10 Steps to Healthier Digestion this Holiday Season

By Shannon Morehouse, MA, CHHC

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Perhaps one of the most difficult challenges during the holiday season is the discomfort you feel after eating too much! Fortunately, there are safe and natural ways to prevent and treat the attack of digestive discomforts whether it be bloating, heartburn, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, flatulence, or associated abdominal pain.

  1. Chew Your Food
    This recommendation cannot be emphasized enough. Try chewing every bite at least 15 times. Chances are you will enjoy your meal more; you will be less likely to overeat; and you will better digest your food. In fact, there is an enzyme in your saliva, amylase, which is essential for making your food digestible. You need to chew your food many times for the saliva to coat your food enough for amylase to travel through your digestive tract to help break down your food.
  2. Prioritize Daily Aerobic Exercise
    Regular exercise helps food move through your digestive system, reducing constipation. And exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight, which is also good for your digestive health. Make it a point to work some aerobic exercise (even if it is a 15-minute walk) into your daily life.
  3. Try Some Soothing Herbs
    Herbs like slippery elm and ginger have been used for centuries to help soothe digestive discomfort. Sip ginger tea after your holiday meals. Ginger is also very helpful at
    relieving nausea.
  4. Take a Probiotic Daily
    Much of the food we consume (as well as medications like antibiotics) rids the healthy flora in our intestinal tract; this flora is needed for digestion. Fortunately, by taking a probiotic daily, we can make sure that there is beneficial flora alive and well in our intestines to aid digestion.
  5. Supplement with Enzymes
    Raw plants and whole foods have natural enzymes that help us digest the food. However, cooking destroys many of the natural enzymes making it difficult to digest the food. Almost everyone can benefit from taking a supplemental enzyme formula before meals to help aid digestion. Enzymes are also good for people who have digestive difficulties due to food sensitivities (such as dairy and gluten).
  6. Try Aloe
    Aloe vera gel has natural healing properties due to the large variety of amino acids, enzymes, vitamins and minerals it contains. Aloe vera supplements work to cleanse the digestive tract of clogging food residue.
  7. Take a Spoonful of Apple Cider Vinegar Daily
    Apple cider vinegar can help stimulate hydrochloric acid (HCI), which is a huge player in breaking down your foods. If you don’t produce enough HCl, you can be classified as having an “underactive stomach.” Symptoms of an underactive stomach can include excessive gas and belching after meals, as well as an “overfull” feeling, abdominal pain, and cramping.
  8. Try a Cleanse
    Colon and liver cleansing through the use of herbs, food, and supplements benefits the whole digestive system by removing toxins that otherwise slow digestion. Schedule a free appointment with one of our wellness educators (call 315-671-5172) to learn about foods to consume during your cleanse.
  9. Supplement with Magnesium for Constipation
    Magnesium is a great supplement to take if you are battling with constipation. Take it every night before bed; it’s a relaxant; therefore, many people find that it helps them to sleep better too.
  10. Address Stress with B-Complex
    Too much stress and anxiety can cause your digestive system to go into overdrive and is known to be connected with digestion problems like Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Taking a B-complex daily may help reduce your stress levels.

When It’s That Time of Year… COLD AND FLU SEASON, THAT IS.

By Carol B. Blair, BS, DIHOM

GettyImages-142527885.jpgCold and flu season is once again upon us. What can we do to protect ourselves against these viral invaders and if an invasion occurs, what can we do? The answer is plenty!

Even healthy individuals get an occasional viral infection, but building a strong immune system is good prevention. To do this, be sure to take a broad-spectrum multivitamin/mineral supplement with a minimum of 1000 IU of Vitamin D, 15 mg of zinc and 70 mcg of selenium.  We have several that will satisfy those requirements such as Natur-Tyme’s Advanced Daily. Studies show that selenium helps to keep viruses from replicating, while even marginal deficiencies of A and/or zinc may cause one to become more susceptible to infections. More is not better, however. All of these nutrients have the potential for being harmful in large amounts, so a multi-vitamin/mineral supplement is a good choice.

How often have you been sick when you became overly stressed and weren’t sleeping well?  These are common factors that will reduce our resistance and make us more susceptible to infection.  Keeping your adrenals nourished enhances your immune system.  Garden of Life My Kind Organic Adrenal helps to keep your adrenal glands healthy.  My Kind Organic Ashwagandha not only helps with stress but it also encourages a restorative sleep.  They also have a product called Sleep Well that is worth a try if sleep is an issue for you.

In addition, consider Adding Garden of Life’s Oil of Oregano Seasonal Drops and extra Vitamin C to keep the immune system robust. Again, there are many choices for vitamin C such as MegaFood Ultra Vitamin C 1-2 daily or their Tangy Citrus gummies or even their C Protect Booster powder. Of course, it goes without saying, that a good diet, six to eight glasses of water daily, exercise, and adequate rest are very important. One or two cups of green tea may also be helpful as antioxidant protection. Add to your diet plenty of garlic, onions, and ginger-foods, often recommended by “old time” herbalists such as Dr. John Christopher. Horseradish will also help to clear the sinuses.

