When it comes to energy levels, vitamin B12 and iron get all of the glory. But magnesium, an essential nutrient that supports almost every function in the body and improves energy, is relatively unknown by most of us.
So, What Does Magnesium Do?
“Magnesium is important in over 300 functions in the body,” says Tina Marinaccio, a registered dietitian nutritionist based in Morristown, New Jersey. “It aids in nerve and muscle conduction, immune function, and stimulates calcitonin, a hormone that helps pull calcium into the skeleton for strong bones.”
Despite how important magnesium is for overall health, the World Health Organization reports that less than 60 percent of Americans are getting adequate amounts of the mineral (6).
“Soils are not as nutrient-rich as they once were, and Americans are consuming more processed foods high in calories but low in nutrients,” Marinaccio says. Plus, our drinking water, which used to contain magnesium, is now mostly stripped of the mineral.
If you think you may have a deficiency, talk to your health care provider. There are many simple blood tests that can tell you for sure.
10 Foods High in Magnesium
The National Institutes of Health has set daily recommended allowance (RDA) targets of 400-420 milligrams for men and 310-320 milligrams for women (7). To ensure you’re getting enough of this crucial mineral, incorporate these magnesium-rich foods (8) into your meals:
Spinach (156 mg per cup): Whether you eat it cooked or raw, spinach provides a major nutrition boost. This veggie contains a variety of vitamins (including vitamins A, C and K1) as well as folic acid, iron and calcium (9).
Almonds (80 mg per ounce): Not only do almonds contain 19 percent of your RDA for magnesium, these little powerhouses also pack 6 grams of protein per ounce, plus fiber and 14 grams of heart-healthy fat (10).
Cashews (74 mg per ounce): Snacking on these naturally cholesterol-free nuts may prevent heart disease (11) because, just like almonds, they contain monounsaturated fat. Cashews also contain arginine, which may have a protective effect on artery walls.
Black beans (60 mg per ½ cup): Toss these legumes into salads, chili or tacos to help strengthen your bones. The hefty amount of magnesium in black beans paired with iron, phosphorous, calcium, copper and zinc (12) all work together to help build bone strength and ward off osteoporosis.
Edamame (50 mg per ½ cup, shelled): Next time you get sushi, start with edamame as an appetizer. These beans provide protein, healthy fat, dietary fiber, calcium, iron and phosphorus (13). Plus, like other soy foods, they contain isoflavones, a compound believed to lower the risk of cancer (14).
Avocado (44 mg per 1 cup): Avocado is known as a superfood for good reason. The fruit contains over 17 essential vitamins and minerals, plus protein, healthy fat and fiber (15).
Baked potato (43 mg per potato with skin): Potatoes are naturally free from fat, sodium and cholesterol. And they contain more potassium and magnesium than a banana (16).
Yogurt (42 mg per cup): Like many dairy products, yogurt is known for its high protein and calcium content. But it also contains probiotics, which research suggests may improve digestion and immune function (17).
Brown rice (42 mg per ½ c, cooked): This healthy whole-grain contains fiber, as well as a variety of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Banana (32 mg per medium banana): Although they’re known for their high potassium content, bananas also provide 8 percent of your RDA for magnesium. Studies show the fruit may also help regulate blood sugar (18), promote weight loss and prevent heart disease (19).
When to Try Magnesium Supplements
Adding foods high in magnesium to your diet may help prevent you from developing a magnesium deficiency, but if you already suspect that you have a true deficiency, speak to your health care provider. Your doctor can talk to you about how to choose a magnesium supplement and help you find the one most suited for your needs.
Some magnesium supplements (like those with magnesium oxide) may irritate the gastrointestinal tract or cause diarrhea. It’s also important to take into account how much magnesium you consume naturally in your diet. Although magnesium is a vital mineral and most people don’t get enough, getting too much can cause side effects like low blood pressure, confusion and other serious issues.
Now that you’re aware of how important this mineral is, keep an eye on how much you’re getting. And next time you need an energy boost, turn to foods high in magnesium!
This post was provided by our friends at MTS Nutrition and written by CEO Marc Lobliner.
Whey protein isolate has been touted by some in the sports nutrition industry as superior to whey protein concentrate since it yields more protein per serving, has less carbs and fat, and is “more pure.”
But is it more pure? The reasoning offered is that more filtration will leave you with a superior end product. However, this isn’t accurate.
Let’s take a closer look at the differences between whey protein isolate and whey protein concentrate, how they’re processed and which one makes the most sense for you.
How Is Whey Protein Made?
The definition of “pure” is one that is “unmodified by an admixture; simple or homogeneous.” In other words, the less you filter the protein, the better.
For example, take MTS Nutrition Machine Whey Protein, which is a cold-filtered whey protein concentrate and isolate blend. The cold-filtration process leaves us with more than 80 percent whey protein, whereas isolate will be more than 90 percent. MTS blends concentrate with isolate simply to keep the fat and carb content lower.
Processing whey protein, especially when using the ion-exchange process, strips the whey of its immune properties. Ion exchange is a method of isolating whey from milk using ion exchange resins, charge affinity and mild pH adjustments.
Ion exchange resins are polymers. These can exchange specific ions within the polymer with ions in a solution that passes through the resin. They alter the pH to separate the carbohydrate from the protein content.
Ion exchange almost completely eliminates kappa-casein glycomacropeptide (GMP), whereas cold processing doesn’t. This is important because GMP enhances the immune system and protects against toxins, bacteria and viruses.
Cold processing whey protein is a method of isolating whey from dairy based on molecular weight, size and permeation properties in a cold processing environment. It is cold to avoid altering the whey molecule at all. This is about as pure as you can get—even temperature is accounted for to keep the whey molecule as in-tact as possible.
The single discrepancy between whey protein isolate and whey protein concentrate is a small amount of carbohydrate and fat. Seeing that this process keeps the immune properties inherent to the whole whey protein, we feel it is worth the miniscule amount of carbs and fat left over.
