Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tune Up Your Immune System



Note:  Today’s blog entry was written by Dr. Stephen Chaney. Dr. Chaney is a professor of biochemistry, biophysics and nutrition at UNC Medical School in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He is also a prominent cancer researcher with a well established research lab he directs at UNC.



Many of you have been saying to me: "All I hear about in the news is shots and drugs. Is there a holistic approach for strengthening my immune system?"


My answer is yes! Here are my suggestions:
1) Start by eating a balanced diet composed of whole, unprocessed foods without a lot of fat and simple sugars. A great place to start designing a balanced diet that is perfect for your age, gender and activity level is www.mypyramid.gov.


2) Get plenty of sleep. The experts recommend 8 hours of sleep a night, but a majority of Americans get far less than that.

3) Exercise on a regular basis. Both too little and too much exercise can weaken the immune system (You might have guessed that the problem for most of us is the "too little", not the "too much"). The experts recommend at least 30 minutes every day.


4) Maintain ideal body weight. Those excess pounds really zap our immune system.


5) Minimize your reliance on medications. Many common medications weaken the immune system (Just listen to the disclaimers in the TV commercials for examples).


But you must work with your physician on this. Once your physician knows that you are willing to take personal responsibility for your diet and lifestyle, they will generally be willing to minimize the number of medications that they prescribe.


6) Focus on the positive. Studies show that optimists are healthier and live longer than pessimists. And the good news is that anyone can cultivate an attitude of optimism. For most of us it is a lifestyle choice - not something that we were born with.


7) Add a supplement program to assure that your immune system is functioning optimally. In the ideal world supplements wouldn't be necessary, but there are very few "saints" who do a great job in all 6 of the areas that I mentioned.


A well designed supplement program fills in the "gaps". We want to make sure that we are getting adequate:


  •  B vitamins and protein because our immune cells need to divide very rapidly when we have immune challenges.
  • Antioxidants because our immune cells create lots of free radicals.
  • Trace minerals, especially iron and zinc, because they are required by important enzymes of the immune system.
  • Vitamin D because it is vitally important for a strong immune system and most of us are not getting enough.
  • Probiotics (healthy bacteria) because "bad" bacteria and yeast in our intestines can weaken the immune system.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids to modulate the immune system once it has taken care of the invading bacteria or viruses.
We don't need megadoses. We just need enough.


One final thought: A holistic approach to strengthening our immune system is not an "either - or" proposition.


The flu shot is 66% effective in preventing the flu for people with a strong immune system and only 33% effective in preventing the flu for people with a weak immune system.


To your health!
Dr. Stephen Chaney, PhD
Shaklee Master Coordinator


If you would like a free 30-minute health consultation, please fill out the form at the right.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Natural Approach to Infertility



Infertility is a health issue that I seem to be encountering more and more these days. I have read that 1 in 6 couples experiences infertility issues. In my experience, I have come across many couples today who are having trouble conceiving. So what’s the problem?

For men, infertility is most often associated with a decrease in the number, quality or motility (are they strong swimmers?) of sperm. Underlying conditions affecting sperm health are smoking, exposure to toxins and chemicals, and urinary tract infections.

For women, infertility could be caused by an allergic reaction to sperm, ovulatory issues, endometriosis and uterine fibroids. These are the most common, but there are many others, including psychological issues and age.


Many of these underlying issues are the result of xenoestrogen toxicity which results in endocrine disruption. I did a 4-part series on this serious topic and would encourage you to go into my archives to read about endocrine disruption – especially how it affects us and what we can do about it.


The good news is that there is HOPE.


For couples who are struggling with infertility, a medical evaluation is definitely in order. Depending on the outcome and before venturing into costly fertility procedures I would suggest that you consider making some lifestyle changes.


Both men and women can improve their fertility by doing such things as avoiding toxins of all kinds – found in household cleaners, poultry, dairy & meats, on fruits & veggies, in personal care products & tap water (bottled water isn’t necessarily the answer), and pesticides. The list is much longer, but these are some of the more common areas of exposure.


