Wellness Solutions Blog

thoughts from our expert team

About Dr. Stan Headley

Stan Headley graduated with a Doctor of Medicine in 1991 from Spartan Health Sciences University. Dr. Stan continues to update his knowledge by attending continuing education conferences as a member of the American Naturopathic Medical Association, the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, and the Age Management Medicine Group. As a Natural Health Consultant, his entire focus is on getting to the underlying root cause of your symptoms and helping you to determine why you are not well or at risk of chronic disease. He does not diagnose or treat but educates patients on how to make the necessary lifestyle and behavioral changes that will lead to the long-term goal of preventing illness and promoting optimal health.

Do You Know Your Vitamin ABCs?


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.

Why Melatonin is Not the Best Solution For Sleep


For many years, melatonin has been a leading choice as a first-line natural therapy for mild insomnia. While melatonin has proven to be effective at preventing jet-lag when traveling across time zones, it is just not the “fix” most people are looking for when it comes to consistent deep REM sleep on a nightly basis.

Nearly 70 million Americans suffer from some form of diagnosed sleep disorder. There are many more people who are undiagnosed and struggle every night to reach any kind of restorative slumber. Millions of people resort to seeing their physician and requesting a sleep prescription, which generally includes either Ambien or Lunesta. Others may take Xanax at different dosage strengths if they also suffer from some type of anxiety. These medications can be helpful, but sometimes at the risk of some significant side effects, including dry mouth, dizziness, hangover feeling, and sometimes even memory or concentration problems. When it comes to Ambien, there is a host of known side effects, including potential hallucinations, changes in behavior, and even sleepwalking and sleep-driving without any recall. Since natural products, including nutritional supplements and herbal medicines, continue to gain in popularity, more and more Americans are turning to natural solutions for sleep as well.

Melatonin – The Standard For Natural Sleep – Until Now

There are several reasons why melatonin is not the best option for natural sleep. Melatonin gets secreted at night when it’s time to sleep. The problem is that most melatonin supplements do not mimic or simulate your natural circadian rhythm because it does not stick around long enough beyond helping you to fall asleep. For most people, it does not keep you asleep long enough to achieve a cycle or two of rapid eye movement (REM) level of sleep. Dosage adjustments can be a bit tricky too. With increased dosage, some report a sedative or drowsy effect the following morning, plus some report not feeling refreshed and mentally clear and ready to take on the day ahead. Other natural solutions have proven to be more effective at raising melatonin and serotonin levels in the mid-brain. The research indicates that most people with sleep disturbances need both of these crucial hormones to achieve quality sleep.

Taking A Closer Look At Insomnia

There are several different types of Insomnia, as not all cases of sleep disorder are identical. The two main types are short-term insomnia and chronic insomnia.

Short-term insomnia – also known as acute insomnia, this is a brief episode of difficulty sleeping. This is typically caused by a stressful life event, such as the loss of a loved one, a new difficult medical diagnosis, a pandemic similar to what we have been going through, drug rebound effects, or major life-changing events. Generally, the short-term version lasts for less than 3 months, and symptoms fade on their own as time passes, and a person copes with a stressful incident that gave rise to their sleeping problems. Short-term insomnia can become chronic or long-term insomnia in both children and adults.

Chronic insomnia – this is a long-term pattern of difficulty sleeping. To be classified as chronic, a person has trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at least three nights per week for three months or longer. Some people with chronic sleep issues have a lifetime of poor sleep. Chronic insomnia has many potential causes. Like acute or short-term insomnia, it can be associated with stressful situations. Still, it also may be related to irregular sleep schedules, poor sleep hygiene, persistent nightmares, mental health issues, underlying medical problems, medications, foods, to name a few.

Nutritional Deficiency and Insomnia

You may not have realized or thought about vitamin and mineral deficiencies and the link to insomnia or sleep issues. Nutrients are the building blocks for neurotransmitters that send signals throughout the nervous system to calm down the mind and body. So, not having certain nutrients can make sleep more challenging. The body needs a wide variety of vitamins and minerals to function properly. Most of these nutrients come from a healthy balanced diet. Here are some of the common nutrient deficiencies linked to insomnia.

  • Calcium and magnesium – lacking these two minerals can cause you to wake up after a few hours and not return to sleep.
  • Vitamin D3 – there is a direct correlation between sleep disturbance and low levels of vitamin D.
  • Vitamin B12 – because of the link between depression and B12 levels, many individuals with mild to moderate depression who also have insufficient B12 levels struggle with sleep. Ongoing research is looking into this relationship.
  • Magnesium – magnesium by itself is still one of the vital minerals needed to assist in sleep quality. It helps to regulate circadian rhythm, which is the natural sleep-wake cycle. Magnesium acts as a muscle relaxant and can help induce sleep. It can help produce melatonin and the neurotransmitter called GABA, both of which contribute to the sensation of calm to support healthy sleep.

Other Common Sleep Disorders

Two other sleep disorders that cause millions of people to struggle with their sleep are restless leg syndrome (RLS) and sleep apnea. RLS causes people to have involuntary twitching, jerking, and kicking of the legs when lying supine. This can often be related to other medical issues, but it does respond well to magnesium, potassium, vitamin B12, and alpha-lipoic acid supplementation.

Sleep apnea is another fairly common sleep disorder that sleep medicine physicians and pulmonologists deal with daily in their practices. Sleep apnea affects about 20 million Americans and is a potentially serious sleep disorder. This problem is commonly associated with snoring and extremely irregular breathing throughout the night. In sleep apnea, breathing actually stops for as long as two minutes at a time while the individual is asleep. When breathing stops, the level of oxygen in the blood drops, resulting in oxygen deprivation. Sleep apnea can cause daytime sleepiness as well as be associated with other, more serious health problems.

Natural Solutions For Sleep

When designing a protocol for sleep using natural solutions, it is important to evaluate several sleep factors, including severity, duration, sleep patterns, diet, medications, exercise, hormonal status, and current stress levels. After these have been established, natural solutions for sleep and general wellness can be implemented. While melatonin is still popular for many people to fall asleep, statistically speaking, it does not do a great job of keeping you asleep. It just does not last long enough in your sleep receptors. The following natural solutions provide much better results without side effects for various levels of insomnia.

  1. CBD oil – in my professional opinion, I have not seen another natural product to rival the effectiveness of full-spectrum pharmaceutical-grade CBD oil for sleep. The sublingual liquid tincture appears to enter the bloodstream faster, bypass the liver and stomach and bind to the targeted brain receptors via the endocannabinoid system and do its job to induce REM sleep.
  2. Magnesiumagain, this mineral is highly recommended for anyone who has sleep issues. It does a great job of inducing relaxation and reducing nervous tension in the muscles.
  3. Sleep Perfect Formula is one of the most innovative blends of nutrients that promotes soothing and restful sleep. It supports healthy circadian rhythms and relaxes the entire body. Some of the key ingredients include valerian root, GABA, L-theanine,5-HTP, chamomile, hops, and passionflower. It also includes 3 mg of melatonin.

