M A R C H 2016
Our picks for top
DIGESTION SUPPLEMENTS AWARD WINNER page 12 2016 page
The importance of clean water
Stave off diabetes Protein powders
a new start
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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Kyo-Dophilus® is a registered trademark of Wakunaga of America Co., Ltd.
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March 2016 vol. 12 no. 3
digestion awards Our top picks for supplements. remedies
DIGESTION AWARD WINNER
From the Editor’s Desk
Health Pulse Lavender may increase trust • Ashwagandha for strength • Supplements boost cognition • Magnesium helps diabetics • More
Herbal Healing The best herbs for a spring detox.
In Focus Water purity is everyone’s concern.
The Goods Supplement Spotlight Minimize the impact of diabetes.
Everyday Remedies Low mood.
Sports Nutrition A variety of protein powders offers choice.
Postscript Herbalist Maria Noël Groves finds balance with natural medicine.
Cover: Milk thistle flower
A source for news, information, and ideas for your healthy lifestyle. facebook.com/RemediesMagazine @RemediesMag March 2016
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from the editor ’s desk
remedies for LIFE
A fresh start
We didn’t have much of a winter here in northern New England—which some celebrated but others of us (me) didn’t. But even though it already felt like spring in February, this time of year still serves as a turning point in the calendar. The days are longer, spring greens signal promises of fresh, local food to come, and many of us feel like cleaning. In some cases that means cleansing, as in detoxifying. Herbalist Maria Noël Groves shares, in her detailed piece on detoxing (starting on page 14), herbs that assist the liver, kidneys, and other organs that remove toxins from our bodies. She might even inspire you to do your own cleanse! Detoxing can sometimes help when digestion isn’t quite up to par, but sometimes it’s a supplement (or two) that can get us back on track. This month, one of the fresh new items popping up is our Digestion Awards, a first for remedies and a topic worthy of the honor. Who among us hasn’t felt slowed down, overstuffed, or acidic at some point, especially in winter? Our awards include standout products featuring probiotics, enzymes, fiber, and combinations of those and more. Check them out on page 12. You know what’s not getting an award? The state of our water supply. Over the past several months water quality has come to the fore, with revelations about people drinking virtual lead tea from the tap for a couple of years before Flint, MI, officials acknowledged it, and a chemical found in Teflon was also found in the water in a New York village. The one good thing about these incidents is that they got people thinking about their water. In honor of World Water Day (March 22), we decided to talk about it too. (Page 19) We did get some good news recently: New cases of diabetes have started to decline. That doesn’t mean that millions of Americans don’t need to do something to prevent it from happening to them, or to reverse a diagnosis they already received. Supplement Spotlight, this month, focuses on ways to do just that. To your healthy fresh start this spring!
Chief Content Officer and Strategist Lynn Tryba Managing Editor Donna Moxley Contributing Editors Lisa Fabian, Rich Wallace Editorial Assistant Kelli Ann Wilson Director, Creative & Interactive Justin Rent Art Director Michelle Knapp Custom Graphics Manager Donna Sweeney Business Development Director Amy Pierce Customer Service firstname.lastname@example.org Client Services Director—Retail Judy Gagne 800-677-8847 x128 Director of Advertiser & Customer Service Ashley Dunk 800-677-8847 x190 Western Brand Promotions Director Shannon Dunn-Delgado 415-382-1665 Group Brand Promotions Director Bob Mucci 978-255-2062 Executive Director of Retail Sales & Marketing Anna Johnston (Anna.Johnston@TasteforLife.com) National Sales Manager Diane Dale Retail Account Manager Kim Willard Founder and Chief Executive Officer T. James Connell EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD Jeffrey Blumberg, PhD, FASN, FACN, CNS, professor, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and director, Antioxidants Research Laboratory, Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University; Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director, American Botanical Council, editor/publisher of HerbalGram, senior editor, The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs; C. Leigh Broadhurst, PhD, research geochemist, author, Natural Asthma Relief and Prevent, Treat, and Reverse Diabetes; Steven Foster, photographer, herbalist, and senior author of three Peterson Field Guides, author of 101 Medicinal Herbs, A Desk Reference to Nature’s Medicine and more, associate editor of HerbalGram, the journal of the American Botanical Council; John Neustadt, ND, founder of Montana Integrated Medicine, coauthor, A Revolution in Health Through Nutritional Biochemistry; Lisa Petty, RHN, RNCP, holistic nutrition consultant, author of Living Beauty and host of the health talk radio show Lisa Live; Dana Ullman, MPH, author of The Homeopathic Revolution: Why Famous People and Cultural Heroes Choose Homeopathy and other titles on homeopathy; Marc Ullman, partner at Ullman, Shapiro & Ullman, chairman, Legal Advisory Counsel, Natural Products Foundation; Amber Lynn Vitse, CN, is certified in Integrative Nutrition, a fusion bodyworker, and an Ayurvedic practitioner, and writes on health issues. remedies is published monthly by Taste for Life, 222 West Street, Suite 49, Keene, NH 03431, 603-283-0034 (fax 603-283-0141); ©2016 Connell Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. This magazine is not intended to provide medical advice on personal health conditions, nor to replace recommendations made by health professionals. The opinions expressed by contributors and sources quoted in articles are not necessarily those of the editor or the publisher. Advertisers and advertising agencies assume liability for all content of advertising and for any claims arising therefrom. Information appearing in remedies may not be reproduced in whole or in part without express permission of the publisher.
