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for LIFE

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selfcare page

Curcumin v. inflammation Lift the winter blues Easing eyestrain

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28 Staying in shape

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December 2017 vol. 13 no. 12


20 28 fitting in fitness feature

Discover easy ways to work exercise into your schedule.

departments 6 From the Editor’s Desk 9 Health Pulse

Green tea compound has added benefits • Vitamin D may help lower risk of asthma attacks • B vitamins offer a brain boost • More

12 Fight Back

Build a healthy microbiome to boost immunity.

14 Everyday Remedies

Tips for dealing with eyestrain.

16 Herbal Healing

Help for the winter blues and SAD.

19 Healthy Glow

Dry skin? Try hyaluronic acid.

20 In Focus

Explore the benefits of vitamin C.

24 The Goods 27 Supplement Spotlight Learn more about curcumin— nature’s cure-all.

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


@RemediesRecipes December 2017

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11/1/17 10:22 AM

from the editor ’s desk

Season’s Greetings!

I really enjoyed Karen Lovett’s commentary about her efforts to get in shape (“Fitting in Fitness,” page 28). Her creative tips are especially valuable during the holiday season, when staying fit can be doubly difficult. Like most monthly publications, we have a lot of seasonal offerings in this issue. Ours focus on maintaining health during what can be a stressful time of year. Start with “Herbal Healing” (page 16), which delves into seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and provides remedies for dealing with this winter malady. Have you had a cold yet this season? You probably will before winter is done. But having a resilient immune system will help you battle viruses. Read “Fight Back” by Victoria Dolby Toews (page 12) to see how probiotic bacteria can give your immunity a boost. “In Focus” (page 20) explains the importance of vitamin C in our diets, and a related item (page 23) provides an update on how the vitamin might reduce cold symptoms. This issue also features new research regarding autism, asthma, cognition, and the benefits of tea (pages 9-10). You’ll also learn how to deal with eyestrain (page 14) and dry skin (page 19). Enjoy the holidays, and stay healthy!

Rich Wallace, contrbuting editor

Chief Content Officer and Strategist Lynn Tryba Contributing Editors Lisa Fabian, Rich Wallace Editorial Assistant Kelli Ann Wilson Art Director Michelle Knapp Custom Graphics Manager Donna Sweeney Business Development Director Amy Pierce Customer Service Client Services Director—Retail Judy Gagne 800-677-8847 x128 Client 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 978-255-2062 Executive Director of Retail Sales and Marketing Anna Johnston ( Retail Account Managers Kim Willard, Christine Yardley 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); ©2017 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 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.

Products advertised or mentioned in this magazine may not be available in all locations. 6  remedies 

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Beneficial bacteria play an essential role as our first line of defense, supporting efficient digestive function and gut immunity during the winter months*. Bio-Kult is a range of scientifically developed, advanced probiotic multi-strain formulas containing live bacterial cultures, proven to survive the high acidity of the stomach. Bio-Kult is widely available throughout America. To find out more about Bio-Kult speak to your distributor or visit

Distributed By: Protexin, Inc. 1833 NW 79th Avenue, Doral, Miami FL 33126. Tel: 786.310.7233 Manufacturer: Probiotics International Ltd (Protexin), Lopen Head, Somerset, TA13 5JH *THIS STATEMENT HAS NOT BEEN EVALUATED BY THE FOOD & DRUG ADMINISTRATION. THE PRODUCT IS NOT INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT, CURE OR PREVENT ANY DISEASE.

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Good news for black tea lovers UCLA researchers have determined that black tea may provide weight loss and other health benefits by altering gut bacteria. In prior studies, polyphenols in green tea have been found to have positive effects on markers of obesity, but black tea fell short. The new findings “suggest that black tea, through a specific mechanism through the gut microbiome, may also contribute to good health and weight loss in humans,” said lead researcher Susanne Henning, PhD.

The two types of tea work in different ways. Green tea polyphenols are absorbed in the small intestine and alter energy metabolism in the liver. Black tea polyphenols are too big for absorption in the small intestine, but they appear to stimulate the growth of gut bacteria and the formation of healthful fatty acids. With both types of tea, the percentage of bacteria linked to obesity decreased while those associated with lean body mass increased.

