Health Topics

Our Project Wellness blog offers a wide range of natural health information, from brain health tips to weight loss help to the best all-natural products and homeopathic remedies. Our wealth of natural health information can be helpful for anyone who is interested in an integrative approach to their health, and who wants suggestions on common natural remedies for certain health conditions. We will continue to fill the blog with the latest natural health news and information about relevant medical studies. Let the experts at Pharmaca serve as your one-stop shop for the most up-to-date information in the world of natural health. Project Wellness is working hard to be the best online source for all your natural health news and information.

  • The Health Benefits of Staying Hydrated

    YfeatIMG2ou’re most likely aware that proper hydration is associated with health benefits such as weight loss, mental focus, even smoother, softer skin. But how does water improve our state of wellbeing? It starts at the molecular level—meaning, our organs, joints and overall tissue structure. There, in the tiniest cell structures, water works its magic, multi-tasking throughout the body to regulate temperatures, clean out toxins and balance pH levels. Because our bodies are made up of 2/3 water, hydration levels effect all body functions. So power up with water this summer, and keep your body working at its best!

    Heart & Respiratory Health

    Keeping the body hydrated helps the heart pump blood through the blood vessels to the muscles, ensuring muscles work efficiently. Without proper hydration, this major muscle is strained and has to work much harder. It’s especially important to keep tabs on water intake when exercising, and far more effective to hydrate before—rather than after--heading out for a hike.*2


    Dehydration causes shrinkage of brain tissue. It is often the cause of headaches, but may also reduce your ability to stay focused. In a typical twenty-four hour period, the longest spell most of us go without fluid intake is the six to eight hours spent sleeping. Drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning can help maximize those productive morning hours, both mentally and physically. *5


    Think of the kidneys as a big strainer, catching toxins and waste from your blood before channeling it to be eliminated in your urine. The kidneys keep the amount of fluid constant in your body—drinking extra water helps the kidneys clear sodium, urea and toxins from the body. This filtering process occurs as many as 400 times per day! Without water, this cleansing process slows to a crawl, allowing toxic matter to stay in the body, clogging up your natural filtering system. *3


    To put it simply, water keeps things moving in the digestive system, preventing constipation by breaking down fats and soluble fiber. How it works: In the large intestine, water binds with fiber to increase the bulk of the stools, reduce transit time and make elimination easier. When you don't drink enough water and fluids, the colon pulls water from stools, increasing your risk of constipation. *1


    Water keeps the cartilage around our joints hydrated and lubricated. It also protects our spinal cord and tissues, keeping us healthy from the inside out. Cartilage—the rubbery material that coats our bones—is about 85 percent water. The health of this protective material depends on proper hydration. Water intake, combined with joint-supporting supplement such as NeoCell’s Type 2 Joint Complex, will help joints function smoothly to you keep moving.*6

    Hydration Tips & Guidelines

    A typical male needs 125 ounces of water per day. *4

    A typical adult female needs 91 ounces of water per day. *4

    Keep a water bottle (like this graphic, BPA-free stainless steel bottle by Earthlust) at your desk, challenging yourself to drink at least two 20-oz bottles during your workday.

    Fight the blahs by flavoring water with vitamin-packed, deliciously low-sugar electrolytes such as Nuun All Day Hydration tablets.

    Remember that sweating out moisture requires you to replace that moisture in order to stay hydrated, whether exercising or sitting in the sun. For every pound of sweat you lose, that’s a pint of water you’ll need to replenish. *2

    Fruits and vegetables can also help replace H2O. On a hot day, grab an orange for not only hydration, but a burst of energy from the natural sugars and vitamins.




    *2 American Heart Association

    *3 Web MD

    *4 Institute of Medicine - The Food & Nutrition Board

    *5 European Journal of Clinical Nutrition


  • 10 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Exercise

    600-03017958We all know the benefits of exercise: stress relief, weight loss, more energy.

    But some days, you need some extra motivation to keep moving. We’ve got you covered.

