Tagged with 'health supplements'

Digestive Enzymes vs Digestive Bitters – Which Should You Choose?

Digestive Enzymes or Digestive Bitters
Is your digestion system working optimally? Even though we eat every day, most of us do not know what normal digestive function looks like. How do you know if your symptoms are a result of your body digesting food, or the opposite? Digestion is the process of breaking down food so that your body can used the nutrients for various organ functions. When you eat, the food travels from your mouth through the esophagus, and into the stomach. It will move through the small intestine and large intestine (colon) before exiting via the anus. But that’s not all – your pancreas, liver and gallbladder all play important roles in your ability to digest and absorb the nutrients properly. When digestion issues occur, it may be a sign that one of these organs need extra support. Normal Digestive Sensations Having 1-3 easy bowel movements per day Bloat or gas after eating foods high in sulfur (ex: onions, beans, garlic, lentils, asparagus) Feeling fullness after a large meal Abnormal Digestive Sensations Feeling bloated after only a few bites of foods Nausea after eating Bloat or gas after every meal Acid reflux Stomach pain or cramping Mushy or lumpy stool Solving Abnormal Digestive Symptoms If you are experiencing abnormal digestive symptoms on a regular basis, you may want to consider supporting your digestive system strategically. From a holistic perspective, taking digestive bitters and digestive enzymes before meals are popular options. Digestive Bitters Digestive bitters are a blend of herbs that will simulate digestion – everything from the production of stomach acid, to stimulating the liver, to producing your own digestive enzymes to break down food. Our bodies have bitter receptors in the mouth, so when you taste these herbs, digestive juices and enzymes receive a kickstart and run more smoothly. As a result, symptoms like bloating, gas and indigestion can be eased. These tinctures consist of bitter herbs soaked into organic alcohol, creating a potent extract. You only need 1-2mL of this tincture before meals to experience amazing effects! Unlike digestive enzymes, digestive bitters can be taken long term because the body will not become dependent on them. Digestive bitter blends: St. Francis Canadian Bitters 100mL, Botanica Digestive Bitters 50mL Bitter herbs: dandelion, artichoke, chicory root, gentian root, licorice, burdock Digestive Enzymes While digestive bitters encourage your body to make its own digestive enzymes, you may choose to supplement directly with a blend of digestive enzymes. Enzymes are responsible for chemically breaking down food in the digestive tract in order to be fully absorbed. The pancreas makes many of these enzymes naturally and sends them to the intestines, where most of the absorption occurs. However, certain health conditions such chronic pancreatitis, can interfere with this production. Without sufficient enzymes, you cannot absorb nutrients, even if you have a healthy diet. For those who have poor digestion or malnutrition, digestive enzymes can be supplemented to help your own enzymes. The main types of enzymes are amylase, lipase and proteases, which break down carbohydrates, fats and proteins, respectively. Some blends may also include hydrochloric acid (HCl), making it a great option for those that experience heartburn due to low stomach acid. Digestive enzyme formulas can also contain ox bile, which is needed to break down fats. People who have had their gallbladder removed will have difficulty storing bile, and may want to supplement with a digestive enzyme containing extra bile. There are many formulas available – finding the perfect one will depend on your specific digestive needs. It is important to take digestive enzymes before or right after eating, so that they have time to break down the food. It is not recommended to take these enzymes long-term, as it can affect your body’s ability to produce its own. Instead, use them when digestive symptoms are flaring up, or to combat a deficiency caused by a specific health condition. Digestive enzyme formulas: Enzymedica Digest Gold 45 Capsules, NOW Super Enzymes 180 Capsules A Permanent Solution? While both digestive bitters and digestive enzymes offer relief from digestive issues, they are not a primary treatment. They can be used to boost the digestive process, but if symptoms persist, please consult your primary health practitioner. Author Grace Tien is a dietetics and holistic nutrition grad. She creates sustainable, delicious meal plans to help clients with their health goals. Grace specializes in nutrition for healthy periods, you can find out more at @gracetien.ca on Instagram.

Slippery Elm: Healer or Hype?

