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Healthy Planet Team

Xymogen’s XymoZyme – Vegan Digestive Enzymes for Proper Nutrient Absorption

Xymogen’s XymoZyme
Comes in 120 Capsules and 60 Capsules Non-prescription and broad-spectrum digestive enzyme formula Designed to support the digestion of fat, proteins, carbohydrates, starches, fiber, and lactose The formula contains proteases, lipase, papain, bromelain, lactase, papain, alpha-galactosidase and more  Works within a large pH range compared to porcine or bovine-derived pancreatin, which only works within a narrow pH range Supports the breakdown of polysaccharides in beans, seeds, and vegetables for those that have issue with higher FODMAP foods Supports the breakdown of lactose, the sugar found in milk and milk products Supports the pancreas  Xymogen’s ‘Zinc Glycinate’ is a fully reacted amino acid chelate formula designed for optimal enhanced absorption. As an extremely important and essential mineral, zinc is vital to many physiological processes in the body. Zinc supports immune function, neurological function, normal cellular function, growth, nutrient metabolism, and reproductive organ health.  Dosage and Directions for Use Serving Size: 2 capsules. The recommended dosage is one to two daily capsules, typically taken 30 – 45 minutes prior to your meal.  We recommend taking one capsule with breakfast, and another with dinner in the evening. If you require a higher dosage, we recommend consulting with a healthcare practitioner or naturopath, and steadily increasing the dosage.  The formulation contains protease, papain, bromelain, amylase, glucoamylase, cellulase, beta-glucanase, alpha-galactosidase, invertase, peptidase, pectinase, lactase, phytase, acid-stable protease, lipase, xylanase, and hemicellulase.   The product does not contain any wheat, gluten, soy, egg, tree nuts, peanuts, GMO-derived ingredients, or animal products. The Role of Digestive Enzymes on Nutrient Absorption and Healthy Digestion To ensure you actually obtain the nutrients from food, you need to ensure healthy digestion. Once food has left the stomach and entered the small intestine, digestive enzymes can begin turning it into the fuel needed for metabolic processes and sustenance. These enzymes are primarily produced in the pancreas and small intestine – which is why the function of the pancreas is vital to overall wellness. Those with digestive issues, low/poor mineral levels (iron), a compromised immune system, or chronic health issues may benefit from implementing a daily digestive enzyme to ensure more effective digestion.  Xymogen’s XymoZyme product incorporates all the key digestive enzymes to provide a formula that can help to facilitate healthy digestion. The formulation contains principal digestive enzymes (amylase and phytase, protease) along with enzymes designed to break down proteins and fibers (bromelain and papain) that people tend to have difficulty with (high FODMAP foods or high protein foods). Phytase, in particular, helps to facilitate the breakdown of phytates from grains and legumes – this helps to increase the absorption of important nutrients like iron, calcium, and phosphorus.  The complete digestion of nutrients ensures that incompletely digested molecules and proteins do not enter the bloodstream and trigger an immune response.

Xymogen’s GarliX Garlic Formula for Healthy Immune System Function and Potential Antiviral Activity

