Pharmaca Blog

  • The Link Between Omega 3 Fatty Acids and Diabetes Risk

    Diabetes, which affects more than 23 million Americans, is the most common disorder of the endocrine system and occurs when blood sugar levels in the body are consistently higher than they should be. Approximately 3.4 million people die from diabetes each year; the World Health Organization (WHO) predicts diabetes-related deaths will double between 2005 and 2030. While type 1 diabetes is caused by the body's inability to make insulin, type 2 diabetes is caused by the body not responding to the effects of insulin. Unlike type 1, which is genetic, many experts believe that type 2 is largely preventable.

    According to three new studies in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, taking in an increased amount of omega-3 fatty acids from marine and plant sources may reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes. Omega-3s are an unsaturated fatty acid found predominantly in fish oils and plant seed oils, and are an essential nutrient that most people simply don't get enough of in their regular diet. There are three main omega-3 fatty acids: ALA, EPA and DHA. Fish, especially fatty fish (cod, salmon, trout, mackerel, haddock), is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids.

    The AJCN published the results of three studies--two on Chinese subjects and one on US subjects. The first Chinese study included data collected from more than 150,000 men and women and found that plant-derived omega-3 fatty acids were associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, while the second Chinese study found that omega-3 acids from fish sources was associated with reduced type 2 diabetes risk. The second study also showed that females responded better than males to the intake of omega-3s from fish. The US study followed 3,000 older men and women and found that both omega-3 fatty acids from fish and plant sources were associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.

    Regardless of your age or where you live, it seems that omega-3 fatty acids from fish and plants can help reduce your risk of developing this deadly disease. Ask your Pharmaca practitioner about how omega-3 fatty acids can be taken safely to reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes.

  • 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:

  • What Do You Know About Echinacea?

    Echinacea has become a go-to herb for boosting immunity and is now a staple in many people’s medicine cabinets. But do you know just how long it’s been around? Archeological digs show that Native Americans used echinacea for more than four centuries to treat wounds and infections and as a general cure-all. At other points in history, echinacea has been used to treat malaria, syphilis, scarlet fever and blood poisoning. Echinacea was most popular in the United States in the 1800s and 1900s, but, like many alternative therapies, its popularity declined after the introduction of antibiotics.

    Today, we use echinacea to shorten the duration of the common cold and the flu and to reduce symptoms such as sore throat, cough and fever. Echinacea is reported to boost the immune system and help fight infections. While the benefits of echinacea have long been debated in the medical community, many of our customers report that taking echinacea at the onset of a cold reduces their symptoms and shortens the length of time they have a cold. (Click here for a full round-up of recent research studies done on echinacea.)

    If you love echinacea—or even if you’ve never tried it—check out Pharmaca’s full line of echinacea and other nutritional supplements, such as zinc, to help fight colds and infections. We offer Echinacea in various forms including soft gels, fluid, capsules, and tablets. (As with any herbal supplement, you should always consult your doctor before taking it as there are possible interactions with certain prescribed medications including immunosuppressants, some cancer treatments and Econazole, an antifungal agent.)

  • New Season, New Look: Fall Makeup Trends

    Ready for a new look? Get inspired by the latest colors and trends from our favorite cosmetics lines. We got some natural makeup tips from our expert estheticians on playing up your features this season.

    Victoria H., Esthetician, Menlo Park Pharmaca

    What's new for fall makeup? Keep the eyes neutral and warm up your colors by playing up your lips and cheeks.

    If you’re not quite ready to cover up and you’re still wearing tops that bare your shoulders and décolleté, dust on some Moonglow Bronzer by jane iredale. It’ll add just a hint of color—with shimmer—to replace a fading summer tan.


    Harmony C., Esthetician
    Monterey Pharmaca

    "Dark greens and purples seem to be the theme of the fall season," says Harmony. Here are a few of her new favorites:

    jane iredale Mystikol eyeliner  

    Harmony says smoky eyes are easier with iredale’s Mystikol, because the wider tip creates an instant smudged look. She says to dip it in the cap only once and keep applying until it’s blended well. Try it in purpley Amethyst or bright-green Aquamarine.

    Dr. Hauschka Lip Gloss

    Harmony says two of the newest colors from Hauschka are very of-the-moment—choose from the mauvey-soft Antique Rose (05) or rich Blackberry (06). Plus, they’re infused with mango butter and apricot kernel oil to keep lips moisturized and protected.

    She also likes jane iredale’s brand-new Lip Fixation in Relish—a shimmery plum lip stain on one end with a glittery clear gloss on the other. Pair any of these with a metallic evening dress and you’re ready for a night on the town!

    SpaRitual Nail Lacquers

    This fall’s Wilde Collection from SpaRitual gives off an earthy, tribal feel—think glamour in the jungle! Check out bright colors like Rhythm of Life (a sparkly teal) and Instinct (a glossy purple). And because they’re free of formaldehyde and toluene, you can feel good about putting them on your fingers and toes.

