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  • Top 5 Essential Nutrients for Women

    AgingWomenWomen have unique health concerns—from the effects of the stress of juggling family and work to the natural hormonal changes that occur as we age. Whatever your concern, targeted nutrients can help you stay healthy, energetic and balanced throughout the years. For a better understanding of these helpful nutrients, we spoke with Jennifer Grushon, naturopath at our Seattle - Madison Valley store.

    Calcium with Vitamins K2 and D
    Calcium may seem like a no-brainer, as it can help counteract lowered bone mineral density and osteoporosis that many women experience as they age. But don’t forget about important co-factors that help calcium do its work. “Vitamins K2 and D help direct calcium into the bones, rather than keeping it in the blood, which can lead to calcification of vessels,” Jennifer says.

    Jennifer recommends: New Chapter’s Bone Strength Take Care or Jarrow Formulas’ Bone Up

    Vitamin B12
    “This vitamin is important for brain health, as well as energy production,” Jennifer says, adding that as we age, we have more difficulty absorbing B12 from food. “Taking this vitamin in a liquid or sublingual form bypasses the GI and allows for greater absorption.”

    Jennifer recommends: Garden of Life’s MyKind Organics B-12 Spray or Pharmaca brand B12 Chewable Tablets

    Probiotics
    “A balance of good flora is necessary for not just digestive health, but also for our immune system, vaginal and urinary tract health, and a balanced mood.” Jennifer says. Taking probiotics on a daily basis is vital to maintaining a flourishing microbiome, she adds.

    Jennifer recommends: Garden of Life’s Doctor Formulated Probiotics, especially Once Daily Womens’

    Fish Oil or Turmeric
    Both aid in decreasing inflammation in the body, which is important in aging adults since inflammation tends to increase as we age, says Jennifer. “Cardiovascular disease, arthritis, brain health, digestive issues, and so on, all have underlying inflammation.” Specifically, she says, turmeric helps to decrease NF-kappa B, an inflammatory protein complex, therefore reducing inflammatory cytokine production. Fish oil also has been shown to decrease cytokine production.

    Jennifer recommends: Gaia Herbs’ Turmeric Supreme, and Pharmax’s Finest Fish Oil or Nordic Naturals’ Ultimate Omega

    Magnesium
    “Involved in more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body, this mineral is a great sleep aid, and can help with leg cramps/muscle pain, anxiety, headaches and more,” Jennifer says. (Magnesium can also be effective in preventing migraines, according to Dr. Tieraona Low Dog.)

    Jennifer recommends: Thorne Research’s Magnesium Citramate or Pure Encapsulations’ Magnesium Glycinate

    Finally, Jennifer recommends that women experiencing serious stress or exhaustion look into adaptogenic herbs such as maca root (which is also a natural hormone balancer), rhodiola and schizandra.

  • The Scoop on Vitamins: B12 – Cobalamin

    NutritionSupplements16-ArticleB12 is the most complex and unique of all B vitamins. The only source of B12 in nature is from microbial synthesis from good bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract and from eating meat. Because it is not found in plants, it is a common deficiency for vegans and vegetarians, and because B12 is created in the intestinal tract, its absorption is also greatly inhibited by gastrointestinal disorders like Celiac Disease, Crohn’s, ilietis, colitis, parasites or any other disorders that impair intestinal function.

    So why is B12 so important? B12 is vital for amino acid synthesis, DNA replication and the manufacturing of neurotransmitters that are partially responsible for stabilizing mood and sleep patterns. Signs of deficiency include gastrointestinal disturbance, hypotension, fatigue, numbness, tingling in extremities, confusion and agitation.

    B12 is also needed to metabolize essential fatty acids, so a deficiency can result in impairment of brain and nerve tissue, like the myelin sheath. Prolonged deficiency of B12 can lead to a variety of central nervous system symptoms, and some neurological disturbances can become permanent. Maintaining and replenishing B12 is most effective by injection or supplementation, combined with the right diet.

    The body’s daily needs for B12 are minimal—it’s such a valuable nutrient that the body doesn’t readily excrete it. The average required daily allowance is about 2-3 mcg. High dietary sources of B12 are organ meats, clams, oysters, salmon, sardines and egg yolks.

    Relying on proper dietary choices to support the good bacteria in the gut is a vital way to ensure you're getting the B12 you need. Maintain balanced gut flora through high-quality probiotics such as Dr. Ohhira's, a superior, fermented food-based probiotic, Pharmax’s HLC High Potency Probiotics or Thorne Research's FloraMend Prime Probiotic. You may also want to incorporate fermented foods like unpasteurized kimchi, miso and sauerkraut into your diet, and ensure you’re getting enough fiber from vegetables, nuts and seeds in order to maintain balance in the digestive tract.

    Following are some of the high-quality, B12 supplements we offer at Pharmaca, all forms of methylcobalamin, which is naturally the most bioavailable form: Pharmaca’s Vitamin B12 Sublingual, Superior Source’s No Shot Vitamin B12 or Natural Factors B12 Methylcobalamin.

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