Recent Posts




Can You Kick Seasonal Allergies Naturally? Our ND Explains

Filed Under: Ask The ND,Health Concerns & Ailments,Homeopathy,Supplements at 12:48 pm | By: Madeline Reiss

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 always talk to your physician before 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.


MCT Oil vs. Coconut Oil: Is There A Difference?

Filed Under: Health Foods,Superfoods,Supplements at 11:09 am | By: Guest Blogger

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.

Long Chains

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.

Interesting Discoveries

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.

Final Thoughts

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.


3 Ways To Boost Collagen Naturally

Filed Under: Anti-Aging,Health Foods,Supplements at 4:26 pm | By: Guest Blogger

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

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.

Snooze Away

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.

Balanced Diet

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.


Going Vegan? Make Sure You’re Not Lacking These Nutrients

Filed Under: Nutrition,Supplements at 4:39 pm | By: Guest Blogger

Switching to a vegan diet can have a number of positive impacts on your body. For some, the idea of eating meat and animal byproducts can be an off-putting proposal. If you are the type of person who would rather consume plants and grains than once-living flesh, now is a great time to think about the pros and cons of the lifestyle. Veganism is said to have a number of scientifically-based advantages, though it is imperative you go about the switch in the correct manner to actually see these benefits.

While going vegan might seem like a healthier option on the surface, this is not always the case. When you are used to eating meat and animal byproducts, your body is used to receiving certain nutrients. Switching to a vegan diet can take away some of those important vitamins. Luckily, you can ensure that your body is getting everything it needs by paying attention to a few key supplements.


Though consuming large amounts of meat can have an adverse impact on your body, there are a number of essential vitamins and minerals found in most animal products. One of the more important vitamins you receive through meat is B12. This amazing vitamin can be found in everything from beef to fish to cheese to eggs and helps the body in a number of crucial ways. Consuming foods rich in B12 can help to improve your body’s production of blood, mental capacities, and nerve function.

Switching to a vegan way of eating means you are no longer going to be receiving the amount of B12 your body has become accustomed to. One way to get the B12 your body requires on a vegan diet is by exploring your options with milk alternatives like soy or almond milk. Still, this might not be an adequate daily amount for your body. Anyone looking to make the change to a vegan diet should look into the importance of B12 supplements.

Iron Challenge

Meat also tends to contain high amounts of iron. As most people know, iron is an essential mineral needed for oxygenated blood to be evenly transported around the body. Iron deficiencies can lead to anemia and other serious blood disorders. All people have different iron requirements, with adults often needing somewhere between 19 and 27 milligrams per day depending on other dietary considerations. While meat might be rich in iron, there are a number of alternative sources to consider for your diet.

Greens like spinach and broccoli should be found in your daily meals to keep your iron levels in a good place. Lentils, potatoes, black beans, and raisins are also worth adding to your daily diet. Getting enough iron is incredibly important, so be sure to think about adding an iron supplement to your routine should you discover your body requires a bit more of this nutrient to stay functional.

Calcium Deposit

Finally, going vegan means you need to think about how your body will receive a daily dose of calcium. For many, a glass of milk is an excellent source of calcium. When you remove animal milk from your diet, finding an easy source of calcium can become a bit of a challenge. Almonds are a great snack when you need to give your body an energy boost and many studies show that this nut can keep your body supplied with the calcium it requires. Other foods worth considering for calcium include oranges, kale, and tofu.

To safely make the switch to a vegan lifestyle, you need to know which vitamins and minerals your body will be lacking. Discover which supplements will be the most useful for your new way of eating and see the greatest odds of success on your new path.


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.


5 Signs You Might Need a B-Vitamin Supplement

Filed Under: Supplements,Vitamins and Minerals at 12:01 am | By: Mauricio Matusiak, Senior Editor

Vitamin B supplements have been top-selling products for many years for a very important reason. Lack of vitamin B can cause various health issues including some that you may not be aware of. Do you know how to find out if you are low on B vitamins? Let’s check 5 common signs you might need a B-Vitamin supplement.

1. Feeling Tired

If you are always feeling tired, you may need more vitamin B12. Lack of energy and fatigue are common signs of B12 deficiency as this important vitamin is needed to convert carbohydrates into glucose in the body, leading to energy production.

