Since February is American Heart Month, we’re taking this opportunity to discuss the role that nutrition plays in your heart health (hint — it’s huge). To get started, here are 10 foods your heart will thank you for.
Supplements are a crucial adjunct to a healthy lifestyle. The right supplements decrease risk factors for disease. Supplements are not meant to be a substitute for an optimal diet or exercise, but to supplement them. The best prevention plan incorporates optimal diet, optimal exercise and the right supplements used aggressively together. Applying this approach properly can help you achieve the most in quality and quantity of life.
Supplements have been attacked by Big Pharma for some legitimate reasons. The two most valid are that some of the most heavily hyped supplements are worthless and essentially anyone can manufacture a supplement. But Big Pharma would not concern itself with the supplement industry if supplements did not hurt their bottom line. Big Pharma makes its money in disease, not health. The right supplements produced by the right company truly has the potential to significantly impact disease incidence and, therefore, Big Pharma’s revenue.
In my blog, I’m going to discuss some of the most significant supplements. But first, I would like to discuss the right company – Design’s for Health. Designs for Health uses cutting-edge science to formulate supplements in the pure forms that our bodies best utilize them, at therapeutic doses, in delivery systems that allow for the best absorption of the supplement and at very reasonable prices. Many companies do not produce the forms of supplements that our bodies require. For example, our bodies use Folate in the form L-methylfolate, but most supplement companies provide us with folic acid in their vitamins. The problem is that a lot of people cannot convert folic acid into L-methylfolate and, therefore, do not get the benefit of the vitamin. Another issue is that most supplement companies do not put an emphasis on enhanced absorption of their products which results in decreased available vitamin. These cost cutting measures by these companies defeat the purpose of using a supplement in the first place.
Designs for Health has different delivery systems to achieve the best absorption of their supplements. One such system is their liposomal delivery system. They employ this system with some of their vitamins to gain some added benefits including: 1) superior absorption and intracellular delivery of nutrients, 2) the phospholipid structure allows for effective delivery of compounds with different solubilities carried within the same particle, 3) it penetrates the blood-brain barrier allowing more supplement for the brain’s use, 4) it survives the acidic environment of the stomach, ensuring intestinal uptake and delivery to the lymphatic system, and 5) it is convenient for those who prefer not to swallow pills. They also have Evail formulations. These formulations are in capsule forms that deliver increased absorption rates, with reduced absorption times, with greater effects at lower dosages, and avoid usage of harmful additives. I would recommend considering the liposomal forms or Evail formulations when available in preference to the other options.
Now to discuss the right supplements. The best supplements limit the aging process by decreasing free radical damage, oxidative stress, and chronic inflammation. They are in their natural forms and are easily absorbable. I’m going to list what I believe are the most important based off this criteria. 1) OmegAvail Hi-Po, 2) Resveratrol Supreme, 3) Niacin CRT, 4) Vitamin D Supreme or Liposomal D Supreme, 5) Curcum-Evail, 6) B-Supreme, Homocysteine Supreme or Liposomal B Supreme, 7) C+Bio Fizz or Liposomal Vitamin C, 8) Neuromag, 9) Probiotics in multiple options, and 10) CoQnol.
A special classification of supplements known as nootropics tweak our biochemistry and increase cerebral blood flow, increase the concentration of neurotransmitters, and/or stimulate neurogenesis (production of new neurons). These drugs have also been called “smart drugs” because of their neuro-enhancing capability. These drugs can give patients improved productivity when performing tasks, fewer memory lapses and an improved mood. Nootropics are used to thwart dementia, epilepsy, depression, etc. Examples of formulations that contain smart drugs are Brain Vitale, CogniAid, and Pregnenolone CRT.
To order any of these supplements, click on the link below and search for these supplements or others.
Read further for more specific information on each of these supplements and others.
CogniAid is an herbal formula designed to help support healthy cognition, mood and memory. These herbs and extracts that have been shown to work through a variety of mechanisms including acetylcholinesterase inhibitory activity, supporting healthy neurons, enhancing nerve impulse transmission, aiding in the repair of damaged neurons, and decreasing Aβ protein aggregation. These actions help to support those with cognitive impairments, such as Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.
CogniAid contains a wildcrafted blueberry complex, which in addition to blueberries, uses extracts of huckleberries and bilberries. This product also features vinpocetine, huperzine-A (a naturally occurring alkaloid compound), the green tea polyphenol EGCg, and the Ayurvedic herb Bacopa monnieri.
