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10 Simple Ways to Boost Your Immune System

Filed Under: General Wellness & Wellbeing,Immunity,Superfoods,Vitamins and Minerals at 9:56 am | By: Heather Mayer Irvine

If you’re reading this, you might be battling the sniffles, or gearing up for cold and flu season, and looking for ways to boost your immune system. But first, it’s important to understand what the immune system actually is and how it works.

Basically, your immune system is the body’s defense against infection and other invaders. The immune system—a network of cells, tissues, and organs—attacks harmful pathogens like bacteria, viruses, parasites, or fungi. In some cases, the immune system can also attack the body’s own cells if they have become dangerous due to an illness, like cancer.

When your immune system is running normally, you’re healthy and feel great. It’s when the system becomes compromised—you’re stressed, overtired, or your body came into contact with a pathogen it’s not familiar with—that you get sick and find yourself here, looking for ways to boost your immune system quickly.

Read on to learn about the best vitamins, foods, and lifestyle choices that can help boost your immune system.

6 Immune System Boosters

Sure, it may sound boring, but eating a balanced diet is key to keeping your immune system healthy. The next time you hit the grocery store, be sure to load up on these foods, which are good sources of immune-boosting nutrients. And in some cases, it might be worth considering a vitamin supplement.


Yes, you often associate oranges with high levels of vitamin C, but strawberries actually offer more of the disease-fighting vitamin—85 milligrams per cup versus 70 milligrams in an orange. But why is vitamin C the go-to vitamin when you feel the sniffles coming on? In the simplest terms: It helps with the production of white blood cells, which fight disease, says Natalie Rizzo, a registered dietitian in New York City.

That said, taking as much vitamin C (either in your diet or as a supplement) as possible won’t make you invincible.

“Because it’s a water-soluble vitamin, any extra—more than 400 milligrams a day—is flushed out,” says Rizzo.


We get that these guys aren’t for everyone, but to really give your immune system a kick in the pants, try oysters. They pack 74 miligrams of zinc per serving; that’s more than any other food (other good sources include red meat, poultry, beans, nuts, and fortified breads and cereals). While vitamin C is more of a preventive nutrient, says Rizzo, research has shown that zinc can help you kick that cold more quickly (1).

“It’s really interesting that people take mega doses of vitamin C when they get sick, but zinc has really been shown to shorten the duration of a cold,” says Rizzo.

Zinc helps strengthen your immune system much like vitamin C, but it helps boost the production of T-cells, which are a type of white blood cell.


While the research is still fairly new, it’s becoming more evident that the probiotics found in fermented foods, such as kefir, have significant ties to a healthy immune system. And that’s because much of the immune system seems to be located in the gut (2).

“Kefir is a fermentable yogurt, with almost the same amount of protein and calcium,” says Rizzo. “But during fermentation, it creates probiotics that are good for the gut. And the better you treat your gut, the healthier you’re going to be.”

Sunflower Seeds (and Sunflower Butter!)

One of the best sources of the fat-soluble vitamin E is sunflower seeds (talk about tiny but mighty). Not only does vitamin E help the body boost the immune system to fight infection, it also serves as an antioxidant.

Antioxidants, found in many fruits and vegetables, help protect the cells from damage by free radicals, which are formed when the body converts food to energy. Free radicals also come from cigarette smoke, air pollution, and the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

Chicken Broth

There’s a reason you keep Grandma’s chicken soup recipe on hand for when you come down with a cold or the flu, but it’s not for the reason you think. Chicken soup isn’t the cure-all people make it out to be, but it is rehydrating. When you’re under the weather, you need fluids and in some cases, electrolytes to replace the ones lost through vomiting or diarrhea.

“Being hydrated is one of the most important things you can do for your health,” says Rizzo.


Hands down, turmeric is one of the best anti-inflammatory herbs. Its main ingredient, curcumin, has been shown to fight the effects of chronic inflammation, says Rizzo. Why is that important for your immune system? When the body is sick or injured, it’s inflamed, and that’s what kick-starts the immune system’s response.

While you can add turmeric spice to foods—1/2 to 1 teaspoon may have certain digestive and cognitive benefits—most researchers study the effects of turmeric extract (found in supplements), which is about 95 percent of the curcumin compound (3).

Other Ways to Boost Your Immune System

Making healthy lifestyle choices—outside of your diet—is another way to keep your immune system on the up and up.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. But when you burn the midnight oil too often, your body doesn’t have those precious hours of sleep to help repair and rebuild. And that’s when you can become sick, says Rizzo. Research has shown that sleep plays a role in strengthening the immune system (4).

