

Taken in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle, multivitamins can help support and promote exceptional health throughout our lives. Vitamin and mineral supplements contain micronutrients meant to improve mental health, help the body function smoothly, provide specific health benefits and fill in nutrient gaps. A great multivitamin will provide support to your nervous system, heart and circulation health, memory, immune system, metabolic rate, bone density, energy and provide antioxidants.

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, doctors may also recommend the use of multivitamins for people with certain diets or health issues, such as if you eat a vegetarian or vegan diet, or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Multivitamins are not recommended as a treatment for any condition, but to support general overall health.

During a time when we are striving to keep our bodies in good health, adding a multivitamin to your daily regimen could be a good option to support optimal performance. In addition, vitamins and supplements including zinc, vitamin C, vitamin D, selenium and probiotics can support and boost your immune system, potentially providing protection against illness.

A trusted medical professional or pharmacist can discuss your lifestyle habits and review your current prescriptions to make personalized recommendations for vitamins and supplements tailored to your unique needs, including for those with nutrient depletions caused by medications. Professionals can also advise on the best time to take certain vitamins and supplements as well as which strategies are best for reaching specific health goals, including heart health, anti-aging, digestion and more.

All supplements aren’t created equal, so quality is key when introducing any new elements into a health care routine. Dietary supplements should come with a Supplement Facts label, which lists all the active ingredients, as well as the serving size. Also, look for pharmaceutical-grade supplements that are manufactured under strict quality control GMP (good manufacturing practices) and validated by independent third-party laboratories for purity and potency.

10 reasons to talk to your pharmacist


By: Justin Ceravolo, PharmD, assistant pharmacy manager for Cypress Pharmacy

During the pandemic, health care officials have reported that fewer people are going to the doctor out of concern about contracting COVID-19. Johns Hopkins Community Physicians initially reported a decline in patients by 20 to 30% at the start of the pandemic.

But doctors caution that waiting too long to get help or manage chronic conditions may be more dangerous in the long-term than the coronavirus. Life threatening symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, sudden numbness, weakness or confusion should result in a call to 911.

For minor health issues, an often-overlooked source is your pharmacist. Pharmacists are qualified health care professionals who can offer health and well-being guidance and over-the-counter medications for a range of minor illnesses.

As an essential business open throughout the pandemic, pharmacies have followed strict sanitation and social distancing guidelines designed to protect staff and customers, with many offering curbside pickup and delivery.

In addition to being able to talk to your pharmacist for free, here are 10 other ways your pharmacist can help you:

