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Category Archives: Wellness

Healthy Habits Should Start Young: How to Teach Your Children About Self-Care


Many adults do not understand the benefits of self-care. Too many exhaust themselves daily and take little to no time for themselves. When adults do not have good self-care tactics, they may find coping with stressors throughout their lives challenging. Their emotional health suffers and fatigue can lead to poor health. Like adults, children also benefit from self-care. If you want your kids to understand the importance of caring for themselves, start as soon as possible. Here are some tips from Cypress Pharmacy to get you started.

Make Self-Care Fun

When teaching your kids about self-care, the experts suggest teaching kids to take belly breaths. Tell them to breathe through their nose and out through their mouth to calm down and rest. Be proactive about self-care techniques when you know your kid had a tough day.

Encourage kids to act silly and to get their wiggles out. A quick dance break can help the blood pump and unleash happy chemicals. The person your kids grow into has everything to do with how you raise them and the role model you become. You set the standard that your kids follow. When teaching self-care, remember to care for yourself too.

Self-care activities may include reading a book, taking a nap, playing calming music, or crafting. You can introduce some self-care ideas to your kids too. For instance, many kids love to create art and listen to music. Make the tasks fun by performing them together.

Kids fear the unknown, so you should always ensure they have a routine. Lay your kids down for bed at the same time every night, and plan for dinner to happen on schedule. Even self-care activities can occur during the schedule.

Quality time with your children benefits both of you. Your kids learn new skills and form a deeper bond with you. Prioritize time with your kids, especially during busy seasons. Make sure you plan so your kids receive plenty of quality time. Plans also help you feel less pressure. Quality time can include being there for bedtime, chores, or cooking in the kitchen. Try to plan new experiences you can enjoy with your kids so everyone can look forward to something.

Encourage Safe Behavior

Another vital component of self-care is maintaining safety without increasing anxiety. For instance, before bringing new products into the home, take a moment to read online reviews with your child. Teach them how to recognize a credible review from an uncredible one. Also, talk to your child about the threats they could face, but make sure you keep these warnings realistic and don’t exaggerate the evils around them. Emphasize the need for caution but make sure you remind them that the majority of people are still good.

Avoid Pressuring Your Kids

Like most parents, you want the best for your children. To help your kid adapt to society, grow up to hold down a good job, and learn to care for their future families, it can feel tempting to put a lot of pressure on them. Even when it comes to self-care, you do not want to force your kids to do anything. Parental pressure can lead to stress, fear, and anxiety.

To avoid the adverse effects of pushing your kids, you must know when to push. For example, if you want your kids to go outside and enjoy physical activity but do not like sports, do not use them to lure them. Do not force them to play games they do not want to. Instead, think of their likes and figure out how to integrate that into enjoying time outside.

Without self-care, children may submit to stress and anxiety. As your kids grow up, they might lack the coping mechanisms necessary to handle future stressors. Teach them the importance of taking time for themselves and caring about their health and wellness.

Cypress Pharmacy is your neighborhood health partner, offering unique services and programs like customized compounding, medication flavoring, free vitamins for children and adults 50+, as well as personalized wellness and supplement programs. Call 239-481-7322.

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.


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.

Top 3 Diet Trends of 2021


With so many diets out there, it’s hard to know where to begin, and nutrition is crucial now more than ever. During 2020, the majority of the population has quarantined, been unemployed, or simply has been inactive; such stressors can cause us to overeat and indulge in fatty foods with little to no nutritional value. These eating habits can lead to sluggish behavior, bloating, increased cholesterol, a weakened immune system, and a general lack of energy. To get you back on track, here are three trending diets that, with the right direction, can help optimize your health.

Mediterranean Diet

Have you ever heard of the peasant diet? If not, you may have heard it called the Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean diet has risen to fame over the past few years. For those pursuing a healthy lifestyle and looking to reduce their risk for type 2 diabetes, the Mediterranean diet offers a plethora of well-balanced meals, including the daily consumption of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and healthy fats.

  • Studies conducted in the U.S., as well as Europe, connect the Mediterranean diet to the reduction of type 2 diabetes. Eating patterns associated with lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes were characterized by higher intakes of vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy products, and whole grains. The studies compare this diet with a diet consisting of high intakes of red meat, sugar-sweetened food and drinks, refined grains, and high-fat dairy products (the Standard American Diet, known as the SAD diet).
  • Individuals whose diets consisted of reducing their total meat and dairy intake by 50% and replaced them with fruit, vegetables, and cereals contributed the most to reducing the risk of mortality. During the study, fruit and vegetable consumption was increased by 63% and saturated fat and salt were decreased.
  • It is important to remember that the Mediterranean Diet is more plant-based than meat-based. Under this diet, it is advised to limit your red meat intake and replace it with fish, poultry, beans, and eggs as protein sources. Instead of choosing butter for bread or general cooking, choose olive oil as your primary fat source. Olive oil provides monounsaturated fat and has been found to lower total cholesterol.
  • When it comes to choosing seafood, some good options include fatty fish: mackerel, herring, sardines, salmon, lake trout, and albacore tuna (rich in omega-3 fatty acids).
  • Omega-3 fatty acids may reduce inflammation in the body, as well as help reduce blood clotting and decrease the risk of stroke and heart failure. Do You Know Your Omega 3 and Vitamin D Levels?

