Restoring Optimal Thyroid Health:


Hypothyroidism, the most common type of thyroid disorder, occurs when the thyroid gland fails to produce enough thyroid hormone. According to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, as many as 27 million Americans may have some type of thyroid disorder. Of that number, approximately half remain undiagnosed. Managing hypothyroidism requires a comprehensive understanding of its effects, its fluctuations, and the targeted nutritional strategies that can restore optimal thyroid function.

Thyroid 101:
The thyroid is located in the middle of the neck, just below the “Adams apple” or larynx. This gland utilizes iodine to make thyroid hormones, including thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). The thyroid is under the control of the pituitary gland, a small gland found at the base of the brain. If the levels of thyroid hormones drop too low, the pituitary gland produces thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). TSH stimulates the thyroid to make more T3 and T4—raising their levels in the blood. When the pituitary gland detects increased levels of T3 and T4 in the blood stream, it then decreases its TSH production.

The pituitary gland gets its information in several ways. It is able to detect and respond directly to the amounts of T4 circulating in the blood, but it also responds to the hypothalamus, a region of the brain that releases its own hormone, thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH). This network of communication between the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland, and the thyroid gland is often referred to as the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis (HPT axis).

Once released into the blood stream, T3 and T4 are transported throughout the body to regulate numerous physiologic functions, including metabolism. In the case of hypothyroidism, the thyroid does not produce enough T3 and T4. Often, hypothyroidism is not diagnosed because the signs and symptoms are easily confused with other conditions, such as the natural aging process, menopause, or stress. Signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism include: fatigue, weakness, weight gain, coarse/dry hair, hair loss, dry/rough skin, memory loss, abnormal menstrual cycles, pallor, cold intolerance, muscle aches/cramps, constipation, depression, irritability, and decreased libido.

Often, individuals will have “normal” lab results, but may still be symptomatic. This is referred to as subclinical or sublaboratory hypothyroidism. Regardless of the severity of hypothyroidism, if left untreated, it can affect the cardiovascular system, reproductive system and other major organs.

Modern Day Influences:
Ultimately, hypothyroidism is due to an imbalance in the HPT axis. In most cases, the imbalance has multiple causes, including stress, excess hormones, and many other factors. The body is hardwired to respond a certain way to dangerous situations. This “fight or flight” response prepares the body to either run away from the danger (e.g., bear) or confront the danger (e.g., fight the bear). During these “fight or flight” responses, a hormone called cortisol is secreted in higher levels and is responsible for several stressrelated changes (increase in blood pressure, lower sensitivity to pain, etc.). After the perceived threat is gone, the body’s relaxation response is activated and cortisol levels return to normal. However, in modern times, the “fight or flight” response may be constantly activated and cortisol levels remain high.

Our modern day lifestyle and the chronic stress it produces can profoundly affect thyroid function. Studies have demonstrated that stress, no matter how induced, is capable of altering thyroid hormone levels. In addition, combining several different stressful factors (sleep deprivation, calorie restriction, and intense physical activity) has been shown to have a synergistic effect on thyroid hormone levels.

Exogenous hormones, such as HRT and xenoestrogens, have also been shown to interfere with thyroid function. A 2007 study suggests that the thiocyanate in tobacco smoke interacts with other substances to affect thyroid function—yet another reason to kick the smoking habit. Other factors that have been shown to affect thyroid function include insulin resistance, nutritional deficiencies, poor digestion, dysbiosis, goitrogens, genetics, and aging.

Supporting Thyroid Function: Safe, Natural Alternatives
When looking at optimizing thyroid function, we need to first look closely at such basic factors as diet, sleep, and stress reduction. Achieving the recommended 7-9 hours of deep sleep each night is crucial for overall health in general. Because stress plays such an integral role in thyroid health, individuals should look at incorporating stress-reducing practices into their daily routine, whether it’s taking a yoga class or just spending five minutes doing some deep breathing exercises. Another key to managing thyroid hormone production is to ensure the thyroid glands are well-nourished. However, the reality is that most individuals don’t get the recommended daily allowances of nutrients from their diets. Supplements can play an integral role, in conjunction with a healthy diet, in achieving optimal nutritional intake.