“Black Tea May Help with Weight Loss, Too,” UCLA Health Sciences, 10/4/17

New benefits of green tea reported

“The ancient habit of drinking green tea may be a more acceptable alternative to medicine when it comes to combatting obesity, insulin resistance, and memory impairment,” said Xuebo Liu, PhD, a researcher in China. Dr. Liu led a new study on the effects of a high-fat and high-fructose diet. Participants who included the green tea compound epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) in their routine had lower body weights and better memory recall at the end of the 16-week trial. “EGCG Ameliorates High-Fat and HighFructose-Induced Cognitive Defects . . .” by M. Yashi et al., FASEB Journal, 7/20/17 ● “Green Tea Ingredient May Ameliorate Memory Impairment, Brain Insulin Resistance, and Obesity,” Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, 7/28/17

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10/25/17 11:44 AM

D may curb asthma attacks

Adding vitamin D supplements to standard asthma treatments may significantly lower the risk of severe attacks. Researchers pooled results from seven randomized, controlled trials. They found that taking D supplements led to a 30 percent reduction in asthma attacks requiring steroid or injection-related treatments, and a 50 percent reduction in asthma attacks that required hospitalization. Vitamin D may protect against such attacks by reducing airway inflammation and boosting immune responses to viruses. “These results add to the ever-growing body of evidence that vitamin D can support immune function as well as bone health,” said lead researcher Adrian Martineau, PhD. He added that the vitamin is safe to take and inexpensive. “Vitamin D Protects Against Severe Asthma Attacks,” Queen Mary University of London, 10/3/17

Multis studied for autism reduction

Women who take a multivitamin/mineral supplement during pregnancy may reduce the risk of their child’s developing autism by 30 percent. The new study from Drexel University adds to the small pool of knowledge concerning autism risk and diet. “There have been more studies in recent years about varied aspects of diet during pregnancy and autism risk involving multivitamins, iron, folic acid, vitamin D, and more, but the evidence is still inconclusive,” said Elizabeth DeVilbiss, PhD, who led the Drexel study. Her associate Brian Lee, PhD, added that the “potential link between supplement use during pregnancy and autism is intriguing because it suggests a possible avenue for risk reduction.” “Multivitamin Use During Pregnancy Linked to Lower Risk of Autism with Intellectual Disability,” Drexel University, 10/5/17

B vitamins may aid cognition Taking B vitamins appears to provide a brain boost for older adults. A 2017 study shows clear “evidence to support a role for folate and related B vitamins in slowing the progression of cognitive decline and possibly reducing the risk of depression in the aging.” The authors wrote that cognitive issues and depression “are significant problems of aging with major health and socio-economic impacts.” They noted that long-term intake of folate and B12 may help manage the conditions.

“Current Evidence Linking Nutrition with Brain Health in Ageing” by K. Moore et al., Nutrition Bulletin, 3/17 ● “Vitamins May Have Larger Role in Halting Brain Decline: Review” by Will Chu,, 5/19/17


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December 2017

10/26/17 11:35 AM

Breathe Better. Winter Better.

Don’t let the cold & flu season keep you down. Xlear® Saline Nasal Spray with xylitol is proven to alleviate dryness and congestion better than saline alone. Find Xlear at your favorite retailer. #imXlear

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10/17/17 10:04 AM

By Victoria Dolby Toews, MPH

fight back build immunity from the inside out with probiotics.


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December 2017

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There is no doubt that your immune system benefits from healthy colonies of probiotic bacteria. These bacteria—namely Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum—can be found in a variety of fermented foods as well as dietary supplements. Mighty microbiome

As just one example of how this immune boost plays out in the real world, consider the latest research on the common cold. Regular use of probiotics by schoolchildren makes colds less frequent, and when they do hit, the kids get over them more quickly and miss fewer school days. A yearlong study linked a 30 percent reduction in missed school days to probiotic supplementation. Research documents similar benefits in adults.