Keto Diet

The Keto diet is high in fat (making the body work to burn it off, entering ketosis) and low in carbohydrates- 20-50 grams a day. But be careful that you do not cut out carbohydrates to the point of constipation, headaches, or bad breath.

  • The Keto diet benefits vary person to person, depending on how much carbs people have stored/consume. That being said, the reduction of carbs (less than 20-50 g per day) can help individuals lead the body into a state of ketosis. Hence the keto diet. The intake of foods high in fat and low in carbs will have your body using the fat stored to burn for energy instead of carbs. Rich in proteins and fat, the keto diet consists of lean meats, eggs, cheeses, fish, nuts, butter, oils, seeds, and fibrous vegetables.
  • While the keto diet has many benefits, there are a couple of things to remember: The keto diet is a restrictive diet, with the primary goal being weight loss. Individuals who suffer from kidney disease should consult their doctor before starting. This diet can bring on bad breath, nausea, and a general lack of energy.
  • If you find yourself lacking in protein, try our Cypress Pharmacy’s Perfect Protein Powder. Animal protein can contain appreciable amounts of cholesterol and saturated fats. Additionally, they can also be sources of antibiotics, hormones, and other undesirable elements inherent in our food supply. Plant-based proteins have no cholesterol or saturated fat and, when properly formulated and enhanced, can provide protein with a nutritional value comparable to animal-derived proteins.

Keto Swaps:

  • Rice to cauliflower rice or shirataki rice
  • Pasta to vegetable noodles made of zucchini, palmini, cabbage, and fennel
  • Potatoes to rutabaga, turnips, radishes, and winter squash
  • Cereals to nuts, seeds, and coconut
  • Bread and wraps to lettuce wraps (for sandwiches), nori sheets (for sushi), collards
  • Regular milk to nut, seed, or coconut milk
  • Instead of butter or canola oil, try avocado oil or coconut oil

The Mediterranean Diet and the Keto Diet are healthy choices to consider if you’re thinking of trying intermittent fasting. Both diets can give you fresh, lean meals to try out and keep you on track to your health goal.

Intermittent Fasting

  • Intermittent fasting works by prolonging the period when your body has burned through the calories consumed during your last meal and begins burning fat.
  • Once you’ve checked with your doctor to confirm this diet is safe for you, a simple approach would be attempting 16/8 fasting. What this means is that you’ll be eating for eight hours and fasting for sixteen. There is also 5/2 fasting, where you eat regularly for five days a week, then the other two days you consume 500-600 calories. While partaking in this fast, it’s important to remember to limit not only sugar intake in foods but as well as beverages. Drinks such as water and zero-calorie drinks are encouraged, as well as black coffee and tea, which hold little to no calorie or sugar intake.
  • Consider adding Cypress Pharmacy’s Balance Meal Complete to provide additional nutrients and improve gut health.
  • Top Benefits: improved memory, increased heart health, and physical performance.

In all, these trending diets reveal that with a little push and some dedication, we all can be on our way to a healthier version of ourselves. If you’ve wanted to try the Mediterranean and Keto diets or intermittent fasting, take a look at our easy outline.  With the help of these tips, we hope you’ll find it easier to make meals for you and your loved ones that optimize your health. Remember to always check with your doctor or health care professional before making any changes.

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.

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.

Insomnia: Natural Remedies that Work


Insomnia is a common sleep disorder in which you have trouble falling and/ or staying asleep. The condition can be short-term (acute), or it can last a long time (chronic). It may also be intermittent or come and go. Acute insomnia lasts from one night to a few weeks. Insomnia is chronic when it happens at least three nights a week for three months or more. Regardless of your irregular sleep patterns, insomnia is a complicated condition and a barrier to optimal health. People with insomnia can feel dissatisfied with their sleep and usually experience one or more of the following symptoms: fatigue, low energy, difficulty concentrating, mood disturbances, and decreased performance in work or at school.

Acute insomnia is brief and often happens because of life circumstances (for example, when you can’t sleep before an exam, or after receiving stressful or bad news). Many people may have experienced this type of passing sleep disruption, and generally, it tends to resolve without any treatment over time.

