Every single day that I am a nutritionist, I'm invigorated by helping people feel better. I will tell you that I have practiced in a hospital setting for 18 years, and find energy and joy from helping people on the path to recovery. I have also had the great privilege of being a nutrition researcher, which gave me a deep understanding of what makes up good research or just hype or fuel for..
Oat bran is fibrous, but don’t let that scare you away; it can taste great. Oat bran nutrition is off the charts and it won’t spike your blood sugar like many grain options. I personally love cream of oats variety of oat bran, which is a tasty sub for the less-nutritious cream of wheat. It is easy to make low carb oatmeal recipes with it too! Learn why you can include oat bran even if you are limiting carbohydrates.
History of Oats
Oats (Avina sativa) are a type of grass seed that are thought to originally be from West Asia and first eaten around 2000 B.C. Oats were probably only eaten as weed seeds that far back.
Oats took a long time to get popular because people generally weren’t as first fond of the taste. This is probably because they are higher fat content than other grains, and are more susceptible to spoiling.
People in northern Europe, such as Scandinavia and Scotland, grew more oats than other countries because it is a crop that does better in colder weather. Oats gradually gained more popularity across the world. Most oats on the market today are heated to reduce spoiling, so tastes are much improved!
What is Oat Bran?
Oat bran is the fibrous, protective coating of the oat seed that is packed with nutrition. The fiber of oat bran is softer than that of wheat or other grains because its fiber content is more soluble.
Soluble fibers soak up water more easily than non-soluble fibers. Therefore, it has a smoother, more palatable texture than wheat bran.
Oat Bran Nutrition
Oat bran is a very rich source of magnesium. This is important because magnesium is a critical nutrient that so many people lack. It is also a good source of other minerals, including phosphorus and selenium. Oats are one of the highest food sources of thiamine (vitamin B1).
Oat bran fiber is very unique in structure as you will also learn below. It is slowly digestible and even reduces glucose levels. Oats are the only food to contain a powerful antioxidant called avenanthramide, which gives oats unique health benefits.
Net carb simply subtracts the fiber, which is a slowly digested or non-digested form of carb, from the total carbs. To find out net carbs of oat bran, simply take the total carb of 18.4 g and subtract the fiber content of 4.3 and you get net carb amount of 18.1 grams.
Oat bran Glycemic index
Oat bran has a glycemic index of 50, making it a low glycemic index food. This means it does not spike blood sugar quickly after a meal.
Is Oat Bran Gluten Free?
Are oats gluten free? Oats with less than 20 parts per billion of gluten can technically be considered gluten free and do not seem to cause symptoms in most patients with celiac disease.
When choosing oats and oat bran, make sure to find labels that say gluten free, as some oats can be contaminated with other grains with gluten.
If you have celiac disease, a small percentage of you may still have sensitivity to gluten-free oats. Why? According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, oat contain avenin, a protein that is similar to gluten in structure that activates immune cells.
Generally, people with non-celiac gluten sensitivity can tolerate gluten-free oats.
Beta Glucan in Oat Bran
Beta glucan is a viscous or soluble type of fiber found in things like oats, yeast, bacteria, mushrooms, and algae. Oat bran is the most concentrated place of beta glucan in oats. It is a type of fiber that has a lot of research supporting health benefits.
Beta glucan content of oat bran is between 15-40% of the total weight, making it very concentrated in this healthy fiber.
Oat Bran Health Benefits
Can Be a Healthy, Low Carb Oatmeal
Eating oat bran on a low carb diet can fit in well, even if following a keto diet. How is this possible?
While oat bran is not technically low carb on its own, it can be if prepared correctly. See below for some recipe options.
You will soon find out that oat bran acts low carb in the body as well; it reduces blood sugar spikes and insulin levels!
While some experts extol the keto diet and others scoff at it, keto has its health benefits and can be useful for some health conditions. Always seek advice from a health professional first.
Based on research, oat bran can be a great add in as a low carb oatmeal because of its metabolic benefits.
Additionally, many athletes who follow a keto diet include carbohydratesources before exercise and still remain in ketosis as well. These keto diets include the targeted keto diet and cyclical ketogenic diet.
Personally, keto isn’t for me because I’m already very lean with a high metabolism, but I am mindful of having healthy carbs and including low net carbs.
Oat Bran Heart Benefits
A compilation study of 14 clinical trials concluded that oat bran reduces total cholesterol,LDL cholesterol, after-meal glucose spikes, hemoglobin A1C, and insulin levels.