Slippery Elm
If you’ve ever looked for a natural treatment for heartburn, sore throat, or constipation, you may have come across slippery elm. This large elm tree often flies under the radar, but its inner bark has a slippery mucilage, meaning it contains a polysaccharide that becomes a useful gel when mixed with water. It can be added to teas, supplements, and medicines to soothe skin and mucosal membranes and help facilitate movement in the digestive tract. Mucous membranes exist throughout our bodies. They are the lining of the respiratory cavities (e.g., nose, mouth, and throat), and digestive and urogenital tracts. These membranes can become inflamed after spicy meals or when you’ve picked up the latest daycare virus. With inflamed mucosal linings, you may experience symptoms like heartburn, indigestion, a sore throat, and congestion. Soothing these concerns is often a target for natural treatments like slippery elm. Psoriasis A collection of case studies using nutritional modifications and slippery elm in patients struggling with psoriasis found that all subjects saw improvement in their symptom ranking over a six-month trial, as well as a reduction in markers for intestinal permeability. Many of the studies that mention slippery elm are small and outdated at this point, but new studies are assessing its benefits in digestion and cholesterol, and the results are exciting! Digestion: Constipation  Stress is a significant issue seen in healthcare today that can impact the health of your digestion. One condition often associated with stress is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). People struggling with this can experience abdominal symptoms like bloating, gas and discomfort, as well as changes in bowel movements (e.g., constipation, diarrhea, or both). Because of its connection to stress and brain function, healthcare providers lean on psychotherapy to address these concerns. Cognitive behavioural therapy, relaxation therapy, and hypnosis may all be worthwhile investments if you are struggling with IBS. Natural options, like slippery elm, may also work.  The fibre content in slippery elm is a bulk-forming laxative which may help with constipation. In patients with constipation-type IBS, the slippery elm formulation was found to significantly improve bowel habits and reduce other side effects. Another small study associated slippery elm with improved digestive symptoms, including indigestion, heartburn, nausea, constipation, abdominal pain, and flatulence. On closer inspection, the stool of participants also showed improvements in healthy bacterial populations and reduced markers for leaky gut. “Because slippery elm contains insoluble fibre, it has become a natural consideration for the treatment of high cholesterol.” The same soothing effect slippery elm provides for people struggling with IBS can also be used to treat heartburn and sore throats. This demulcent coats the throat, easing irritation and coughing symptoms. Some older anecdotal evidence suggests that slippery elm has the ability to soothe inflammation and swelling, improve mucosal irritation, and ease laryngitis and acid reflux—but more investigation is required to understand the mechanism of action and effectiveness. Cholesterol High cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia) is a very common issue in Canada, with 28 percent of people aged 18–79 fulfilling the criteria for diagnosis. While lifestyle changes are helpful recommendations in the management of high cholesterol, many people require medication therapy to bring cholesterol into the normal range and reduce the risk for heart disease.  The first line of treatment is a drug family called statins. As with any medication, statins are not without side effects that may impact results. Because slippery elm contains insoluble fibre, it has become a natural consideration for the treatment of high cholesterol.  A recent randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial demonstrated that patients with untreated high low-density lipoprotein (LDL) who received 500 mg of Ulmus macrocarpa Hance (large-fruited elm) daily for 12 weeks showed a greater decrease in LDL and total cholesterol in comparison to the placebo group. In addition, none of the participants reported any notable adverse events. Having an effective treatment option for managing a prevalent health concern like hypercholesterolemia—without side effects—is very exciting! How To Use Slippery Elm  Slippery elm comes in convenient capsules and teas, but you can also add the powder form to a smoothie or try making your own soothing lozenges. Regardless of the form, always take doses a couple of hours apart. Lozenges Ingredients » ½ c slippery elm powder  » 6 Tbsp honey Instructions Combine the slippery elm powder in a bowl with your favourite honey and mix well.  Roll the mixture into small balls using your hands (use about ½ tsp for each ball).  Roll each ball in a little extra ...

Lycopene – The Natural Red Pigment that Can Help Prevent Disease

Lycopene to Prevent Disease
You probably know that the pigment which lends bold color to certain veggies (tomatoes and pumpkin, for example) is linked to powerful antioxidants – called carotenoids. Most people probably don’t consider taking these carotenoids as individual supplements for overall longevity and improved health.  The benefits of carotenoids like lycopene are vast; including enhanced respiratory, vision, and cardiovascular health. Lycopene is also useful for men experiencing BPH or prostate issues.  What is Lycopene? Beyond Tomatoes In Western countries, tomatoes make up the predominant intake of lycopene, accounting for close to 90 percent. Lycopene is the carotenoid that lends vegetables and fruit (namely tomatoes) their bright red pigment.  Beta-carotene is another popular carotenoid, known for lending a bright orange color to carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin.  Research clearly demonstrates carotenoids as being healthy for us, and reducing the risk factors for all-cause mortality – lycopene specifically offers its own unique health benefits that make supplementing with it worth it.  Lycopene is an exceptionally affordable supplement, with very low risk/interactions and is tolerated well by most people. You won’t be able to get the same amount from food sources that you would in the form of a supplement, even if you consumed tomato-based products with every meal.  The Health Benefits of Lycopene: Prostate Health, Cardiovascular Health, and More Lycopene appears to protect sperm cells – improving count, and motility, and reducing oxidative damage.  Higher blood plasma levels of lycopene were associated with fewer cardiovascular events, strokes, and heart attacks. Conversely, lower levels of lycopene were associated with an increased risk of heart disease.  Other observational studies seem to indicate lycopene as protective against atherosclerosis – the primary risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and cardiovascular disease.  Intake of only ~25mg per day of lycopene was shown to lower “bad” LDL cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure.  Other observational studies indicate that an increased tomato or tomato product intake was correlated with better blood vessel function, better artery function + better arterial health, and lower LDL cholesterol levels.  There is an apparent connection between lycopene intake and prostate cancer. Those with the highest amounts of lycopene intake were noted as having 15%-20% lower occurrences of prostate cancer.  Lycopene appeared to prevent earlier cognitive decline in rat study models, by reducing oxidative damage to the brain in those with diabetes and/or Parkinson’s Disease.  Lycopene appeared to prevent memory related deficits and depression, by reducing inflammation in the brain’s hippocampus.  In women, lycopene supplementation appears to reduce pelvic pain symptoms, and the pain associated with pelvic inflammatory disease. It can also reduce diabetic nerve pain by reducing the amount of circulating inflammatory compounds. 