Chronic insomnia can have many causes. Changes in the environment, unhealthy sleep habits, shift work, other medical disorders, and certain prescription medications could lead to a long- term pattern of insufficient sleep. People with chronic insomnia generally require some form of behavioral therapy, natural remedies, or sleep prescription at least for a while.

The Relationship Between Insomnia and the Brain

In some cases, insomnia may be caused by an imbalance of certain neurotransmitters in the brain that are known to be involved with sleep and wakefulness. These include melatonin, serotonin, and dopamine. Many possible chemical interactions in the brain could interfere with sleep. They may explain why some people are biologically prone to insomnia and seem to struggle with sleep for many years without any specific identifiable cause. There is also a direct relationship between the sleep/wake cycle and the amount of serotonin and melatonin being secreted at the right time to enhance the circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm is a biological clock innate in everyone, which is influenced by lightness and darkness, which sends signals from the optic nerve back to the brain.

Food and Drinks Which Can Improve Sleep

We usually hear about foods and beverages to avoid, which may directly affect your sleep. Of course, it is not recommended to drink caffeine and other heavy heartburn-inducing foods at night. However, some specific foods and drinks can actually help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly.

Consider putting these on your next grocery list:

  1. complex carbohydrates – popcorn, whole wheat crackers with nut butter
  2. nuts -almonds and walnuts contain melatonin
  3. cottage cheese-lean protein with amino acid tryptophan which increases serotonin
  4. chamomile
  5. ginger
  6. peppermint
  7. warm milk
  8. fruits -bananas, pineapples, and oranges

How Lifestyle Changes Can Improve Your Sleep

There is no question that some form of working out or regular exercise has tremendous positive health benefits. This also includes improving sleep patterns for the millions of Americans who struggle with insomnia. Regular exercise can decrease stress, boost alertness during the day, and even enhance the quality of sleep. There is no one perfect exercise that will improve your sleep, but any type of movement is better than none. These four things have been clinically studied and proven to help with your sleep/wake cycles.

  1. Aerobic (cardio) exercise- any exercise that will get your heart rate up, such as running, brisk walking, cycling, or swimming. The goal should be to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercises weekly.
  2. Strength training- building muscle has been shown to improve the quality of sleep.
  3. Yoga – these relaxing poses and stretches along with deep calming breathing exercises can be especially helpful if stress is the cause of your poor sleep.
  4. Balancing hormones – there is a direct link between hormone imbalance of estrogen and progesterone levels and the onset of sleep disorders. It becomes most noted when women transition into menopause. Be sure to have your hormone levels checked regardless of age.

Prescription Sleep Meds or Natural Remedies: Which Is Right For You?

Obviously, there are millions of insomniacs who live on powerful prescription sleep meds like Ambien, Lunesta, and Xanax every night to achieve some level of quality sleep. Side effects from these medications are common, but the chance of addiction is even more concerning. It’s not that the patient necessarily gets addicted to the drugs themselves. The problem arises when the insomniac becomes accustomed to the good night’s sleep that the drug induces and does not want to stop taking the medication. The other problem with this is tolerance, which means the drug slowly stops working, even when higher doses are taken. The dual issues of addiction and tolerance cause physicians to be cautious when prescribing sleep medications.

The flip side of the therapeutic option is to take a natural alternative or natural remedy to calm the nervous system and improve the probability of achieving deep REM (rapid eye movement) dream sleep. Such calming herbs as passionflower, chamomile, and valerian root have been used for decades to reduce anxiety, relax the nervous system, and improve sleep. Many times, however, these herbal medicines are not powerful enough alone to overcome insomnia, and stronger natural remedies are indicated.

Natural Sleep–Inducing Therapies

Science has proven that quality sleep is absolutely essential for repair and rejuvenation, both mentally and physically. Regular quality sleep is needed to maintain homeostasis and to hopefully move towards optimal health. Countless studies link insomnia and poor quality sleep with multiple disorders, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, anxiety, depression, and even some cancers. Sleep medicine experts have also proven that the brain detoxifies and cleanses each time you achieve quality REM sleep, further helping to protect against cognitive decline and potential future dementias.

If you are open to trying natural remedies to improve sleep performance, the following are the leaders in the class of natural sleep aids:

  1. MELATONINThis is the hormone that your brain produces in response to darkness. It helps with the timing of your circadian rhythm (24-hour internal clock) with sleep. Melatonin has proven to be effective for alleviating jet lag and for milder cases of insomnia.
  2. SLEEP PERFECT FORMULAThis unique blend of natural sleep ingredients can successfully calm the nervous system, reduce anxiety, and help people fall asleep and stay asleep. The key nutrients include magnesium, valerian root, GABA, 5 HTP, chamomile, and melatonin.
  3. GABA CALMGABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is the main neuro-inhibitory transmitter in the brain. It has powerful direct effects and will calm and relax the nervous system. It also helps with cognition. This may be taken by itself, which many times is successful at helping people fall asleep and stay asleep.
  4. MAGNESIUMThis mineral should be included for anyone suffering from insomnia. Taken before bedtime, this trace mineral has a powerful effect on the relaxation of the nervous system. Magnesium is one of the most common nutrients that adults lack.