To be fair, we will compare the nutritional profiles of two products, both from MTS Nutrition: All Natural Grass Fed Whey Protein Isolate (pure isolate) and Machine Whey (concentrate and isolate blend):
Machine All Natural Grass Fed Isolate
Protein: 25 grams
Carbs: 2 grams
Fat: 1 gram
Protein: 25 grams
Carbs: 3 grams
Fat: 2 grams
When Is When Protein Isolate a Better Choice?
Whey protein isolate is a better option if you suffer from lactose intolerance. But unless severe, taking something like MTS Nutrition Machine Uptake with the shake can eliminate most, if not all, issues.
Whey protein isolate might also be a better choice if you are preparing for a sporting event or contest prep where every macronutrient counts, and there aren’t very many. The difference is only 2 to 3 grams, so even in this case, it’s not a big deal.
Isn’t Whey Protein Isolate Absorbed Faster?
Some people will tout the speed of whey protein isolate over whey protein concentrate, but this is illogical. They are both whey protein, so absorption will be similar. And unless taken in a completely fasted state (no food in over 24 hours) with no other food sources (like peanut butter for fat or oatmeal for carbs), it will make no noticeable difference.
What About Cholesterol in Whey Protein?
The cholesterol in whey protein is naturally occurring, and the new scientific consensus is that dietary cholesterol will not lead to cholesterol increases in healthy individuals. Cholesterol is also critical for healthy hormone production.
What Are the Benefits of Whey Blends?
There are a number of benefits of consuming a whey protein blend compared to other protein sources:
Whey protein has a higher biological value than any other protein, period. This includes casein, eggs, soy and beef.
Whey protein concentrate is much easier to flavor than other proteins.
In-tact whey protein concentrate has tremendous immune benefits.
Speedy absorption when you want it: Whey protein is fast when taken on its own, but if you want to slow it down, you can add fat or fiber and it becomes more of a meal.
When using a trusted product like Machine Whey, you can be assured of truth to label and no amino spiking.
It’s time to stop falling for inaccurate claims and sales tactics. Whey protein is the highest quality protein source, period. Whey protein concentrate is not only less expensive than isolate, but also has tremendous benefits beyond lean mass and fat loss.
If you want the best for health and gains, incorporate a high-quality whey protein concentrate like MTS Nutrition Machine Whey into your program and reap the results!
This post was provided by our friends at Nuzest and written by Cliff Harvey, N.D., Dip.Fit, Ph.D.
The ketogenic diet is becoming one of, if not the most popular diet in the mainstream right now. Despite this popularity, the ketogenic diet is misunderstood. Many people think that it is solely a carnivore-style diet and that its very nature excludes vegans. But not so! There are plenty of ways to follow a keto diet and still be vegan. In fact, several of my colleagues and students are keto-vegans.
What Is Ketosis?
Ketogenic diets elicit the state of ketosis. Ketosis is when the body produces ketone bodies, mainly from fats (and some amino acids) to use as an alternative fuel in times of fasting or drastic carbohydrate restriction. When stored carbohydrate (glycogen) reserves become insufficient to supply the glucose normally necessary for fuel metabolism and for the supply of glucose to the brain and central nervous system, an alternative fuel source is needed. Ketones (especially β-hydroxybutyrate or BOHB) are created in the liver to supply fuel to the body and brain.
What Is a Ketogenic Diet?
The ketogenic diet itself is a form of low-carb, high-fat, low-to-moderate protein diet. Originally developed as a treatment for childhood epilepsy beginning nearly a century ago, keto and other low-carb, high-fat diets are now being studied for their potential use for Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, autism, cancer, diabetes and obesity.
Ketogenic diets typically require that you eat around 4-parts fat to 1-part protein and carbohydrate (a 4:1 protocol). This is what leads people to believe that they can’t follow a ketogenic diet if they are eating an entirely plant-based diet.
The Problem with Ketogenic Diet Is Protein
In order to get quality protein, most people rely on meat, fish, chicken and eggs, which are nearly devoid of carbohydrate and packed with complete protein and with (depending on the meat and cut) relatively high levels of fat. This is great if you’re on a keto diet, but not so great if you’re vegan!
So, vegans typically rely on eating foods that contain protein but also have higher amounts of carbohydrate, which is a keto no-no.
How Vegans Can Get Enough Protein for a Ketogenic Diet, Without the Carbs
To be successful on a vegan keto diet, you need to find protein choices that are relatively low in carbohydrate. Fat intake is easy, as any vegan oil is going to fit the bill for keto. Protein is the tricky part.
Some vegan proteins that are relatively low in carbohydrate include:
Food (g per 100 g)
Pea protein isolate
*These are still relatively high in carbohydrate, but as part of a mixed meal, with vegetables, oils added, and other protein sources, can still be part of a keto diet.
Tips for Meal Planning for the Keto-Vegan
1. Plan Your Meals. The key to planning a vegan keto meal is to prioritize lower-carb protein foods, eat a lot of vegetables, and then add oils to the meal to increase the fat: protein/carb ratio. One of the common problems in going lower-carb is that vegan diets often tend to be based on starchy foods such as rice and potatoes. These often make up the greatest bulk of the diet, but in a vegan keto diet, this needs to be reversed, with the greatest bulk made up of vegetables, followed by low-carb protein foods, and then dressed in healthy fats and oils.
So, a vegan keto meal looks a little something like this: veggies + low-carb protein + oils
Example: 3 servings of veggies (kale, spinach, etc.) + mixed nuts, seeds and sprouted lentils + olive oil vinaigrette
2. Boost Ketones with MCTs. One thing that really helps a vegan keto diet is the use of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). Ketosis can be achieved with a little more protein and carbohydrate, and less fat, if you supplement with MCTs, as they are taken up into the liver (as compared to entering the body via the lymph) and are then converted into ketone bodies. If you add a tablespoon of MCT oil to smoothies and use it as part of your salad and vegetable dressings, you’ll make your keto-vegan journey a whole lot easier.