Xymogen’s GarliX Garlic Formula
Well established as a culinary herb and loved ingredient, garlic has been known for centuries to possess potent antibacterial and antiviral activity. It has been found across a variety of cultures, and known for its health promoting properties dating back to the time of Hippocrates.  The Benefits of Garlic – Antifungal, Antiviral, Antibacterial + Immune System Health, Cardiovascular Health, and Antioxidant Powerhouse Today, garlic as a supplement is perhaps most commonly used to maintain cardiovascular health, and immune system function – especially when it relates to viral infection or bacterial infection (such as in cases of Lyme disease). Those dealing with Candida infections or thrush/yeast infections may find an oral supplementation of garlic hugely beneficial as well, given garlic’s documented antifungal activity.  Most of the documented and researched benefits ascribed to garlic are derived from the sulfur-containing compounds present in garlic. These include alliin, allicin, allyl cysteine, and allyl disulfide. Compared to many garlic based supplements that only standardize amounts to extracts of allicin, GarliX by Xymogen contains gamma-glutamylcysteines, alliin, allicin, thiosulfates, and sulfur. This makes GarliX a more potent and bioactive garlic supplement designed specifically for antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and immune systems.  Numerous studies reaffirm the benefit of garlic on “bad” cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and blood glucose levels. Garlic appears to play a cardioprotective role in helping to lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure, as well as maintaining proper endothelial function of the arteries.  GarliX Dosage and Concentration   1 capsule contains 650mg of garlic extract (allium sativum; bulb) for a total allicin content of 1%. One capsule is recommended per day, unless monitored by a naturopath, healthcare practitioner, or healthcare professional.  As garlic tends to have some potential interactions, it is not recommended to take garlic supplements while on any blood thinners or blood thinning medication – which includes herbal / natural supplements known to thin the blood or reduce the ability of blood to clot.  This Xymogen product does not contain any wheat, gluten products, yeast, soy, animal products, fairy products, corn, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, egg, GMOs, or artificial preservatives/additives. As always, Xymogen products are manufactured to the highest standards of purity and potency.

Xymogen’s Bio C 1:1 Formula – Potent Vitamin C with Citrus Bioflavonoids for Antioxidant & Immune Support

Xymogen’s Bio C
Xymogen’s Bio C 1:1 formula contains (combines) a high-potency vitamin C (ascorbic acid) with full-spectrum citrus bioflavonoids.  Both have been thoroughly researched and are understood to be important for supporting antioxidant and immune system function.  Not only is vitamin C incredibly important for fighting against illness or stress, but research depicts vitamin C’s important role in the synthesis of collagen, the amino acid carnitine, and neurotransmitters for cognitive function. Citrus bioflavonoids support a healthy metabolism and neurological health by functioning as cell-signaling agents + supporting the enhanced absorption and utilization of vitamin C.  This formula by Xymogen contains 500 mg of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) + 500 mg of citrus bioflavonoids per capsule in a one-to-one ratio. One capsule is recommended daily, although both have a high safety profile and tolerance. The only side effect people tend to notice with increased amounts of vitamin C or bioflavonoid intake is diarrhea until their body adjusts. Vitamin C is, of course, a well-known antioxidant vitamin and water-soluble vitamin that is essential to humans and important for overall wellness. While we only need a very small amount of vitamin C to prevent ‘scurvy’ or deficiency, high amounts of vitamin C intake have been correlated with improved health markers and better immune response during times of illness.  The amount required by the body to support physiological functions becomes increased when we undergo stress, have poor dietary habits, smoke, drink alcohol, undergo radiation, are exposed to pollution, or are ill.  Vitamin C protects against free radicals and oxidative stress produced from bodily processes and external factors, and also contributes to collagen synthesis/production and adrenal gland support. It is an important support for the immune system and a cofactor for metabolic enzymes.  Vitamin C and The Immune System Immune cells absorb and concentrate vitamin C – vitamin C’s role in immune system function has long been known and reported in the medical literature. The T-cell function is known to be enhanced by vitamin C. While the “recommended” amount of vitamin C intake for optimal function has long been debated, Dr. Linus Pauling, in his research on vitamin C, recommended an intake of 2,300 mg per 2,500 calorie intake for humans as a “minimum.” However, this was way back in the early 1970s. The NIH (National Institute of Health) determined at around 400 mg per day is required for young and healthy non-smokers to attain saturation of vitamin C, but do not know how much is required for those in older adults, or those with infection/chronic stress.  It is already known that the elderly or those under stress conditions require a substantially higher intake of vitamin C to maintain or attain plasma concentrations that provide benefit.  As this one study reads: “vitamin C deficiency results in impaired immunity and higher susceptibility to infections. In turn, infections significantly impact vitamin C levels due to enhanced inflammation and metabolic requirements. Furthermore, supplementation with vitamin C appears to be able to both prevent and treat respiratory and systemic infections. In contrast, treatment of established infections requires significantly higher [gram] doses of the vitamin to compensate for the increased inflammatory response and metabolic demand.”  Energy from dietary fatty acids also requires vitamin C because it depends on the synthesis of carnitine, which helps shuttle along long-chain fatty acids into mitochondria. Vitamin C, as we mentioned previously, is required for the synthesis of carnitine. Vitamin C is also abundant in the brain and helps with the conversion of dopamine to norepinephrine and regulates intraneuronal communication.  Citrus bioflavonoids are perhaps more widely known and used in Europe and are phytochemicals derived from plants/food (commonly citrus fruits) that are biologically active compounds associated with cardiovascular health, inflammation, and cognition.  Healthcare practitioners, namely naturopaths, commonly use bioflavonoids independently to support joint health and inflammation. However, they can also be used for blood vessel support, lymph system support, respiratory health, eye health, and cardiovascular health. These bioflavonoids are able to cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and are neuroprotective. 

