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iHerb Blog

Vitamin D Levels Drop Despite Massive Education Effort
Vitamin D Levels Drop Despite Massive Education Effort

A huge and growing amount of research has now shown that vitamin D deficiency is very common with some studies showing at least 50% of the North American general population having low blood levels of vitamin D – a finding thought to play a major role in the development in many of the chronic degenerative diseases. In fact, vitamin D deficiency may be the most common medical condition in the world and vitamin D supplementation may be the most cost effective strategy in improving health, reducing disease, and living longer. Those deficient in vitamin D have twice the rate of death and a doubling of risk for many diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, asthma and autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis. The human genome contains more than 2,700 binding sites for active D3; those binding sites are near genes involved in virtually every known major disease of humans.

Background Information

Vitamin D is actually more of a “prohormone” than a vitamin. We produce vitamin D3 in our body by the reaction of a chemical in our skin in response to sunlight. This vitamin D3 is converted by the liver and then the kidneys to its active hormonal form 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3.

The ideal method for determining the optimal dosage requires a readily available blood test for 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 or 25(OH)D3. For optimum health, blood levels should be between 50-80 ng/mL. While some people can achieve an optimal level with just 600 IU per day (or 20 minutes of daily sunlight exposure) others may require as much 10,000 IU per day. The only way to determine where a person may fall is by testing. Many doctors are now routinely checking vitamin D status in their patients.

Risk Factors in a Vitamin D Deficiency 

Insufficient exposure to sunlight – working and playing indoors, covering up with clothes or sunscreen when outside, residing at a high latitude.


Aging – seniors are at greater risk due to lack of mobility and skin that is less...

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PQQ Lowers LDL-Cholesterol Levels
PQQ Lowers LDL-Cholesterol Levels

Introduction

Every major advance in nutritional medicine generally starts out as an unknown entity. That is certainly true for PQQ (short for pyrroloquinoline quinone). Although PQQ is a relatively new dietary supplement on the market, its potential is absolutely enormous. The potential benefits are nearly limitless as it has shown a wide range of enhancements to brain and body function. It is especially powerful in its ability to boost brain function, including memory.

A new study with BioPQQ™ – a safe form of PQQ produced through a natural fermentation process – indicates that it can lower LDL cholesterol levels in subjects with initial levels greater than 140 mg/dl. PQQ is known to activate the enzyme AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPk) that helps to regulate blood lipid levels.

Background Data:

Although PQQ is not currently viewed as a vitamin, it is likely to be considered an essential nutrient in the future. PQQ serves as a cofactor for a special class of enzymes involved in cellular function including cellular growth, development, differentiation, and survival. Without PQQ, our cells would cease to function properly. PQQ has been found in all plant foods analyzed to date. PPQ-rich foods include parsley, green peppers, kiwi fruit, papaya and tofu. These foods contain about 2-3 mcg per 100 grams. Studies with PQQ generally use dosage levels of 10 to 20 mg, which are levels much higher than the typical dietary intake of about 100 mcg.

One key action of PQQ involves a direct action on major enzymes involved in the energy producing compartments in our cells of the mitochondria. As a result, PQQ improves energy production; current research has primarily focused on its ability to protect memory and cognition in both aging animals and humans. Here are some of the effects noted:

  • PQQ reverses cognitive impairment caused by chronic oxidative stress and improve performance on memory tests in animal models.
  • PQQ prevents the development of osteoarthritis in an animal model.
  • PQQ protects nerve cells from the damaging effects of the beta-amyloid-protein linked with Alzheimer’s disease.
  • The combination of PQQ and CoQ10 (respectively, 20 mg and 300 mg) improved mental function in a human double-blind study.
  • PQQ (0.2 mg PQQ/kg body weight) increased the antioxidant potential and energy metabolism while decreasing inflammation in another double-blind study.

New Data:

In this new study, the effects of PQQ (as BioPQQ™) on serum triglyceride and cholesterol levels were examined in humans after 6 and 12 weeks of supplementation at an oral dosage of 20 mg per day. A total of 29 healthy adults, ranging from 40 to 57 years old, with normal to moderately high triglyceride levels (110-300 mg/dL) were included in the study. While the average serum triglyceride levels did not change; in those subjects with LDL-cholesterol levels ≥140 mg/dl), at 6 weeks PQQ supplementation produced a statistically significant decrease in total cholesterol (from an average of 247 to 216 mg/dl) and LDL-cholesterol (from an average of 156 to 132 mg/dl). Results persisted at 12 weeks.

These results show that PQQ supplementation may produce meaningful reductions in LDL-cholesterol presumably as a result of AMPk activation. It adds to a growing body of clinical data on the benefits of this important compound.

Commentary:

PQQ activates AMPk, an enzyme that is found inside every cell that serves as a “master regulating switch” in energy metabolism. Low levels of AMPk activity is associated with:

  • Accelerated aging
  • Chronic inflammation
  • High blood cholesterol and triglycerides
  • Increased visceral “belly” fat
  • Insulin resistance
  • Mitochondrial insufficiency and dysfunction
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Obesity
  • Poor blood sugar control

Since PQQ activates AMPk it is only a matter of time before clinical data is produced showing PQQ is helpful for a long list of health challenges.

