Why did Health Canada increase the maximum vitamin D dose?

 vitamin D
For the first time in many years, Health Canada has changed the official maximum vitamin D dose allowed by supplement companies. Health Canada rarely changes their recommended vitamin doses, so this change surprised many people. What does the increase in dosage mean for us? As of February 24, 2021, we are now allowed to buy over-the-counter vitamin D supplements that are 2500 IU. Previously, we were only able to buy supplements that contained a maximum of 1000 IU. Soon, natural health brands will be releasing new, upgraded versions of their vitamin D supplements. Is this new dose safe? Although 2500 IU may seem like a big jump from the previous recommended dose, this increase has been a long time coming. In the US, vitamin D supplements up to 10, 000 IU are sold over the counter regularly. Evidence that supports the safety of allowing higher vitamin D limits has been collected for many years. Health Canada has been receiving requests from consumers, physicians, and the natural supplement industry for a long time, and it’s finally been approved, finally. To note, the maximum dose of vitamin D allowed does not represent the maximum amount of vitamin D you can take in one day before reaching toxicity. Instead, it “represents the highest average daily intake of a nutrient that is likely to pose no risk of adverse effects in the general population”, according to Health Canada. As such, it is the maximum dose of vitamin D you can legally buy in Canada, without a doctor’s prescription. However, if your doctor has used a blood test and concluded your vitamin D levels to be low, they can certainly prescribe you a dose higher than 2500 IU. Who is at risk for vitamin D deficiency? Vitamin D is a unique nutrient. Although we can consume it through our diet, our primary source comes from the sun’s UV rays. As the rays hit your skin, the inactive vitamin D in your skin cells are converted to the active form. In order for this conversion to occur, you must be outside during the sun’s strongest hours, and be mostly uncovered. Both clothing and sunscreen can prevent your skin from making vital vitamin D. You may be a risk of vitamin D deficiency if you: Rarely spend time outdoors Are living in an institution like a care home Usually wear clothes that cover up most of your skin when you’re outdoors Have darker skin Live in a country where the winter months are long How to ensure you are getting enough vitamin D year-round To prevent vitamin D deficiency, the most important step is to determine your reason for the deficiency. If you don’t go outside frequently, you may choose to make a daily routine of taking walks outdoors every morning. If the culprit is something that cannot be changed, such as having darker skin or being confined indoors, you may consider adding a daily vitamin D supplement. The most bioavailable vitamin D supplements contain a fat source as an added ingredient. Because vitamin D itself is fat-soluble, pairing the vitamin with a fat enhances its absorption. Popular pairings include coconut oil, MCT oil and sunflower oil. If you can’t stand the taste of oil as a supplement, emulsified liquids or softgels are just as effective. Best options: Genestra D3 K2 Mulsion 20mL, CanPrev Vitamin D3 & K2 + MCT 120 Softgels The superstar vitamin Whether you chose to increase your time outdoors in the sunlight or add a new supplement to your regime, the benefits of vitamin D have been evident year after year. You can rely on vitamin D to balance your immune system, keep your teeth and bones strong and regulate your hormones. Health Canada’s increase assures us that vitamin D is an important supplement to consider – try it and you’ll see! Author Grace Tien is a women’s health holistic nutritionist. She helps her clients optimize their nutrition habits so that they can get rid of afternoon slumps and live each day full of energy. Grace specializes in nutrition for healthy periods, you can find out more at on Instagram.