Supplementing with probiotic bacteria helps properly balance your community of intestinal bacteria, especially after the community has been disturbed by the use of antibiotics, notes probiotics researcher Nigel Plummer, PhD. This community of bacteria is called your microbiome. Antibiotics often perform critical roles in fighting infections, but the unfortunate side effect is the decimation of your microbiome, since antibiotics kill bacteria indiscrimiWhat, when, and how nately. This means the good bacteria in your gut are killed For probiotic supplements, aim for the amount deemed along with the disease-causing bacteria. Taking probiotics effective in scientific research—generally 5 to 50 billion after antibiotics is a must for rebuilding your gut environcolony-forming units (CFU). Fewer than 1 billion CFU is ment. unlikely to provide significant benefits. “It is now widely acknowledged that the microbiome Take probiotics with food or within 30 minutes of influences many aspects of how our completing a meal. “The very acidic bodies work—ranging from optimizconditions associated with the empty ing the immune system to potentially stomach can damage the fragile probiinfluencing weight gain, cholesterol otic cells, destroying up to 90 percent levels, and even our response to stress Prebiotics are the food for good over a two-hour period,” Dr. Plummer and anxiety,” Dr. Plummer said. “bugs” in your GI tract. You can said. find prebiotics in foods rich in Need more convincing that probiotic A crucial role soluble and insoluble fibers, such supplements make sense? Consider As a powerful team member of your as Jerusalem artichokes, garlic, Krishnan’ s summation of the state of immune system, probiotics produce leeks, and onions. Prebiotic probiotic research today: “Studies link organic compounds that increase supplements are also available. healthy gut flora not only to better intestinal acidity; this inhibits the immune function, but also to better reproduction of many disease-causemotional health, weight control, ing bacteria. Probiotic bacteria also sexual function, and improved cognitive function. A healthy produce substances called bacteriocins that act as natural gut is quite simply the foundation for a healthy body, and an antibiotics to kill undesirable micro-organisms. effective probiotic can be a very important tool in achieving Probiotic bacteria enhance overall immune function by true wellness.” boosting disease-fighting cells such as phagocytes, lympho-

Feed your bugs

cytes, and natural killer cells. The end result—when your probiotic microbiome is flourishing—is a system that’s better able to fight infection and disease. In short, probiotic bacteria are downright indispensable for the immune system. “Think of your immune system as a large, well-equipped military with no general and no knowledge of who the enemy is and more importantly who the enemy is not,” said microbiologist Kiran Krishnan. “It is the role of probiotics in the gut to tutor and direct the immune system to fight the correct enemies and battles.”

Victoria Dolby Toews, MPH, a health journalist for more than two decades, is the author of Life After Baby: Rediscovering and Reclaiming Your Healthy Pizzazz (Basic Health Publications, 2012).

“Antibacterial Activities of Bacteriocins: Application in Foods and Pharmaceuticals” by S-C Yang et al., Front Microbiol, 5/26/14 ● Personal Communication: Nigel Plummer; Kiran Krishnan, 6/16 ● “Probiotics for Preventing Acute Upper Respiratory Tract Infections” by Q. Hao et al., Cochrane Database Syst Rev, 2/3/15

December 2017

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


What is it? Eyes that burn, itch, and feel tired; blurry or double vision; headaches. What causes it? Reading, writing, driving, staring for long periods at screens—computer, smartphone, or other digital device.

Lifestyle: Take regular breaks from computer work; use a glare filter on screens; apply warm washcloth to closed eyes.

Homeopathy: Aconitum napellus, Apis mellifica, Argentum nitricum, Kali phosphoricum, and Natrum muriaticum.

Food: Avocados, berries, bell peppers, broccoli, eggs, salmon, soy, spinach, tea (black or green), walnuts. Limit processed foods.

Supplements: Bilberry, lutein, omega-3 fatty acids,

Herbal therapy: Butterbur and feverfew;


peppermint, eucalyptus, and lavender essential oils.

“13 Tips to Prevent Eye Fatigue,” 9/20/16; “Common Vitamins and Supplements to Treat Asthenopia Eye Strain,” ● “Eyestrain: Alternative Medicine,”, 8/13/15 ● “Eye Strain and Eye Injuries (Homeopathy),” Michigan Medicine at University of Michigan,, 10/31/12 ● “Headaches–Tension: Herbal and Other Natural Remedies,” University of Maryland Medical Center,, 12/17/12 ● “Macular Carotenoid Supplementation Improves Visual Performance . . . in Those with High Screen Time Exposure” by J.M. Stringham et al., Foods, 6/29/17


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herbal healing

lift the winter blues natural approaches to Seasonal Affective Disorder

Back in 1981, Norman Rosenthal, a researcher at the National Institute of Mental Health, thought he’d identified a very rare syndrome. He determined that some people were plagued by severe depression that came on in the fall as daylight hours dwindled, and lifted with the arrival of longer days in spring.