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The ﬁrst herbal brand with both Non-GMO and TRU-ID™ certification
healthpulse does lavender scent increase trust? An interesting recent study demonstrated how the scent of an essential oil might influence levels of trust. Ninety college-aged people were divided into three groups of 30 to participate in a game designed to measure their levels of trust. Each was given a sum of money and told that it would be tripled if given to another participant (the “trustee”). The trustee would then distribute the money between the two people. The three groups played the game in rooms that were scented by lavender essential oil, peppermint essential oil, or no scent. Those in the lavender-scented room had a higher mean trust score than those in the other rooms. There were no significant differences between those in the peppermint room and the unscented room. “Lavender Aroma Increases Interpersonal Trust in Healthy Young Adults” by Laura M. Bystrom, PhD, HerbalGram, 11/15-1/16
ashwagandha boosts strength, builds muscle Healthy men who took ashwagandha root extract made greater gains in strength during a weight-training program compared to those who took a placebo. They also showed significantly greater increases in muscle mass of the arms and chest. The 57 participants were ages 18 to 50 with little experience in resistance training. About half of the group received 300 milligrams of ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) twice per day during the eight-week trial, while the others took a placebo. In addition to increased muscle mass, the ashwagandha group had significantly larger gains in the bench press and leg-extension exercises, and they suffered less exercise-induced muscle damage. Their testosterone levels and body fat percentages also improved. “Examining the Effect of Withania somnifera Supplementation on Muscle Strength and Recovery . . .” by S. Wankhede et al., Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 11/25/15
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challenge yourself to stay sharp Maintaining a healthy mind as we age is a concern for us all. A new study showed that taking on a highly challenging mental activity such as digital photography or quilting may be a key to staying sharp. Researchers assigned older adults to three groups for the 14-week study. The first group (“high challenge”) took part in photography and/or quilting, which required learning progressively harder skills for 15 hours per week. The “low challenge” group spent the same amount of time socializing and taking part in low-demand subjects such as cooking. A third group listened to music, played simple games, or watched movies. The high challenge group demonstrated better memory performance at the end of the trial, and brain scans showed enhanced activity in areas of attention and semantic processing. Follow-up testing found that some of those gains were maintained a year later. Researcher Denise C. Park, PhD, of the Center for Vital Longevity at the University of Texas at Dallas, said that “it is possible that such interventions can restore levels of brain activity to a more youth-like state.” “Mentally Challenging Activities Key to a Healthy Aging Mind,” IOS Press, 1/15/16
consider these cognition boosters Many studies have highlighted the benefits of certain nutritional supplements for memory and other markers of brain health. Recent trials singled out fish oil and a combination of green tea and blueberry extracts as memory boosters. Others to consider include cocoa flavanols, magnesium, citicoline, and choline. Recent research has also shown that a vitamin D deficiency can lead to cognitive decline.
“8 Nutrients to Protect the Aging Brain,” Institute of Food Technologists, 4/15/15 ● “Fish Oil Supplements Reduce Incidence of Cognitive Decline . . .,” Lifespan, 7/15/14 ● “Nutritional Supplement Improves Cognitive Performance in Older Adults . . .,” University of South Florida, 2/6/14 ● “Study Examines Vitamin D Deficiency and Cognition Relationship,” Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, 4/15/15
magnesium helps with diabetes issues Magnesium from food and supplements appears to have a positive effect on many diabetes-related health conditions, including metabolic syndrome, obesity, reduced HDL (good) cholesterol, and elevated blood pressure. Researcher Yanni Papanikolaou said the results of his recent analysis “demonstrate the importance of meeting magnesium intake recommendations and illustrate the usefulness of dietary magnesium supplementation when these recommendations cannot be met with diet alone.” Magnesium plays a role in more than 700 important body functions, supporting energy production and bone health as well as nerve and muscle function. The Recommended Dietary Allowance for magnesium ranges from 400 to 420 milligrams (mg) per day for men and 310 to 360 mg for women. “Magnesium,” National Institutes of Health, http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets ● “Study: Increased Dietary Magnesium Intake Associated with Improved Diabetes-Related Health Outcomes,” www.EurekAlert.org, 3/30/15
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DIGESTION AWARD WINNER
Our picks for top SUPPLEMENTS
The best to digest Every body is different. But who among us hasn’t experienced some stomach upset, heartburn, indigestion, or irregularity? In some cases, a home remedy like baking soda in water to tamp down acid or a spoonful of apple cider vinegar to boost it before a meal can help. But, at some point, each of us has to make a decision about what might do more. Enter the latest and greatest natural products that aim to help with one-time distress or long-time digestive disability. Here’s a sampling of what’s most likely to get you back to the dinner table in top form.