How to Choose the Best Vitamin C Supplement

best vitamin c
Currently, vitamin C is one of the most popular supplements on the market. This powerful nutrient often makes a comeback to the display shelves every flu season. Given the unique circumstances of 2020-2021, it is no surprise that vitamin C has continuously been flying off the shelves more often than usual. Not only is vitamin C an important player in the immune system, but it also helps improve iron absorption, build collagen, prevent oxidative stress, strengthen arteries, and support brain health. Even with all these benefits, humans are the only mammals that cannot create their own vitamin C. This means that we must prioritize getting vitamin C through our diets every day. The main food sources of vitamin C are raw fruits and vegetables, and taking a supplement can ensure we are getting optimal doses every day. Types of vitamin C supplements It is easy to get overwhelmed looking at all the vitamin C options in the health food store. Not only does vitamin C come in different doses, they also come in different forms. Ascorbic acid The scientific name of vitamin C is ascorbic acid – the two names are used interchangeably. The ascorbic acid form is the most researched and widely available form of vitamin C. Compared to other forms, it is relatively cheap, though not as absorbable. Taking high doses can result in an accumulation of unabsorbed vitamin C in the intestines, leading to diarrhea. To counter the acidity of the vitamin, ascorbic acid should be taken after a meal so that the food can neutralize the pH. Ascorbic acid is also water-soluble and easily excreted through urine. As a result, this form tends to stay in the body for around 4 hours. When supplementing, taking frequent doses (1-3 times/day) ensures consistent levels of vitamin C. Best option: NOW Ascorbic Acid Powder 454g Calcium ascorbate (buffered vitamin C) Do not be confused when you see the word “calcium” on your vitamin C supplement. While ascorbic acid is acidic, ascorbate is bound to a mineral such as calcium, in order to make it neutral and better absorbed. For those that are prone to stomach upset, taking a buffered vitamin C can be easier on the digestive system. Because vitamin C is bound to a mineral, a lower dose of ascorbate can yield the same effect and absorption rate as an ascorbic acid that has a higher dose. Best option: New Roots Calcium Ascorbate Vitamin C 60 Capsules Vitamin C with bioflavonoids You may have seen some vitamin C supplements that contain an extra active ingredient known as bioflavonoids. These bioflavonoids are polyphenolic compounds naturally found in plants. Natural sources of vitamin C, such as fruits and vegetables, will contain their own bioflavonoids. Many well-formulated vitamin C supplements will mimic this by adding bioflavonoids to their product, increasing absorbability. Best option: Natural Factors Vitamin C 1000mg Plus Bioflavonoids & Rosehips 90 Tablets Liposomal vitamin C Liposomes are like little fat-soluble containers that carry the vitamin C cargo to the cells, where it is absorbed directly. Because they are fat-soluble, they can easily enter the cell membrane. Each cell is surrounded by a bilayer of fatty acids. Normally, water-soluble vitamin C has a tricky time getting absorbed directly because water and oil do not mix. By encasing the vitamin C in a layer of its own layer of fatty acids, the bioavailability of liposomal vitamin C increases dramatically. Vitamin C is absorbed into the cells directly, so almost all of it can be used for various body functions. Plus, because it is not water-soluble like ascorbic acid, liposomal vitamin C stays in the body longer and only needs to be taken once a day. Best option: Cyto Matrix Liposomal C 225mL Which vitamin C should I choose? Now that you understand the different types of vitamin C supplements, you can make a better choice for yourself. While the more absorbable forms of vitamin C are more expensive, they also tend to have a better effect and can yield better results. Depending on how much vitamin C you consume in your daily diet, how often you can remember to take your supplements, and your personal budget, you may decide to pick one type of vitamin C over the other. Author Grace Tien is 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 on Instagram. 

Are you Missing out on this Superior form of Vitamin C?