Brain Vitale provides building blocks for brain phospholipids which are crucial structural components of neurons’ synapses. It is formulated to help assist with various aspects of brain health, such as cell energy production, mitochondrial support, and antioxidant protection. Brain Vitale contains a comprehensive array of brain-supportive nutrients formulated to optimize brain function and help prevent or partially reverse age, injury or disease-related cognitive and neurological decline while stimulating new brain cell formation.
Brain Vitale also provides precursors to the brain neurotransmitter acetylcholine (ACh), and improves production and receptor function for various other neurotransmitters. It is formulated to help boost brain cell energy production, reduce age-related mitochondrial decline, and provide antioxidant protection.
Brain Vitale also contains Gingko Biloba which was compared to Aricept in a trial that demonstrated it had similar efficacy in the treatment of mild to moderate Alzheimer’s Disease.
Pregnenolone is present in high concentrations in healthy brains and is associated with healthy neurological function and hormone balance. It plays a role in myelinization providing neuroprotection. Studies have demonstrated benefit in animal spinal cord models and those designed to assess learning and memory. Levels of Pregnenolone fall as we age. These decreased levels affect memory and are found in depressed patients. Pregnenolone has been dubbed the “happiness hormone.”
Pregnenolone CRT features a Controlled Release Technology that provides a very slow (10-12 hour) continuous release of pregnenolone, helping to eliminate the spikes or surges that may be associated with other delivery systems. Ultimately, this CRT technology more closely mimics the way pregnenolone is normally released within the body.
In order to maintain optimum health, the body requires a variety of different fats. Two of these – omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids – are essential, which means the body cannot produce them so they must be obtained from foods or supplements. The North American diet is very high in omega-6s, but low in omega-3s. Correcting this imbalance through foods and supplements is beneficial for the entire body.
OmegAvail Hi-Po provides a potent 1500 mg of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA per 2-softgel serving, and includes lipase, a digestive aid to ensure maximum absorption. Lipase also helps to prevent any fishy aftertaste which sometimes occurs with fish oil supplements.
Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) is beneficial for supporting a healthy brain, balanced emotions, skin health, normal cholesterol levels, and a proper inflammatory response. Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) – supports proper brain development and function, visual acuity and eye development, maintenance of normal triglyceride levels and blood pressure, and a healthy pregnancy for expectant mothers.
There are numerous animal studies demonstrating the life-extending effects of Resveratrol. In addition to providing robust anti-inflammatory effects, resveratrol influences the expression of several gene products which influence metabolism. Resveratrol Supreme is an exciting combination of two powerful antioxidants, resveratrol and quercetin. Damage from free radicals is a primary driver of compromised health, and this may particularly affect the cardiovascular system and neurons—especially the neurons’ mitochondria, which are the parts of the cell that generate energy. Proper functioning of the mitochondria is crucial for overall health. Excessive oxidative damage from free radicals is also implicated in the aging process. Antioxidants combat free radicals and help reduce the impact of their damage. Through decreasing free radical damage, antioxidants may also mimic the beneficial effects of a reduced calorie diet.
Quercetin has been called “king of the flavonoids” because of its powerful antioxidant properties and its ability to support a healthy inflammatory response in the body. It is found in many foods that are recognized for their health benefits, such as red onions, apples, olive oil, dark berries, grapes, capers, salad greens, and culinary herbs such as dill, cilantro, watercress, and radicchio. (Quercetin contributes to the bold colors of these foods.) Synergy between resveratrol and quercetin indicates that the two compounds together may be more beneficial than either one taken alone. This product also includes lecithin for more effective nutrient absorption
Niacin (vitamin B3) dramatically improves all lipid levels – including raising HDL cholesterol, lowering triglycerides, lowering lipoprotein (a) and decreasing arterial inflammation. Cholesterol-lowering treatment regimens that included niacin lowered risk of cardiovascular events by up to 90 percent in clinical trials.
Niacin CRT offers therapeutic doses of niacin as nicotinic acid in a controlled-release tablet for optimal bioavailability. It is available in 500 mg and 750 mg tablets. Niacin CRT has a unique delivery system designed to provide a slow (6-8 hour) continuous release of niacin in a very uniform manner. This helps to eliminate spikes and surges in blood levels of the compound, which often occur with immediate-release delivery systems which may result in distressing side-effects, such as skin flushing, itching and gastrointestinal irritation. The proprietary slow-release technology used in Niacin CRT is designed to reduce these unpleasant effects.
Vitamin D Supreme/Liposomal D Supreme
Vitamin D deficiency affects about 75 percent of U.S. adults and teens. In a study in 2010, normalizing the participants’ levels reduced one-year risk of heart failure, heart disease, and premature death by 30 percent. People with blood levels below 30 ng/mL and levels greater than 100 ng/mL have increased cardiovascular risk. Optimal levels are between 50 to 100 ng/mL.