Another similar study of 28 clinical trials concluded that adding 3 grams or more of oat beta glucan per day robustly reduces LDL cholesterol.
Oat bran reduces harmful cholesterol by complex mechanisms in the food structure. It may also help increase fat breakdown, or lipolysis, as well.
Oat bran may also have heart health benefits because it may:
Reduce immune cell (monocyte) stickiness in the artery wallsMay reduce release of proinflammatory compounds in immune cells
LDL cholesterol can improve on average 23 percent when including oat bran in your dietas shown by numerous clinical research studies.
Addingfiber-rich foods to the diet like oat bran can reduce constipation as well as laxatives, according to recent research. The majority of people find constipationrelief when adding more fiber to their diet. Fiber-rich foods can also reduce diarrhea symptoms in some people!
Be careful to also increase fluids in your diet when you increase fiber. Make sure to also increase fiber in your diet gradually to avoid side effects.
Oat bran, a type of prebiotic, may improve the growth of beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract as well.
Make sure to also stay active and eat a well-balanced diet to have the best digestive health.
Oat Bran Improves Diabetes
14 studies have shown that oat bran is useful to manage diabetes. That's pretty strong evidence.
Oat bran reduces the body’s insulin response to meals and also suppressed gene sets related to insulin levels in a small clinical study. This is a good thing because insulin spikes are linked to heart disease and diabetes complications, along with cancer risks.
Eating oat bran before a meal may also reduces theglucose spike from foods.
Cancer Risk Reduction
Foods high in soluble fiber, such as oat bran, may reduce chances of estrogen receptor negative breast cancer.
Oat bran contains an anti-inflammatorycompounds called avenanthramides, which may reduce growth of colon cancer cells as shown in cell studies.
Foods like oat bran that increase butyrate levels in the digestive tract may reduce colon cancer risk.
While research remains preliminary in this area, oats may have a protective effect against cancer.
May Support Weight Loss
Although no single food or ingredient can work alone for weight loss, nutrient-dense foods with low glycemic index often support weight loss. Oat bran is no exception.
A long term study showed that people with diabetes eating 100 grams of oat bran per day for a year had more weight loss than those who didn’t.
Oat Bran for Immune Benefits
Most of the research so far on oats and immunity has been in animal studies, but oat beta glucan looks promising for healthy immunity.
Oat bran is 15-40% beta glucan content. Beta glucanmay help immune function.
The beta glucan from oats was able to improve resistance to viruses after a swim test in mice.
Inflammation markers were reduced with inclusion of oat bran in a study of pigs.
This includes reduced gene levels of in the colon and cecum:
Beneficial bacteria amounts also improved in the colon.
Oat bran improved innate immune response to infection in animal studies [R] [R].
May Improve Exercise Endurance
Oat bran given pre-exercise reduced time to exhaustion and reduced inflammation in a study of mice.
Research in this area remains preliminary.
Best Oats for Health
It is best to choose oats that have no added sugar or added salts. Some convenience oatmeal or instant oatmeal brands add a whopping 12 grams of sugar per tiny serving!
Oat groats are simply the whole oat seed with the hull removed.
Wheat Bran Versus Oat Bran
Nutritionally, the two are quite different.
Oat bran has more protein, soluble fiber, fat, thiamine, and folate than wheat bran. Wheat bran has more insoluble fiber, niacin, and vitamin B6. Both are quite high in magnesium. For those with gluten sensitivity, oat bran is a much better choice.
Oat bran is more likely able to increase the growth of beneficial bacteria, or probiotics, in the digestive tract because it is more easily fermented.
The texture of oat bran is much more creamy when cooked as a cereal than wheat bran. This makes it a very good add-in for recipes and a great substitute for more processed grains.
Oat Bran Forms
Many companies sell oat bran, including gluten-free oat brans.
It can be coarsely ground or finely ground, as is the case for cream of oats.
Cream of oats is a relatively new product from a company called Montana Gluten Free. It is a finely ground oat bran. I simply fell in love with it because it is so tasty like Cream of Wheat.
I no longer can eat Cream of Wheat because I’m sensitive to gluten, so I was delighted to find this comfort food. It is same in taste and texture, but so much more nutritious!
Buy Oat Bran
Healthy Oatmeal Brands
Gluten-free oat and oat bran options are available at Montana Gluten Free. They also do NOT spray their crops with Round Up (glyphosate). This herbicide now implicated in cancer risk. They also offer organic options.
