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gut instinct page

29 Post-workout recovery Cold and flu relief Sensory enhancement

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November 2019 vol. 15 no. 11


16 29 feature


6 From the Editor’s Desk 8 Health Pulse

Ginkgo may help with diabetes • Exercise is good for joints • More

10 Sports Nutrition

Food choices play a role in post-workout recovery.

13 New Frontiers

The latest news on cannabidiol (CBD).

15 Everyday Remedies

Simple ways to prevent and treat cold and flu.

16 Healthspan

The latest on flotation therapy.

21 Herbal Healing

Elderberry and echinacea boost immunity.

gut instincts Get your digestive health back on track

25 Just the Facts

Is your curcumin natural or synthetic?

26 Healthy Glow

Tips for choosing hair care products. Cover: Artichoke.

A source for news, information, and ideas for your healthy lifestyle.


@RemediesRecipes November 2019

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from the editor ’s desk

Spaced out The healthy eating message doesn’t appear to be getting through. New research from Tufts and Harvard reveals that 42 percent of the calories in the average American diet come from refined grains (like white bread), added sugars, and starchy “vegetables” (I’m guessing French fries). A whopping 9 percent comes from high-quality carbs, whole grains, and whole fruit. And these numbers are considered improvements over previous studies. Yikes! On the other hand, when human beings finally depart for Mars, they won’t need to leave behind their ready-toeat macaroni and cheese. Scientists have figured out that plastic film, microwave-assisted thermal sterilization, and a simple metal-oxide coating on the package will help preserve the mac and cheese for up to three years of space travel. The researchers’ goal is a shelf life of five years. I’m all for space exploration, so a longer life for astro meals is probably welcome news. And it’s likely that the metal-oxide coating won’t increase the empty calorie count, so future space pioneers may be able to hold steady at 42 percent. Inevitably, that technology will eventually trickle down to Earth and its supermarkets. It will be a relief to have to shop for macaroni and cheese only two or three times a decade.

Chief Content Officer and Strategist Lynn Tryba Contributing Editor Rich Wallace Assistant Editor Kelli Ann Wilson Art Director Michelle Knapp Graphic Designer Ronna Rajaniemi Custom Graphics Manager Donna Sweeney Business Development Director Amy Pierce Customer Service Cl ient Services Director—Retail Judy Gagne 800-677-8847 x128 Cl ient Services Director—Advertising and Digital Ashley Dunk 800-677-8847 x190 Western Brand Promotions Director Shannon Dunn-Delgado 415-382-1665 Group Brand Promotions Director Bob Mucci 603-831-1868 Executive Director of Retail Sales and Marketing Anna Johnston ( 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, 149 Emerald Street, Suite O, Keene, NH 03431, 603-283-0034 (fax 603-283-0141); ©2019 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.

Creative and Sales Offices: 149 Emerald Street, Suite O, Keene NH 03431 603-283-0034

Rich Wallace, editor

Printed in the US on partially recycled paper. The inks used to print the body of this publication contain a minimum of 20%, by weight, renewable resources.

“Getting mac and cheese to Mars,” Washington State University, 9/24/19 l “‘Report card’ on diet trends: Low-quality carbs account for 42 percent of a day’s calories,” Tufts University, Health Sciences Campus, 9/24/19

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Products advertised or mentioned in this magazine may not be available in all locations.

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gingko may help treat diabetes An extract of Ginkgo biloba leaves helped to restore cells responsible for insulin secretion in a new study of subjects with Type 2 diabetes. The dietary supplement was reported to have “a very good effect” on damaged pancreatic cells. “The extracts derived from Ginkgo biloba have been frequently used in traditional medicine and have been shown to exhibit antioxidant potency,” said researcher Helal Fouad Hetta, PhD. His study, which was conducted with lab animals, determined that the extract increased the size of the pancreatic cells and the amount of insulin they held. He anticipates additional studies with humans. “Ginkgo biloba may aid in treating Type 2 diabetes,” University of Cincinnati, 8/22/19 l “Impact of Ginkgo biloba extract and magnetized water on the survival rate and functional capabilities of pancreatic B-cells . . .” by A. Saleh et al., Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: Targets and Therapy, 8/7/19