Vitamin D assists with proper bone health, as it helps regulate the body’s calcium levels. When calcium levels are low, vitamin D stimulates calcium absorption and reduces calcium excretion, thereby encouraging healthy bones and teeth. In addition, vitamin D helps to support a proper immune response in the body. Healthy prostate, colon and breast tissues are also supported by vitamin D.
Vitamins D and K work as a team. Increasing the amount of vitamin D via supplementation, in the presence of insufficient levels of vitamin K, can increase the risk of inappropriate calcium deposition in the soft tissue (such as arteries and joints), and can have a negative effect on blood vessel elasticity. However, when adequate levels of vitamin K are present along with vitamin D, calcium can be properly directed to the necessary areas of the body, mainly in bones and teeth. Increasing vitamin D levels increases the need for vitamin K. The amount of vitamins D and K in this formula may be beneficial for those who do not get adequate sun exposure and/or dietary sources of these vitamins.
Liposomal D Supreme offers a convenient and effective way to dose highly absorbable and bioavailable vitamin D for patients who need clinically relevant amounts and who may prefer to swallow fewer pills. Each 0.5 mL serving (approx. 1 pump) provides 2500 IU of vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) along with vitamin K in the K1 and K2 forms for synergistic bone health support. This liposomal formulation also has a pleasant citrus flavor and is easy to titrate for higher doses.
Green Tea Extract
Green tea extract is found in the supplement CogniAid. I mention it here to note its importance. It is likely a factor in the enhanced longevity of the Japanese. It is a vigorous antioxidant that has anti-cancer effects and may slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
It is suspected that the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease in India is approximately 50 percent lower than that of the United States because of the high quantities of turmeric consumed. Curcumin is a derivative of the turmeric spice which has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin has been utilized to treat osteoarthritis and inflammatory bowel disease. It also assists in promoting a healthy immune system to fight off infection. Researchers are now pursuing its potential anti-cancer effects. The issue with curcumin is that it is difficult to absorb. Designs for Health has remedied that issue with Curcum-Evail.
Curcum-Evail is a highly bioavailable formulation containing a unique combination of three health-promoting compounds known as “curcuminoids,” which are derived from turmeric root: namely, curcumin, bisdemethoxy curcumin, and demethoxy curcumin. This comprehensive product also contains turmeric oil. Turmeric is a bright yellow-orange spice popular as the main ingredient in Indian curry powders, and its high concentration of curcumin underlies the centuries-old use of this root in Ayurveda, traditional Indian medicine. The three curcuminoids in this product are the strongest, most protective and best researched constituents of turmeric root. Naturally occurring turmeric root powder contains only 5-7% curcumin, while the blend in Curcum-Evail™ is formulated to contain 70% curcumin (as part of a total of 95% curcuminoids). Thus, this product provides a much higher concentration of the active compounds than would typically be obtainable from food alone.
Liposomal B Supreme/Homocysteine Supreme/B Supreme
Concern has been raised in the scientific community regarding the potentially high intake of synthetic folic acid from the consumption of fortified foods. It is extremely important that we ingest these B vitamins in their active forms. Patients with a MTHFR mutation cannot convert folate or folic acid into L-methylfolate (active form), therefore, they need to supplement with L-methylfolate to meet the body’s needs. Deficiency of L-methylfolate in the body can result in elevations of Homocysteine which can triple the risk of heart attack and stroke. Daily supplementation can help decrease elevated levels of homocysteine and its associated risks. Deficiencies in active folate is also associated with lower levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine which can result in increased anxiety and/or depression. L-methylfolate also helps patients with Prediabetes or Diabetes Mellitus to prevent retinopathy and peripheral neuropathy as well as to help treat those conditions in patients who already have these conditions.
Other benefits of the B vitamins include: 1) supporting energy production by helping the body properly utilize amino acids, fats and carbohydrates, 2) encouraging optimal mental health, brain activity and feelings of well-being, 3) it is essential for sustaining a healthy metabolism, 4) helping to balance female hormones, especially during pregnancy, menstruation or other key phases in a woman’s life, 5) supporting healthy neurological development in babies and during pregnancy, 6) promoting the production and maintenance of healthy blood cells and joints, 7) supporting a strong immune system, 8) assisting with the maintenance of healthy blood sugar levels, and 9) possessing antioxidant properties to help fight damage to cell membranes and aging.
