Health & Nutrition Blog – Healthy Planet Canada

A Herb for Calm: Lavender

Lavender Herb
Lavendula angustifolia is a scent that most of us can recognize perhaps you’ve had the good fortune of visiting a field full of lavender to experience it. At one time, lavender was a natural, wild-crafted crop that could easily be cut and harvested in the hills of the Mediterranean. Over time, it was domesticated and has gradually become one of the major ingredients in the manufacture of perfume and scented cosmetics. The highest-quality essential oil is derived from steam-distilling fresh lavender flowers. The amount of volatile oil found in lavender is often very small; it makes up only 0.005–10 percent of a single plant. To obtain 454 ml (1 lb) of this essential oil, you need 150 lbs of lavender. Knowing this, we might wish to consider using essential oils sparingly, as large quantities of land and plant life are required to produce even small amounts of essential oils. Plant Description  Lavendula angustifolia (English Lavender) is a perennial plant native to Eastern Europe, northern Africa, and the Mediterranean. There are many genotypes, but English Lavender is most commonly grown and used. It has narrow, grey-green leaves and a long spike with purple flowers that attract pollinators. The flowers are covered in star-shaped hairs. The name Lavendula originates from the Latin lavare, meaning washing or bathing; the herb was venerated for its cleansing and purifying properties. The Romans used lavender to perfume their baths, and for centuries it has been infused into laundry water in Europe. The Virgin Mary is reputed to have been especially fond of lavender because it protected clothes from insects and preserved chastity.  Pedanius Dioscorides - a Greek physician, pharmacologist, and botanist posited that the fragrance of lavender surpassed all other perfumes. Herbalists in 16th-century Europe Herbal Profile Lavendula angustifolia (formerly Lavendula officinalis)  Common Name: Lavender, lavendula, lavandin Family: Lamiaceae, mint family Parts Used: Aerial parts—flowers, flower buds, leaves. Collect fully-opened flowers and leaves, usually between June and August. They should be gently dried at a temperature not exceeding 40°C.  Taste: Cool, aromatic, dry Energy: Cool, relaxant ACTIVE CONSTITUENTS: Lavender has over 100 constituents, including: Tannins, 0.5–¹ /5% volatile oil, coumarins (including coumarin, umbelliferon and herniarin), flavonoids (such as luteolin), 0.7% ursolic acid (found in the leaves)³  The essential oil contains: Linalyl acetate, geraniol, cineole, limonene and sesquiterpenes4 , linalool (which has the distinct smell of lavender)  Herbal actions: Nervous antidepressant, anxiolytic, and relaxant; digestive anti-inflammatory, carminative, antacid, and anti-emetic; integumentary anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and cicatrizant SYSTEM TROPISM: Nervous System: Nerves, muscles, neurovascular system  Digestive System: Stomach, intestines, liver Integumentary System Did you know? One of Ontario's loveliest jars of honey comes from a small organic farm in Prince Edward County that grows organic lavender and keeps honeybees. 24 the whole family | Look Inward Early Summer 2023 recognized lavender’s medicinal virtues, and the Italian herbalist, Mattiolus, observed that “it is much used in maladies and those disorders of the brain due to coldness such as epilepsy, apoplexy, spasms and paralysis; it comforts the stomach and is a great help in obstructions of the liver and spleen. Medicinal Properties & Indications  Nervous System  Lavender is a wonderfully uplifting and calming herb. It can lighten the mind, helping us to move through emotional blocks that may present as anxiety, emotional instability, and depression. Herbalist David Winston describes using it for stagnant depression, a situational depression often associated with emotional trauma, where one seems to be “stuck” on an event replaying over and over in their mind. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the unrelenting grief of becoming fixated on a traumatic event or tragedy (e.g., loss of a child, parent, spouse, pet, or job) fall into this category. Lavender may remedy physical symptoms as well, such as tension, headaches, migraines, trembling, and insomnia. Lavender in the bath, either the herb itself or a few drops of essential oil, can ease a restless child or adult to sleep. It works especially well when combined with Epsom salts. Sleeping with a lavender pillow is an age-old remedy to induce a restful night as well (see recipe at the end of this article). When used for aromatherapy, the essential oil of lavender was found to benefit sleep in studies done in elder care facilities. The residents fell asleep with greater ease and had improved sleep quality. This purple herb may also be used as a strengthening tonic for the nervous system to treat those suffering from nervous debility and exhaustion. Indications: » Anxiety  » Depression&nb ...