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Get a Jump on Winter Researchers haven’t figured out how to prevent SAD, but the Mayo Clinic notes that people who get ahead of the syndrome by starting their treatment early may be able to keep symptoms from getting worse. So if you take supplements to ward off the winter blues and seasonal affective disorder, try incorporating them into your routine before the blues arrive—it may help you stay on an even keel. “Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) Prevention,”, 9/12/14

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11/1/17 10:00 AM

He was half right: Rosenthal was indeed homing in on a type of depression with a specific trigger—he named it “seasonal affective disorder,” or SAD. But a call for people experiencing the symptoms drew 3,000 responses rather than the handful he expected. Today it’s estimated that more than 10 million Americans suffer from SAD.

What’s Getting You Down?

When daylight hours drop, so does your mood if you’re affected by SAD or its milder sibling known as the winter blues. Researchers believe the decrease in exposure to sunlight slows the release of serotonin, a brain chemical that regulates mood. The hormone melatonin, which modulates your circadian rhythms, plays a part too. The body secretes melatonin when the sun goes down, making you sleepy. People who are more susceptible to SAD include women, those aged 15 to 55, those with a family history of wintertime depression, those who live in places where days are short in the winter months, and those diagnosed with depression or bipolar disorder. If you have SAD, you’re likely to feel down and hopeless, have trouble concentrating and interacting with others, and crave carbohydrates.

Shed Light on the Problem

To combat depression brought on by the dark days of winter, the first step is light therapy—treatment with fluorescent or incandescent lamps that replicate sunlight or a brightening sunrise. Talk with your physician about the best approach. Some people also benefit from acupuncture, yoga, meditation, guided imagery, or massage. Vitamin D supplementation is helpful for some SAD sufferers: Taking 2,000 IU daily can keep neurotransmitters in balance.

Natural Remedies

A number of supplements are used to beat back the winter blues and SAD. Try these to keep SAD at bay: ■ St. John’s wort. Long used to treat a range of conditions including nervous system disorders, St. John’s wort has been shown to help people with mild to moderate (but not severe) depression. Studies show it may work as well as prescription medications, without some of the side effects. Research also indicates that St. John’s wort is even more effective in treating SAD when paired with light therapy. ■ SAMe. A compound found in the body, S-adenosylmethionine, or SAMe, may be as effective as antidepressants without some of their side effects—and it may work more quickly. SAMe aids in the production and breakdown of brain chemicals like serotonin, melatonin, and dopamine. Scientists think it works by increasing the amount of serotonin in the brain. ■ Melatonin. When summer changes to fall and fall transitions into winter, the levels of melatonin in your body may change as well. More studies are needed, but supplementation with melatonin may provide relief to some people with depression that comes on in the cold months. ■ Omega-3 fatty acids. Supplementing with omega 3s could reduce mild to moderate depression. Omega 3s are key to brain function, and people with depression may have low levels of the omega 3s eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Some studies indicate that people who take prescription medication for depression may find increased relief if they also supplement with omega 3s. Remember, supplements can sometimes interact with medications, and severe depression should be treated by a doctor. So check with your physician to determine the best course of action, and make this winter a happy one. —Jane Eklund “Feeling SAD This Season?” by Catherine Ulbricht, Psychology Today, 1/10/12 ● “Fish Oil Supplements: Can They Treat Depression?” by Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, 11/3/15; “Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Alternative Medicine,” 9/12/14, ● “S-Adenosylmethionine,” 11/6/15; “St. John’s Wort,” 6/26/14, University of Maryland Medical Center, www.umm. edu ● “We Helped Discover Seasonal Affective Disorder. Now Here’s How to Beat It” by Colby Itkowitz, Washington Post, 10/29/15

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healthy glow

picture perfect hyaluronic acid keeps skin soft and moist

The holidays may be merry and bright, but this season’s picturesque snowflakes come with a price: cold air that can lead to dry, less-than-camera-ready skin. Hyaluronic acid (HA) offers a natural remedy for dry skin—and those pesky crow’s feet too!—that will last into spring and beyond.

Nurture skin

Hyaluronic acid is produced by our bodies in large quantities when we are young, but production slows as we age. The diminishing supply can leave our skin starved for moisture, which is exacerbated by dry winter weather. Supplemental HA helps keep skin soft and supple by pulling in and retaining water from the bloodstream—it can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water!