In the event you suffer from an infection, regardless of your best efforts, natural remedies are available. Elderberry, in particular, has many studies behind it as anti-viral support, and comes in a variety of forms: chewables, syrups, drinks, capsules, etc. Our knowledgeable staff can help you pick the correct one for you or your children.

Umcka is a great anti-viral that has been used in Europe for many years. It has at least 17 studies behind it and clinical trials showed significant symptom relief compared to the placebo group. Umcka also comes in various forms.

Many medicinal mushrooms are revered for building the immune system. Three types of mushrooms, Cordyceps, Maitake and Reishi, all have been shown to increase natural killer cell activity from 230–300%, respectively. Since these mushrooms modulate the immune system, they are particularly beneficial for individuals with auto-immune disorders.  When several mushrooms are formulated together, their synergistic effect increases. Host Defense MyCommunity is one such mushroom support product that I recommend frequently.”

Zinc gluconate lozenges have been shown to reduce the duration of a cold from an average of 7.6 to 4.4 days.

Homeopathics are often very useful. Although narrowing the choices for a single remedy is sometimes difficult for the layperson, combination products are also available. Homeopathic remedies are very safe and have the added benefit of not interfering with prescription drugs. Oscillococcinum (pronounced o-sill-o-cox-see-num) has been used in France for 65 years and is a popular European flu remedy. A German placebo-controlled study showed that after 48 hours, 62.9% of the individuals showed clear improvement with “Oscillo.” In this study, the remedy was not taken at the very onset of symptoms—which is important to achieve the best results.

Although I have outlined many possibilities, there are a few formulas to help narrow your choices. Always start whichever protocol you choose as soon as symptoms develop (so it is a good idea to keep your favorites in the house).

As always, check with your physician before starting any regimen.

 

Fight Inflammation Naturally!

By Shannon Morehouse, MA, CHHC, and Laurel Sterling, MS, RD

GettyImages-974162008.jpgWhen most people picture inflammation, they think of a bump on the head, an infected wound, or an arthritic joint. However, inflammation is a precursor to major health conditions like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s, Alzheimer’s, and skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema. Chronic inflammation begins at the cellular level and is most often due to free radicals. Many factors can produce free radicals including smoking, pollution, acidic foods, foods high in sugar or saturated fat, and stress. Through a combination of diet, lifestyle, and dietary supplements, we can reduce the damage caused by inflammation.

Nutritional RECOMMENDATIONS:

Reduce your Intake of Acidic Foods and Increase your Intake of Alkalizing Foods

An acidic environment in your body, even if mildly acidic, can cause inflammation. Check your pH levels often with Heritage Store pH test strips. We recommend testing pH in your urine the first thing in the morning. If your pH is acidic, then you want to reduce your intake of meat (especially red meat), dairy, alcohol, refined food (like white pasta and breads, crackers, and cookies), artificial sweeteners, and sugary foods. You want to increase your intake of vegetables, especially leafy greens. Munch on almonds for a tasty alkaline snack and add lemon to your filtered water for an alkalizing effect. If you are having a difficult time getting veggies in, mix a green powder, such as Whole Earth & Sea’s Fermented Greens into your breakfast smoothie.

Increase your Consumption of Antioxidants

Antioxidants will defeat the free radicals; they’re responsible for preventing oxidative stress (hence their name being antioxidants). Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale, cabbage, and cauliflower are especially beneficial.

Many herbs are high in antioxidants, so spice up your cooking with ginger, turmeric, parsley, cayenne pepper, oregano, and rosemary. Whole grains are high in several antioxidants, so consider quinoa, brown rice, millet, or amaranth in place of pasta and bread. All fruits are high in antioxidants. Some of the most alkaline, antioxidant-rich fruits include watermelon, grapefruit, mangoes, melons, grapes, kiwi, blueberries, apples, and even raisins!

Lastly, research studies have shown that green tea contains powerful antioxidants.

Increase Mineral-Rich Foods

Calcium and magnesium will help keep inflammation at bay. Many mineral-rich foods are also alkaline and high in antioxidants. Some good choices include almonds, kale, and parsley. Also try adding mineral-rich legumes (garbanzo beans, black beans, and pinto beans) to your grain dishes.

Avoid Foods that Inhibit Mineral Absorption

Even some of the healthiest foods can inhibit mineral absorption. Night-shade veggies like potatoes, bell peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant contain the calcium-inhibitor, solanine. Rhubarb, cranberries, plums, spinach, and chard contain oxalic acid, which is also a calcium inhibitor. Also, limit your caffeine and sugar intake, as both can inhibit mineral absorption.