Liposomal B Supreme provides B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, B6, folate, biotin and B12) formulated with liposomal technology. Thanks to this enhanced delivery and absorption, nutrients delivered in liposomal form offer superior absorption and bioavailability. Each 1 mL serving of this citrus flavored formula provides efficacious amounts of B vitamins with betaine (trimethylglycine) to facilitate methylation, which converts these nutrients into their “activated“ forms.
Homocysteine Supreme contains synergistic nutrients, including folate in the bioidentical, bioactive form, 5-methyltetrahydrofolate, known to facilitate the efficient metabolism of homocysteine. An optimally functioning homocysteine pathway provides methyl and sulfur groups for biochemical reactions such as detoxification, healthy aging, healthy immune function, ideal joint and cartilage structure, and brain and cardiovascular health.
B Supreme is a combination of the eight vitamins which form the B complex, with added choline and trimethylglycine. This unique formulation possesses pre-activated forms of B vitamins, where appropriate, in order to ensure immediate integration into the chemical processes of the body. Added choline and trimethylglycine allows the body to fully utilize the B vitamins in a way that will maximize their potential and thereby support optimal health.
Vitamin C Buffered Powder/C+Biofizz/Liposomal Vitamin C
Vitamin C is integral to numerous biological processes in the human body such as tissue repair, acts as an antioxidant, and in the formation along with the maintenance of skin, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels. Chronically low levels are a cause of atherosclerosis. We do not synthesize vitamin C so we must obtain it from our diet or through supplementation.
Vitamin C Buffered Powder was designed for high dosing of vitamin C and for vitamin C “flushing,” which may help determine one’s individual need for vitamin C. Adding the alkalizing minerals calcium, magnesium and potassium results in a less acidic form of vitamin C that is better tolerated (less stomach upset) and provides the additional benefits of calcium, magnesium, and potassium supplementation such as alkalizing effects and bone mineralization.
C+Biofizz is a delicious, effervescent, orange-flavored powder easily provides therapeutic dosing of vitamin C. Potassium bicarbonate is included in this formula as a buffering agent and to give it “fizz.“ Also included are quercetin, hesperidin and rutin, which are natural bioflavonoids found in citrus fruits. These bioflavonoids work synergistically together as a powerful nutrient team to boost antioxidant protection. The bioflavonoids protect vitamin C from breakdown increasing its effect. Bioflavonoids have demonstrated antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic properties.
Liposomal Vitamin C provides superior absorption and bioavailability of this key foundational nutrient through liposomal technology.
68 percent of Americans are deficient in magnesium according to a government sponsored study. Magnesium is one of the most critical minerals in the human body, where it is involved in over 300 enzyme reactions. It plays a pivotal role in healthy bone growth, energy production, muscle relaxation, heart health, and in supporting a healthy nervous system. Our nervous system relies on magnesium to help regulate calcium and potassium molecules in nerve tissues, as well as the brain. A recently published study suggested that elevation of brain magnesium supports protective effects in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. Specifically, magnesium-L-threonate conferred protection against the plaque formation and synaptic loss that is characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease.
NeuroMag, which uses the unique, patented, chelated mineral Magtein, contains magnesium which is chelated to threonic acid (magnesium L-threonate). It is superior to other forms of magnesium in getting through the blood brain barrier because it can transport magnesium ions across lipid membranes, including those of brain cells.
We have a very complex bacterial microcosm in our gastrointestinal tracts composed of trillions of bacteria. The interactions between these bacteria and the lining of the bowel modulate our immune response and various metabolic processes via chemical messengers. The bacteria that perform the interactions that benefit us and maintain healthy bowels are those found in probiotics – “good” bacteria. Unfortunately, our guts are overpopulated with “bad” bacteria which interfere with normal physiologic processes, leading to illness.
Probiophage DF is one of many formulations that Design’s for Health produces. Probiophage DF is a specialized formulation combining four types of phages and prebiotics along with seven strains of probiotics. This product is designed to support the proliferation of beneficial bacteria throughout the small and large intestines in order to promote healthy function of the gastrointestinal (GI) and immune systems. This formula may be particularly beneficial for individuals with sensitivities to dairy.
The two most important roles CoQ10 plays are in energy generation and antioxidant function. CoQ10 has a wide-ranging number of health benefits including decreasing oxidative stress to our cells, brain health and decreasing cancer risks. It is particularly critical for the health of hardworking organs like the heart, liver, pancreas, and kidneys. The mitochondria – our body’s microscopic “power plants” – require CoQ10 to create energy. Our bodies naturally produce CoQ10, but certain conditions and medications increase our need for higher levels than our bodies can provide. It is difficult to obtain CoQ10 from foods, since the richest sources – organ meats – are not commonly eaten, and we would have to consume staggering amounts of other foods to meet our needs.