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 ...

The Gut Microbiome and Mental Health: They Are Connected

Gut Microbiome and Mental Health
The "gut microbiome" has been an increasingly popular buzzword and the importance of gut health has gained momentum. To define it properly, our gut microbiome is the collection of microorganisms present in our digestive tract. This involves bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and fungi. Emerg- ing research in the last decade has identified the microbiome as an essential target for health that impacts our ability to lose weight and the risk of atopic diseases, such as asthma, allergies, eczema, cardiovascular disease, mental health disorders, and more. Mental Health The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the prevalence of mental health concerns. Mental health connects all our human experiences, regardless of age, race, language, time zone, or country; we've all been touched by its positive and negative effects. There is a strong bidirectional relationship between the health of our gut and our mental health. Patients with gastrointestinal concerns also tend to have at least one psychiatric medical condition. These patients can experience chronic stress, anxiety, depression, fatigue, and insomnia—all as a result of their symptoms and poor gut health.2,3 Gastrointestinal conditions can include irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), ulcerative colitis (UC), inflammatory bowel disorder (IBD), small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), celiac disease, and Crohn's disease. The gut-brain axis influences many regular body processes, including our immune, endocrine, and neural pathways. This means that to take care of our mental health, we must also take care of our gut microbiome. Microbiome Disruption Factors that disrupt our gut microbiome include stress, the use of antibiotics and/or pharmaceuticals (including the birth control pill), consuming food additives and preservatives, and overly restrictive diets. These can all alter the balance of good vs. bad bacteria in the gut, and encourage the growth of bad bacteria. Symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and gas can be a sign that the gut microbiome is disrupted. Another not-so-obvious sign of a damaged gut is skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, and acne. These symptoms can occur because our skin is the largest organ of elimination. When our body isn't properly able to eliminate toxins and waste products through our bowels, urine, and sweat, it often turns to release them through the skin. It’s important to address these health conditions early on to avoid further harm to your gut microbiome. “Diversity In Your Gut Microbiome Appears To Improve Resilience Against Infection And Illness.” Supporting The Microbiome The beautiful thing about using food as medicine is that better health can begin as early as your very next bite. The food we eat plays an important part in how our gut microbiome develops. The habits we follow each day determine what our gut microbiome is colonized with (i.e., whether the good or bad microorganisms dominate). While there is never a "one size fits all" approach to nutrition, one finding appears to be true across the gut microbiome literature: diversity in your gut microbiome appears to improve resilience against infection and illness. This is be- cause different microorganisms serve different functions. For example, xyloglucans (commonly found in vegetables such as onions and lettuce) are uniquely digested by a specific species of Bacteroides.4 This means that the greater microbiome diversity there is, the greater the chance you'll always have microorganisms that are "working." Multiple studies have noted a positive relationship between increased fruit and vegetable intake and positive psychological well-being.5,6,7 For instance, a 2018 systemic review and meta-analysis of epidemiological studies noted a 14 percent lower risk of depression in cohort studies (a type of long-term study that follows participants over an extended period) and a 25 percent lower risk of depression in cross-sectional studies (a type of observational study that compares participants at a certain snapshot in time). A probiotic often comes in the form of  a supplement, and is deemed the "beneficial bacteria." Taking probiotics consistently can help repopulate your gut microbiome with microorganisms that help in digestion, immune function, skin health, and—you guessed it—mental health. There's even some evidence that probiotics can be used both acutely and preventatively for disease. There is so much variation in probiotics that it's important to start a supplement regime under the guidance of a naturopathic doctor. Probiotics vary in: 1)Amount of bacteria 2)Types of bacterial strains 3)Frequency of dosing Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are two of the most popular bacterial strains. Many factors determine whether probiotics are a good fit for you, and which are your best options. Prebiotic foods are the foods that feed the good microorganisms in the gut.9 Incorporating prebiotic foods daily helps to maintain a healthy mi ...

