Health Articles

October 17, 2017

You are aware that bacteria surround you on a daily basis. Your body is even made up of ninety percent bacteria cells and only ten percent human cells. However, there is no need to worry; many of these bacteria are beneficial to you and are necessary for your optimal health. At any given time, you have around 160 bacterial species (types) in your gut out of over 1000 species of bacteria identified in the guts of over 100 individuals. The digestive tract is one of the most complex eco systems to understand and study. The individualized bacteria composition found in each body play a vital role in keeping us healthy. Therefore reinforcing the numbers of the beneficial bacteria such as lactobacilli and bifidobacteria becomes an essential daily health objective. The largest groups of probiotic bacteria found in our body are bifidobacteria and the second group is lactobacilli. The lactic acid bacteria found in yogurt make milk into yogurt thereby elevating its status into a functional food. It is not the most effective source of probiotic bacteria because the yogurt makers do not guarantee the potency of each strain of probiotic beneficial bacteria. Scientific criteria mandate that you know the strain and the potency of each serving of a probiotic product in order to anticipate a health benefit.

The idea of beneficial bacteria to preserve foods has been around for centuries. Even the ancient Sumerians painted about the use of fermented cheese in 2500 B.C. However, the idea of beneficial bacteria aiding us in life wasn’t created until the early 1900s when Dr. Elie Metchnikoff traveled to Eastern Europe. He was surprised to find many people living to be 100 years of age or older and concluded that this was due to the large quantities of yogurt they consumed.

Metchnikoff investigated the benefits of lactic acid bacteria, which flourish in milk. He found that many disease-producing organisms died or could not develop in milk containing these powerful bacteria. This, along with his other research on the immune system, led Metchnikoff to connect lactic acid bacteria to improved immune function, which relates to optimal health and vitality.

Probiotics, according to the World Health Organization, are “live organisms, which when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.” Probiotics literally mean “for life” and are coming to the forefront of medicine as beneficial bacteria supplements to help restore our vital microflora.

But consumers need to be wary; not all probiotics are created equal. Just how can you tell if a probiotic will beneficial to your health? First, you need to know if the strain is beneficial for you. Within each family, or genus, of bacteria, there are many species and each of those species has hundreds of strains. Lactobacillus is the family (genus), acidophilus is the species, and NAS or DDS-1 are strains.

Not all strains provide health benefits. This is why you must rely on a reputable probiotics manufacturer to research and formulate its probiotics with the best and most beneficial bacteria available.

The following tips are the most important things you need to look for when purchasing a probiotic supplement:
Look for the International Good Manufacturing Practice certification (cGMP), which will ensure that you are receiving the highest quality probiotic that meets unequaled standards. This also guarantees that the product has been tested for potency and safety in all stages from the culturing of the bacteria through the printed expiration date. You must also look for a potency guarantee for each strain listed on the bottle label through the printed expiration date. The listing must include the strain, not just the genus and species. Without the strain listed, you may be getting a worthless bacteria. Probiotics must be stored and shipped refrigerated for the bacteria to live. Several probiotic companies claim that they have shelf-stable products but these have never been proven effective. Purchase only a probiotic with its supernatant (culturing medium). This provides nourishment for the probiotic and has been found to increase the benefits of the probiotic by up to 50 percent. The packaging is an important way to keep the bacteria protected. Dark glass bottles and tin lids protect the probiotics from the damaging effects of light and moisture.


October 17, 2017

Myth #1 -Yogurt and Kefir are effective probiotics. 

Yogurt and Kefir are considered ‘functional fermented foods’ and while they may contain ‘live and active cultures’ it is usually in very low doses, too low to have any therapeutic effect. (1) In addition, they are often pasteurized (which kills probiotics) and lack any protective delivery system to help them survive transit through our harsh acidic stomach to reach the small and large intestine where they are most active. (1) (2) (3)

Also, most yogurts and kefir are filled with sugar, preservatives and all kinds of things that aren’t good for you. To give you an example, an average six ounce serving of yogurt contains 22 grams of sugar and 157 calories, with some yogurts as high 36 grams of sugar and 260 calories per serving! To get the same quantity of probiotic bacteria found in one convenient probiotic capsule (30 billion cfu) you would have to consume 27 servings of yogurt; that’s 4,239+ calories and 594 grams of sugar! (4) (5) (6)

We’re not saying, don’t eat yogurt or throw away your sauerkraut, we enjoy these too and believe they are great additions to a healthy diet (our founder even played a role in setting the liquid yogurt standards), but realize that the amount of probiotic received is minimal and not likely to have a major impact on your overall gut health.

Myth #2 – Very High Potency Probiotics offer better results than lower potency probiotics.

FALSE. The numbers of colony forming units (cfus) are important to be familiar with and should be clearly stated on the label for every strain included in the probiotic, however, a higher number does not always indicate a better product. Experts have agreed on a minimal number of viable cells at 1 billion cfus per day. (6) This provides a great starting point/minimum dose but what’s next? Well, it is not always an easy question to answer for one reason – you also need to know how PROTECTED those probiotics are and how well they will SURVIVE through transit, storage and shelf life.