    Come find your new fall look at Pharmaca today!

  • Manuka Honey: Nature's Antibiotic

    All of the sudden everyone's talking about Manuka honey--or "nature's antibiotic." It's not just a good-for-you way to sweeten tea, it's also great for boosting digestive health or even dressing a wound for faster healing.

    We learned awhile ago that the manuka bush, native to Australia and New Zealand, is a close relative of the powerfully antibacterial tea tree plant, so it follows that bees that feed on the flowers of the manuka bush would somehow translate the anti-bacterial properties of the plant into their honey. Researchers have indeed tested manuka honey on a variety of infectious bacteria, and have found astonishing results in its effectiveness at fighting infection. Just smear into a cut or burn--just like you would an antibiotic cream--and let the honey do its work.

    Pharmaca now carries Wedderspoon's Manuka Honey, versatile enough to keep in your tea cupboard or in your first aid kit! You'll also find it in some of Andalou Naturals' fabulous hair products. And don't miss out on all these other great ways to use a lip balm...dry elbow reliever..sore throat booster. It really is a wonder food!

  • Cloud B Products and Better Sleep for Baby

    Proper sleep is essential for a healthy, developing child. Discover Cloud B’s soothing products, which are specially designed to help children sleep better.

    Created in conjunction with a certified board of pediatricians, Cloud B’s products help soothe the senses by creating a peaceful environment and ease a child’s fear of the dark—perfect companions for your child’s bedside.

    Older children will love Twilight Turtle and Twilight Ladybug, plush toys that project a starry night sky on your child’s bedroom ceiling. Just switch it on and walls are covered with eight actual constellations, which children can learn how to identify with the accompanying illustrated Storybook and Star Guide. Fun for children of all ages!

    To create the most calming sound environment for infants, choose Sleep Sheep On The Go, which can play one of four unique sounds, including gentle stream, spring showers, ocean waves or whale songs. It’s compact enough to take with you whether you’re strolling in the park or on vacation, and ideal to help children get to sleep when they’re in unfamiliar environments.

    Cloud B’s multi-award winning products have become leaders in helping children sleep, allowing both parents and their children to have a good night’s rest.

  • Vitamin D Deficient? You May be Prone to Muscle Injury and Alzheimer's

    Add stronger muscles to the ever-growing list of reasons to take vitamin D. Scientists recently discovered that a lack of vitamin D could result in muscle injuries in athletes; another group of scientists found that vitamin D can help to remove plaques in the brain that have long been associated with Alzheimer’s disease, a progressive form of dementia that afflicts millions of people. Because it’s hard to get enough vitamin D in your diet, our practitioners strongly recommend that you get you ensure you’re getting your recommended daily allowance through a vitamin D supplement.

    For decades, researchers have been telling us about the health benefits of vitamin D:

    • Maintains bone health
    • Enhances immunity
    • Helps quell the proliferation of cancer cells
    • Reduces inflammation
    • Aids in the digestive process
    • Lowers risk of bacterial infections
    • Supports mood stability
    • Helps prevent type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and bladder, breast, colon, ovarian, prostate and rectal cancers.

    Athletes who are vitamin D deficient and muscle Injury

    A study was recently presented at the annual meeting of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine linking vitamin D deficiency to a risk of muscle injuries in athletes. The study indicated that NFL players were especially prone to vitamin-D deficiency-related muscle injuries.

    The research team, led by Dr. Michael Shindle of Summit Medical Group, studied 89 players from one NFL team. The players’ vitamin D levels were measured in the spring of 2010. Data about which players missed games due to muscle injuries was collected, and vitamin D levels were tracked. The results indicated that many of the physically fit NFL players suffered a substantial lack of vitamin D. Specifically, 27 players were “dramatically deficient,” while 45 had “levels consistent with insufficiency.” Only 17 of the 89 players in the test group had vitamin D levels within normal limits. The results? The 16 players who suffered the most muscle injuries also had the lowest vitamin D levels.

    Vitamin D deficiency and Alzheimer's disease

    Research recently published in the journal Fluids and Barriers of the CNSindicates that vitamin D may also assist in the removal of plaques in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers gave vitamin D injections to mice with amyloid beta plaques—considered the hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease--in their brains and found that vitamin D therapy helped remove the plaques. Considering the aggressive, destructive nature of this form of dementia, this research is very exciting news for the medical community and the general public.

    Want to learn more about the benefits of vitamin D and how much you should really be taking? Speak with a Pharmaca practitioner today.