To be healthy and remain in optimal health, sleep is probably the most essential self-care component. You always have choices along your personal health journey, so, choose wisely.

CBD Oil: 3 Common Myths Debunked

cbd oil

You can find CBD oil in countless products that make wide claims about what this up-and-coming supplement can do. With so many products and sources of information out there, it’s often hard to distinguish fact from fiction.

CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is the ingredient derived from the hemp plant that is recognized for its medicinal properties.  CBD isn’t federally regulated currently, and best practices for its use are still being developed. Clinical trials in their early stages also suggest some strains and dosages of CBD could help post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, psychosis, neuropathic pain, Type 1 diabetes, cancer and cognitive symptoms associated with HIV and Alzheimer’s disease.

When selecting CBD oil, it’s important to make selections based on information and not misinformation. Cannabinoids, including CBD, are chemical compounds produced naturally in our bodies and in some plants. Plants produce phytocannabinoids, while the body produces endocannabinoids. The body’s endocannabinoid system is like our body’s operating system—it affects neurotransmitters that bind to receptors and impact pain, mood, appetite, sleep, and how we feel, move and react. If your body does not produce enough endocannabinoids or cannot regulate them properly, you are more susceptible to illnesses. External sources like CBD can help to balance and maintain the human endocannabinoid system by encouraging the release of our own endocannabinoids.

To get the most benefit from CBD oil, here are three common myths debunked:

Myth #1: CBD is addictive and can make you high.

CBD is an essential component of cannabis (one of hundreds). However, CBD by itself does not make you “high.” CBD is derived directly from the hemp plant, a cousin of the marijuana plant, and doesn’t contain substantial amounts of THC, the psychoactive compound that gives the high sensation. Trace amounts of THC are unlikely to have a noticeable effect.

The World Health Organization (WHO) Expert Committee on Drug Dependence said: “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential. … To date, there is no evidence of public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.” The WHO officially recommended that CBD should not be “internationally scheduled as a controlled substance.”

Myth #2: I have tried CBD oil before, but it did nothing for me.

If you haven’t had success with CBD in the past, there are a number of factors to consider before throwing in the towel completely. One may be the quality of the CBD product. Many products on the market don’t have high-quality CBD. (Some may not have any CBD at all!) Researchers found that of 84 products tested, only 31% contained the amount of CBD advertised. Make sure you understand how much CBD is in the product, as this will have a direct impact on its efficacy.

Also, since CBD use is a relatively new frontier, proper dosage can be tricky, as it varies for each person. Start with a low dose and slowly increase it over time. Also, keep a journal to log your dosage and results. It’s also possible to build up tolerance over time, requiring dosage to change. While a few milligrams work for some people, other patients may need larger doses.

You may also need to be patient! Like any other natural medicine, experts recommend daily usage of CBD for six to eight weeks before deciding whether to continue or not. Your level of absorption depends on a variety of factors including metabolism, biochemistry and genetics.

Myth #3: All CBD oil is the same.

CBD oil is not all the same, and the quality of CBD and CBD products varies widely. People using CBD oil who want to see relief need a product containing consistent levels of CBD.

Here’s how to select good CBD:

  • A good quality CBD oil will have a third-party Certificate of Analysis, a report of what’s specifically in the bottle. The analysis should test for microbes, herbicides and other contaminants as well as indicate the active product in the bottle, which is important for comparison. Milligrams of active cannabinoids is not the same as the amount of liquid in the bottle.
  • Avoid products that extract CBD oil using heat. This process often uses butane, a hazardous material. CO2 or food-grade ethanol extraction are all-natural and ensure the cannabinoids and terpenes, another element of the plant thought to have therapeutic properties, remain intact.
  • For ultimate therapeutic value, look for full-spectrum CBD, instead of an isolate. There are more than 100 cannabinoids in cannabis, as well as terpenes and flavonoids. CBD works better with other cannabinoids and phytocompounds found in the cannabis plant, so full-spectrum CBD amplifies the efficiency of CBD in your system, promoting a greater response at a lower dose. An isolate is like one musical note, whereas a full-spectrum product creates a symphony.
  • Buy products with hemp sourced from heavily regulated areas like Europe or the United States. Products from regions with fewer regulations may not be labeled accurately.

Just like any supplement, it’s important that you do your research before buying. Look for CBD companies that have customer support and stand behind their products.

Cypress Pharmacy can advise you on formulation selection, usage and application, drug interactions and side effects. Learn more with a FREE consultation or contact us at 239-481-7322.

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