Vitamin C
Did you know that vitamin C is one of the only vitamins that your body cannot produce on its own? We rely completely on our diet to satisfy all our vitamin C needs. And with its many benefits, there are no shortages to the number of amazing effects we receive from this powerful vitamin. As a potent antioxidant, vitamin C helps protect each of your cells from free radicals, heart disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases, while keeping your immune system balanced and ready to fight! Whole food vitamin C vs. ascorbic acid Whole food vitamin C refers to fruits and vegetables that naturally contain vitamin C. Supplement companies have been able to work with farms to cultivate crops and freeze-dry these foods to use them as daily doses. Since the vitamin C content depends on how the crops were grown and how fresh they were before being freeze-dried, it is more difficult to control the vitamin C that you get from these types of powders or supplements. However, the form of vitamin C from whole foods is far superior to anything made in a lab from a synthetic source. Our bodies were designed to use and absorb vitamin C in conjunction with other compounds like flavonoids, and both are found naturally in fruits and vegetables. They also contain many other vitamins and minerals together that allow your body to easily recognize and absorb larger amounts of vitamin C. Should I throw away my vitamin C supplements? To be clear, supplements made with ascorbic acid are not harmful. These supplements have their own purpose, but whole food vitamin C for daily use can be more absorbable and natural. If you prefer relying on ascorbic acid for its accurate dosing, you can choose a vitamin C supplement that contains bioflavonoids in its formula to reap all the benefits. Option: AOR C + Bioflavonoids 200 Veggie Caps Whole food vitamin C supplement options Camu Camu This sour berry is a superfood that has one of the highest levels of vitamin C and other powerful plant compounds. They are harvested all the way from the Amazon rainforest and minimally processed to retain all their nutrients. Option: Ecoideas Camu Camu 120 Capsules Acerola Acerola is a type of cherry that is native to the tropical regions of the Western Hemisphere, such as Barbados, Mexico, and the Caribbean. They are a mix between cherries and berries, with their taste being somewhere in between. Most people find them very pleasant tasting. Option: Flora Acerola Powder 50g Oranges When it comes to vitamin C, we can’t forget about oranges. Orange juice is often advertised as an ideal source of vitamin C, and they’re not wrong. However, many companies add sugar, fillers, and preservatives to the orange juices, and many don’t contain many oranges at all. To truly reap the benefits of vitamin C from oranges, consider a supplement that sources oranges as their main ingredient. You will get way more vitamin C than eating a couple of oranges! Option: Mega Food Daily C-Protect 63.9g How to incorporate whole food vitamin C into your daily routine Many whole food vitamin C options will come in powder form, as they are simply freeze-dried versions of the original fruit. Because of this, they will not contain any fillers or preservatives that you may find in even the most expensive supplements. Think of it as an easier way to eat larger quantities of vitamin-rich fruits, without having to worry about freshness or the expensive price tag. To enjoy these foods on a daily basis, you can add them into smoothies, chia seed pudding, oatmeal, yogurt, or even plain old water. Once you make it a habit, you’ll be on your way to getting superior vitamin C without thinking twice! Author Grace Tien is a women’s health holistic nutritionist. She helps her clients optimize their nutrition habits so that they can get rid of afternoon slumps and live each day full of energy. Grace specializes in nutrition for healthy periods, you can find out more at on Instagram.

