Tag Archives: prod-469152

  • The ABCs of Adrenal Health

    Massage Lady
    Are you tired and sluggish? Having trouble sleeping? These are just a few symptoms of adrenal fatigue, which many of our practitioners believe can be the result of a nutrient-poor diet and high levels of stress.

    Finding relief can be easier when you understand how best to nourish your adrenal glands. We asked certified herbalist and nutritionist Shizandra Fox from our Sonoma store to shed some light on this all-too-common syndrome.

    What are the adrenal glands?

    Sometimes called the body’s “shock absorbers,” the adrenals are two thumb-shaped glands located above your kidneys. Kicking into high gear when we feel stress, the adrenal glands produce a variety of hormones including, cortisol, norepinephrine and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA).

    What are the symptoms of adrenal fatigue?

    People suffering from adrenal fatigue are usually very run down, have difficulty sleeping, wake up with panic and can be overly emotional. In addition, Shizandra often notices her customers complaining of:

    • Low blood sugar
    • Poor circulation
    • Depression
    • Low self-esteem
    • Muscle weakness
    • Pain in the joints
    • Constipation
    • Compromised immune function

    How does diet affect adrenal fatigue?

    What you eat and drink can make a huge difference in how you feel, Shizandra says. That’s why she recommends that before you take any herb or supplement, you first clean up your diet—and keep it cleaned up. Here are a few simple ways to do that:

    • Choose fresh, whole foods, preferably organic and locally grown.
    • Include lean protein with each meal and snack to help stabilize blood sugar.
    • Try to prepare extra nutritious snacks to have on hand when you crave sugar and caffeine.

    Shizandra also recommends preparing the digestive tract with a combination of probiotics, enzymes and minerals that can help boost absorption of any supplements you take for adrenal nourishment. She also suggests a morning “liver flush” of 12–16 ounces of filtered water with lemon juice, and advocates for taking a good B complex that includes pantothenic acid or B5.

    What supplements can help?

    First, Shizandra has customers describe their symptoms, so she can best match an herb or supplement with what they need. “If they’re feeling primarily depleted, for example, then I might suggest rhodiola to support their energy levels,” she says. “Or, if they’re really stressed out, I might suggest ashwagandha for its calming effect.”

    Rhodiola, along with ashwagandha, astragalus and eleuthero are among a class of herbs called adaptogens, which are said to help you adapt to physical, emotional and environmental forms of stress.

    One popular adaptogen blend Shizandra frequently recommends is MegaFood’s Adrenal Strength, which includes functional food mushrooms, along with astragalus and schisandra to help to strengthen adrenals and support immune health.

    And to promote better sleep and help normalize stress-related hormones, Shizandra often suggests Gaia Herbs’ Adrenal Health, which includes a combination of ashwagandha, rhodiola, holy basil, schisandra and wild oats. Shizandra also loves Vitanica’s Adrenal Assist, a naturopath-developed formula that supports and promotes adrenal hormone production with key nutrients and a variety of adaptogenic herbs.

    Finally, because stress plays such an important role in adrenal fatigue, Shizandra tells customers to do anything they can to lower their overall stress level on a daily basis—get enough sleep, exercise regularly or breathe more deeply.

    If you’re feeling run down and are wondering how to nourish your adrenals, talk with a Pharmaca practitioner today for customized solutions.

  • Buyer Spotlight: What's in our Supplement Buyer's Medicine Cabinet?

    Don'sSuppsOur health care practitioners are pros at recommending natural remedies for customers. But what are the essentials they always keep on hand? We asked Don Summerfield, Pharmaca's vice president of integrative medicine (and manager of our supplements category), to tell us about his Pharmaca favorites.

    Gaia Herbs Adrenal Health
    “I take this for general overall stress support. It nourishes my adrenal glands, boosts my adrenal function and provides relief from fatigue—without having to resort to caffeinated beverages.”

    Host Defense Reishi Mushroom
    “I am a huge fan of medicinal mushroom supplements and take them every day. My favorite species is the reishi mushroom, referred to respectfully as the ‘Mushroom of Immortality;’ it’s well known for supporting general wellness and vitality.”

    Garden of Life mykind Organics Men’s Multi
    “I take the mykind Organics Men’s Multi because it offers comprehensive nutritional support. I love that this supplement is made from real whole foods: fruits, veggies and herbs such as lemons, apples, basil, red cabbage, celery, tomatoes. Plus it’s Certified USDA Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified.”

    Pharmaca Coenzyme Q10
    “CoQ10 would be on my desert island top 10 list. I take 200 mg of CoQ10 daily to support healthy heart function and prevent gum disease. CoQ10 plays a vital role in energy production within cells, and protects cholesterol from oxidation.”

    Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega
    “A high-quality fish oil is always a part of my daily supplement program. I take three capsules of Ultimate Omega daily to support my heart, improve joint flexibility and mobility, and to help prevent overall inflammatory conditions.”

    Megafood Turmeric Booster
    “Each morning I make a fresh coconut milk smoothie with mixed berries, kale, cilantro and a heaping scoop of Megafood Turmeric Booster. Turmeric is the queen of herbs from the Ayurvedic medical system, renowned for its anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory activity.”

    New Chapter Cinnamon Force
    “Cinnamon Force is a fabulous supplement to help normalize blood sugar levels and create immediate cellular energy. I love to bite into a Cinnamon Force capsule after each meal to release that burst of fresh cinnamon flavor.”

  • A Holistic Approach to Stress

    Whether you need just a few extra minutes of calm in your day or more long-term stress relief, Pharmaca offers a variety of different approaches to beating anxiety. And don’t forget—helping your body better cope with stress can go a long way toward optimal health and reducing your risk for chronic conditions like cancer, obesity and heart disease.

    The Herbal Approach
    When it comes to stress-fighting herbs, Cassy Dymond, ND at our Seattle - Wallingford location, says her go-tos are passionflower, lemon balm and milky oats. “WishGarden Herbs has some really nice formulas,” says Cassy. Deep Stress, for example, contains herbs like nettles, oat seed, thyme, bladder wrack and skullcap—“a really great herb for stress. This one is ideal when you have stress and anxiety with agitation and a hard time falling asleep,” says Cassy. She also likes their Emotional Ally, which can be helpful when you’re going through a difficult period in life, like a personal or professional change. That one also includes skullcap and St. John’s wort.

    In addition to calm-inducing herbs, says Cassy, “My tendency is to look for herbs that are supportive to the adrenals. If someone is stressed out it’s important to address the adrenal glands, too.” That’s when she turns to adaptogenic herbs like ashwaghanda, eleuthero and rhodiola, found in Gaia Herbs’ Adrenal Health and Vitanica’s Adrenal Assist.

    The Vitamins & Supplements Approach
    “B vitamins are also hugely important regarding stress,” says Cassy. “They are co-factors in so many different cellular processes, and when we’re stressed, we burn through B5 and B6 more quickly.” Look for B complexes from Thorne Research, MegaFood or New Chapter.

    Two more to add to the stress-fighting toolkit, according to Cassy: vitamin C, which offers good antioxidant support during times of stress, and magnesium, which can be help relaxing the muscles and offer physical calm.

    The Homeopathic Approach
    This subtle, gentle form of healing can work on very specific forms of stress.  Elizabeth Vassar, homeopath at our Brentwood store, tells us about some of her favorites.

    Ignatia amara: “This is one of my number ones for coping with sudden disappointment or loss, such as the ending of a relationship,” says Elizabeth.

    Natrum muriaticum: “This is good for people who have a tendency toward mild to moderate depression,” she says.

    Kali phosphoricum: Elizabeth commonly recommends this for overworked people. “I usually give it to people who are tired of their job! It helps calm the nerves.”

    Bryonia Alba: This is good for someone who has suffered big losses—like their job, a home, etc., and is experiencing depression because of it, says Elizabeth.

    Arsenicum album: “This is for the people who worry about everything!” says Elizabeth.

    Because homeopathy is so specialized to each person’s individual needs, it’s best to speak with a homeopathic practitioner at Pharmaca about proper strengths and dosages.

    The Flower Essence Approach
    Much like homeopathy, flower essences are made via multiple dilutions of flower, tree and bush extracts, and work on an energetic level. In the 1920s, British homeopath Edward Bach isolated 38 flower essences that he felt were especially helpful in balancing emotions—making them ideal for beating stress.

    Bach’s Rescue Remedy, a combination of five flower essences, is a best-selling stress-relief option. “Rescue Remedy is designed for immediate relief from stress or some kind of trauma,” says Lindsay Fontana, homeopath at our Santa Fe store.  “Sometimes when you can just get a little distance from things, you can find more peace. And that’s what Rescue Remedy really gives you.” Available in drops, as a spray and in tasty pastilles, the formula includes five flowers: rock rose, clematis, impatiens, cherry plum and star of Bethlehem.

    Lindsay cites a few other individual flower essences that can be helpful for different stressful scenarios:

    Aspen is good for stress—literally for fears and worries of unknown origin

    Cherry Plum is for fear of losing control

    Elm is for when you’re overwhelmed by responsibility

    Honeysuckle helps when you’re dwelling on the past

    Pine relieves self-reproach or guilt

    Again, because of the specialized nature of these essences, it’s best to work with a Pharmaca practitioner on choosing individual products.

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