Many probiotics offer little to no protection to assist them as they move through the digestive tract ultimately reaching our small and large intestine where they are most active, but getting them unharmed to this location possess a problem – how to get them through our highly acidic stomachs alive? In addition, the stress on living organisms through shipping and shelf life can lead to very small numbers of live organisms by the time they reach the consumer. When companies are unable to protect their probiotics or guarantee shelf-stability they tend to crank up their CFU numbers in hopes that dumping 40 or 50 billion cfus into their product will result in a few survivors. However, with the proper protection these high cfu numbers are likely not necessary. The bottom line is if you are confident in your delivery system through the stomach and you know your product maintains potency through the expiration date, you don’t need these crazy high cfu counts. Perhaps more important than falling for this numbers game is to look into the quality and the number of identified strains present and how they are being protected/delivered to the active site in your GI tract… which leads me to myths three, four and five….

Myth #3 – Multi-strain probiotics are better than targeted single strain probiotics.

Now, this is a tough one, because multi-strain probiotics manufactured such that each strain is separated, identified and validated are an excellent choice, but virtually all multi-strain probiotics are not made this way, so be careful when you select these and let me explain why. By their very nature all bacteria are antagonistic – meaning they don’t play well together. (7) In fact, one of the reasons probiotics are effective is because they displace potentially harmful bacteria in our gut with beneficial bacteria. Now, think about that statement… they work by displacing one another. Can you imagine what takes place when you put 4 or 5 or 10+ strains into one supplement? You guessed it, they destroy each other.

This is what we call the “closed-ended system” problem – when you place a live product into a closed-ended system such as a capsule/bottle you limit available resources (ie. oxygen, food) and the bacteria fight to use up the resources until they are depleted, once the resources are gone the bacteria begin to die. We can prevent some of this through freeze drying, which arrests bacterial growth, but since we are trying to maintain a live organism some competition will continue. Read the label of multi-strain probiotics carefully and ensure that each individual probiotic strain is micro-enrobed to maintain them in separate non-competitive environments within the supplement.

If you attempt to cram too many probiotic strains into one supplement you run into a very real space issue. How can you possibly fit an effective dose of 7 or 10 probiotics strains into one capsule? Chances are the cfus are approaching very low non-therapeutic levels. Make sure a cfu is given for each individual strain listed, as opposed to just a sum total for the mixture, otherwise you really have no idea what you are taking and if the levels are effective. A general rule of thumb is to stick to a product with 1 to 3 strains at most.

In addition, it doesn’t make sense to combine five strains that are all active in the small intestine as they will end up competing with one another. Instead, look for a mixture that combines strains with varying active sites in the GI tract (ie. small vs. large intestine), thereby caring for your whole GI tract.

The reality is a HUGE segment of probiotics on the market today are contract manufactured by one company with a marketing position. Look for companies that genuinely care about your health, companies that continue to research and explore the science of probiotics on a regular basis and companies who are the actual manufacture of their product.

Myth #4 – All probiotic species and strains are the same.

FALSE. That’s like saying you and I are one and the same. We are both homo sapiens sapiens after all so we can’t be that different, right? Wrong.  I have only just met you, but something tells me we are not the same.

Let me explain the scientific jargon here … take for example the most commonly referred to probiotic Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus identifies the probiotic at the genus level.  Add on acidophilus and you have now identified the species level. But what comes next?  This is where common names come in, my name is Julie your name is ____?   It’s the same with probiotics but instead of a common name we have STRAIN names. For example, Natren uses Lactobacillus acidophilus, NAS strain. And just like you and I are different, every strain of L. acidophilus is different. Many manufacturing companies do not distinguish the strains; they wrongfully assume that all L. acidophilus strains are the same. In fact, each strain can have varying probiotic benefits and strengths. (8) For example, not all L. acidophilus strains adhere well in the GI tract, without this important characteristic they tend to wash right through our bodies, in one end and out the other. Look for a quality product that identifies genus (ex. Lactobacillus), species (ex. acidophilus) and strain (ex. NAS); all together it looks like this: Lactobacillus acidophilus, NAS.

Myth #5 – Enteric coatings provide sufficient protection for probiotics.

FALSE. The difficult part about working with these delicate living organisms is delivering them safely to the part of our GI tract where they naturally exist, the small and large intestine. That stomach gets in the way every time, the low acidity in the stomach was designed to keep bacteria out! So protection, to help bacteria survive through the stomach, is important, but enteric coatings are the wrong way to go for one main reason – they retain moisture! (9) All probiotics are freeze-dried (unless the product is fresh as in yogurt); freeze drying temporarily arrests the growth of the bacteria and eliminates moisture. So what reactivates their growth? You guessed it, moisture! If the enteric coating process adds moisture back into the product the bacteria begin to grow and compete with one another for resources, eventually they run out of resources within the capsule or bottle and die quickly.