A Healthier New Year In 2022:Putting the Focus on Yourself and Your Health

Healthier New Year In 2022
Stress amid the impact of the pandemic two years on has left a lot of people feeling disconnected from family and friends, along with having to adapt to new modes of ‘normal.’ This is, in addition to already ever-present daily stressors people must contend with – work, schooling, family life, relationships, finances… Anything that perhaps felt difficult or strained before is now even more so.  Making changes for the better health-wise, amid everything going on in the world, was not a priority for many. Many fell back into bad habits, unhealthy patterns, or perhaps neglected to focus more on themselves. While things may currently be in a state of flux with the increasing case numbers of Omnicron (locally and globally), 2022 still promises the hope of another year to start anew and revitalize healthier habits that can be attainable (and maintainable).  New Year resolutions are always going to be personal and specific to an individual and about actualizing change that they feel they need to realize in their own life. This could mean weight loss (or gain), changing dietary habits, quitting smoking or drinking, re-designing their home environment and living space, or taking control of their own health and wellness.  That being said, highly personal New Year resolutions and goals can always be supported and encouraged by recognizing that those goals are, in fact, accomplishable.  That can mean reading about the success of others through blogs, social media, and peers – and it can mean knowing how best to support your own journey through supplements, vitamins, nutrition, and holistic approaches.  Many are looking for a starting point or a ‘plan’ to get a more concrete sense of how to actually achieve what they set their mind to.  A huge part of this is ensuring that you support your needs – if your goal in 2022 is to have a healthier year, then a priority is knowing how best to support your health. Supplements and vitamins can play a vital role in this regard to assist pre-existing dietary changes and exercise.  Is your goal weight loss? Putting on muscle? Sticking to your workout plan? In addition to finding a workout routine that best works for you and your goals, supplements can provide assistance to reduce appetite cravings, ensure proper carbohydrate metabolism, and boost workout performances. B-Vitamins, particularly Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), B3 (Niacin), and B12 (cobalamin) can play an important role in helping to metabolize carbohydrates, proteins, and fat.  When there are pre-existing nutrient deficiencies, it can be more difficult to properly utilize or absorb nutrients from food, maintain the energy needed to sustain high-intensity workouts, or to effectively lose weight.  A good B-Vitamin multi or individual supplement can assist the body when transitioning over to new dietary changes.  They also ensure you maintain adequate energy levels throughout the day, as B12 deficiency is common among those who feel ‘low-energy,’ ‘tired,’ or ‘lethargic’ – especially after eating larger meals or completing daily tasks.  Magnesium is another absolutely essential supplement for those who feel constantly ‘low-energy’ or unable to actively strive towards their goals – critical for the proper, healthy functioning of nerves, muscles, and cells.  While magnesium is not directly correlated with weight loss, it will ensure proper muscle function and improve sleep quality to support all your workout goals and daily activity for those looking to put on muscle and lose weight or gain mass. Specific “weight loss” supplements like Green Tea Extract, Caffeine, and Garcinia Cambogia can support energy expenditure and the body’s metabolism to help aid weight loss faster – dozens of clinical trials seem to support a reduction in body weight when used in addition to dietary changes and exercise compared to those alone.  Probiotics are a continuing area of research and study surrounding the ‘microbiome,’ as we begin to understand more about the role of digestive health and the ‘gut’ on overall well-being, immunity, and metabolism.  Probiotics are live microorganisms (bacteria) that can benefit both the gut and overall health – these can either be found in supplemental form, or in fermented food like kimchi and sauerkraut. Your gut also feeds off the fiber in plant-based food (leafy greens, seeds, legumes) to nourish the beneficial strains of bacteria present in the digestive system.   There are countless plant-based supplements that provide plenty of dietary fiber and act as a pre-biotic for those looking to up their intake. Supplements like Inulin, Psyllium Husk, or Guar Gum can feed beneficial bacteria in the gut naturally, the same way high-fiber healthy foods like beans, seeds, nuts, and vegetables can. Hence the name ‘pre-biotic.’  These can help to regulate appetite so ...

