By Natural Advocate | November 12, 2012 - 3:06 pm - Posted in Nutritional Supplements

There are hundreds of herbal supplements and remedies out there. If you took all of them, soon you wouldn’t even have enough room in your belly for real, wholesome nutritious food!  And a lot of people make the mistake of thinking that taking a million supplements yet eating an awful diet will balance one another out.

There is no supplement on earth that substitutes a nutritionally rich diet!

Nothing could be further from the truth. Why? Because nature made foods a certain way on purpose. You can’t get the exact same benefit out of a supplement which is more one dimensional than a food that you can from the actual food itself. There are hundreds of natural chemicals and nutrients often working together in harmony in a whole piece of fruit of a vegetable that simply cannot usually be replicated in a supplement.

So you have to decide which ones you think are most important and may be lacking in your daily diet, and go with those as a way to just whittle down the list to an acceptable amount of pills you’re popping a day. I myself only take a total of one to three every day.

Prioritize by taking certain supplements only when needed

That’s not to say I don’t keep a lot of others around for periods of time that I may need them. For example, I have an acne remedy that I use if my skin breaks out only. I have one for natural pain relief if I need that. I have one for detoxifying and colon cleansing if I feel my system needs cleaned out after too much indulging such as around the holidays.

Those are just some examples, everyone has different needs though.  For example, you could choose to use a high quality omega 3 fat supplement every day if you don’ t think you get enough of this important nutrient in your diet every day. You could just take a high quality multivitamin or greens powder every day to give yourself an overall nutrition boost every day.

Maybe you have chronic stress or anxiety issues, so you can take something like ahswaghanda every night, or some other similar herbal remedy to stress and anxiety.

Whatever it is you choose to use daily tells you where you biggest needs and priorities lie, and to prevent you form overspending on these supplements and simply just taking too many, you should definitely prioritize and figure out what is most missing in your diet and what your biggest health concerns are.

By Natural Advocate | August 23, 2012 - 8:40 am - Posted in Natural and Herbal Treatments, Nutritional Supplements

IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome is an increasingly common digestive disorder that involves the last part of the digestive and elimination process – bowel movements.  It can result in constant constipation, constant diarrhea, of alternating bouts with both. In other words, it interrupts your life, can be totally embarrassing and is very uncomfortable to deal with.

Acidophilus, an organism that is found naturally in some yogurts, is a beneficial bacteria that helps your digestive tract move along smoothly, no pun intended, and ensure proper, timely and comfortable elimination of waste as the last step of food processing in your digestive tract.

See pages dealing with bowel health:

IBS acidophilus treatment with potent probiotics like this is just part of the equation, although acidophilus is one of the most important steps to effective digestive function, and often unfortunately ignored, in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome since once we get the regular bowel movements through some sort of natural laxative, we tend to forget the reason that the irregularity happened in the first place.

What is it exactly?  Well, if you like yogurt and you want to get it by eating yogurt instead of taking an acipophilus probiotic supplement, look for yogurts that say “active cultures”, that means it has this beneficial, colon- protecting bacterium in it.

It is a bacteria, of course, and it is what we call a “healthy flora” which shares space in the intestines and digestive tract with other gas causing, digestive unfriendly bacteria which hinder the digestion process and are even thought by some in alternative medicine to be the cause behind health problems and disease.

What’s one of the things that can throw your probiotic balance off in your digestive tract and actually make IBS worse, making acidophilus all that more important an addition to your diet?  Well, believe it or not, it’s antibiotics.  Antibiotics are one of the worst things for your healthy balance of flora in the intestine, colon and stomach, and they can really make things difficult.  So supplementation of acidophilus is all that much more important if you happen to be taking antibiotics.

There are even theories that when your probiotic balance is off in your digestive tract, it can fundamentally alter your immune system, making you more susceptible to disease and illness.  I guess that takes the saying that “death begins in the colon” to a whole new level, huh?

Now, I can’t say whether that is true or not, but it’s interesting that there is even speculation out there about that, and I think it makes it an even more compelling case for taking potent acidophilus supplements, whether you have IBS or not, but especially taking acidophilus if you do happen to have IBS.

Could there be side effects to acidophilus for IBS?  Well, at first, since there is an adjustment period, and sort of an internal struggle going on, you may experience increased gas and bloating, but ultimately this should clear up and you should be relieved from that in the future, with it improving from your previous “norm” noticeably.