You should also strive to reduce stress, get plenty of rest and get in some daily exercise. Of course you want to eat a healthy diet: fresh fruits and veggies (preferably organic), lean protein (soy is an excellent protein source), lots of fiber & whole grains and plenty of purified water.


And caffeine, tobacco and alcohol should be avoided.


Another aspect of a natural approach to infertility is the addition of certain nutritional supplements. Some of the more important ones would be a well-balanced multivitamin/mineral, alfalfa, B-complex, milk thistle, soy protein, Vita-E and zinc. These should be taken by both partners.


This all may sound way too simple, but I have seen it work! What a joy it is when a couple is able to conceive after making a few lifestyle changes and without having to undergo the stress and expense of more extensive fertility processes.


I can’t stress enough the importance of having the specific cause of infertility diagnosed by a natural physician before more serious solutions are considered. And I cannot say that these suggestions will work for all couples. But nothing I have mentioned is risky and…what if it did work!


The success I have experienced has been with the line of products I have marketed for over 12 years. So I don’t know what kind of results you would get with other products. You might want to check my blog on how to select good quality supplements before taking this route. And if you would like a free 30-minute consultation, please fill out the box on the right.


I wish you all the best in your journey to conception.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Endocrine Disruptors Part 4...What Can We Do To Protect Ourselves?

Well, first I must apologize for taking you down a rather dismal road and then leaving you hanging. Sometimes life just gets in the way, but I am back and ready to wind up this discussion on endocrine disruptors by sharing with you some of the ways we can avoid them.

1. Buy organic. Yes I know it is more expensive, but meat and dairy consistently have the highest levels of persistent hormone disruptors. If you can’t go totally organic, than at least limit the amount of dairy (especially cheese and butter) that you consume. And be sure to wash your fruits and vegetables to remove as much pesticide residue as possible. FYI—strawberries, apples, peaches and grapes are among the fruits with the highest level of residue of endocrine disruptors and reproductive toxins from pesticides.

2. Use filtered water for drinking and cooking. You can have your tap water tested, but it is likely that it will contain chlorine and/or trihalomethanes. Also, beware of bottled water—this industry is not well-regulated and so you could be paying for tap water. See NRDC for more information.

3. Consider purchasing an air purifier for your home. According to the EPA indoor air is 5 to 70 times more toxic than the air outdoors. See EPA for more information.

4. Replace your cleaners & laundry products with toxic-free products.

5. Do not microwave in plastic

6. Do not use pesticides

7. Remove the plastic from dry-cleaned clothes and air them out in the garage before bringing into the house.

8. Replace personal care products—lotions, soaps, shampoo, cosmetics, toothpaste, etc—with chemical-free brands that are free of parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde and other extremely harmful chemicals. These are in baby products too! (Keep in mind that it is the repeated use of these products, day in and day out, that causes the health risks.)

This list is far from exhaustive, so as always, I encourage you to do your own due diligence. And I don’t want to overwhelm you with this information. Even one positive change is better than doing nothing. So, start slowly, continue to educate yourself and tell others what you learn. Together we can truly make a difference for ourselves, our families and the planet.

If you have any questions concerning endocrine disruptors please contact me. It has been my pleasure to share this information with you.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Endocrine Disruptors: How Do They Affect Us?


Well, this is another huge topic. And so to keep this blog as concise as possible, I will give you the abridged response. But again, I urge you to please do your own due diligence and learn as much as you can about endocrine disruptors.

How do they affect us? It starts before birth in the womb. What a mother has been exposed to throughout life as well as what she takes in during her pregnancy become the legacy of the next generation. Many exposures during pregnancy don’t even manifest themselves until the child reaches sexual maturity or beyond.

Children are exposed to more chemicals today than ever before. As a result we are seeing a more rapid maturation process. Doctors are seeing eight-, nine-, and ten-year-olds exhibiting signs of early puberty.