March 13, 2020 at 10:24 am Leave a comment

The Many Benefits of Berberine

GettyImages-498304272.jpgBerberine is a specific active phytochemical (plant chemical) which can be found naturally in many different plants, including Phellodendron amurense, Hydrastis Canadensis (best known as goldenseal), Mahonia aquifolium or Berberis aquifolium (also known as Oregon Grape), Rhizoma Coptidis, Coptis chinensis (known as goldenthread), and Berberis vulgaris (also known as barberry). Many of the plants which are rich in berberine are native to Asian countries and have been incorporated into Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for hundreds or thousands of years. Berberine is most concentrated in the root and sometimes berries. Its bright yellow color is so rich that it can also be used as dye, known as “natural yellow 18”.

Berberine is extracted from plants to produce berberine hydrochloride or berberine sulphate. There is also a synthetic form of berberine which is sold as a medication in other countries for gastrointestinal benefits. Many of the research studies on berberine use the synthetic version; however, some scientists and doctors believe that berberine is best utilized by taking the whole herb rather than the isolated extract.

Benefits of Berberine

Regardless of which plant berberine is extracted from, it has the same actions. The research on berberine is impressive. For some medical applications, the therapeutic effects of berberine rival its pharmaceutical counterparts. This is especially true in the case of stabilizing blood sugar levels and treating intestinal infections with diarrhea.

One of the most interesting and important biochemical roles for berberine is its action on an enzyme called AMPK. AMPK is an abbreviation for “adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase”, which is an enzyme that triggers chemical reactions in the body and controls cellular metabolism. The role of AMPK is extremely important because it acts as a master switch which coordinates various biochemical pathways and functions in the body. Its function is akin to the thermostat in your house, which turns on the heat when it’s cold out and turns on the AC when it’s hot. AMPK also reacts to external factors; however, it controls many more functions than just temperature, such as glucose control and metabolism. Most of the processes that AMPK controls are directly or indirectly related to how fast or slow we age and how long we live. AMPK is sometimes called the longevity enzyme because it is involved in so many processes that determine our rate of aging!

AMPK and Oxidation

One critical factor of aging that AMPK influences is oxidation. Oxidation is a normal part of metabolism, but it can become excessive and get out of balance. During normal cellular metabolism, free radicals are created through the process of oxidation. Free radicals have the potential for causing cell damage unless antioxidants swoop in to neutralize them. When the antioxidant supply is low, too many free radicals are created, and the body has trouble keeping up with the neutralization process. Free radicals cause damage to cells and tissues, which can physically manifest as disease and impact any area of the body to cause atherosclerosis, joint pain, and a host of other conditions. AMPK is the master control which can come to the rescue and limit damage induced by free radicals.

AMPK and Blood Sugar Regulation

AMPK also helps regulate blood sugar. In a normal healthy state, after eating, insulin acts as the delivery system for glucose to go from the blood into cells, where it’s stored or made into energy (ATP). In an unhealthy state, such as with insulin resistance, the system is out of balance and blood sugar is poorly regulated. Insulin resistance means cells shut down the insulin delivery and prevent glucose from entering. By keeping the glucose floating around in the blood, blood sugar levels spike while cells starve, and tissues are damaged. AMPK comes to the rescue to counteract insulin resistance by enhancing blood sugar uptake into the cells. Balance is restored as the cells use glucose for energy and lower blood sugar levels.

AMPK also contributes to healthy aging by increasing antioxidant activity, preventing inflammation and limiting fat storage. By properly managing these key pathways, AMPK slows the aging process and enhances healthy functions, but when AMPK activity is diminished, the aging process accelerates, and visual signs become noticeable.

 AMPK slows aging

Active AMPK may regulate the speed of aging, but ironically, as we age, AMPK loses sensitivity, and becomes less responsive to the usual triggers. Sadly, although we need AMPK more as we age, it is both less sensitive and less available. This is when it is helpful to have an “AMPK-Activator” on hand, and berberine is one of the best plant-based solutions available. A large number of human and animal studies have shown that berberine enhances AMPK activity, balances blood sugar, and acts as an antioxidant, just to mention a few of its powerful actions.