3. Use Pea Protein Isolate. There’s nothing magical about protein powder…but it is a convenient, cost effective way to provide high-quality protein to your diet. A protein smoothie can provide a meal, and for vegan keto, this meal can be tailored to exactly the amount of protein and fat you require. For example, a great option could be to have a scoop of pea protein isolate, with a couple of tablespoons of peanut butter, flax seeds, some kale, blueberries and a tablespoon of MCT—a perfect keto meal with around 65 percent of the calories from fat (mostly MCT) and more than 20 grams of protein.
So, a day of vegan keto eating could look a little like this:
Breakfast: Smoothie (as above)
Lunch: Leftovers from dinner
Dinner: Salad or vegetables with tofu, tempeh or mixed nuts and seeds, and dressed with flax and olive oil vinaigrette.
It’s actually relatively easy to give a ketogenic diet a go if you’re vegan. While the keto diet isn’t for everyone, it can be a great diet if you can stick to it. Thankfully, there are more ways to do keto than the old-style, classic keto diets, and if you simply avoid the obligate carbohydrates (grains, tubers and fruits), stick to the tips above, and prioritize non-starchy veggies, lower-carb plant-based proteins and healthy fats, you’ll find vegan keto a breeze.
About the author: Dr. Cliff Harvey is a naturopath and clinical nutritionist, and author and speaker specializing in holistic performance nutrition and mind-body-spirit lifestyle counseling.
This piece was created in partnership with our friends at Kuli Kuli.
You’ve likely heard of superfoods—and may incorporate some into your diet already—but it can be challenging to keep up with the myriad of options aimed at improving your health and well-being. Enter moringa, an incredibly versatile, nutrient-dense plant that goes above and beyond the call of duty, even when compared to other superfoods.
What Is Moringa?
Moringa oleifera is a fast-growing, leafy tree that has been utilized in Eastern medicine for thousands of years and is known for its resistance to drought.
“Morgina possibly dates back as early as 7,000 B.C. to the Siddha healers in India who used it as a traditional herb and the Egyptians who used its oil for their skin,” says Matthew Myers, a wellness consultant at LuckyVitamin. “Moringa is native to the southern foothills of northwestern India and widely cultivated in tropical and subtropical areas where its young seed pods and leaves are used as vegetables or for traditional herbs. Moringa is now grown all over Southeast Asia, Central America, Africa, the Middle East and even Hawaii.”
In addition to being used as a food, supplement and topical ointment, moringa has also been used to purify water and in the production of biodiesel fuel (1). Many parts of the moringa tree are able to be used in some capacity.
“Moringa’s leaves can be dried and crushed into a powder to be used in soups and sauces, the seed pods can be boiled and cooked, the seeds can be roasted and the roots can be shredded and used as a condiment,” Myers says. “In supplement form, the whole leaf or leaf extract is available in capsules, powder, liquid juice blend, tea bags and even bars. Its seed oil is used for the skin, and it is also found in some personal care conditioners and soaps.”
As a food, moringa contains a large number of nutrients, including vitamins A, B, C, K and E, minerals like iron, potassium and calcium, and antioxidants, phytonutrients and fiber, Myers says. Moringa also contains the nine amino acids needed to form a complete protein, which is rare among plant sources of food and is generally derived from animal sources.
Moringa offers a number of health benefits, such as boosting the immune system, improving digestion, and supporting skin, muscle and bone health, Myers says. Moringa can also boost energy and promote healthy blood sugar levels in individuals who already have normal ranges, he adds.
A good source of iron, beta-carotene, potassium and calcium, moringa possesses antioxidants that may help prevent cardiovascular disease, some studies suggest (2). In addition, studies have also suggested that the components of the moringa plant can help treat diabetes (3). It’s important to note, however, that more research is needed to further substantiate both of these claims.
Moringa has also been proven as an excellent source of iron for people with anemia (4). Like other leafy greens, moringa contains high levels of non-heme iron (the type of iron found in plants). Moringa has seven times the amount of iron as spinach and six times the amount of iron as kale (5).
As with all supplements and herbs, talk to your doctor or medical care professional before taking any new products, Myers says, as some medications can interact with supplements and natural herbs. In addition, Myers recommends talking to a specialist before taking moringa if you are on any type of hormone-related medication.
Some studies suggest that the leaves of the moringa plant can be used to increase breast milk production (6), however, there is not enough evidence to confirm that moringa is safe for nursing infants. In addition, the root, bark and flowers of the moringa plant should be avoided entirely by pregnant women. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, speak with your doctor before trying any type of moringa product.
Ways to Add Moringa to Your Diet
Moringa leaves can be eaten fresh, dried or cooked. In powder form, the leaves can also retain their nutritional value for years without refrigeration. Moringa powder can be added to smoothies or mixed into sauces and stews. It can also be found in certain energy shots and health bars.
Used as a seed oil, moringa can help protect and moisturize the skin, Myers says. To use it, wash and pat your skin dry, then apply the oil directly to the face to soothe dry and irritated, skin. It can also be used as a hair oil by massaging two to three drops in damp hair, beginning at the scalp and working toward the ends of the hair, he says.
Myers recommends taking the leaf extract in capsule form and following instruction labels for dosing recommendations.
“All supplements use the leaf and seed part of the plant,” he says. “If you are to consume the actual plant itself in its natural form like in traditional cooking, use precaution when consuming the bark, root and flowers in high doses.”
Moringa Green Tea Lemonade Recipe
Looking for a simple (and refreshing) way to get your daily dose of moringa? Try adding a scoop to a tall glass of green tea lemonade!
2 cups boiling water
2 green tea bags
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 5 to 6 lemons)
¼ cup natural sweetener, such as agave or honey (or more to taste)
This post was provided by our friends at Bodylogix.
Do you ever feel overwhelmed by protein information overload? If so, you’re not alone. And while you may know protein is beneficial for a healthy muscular makeup and optimally functioning immune system, you may not know exactly how much protein you need each day or what the best sources for a healthy lifestyle are.
Dr. Spencer Nadolsky, coined “America’s Fat Loss Doc,” once said, “Protein is king.” In fact, if you don’t get enough protein in your diet, it can have negative effects on your health.