Endocrine disruption has also been linked to an increase in childhood cancers & asthma, abnormal development of sex organs; in addition, birth defects, preterm births and low birth weight babies are increasing in number. Lower IQ’s, behavior and attention issues also may be linked to endocrine disruptors.

Problems related to men’s health range from reproductive issues like low sperm count and testicular cancer to other types of cancers such as leukemia and Hodgkin’s disease; and an increase in heart disease has been seen in several dioxin-exposed populations.

There are a number of women’s health conditions that are possibly related to hormone-disrupting chemicals in the body: endometriosis, uterine fibroids, benign breast disease, PMS, ovarian cysts, infertility and increase in reproductive cancers. And this is just a partial list.

Think for a minute – I bet you have friends or family members who have experienced some of the above mentioned issues. I can tell you that I personally have encountered many of them among my clients and friends, and I truly believe that this is a topic that we must treat seriously.

The information that I have been sharing with you may be alarming to some. But because it is a serious issue that historically has not gotten a lot of press, I am determined to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can. There are things we all can do to alleviate our exposures to endocrine disruptors, but people have to know that they have been exposed to them in order to be proactive about make changes. Spreading awareness is the essence of what I do…I hope you have been enlightened but what I have shared with you.

Next time we finally get to the good news: Ways to protect ourselves and our families.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Healthy Back-to-School Ideas for Your Kids


It’s that time again- the yellow school busses have hit the roads, school doors are open and the kids are back to filling their brains with knowledge. They’ve been equipped with new clothes, new shoes, new notebooks, pencils, and backpacks.

But, what about their health? Have they been equipped with vitamins and minerals to avoid illness? Do they head off to school with good protein to help their bodies and minds stay energized all morning? My sister used to tutor kids with dyslexia and would often ask, “What did you have for breakfast this morning?” Most often the reply was Frosted Flakes, Pop Tarts, or donuts. With these refined carbs, energy spikes and then quickly plummets. Two hours later the kids are sluggish and distractible.

Lo-fat yoghurt, fruit smoothies with some added soy protein powder, natural peanut butter on a piece of whole wheat toast and lo-fat cottage cheese are just a few ways to get some good protein in them.

This year parents are especially concerned about the H1N1 virus. One of the best things we can do is be sure that our kids are as healthy as possible. A strong immune system is a good defense against viruses, colds and the flu. So adding some supplements to a good diet is not a bad idea. All kids should take a good-quality multivitamin/mineral supplement. Recent studies have shown that lactoferrin supports a healthy immune system in kids. So look for a supplement which contains lactoferrin.

Additional Vitamin C will help strengthen the immune system. And a chewable calcium-magnesium product contains essential minerals to support bone development; plus it’s a natural nerve and muscle relaxant. It’s especially helpful for allergies and brain sensitivities caused by milk and dairy.

Here are a few other suggestions to help avoid illness or spreading colds:
• Stay home from school if you are sick
• Cover your cough with a tissue
• Sneeze or cough into your sleeve or elbow
• Wash your hands often

Besides nutritional support, children also need to get adequate sleep and lots of exercise. I always encourage drinking plenty of water and be sure to avoid sodas at all costs. FYI-Soda pop leaches calcium from bones which has lasting effects into adulthood.

I’m passionate about giving kids all the advantages we can to support their bodies and brains. Switching to non-toxic household cleaners & laundry products is a great idea, especially if you are concerned about hyperactivity, allergies or asthma. Also choosing personal care products – shampoo, toothpaste, bathing products – that are free of harmful toxins and chemicals, is another wise decision. (for further info on this topic please visit my blog post).

If you would like to know more about how you might implement some of these suggestions, please feel free to contact me.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Endocrine Disruptors: Where do we find them?


In the first installment I defined endocrine disruptors as exogenous substances (coming from outside the body) that act like hormones in the endocrine system and disrupt the physiologic function of endogenous (inside the body) hormones.