So how can you properly protect probiotics? The answer actually has numerous parts; you start by selecting well-studied strains (see Myth #4) that are known to be hardy, coupled with a manufacturing process that includes the supernatant. (10) (11) During the manufacturing process bacteria are grown on a specialized food or growth medium, after fermentation occurs this is referred to as the supernatant or fermentation end product. Typically, the supernatant is separated from the bacteria prior to freeze drying, but there are valuable byproducts with in the supernatant. Probiotics that go through a full culture process to maintain this intrinsic supernatant in the final product are adding an additional layer of protection to the product as it naturally shields the bacteria from stomach acid. The supernatant also adds additional benefits to the probiotic user in the form of micronutrients.

The next step is the addition of an oil matrix system that microenrobe the bacteria. The oil is a fat and not digested by the stomach but rather emulsified by bile in the upper GI tract, releasing the bacteria to colonize and grow where they are most beneficial.  And finally, you have protective packaging; look for supplements that are further protected in hard gel capsules and stored in dark glass bottles. The dark bottles are resistant to UV damage and the glass is impermeable to moisture than plastic. Whereas, plastic is highly permeable and not as eco-friendly as glass.

Myth #6 – Homeostatic soil organisms and spore-forming bacteria are safe and effective probiotics.

FALSE and this one makes me cringe a little bit. Okay maybe a lot. The whole point of probiotic supplementation is to help restore the balance in your digestive system. How do we do this? By supplying the GI tract with probiotic bacterial species that normally colonize the human GI tract. How can you expect to balance this system by ingesting bacteria that are not normally found here? And why would you want to put soil bacteria in your body? Several companies in the USA use soil borne bacteria such as the genus Bacillus in probiotic products because they are stable since they produce spores. (12) Spores can survive extremes such as heating, freezing, drying and radiation– so refrigerated storage is not required (12). This is quite convenient for the manufacture that no longer has to worry about producing, storing and shipping a cold product.  But, we are left to wonder if this is a safe practice? Also, if a spore is an inactive vegetative state of bacteria how do we know if it ever becomes active inside our body? Astoundingly, one company that uses this bacteria has published a study showing that less than 10% of their spores germinated into an active (and therefore useful) form! (13) There is additional concern that these organisms may be able to enter the blood stream in people with depressed immune systems and cause septicemia. (14) There are so many well studied, clinically trialed probiotic strains, which are naturally occurring human flora that there is simply no need to mess around with soil bacteria. I would stay far away from these until these questions have been thoroughly studied by the scientific community. The benefit here is solely to the manufacturer.

Myth #7 – Probiotics do not need to be refrigerated or shipped in thermally controlled packaging.

Get out?! You mean you can put a live organism in a capsule, stick it in the back of a hot truck, ship it across the country, place it on a shelf and leave it there for awhile and it will still be alive? Gosh, I’m not even sure if I would survive that! I think NOT. This is a big FALSE. The truth is, without continuous temperature control probiotics will die. I challenge you to read the label here – if the probiotic does not require refrigeration chances are you are selecting soil spore forming non-human bacteria strains (see Myth #6 above) or the product guarantees potency at the time of manufacture or maybe they don’t guarantee their potency at all? All of these should be red flags. Look for products in the refrigerated section, which guarantee potency through the EXPIRATION DATE of each species and strain, and do not contain spore-forming soil based bacteria.

Myth #8 – Adding prebiotics like Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) to probiotics is beneficial.

FALSE. Prebiotics are designed to provide the beneficial bacteria in your GI tract with a food substance that encourages their growth. However, when you take a prebiotic you have no control over which bacteria are benefiting and proliferating because of it. Therefore, you may be feeding the bad bacteria along with the good bacteria. (15) Scientific evidence has shown that by taking a prebiotic we are also encouraging yeast growth and the growth of potentially harmful bacteria such as Klebsiella, E. coli, and Salmonella. (15) (16) (17) In addition, studies have shown that FOS actually impairs the intestinal barrier (this is exactly what we are trying to prevent by taking probiotics in the first place). (18) And you might be shocked to know that the list of side effects associated with FOS includes diarrhea, abdominal rumbling, bloating, cramping and excessive flatulence. (19)  Many people take probiotics to help with digestive upsets, so why would they want to add on a prebiotic with known side effects like this? Probiotics that include the Intrinsic Supernatant (aka Growth Medium) are carrying their own food source with them so there is no need to combine them with additional prebiotics.

Myth #9 –  You shouldn’t take probiotics when you are taking prescription antibiotics.

This is a big false! It is even more important to take probiotics while you are taking antibiotics. Antibiotics are very potent, and kill not only the bad bacteria in your body that are causing an infection, but kill the good bacteria as well. This may be why antibiotics are often associated with nasty gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea. In fact, taking probiotics has been shown to reduce the incidence of antibiotic associated diarrhea by 42%! (20)

In order to allow both antibiotics and probiotics to work in your GI tract simply separate the times that you take them by at least a few hours. Take your antibiotics, then 2 hours later take your probiotics.

Myth #10 – You do NOT need to take a probiotic everyday.