Aim for at least seven to nine hours of shuteye per night.

Stay Active

Engaging in regular exercise—daily walks or runs, weight-lifting, yoga, swimming—is good for your all-around health. It helps keep your weight in check and your heart healthy. That said, researchers aren’t sure if or how exercise increases immunity to certain illnesses. There are theories, but none of them have been proven (5).

Quit Smoking

Like staying active, being smoke-free promotes your overall health, says Rizzo. Studies have also found that cigarette smoke has negative effects on the immune system and are associated with chronic illnesses like Crohn’s disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (6).

Drink Alcohol in Moderation

Too much booze has been shown to depress the immune system, making you more prone to illness and disease. What’s more, Rizzo points out, is that recent research found that people who drank more than the recommended amount—one drink per day for women and two per day for men—had shorter lifespans (7).


8 Best Vitamins and Supplements for Hair Loss

Filed Under: Nutrition,Personal Care,Supplements,Vitamins and Minerals at 1:57 pm | By: Jodi Helmer

Finding a few strands of hair in your hairbrush or circling the drain is no big deal. You naturally shed between 50 and 100 strands of hair every day; more hair loss could be the sign of a problem—and nutrient deficiencies could be to blame.

Hair loss is common. By age 50, almost 85 percent of men experience thinning hair and hair loss (1); and women make up 40 percent of hair loss sufferers (2), according to the American Hair Loss Association.

8 Vitamins and Supplements for Hair Loss

If you experience hair loss, make an appointment with your health care provider to assess the underlying causes and determine whether one of these eight vitamins or supplements for hair loss could help bulk up your tresses:


An absence of this essential mineral impacts the hair follicle, impeding hair growth. Pre- and post-menopausal women are at highest risk of iron deficiencies; those with celiac disease and vegans and vegetarians can also lack sufficient iron (3).

While insufficient iron is common, eating iron-rich foods like beef, chicken, tofu, beans, lentils and leafy greens such as spinach can help reverse deficiencies and restore hair growth. Pairing iron-rich foods with sources of vitamin C can help enhance iron absorption (4). Iron supplements are also available.

“In some women, iron levels are normal but their ferritin [the protein that stores iron in the tissues] can be low, so we might need to dig a little deeper and check ferritin levels, too,” notes naturopath Lauren Deville, founder of Nature Cure Family Health and author of How To Be Healthy: Body, Mind, and Spirit.


This water-soluble vitamin, also known as vitamin B7, is ubiquitous in hair products; too little biotin is associated with brittle hair and hair loss. Research published in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology found that oral biotin supplements helped promote significant hair growth in women with thinning hair (5). Foods like organ meat, fish, eggs, avocado and mushrooms are also good sources of biotin.

“Everyone who comes to see me about hair loss is taking biotin,” Deville says. “But people typically aren’t taking enough. I usually recommended taking 10,000 mcg. If you’re not taking at least that much, it won’t do anything.”


A lack of this B vitamin weakens hair structure and impacts hair growth. Niacin deficiencies are linked to alopecia, one cause of sudden hair loss (6). Although there are no known studies on the serum niacin levels in women with hair loss (7), women with thinning hair due to alopecia reported significant increases in hair fullness after using topical niacin for six months, according to research published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology (8).

Fish Oil

The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil help nourish hair, making it thicker and shinier. Taking a fish oil supplement can help reduce hair loss, increase hair growth and boost hair density and the diameter of the hair shaft, according to research published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology (9).

In addition to fish oil supplements, Blake recommends fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel as excellent sources of omega-3s; vegetarians can opt to add eggs and walnuts to their diets to boost their intake of these essential fatty acids.


In addition to promoting hair follicle development, zinc also helps synthesize proteins, improving hair growth. Too little zinc is associated with brittle hair and temporary hair loss called telogen effluvium or TE (10). In one study, patients with hair loss, including TE, had lower serum zinc levels (11); research showed that daily oral zinc supplements of 50 milligrams helped with hair regrowth (12).  

Vegetarians and vegans are at higher risk of zinc deficiencies than carnivores because animal products, including meat, are excellent sources of zinc. Moreover, legumes and whole grains that are the staples of plant-based diets can inhibit absorption of the essential nutrient, according to Joan Salge Blake, a registered dietitian nutritionist and clinical associate professor of nutrition at Boston University.

Before taking a supplement, get tested for zinc deficiencies. Too much zinc can cause toxic effects, such as vomiting, diarrhea, headache and reduced immune function (13).

Vitamin D

This vitamin helps with hair follicle cycling, ensuring that healthy new strands of hair continue growing. Deville calls vitamin D one of the common macronutrient deficiencies that lead to hair loss.