So the next logical question would be where are these hormone-like substances found? Some man-made chemicals found in household products that we use daily – cleaners, laundry products, personal care products – are likely suspects. These chemicals are also found in many of the foods we eat. We are exposed through the air we breathe, the food and water we take in, and the products we absorb through our skin (think shampoo, body lotion, cosmetics, etc).

Here is a sampling of chemicals thought to be endocrine disruptors:

Phthalates – used to make plastics more flexible and durable. It is used in PVC plastic found in upholstery material, shower curtains, floor tiles & children’s toys. It is also found in toiletries (especially nail polish), toothbrushes and insect repellents. (This is just a very small sampling.)

Bisphenol A (BPA) – is a component of plastic used in the lining of food cans & bottle tops. It is also in polycarbonate plastics like soft drink containers, water jugs and baby bottles.

Dioxins – not intentionally produced, dioxins are released into the environment as a by-product of chemical processes involving chlorine. Most dioxin is emitted into the air and then deposited on grass and trees and consumed by cows and other animals; or it goes into lakes and streams and ingested by fish. Ninety-five percent of our exposure is through meat, fish, and dairy products.

PVC (polyvinyl chloride) aka vinyl – one of the most common plastics. Manufacturing and burning PVC creates dioxins. It has been used widely in upholstery, home furnishings, children’s toys and hundreds of other products.

Detergents – a class of chemical surfactants that dissolve and remove oils and grease and make products more water soluble. They are found in ordinary household products like laundry detergents, all-purpose cleaners, personal care products like soaps, shampoos shaving foams, cosmetics and spermicides.

Other Endocrine-Disrupting Compounds: Pesticides, lead, cadmium and mercury.

Pesticide are used on food crops and home gardens, and are also found in flea collars, lice shampoo and even under the foundation of your home.

I just want to say that this is a daunting subject and cannot possibly be covered thoroughly in a few blog posts. I would encourage each of you reading this to please do your own due diligence and learn what products you should remove from your homes and replace with safer alternatives.

Next time: How do endocrine disruptors affect us and what can we do to support our health and our bodies?
Primary source of information: Hormone Deception by D. Lindsey Berkson

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Endocrine Disruptors: What Are They?


In 1962 Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring was published, creating an outcry that forced the banning of DDT. Since then there has been growing concern that chemicals in the environment might exert profound and disasterous effects on wildlife populations, and that human health is inextricably linked to the health of the environment.
Although researchers had studied the endocrine effects of chemicals for some time, the term endocrine disruptor was coined in 1991 by Theo Colborn at a conference at the Wingspread Conference Center in Racine, Wisconsin. Theo Colborn is co-author of Our Stolen Future, published in 1996. Her extensive research and that of many others firmly establishes that environmental chemicals disrupt the development of the endocrine system, and that effects of exposure during development are permanent.

Although hormone disruption isn’t new, the growing incident of it that we are experiencing today is such that we must consider it a modern-day epidemic. In her book Hormone Deception, D. Lindsey Berkson takes up where Theo Colborn left off by extending the evidence into the realm of human health. If this subject concerns you as much as it concerns me, I would highly recommend that you purchase Dr. Berkson’s book.

So what are endocrine disruptors anyway? According to Wikipedia this term refers to exogenous substances (coming from outside the body) that act like hormones in the endocrine system and disrupt the physiologic function of endogenous hormones (inside the body).

