Tag Archives: prod-526062

  • 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.”

  • Simple Superfoods That Boost Energy and Brain Power

    Exactly what are “superfoods” and why do we need them? The answer is quite simple--superfoods are natural, nutrient-rich, power-packed sources of vitamins, minerals and electrolytes that contain fewer calories than processed foods. These foods should be a part of everyone’s regular diet, as study after study shows that diets rich in superfoods can help boost our energy and brain power as they strengthen our immune system.

    Natural Energy-Boosting Recommendations

    Go a Little Nuts
    On those days when you just can’t get your “get-up-and-go,” energize yourself the natural way. Start out with a handful of almonds. It only takes 20 almonds to give you more than 40 percent of your daily requirement of vitamin E, a powerful immune-bolstering antioxidant.

    Be Fruity
    For a quick mid-day energy boost, have a serving of fresh pineapple--nature’s pick-me-up. Pineapple is filled with fructose, fiber and water, exactly what your body needs to get going. In addition, the bright yellow fruit contains manganese, thiamin and B6 which help in carbohydrate metabolism and serotonin production for a natural “high.”

    Get Your Grains On
    Whole grains are not only filled with energizing nutrients like B vitamins, sinking your teeth into a piece of whole wheat toast supports you with manganese, protein, iron, fiber and magnesium. Complex carbs found in whole wheat absorb slower than simple carbs, allowing your blood sugar to remain stable for several hours, providing a longer, gradual release of natural energy.

    Natural Brain-Boosting Recommendations 

    Go Fishing
    Two recent studies, one published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, and the other in the European Journal of Nutrition, both emphasize the importance of omega-3 fatty acids. The research suggests that consuming nuts, grains and fish containing omega-3s may potentially slow the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Foods like pumpkin seeds, soy beans and oily fish give you a dose of DHA and EPA, the essential fatty acids your body needs to enhance brain function and improve general wellbeing.

    Go Green
    According to the AddNeuroMed-Project, a study conducted by at the Karolina Institutet in Stockholm Sweden, vitamin E may have a positive effect on cognitive decline, especially for senior citizens. Feed your brain with leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale and radishes for a natural dose of vitamin E. If veggies are not your thing, consider adding greens to juices and smoothies, or invest in a quality vitamin E supplement.

    Say Tomato (or To-mah-to)
    When it comes to your brain, there’s nothing rotten about tomatoes! In fact, tomatoes contain a powerful antioxidant called lycopene that may help protect brain cells from the damage of free radicals.

    Bonus Booster

    In addition to a eating a diet filled with fish, veggies and fruit, you can do your body and your brain good with a treat every now and then. The occasional chocolate splurge, cup of coffee sprinkled with cinnamon or a bowl of berries topped with grated coconut will make both your brain and your palette happy!

  • Help After a Head Injury

    Brain-TraumaIt seems that more attention is being brought to the effects of head/brain injuries these days. Depending on the severity of the injury, the effects of this trauma can last for months or even years. That’s why it’s important to know how to give the brain the nutrition and attention it needs after a head injury.

    Head injuries can happen in the middle of a sports game, from a car or bicycle accident, from a bad fall (a common occurrence in the elderly) or in the course of military combat. “Concussion” has been the long accepted term, but it’s interchangeable with mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) or minor head trauma. Though there is no one accepted definition for concussion, they are often described as a head injury with temporary loss of brain function, with or without temporary loss of consciousness.

    Here, essentially, is what happens during a concussion. The brain’s soft tissue is protected by the bony structure of the skull and facial bones. When injury or trauma occurs to the head, the brain can be shaken within the skull, causing damage to the brain tissue that causes swelling and/or bleeding.

    Depending on the severity of the brain injury, a variety of symptoms may occur: headache, brain fog, dizziness, vertigo, hearing loss, blurred or double vision, changes in the ability to taste or smell, fatigue, anxiety or personality change, confusion, emotional changeability, brief loss of consciousness, loss of memory, irritability, slowed reaction times, nausea and vomiting, and sleeping difficulties.