How Much Protein Do I Need?
The Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) for protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight for adults, or 0.36 grams per pound.
Of course, there are a few factors that can affect that number, including lifestyle habits and your activity level. Lucky for you, Bodylogix has created a new app that not only calculates how much protein you need each day, but also provides product recommendations and alternative protein sources. Best of all, it helps you to live a life congruent with your fitness goals by integrating recipes and fit workout inspiration.
High-Quality Sources of Protein
It should be noted that protein, like many other things in life, is not created equal. When it comes to protein, choosing non-GMO animal products free of needless antibiotics and sustainably fished seafood are good options. Examples of alternative, high-quality sources of protein include:
Eggs, 6 grams per egg
Almonds, 6 grams per ounce
Chicken breast, 53 grams per breast
Cottage cheese, 17 grams per 6 ounces
Greek yogurt, 17 grams per 6 ounces
Tuna, 16 grams per 3 ounces
Quinoa, 6 grams per 5 ounces
Do I Need a Protein Supplement?
If you find getting enough protein from food is a challenge, you can try supplementing your day and diet with protein products. For example, Bodylogix Vegan Protein contains 25 grams of non-GMO multisource plant-based protein.
Go ahead and play the extra match or book an additional session with your trainer— just do so with a protein mindset. Getting enough protein after your workout will not only help with muscle recovery, it will help to feel your best at work or afterward, hanging out with friends or on-the-go with your family.
Protein powders have advanced from being something only a body builder might want to swallow, to a delicious way to have a quick meal. They make for fast fuel that is often assimilated more easily than eating a sandwich or a salad, and are versatile enough to eat anytime. With such a wide variety to choose from, you can get a day’s worth of vitamins, minerals, energy boosters, skin brighteners and more, all in a convenient form.
Forget the old school dehydrated milk or eggs—the newest protein powders have ingredients like bone broth, vegetable concentrates and whole grains. You can find one for most any diet restriction, such as vegan, ketogenic or paleo, or choose for enhancements such as collagen.
Most of the directions say to simply add a scoop or two to water and stir. That makes things easy if you want to leave some of the product at your office or gym locker, but making recipes with your protein powder keeps things fun and delicious.
Here are three different protein powder recipes you can try:
Maple Mango Peach Energy Smoothie
Yield: 1 serving (16 ounces)
The frozen fruits blend up easily with either a traditional or immersion blender. The difference between making a smoothie versus a bowl is simply how much water you add. With maple, mango and peach as a base, you can also add additional fruits such as strawberry or pineapple. Mangos are full of vitamins A and C and are said to beautify the skin. Unlike most fruits, they have iron and thicken a beverage, making it silky smooth and sweet.
Whether you are on a ketogenic diet or not, the chocolate keto performance fuel powder can make a great shake instantly, or pour it into your favorite yogurt for a lightning-quick bowl that is all around satisfying. To stay within the low-carb limits, you can use monkfruit or stevia to sweeten it. If you have room in your diet for a few carbs, add banana to round out the flavor.
Blend or mix the protein powder and sweetener into the yogurt. Blend in the banana if using.
Protein Power Bites
Yield: 16 power bites
These are powerful nuggets that you can eat for a snack, dessert or have a few as a meal if you want to. The vanilla protein powder adds a nice hint of flavor along with a whole list of vegetables, grains and legumes. While they taste a lot like a crispy rice treat, the quinoa crisps add even more protein to the mix. The brown rice syrup adds sweetness that works for a wide variety of dietary restrictions.
As they say, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. Case in point? Collagen.
When you’re young, this premium, does-it-all protein is abundant, binding cells and tissues together with ease and aplomb. Collagen—which is derived from the Greek word for “glue”—is essentially a tightly wound bundle of amino acids, and is responsible for everything from healthy joints to shiny hair to rosy cheeks. That fabled “youthful glow”? You’re admiring the handiwork of good old-fashioned collagen.
Unfortunately, nothing gold can stay, and your body produces less and less collagen as you age. In the past, weaker bones, achy joints, wrinkled skin and brittle hair due to lack of collagen was inevitable. But now, some studies show that supplements can boost your body’s levels of this highly-coveted protein.
If you’re thinking of adding a collagen supplement to your diet, there are some important factors to consider.
Why Supplement with Collagen?
Much of the research about collagen supplements is preliminary, but there is evidence that consuming collagen derived from animals can help the human body restore diminished levels.
Tara Nayak is a naturopathic doctor who practices in Philadelphia. Although she first attempts to support her patients’ natural production of collagen, she recommends supplementing when it matches an individual’s needs. “Collagen is recommended for those looking to improve skin elasticity, support joints and heal wounds,” she says. “There is also some evidence for its use in hair loss and cardiovascular disease.”
Hair and skin health are two of the most common reasons that people reach for supplements, and studies suggest that the benefits are significant. A double-blind 2014 study found that when women ingested collagen once daily for eight weeks, they experienced improved skin elasticity, moisture, and smoothness (1).
There’s also evidence to support supplemental collagen’s role in improving joint health. A study published in the International Journal of Medical Sciences showed that patients suffering from osteoarthritis pain enjoyed more mobility and increased comfort after ingesting collagen (2).
Collagen Types and Sources
If you decide to use a collagen supplement, choosing one can be overwhelming. From pills to powders, broths to bars, protein shakes to gummy chews, there’s no shortage of options. To make matters more confusing, dozens of different types of collagen exist in nature, and many supplements make the distinction between what types they contain.
Most commonly, supplements contain type 1, type 2 or type 3 collagens. There is some research suggesting that different types provide different benefits—for example, types 1 and 3 are associated more closely with hair and skin, while type 2 is aligned with joint health. However, Nayak recommends not reading too much into this just yet. “There are some claims of the differences between these, but there is still much research to be done to differentiate which works best for what,” she says.
