Tag Archives: prod-472774

  • 5 Reasons to Get Better Sleep

    SleepMaskIf you have trouble getting quality sleep, it can affect more than just your level of fatigue throughout the day. “We think sleeplessness actually accelerates a lot of health issues related to age,” says Dr. Brad Jacobs, chair of Pharmaca’s Integrative Health Advisory Board. It can also affect your endocrine system, carbohydrate metabolism, glucose tolerance, cortisol levels, and the activity of your sympathetic nervous system, he says.

    Here are a few reasons why getting 7-9 hours of sleep per night is essential to good health.

    Sleep improves your mood.
    We all know how we feel after a lousy night’s sleep—irritable, impatient and unable to concentrate. The reason could be that the chemicals involved in the sleep-wake cycle are also in involved in mood and energy concentration. Too little sleep can also leave you too tired to do the things you enjoy, exacerbating the cycle.

    Sleep can aid in weight loss.
    Too little sleep can increase your levels of a hormone called ghrelin, which increases your appetite and can affect the way we process and store carbohydrates. It can also impair your ability to process glucose and increase your body’s tendency to hold on to fat cells. Experts have even linked these issues to increased rates of diabetes.

    Sleep is good for your skin.
    Our bodies produce proteins while we sleep to restore and repair skin damage that comes from UV light exposure, stress, pollutants and other age-accelerating factors we deal with daily. That means not enough sleep can make it harder to fight off free radicals and speed up our skin’s aging process.

    Sleep keeps your brain and memory strong.
    Not enough sleep limits our time in REM sleep, the cycle that is most closely linked to improved learning and memory. Adequate sleep has been shown to improve our ability to learn tasks, consolidate memories and make good decisions—a good reason to take a night to “sleep on it” when faced with big choices!

    Sleep can reduce your chances of serious disease.
    A number of studies have shown that people who sleep poorly are at greater risk for health problems such as cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure and more. Sleep deprivation can also alter immune function, impair the activity of the body’s killer cells and increase the presence of stress hormones in the body.

    Want better sleep? Learn more about natural strategies and supplements from Dr. Brad Jacobs, MD.

    Ask a practitioner about other helpful sleep supplements and strategies.

  • A Whole Body Approach to Fibromyalgia

    Fibromyalgia affects an estimated 5 million adults in America. But what is fibromyalgia? The condition is characterized primarily by chronic, widespread unexplained pain and tender points throughout the body, as well as profound fatigue and sleep disturbances. Fibromyalgia is most common among women and people with autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.

    Those with fibromyalgia (FM) may also experience secondary symptoms such as waking unrefreshed, morning stiffness, weakness, brain fog, headaches/migraines, mood complaints (e.g. depression, anxiety), numbness/tingling, joint swelling, balance problems, itchy or burning skin and digestive disorders.

    These symptoms often look similar to health conditions such as lyme disease, anemia, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer or infection. Fibromyalgia also shares many similarities with chronic fatigue syndrome—it’s estimated that 70 percent of people diagnosed with FM also meet the criteria for chronic fatigue—as well as multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome (hypersensitivity to chemicals and smells). Because there are no lab tests that can confirm a FM diagnosis, fibromyalgia is often only diagnosed after other conditions have been ruled out.

    The cause of fibromyalgia is still unknown, but it is thought that a variety of factors may be involved—such as genetics, previous infections/illness, emotional or physical stress, and imbalances with important chemicals such as serotonin, tryptophan and norepinephrine. Ultimately, symptoms of pain may be due to faulty communication between pain signals and the nervous system, which results in an amplified pain sensation.

    A variety of treatment options exist to help reduce pain, lessen daytime fatigue and improve sleep. Conventional therapy uses analgesics, sleep aids, muscle relaxers or anti-depressants. Natural and alternative therapies, on the other hand, utilize a whole body approach to treatment that includes diet, nutrition and lifestyle changes, botanicals and bodywork.


    Tips for a whole body approach

    Many people suffering from fibromyalgia find relief through daily stretching, light exercise, massage, yoga, meditation or acupuncture. People with FM generally experience good days and bad days; it’s important not to overexert yourself on good days as it could exacerbate symptoms.