Increase your Consumption of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Research studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids are very helpful at reducing inflammation. Fish, plant, and nut oils are the primary dietary source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are found in salmon, mackerel, halibut, sardines, and herring, as well as flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts.

Supplement RECOMMENDATIONS:

Sometimes, we cannot address our inflammation enough with foods, stress reduction, and proper sleep; it is then when we need to look to supplements.

Consider incorporating omega-3 fatty acids into your supplement regime. Fish oils lower LDL, triglycerides, fibrinogen (a clotting indicator), homocysteine (a strong oxidant), and inflammation. They also improve blood pressure and HDL levels. Flaxseed Oil is a good choice for those who would like a vegetarian/vegan option. This works in the body similar to fish oil. Vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid are crucial in normalizing homocysteine levels. A great product that includes all of these is Designs for Health’s Homocysteine Supreme. Magnesium is alkalizing, assists with sleep, helps decrease anxiety and nervousness, relaxes all smooth muscles, and the list goes on. Nutrient-rich soil is becoming increasingly rare; and as a result, foods are deficient in many minerals. It is crucial to replenish our body with these minerals on a daily basis.

New Chapter Organics’ Zyflamend is a wonderful product that includes turmeric, ginger, oregano, green tea, holy basil, rosemary, and Baikal skullcap. These herbs are utilized by the body to naturally promote a healthy inflammation response. A similar product called Meriva 500-SF by Thorne Research, is a highly bioavailable curcumin extract, which is a powerful antioxidant found in turmeric. Another herb known for its anti-inflammatory properties is cayenne. There is a product called Cool Cayenne by Solaray, which is gentler on the stomach than others. Boswellia from Himalaya is another great option. Boswellia (also known as Frankincense) blocks the synthesis of inflammation-causing leukotrienes.

Also consider enzymes and flavonoids like NOW’s Quercetin with Bromelain. Bromelain is a proteolytic enzyme derived from pineapple. Studies have shown that bromelain inhibits the pro-inflammatory prostaglandins. Quercetin is a potent flavonoid found in onions, apples, and other veggies. This was found to also help mediate inflammation. Wobenzym N is a clinically backed product that contains plant-based enzymes, pancreatic enzymes, and antioxidants.

Lifestyle RECOMMENDATIONS:

Get Enough Sleep, as sleep deprivation has been shown to increase free radicals.

Reduce Stress, as stress is pro-inflammatory. Studies have shown that meditation, yoga, prayer, or other stress-reduction activities can have a positive effect on chronic inflammatory conditions.

Exercise, but don’t overdo it. Exercise consistently to maintain a healthy body weight and stimulate a healthy immune system but vary the intensity. You want to avoid constantly exercising with very intense efforts for long periods of time because this puts oxidative stress on your body, producing free radicals.

Six Reasons You Need More Magnesium

By Jennifer Morganti, ND, Director of Education for NEEDSGettyImages-107429862.jpg

Did you know that pure magnesium is highly flammable, making it the perfect ingredient for the explosive energy needed for fireworks, jet engine parts, rockets, and missiles? It’s even more powerful in the human body, as it is involved with over 325 biochemical reactions! Because it’s used in every cell of the body, it’s frightening that 60% of Americans are deficient in this key nutrient. Some of the reasons for deficiency include the fact that we lose magnesium when stressed, sweating causes magnesium depletion, and our intake is low because poor-quality soil has lowered the natural levels of magnesium in our food. 

There is an extensive list of symptoms that indicate magnesium deficiency, and you may experience several or just one as an indicator of deficiency. Some of the symptoms on this list include muscle twitching, muscle aches and pains, headaches, anxiety, nervousness, and insomnia. It’s not easy to test for magnesium deficiency because a standard blood test only shows the magnesium levels in the blood, but the more important factor is the cellular storage of magnesium, which is not commonly tested. If you have symptoms, the easiest way to determine magnesium deficiency is to take magnesium to see if they resolve. And if you have any of the following conditions, consider an underlying magnesium deficiency as a possible root cause. 

1: Insulin Resistance 

Insulin resistance is when cells don’t respond adequately to insulin’s attempt to shuttle glucose into cells after eating, resulting in elevated blood sugar and increased fat storage. It is the hallmark of pre-diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Research shows that people with adequate magnesium levels have appropriate insulin sensitivity and are at low risk for developing diabetes. People with the highest magnesium levels have a lower risk of developing diabetes than people with the lowest magnesium levels. The amazing fact is that even if a person possesses other diabetic risk factors such as smoking, sedentary lifestyle, and excessive weight, adequate magnesium stores will compensate. 

2: Inflammation 

Inflammation is at the root cause of so many health problems, such as arthritis, heart disease, and obesity. Magnesium has been shown to act as an anti-inflammatory. More than one study has shown that as magnesium levels decrease, CRP (a marker for inflammation) increases. Elevated CRP is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and other inflammation-related conditions. 

