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Lycopene - Beyond Men's Health

Posted on Thu, Nov 09, 2017 @ 06:22 PM

It isn’t every day that you find out a processed food product might offer more nutrients than its unprocessed counterpart. But that is exactly the case when it comes to the lycopene content of tomato paste and ketchup, versus that of fresh tomatoes. Lycopene is a reddish carotenoid found in fruits and vegetables, such as tomatoes, red peppers, watermelon, guava, and pink grapefruit. And it’s true that the bioavailability of lycopene from tomato paste is higher than that of fresh tomatoes.

The explanation for this seemingly odd occurrence is that the processing of tomatoes into thick, concentrated paste may result in the lycopene being converted mostly to the cis isomer, which is how lycopene presents in human serum and tissue, whereas fresh tomatoes and some other tomato products contain all trans-lycopene.

Another surprising fact about lycopene is that temperature and time may affect the concentration of this nutrient in foods. For example, compared to fresh-picked watermelon, watermelons stored for 14 days at 21 degrees Celsius (almost 70 degrees Fahrenheit) had increases in lycopene of 11-40%. (The beta-carotene content increased by a whopping 50-139%!)

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Tags: men's health, Antioxidant, skin health, lycopene, oxidative stress

The Powerful Punch of Pumpkin Seeds

Posted on Tue, Nov 07, 2017 @ 02:46 PM

Pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, have gained quite a bit of popularity. Roasting pumpkin seeds has become a notable tradition, especially throughout the Halloween and Thanksgiving seasons. But these delicious seeds can also be enjoyed raw or roasted, unhulled or naked, salted or plain. In any form, they are certainly among the elite of all seeds.

Nutritional Profile

One nutritional element that sets pumpkin seeds apart from their clan is the tremendous amount of protein they offer. At 7 grams per ounce, pumpkin seeds become an important source of plant-based protein.

The seeds are also an excellent source of critical minerals. They supply 42% of the RDA of manganese, an important nutrient for bone metabolism, antioxidant function, and cognitive health. Each ounce of pumpkin seeds offers 150 mg of magnesium, one of the most deficient nutrients in our diets and an underlying problem in multiple health concerns. Phosphorus, iron, and copper are found in significant amounts, aiding in the body’s antioxidant systems and making pumpkin seeds a good tool for those struggling with anemia. Finally, pumpkin seeds are a good source of vitamin K, supplying 18% of the RDA.

In addition to vitamins and minerals, pumpkin seeds provide a variety of phytonutrients including phenolic acids, carotenoids, phytosterols, and squalene, which are shown to exert numerous therapeutic properties such as antioxidative, hypoglycemic, anticancer, antihypertensive, cardioprotective, antilipemic, gynoprotective, and anthelmintic.

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Tags: prostate, blood glucose, skin health, cholesterol, cardiovascular health, insulin resistance

Diatomaceous Earth – Un’earthing’ the Basics

Posted on Thu, Aug 17, 2017 @ 08:30 AM

Diatomaceous earth (DE) seems to be making a comeback among health-conscious consumers.  For some of us, this chalky, white powder conjures up images of organic insecticides, rather than nutritional supplements, but an increasing number of people are consuming food-grade diatomaceous earth for its purported health benefits.

Diatomaceous earth is made from the skeletal remains of tiny aquatic organisms call diatoms. It consists of approximately 85 percent amorphous silicon dioxide, the prized ingredient with many acclaimed health benefits. Various minerals make up the remaining components. The fine, microscopic exoskeletons present in DE makes it mildly abrasive and helpful as an exfoliate, a cleaning agent, and for scrubbing the intestines. 

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Tags: osteoporosis, detox, detoxification, Osteoarthritis, heavy metals, skin health, microbiome, antimicrobial

Sunlight Exposure – Benefits Beyond Vitamin D

Posted on Tue, Jul 25, 2017 @ 04:46 PM

“Public health advice has tended to concentrate on the dangers of sun exposure despite the absence of any data that increased sun exposure correlates with raised all-cause mortality.”

Wright and Weller, 2015 

People sometimes like to think in extremes. When too much fat was deemed “bad” for us, a plethora of fat-free products flooded the market to great popularity. Now that fat—saturated fat, in particular—has been exonerated of crimes against humanity, there’s a trend of people loading butter and coconut oil into their coffee or tea. And the association between excessive sun exposure and greater risk for skin cancer has made some people terrified to leave the house without a visor and a thick layer of sunscreen applied to every inch of exposed skin. But is this really the best way to approach life? Being afraid of exposure to the source of heat and light energy that quite literally makes plant and animal life on our planet possible?

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Tags: vitamin d, skin health, depression, Serotonin, blood pressure, cardiovascular health

Calendula – The Magic of Marigolds

Posted on Wed, Jun 28, 2017 @ 01:31 PM

With the onset of summer, pharmacies and doctors’ offices usually start to fill up with people experiencing achy muscles and joints that come from sudden overexertion after the long winter and the up and down weather of spring. Whether it’s weekend warriors going a little too hard and fast in their athletic pursuits, or the muscle and joint pains that often come after hours of gardening, yardwork, and other physical chores, people seek relief from the painful reminder that they’re “not as young as they used to be.” As we know, many of the most common go-to pain relievers, such as NSAIDs, come with some very harmful side-effects. As patients become more aware of the potentially dangerous pitfalls of using these drugs long-term, they may be looking for safer, more natural alternatives. And they wouldn’t have to go much further than their own garden to find one.

