By Natural Advocate | April 30, 2011 - 5:15 pm - Posted in Herbal Supplements

I just love when the medical community tries to poo poo the fact that a lot of Americans find some serious value in taking supplements to supplement their diet and their lifestyle. Of course, there is no denying that a healthy, balanced diet and healthy living and exercising is the best way to stay in great shape.

However, supplements have definitely enhanced my life and my health, and no one could every convince me that is not true. I know how I feel when I’m taking my supplements that have been a staple in my every day life, and I know how I feel when I stop them for a little while too – I don’t feel as good, look as good, or function the same way.

So there, I know that for me, supplements make a huge difference in my quality of life and the way I feel every day.  So I can’t help it that every time a new medical study debunks some herb or natural compound that people swear by, I have an irksome feeling that someone is trying to rain on my parade.

The fact is, many herbs have bioactive compounds in them that make you feel or look a certain way. Just like conventional medicines, which by the way, are based in plant science largely, many herbal remedies definitely initiate some sort of chemical reaction in the body.  Sometimes it’s a desirable one, and sometimes it’s not. It all depends on the person and their individual tolerance and chemistry.

Just the mere fact that over 50% of our population takes some sort of supplement is telling that many different supplements work for people.  The majority of the public who has stated that they use supplements actually take a multi vitamin, but many also take supplements that are not considered a multi vitamin, like an omega 3 supplement, or a thyroid supplement and things of that nature.

Vitamin D is also gaining a huge popularity in vitamin taking, since it has been revealed that most people are deficient in vitamin D. Even though the official recommendation is seemingly way under what most people need to actually flourish and avoid cancer and other deadly diseases that we are now finding are associated to a deficiency in this pivotal vitamin.

What makes me really angry is that I feel there is a great deal of misinformation about vitamin D still being perpetuated by the greater system.  I firmly believe that my vitamin D consumption, and the fact that I get regular dosese of UV light, has created an environment where I rarely get sick. I think that it has greatly improved my immunity, and no one can tell me different.

When it comes right down to it, taking supplements is a very personal choice. Especially since supplements work differently for everyone.

By Natural Advocate | April 28, 2011 - 9:13 pm - Posted in Nutritional Supplements, Vitamins & Minerals

Vitamins and nutritional supplements are items we take to improve our health so we should have some common sense in how we use them.  Storage should be noted on the label of your vitamins and supplements. 

Most vitamin labels say to keep them tightly sealed and to store in a cool dry place.  Read your label to see what kind of storage applies to your vitamins and supplements and comply with what is recommended.

Pay attention to what kind of vitamins you are taking to determine if you should take yours with just water or eat some food with it.  The recommendation for taking a multivitamin is to take them with a meal. 

The reasoning behind this is that most of the fat soluble vitamins, which are vitamins A,D,E and K, are absorbed better when they are taken together with some fat, you could even pair it with an omega 3 supplement, since this is fat.  The other logic behind this practice is that it will reduce stomach upset. 

Do not expect to get benefits from your vitamins if your diet is poor.  There is no substitute for eating a healthful diet with lean protein sources, lots of fruits and vegetables and whole grains.  A vitamin pill will not improve your health and immunity to disease without eating a quality healthy diet.

The concept that more is better does not apply to vitamin supplementation.  Overdoing one particular vitamin or mineral can actually harm your health.  Taking a multivitamin is usually preferred to singling out just one vitamin in large doses.  Staying within the normal range of the RDA printed on the label is the usual recommendation.

For all of your health care needs, you should inform your health care professionals of any and all vitamins and supplements you are taking.  A lot of people think that vitamins and supplements are not medications, so they feel there is no need to mention them. 

This is not the case.  For an example of the importance of this communication, a high dose of fish oil can inhibit blood clotting.  This medical fact could be very important if you’re given an anticoagulant such as Coumadin or if you need any surgical procedure. 

Another reason this is important is that vitamins and supplements can interfere with how effective prescribed medication will be.  If your physician doesn’t know about your vitamins or supplements, it could have harmful consequences.

By Natural Advocate | April 26, 2011 - 5:54 am - Posted in Cognitive and Focus

ADD and ADHD have been increasingly coming across my desk. It’s alarming to me that so many parents feel pressured to put their children are harsh and dangerous drugs that act as stimulants and can have multiple side effects for their children who are exhibiting signs of ADD and focus problems. Some of the drugs I’m talking about are Adderrall and Ritalin.