  1. They are qualified health care professionals. Pharmacists must pass state and national licensing exams and spend six to eight years in pharmacy school learning about medicinal chemistry, pathophysiology and pharmacotherapy. Pharmacy has a rigorous system of checks and balances and is one of the most regulated professions.
  2. They are an important component of medical care. While pharmacists typically can’t diagnose illnesses or prescribe medication, they are frequently readily available without an appointment. The pharmacist’s role isn’t to keep you from seeing your doctor, but can make you more aware of your symptoms and when to seek the appropriate help. Pharmacists are also trained at identifying types of muscle aches, headaches, coughs, rashes, stomach issues and colds and the flu and know which over-the-counter medicines can help as well as what conditions require a doctor’s attention.
  3. They are experts in how medications interact with other drugs and conditions (pharmacodynamics), helping to keep you safe when you are taking multiple medications and supplements. Pharmacists can tell you the best, most effective time to take your medications and possible interactions with food and when inactive ingredients in some drugs may be a problem for people with allergies. They know how medications are absorbed and distributed in the body, metabolized and excreted.
  4. They can help you save money. Pharmacists can help you find over-the-counter medications that offer the best value for your symptoms. They also know whether there’s a generic equivalent or a therapeutic equivalent medicine that’s equally effective but less expensive.
  5. They can administer vaccines. Your pharmacist can bill your health insurance and provide flu shots and other vaccines, including influenza, hepatitis A and A/B, HPV, Measles, mumps and rubella, meningitis, pneumonia, shingles, tetanus and whooping cough.
  6. They can offer basic medical tests. Flu and strep tests are available, and if positive, your pharmacist will contact your physician for a prescription. You can get a combined cholesterol and glucose finger stick test with accurate, on-site results in minutes. You can test your blood pressure. You can use a service to order many tests such as diabetes, basic biomarkers and hormone levels to be sent to a nearby lab. Your pharmacist can also help you interpret the results.
  7. They can help manage diabetes. In addition to helping find supplies that work best, pharmacists can prevent serious errors by helping you administer insulin, understand its effects and determine when you should and shouldn’t use it. Pharmacists can teach you how to inject insulin and other drugs.
  8. They can provide creative ways to take medicine. Are you not a fan of how your medicine tastes? Pharmacists can enhance the taste of medication, while ensuring that the flavor is compatible with the medication’s properties. A compounding pharmacy may be able to compound multiple prescriptions into one dose. They can also prepare another way to deliver medicine, such as topical gels, creams, suppositories or sublingual troches. For example, if a patient has difficulty swallowing, a compounding pharmacist may prepare the drug as a flavored liquid suspension.
  9. They can provide lifestyle and well-being advice, as well as medication and insurance education. Pharmacists can provide advice on how to eat healthily and lose weight. They can help with smoking cessation. Some pharmacies have functional medicine counseling, helping to keep people from getting sick in the first place in order to promote optimal health. While pharmacists can help in person, online resources are also available. Pharmacists can help provide pill identification when drugs are separated from packaging, drug disposal and even compare Medicare plans to narrow plan options based on current prescriptions.
  10. They can help take care of your pets. Compounding pharmacies can compound pet medications, as well as offer over-the-counter treatment and prescriptions.

The next time you pick up a prescription and are tempted to decline counseling, think about all the things you can talk to your pharmacist about. They are available to help in your journey to wellness and health in partnership with doctors, and are a vital part of the health system.

Top Immune Boosters for Peak Flu Season


By: Dr. Stan Headley, natural health consultant for Cypress Pharmacy

It’s that time of year again – when spreading holiday cheer could also mean spreading viral illnesses. In fact, it’s no coincidence that infections such as colds, flus and pneumonia drastically increase during the fall and winter months when family and friends come together.

Catching a cold, or any other respiratory-related illness, increases our chance of contracting a much more serious virus, influenza. Factors like getting older, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other medical conditions also cause our immune system to become weaker.

So, what are natural, proactive ways to protect yourself during peak flu season?

Recent clinical studies suggest that having a nutritional supplement regimen may be as effective in preventing viruses as prescription medication. Vitamins and supplements such as elderberry, vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc and quercetin can support and boost your immune system.

In addition, most people think of probiotics strictly for improving digestion. However, evidence-based science indicates 70% of the immune system resides in the digestive tract. Probiotics provide a healthy immune response and help prevent viral syndromes of all types.


While elderberry flew off shelves in the height of COVID, its popularity didn’t occur overnight. Packed with antioxidants, the dark purple berry has been used for centuries to fight infections and boost immunity. Found in everything from cough syrups to vitamin gummies, elderberry can be an effective ingredient for managing cold and flu symptoms. Recent studies show other benefits include promoting heart health and reducing inflammation. Food is medicine, and elderberry is a classic example.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is vital for the proper functioning of your immune system, which is your body’s first line of defense against infection and disease. Both anti-inflammatory and immunoregulatory, this essential vitamin is great for enhancing the function of immune cells that protect our body against pathogens that cause disease. It’s estimated that at least 40% of Americans are deficient in vitamin D.

Vitamin C

Found in foods like oranges, broccoli and spinach, people often think they get enough vitamin C from their diet. However, the truth is about 90% of adults are nutritionally deficient. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and crucial for supporting immune function. A popular remedy for fighting infection, several studies suggest vitamin C may cause shorter and milder colds due to reducing inflammation in the lungs.