There may be a slight discomfort accompanying it at first as well, as it works it’s way into your system and begins to work it’s magic and restore the health of your intestines and ultimately your colon.

Not only that, but acidophilus helps IBS because it helps to tone and cleanse the digestive tract, make your bowel movements easier, more complete and more frequent, so that you don’t have the uncomfortable feeling of always have to go to the bathroom, of being incompletely emptied out when you have to go, and also of that gassy, bloated feeling.  Acidophilus can be especially helpful for that part of IBS!

Acidophilus lactobacillus (that’s quite a mouth full), is the full name for the bacterium that is found in dairy foods, particularly yogurt, and several good supplements that give you the same benefit in capsule form for regular, healthy and comfortable bowels.

It is also called a probiotic, which is just another word for a digestive friendly organism that is good for the gut, aiding in digestion and the elimination process, and helping you to stay regular, comfortable, and ultimately, healthy. Those with IBS should definitely take a supplement which contains probiotics or acidophilus (one in the same), just look for either one on the label.

By Natural Advocate | August 5, 2011 - 8:43 am - Posted in Nutritional Supplements

There may be yet more benefits from taking a good omega 3 fish oil supplement. I emphasize good (and pure) because there are a lot out there that can be close to worthless because they are either loaded with mercury and other contaminants, or they are not potent enough to do any good.

A quality omega 3 dietary supplement will absorb into the body properly and actually do the things it’s supposed to such as help protect heart health, blood pressure, make your skin glow, and generally boost your overall health.  Now, we add another benefit when it comes to taking fish oil when pregnant.

Apparently, research has found that women that took fish oil supplements during pregnancy had infants that seemed to be more resistent to the common cold.  Specifically, their babies seemed to be more protected against the common cold because their immune systems seem to have a boost from the omega 3 fatty acids their mothers took during their gestation in the womb.

The specific omega fatty acid that the mothers with healthier babies took was DHA. This is a specific acid that is found in some omega 3 fatty acid supplements, and fish oil.

Why the boost in immunity from taking the omega 3 supplement? Well, it is well known that these acids have some great protective properties on many cells in the body. Turns out they also may help in the development of certain types of cells in the body, namely the immune functional cells.

It is thought that this is the reason behind the baby’s increased immunity function due to the supplementation. To gain the most benefit, the mother likely would want to take the supplement the entire time during her pregnancy, as the more trimesters she gets in, the more she can help her baby’s cells develop.

This is more great news on this supplement, and the great part is that it is a relatively inexpensive one to take.

By Natural Advocate | May 23, 2011 - 8:50 am - Posted in Nutritional Supplements

Probiotics, by definition, are live microorganisms that are beneficial to the host organism.  The most common type of probiotics are lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria but there are also some yeasts and bacilli.  Food sources that are the most common for probiotic consumption are yogurts, soy yogurts and dietary supplements.

Specific medical reasons for consuming probiotics are for atopic diseases, urogenital infections, relief of chronic inflammatory bowel diseases and prevention of diarrhea that is pathogen induced.  They also keep candida in check, and ensure you do not get yeast imbalances.

You don’t have to have a disease process to consume probiotics and benefit from them.  They work well to keep healthy people’s immune systems strong, so we all can stay healthy.  

Probiotics can help by creating a more acidic environment in the digestive tract which helps to inhibit the reproduction of pathogens.  A number of different kinds of probiotics produce natural substances that decrease the disease causing organisms in your body. 

For optimum immunity, your digestive tract is an important part of your body’s defenses.  Most of the bacteria in our body occur in the digestive tract and these are actually beneficial to our immune system.

Research done on probiotics shows that many of them function to aid mucus membranes and immune cells working together to fight off infection.  In a German study, scientists found that the consumption of probiotic supplements decreased the duration of colds by 2 days. 

Because most Americans eat highly processed foods, there is little fiber in their systems for probiotics to feed on.  This, in turn, is causing deficits of probiotics in their systems.  With an increase in fiber to your diet, the probiotics that naturally occur in your gut will thrive and protect you better against disease. 

Inversely, the more you increase processed foods and sugars in your diet, the less the probiotics in your body, leaving your immune system weakened.  Some herbal colon cleansing products help to not only cleanse out old waste, but also to replenish the probiotics in the intestines that keep the colon and intestines healthy and functioning well.

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.

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