COMBINATION AND INNOVATION
✽ American Health Dual-Action Enzyme Probiotic Complex Unique combination features nine plant-based enzymes, fiber, and probiotics.
✽ Just Thrive Probiotic & Antioxidant is intended to recondition the gut, rather than “reseed” it with healthy bacteria. Contains spore-based strains of bacillus medically prescribed in Europe and Asia. 12
✽ Dr. King’s aquaflora Probiotic Restoration contains 19 homeopathic ingredients to fight a wide variety of digestive ills. Comes in an easy-to-use spray pump.
✽ Naturade Symbiotics Colostrum Plus Nutrientrich “first milk” from cows is believed to support healthy gastrointestinal flora as well as the immune system.
✽ GoodBelly Probiotics & Protein with 15 grams of protein is a tasty way to get vegan protein along with 40 billion probiotics. We like the Tropical Coconut flavor.
✽ Fool your taste buds with Solgar ohso chocolate. Each 70-calorie bar contains about a billion probiotic bacteria, which may be more likely to live until they reach the small intestine than they may in dairy products.
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✽ Enzymedica Digest Gold was a successful introduction to digestive enzymes for one remedies staffer. Contains multiple strains of enzymes that work at different pH levels.
✽ NOW Super Enzymes A variety of enzymes to help digest proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, plus ox bile extract and pepsin to further aid digestion.
✽ Renew Life Formulas Extra Care Digest Smart Plant-Based Enzyme High-Potency formula is delivered in a protective capsule that resists stomach acid. It also contains soothing ginger.
FIBER ✽ FloraLax from Flora is an easy-to-take mixture of organic flax seeds, organic psyllium husks, and organic oat bran. A gentle addition of fiber to the diet.
✽ Garden of Life RAW Fiber is derived from a number of organic sprouted seeds, grains, and legumes, and contains omega-3 fatty acids from flax and chia seeds.
✽ Garden of Life Dr. Formulated Probiotics Once Daily Ultra 90 Billion offers 15 strains of bacteria in a high-potency and dairy-, gluten-, soy-, and wheat-free formula.
✽ MegaFood MegaFlora ✽ NOW Foods Probiotic✽ Wakunaga of America Plus offers 50 billion active 10 100 Billion is a super Probiata Critical Care colony-forming units (CFU) high-potency probiotic contains 50 billion CFUs of of 14 strains found naturally with 10 strains of bacteria Lactobacillus plantarum, a in the human intestine. that’s free of dairy, soy, bacterium touted in over 75 Recommended for use after and gluten. studies to target digestive travel or antibiotic use. problems. March 2016
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cleaning up the best detox herbs When spring hits, instinct urges us to cleanse. This seasonal shift brings more activity, less reliance on storage foods, and new bitter greens and roots (which just happen to stimulate detoxiﬁcation) that pop up under the melting snow. In modern times, “detoxiﬁcation” has its own supplement aisle and an array of cleanse kits and other detox bottles that rival the cereal aisle.
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continued from page 14
With so many choices, how can you analyze the back of the box and figure out what’s right for you? As an herbalist, I find it useful to deconstruct the back label to figure out what’s really in the box, why it’s in there, and if it’s what you’re looking for.
The liver Start talking “detox herbs” and we immediately head to the liver. This detoxification powerhouse is your largest internal organ. Many of the compounds we think of as toxins are handled by the liver, and as they are removed from the blood, they accumulate in bile, which is then excreted into your digestive tract the next time “trash pickup” comes around. Many cleanse kits include liver-friendly herbs. Milk thistle has become famous for regenerating and healing the liver, as well as protecting the liver itself from toxin damage. Another class of herbs—often called liver-movers, cholagogues, or alteratives—stimulates the liver to pull toxins out of storage, remove more toxins from the blood, and create and excrete more bile. These herbs often taste bitter, a flavor that stimulates digestion and peristalsis, the wave-like motion that moves food through the digestive tract. Favorite bitter detoxification herbs include dandelion root (and, to some extent, the leaf), artichoke leaf, burdock root, and chicory root. Turmeric and schisandra both move the liver and help protect it . . . not to mention a host of other good things. Because your liver is also heavily involved with your daytime needs for energy and food metabolism,
Natural remedies and tasty recipes to support a healthy way of life.