 Berberine Absorption

Berberine on its own has a low rate of absorption. Some studies have investigated various technologies for enhancing it; however, one of the most simple and effective methods is to take berberine with the whole herb that it came from. Berberine extract is effective in doses of 500 mg 2-4 times daily.


Ageing research reviews 11(2012): 230-41

Diabetes 55:2256-2264; 2006

Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 294: E148- E156, 2008

Diabetes Metab Syndr Obes. 2012; 5: 213–217

February 14, 2020 at 8:00 am 2 comments

The Anti-Aging Solution

by Marcia Zimmerman, C.N.GettyImages-1044153532.jpgOur biological clock starts ticking at birth. Until 30 or so, we generally grow better as we age, and most tend to be well beyond 30 before beginning to experience signs of aging, which include skin wrinkling, hair graying, aches, pain, fatigue, reduced stress adaptation, lowered immunity, and vision loss. Though we may have to accept growing older, we don’t have to accept these signs as part of the aging process.


Free radicals are the primary cause of aging. These highly charged atoms, molecules, or compounds are missing one electron, making them unstable. Electrons normally pair up, but if enough external energy is supplied, i.e., ultraviolet light, one of the paired electrons may be “knocked off.” An atom with a single electron seeks a second, which it steals from a neighboring atom that must now gain its own electron. The process of electron swiping disrupts normal cellular processes, wreaking havoc and damaging cells. Electrons are easier to steal from some molecules, with DNA, fatty acids, and proteins—like those that comprise muscles and organs—being prime targets.

So how can we better help the body help itself? Since genetic expression can be moderated by our environment, this establishes a clear cause and effect between aging conditions, diet, and lifestyle. Consequently, you can take charge of your own aging process. The Anti-Aging Solution provides five steps that attack aging at its genetic roots by preventing free-radical damage to DNA, enhancing its repair, and reigning in runaway inflammation.

STEP 1 Lower cortisol by reducing stress

Cortisol—dubbed the age-accelerating hormone—affects every cell of your body and nervous central system, activating protective defense mechanisms to save your life. However, persistent elevation of cortisol, usually resulting from induced stress, disrupts homeostasis by interfering with hormone, immune, brain, and nerve function. High cortisol levels are directly related to:

• Collagen and elastin protein breakdown in skin, joint, bone, and muscle tissue

• Memory loss and nervous system damage

• Increased inflammation due to allergies, asthma, and arthritis

Taking frequent breaks throughout the day for stress relief through breathing, stretching, relaxation, and meditation will help lower cortisol.

STEP 2 Nourish genes by lowering sugar

The typical Western diet, which is loaded with white flour and refined sugars, quickly turns to glucose in the body. The ultimate result of a high glucose load is glycation—oxidized glucose that coats the surface of proteins, such as collagen, preventing them from functioning. Collagen is the most plentiful protein in your body—making up skin, blood, lymph vessels, joints, tendons, ligaments, and internal organs—and the one most affected by glycation. Aging conditions most linked to glycation include:

• Memory loss (sugar coating of brain cells)

• Clinical depression

• Skin wrinkling or sagging

• Impaired immune functions (damage to thymus gland, lymphatic tissue, and immune cells)

Eating an abundance of fruits and vegetables protects your genes and promotes health and longevity.

STEP 3 Exercising your genes

Before the 1950s, Americans didn’t worry much about getting enough exercise. They walked or rode bikes to work. Many worked long hours on farms or in factories, as did their children. Today, many spend the day in front of a computer, grab something quick to satiate hunger, then go home and watch TV until bedtime. Consequently, our lack of exercise is killing us. Add at least 20 minutes of stretching, strength training or aerobic exercise to your daily routine.