One very small study found that women with TE and female pattern hair loss had significantly lower levels of serum vitamin D2 (14). The researchers recommended screening for vitamin D2 levels and supplementation to correct deficiencies as treatment for hair loss.

Those who are dark skinned or obese are at higher risk of vitamin D deficiency (15); a lack of sun exposure is also linked with too little of the so-called sunshine vitamin.


Hair is made up of proteins; the nutrient is also essential for the production of keratin, which supports the structure of the hair, so it would make sense that a low protein diet would be linked with hair loss. Protein deficiencies could impact hair growth; malabsorption issues that make it difficult to absorb nutrients like protein could also cause hair thinning or hair loss, notes Blake.

Research shows that in the absence of documented protein deficiencies, limited evidence exists on the connection between protein supplementation or protein powder and hair regrowth (16).

Saw Palmetto 

Although the internet has called the medicinal plant a miracle tonic for hair growth, peer-reviewed research on the impact of using tablets, liquid extracts or powdered capsules to spur hair regrowth is limited. One small study on men with androgenic alopecia, hair loss on the front and top of the head, found that applying topical saw palmetto increased total hair count by almost 12 percent (17).

Hair Loss Remedies: Precautions

Although nutrient deficiencies can be a major contributor to hair loss, Deville notes that occurrences are rare in developed nations—and taking the wrong supplements could worsen hair loss. Studies show that too much vitamin A and E are linked with worsening hair loss (18). Before taking supplements for hair loss, consult with a health care provider to determine the root cause of thinning hair or hair loss.

For some common causes of hair loss, including hyperthyroidism and elevated androgen levels, taking a supplement is not enough to trigger regrowth. If supplements could be beneficial, your health care provider can help make recommendations based on your health history so you can restore your lush locks safely.


6 Best Shampoos for Hair Loss

Filed Under: Beauty,Personal Care,Vitamins and Minerals at 11:23 am | By: Ysolt Usigan

It can be unsettling to see all the hair at the bottom of the drain after a shower, collected in your hairbrush or on the floor after blow-drying. Thankfully, from over-the-counter products to natural remedies, there are hair loss solutions that can help your thinning woes. But before you make lifestyle changes, head to the store or make an online purchase, let’s take a closer look at the problem. We sought out expert advice to determine your next steps before you lather with a new hair loss shampoo or add a new vitamin to your daily routine.

Why Am I Losing My Hair?

For men, the most common form of hair loss is androgenetic alopecia (also known as male pattern baldness). “Its causes are multifactorial,” says Dr. Bryan Tan, an osteopathic physician whose research includes but is not limited to immunology and dermatology. “Hormonally, it is caused by DHT or dihydrotestosterone, a form of testosterone which only affects the vertex and the front of the scalp. It is also caused by poor blood circulation to the scalp.” Medical treatments for androgenetic alopecia involve finasteride (which blocks the production of DHT) and topical minoxidil (which dilates blood vessels and increases blood flow to the scalp).

For women, the most common form of hair loss is female pattern hair loss. Also multifactorial, hormones are a part of the problem typically with women who are post-menopausal. Other causes include stress, thyroid issues, fungal infections on the scalp and poor nutrition and diet, Dr. Tan says.

In addition to the above reasons, tight hairstyles—on women or men—can also cause hair loss, says Dr. Tan. “Formally known as traction alopecia, constant tension on the hair follicle, whether from a tight bun, ponytail, braid, weave or cornrow, can lead to premature balding. Any style that is always pulling on the roots will eventually cause problems.”

Hair Loss Prevention 101

When you first realize you’re suffering from hair loss or thinning, you may be inclined to go into immediate action to fix the problem. Stop for a moment and find out the type of hair loss you’re experiencing first. Visit a hair loss specialist, advises Dr. Tan, and get a conclusive diagnosis to lead you to the proper remedies, like hair growth supplements, topical minoxidil and vitamins. Your doctor will recommend the proper course of action, which may also include prescription medications, tailored to your specific needs. “These, along with diet and lifestyle changes, are often enough to reverse hair loss,” Dr. Tan points out.

Healthy Hair Tips

Other small changes can make a big difference in terms of strengthening your hair. For starters, you can shampoo less to maximize hair growth (2-4 times per week is ideal). And when you do wash your hair, don’t use shampoo containing sodium lauryl sulfate, a lathering agent that’s been known to dry skin by dissolving vital skin oils. “[Shampoo] ingredients that have been clinically proven [to help hair grow] include ketoconazole alongside minoxidil,” explains Dr. Tan. “A shampoo containing caffeine may help as well, as it helps stop DHT from causing hair loss.”