Improve Your Digestion Naturally
Cancer Prevention, Naturally
Classic bitter and aromatic digestive tonics can help.
Take note of the following tips, and scroll to the bottom for delicious recipes.
Don’t Succumb to Cold and Flu
Most of us want to spend the holiday season socializing with friends and family, not spending quality time on the couch with a box of tissues.
Italian Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Garlic Croutons
Roasted red peppers are the perfect antidote to the salt shaker habit.
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the majority of its detoxification time is spent at night while you sleep.
The colon Let’s face it, your colon is the easiest way out of your body, especially for toxins dumped off by the liver. Not coincidentally, many people find themselves drawn to the cleanse aisle when they feel backed up, bloated, and constipated. Therefore, the vast majority of cleanse products contain a laxative and/or fiber—with some cleanse products, that’s all they contain. Laxatives stimulate the colon to expel its contents, but they exist along a continuum. I find it fascinating how differently some people react to laxatives. One person may notice no uptick in bowel movements from the strongest laxatives while another is in the bathroom all weekend after taking the gentlest. High-test stimulant laxatives contain anthraquinone glycosides and include aloe latex (found in the inner rind), senna, and cascara. They’re potent, often fast-acting, and can cause dependency over time. Buckthorn bark and turkey rhubarb root are a tad gentler yet still pretty strong. I prefer the gentler action of yellow dock and the Ayurvedic formula triphala. They contain smaller quantities of laxative anthraquinone glycosides, as well as astringent tannins that tighten and tone the colon. Magnesium acts as a laxative by pulling water into the colon. Fiber (such as that in psyllium and flax) acts as a bulk laxative and helps grab and remove toxins in the digestive tract; be sure to take fiber with plenty of water. Bitter herbs indirectly encourage elimination. All of these options are gentle and safer for long-term use compared to stimulant laxatives.
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continued from page 17
Other eliminative channels Many cleanse products also address other avenues of detoxification, most notably the lymphatic system and the kidneys and urinary tract. Your lymphatic system cleans the interstitial fluid between the cells, moving slowly through small vessels and ultimately dumping waste into the bloodstream. Many classic alteratives and “blood purifiers” are lymph-moving herbs: burdock, red clover, red root, calendula, and violet. The kidneys maintain water balance and remove other sets of toxins, including nitrogen-based waste, and excrete it in the urine. Diuretic herbs like nettle, parsley, celery burdock, dandelion (especially the leaf), and goldenrod encourage kidney detoxification and make you urinate more often. Both sets of herbs can be helpful as part of a well-rounded cleanse, and particularly if you’ve noticed a tendency for water retention. It’s worth noting that detoxification is generally not appropriate if you’re pregnant or nursing, and you should seek a practitioner’s guidance before cleansing, especially if you have diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, or liver disease or you take pharmaceutical medications. Acute liver and kidney issues require medical attention, not a —Maria Noël Groves cleanse. Maria Noël Groves, RH (AHG), is a registered clinical herbalist and freelance health journalist nestled in the pine forests of New Hampshire. Her book, Body into Balance, hits bookstores in March. Learn about herbs, distance consults, online classes, and more at www.WintergreenBotanicals.com.
“Adverse Effects of Laxatives” by J. Xing and E. Soffer, Diseases of the Colon & Rectum, 8/01 ● “Anthraquinones”; “Cholagogue” by Marisa Marciano, ND, www.TheNaturopathicHerbalist.com ● “Correlation Between Antistress and Hepatoprotective Effects of Schisandra Lignans Was Related with Its Antioxidative Actions in Liver Cells” by Hao-Jie Pu et al., Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2012 ● The Detox Diet by Elson M. Haas ($16.99, Ten Speed Press, 2012) ● “Herbal Actions: Cholagogue” by David Hoffman, www.Healthy.net ● “Phytotherapy with a Mixture of Dry Extracts with Hepato-Protective Effects Containing Artichoke Leaves in the Management of Functional Dyspepsia Symptoms” by A. Sannia, Minerva Gastroenterol Dietol, 6/10 ● “The Use of Silymarin in the Treatment of Liver Diseases” by R. Saller et al., Drugs, 2001 ● The Wild Medicine Solution: Healing with Aromatic, Bitter, and Tonic Plants by Guido Mase ($18.95, Healing Arts Press, 2013)
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to clarify how clean is the water?