A Powerful Antiviral Herb: Desert Parsley

Desert Parsley Antiviral Herb
Medicinal  Uses Lomatium dissectum is a powerful antiviral herb and has been used historically by the Indigenous peoples of the United States for this purpose. During the 1918 influenza epidemic, the Washoe people of southwestern United States gathered the root and used it in the treatment of their sick. They prepared the medicine (either fresh or dried) by boiling it in water, skimming off the oils and resins on the surface, and giving large doses of the broth. The affected person would drink this tea for three days, which was considered the longest time needed to break up a fever caused by a viral or pulmonary infection. Whether a coincidence or not, no deaths were reported among the tribe from influenza or its complications. Other tribes in nearby regions, where the plant did not grow, reported numerous deaths. A doctor named Ernest Krebbs, who was working in the desert in Nevada, also noticed Indigenous people using the root to cure those stricken with influenza. Using strong decoctions of the root, the ill were able to get well within a week. Krebbs and other doctors started to use the root and found it to have great healing benefits. Since the plant grew on the western frontier, it did not get the medical profession's attention in general, and its use fell out of favor for a time. In a modern clinical setting, Lomatium root has been used to cure the initial stages of acute pharyngitis, subacute pharyngitis (which is persistent and slower to heal), and tonsils. It has also been used for influenza and pneumonia. It’s a proven remedy for viral, bacterial, and fungal infections, especially those of the respiratory and urinary tract. Bear Medicines An interesting subject I have come across in my study of traditional medicine is the ascription of certain archetypal pat- terns to medicinal plants. The most basic patterns are based on a circle of elements. For example, warming herbs are associated with the element of fire, moistening herbs with the element of water, and so on. Although there are different systems of elemental patterns from different schools of traditional medicine, they all seem to benefit from working in this way. Certain Indigenous traditions are based on a circle of animals from the local area, which may include snake, elk/deer, bear, wolf, and rabbit archetypes. They historically recognized certain plant medicines as being associated with a certain animal; some resemble an animal in some way or are the food of that animal, or perhaps the plant and its animal appeared together in dreams or visions. It was believed that animal medicine could im- part the beneficial qualities of its associated animal to an individual in need of them. Lomatium is part of a herb group that’s considered to be bear medicines. These herbs typically have brown (some- times furry/hairy), oily, spicy, and aromatic roots. Bears like to eat these plants in the spring after they wake up from their hibernation. The aromatic qualities help to warm up and reinvigorate their sluggish digestive system, which has been slowed through long periods of hibernation. The roots of these plants are full of oils that stimulate lipid metabolism in the liver. As with many medicinal herbs, the effect on the body is regulated. Bear medicines can be of benefits to those who lack oils in their systems, such as those with dry skin or dry hair and scalp; but they can also be beneficial in cases where there is an excess of oils, such as for teenagers with acne-prone or oily skin. Oily plants help us build our stores of subcutaneous fat, which is essential for insulating us from cold and damp conditions. Similarly, bears rely on high quantities of oils in their diet to develop a thick layer of fat which helps to insulate them through the winter. Adequate oil intake is essential in the production and maintenance of the adrenal hormones. The fatty outer layer of the adrenal glands is the adrenal cortex. It’s responsible for the synthesis and secretion of a variety of hormones, such as cortisol. The bear medicines are rich in oils that help to replenish the adrenal cortex and can benefit those with adrenal fatigue. Cortisol is essential for making stored fats and sugars available in stressful situations requiring resilience and strength. Of all the animals, the bear is known for possessing exceptional strength and courage. They are usually docile and calm, spending much of their time fishing or foraging for nuts, roots, berries, and honey; but mother bears are capable of being quite ferocious when they must defend their cubs. They stand their ground (sometimes on two legs) or even charge at a perceived threat when other animals would run in fear. The bear medicines help pro- vide nourishing oils for energy storage and for maintaining the health of the adrenals so that we might possess the strength and courage of the bear when we need it. Other examples of these medicines include members of the Apiaceae family, like Osha (Ligustic ...