Xymogen’s Melatonin – Increase Quality Sleep Time Naturally and Reduce Daytime Fatigue

Can help to increase total overall sleep time, which is an important aspect of sleep quality and ensuring you feel well-rested Can help relieve the fatigue associated with shift work (night shifts) or jet lag Can help to reset the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle as part of one’s circadian rhythm Can help to reduce the overall time it takes to fall asleep – in those with sleep disturbances or sleep disorders  Dosage and Directions for Use Serving Size: 3 mg per lozenge.  Available in 60 lozenge size.  We would always recommend consulting with a healthcare practitioner, naturopath or healthcare professional for use extending beyond 4 weeks.  The recommended dosage is 1-2 lozenges per day, once a day, at bedtime or directly before bedtime.  If taking any sort of hormonal medication, mood disorder medication, or blood pressure medication, you need to consult a healthcare professional prior to use. Those with a seizure disorder, kidney disease, liver disease, hormonal disorder, diabetes, depression, or hypertension might be contraindicated for use of melatonin.  Under no circumstances should you drive or use any sort of machinery/operative tools ~5 hours after taking melatonin.  If you continue to experience any sort of sleep disturbances for more than 4 weeks (insomnia), you should also consult a health care professional.  Xymogen’s Melatonin to Regulate Sleep Quality and Improve Restfulness Xymogen’s melatonin is a synthetic formulation to ensure those that are vegan or vegetarian can take the product without worry of it being mammalian derived. Many people may not be aware that there are a number of melatonin supplements commonly derived from the pineal gland of animals (often ‘porcine’ or pig).  Many people with negative experiences related to melatonin often experience these sides because of the production quality of melatonin itself – given that melatonin is a hormone, it must be USP pharmaceutical grade and manufactured at the highest quality standards. This is something you can be assured of when purchasing Xymogen products.  Xymogen’s melatonin is a patented synthetic form that follows the same chemical pathway as natural melatonin that is also pharmaceutical grade and completely free of biological contaminants. Naturally sourced melatonin derived from animals will always pose a risk because it can be contaminated with biological impurities.  As the pineal gland is quite sensitive, and melatonin is utilized by the pineal gland for producing serotonin, triggering such as gland that controls the sleep/wake cycle, ensuring a high-quality melatonin supplement is vital.  Melatonin is not the kind of supplement you’d want to skimp or save on.  What about melatonin itself, as a compound? What are the benefits from supplementation? Melatonin is naturally produced in our pineal gland, but also in the gastrointestinal tract and lymphocytes. It is present in other parts of mammalian tissue. It plays a key role in helping to regulate circadian rhythm and sleeping/waking. It also supports hormone production (serotonin) and antioxidant activity.  Normal melatonin production is suppressed by light and stimulated by periods of dark. Supplemental melatonin can help to support sleep patterns in certain populations like those with irregular work hours, those travelling, or elderly populations with reduced natural melatonin production.  Melatonin has also been studied for its role in supporting antioxidant activity, with concentration in the mitochondria. Thus, it has been proven to support glutathione production, and stimulate production of superoxide dismutase – scavenging free radicals and reducing inflammation from pro-inflammatory cytokines.  Doses of higher than 5 mg do not appear to display any benefit, and we would recommend sticking with the prescribed dosage of 3 mg per day at bedtime. 

