Brain Function – Increase yours naturally!

Preserve your brain and nerve function.  There are great supplements and lifestyle changes to help with this.

Some of the keys to long-term health for brain and nerves involves keeping insulin, blood sugar, inflammation, and toxicity at low levels.

High blood sugar and high insulin can damage the fine tissues of the brain and nervous system.  You do not have to be diabetic to experience this.  Eating a low glycemic diet is important.  If you want more information, a good book is “The Glycemic Load Diet.”

Toxicity is also an issue in terms of brain and nerve health – especially heavy metal toxicity.  All heavy metals act as neuro-toxins.  Avoid unnecessary chemicals when possible – this includes pesticides, fertilizers, herbicides, cleaning products, smoking, etc.

Make sure you are taking a high quality multi-vitamin – I recommend those that are either food based, or those made with phosphorylated B vitamins to get good results.

B12 is also important.  It must be sublingual – meaning either drops or lozenge.  If you are swallowing it, you will not absorb it.  I like either methylcobalamin or even better, hydroxocobalimin.

Vitamin D is good for lots of things including the brain.  Blood tests are very good at determining if you are deficient in this vitamin.

Acetyl-L-Carnitine – this is a great product that protects the brain from age-related degeneration and has been shown to improve mood, memory, and thought process.  It combines well with Alpha Lipoic Acid and Co-Q 10 to help maintain function of the cells.

Alpha Lipoic Acid is a super antioxidant that helps lower blood sugar, is useful for neuropathy, helps detoxify heavy metals, and helps recycle and extend the useful life of other antioxidants such a vitamins C & E and Co-Q 10.  There is a lot of research on Alpha Lipoic – it needs to be the correct form – which is R-lipoic – reputable companies will use this form.

Co-Q-10 – Research shows that this supplement helps slow neurological degeneration.  It provides energy to the cells and is very useful in conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease.

Ginkgo Biloba is an herb that acts as an antioxidant to the brain and it also increases blood circulation to the brain.  It has been used for centuries to help memory.

Green Tea – is another antioxidant that is helpful for the brain.  Also useful is L-theanine, which is an amino acid from green tea that helps the brain be calm and focused.

Omega 3 Oils, particularly the DHA ,component help feed the brain.

Phosphatidyl Serine is important to brain function.  It has been shown to slow and even reverse age related memory loss.  It helps with mood, memory, concentration and word recall.

Phosphatidyl Choline is another supplement that helps preserve brain and nerve function by supplying necessary nutrients.

Some combination of these ingredients will help increase your brain and nerve function.  There are great combinations available.  Most of the really good products are expensive, so remember that quality and correct doses really count when it comes to these anti-aging supplements.

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Digestion – Could yours be better?

Digestion is a top to bottom process that is vital to our health. Digestion is the means by which we assimilate nutrients that run our bodies. Problems with digestion interfere with the way our bodies are fed at a cellular level.
I always say that we are what we eat, assimilate and do not eliminate. Problems with digestion can be many – but they generally start with what we chose to eat. Many foods actually erode or inflame our stomach lining causing problems with digestion such as indigestion and/or acid reflux. These foods include milk, white flour products, orange juice and coffee.
If there is a problem at the upper end of the digestive tract, there will be problems all the way down. For example, many people have problems with indigestion and take products that block stomach acid. Stomach acid is actually important as it helps set the pH of the digestive tract, it makes certain nutrients – particularly proteins and minerals more available, and it helps our immune system by killing bacteria and parasites that enter our bodies in our food. If you block acid production, then those functions do not happen correctly and digestion is compromised all the way down.
Most indigestion happens from not enough stomach acid. Roughly 5 percent of indigestion is actually from too much acid. Taking digestive aids that contain some hydrochloric acid (HCL) actually helps many cases of indigestion. Raw apple cider vinegar is also good for this. Those with too much acid can typically repair stomach lining and come back into balance.
The small intestine depends on enzymes from the pancreas and bile from the liver. People with issues involving the pancreas, liver and/or gallbladder will have problems assimilating nutrients correctly. There are great natural products to take to help balance these processes.
Many people complain of indigestion after gallbladder removal. It sometimes helps to add supplements containing bile salts to help emulsify fats and help simulate a normal process of digestion.
Another common issue that interferes with digestion is yeast/fungus – also known as candida. People that do not make enough stomach acid will typically develop this as will those who consume too many sweets and other foods that convert easily into sugar. Yeast overgrowth can be brought into balance by diet changes and natural supplements to help kill yeast and restore balance to the intestinal tract.
The last problem for today’s article is constipation or diarrhea. Constipation happens for many reasons – not enough water or fiber, liver congestion, low protein intake, magnesium deficiency, prescription drugs, thyroid problems and more. These can be helped with natural supplements.
Diarrhea when not associated with a stomach virus, is typically caused by yeast/fungus, parasites and/or food allergies.
Good digestion is good for you. Consider making yours better naturally.

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Natural Product Pricing – Be Smart!

Pricing of natural supplements impacts our choices. You might wonder why a column on natural health would be about product pricing – how much something costs is an important aspect in choosing the right supplements to take.
I assume that everyone takes supplements to be healthier – otherwise why bother? But the question I ask is “are your supplements making you healthier?” I see many supplements in my day to day business – those that I sell, those from vendors who want me to sell theirs, and those that people bring in to show me what they are taking.
At least half of what I see is not worth taking. Before I go further, I would like to say that nutritional supplements are big business – really big business. Vitamins and herbs used to be manufactured by companies that were trying to make the best products to get the best results. However, over time, our wonderful American system gave birth to those who could use cheap raw materials and cheap manufacturing processes and make products that make them money – regardless of whether they actually work or are good for you.
Most people don’t realize that the cheaper products are made from ingredients that are rejected by the companies that test for quality. When a company tests their raw materials, the ingredients that do not meet the quality standards are bought by the companies that make cheap products. These companies can make cheap products because they do not test and they buy low quality ingredients. On supplements, this is an important concept. Ingredients that are below quality standards for the companies that test have something wrong with them – they tend to be the wrong form, have some form of contamination, or simply do not have the right chemical components to work like they should.
On the other side of the pricing issue is products that are marked up more than they should be. I see this with internet and television marketing. Many times products sold this way cost 3 times what they should cost. These products are never that special – there are always good quality, similar products available without the excessive mark-up at traditional health food stores.
Other products that cost too much are those sold by multi-level marketing schemes – also known as pyramids. Most products sold this way are marked up an extra 50-100 percent so that the bonus payments can be made to those “upstream”. In a multi-level marketing scheme, the cheapest price offered is about what that product should cost if sold in a traditional retail store. The extra fees and excess product costs go to the top of the pyramid. Very few of the multi-level products are truly unique and most are medium quality at best – yet many people are willing to pay a premium because of how the products are marketed.
Remember, in a world where money is the motivating factor, absolutely nothing is safe and the only way you can be sure of getting products that will actually help build your health at fair prices is to learn about quality, learn to read labels and to be discerning about what is behind pricing differences.

Note to readers:  My husband and I strive to provide quality products at a good value everyday at our store. We have regular discounts on most of our products.  We have selected our inventory based on what we have seen be effective over the past 12 years.  Many repeat customers tell me that they have tried other products, but the other products did not work like the ones we sell.  I sincerely hope that if you are taking supplements for your health, that you are taking something that will truly make you healthier.

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Vacation – Everybody needs one!

Natural Cowgirl is on vacation until the first week of September!

Enjoy the rest of your summer!  

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