staying strong Middle-aged people, particularly those 55 and older, need to keep up physical activity levels in order to enjoy a fit and healthy retirement, according to a new study. “Adults are spending more years of their life working than ever before,” said lead researcher Charlotte Salter, PhD. “Retiring is a life-changing event which provides all sorts of opportunities—but it coincides with declining physical activity, health, and well-being.” Dr. Salter recommended finding an activity that combines physicality with socializing or another purposeful action. She identified dog-walking, gardening, and volunteering as great ways for middle-age adults to stay active and healthy. “Over-55s shouldn’t wait for retirement to make time for their health,” University of East Anglia, 8/12/19

did you know? A 2019 study from London shows that exercise helps to prevent the degradation of cartilage caused by osteoarthritis. During exercise, movement causes the cartilage in joints to be compressed. This mechanical stimulation activates a protein that triggers changes in cellular structures to help reduce inflammation. “Exercise helps prevent cartilage damage caused by arthritis,” Queen Mary University of London, 3/27/19 l “Mechanical loading inhibits cartilage inflammatory signaling . . .” by S. Fu et al., Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, 3/27/19

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sports nutrition

post-workout recovery what and when to eat and why Athletes understand the importance of their training schedules, but not everyone considers how crucial the post-workout recovery period is. You may be missing out on an opportunity to compound your hard work by fueling your body the way it deserves.

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When should you eat? It may seem obvious, but after a workout, your body needs fuel to repair and rebuild muscle that was broken down during exercise. Some believe that there is an anabolic window of opportunity in which the body requires immediate nutrients to repair itself, or else it will fail to make gains. But as research methods have developed, the existence of this “window” has become dubious. Many early studies on the topic of nutritional timing used subjects who worked out in a “fasted” state, meaning that the food they ate immediately after was crucial for muscle protein synthesis and replenishment of their glycogen stores because they had few other nutrients available in their bodies. If you train early in the morning, before breakfast, or more than four hours after your last meal, consuming 20 to 40 grams (g) of protein immediately after your workout will help promote muscle growth. If eating immediately after your workout isn’t convenient, try a small pre-workout snack (just 20 g of protein will do the trick). That will greatly increase the delivery of amino acids to your muscles.

What should you eat? Not all proteins are created equal for post-workout replenishment. Leucine, one of the nine essential amino acids, is necessary to promote maximum protein synthesis. Since leucine can’t do its job effectively without the presence of insulin, a fast-acting carbohydrate should accompany it. Blends of whey, casein, and soy proteins prolong the delivery of amino acids to the muscles for up to an hour longer than when they are consumed alone, suggesting a prolonged muscle-building period.

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November 2019

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continued from page 11

Advance planning helps Decide on your postworkout snack before starting to exercise. Studies show that choosing what to eat in advance greatly increases the odds of sticking to nutritious choices instead of opting for junk food. “Looking to choose a healthy post-workout snack? Decide early, study says,” University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 1/31/19

Research shows that consuming whole eggs as a protein source is more effective than egg whites alone. In fact, the post-workout muscle-building response in those eating whole eggs was 40 percent higher in a study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition than those who were restricted to egg whites. The study suggests that eating protein in its most natural form tends to be the most beneficial, in contrast with isolated protein sources. More important for recovery and gains than any post-workout recovery snack, however, is your total daily protein intake. Carbohydrate needs will vary depending on the activity in which you partake. Endurance running, for example, uses more glycogen than does resistance training, so more carbs are needed after a run than a weightlifting session. Better recovery and adaptation to training comes from the consumption of proteins and carbs together rather than alone, so try to consume the two macronutrients in one post-workout snack.