Of the many things we learned about the contamination of the Flint, MI, water supply, one is much more clear than that brown, lead-steeped water: We shouldn’t take clean water for granted. In the United States it can be easy to do so. As a developed nation with sophisticated communications infrastructure and a large portion of the world’s wealth, we might assume that something as basic and essential as clean water can be expected. But it can’t be. Like the country’s bridges, roads, and rails that languish on repair/ replacement waiting lists for years, municipal water systems in the US are generally quite old. Since they are largely unseen, their state of repair is unknown. Or, as was the case in Flint, it may be known that the system is connected via lead pipes (which delivered water to an estimated 15,000 to 25,000 Flint homes), but the prospect of saving money by switching to a cheaper water source crowds out discussion of that fact. The price was paid in other ways: The corrosive, cheaper water ate away at the protective coating on the inside of these lead pipes and poisoned people, including children, throughout the city. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, other officials, and scientists will continue to unravel Flint’s solution (and what exactly occurred to let this happen to begin with) for some time. But it isn’t just the people of Flint who have to worry about their water. In Hoosick Falls, NY, earlier this year, EPA declared a manufacturing facility a Superfund site after perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) turned up in the village’s public water supply. The agency issued an advisory to avoid cooking with and drinking the water a full year after PFOA started turning up in water tests. Hoosick Falls’ water was tested several times after the son of a 32-year employee of Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics started asking questions about the kidney cancer that killed his father. A local family doctor, himself in remission from aggressive prostate cancer, said the village seems to have more than its share of rare and aggressive forms of cancer. And then there’s the debate even within the EPA over whether fracking (hydraulic fracturing, a process used to crack bedrock with liquid to force fuel from hard-to-reach areas), is safe for drinking water supplies. Or the contamination of private wells by
Lead poisoning Just a small amount of lead can cause serious health problems, especially for children under 6. For them, lead can slow mental and physical development, and even prove fatal. In adults it can cause high blood pressure, joint pain, loss of cognitive function, and mood disorders. “Lead Poisoning,” www.MayoClinic.org
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radon, arsenic, and methyl tertiary butyl ether (MtBE), a gasoline additive no longer used but which persists in the water table. The bottom line is that no one can assume their drinking water is clean, regardless of its crystal-clarity or its taste.
What to do? How can you know what’s in your water? EPA recommends regular water quality testing of private wells, especially for coliform bacteria, nitrates, “total dissolved solids,” and pH levels. If there’s a prevalence or possibility of other contaminants in your area, test for those as well (check with local authorities about possible contaminants and testing resources). Make sure the well is maintained properly. If you do learn your water is contaminated, your next steps depend on the substance. Bacterial contamination can be remedied; call a professional or ask for advice at a water testing facility. Carbon filters can reduce contaminants like lead and disinfection byproducts, and a reverse osmosis filter (more expensive) can remove toxins including arsenic and petroleum products. Change your filters often, as they can harbor bacteria.
Going public Don’t assume your public water supply is adequately tested, though a number of government agencies are probably involved in overseeing it. Read the drinking water reports supplied by the utility, or contact the department of health for information. There are also references like the Environmental Working Group (EWG) National Drinking Water Database at www.EWG.org/tap-water, which offers a “best” and “worst” ranking of public water supplies in cities across the country, based on water test results. Since those tests can be several years old, however, don’t rely on the report to be sure the water your family is drinking is clean. If you still have suspicions, have the water tested yourself, or ask local officials to do it. And don’t assume that bottled water is safer: The EWG found contaminants in those too. Some are just filtered tap water. —Donna Moxley “EPA Called Fracking Safe, but Now Its Scientists Disagree” by Jennifer A. Dlouhy, Chicago Tribune, 1/7/16 ● “EWG’s Guide to Safe Drinking Water,” www.EWG.org ● “Feds, State Tackle Water Pollution in Northern New York Village” by Haimy Assefa, www.CNN.com ● “New York Village’s Trail of Cancer Leads to Tap-Water Probe,” Associated Press, 1/26/16 ● “Private Well Owners,” www3.EPA.gov ● “Snyder Signs $28M Flint Bill, Hopes for Safe Water Soon” by Jonathan Oosting, The Detroit News, 1/29/16
PFOA Perﬂuorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is a toxic chemical used in household cleaners and ﬁreﬁghting foam, and is an ingredient of Teﬂon nonstick coating. According to EPA, PFOA and its frequent partner chemical perﬂuorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) are extremely persistent in the environment have the potential to bioaccumulate and biomagnify in wildlife are readily absorbed after oral exposure and accumulate primarily in the serum, kidney, and liver have potential developmental, reproductive, and systemic eﬀects. (More at www.EPA.gov/fedfac. Look for “emerging contaminants and contaminants of concern.”)