Xymogen’s VegaPro – A Clean Vegan Protein that is GMO-Free and Sugar-Free

Xymogen’s VegaPro
Xymogen not only offers supplements for addressing a range of medical concerns and health conditions, but also produces a high-quality vegan protein powder that is bioavailable and free of unnecessary ingredients.   High-quality dietary protein is vital for helping the body to sustain proper function and metabolism. Amino acids from dietary protein are needed in various physiological processes, and help to regulate digestion, detoxification, and hormone production.  Xymogen’s “VegaPro” protein is a clean vegan protein that is GMO-free and sugar-free, and designed to offer customers a completely “clean,” unmodified plant-based option that can be easily incorporated into any kind of diet or lifestyle.  VegaPro is available in a 14 serving size container, with one scoop equal to 21 g, and provides 17 g of protein and 80 calories.  VegaPro is a blend featuring pea protein isolate, rice protein concentrate, taurine, glycine, and l-glutamine.  Clean High-Quality Protein, with Added Amino Acids L-glutamine, glycine, and taurine have been added – all of which have demonstrated clinical efficacy in supporting cardiovascular health, glucose tolerance, and intestinal health. These three non-essential amino acids are often found to be deficient in those with immune system disorders, those recovering from chronic illness, or those with digestive disorders. Providing additional, plant-based amino acids can help support the maintenance of immune cells and metabolic function.  At around 93% - 94% digestibility, pea protein is considered to be highly digestible, and meets the same standards of animal-derived protein like beef, whey, or milk.  The amino acid profile for pea protein and rice protein concentrate are ‘complete’ when combined together in this formula, providing a high amount of important amino acids like arginine, lysine, aspartic acid, and leucine.  Those that want a protein free of sugar (including lactose), sugar alcohols (xylitol or Stevia), flavorings, gluten, and animal products (including dairy) look no further than Xymogen’s VegaPro! VegaPro also offers practitioners and regular customers alike a degree of flexibility not found in many other types of protein powders on the market. Given that the main goal of Xymogen’s pea + rice protein blend is an easily digestible plant-based protein, with no other additives, any concerns over interactions with herbal supplements or nutraceuticals can be avoided. Completely free of sugar and flavoring, the protein can be added to plain water, a smoothie, or any other kind of beverage easily. You can choose to disguise or mask the taste if needed.