3: Hypertension 

Magnesium deficiency may play a role in hypertension, as demonstrated by studies that have shown an inverse correlation between a magnesium-rich diet and risk of high blood pressure.

4: Asthma

Magnesium also has a dilating effect on respiratory passageways, so it benefits asthma for the same reasons as hypertension—it relaxes the airways so more oxygen can flow through. 

5: Anxiety 

Anxiety is a symptom that can have a variety of etiologies, both physical and psychological, but magnesium deficiency is high on that list. Animal studies have shown that when mice are given a magnesium-depleted diet for several weeks, they begin to display signs of depression and anxiety. Those symptoms are alleviated when the magnesium levels are restored. Clinical studies have shown that magnesium can relieve anxiety and depression alone or in combination with herbal formulas. Magnesium works in conjunction with calcium to contract and relax muscles, which contributes to its relaxing properties. Add magnesium salts to your hot bath before bed for serious calming effects.

6: Insomnia 

Insomnia can result from many factors, with magnesium deficiency being at the top. Magnesium calms the nervous system, relaxes muscles, and counters stress.

Replenishing magnesium can lead to a longer, uninterrupted sleep pattern. 

Magnesium comes in many forms, but be sure to avoid the oxide form if you want to maximize absorption. To determine the appropriate dosage, start with one or two pills, and increase the dosage over the course of a few days, until it has a laxative effect, then decrease the dosage slightly. This method determines the appropriate dosage for your individual body, based on your level of deficiency. If you want the laxative effect, then magnesium oxide or hydroxide would be a good choice. If you have a sensitive digestive tract and aren’t able to tolerate the levels of magnesium that you feel you need, add topical sources such as magnesium oil, which can be sprayed on the skin, or take magnesium salt baths. 

At first glance, magnesium may not strike you as an exciting, cutting-edge nutrient, but when you are lacking it, it can make a huge impact on your health!

How Gummy Vitamins Align with the MegaFood Way

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By Abigail McShinsky

If you’ve been following along, you know that over the last couple of years we’ve been working on project Gummy Bare All, which has been a herculean effort to bring better-for-you gummies, chock-full of Farm Fresh Foods, to your local natural product retailer. Perhaps you’ve wondered why MegaFood chose to head in that direction. Read on to see how it all fits together in the first of our Gummy Bare All Final Flash series, where we unveil the finished products!

Have you ever seen the Lives Improved Scoreboard in our warehouse? You can check it out on our live cams here. Don’t worry, I’ll wait 🙂

This scoreboard is important to keep us all focused on our goal. If you’ve ever joined one of our live town-hall meetings, or have been following us for long enough, you’ve likely heard us say that we are the business of improving lives. This philosophy is infused in every aspect of our business, and it’s something we take very seriously.

We also have our eye on a bigger prize. At MegaFood, our purpose is to nourish a world in nutritional crisis. What does that mean? It means we recognize that, regardless of our socioeconomic background or where we live, we all have obstacles between us and optimal nutrition. For some those obstacles are much greater than for others, and the issues around food access are complex and numbered.

We know we can’t solve the problem overnight. What we can do, however, is make decisions and products that get us pointed in the right direction – helping people overcome obstacles between them and proper nourishment. We call this our North Star.

With that North Star in mind, we took aim at two common obstacles between folks getting the daily nutrition they need:

Difficulty Swallowing Tablets

Difficulty swallowing pills is very common – did the number surprise you? You may also be wondering why this matters. Shouldn’t those folks just get everything they need from their diet, then? Well, let’s let Dr. Erin Stokes set the stage:

“In our modern world, I don’t believe that we can get all of the nutrients we need, even from a well-rounded, healthy diet. Food is always first for vitamin and mineral intake, but we need a little help covering the gaps. The reality is that gaps in the American diet are widespread…A study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition looked at changes in food composition for 43 garden crops from 1950 to 1999. As a group, the 43 foods that were studied showed declines in 6 areas: protein, calcium, potassium, iron, riboflavin and ascorbic acid. A rather important group of 6!”

So if you’re not getting enough nutrition from your diet, and you have a hard time swallowing tablets, what options do you have..?

Pill Fatigue

Instead, maybe you’re like me, and have no problem slinging back your multi, B complex, and probiotic all in one mouthful (I’m not suggesting you try it, for safety reasons, but I’m just being real here…), and the idea of being unable to swallow a tablet is completely foreign to you. That being said, aren’t there days where you can’t even look at your pill case because (despite the fact that it will take all of 4 seconds) you can’t possibly imagine a world in which you took even one more vitamin? The phrase “I can’t even” is appropriate to use here.