Probiotics can only benefit you if you take them. You might think that if you aren’t actively doing something to damage your gut flora, such as taking antibiotics, that you don’t need a probiotic supplement. This is wrong. There are many reasons why you may have an unbalanced and unhealthy gut flora. For example, excessive hygiene precautions and chlorinated drinking water; many drinking water sources contain anti-microbial agents such as chlorine that kill the good bacteria in our bodies. (21) In addition, an unvaried diet and stress can lead to an off-balance system. (22) Speaking of diet, every time you eat you are introducing bacteria into your GI tract that may or may not be harmful, balancing this with beneficial probiotic bacteria is always a good idea. By supplementing with a high quality probiotic you can off-set these problems and set your body on the right path to health every day.

Myth #11 – Diet does not play a role in probiotic effectiveness.

This is false. Diet is just as important to bacteria as it is to humans. Studies have shown that the composition of our gut microbiota changes in response to the diet we eat. (22) An unbalanced, unvaried diet contributes to a less diverse makeup of bacteria in our gut. Scientists hypothesize that decreased microbial exposure through diet and other means are the cause of numerous health problems today. (22) It is important to enjoy a varied diet to benefit your health as well as the health of your bacteria.

Myth #12 – Enterococcus faecalis and Enterococcus faecium are safe probiotics.

FALSE. In fact, in Australia these two organisms are banned from use as probiotics because, “…significant safety concerns exist.” (23) E. faecalis has been known to cause infections in humans, such as bladder infections. (24) (25) It has also been studied and noted that it is able to transmit antibiotic resistance through plasmid transfer, which is a very unsafe characteristic. (24)

E. faecium is becoming more and more resistant to antibiotics, which is a dangerous thing. (26) Organisms such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium infantis and Lactobacillus bulgaricus are heavily researched and well accepted in the probiotic community. (6)

However, animals require stronger probiotic strains since they are exposed to more undesirable bacteria than human beings. A special strain of E. faecium (NCIMB 10415 strain) has a proven track record in animal probiotic formulations. This particular strain has been tested and used extensively by a distinguished German veterinary doctor for decades and shown to lack the genes typically found in those strains that may cause infections.  (27) Studies also show that this strain is not antibiotic resistant, and it’s been safely used in Europe for animals for well over 30 years.  (27)

Myth #13 – Digestive enzymes mix well with probiotics.

Digestive enzyme makers would have you believe this to be the case.  Digestive enzymes are found naturally in our saliva and stomach acid, in enzyme-rich foods and also provided in supplements. They work to break down food molecules into smaller pieces that our bodies can absorb. Unfortunately, digestive enzymes can also break down probiotics. Digestive enzymes should not be taken at the same time as probiotics.


1. Symposium: Probiotic Bacteria, Probiotic Bacteria: Selective Enumeration and Survival in Dairy Foods. Shah, N. P. 4, Melbourne : Journal of Dairy Science, 2000, Vol. 83. PMID: 10791807.

2. Lactose malabsorption from yogurt, pasteurized yogurt, sweet acidophilus milk, and cultured milk in lactase-deficient individuals. Savaiano, Dennis A., et al. 6, St. Paul : The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1984, Vol. 40. PMID: 6439026.

3. Survival of Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum in Commercial Yoghurt During Refrigerated Storage. Melbourne : International Dairy Journal, 1995, Vol. 5.

4. PopSugar. Yogurt Breakdown. [Online] PopSugar, March 18, 2008. [Cited: July 8, 2014.]

5. Calculations on File Based on a Popular Yogurt Brand’s Data.

6. Expert consensus document: The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics consensus statement on the scope and appropriate use of the term probiotic. International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics. Centennial : Nature reviews. Gastroenterology & hepatology., 2014, Vol. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 24912386.

7. “In vitro evaluation of single- and multi-strain-strain probiotics: Inter-strain inhibition between probiotic strains, and inhibition of pathogens. Chapman, C.M.C., Gibson, G. R. and Rowland, I. Reading : Anaerobe, 2012, Vol. 10. PMID: 22677262.

8. Factors to Consider When Selecting a Culture of Lactobacillus acidophilus as a Dietary adjunct to produce a hypocholesterolemic effect in humans. Gilliland, S. E. and Walker, D. K. Stillwater : Journal of Dairy Science, 1990, Vol. 73. PMID: 2111831.

9. Hermelin, Victor M. Enteric Coated Tablets and Methods of Making the Same. 2,714,084 USA, July 26, 1955. Grant.

10. Quality assurance for probiotic bacteria. Elina Tuomola, Ross Crittenden, Martin Playne, Erika Isolauri, and Seppo Salminen. Turku : American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2001, Vol. 73(suppl).

11. Quantitative profiling of bacteriocins present in dairy-free probiotic preparations of Lactobacillus acidophilus by nanoliquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Nandakumar, Renu and Talapatra, Kesh. Lincoln : Journal of Dairy Science, 2013, Vol. 97. PMID: 24565320.

12. Sporeformers as Human Probiotics: Bacillus, Sporolactobacillus, and Brevibacillus. Sanders, M.E., Morelli, L. and Tompkins, T.A. s.l. : Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, 2003, Vol. 2. doi: 10.1111.