Instead, Nayak advises her patients to be more vigilant about the source of the collagen than the particular type. Collagen is derived from animals—primarily the bones of cows and chickens and the scales of fish—and there is, at the moment, no vegan alternative. “I would first make sure that your source of collagen is organic and grass-fed if beef, pasture-raised if chicken and wild-caught if fish,” she says. “Because these come from animal sources, we want to make sure the animal was raised in a clean, humane manner with minimal chemical additives.”
Other Collagen Considerations
Although collagen is generally considered to be safe, supplements can be problematic for those who suffer from conditions including allergies and kidney stones.
“Anyone with sensitivities to the animal source of the collagen should absolutely avoid a collagen supplement made from the animal,” says Nayak. “I would also hesitate to use these supplements in someone with a history of stone formation due to collagen’s tendency to raise calcium—increased calcium makes an easy breeding site for kidney stones.”
Regardless of your risk factors, it’s important to talk to your doctor before adding any supplement to your diet.
Living with an anxious dog can be a struggle. You hate seeing your canine companion in distress, and naturally want him to receive immediate relief. Pinpointing an effective treatment is not always straightforward, however.
“They pick up on our anxiety, little changes, so sometimes it takes a while for us to figure out what is actually causing that. And that can be frustrating for a pet parent to not have an obvious answer right away,” says Dr. Casara Andre, founder of Veterinary Cannabis – Education and Consulting, based in Wheat Ridge, Colorado.
Pet parents have a number of available treatment options, including prescriptions, behavior therapy, supplements and essential oils. Hemp-based products—generally available as chews, or in liquid form given orally or added to food—are another increasingly popular option. But do they work, are they safe, and most importantly, are they right for your anxious dog?
Hemp for Dogs
Hemp is essentially the same plant (Cannabis sativa) that marijuana comes from, says Dr. Gary Richter, a veterinarian who practices at Montclair Veterinary Hospital in Oakland, California. “Except legally speaking, hemp plants are only allowed to contain, at most, 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC is the compound that triggers euphoria). So there are effectively no issues as far as drug abuse.”
Pet supplement manufacturers use flowers from the hemp plant to extract cannabidiol (CBD), the primary compound coveted for its health benefits, he says. “CBD can have a very positive effect as it pertains to stress, anxiety and a number of other medical conditions. It’s a pretty good pain reliever, too.”
Most of the research for veterinary use is in its infancy, he says. “We’re just starting to see some studies come out looking at the use of CBD to treat arthritis in dogs (1), but with regards to studies for stress and anxiety, there’s all types of evidence when it comes to humans, but not just yet in the vet field.”
Despite the lack of research, experts say hemp is generally safe for pets. “There really is no such thing as CBD toxicity,” Richter says. “Worst case scenario is if a dog gets too much, he might get too sleepy, and every once in a blue moon you might see a dog with a tummy upset, and they may have vomiting and diarrhea. And if that happens, you just stop giving it and they get better.”
Vets say most concerns about hemp-based products for pets relate to quality control (for example, products containing too much THC).
Can Hemp Calm an Anxious Dog?
As with any supplement or pharmaceutical, hemp is not a cure-all, and it doesn’t target any specific issue, such as separation anxiety or noise phobia. “It may be effective on its own for some dogs or for some conditions, or work better in combination with additional treatments in other cases,” says Dr. Jennifer Coates, a veterinary writer, editor and consultant based in Fort Collins, Colorado.
What hemp does do is make behavior therapy easier to administer, Richter says. “If you think about it in terms of humans, you cannot medicate an anxiety order away. At best, a medication or supplement like CBD will calm dogs down enough to where they can pay attention to training and behavioral modification, and in many ways that’s what you’re hoping to do,” he explains.
“If you can change the situation from them being in an absolute blind panic to them being able to focus enough to pay attention, then you can start to change their behavior with training and other methods,” Richter continues. “But it’s never going to be just about the supplement or just about the medication.”
It’s also not as simple as giving your dog a hemp chew when he’s in the midst of an attack; treatment is an ongoing process. “Whenever you give an animal something for anxiety, you have to start from before they’re actually having the anxiety,” Richter says. “If you can get the dog before they get all worked up, then sometimes you can prevent it from happening, and CBD can certainly help with that.”
When Should I Give My Dog Hemp?
Experts strongly recommend giving dogs hemp only under the guidance of a vet. The challenge here is that vets can seem evasive on the subject of hemp, and with good reason. The DEA—the agency that licenses a vet’s prescription-writing ability—classifies all cannabinoids, including commercially-available hemp, as Schedule 1 substances, Andre says.
The legal concerns surrounding hemp can be confusing. A company that’s certified to grow hemp in its state can produce cannabis as long as it remains at .03 percent THC, Andre says. “Tracking the ‘correctness’ of this is often difficult, but it does take advantage of loopholes in the law and differences between state and federal regulations,” she says.
In multiple places, the policy contradicts itself. “However, between written policy and verbal stances by the DEA, no veterinarian can prescribe or recommend any cannabinoid,” she says.
Vets can provide education, however. “Vets can absolutely educate pet parents to promote harm reduction, and to make sure the animal is safely using CBD,” Andre says. If you’d like to consider hemp as a treatment option, still talk to your vet, but be aware that the information you receive may be limited by necessity.
If you keep your expectations about hemp-based products for pets realistic and use them in conjunction with behavior therapy, your furry family member may benefit. Whether or not hemp is suitable for your dog and situation is a decision that should be made by your vet.
Summer’s arrival means more time spent outside. If you are headed outdoors, you have to take steps to protect yourself from the sun. Though responsible for allowing life on Earth to thrive, the rays of the sun are also a cause for concern. Consistent exposure to sunlight without wearing sunscreen or a similar layer of protection can lead to skin damage and other more serious illnesses (1).
Now, the frustrating part of this is that you also need to expose your body to sunlight in order to get a healthy dose of vitamin D. Produced by the human body after it is exposed to sunlight, vitamin D ensures heart health, creates strong bones and helps the nervous system to function at its best (2). If you’ve spent more time indoors than out in recent months, then your body might not be producing the right amount of vitamin D. To remedy this, pay attention to the signs your body sends when it requires more of this essential vitamin.