How can you eat it? There are endless options for whole food protein intake, but some of the most popular options include eggs, cottage cheese, chocolate milk, Greek yogurt, chunk light tuna and other fish, and lean poultry such as turkey and chicken breast. On the vegetarian and vegan front, there are excellent options like nuts and their butters, quinoa, lentils, and pumpkin seeds.

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Many of these foods provide large quantities of complex carbohydrates as well (quinoa, lentils, and broccoli, for example). Other good sources of carbs include whole grains such as oatmeal and air-popped popcorn, fruit, legumes, green vegetables like kale, onions, and starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes, plantains, and parsnips. Avoid added sugars, usually disguised under labels ending with “ose” such as fructose and sucrose.

Drink up! Making sure to rehydrate after exercise is integral. Every metabolic function and nutrient transfer in the body is supported by water, so being well hydrated will improve every bodily function. Endurance athletes, in particular, should pay close attention to fluid replacement as they lose large amounts of water during long sweat sessions. —Emily Messer “10 tips to speed recovery after exercise” by Elizabeth Quinn,, 4/7/19 l “Current knowledge about sport nutrition” by B. Pramuková et al., Australasian Medical Journal, 3/31/11 l “List of healthy complex carbohydrates,” l “Protein timing and its effects on muscular hypertrophy and strength in individuals engaged in weight-training” by Matthew Stark et al., Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 12/14/12 l “Study reaffirms soy-dairy protein blend increases muscle mass,” University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, 4/24/14 l “Whole eggs better for muscle building and repair than egg whites, researchers find,” University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 12/20/17

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new frontiers Cannabidiol (CBD) supplements are obtainable in much of the US. A nonpsychoactive compound derived from the cannabis plant, CBD is being studied for its effects on many health conditions. Each state has laws regarding CBD with varying degrees of restriction. Learn about CBD’s status in your state at

Mayo Clinic notes promise, caution for CBD A growing body of research indicates that CBD oils may hold promise for treating conditions such as chronic pain and opioid addiction, according to a report in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. But the authors called for additional studies involving humans to determine the safety and effectiveness of the products. “There are many intriguing findings in preclinical studies that suggest CBD and hemp oil have antiinflammatory effects and may be helpful with improving sleep and anxiety,” said Brent Bauer, MD, director of research for the Mayo Clinic Integrative Medicine program. “But trials in humans are still limited, so it is too early to be definitive about efficacy and safety.”

The legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes has led to increased interest in over-the-counter products containing CBD and hemp oil, particularly for the relief of chronic pain. Dr. Bauer noted a growing number of reports of liver injury in patients who have used the products. “We encourage physicians to not disregard their patients’ interest in these products and keep both a clinical curiosity and a healthy skepticism about the claims made,” Dr. Bauer said. The variability of state laws regarding production and distribution of hemp and CBD products makes decision-making complex for consumers and healthcare practitioners. “CBD products, hemp oil may be helpful but more research is needed, Mayo Clinic review says,” Mayo Clinic, 8/22/19

November 2019

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e ve r y d a y r e m e d i e s

cold & flu What is it? An infection of the upper respiratory tract, causing congestion, soreness of the throat, headache, sneezing, and watery eyes; the flu tends to be more severe and contagious than a cold. What causes it? There are more than 200 individual strains of the cold and flu viruses that enter the body through mucous membranes in the eyes, mouth, and nose.

Supplements: Reishi and

shiitake mushrooms, vitamins A and C, zinc.

Food: Avocado, bananas, broths, chicken soup, chili peppers, coconut water, fruit, garlic, ginger, honey, hot tea, leafy greens, oatmeal, salmon, yogurt.

Herbs: Astragalus, black cherry, echinacea, ginger, goldenseal, pau d’arco, slippery elm, yarrow.

Homeopathy: Arsenicum

album, Baptisia, Bryonia, Eupatorium perfoliatum, Gelsemium, Mercurius solubilis.

Lifestyle: Cover nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing; wash hands frequently; stay away from others who are sick; do not share drinking glasses, cups, or utensils; disinfect desks, keyboards, and other shared office items.

