More than 70 million people in the U.S. experience symptoms of insomnia a few nights a week or more. This is a serious problem because there is a direct relationship between quantity and quality of sleep and health problems. These health issues range from obesity and diabetes to hypertension and cardiovascular disease.
Poor sleep can also lead to mood problems as a good night’s rest is essential to dealing with stress and prioritizing all of life’s hurdles. Decreased productivity and safety issues at home and work can set in. For instance insufficient sleep is linked to increased risk of motor vehicle accidents- a growing problem as the roads get more crowded and professional drivers are more burdened.
While sleep is extremely important, relying on a habit-forming prescription drug is probably not the answer. If pursuing a safe and natural solution, Natural Factors partnered with Dr. Michael Murray- one of the top Naturopaths in the country- to make a sleep aid called Tranquil Sleep. This product contains 3 safe and clinically studied ingredients: Melatonin, 5-HTP, and L-Theanine.
Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland, a small pea-sized gland at the base of the brain. Melatonin is critically involved controlling sleep/wake cycles as well as the “circadian rhythm”- physical, mental and behavioral changes that follow a roughly 24-hour cycle, responding primarily to light and darkness in an organism’s environment.
5-HTP is an amino acid that is the intermediary step between tryptophan and the brain chemical serotonin. Many are familiar with 5-HTP as a natural treatment for depression but some of its other key benefits is decreasing the time required to get to sleep as well as decreasing night time awakenings.
Finally L-Theanine is an amino acid derived from green tea that helps foster a relaxed state. L-Theanine helps generate Alpha brain waves- putting the brain in a relaxed state- which may improve both the entry into, and maintenance of, sleep.
Tranquil Sleep is available as a softgel or chewable tablet. In either form it is recommended to take 2 half an hour before bedtime. It is available in a convenient 5 day trial size for $5.99 which is usually enough time to see results.
Try Tranquil Sleep today and start sleeping better tonight!—
John A. Rigdon
Nature’s Outlet Educator
An interesting theory called the hygiene hypothesis proposes that childhood exposure to bacteria and even certain infections can be really beneficial to our health. Increased exposure to particular viruses, bacteria or parasites could partially explain why children who grow up around animals and in rural areas appear to develop conditions like asthma less often than children who don’t. This germ exposure not only has a vaccination effect on the immune system – priming it to defeat these microbes more easily in the future – but also teaches the body to differentiate harmless substances from the harmful substances that trigger conditions like asthma.
It’s likely that contact with certain germs teaches the immune system not to overreact. Such healthy exposure could have applications ranging from alleviating allergies to treating autoimmune diseases. And even adults could benefit from the hygiene hypothesis. After all, bacteria are all around us. The idea that things can be and should be “perfectly clean” is a myth. Humans have always coexisted with bacteria and need them to live.
However, rather than “roll yourself or your child on the floor of the NYC subway,” embrace bacteria in more practical ways. Eat cultured foods (yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi) and take a high potency probiotic supplement with a diverse array of strains.
For more reading, check out the full story here.
Image via Flickr
If you made it out to our seminar with Bruce Topping about digestive health, you’ll know he talked a lot about Betaine Hydrochloride, or HCl, and how it can help to level out stomach acid production.
Bruce was kind enough to find this article for us, perfectly articulating the protocol of using HCl and how it can help to rebuild your gut.
Here are some important excerpts from this article:
How to Figure Out Your Betaine HCL Dose
Each person will have a specific supplementary HCL dosage. Unfortunately, there isn’t a special formula I can give you to figure it out. This is a case of trial and error until you get to the correct dosage. Failing to get to your correct dosage can remove the benefits of supplementing.
You must find the right dosage for you situation. If you fail to do the trial and error you’re wasting your time and money.
This is a very common problem we see with our readers. Remember, the stomach is purposely built to handle extreme acid environments. If your correct dosage is 2400mg and you’re only taking 1200mg, you’re not really doing your stomach any favors. You must follow the process below to figure out the right dosage to get the maximum benefit.
- Eat a meal that contains at least 15-20grams of protein (about 4-6ounces of meat).
- Start by taking 1 pill (650mg or less) of Betaine HCL during the beginning of the meal.
- Finish the meal as normal and observe your body for any changes in feeling associated with the stomach and belly button area. Things to look for: heaviness, hotness, burning, or other GI distress.
- Stay at this dosage of 1 pill for another day of meals with protein and if you don’t notice anything on the 3rd day, try 2 pills.
- Stay there for another day and then try 3 pills.
- Keep increasing the number of pills taken with each meal until you notice some GI discomfort described in step #3.
- When this happens, you will know your ideal Betaine HCL dosage is 1 pill less. For example, if you felt the discomfort going from 5 pills to 6 pills, then 5 pills is your proper dosage for a normal meal.
A Couple Points to Clarify:
- – If you eat a snack or a meal without much protein, you won’t need as much Betaine HCL (for a small snack like a piece of fruit you won’t need any at all)
- – When you experience the GI discomfort finding your correct dosage, you can mix ½ teaspoon of baking soda in 8oz of water and drink it to help lessen the pain.
- – Dr. Wright notes in his book that “paradoxically adverse symptoms are most likely to occur in individuals with the lowest levels of stomach acid. This is because these people are most likely to have atrophic gastritis (a thinned-out stomach lining), which makes them much more sensitive to even small quantities of HCL than a normal, thicker stomach lining.” This makes sense because a super inflamed stomach lining won’t have its normal protective barrier intact to contain the strong acids. In this case, it is wise to start with digestive bitters or get smaller dose Betaine HCL pills (think 350mg or less).