Learn more about the World Water Day (March 22) theme “Water and Jobs” at http://programme.WorldWaterWeek.org Read Clean Water Action’s response to the Flint, MI, crisis, “Putting Drinking Water First.” http://CleanWaterAction.org View EPA’s report “Water on Tap: What You Need to Know” at http://nepis.EPA.gov
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the goods don’t miss these products!
New Women’s Care Probiotic from Flora contains 75 billion CFU per capsule at time of manufacture—designed for the speciﬁc needs of a woman’s body. www.FloraHealth.com
The compact Waterwise 4000 purifier eﬀectively removes contaminants, providing fresh, steamdistilled and ﬁltered water for oﬃce, home, or travel—as simple to operate as a coﬀeemaker. 800-874-9028, ext. 789 www.Waterwise.com/rmd
BoneActiv from North American Herb & Spice is based on the power of the wild spices of sage, rosemary, and oregano, three of the most potent mountain herbs known.
Wakunaga’s Kyolic Liver Support is an herbal blend that supports healthy liver function by protecting against free radical damage, stimulating liver regeneration, and fortifying liver cells.
Naturade’s VeganSmart All-In-One Nutritional Shake provides 20 grams of non-GMO protein, plus dietary ﬁber, 22 vitamins and minerals, whole food complex, omega 3s, probiotics, and digestive enzymes.
Get more out of your vitamin C eﬀervescent with NBTY’s natural raspberry-ﬂavor Ester-C Powder Packets. One packet delivers 24-hour immune support, plus B vitamins and electrolytes. www.AmericanHealthUS.com
www.Naturade.com These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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outwit diabetes Diabetes cases may be starting to decline in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but there were still 1.4 million new cases in 2014. Fortunately, natural remedies oďŹ€er ways to prevent and reverse this disease, as well as minimize certain diabetes complications.
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How not to get it
How to get rid of it
What to watch for The following symptoms can be a warning that you have prediabetes or diabetes. (However, many people have no symptoms whatsoever, which is why regular screening is so important.) Feeling tired or ill Frequent urination (especially at night) Extreme thirst
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If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you may know that there are many diet and lifestyle changes that can keep your blood sugar in balance—allowing you to U-turn away from this disease. Similarly, supportive supplements also exist. Vitamin D tops this list, since it improves glucose tolerance by increasing how much insulin the body makes as well as how easily the body responds to insulin. Supplementing daily with 4,500 IU of vitamin D, in people with diabetes, for as little as two months significantly lowers
The old adage about “an ounce of prevention” holds true with Type 2 diabetes. The best treatment for this disease is to never get it in the first place. Chromium is needed only in tiny amounts—100–200 micrograms each day—but this beneficial trace mineral plays a crucial role in how the body regulates blood sugar levels, which in turn can dictate diabetes risk. Chromium’s main job is as part of a substance called glucose tolerance factor (GTF). GTF helps insulin deliver blood sugar into the cells. Not surprisingly, then, research shows that chromium improves glucose tolerance by making the body more receptive to insulin. This makes it less likely that diabetes will develop; in fact, people without diabetes generally show higher blood levels of chromium than those with this disease. Researchers have also found that people who take supplements that include chromium are at lower risk of developing diabetes. In addition, when people who already
have diabetes supplement with chromium daily (in this study, it was 600 micrograms of chromium picolinate per day), their blood sugar is better controlled. Bitter melon supplements contain a compound that acts similarly to insulin, which helps keep blood sugar levels in a healthy zone. For people at risk of developing diabetes, this could be enough to keep the disease at bay or at least slow its progression.
Weight loss Blurred vision Frequent infections Poor wound healing
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fasting blood glucose. This improved glycemic control is clearly a move in the right direction. The herb turmeric, which contains the active ingredient curcumin, has been shown in animal models to control blood sugar levels. Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine have been relying on turmeric for diabetes treatment for many years.
How to manage complications Diabetic neuropathy (tingling, burning, or numbness in the legs and feet) is the most common diabetes complication, developing in more than one-third of people with diabetes. It occurs when excessive amounts of sugar in the blood generate free radicals, which in turn injure the nerves.
This painful condition can improve when supplementing with the essential fatty acids in evening primrose oil. Additionally, the unique antioxidant called alpha lipoic acid can also alleviate diabetic neuropathy. Cayenne creams in topical form (providing 0.025–0.075 percent capsaicin) applied several times daily can help people who experience burning and numbness from diabetic neuropathy. —Victoria Dolby Toews, MPH Victoria Dolby Toews, MPH, has been a health journalist for more than two decades; her latest book is Life After Baby: Rediscovering and Reclaiming Your Healthy Pizzazz (Basic Health Publications, 2012).