Present in every cell of the body, Zinc plays an important role in maintaining immune function. Immune cells must rapidly divide to respond to daily challenges and require adequate amounts of zinc to do so. Studies show that this vital mineral can block the replication and growth of viruses in the body, which make it a powerful ingredient in many over-the-counter cold supplements.


Packed with antioxidant and antiviral properties, quercetin is found in many of our fruits, vegetables and grains. Recent studies suggest that it can help your body combat free radical damage and reduce inflammatory lung response when used with zinc. It’s also believed to help zinc penetrate cells to fight respiratory infection at a cellular level.

Immune-boosting vitamins and supplements are also often available in special blends, offering all-in-one options with essential vitamins and minerals shown to promote overall immune health.

Some supplements can interact with medications or have unwanted side effects if not taken in the proper dosage, so it’s important to consult a health care professional or your pharmacist to develop tailored supplement regimens.

Bottom line: Even those who’ve received the trifecta of flu, COVID and booster shots can feel a bit uneasy when it comes to the sound of suspicious coughing or a runny nose amid peak flu season. While proper handwashing and social distancing helps to prevent the spread of infection, taking targeted immune-boosting vitamins and supplements can also add a proactive layer of protection against the seasonal flu.

The Healthy ‘Dad Bod’: 5 Essential Habits for Every Age, Shape and Size


By Dr. Stan Headley, natural health consultant for Cypress Pharmacy

In the last decade, body positivity has been a hot topic – yes, even among men.

This newer era is responsible for coining the comical phrase, “dad bod.” A popular term used for the less-sculpted physique of a man who still practices a moderately active lifestyle. A national survey found that around 75% of participants favored the soft and round male body type, compared to a toned one.

All joking aside, this trend serves as an important reminder that you can achieve a happy, healthy lifestyle – regardless of age, shape or size.

A great way to feel comfortable in your own skin is to start from within and adopt new healthy habits.

A Healthy Waist

While someone’s figure can’t properly determine their overall health, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute says your waistline reveals more than you think.

Research suggests that a waist measuring more than 40 inches can be a cause for concern for obesity-related diseases. And often, larger waistlines mean higher risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

While a healthful diet and plenty of exercise are among the best strategies for weight management, other natural approaches like CBD and a daily probiotic can also play a role in promoting a balanced, healthy metabolism.

A Vitamin-rich Diet

Getting the necessary vitamins and minerals can help lower your chances of certain diseases. For example, a heart-healthy diet is vital and should include vitamin- and mineral-rich foods, such as fruits, leafy greens and whole grains. But meeting daily nutrient requirements can be difficult to achieve with today’s Western diet of processed foods.

One of the best ways to fill nutritional gaps and achieve optimal health is by taking a daily multivitamin and other beneficial supplements to assure you get the necessary amount of daily nutrition. Vitamins and supplements can help address specific conditions that are common among men, including heart and prostate disease, and can also support optimal aging, digestion, joint health and correcting nutrient depletions caused by medications.

For example, recent men’s studies show that vitamin D may help promote a healthier heart, slimmer waistline and thicker head of hair.

Break Harmful Habits

Many major health risks can be prevented by breaking some of the most common yet harmful habits among men – bad diet, tobacco use, stress and over consumption of alcohol.

Harvard Medical School research shows that men are more likely to abuse illicit drugs and alcohol, revealing 11.5% of males over age 12 have a substance use disorder, compared to 6.4% of females.

Tobacco cessation products such as gum and patches are available to help stop smoking. Men are also advised to limit alcohol consumption to no more than two drinks per day. Exercise and meditation also offer many health benefits, including stress relief.

Good Skincare Practice

Men over the age of 50 have a higher risk of developing one of the deadliest types of skin cancer, melanoma, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. By age 65, men are twice as likely to get melanoma than women and three times more likely by the age of 80.