    1. Make it fun! Find something you enjoy doing. Dancing, swimming, walking—it doesn’t have to be the latest workout craze. What’s important is that you keep working out, in whatever way works for you.
    2. Get online support. These days, there are lots of monthly challenges you can get in on like DietBet or Daily Endorphin. A group to check in with keeps you accountable.
    3. Find a workout partner. Bonus: walking with a friend burns calories and lets you catch up on the neighborhood news at the same time.
    4. Pay a personal trainer. Paying a trainer can motivate you to show up to your scheduled workouts like nothing else.
    5. Sign up for an exercise class. It’s harder to slack off when you’re in a room full of people.
    6. Break it up. Tell yourself you only have to exercise for 10 minutes. You may find you want to keep going. If not, you can do a couple more mini-sessions during the day, instead of one long workout.
    7. Make it convenient. Online exercise videos are handy when you don’t have time to drive 20 minutes to the gym.
    8. Set a goal. It doesn’t have to be for weight loss. Why not see if you can reduce your waist measurement or work out three days every week?
    9. Track your progress. Recording your workouts—either online, through an app or in an old-fashioned journal—is a proven way to make you want to keep going.
    10. Reward yourself for working out. Choose rewards like a new outfit, a massage or special body scrub. You deserve it!


  • 6 Easy, Healthy Switches for Spring

    SpringladyTime to get back on board with those New Year's resolutions--just in time for spring! Here are a few ideas for healthy habits that are good for you and the planet.

    1.   Cook with Coconut

    There’s been a lot of buzz about coconut oil recently. Early studies show how using coconut oil (especially virgin or cold-pressed) can help increase resistance to viruses and bacteria and improve digestive system functioning. Coconut oil contains an unusual blend of short- and medium-chain fatty acids that offer a variety of health benefits. It also contains lauric acid, which increases good HDL cholesterol (read more about coconut's benefits). Remember though, coconut oil is a saturated fat and shouldn’t make up more than 10 percent of your daily calories. Barlean's Extra Virgin Coconut Oil is a fresh tasting oil that gives food just a hint of real coconut flavor.

    2.   Banish BPAs

    Using storage containers made from polycarbonate plastics can allow synthetic compounds like BPA (bisphenol) to leach into food and beverages. Still under review by the FDA, BPA is worrisome because of possible health effects on the brain, behavior and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children. Instead, use containers made from BPA-free materials like glass or metal. Wean Green's Cubes are stylish, tempered glass storage containers that are perfect for snacks, baby food or fruit. Or check out Kids Konserve’s Rectangle Stainless Steel Container, a safe, reusable lunchbox container for eco-conscious kids and parents.

    3.   Clean without Chemicals

    Don't think you can clean your home effectively if you don't use serious chemicals? Think again. Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Lavender Surface Scrub is a non-scratching powder made with naturally safe ash and oxygen bleach that gets the grime off tile, stainless steel and porcelain fixtures. And Biokleen's Bac-Out Stain & Odor Eliminator uses natural enzyme cultures and lime peel extract to safely remove pet, food and beverage stains and odors on carpets, clothes and even diapers. Your home (and family) will thank you for it!

    4.   Get Your Nutrition from Real Food

    Try getting your nutrition from the source! Whole food-based multivitamins are made from real food, meaning they're easier on the stomach and easier for your body to absorb. MegaFood Women’s One Daily, for example, is jam-packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and immune-boosters from whole foods, yeast and herbs. It’s a veritable buffet of good stuff like cabbage, brown rice, broccoli, berries and mushrooms in one tablet.

    5.   Keep Chemicals off Your Skin

    Why risk using skin care made with synthetic chemicals? The Environmental Working Group tells us parabens, phthalates, fragrance, PEGs, tricholsan, oxybenzone and boric acid are all suspected toxins, and are commonly found in lotions, sunscreens, deodorants, soaps, diaper creams and cosmetics. Instead, turn to Pharmaca for a wide range of safe and effective alternatives. Customer favorites that rate highly with the EWG include Juice Beauty's Exfoliating Cleanser and evanhealy's Pomegranate Repair Serum. For overall body coverage, try Coola's Plant UV Body Sunscreen Moisturizer SPF 30.