If you’ve felt that before, you’re not alone! There is actually a name for it. It’s called Pill Fatigue, and it’s real. Pill Fatigue is a by-product of taking a number of daily medications or supplements for an extended period of time. After a while, the stress and monotony of constant pill-swallowing turns to this hard-to-place feeling of Pill Fatigue. You can’t even.

If either of these sounds familiar to you, you’ve probably started to consider alternative options that will allow you to nourish your body in a way that works best for you. Many individuals start taking gummy vitamins for this very reason!

And if neither of those sound like you, not to fret! Gummies make a great addition to your daily multivitamin for that little nutrition boost when you need it.

At MegaFood, our purpose is to nourish a world in nutritional crisis, and our new gummies are just one way of doing that!

Choosing a Quality Fish Oil

By Valerie VillalobosBlog Post Banner.png

Choosing High-Quality Fish Oil

Not all fish oil is created equal. When seeking high-quality fish oil, you should look for certain features that are particularly important: Freshness, purity, potency, and form.

Making sure your fish oil supplement is fresh is important for taste and product efficacy. The primary reason people resist taking fish oil is the fear of unpleasant taste and aftertaste. Higher freshness levels result in better tasting fish oil that doesn’t cause fish burps. Taste and smell are good indicators of freshness. An unpleasant fishy smell, taste, or burps indicate that product is rancid (oxidized). Rancidity reduces the efficacy of fish oil. This applies to liquid and capsule forms of supplementation. Test your fish oil capsules for freshness by biting into them!

Clean fish oil is also critical. Fish oil must be purified to eliminate trace amounts of heavy metals, pesticides, and PCBs. A third-party product analysis can validate both purity and freshness. Pure fish oil also consists of one that contains non-GMO ingredients. Eurofins Scientific GeneScan Division, a worldwide consortium of testing laboratories, is an industry leader with over 20 years in GMO-testing. It’s a Non-GMO project accredited lab and is a trusted scientific option for non-GMO verification.

Potency is another key factor. How much omega-3 one needs depends on the individual’s unique nutritional requirements. To understand how much EPA and DHA is provided in the product, you must read the amounts of EPA and DHA on the back of the label, not the total omega-3 count on the front. EPA and DHA are the bioactive omega-3 fats that are responsible for the benefits associated with the omega-3 fat family.

Finally, it’s important to choose supplements in triglyceride form, particularly when selecting a concentrate. Many concentrated fish oils are in the ethyl ester form, a form rarely found in nature. Research suggests that triglycerides are more stable, which protects these fats from oxidation. Lastly, scientific evidence suggests triglycerides have an absorptive advantage over ethyl esters.

 

Q & A About ConcenTrace® Trace Mineral Drops

Submitted by Trace Minerals

What’s so special about minerals, and why are they an important part of our health?

In a perfect world, everyone would get all their nutritional requirements from the food they eat. But, the reality is that poor soil quality affects the very foods we rely on for optimal health. As a result, nutrients, like minerals which are essential to our well-being, and must be consumed daily for optimum health, are being supplemented to provide their needed nutrition. Like vitamins, and other nutrients, minerals are vital in the regulation and building of cells which make up the body. Minerals work synergistically with one another to ensure that a proper pH balance occurs within the body. This collaborative relationship also guarantees that proper absorption, regulation, and the activation of other nutrients we consume happens. They are also especially important in the conductivity of electrical messages within the body. Muscle contraction, such as the heart, and brain activity are all influenced by proper and balanced mineral levels.

 

What makes Utah’s Inland Sea such an ideal place for harvesting minerals?

Our mineral brines are harvested from our private ponds on the Northwest side of the Great Salt Lake, and if you look at the landscape of the Great Salt Lake, you realize very quickly that it is surrounded by mountains. These mountains have various streams and rivers, that naturally runoff into the lake, and with no outlets, it becomes a catch basin. As the snowpack melts in the spring, and this runoff makes its way down the mountains, it picks up minerals from the rocks and soil that then accumulate in the Great Salt Lake.

Information that was put together by the Utah Geological Society on the Great Salt Lake clarifies how the lake is able to self-clean without any outlets. It is important, and interesting, to note this information because while the lake has been concentrating inorganic salts in its waters for thousands of years, the total soluble concentrations of heavy metals are actually low. The information the Utah Geological Society put together states that the heavy metals, including clays, are enabled within the sediments and brines due to anaerobic conditions that then immobilize the metals.

What are some of the ways people can incorporate minerals into their daily routines and diets?

Of course, the ideal way to incorporate minerals is through our diet–water and food. However, soil depletion makes even organically grown fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads and cereals, nuts and seeds, etc. wanting when it comes to minerals, so supplementing is a great way to provide minerals to our bodies. Our ConcenTrace® can easily be added to any kind of liquid–water, juice, smoothie, protein shakes, soup, tea, you name it, and should be taken throughout the day to “feed” the body all day long. Simply putting a few drops into every glass or bottle of water whether you are just carrying on with your normal activities, or working out at the gym is not only a great way to ensure we are drinking more, but also a simple way to take the minerals consistently.