Devil’s Claw Root – A Potent Natural Pain Reliever and NSAID Alternative

Devil’s Claw Root
Devil’s claw – a fairly ominous sounding name for an herb that can help deal with joint pain, inflammation and arthritis without the use of NSAIDs (Aspirin, Tylenol) or other medications that may leave unwanted side effects in their wake with prolonged use (like stomach ulcers). The name devil’s claw comes from the little ‘hooks’ that cover the plant. It is native to South Africa, with it being introduced to a larger population in Europe around the 1900’s. Traditionally, the devil’s claw has been used to treat pain, inflammation, and joint issues. Topically, it was used in ointments and preparations to help manage and heal skin problems like sores or infections. Internationally, the popularity of devil’s claw has increased with use in countries such as France, Germany, the U.S. and Canada for addressing lower back pain, arthritic pain, joint pain, and inflammation. The plant is a perennial, and the roots are what are typically used in the extracts and supplements you can find in health food stores as “devil’s claw.” Glycosides, and Anti-inflammatory Effects An important active component of devil’s claw is the ‘glycosides’ – these are naturally present compounds in plants, and are often used in a variety of medications (both herbal and pharmaceutical). In particular, devil’s claw contains harpagoside – one type of ‘iridoid glycoside’ that is found to have potent anti-inflammatory effects. What is an iridoid glycoside, exactly? These compounds in plants act as a natural defense against pathogens, environmental dangers, insects, and herbivores. Iridoid glycosides are found in many different plants. Harpagoside is just one among the hundreds of these compounds. It is suggested in the medical literature that by inhibiting certain signal pathways in the body (COX-2), this compound in devil’s claw can reduce pain. It has been shown that inhibitors of these pathways (pharmaceuticals or herbal supplements) can help to treat or address rheumatic health concerns – joint pain, arthritis, inflammation, and back pain. Many devil’s claw extracts will be “standardized” to contain 3% iridoid glycosides or 2% harpagosides. We recommend taking devil’s claw between meals to ensure optimal bioavailability of the anti-inflammatory compounds, as stomach acid may reduce the potency and efficacy.  Traditional Use to Contemporary Use  Devil’s claw has an established history of use for pain symptoms dating back several hundred years – everything from gout, malaria, myalgia, fibrositis, and lumbago to chest pain, tendonitis, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoarthritis. In contemporary use, devil’s claw is more commonly prescribed or recommended for lower back and joint pain specifically. Research may support devil’s claw use in cases of: Rheumatoid Arthritis Lower Back Pain and Joint Pain Osteoarthritis Tendinitis Chronic Inflammation   Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis – common as we age, and associated with joint pain, devil’s claw has been studied to reduce pain and alleviate symptoms. Multiple studies, including one literature review, determined devil’s claw to be effective at relieving pain, improving mobility, and easing joint use without additional medication. Another study confirms beneficial use in those with hip or knee arthrosis – displaying devil’s claw can be used to address health concerns from tendinitis, inflammation, and joint pain that isn’t localized to a specific area. In the study, there was a dramatic reduction in pain reported with only two adverse reactions – both digestive upsets. There are numerous studies using devil’s claw for muscle pain, neck pain, back pain, shoulder pain, knee pain, ankle pain, and hip pain. Lower-Back Pain – Research effectively demonstrates that devil’s claw extract has a potent anti-inflammatory effect, particularly in those with arthritis. Devil’s claw suppressed cytokine production and inflammation, and the glycosides present in devil’s claw were found to be the active therapeutic behind this action.  Any Side-Effects Associated with Devil’s Claw? Generally, devil’s claw seems to be quite well tolerated in people – although studies have not accounted for long-term use. The primary side effect reported was digestive upset and diarrhea. As devil’s claw can trigger uterine contractions, it is not recommended for those that are pregnant, nor is it recommended for new mothers or young children. Allergy to devil’s claw is rare, but possible. Those with sensitive stomachs, GERD, ulcers, or IBS would be best suited to avoid taking devil’s claw as it can come with gastrointestinal side effects in sensitive individuals – especially as devil’s claw can increase the production of stomach acids. As it may lower blood sugar levels, those on medication for diabetes should avoid use or speak with a doctor prior because devil’s claw could trigger a ...

Caprylic Acid: The Fatty Acid From Coconut that Can Fight Candida and Fungal Infections