Whenever you do wash your hair, massage your scalp away from the shower water and definitely condition it every time. “Using a conditioner with naturally moisturizing [elements] such as argan oil, avocado oil or jojoba oil after you shampoo can help restore oils in your hair,” says Dr. Tan. Doing so will restore the natural balance of oils and moisture. It also smoothes down the cuticle of each hair so that the cortex is protected and the hair shaft is strengthened. Not conditioning enough can leave your hair dry, brittle and irritated, which can cause more breakage than typical.

6 Best Shampoos for Hair Loss

Once you’ve consulted an expert about your hair loss, you’re ready for the next step: shopping for a good shampoo. We’ve rounded up some of our favorites here:

Art Naturals Hair Growth Treatment Argan Oil Shampoo

Art Naturals Hair Growth Treatment Argan Oil Shampoo blends DHT blockers with proteins, botanical oils and extracts to prevent hair damage and further hair loss. It also stimulates the scalp and hair follicles for renewed hair growth. Simply apply a small amount to wet hair and wash gently while massaging the scalp. Rinse your hair with lukewarm water and dry as usual.

Avalon Organics Thickening Shampoo

Avalon Organics Thickening Shampoo restores thinning hair with biotin. A top seller at, it contains a carefully balanced blend of the “beauty vitamin,” in addition to saw palmetto, quinoa protein and vitamin E, which are all great for stimulating the scalp to encourage hair growth.

Organix Thick & Full Biotin and Collagen Shampoo

It’s right in the name. Organix Thick & Full Biotin and Collagen Shampoo contains properties that help give your hair volume and thickness. Its ProVitamin B7 biotin infuses nutrients into every strand of your hair. The collagen adds dimension. Hydrolyzed wheat proteins in this shampoo also work to strengthen your hair to prevent breakage and to keep it looking healthy. Apply it generously to wet hair, massage and lather from top to ends, and rinse thoroughly. Don’t forget to condition!

Andalou Naturals Argan Stem Cell Age Defying Shampoo

Andalou Naturals Argan Stem Cell Age Defying Shampoo promises fuller looking hair with amplified body, volume and shine after use. It makes those attributes possible with key ingredients like apple stem cells and grape stem cells. So science-y you can’t understand? The former is rich in phytonutrients, proteins and long-living cells. The latter is extremely high in anthocyanin content, which is almost like a “superfood” for hair!

Nature’s Gate Vegan Shampoo Enriching Biotin + Bamboo

As this shampoo gently cleanses your hair with a unique blend of biotin, bamboo and pro-vitamin B5, damaged hair will “eat” the nutrients in the process. Nature’s Gate Vegan Shampoo Enriching Biotin + Bamboo is also vegan, non-GMO, paraben-free, gluten-free, soy-free and cruelty-free—in case you care about those things. There’s nothing artificial about this hair loss fighter.

Giovanni 2Chic Avocado & Olive Oil Ultra-Moist Shampoo

As one of the more pricier options on our list, the Giovanni 2Chic Avocado & Olive Oil Ultra-Moist Shampoo was deemed a favorite because it conquers dry, damaged hair with a botanical blend of buttery avocado and golden olive oil, as well as vitamins and omega fatty acids. It is also lauryl- and laureth sulfate-free. The result will be a silky and shiny mane.

How to Style Thinning Hair

After you shampoo and condition, how should you style your hair if it’s thinning? Gregg Giannillo, celebrity stylist to Vanessa Williams and Lara Spencer (just to name a couple) and owner of Giannillo Salon, weighs in.

He says women who are suffering from hair loss should wear a mid-length bob with light layering for some volume.

For men (depending on the amount of hair you’re working with, that is), a choppy texture on top will diffuse the light and cover more of your scalp, Giannillo says.

Vitamins for Hair Health

Since a poor diet robust with highly-processed and sugary foods can sometimes be to blame for hair loss, it’s a good idea to start eliminating those culprits now. A more natural diet is beneficial to your mane. Dr. Tan says to keep these vitamins in mind for optimal hair health:

  • Vitamin A: If you’re experiencing hair loss, you could have a vitamin A deficiency. However, vitamin A supplements can easily lead to excess vitamin A, which can make hair fall out. Your best bet is supplementing with beta-carotene, which turns into vitamin A in the body.
  • Biotin: This vitamin can improve the protein structure of your hair. Also known as vitamin B7, biotin is also a good supplement for stronger nails and healthy skin.
  • Vitamin C: A strong antioxidant, vitamin C helps in both the creation and maintenance of collagen, skin’s primary component.
  • Folic Acid: Also known as vitamin B9, folic acid improves blood circulation. In turn, that helps your hair follicles.
  • Niacin: Another B vitamin, B3 to be exact, also aids in blood flow improvement to the scalp. In turn, this nourishes the hair follicles.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: A dry, itchy scalp may mean you require additional omega-3 fatty acids in the diet. Omega-3 fatty acids help keep your hair and skin healthy, along with boosting production of sebum in your hair follicles to ease dryness and subsequent itching. Flaxseed and fish oil supplements are good sources of these essential fatty acids.
  • Selenium and Zinc: Both of these trace minerals help in cellular growth and repair, which keeps the scalp healthy.

Lindsey Bristol, a registered dietician and nutritionist for Swanson Health, echoes the “eat healthy” sentiment. She recommends biotin-rich foods to help increase hair growth. “Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin and a member of the B-complex family of vitamins that is often called the ‘beauty vitamin,’” she says. “Researchers believe it may do so by improving your body’s keratin structures. Keratin forms the framework of epithelial cells, which line the surfaces and cavities of the body.”

Bristol suggests eating biotin food sources like beef liver, egg, salmon, sunflower seeds, almonds, tuna, spinach and broccoli.


Are You Getting Enough Protein?

Filed Under: Nutrition,Supplements,Vitamins and Minerals at 4:51 pm | By: Guest Blogger

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.


3 Protein Powder Recipes for Fueling on the Go

Filed Under: Nutrition,Recipes,Supplements,Vitamins and Minerals at 10:23 am | By: Susan Marque

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.


1 cup water

2 teaspoons pure maple syrup

1-2 scoops protein powder

1/2 cup frozen peaches

1/2 cup frozen mango

1/2 cup frozen strawberries (optional)


Blend the ingredients in a blender and enjoy.

Keto Power Bowl

Yield: 1 serving (16 ounces)

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.


1 packet (2 scoops) chocolate keto protein powder

2 teaspoons monkfruit or other sweetener

8 ounces yogurt (we used a coconut yogurt)

1/2 cup frozen banana (optional)

Berries to decorate (optional)


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.


1/2 cup almond butter

1/2 cup brown rice syrup

1-2 scoops vegan vanilla meal replacement powder

1 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup quinoa crisps


Melt the chocolate chips in a saucepan over low heat.

Mix the almond butter, protein powder and brown rice syrup together.

Mix in half of the quinoa crisps.

Roll the mixture into small balls and dip into the melted chocolate.

Sprinkle the rest of the quinoa crisps on top.

Cool in the fridge to set.


When Is the Best Time to Drink a Meal Replacement Shake?

Filed Under: Diet & Weight Loss,Health Foods,Nutrition,Vitamins and Minerals at 10:05 am | By: Ysolt Usigan

Meal replacement shakes are marketed to help kickstart a healthier lifestyle, aid in weight loss programs and act as healthier snack options, but can we trust that they are our best choice to achieve these goals?

When you’re on a time crunch and need to eat on the go, sometimes meal replacements are the only option, so who can blame you? A smoothie or shake can be a great go-to—but only if it’s nutritionally balanced.

We talked to the experts to find out how to determine whether meal replacement shakes are your best bet and how to integrate them into your diet.

Meal Replacement Shake Guidelines

So should you integrate meal replacement shakes into your diet? Depending on your eating style, it can be a good idea to have a shake with salad or fruit alongside, given that the shake you choose is an appropriate one for your specific goals.

Eating healthy food is your best option, of course. But for simplicity and convenience—when time is of the essence and you just don’t have a moment to sit and eat—go for the shake that factors:

  • Quality protein
  • Fiber
  • Healthy fat
  • Vitamins and minerals

When It Comes to Replacing Meals

Rachel Kreider, a registered dietitian and supplement formulator for, says that some meal replacement shakes can do just that—replace a meal. Look for shakes that are properly formulated though.

“Meal replacement shakes are a super convenient way to get nourishment,” Kreider explains. “But, look for a product that contains high-quality protein, fiber, healthy fat and a vitamin and mineral blend.”

When It Comes to Losing Weight

While some shakes can effectively help you control your calorie intake, which is a huge part of weight loss, it shouldn’t be your main source of fuel. Not all calories are created equal. In fact, Dr. Lori Shemek, diet and weight loss expert, nutritionist and psychologist, doesn’t recommend meal replacement shakes if you’re trying to lose weight.

“Overall, they tend to be short on calories, nutrients, fiber, healthy fat and protein,” she explains. “In order to lose weight, you must have all of these. If the shake is high in sugar—which, many are—it is promoting the fat storage hormone insulin.”