Tried and True Supplements for the Flu Season

Are you worried about getting sick during these harsh times? Many of us are in the same boat and are wondering how to be proactive this season. As you know, eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep and exercising regularly is imperative to keep a healthy immune system strong. With these basic foundations in place, you can add on specific nutrients that your body needs to keep your immune system balanced and ready to fight off infections. These supplements contain ingredients with proven benefits to aid the immune system. Supplements for the Flu Season Vitamin D As the cold weather approaches, we spend less time outdoors. Vitamin D is produced in our skin cells when they are exposed to sun rays – so it comes as no surprise that vitamin D deficiency is the most prevalent from October to April. Vitamin D deficiency is extremely common and is associated with increased inflammation and deregulation of the immune system.[1] It is an essential part of keeping a balanced immune system that is ready to fight! Did you know that many of our immune cells have vitamin D receptors? This means that vitamin D can directly activate and increase the production of immune cells.[2] We suggest trying an emulsified vitamin D3 supplement, as it is the most absorbable.  Vitamin C One of the most popular vitamins for the cold and flu season is vitamin C. Why? Supplementing vitamin C improves immune cell activities so that the natural killer cells can get rid of pathogens in the body.[3] This powerful antioxidant helps alert immune cells to sites of infections and enhances their ability to kill microbes.[4] We suggest trying a fat-soluble, liposomal form of vitamin C because it will stay in your body longer than other vitamin C supplements. Vitamin C is naturally water-soluble and will be excreted in your urine throughout the day. Liposomal vitamin C ensures you are using up all the vitamin C in the supplement! Zinc  This mineral is needed for the growth, development, and maintenance of immune cells.[5] Zinc deficiency is common, as it cannot be stored in the body and has to be consumed daily to ensure adequate amounts. Zinc deficiency has been shown to impair immunity, delay wound healing, and increase inflammation in the body. [6] A deficiency in zinc can cause unfavorable changes to the thymus, the organ that produces immune cells. Luckily, the supplementation of zinc is able to reverse those changes and strengthen the signaling pathways of immune cells![7] Taking too much zinc is unlikely to cause symptoms, however, it can hide a copper deficiency. To be safe, it is advised to take a copper-zinc formula when supplementing the long-term.[6] Elderberry  These berries have traditionally been used to address cold and flu symptoms. Elderberries contain high levels of anthocyanins, which have antiviral activities and are able to boost immune function.[8] They are a popular home remedy for upper respiratory symptoms from influenza or colds, such as sinus congestion, sore throat, cough or fever. Elderberry supplementation has been shown to reduce the duration and severity of these symptoms.[8] It can also be taken as a preventative measure or at the onset of symptoms for the best results.  We suggest choosing elderberry that is commercially prepared and is standardized, to provide an effective option. This syrup from Suro Organic is a staple in our cupboards! When should you start supplementing for the flu season?  Keep in mind that the effects of supplements take time. Start today and build up your immunity sooner rather than later!  Author  Grace Tien is 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 on Instagram.   References Sassi, F., Tamone, C., & D'Amelio, P. (2018). Vitamin D: Nutrient, Hormone, and Immunomodulator. Nutrients, 10(11), 1656. Prietl, B., Treiber, G., Pieber, T. R., & Amrein, K. (2013). Vitamin D and immune function. Nutrients, 5(7), 2502–2521. Wintergerst, E. S., Maggini, S., & Hornig, D. H. (2006). Immune-enhancing role of vitamin C and zinc and effect on clinical conditions. Annals of nutrition & metabolism, 50(2), 85–94. Carr, A. C., & Maggini, S. (2017). Vitamin C and Immune Function. Nutrients, 9(11), 1211. Read, S. A., Obeid, S., Ahlenstiel, C., & Ahlenstiel, G. (2019). The Role of Zinc in Antiviral Immunity. Advances in nutrition (Bethesda, Md.), 10(4), 696–710. Maywald, M., Wessels, I., & Rink, L. (2017). Zinc Signals and Immunity. International journal of molecular sciences,&nbs ...