“Beneficial Effects of Oral Chromium Picolinate Supplementation on Glycemic Control in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized Clinical Study” by A. Paiva et al., J Trace Elem Med Biol, 2015 l “Chromium Picolinate Improves Insulin Sensitivity in Obese Subjects with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome” by M. Lydic et al., Fertil Steril, 7/06 l “Curcumin and Diabetes: A Systematic Review” by Z. Dong-wei et al., Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 2013 l “The Effect of Vitamin D Supplementation on Glycemic Control and Lipid Profile in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus” by M. Mohamad et al., J Am Coll Nutr, 9/15 l “New Diabetes Cases, at Long Last, Begin to Fall in the United States” by Sabrina Tavernise, The New York Times, 12/15 l “Painful Diabetic Neuropathy Management” by H. Khalil, Int J Evid Based Healthc, 3/13 l “Potential for Improved Glycemic Control with Dietary Momordica charantia in Patients with Insulin Resistance and Pre-Diabetes” by J. Efird et al., Int J Environ Res Public Health, 2/14 l “Risk of Type 2 Diabetes Is Lower in US Adults Taking Chromium-Containing Supplements” by D. McIver et al., J Nutr, 12/15 l “The Role of Chromium III in the Organism and Its Possible Use in Diabetes and Obesity Treatment” by S. Lewicki et al., Ann Agric Environ Med., 2014
“Essential Fatty Acids,” by Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, www.pcrm.org l “Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Health,” by the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, https://ods.od.nih.gov l “Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids”; “Omega-6 Fatty Acids,” by the American Heart Association, www.heart.org l “Omega-6 Fatty Acids,” by University of Maryland Medical Center, 6/11 l “The Omega Fats” by Jill Weisenberger, Today’s Dietitian, 4/14
l March 2016
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e ve r y d a y r e m e d i e s
low mood What is it? Temporary feelings of sadness, anger, or frustration, sometimes associated with fatigue and avoidance of social situations. If low mood is excessive or persists for many weeks without an obvious cause, contact your healthcare provider. What causes it? Stressful situations, chronic illnesses, or pain. Women and the elderly are more susceptible. A genetic predisposition or problems with levels of mood-regulating chemicals, such as serotonin, can play a role.
Food therapy: Consume more fruit, vegetables,
legumes, nuts, and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Dark chocolate also has mood-boosting beneﬁts. Curcumin, derived from the spice turmeric, can help control depression.
Herbal therapy: Dong quai, lemon balm, St. John’s wort.
Lifestyle: Start an exercise program. Meditate regularly. Listen to the sounds of nature—running water or bird sounds. Breathe deeply and make a conscious decision to feel good. Avoid reﬁned carbohydrates and excessive alcohol consumption. Maintain a healthy weight.
Aromatherapy: Try a few drops of lavender
essential oil in the tub. Inhaling the scent of peppermint essential oil can enhance mood and ﬁght fatigue.
Nutritional supplements: B vitamins, vitamin C, chromium, magnesium, omega 3s, and selenium.
“9 Highly Effective Treatments for Mild Depression” by Virginia Sole-Smith, Prevention, 3/11/15 ● “10 Morning Mood Boosters” by Tori Rodriguez, www.WebMD.com, 11/1/12 ● “B Vitamins,” 1/27/14; “Vitamin C,” 2/18/13; “Could Too Many Refined Carbs Make You Depressed?” 8/7/15 MedlinePlus, www.nlm.nih.gov ● “Chromium,” National Institutes of Health, http://ods.od.nih.gov ● “Curcumin for the Treatment of Major Depression: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo Controlled Study” by A.L. Lopresti et al., J Affect Disor, 10/14 ● “Eight Weeks to a Better Brain” by Sue McGreevey, Harvard Gazette, 1/21/11 ● “Fruit and Vegetables Aren’t Only Good for a Healthy Body—They Protect Your Mind Too,” Biomed Central, 9/16/15 ● Herbal Therapy & Supplements by Merrily A. Kuhn and David Winston ($46.95, Wolters Kluwer, 2008) ● “How Exercise Can Calm Anxiety” by Gretchen Reynolds, New York Times Well blog, 7/3/13 ● “Magnesium: Overview,” University of Maryland Medical Center, http://umm.edu, 6/17/11 ● “Nutritional and Herbal Supplements for Anxiety and Anxiety-Related Disorders . . .” by S.E. Lakhan and K.F. Viera, Nutr J, 10/10 ● “Resolve to Eat to Keep Your Spirits High” by Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, www.WebMD, 2007
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mixing it up protein powder variety grows Nutritionists have shifted their thinking on protein in recent years, with most acknowledging that plant-based protein sources can be as nutritious (or more so) as meat and dairy. The protein-powder market reflects that thinking. Whey protein from milk is still a primary ingredient in many protein powders, but hemp, pea, rice, soy, and other vegetable-based powders have surged in popularity, and with good reason. They are easy to digest and dense in additional nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Most of us get plenty of protein from food. Adult women need about 46 grams (g) of protein per day. A four-ounce serving of chicken breast (27 g of protein) puts you more than halfway there, and eight ounces of low-fat yogurt (12 g) just about seals the deal. Most males require somewhat more protein, but only about 56 g a day.