When It Comes to Snacking

If you’re on the go and need something quick and healthy, meal replacement shakes could be a great idea—given that they’re not packed with sugar or unhealthy fats, says Shemek. And while you can drink a meal replacement shake as a snack, you still have to make sure you’re consuming a balanced diet. Shakes can be a part of that, but not your only source for nutrients.

“All of this is goal dependent,” Kreider says. “If you want to lose weight, you’ll need to make sure you’re not consuming too many calories. If you want to build muscle, a product that contains high-quality protein is key and could be a great pre- or post-workout snack.”

Before You Drink a Meal Replacement Shake

And just like not all calories are created equal, not all shakes are created equal. “Some are packed with sugar, preservatives and troublesome ingredients, not to mention they’re not satisfying, which can lead to hunger and cravings,” Shemek warns.

You should also never confuse protein shakes with meal replacement shakes. If you consume too much protein, your body will increase glucose, which then triggers insulin.

Factor in your goals, understand what your body needs and take it from there. You may realize that a handful of nuts, a sliced avocado, a piece of fruit or a hard-boiled egg are your best go-tos when you’re strapped for time.


5 Signs You’re Not Getting Enough Vitamin D (and How To Fix It)

Filed Under: Health Concerns & Ailments,Nutrition,Supplements,Vitamins and Minerals at 10:26 am | By: Joe Palinsky

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.


Is Birch Water Worth A Try? Here’s What You Need To Know

Filed Under: Diet & Weight Loss,Health Foods,Vitamins and Minerals at 12:01 am | By: Mauricio Matusiak

Welcome to the latest nature-given health drink: birch water. The latest “hot item” in health food stores, birch water is still a stranger to a many consumers. Let’s do a quick overview on this amazing natural drink.

What is “Birch Water”?

Popular in the Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania as well as the Scandinavian countries, birch water is a mildly sweet beverage can be considered an electrolyte as this thin syrup-like beverage offers lots of benefits to your health. Birch water nutrients include vitamin C, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, sodium, zinc, and iron. Its smooth, silky sap that tastes similar to maple syrup, though much lighter, has been drunk as a health tonic for hundreds for years for medicinal purposes as well as a nutritional supplement, thanks to its detoxifying, anti-inflammatory and cleansing properties.

How is it made?

Just like making maple syrup, the trees are tapped in the spring after all the frost is gone. A simple process is performed to extract the tree’s liquid. A hole is drilled with an upward angle approximately three feet from the base of the tree. The sap will begin to flow out almost immediately and is normally collected in a container or large bottle, creating fresh birch water.

What are the Health Benefits?

Birch water is loaded with vitamins, minerals, proteins, and amino acids and is known to provide a variety of health benefits. Research suggests that this nutritious beverage can help regulate cholesterol levels, promote clearer and brighter skin, support liver health, reduce joint pain, support weight-loss, and reduce cavities.


5 Signs You Might Need a B-Vitamin Supplement

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

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.


6 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.

Low Magnesium Causes

You may be wondering what causes low magnesium, or hypomagnesemia, in the first place. While “true” hypomagnesemia is very rare, most experts agree that the average American is likely not getting enough of this essential mineral. Though there isn’t one single culprit, focusing on key magnesium deficiency causes can shed a bit of light on the topic and help you plan a solution!

What You Drink

Running on caffeinated beverages might help you get through your day, but you could also be doing a lot of damage to your system by chugging coffee and soda. According to experts, the diuretic effects of caffeinated drinks can lead to a loss of vital minerals through frequent urination (1). What’s more, the phosphates found in sodas can actually attach to magnesium in your system and prevent it from being absorbed by your body in a healthy manner.

A history of alcoholism can also lead to a wealth of health and wellness complications (2). If you have taken in a lot of alcoholic beverages in your life, then it stands to reason you are suffering from improper magnesium levels and should seek appropriate supplements and foods to help close your nutritional gap.

What You (Don’t) Eat

Malnutrition is another big issue. Like alcoholism, malnutrition brings about a slew of health complications. When your body is not getting the right vitamins and minerals on a regular basis, it can easily take its toll on various systems. Often, malnutrition will put extra pressure on the kidneys and the organs associated with digestion, resulting in frequent urination and diarrhea (3).

As your body expels waste, it is likely you are also losing out on important minerals like magnesium. In fact, any health-related problems that cause increased urination or diarrhea might cause a deficiency in magnesium (4). If you believe you might be dealing with malnutrition, speak to your doctor immediately.