2. Hair Loss

Hair loss is often caused by a combination of factors and lack of vitamin B is definitely one of the reasons people start losing hair. Biotin, vitamin B6 and B12 are considered essential vitamins to maintain healthy hair and prevent hair-loss. B-Complex supplements are an excellent choice to prevent or reduce hair-loss as they contain high amounts of biotin (vitamin B7) which is known to strength your hair follicles. Plus, lack of vitamin B may cause your hair to thin, get dry, become brittle and break.

3. Constipation

People often think constipation is directly related to some food they ate but it may be the result of other issues such as stress or low intake of vitamin B12. Vitamin B is known to help maintain a healthy digestive system and it can also protect against heart disease by curbing and improving unhealthy cholesterol levels.

4. Poor Memory

A deficiency in vitamin B12 can caused illnesses like poor memory, depression, and headaches. Vitamin B helps in healthy regulation of the nervous system, which in turn may help reducing depression, and stress.

5. Skin problems

Vitamin B is essential for healthy skin and nails as it helps in cell reproduction and constant renewal of the skin. Research has proved that vitamin B can benefit our skin, both when ingested and when applied topically, preventing common issues such as skin irritation, redness, and dermatitis, signs of a skin lacking vitamin B3.


Why You Should Try Silica For Joint & Bone Health

Filed Under: Health Concerns & Ailments,Nutrition,Supplements at 10:40 am | By: Guest Blogger
woman runner hold her injured leg on road

If you’ve been experiencing joint pain, silica supplementation may be the key to finding relief! Several studies have examined silica for its ability to provide the body what it needs to boost collagen and form healthy connective tissue. Silica is a critical component in the substances that make up bones, muscles, joints, cartilage, ligaments and tendons, so how can supplementation benefit you?

Silica for your joints

Collagen is the steel chain that unites our tissues. It’s more resistant and is present in all parts of our body, but especially in our joints. Therefore, our body’s collagen levels affect the way our joints perform.

Healthy, youthful, well-nourished collagen is flexible, strong and rich in silica. As we age, overwork our joints and neglect our nutrition, our collagen starts to deteriorate. This can manifest as limited mobility, sore and inflamed joints, tendonitis and more. By supplementing silica, you can help offset the decline in collagen levels and promote healthy cartilage

Silica for your bones

Calcium and vitamin D alone are not enough for healthy bone growth, density, strength and flexibility. Research data suggests excessive calcium intake can actually accelerate the deterioration of bone minerals, leading to osteoporosis and similar diseases that affect the joints and connective tissues.

Silica has a unique function that supports the calcium and phosphorus that make up our bones, and is required to re-mineral the damage and wear and tear they face as we age.

Experiments in which a silica deficiency is induced demonstrate the importance of silica for the healthy development of connective tissue and bone. Deficiency always produced deformities in joints and bones often characterized by poorly formed joints, defective bone growth, reduced cartilage and low calcium, magnesium and phosphorus levels

Why Living Silica

As we age, silica naturally decreases in the body, slowing functions that are essential to health. Living Silica is a doctor-formulated, professional-grade supplement that boosts your biological collagen production. Increasing your daily intake of silica with this safe but potent supplement can improve your quality of life, athletic performance and make beauty concerns a thing of the past.

The active ingredient in Living Silica ™ contains a breakthrough Si molecule, created through a proprietary process that locks silica in its most active form. Living Silica has the highest bioavailability which helps you to absorb silica into your body more effectively.

An independent comparative study published in the British Journal Nutrition was conducted to investigate the bioavailability of Si from eight different sources. Living Silica ™ was found considerably higher than for other known silica supplements.



Source: The comparative absorption of silicon from different foods and food supplements. Supannee Sripanyakorn, Ravin Jugdaohsingh. 2009.

Are you ready to feel more energized, flexible, and healthy? Get your Living Silica daily supplement to make aches and dullness a thing of the past!


Vitamin C Won’t Shorten Your Cold, But These 3 Supplements Might

Sick young woman at home on the sofa with a cold, she is covering with a blanket and blowing her nose

There are a lot of conflicting opinions out there about what to do when you start developing the symptoms of a seasonal cold. Everyone has a recipe or suggestion for what will get rid of your sniffles and help you to feel well again. For the most part, Vitamin C is a popular choice. Though many studies show how helpful Vitamin C can be for the immune system, it is not the best supplement for shortening a cold.