Generally speaking, there are no hard and fast rules about how much sleep is enough because every person’s needs are different. Some people can function on as little as five hours, while others perform best with nine or ten. Most adults require 7 to 8 hours to feel refreshed and operate at peak efficiency. Children and adolescents require more sleep. Seniors tend to sleep less through the night and awaken earlier than young people.

Natural Solutions for Arthritis


Arthritis is the inflammation of one or more joints. There are more than one hundred different arthritis types with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout topping the list of the most common and generally most severe forms. Typically, all forms of arthritis are characterized by pain and stiffness (especially in the morning or after exercise), swelling, tenderness, deformity, or diminished motion range. Bone growths or bone spurs may develop in the affected joints- increasing pain and decreasing mobility. You may also hear cracking or grinding noises when the joint moves. Does this sound familiar? Currently, more than 55 million Americans are suffering from osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or gout. Arthritis and related musculoskeletal diseases are one of the primary sources of disability in the U.S. today. Maybe, you are one of the millions struggling with arthritis from old sports injuries, physical labor, or trauma. If so, this information will allow you to consider new therapeutic options that you may not have tried up until now to improve your range of motion, flexibility, and pain level.

Arthritis and its many different types is not a modern ailment, as you probably know, it has been with us since the beginning of time. To this day, modern conventional medicine is still not clear as to what the principal etiology or underlying cause of arthritis is, or why it occurs in so many people worldwide.

Healthy Joints Versus Arthritic Joints

In healthy joints, the synovial membrane is thin, the cartilage that covers bones is smooth, and a thin layer of synovial fluid covers the bones surfaces. A problem in any of these areas can cause arthritis. Arthritis may appear suddenly or come on gradually over the years. It is different for everyone. Some people feel a sharp burning or grinding pain, while others describe the pain as a dull ache similar to a toothache. Any movement of the joint tends to hurt, although sometimes there is only stiffness. The swelling and deformity in arthritic joints can result from a thickening of the synovial fluid, enlargement of the bones, increased secretion of synovial fluid, or some combination of these factors. Let us take a closer look at the three leading forms or types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout. Later on, we will explore natural solutions for reducing inflammation and improving your range of motion.

Factoids on Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Gout

  • Osteoarthritis, also called degenerative joint disease, involves the deterioration of the cartilage protecting bones’ ends. It can be caused by a sports injury, trauma, or an inherited defect in the protein that forms cartilage. More commonly, it results from the wear and tear of aging, diet, and lifestyle. Other common risk factors include advanced age, female gender, obesity, history of physical labor, high-impact sports, trauma, and family history. Osteoarthritis affects the weight-bearing joints, including the knees, hips, and back most severely. Osteoarthritis rarely develops before age 40, but it affects nearly everyone past age 60 years.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis – Rheumatoid arthritis is considered to be an autoimmune disorder. This means the immune system is overactive. An overactive immune system can be just as harmful as a weak one. In other words, rheumatoid arthritis is a situation where self-attacks-self. In this case, the body’s immune system improperly identifies the synovial membrane as foreign. Inflammation results, damaging the cartilage and tissues around the joints. The joint spaces become narrower, and bones fuse together. This creates stiffness, swelling, redness, sometimes fever, tenderness, and, most times, deformity and crippling later on. Rheumatoid arthritis happens in people less than 40 years of age, and almost 75 percent are female. Rheumatoid arthritis can be related to emotional stress, poor nutrition, and sometimes even bacterial or other infections.
  • Gout – many people do not realize that gout is an acute, inflammatory type of arthritis. It occurs most often in overweight persons and those who regularly indulge in rich foods and excess alcohol. It typically attacks the smaller joints of the feet and hands, especially the big toe. Deposits of crystallized uric acid salt in the joints cause swelling, redness, and a sensation of heat with extremely sharp excruciating pain. Approximately one million Americans suffer from gouty arthritis.

Non-Prescription Natural Alternatives For Arthritis

Through the years, high-quality natural products have proven to belong in the therapeutic space when it comes to improving the severity of arthritis and, at the same time, improving quality of life. Whether we are talking about herbal medicines, homeopathic products, nutritional supplements, or, more recently, pharmaceutical-grade CBD oil, they can reduce inflammation, increase blood flow, and promote healing. The following are some evidence-based, scientifically validated natural alternatives that I have recommended through the years with success. Remember, to buy quality products.

  1. Glucosamine & Chondroitin Sulfatethis well-known combination was first used in animals and later in humans to help rebuild connective tissue and cartilage – the substance that cushions the joints.
  2. Omega-3 Fish OilNo protocol for arthritis or joint inflammation should be without essential fatty acids from cold waters. Pharmaceutical-grade fish oil has been shown to be a potent anti-inflammatory and very helpful at reducing pain, stiffness, and swelling, especially in rheumatoid arthritis.
  3. Turmeric (Curcumin)Curcumin is the yellow-colored spice turmeric with powerful anti-inflammatory properties. It is probably the single most potent of natural remedies for reducing inflammation and pain associated with arthritis.
  4. Vitamin Cvitamin C has many different beneficial properties but is best known for increasing collagen and providing antioxidant protection. 1,000mg daily minimum should be taken with increases as per bowel tolerance.
  5. Magnesiumcofactor for more than 300 enzymatic reactions in the body, this mineral is commonly deficient in adults. It can improve muscle function and help calcium absorption into the bone matrix.
  6. InflamMovethis is a natural version of the prescription Celebrex, which is known as a Cox-2 inhibitor. This is the enzyme pathway responsible for pain and inflammation. By blocking this pathway, inflammation and pain are reduced.
  7. Collagen Factorsthis product provides added collagen to help support the rebuilding of cartilage and, at the same time, provide cushioning for the joints.
  8. Hyaluronic acid is a natural substance whose function is to retain water to keep your tissues hydrated and joints more lubricated to avoid friction or grinding.
  9. Probioticswith the proper bacterial strains of lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, this provides an intestinal balance of bacteria. 70% of inflammation starts in the gut or digestive tract.
  10. Gluten Digestive Enzymesthis unique supplement blocks absorption of gluten, which is known to increase inflammation. It also helps to breakdown proteins, carbs, and fats into fine particles for improved nutrient utilization.
  11. CBD oil – while this is the newcomer to the arthritis party, it certainly should be a strong contender for anyone suffering from the inflammation and pain associated with any form of arthritis. CBD is gaining popularity, and more clinical studies show that pharmaceutical grade third-party tested and validated full-spectrum hemp is very effective at reducing inflammation. It also is helping people with anxiety associated with pain, allowing them better quality sleep.