STEP 4 Avoid environmental toxins and protect hormone levels

Environmental contaminates, such as those found in fertilizers, plastics, herbicides, and wood and carpet materials, are called endocrine disrupters, which affect hormones in both men and women. According to Theo Colborn of the World Wildlife Fund in Washington, D.C., “Endocrine-disrupting chemicals can undermine neurological and behavioral development and subsequent potential of individuals exposed in the womb…It may be expressed as reduced intellectual capacity, impaired responsiveness to environmental demands, or a variety of other guises.”

STEP 5 Supplementing genes

Even with a dramatic change in diet, supplements containing concentrated forms of nutrients, usually from food sources, are needed to overcome the damaging effects of micronutrient deficiencies, pollution, radiation, and internally generated free radicals. Since vitamins and minerals are required to cofactor metabolic enzymes, micronutrient deficiencies can cause profound alterations in normal cellular function. Nutraceutical supplements can also amp up DNA repair capability—the bottom line in preventing most disease by reducing DNA damage.



Cruciferous vegetables contain a family of sulfur compounds known collectively as glucosinolates, and include diindolymethane (DIM), sulforophane, calcium D-glucarate, and indole-3-carbinol (I3C). They have been standardized in extracts and numerous trials validate their anti-aging benefits, such as detoxification and hormone balancing.


Oxidative damage to the mitochondrial DNA is the root of aging and its conditions. Coenzyme Q10 and alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) provide the most powerful protection. CoQ10 inhibits lipid oxidation in cell membranes, including the brain, and protects DNA from oxidative damage. It also stabilizes membranes and reconstitutes vitamin E as an antioxidant. ALA is active in protecting both lipids and aqueous cellular components, and may reverse memory loss by reducing DNA/RNA oxidation.


From an anti-aging perspective, EFAs alter metabolism, change cellular response, and affect cellular growth and differentiation. Benefits of EFAs are to modulate genetic expression of key metabolic enzymes and reduce DNA damage. Omega-3, 6, and 9s, or various combinations thereof, have been shown to provide cardiovascular, immune, brain, and nerve function benefits, as well as general anti-aging benefits to dry skin, brittle nails, and thinning hair.

January 30, 2020 at 2:45 pm Leave a comment

Managing the Gut-Brain Axis

By Dr. Jen Palmer, Naturopathic Doctor (ND) & NEEDS Education DirectorThinkstockPhotos-864493968.pngDid you know that the gastrointestinal tract communicates with the nervous system? Believe it or not, it’s called the gut-brain axis and through recent research it’s been determined to be an incredibly important relationship for keeping the brain healthy. The gut-brain axis is complex and three primary mechanisms support communication within it: 1) nervous system communication,
2) hormone signaling, and 3) immune system mediators. The gut-brain axis has become a means for treating various diseases, such as diabetes, obesity, and neurodegenerative diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, and depression.

Serotonin, also known as the happy neurotransmitter, is key in preventing mood disorders. A lesser known fact is that a large percentage of serotonin resides in the gastrointestinal system, making it a huge component of the gut-brain axis. Serotonin regulates mood, sleep, and appetite. Depression is considered a deficiency of serotonin and the medications designed to treat depression are focused on increasing the availability of this neurotransmitter. People with Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases have lower levels of serotonin transporters and, as a consequence, can also suffer from mood and sleep disorders. Serotonin is also believed to be neuroprotective and can protect the brain from damaging factors that could lead to Alzheimer’s disease.

It’s critical to maintain a healthy bacterial environment in the gastrointestinal tract, also known as the “microbiome”—in order to optimize serotonin levels. The microbiome influences the gut-brain axis and can be an effective part of keeping a healthy nervous system. The gastrointestinal tract helps support healthy neuronal development through its communication with the nervous system. But if the microbiome is off-kilter, meaning there is a lack of quantity, quality, and variety of the good bacteria, bad bacteria can take over and there is a potential for neurodegenerative diseases to develop.

Studies show probiotics are fundamental to maintaining a vigorous digestive tract and contribute to the foundation of good health. Of course, probiotics have demonstrated both immediate and ongoing positive health benefits for numerous chronic gastrointestinal conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Additionally, they have been shown to help prevent food and environmental allergies, as well as Candidiasis, and help to degrade toxins. There is even proof that some strains of probiotics bind mercury and other heavy metals, preventing their absorption into the body.