Consumers need to be aware of different forms of PQQ on the marketplace. BioPQQ™ is the only form that I know of that is produced naturally. Other forms are produced through a chemical synthesis and involve the use of fairly toxic compounds. Read labels closely and use only BioPQQ™.

Reference:

Nakano M, Kawasaki Y, Suzuki N, Takara T. Effects of Pyrroloquinoline Quinone Disodium Salt Intake on the Serum Cholesterol Levels of Healthy Japanese Adults.

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Beauty From Within
Beauty From Within

How olives, green tea, hyaluronic acid, and silicon can make your more beautiful

Radiant and vibrant hair, skin, and nails have long been associated with good health. While most people try and improve the appearance of these tissues from the outside, the real secret to healthy skin, beautiful hair, and strong nails comes from within. And it starts with good nutrition and key dietary supplements.

A deficiency of any essential nutrient, including vitamins, minerals, fat, or protein, can cause impaired manufacture of new skin cells. A healthy diet is therefore crucial for hair, skin, and nail health and overall appearance. Taking key supplements is equally as important. Start with a high-potency multivitamin/mineral formula and a pharmaceutical-grade fish oil—these two supplements offer a balance of essential beauty nutrients for people of all ages.

Preventing Wrinkles

Why does skin wrinkle? The main culprit is free radical damage from external (sun, pollution) and internal (cigarette smoke, poor diet) causes. Over time, the amount of fat stored in the layers just below the skin also diminishes, causing the skin to sag. And as we age, the collagen in skin loses its ability to hold its shape. We can blame this on decreased hyaluronic acid production: By age 70, most people will have lost approximately 80 percent of the hyaluronic acid they had at 40. As a result, the collagen fibers become fewer and farther between. As the network of collagen and hyaluronic acid shrinks, the skin becomes thinner and less elastic. Glands that secret natural oils also wither away, causing skin to become dry and itchy.

To prevent wrinkles from forming, be sure to eat a diet rich in antioxidants and do your best to avoid free radical exposure. There’s also more you can do: Consider taking the following innovative supplements to help restore collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid.

Olive Fruit Extract and Green Tea

An interesting antioxidant for skin health...

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Low Immune Function
Low Immune Function

What is low immune function?

Low immune function refers to an underactive and poor performing immune system. The immune system’s prime function is to protect the body against infection and the development of cancer. Support and enhancement of the immune system is perhaps the most important step in achieving resistance to disease and reducing susceptibility to colds, flus, and cancer. Supporting the immune system involves a health-promoting lifestyle, stress management, exercise, diet, and the appropriate use of nutritional supplements and herbal medicines.

If you answer “yes” to any of the following questions, it is a sign that your immune system needs support:

  • Do you catch colds easily?
  • Do you get more than two colds a year?
  • Are you suffering chronic infection?
  • Do you get frequent cold sores or have genital herpes?
  • Are your lymph glands sore and swollen at times?
  • Do you have now or have you ever had cancer?

Recurrent or chronic infections-even very mild colds-only occur when the immune system is weakened. Under such circumstances, there is a repetitive cycle that makes it difficult to overcome the tendency toward infection: a weakened immune system leads to infection, infection causes damage to the immune system, which further weakens resistance. Enhancing the immune system can provide the answer to breaking the cycle.

What causes low immune function?

The health of the immune system is greatly impacted by a person’s emotional state, level of stress, lifestyle, dietary habits and nutritional status. Nutrient deficiency is the most frequent cause of a depressed immune system. An overwhelming number of clinical and experimental studies indicate that any single nutrient deficiency can profoundly impair the immune system.

What dietary factors are important in low immune function?

Optimal immune function requires a healthy diet that is (1) rich in whole, natural foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, seeds, and nuts, (2) low in...

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What Is The Proper Dosage Of Jogging?
What Is The Proper Dosage Of Jogging?

There is no question that a sedentary lifestyle is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and an early death. But a new study provides data to make it easy to conclude, that people who go to the opposite end of the spectrum and run too much suffer the same consequence. As usual, there is more to the story before “running” to a conclusion.

Background Data:

Regular exercise protects against the development of CVD and also favorably modifies other CVD risk factors including high blood pressure, blood lipid levels, insulin resistance, and obesity. Exercise is also important in the treatment and management of patients with CVD or increased risk including those who have hypertension, stable angina, a prior heart attack, peripheral vascular disease, heart failure or are recovering from a cardiovascular event.

Despite the benefits of exercise, throughout history there have been reports of people dying from running too much or too far. The most famous case is that of Pheidippides, a running courier who in 490 B.C. is believed to have run from Marathon to Athens, Greece, a distance of approximately 25 miles, to bring news of the Athenian victory over the Persians. Upon reaching the Athenian Agora, he exclaimed “Nike!” (“victory”), and then collapsed and died.

One of the most famous studies on the effect of exercise and jogging on heart health is the Copenhagen City Heart Study. One analysis of this study was performed in a random sample of 1,878 joggers who were followed for up to 35 years and compared with 16,827 non-joggers showed that the increase in survival among joggers was 6.2 years in men and 5.6 years in women. This particular analysis also indicated that jogging up to 2.5 hour per week at a slow or average pace and a frequency of ≤3 times per week was associated with the lowest mortality. Those who jogged >4 hours per week, at a fast pace, and >3 times per week appeared to lose many of the...

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