To take full advantage of the power of Vitamin C, one must take the right level of the supplement before the onset of a cold. This helps to shorten the presence of the symptoms, though it is not effective at changing the overall duration of the sickness. To fight back in a more effective way, consider these three helpful supplements that might pack more of a punch.

1.) Elderberry

The downside to Vitamin C is you have a very limited window for taking it in order to see the results you’d like. With other supplements like elderberry, the experience is a bit different. The extract of the black elderberry plant has been used for medicinal purposes for a long while. Native Americans first used the plant as a way of combating fevers brought on by various conditions. Nowadays, black elderberry extract can be found in a multitude of cough syrups and lozenges.

Elderberry is effective at treating both the symptoms of the common cold as well as the symptoms brought about by influenza. About a day after experiencing the aches and pains of being sick, taking an elderberry supplement should help. Studies show this extract is incredibly useful at eliminating some of the more frustrating symptoms of a cold, including sore throat, coughs, and aches of the head and body. The next time you feel a cold coming on, see what this supplement can do for your situation.

2.) Ginger

The common cold tends to appear the most prevalently in the winter. Since this has been the case for most of human history, a large chunk of remedies for colds contain ingredients that are bountiful in this season. This is especially true when it comes to ginger root. This spicy and delicious root is used in everything from cooking, to baking, to brewing teas and other elixirs. The anti-inflammatory agents in ginger assist with relieving the many pains associated with the common cold, including calming down a sore throat.

When one is suffering from a cold or the flu, it can be incredibly difficult to feel comfortable. Hot flashes and cold chills can rock the body and cause a person to feel as if he or she is completely disconnected. Ginger is useful here because it can help a body to return to normalcy in regards to temperature. Ginger can easily warm a person up when consumed in the form of tea, which can be perfect for anyone dealing with terrible chills throughout the duration of a cold.

3.) Zinc

Finally, there is zinc. Though ginger and elderberry are far better at helping a person get through the stages of a cold, zinc plays a slightly different part. Various studies over the years have concluded a person taking zinc during a cold helps to prevent the virus from multiplying and spreading throughout the body. This can be a huge help in fighting the cold but there is little to suggest it can prevent a cold outright.

Before taking zinc it is important to remember that there are side effects. Many people who take zinc supplements complain about nausea, which is something to stay alert of. Whenever a supplement you are taking is making you feel ill, stop taking it right away and consult with your primary care physician. This is the best way to get the most from your health without causing any adverse effects along the way.


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.


3 Signs You’re Not Getting Enough Magnesium & How To Fix It

Filed Under: Supplements,Vitamins and Minerals at 1:16 pm | By: Guest Blogger
Stressed fashion-designer thinking over new project

Getting the right vitamins and minerals can make a big difference in the way you feel each day. When you are lacking in a specific area, it can take its toll in peculiar ways. Studies from the past decade or so have suggested that a vast majority of people are living with health conditions brought on by a lack of magnesium. These same studies point to the fact that diets these days consist of less magnesium than the human body needs.

Focusing on improving your daily dose of magnesium can be a good move for your health. To determine whether or not you could benefit from extra magnesium, look over a few of these signs of a deficiency. Once you have an idea of what you’re dealing with, you can start making steps towards improving your situation.

1.) Muscle Cramps 

Muscle cramps can happen for a variety of reasons. Still, consistent cramping is considered one of the strongest signs of a magnesium deficiency. When you are experiencing muscle cramps in your legs on a regular basis, there is an easy way to see what is to blame. Eating a food rich in potassium is usually a surefire way to cure a cramp. When potassium does not have an impact on the cramp, it means magnesium is most likely to blame.

To get the best results from this test, try eating something rich in magnesium when you have a cramp. A good choice here would be a handful of almonds or pumpkin seeds. If this solves the problem, then your body is most likely telling you that you’re not getting enough magnesium in your diet.

2.) Stressed and Awake

Being able to keep the pace of the demands of the modern world can be exhausting. Maintaining an active social life while juggling familial and professional responsibilities can cause a person to take on a lot of stress. People also tend to drink more caffeinated beverages when they are trying to take on a lot in a small period. Unfortunately, consuming caffeine can cause your body to use up all of its magnesium. This, in turn, can worsen the stress you are experiencing and create a violent cycle.