Calendula—more commonly known as marigold—contains anti-inflammatory compounds that may help relieve the discomfort associated with strained, overworked muscles and joints. These seemingly ubiquitous perennial flowers get their yellow, orange, and gold colors from the carotenoids lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene, but even though those are important dietary antioxidants, they aren’t the active compounds responsible for the inflammation-reducing properties of calendula extract.

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Tags: anti-inflammatory, Inflammation, skin health, NSAID, pain

Monolaurin – Impressive Antimicrobial and More

Posted on Thu, Jun 22, 2017 @ 09:03 AM

Coconut oil: it’s good for cooking, great for the skin, and now that word is spreading about the brain-boosting effects of ketones derived from medium-chain fatty acids, people are putting heaping spoonfuls of it in their morning coffee or tea.

The exponential increase in the popularity of Paleo, low-carb and ketogenic diets means that local supermarkets now carry a dizzying array of coconut oils where once there was a sea of olive, canola, and other oils. It has long been noted that coconut oil—or, rather, specifically the lauric acid in coconut oil—is antimicrobial and antiviral. (This may contribute to disease resistance among populations in the warm, humid tropics of Southeast Asia.) But is this actually true? Is lauric acid worthy of its health hype? 

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Tags: brain health, skin health, microbiome, antimicrobial, antiviral

The Ins & Outs of Horsetail Extract

Posted on Tue, Jun 20, 2017 @ 06:34 PM

Horsetail extract – such a strange (and misleading) name for a botanical, but don’t let that fool you; this compound does not come from horses! Several species of Equisetum, the horsetail genus, are employed in supplements, the most common of which is Equisetum arvense. The name Equisetum comes from the Latin equus, for “horse,” and seta, meaning “bristle.” It was so named because, as the plant dries, silica crystals accumulate in the stems and branches, which look like feathery tails and give the plant a scratchy quality. The aboveground parts of horsetail, as opposed to the roots, are used for medicinal purposes, and they may be fresh or dried, and delivered in capsules, or as tinctures or teas.

Horsetail contains the largest silica content in the plant kingdom. Because of this, horsetail may be beneficial for strengthening nails and hair, as well as skin and other collagen-rich connective tissue. It has been used to help combat osteoporosis, as it may help improve bone mineral density. There is not an abundance of studies on this, but horsetail does have efficacy in inhibiting the synthesis of human osteoclasts in vitro. Horsetail showed a dose-dependent inhibitory effect on osteoclastogenesis that reached statistical significance at a concentration ≥0.004 mg/ml. Researchers concluded that horsetail modulated osteoclast formation by either acting directly on osteoclast precursor cells, or indirectly, via osteoblasts.

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Tags: Diabetes, blood glucose, bone health, skin health, diuretic

Magnesium Salt Baths

Posted on Fri, Jun 02, 2017 @ 04:28 PM

Most of us begin to relax by simply envisioning a restful soak in hot, steamy bath water swirling with lavender-infused Epsom salts. It is almost as inviting as the smell of freshly baked cinnamon rolls … Paleo-style, of course. As practitioners, we are often encouraging individuals to create habits that will de-stress and relax, knowing the physiological consequences of stress and tension. Magnesium salt baths have become a common recommendation for relaxation, sleep, pain, and neuromuscular issues.

So, what exactly makes this 100-year-old practice so beneficial? Is it the hot water? The magnesium salts? The essential oil? Perhaps, it is a combination of all.

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Tags: brain health, anti-inflammatory, Inflammation, skin health

Vitamin E and Skin Health

Posted on Tue, Mar 14, 2017 @ 05:00 PM

Quick: name a functional role for vitamin E.

Cardiovascular health, antioxidant properties, vision support and maybe even fertility may come to mind right away. Yet, skin health and wound healing should also be pretty high up on that list.

Walk into any drugstore and you’ll find topical creams and ointments—particularly for burns—that contain this nutrient. And for good reason: the scientific literature does support a role for this fat-soluble vitamin in improving healing and reducing scar formation, as well as boosting the efficacy of sunscreens.

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Tags: Vitamin E, skin health

White Willow

Posted on Tue, Feb 07, 2017 @ 11:30 AM

The therapeutic properties of white willow bark have been known throughout Europe and Asia for millennia. Willow bark tincture is mentioned in ancient Middle Eastern and Greek texts, and legend has it Hippocrates recommended it for relieving headaches. He might smile to know modern research supports what he knew all those centuries ago: white willow bark extract has analgesic, antipyretic, and anti-inflammatory properties.

The active compound in white willow bark is salicin, a purified metabolite of which is acetylsalicylic acid, the active ingredient in aspirin. In fact, the name salicylic acid, as well as the word salicylates, come from the botanical name for white willow, Salix alba. White willow bark also contains various flavonoids and polyphenols, which may work in concert with salicin to potentiate the beneficial effects. Salicin is actually a prodrug, and the salicylic acid metabolite is responsible for the analgesia.

In modern times, the beneficial effects of willow bark were first noted by a British researcher in the mid-1700s, and salicylic acid was first isolated by a German chemist in 1827. (This study provides a succinct but fascinating history of the discoveries behind the medicinal properties of willow bark, and the development of aspirin.)

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Tags: anti-inflammatory, skin health, analgesic, pain, salicylic acid

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