You can also find oat bran at many online retailers like Amazon and in most grocery stores today.
Oat Bran Recipes
You can easily sub out oat bran or cream of oats into ANY of your baking recipes to improve health.
Add to your smoothies for a nutrient boostSub out unhealthy white flour with oat branUse instead of wheat bran for a gluten-free option Make a quick power breakfast using the following recipe!Oat bran flour can be a nice baking flour because it draws moisture to it
Low Carb Oatmeal
This high protein, low net carb cereal is packed with nutrition to fuel your day. Adjust flavors and spices to your taste preferences. CPTG essential oil is a nice add-in that may help speed up glucose metabolism as well!
In a small saucepan, mix together cream of oats, chia seeds or hemp hearts, flaxseed, almond butter, unsweetened coconut milk, and water. Bring to a boil, stirring. Reduce heat to simmer and remove from heat when mixture thickens. Add in vanilla and CPTG cinnamon drop. Top with raspberries and ground cinnamon if desired.
* Nutrition facts will vary slightly depending on ingredient add-ins.
Calories: 435, Fat 33 g, Total Carb 33 g, Fiber 15 g, Net carb, 18 g, Protein 13 g
Oat bran is a safe food. You should discuss with your doctor or dietitian before changing anything in your diet and health routine.
Oat bran is very nutritious and may improve your health, including cholesterol, diabetes, and may help manage weight. Oat bran can make a great low carb oatmeal ingredient in recipes and can replace unhealthy processed flours.
Gluten free oat bran is suitable for people with non-celiac gluten sensitivity and most people with celiac disease.
You may be missing out on vitamins and nutrients. In fact, you probably are. Getting advice about good supplements from experts in nutrition is the best way to get sound advice about vitamins. Who has the most training in nutrients? Registered Dietitian Nutritionists. Online dietitian experts talk here about their favorite vitamins for health, how much you need, and why these nutrients are important for your best health.
Chrissy Carroll, RDN, is a dietitian who owns Snacking in Sneakers, a website dedicated to help athletes eat right and get good nutrition. She writes about vitamin D and why even healthy athletes are often not getting enough vitamin D.
Snacking in Sneakers is a fun health website. Chrissy shares posts about balancing food, fun, and fitness. Chrissy is a marathoner and triathlete herself, as well as a USAT Level I Triathlon Coach. Combining her professional and personal passions, she authored “Eat to Peak: Sports Nutrition for Runners and Triathletes".
Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD is a dietitian and health writer of Better is the New Perfect website. She writes a very compelling blog about the importance of choline and the VERY common deficiency of this critical nutrient.
Elizabeth is also a nutrition consultant and mother of three living in the Boston area. She is the author of several books. Her latest book is the second edition of Expect the Best, Your Guide to Healthy Eating Before, During, and After Pregnancy.
While many nutrients are low for people in the US, one nutrient can be too high. Which one? Folic acid. Folic acid is a synthetic version of a nutrient called folate.
Jeanette Kimszal is a dietitian at the Jeanette Kimszal Nutrition website. She writes about nutrition deficiencies and food sensitivities. Find out if you should watch out for folic acid nutrient and the dangers of getting too much.
Jeanette is an inspirational dietitian with a holistic and evidenced-based approach to health. I have had the pleasure of working with Jeanette, and trust her well-researched advice. She inspires her clients to empowered health!
Ehlers Danlos and Vitamin C
Bonnie Nasar RDN is Nasar Nutrition. She writes about Ehlers Danlos disease and mast cell diseases on her website. It is wonderful to have dietitians with specialties in areas like these. Find out more about vitamin C for Ehlers Danlosand other important topics on her site.
Bonnie finds evidence-based solutions for brain fog, fatigue, and chronic pain. She has a private practice. Two of her children have cutaneous Mastocytosis; while some see this as a negative life event, she prefers see the positive; their medical issues have gifted her with expertise to calm trigger-happy mast cells.
Doug Cook RDN is the Gut Brain Guy who is a bit of a nutrition rebel who focuses on Integrative and Functional Nutrition. He reminds myself of me!
Here, he writes about new research about vitamin C for optimal health and how you may benefit from this critical nutrient.
Iron is a key nutrient to keep us focused and energized. Jeanette Kimszal RDN writes about iron, how to look for deficiency, and where to get the best iron.
Iron deficiency is especially common in women of childbearing age and young children. Too little iron can even cause muscle aches and pains!