Healthy Planet New Year Resolution

Tis the season to embrace your family and loved ones. Your time is occupied by holiday parties, friend's gathering and surrounding yourself with family. It’s a chance to immerse yourself into the holiday spirit and leave behind the stress of daily life and the issues that come with it. While we mask the not so positive parts of ourselves during the holidays to keep up a positive and festive mood around others, doing so can lead to increased stress and anxiety. This can make way for excessive eating and sometimes deepen an already depressed state of mind. Taking care of your mind and body during the holiday season is of utmost importance not just for you, but those around you as well. With the New Year quickly approaching, we all know what comes when the big hand strikes Midnight. A laundry list of how we are going to improve our Health and Wellness in the upcoming year. Resolutions like increased time in the gym, adapting to an organic diet or making a pact to spend more time with nature are popular with the health and wellness lifestyle. Healthy Planet is here to help assist you in being the best version of yourself.Here is a list of some of our favourite New Year Resolutions and how we can help reach your goals! Digestion Health: Change of Diet Resolution: We an all overindulge in food and sweets over the Holidays. Here are some of our favourite products that will help realign both your gut health and digestive health for the New Year. Genuine Health Probiotic Gut Health - Benefiting both skin health, digestive health and immunity. Start your New Year building a defense in your gut against bloating and weak digestion. New Roots Digestive Enzyme - Get more energy from your food while helping increase vitamin and mineral absorption from foods. Helping with digestion, boating and gas, give a little love to your Gut Health with the arrival of the New Year. Traditional Medicinals Eater's Digest Peppermint Tea- This Kosher, Non GMO, Organic, after dinner tea is perfect for occasional indigestion and soothing a full belly. Let’s be serious, who doesn’t love a cup of tea after dinner. Dry Winter Weather: Spend More TIme In Nature Resolution Spending more time in nature can bring a sense of calmness following the busy holiday season. Dedicating more time walking and exploring the outdoors can be a fun way to enter the New Year feeling invigorated and fresh. Earth's Care Dry and Cracked Skin Balm - Winter months can be harsh and cold. Increased time spent exploring outside will leave you cracked and dry. Absorb the benefits of Shea Butter, Arnica and Cajaput Oil. Dr. Bronner Lip Balm Peppermint - Keep your lips from getting chapped with a classic. Support proper moisturizing of your lips over the cold months into spring. All organic and all love, Dr. Bronner should be a staple for everyone this New Year. Traditional Medicinals Throat Coat Lemon Echinacea Tea - Heating up with a warm and comforting Tea after enjoying a walk in the park in the Winter months is the perfect treat. Organic, Non GMO, Kosher and Fair Trade. Gym Supplements: Joining Gym Resolution One of the top New Year Resolutions is joining the gym. We always promote self care and improving your body at Healthy Planet. Allmax ISONatural - Gluten free and formulated with probiotics to improve intestinal microflora, Allmax protein technology is a great addition to any training regiment. Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer - Go into your workout fully energized and ready to build your best self empire. Increase your endurance while raising your menta focus and recovery time. Amazing Grass Green SuperFood - Complete raw food with powerful antioxidants, Organic, Raw, Gluten Free, Natural, support your body while you train it to be the best it can be. Going Organic: Going Organic Resolution The Organic movement has made huge strides in the last few years. With the public understanding the importance of healthy and pesticide-free produce and products, trading in your processed foods and items for Organic will be an easy transition. Organic Traditions Sprouted Quinoa - Full of protein and incredibly versatile in the kitchen, quinoa is one of the easier proteins to fuel your body for the New Years challenges. Organic Traditions is one of our favourite Organic brands on the market. Prana Organic Cashews - Known to reduce inflammation, improve metabolism and lower the risk of diabetes, Prana Organic Cashews are some of the best Organic nuts on the market. Manitoba Harvest Organic Hemp Hearts - An easy way to add omegas, protein and fibre straight into your diet, Manitoba Harvest Organic Hemp Hearts are free of any additives or preservatives. A healthy and organic addition to your New Year Goals. Going Cruelty Free: Cruelty Free Beauty Self Care Resolution One of the most popular and fastly growing New Year Resolutions/Movements is jumping on board the Cruelty Free Cosmetics and Self Care. We are proud to carry all Cruelt ...

Running out of steam? 3 reasons you may need a multivitamin.