Caprylic Acid
Aside from naturally obtaining caprylic acid through eating real food (coconut cream, coconut milk, etc.), supplements are an easy way to obtain a high-potency dose of caprylic acid without having to consume an excess of saturated fat.  Depending on what kind of health concern you’re addressing, healthcare practitioners – naturopaths, typically recommend consuming 500 mg to 1,000 mg up to three times per day in a capsule form. When treating Candida or a yeast infection, studies actually appear to indicate that capsules are more effective than liquid. Usually, we recommend the opposite. In this case, the capsule helps to better enable a slower release of the fatty acids into your bloodstream. This prevents a higher incidence of side effects, along with providing the most robust benefit. We would also advise to take caprylic acid capsules around 30-45 minutes prior to a meal.  What is Caprylic Acid? Caprylic acid is one of the primary fatty acids in coconut oil, which lend it well-known anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-microbial properties. It is also commonly supplemented as a part of MCT oil (medium-chain triglycerides).  It is consumed naturally in food sources, from things like coconut and palm oil.  People regularly take caprylic acid as a supplement, or in the form of MCT oil, to combat Candida infections, yeast infections, thrush, high cholesterol levels, epilepsy, and digestive issues caused by bacterial imbalance or overgrowth (SIBO).  Does Caprylic Acid Really Work for Candida and Yeast Infections? The research definitely seems to point to a resounding yes. Numerous studies seem to reaffirm caprylic acid as anti-inflammatory and even anti-viral.  Yeast infections, and Candida infections are common. Particularly among recent bouts of antibiotic use with the cold/flu season. Reduction in good strains of gut bacteria and oral bacteria through the use of antibiotics, diets high in refined sugars + refined grains, and alcohol can dramatically reduce good strains of bacteria, and cause proliferation of pathogenic yeast.  Other studies reaffirm caprylic acid’s ability to reduce symptoms of Candida infections, along with proven efficacy at inhibiting yeast infections, thereby preventing recurrence or stopping the progression.  The anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties of caprylic acid can help to manage digestive disorders and conditions such as IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) and IBS. We would recommend trying to incorporate more medium chain fatty acids such as caprylic acid, either in food form or supplement form, while cutting back on animal foods (red meat) for those with digestive disorders. Cutting out and eliminating problematic proteins such as gluten (wheat) and casein (dairy) can also help to quell symptoms.  For those concerned about coconut oil’s health properties as a highly saturated fat – studies seem to suggest that caprylic acid, as an isolated supplement, has a positive overall impact on LDL or “bad” cholesterol and total lipids. Caprylic acid was also correlated with increased HDL or “good” cholesterol levels.  Conclusion If you’re someone who is new to taking caprylic acid, we recommend starting slowly and easing into a higher dose. This will help to prevent any sort of stomach pains, nausea, or stomach upset. This means taking a 500 mg capsule once or twice a day with meals to start with, and slowly increasing from there to up to 2,000 mg spread out across 3-4 doses.  Caprylic acid is generally safe, with minimal side effects reported. This is a natural fatty acid that is found in food and regularly consumed. Some people with a more sensitive stomach may notice mild gastrointestinal sides – common for people new to MCT oil as well. Considering it is even recommended as safe by the FDA, there is little to worry about. However, we still always recommend consulting with a professional prior to use if you have pre-existing health conditions. We also would not recommend the product for those who are currently pregnant or breastfeeding.

EGCG – The Best “Fat Burner?"

EGCG
Is green tea extract all it has been cracked up to be? Long touted for the ability to help ‘burn fat,’ ‘boost’ metabolism, and help protect against cancer – green tea extract has faced a lot of criticism for potential “dangers” associated with the health supplement, while many others simply declare it a fad. What is “EGCG,” and What Are Catechins? First, it is important to mention the ‘catechins’ in green tea extract – which are the compounds associated with all of the reported health concerns. Catechins are part of the family of flavonoids. These phenols, antioxidants, are phytochemicals that naturally exist in foods such as tea, berries, and legumes. They are healthful and thought to be responsible for the health-promoting properties in teas. Catechins seem to possess protective qualities in terms of degenerative diseases and cancers. Some of these compounds, particularly one that is exclusively found in tea – EGCG – have become an area of research and debate as to their safety and efficacy. Green tea, in particular, seems to contain the highest levels of catechins. The primary catechins in green tea are EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), EC (epicatechin), GC (gallocatechin), and ECG (Epicatechin gallate). EGCG, for example, is only found in tea. Should I Be Worried About Liver Function? Concerns have arisen concerning liver toxicity with high-dose, long-term use of EGCG in particular due to the way catechins are processed in the body when consumed in high amounts. Research does show that a dose of over 866 mg EGCG per day, when used long-term, could potentially be harmful to the liver. However, studies using under 800 mg did not correlate to any liver toxicity or damage, while the average intake from tea drinkers is estimated to be 90 to 300mg (not from supplements, but just ol’ fashioned tea infusions). After a review of 38 different studies, it was concluded that doses of or above 800 mg EGCG for longer than 4 months were associated with markers of liver toxicity in a small percentage (10%) of the population. Studies showed that there was no reported liver toxicity at levels below 800 mg EGCG per day when taken for up to 12 months. If more reassurance is needed, hepatotoxicity from Green Tea Extract is quite rare, and in the cases in which it was reported, once the large doses of EGCG were stopped, liver function resolved fully after discontinuation. There is no documentation of fatal injury from EGCG or Green Tea Extract, even at doses of up to 1,800 mg per day. For most people, using the supplement at the recommended dosage (typically 200 mg – 600 mg) for a period of 1-3 months is not causing concern, provided they have been cleared by their doctor or physician to do so. Of course, if you have a pre-existing liver injury, EGCG and Green Tea Extract may not be the right supplement for you. Most supplements are sold at a dosage of 400 mg Green Tea Extract, which often contains ~200 mg EGCG (50%) – well below the threshold for safety limits. Real Benefits to EGCG and Catechins from Green Tea Extract Tea has always been renowned for its weight loss benefits, and for promoting longevity. Most of these benefits can be ascribed to the polyphenol antioxidant content of teas – particularly from catechins. Studies in animal trials and exploring weight loss in people show promising results, with numerous published studies reaffirming the traditional beliefs in the effects of green tea on body composition, cancer prevention, and longevity. The first study shows that even in rats fed a high-fat diet for a period of 6 months, those that were also given EGCG were able to reduce body fat while increasing lean mass, glucose tolerance, and better fat synthesis. There were also no negative effects on liver tissue reported. In the second study, 690 mg catechins were consumed for 12 weeks, and body weight, waist size, body fat, and total fat all were dramatically lower in the EGCG group compared to the control, without any other change. These studies, among many others, display Green Tea Extract and EGCG – catechins – ability to help in reducing body fat and improve metabolic health markers all-around.