Closing Thoughts

We are all born with an innate healing system, and we are designed to live an active, physical life thanks to our strong and flexible musculoskeletal system. There is no substitute for being active and choosing exercises that you enjoy. If we become inactive as we age, bones weaken, muscles lose strength, and changes in balance and weight occur. To add to this equation, our joints are a common source of pain and inflammation. Being proactive and moving, stretching, swimming, walking, biking, and participating in resistance training for the joints can contribute to increased strength, stamina, and flexibility, resulting in less pain being elicited. You can do a lot to tune up and support your bones and muscles so that you can prevent arthritis from controlling how you live your life. Let’s get moving today!!!

Healthy Aging: Body, Mind, and Spirit

healthy aging

Healthy aging is something most everyone in mid-life and beyond thinks about. It is becoming a prevalent health topic these days, with advancements and treatments in anti-aging and regenerative medicine. Aging gracefully is not about trying to look like a 20-something, but it is about living your best life and having the physical and mental health to enjoy all that life has to offer. Like a bottle of fine wine, you get better with age with the right self-care.

At this point, I am assuming that you are among those of us who think that growing old is anything but graceful. Most likely, you would agree that there is nothing sexy about wrinkles, graying hair, spreading mid-sections, sagging jowls, fading vision, diminishing sex drive, and loss of memory. And maybe you are someone who has already spent more money than you would like to admit on health club memberships, diet plans, and even plastic surgery to look younger. However, you would likely be willing to spend time and effort if you could actually feel more youthful. Is there a way to stop or even reverse nature’s aging clock? Thanks to remarkably practical advances in anti-aging medicine, the answer is a resounding yes. Aging is a process, but it is not a one-size-fits-all phenomenon. Not everyone ages the same way. Our unique genetic blueprints and lifetime experiences mean that the process of aging affects each of us in different ways. Because of this, we cannot be treated in the same way. Your biochemical profile and factors that include your age, medical history, body type, gender, and lifestyle must be taken into account. It is interesting to know that we all are born with a natural repair process called anabolic drive, which continuously regenerates body tissue. Gradually over time, we lose this rejuvenating capacity and develop numerous conditions associated with aging: obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and Alzheimer’s, to name a few. But again, thanks to several enlightened forward-thinking scientists and anti-aging physicians, we can actually regain that anabolic drive and innate healing system by replenishing depleted levels of hormones, the fluids that regulate our organs and tissues, and neurotransmitters, the brain’s chemical messengers.


What do we mean by age? Yes, we all know to age means to grow older in years. But, to a biologist, a measurement of aging based upon your birth date is not very useful. After all, we all know of people who look ten years younger (or older) than their actual chronological age would indicate. Four main physiological changes occur with aging: (1) decreased muscle mass, (2) decreased water content, (3) decreased bone mass, (4) increased fat levels. These changes over time are accompanied by a host of unwanted symptoms. Aging is a physiological process that, at times, is only remotely connected to chronological age. On a cellular level, aging occurs every moment as old cells are not replaced by new ones. Apoptosis or programmed cell death is a normal part of life. While the seeds of advanced aging can be sown or planted at any age, generally speaking, the most noticeable changes occur between 40 and 50. Most physiological functions peak in the twenties, ride a plateau in the thirties and begin to take a sharp nose dive or decline in your forties. The exact point at which the decline into advanced aging begins is different for everybody. But, without any lifestyle or behavioral changes, or any healthy aging interventions, here is what you can expect to happen to your fifty-year-old body:

  • Brain – the brain shrinks 6 percent in size, resulting in a loss of cognitive function. Learn more about brain health
  • Vision – farsightedness and color perception among aging baby boomers is much more common in this age group.
  • Skin – how fast you wrinkle depends on a host of factors including genetics, nutrition, and environment. The skin begins typically to lose elasticity by age 30 and beyond. Natural Solutions for Aging Skin
  • Hair – fifty percent of men have some balding by age 50.
  • Fat & muscle – the ratio of muscle to fat begins its decline around thirty, with fat deposits peaking around 50.
  • Bones – the progressive loss of mineral content and bone density results in brittle bones, especially after menopause in women. How to Prevent Osteoporosis with Lifestyle Management
  • Sex – women experience menopause usually around age 50 when estrogen levels drop, and ovulation ends. Men have less pronounced sex hormonal decline; however, more young men today are experiencing lower testosterone levels at an earlier age.
  • Heart – by age 50, the heart will have beat approximately 2 billion times. The heart muscle begins to enlarge to pump more blood to compensate for the stiffening or hardening of the arteries.Seven Powerful Ways to Strengthen Your Heart
  • Lungs – by age fifty, the lungs begin to lose some of their elasticity, and the capacity to breathe declines about 20 percent.


Our bodies are operated by a complex network of neurotransmitters and hormones. The way they communicate and interrelate with each other determines the metabolic function for energy and movement and how we feel daily, both physically and mentally. At the same time, these neurotransmitters and hormones keep the body in homeostasis or balance. Your lifestyle and behaviors are unique to you. How you live, and the choices you make daily in terms of diet, exercise, nutrition, and relationships are cumulative and determine your overall sense of well-being and how you age. This further points to the importance of having the right balance between the physical body, the mind, and the spiritual component for improving your odds of healthy aging while minimizing your risk of chronic diseases. To appreciate the benefits of anti-aging intervention, you need to be an active participant, take responsibility for your healthcare, and work with your anti-aging provider to optimize your health. This means taking a few specific nutritional supplements, checking your hormone levels several times per year, eating a well-balanced diet (sometimes calorie-restricted), exercising, getting quality sleep, intaking adequate water, exercising your mind, meditating or praying (or both), and maintaining positive relationships (both personally and professionally). Working with a physician trained through the American Academy of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine is usually your best option. It is not uncommon for your primary care physician or internist to not be trained in the specialty of anti-aging medicine.

We are the first generation in history to have a say in our biological destiny or journey. To take full advantage of the wonders that await us in the next few years, we must bridge the gap with the treatments and self-care modalities available now that dramatically enhance the quality of our lives. Aging gracefully and healthy aging is possible, but you must take action today!

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Brain Health: The Role of Nutrition in Dementia

brain health

Dementia affects approximately 50 million people worldwide, with a new case of dementia occurring somewhere in the world every three seconds. Dementia can also affect individuals under the age of 65 (young-onset dementia). Greater awareness and understanding of dementia is essential to challenge the myths and misconceptions that surround the condition. There is currently no cure for most types of dementia, but treatment and support are available.

Dementia is a collective name for progressive brain syndromes that affect memory, thinking, behavior, and emotion. Dementia is the leading cause of disability and dependency among the elderly. Although each person will experience dementia in their own way, eventually, those affected cannot care for themselves and need help with activities of daily living (ADL). There are more than one hundred forms of dementia. The most well-known is Alzheimer’s dementia, which accounts for 50-60% of all cases. Symptoms may include loss of memory, difficulty finding the right words, or understanding what people are saying.