The more stressed you feel, the more difficult it will become to sleep. Ironically, magnesium is also required to provide your brain with the stimulation its neurotransmitters requires to help the mind find a state of rest before sleep. Relieving this stress and finding a way to sleep again might be possible simply by boosting your magnesium. Consider supplements or increase how much spinach and tofu you consume to make a difference in your magnesium levels.

3.) Tired and Depressed

While a magnesium deficiency in your body can make itself known by causing you to lose sleep and feel stressed, it can also have a dramatically different impact. For some, a lack of magnesium can create tired or sluggish feelings. This lack of energy can lead to feelings of depression and prevent a person from working up the motivation to carry out simple daily tasks. If you are feeling more tired and depressed than you are used to, magnesium might be a good choice.

Kidney beans, brown rice, and broccoli can all be excellent sources of magnesium to add to your diet. By making a dish loaded with magnesium-rich ingredients once a day, you are going to start noticing a difference in your overall energy levels. Magnesium aids your body in the creation of ATP, which helps to energize your cells and keep your body functioning to the best of its abilities.


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.


The 4 Best Tips To Strengthen Your Immune System

Filed Under: Health Concerns & Ailments,Supplements at 6:00 pm | By: Mauricio Matusiak, Senior Editor
Sick young woman at home on the sofa with a cold, she is covering with a blanket and blowing her nose

1. Supplements

Want to enhance your immune system? Multivitamins and supplements may help. During the winter months, your body may require a little bit of help getting all the nutrients it needs to stay strong. Even for those who eat well, it’s difficult to get enough nutrients from diet as a good number of foods have been depleted of various vitamins and minerals. For example, vitamin C, vitamin D, and zinc supplements can help boost your immune system defenses. Plus, probiotic supplements are a great addition as well as adding healthy bacteria stimulate the intestine’s immune system and slow the growth of infectious organisms in the digestive system.

2. Fresh Air

Some people tend to think that one of the best ways to avoid getting sick is stay inside and avoid going outside in the cold winter days. That’s a common misconception as fresh air can be great for your immunity. Of course, walking by a busy road or in downtown areas isn’t the best choice for quality fresh air, but a walk in a park or along a lake can be a great boost of fresh air for your body.

3. Diet

A healthy and well-balanced diet is obviously essential to fortify the immune system. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and drink plenty of fluids, particularly water and juices high in vitamin C. Try to avoid skipping meals as lack of nutrition is one of the reasons our bodies feel weak and are less likely to prevent diseases.

4. Lifestyle

Making healthy lifestyle choices can drastically affect your ability to keep illness at bay. A few simple lifestyles changes such as exercising regularly, reducing alcohol consumption, and limiting caffeine, and sugar. Walking, stretching and promoting relaxation daily are great ways to minimize stress, which often affects immune system function, and can potentially make the body less able to fend off bacteria and viruses.


Is Melatonin Safe For Children Struggling to Sleep?

Filed Under: Baby and Child Health,General Wellness & Wellbeing,Supplements at 9:30 am | By: Guest Blogger
Royalty stock photo of 3 years old girl during daytime.

Article written by Joe Palinsky

Sleep is a luxury that not everyone can afford. Try as they might, there are countless people across the planet who toss and turn in their beds until sunrise. Though this is a common problem in adults, it is also an issue many children experience on a regular basis. If your little ones are unable to sleep through the night, it’s a good idea to consider your options.

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland. It is responsible for helping regulate one’s cycle of sleep. Though the body produces this hormone naturally, melatonin supplements are a common solution for adults who are not sleeping well. While this may seem like a practical idea for an adult, you might be hesitant to offer your children the same answer when they have difficulty catching some shut-eye. To understand whether it is right for your kids, be sure to look over what the experts are saying.

Starting With Dosage

Many drugs and supplemental products are problematic for children to ingest. Though these pills are fine for adults with fully-developed systems, a number of chemicals found in specific pharmaceuticals can inhibit growth in a child. With melatonin, this is the main argument made. Though there are still no concrete findings on whether or not melatonin impacts children in a negative way, medical experts believe it is better to approach this task from the right perspective.