    Where most symptoms subside within a few hours or days, some may last much longer. In general, the more severe the injury, the longer the duration of symptoms. Most people will recover within three months, though children tend to heal faster than adults, and especially more quickly than the elderly or those with previous head trauma or psychiatric or substance abuse problems. Lingering symptoms are often referred to as “post concussion syndrome.”

    More severe symptoms such as coma, seizures, paralysis or weakness of an arm or leg suggest a more serious form of injury. Always seek medical attention with any of the following:

    • Drowsiness or decrease in alertness
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Confusion or amnesia
    • Fever
    • Blackouts
    • Slurred speech
    • Double vision
    • Irrational or aggressive behavior
    • Seizures
    • Numbness or paralysis

    Extra medical attention is also necessary if the patient is elderly, taking blood thinner, has a bleeding disorder or has a history of drug or alcohol abuse.

    Supporting brain recovery

    Trauma to the brain can lead to injury or even death of brain cells. It’s also possible that cells can be chemically altered through a process called oxidation. The body‘s response to oxidation is a state of inflammation—and while inflammation is a normal part of the healing process, when it is prolonged or left to run out of control it can cause headaches, as well as problems in thinking, remembering, smelling or tasting. That’s why it is especially important, post-injury, to supply the brain with compounds that promote healing and prevent oxidative damage and inflammation.

    Here are some suggestions for nutrients that can help support and protect brain tissues. (Note: Before taking any supplements for a brain injury, always discuss with a qualified health care provider to ensure there will not be interactions with current medications and that they are appropriate for your type of injury.)

    Omega 3 Fatty Acids (fish oil containing EPA and DHA), 1-3 grams/day. Hopefully you are already aware of the benefits of supplementing with fish oil. Both EPA and DHA are anti-inflammatory on their own, and DHA is a major building block of the brain that’s critical for optimal brain health and function. Try Nordic Naturals’ Ultimate Omega, Pharmax’s Finest Pure Fish Oil or Pharmaca’s Ultra Fish Oil.

    Coenzyme Q10, 100-300 mg/day. CoQ10 stabilizes cells, promotes general cell health, acts as an antioxidant (preventing oxidation) and provides energy to the cells. Try Pharmaca’s Coenzyme Q10, Pharmaca’s CoQ10 Ubiquinol QH or New Chapter’s CoQ10 Food Complex.

    Alpha-Lipoic Acid, 400-800 mg/day. Helps to prevent oxidation and spares other substances in the cell for recycling so they may perform their natural anti-oxidation functions. Try Pharmaca’s Alpha-Lipoic Acid, Jarrow Formulas’ R-Alpha Lipoic Acid or Source Naturals’ Alpha Lipoic Acid Timed Release.

    Acetyl-L-Carnitine, 500-1,000 mg/day. Utilizes fats for cellular energy production and is necessary for brain cells to communicate with each other. Try Source Naturals’ Acetyl L-Carnitine & Alpha-Lipoic Acid.

    Homeopathic medicines can also be very effective in aiding recovery from symptoms of head injury or can be used preventively against possible longer-term effects. Look for potencies in the lower ranges (6c, 12c, or 30c).

    Arnica Montana, to address and prevent shock and trauma associated with head injury and assist with swelling, pain and inflammation from injury. Even if the person does not feel much pain (because they are still in a state of shock), it can be helpful to take Arnica.

    Belladonna can be taken when there is heat, swelling, redness, throbbing and fullness with the head injury.

    Hypericum Perforatum helps when there are sharp or shooting pains, spasms or seizures.

    Natrum Sulphuricum is useful when there are long-term symptoms lingering after the trauma, and/or when there is depression or personality changes after injury, such as irritability and confusion.

