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Health Conditions

Exciting New Ingredients for Improving Cognition

Pyrroloquinoline Quinone (PQQ) PQQ is a relatively large molecule that was first discovered in bacteria, by scientists in 1979. The significance of this molecule wasn’t fully realized until a few years later when researchers found that the PQQ molecule could take part in redox reactions. These reactions are vital to the body for energy generation. Energy is the key, since it is required in carrying out virtually all the functions in a cell including: growth, repair, reproduction, synthesis, breakdown, waste removal and others. If energy isn’t produced rapidly and efficiently then cells die. How PQQ Functions in the Body PQQ

Memory and Cognitive Performance

The human brain is like no other in terms of its ability to simultaneously synthesize information and carry out complex tasks on a regular basis. While it would be naive to say that we fully understand its interrelationship with the rest of the body and our environment, modern research has made great strides to elucidate its various structures and functions. Here is a brief look at our current understanding of cognitive function and the risk factors that threaten its well-being. While a focus on memory is highlighted, all aspects of cognitive performance including language, reaction time, focus, mood and information

Skeletal Development and its Influential Factors

A typical adult human skeleton consists of 206 bones. The skeleton gives support to the body and acts as a reservoir of various minerals. In spite of its solid appearance, the bone constitutes a very dynamic tissue that undergoes a continuous process of formation and resorption. The complex molecular mechanisms regulating bone remodeling are not fully understood, but we know that it involves a crosstalk between two types of cells: bone breakdown and resorption cells called osteoclasts and cells that form bone called osteoblasts. Osteoclasts degrade the mineral matrix in response to a variety of signals, while osteoblasts deposit new

Essential Magnesium for Supporting an Active Body

As one of the most important nutrients in the diet, magnesium offers several health enhancing benefits. The body uses magnesium for essential cellular functions such as producing energy, maintaining normal functioning of the nerves and muscles, heart rhythm, immunity and bone health. More than 300 biological processes occurring in the body require magnesium. Thankfully, magnesium is relatively easy to obtain through a healthful diet. However, for some people magnesium absorption may be impaired for a number of reasons such as depleted soils, having intestinal disorders like Crohn’s disease or colitis, and/or as a result of taking certain types of medications.

The Breakdown on Digestive Enzymes

Digestive enzymes are naturally present in all living organisms to aid in the digestion of food by breaking down large food carbohydrates, lipids and protein macromolecules into smaller building blocks that can be easily absorbed and utilized by the organism. The Classification of Digestive Enzymes Digestive enzymes are classified based on their target substrate, whether it is carbohydrate, lipid, or protein. Within each class of enzyme lie many types of enzymes, each targeting different substrates, and digesting them into different sizes.Proteases and peptidases break down proteins into smaller peptides and amino acids. Amino acids, the smallest building blocks of protein,

Botanical Supplement Support for the Digestive System

Nature offers many compounds that may be beneficial for alleviating digestive disorders such as IBS, IBD, cancer, ulcers, acid reflux and others. A few of the more widely studied and successfully used natural supplements include: DGL, boswellia, mastica, curcumin, and fiber. DGL (De-glycyrrhizinated licorice) Traditionally, licorice has been used throughout history by many cultures for various diseases. It is a key component in syrups and herbal teas and is useful for treating cough and cold symptoms, as well as for a host of gastric issues, the latter due mainly for its demulcent or soothing properties. Unfortunately, while being highly effective

The World of Probiotics: Good Bugs vs. Bad Bugs

Understanding Different Strains of Bacteria, Symbiosis, and Why Many Probiotics Don’t Work The original definition of probiotics was established in 1953 but was somewhat confusing. Today, probiotics simply mean live microorganisms which when reaching the intestines in large numbers will exert positive health effects. Probiotic literally means pro-life or health promoting organisms. There are trillions of bacteria that have set up shop in our intestines (both small and large) and represent a very large and diverse group. Not all of these are friendly; there are a significant number that are hostile such as E. coli or Salmonella or Cryptosporidium that

The Ups and Downs of Heartburn

Heartburn is a burning sensation in the chest that can extend to the neck, throat, and face. It is often worsened by bending over or lying down. It is the primary symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which is the movement of stomach acid into the esophagus. GERD is caused by frequent acid reflux, the backup of stomach acid into the esophagus. When swallowing, the lower esophageal sphincter which is a circular band of muscle around the bottom part of the esophagus, relaxes to allow food and liquid to flow down into your stomach. Then it closes again. However, if

Autoimmunity and the Gut: Taking a Closer Look at Immune System Function and Celiac & IBD

Integrity of the Gut The intestines are the largest mucosal interface between the environment and us. A single layer of epithelial cells is all that separates the bloodstream and the contents of the intestines. The small intestine has the complex and crucial role of allowing nutrients inside the body while keeping bacteria, toxins, and wastes outside. The tight junctions separating the intestinal cells assume some of these functions. The tight junctions aren’t cemented as previously thought but are rather dynamic structures. Research has revealed that tight junctions are made up of a complex meshwork of proteins, the interaction of which

The Gut-Brain Connection

Have you ever experienced butterflies in the stomach before an important meeting? Does attempting to “cure” the blues with Ben and Jerry’s sound familiar? If so, then you are already acquainted with the existence of a connection between our moods and our gut. Indeed, the brain and the digestive system are linked by complex pathways where information flows back and forth on a continual basis: certain feelings and thoughts can stimulate an exaggerated gut response, while sensitized nerves in the gut can trigger changes in the brain. The Nervous System and the “Second Brain” The nervous system is a complex

Methylation & HomocysteineTheir Vital Roles in Heart Health

A subject that is gaining much attention in many circles of medicine these days is methylation, as it pertains to our body’s functions and in particular the management of homocysteine.With respect to statistics of heart disease in Canada, according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, every 7 minutes in Canada someone will die of heart disease or stroke. They are both in the top three causes of death for Canadians. Although numbers have improved with respect to heart disease over the years, these are still very sobering statistics.Thus, in looking at a preventative approach and management strategy for heart health,

What You Need to Know About Mitchondrial Dysfunction and the Heart

The Mitochondrial Theory of Aging The mitochondrial theory of aging (MTA) and the free-radical theory of aging (FRTA) are closely related, and were in fact proposed by the same researcher about 20 years apart. Both theories suggest that free-radicals damage DNA over time, causing one to age, while the MTA just adds the mitochondria and its production of free radicals into the equation. These theories and the understanding we now have of free radicals are the reason that antioxidants are such popular supplements and topics of discussion today. The Paradox Mitochondria are like little cells within our cells (see Figure