Adults tend to purchase melatonin over the counter from pharmacies or health supplement establishments. This is fine for grown individuals but it can prove trickier for kids. To get the best solution, you need to first visit with your child’s pediatrician. Speaking with a healthcare professional can open you up to all possible solutions to the problem. If the doctor believes melatonin is the answer, then he or she can prescribe a specific dosage that works appropriately. Prescription melatonin comes in smaller dosages, allowing it to work its magic without overloading your child with too much melatonin.

Serious and Simple

Though melatonin is one of a number of solutions available to parents who are trying to get their children to sleep, it is important to take a closer look at when you should avoid using it altogether. When the summer has come to a close and school is around the corner, you might notice that your children are having a difficult time hitting the hay. This could be due to the excitement of the coming school year or nerves about seeing friends for the first time in months.

Situational sleep problems like this tend to come and go. Once your child has gotten back into the swing of the school year, he or she should return to normalcy with sleeping. Short-term sleeping problems usually resolve themselves and are caused by environmental factors that are not always present. When you first notice your child is not sleeping right, do not take immediate action. Allow this to carry on for a few days to see if it persists. If so, you need to contact your child’s doctor to start finding an appropriate solution.

Ultimate Answer

Melatonin is a wonderful option for adults who are struggling with insomnia or other sleep-related ailments. For children, it might be best to examine alternatives first. Take a look at your child’s habits and see what might be causing the sleepless nights. In many cases, diet and exercise can change the way a child falls asleep. According to most experts, children need to be up for around twelve hours each day and need to be physically engaged for at least one hour. Inactive children who do not get outside often might deal with insomnia from not getting out enough.

Sleep is incredibly important to the human mind, body, and spirit. When you’re dealing with children who don’t seem to fall asleep, you might need to take action. Examine your child’s habits and see how long insomnia persists. When you feel like all of your options have been exhausted, visit with your child’s primary care physician and learn more about what melatonin might be able to offer.


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.


5 Reasons To Add Ashwagandha To Your Medicine Cabinet

Filed Under: Herbs,Mindfulness,Supplements at 3:11 pm | By: Guest Blogger
Sshwagandha powder and root on wooden table. Superfood, alternative medicine, natural remedy.

Article written by Joe Palinsky

For most people, the medicine cabinet is a storage space that acts as a window to the past. Expired pill bottles and loose adhesive strips mingle on the shelves, reminding you of all the maladies you’ve encountered in your years. With 2017 winding down, now is an excellent time to begin cleaning out all the old junk in your life. The medicine cabinet is a fantastic place to begin your endeavor!

While tossing out old vitamins and creams can be cathartic, you might also want to focus on what you will replace once everything has been tossed. Finding the right items for your medicine cabinet can help you to feel prepared for whatever health-related situations await. Ashwagandha, for example, is an herb with a number of uses that might have a future home in your medicine cabinet. To see if it works for your life, let’s examine some of the benefits.

1.) Ancient And Relevant 

Whenever a new herb or plant appears on the shelves, consumers and advertisers alike tend to get out of control. Reports on the benefits of these products can be conflicting and overwhelming, making it impossible to know whether or not the supplement or remedy even works. Ashwagandha is different because it has been used for thousands of years in a number of places around the world with impressive results.

In North Africa, the herb has long been used as a way of dealing with inflammation and increasing energy levels. Often referred to as ubab or “winter cherry,” ashwagandha can also be found across parts of Asia. In India, the herb is mashed into a paste and used as a salve for treating burns and other wounds.

2.) Calming Effects

Stress and anxiety are very real problems for a large number of people. The world is more connected than it has ever been before. While this fact yields some wonderful results, it also can make one feel tense to constantly be bombarded with news and information about the world. Ashwagandha might also prove useful when dealing with these high levels of stress.

According to a number of studies conducted at several academic institutions, ashwagandha helped patients feel less stressed within a short amount of time. Anxiety can put a lot of strain on the brain and make memory recall somewhat impossible. When ashwagandha was present in the system, researchers noticed an improvement in how subjects suffering from anxiety could recall vital information.

3.) Better Spirits

Feeling grumpy or frustrated can often seem like a part of life. While it is true that you can’t do much to change a foul mood when you’re stuck in one, it also doesn’t hurt to try new tactics. With an herb like ashwagandha, you could be looking at a solid way to get yourself into better spirits. While conducting studies on the anti-anxiety effects of ashwagandha, researchers observed patients exhibited signs of improved emotional states.

