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Updated: 1 hour 35 min ago

Botanicals for a Better Sleep

July 17, 2018 - 10:57am
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Imagine waking up fully rested, ready to tackle any challenge and embrace all the pleasures of the world with gratitude. We all know what a good night’s sleep feels like, but how often do we get it? In this hectic, hyper-stimulated, nerve-wracking world, it is challenging to create a sleep routine that our bodies and brains need to function optimally.

Good sleep hygiene and use of natural herbs and botanicals can help promote a healthy amount of sleep. The result could mean an improvement in problem solving and work performance, weight management, and prevention of chronic disease such as diabetes, depression and cardiovascular disease.

There are multitudes of products and advice in this arena of sleep. An article from 2016 suggested Americans spent over $41 billion on sleep remedies, with an expected increase to upwards of $52 billion by the year 2020.

Andropause: Life Stage or End of Manhood?

July 10, 2018 - 2:04pm
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In the past, short of erectile dysfunction, male reproductive and endocrine issues were rarely discussed. With the advent of the internet, however, and a sudden interest in the repercussions of diminishing testosterone levels, the conversation is happening.

Just as with female hormone production, male hormone production also wanes with age. This time of hormonal decline is most commonly referred to as andropause. Other terms are interchanged in literature, articles and texts and include hypogonadism, late-onset hypogonadism, male menopause, male climacteric, androclise, androgen decline in aging male and aging male syndrome. For women, menopause means a halt in menses, which signals a departure from childbearing years, and the beginning of a new life phase. In Greek, “andras” means human male, and “pause” means cessation. So, andropause literally means “human male cessation”. Reduced testosterone levels have been associated with night sweats, decreased libido, dry hair and skin, trouble concentrating, muscle loss, insomnia, anxiety and/or irritability, reduced bone integrity and insulin resistance. In summary, these symptoms add up to what may feel like “human male cessation”.

Berberine: The Gut-Brain-Heart Connection

July 3, 2018 - 10:21am
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Most of us have heard about the gut-brain connection, how nearly 90% of the body’s serotonin is actually made in the digestive tract, and how the gut-brain axis is the missing link in depression. Gut health and the landscape of the gut microbiota influence many aspects of our health, so it is no surprise that the gut’s connection with chronic disease such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and neurodegenerative diseases is also very strong.

Berberine, a centuries-old compound found in medicinal herbs throughout various traditional therapies also positively affects and connects the gut and heart. Berberine is an isoquinoline derivative alkaloid found in a number of herbs. While these berberine-containing herbs are not traditionally used in food preparations, the active component has been identified and can be isolated from many plant sources including: Coptis chinensis (Coptis or Goldthread), Hydrastis canadensis (goldenseal), Berberis aquifolium (Oregon grape), Berberis aristata (Tree Turmeric), Berberis vulgaris (Barberry), and Arcangelisia flava.

Coffee…Harmful or Healthy?

June 26, 2018 - 12:04pm
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With coffee shops popping up on every street corner, the debate over coffee’s health benefits rages on. While some studies pronounce coffee’s extraordinary benefits in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, and Parkinson’s Disease, as well as associating high coffee consumption with an 8-15% reduction in risk of death, others warn of coffee’s detriment. We’ve even seen the World Health organization and the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee change their tune from coffee being harmful to coffee being a health food, going so far as recommending 3-5 cups per day for a healthy lifestyle.

A Golden Gem for Brain Health

June 19, 2018 - 10:56am
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We are constantly stressed with deadlines and pressured to produce tasks faster and with more efficiency. In today’s workforce, our mental clarity plays a major role in delivering quality work.  Practices to help think more clearly may include better sleep, controlled anxiety, and brain supplements. One such “brain supplement” with research bragging rights is curcumin, the active ingredient found in turmeric. Known for its antioxidant properties and support of healthy inflammatory pathways, this powerful herb can also improve cognition and mood. One particular group that has seen a significant impact is the elderly population.

A Roller Coaster in the Bloodstream

June 12, 2018 - 4:28pm
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Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels can be complex and unyielding. In addition to food and beverages, our blood glucose levels fluctuate in response to a variety of other factors. Exercise, emotional stress, the previous night’s rest, and genetics all play a role in the body’s attempt to tightly regulate the levels of glucose circulating in the blood. Also, regardless of whether or not someone has a blood sugar dysregulation issue or full-blown diabetes, that morning meal we call breakfast really sets the stage for the day. What’s often termed “Dawn Phenomenon” occurs between 4:00 AM - 8:00 AM when the body produces sufficient amounts of glucagon, cortisol and epinephrine to raise blood glucose in preparation for waking. And science has got the backs of those preaching a hearty breakfast in the morning. One study that monitored the glucose profiles of healthy people throughout the day found the largest increase in blood glucose occurs right after breakfast. Just about every nutritionist, dietitian and endocrinologist around recommends a high-protein breakfast in order to control the naturally-occurring spike in sugar in the morning. As mentioned, the subsequent foods, interactions, stressors and other factors will dictate the variation in blood sugar levels throughout the day, which directly impacts how the body functions and a person’s overall sense of well-being.

Do Sleep Meds Keep You Up at Night?

June 5, 2018 - 9:42am
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More than 50% of Americans complain they cannot sleep, and 37 percent of those polled in a Consumer Reports survey claimed they had used some type of sleep aid in the past year. Insomnia, a real problem, accounts for about 5.5 million medical visits each year.

Happy Tick-Free Summer

May 29, 2018 - 1:09pm
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Memorial Day Weekend has come and gone, and that means one thing – it’s officially summer! And while the warmer weather comes with exciting outdoor adventures and great vitamin-D access, it also awakens many creatures – including the biting ones.

Lithium: An Essential Trace Element

May 22, 2018 - 12:48pm
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Although lithium is predominantly known for its role in mood stabilization, with associations ranging from a miracle element to concerns of toxicity, the human body actually requires small amounts of this essential trace element for optimal health.

Is Your Water Bottle Making You Fat?

May 15, 2018 - 11:20am
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Yes, drinking water is important to our health, but some of the toxic chemicals that accompany each swig might not be. By now, we’ve all heard of Bisphenol A (BPA), an estrogenic compound used to make polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins, and many people choose BPA-free plastics because of research maligning this trendy toxin with reports of infertility and genetic mutations, but do we fully understand the impact that toxins have on obesity?

Making Memories with Huperzine A

May 8, 2018 - 1:06pm
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Our central hub, the brain, is made up of billions of neurons that communicate to other parts of the body in order to carry out physical and mental activities. Chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) carry out and enhance communication between these neurons and other cells in the body. Billions of neurotransmitters work non-stop to keep our brains functioning. Everything from breathing and the heartbeat to learning, concentration and memory depends upon neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters also help to regulate our mood.

Because neurons work constantly, they require more energy than other cells in the body. Consuming nutritious meals and snacks throughout the day helps supply the brain with the fuel it needs. When our neurotransmitter levels are compromised from poor diet, or increasing age, our mood and overall brain functioning are also compromised. This may result in brain fog, poor memory, and irritable mood in addition to problems concentrating or retaining information.