Tom Cruise famously compared these drugs to street drugs, and he got a lot of flack for it, but you know what?  The more I hear about these types of medications as well as several well known antidepressant medications, the more I agree with him, as much as he can go off the deep end, about the dangers of these prescription drugs.

I’ve been researching and reading up a lot about alternatives to treat kids with ADD and ADHD, as well as adults who have been diagnosed with this focus-related issue. 

There are some excellent natural supplements for ADD for kids as well as for adults that should be researched further by you and your family if you are concerned (as you rightfully should be) about putting your child, or yourself on such a harsh, serious drug.

So I put together a new page about some of the best supplements an natural alternatives for helping to treat ADD. After all, ADD and ADHD may not be something you are destined to live with for life. Children and adults often outgrow these problems, so why would you want to get hooked on a prescription drug and potentially put your health and happiness on the line if there is a gentler, more natural way to approach treatment?

Enjoy this new page, and be sure that there will be lots more about this increasingly tricky subject to come on HerbalNewsMagazine!

By Natural Advocate | April 24, 2011 - 11:28 am - Posted in Herbal & Natural Beauty

Skin whitening, or lightening creams, have been popular amongst women and men with darker complected skin tones who want to have a fairer skin tone. However, the most popular ingredients in these skin lightening creams were thought to be extremely harmful, and could even lead to skin cancers when used regularly.

Hydroquinone and mercury were the too popular chemicals, and they both have a bad rap as being carcinogenic, and personally to me, they deserve that reputation.  I would recommend avoiding these two chemicals, among many others, in any type of cosmetic or beauty product.

Now, women and men who desire lighter skin tones may have a better, natural option that does not have the carcinogenic implications the current options do.

The plant based chemical that may be useful in skin whitening is called the cinnamomum subavenium plant. Just like it sounds, this is a relative of the common cinnamon plant. It works in an interesting way to make the skin pigment lighter.

It actually has a natural chemical in it that blocks the enzymes in the skin which are responsible for darker skin pigments, thereby making the overall skin tone lighter where the cream is applied with this ingredient.  It could actually be a LOT more effective than the current skin lightening creams that are on the market today – and safer, to boot.

Skin lightening creams are actually quite a large market now, so it should be interesting to see if we watch a product with this natural plant source of skin lightener come out in the next few years. It certainly would be a welcome change to the carcinogenic ingredients that are out there now.

I’m all about natural skin care products. Our skin is the largest, more protective organ we have, and we must take care not to load it with chemicals.

By Natural Advocate | April 22, 2011 - 9:02 pm - Posted in Antioxidants, Foods

I never used to really like apples all that much as a kid. Maybe it’s because I felt they were crammed down my throat as a “required” part of my lunch that was packed every day, sort of like the banana that was packed which made everything in my darn lunch pail taste like a banana.

Apples were just never that great tasting to be honest. I know now that it’s because I was eating the waxed up, non organic, pesticide laced apples that I grew up with.  Now that I buy apples as an adult, I have learned that only the organic apples taste fabulous.

They actually taste sweeter to me and have a better texture. The organic apples I eat are rarely grainy, and they don’t have the weird, waxed look that normally grown apples have. Not only that, but apples really are a fruit, much like berries since you eat them whole, that you should really buy organic.

It’s because you eat the whole fruit, skin and all, and if you eat a whole piece of fruit that is not peeled that has been sprayed with pesticides, well then guess how many pesticides you are eating!?

Apples, no matter how they are grown (but organic is better), are a very nutritious fruit. They are kind of like the cathch-all fruit and they are really great because they are so easily grown and grow in most states in the US. Very easily accessible, which makes them even better.

Remember the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”? Well there was a good reason for that saying.  Apples contain a valuable type of fiber in them called pectin, which is a soluble fiber that soaks up water easily and makes you feel really full.

I often have an apple as a mid morning snack – my favorite kind, the fuji organic apple, and it keeps me filled up until lunch time.  I don’t get full easily either.  Apples are also mildly acidic, so they actually help to whiten your teeth believe it or not!

Apples soluble fiber has been proven to help reduce inflammation in the body as well.  They contain a plethora of antioxidants, which sop up free radicals and help prevent oxidation (death) of the body’s vital cells.

Polyphenols, a very high class of antioxidant, are present in apples.  Apples are very low calorie for how filling they are and for their size, meaning they can help you control your weight. They also contain vitamin C, and are excellent, all natural blood sugar regulators. YAY for APPLES!!!

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