However, many contemporary lifestyle choices negatively impact the quality and quantity of beneficial bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. Antibiotic use, a high-fat/low-fiber diet, and gastric acid-inhibiting drugs disrupt the healthy balance of bacteria and create an environment that favors the growth of pathogenic bacteria. Although probiotics are found in certain foods, such as yogurt and sauerkraut, their viability and amount may be questionable. Many people require a concentrated supply provided in broad spectrum probiotic supplements.

Consider these probiotic options to balance a healthy microbiome and improve your overall health and well-being!

The specific probiotics included in FLORASSIST® Mood have been shown to positively influence biochemical signaling between the gastrointestinal tract and the nervous system, with positive effects related to mood. It contains three billion colony-forming units of two probiotic strains supported by human clinical research to show improved mood—Lactobacillus helveticus strain R0052 and Bifidobacterium longum strain R0175. Human clinical research conducted on this dual probiotic combination demonstrated improvements in mood, reduction in perceived stress, and promotion of relaxation. Two daily capsules of FLORASSIST® Mood is all you need to promote relaxation and improve mood.

Flora Biotic Ultra contains 35 Billion CFUs, providing a broad spectrum of 14 different probiotic strains. Only one capsule per day is required, offering convenient dosing. All strains are specified and guaranteed, through laboratory validation, and only the strains listed are those found in the product. There are nine different Lactobacillus strains and four different strains of Bifidobacterium, creating a well-rounded formula. The addition of NutraFlora™ scFOS, a “short chain” fructo-oligosaccharide, provides nutrition for the microflora and promotes adhesion and growth in the intestinal tract. To maximize delivery of the beneficial bacteria to the intestinal tract, the vegetarian capsules are enteric coated to ensure survival through gastric acid. Disintegration tests are performed on every lot to ensure proper intestinal release.

RAW Probiotics Ultimate Care is a unique High Bifido formula which includes the clinically studied Replenish Blend making it your ultimate complementary probiotic to achieve balance – helping you repopulate your gastrointestinal tract with good bacteria. The small, easy-to-swallow capsule offers 34 RAW probiotic strains promoting flora diversity as found in nature. It provides protein digesting enzymes for added digestive support. Each high-potency RAW Probiotics formula contains a naturally diverse group of over 30 beneficial probiotic strains from Bulgarian yogurt and Eastern European wild kefir, guaranteed to arrive alive.

Primdophilus Original by Nature’s Way is backed by “True Guarantee”, meaning that 5 billion CFUs per vegetarian capsule is guaranteed for the entire shelf life. True Identity ensures only the strains listed on the label are found in the product, and true release enteric-coating ensures stomach acid survival and intestinal delivery.

Multiple strains of Lactobacilli, Bifidobacteria, and other beneficial probiotics help fortify and balance intestinal microflora and support immune health. They come in delayed-release, or enteric coated capsules that may be shelf stable or need refrigeration.


Reference: Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences October 2017, Volume 74, Issue 20, pp 3769– 3787. Microbiome, probiotics and neurodegenerative diseases: deciphering the gut-brain axis. Susan Westfall, Nikita LomisImen KahouliSi Yuan DiaSurya Pratap SinghSatya Prakash.

December 18, 2019 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

Vitamin D Sunshine for All Seasons

By Melissa Wilson, M.S., and Susan Carlson, R.PHGettyImages-1173388680.jpg

As the days grow shorter and fall moves into winter, supplemental vitamin D is increasingly important. Vital for several functions in our bodies, higher blood concentrations of vitamin D are now associated with good health and strong bodies.

Yet deficiencies of the “sunshine vitamin” are widely prevalent across all age groups, particularly the elderly and institutionalized. The risk of insufficiency increases for those wintering in northern latitudes, as does the need for higher daily intake requirements as we age. Numerous studies report increased rates of vitamin D insufficiency, exemplifying the need for supplementation, often at levels of more than 400 IU per day.