Medications You Take

You also may find that certain medications interact poorly with the nutrients in your body. Cisplatin, which is normally given to cancer patients, has been known to have a number of side effects. One common side effect is diarrhea, which can lead to lowered levels of magnesium in the body. Another common drug, cyclosporine, is used to prevent organ and graft rejections after major surgery. As with cisplatin, cyclosporine can cause diarrhea and vomiting. The best thing to do is speak with a doctor about your magnesium levels and see which supplements will work best with any medications you’re currently on.

6 Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms

Focusing on how to increase magnesium levels can be a great move for your health. To determine whether you could benefit from extra magnesium, look over these common magnesium deficiency symptoms. Once you have an idea of what you’re dealing with, you can start making steps toward 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 (5). 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 need to help the mind find a state of rest before sleep (6). 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 (7). 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 (8). 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.

4.) Respiratory Troubles

Having difficulty breathing might be another of the signs and symptoms of low magnesium. Specifically, asthmatic respiratory troubles. A number of researchers have collected data suggesting that low magnesium levels can cause an excess of calcium in the body. These calcium deposits can collect in the muscles near the lungs, creating serious difficulty with breathing (9).

Of course, scientists argue over whether asthma is a good indication of monitoring magnesium levels. While respiratory complications might be a sign of a deficiency, studies have shown that magnesium supplements do not always improve asthmatic conditions (10). Still, difficulty breathing coupled with other symptoms on this list could definitely be pointing to a lack of magnesium.

5.) Weak Bones

Osteoporosis and other conditions that impact bone density might also be strong indications of a magnesium deficiency. People living with some form of osteoporosis tend to be more susceptible to breaking bones, which can be a huge problem depending on age and the location of the fracture. A lack of magnesium has been said to weaken the bones in general (11), but it also has a negative impact on calcium levels. Since calcium is integral for healthy bones, experts believe osteoporosis is a strong indication of decreased magnesium levels.

6.) High Blood Pressure

Heart health is super important for a long, happy life. An early sign of cardiovascular complications comes in the form of high blood pressure. While there have not been many studies conducted on how high blood pressure connects to magnesium deficiencies (12), some researchers believe that a deficiency can put an individual at risk for a heart attack. Certain observational studies have shown that magnesium supplements have a positive impact on lowering blood pressure levels (13).

How to Get More Magnesium

Increasing your magnesium levels is all about learning why you are suffering from a deficiency in the first place. The best way to do this is by speaking with your primary care physician as soon as you notice magnesium deficiency symptoms. Changing your habits can be useful, such as cutting back on alcohol, coffee, soda and anything else that might lower your levels of magnesium.

There are a number of magnesium-rich foods you might want to add to your diet. These include almonds, avocado, tofu, sesame seeds, spinach and dark chocolate. The right magnesium supplements might also do wonders to cover nutritional gaps in your daily routine and give your body the magnesium it requires to operate efficiently.


Learn All About Whole Food Multivitamins

Filed Under: Superfoods,Vitamins and Minerals at 3:09 pm | By: admin

Join as we discuss the value of whole food multivitamins and tell the MyKind Organics story. From seed to shelf, they are the most traceable multivitamins out there! MyKind Organics Multivitamins are made from real plants, available in new innovative clean tablets, liquids, and brand new fruit chew Gummies!


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5 Signs You Should Start Taking a Multivitamin

Filed Under: General Wellness & Wellbeing,Vitamins and Minerals at 4:00 pm | By: Mauricio Matusiak
bottle pouring pills on a male's hand

A multivitamin is one of the best supplements anyone can take on a regular basis. These products contain all the essential vitamins plus important minerals to maintain good health. Plus, some multis add a few extra ingredients such as omegas and herbs that can maximize results, offering an even more complete product. If you are still unsure, let’s talk about 5 signs you should start taking a multivitamin.

1. Deficiency Symptoms

If you take a blood test and the results show that you are deficient in a certain nutrient, a multivitamin is the best way to restore optimal levels. Some vitamins and minerals are extremely important for good health. For example, vitamin D and vitamin B deficiency can significantly affect your body as well as the lack of some minerals such as iron and calcium.

2. Feeling Tired

If you are always feeling tired or have had a lot of stress for a long time, a multivitamin can help you tremendously. Multivitamins contain every B vitamin which can promote a boost in energy levels as well as a decrease in anxiety and stress, which burns these nutrients quickly.

3. Often Sick

If you are often sick, seem to catch a cold every single month, or spend most of the winter battling the flu and cold, an uptake in vitamins should help you. Multivitamins help boost immunity as they contain vitamin C, a strong antioxidant known to enhance the immune system, as well as vitamin E, which can help reduce allergy symptoms.