“The 15 best foods to eat when you’re sick” by Taylor Jones,, 6/17/16 l “Homeopathic remedies provide relief for cold and flu symptoms,” National Center for Homeopathy,, 2/5/18 l Prescription for Nutritional Healing by Phyllis A. Balch, CNC ($29.95, Penguin Group/Avery, 2006)

November 2019

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floating anxiety away how flotation tanks can reset you

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continued from page 16

I’ve floated three times. I’m not talking about floating in a pool or a lake. I’m talking about floating inside a darkened, soundproof tank filled with salt water that kept me effortlessly afloat for an hour. Here’s what I found: Floating delivers a deep sense of internal peace, it releases tight muscles, and it’s immensely relaxing. While it’s tempting to refer to flotation therapy as “sensory deprivation,” neuropsychologist Justin Feinstein, director of the Float Clinic & Research Center at the Laureate Institute for Brain Research in Tulsa, OK, would prefer that I didn’t. “We now have data to show, in fact, this is a form of sensory enhancement. But of the internal world,” he told attendees of the 2018 Float Conference. Dr. Feinstein’s work focuses on people with PTSD, panic disorder, agoraphobia, social phobia, and generalized anxiety. For those with anxiety disorders, learning to meditate can be challenging due to the relentless mental chatter. He said many of his patients experienced floating as an easier way to quiet the brain and arrive at the same relaxed state as dedicated meditators. Research conducted at Karlstad University in Sweden has found that floating three times a week for four weeks significantly reduced symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder, which include excessive worry, edginess, irritability, and an unrealistic view of problems, among other challenges. At a six-month follow-up, 37 percent of the treatment group was found to be at full remission. Other significant benefits were found for “sleep difficulties, difficulties in emotional regulation, and depression,” according to the study authors.

How It Works Flotation therapy strips away the usual jobs of the spinal cord and the brain’s frontal cortex; there’s no body to keep upright and, because of the way the tanks are designed, next to nothing to hear, see, smell, taste, or feel. This allows the mind to enter the theta state—the one experienced in meditation or in the period between consciousness and sleep. Despite this seeming “nothingness,” there are many positive things happening, including what Dr. Feinstein calls a “profound intervention for the nervous system.” One hour of floating allows a “nervous system that’s on edge, in a constant and chronic state of anxiety and stress, to reset,” he said. In MRI studies, 60-minute float therapy has been shown to quiet activity in the amygdala, the brain’s center for fear. Floaters experience a 10- to 15-point drop in diastolic blood pressure within 10 minutes. Heart rate variability improves. Benefits typically last between 26 and 32 hours. Compare that to “something like Xanax, Ativan, or benzodiazepine,” Dr. Feinstein said. “If you take one of those, you’re going to start feeling stress and anxiety again four to eight hours later.”

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What to Expect Typically, people can choose between a float pod or a float room, which is like an oversized shallow bathtub. Being claustrophobic, I chose the room instead of what looked like a coffin. I inserted earplugs, stripped down, and showered before entering the float tank. The tub was filled with about 1,000 pounds of dissolved Epsom salts, which is what supports your body as well as a mattress. A U-shaped neck pillow is available, but it isn’t necessary to keep your head supported—the water really holds you up that well. At first, I thought the water was too cool. But I soon realized it was perfect. At 93.5 degrees, the water is skin-receptor neutral, which means you start feeling “one” with the water and lose a sense of where your body ends. The first few minutes of a float can be challenging. You can’t hear the outside world due to the soundproofing. I kept replaying emergency situations in my head. What if there was a fire in the lobby, and I didn’t know? I had flashes of panic and had to fight the desire to escape. I reminded myself it was only an hour, and the world would get along fine without me. When my body and brain finally got the message that nothing bad would happen, I began to relax. My thoughts became less frequent and urgent. Eventually I entered the theta state. At some point, my hips and upper back started “tweaking.” You know how your legs suddenly twitch just as you’re about to drop into a deep sleep? That’s what was happening in my back and hips. They were releasing little bits of tension, over and over. Once my body calmed down, it was just peace for a long time. Before I knew it, the lights turned on, and my float was over. The sense of well-being lasted for a couple of days. By my third float, I was able to fall asleep in the water, and that was extremely restful. It was just as Dr. Feinstein said to his conference attendees: “You don’t just reduce the anxiety, you get this tremendous uplift of mood. The serenity piece is so important. We’re not just reducing symptoms . . . we’re enhancing mental wellness.” —Lynn Tryba “Floating away your anxiety and stress” by John Henning Schumann,, 10/16/17 l “Promising effects of treatment with flotationREST (restricted environmental stimulation technique) as an intervention for generalized anxiety disorder . . .” by K. Jonsson and A. Kjellgren, BMC Complement Altern Med, 3/25/16