  • Magnesium Supplement: Hot Flash Relief

    Good news from researchers about reducing the symptoms of menopause, even if you're a breast cancer survivor: Magnesium can reduce hot flashes caused by breast cancer drugs. A recent study published in Natural Standard shows that breast cancer patients taking magnesium supplements experienced fewer hot flashes per week than women not taking the supplement. Hot flash relief is here, ladies!

    Women who survive breast cancer often experience hot flashes from the anti-estrogen treatment, tamoxifen (brand name Nolvadex). Aromatase inhibitors also cause severe hot flashes in breast cancer patients. In the study, 20 breast cancer patients experiencing at least 14 hot flashes per day were given magnesium oxide at 400 mg per day for 4 weeks, increasing to 800 mg a day if necessary (which it was in 17 of the 20 patients). The key findings of the study were that magnesium supplementation significantly reduced the frequency of hot flashes (a 41.4 percent reduction), and more than half of the patients studied had a reduction of more than 50 percent. There were also significant reductions in fatigue, sweating and distress.

    Magnesium can be powerful for a lot of other health issues, too. Additional health benefits of magnesium include a reduction in cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer's disease, insulin resistance, osteoporosis, migraines, asthma and so much more (Find out more here!).

    Shop Pharmaca’s complete line of magnesium—our customers love Pure Essence Ionic Fizz Magnesium and Floradix’s Liquid Magnesium. Talk to a Pharmaca practitioner about the right magnesium for you!

  • MyChelle: Pioneering Plant Stem Cells

    Plant stem cells are becoming an increasingly popular ingredient in skin care, as they are effective at helping our own skin cells regenerate (learn more about plant stem cells). MyChelle Dermaceuticals was one of the first in the natural market to introduce plant stem cell innovation, and three advanced formulas from MyChelle contain some of the most potent plant stem cell bioactive ingredients.

    Fabulous Eye Cream is an advanced eye cream now formulated with Edelweiss plant stem cells, which help reduce the visible signs of aging. The Edelweiss plant stem cells provide outstanding antioxidant activity and inhibit collagenase, thus limiting collagen degradation and loss of skin firmness. Also high in phytosterols, amino acids and polysaccharides, Fabulous Eye Cream is moisturizing and nutrient-rich, which helps rejuvenate and hydrate delicate eye tissue. Research shows that when applied twice daily for 20 days, Fabulous Eye Cream can reduce wrinkle depth by 15 percent.
    Apple Brightening Serum is a powerful serum with PhytoCellTec Apple fruit stem cells, Melanosatine 5, Algowhite and Applephenon, to effectively diminish hyperpigmentation caused by excessive sun exposure and age. PhytoCellTecTM has been shown to stimulate and protect human stem cells while reducing the depth of wrinkles through the promotion of skin regeneration. This plant stem cell is a key ingredient that can delay the biological aging mechanism.
    Capillary Calming Serum is a bioactive serum that soothes and relieves skin discomfort with the power of cutting-edge Gotu Kola Plant Stem Cells. This particular stem cell culture efficiently inhibits hyaluronidase production by up to 90 percent. Skin maintains healthy levels of hydration and elasticity while remaining firm and toned. Coupled with other incredible ingredients, this powerful formula also helps relieve redness, inflammation, and irritation.
  • Muscle Aches? Try Essential Oils for Pain

    Aches and pains got you down? If you’ve already run the gamut of prescription and over-the-counter medications, you may want try essential oils for pain and muscle aches. Essential oils, extracted from plants, flowers and trees, have powerful anti-inflammatory and analgesic (i.e. pain-relieving) properties. Essential oils also act as a detoxifying agent. Menstrual cramps, sports injuries and joint pain can all be treated safely and naturally with essential oils.

    Because essential oils are too concentrated to put directly on the skin, they have to be blended with carrier oils such as grapeseed or almond (bonus: these oils also help moisturize the skin). You can also add diluted essential oils to bath water or soak a washcloth in warm water and essential oils and place on the body at the site of the pain.

    Some popular essential oils to try for pain relief include chamomile, lavender, eucalyptus, rosemary, marjoram, peppermint, birch. So how do you use them? Here are some essential oils recipes for pain relief:

    • General muscle aches: Combine 5 drops lavender, 4 drops marjoram and 3 drops rosemary with 30 ml of a carrier oil in a hot bath
    • PMS pain: Blend 5 drops clary sage, 5 drops geranium and 5 drops chamomile oil. Rub in a clockwise direction as you massage into the affected area
    • Menstrual cramps: Blend 4 drops jasmine, 4 drops clary sage and 2 drops lavender with 5 tsp sweet almond oil. Massage in the abdominal region and around the lower back
    • Stomach cramps: Add 2 drops cardamom, 2 drops basil and 3 drops marjoram to 2 tsp of carrier oil and massage over stomach and abdomen

    Want to get started with your essential oil arsenal? Check out Pharmaca’s extensive line of essential oils for pain relief.

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