Our evolution has designed us to live in the presence of far more vitamin D than most of us receive now. Our ancestors had considerably greater sun exposure compared to our tendency to cover our skin or use sun block. Studies indicate that one full-body exposure to sunlight (enough time to just start to sunburn) can be the equivalent to an oral vitamin D3 intake of 10,000 IU (250 mcg).

…Strong Bones
Vitamin D is best known for its role in building strong bones by regulating calcium absorption and metabolism. Deficiencies are often associated with muscle weakness, poor coordination, osteoporosis, and increased fractures. In clinical studies, the use of 800 to 1000 IU per day of supplemental vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol—considered the natural form produced by solar UV rays in humans and animal skin), along with calcium, helped improve bone density, muscle strength, and reduce fractures.

…Proper Insulin Function and Levels
Proper levels of vitamin D have also been shown to offer protection from insulin-dependent Type I diabetes. Normal insulin secretion is dependent on this vitamin. Studies indicate that reduced vitamin D status may contribute to both insulin resistance and reduced insulin secretion.

…Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Multiple Sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that is influenced by environmental factors. The British Journal of Nutrition reported that the incidences of MS are greatest in populations having the lowest ultraviolet (UV) exposure, except for those consuming diets high in vitamin D. In the United States, there are higher incidences of MS from the northern to southern areas. The incidences of MS in those living near the equator are close to zero.

It is well-documented that vitamin D levels decline in the winter, a time when SAD is prevalent. An experiment published in the Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging was conducted on 15 SAD patients who were given either full-spectrum light 2 hours daily for a month, or one dose of 100,000 IU of vitamin D (a fat-soluble vitamin, which normally enables its levels to be raised in the body for months). Psychological testing showed the group supplementing vitamin D had greater improvement over the phototherapy group, with an increase in vitamin D of more than double the amount.

Where to Get It?
For those with limited sun exposure, optimal vitamin D can be obtained from food. Unfortunately, it is found naturally in very few foods, i.e., fatty fish (salmon, herring, and sardines), fish liver oils, and eggs from vitamin D-fed hens. This makes dietary supplementation necessary, particularly for those in northern latitudes and with limited sun exposure.

How Much to Take?
The need for vitamin D has been extensively studied by Dr. Reinhold Vieth of Mount Sinai Hospital and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. His 2-to-5 month study of 61 people indicates that 4000 IU daily is safe for healthy adults, and that the current Recommended Daily Values of 400 to 600 IU of vitamin D are set too low to maintain blood levels of vitamin D in absence of skin production of vitamin D with sunlight.

Based on their results, researchers in this study concluded that healthy people seem to use 3000-5000 IU per day of vitamin D.

To meet these requirements, the NEEDS Wellness Team recommends Vitamin D 2000 IU from Carlson Labs.

Research shows that pure, clear sunlight can have measurable, highly beneficial effects on our health, both physiological and psychological. The answer seems to be that, if we can’t go into the light, then we have to bring the light to us.
Excerpts taken from “Vitamin D: Your Sunshine for All Seasons,” by Melissa Wilson, M.S., and Susan Carlson, R.Ph., HealthGems: News for a Healthy Lifestyle, Vol. 1, Issue 2.


*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

November 12, 2019 at 9:00 am Leave a comment

Maintaining Strong Bones as We Age

By Kathi Head, ND, Executive Director of Medical Marketing at Thorne ResearchGettyImages-624886000.jpg

We don’t often give a lot of thought to our bones, until we happen to break one. We tend to think of our bones as inert structures, like scaffolding that holds us up, as protection for our bodily organs, and the structure that allows us to move about. But bones are actually crucial to multiple functions in the body. Our bones are living, dynamic, and constantly changing tissues.

Just a few years ago, it was discovered that bones are actually endocrine organs.1 Our bones make a hormone called osteocalcin, which is secreted by bone cells called osteoblasts. Even though osteocalcin is secreted by the bones, it behaves like any other hormone by having far-reaching effects throughout the body.