The Anti-Inflammatory & Healing Skin Benefits of Emu Oil

Emu Oil
Healthy Planet blog readers are likely familiar with the health benefits associated with fish oil and omega-3 fatty acids. They also probably know all about skincare oils like rosehip and jojoba – and how these can offer protection from irritation, redness, and dryness. But how many people are familiar with a product like an emu oil? Emu oil is made up of essential fatty acids (like omega-3) and is completely hypoallergenic for sensitive skin. Derived from the fat of the emu – flightless birds native to Australia – it is mostly comprised of fatty acids known to help in the treatment of skin conditions like eczema and acne. Emu oil has an established history of use in Australia when aboriginal cultures utilized emu fat and oil to treat skin conditions or topical infections. The Fatty Acid Profile of Emu Oil Emu oil is derived from the emu, the second largest bird after the ostrich. Emu oil is derived from the adipose tissue, and depending on how the oil is extracted, the oil can range from a thin yellow liquid similar to fish oil, or a creamy white. Oils that tend to be a darker yellow in color are believed to be of lesser quality. Emu oil is composed of 70% essential fatty acids, which include omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 fatty acids. As it is biologically similar to that of our skin’s fatty acid composition, it is absorbed well and penetrates rapidly into the skin. It is commonly referred to as a “dry oil” for this reason, meaning it moisturizes without leaving a greasy ‘film’ on the surface of the skin. As research indicates: “the speedy dermal absorption of pure emu oil into the blood is explained by its high unsaturated fat content (67-70%), which is comparable to that of our skin, its higher proportion of oleic acid (omega-9) and an absence of phospholipids, [which] limit dermal absorption.” Primarily, oleic acid, linolenic acid, and linoleic acid are the constituents in emu oil that help transport the bioactive compounds (antioxidants) within the emu oil into the skin, allowing quick absorption. These fatty acids are commonly used internally to reduce inflammation and reduce the appearance of fine lines/wrinkles when used topically. The Skin Benefits of Emu Oil – Inflammation, Irritation, Wound Healing Dermatologists will now sometimes recommend emu oil for patients, given that it is highly anti-inflammatory and completely non-toxic. Emu oil is non-comedogenic, meaning it does not ‘clog’ or block the skin’s pores the same way some skin oils can, while being bacteriostatic (reduce bacterial growth). Initially, emu oil was often used as a natural sort of sunscreen and has been added to natural sunscreen formulations to help provide an additional barrier of protection from UV rays. While not a human study, this study on mice indicates emu oil as being beneficial for inflammation – the swelling when emu oil was used was dramatically reduced compared to other oils, and within only six hours of treatment. It should be noted that because emu oil is derived from the belly fat of emu birds, it is not a “cruelty-free” ingredient, and is therefore not recommended for vegans. When looking to purchase emu oil, always look for a 100% pure grade oil, or ensure that the oil is only ever diluted with other natural and safe carrier oils – like jojoba. Shea butter is also common in topical solutions or creams and is perfectly safe. Given the rise in emu oil’s popularity, there are now a number of less-than-reputable companies breeding emus in poor conditions, resulting in yellow-tinged, poor-quality oil. You’ll want to opt for emu oil derived from emus raised on Australian soil – or Canadian-produced emu oil from smaller suppliers. All our brands of emu oil are from reputable companies that have years of experience when it comes to producing and sourcing high-quality oil. While emu oil can be ingested (used internally), we would recommend avoiding this as there aren’t a ton of long-term studies done on the safety of ingestion. Pure emu oil can be applied topically by rubbing it directly onto the area of concern with clean hands. Emu oil provides soothing relief from eczema, dry skin, acne, and irritated skin. It can also help accelerate the healing of small wounds and abrasions Emu oil has shown benefit to those with arthritis or joint pain when applied to the area topically.