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12 Sugar Alternatives A spoonful of sugar may seem relatively harmless. It does, after all, make the medicine go down. But it’s the amount of it that we ingest every year (around 77 pounds per person!) that’s the real problem. A nonnutritive substance, refined white sugar increases inflammation and oxidative stress and is linked to the obesity and diabetes epidemic. It’s also a known immunosuppressant and has been shown to reduce the germ-killing ability of white blood cells for up to five hours after consumption, according to nutrition expert Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD. That’s enough to make anyone feel ill! But there may be those times when you want to enjoy something on the sweeter side of life.

Find 12 alternatives to help you cut sugar at



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herbal healing

’tis the season for echinacea this herb may thwart respiratory infections

Simple respiratory infections include sinus infections and the common cold. Most of the time, symptoms are harmless and self-limiting, and the infections will usually resolve on their own. The only treatment needed is for relief of symptoms. Up to 20 percent of respiratory infections are complicated and can lead to bronchitis, pneumonia, tonsillitis, conjunctivitis, ear infection, or bacterial sinusitis. Prevention of respiratory tract infections is a desired goal, of course, but often frequent hand washing, healthy eating, regular exercise and fresh air, and not smoking are not enough. Here is where one of the valued aspects of echinacea (Echinacea spp.) comes in. Echinacea is used for the prevention and treatment of respiratory tract infections. Research has shown that the herb possesses antiinflammatory and antiviral effects, and immunomodulatory effects that stimulate immunity.

Elderberry helps fight colds A recent meta-analysis examining the effects of black elderberry (Sambucus nigra) found that supplementation with this herb substantially reduces upper respiratory symptoms. Researchers noted that the findings “present an alternative to antibiotic misuse for upper respiratory symptoms due to viral infections, and a potentially safer alternative to prescription drugs for routine cases of the common cold and influenza.” In another study, researchers looked at the effects of supplements that contained elderberry, zinc, Lactobacillus acidophilus, larch extract, and vitamins C, D, and E on kids who get recurrent ear infections. All of the children treated with the supplements showed a reduction in respiratory infections. “Black elderberry (Sambucus nigra) supplementation effectively treats upper respiratory symptoms . . .” by J. Hawkins et al., Complement Ther Med, 2/19 l “The effects of oral supplements . . . in otitis media with effusion in children” by A. Della Volpe et al., Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci, 7/19

Significant benefits A recent meta-analysis of studies evaluated the effectiveness of echinacea on recurrent respiratory tract infections and complications from these infections. A comprehensive literature search was done of randomized, placebo-controlled trials using echinacea in healthy individuals for two to four months for prevention of respiratory tract infections. Six studies reported significant benefits of echinacea treatment with regard to recurrent respiratory tract infections over those taking placebos. —Tori Hudson, ND “Echinacea reduces the risk of recurrent respiratory tract infections and complications . . .” by A. Schapowal et al., Adv Ther, 2015

November 2019

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supplement spotlight

mighty magnesium it’s essential for overall well-being Magnesium wears a lot of hats in the body. From strong bones to a healthy heart, it pays to get enough of this versatile mineral. Unfortunately, most US adults don’t meet the minimum intake for magnesium, which is 320 milligrams (mg) for women and 420 mg for men (ages 31+).