For example, although bone formation is one of its primary functions, osteocalcin also:
• Stimulates the beta cells in the pancreas to secrete more insulin
• Enhances insulin sensitivity in the adipocytes (fat cells)
• Stimulates adipocytes to release adiponectin, which further enhances insulin sensitivity & exerts a powerful anti-inflammatory effect (inflammation in fat cells is associated with obesity)
• Enhances testosterone production in men

The Importance of Keeping Bones Healthy— Startling Statistics
Unfortunately for many individuals, a diagnosis of osteoporosis comes only after a bone fracture has occurred. Here’s a look at the stark statistics compiled by the National Osteoporosis Foundation:
• 10 million Americans have osteoporosis—although many are not aware of it
• Another 44 million Americans have osteopenia (low bone density), which is the precursor to osteoporosis
• Half of adults age 50 & older are at risk for breaking a bone because of low bone density
• Osteoporosis is responsible for more than two million bone fractures every year
• 1 in 4 adults will break a bone because of osteoporosis
• A woman’s lifetime risk of a bone fracture as a result of osteoporosis, is equal to her combined risk for having breast, ovarian & uterine cancer
• Men over 50 have a greater risk for an osteoporotic fracture, than for getting prostate cancer
• 24 percent of hip fracture patients who are older than 50 will die within a year of having the hip fracture

Banking Bone Should Start Early in Life
While it’s never too late to start protecting your bones, “banking” bone early in life is really the key. The more bone that is banked during childhood and adolescence, when more bone is being made than broken down, the more bone a person will have to spare later on in life when more bone is being broken down than created.

A person’s peak bone mass is typically reached in the early-to-mid 30’s. But here’s the issue, low bone density is being increasingly recognized as now existing in children and adolescents—the very time when bone should be banked for later use. Situations or conditions that can contribute to low bone mass in children and adolescents include: malabsorption syndromes, gluten enteropathies, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, eating disorders, a sedentary lifestyle, and childhood obesity all contribute to a vitamin D deficiency.

Female athletes can also present with a condition known as the female athlete triad, which includes decreased bone mass, menstrual irregularities, and disordered eating.

Supporting Bone Health is Key
In addition to a healthy diet and regular exercise, which is extremely important for increasing bone density, several nutritional supplements can provide essential support for bone health.*

The 4 most important nutrients for supporting bone health are 2 vitamins and 2 minerals— vitamin D and vitamin Kcalcium and magnesium. These 4 nutrients help each other do their jobs, among other things, by sending calcium to the bones and keeping it out of the arteries, kidneys, and other soft tissues. All of these essential elements are included in Thorne’s Basic Bone Nutrients.

1. Guntur AR, Rosen CJ. Bone as an endocrine organ. Endocr Pract 2012;18(2):758-762.
2. uploads/2015/12/Osteoporosis- Fast-Facts.pdf [Accessed July 7, 2017].
3. daily/article/what-are-the-essentialnutrients- for-bone-health

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

October 7, 2019 at 9:00 am Leave a comment

Getting Ready for School with Seasonal Immune Defense

by Neil E. Levin, CCN, DANLA

When temperatures cool from seasonal changes and kids start going back to school, it can be stressful on the body. The stress uses more energy to maintain normal body temperature, so many frequently feel “under the weather.” Interestingly, this can also occur when bad weather breaks. Perhaps the body relaxes in response to the improved conditions, allowing our immune systems to take a break and leaving us more susceptible to seasonal ills. Then there are those instances of grand-scale germ exposure and exchange opportunities of crowded spaces like schools, airports, mass transportation, and entertainment venues, at any season, which create extra work for the immune system. At these times, the immune system can concurrently seem both overactive and ineffective, and in the process, make us feel miserable.

In the battle to maintain healthy respiratory function and properly modulate immune response, there are natural nutritional substances that can be helpful. Various vitamins, minerals, herbs, and amino acids support optimal immune function and respiratory health.