For someone who might be new to learning about minerals, what’s the best product for them to start with?

Our ConcenTrace® Trace Mineral Drops is an all-natural mineral concentrate that contains a full-spectrum of naturally occurring ionic trace minerals with 99% sodium removed. It is easy-to-use and easy-to-take and is the #1 selling trace mineral supplement in the natural channel according to SPINS. It is also one of the most powerful natural health mineral supplements in the world and has many uses and applications. Additionally, it compliments other supplements that you might be taking to help with the activation and absorption of those nutrients. Whether you are a first-time user, or seasoned supplement taker, this product can easily be taken or added to whatever you are already doing.

Beyond CBD: Exploring the Virtues of Full-Spectrum or Broad-Spectrum Extracts

By Jason Mitchell, NDThinkstockPhotos-578579104.jpgI ’m sure by now you have at least heard of CBD (cannabidiol), and more than likely have either used a CBD supplement or thought about it. CBD is a nutrient that is part of a class of compounds call “phytocannabinoids.” These plant derived compounds are very similar to endocannabinoids, substances produced naturally by your body.

Phytocannabinoids are most commonly derived from hemp, which is a plant in the cannabis family. Hemp is primarily different from its cousin marijuana in that it is legal and does not elicit the psycho-active effect that is more commonly associated with marijuana. The psycho-active effects are primarily derived from a phytocannabinoid called THC. Hemp derived phytocannabinoid products that contain CBD will not get you “high;” but they do offer a lot of nutritional benefits as well as support balance in the body.

The reason CBD has become so popular is because researchers have identified a new system in the body called the endocannabinoid system, which has a primary job of supporting balance, or “homeostasis,” in the body. This system is the central processing hub that acts in a regulatory manner, supporting virtually every physiological system of the body (organ function, memory, appetite, digestion, stress response, sleep, inflammatory response, and so much more).

Some scientists have referred to this system as the endocannabinodome, which aims to illustrate the interconnectedness of all systems in the body and how the endocannabinoid system acts in a manner to restore and maintain balance in the body. Now CBD is getting a lot of attention because researchers have identified that it has a positive effect on this system. In fact, CBD as well as many other phytocannabinoids and terpenes, have revealed themselves as nutrients that are unlocking many medical mysteries that have virtually eluded the medical profession for decades.

Many of the CBD products out their make a claim of being full- or broad spectrum hemp extract, which implies that they contain more than just CBD. In fact, it should mean that they contain a very broad array of common nutrients in hemp other than CBD, including other cannabinoids like CBC, CBG, CBV, CBDV, CBDA; as well as terpenes like pinene, caryophyllene, limonene; and omegas like omega 3, 6, 9, and so much more.

Research clearly shows that CBD alone is limited in what it can do for you, but if what is consumed contains more than CBD (cannabinoids, terpenes, omegas, and more) then you will find it to be a great deal more effective. If it is truly a full- or broad-spectrum product, all additional contents should be clearly displayed on the label.

Many individuals coping with issues related to stress, sleep, pain, and inflammation, are seeking products containing these active compounds sourced from hemp. The good news is, research on hemp-derived cannabinoids and plant-based terpenes shows great promise in helping us support this vital system in our body. However, keep in mind that in order to receive the most benefit, you must consume a truly full- or broad-spectrum product. Otherwise, the result may not only vary, but in many cases be ineffective.

Mission & History

By Herb Pharm

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We’re Made of Plants and Ethical Decisions

We think choices work like raindrops. Each decision we make, by itself, can seem small. Almost inconsequential. But taken together, they can flow into something powerful. Something that defines who we are.

BEGINNINGS

We began back in 1979 when our founders, Ed Smith and Sara Katz, set out to make extracts the right way. They set out to make liquid herbal products that were effective and undistorted, to avoid the temptation to manipulate nature, and to do it in ways that made their community and their environment stronger. This mission and their values have propelled us forward ever since.

BEFORE HERB PHARM

Sara and Ed met at a naturopathic college in the 1970s and soon began their first herb-based venture, the “Foundation for Natural Living.” This foundation held herbal retreats and eventually evolved into a naturopathic college built on the couple’s values. While the project was a success, they learned that they wanted to do more than educate, they wanted to work with the plants themselves.

Our Mission, Our Vision

Our mission is to create the highest quality herbal extracts products possible. We’re committed to educating people on how to practice safe, effective herbalism. We believe that our work can inspire more love for plants and respect for Nature and that it will improve the health, happiness, and harmony of the Earth and all of its people.

DEEP ROOTS

In the 1970’s, our founders, Ed and Sara, searched store shelves for extracts made with high quality ingredients and a thoughtful process. They wanted purity and simplicity. They wanted herbs that were good for them and the world around them.