Building muscle Many of us do benefit from supplemental protein, particularly if we limit our meat or dairy intake or perform strenuous exercises such as lifting weights. Vigorous physical activity breaks down muscle, and high-quality protein is necessary to restore it. “Muscle strength doesn’t just happen on its own,” says Shelley McGuire, PhD, of the American Society for Nutrition. “Our muscles need to be both encouraged (as happens via exercise) and nourished (as happens when we eat well).” Those hoping to increase muscle (or reduce body fat) can gain advantages from protein powders, and a recent study found a significant benefit for people with Type 2 diabetes. Consuming whey protein before a starchy, sugar-laden breakfast led to a far better insulin response in otherwise healthy people with the disease. Older adults also may benefit from protein powders, since muscle mass naturally begins to decline in middle age. About a third of those over age 60 do not meet their protein needs. —Cameron Hendrix “Alternative Proteins Gain Popularity, but Long-term Viability of Some Questioned” by Elizabeth Crawford, www.NutraIngredients-USA.com, 10/21/15 ● “Effects of Whey Protein and Resistance Exercise on Body Composition . . .” by P.E. Miller et al., Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 2014 ● “Nutrient Recommendations: Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI),” National Institutes of Health ● “Researchers Investigate Muscle-Building Effect of Protein Beverages for Athletes,” American Society for Nutrition, 8/18/11 ● “Study Suggests Consuming Whey Protein Before Meals Could Help Improve Blood Glucose Control in People with Diabetes,” Diabetologia, 7/7/14
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Achieving a natural balance
Maria Noël Groves, RH (AHG), is a registered clinical herbalist and freelance health journalist nestled in the pine forests of New Hampshire. Her book, Body into Balance, hits bookstores in March. Learn about herbs, distance consults, online classes, and more at www.WintergreenBotanicals.com.
Good health grows in nature. It’s really that simple. We thrive in nature. We feel better and healthier when we rely on real food, spend plenty of time outdoors, bring the elements of nature into our daily life, and use herbs as our primary form of medicine. Many of the common ailments and diseases we see in modern society stem from the fact that we have shifted away from our primal connection to nature. Health and disease in the body interact in fascinating interconnected patterns, and when we make use of our connection to nature—employing herbs and natural therapies—we can shift those patterns to bring the body into greater balance and vitality. Plants heal. Nature heals. Whether you have a multitude of serious diseases or you’re relatively healthy, with just a couple of minor complaints, your symptoms are not something to overcome. Instead, they’re your body’s way of telling you that something is out of balance. These symptoms are your taskmasters— that is, the alarm system for your body and clues about the underlying imbalance. Americans are gradually realizing that our current allopathic medical system often makes us sicker (not to mention broke) in the long run. In this profit-driven system, we spend more on healthcare than any other nation, yet we come in at a dismal number 38 worldwide for our actual health and well-being. Doctors rely heavily on an arsenal of pharmaceuticals, but side effects from these strong drugs kill more than 100,000 Americans annually. Even if you survive the treatment, you’ll often experience a slew of serious side effects. With this myopic approach to treating symptoms, the body continues to scream for help, and new issues (backup alarms) sound off. Side effects build. You might be taking a handful of pills each day, but you still don’t feel well. Enter herbal and natural medicine. Natural therapies are generally less expensive, significantly safer, better suited to self-care, and more holistic than allopathic medicine, and they have a host of side benefits. In fact, just one herb can contain hundreds of compounds that work together in synergy to address a range of health conditions. What’s really fascinating is how they do this. Herbs rarely force the body in a particular direction or supply a single isolated compound with a specific effect on the body. Instead, herbs encourage your body to heal and balance itself. – Adapted from Body into Balance: An Herbal Guide to Holistic Self Care by Maria Noël Groves ($24.95, Storey Publishing, 3/16)
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