BY: PLATINUM NATURALS Vitamins and minerals perform hundreds of roles in your body. From converting food into energy, building your bones, healing your wounds, and boosting your immune system, you may not be getting enough of these critical nutrients in your daily diets. Let’s see why. 1. You are not perfect. Let’s face it; most of us don’t consistently eat a healthy diet. Sure, some days we eat better than others but if we’re honest…there are at least a few days a week or month that we opt for the drive thru on our way to or from work or snack on a cookie instead of a carrot. And despite our best efforts on our “good” eating days, studies show that many of us are still falling short of getting the nutrients our bodies need to function at their best.   2. Your food is not perfect. The fruits and vegetables we eat are often sprayed with pesticides or picked before they are ripe and shipped to us – which can deplete important nutrients. Nearly every food preparation process reduces the amount of nutrients in food. In particular, processes that expose foods to high levels of heat, light, and/or oxygen often cause the greatest nutrient loss. B vitamins are essential for helping our bodies use energy, but are easily destroyed through cooking and food processing.   3. You take medications from time to time. Many medications can deplete nutrients, for example: •  Birth control pills deplete B-vitamins.•  Antacids deplete calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B12.•  Anti-inflammatory drugs deplete vitamin C and folic acid.•  Diuretics deplete potassium, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, B1 and B6. Vitamins and minerals are called micronutrients because your body needs only tiny amounts of them, yet they have powerful effects. Taking a multivitamin ensures you get all the essential nutrients you need to function at your best.

Introducing Veggie Softgels: A Superior Delivery System for the 21st Century

By: Dr. Nibber  When it comes to supplements, there is a variety to choose from including lozenges, liquids, tablets, capsules and powders and as a consumer, you likely want the best for your buck. While tablets and capsules are the traditional, more widely used agents and have a time and place in every supplement regime, there are alternative delivery systems that allow for better delivery of nutrients to the body and thus better efficacy. Softgels represent that superior delivery system. The difference between delivery systems is not always clear, especially when it comes to capsules vs soft gels. Capsules or "Vegi-Caps" refer to a two piece unit which typically holds powdered ingredients. Softgels are a one piece capsule, commonly made of gelatin and almost always contain liquid or oil-based ingredients. The introduction of a comprehensive "Veggie Softgel Series" in the natural health product industry is critical so that vegans/vegetarians can also take advantage. Softgels Offer Superior Absorption One of the biggest advantages of offering nutrients in a softgel is that softgels allow for better bioavailability of active ingredients than tablets, capsules or powders. Bioavailability is defined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as "The rate and the extent to which the therapeutic moiety is absorbed and becomes available to the site of action". Simply put, bioavailability is the amount of an ingredient that gets absorbed in the body. Absorption is critically important because if there is little or no absorption, then what is the point of popping pills into our body all day long? Before absorption can take place, nutrients first have to become dissolved from the solid into the liquid state. Tablets and two-piece capsules are in the solid state and thus need to first become soluble into the contents of the stomach before absorption can begin. Sometimes tablets do not dissolve properly because they are "hard". Softgels on the other hand are already in the liquid state and thus allow for greater absorption of nutrients. Softgels vs. the Rest There are some other distinct advantages of softgels over tablets and capsules including: • Softgels are ideal for oils and fat-soluble ingredients e.g. vitamin D, vitamin K or omega 3's etc. because fat-soluble nutrients are best absorbed in the presence of fat. • Softgels can be designed to be digested and broken down in a specific area of the gastrointestinal tract. Think of enteric coating, a process that allows the softgel to bypass the harsh contents of the stomach without being broken down and in some cases, delivered directly to the colon. • The flexible shape makes softgels easier to swallow. Shape and flexibility is an issue for certain individuals, seniors and children. • Since softgels are fully sealed, they allow sensitive ingredients to be protected from environmental conditions such as light, humidity or oxygen, producing better product stability. • Some ingredients that have strong odours or flavours can be better "masked" in softgels, making the softgel more pleasant to consume. • Softgels also provide protection from tampering. A punctured softgel will leak or become discoloured; tampering in capsules or tablets is not as obvious. • Individuals often report reduced stomach discomfort and do not experience problems with coatings when digesting softgels than when taking tablets or capsules. • New vegan friendly softgel series ensures that individuals with strict dietary preferences have greater freedom and more suitable options in their supplement regimes. Softgels are an ideal delivery system providing greater absorption and thus faster and greater efficacy. The introduction of a vegan/vegetarian softgel family further allows individuals with certain dietary preferences the ability to take advantage of this superior delivery system. *Please note: AOR’s VSoftgel Series will be available to order October 2015, ask your local retailer for more details or click here to Find a Retailer near you. What delivery method (tablets, powders, softgels, liquids etc.) do you prefer and why? Let us know in the comments below! Reference:

Supplements to Help With Depression

Supplements to Help With Depression Dr. Marita Schauch writes about supplements that can help people who are feeling the emotional strain of the time of year (SAD). The supplements she highlights can help any time of year and may alleviate some of the feelings of helplessness that many in today’s society feel. Please read on, and go to for any supplement information you would like to further explore or a Health Food Store or Specialty Pharmacy near you: I’ve taken some time this month to explore depression, given how Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) tends to run rampant at this time of winter. I’m a firm believer in people feeling empowered around their health care, and don’t necessarily prescribe any one treatment for depression. Always go and talk to your ND or MD if you’ve noticed the symptoms and want to pursue treatment. All of that being said, there are some key natural supplements that can have a big, big impact on the mood, and I’d be remiss not to share them with you! Vitamin B6 B6 levels are typically low in depression, especially in women taking birth control or on hormone replacement therapy for menopausal symptoms. Considering the many functions of vitamin B6 in the brain, including the fact that it is absolutely essential in the manufacturing of dopamine and serotonin, it is likely that many individuals with depression may be suffering as a result of low vitamin B6. AdrenaSense As mentioned above, treating the cause – the adrenal glands – may be an important strategy for mood disorders.  Herbs such as Rhodiola, Siberian ginseng and Ashwagandha are powerful adaptogens that help to balance stress hormones such as cortisol. Vitamin D New research shows that low serum levels of vitamin D are associated with clinically significant symptoms of depression in otherwise healthy individuals (Psychiatry Research 2015). Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid Folic acid, vitamin B12 and SAM-e function as methyl donors – they carry and donate methyl molecules to important brain compounds including neurotransmitters – serotonin and dopamine. One of the key brain compounds dependent on methylation is tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4). This compound functions as an essential coenzyme in the activation of enzymes that manufacture serotonin and dopamine.  BH4 synthesis is stimulated by folic acid and vitamin B12 and vitamin C. 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5 HTP) 5-HTP is the precursor to serotonin. Numerous studies have shown that 5-HTP is as effective as SSRIs and tricyclic antidepressants, better tolerated, and associated with fewer and much milder side effects (Psychopathology 1991). EstroSense A foundation for treating many hormonal imbalances is the concept of the liver’s role in the detoxification process. If the liver function is compromised, then estrogen metabolism is compromised, leading to excess estrogen levels and what is often described as estrogen dominance. Estrogen dominance may contribute to PMS as well as peri-menopausal symptoms. Saffron (Crocus sativus stigma) Saffron has shown to be an effective natural antidepressant in several clinical trials.  One study compared the effects of saffron with fluoxetine (Prozac), and both treatments resulted in significant improvements in depression symptoms and severity, with no difference in the amount of improvement between the two groups.  Saffron’s antidepressant properties seem to be related to serotonin metabolism. Chaste Tree (Vitex Agnus Castus) Vitex may be one of the single most important herbs for the treatment of PMS as well as other hormonal imbalances leading to poor mood. The effect of vitex is on the hypothalamus-hypophysis axis. It increases secretion of luteinizing hormone and also has an effect that favours progesterone. Probiotics Remember that a healthy microbiome promotes a healthy mood.  Support the gut! This article ahs been provided to you by Preferred nutrition blog. 
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