They didn’t find what they were looking for as the herbs and capsules they did find were pallid, aroma-less, and seemingly stripped of their natural bounty.

What they did discover was literature on how to create their own extracts. They were drawn to traditional and somehow forgotten methods of preparation. They sought out old, used books, like the United States Pharmacopeia and the National Formulary, to learn them.

Old is New Again

Ed and Sara found many of the books that inspired them in the Used Books section at Powell’s of Portland. These books were out of print, same dating back to the 1850’s, but it introduced them to ways of preparing herbs that they’d never heard of. The couple, along with some contemporaries, set out to revive these practices.

A GROWING COMPANY

Herb Pharm officially came to life in 1979 when the couple moved to a wooded community of herb-enthusiasts in southern Oregon’s Josephine County. They started wildcrafting in the hills around town, relying on their books to help them identify herbs, and teach them how to revive traditional methods of herbalism. By 1982, they were successfully extracting herbs they’d grown and harvested in a lab attached to their home.

Over the next 10 years, as their products became more and more popular, they turned their home into a hub for the growing company. They built an addition that housed a lab to make extracts. Their dining room became the shipping department. Sara sat at the table, using their typewriter to create labels for each bottle. Their home and lab became a classroom where Ed and Sara could pass their knowledge down to future herbalists. This training and educational system would eventually become the Herbaculture Internship Program.

To this day, the program is a powerful, residential, hands-on experience in herbalism. Many intern graduates have gone on to become herbalists in their own right. The program grew and formalized with the company. Today, herbal education is part of the fabric of the company.

 CONTINUING GROWTH

Before founding Herb Pharm with Sara, and even after the company had begun, Ed traveled the world learning about the traditional use of herbs and herbalism. He met with spice sellers in bazaars of Asia and the markets of Central America. He lived with a shaman in the Amazon. He learned from people whose knowledge was passed from generation to generation. Then he brought those learnings home.

By the mid-1980s, Herb Pharm was in a position to hire a few employees, and, in keeping with the company’s mission, they offered their new hires benefits as soon as possible.

In the mid-1990s, Herb Pharm built a large facility dedicated to extracting herbs. Over the course of the last few decades, the facility has steadily grown to accommodate growing demand for our products. We follow the FDA’s Good Manufacturing Practices not simply because the regulations are federally monitored, but more importantly because they help us maintain high quality control. In addition to adhering to the required regulations, we have been 3rd party audited by UL.

When Ed and Sara got the opportunity to expand their company, they purchased a parcel of land they’d admired frequently on their bike rides through the country. Parts of the land had been under-watered and over-grazed by sheep for years. It took time to nurse it back to health, but their hard work turned into bountiful harvests. This passion for supporting the soil has continued for decades through Certified Organic and regenerative agriculture practices.

AS THE COMPANY GREW, SO DID OUR RESPONSIBILITIES.

Sara and Ed became leading, founding members of United Plant Savers, or UpS, a group dedicated to preserving native herb populations in the US. The organization changed the way the herb world thought about cultivation and wildcrafting. At a time when wildcrafting was considered to be the optimal way to harvest herbs, UpS observed that some wild plant populations were under threat from the practice. We worked with the organization then and in the decades since to conserve and protect native herb populations for generations to come. That’s why we became a UpS Botanical Sanctuary.

Our passion for the work UpS does is apparent in the decades of actions, stewardship, and advocacy we’ve taken to support it. These include being a Certified Organic farm, a Monarch Butterfly Waystation, Salmon-Safe, Bee-Friendly, and a Certified B Corp.

Ed and Sara remain a vibrant part of our company today. Their commitment to learning and teaching others how to ethically create high quality extracts continues to inspire us to do things the Herb Pharm way – a way that cares for every plant, animal, and person in every ecosystem we touch.

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*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

5 WAYS TO SUPPORT YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM

Provided by New ChapterPicture1.pngWe can all benefit from supporting our immune system — check out these 5 ways to support your immune system.

Whether it’s a busy season, cold season, stressful season, etc., our immune systems can take a hit if we aren’t prioritizing our health and getting the nutrients our bodies need in order to optimally support our immune system.

Our bodies are made up of complex, working systems and all of those systems rely on one another to function properly. That means when we neglect our health in one area, it’s likely impacting other areas of our health. This is particularly true in regard to our immune system.

Everything from how we eat to how we exercise and manage stress impacts our immune health.

These are 5 simple steps you can take today to help improve your immune system.

1. Take Care of Your Gut

It’s no secret that what we eat has a significant impact on our health and it’s been shown that gut health can influence other areas of our health, like our immune systems. The gut microbiome “trains” our immune systems by communicating with our cells about how to respond to infection so having a healthy gut is imperative to overall immune system health.