13. Survival and metabolic activity of the GanedenBC30 strain of Bacillus coagulans in a dynamic in vitro model of the somach and small intestine. Maathuis, A.J.H., Keller, D. and Farmer, S. 1, Mayfield Heights : Beneficial Microbes, 2010, Vol. 1.

14. Recurrent Septicemia in an Immunocompromised Patient due to Probiotic Strains of Bacillus Subtilis. Oggioni MR, Pozzi G, Valensin PE, Galieni P, Bigazzi C. 1, Siena : Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 1998, Vol. 36. PMID: 9431982.

15. A genomic island of an extraintestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli Strain enables the metabolism of fructooligosaccharides, which improves intestinal colonization. Schouler C, Taki A, Chouikha I, Moulin-Schouleur M, Gilot P. 1, Nouzilly : Journal of Bacteriology, 2009, Vol. 191. PMID: 18978057.

16. Effects of Fructooligosaccharides on Intestinal Flora and Human Health. Hidaka, Hidemasa, Eida, Toshiaki and Takizawa, Toshio. 1, Kawasaki : Bifidobacteria Microflora, 1986, Vol. 5.

17. Some putative prebiotics increase the severity of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium infection in mice. Petersen A, Heegaard PM, Pedersen AL, Andersen JB, Sørensen RB, Frøkiaer H, Lahtinen SJ, Ouwehand AC, Poulsen M, Licht TR. 245, Soeborg : BioMed Central (BMC) microbiology, 2009, Vol. 9. PMID: 19948011.

18. Dietary fructooligosaccharides increase intestinal permeability in rats. Ten Bruggencate SJ, Bovee-Oudenhoven IM, Lettink-Wissink ML, Van der Meer R. Ede : The Journal of Nutrition, 2005, Vol. 135. PMID: 15795444.

19. Inulin-Type Prebiotics: A Review (Part 2). Kelly, Greg. 1, s.l. : Alternative Medicine Review, 2009, Vol. 14. PMID: 19364192 .

20. Probiotics for the prevention and treatment of antibiotic-associated diarrhea: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Hempel S, Newberry SJ, Maher AR, Wang Z, Miles JN, Shanman R, Johnsen B, Shekelle PG. 18, Santa Monica : Journal of the American Medical Association, 2012, Vol. 307. PMID: 22570464.

21. Prebiotics, faecal transplants and microbial network units to stimulate biodiversity of the human gut microbiome. Van den Abbeele P, Verstraete W, El Aidy S, Geirnaert A, Van de Wiele T. 4, Ghent : Microbial biotechnology, 2013, Vol. 6. PMID: 23594389.

22. Impact of diet in shaping gut microbiota revealed by a comparative study in children from Europe and rural Africa. De Filippo C, Cavalieri D, Di Paola M, Ramazzotti M, Poullet JB, Massart S, Collini S, Pieraccini G, Lionetti P. 33, Firenze : Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2010, Vol. 107. PMID: 20679230.

23. Australian Government Department of Health Therapeuitc Goods Administration. Item 3.2.2 Probiotic organisms Recommendation 6. [Online] Complementary Medicines Evaluation Committee, October 29, 1998. [Cited: July 10, 2014.]

24. In vivo transfer of pAM beta 1 from Lactobacillus reuteri to Enterococcus faecalis. Morelli L, Sarra PG, Bottazzi V. 5, Piacenza : The Journal of applied bacteriology, 1988, Vol. 65. PMID: 2976754.

25. Study on pathogenesis of Enterococcus faecalis in urinary tract. Hirose T, Kumamoto Y, Tanaka N, Yoshioka M, Tsukamoto T. 2, s.l. : Urological research, 1989, Vol. 17. PMID: 2499973.

26. Frequent occurrence of multidrug-resistant CC17 Enterococcus faecium among clinical isolates in Sweden. Billström H, Top J, Edlund C, Lund B. 5, Stockholm : Journal of Applied Microbiology, 2010, Vol. 108. PMID: 19878525.

27. Scientific Opinion on the safety and efficacy of Enterococcus faecium (NCIMB 10415, DSM 22502, ATCC 53519 and ATCC 55593) as silage additives for all animal species. European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). 10, Parma : EFSA, 2013, Vol. 11.



For more info on Natren probiotics:


September 11, 2017

Stress is how the brain and body respond to any demand or change. Over time stress can affect your health and become chronic stress. Chronic stress can suppress immune, digestive, sleep, and reproductive systems, which may cause them to stop working normally.

We recommend the following products:

Terry Naturally’s Stress Control which is a combination of Lemon Balm and Holy Basil. This combination helps you keep things in perspective while staying calm and focused.

Natural Factors Serenity Formula is another great combination. This formula will promote emotional well-being and help the body cope with chronic stress. It combines Sensoril and ashwagandha as well as calming herbs, Eleuthero extract (Siberian ginseng), Lavender and Rhodiola. Sensoril is a patented extract of Withania somnifera (ashwaganda) that has been shown to have stress-relieving and anti-anxiety effects. It is unique because it produces a relaxing effect while increasing energy levels and reducing fatigue. Take 125 to 250 mg twice daily.