Types of Dementia

Many underlying conditions cause the symptoms of dementia as a result of changes that happen in the brain and the ultimate loss of nerve cells (neurons). The most common causes are (1) Alzheimer’s disease, (2) Vascular dementia, (3) Lewy bodies dementia, (4) Frontotemporal dementia. The boundaries between the different types are not necessarily distinct. Alzheimer’s disease and Vascular dementia are responsible for up to 90% of the cases of dementia. It is becoming more evident that a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is more fearful than any other medical diagnosis, including cancer. This is basically for two reasons: first of all, it is the only one of the nation’s ten most common causes of death for which there has been no effective treatment, and secondly, it robs its victims of their lives long before they are gone.

Alzheimer’s Disease- The Most Common Form of Dementia

As stated, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, or decline in intellectual function. It afflicts 10 percent of Americans over 65 and as many as 50 percent of those over 85. Unfortunately, we see Alzheimer’s disease diagnosed in much younger people, even as young as early forties. Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by progressive mental deterioration to such a degree that it interferes with one’s ability to function socially and at work. Memory and abstract thought processes are impaired. Alzheimer’s disease is, again, an irreversible, progressive disorder. Deterioration in critical areas of the brain may precede symptoms by as much as twenty to forty years. As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, there is severe memory loss, particularly in short-term memory or recall of recent events. The person may recall events far in the past, but not remember the events in the last two minutes. Since the behavioral symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease result from changes in the brain, the person neither intends nor can control this behavior.

Physiological Brain Changes of Alzheimer’s Disease

Once considered to be a psychological phenomenon, Alzheimer’s disease is now known to be a degenerative disorder that is characterized by a specific set of physiological changes in the brain. Nerve fibers surrounding the brain’s memory center become tangled, and information is no longer carried properly to or from the brain. New memories cannot be formed, and memories formed earlier cannot be retrieved. Characteristic plaques accumulate in the brain as well. These plaques are composed mainly of a protein-containing substance called beta-amyloid. Scientists and doctors believe that the plaques accumulate in the brain and damage nerve cells leading to the downward spiral of mental decline.

Other Causes of Dementia

There are many factors to consider when trying to understand the direct cause and effect of the most common dementias. The following have been associated directly or indirectly as a contributing factor or possible cause of dementia:

  1.  polypharmacy-taking multiple prescription or over-the-counter drugs
  2. drug reactions or drug interactions
  3. a nutrient-poor diet with too many empty calories, excess sugar, and processed foods
  4. chronic stress
  5. genetics or positive family history in immediate family members

Nutritional Deficiencies and Dementias

It is important to note that lifestyle factors can play a significant role in brain health. The precise cause or causes of Alzheimer’s dementia are still virtually unknown, but research by some leading neuroscientists and doctors reveals several interesting clues. Many of them point to nutritional deficiencies. For example, people with Alzheimer’s tend to have low levels of vitamin B12 and zinc in their bodies. The B vitamins are essential in cognitive functioning, and it is well known that the processed foods constituting so much of the modern standard American diet (SAD) have stripped these essential nutrients. The development of the neurofibrillary tangles and amyloid plaques in the brain that are characteristic of the disease have been associated or linked to a zinc deficiency. We are learning more today as functional medicine has identified the connection between the gut and brain pathway and that 90 percent of our neurotransmitters are located in the gut sending signals back and forth to the brain. Also, common antioxidants like vitamins A, C, E are typically low in people with Alzheimer’s dementia. Other common nutrients like CoQ10, potassium, and selenium are generally lacking or in short supply.

Boosting Brain Health With Nutrition

The human brain is the most astonishing structure in the universe. Brainpower should definitely last and not be affected by aging!  Let me be clear. Memory loss and decreased brain health are not inevitable as we age. Steps can be taken to not only stop memory loss and mental decline but also many times to reverse it. Brain cells are the most complex, long-living, and nutritionally demanding cells in the body. There are plenty of scientific studies that confirm intelligence, memory, focus, and concentration are all influenced by the quality of brain nutrition. In other words, feeding the brain the right fats, complex carbohydrates, and protein, plus the addition of targeted nutritional supplements to increase blood flow and activate key neurotransmitters, can keep your mind sharp and active. There is, without question, a direct correlation between higher nutritional status and a higher level of mental function. If you show signs of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), you must act now and be very aggressive in your diet, lifestyle, and supplement strategies.

Here are well-researched supplement recommendations for optimal brain health:

  1. High potency multivitamin/mineral complex 1 daily
  2. Vitamin C 1,000-2,000mg daily
  3. Vitamin D3 5,000IU daily
  4. Omega-3 fish oil 2,000-3,000mg daily
  5. CoQ10 100mg twice daily
  6. Turmeric (curcumin) 1,000-2,000mg daily
  7. Ortho Molecular Products Cardio B -vitamin B6, B12, folate, and betaine- daily
  8. Memory Plus -a proprietary blend of l-carnitine, phosphatidylserine, nattokinase, bacopa monnieri, DMAE, ginkgo biloba, alpha-lipoic acid, and huperzine- twice daily
  9. Brain Health Support – a proprietary blend of ginkgo biloba, phosphatidylserine, DHA, choline, and inositol – twice daily
  10. Selenium 200mcg daily
  11. CBD oil softgels or liquid tincture

It is always recommended that you discuss your nutritional supplement protocol and dosages with a qualified healthcare professional, your doctor, or pharmacist, especially if you are also taking prescription medications. Remember, it is important to only select high-quality supplements from trusted sources. Learn more here: https://cypresspharmacy.blog/2020/09/10/are-your-supplements-toxic/

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Is Leaky Gut Impacting Your Health?

leaky gut

Leaky gut is a rapidly growing condition that millions of Americans are struggling with, and most times, they don’t even know it. You might think, as most people do, that a leaky gut only affects the digestive system, but in reality, it can lead to many other health conditions. Practitioners of functional medicine have been actively diagnosing and treating leaky gut with natural, non-invasive therapies successfully for years. Mainstream conventional medicine, on the other hand, has not embraced leaky gut syndrome as an actual medical condition or diagnosis up until now. According to the research, leaky gut could be the underlying cause of your food allergies, low energy, joint pain, thyroid imbalances, autoimmune conditions, and slow metabolism, just to name a few.

What is Leaky Gut Syndrome?

To best explain the condition called leaky gut syndrome, think of the lining of the digestive tract like a net with tiny holes in it that allow specific substances to pass through. The lining in your gut works like a wall, keeping out larger-sized particles that can damage your digestive tract. When someone suffers from leaky gut (also referred to as increased intestinal permeability), the “net” in your digestive tract gets damaged, which results in micro-tears that grow and allow substances to easily pass through. This includes things like gluten, harmful bacteria, and undigested food particles. Toxic waste can also leak from the inside of your intestinal wall into your bloodstream, causing an immune reaction.