    Ask a Pharmaca practitioner for help if you know someone with brain trauma or a head injury.

  • The Buzz Around Inflammation

    Inflammation: It’s vital to our body’s natural healing process. It clots blood, fights infection and heals wounds. But certain factors, such as allergies, injury or poor diet, can keep your body in a constant state of inflammation.

    “Usually what happens is there’s an event, like an injury, surgery or other stressful event, that kicks our immune system into action,” says Dr. Ashleigh Putnam, naturopathic doctor and lead practitioner at Pharmaca’s Monterey store. “The immune cells come to the area and do their work, but if that work doesn’t die down, our body continues to be under a state of stress.”

    So what causes the immune system to stay in gear after the work is done? It could be poor lifestyle habits, such as a diet high in animal proteins or grains, smoking or too much alcohol, chronic allergies, prescription drugs or even just normal wear and tear as we age. Chronic inflammation is, basically, any time your body has to work harder to heal itself.

    If a joint, for example, is overused, Ashleigh says, “The joint gets swollen, the cartilage can wear down, there’s not as much fluidity in the joint, and it stays inflamed because your body’s under the impression that there’s an issue.” Inflammation in the gut, on the other hand, may be spawned from a bad infection or a course of antibiotics that wipe out good bacteria and make it more difficult to absorb nutrients from food.

    But inflammation comes with a variety of symptoms, and it’s not always easy to identify the culprit. “It could start with aches and pains, getting sick frequently, sinus congestion, indigestion, skin issues, joint swelling or stiffness,” says Ashleigh. You can also ask a doctor for a blood test that measures c-reactive proteins (CRPs), a general marker for inflammation. “While most of us will see somewhat elevated CRPs, it can be markedly elevated in someone with chronic inflammation.” Ashleigh adds that there are very specific CRP levels that are an indication of inflammation of the heart, so it can be helpful for those concerned with cardiovascular issues.

    Fortunately there are a variety of dietary and supplement options that can help. Ashleigh recommends inflammation-fighting omega-3s from fish or flax. “You want to maintain a balance of omega-3s and 6s,” she says. “We get a lot of 6s in our diet anyway (through animal proteins and grains), so you have to balance it out.” Ashleigh recommends Nordic Naturals’ Ultimate Omega, especially the liquid version that provides 3,000 mg of omega-3s per teaspoon. Limiting inflammatory foods like beef, chicken and pork, adds Ashleigh, can also be helpful.

    “Probiotics can help rebalance and repopulate your gut with good bacteria,” says Ashleigh, who recommend’s MegaFood’s MegaFlora. “Probiotics boost gut health, which in turn helps your immune system, which controls the inflammation response.” Probiotics, therefore, can help break the cycle of inflammation. Along the same lines, digestive enzymes can be really helpful to break down food and help get more nutrients.

    Next, Ashleigh says, add in an anti-inflammatory like the turmeric found in Thorne Research’s Meriva-SR. Turmeric can help with a variety of types of inflammation, including in the joints, skin and gut. “In Thorne’s formulation, the turmeric is bound to a fat molecule, which makes it much more absorbable,” Ashleigh says. Another great choice is New Chapter’s Zyflamend, which combines turmeric with circulation-boosting rosemary and ginger and antioxidants like green tea.

    Another important inflammatory issue to look at it your allergy state. “Allergies are a kind of inflammatory response, so if it’s chronic, then you become more susceptible to infection, other allergies or inflammation elsewhere in the body,” Ashleigh says. That’s why, she says, it’s good to maintain a low allergy response. “I really like WishGarden’s Kick-Ass Allergy, as well as a xylitol nasal spray to nourish the nasal passages.”

    Finally, Ashleigh says, make sure you’re resting well. “Sleep is when your body fixes itself, so getting a good night’s sleep can have a big impact on overall inflammation,” she says.

    If you’re concerned about inflammation, speak with a Pharmaca practitioner about natural options.  

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