    A good dietary approach includes whole food-based nutrition, identifying and eliminating food sensitivities, and ensuring adequate hydration. Avoiding or significantly decreasing caffeine and alcohol can improve sleep and decrease the body’s toxic burden.

    Many supplements can also help to reduce pain and improve fatigue and sleep quality.

    D-ribose helps replenish core energy, provides muscles with energy, reduces muscle stiffness, soreness and fatigue, and improves heart function. Try Ribose Muscle Edge from Jarrow Formulas.

    Magnesium, which is commonly deficient in those with FM, relaxes muscles, is necessary for proper muscle function and crucial for energy production. Try Pharmaca Magnesium Citrate, Pure Essence’s Ionic-Fizz or Natural Vitality Calm.

    Corvalen M is a helpful formula that combines ribose and magnesium and malate (or malic acid), which plays an important role in energy production.

    Herbs such as boswellia and turmeric can help alleviate pain.

    Licorice (try Herb Pharm’s) can help combat fatigue and boost energy levels.

    5-HTP helps improve sleep and mood by raising serotonin levels. Try Pharmaca, Natural Factors or Jarrow Formulas.

    Melatonin helps improve sleep (learn more about different sleep supplements that can help). Try melatonin from Pharmaca, Natural Factors or Source Naturals.

    Fish oil helps reduce inflammation and reduce pain. Try Metagenics or Nordic Naturals.

    Liver support helps address toxic burden. Try  New Chapter’s Liver Force or Milk Thistle by Pharmaca, Eclectic Institute or Herb Pharm.

    Greens are an important source of minerals, help provide energy, and alkalize the body. Try Health Force Nutritionals, Amazing Grass or Vibrant Health.

    If you’re experiencing symptoms of fibromyalgia—such as deep muscle pain and fatigue that last longer than a week or two—talk to a qualified health practitioner about treatment options.

  • Adding Life to Your Years

    As the average life expectancy continues to increase, more adults are looking for ways to remain healthy well past their AARP induction. Fortunately, Pharmaca empowers you to take control of your health with a wide selection of helpful products and a knowledgeable staff to provide guidance. Whimsy Anderson, a naturopathic doctor at our Brentwood store, shares some of her favorite recommendations for living a healthier, more active life.

    An Active Mind
    Research such as a 2005 Harvard University study has shown the importance of antioxidants in combating free radical damage to neurons. That's why Dr. Anderson recommends supplementing your diet with an antioxidant-rich powdered greens formula to ensure you are getting enough. She also stresses the importance of increasing intake of DHA from fish oil, regulating blood sugar, and even avoiding deodorants that contain aluminum.
    TRY: Orac-Energy Greens and Natural Factors PGX Slim

    A Healthy Heart
    Heart disease remains the leading killer of Americans, despite the fact that it is an avoidable and reversible condition. According to Dr. Anderson, "it really boils down to eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise," to protect your heart. For those who want additional support, she recommends EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of clotting. She also says CoQ10 and niacin are great for lowering blood pressure.
    TRY: Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega and Jarrow Formulas Q-Absorb CoQ10

    Stronger Bones
    Osteoporosis is a preventable condition that causes a weakening of bones, making them more susceptible to breaks and fractures. Supplementing with calcium, magnesium and boron can help support bone deposition. Additionally, Dr. Anderson recommends looking for a formula that includes vitamins K2 and D3 since they work together to carry calcium into bones. She also encourages everyone to get regular exercise including weight-bearing activities.
    TRY: Jarrow Formulas Bone-Up

    A Steady Mood
    Practicing activities like yoga, meditation, and breath work can go a long way toward reducing daily stress and anxiety. "Never underestimate the importance of breathing," says Dr. Anderson. To help boost overall mood, supplement daily with 5-HTP which acts as a precursor for serotonin. Dr. Anderson also notes that it may be helpful to take a blood sugar test since hypoglycemia is sometimes misdiagnosed as depression.
    TRY: Pharmaca Brand 5-HTP

    Be sure to speak with one of our professional staff members at your local Pharmaca for information and advice that fits your individual needs.

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