Symptoms To Watch For:

When you suspect you may have leaky gut syndrome after other more routine conditions have been ruled out, the inflammation throughout your system can cause symptoms such as: bloating, food sensitivities or intolerance, thyroid conditions, fatigue, joint pain, headaches, skin issues like rosacea and acne, digestive problems, weight gain or weight loss, and even metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a prevalent condition that encompasses a cluster of different symptoms, including elevated blood pressure, increased cholesterol, increased waist circumference (more than 38” in men or 35” in women), obesity, and type 2 diabetes.

One of the warning signs that you may have a leaky gut is experiencing multiple food sensitivities. Partially digested protein and fat can seep through your intestinal lining, making their way into your bloodstream, which may cause an allergic response. If this leakage is left untreated, it can manifest into other severe health issues like inflammatory bowel disease (chron’s or ulcerative colitis), irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis, eczema, psoriasis, anxiety, depression, migraine headaches, muscle pain, and chronic fatigue syndrome. Another real problem with leaky gut syndrome is that it can lead to malabsorption of vital nutrients, including iron, zinc, and vitamin B12.

What Causes Leaky Gut Syndrome?

As more studies are coming out regarding the triggers for leaky gut syndrome, it has been shown that there are four primary factors which can cause or manifest into a diagnosis:

  1. poor diet
  2. chronic stress
  3. toxin overload of kidneys and liver
  4. bacterial imbalance in the digestive tract

The most common components of food that can damage your intestinal lining are wheat, gluten, dairy, sugars, and GMO (genetically modified) foods.

Other Related Factors

When we dig deeper into potential causes which lead to leaky gut in some people and not others, we must also consider each of these three things:

  1. chronic stress – chronic stress weakens your immune system over time, which impacts your ability to fight off foreign proteins or substances like harmful bacteria and viruses, leading to inflammation and leaky gut
  2. toxins– we are in contact with chemicals and toxins everywhere but probably the most persistent offenders for causing leaky gut include antibiotics, pesticides, unfiltered tap water, aspirin, and NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, Aleve, Advil)
  3. dysbiosis – an imbalance between beneficial and harmful species of bacteria in your gut

Is There A Diet To Heal Leaky Gut Syndrome?

The initial plan when approaching leaky gut is to remove foods that damage the gut. Then, replace the bad foods with healing foods, add some targeted nutritional supplements, and finally rebalance the gastrointestinal tract with probiotics. While there is no one-size-fits-all diet plan to address leaky gut syndrome, experience from functional medicine practitioners indicates that there are some healing foods that should be included along with a common-sense approach to healthy eating. This includes bone broth and raw cultured dairy (contains both probiotics and short-chain-fatty acids that can heal the gut), including kefir, yogurt, and raw cheese. Others on the food list include fermented vegetables like sauerkraut and kimchi, coconut products, and sprouted seeds like chia, flax, and hemp seeds.

Nutritional Supplements For Healing Leaky Gut

Knowing which nutritional supplements that can support your digestive health can be a challenging task to the average consumer. Working with a healthcare professional knowledgeable in supplements and the condition itself, can be very beneficial and time and money well-spent. Again, because there are no established protocols for what might get the job done for everyone with this condition, it is best to start with a modest protocol of nutrients that we know improve gastrointestinal function. The following are nutritional supplements that have proven through the years to balance the gut and improve digestive function. The shortlist includes the following key supplements from which to build upon:

  1. Gut Restorative PRP – this supplement is comprised of bovine colostrum for supporting a healthy immune system. Supplementing with bovine colostrum has been shown to bolster the lining of the gastrointestinal tract and fight inflammation by regulating the cytokine response.
  2. Probiotics these are known to replenish good bacteria and crowd out the bad bacteria. However, in leaky gut syndrome, the administration of probiotics when the gut is still permeable may create additional problems as the probiotics permeate through the gut wall,  and may cause an allergic response. Extensive probiotic supplementation should be withheld until the leaky gut has healed (about 4-6 weeks).
  3. Digestive Enzymesthese can be either gluten digestive enzymes or regular digestive enzymes used before meals to ensure foods like protein, carbohydrates, and fats are broken down into fine particles for better absorption to maximize the full nutrient value without post-meal side effects like bloating, gas, abdominal pain or heartburn.
  4. L-Glutaminethis is an essential amino acid that has anti-inflammatory properties and is necessary for the growth and development of the intestinal lining. It also coats your cell walls as a protector.
  5. Quercetin – this ingredient improves gut barrier function by sealing the gut and supporting the creation of tight junctions. It also highly stabilizes mast cells and decreases the release of histamine, which is common in food intolerance.
  6. Turmeric – the ancient Indian spice (curry) has many healing properties, including decreasing inflammation, improving micro-circulation in the gut, removing toxins, and supporting healthy digestive function. No leaky gut protocol should be without this vital herb.
  7. Pyloricil – this is the active ingredient extracted from pistachio nuts that have excellent healing properties for the entire gastrointestinal tract. This product is endorsed by some of the top thought leaders in functional medicine and has many applications for leaky gut syndrome and its associated symptoms.
  8. CBD oil – this is included in recommended essential products for leaky gut provided it is a high quality third-party validated pharmaceutical-grade CBD oil. Hemp-derived CBD has shown it can modulate the healing process in the digestive tract, calm the nervous system, and reduce inflammation (all part of the symptom cascade seen in leaky gut). Either soft gels or sublingual liquid tinctures can be very effective at reducing symptoms triggered by leaky gut syndrome.

A Path Towards A Healthier Gut

Functional medicine practitioners have worked on gut healing as an initial step to treating chronic diseases for decades. Naturopaths are trained that 70 percent of all inflammation in the body begins in the gut. A typical initial step is to remove foods that can be inflammatory like nightshades (tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplant) and decrease alcohol, processed foods, and excess sugar. Controversy still exists on whether leaky gut causes the development of diseases outside the GI tract in humans. The key is to help rebuild the gut lining, bring more balance to the gut flora, and provide a protective barrier to avoid the leaky gut phenomena in the first place. By implementing these lifestyle changes, especially in your diet, you will not only feel better, but, in some cases, you may ward off a diagnosis of leaky gut syndrome in the future.

Are Your Supplements Toxic?


According to the CDC, nearly 90 percent of adults are nutritionally deficient. Basically, this means that most Americans are not eating the 5 or more servings of vegetables and fruits that are recommended daily. Add to this the environmental toxins from the air we breathe, the water we drink, and processed foods, and you have the “perfect storm” for chronic disease. In fact, statistics indicate 70 percent of adults have some form of chronic disease requiring treatment. Many of these individuals end up with chronic disease due to poor lifestyle behaviors and choices over many years, plus poor dietary intake with excess empty calories, excess starch, and too much sugar in the diet.

Almost 80 percent of adults currently take some form of vitamin or mineral supplement daily. But do you really know what you are taking? Is it a pharmaceutical-grade, professional product that has been manufactured under GMP (good manufacturing practices) in a state-of-the-art facility with independent third-party testing for validation of its purity and potency? Is it free of contaminants like heavy metals, fungicides, herbicides, or mold? Or, are your vitamins contributing to your ill health and putting you at risk of future disease?