    6.  Think Reusable, Not Disposable

    Let’s make this the time to really commit to stop buying water in disposable plastic bottles. Mavea's stylish filter pitchers offer great tasting water that removes contaminants, toxins and micro-organisms. And when you want to take some with you, use the stainless steel Pharmaca Triple Insulated Hot and Cold Beverage Bottle or Lifefactory Glass Bottle.

  • Healthy Gifts for Health-Conscious Moms

    DaughterWe know how much moms sacrifice for their little ones...time to give something back! Whether it's for Christmas, a birthday, or just because, Mom deserves the chance to pamper herself. Consider one (or more!) of the following ideas for the health-conscious mom in your life.

    5 Healthy Gift Ideas for Moms

    1. SpaRitual Nail Lacquers
      A great manicure can make any woman feel instantly pretty! When mom can’t get to the salon, SpaRitual Nail Lacquer is the next best alternative. Made of the finest natural ingredients, ensuring that she isn't exposed to harmful chemicals that are present in other commercial nail polish brands.
    2. Ahava Natural Bath Salts
      A warm, soothing bath is enlightening for the body and the spirit, and bath salts add the perfect touch of relaxation and rejuvenation to any soak session. Ahava Natural Bath Salts are made with skin-energizing crystals from the Dead Sea that ensure Mom’s bath is relaxing and nourishing.
    3. Candles
      Candles add a perfect accent to any room of the home--especially when they're infused with essential oils! Look to candles made from soy wax and other clean burning materials to promote better indoor air quality, as well as ones scented with essential oils that can boost positivity, inspiration or healing are perfect to help stressed out moms re-center and rejuvenate.
    4. Yoga Sessions
      Give her a chance to breathe deep, minimize her stress and strengthen her body! Yoga studios typically offer classes ranging from the beginner level to the advanced, allowing any mom to participate in a class she is comfortable.
    5. Herbal Tea
      Herbal tea is known for containing antioxidants and beneficial, natural ingredients that can help boost health and ease of mind. Specialty teas by the Republic of Tea are blended for active adults to refresh, boost metabolism, and increase endurance and flexibility. No matter what blend your mom prefers, she will certainly appreciate a boost to her emotional and physical wellbeing.

    If your mom deserves a healthy gift, look to these for inspiration!

  • Controlling Inflammation: The Secret to Aging?

    Want to learn more about the link between aging and inflammation? We found this fascinating article from Discover Magazine about how inflammation may be the most controllable element in the aging process.

    "When you start to think about aging as a consequence of start to see old age in a different, much more hopeful light. If decrepitude is driven by an overactive immune system, then it is treatable. And if many chronic diseases share this underlying cause, they might all be remedied in a similar way. The right anti-inflammatory drug could be a panacea, treating diabetes, dementia, heart disease, and even cancer." 

    But prescription drugs aren't the only solution to inflammation. Exercise, diet and herbal remedies can all play a vital role in controlling inflammation throughout our lives. Read more about our practitioners' recommendations.

    Here are a few other resources that can help:

  • Identify your nutrient deficiencies

    One of the perks of having so many expert practitioners around is being able to take advantage of their knowledge. Awhile ago, Cat Pantaleo, an herbalist and nutritionist at our downtown Boulder store, led a workshop for the office on nutrient deficiencies. She brought with her this handy worksheet that shows common health issues and the nutrient deficiencies that often cause them.

    Follow these three steps to resolve your nutrient deficiencies.

    Step 1: Circle any symptoms you have.