Andrographis paniculata has been shown in studies to support a healthy and balanced immune response by modulating the production of immune cells (specifically Interferon gamma [IFNg], Interleukin-2 [IL-2], and T-cells). Clinical studies have demonstrated Andrographis’ ability to significantly increase immune response to stresses, such as those encountered during seasonal changes.

Astragalus is well known for supporting the immune system. This Chinese herb has been shown in non-clinical studies to support numerous aspects of healthy immune function, including the enhancement of T-cell and Natural Killer (NK) cell activity. NK cells can destroy unhealthy cells in the body virtually on contact.

Black elderberry standardized extract may provide protection against oxidative stress and modulate inflammatory cytokines to protect respiratory function. Elderberry provides vitamin A and vitamin C, as well as anthocyanins, which are potent free radical scavengers. Clinical and non-clinical studies have demonstrated elderberry’s immune-supporting properties. Echinacea is also recognized for its immune modulating effects.

Echinacea has been used successfully for hundreds of years to support immune health. Gaia Herbs Echinacea purpurea is grown on Gaia’a own certified organic farm. Concentrated for a fast-acting response. Echinacea Supreme contains the full spectrum of Echinacea phytochemicals – including isobutylamides, the constituents most effective at supporting a healthy immune response.

Chelated zinc is recommended for immunity at a dose of up to 30 mg per day; higher doses could increase the need for copper.

Selenium is also recommended, however, avoid the selenite form. Take 100-200 mcg/day of chelated selenium (selenomethionine).

Pre-formed vitamin A (retinyl palmitate) could be taken in daily doses; however, no more than 5,000 IU; beta-carotene could be substituted or added, but is not as sure a means of making vitamin A, which is essential for immunity. Adding 5,000 to 10,000 IU beta-carotene should be fine.

Vitamin C taken in divided doses supports immunity. Taking about 500 mg at a time enhances absorption and avoids a laxative effect possible at higher doses.

L-arginine is the main amino used for certain body repairs.


Whether fall or spring, seasonal allergy sufferers may find relief with nutrients known for their ability to support a healthy histamine response and to optimize overall immune function, in turn enhancing the immune system’s inflammatory response. Vitamin B5 and vitamin B6, as well as vitamin C, support immune function and the inflammatory response system.

Quercetin is a non-citrus flavonoid known for its antioxidant benefits.

Bromelain is an enzyme from pineapple that supports a healthy inflammatory response.

These supplements can help support a healthy histamine response, as well as support other critical immune functions. Moreover, it can be used throughout all seasons.


Medicinal mushrooms are a basic everyday immune-supporting food. Scientific studies have demonstrated that the 1,3 form of beta-glucan found in mushrooms possesses remarkable abilities to support both innate and adaptive immunity. As dietary supplements, look for blends of organically grown mushrooms.

NOW® Immune Renew™ is a potent immune system support formulation combining standardized astragalus extract with a high beta-glucan proprietary 8-mushroom blend. NOW Immune Renew is a potent immune system supporting formulation containing Standardized Astragalus Extract and a High Beta-Glucan Proprietary Mushroom Blend. Astragalus has been shown in non-clinical studies to support a number of aspects of healthy immune function, including the enhancement of T-Cell and Natural Killer Cell activity. Natural killer cells are so named because they destroy unhealthy cells in the body virtually on contact. NOW’s Proprietary Blend of eight organic mushrooms provides additional immune support due to its high 1,3 Beta Glucan content. 1-3 beta glucans are especially valuable to immune system response, though they’re increasingly lacking in today’s typical diet. Scientific studies have demonstrated that the 1,3 form of Beta Glucans found in mushrooms possesses remarkable abilities to support both innate and adaptive immunity. A strong, responsive immune system is the foundation of good health. Use NOW Immune Renew to help support healthy immune function throughout the year. The Organic Mushroom Blend used in this capsule makes up 38% of the total capsule weight.

Change of seasons, starting school, and large crowds are just a few of the factors that can assault the immune system, but including the proper nutrients to any preventive care regime can reduce the stress of these factors and improve health throughout the year.

These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


September 19, 2019 at 10:33 am Leave a comment

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