Milk Thistle: Your Liver Will Thank You

Milk Thistle for Lever
Are you struggling to “bounce back” after the holidays? It could be stress, it could be burning the candle at both ends, or it could be the over-indulging that so many of us enjoy in December and pay for in the new year. How can you help your body get back to better health? One way is to support your liver with the herb milk thistle. On any given day, the liver is involved in digestion, metabolism, detoxification, storage, production, and immunity.1 It’s a very important organ! When the liver isn’t working to the best of its ability, you might experience symptoms like bloating or abdominal pain, nutrient deficiencies, issues with cholesterol or blood sugar, aggravations of PMS and menopause symptoms, skin rashes, or fatigue.2 Because the liver’s functions are so broad, the side effects of dysfunction are as well. The best way to tell if the symptoms you’re experiencing are due to your liver is through blood work. If you haven’t had blood testing done recently, ask your doctor if they can help you investigate the health of this organ. Checking Liver Function If your blood testing results indicate that your liver isn’t performing as well as it should, some of the most important (and basic) things to consider changing are nutrition, movement, and alcohol intake. Milk thistle is a liver-loving herb in many naturopathic doctors’ toolkits. If you’re looking for gentle liver support, it might be the right fit for you. Milk thistle has been used for cancer care, hepatitis, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. It’s often considered for women’s general health and wellness too, as milk thistle supports liver function, blood sugar management, and lower cholesterol levels. Fatty Liver and Hepatitis Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a condition that affects about 20 percent of Canadians.5 While it’s generally benign, over time and unaddressed, this can progress to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). In addition to excess fat in the liver, NASH presents with inflammation and scarring of the liver that can progress to cirrhosis.6 While experimental studies have shown milk thistle to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antifibrotic benefits, it has yet to be demonstrated consistently in clinical trials.7 More research is required to help determine milk thistle’s appropriate dosage in people managing fatty liver and hepatitis, but this treatment has generally been shown to be highly tolerated and safe. Blood Sugar and Cholesterol Blood sugar and cholesterol management are very common concerns. People are often looking for alternatives to get things under control so they might avoid prescription medications. In a 2018 clinical trial, participants with type 2 diabetes who received 140 mg of silymarin (from milk thistle) three times a day, demonstrated significant decreases in total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL). This group also showed improvements in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and insulin sensitivity. Hormones Milk thistle has been researched for its estrogenic (promoting estrogen production and activity in the body) effects on women’s health. In one clinical trial, menopausal women treated with this herb reported a decrease in the frequency and severity of hot flashes they had been suffering with. Another Interesting Application A 2021 clinical trial found that a milk thistle ointment applied to the perineum after episiotomy (a procedure sometimes required during labor and delivery) improved healing time and decreased the severity of pain experienced by women.11 Given the research available today, milk thistle has its great- est influence on patients with cholesterol and blood sugar management issues, while showing some interesting potential for women’s health and cancer care. How beneficial it is for those struggling with fatty liver remains to be seen; but given its safety profile, it may still be a good consideration for general liver health. An important point to clarify is that although supplements can help with detoxification, it’s your liver that is always doing that job—supplements or not. Your liver is always working.12 How efficiently it’s working depends on a combination of genetics, age, and overall health. The first step is to see your healthcare provider check on how your liver is working, which will require blood testing and possibly an abdominal ultrasound. It can then be decided whether milk thistle is the right fit for you and your health goals.