- – If you have low stomach acid and you can’t supplement with Betaine HCL, there’s a few natural methods to help with symptoms. Start by taking a shot of lemon juice or vinegar before a meal to help the symptoms of indigestion. But know that these don’t actually help the digestion of food only the symptoms. A supplement that can help the digestion is digestive bitters.
I Need to Take How Many Betaine HCL Pills
It’s very common for people to stop short of their needed Betaine HCL dosage. In fact, in the beginning I was nervous about taking 6 pills at a meal. But trust me. there is nothing to worry about.
Dr. Wright reports that the common Betaine HCL dosage range in his clinical practice is 3,250-4,550mg per meal.
That means there are also plenty of people who need above 5,000mg for an effective dosage.
Remember, a normal functioning stomach is capable of producing and handling extreme acid ranges. If your dosage starts getting extremely high without any GI distress (step #3), you must use your GI symptoms as a guide instead. These include burping, bloating, farting, and stool consistency. Keep everything else the same in your diet as you wait for these indicators to change for the better. Just because you can take 20 pills, doesn’t mean you should. It could be that at 11 pills all of your problems disappear. For this group of people try to find the minimum dose needed to help your GI symptoms and for Pete’s sake go get more testing to figure out what is going on!
A little over a week ago we held our first free seminar of the year on “Rebuilding Your Gut.” Our speaker Bruce Topping basically rocked it. I think everyone who attended (and we were thrilled with the turnout of 200 or so people) learned just how
important the microbiome- the evolving collection of trillions of microbial organisms living in and on the body- is to overall health.
Bruce reiterated what many of us already knew- that probiotics are the beneficial bacteria that help us digest food, utilize nutrients, and fight infection. However I learned some fascinated new bits such as gut bacteria assisting in converting inactive thyroid hormone (T4) into the active form (T3.) In fact nearly 20 percent of T4 is converted in the GI tract so an unhealthy gut could have a noticeably negative impact on thyroid function. While Bruce certainly emphasized how important probiotic supplementation is to achieving healthy digestion and immunity, he also mentioned some other supplements as well as foods that will aid in the gut rebuilding process.
For instance Betaine HCL supplementation (5-9 500mg pills a day for a month to be precise) can help reestablish stomach acidity which is essential for keeping the digestive system in good working order. We need adequate acidity in the stomach to synchronize the timing of
digestion (make sure stomach is emptied in a timely manner to prevent reflux), kill harmful pathogens we accidentally ingest, and assimilate minerals such as calcium and magnesium just to name a few.
Some other helpful tips included ingesting “resistant starches” such as organic potatoes (baked or boiled), plantains, and greenish bananas as these foods are “prebiotics” or food for the beneficial bacteria in our gut. Bruce advised to slowly introduce such foods to avoid gas and bloating.
While these were some interesting highlights, here’s Bruce’s full list of the “4 R’s” for rebuilding your gut:
Step 1: Remove Digestive Irritants: These include wheat/flour, sugar, and corn syrup.
Step 2: Re-Inoculate Your Gut: Make cultured foods at home, eat resistant starch, and take probiotics.
Step 3: Replace Acids and Enzymes: Take Betaine HCL to replace stomach acid and take a full potency enzyme supplement at the end of each meal.
Step 4: Repairing the Gut with: bone stock soup, L-Glutamine powder, okra, blueberries, Vitamin A, slippery elm, marshmallow root, red raspberry, and ginger.
Many of these products are available at Nature’s Outlet and your local farmer’s market. Give us a call at (540) 989-5109 if you have any questions and best of luck rebuilding your gut!
John A. Rigdon
Nature’s Outlet Educator
One of my favorite things that we do at Nature’s Outlet is our free seminar series. And in about a month, we will be holding our first seminar of 2015. Personally, I find each seminar to be a huge opportunity to expand my knowledge and understanding of health and nutrition, which allows me to better serve our store’s customers and community.
Our seminars are unique and exciting in several ways.
First and foremost, they are always free and open to the public, because we feel everyone should have access to knowledge that empowers them to better health.
Second, each seminar is designed with a primary focus on education, not sales. While our speakers are generally affiliated with or sponsored by a specific company, they touch on a broad spectrum of topics and focus on the science rather than selling points.
And lastly, our seminars give the community access to some of the top minds in the field of health and nutrition. This includes Naturopathic and Medical doctors, dietitians, and best-selling authors.
Our upcoming speaker may be a familiar face to some. Bruce Topping, the national educator for Garden of Life, has done seminars and television programs with us in the past, and his message always resonates with our audience.
Bruce grew up working in health food stores “bagging up bulgur wheat and sealing up carob powder.” As a result, his passion and interest led to a life as a consummate student of health and nutrition.
Bruce’s specialty is digestive health, and in my opinion he is one of the country’s leading experts on probiotics and the roll they play in overall human health. Digestive problems are one of the nation’s biggest health issues. An estimated 60 to 70 million people suffer from digestive ailments, including heartburn, acid reflux, GERD, IBS, indigestion, constipation, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. I’ve yet to see Bruce get stumped by a question regarding digestive health, so chances are any lingering questions you have will receive helpful, practical answers and solutions.
Join us on May 26th to hear Bruce in-person and have the opportunity to have him answer your personal questions. We’ll be giving away a variety of exciting door prizes, including a FitBit, Garden of Life gift basket, and several coupons for store credit.
Call 540-989-5109 to reserve your spot today!