Simply put, our cells have receptor sites which allow hormones to attach to the cell. When we are exposed to environmental chemicals (that mimic hormones) the receptor site doesn’t know if it is the real hormone or an imposter. So, these imposters are reeking havoc with our cells and thus with our overall health.
As Dr. Berkson says in her book “All this points to what can go awry. If something is wrong with the signal, the body will respond to the wrong message. In other words, an unnatural signal may create an inappropriate response. What science is discovering is that hormone disruptors can bind with receptors and send messages the same way our natural hormones can. But these particular messages can significantly alter normal cell function and growth.” [Hormone Deception, pg.13]

Next time: Endocrine Disruptors: Where do they come from and how do they affect us?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Tips To Keep Your Ticker Ticking


(Information courtesy of AARP Magazine)

The old saying that a wounded heart never heals just doesn’t apply anymore. Diet, exercise and a positive mental outlook can help prevent and even reverse years of poor heart habits. In fact, small lifestyle changes can go a long way towards attaining and maintaining a healthy heart. Start today with these tips:

STAY CALM
A recent study by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology finds that the chronically anxious may see a significant increase in the risk of a heart attack. Lower stress by starting a daily meditation practice or simply work on a puzzle or hobby that helps you relax.

LIMIT FAT INTAKE
Trans fats and hydrogenated oils raise blood levels of LDL (bad cholesterol), increasing your risk of coronary heart disease. But eating healthier doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorite snacks. Many potato, corn, and tortilla chips and even cookies are now made with healthier oils that don’t affect taste.

GET MOVING
Regular exercise prevents heart attack and stroke by lowering inflammation, reducing blood pressure, maintaining weight, and reducing stress. Even 90 minutes to 2 hours spread out over a week can lower risk, according to a 2007 Harvard University study.

CONTROL BLOOD PRESSURE
High blood pressure forces your heart to work harder, which is why it’s a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke. Get your blood pressure checked often and, if it’s high, talk to your doctor about ways to bring it down.

SUPPLEMENT
Adding natural, food-based supplements to a healthy diet may allow you to avoid medications. Learn how to choose a good supplement here.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Eczema: A Natural Approach


I read a disturbing article in USA Today last week which said that a study conducted by Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine found that giving children with moderate to severe eczema diluted bleach baths reduced the severity of the disease. Source: USA Today

BLEACH ?? “Did you know that a pesticide is added to your washing machine to help keep your white clothes white? This pesticide is also found in many household cleaning products that contain a "disinfectant" to kill germs. And it is found in household products used to clean mold and mildew from your shower or tub. Can you guess what this pesticide is? Chlorine Bleach!

You wouldn't think that ordinary chlorine bleach is a pesticide - but it is. Because it kills bacteria- and viruses it is called a disinfectant or an antimicrobial pesticide. And because it kills fungi and molds it is also known as a fungicide.”
EPA.gov

“Breathing in the fumes of cleaners containing a high concentration of chlorine can irritate the lungs. This is particularly dangerous for people suffering from heart conditions or chronic respiratory problems such as asthma or emphysema. And the risks are compounded when the cleaners are used in small, poorly ventilated rooms, such as the bathroom. Chlorine is also a highly corrosive substance, capable of damaging skin, eyes, and other membranes. Chlorine was listed as a hazardous air pollutant in the 1990 Clean Air Act, and exposure to chlorine in the workplace is regulated by federal standards. (Source: care2)

Knowing that bleach isn’t something we really want to mess with, I started researching other safer means for dealing with the intense itching that can accompany eczema and also a natural approach to dealing with eczema in general. I thought about Epsom salts soaks and found the following information:

Relieve Eczema Skin Symptoms With An Epsom Salt Bath
By Evelyn Lym

It is hard not to go crazy with all that intense itching and scratching of your irritated eczema skin. Short of using strong steroids, there is one treatment that you can try to alleviate the itchy symptoms. You may wish to consider taking an Epsom salt bath.

An Epsom salt bath is not just any salt bath. There are actually different kinds of bath salts in the market today and you really need to choose the correct ones to treat your eczema. Solar salt, koshers salts are just like any rock salts that you use in your kitchen and offer no helpful benefits to your skin. Be careful not to use them as normal salts contain sodium chloride that can actually cause a drying out of your skin. A bath using normal salts is therefore not a good idea for an already dry skin prone to eczema outbreaks.