Toxic Ingredients or Dangerous Substances to Watch Out for in Your Nutritional Supplements

Here is a listing of the worst or most dangerous ingredients or substances to watch out for in your dietary supplements:

  • Artificial colors – these are synthetic or artificially made food colorings that can be especially dangerous for children. They have been linked to behavioral changes, hyperactivity, and inattention in children. The artificial colors to watch out for are FD&C Blue No.1, FD&C Blue No. 2, FD&C Green No.3, FD&C Red No. 3, FD&C Red No. 40, FD&C Yellow No. 5, FD&C Yellow No. 6.
  • Hydrogenated oils – some supplement manufacturers will cut costs by adding hydrogenated soybean oil as a filler. Hydrogenation is a process in which a liquid unsaturated fat is turned into a solid fat by adding hydrogen. This produces the dreaded harmful fat called trans fat, which increases LDL (low-density lipoprotein), decreases HDL (high-density lipoprotein or “good cholesterol”), and increases the risk for cardiovascular disease.
  • Lead, mercury, and PCB’s – If the supplement manufacturing facility is not FDA registered or does not follow GMP (good manufacturing) standards, there is a possibility that some supplements like turmeric, ashwagandha, echinacea, and green tea contain lead. Sometimes lead is introduced into supplements by its use as a colorant (for example, lead chromate added to make turmeric have a more robust yellow color). Also, industrial waste includes mercury and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), which can pollute our oceans and seas and may affect large fish such as salmon and tuna. Because of this, it is recommended to make sure your fish oil supplements (omega-3 fish oils) are molecularly distilled, come from cold waters, and are third-party tested to ensure their safety and quality.
  • Titanium dioxide – this ingredient is added to some lower quality or substandard nutritional supplements as a filler and to whiten products. It has no nutrient value and has been linked to allergies, stomach cancers, and autoimmune disorders.

And Now For The Rest Of The Story

  • Consumers take a real risk if they use dietary supplements not independently verified by reputable outside labs.
  • Heavy metal contamination is known to cause cancer, dementias, and brittle bones, to name a few.
  • In June 2019, the FDA seized 300,000 supplement bottles because pills contained excessive lead levels.
  • Bacterial and fungal contamination is not uncommon. These are linked to liver, intestinal, and esophageal damage.
  • Sometimes the herb you think you are buying contains little to no active ingredients. Occasionally, another herb is substituted.
  • In an assessment of CBD products, only 25% of liquid tinctures and 45% of oils contained the promised amount of CBD on the label. A few CBD products had enough THC to put the user in legal jeopardy of marijuana possession (CBD must contain less than 0.3% THC by dry weight to be federally legal as an over-the-counter non-prescription product).
  • A New York Attorney General’s office investigation of dietary supplements at big-box chain pharmacies, including CVS pharmacies, suggested wide-spread fraudulent under-dosing of active ingredients with about 100 products failing standards resulting in the removal of the products from the CVS Pharmacy shelves.
  • Consumers can do their homework and go to one of three highly regarded independent laboratories to verify nutritional supplement quality. These include U.S. Pharmacopeia, NSF International, and ConsumerLabs.com.

Pharmaceutical-Grade Quality Matters

Because not all supplements are created equal, the products you are consuming might have toxic chemicals and unnecessary or substandard ingredients. Some companies seek out the least expensive raw materials at the cost of quality, purity, and potency.

Look for manufacturers that use the highest quality ingredients that are tested for purity and potency by certified labs multiple times during the manufacturing process. Herbal extracts and natural products should also be standardized to provide consistent levels of their primary active compounds.

It is important to consult with healthcare professionals who recommend only the highest quality third-party validated nutritional supplements and vitamins, to ensure that you are taking in only the best the industry has to offer to optimize your health. In addition, healthcare professionals understand your medical history, evaluate your prescription medications, and recommend safe and effective supplements based upon your specific, individual needs.

A Summary of Vitamins and Nutritional Supplements

Vitamin and supplements are typically used to improve an individual’s diet and provide nutrients they may not get from their foods. In other words, the supplements provide the nutrient gaps that are missing with the standard American diet (SAD diet). Most Americans need to be taking nutritional supplements because their daily diet is lacking horribly in essential vitamins and minerals. It is crucial to work with knowledgeable healthcare providers who have experience with supplements, so they may guide you in your supplement choices. Just because something is natural does not mean it is safe, especially in combination with other things, so it is not recommended to blindly begin a supplement .  Some supplements may interfere with prescription drugs or other supplements or could have side-effects, so it is wise to consult your physician or another qualified professional before starting any new nutritional supplement or dietary regimen.

Can Natural Remedies Help Shingles?


Every year shingles lands thousands of people into the local hospitals for treatment. Shingles (also called herpes zoster, or just zoster) is a painful skin rash, usually with blisters. In addition to the rash, shingles can cause fever, headache, chills, or upset stomach. More rarely, it can lead to pneumonia, hearing problems, blindness, brain inflammation, or even death. Shingles is a common condition that is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox.

Current statistics indicate that shingles occurs in approximately 20 percent of the general population. It is more common with age, and at least 50 percent of the cases occur in people over 50. For those who live to 80 or beyond,  about 50 percent of them will experience an outbreak. The most feared manifestation or consequence of shingles is something called postherpetic neuralgia( PHN). The pain from PHN can be severe and debilitating. The pain secondary to PHN can persist after the outbreak of the rash has been put into remission. It can sometimes last for months or years.

What Causes Shingles?

Shingles is caused by a reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus (VZV), also known as human herpes virus-3 (HHV-3). This virus is related to herpes simplex virus types 1 & 2. The initial infection with (VZV) results in chickenpox (varicella). Despite recovery from this illness, the virus lies dormant in the sensory nerve roots of the spinal cord for years or decades in some cases, until it becomes active again and is then classified as herpes zoster. The condition is then diagnosed as shingles. It is unknown why the virus becomes active again, but age-associated immune dysfunction and stress are major factors.

It is estimated that 9 of 10 adults have had chickenpox and are at risk of shingles later in life. Shingles arise from viruses that are already within the body and are not caught from someone else. Someone who has never had chickenpox has a low risk of contracting that illness from close contact with the shingles rash. VZV infection typically occurs through the inhalation of virus particles. Chickenpox, on the other hand, is highly contagious because in that disease virus is shed from the throat into the air that others breathe. Because this does not occur in shingles, it is not very contagious, and regular hand-washing with soap and water minimizes the risk.

Typical Symptoms Associated With Shingles

Shingles has two primary symptoms: rash and pain. More generalized symptoms include enlarged, tender lymph nodes draining the affected area and occasional mild fatigue. The affected area is generally red with small vesicles or blisters. Several blisters per area are common in shingles. New lesions may occur for up to one week, after which the rash shows signs of healing. Some lesions may end up scarring, which can be permanent. Typically, the rash lasts 2-5 weeks.