Soothe dryness

Research supports the use of hyaluronic acid supplements to treat dry skin. One study found that participants who took HA supplements (120 mg) for six weeks experienced significant improvements in skin moisture content. The results lasted for up to six weeks after the study ended. Previous research showed that topical application of 0.1 percent HA formulations improved skin hydration and elasticity.

Reduce wrinkles

A new study involving 60 subjects aged 22 to 59 with crow’s feet found that oral supplementation with 120 mg of HA significantly diminished wrinkles, boosted skin luster, and increased skin suppleness after 12 weeks. Researchers had previously studied the efficacy of a topical nano-hyaluronic acid preparation and found that the product line significantly decreased the depth of wrinkles after eight weeks of treatment. —Kelli Ann Wilson “Efficacy of a New Topical Nano-Hyaluronic Acid in Humans” by S. Manjula Jegasothy et al., J Clin Aesthet Dermatol, 3/14 l “Ingested Hyaluronan Moisturizes Dry Skin” by C. Kawada et al., Nutr J, 7/11/14 l “Ingestion of Hyaluronans . . . Improves Dry Skin Conditions” by C. Kawada et al., J Clin Biochem Nutr, 1/15 l Living Beauty by Lisa Petty ($21.95, Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2006) l “Oral Hyaluronan Relieves Wrinkles . . .” by M. Oe et al., Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol, 7/18/17

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in focus

vital vitamin C is essential for health

Vitamin C is probably the most popular of all vitamins—and one of the most important. What does it do? Plenty! The body needs vitamin C for many critical functions. While C is abundant in certain fruits and vegetables (citrus, peppers, broccoli, and more), if you’re not getting enough in your diet, you’ll want to consider a supplement. Our bodies use C to grow and repair tissue. Its antioxidant properties help block damage from free radicals, which contribute to the aging process and possibly to heart disease, arthritis, high blood pressure, age-related macular degeneration, certain cancers, and other conditions. While studies don’t back up the claim that vitamin C prevents the common cold, it does appear that people who regularly take C supplements may reduce the duration and symptoms of colds. continued on page 23

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continued from page 20

Why supplement?

If you have any of the following signs of vitamin C deficiency, talk with your healthcare provider about adding C supplements to your regimen:  Gums that are bleeding or inflamed  Skin that is rough, dry, and scaly  Skin that bruises easily  Wounds that heal too slowly  Joints that are swollen and painful  Nosebleeds  Lowered ability to ward off infections  Hair that is dry and splitting

How much is enough?

Here are the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) for vitamin C:  Ages 1 to 3: 15 milligrams (mg) per day  Ages 4 to 8: 25 mg/day  Ages 9 to 13: 45 mg/day  Girls 14 to 18: 65 mg/day  Boys 14 to 18: 75 mg/day  Men 19 and older: 90 mg/day  Women 19 and older: 75 mg/day  Pregnant women: 85 mg/day  Breastfeeding women: 120 mg/day (Note: Smokers and people regularly exposed to secondhand smoke should up their intake by 35 mg/day.) For best results, break up your vitamin C supplementation into two or three daily doses. Check with a healthcare provider before you give C supplements to a child. Vitamin C is generally considered safe, but it can act as a diuretic, so drink plenty of liquids when taking a supple-

Shorter colds? New research shows that higher doses of vitamin C may shorten the length of the common cold. Most trials examining the effects have used a dosage of 1 gram per day, but a pair of 2017 studies found better results with higher amounts. Both studies showed significant dose-response relationships, meaning that higher amounts of the vitamin led to shorter colds. Doses in the studies ranged as high as 8 grams. Don’t take more than 1,000 mg per day without an OK from a healthcare practitioner. Quick action may help. “Self-dosing of vitamin C must be started as soon as possible after the onset of common cold symptoms to be most effective,” said researcher Harri Hemilä, MD, PhD. “Larger Doses of Vitamin C May Lead to a Greater Reduction in Common Cold Duration,” University of Helsinki, 3/30/17

ment. People with certain diseases, including thalassemia, hemochromatosis, sickle cell anemia, diabetes, and kidney problems, can be negatively affected by vitamin C supplementation. Vitamin C may interact with medications, including overthe-counter painkillers, some antacids, chemotherapy drugs, and birth-control pills. In high doses, it may cause kidney stones or diarrhea. And even at recommended doses, some people may experience upset stomach, cramps, heartburn, or headaches. —Jane Eklund “Vitamin C,” National Institutes of Health,, 2/2/15 ● “Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid),” University of Maryland Medical Center,, 7/16/13 ● “Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid),”

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Flora Baobites Superfruit Snacks are sustainably sourced superfood snacks from Africa naturally bursting with fiber, electrolytes, and antioxidants, with six times the vitamin C of oranges.