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.

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 ...

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.

Creatine: A Guide to the Popular Pre-Workout Supplement

Creatine Supplement
What Is Creatine? Creatine itself is naturally formed (made) in the kidneys and liver from bodily processes involving amino acids – glycine, arginine, and methionine.  Creatine is primarily consumed through the meat (red meat, poultry, fish) or individually as a dietary supplement.  It helps fuel high endurance or intensity exercise or workouts.  When ATP is used up (during these activities), it is converted into ADP (adenosine diphosphate) and AMP (adenosine monophosphate). Creatine helps increase the overall amount of cellular phosphocreatine (this is what creatine exists in cells as) and this, in turn, helps speed up the process of recycling ADP back into ATP.  Creatine transfers a high-energy phosphate from creatine phosphate to ADP to essentially regenerate ATP. This means more energy and strength for workouts. Creatine not only appears to benefit strength during intense exercise or resistance training (helping to contribute to increased lean mass gain) but also appears to be of benefit for mental fatigue and cognitive function.  This may be especially true for those who are vegan or vegetarian and intake less through dietary means, given that these prerequisite amino acids are found in high concentrations in meat and seafood.  Creatine is one of the most clinically studied, safe, and peer-reviewed supplements available. There are well over five-hundred publications (according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine) regarding the various aspects of creatine supplementation, including its efficacy, safety, and tolerance of it.  Many people consider creatine to be a “natural anabolic,” which might be a tad confusing for some people, as creatine doesn’t have anything to do with anabolic steroids directly. Even Allmax Nutrition themselves proclaim creatine to be the most trusted natural anabolic.  What exactly does this all mean? Let us touch on anabolic steroids. Anabolic steroids are essentially a ‘synthetic’ version of androgenic hormones – most commonly testosterone, and are sometimes used with resistance training for the sole purpose of enhancing the speed of muscle mass gain and strength gain.  This increase comes from testosterone entering the muscle cells, binding with the “intracellular androgen receptor,” and increasing the expression of particular genes. This leads to increased ATP (adenosine triphosphate production).  Creatine, as a supplement, can increase the capacity of ATP as well as energy produced during resistance or strength training, and as such is often compared to synthetic hormones as a ‘natural anabolic.’  Therefore, we can say that creatine functions physiologically in a similar way to steroids (and can help performance in the same way), they are not the same in the way they do this, nor are they categorized in the same way because of this.  Anabolic steroids have a different chemical structure than creatine and are blatantly considered prescription drugs as regulated by the FDA.  So, while many companies or bodybuilders may refer to creatine as a “natural anabolic” – they might not be exactly correct, but they also aren’t explicitly lying.  Creatine and Hair Loss  A quick cursory search around the internet for creatine will probably garner hundreds of results of men worried about creatine causing baldness, hair loss, or accelerating male pattern baldness.  Is any of this true? Is there any validity to these second-hand stories? Creatine itself absolutely does not directly lead to hair loss. The science is clear on that, so we should establish that immediately.  Most men aren’t going to want to make the choice between being ripped and having a nice head of hair.  The primary connection between creatine, hair loss, and concern online – all really just comes down to a single fairly small study of Rugby players who were found to have increased conversion of testosterone to DHT (dihydrotestosterone).  This potentially shows that creatine may cause an elevation in a hormone (DHT) that can speed up the process of hair loss, but only in men predisposed to hair loss or male pattern baldness genetically.  The study does not explicitly link the two. In addition, the people in the study were taking quite a large serving size of 25g per day, compared to the recommended 5g. The size of the study is quite small as well, profiling only 20 volunteers.  What is the connection of DHT to balding? In men, DHT can bind to potentially susceptible androgen receptors in hair follicles and cause them to ‘shrink.’  Any anecdotal stories of men online may be men taking larger amounts of creatine long-term, who are at the same time genetically predisposed to hair loss or male pattern baldness.  Usually, these men also claim to recover any signs of thinning hair after stopping the creatine supplem ...

