Saturday, August 08, 2009

Choosing natural supplements

It's getting very complicated out there when it comes to finding the right products for a variety of health issues from things as serious as depression to just cold medicines. For menopause supplements it's REALLY getting hard! There are HUNDREDS, if not thousands, of products that make claims from "help relieve symptoms" to "cure your menopause". Some really do help and everyone just has to experiment to find what works for them, but Ladies, there is NO CURE for menopause! That's one reason I came up with the phrase "Menopause is not a disease, it's a LIFESTYLE"™

Here's a good example. I've been taking St. John's Wort for many years, not on a daily basis, just when I noticed that I was feeling down too often. I usually felt kind of a lift of spirits within 3-4 days and would then stop taking it. You must be careful if you're taking other medications because SJW can interact with them! SJW interacts with many medications because one of the main active ingredients (Hyperforin) is a potent inducer of the P glycoprotein enzyme, which is involved in metabolizing about 50% of the drugs on the market. This leads to medicines being metabolized by the body more quickly, decreased serum levels of these medications and reduced efficacy."

Then I read this: "According to the research, only St. John's Wort extracts that are standardized to contain 3-5% hyperforin effectively relieve depression, so don’t settle for products that aren’t standardized for hyperforin or standardize only for another, less important compound called hypericin. Also, keep in mind that St. John's Wort usually requires at least three weeks to begin working, and may not produce its full effects for a month or two."

When I looked at my bottle of SJW, I saw that it is standardized for hypericin, not hyperforin. Here's more info to explain this: Not all St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum) products are created equal. Unfortunately, most of the brands found on the shelves of your local vitamin shop or health food market will do nothing to help depression or anxiety. Why? Because few products sold in the United States contain a standardized amount of the active ingredient, hyperforin. (Carefully examine products that claim to be "standardized", because most standardize for only hypericin, an inactive ingredient!)

Recent research shows that only St. John's Wort extracts standardized to contain high concentrations of hyperforin relieve depression and anxiety. Extracts not containing significant levels of hyperforin, even when standardized for hypericin and manufactured using accepted methods, work no better than placebo. I've written to Sundown and hope they will respond with an explanation about why their SJW uses an inactive ingredient. I'm sure they will and I still trust their name as much as any of them (not saying how much that is though). I just bought a new product yesterday--Apple Cider Vinegar tablets--made by Sundown. I'll definitely post their response here when I get it.

Now I'm out on the search for OTHER products that need some research! You all can help me out here if you have found something that doesn't do what it's supposed to do or have the stuff it's supposed to have. Just make sure you back it up with your research, ok?

Monday, August 03, 2009

Vitamin D recommendations

I'm finally hearing about something that is obviously SO important...Vitamin D! I've been on a search for the past 4½ years for something to help my skin because of psoriasis, so the issue of vit D has been on my radar for awhile now and I knew that the recommendations were way too low. I've been taking up to 4000 UI per day and today I heard a doctor on Good Morning America say "I recommend 1000 to 2000 international units of vitamin D supplements every day. It's cheap, there are no side effects or down sides. Although D3 is considered more potent and longer lasting, both D2 and D3 are acceptable."

I just had a full blood workup and checking for Vitamin D (which is really not a vitamin) was not even mentioned. Next time I will ASK for that...which is another frustration of mine...if WE know this information and there's so many reports about how people are so deficient in vit D, then why do we have to mention it to our doctors? Boggles the mind considering it's such an important element in our makeup.

Here's a response to the piece on Good Morning America:

5 Ways Vitamin D Could Save Your Life - ABC News: "I am Vitimin D deficient and just taking D3 was not being absorbed. I am now on a very high dose of D3 and having my blood checked to see if I am absorbing it. I was told that most of the D in food products and solid pill form was ineffective. Have your doctor order a blood test to see how much D you need. If you are going to take it, it makes sense to be taking the right amount and the correct type."

Here's a great article that explains all of this, like:
"The skin produces approximately 10,000 IU vitamin D in response 20–30 minutes summer sun exposure—50 times more than the US government's recommendation of 200 IU per day!"

Vitamin D Council | Understanding Vitamin D Cholecalciferol

So, how much did YOU know about Vitamin D?

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Am I still middle aged?

Sometimes when we're not paying attention, we slip through one age group to another and I'm really trying to be REAL about where I am. LOL! The last time I was truly certain about what group I belonged in was when I was a teenager! That is clearly defined, but after that we're usually described by our decade--20's, 30's, 40's--then it starts getting sticky!

I guess we'll have to blame it on AARP. They are to blame for all the angst that comes sometime during your 49th year. Afterall, it's a magazine for RETIRED people for cripes sake! How many of you will retire (or have retired) at age 50? Here's my guess--0. Even the people who can AFFORD to retire at that age, don't. That's not what babyboomers do. So many that I know just create an entirely new career. Even I STARTED my business, Minnie Pauz Enterprises, at age 49 so I'm certainly not retired.

Which brings me back to my question. I accepted the fact that I was middle aged at 50because it's the "middle" of almost everything...the football field, the speedometer and the number 100. But, now that I'm 11 years past that mid-mark, I'm getting concerned. Am I falling into the OMG, SENIOR category???? To most in their 20's, 30's and 40's, yes I'm most definitely a senior citizen. To those in their 50's, I think they would be a little more kind considering they're starting to see the short time span between 50 and 60. I'm sure they would consider me still in the middle aged group, right?

Considering the fact that I now am only 9 years (a blink of my bespeckled eyes) away from OMG, 70, I am going to say that I would say that middle age covers from 45 through 65. After all, we DO want to take advantage of all the Senior Citizen Discounts, right? (You know, dicount wheelchairs, life insurance, LOL).

So I guess that gives me another 4 years to call myself middle aged instead of a senior! Whew!!