Dietary supplements of magnesium can fill in gaps in your diet, but don’t count on a daily multivitamin/mineral to get the job done. This is because magnesium is a bulky mineral and there simply isn’t enough room in the average multi for the amount your body needs. A separate supplement of magnesium alone—or one combined with other minerals—makes sense if you want extra magnesium. Take a look at the varied and amazing ways magnesium can support your health. • Depression. People with lower magnesium levels are more likely to experience depression. Even more intriguing than that correlation is the evidence showing that depressed people who supplement with magnesium experience mood lifts. • Insomnia. Several studies have shown that insomnia symptoms improve when magnesium supplements are introduced. In one study, older adults with documented insomnia took either 500 mg of magnesium or a placebo daily for two months. There was a clear difference between the groups, with the magnesium users experiencing significantly better sleep. • PMS. Women supplementing with magnesium have a lower risk of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Some women find relief from menstrual-related migraines when supplementing with this mineral. • Diabetes. There’s a growing body of research documenting that more magnesium in the diet means a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes. • Heart health. The widespread occurrence of magnesium deficiency plays a major role in the increased risk of cardiovascular disease; in fact, this is considered by many health experts to present a public health crisis. Getting enough magnesium simply is a must for healthy hearts and blood vessels. —Victoria Dolby Toews, MPH

Victoria Dolby Toews, MPH, has been a health journalist for more than two decades.

“The association between serum magnesium levels and depression in an adult primary care population” by E.K. Tarleton et al., 2019; “Magnesium intake and sleep disorder symptoms . . .” by Y. Cao et al., 2018, Nutrients l “The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly . . .” by B. Abbasi et al., J Res Med Sci, 2012 l “Magnesium intake and depression in adults” by E.K. Tarleton et al., J Am Board Fam Med, 2015 l “Magnesium intake, quality of carbohydrates, and risk of Type 2 diabetes: Results from three U.S. cohorts” by A. Hruby et al., Diabetes Care, 2017 l “Menstrual migraine and treatment options: Review” by K. Maasumi et al., Headache, 2017 l “Subclinical magnesium deficiency: A principal driver of cardiovascular disease and a public health crisis” by J.J. DiNicolantonio et al., Open Heart, 2018

November 2019

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Maitake mushroom contains D-fraction, which has been found to be the strongest among many powerful immune boosters. Mushroom Wisdom Maitake D-Fraction may increase numbers and activity of immune cells.

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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.

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beware of synthetic curcumin Curcumin, a bioactive extract from Curcuma longa, has been blessed with a multitude of beneficial pharmacological activities. Curcumin and its metabolites have been assessed for their effectiveness against various noncommunicable diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s. A need exists outside the pharmaceutical drug world for a safe, natural substance, hence curcumin has been used widely in the dietary supplement category. Curcumin has a wide base of consumers in various age groups and ethnicities. It’s been widely accepted by older adults to help improve age-related conditions such as arthritis, cardiovascular diseases, and blood sugar variation.

Demand brings adulteration Curcumin is a hot product. When an herb is in high demand, adulteration can occur. Such adulterations include the addition of synthetic curcumin, which is enticingly cheap. Single-entity synthetic curcumin is more crystalline in nature, thus less soluble, and it is devoid of the benefits of natural curcuminoids.

Although preclinical studies have demonstrated the potent pharmacological benefits of synthetic curcumin compared to natural curcumin, the same has not been evaluated in human subjects. Also, it has not been evaluated for its long-term toxicological effects. Natural curcumin can be authenticated by a C-14 radioisotope technique, which distinguishes between natural and synthetic curcumin. Therefore, consider purchasing products from companies that use such methods to test their curcumin ingredient. Look for authentic quality products without such adulteration to get the maximum health benefits out of your curcumin product. —Shaheen Majeed Shaheen Majeed is the director of product management at America’s Finest, Inc., and president worldwide of Sabinsa (owners of America’s Finest). He is continuously looking to educate and bring awareness of products and their science to industry members and consumers.