Senna: An FDA-Approved, Non-Prescription Laxative

Senna Leaves
Senna is an herb – also known as Senna alexandrina, that is a popular laxative available OTC without any sort of prescription required.  Herbal extracts of the leaves and flowers of senna have been traditionally used as a laxative and stimulant. Senna derives its benefits from “glucosides” – called senna glycosides or sennosides.  How Does Senna Work? These sennosides are not absorbed in the intestine but rather utilized by bacteria to release active compounds (rhein, rhein-anthrone, moieties). These compounds function as irritants within the colon, which promotes evacuation and thus, the ‘laxative’ effect people have come to know senna for.  Usually, senna is very poorly absorbed itself – rather, it increases the water/moisture content of stool by preventing water and electrolyte absorption and increasing secretion via the colon.  What are Sennosides and Glucosides?  A “glucoside” is a glycoside derived from glucose within plants, herbal extracts, and foods. Different glycosides from different plants can have certain immune-modulating effects on the body, or display antioxidant properties.  Sennosides are just a type of glucoside. Sennosides are sometimes given by themselves as a medication to help treat constipation. They can also be used in medical settings to clear the intestinal system prior to a bowel exam or surgery.  Other metabolites present in senna, like “rhein,” can also exert protective and beneficial effects – anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, hepatoprotective, and antimicrobial. Rhein “suppresses the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines like interleukin-1 and interleukin-6.”  Is Senna Safe – How Long Can I Take It? Often, senna will be included as an active ingredient in over-the-counter (OTC) laxative medication – with the typical dose being 15 mg-30 mg sennosides two times daily. Senna, like other laxatives, is only a short-term recommendation. They should not be used for prolonged periods of time as they can cause a severe electrolyte imbalance. Long-term use can lead to diarrhea, weight loss, and abdominal pain.  When senna is used at the recommended dosage for a limited period of time, there are few reported side effects. Most of these side effects are completely mild and are related to the product as a laxative herb — diarrhea, namely. In very rare cases of prolonged overuse, liver injury was reported. In these individuals, it was always mild and resolved immediately with discontinuation of the senna. This was after 4-5 months of prolonged, daily use.  Senna has been known to interact with certain medications, such as birth control pills. Senna can actually decrease how much estradiol is absorbed from each pill. Senna may also interact with blood thinners like warfarin or diuretic drugs.  When taking senna, you always want to ensure you have adequate electrolyte balance and are consuming enough potassium. Senna should never be used if you are dehydrated or already having diarrhea/loose stool.  We always recommend consulting with a health care practitioner prior to use when it comes to senna or any other herbal laxative. 

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 ProbioMax DF – 30 & 100 Billion CFU Probiotic Formulations for Gut Health

Xymogen’s ProbioMax
Both Daily DF probiotic supplements contain the following clinically tested strains of probiotics to support a healthy gastrointestinal system: Bifidobacterium lactis Lactobacillus acidophilus Lactobacillus plantarum  Bifidobacterium longum  Bifidobacterium longum Strain is well known to be tolerated by humans and safe for consumption. It is extremely resistant to bile salts/stomach acid and can tolerate a low-pH environment. This makes it quite well suited to the intestinal environment, and one of the better options when supplementing with probiotics to replenish healthy gut flora.  Lactobacillus plantarum Strain is isolated from plant material, and is well-known as being a component of lactic acid fermented foods. This includes sauerkraut and kefir. Like Bifidobacterium longum, lactobacillus plantarum is resistant to bile salts and well tolerated in a low pH environment. This means a much higher level of efficacy and adhesion.  Lactobacillus acidophilus This is perhaps one of the more popular and commonly supplemented probiotics on the market. It is widely used in probiotic supplements, and found in fermented milk-based products like kefir and yogurt. It is present in the human mouth and intestinal tract. This particular strain in Xymogen is of human origin and completely safe for use.  Bifidobacterium lactis This was first discovered in the late 1890’s and plays a significant role in the human digestive system throughout the lifespan of a person from infancy to adulthood. This particular patented strain (HOWARU HN019) has shown the ability to survive transit through the gastrointestinal system and proliferate. This strain has long been studied and documented, with an excellent safety profile and proven efficacy.  These probiotics by Xymogen do not need to be refrigerated. They are completely shelf stable. After opening, simply store them in a cool, dry place.  ProbioMax DF is a vegetarian, dairy, GMO, and gluten-free probiotic formulation that comes in either 30 billion CFU capsules, or 100 billion CFU capsules.  Each individual capsule is protected by being sealed in a nitrogen-purged aluminum blister pack to prevent degradation from heat, moisture, and oxygen.  These four clinically researched strains provide proven health benefits, and each has a well-established and well-known safety profile. In addition, to help further support the resistance to stomach acid when consumed, Xymogen utilizes gastro-resistant capsules to help ensure the beneficial bacteria make it to the small intestine.  These specially designed “DRcaps” are formulated to help slow the exposure of acids to active bacteria and ensure a more targeted and therapeutic release once ingested. 