1. Feeling Sleepy
Do you feel tired, like, a lot? Plenty of people do. When you work long hours, have an active social life and binge Netflix all night, feeling a bit tired can seem normal. Of course, you also could be feeling exhausted because you aren’t getting the right amount of vitamin D. One of the easiest signs to spot when your body needs a boost of this vitamin is fatigue (3).
Research suggests that working indoors for long periods of time can lead to a vitamin D deficiency. Nurses, for example, were reported to suffer from a lack of vitamin D. Due to the nature of working as a nurse, many of the people in this profession assume feelings of fatigue stemmed from the long hours and physical demands (4). In truth, a lack of vitamin D was to blame. If you’re a nurse, be sure to take supplements to ensure your body is getting ample vitamin D to keep up with all the amazing work you do.
2. Chronic Pain
Living with pain is definitely not enjoyable. Unfortunately, millions of people all over the world deal with persistent pain on a daily basis. Though there are numerous reasons why a person could be suffering from this sort of lasting discomfort, some studies suggest the pain could be linked to a lack of vitamin D (5). Since this vitamin is responsible for helping the body absorb calcium, having less of it in your system can weaken your bones and teeth. This makes it easier for bones to break when you fall or bump into a piece of furniture.
Low levels of vitamin D might also lead to chronic back pain. According to one study, people with vitamin D deficiencies tended to experience lower-back pain more often than people who got ample amounts of vitamin D (6). If you feel like you’ve been living with mysterious pain and want to know why, visit with your physician to determine whether more vitamin D is the solution. In the meantime, play it safe and start your day with a big glass of orange juice. Fortified drinks like OJ and milk contain a healthy dose of vitamin D.
3. Losing Hair
Do you ever feel so stressed out that you just want to pull your hair out? Maybe that’s a bit extreme, but you probably know the feeling. While you might not be yanking out your own hair, losing follicles could actually be a sign that you need more vitamin D in your diet (7). Various reports have revealed that a vast majority of women suffer from nutrient deficiencies without realizing it (8). Usually, it takes a more extreme sign like hair loss to alert one to the fact that something is wrong.
Don’t panic, you most likely won’t lose significant chunks of your hair because of a lack of vitamin D. Still, you definitely don’t want to allow this to persist. Protecting your hair is important to ensuring its longevity. Salmon can do wonders when it comes to restoring your vitamin D levels, though you need to make the fish a weekly meal to see lasting benefits (9). This fish also contains omega-3 fatty acids, perfect for encouraging hair growth and giving your locks a chance to shine.
4. Experiencing Depression
Feeling depressed can also be a warning sign you need a bit more vitamin D. There’s a good reason being exposed to sunlight makes people feel happy and alive. Not getting enough of this vitamin can encourage symptoms of anxiety and depression. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, an estimated 16.2 million adults in the United States had at least one major depressive episode in 2016 (10). If you are prone to depression and feel like your symptoms have gotten worse recently, you might find some relief by adding more vitamin D to your diet.
Oatmeal can be a perfect way to boost how much vitamin D you get each day. Though somewhat bland at first, you can customize this morning dish in a number of ways to make it more appealing. Top your oats with some chia seeds, fresh berries or slices of banana, and treat yourself to something delicious while helping your body. Be kind to yourself when you feel low and be sure to speak to a professional should your depression become more severe.
5. Sweating Buckets
Some people sweat more than others. It might be gross, but bodies aren’t always the most pleasant things. If you suddenly begin to sweat more than normal without engaging in additional physical activity, then your body could be telling you something important. In most cases, it is the forehead that will see increased sweat production. Adding more egg yolks into your diet can help to balance your vitamin D so you don’t have to constantly wipe down your brow (11).
Though a majority of people would prefer spending their days outside in the sunlight, most lifestyles won’t allow for it. When you notice any of these symptoms of vitamin D deficiency, be sure to take action by improving your diet or taking the appropriate supplements. Should symptoms persist, be sure to visit with your doctor as soon as possible.
If you have symptoms like exhaustion, body aches, depression, irritability, dizziness, and poor concentration, a controversial condition called adrenal fatigue could be to blame.
Your adrenal glands are small, triangular-shaped glands located on top of each kidney. They produce hormones that control your immune system and regulate metabolism and blood pressure. The adrenal glands also secrete cortisol (the stress hormone) and regulate the stress response (1).
Natural health practitioners believe that chronic stress taxes the adrenal glands, rendering them unable to keep up with a constant state of fight-or-flight (2). In 1998, chiropractor and naturopath James L. Wilson coined the term “adrenal fatigue” to describe the stress-induced condition (3).
“Oftentimes, we are exposed to chronic, long-lasting stressors that seem to keep us in fight-or-flight mode,” says Dr. Jeremy Wolf, a naturopathic doctor and LuckyVitamin’s lead health advisor. “If our adrenal glands are not able to keep up with the demand put on by the stressors, then adrenal fatigue could occur.”
There are no blood tests to confirm adrenal fatigue—proponents argue that standard blood work is too insensitive to detect small declines in adrenal function. Naturopaths take saliva or urine samples to check cortisol levels.
Without a definitive blood test, conventional medicine does not support adrenal fatigue as a medical diagnosis. A 2016 meta-analysis claimed that “adrenal fatigue does not exist” and highlighted several studies with inconsistent or unfounded claims (4).
Natural health practitioners disagree. Online support groups with thousands of members who have been diagnosed with adrenal fatigue (or who suspect they have the condition) are looking for answers and embracing strategies to feel better.
“Lifestyle modification, dietary changes, vitamins, supplements and herbs are an important part to addressing adrenal fatigue,” Dr. Wolf says.
Here are four strategies to help heal adrenal fatigue:
The foods you eat are believed to play an integral role in alleviating adrenal fatigue. “Poor food choices and eating habits can deprive the body of essential nutrients,” Dr. Wolf explains. “At the same time, it can also create stress and put a further burden on our adrenal glands.”