CoQnol softgels contain CoQ10 as ubiquinol, the more readily absorbed and more biologically active form that serves as an antioxidant and helps scavenge the free radicals implicated in some of the effects of aging and physical degeneration. Ubiquinol is also helpful for recycling other antioxidant nutrients such as vitamin C. Moreover, the antioxidant effects of ubiquinol are more powerful than many other nutrients associated with this property, such as vitamin E and beta-carotene.
Other supplements to consider
Phytocannabinoids are health-promoting compounds derived from the Cannabis plant. Various Cannabis species supply over 100 cannabinoids but medicine has focused primarily on two of these compounds: tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Phytocannabinoids directly interact with cannabinoid receptors in the body, much like a lock and a key. The cannabinoid receptors are part of a unique communication system in the body, known as the endocannabinoid system. This system is laced throughout the central nervous system and distributed among peripheral tissues including the immune and reproductive systems, gastrointestinal tract, brain cells, endocrine glands, arteries, lungs and heart. Phytocannabinoids have been studied for their potential health supportive effects on the neurological system.
The Benefits of CBD
The phytocannabinoid, cannabidiol (CBD), is harvested from the seeds and stalk fibers of Cannabis sativa L., otherwise known as hemp. The CBD in this product is harvested from Cannabis plants extremely low in the psychoactive compound, THC, and it is an entirely different molecule, with different effects. Studies have found that CBD supports numerous body processes. 1) Proper Inflammatory and Pain Response: Inflammation is a partner with pain, so helping the body maintain a healthy inflammatory response will also encourage better pain management. CBD helps the central nervous system respond appropriately to stimuli that influence the body’s inflammatory response. It also encourages normal levels of cells and enzymes involved in the inflammatory pathways to assist in regulating this response and, thus, help ease pain. 2) Healthy Neurotransmitter Levels: When CBD activates cannabinoid receptors, it encourages the body to balance its production and secretion of neurotransmitters such as acetylcholine, dopamine, GABA, histamine, serotonin, glutamate, and noradrenaline. Balanced neurotransmitters support a healthy mood, a positive outlook on life, and sharp memory and cognitive function. 3) Supports Gastrointestinal (GI) Health: The digestive tract appears to have high levels of endocannabinoids. Thus, phytocannabinoids may help to support healthy gastric motility (movements of food through digestive system) as well as a healthy appetite. 4) Immune Health: Cannabinoid receptors in the immune system help regulate cellular activities in order to maintain a healthy immune response. 5) Protects the Brain and Nervous System: CBD helps protect the brain and nervous system by supporting balanced neurotransmitters, proper brain stimulation, and healthy cell growth and activity. It also helps maintain a strong blood-brain barrier, which protects the brain from free radicals and toxins.
Liposomal Cannab-FS 400 provides 400 mg full spectrum phytocannabinoids per bottle, yielding 16 mg of active phytocannabinoids per serving. It contains natural terpenes, aromatic compounds from the hemp plant that work synergistically with phytocannabinoids, complementing their health-promoting properties. Tocotrienols and phospholipids (from sunflower lecithin) are included to help preserve the phytocannabinoids, while natural citrus oils are included for taste enhancement. Liposomal Cannab-FS 400 is formulated using cutting-edge liposomal technology for optimal absorption and bioavailability, making it an ideal choice for situations where rapid uptake of phytocannabinoids is desired.
DIM-Evail provides 100 mg of DIM (Diindolylmethane) - a type of compound known as a ‘plant indole.’ Plant indoles are found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower and are among the nutrients that give these vegetables their well-known healthful properties. Both women and men produce many different forms of estrogen. Research suggests that the ratio of two specific forms – 2 hydroxy estrogen and 16 hydroxy estrogen – is important for optimal health. DIM helps support a more optimal balance of these two estrogens, thereby providing a protective effect on the body. DIM also acts as an ‘aromatase inhibitor’ – meaning it can block some testosterone from converting to estrogen, making more testosterone available in the body. This could have a positive influence on sexual desire and athletic performance in both men and women.
FemGuard+Balance is a comprehensive blend of vitamins, minerals, and botanical extracts designed work synergistically to support healthy female hormone levels, both during menstruation and through menopause. Imbalances in hormones – most commonly, excess estrogen variants and/or reduced progesterone levels – can be responsible for the physical discomfort and mood changes occasionally associated with PMS, including cramping, breast tenderness, water retention, and mild depression. FemGuard+Balance also contains DIM and would be a better supplement overall for women.
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