November 2019

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healthy glow

a healthy mane treat your hair and scalp to the best

Our society often considers the emotionally charged concepts “beauty” and “health” as separate entities. When it comes to hair, health considerations may be left behind entirely. All many of us want is for our hair to look good! But without health, beauty is just window dressing—so consider both elements when choosing your shampoo and conditioner.

What to avoid Your hair will thank you for not using any products with alcohol, sulfates, or silicone. The first two strip away moisture and oils from your hair, and the third prevents conditioner from doing any good by creating a barrier around the hair shaft. In addition, products labeled “natural” and “hypoallergenic” may be anything but, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG). Avoid PEG, ceatereth, polyethylene, DMDM hydantoin, and the parabens propyl, isopropyl, butyl, and isobutyl.

What your hair wants If you think your hair couldn’t really be clean without lather, look for the ingredient decyl glucoside in shampoos in place of the oil-stripping sulfate sudsing agents, or surfactants, you’ll find in many shampoos. Healthy ingredients for conditioners include the herbs horsetail and rosemary; shea butter; and argan, coconut, and jojoba oils. Instead of chemicals, make sure your shampoo and conditioner are scented only with pure essential oils—if they are scented at all. More and more manufacturers of natural and organic hair products are making them free of fragrance, which is good for those with allergies and sensitivities and healthy for all of us. For help choosing nontoxic shampoos and conditioners, consult EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database at —Nan Fornal “The 10 best natural and organic shampoos for every hair type” by Marta Topran,, 2/19/19 l “Great organic conditioner ingredients for hair,” l “Safe shampoo guide” by Maia James,, 1/20/17

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By Maria Noël Groves, RH (AHG)

ing e b l el w to y dige stive health is ke

gut instincts

Digestion and the integrity of the gut lining link dramatically to the health and well-being of the rest of your body. On the most basic level, you need digestive juices, vital gut lining with just the right amount of permeability, good gut flora, and adequate motility so that you’re able to absorb nutrients from your food and remove day-to-day metabolic waste from the body. You’re not only what you eat; you’re really what you can absorb! These nutrients are used to make everything from the structure of your body to neurotransmitters and hormones. Beyond this core role, your gut health has profound influences on seemingly unrelated aspects of your health. When your digestive function and gut are out of balance, it can trigger autoimmune disease (including thyroid disease, Crohn’s disease, and rheumatoid arthritis), depression and anxiety, obesity, a reduced ability to fight off germs, brain fog and cognitive decline, and so much more. In addition to a healthy, nutrient-dense diet, consider these herbs and supplements.

Bitters Bitter-tasting herbs stimulate digestive juice production and excretion including that of hydrochloric acid, enzymes, and bile, all of which play important roles in breaking down food so it can be adequately absorbed. Bitters also help regulate a healthy appetite, reduce blood sugar and cravings, improve liver detoxification, and improve gut motility and elimination via peristalsis. Adequate digestive juices not only aid in nutrient absorption but also can reduce the likelihood of food allergies and pathogenic gut flora (including small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, or SIBO, and Helicobacter pylori), and support immune health. Bitters include artichoke leaf, dandelion root, lemon balm, catnip, chamomile, bitter lettuce greens, endive, tamarind, and turmeric. You can incorporate them into your daily diet or take them as liquid extracts, tea, or homemade pastille lozenges. If your gut lining is irritated or inflamed, or if taking bitters upsets your stomach, you may need to focus on several months of gut-healing and soothing remedies first. November 2019

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Slimers Mucilaginous, demulcent herbs produce mucus-like slime on contact with water, which seems off-putting but is phenomenal for coating, soothing, and healing the gut, giving your body a chance to rebuild gut mucosal lining. These herbs are best in a water-based remedy such as tea (long infusion or steeping preferred) or a powder mixed in water, oatmeal, or gruel, though capsules might suffice. My personal favorite is marshmallow root (more slimy) or leaf (less slimy, more velvety). Slippery elm is popular but poses sustainability concerns. Aloe inner gel (not the whole leaf or latex), is most commonly available as juice. In some people with dysbiosis, slimers aggravate gas and bloating. If this happens to you, try marshmallow leaf and the following vulnerary herbs instead.