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 5-HTP CR (Controlled Release) – Healthy Serotonin Levels and More Restful Sleep

Xymogen’s 5-HTP CR
Available in a 60 Tablet formulation  Supports the normal biosynthesis of serotonin  Supports a normal and regulated appetite Supports a more restful and healthy sleeping pattern Supports a normal, healthy mood  Xymogen’s 5-HTP CR is a formulation of 5-hydroxytryptophan in a controlled release tablet. 5-HTP is well known as a precursor to production of serotonin. Within the body, the amino acid tryptophan converts to 5-HTP and subsequently to serotonin to elevate extracellular serum levels. Supplementing with 5-HTP or tryptophan bypasses the limited amount of conversion that occurs from dietary amounts of the amino acid being converted to 5-HTP.  Dosage and Recommended Use of 5-HTP (CR) Dosage may depend upon the use in mind for supplemental 5-HTP. Doses of 150 mg are commonly used/studied in trials to help regulate hormone levels and sleep patterns, while a high dose 300 mg is often used to regulate appetite or control weight.  We generally always recommend only using one tablet (100 mg) two times per day (taken with a meal) unless monitored by a healthcare professional, naturopath, or physician.  Given the ability of 5-HTP to impact serotonin levels and regulate brain activities, it is important for those that are on any prescription drugs for mood disorders (depression, BPD, etc.) or other psychiatric disorders completely avoid use unless cleared by a professional. 5-HTP is not for use by children or those under 18 years of age. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should also avoid the use of 5-HTP.  Each tablet contains 100 mg of 5-HTP and 27 mg of calcium (dicalcium phosphate dihydrate). This product does not contain any wheat, gluten, animal products, dairy products, fish, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, or artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.  5-HTP CR for Regulating Mood, Hormone Levels, and Sleep Xymogen’s formulation of 5-HTP releases it slowly and steadily over a more prolonged period of time compared to traditional 5-HTP supplements that may cause a ‘peak’ and ‘valley’ rise + fall in serotonin levels. This 5-HTP is a completely prescription drug free product, derived from the amino acid content contained in a plant.  This 5-HTP will naturally increase the levels of serotonin within the body, which play a vital role in emotional regulation, mood, behavior, sleep, and appetite.  5-HTP has been demonstrated to effectively cross the BBB (blood-brain barrier) and displays efficacy when orally ingested without being degraded by the enzymes that degrade tryptophan.  Serotonin production is important for regulating norepinephrine and dopamine levels, and plays a role in normal mood and behavior. Normal levels of serotonin are commonly associated with being calmer and more relaxed.  Published scientific studies support a dosage of 100 mg – 600 mg per day for supporting healthy hormone levels, mood, and restful sleep.  Given that serotonin can also be converted to melatonin (sleepy after that turkey dinner – this is why) to help support longer REM sleep and a more peaceful sleep.