Epsom salts are basically made up of magnesium sulphate, a type of naturally occurring mineral. Magnesium is responsible in regulating the body enzymes. Since it is an electrolyte, magnesium sulphate can improve the function of the muscles and nerves. It also ensures the proper usage of calcium in our body's cells. As an eczema treatment, it helps to reduce skin inflammation and alleviate pain.
An Epsom salt bath is a great way to acquire magnesium in the body because the skin can easily absorb it. More importantly, an Epsom salt bath is becoming popular in treating eczema because it assists in removing unwanted acids out of your skin. Soaking yourself in the bath is therapeutic as it also helps reduce stress and muscular pains.


Here is a simple recipe on getting started with your own soothing Epsom salt bath:
450 grams Epsom salts, 1 tsp. Calendula oil, 5 drops patchouli oil,
7-10 drops lavender oil

You can actually do without the oils if you are unable to find them. Simply add a cup of Epsom salts in to a tub with warm water. Avoid using soaps when taking an Epsom salt bath or else it would obstruct the healing action of the salts. You can soak for about 15 minutes and gently give your skin a good gentle rub. (Take note: Gentle rub not scrub!) Try not to get chilled and over dried. A warning to people who are diagnosed with edema, heart problems or high blood pressure- soaking in a bath salt may prove to be harmful. Frail people, like aged people, are advised not to use salt baths at all.
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Shaklee has introduced a wonderful line of Baby Care products that you might be interested in too.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Four Simple Ways To Clean Up At Home

1. Educate yourself about what you're bringing into your home. For more information, check out the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Household Products Database. http://www.householdproducts.nlm.nih.gov/

2. Out with the old... Once you know what's safe & healthy for your home and your environment, it's time to get rid of the harmful stuff. You'll want to be careful with cleaning agents containing harmful chemicals and compounds, though... your local waste collection service should be able to advise you on how to properly dispose of these hazardous wastes from abrasive cleaning agents to batteries, paint, and other household chemicals.

3. Before bringing an item into your home, consider the impact it will have on you, your family, your home, and your planet. A good rule of thumb is to keep your home environment as natural as possible-- this will also help keep your house- AND THOSE YOU LOVE- safe and healthy. Keep fresh air abundant by opening windows, using indoor plants, and freshening with essential oils instead of chemical-containing air fresheners. Use organic, recycled, and renewable home furnishings, furniture, and other household goods whenever possible. And, of course, when cleaning your home look for products that are
all natural, non-toxic, biodegradable, and hypo-allergenic. If these products are also concentrated, they'll save you money and last longer.

4. Save your energy bill - and the planet! Saving energy won't just impact you and your family but the whole planet. If everyone did all they could in their home to save energy, the changes would really add up. Unplug appliances when they're not in use to prevent use of "phantom energy," and turn off lights when you're not in a room. Save water by using low-flush toilets, low-flow toilets and shower heads, and a tank-less water heater in your home.

There is so much we can do right at home to make a difference. Even if you made just one change, the long-term effects would be tremendous!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Earth Day Tip #3


#3 START USING NON-TOXIC CLEANERS AND PERSONAL CARE PRODUCTS. How soon can you switch brands to safe alternatives? I am talking about cleaners & laundry products, skin care, cosmetics, shampoo & conditioner, deodorant, toothpaste, baby care products…all the things you use every day. Switch to products that will give you and your family peace of mind.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Earth Day Tip #2


#2 GO THROUGH YOUR BATHROOM, KITCHEN, LAUNDRY, GARAGE, AND YARD. As you go, dump Febreze, Clorox, Listerine and other toxic products.

This information may shock you! This is not from a "kook" source! To find out what's lurking on your shelves, click here: the
National Institutes of Health Library of Medicine Household Products Database.

You can search almost any brand of product you use daily, find out what's in it, and uncover its links to health effects.