Iodine deficiency is really common. Iodine is a nutrient you are going to want to make sure you get enough after reading another blog from Doug Cook, RDN.
This critical nutrient affect how your thyroid works, protects breast tissue from damages of toxins and more.
You can get a flu shot, but have you been paying attention to your nutrition for sickness prevention? Many nutrients play a role in your ability to fight off infections, and zinc is one you don’t want to be without all year long.
Doug Cook, RDN writes about zinc, aging and your immune system on his blog.
Finding good vitamin brands can be exceptionally challenging, especially if you want ones that work. Amy Gorin RDN writes about some really great supplement brands on her website. Amy is a registered dietitian nutrition and a media personality who has been featured on hundreds of national interviews.
Amy Gorin is a nationally recognized, award-winning Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), media personality, speaker, nutrition consultant, and writer in the New York City area. She was designated both a 2018 and a 2017 Unilever Agent of Change, as well as an April 2016 RD of the Day by Today's Dietitian Magazine.
Best Heart Health Supplements
If you wait to take supplements to protect your heart, you’ve waited too long. I write about the best heart health supplements, brands, doses, and more. For those who read my blog, you all know that I take a critical eye at the evidence and give you the most recent research.
Lavender (Lavendula augustifolia) is a flowering plant that has been used for over 2000 years as an essential oil and used in foods to treat health concerns. The amount of evidence for lavender health benefits is actually quite remarkable when you put it all together. However, many websites claim that lavender essential oil uses are seemingly endless. Is this based in research? Let's explore the scientifically proven lavender essential oil uses that we can apply today.
about lavender, I described its historical uses, calming effects, practical recipes, and applications. Lavender really is calming and can help anxiety symptoms.
A Note About Lavender Research
I am truly amazed at what scientists have accomplished, but also sad that the majority of their research work has not been put into general use, even when proven safe and effective.
This science often disappears into a sea of research archives. This is especially true for plants and foods like lavender.
It may take over 15 years for a great, life-changing research project that could move the dial on your health to reach mainstream attention.
One person, and one reader at a time, I aim to change this.
When I blog, I feel like I open a new window into the vast and largely untapped world of research.
Lavender Essential Oil Treats Many Kinds of Pain
Did you know that lavender use for many types of pain has been proven beneficial? Read on to learn more about specific studies of lavender benefits for pain relief.
All of the studies I cite here are randomized, placebo-controlled trials, the most rigorous type of human research.
Arthritic pain is challenging to treat because prescription drugs for pain carry high risks for health. In contrast, lavender oil is quite safe. In a study of knee osteoarthritis, lavender oil massage was helpful at reducing pain compared to placebo.
2. Menstrual Pain and Bleeding
Menstrual pain is also difficult to treat. Natural options like lavender are really proving beneficial to help reduce the discomfort and reduced quality of life for women suffering with this condition.
Both topical and inhaled lavender essential oil have been used in research. Lavender oil not only reduced pain, it reduced the amount of bleedingwhen inhaled lavender was used.
Lavender oil reduced pain compared to placebo for placement of IV lines prior to surgery (r).
In children undergoing removal of tonsils, use of lavender oil reduced the amount of pain-relieving medication that was required compared to placebo (r).
Lavender oil, when infused with oxygen, reduced pain after heart surgery (Coronary artery bypass grafting) (r).
Topical lavender oil was able to reduce pain at the needle insertion site for patients receiving dialysis treatments (r).
4. Lavender Reduces Labor Pains
Lavender essential oil use during childbirth also reduced pain during childbirth in 120 pregnant women (r).
5. Lavender Oil for Migraines
Inhaled lavender over a 15 minute period was able to reduce migraine severity. The effectiveness of lavender oil was over double the effectiveness of placebo. The total number of responders to lavender was also greater than placebo (R).
How Does Lavender Work For Pain?
Essential oils like lavender stimulate the receptors in the nose and transfer the messages to the brain, resulting in endorphin and serotonin release, which results in the sense of relaxation (antispasmodic effects), and improves localized blood flow (r).
When women received lavender oil scent, it resulted in both calming and arousal effects as shown by PET scans.
They had activation of the orbitofrontal part of the brain responsible for executive function but also part of the “primal” brain or posterior cingulate gyrus, among other areas. This is responsible for emotion, memory and arousal (R)
6. Lavender Reduces Infectious Microbes
While very few clinical trials of lavender have been conducted for the treatment of various infections in humans, over 7 research studies have found lavender to be effective against numerous strains of bacterial and fungal strains.