PharmaGABA is another great product for stress. It appears that many people with anxiety, insomnia, epilepsy and other brain disorders do not manufacture sufficient levels of GABA. Many pharmaceutical drugs like Valium, Neurontin, baclofen and Valproate act by increasing the effects of PharmaGABA within the brain. These drugs also have side effects and can be highly addictive and therefore unsuitable for long term use. PharmaGABA is very safe and effective at a dose of 100-200 mgs three times a day.

September 8, 2017

The Nature’s Garden team recommends a combination of plant oils that are taken orally. Lavender promotes calmness, so it is excellent in a sleep formula. Sweet marjoram oil restores balances and regulates the nervous system.  Mandarin oil works as a sedative and mild hypnotic (sleep-inducer). Exotic Verbena is included for its anti-inflammatory and sedative qualities. This formula is safe for ages 6 and older. This combination is found in Terry Naturally’s TERRIFIC Zzz’z.

September 8, 2017

Safe and Natural Pain Relief

The United States is in a Opioid addiction crisis. There were 18,893 overdose deaths related to prescription pain relievers, and 10,574 overdose deaths related to heroin in 2014, and these numbers have been increasing! Heroin use has risen 75% in five years.

Doctors are certainly partially responsible but the larger fault lies with drug-marketers who encourage physicians to prescribe drugs like OxyContin, oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine and fentanyl when the condition does not warrant its use.  When prescriptions run out and the patient cannot obtain more, sadly they turn to street drugs.

The good news is that there are natural products available to relieve pain and discomfort!

Pain-Eze from RainbowLight is a natural product that contains Meadowsweet, California Poppy and Jamaican Dogwood.  These 3 soothing botanicals help ease occasional aches and pains associated with minor discomforts, overwork, or exercise, including muscle soreness.  This formula also includes Magnesium and Manganese which helps relieve muscle cramping including menstrual cramps.

It is estimated that 80% of Americans suffer from occasional headaches.  If you are one of them try Curamin Headache Formula from Europharma.  This natural safe Headache formula contains Curcumin, Boswellia, DLPA, Magnesium and B6.  The Curcumin in this product is BCM-95 which provides a primary response to occasional headaches. Magnesium helps the muscles to relax and supports healthy neurotransmitter activity in the brain.  The impact of DLPA, otherwise known as DL-phenylalanine, has on chronic pain and headaches are impressive. DLPA’s abilities are attributed to its impact on endorphins. Endorphins are neurotransmitters that are found in the brain. They are your body’s natural painkillers that work similar to morphine or codeine without the side effects.  Essentially, DLPA slows down the enzymes that “eat up” endorphins. That way, the endorphins have longer to do their work. Vitamin B6 contains three major chemicals: pyridoxine, pyridoxal, and pyridoxamine. Pyridoxine is necessary for the body to use the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine. These chemicals are thought to play a role in how migraine attacks occur. Low levels of Vitamin B6 may have other effects on the brain which can lead to migraine attacks.

Curamin Athletic Pain from Europharma is a great choice for anyone who has overexerted their muscles. The formula has some of the same core components as the Headache product, but has the addition of Bromelain and Pancreatin.  The benefits of these enzymes help relieve exercise pain, promote healthy tissue and relieve inflammation.

September 8, 2017

Q: I am 54 years old and my joints feel stiff in the morning.  I have also noticed some swelling in my joints too. Is there anything I can use to support my aging joints?


A: I like the combination of two products, OSTEOMOVE from Natural Factors and CURAMIN from Europharma.

Joint degeneration and bone loss are caused by simple wear and tear, free radical damage to cartilage and bone, and autoimmune conditions where the body attacks itself. OsteoMove is a synergistic formula for healthy joint structure, function and mobility. It contains phenolic compounds,  Hylauronic Acid, and the sulfate forms of both Glucosamine and Chondroitin which work together to enhance joint lubrication, thwart free radical damage, and fight inflammation to maintain joint health and integrity. The addition of manganese, boron, collagen, and hyaluronic acid encourages  regeneration of healthy connective tissue after injury or disease. The Boswellia and MSM act to reduce inflammation and inhibit degeneration of the bones, cartilage, and connective tissue.

Curamin contains the BCM-95 form of curcumin.  BCM-95 is clinically proven to provide up to 10 times the absorption then any othe curcumin product. Curamin combines BCM-95, Bosweillia, DLPA and Nattokinase.  D,l-phenylalanine has been shown to help maximize the effects of endorphins and enkephalins, which are the body’s powerful pain relievers. Nattokinase, not only boosts healthy circulation, it has a direct impact on muscle pain via its ability to balance fibrinogen levels in the body.

This combination will provide the relief and comfort you need.

September 8, 2017

Q: I am 65 years old and I get up 3-4 times a night to urinate, is there anything I can use to help my enlarged  prostate?  Sleepless, in Reading

A: Non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate, medically known as benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH is a very common condition.  Common symptoms of BPH include: having to wait for the urine stream to start; poor urinary flow and a variable flow rate; frequent urination; difficulty postponing urination (urgency); dribbling of urine at the end of urination; and having to wake at night to urinate multiple times.