Or search by chemical ingredients (see list below for some examples) and discover what brands contain it. Chemical ingredients to look out for: (Click on each)
Sodium Hydroxide, Hydrochloric acid, Butyl cellosolve (2-Butoxyethanol), Formaldehyde, Bleach (sodium hypochlorite), Ammonia, Sulfamic Acid, Petroleum distillates, Sulfuric acid, Lye (potassium hydroxide), Morpholine.

One or even a thousand exposures may not be "that" harmful...but millions of exposures over time from hundreds of products is. Did you know that women at home have a 54% higher risk of cancer? And that a study linked that statistic to harmful household cleaners? Let's turn that around NOW!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Earth Day Tips



Earth Day is just around the corner (April 22).
Over the next few days, I am going to share with you some quick and simple things you can do right away to make your surroundings healthier for you and those you love.


Remember just ONE SMALL ACTION can make a REALLY BIG DIFFERENCE!

#1 Watch TOXIC BREW. Invest just 20 minutes of your time for this Canadian "MarketPlace" TV show. It's shocking to see name brand cleaners full of harmful hidden chemicals--which especially affect the health of kids and pets in your home. Go to, Watch Toxic Brew then scroll down and on the right side you will see “Watch the Story.” Click on RealVideo.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

5 Things Women Can Do For A Healthy Heart

This morning Good Morning America had a wonderful segment about women and heart health. This is stuff we all, as women, need to know. February is heart health month, so please go to this link: http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/OnCall/story?id=6850404&page=1 and then do whatever it takes to make sure YOU have a healthy heart! Everyone who loves you will say THANKS!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

HOW DO YOU SELECT GOOD QUALITY SUPPLEMENTS?

We are living in a health-crazed society. There are so many different companies out their selling so many different vitamins and supplements. So how do you know which brands are good and which are just a waste of money?

Here are some questions and answers to guide you:

Q.
How do I know what is in my vitamin; can I trust what the label says?
A. Unfortunately, some manufacturers’ labels do not accurately reflect their supplements’ contents and there is very little legal pressure for them to do so. Nobody is proactively watching out for consumer safety, much less monitoring label claims or ensuring efficacy. Manufacturers are legally obligated to formulate their supplements to only 90% of their label claim (Do you find that shocking?). Since they know they probably won’t get caught, some formulate to only 60% (or less) of claim. That means that what you see is not necessarily what you get, and poor quality products may contain ingredients and impurities never listed on the label.

Your best bet is to buy from a company you trust and educate yourself about the products you buy. For instance, call your supplement company and ask them questions about their formulation standards, ingredient sources and bio-availability tests. If you get lots of marketing hype and little useful information look elsewhere. (You have to listen carefully because they can make it sound really good when it’s not).


Q. How can I be sure I am digesting & absorbing the vitamins I take?
A. Individual supplement manufacturers may conduct their own dissolutions and bioavailability tests, or may pay to have them conducted by third-party labs. Good manufacturers will also take care to supply nutrients in dosages, combinations and ratios that encourage their proper absorption and interaction. Know your supplement company - their philosophy, formulating, testing and quality-control methods - that’s your best guide.

Q.
What should I look for in a multivitamin?
A. ABOVE ALL look for a a reputable dietary supplement company. “Reputable” means they have their products analyzed and tested by third-party independent labs and that they have developed their products with quality and optimal health (vs. just high profit margins) in mind.
Don’t assume that just because a multi is a best-selling brand and shows 100% of most Daily Values that it is a good product. Some of the leading brands, and yes, even some very expensive ones, offer poor quality formulations that ignore important nutrients and use cheap ingredients. A good product will contain natural vitamin E (d-tocopherol vs. synthetic dl-tocopherol), won’t skip on expensive ingredients like biotin, and won’t overlook important trace minerals and amino acids.

There are good quality supplements out there. You just have to do your own due-diligence and not depend on marketing hype as your method of selection. GOOD LUCK!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Is it possible to live longer and look younger? Maybe!!