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Ridgecrest Herbals’ ClearLungs Immune combines the synergistic blend of Chinese herbs from award-winning ClearLungs Classic with herbs to support healthy immune function.

Wakunaga of America’s Kyo-Green Sprouts Blend Powdered Drink Mix contains a nutritious blend of organic sprouted ancient grains, beans, and nutrient-rich seeds, combined with spirulina and original Greens Blend.


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December 2017

11/2/17 11:57 AM


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Learn more at ©2017 American Health Inc.



9/12/17 2:06 PM

Don’t Succumb to Cold and Flu

Try bolstering your immunity with natural strategies. Check out the link below.

supplement spotlight

beginner’s guide to curcumin This extract of turmeric offers many benefits

Often used in curry dishes to add heat and a pop of bright yellow-orange, turmeric is also used medicinally. It’s commonly used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicines to treat pain and inflammation. Curcumin—an active compound in turmeric—provides the spice with its heat and many of its health benefits.

Medicinal benefits

Curcumin is often used to treat bacterial and fungal infections. Additionally, it’s an immunity-boosting and virus-fighting supplement that can be taken to help conditions ranging from irritable bowel syndrome to diabetic kidney dysfunction. Curcumin acts as an anti-inflammatory; it’s been shown to improve morning stiffness and joint swelling in those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. It may also help with pain management: A

2016 study found that participants who took 1,500 milligrams (mg) of turmeric extract each day had comparable results to those who took 1,200 mg of ibuprofen, and the turmeric resulted in fewer side effects. Researchers have discovered that the anti-inflammatory actions of curcumin may also improve symptoms of diabetes by lowering blood sugar and hemoglobin A1C levels. Curcumin may also be effective against many cancers, including breast cancer, by preventing precancerous changes to the body’s DNA and restricting enzymes needed during cancer promotion.

Psychological benefits

Curcumin has been shown to reduce mental fatigue and to help with other cognitive impairments, including depression. In one study, those who took 500 mg of curcumin capsules twice a day for eight weeks experienced significant improvements in symptoms of major depressive disorder. Another study found that curcumin improved the effectiveness of antidepressant medications. Turmeric may occasionally trigger heartburn, cause an upset stomach, or thin the blood, but the supplement is generally safe to take. —Jessica Ricard

“Curcumin,” Linus Pauling Institute,, 3/16 ● “Efficacy and Safety of Curcuma domestica Extracts Compared with Ibuprofen in Patients with Knee Osteoarthritis” by V. Kuptniratsaikul et al., Clin Interv Aging, 3/20/14 ● “Efficacy and Safety of Curcumin in Major Depressive Disorder . . .” by J. Sanmukhani et al., Phytother Res, 4/14 ● “Mitigation of Systemic Oxidative Stress by Curcuminoids in Osteoarthritis . . .” by Y. Panahi et al., J Diet Suppl, 2016 ● Turmeric for Health by Britt Brandon ($12.99, Adams Media, 2016) ● The Wild Turmeric Cure by Cass Ingram ($24.95, Knowledge House Publishers, 2017)

December 2017

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By Karen Lovett

fitting in fitness tips that really work

As a stay-at-home mom, my reasons to avoid working out were as easy to come by as Cheerios crammed into a car seat. At first, it was sleep deprivation and breastfeeding. Then, it was being overwhelmed by a roving crawler, followed by whiteknuckling behind a wobbling toddler. By the time my catchall “figuring out motherhood” excuse clocked out, I was expecting my second child.

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While being the mother of two is the world’s greatest excuse to not exercise, my children became the main reason I started doing it. When my son was a few months old, it was the dead of winter. The snow was piling up, and so was the laundry. The walls of the house were closing in. I craved conversation with adults. I must’ve hit bottom; I agreed to join an exercise class at the YMCA with a friend. This small act kick-started an unexpected commitment to fitness that has lasted almost three years.