    Symptom Nutrient
    acne Essential fatty acids (EFA), vitamin A, vitamin B6, zinc
    agitation calcium, magnesium
    alopecia copper, EFA, riboflavin, vitamin B6, zinc
    anemia copper, iron, magnesium, vitamin B6
    anemia (megoblastic) folate
    anorexia folate, iron, magnesium, niacin, thiamine, vitamin B6, zinc
    anxiety calcium, chromium, EFA, magnesium, niacin, pyridoxine, thiamine
    apathy folate, zinc
    brittle nails calcium, iron, zinc
    canker sores niacin
    cognitive impairment calcium, potassium
    cold hands and feet magnesium
    cold, sensitivity to iron
    constipation folate, iron, potassium, thiamine, vitamin B12
    delusions calcium
    depression calcium, copper, folic acid, iron, magnesium, niacin, potassium, riboflavin, rubidium, thiamine, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, vitamin C, zinc
    diarrhea EFA, niacin, vitamin D, zinc
    disorientation magnesium
    dizziness iron, riboflavin, vitamin B12, vitamin B6
    eczema EFA, zinc, calcium
    edema magnesium, potassium
    fatigue chromium, copper, folate, iron, magnesium, niacin, potassium, thiamine, vitamin A, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc
    gallstones EFA
    gums, bleeding vitamin C
    hair, dry EFA, vitamin A
    hallucinations magnesium
    headache folate, iron, vitamin B12, niacin
    hyperactivity calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, niacin, pyridoxine, thiamine
    hypercholesterolemia chromium, copper, potassium, selenium, zinc
    hypertension calcium, magnesium, potassium
    hypotension magnesium, potassium
    immunodepression copper, EFA, folic acid, iodine, iron, magnesium, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, selenium, vitamin A, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, zinc
    impotence zinc
    infertility (female) EFA
    infertility (male) zinc
    insomnia calcium, copper, folate, iron, magnesium, niacin, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin D
    irritability calcium, iron, lithium, magnesium, niacin, thiamine, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, vitamin C
    kidney stones magnesium
    legs, restless folate, calcium, magnesium
    lethargy zinc
    memory, poor folate, niacin, thiamine, zinc
    mental confusion iron, magnesium, niacin, thiamine
    muscle cramps calcium, magnesium
    muscle pain magnesium
    muscle spasms calcium
    muscle tension calcium
    muscle tremor magnesium
    muscle weakness magnesium, niacin, potassium
    nausea magnesium, niacin, vitamin B6
    nervousness calcium, magnesium, potassium, thiamine, vitamin B6, vitamin D
    numbness of limbs calcium, thiamine, vitamin B12
    palpitations calcium, iron, vitamin B12
    paranoia folate, zinc
    periodontal disease calcium
    skin inflammation niacin, riboflavin
    tooth decay calcium
    vertigo magnesium
    vision, blurred riboflavin
    weakness copper, folate, thiamine, vitamin B6
    wound healing, slow vitamin C, zinc, EFA, vitamin B6
    *Source: Nutritional Influences on Illness and Nutritional Influences on Mental illness, by Melvyn Werbach, Third Line Press.

    Step 2: Put a checkmark next to each nutrient that shows up next to a symptom. Nutrients that have four or more checkmarks are those you may be deficient in.

    Retinol (Vitamin A) _____
    Thiamine (Vitamin B1) _____
    Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) _____
    Niacin (Vitamin B3) _____
    Panthotenic Acid (Vitamin B5) _____
    Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6) _____
    Folate / Folic Acid _____
    Cobalamin (Vitamin B12) _____
    Vitamin C _____
    Vitamin D _____
    Vitamin E _____
    Essential Fatty Acids _____
    Calcium _____
    Chromium _____
    Copper _____
    Iodine _____
    Iron _____
    Magnesium _____
    Potassium _____
    Selenium _____
    Zinc _____

    3. Come speak with a Pharmaca practitioner about the best way for you to get these nutrients!

  • How safe is your bottled water?

    A recent post in Treehugger's Ask Pablo column asked just that. Pablo examined the Environmental Working Group's 2011 Bottled Water Scorecard, as well as a 2008 report they did on the health of a number of different bottled water brands, and the results were surprising.

    According to the EWG, the best way to get your water is to filter it straight from your tap.

    The tests showed that many bottled waters were chemically indistinguishable from tap waters; others contained "caffeine and pharmaceuticals (Tylenol); heavy metals and minerals including arsenic and radioactive isotopes; fertilizer residue (nitrate and ammonia); and a broad range of other, tentatively identified industrial chemicals used as solvents, plasticizers, viscosity decreasing agents, and propellants."

    Turns out what's good for the environment is good for you too! Pharmaca offers a great selection of water filters, from pitchers to stick in your fridge to filters to attach to your faucet. Just pour your filtered water it in a reusable, BPA-free water bottle from SIGG or Earthlust and be on your way.

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