Vulnerary wound healers Vulnerary (wound-healing) herbs are most popular on the skin for cuts and scrapes, but internally they help heal damage to the gut lining and promote its integrity. Licorice is perhaps the most popular herb for gut healing. However, due to potential side effects of the glycyrrhizin constituent in licorice, many people prefer to use the deglycyrrhizinated DGL format in chewables or powder, which is safer for high-dose and long-term use. Plantain leaf, gotu kola leaf, glutamine, calendula flower, and meadowsweet leaf and flower are also fantastic gut-healing herbs consumed as tea, powder (mixed in water), or pill form.

Carminatives Many of the spices and flavorful herbs in our tea and culinary cabinets are considered carminative. These herbs stimulate digestion (similar to bitters but via a different mechanism) but also act as anti-spasmodics to ease gas, pain, and bloating. They can be consumed in tea, liquid extract, pills, powder, in food, or simply chewed. Fennel seeds relieve gas and colic. Ginger discourages pathogens while feeding good gut flora and feeding the digestive fire. Cinnamon tightens and tones loose gut lining and eases chronic diarrhea while discouraging pathogens. Cloves help numb pain while fighting pathogens. Cardamom increases digestion, eases bloating, and discourages pathogens. Peppermint enteric-coated pills ease pain in the lower gastrointestinal tract. Dill weed and seed quell nausea and gently support digestive juices.

Probiotics and prebiotics Beneficial gut flora—and the food that feeds it—help to rebuild a shaky gut microbiome so you can better digest foods, reduce inflammation, make the gut less hospitable to pathogens, and improve the overall health of the body. Supplements containing Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium may be the most helpful, ideally a mix of species in a relatively high concentration. Fermented foods including live kraut, kimchi, and kefir can also be consumed daily.

Try this tea! One of my favorite ways to employ gut-healing herbs is in the form of an overnight-steeped tea. For a simple tea, combine 2 heaping tablespoons of cut/sifted marshmallow root or marshmallow leaf, 1 teaspoon plantain leaf, 2 cinnamon sticks, 2 cardamom pods, and a pinch of licorice (optional) in a 32-ounce French press. Steep for 4 to 12 hours, strain, and drink it over the next day or two hot or cold. Maria Noël Groves, RH (AHG), is the best-selling, award-winning author of Body into Balance: An Herbal Guide to Holistic Self Care and Grow Your Own Herbal Remedies. Maria’s a registered professional herbalist with the American Herbalists Guild and a graduate of the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine and Rosemary Gladstar’s Sage Mountain. Learn more about Maria and herbs at “Bitters: Time for a new paradigm” by M.K. McMullen et al., Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 5/14/15 l DIY Bitters by Jovial King and Guido Masé ($26.99, Fair Winds Press, 2016) l “Peppermint oil for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome . . .” by R. Khanna et al., J Clin Gastroenterol, 7/14 l Wild Medicine Solution by Guido Masé ($18.95, Healing Arts Pres, 2013)

consider this Turkey Tail from Host Defense acts as a prebiotic and supports beneficial microflora in the digestive and gastrointestinal ecosystem.

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Harness the power of your endocannabinoid system with Endo Immune from Emerald Health Bioceuticals to keep your immune system healthy and strong, just in time for cold and flu season.

LactoSpore from America’s Finest requires no refrigeration and is backed by human studies showing immune enhancement along with good microflora balance.

Enzymedica’s Digest Gold is an advanced formula that breaks down carbohydrates, fats, fiber and protein— an excellent choice for individuals seeking a high-potency enzyme formula.

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