Numerous human trials report that saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) improves symptoms of benign prostatic hypertrophy such as nighttime urination and urinary flow.  The therapeutic dose for saw palmetto would be 320 mg standardized to contain 85-95 % of the fatty acids Beta-sitosterols.

Pygeum significantly reduces urinary hesitancy, urinary frequency, and the number of times men need to wake up at night to urinate, and pain with urination in men who experience mild-to-moderate symptoms.

Saga Pro (Angelica archangelica ) which is an Icelandic herb,  has been shown to reduce frequency of urination at night in men with prostate problems and in men and women with overactive bladder.

September 8, 2017

Q:  I am concerned about my children getting sick this school year, is there any supplement that would help protect us from catching colds and flu’s?

A:  The common cold is an upper respiratory tract infection that is caused by a virus. The blend of Wild Indigo, Thuja and Echinacea have clinically proven to strengthen the immune system. The results of the clinical trial concluded, “The therapeutic superiority of the herbal immunomodulator over placebo was confirmed as statistically significant and clinically relevant”. This combination is sold under the name Esberitox and is available as a chewable tablet that tastes great.  It is excellent for kids of all ages.

For immune support during viral infections I would recommend Anti-V from Natural Factors. Anti-V contains the following extracts:

  • EchinamideT: A patented, clinically proven, super-extracted Echinacea purpurea liquid that guarantees high levels of the three key active groups of compounds responsible for echinacea’s actions on the immune system.
  • Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus): The most famous herb in Chinese medicine for strengthening the immune system, which is now backed by scientific evidence.
  • Lomatium (Lomatium dissectum): This herb garnered attention during the Spanish influenza outbreak of 1917, after it was discovered that Native Americans were recovering from this flu much quicker than everyone else.
  • Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum): Referred to in Chinese medical texts as “the mushroom of immortality,” reishi is valued by modern herbalists for its ability to promote resistance during times of stress.
  • Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra): A valued, time-tested herb noted in recent scientific investigations for its antiviral properties.

September 6, 2017


GERD is a common digestive disorder associated with heartburn and/or upper abdominal pain as well as a feeling of gaseousness, difficulty swallowing, feelings of pressure or heaviness after eating, sensations of bloating after eating, stomach or abdominal pains and cramps, or fullness in the abdomen.



Gerd is usually  caused by the flow of gastric juices up the esophagus leading to a burning discomfort that radiates upwards and is made worse by lying down.  Most people assume that if they have GERD or Heartburn that they produce to much stomach acid but the opposite is true 95% of the time!

The biggest cause of GERD symptoms is overeating. Other common causes include obesity, cigarette smoking, chocolate, fried foods, carbonated beverages (soft drinks), alcohol and coffee.


People who suffer from Heartburn do not produce enough Digestive enzymes.  They need to supplement with Protease, Amylase and Lipase so they can properly digest their Proteins, Carbohydrates and Fats.  In some cases adding Hydrochloric Acid is also beneficial.

Advanced Heartburn Rescue™ provides relief for occasional heartburn, acid indigestion, and upset stomach.† The synergistic blend of D-Limonene and Sea Buckthorn oil provides support for healthy digestive function and mucous membrane health while soothing the gastrointestinal tract.  D-Limonene addresses this by helping promote healthy “peristalsis”—getting the muscles of the intestines to start moving food through the digestive system.

Sea Buckthorn contains an abundance of fatty acids, including omega-7, that help support the structure of cells throughout the body, but especially the skin and gastric mucosa, which lines the stomach and intestines.*

The dominant medical treatment of GERD is the use of antacids and acid-blocker drugs such as Zantac, Tagamet, Pepcid AC, Nexium, Prilosec, Protonix, Prevacid, and Aciphex. Use of antacid therapy, especially the newer drugs, is associated with an increased risk for osteoporosis, heart arrhythmias, intestinal infections, bacterial pneumonia, and multiple nutrient deficiencies. And most seriously, these drugs may increase the development of various gastrointestinal cancers.

In addition, several review articles have concluded in regards to GERD, “that the efficacy of current drugs on the market is limited at best.” The “at best” signifies the fact that often these drugs cause more problems than they help. They are also linked dementia.



Colon health is important for proper bowel function and for our overall health.  Fiber and Probiotics certainly play a huge role in colon health.   It is important to always select a refrigerated Probiotic and one that has multiple strains.  Fiber is important because it acts like a broom and helps to keep the colon and intestines clean.

Curcumin, the bright yellow medicinal compound present in the spice turmeric, has unquestionably emerged as one of the safest, yet most powerful and promising dietary polyphenols based upon~6000 scientific published studies. Curcumin and Bosweilla are both excellent anti-inflammatorys and also have Anti-Cancer abilities.  BCM-95 has had a number of clinical trials involving humans and mice.  Dr. Ajay Goel from Baylor University has been involved with most of those clinical trials.