Astaxanthin: Carotenoid Super-Power, and Antioxidant Powerhouse

Astaxanthin
The name may be hard to pronounce, but there is no mistaking the slew of health benefits associated with this powerhouse of a carotenoid.  Before we delve into astaxanthin specifically, first we should understand what carotenoids ‘are’ and their benefit to human consumption. Carotenoids are responsible for the pigments or colors you see in brightly colored fruit and vegetables. These are found in plants, along with other lifeforms like algae and bacteria. Often, these specific compounds are associated with bright reds, yellows, and oranges in plant matter.  All About Carotenoids These carotenoids also act as potent antioxidants in the human body. Dietary intake is associated with benefits due to this antioxidant and anti-inflammatory potential for reducing the risk of chronic illness, disease, and oxidative stress. There are plenty of fairly popular carotenoids that are now regularly used as supplements to address a variety of health concerns – lycopene (tomatoes), lutein, beta carotene, zeaxanthin, and astaxanthin are among the most common.  These compounds are fat-soluble and should be consumed with dietary fat. This ensures enhanced absorption and utilization by the body. Often, supplements for carotenoids like astaxanthin or beta-carotene will be in a soft gel capsule that contains oil (fat source) or encapsulation of fatty acids. Carotenoids themselves are associated with a variety of health benefits and protective benefits (cardioprotective and neuroprotective). They are routinely linked to eye health, anti-carcinogenic properties, reducing risk factors for heart disease, LDL or “bad” cholesterol, stroke, and cardiovascular events.  Specifically, we are looking at astaxanthin, which is among the most potent and protective – noted scientifically for the extremely high antioxidant levels it contains, comparable to that of Chaga mushrooms and much higher than that of acai berries. While we know most of these carotenoids come from fruit and vegetables, astaxanthin is derived from a microalga that has a stark red-orange hue. Aquatic life that eats these algae and feeds on it are often noted for their red pigments – salmon, shrimp, krill, crabs, lobsters, crayfish, and red trout are all notable examples that display the astaxanthin pigment.  In Europe, it is considered for use as a food dye, and the FDA has approved it as a color additive in animal food products. In general, astaxanthin from natural sources (algae or yeast-derived) or synthetic sources (lab produced) is given the “generally recognized as safe” approval from the FDA for use in supplements.  Astaxanthin’s Rise to Popularity as Powerhouse Supplement While astaxanthin is a supplement that has only more recently begun to be clinically researched and studied (~10 years), there is already a wealth of evidence of its role in human health as a major source of antioxidants that offer protection from liver injury, kidney injury, high blood pressure, poor vision, LDL “bad” cholesterol, and joint pain – to name a few.  The liver is absolutely essential to healthy functioning, given its important role in the body of metabolizing harmful substances and chemicals, toxic by-products, and regulating hundreds of other vital functions. Astaxanthin seems to confer protection from a wide range of liver disease-related conditions by offering extremely potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory support. Liver fibrosis, liver cancer, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, drug-induced liver injury, and liver ischemia were all accounted for in studies. It exerts protective and therapeutic effects in these cases, offering protection as a preventative measure or therapeutic relief in those with these pre-existing conditions.  Not only is astaxanthin regarded for its antioxidant powers on the liver, but it also appears to help regulate insulin resistance and fat synthesis, and inhibit tumor growth.  If astaxanthin is healthy for the liver, it seems to make sense that it confers a benefit to our other important organs. In studies, kidney health was also positively impacted by supplementation with astaxanthin versus controls. As astaxanthin prevents oxidative stress, several studies have looked at it as a potential therapeutic in addressing kidney injury and function – astaxanthin appeared to prevent necrosis and destruction of the kidneys after oxidative injury in kidney tissue.  Astaxanthin also suppressed cell proliferation of cancerous cells, and this not only applies to the kidneys but our other vital organs. Anti-carcinogenic, it can inhibit tumor growth and cancerous cell proliferation. Astaxanthin and other carotenoids were also found to reduce the risk of kidney disease, along with the severity in sufferers.  Astaxanthin seems to prevent and reduce the replication of H. pylori – the bacterium associated with gastric distress, stomach ulcers, SIBO, and other digestive c ...

Healthy Planet supports Movember

The Movember Foundation runs a global charity every year to raise funds and awareness for “changing the face of men’s health”. It addresses health issues such as prostate, testicular cancer, and mental health. It challenges men to grow a mustache and help raise money and awareness. In this blog, Healthy Planet Canada would like to share important information on Prostate that everybody should know about.

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