Pain is the other primary symptom with shingles and may precede the rash where it is called prodromal pain. The skin and the dermatomes (nerve endings on the skin) become very sensitive to pain. The dermatome areas most commonly involved are the trunk ( flank areas) palms, inner arms, legs, feet, and face. The trigeminal nerve in the facial area can be a common site that may lead to the spread of the rash near the eyes, which can be quite dangerous. Shingles in the eye can cause glaucoma, scarring, and a serious condition called acute retinal necrosis that can cause blindness. Because shingles can cause such serious problems, the recombinant shingles vaccine is recommended for people over 60 years of age.

Complications of Shingles

Pain that persists more than 30 days after the appearance of the rash is the most feared consequence of herpes zoster. The burning or stabbing pain of PHN is attributed to virus-induced damage to the nerve roots.

PHN has been associated with the following four key factors:

  1.  Age: people over 50 have about a 50% chance of PHN
  2. Prodromal pain: pre-rash
  3. Severe acute pain
  4. Failure to obtain adequate antiviral treatment within 3 days of the appearance of the rash

Standard Shingles Treatment

The standard treatment of shingles uses two types of drugs, analgesics (pain relievers) and antiviral prescription medicines. The goal is obvious: to resolve pain rapidly because the pain that persists and worsens predisposes patients to PHN by permanently sensitizing nerves to even the mildest stimulation. The other primary objective in therapy is to stop virus replication. It is critical to stop the virus from reproducing itself, thereby minimizing the damage it does to nerve cells.

Natural Remedies And Nutritional Supplements For Shingles

Natural products can be part of the therapeutic regimen when it comes to dealing with a case of shingles. They do not replace the standard shingles treatment, but they can complement it.

The nutritional supplements and plant extracts helpful for shingles and PHN fall into four categories:

  1. antiviral/anti-inflammatory properties
  2. immune-enhancing supplements
  3. supplements that support recovery
  4. topical and miscellaneous natural pain relievers

Supplements included in the antiviral, anti-inflammatory category include flaxseed oil, omega-3 fish oils, and turmeric. All of these have anti-inflammatory properties, and turmeric also demonstrates antiviral properties. Also, green tea extract exhibits antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant potential.

Immune enhancing supplements include vitamin D3, echinacea & goldenseal, elderberry, zinc, and Immune Health Support with medicinal mushrooms (reishi, maitake, shitake).

Supplements that support recovery primarily focus on the typical antioxidants vitamins A, C, and E, which oxidize molecules within cells.

I would not overlook the value of pharmaceutical-grade CBD oil in topical applications, including balms, salves, lotions, and roll-ons, as well as either CBD capsules or sublingual liquid tinctures to decrease inflammation and pain as well as accelerate wound healing.

Many times, your best therapeutic options come from blending conventional drugs with natural remedies and nutritional supplements. It is highly recommended that adults 60 years and older get the recombinant shingles vaccine called Shingrix, too, which is available at your local pharmacy.

Nutrition for Heart Disease

heart disease

Heart disease, while still the number one cause of mortality in the developed world, can be prevented and even reversed with the appropriate targeted lifestyle and nutritional interventions according to a growing body of scientific research. Considering heart disease is the leading cause of death in America, anything that can prevent or reduce cardiac mortality, or slow or even reverse the disease process, should be of great interest.

Unfortunately, there are still to this day, millions of people who are totally unaware of the extensive body of science-based literature that exists supporting the use of natural therapies, natural compounds, and natural supplements for preventing and even sometimes reversing heart disease. Throw in some behavioral and lifestyle changes, and you have a formula for success.

Three Natural Substances That Reduce The Risk of Heart-Related Death

  • Omega 3 Fish OilsThere is a robust body of research indicating that the risk of sudden cardiac death is reduced when consuming higher amounts of omega 3 fatty acids. A study in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2002 documented that omega 3 fish oils are strongly associated with a reduced risk of sudden death among men without evidence of prior cardiovascular disease. Another study in the journal Circulation found that omega 3 fatty acids reduced total mortality and sudden death in patients who have already had a heart attack.
  • Vitamin D3Levels of this prohormone, also known as the “sunshine vitamin,” have been found to also have a direct correlation to cardiovascular disease. It has been proposed that doubling vitamin D3 levels could significantly reduce mortality. Research published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology in 2009 confirmed that lower levels of vitamin D were correlated with a higher risk of heart disease. This finding was again confirmed in 2010 in the American Journal of Nutrition.
  • MagnesiumWhile there are multiple forms of magnesium that you can take to improve cardiovascular status, most studies involve the use of magnesium glycinate or magnesium chelate. It is well-known that the aging of the heart muscle itself can be linked to lower levels of serum magnesium. Magnesium can support healthy blood pressure, improve arrhythmias, and can be associated with cardiovascular and all-cause mortality. The bottom line is that magnesium supplements should be part of everyone’s therapeutic regimen, especially when it comes to protecting the heart.

Can Natural Compounds Unclog Arteries To The Heart?

A review of evidence-based scientific literature has indicated that several natural compounds have tremendous therapeutic value when it comes to keeping your arteries open and blood flowing. Here is the shortlist for starters:

  • Pomegranate – This remarkable fruit has been found in human clinical studies to actually reverse carotid artery thickness by up to nearly 30% within 1 year of regular usage. Several physiological mechanisms may explain how this is possible. First of all, pomegranate may reduce blood pressure, fight infection (plaque in arteries often contain bacteria and viruses), prevent cholesterol oxidation in the arteries, and reducing inflammation.
  • L-ArginineThis amino acid not only prevents the progression of atherosclerosis but also reverses pathologies associated with the process. One of the key mechanisms is increased nitric oxide, which is normally depressed in blood vessels where the endothelium (inner lining of the artery) has been damaged. L- arginine is also known to help lower blood pressure, which can also have a direct effect on future cardiovascular disease.
  • Garlic – This amazing herbal supplement can significantly reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. It has been shown to decrease the thickening and hardening of the arteries, inhibit arteriosclerotic plaque, and block coronary artery calcification. It is also known to help lower blood pressure.
  • B-Complex This B vitamin has been shown in clinical studies to reduce the progression of plaque buildup in the arteries, including the carotid arteries. B vitamins are noted to reduce the production of homocysteine, which is an amino acid marker of cardiac inflammation. It is well-known amongst practitioners of functional medicine that the combination of Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, and folic acid can decrease levels of homocysteine, subsequently lowering your risk of heart attack or stroke.

Lifestyle Factors For Heart Disease

Your lifestyle matters, especially when it comes to serious chronic conditions like arteriosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. A lifestyle that consistently lacks exercise (sedentary) and a diet high in processed foods, saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol have been linked to heart disease and related conditions. Add in chronic stress, and you have the perfect recipe for a heart attack or stroke.