Ajay Goel, Ph.D. – Director


Director, Center for Gastrointestinal Research

Director, Center for Epigenetics, Cancer Prevention and Cancer


Baylor Research Institute and Charles A Sammons Cancer

Center, Baylor University Medical Center, Dallas, TX

September 6, 2017

Q:  What is the most important nutrient for heart and vascular health?

One of the most important nutrients for heart and vascular health is coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). Its role in the heart is similar to the role of a spark plug in a car engine. Just as the car cannot function without that initial spark, the heart cannot function without CoQ10. Although the body can make CoQ10, considerable research shows significant benefits with supplementation in various health issues, especially those affecting the heart as well as diabetes. It is also critical that people taking cholesterol-lowering drugs (e.g., statins like Lipitor and Crestor) take supplemental CoQ10.

Results from a new double-blind study show another interesting effect on vascular health that highlights the importance of CoQ10 in protecting against cardiovascular disease, especially in people with type 2 diabetes.

French OPC Grape Seed also.



Q:  Is there any natural product that helps reduce Cholesterol?

Sytrinol -a special extract of citrus peel standardized to contain greater than 30% polymethoxylated flavones. Sytrinol works by blocking the enzymes in the liver responsible for manufacturing cholesterol and triglyceride production. Clinical results have shown that Sytrinol exerts effects very similar to statin drugs, but without side effects. Specifically, it has been shown to lower total cholesterol levels up to 30%, LDL cholesterol levels up to 27% and triglyceride levels up to 34% within four to twelve weeks of use.

Niacin (vitamin B3) is the most well-researched natural cholesterol lowering agent. In fact, several studies have shown niacin to produce better overall results than cholesterol-lowering drugs. Niacin typically lowers total cholesterol by 18%, LDL by 23% and triglycerides by 20% while raising HDL levels by 31%. Niacin is available as a prescription agent, yet despite its advantages, niacin accounts for only 7.9 percent of all prescriptions to lower cholesterol.

Q:  What can people do to increase blood vessel elasticity and strengthen the Arteries?

Artery Strong is a product that combines vitamins A, D3 and K2.  This combination works synergistally to increase the flexability and elasticity of the blood vessels as well as strengthening the Arterial wall.

Mesoglycan – is a great source of Glycosaminoglycans which are building blocks for blood vessels. Mesoglycans support blood vessel strength, integrity and flexibility.  Strengthens veins and arteries and supports healthy blood vessels in the heart, eyes, legs and brain.



Q:  Are there natural products that can help with High Blood Pressure?

Bonito peptides are proteins derived from the muscle of the bonito fish work to inhibit the enzyme that increases fluid volume and the constriction of the blood vessels. These anti-ACE peptides relax the arterial walls and reduce fluid volume. The bonito peptides exert the strongest inhibition of ACE reported for any natural product. Pept-Ace by Natural Factors.

Hibiscus, berberines, garlic and Olive Leaf can all be beneficial for blood pressure. Europharma – Blood Pressure Health.


Q:  Is it possible to strengthen the heart muscle?

It’s probably no coincidence that the earliest records declared the Hawthorn tree a symbol of love. Crataegus species are native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemispheres of Europe and North America. All of the cultures that traditionally used Hawthorn leaves and berries medicinally — including Native American, Chinese and European — employed it as a tonic for the heart.* In fact, its use as a cardiac tonic dates as far back as first-century Rome.*

Significant scientific evidence confirms Hawthorn’s traditional use. It has been the subject of hundreds of research studies, including nine double-blind, placebo-controlled human clinical trials. The results of this research show that Hawthorn strengthens the heart muscle, increases exercise tolerance, and supports a normal heart rhythm




Q:  Do some prescription drugs increase our risk for Heart Disease?

Yes, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is strengthening an existing label warning that non-aspirin nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) increase the risk of having heart attack or stroke. NSAIDs including aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin and Advil), Aleve (naproxen sodium), Celebrex (celecoxib), Feldene (piroxicam), and Voltaren (diclofenac sodium) are used extensively in the United States.

There are over 7,500 deaths each year in the United States are directly attributable to NSAID use.

  • A large number of studies support the finding that NSAIDs cause an increased risk of serious cardiovascular events. Estimates of increased risk ranged from 10 to 50 percent or more, depending on the drugs and the doses studied.
  • Patients treated with NSAIDs following a first heart attack were more likely to die in the first year after the heart attack compared to patients who were not treated with NSAIDs after their first heart attack.
  • There is also an increased risk of heart failure with NSAID use.



Acid-Blocking Drugs Increase Heart Disease Risk

Proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) are a group of drugs whose main action is blocking the secretion of gastric acid. They are dominant medical treatment of peptic ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and indigestion. Popular examples include Nexium, Prilosec, Protonix, Prevacid, and Aciphex. Use of these powerful antacids is associated with an increased risk for osteoporosis, heart arrhythmias, intestinal infections, bacterial pneumonia, and multiple nutrient deficiencies. A new study from Stanford University adds another issue with these drugs – they double the risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke.


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