The recommended diet for adrenal fatigue includes a combination of fat, protein, and complex carbohydrates to avoid dips in blood sugar and provide energy throughout the day (5).
The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians also suggests a diet rich in B vitamins, vitamin C, zinc, and magnesium to help with adrenal fatigue (6). Processed foods are best avoided (7).
Your naturopath might recommend a combination of supplements to boost energy and ease exhaustion. “There are some really great herbs and other supplements that may help balance and promote adrenal health,” Dr. Wolf says. “These herbs are called adaptogens, and they help the body respond to daily influences or stressors.” Examples of adaptogenic herbs include eleuthero, holy basil and ashwagandha, he says.
Research shows that ginseng regulates the immune and hormonal responses to stress and controls hormones in the adrenal gland (8). Additional research found that ginkgo biloba had a similar effect on cortisol (9). Another study reveals that a botanical called Rhodiola rosea has been linked with lower levels of stress-induced fatigue (10).
Because chronic stress triggers adrenal fatigue, stress management is essential. “Day-to-day stress that continues to stockpile can have a devastating effect not only on your adrenals but also on your overall health,” Dr. Wolf says.
A 2017 study published in Frontiers of Human Neuroscience reported that practicing yoga and meditation had positive effects on stress resilience (11). “Mindfulness-based mediation is a great way of easing stress and may even have other benefits, such as helping to control anxiety, depression and pain,” Dr. Wolf says.
Deep breathing exercises and journaling can also help keep stress in check (12, 13).
Both stress and adrenal function can take their toll on sleep. If you struggle with insomnia or feel exhausted throughout the day, establishing regular sleep and wake times can be helpful. Avoid staying up too late at night or waking up too early in the morning and steer clear of caffeine, sugar, and alcohol (14).
As the controversy about adrenal fatigue rages on, it’s important to remember that whether you believe the condition exists or not, these are all science-backed, common sense strategies for healthier living that are beneficial regardless of the status of your adrenal system.
Keep skin, hair, nails and joints healthy with LuckyVitamin’s Pure Collagen. It provides your body with essential building blocks for tissue growth and repair so you can look and feel your best. This flavorless powder easily mixes with water, coffee, juice or your favorite smoothie!
SOS Hydration Drink Mix Powders now contains 20% RDI of Zinc, an important nutrient that helps your immune system and metabolism function. Of the trace minerals, Zinc is second only to iron in its concentration in our body. The addition of this essential micronutrient means SOS can give you even more of what your body needs to get the most out of being active.
What does it do?
Zinc is an essential micronutrient for numerous cellular processes. It’s found in cells throughout the body and is required for the immune system to work properly. It also plays a role in cell division, cell growth, wound healing, and the breakdown of carbohydrates.
Evidence suggests that when taken after cold symptoms appear, oral zinc supplements may shorten the length of a cold.
Deficiency in zinc is quite common in the developing world, but even in the United States about 12% of the population is probably at risk for zinc deficiency, and perhaps as many as 40% of the elderly due to inadequate dietary intake and reduced absorption.
If you’ve got an upset stomach, the preponderance of evidence also suggests that zinc supplementation reduces the severity and duration of diarrhea. That means SOS can help you get back on your feet after a cold, flu or stomach bug.
Food Sources Of Zinc
Animal proteins are a good source of Zinc, as well as nuts, whole grains, legumes and yeast. Fruits and vegetables are not good sources, given that the zinc in plant proteins is not as available for use by the body as that from animals. As a result, diets low in protein and vegetarian diets tend to be low in zinc.
What’s the telltale sign of spring for you? Is it the weather finally breaking and the trees starting to bloom? Or is it relentless itchy eyes and a runny nose that has you reaching for the antihistamines?
To put it simply, allergies are an immune system overreaction to allergens. This triggers the annoying puffy eyes, sneezing, and congestion that can leave you stuck inside on gorgeous spring days. While conventional drugs may relieve allergy symptoms, they don’t address the root cause and often come with side effects—like heavy drowsiness that can leave you nodding off at your desk.
So what’s the solution? We talked to our ND, Dr. Jeremy Wolf, about a few natural remedies to help keep you from sniffling through an entire season!
Treating allergies through diet
When it comes to diet, Dr. Wolf says, “natural substances such as quercetin, stinging nettles, bromelain, vitamin-C, and omega 3 fatty acids may help kick the allergy symptoms. You can find many of these ingredients in every day foods such as onions and berries for quercetin, salmon and fatty fish for omega 3’s, citrus fruits for vitamin c and pineapple for bromelain.” Incorporating anti-inflammatory foods can help keep your immune system strong so it can help fight off common allergies.
Try homeopathic formulas
“There are some homeopathic remedies that are more commonly used for allergies than others,” says Dr. Wolf. “One of these is Allium Cepa, a formula made from onions. If you think about the symptoms you experience when chopping an onion (burning and watery discharge from the eyes and nose) it makes sense that this may be used to combat allergies.” This follows the homeopathic principle of “like cures like.”
You can also try combination remedies “which include a variety of single remedies that are commonly used to treat allergies. The idea is if you take a variety of different remedies, your body is likely to react to one of them.”
An important note from Dr. Wolf: “there isn’t one homeopathic remedy for allergies that trumps others, as it depends on the individual and the symptoms a person is experiencing.” This is why you should alwaystalk to your physicianbefore starting a new supplement or treatment.
Can eating local honey prevent allergies?
A common practice touted in the wellness world is taking a tablespoon of local raw honey every day in the weeks prior to allergy season. When asked about this, Dr. Wolf replied “The thought process behind that treatment is if you eat local honey, you might be ingesting local pollen, and over time you may become less sensitive to pollen which could result in fewer allergy symptoms. This is similar to using allergy shots or sublingual drops to desensitize the body to the allergens.”
He continues to say “It’s hard to know exactly how much pollen you’re actually ingesting. I don’t recommend this to my patients as I don’t think there is any research that currently proves the honey trick to have actually worked.”