The following are the leading risk factors for cardiovascular disease:

  • Age – getting older increases the risk of damaged and narrowed arteries
  • Sex- men are generally at greater risk
  • Family history
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Type 2 diabetes

Dietary Options For Heart Disease Prevention

Let’s face it, very few people eat what is considered to be a heart-healthy diet. The CDC has documented that more than 90 percent of the adult population is nutritionally deficient. In other words, people are not consuming anywhere near the daily recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables (5 servings).

Dr. Dean Ornish M.D., the New York Times best-selling author of Reversing Heart Disease, says “ you will fill your plate with fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, soy products, non-fat dairy, and egg whites while avoiding fats, refined sugar, and processed carbs.” The bottom line is that you want to eat foods in their natural form as much as possible and have a variety of colors on your plate each meal.

Researchers have been studying the benefits of plant-based diets since the 1980s. A plant-based diet is the only diet proven to prevent and reverse heart disease. No other diet can make that claim. In fact, research presented during the American Heart Association scientific sessions in 2017 showed that plant-based diets decreased the risk of heart failure by 42 percent among people with no history of heart disease. There are several documentaries that you can watch to get more information, including the “Forks Over Knives” website. If you are unable to commit to a totally plant-based diet, the Mediterranean diet has proven to be the leading diet for overall general wellness for the past 50 years.

For Seven Powerful Ways to Strengthen Your Heart click here.

Natural Solutions for Aging Skin

aging skin

Did you know your skin is the largest organ of your body? That’s right, it actually covers an area of about 16 square feet in the average person. We generally take our skin for granted and tend not to take very good care of it. Our skin is responsible for protecting our internal organs from the toxic external world – it protects you from heat, cold, and physical injuries. Your skin is your first defense against invasion by bacteria, viruses, and other toxic elements. The skin is also an excretory organ, removing toxins from the body via sweat. The effects of UV radiation from the sun are much more dangerous than initially thought. There are many causes for the accumulated cellular damage in the skin that we call aging. Among these are the oxidative processes and related free radical damage that result from intense sunlight exposure, smog, toxins, cigarette smoke, X-rays, drugs, and other stressors. There have been many advances in dermatology screenings, therapies, and surgeries, but there are also natural solutions to improve aging skin.

The Anatomy of Your Skin

Your skin consists of two main layers: the dermis and epidermis. The dermis is the inner layer of skin that contains nerve fibers, fat cells, blood vessels, sweat and oil glands, and hair follicles. The dermis also contains collagen and elastin, two proteins that are responsible for the structure and elasticity of the skin itself. These proteins are subject to the process of aging. The sweat and oil glands in the dermis protect the outer layer of skin with a thin coating of oil and perspiration.

The epidermis is the outermost layer of your skin. New cells generated by the dermis continually replace this layer. Removal of the epidermis, as in a scrape or burn, reveals an unprotected sensitive dermis underneath. The epidermis also contains melanocytes or pigment cells.

What Causes the Skin to Age?

The following factors can accelerate skin aging: excess sun exposure, first or secondhand smoke, environmental toxins, poor diet, excess alcohol consumption, chronic stress, harsh soaps, or detergent-based moisturizers or cleansers, and sleep deprivation to name a few. One way of mitigating the effects of these skin-damaging foes is to increase levels of protective antioxidants through a diet rich in fruits and vegetables or by direct topical application. Science clearly substantiates the role that free radicals play, causing skin aging and the fact that topically applied antioxidants confer significant protection and can partially reverse some aspects of skin aging. Despite the effect of sunlight on the skin, other factors affect skin health. Dryness, loss of tone and fullness, diminished immune system response, and reduced ability to repair damage are all factors that contribute to the aging process regarding the skin. We know that there are many types of skin tones and qualities. Men tend to have thicker skin than women due to the dominant hormone being testosterone. However, in later years, the lack of estrogen in women and testosterone in men tends to cause changes in both genders.

Skin damage occurs when the membrane covering of the skin cell is damaged by free radicals. Free radicals make the membrane more permeable, allowing the cells to dehydrate ( lose water). The membrane of the cell is what is called a lipid bilayer: two layers of fat end-on-end. Enzymes break down the lipid bilayer and cause inflammation.

Lifestyle Matters: What is Good for Your Skin?

When most people think about good things that they can do for their skin, they usually think about things they will put on the skin rather than what they will put inside themselves (diet and supplements) to make the skin healthier. Although topical applications of certain products are helpful and generally essential, equally important is the nourishment of the skin from the inside. Everything from essential fatty acids, antioxidants, and other supplements to the food that we eat are important in maintaining healthy skin as part of an anti-aging approach.

Diet: Again, many times, a healthy diet is not part of the equation when looking at skincare. However, what you eat and how you eat makes a tremendous difference in your body’s largest organ – the skin. RNA rich foods such as sardines, salmon, tuna, shellfish, lentils, and beans help improve cell energy through a salvage pathway. Antioxidant and phytochemical-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, and green tea help protect against oxidative damage and free radical attack of all body cells, including skin cells. As a reminder, always avoid processed foods and sugary foods and soda whenever possible.

Supplements for the Skin

Antioxidants such as vitamins A, C, and E plus Vitamin D3, bioflavonoids, and the minerals selenium, zinc, and manganese provide protection against damaging free radicals that play havoc with the skin. Several studies indicate that probiotics should also be included, as the balance of good and bad bacteria can increase inflammatory levels and impact skin breakouts.

CBD oil – there has been a lot of interest in CBD topical serums, lotions, and salves recently as a natural alternative to some of the standard dermatological preparations. Ananda Professional has gained the confidence of dermatologists with several of their CBD skin products, including the Hydrating Spot Serum, which contains over 20 concentrated botanicals and antioxidants to protect and add radiance to the skin. Another of their key skincare products, called Advanced Spot Serum, fights skin imperfections like acne, rosacea, dermatitis, and eczema. This formula includes pharmaceutical-grade CBD plus neem, rosehip, tea tree oils, vitamin E, and hemp seed oil to help support skin collagen, elasticity, and promote skin smoothness.

Omega 3 fish oils and Flaxseed oil – both Omega 3 fish oil and Flaxseed oil have been shown to have benefit in skincare for lubrication, skin tone, and reduction of inflammation on the dermis and epidermis layers of the skin.

Biotin – this is a water-soluble vitamin that is part of the vitamin B family. It has shown to play a crucial role in maintaining healthy skin, hair, and nails and is a very popular supplement with women.

It is crucial to your overall health to pay close attention and take good care of your skin. Many times, it is the window to the status of your health. Not only is the skin the largest organ in the body, but it is also arguably one of the most important. Taking a whole-body approach, including a healthy diet, targeted nutrients, and other natural topical solutions, plus quality sleep, staying hydrated, and reducing stress can collectively lead to much healthier skin as you age.

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