Our digestive system is home to a lot of bacteria. In fact, our bodies contain around 3-5 pounds of bacteria in our digestive system and the bacteria cells in our body even outnumber human cells 10 to 1?**

Our digestive systems are also home to yeast and it is important to maintain a good balance between the bacteria and the yeast present for our digestive systems to function at their normal level.

So how do you support your body for better gut health? First, check with your dietitian or doctor so they can get you on a nutrition and lifestyle plan that will support your unique needs if you ever need any help just email me or apply for our coaching.

Otherwise, try incorporating more fermented foods into your diet like kimchi, kefir, and kombucha that may promote a healthy gut environment. If you’re eating the Standard American Diet, it’s likely you’re not getting enough probiotic-rich food to support a healthy gut.

Another option I recommend to most of my clients to support overall gut health is to add in a daily probiotic to supplement their diet.

If you’re curious on what probiotic type you should use, first check with your dietitian, otherwise in general look for a company that has clear manufacturing practices, potency, and multiple strains of bacteria in the probiotic that have been shown via clinical research to help support gut health.

One probiotic to check out to see if it’s right for you is New Chapter’s Probiotic All-Flora. It’s a combination of probiotics and beneficial yeast that work to replenish good bacteria and reduce problematic yeast, prebiotics that acts as fuel for the probiotics, and postbiotics to boost probiotic activity.

Another thing to look for is the other ingredients that make up the supplement — New Chapter probiotics are non-GMO, gluten-free, and they test to verify each clinically studied strain at the DNA level.

2. Hydrate

Like gut health, staying hydrated has a huge impact on our overall health, but how does hydration directly impact our immune systems?

For starters, drinking water helps deliver oxygen throughout your entire working body which helps all of the systems in the body to function properly.

Water also helps our body do what it already does best, detox, by flushing unwanted toxins from the body (i.e. urination) and transports the nutrients (particularly water-soluble vitamins) from our food which keeps our cells healthy.

If drinking water seems like a task and hard for you to do, try incorporating warming liquids like hot tea, broths, or soups. They’re super comforting and can even help you to relax.

3. Get Moving

Exercise can be beneficial for both your mental health and physical health. In fact, keeping your body moving regularly is an important factor in maintaining a healthy immune system.

It’s been shown that that one 20-minute session of moderate exercise can stimulate the immune system, producing an anti-inflammatory cellular response.

Not to mention sweating through our skin, which is one of our largest detoxification organs, is also beneficial.

If you’re already under the weather, skip your regular workout. Instead, focus on light movement. Even just small stretches or getting up of the couch can help keep your lymphatic system moving.

4. Rest

We talk about this often at NS, but it’s important to know your limits. If you feel like you need some extra rest, listen to your body and give in to that feeling as much as you are able to. Getting the proper amount of sleep (7-8 hours a night) is vital for the body to rebuild, restore, and keep the immune system healthy.

When we sleep at night, we are maintaining our brain health which in turn helps the rest of our bodily functions. The strength of the synapses in the brain are able to restore themselves each night when you sleep which helps them to deal with and process the following day’s activities.

If you’re struggling to get your eight hours in, take a look at this article where we break down tips and tricks to establishing an evening routine and improving sleep.

5. Focus on Stress Management

When we neglect our mental health, our immune systems can take a hit. This is because both our mental and emotional health play a key role in our physical health and immune systems.

What exactly is stress? Stress is our brain’s’ reaction to any changes in our lives that demand our physical, mental, or emotional energy.

When experiencing stress, our brains release stress hormones called cortisol that put us into fight or flight mode. When cortisol is released, our bodies essentially stop functioning normally and we go into survival mode.

The energy that our bodies would typically use to keep all of our bodily systems functioning properly is instead used to fight those stress hormones. The release of those stress hormones can be beneficial when we are actually in danger, but when we live in a constant state of stress, our bodies produce far more cortisol than they actually need.

So how do we manage stress? Stress is unavoidable. It affects us all and sometimes a small amount of stress can even be beneficial. The real problems associated with stress are often a result of how we deal with and manage stressors.

To make sure stress isn’t negatively impacting us, it’s important to have stress management techniques in place for when it inevitably pops up.

These techniques will look different for everyone but focus on taking time to yourself and implementing techniques that help proactively manage stress such as meditation, deep breathing, journaling, taking a bath, or cleaning.

The big takeaway here is to find whatever helps you to relax, recharge, and manage stress and implement that daily. A resource that I recommend to clients is an app called Headspace, a guided meditation for those of you new to meditation. I also recommend starting each morning with The Five-Minute Journal, a handy journal created by the team at Intelligent Change that includes prompts to help you narrow in on what’s bringing you joy at the start of each morning, with goals for the day and affirmations.

This post was in partnership with the New Chapter Inc. — we only partner with brands that are NS approved and all our opinions are authentic and remain our own.