You don’t have to stay stuck indoors this spring! Talk with your doctor about your options, and consider taking a natural route to allergy prevention this season.
Recently, there seems to have been a huge spike in the popularity of coconut oil. Though this oil has been used for a variety of purposes for a considerable amount of time, it is important for consumers to understand a few basic points in order to make informed purchases. By learning a few basic facts, you are more likely to understand which oils are more likely to offer you the most health benefits.
Coconut oil is said to be beneficial because it is comprised of medium-chain triglycerides. Known commonly as MCTs, these chemical compounds can provide a number of benefits to the body including safe weight-loss and increased energy. Unfortunately, pure coconut oil also contains long-chain triglycerides. These compounds can have a negative impact on your body, slowing down digestion and making it easier for the body to store fat cells. The presence of long-chain triglycerides in coconut oil has led to the development of MCT oil.
MCT oil is a synthetic oil created out of pure coconut oil. Palm oil is often involved in the process, as it allows the finished product to contain higher levels of MCT. By taking the long-chain triglycerides out of the equation, the MCT oil is able to highlight the best benefits coconut oil can bring without the same drawbacks.
Since MCT oil was first developed, a number of studies have shown some interesting benefits. While the oil had already been known to help improve digestion, further research has suggested it can help to lower a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease. Another study points to MCT as a way to help with patients suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s. While the oil is not a way to prevent dementia, the studies suggest it can prove helpful in easing the symptoms in individuals already suffering from it.
What is very important to keep in mind is that coconut oil does not produce the same results. When the long-chain triglycerides are present in the oil, it prevents a great deal of the health benefits from emerging. This means anyone looking to try involving coconut oil in their daily routines might want to weigh out whether or not MCT oil might be a more practical fit.
A Variety of Uses
MCT oil is not used in all of the same ways as coconut oil, though there is a bit of overlap. Many people love to bake or cook with coconut oil but this is not possible with MCT oil, due to its composition. Instead, MCT oil is perfect as a nutritional boost in a smoothie or protein drink. By using the oil to enhance your current diet, you are likely to see a number of the metabolic effects in no time.
When it comes to cooking, you may still want to consider coconut oil. Though MCT might offer a few more advantages in some departments, coconut oil seems to have far more health benefits than other cooking options like olive oil. Coconut oil can even be swapped out for butter if you are considering vegan recipes. While coconut oil offers some benefits, remember to use it sparingly as the fat content is still quite high.
Both coconut oil and MCT oil offer advantages depending on the situation. When you are simply looking to add some extra nutrients to your daily intake that can help to improve your energy, digestion, and cardiovascular health, MCT oil is the way to go. For cooking and baking, coconut oil is still a safe bet.
Article written by Joe Palinsky
Joe Palinsky is a full-time writer and theater professional in Philadelphia. He predominantly works with ensemble-based Found Theater Company, where his writing has been featured in numerous productions. Though primarily a ghostwriter, his work has been published in the now-defunct Spirit News and as a guest on Found Theater’s blog.
When it comes to the health of your skin and bones, collagen is incredibly important. If you would like to maintain a fresh and vibrant appearance at all times, your body needs to continuously produce the correct amount of collagen. Sadly, factors like being out in the sun for too long or smoking cigarettes can have negative impacts on your body’s ability to produce the right level of this useful protein.
If you believe your skin could use a bit of a boost in regards to collagen production, now is a wonderful time to consider a few useful tips. Taking the right supplements and engaging in healthy daily practices can do wonders for enhancing your body’s natural ability to produce collagen. Consider these ideas and see what tactics might be the most useful for your goals.
Vitamin C is a vitamin with a lot to offer the body, assisting with the functions of the immune and digestive systems. On top of this, Vitamin C has also been shown to have a huge effect on repairing and restoring specific tissues. When your body does not seem to be producing collagen at the rate you require, then you might find it useful to consider Vitamin C supplements.
Not only does Vitamin C aid in the process of repairing sensitive skin tissue, it can also provide an improved level of protection against certain environmental elements. Sun damage is one of the larger concerns to stay mindful of when it comes to the health of your skin. Though you should always use sunblock to protect your skin from conditions like melanoma, taking Vitamin C supplements can be the extra line of defense your skin requires.
Most people understand how important sleep is to health and wellness. As you drift off into slumber, your body begins a restorative process to counteract the damage done throughout the day. When you do not get enough sleep, it dramatically decreases your body’s ability to tackle this goal. Those who do not get a full night’s rest of about eight hours are likely to see an increase in inflammation from increased stress hormone production. These hormones are produced when the body is struggling to stay awake and can stand in the way of your body generating or repairing collagen.
The answer here is clear: get consistent and appropriate sleep. Your body will produce collagen naturally but you definitely need to do some of the work yourself. While you might feel like you have too many obligations and responsibilities to hit the hay at a normal hour, you will find that it is far more beneficial to your health to make the time to get a full night’s rest.
This might seem a bit obvious but what you eat is also going to hold sway over your body’s ability to generate collagen. In order for you to see the glowing skin you desire, you are going to need to make sure that you are getting the right nutrients in your daily meals. Lycopene is an antioxidant that has been shown to counteract some of the damage done to the skin by environmental factors like pollution. Often, the skin takes on damage simply by being exposed to polluted air.
Eating foods rich in lycopene can help to keep your skin fresh, so be sure to stock your cart with tomatoes the next time you hit the grocery store. You can also explore lycopene supplements if you don’t think you’ll be able to swing extra fruit in your daily diet. It might also be a good idea to focus on foods containing Vitamin A. This vitamin is responsible for keeping organs functioning properly and your skin is considered the largest organ of your body. Sweet potatoes are a delicious and effective source of Vitamin A.
Article written by Joe Palinsky
Joe Palinsky is a full-time writer and theater professional in Philadelphia. He predominantly works with ensemble-based Found Theater Company, where his writing has been featured in numerous productions. Though primarily a ghostwriter, his work has been published in the now-defunct Spirit News and as a guest on Found Theater’s blog.