4. Poor Diet

If you are unable to eat a healthy and well-balanced diet, a multivitamin can minimize the damage. Of course eating a good diet is ideal but for those who don’t eat many fruits and vegetables, these supplements can at least provide the minimum required amount of vitamins and minerals to cover off nutrients you are not getting from food and keep you in better shape.

5. Chronic Illness

If you have been diagnosed with an illness of any kind, a multivitamin will likely to be recommended by your health caretaker. Inadequate levels of some vitamins can lead to chronic illness and when you are battling disease, your body needs the most nutrients possible to get you back to full health.


Garden Of Life: History, Products & Mission

Filed Under: Sports Nutrition,Supplements,Vitamins and Minerals at 10:41 am | By: Madeline Reiss
Garden of Life’s commitment to health goes beyond offering some of the most effective nutritional products in the world. They are interested in building relationships with people to help them transform their lives to attain extraordinary health. By combining the best of nature and science, the Garden of Life brand offers a path to healthy living with premium products that are supported by education and innovation.


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5 Key Ingredients to Look For In A Meal Replacement

Filed Under: Health Foods,Supplements,Vitamins and Minerals at 6:00 pm | By: Mauricio Matusiak
Convenient and tasty, it’s no wonder meal replacement supplements are popular right now. They’re a great choice for people on weight-loss diets, and also help folks on a fitness program as well as those running on a tight schedule. With so many options flooding the shelves, it can be hard to choose the best for your needs.

The majority of top-quality meal replacements contain most if not all of these ingredients but some products may adjust the quantities to target a specific nutritional need. If you are interested in trying out a meal replacement and perhaps joining this eating trend, let’s look at 5 key ingredients to look for in a meal replacement.

1. Protein

Protein is essential for maintaining muscle mass and muscle repair but it also plays an important role on fat burning and metabolic rate. Every single meal replacement product contains protein but some of them may come from vegan sources.

2. Vitamins and Minerals

The importance of vitamins and minerals requires no explanation but its addition to meal replacement supplements ensures that you are not missing nutrition required to keep your body healthy. Low sugar carbs are a main source of vitamins and minerals.

3. Healthy Fats 

Healthy fats are extremely important to maintain a healthy lifestyle as they can improve joints, control inflammation, support brain health and maintain eyes and skin in great condition. Good sources of healthy fats include coconut oil, olive oil, flax seed oil, almond butter, almonds, and walnuts.

4. Low Sugar Carbohydrates 

Low sugar carbohydrates provide sustained energy for your body as they are loaded with vitamins and minerals. Low sugar carbohydrates are broken down slowly to minimize peaks and troughs in blood glucose levels and are often a valuable source of fiber too.

5. Probiotics

Considered a plus in many meal replacement supplements, probiotics keep you healthy by topping up the bacteria in your gut. Adding probiotics to your meals can help minimize digestive upsets, weight gain and issues digesting food properly. Look for foods high in probiotics such as natural yogurt, Greek yogurt, raw cocoa powder, dark chocolate, and acidophilus.


New Brands Showcase: VBurst

Filed Under: Supplements,Vitamins and Minerals at 11:00 pm | By: Mauricio Matusiak
Lucky Vitamin is happy to present a revolutionary brand of vitamin products to our customers: VBurst.

VBurst aims to bridge the gap between quality and flavor. These unique vitamin shots are specially formulated nutritional blends, delivered in liquid form, to provide superior delivery and absorption of essential nutrients. Powered by 16 vitamins and minerals, and fortified with antioxidants and amino acids, VBurst shots offer complete and convenient nutrition with an uncompromising taste, so you can get the nutrients you want, conveniently bottled them into three delicious flavors for life on the go.

Recognizing that many vitamins on the market have poor rates of absorption, VBurst has created liquid shots packed with vitamins, minerals and three types of antioxidants to fuel your lifestyle. The idea for VBurst was born to offer a better vitamin product as most of the vitamins and nutrients in pills and capsules do not fully dissolve in our stomachs and many of those nutrients pass through the body unabsorbed.

Upgrade your vitamins and experience the benefits of liquid supplements. Easier consumption and better absorption with a smooth, refreshing taste. Each vitamin shot comes in a 2 oz. bottle with no artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners or preservatives. In addition to 16 different vitamins and minerals, an antioxidant blend is fortified with green tea extract, grape seed extract, and panax ginseng, three powerful antioxidants that fight to keep your body happy and healthy.

You can save even more when you shop VBurst products at No code needed at checkout to save an extra 15% on all items of this new brand as savings are automatically applied.