Make exercise a family event

My first excuse killer turned out to be that YMCA class. Twice a week, the other moms and I would roll into the gym and meet instructor Joey Bolduc. Joey would lead us in a series of running, pushing, lunging, and jumping exercises using the strollers, all while the kids snacked, slept, or eyeballed us cautiously from inside them. The class was ideal: I could break a sweat while keeping an eye on the cargo. Granted, it wasn’t peaceful. “Some people are screaming, and some are taking a nap,” Bolduc mused, recalling the scene. “At the same time, you hear a lot of laughing. The things that we did provoked you to laugh. And that’s important, not only for yourself but for your kids.” It’s true. Begrudgingly, I could admit that boot camp was fun. The class evolved as we moms got fitter. When the kids graduated from strollers, we decided: If we couldn’t contain ’em, invite ’em. My daughter now knows how to plank, and my son can do the semblance of a pushup. “I didn’t realize that was going to be such a big part of it,” Bolduc said. “The modeling you can do for the children. They’re just playing, but really, they are watching us like hawks. They’re taking it all in. And if they see you having fun and taking accountability for yourself, then later in life, they’ll be having fun and taking accountability for themselves.”

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More family-friendly ideas

■ Look for parent/child incorporated classes at gyms. For a more focused workout, seek childcare options within an organization. ■ Sign up for a road race. Many races are designed for all levels, from walkers to runners. My children and I did one in which I pushed my son in a stroller and my daughter alternated between walking and running. Bonus: A lot of races benefit local charities. ■ Turn on the tube! Fitness channels abound on TV. Make room for your child to “work out” alongside you. Borrow exercise DVDs from the library. The Internet is another great source. Search YouTube for any genre, and you’ll get plenty of hits. “Yoga with Adriene,” for instance, offers options for beginners to advanced practitioners. You can choose a workout based on how much time you have. Want a lesson for morning, evening, powering up, or calming down? Check. Have a knee injury, scoliosis, stress, nagging sciatica? Covered. There are 36 videos under the “Yoga for Busy People” category alone. ■ Play with your kids. Soccer, basketball, tennis, and riding bikes are great cardio options. When I coached my daughter’s kindergarten soccer team, I tried to do every practice drill with the kids. That included dribbling exercises, jumping, sprinting, relay races, and scrimmages. My heart rate always rocketed into fat-burning levels, and I logged at least 4,000 steps in each 45-minute practice.

Set goals

When Liana Thomas and her husband, Brian, decided to tackle their first marathon, they couldn’t just hit the road running. With two young kids, they had to get creative. The Thomases took turns squeezing in training runs before sunup, or after the other had bedtime underway, or when a friend or family member 30

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could tap in. When she couldn’t train outside, Liana Thomas boarded the “dreadmill.” For her, fitting in fitness is “a critical part of how I keep myself well. I’m always prone to putting others first, which I think is your instinct as a mom, but then I take a step back and realize my well-being is good for the well-being of everyone in my family.” The thing that helped the most was having the goal of the marathon and sticking to a set regimen. “I held myself accountable because I had the plan,” she said. “Once it’s part of your schedule, it doesn’t feel like, ‘Ugh, I have to go work out.’ It wasn’t a burden; it was part of the routine. That’s really important.” A marathon may be too much to bite off, so set small goals to start. Park as far away as possible from any store and walk the extra distance. Take a single bag of groceries in from your car, then repeat. Work in squats while you fold laundry. During TV commercials, do leg lifts, planks, or crunches.

Keep track

I received a fitness tracker as a gift two years ago, and this was a final gamechanger. This wristband records daily steps, heart rate, and calorie count. The statistics have been motivating. I like competing—especially against myself. The proof is right there; the tracker doesn’t lie. If I’m a slug one day, the tracker tells me so. If I’m doing great and my resting heart rate is more like a 30-year-old’s than a 60-yearold’s—kudos to me! I can also challenge friends and family members to competitions using tracker technology. More than once, I have been transformed into a bloodthirsty animal, running madly in place in my bedroom at midnight, to try and beat them. While I wouldn’t call my relationship with exercise a wildly successful marriage, it has become a steady friendship that gives more than it takes.

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