Psyllium Husk – A Healthy Soluble Fiber for Constipation and Cholesterol

Psyllium Husk
Perhaps best known as a sort of laxative or fiber supplement under brand names like Metamucil, psyllium husk offers a variety of health benefits like many of the plant-based soluble fibers you can purchase as a supplement.  People will find the most use for psyllium husk in lowering cholesterol levels (bad “LDL”) and reducing constipation (just ensure you’re drinking enough water!).  Big Benefits to Psyllium Husk IBD, IBS, Ulcerative Colitis and Constipation Relief – additional supplemental fiber intake in the form of psyllium husk is recommended by scientific studies to improve symptoms of digestive distress and relieve constipation by adding bulk to stool. When combined with water (or liquid) in the digestive tract, it can help speed the passage and excretion of stool. It also helps make the stool firmer.    Numerous studies conclude psyllium husk to be beneficial towards cholesterol levels; improving HDL “good” cholesterol and lowering LDL or “bad” cholesterol in a number of clinical trials. Compared to placebo, and not adjusting dietary habits, those taking psyllium reduced LDL levels by over 20% after 8 weeks of treatment – and the decline continued as the treatment progressed further.   Psyllium was found to help those with type II diabetes control their blood sugar and blood pressure without any negative side effects commonly associated with traditional ‘long-term’ medications. The high fiber content can help to maintain glycemic balance, and appears to be an extremely safe and effective choice for those with type II diabetes to better manage glucose regulation.  Feeling Bloated? Poor Gut Health? Is Psyllium Husk Right for Me? The primary complaint most people new to psyllium husk supplements will launch is bloat – how to beat the bloat? This is likely due to absorption of water from the psyllium husk and the sudden increase in dietary fiber (especially if you don’t eat a lot initially). To accommodate this, try scaling back on the amount of psyllium husk you’re using and ensure you’re staying properly hydrated throughout the day.  Bloating and gas may be an indication that you’re intaking too much fiber; but it could also just be your body slowly trying to adapt to the change.  If you have esophageal narrowing, or any sort of bowel obstructions, you’ll probably want to avoid taking any sort of psyllium husk supplement.  If you’re new to fiber supplements like psyllium, it is always best to start slowly and increase the dosage as you become accustomed to the increased changes in dietary fiber. You’ll want to take around a TSP to start with, with a large glass of water (~240mL) and a meal. 5 grams divided into three doses per day with water and meal is a safe and therapeutic dosage. You also want to make note to avoid using it at the same time as medications as it may impact their absorption and utility. Much like with apple pectin, we recommend trying to take psyllium an hour prior to medications, or around ~4 hours after any medications.
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