Though studies are still being done to uncover exactly how ashwagandha improves an individual’s mood, many scientists believe it has to do with how the herb impacts the adrenal gland. Responsible for producing and regulating a large number of hormones, this endocrine gland is stimulated and rejuvenated by the constant presence of ashwagandha. This renewal helps to better regulate hormones like adrenaline, which tends to help with stress levels as well as overall mood.

4.) Memories That Last

Having a strong memory can work to your advantage on a daily basis. Keeping yourself sharp helps you to stay on top of tasks at work, keep important dates in the forefront of your mind, and allow you the ability to remember where you put down your keys before walking out the door. Though a number of factors work against a person’s ability to remember information, studies suggest that ashwagandha might be a good fit for those looking to improve areas of the brain related to memory.

It is important to note that these studies primarily focused on memory problems that resulted from head injuries. According to the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, ashwagandha might be helpful for patients suffering from dementia but it is too soon to tell. As of this point, no official studies have been conducted on ashwagandha and how it works in patients living with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

5.) Simple Warnings

Discussing the benefits of an herb like ashwagandha can be useful for your future. Still, it is good to note that there are a few individuals who should not be using the plant. For the most part, you can feel confident in stocking your medicine cabinet with ashwagandha. However, it is important to keep in mind that women who are pregnant or nursing should avoid the herb. Some studies suggest it might be fine for pregnant women but it is best to speak with a healthcare professional before making any decisions.


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.


DHA, EPA & ALA: How Much Do You Actually Need?

Filed Under: Health Foods,Supplements at 6:00 pm | By: Mauricio Matusiak, Senior Editor
Salmon Steak with Spices

Omega-3 supplements are very beneficial to your health but some people may find a little complicated to understand all the abbreviations used on the products’ ingredients list. EPA, DHA and ALA. What do they stand for? Which food sources can you get them from? How much do you actually need? Let’s have a quick look at DHA, EPA and ALA.


One of the two main types of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, Eicosapentaenoic Acid, or EPA, is found in fatty, cold-water fish such as mackerel, sardines, salmon, herring, halibut, trout, anchovies, and tuna. There is no recommended standard dose of EPA’s but health organizations recommend a daily dose of 250 to 500 milligrams (mg) for healthy adults.


The other main type of omega-3 is Docosahexaenoic Acid, popular known as DHA. Plentiful in fish and shellfish, DHA is also found in algae. There is no set recommended standard dose of DHA as well but just like EPA’s a daily dose of 250 to 500 milligrams (mg) of DHA should be sufficient for healthy adults.

EPA to DHA Ratios

It’s important to check for the ratios of EPA and DHA since there is no standard daily dose set. According to the American Heart Association, a common ratio which can be used is 180 milligrams of EPA to 120 milligrams of DHA but some reports show that ratios of 2:1 or 1:2 EPA to DHA may be equally beneficial since both compounds seem to work together.


Alpha-linolenic Acids are short-chain omega-3 fatty acids found in plants, such as flax seeds, chia seeds, as well as oils such as flax oil and hemp oil. ALA omega-3 fatty acids have less potent health benefits than EPA and DHA and for the body to truly benefit from these fats, they must be converted into long-chain EFAs such as EPA and DHA first. There is no established dose of alpha-lipoic acid recommended, but studies have concluded that the use of 600 milligrams daily can provide health benefits.


4 Benefits Of Collagen Other Than Skin Health

Filed Under: Diet & Weight Loss,Health Concerns & Ailments,Supplements at 3:00 pm | By: Mauricio Matusiak, Senior Editor
Unrecognizable muscular man running or walking on track field, low angle view of his running shoes.

Collagen has been a top-selling product for skin health for many years but did you know that this powerful supplement offers many other health benefits? Let’s look at 4 ways collagen can improve your health.

1. Joint Health

Collagen is a major component in forming your body’s tendons, ligaments, muscles and cartilage. As you age, your body is less able to manufacture a sufficient amount of collagen and supplements can help maintain your body’s repair process. Collagen contains the amino acids glycine and proline, which help repair tissue, lessen inflammation, and provide relief from joint pain. Collagen products are used for treating osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoporosis.