Other than daily use of good ole-fashioned sunscreen, Harvard research says that nicotinamide, or vitamin B3, has shown to reduce the number of serious skin cancers.

Routine Health Checks

Recent studies show that up to 60% of men are unlikely to seek medical care, even if they believe to have serious health risks.

Routine checkups are essential. It can play a big role in monitoring your weight, cholesterol levels and blood pressure as well as catching health risks early.

For example, testosterone in men play a major role in their sex drive, strength and energy, which can then create a domino effect of other issues, like depression and weight gain.

Seeking advice from a medical professional can help provide a variety of solutions – prescriptions, CBD or customized compound medications – to help boost testosterone levels in your body.

Be sure to speak with a health care professional before making any changes to your daily regimen.

No-brainer ways to boost brain health


By Dr. Stan Headley, natural health consultant for Cypress Pharmacy

Whether you’re 16 or 60, we can all experience similar moments of mental fog. We misplace keys. We forget names. We even rely on social media to remember important dates.

Contrary to what some might think, forgetfulness isn’t just something that happens as we age.

Brain cells are the most complex and nutritionally demanding cells in the body. Fortunately, steps can be taken to not only stop memory loss and mental decline but also to reverse it by targeting key lifestyle habits.

Alzheimer’s & Dementia

Alzheimer’s Disease International says over 50 million people worldwide live with dementia, and by 2050, it’s expected to rise to 152 million.

Alzheimer’s – the most common form of dementia – is often seen as a sad, unpreventable illness that can happen to aging loved ones. However, recent research provides hope for reversing, mitigating and preventing the disease, including hereditary factors of Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

A 2020 report by the Lancet Commission shows 40% of dementia cases could be prevented or delayed by targeting 12 risk factors: Excessive alcohol consumption, head injury, air pollution, less education, hypertension, hearing impairment, smoking, obesity, depression, physical inactivity, diabetes and infrequent social contact.

Boosting Brainpower

Growing evidence confirms that intelligence, focus and memory are all influenced by the quality of your environment and lifestyle choices.

While the exact causes of dementia are still unknown, certain actions can play a significant role in boosting brain health.

It’s never too late or early in life to achieve maximum benefits for the brain and body. Health-focused habits include:

  • Fueling your mind with good nutrition
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Breaking a sweat with daily exercise
  • Connecting and socializing with others
  • Engaging your brain in activities

Supporting Brain Nutrition

We are learning more today as functional medicine identifies the connection between the gut and brain pathway. In fact, 90% of our neurotransmitters are located in the gut and send signals to the brain.

Many leading neuroscientists and doctors that study Alzheimer’s and dementia often point to nutritional deficiencies in their research. In other words, feeding your brain the right fats, complex carbohydrates, protein and nutritional supplements can help keep your mind sharp and active.

A few well-researched supplement recommendations include:

  • High-potency multivitamin: Once daily
  • Vitamin B-Complex: 100 mg daily
  • Vitamin C: 1,000-2,000 mg daily
  • Vitamin D3: 5,000 IU daily
  • Omega-3 fish oil: 2,000-3,000 mg daily
  • CoQ10: 100 mg twice daily
  • Probiotic: 5 billion CFU daily
  • A comprehensive blend of ginkgo biloba, phosphatidylserine, choline, inositol, L-carnitine, bacopa monnieri, alpha lipoic acid and huperzine A, which are all in one capsule taken twice daily.

There is, without question, a direct link between higher nutritional status and higher level of mental function. If you show signs of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), it’s important to act now and be aggressive in your diet, lifestyle and supplements.

Be sure to discuss your lifestyle changes and nutritional supplements with a qualified health care professional, doctor or pharmacist, especially if you take prescription medications. A medical professional can help provide you with personalized supplements and dosage recommendations for achieving optimal brain health, while evaluating any risks, side effects or negative interactions with other medications you may be taking.

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