2. Weight Loss

Collagen supplements can help in weight loss. A great source of protein, collagen provides 18 grams of protein per 2 scoops. Studies have shown that collagen peptides consumed at breakfast are 40% more satiating than other proteins such as whey or soy, and may lead to a 20% reduction of food intake at lunch.

3. Digestion

Collagen supplements can help improve digestion by repairing the mucous lining. Collagen soothes and heals the digestive tract and helps break down the protein and fat from foods, making them easier for the body to digest.

4. Athletic Performance

As mentioned above, the amino acids glycine and proline help repair tissue and lessen inflammation. Consequently, supplementation with collagen peptides shortens recovery after exercise and helps with sports related injuries on muscle, tendons, and ligaments.


7 Protein Sources for a Plant-Based Diet

Filed Under: Health Foods,Superfoods,Supplements at 10:00 am | By: Mauricio Matusiak, Senior Editor
Starting a plant-based diet? Get ready for the inevitable question: where are you going to get your protein? Don’t worry. With so many great sources available, it shouldn’t be a problem to find a few foods that can fit into your new diet. Let’s look at 7 protein sources for a plant-based diet.

1. Spirulina

This algae superfood is incredibly rich in protein and is a perfect ingredient for smoothies. With 40 grams of protein per serving, spirulina also contains the highest amount of glutamine found in a plant food.

2. Chia Seeds

No longer a strange superfood, chia seeds have become a stable of health food. Rich in protein and an excellent source of soluble fiber, you can sprinkle chia seeds on oatmeal, cereals, porridges or make a delicious chia seed pudding with almond milk.

3. Black Beans

An awesome source of protein, black beans contain 15 grams per serving and can be easily added to your diet. Used in salads and veggie burritos, black beans also contain lysine and leucine, two amino acids rarely found in plant-based foods.

4. Pumpkin Seeds

Perfect for baking, pumpkin seeds are also a great source of protein as a single cup contains up to 12 grams. Considered a complete protein, these seeds are also high in healthy fats and minerals such as zinc and magnesium.

5. Lentils

Lentils are a great source of protein as well as fiber and carbohydrates. With 20 grams of protein per cup, lentils contain a ton of amino acids and can be easily added to your diet in salads, tacos, or mixed with rice or quinoa for a delicious meal.

6. Hemp Seeds

Hemp Seeds have 9 grams of protein per serving as well as healthy omega-3 fatty acids. A complete amino acid, hemp seeds have a deliciously sweet and nutty flavor that can be added to increase protein content to many recipes of smoothies, baked goods and desserts.

7. Quinoa

A gluten-free grain, quinoa is also a great source of protein with around 15 grams per cup of cooked quinoa. Considered a starchy protein, quinoa also contains carbohydrates and fiber and is widely used in hot or cold cereals, salads, or in meals instead of rice.


Are Your Fitness Supplements “Clean?” Here’s How To Tell

Filed Under: General Wellness & Wellbeing,Supplements at 3:00 pm | By: Mauricio Matusiak, Senior Editor
Whey protein powder in scoop with vitamins and plastic shaker on wooden background

Finding a good supplement can be difficult. With so many different products and brands available, one might find it complicated to choose the right one. Plus, recent reports on supplements are making this task even more difficult.

According to the World Health Organization, a variety of supplements available in a number of retailers including large, national chains do not contain the ingredients listed on their labels.  In other words, some products, particularly fitness supplements, are fake and contain phony ingredients. This adulteration of herbal products is a threat to consumer safety as these supplements may be contaminated or substituted with alternative plant species and fillers that are not listed on the labels.

So, how can you tell if your fitness supplements are unhealthy? How can a regular customer check if the product they are buying contain additives, unhealthy fillers, or harmful ingredients?

Checking for verification labels should be the first thing to do. Look for the USP certification label which ensures that the product has been tested and looked at by the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention, which verifies that the listed ingredients do indeed exist, and that there is no contamination. Plus, a NSF label is a certification that the product is what it claims to be.

Additionally, find a brand known and certified for good practices. A lot of top-quality brands embrace DNA barcoding for authenticating herbal products through testing of raw materials used in the manufacturing of the products.

Lastly, avoid cheap, conventional brands sold at large chain stores as those seem to be the most “fishy” when it comes to providing consumers with safe, high quality herbal products.