Lavender oil has an extensive track record as an antimicrobial (R) and even reduces the growth of methicillin-resistant s. aureus (MRSA) (r).
It has synergistic effects when combined with 44 other plant oils against bacteria, especially when combined with camellia sinensis, also known as tea (R).
Further, lavender antimicrobial effects against both gram negative and gram positive bacteria e.coli and s. aureus (Staphylococcus) were strong (r).
A minor injury to your mouth from dental work, overzealous brushing, sports mishaps or an accidental cheek biteToothpastes and mouth rinses containing sodium lauryl sulfateFood sensitivities, particularly to chocolate, coffee, strawberries, eggs, nuts, cheese, and spicy or acidic foodsA diet lacking in vitamin B-12, zinc, folate (folic acid) or ironAn allergic response to certain bacteria in your mouthHelicobacter pylori, the same bacteria that cause peptic ulcersHormonal shifts during menstruationEmotional stress
Lavender essential oil is complex and can help manage canker sores due to its pain-relieving, hormone-balancing, and antimicrobial benefits.
In research, people using topical lavender for canker sores resulted in a reduction in inflammation level, ulcer size, healing time, as well as a reduction in pain and growth of bacteria (r).
Lavender has known antimicrobial effects as well as pain-relieving properties, so it is a logical choice in helping manage cases of shingles.
Case reports by Calene Van Noy, RD:
I gave 3 people, who came down with shingles, a blend of Lavender and Frankincense and all 3 said they felt relief when they used the blend topically on the shingles rash. All were so grateful for the relief. It's a wonderful feeling to be able to reach out and help friends and family with a natural solution.
9. Head lice
Standard head lice treatments not only are dangerous chemicals, they have very little benefit to treat these persistent bugs! Lavender and other essential oils may be what the doctor ordered.
A combination of lavender oil and melaleuca oil (97% effective) was MUCH more effective than standard over-the-counter treatments (25% effective)
Tea tree oil and lavender oil are the two most effective essential oils for treatment of head lice (r).
10. Hair Loss
Over-the-counter hair loss treatments are expensive and have unwanted side effects. Natural options are proving beneficial and are much more economical.
A combination of topical essential oils (thyme, rosemary, lavender, and cedarwood) resulted in improved hair regrowth in people with hair loss (r).
Colic is very challenging to treat and parents often think they have no options. Research is proving that they do have tools they can use.
Abdominal massage with lavender essential oil reduced colic symptoms compared to controls in 40
In a clinic setting, for treatment of long-term wounds, one physician used topical lavender oil and German chamomile oil on 5 patients compared to 3 controls. Of the five receiving the oils, 4 had complete healing and the 5th was mostly healed (R).
In mice, lavender oil used topically was able to enhance collagen amounts and fibroblast differentiation, and ultimately speed up wound healing (r).
13. Lavender and Testosterone
Hormones like testosterone can be reduced due to toxic exposures and stress. Lavender oil stress benefits are proven.
Lavender also helped protect production of testosterone in rats after exposure to formaldehyde, a known toxin that reduces hormones (R)
Apply: a little bit of oil goes a long way. Use 1-2 drops of Doterra lavender oil in your favorite oil, such as fractionated coconut oil and apply to area of concern.
Diffuse lavender oil in your office and home space to cleanse the air and promote feelings of relaxation.
IngestDoterra lavender oil 1 to 2 drops in an empty gelcap for relaxation and pain relief. Do not substitute other brands; they are not safe for ingestion.
Use a single drop of Doterra lavender in your favorite beverage or add to melted chocolate for a delicious lavender flavor.
Lavender is generally recognized as safe. As with anything, check with your healthcare provider before increasing the amount of supplemental lavender you take.
Use of essential oils are often used in combinations because they have synergistic actions (have a bigger effect than when either is used alone).
If you are allergic to lavender (develop a rash), please avoid its use.
A word of caution: a few case reports of prepubertal boys using lavender for extended periods of time noted gynecomastia. This reversed after stopping the use of lavender (7). Gynecomastia is a common symptom for boys during puberty, with or without lavender.
Lavender is a highly versatile herb with the potential for vast health benefits.
It has stood the test of time for its antimicrobial benefits, calming benefits, pain relief, and more as even ancient Romans knew of its healing properties.
The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body and is shared for educational purposes only. Consult your doctor or healthcare provider before making changes to your supplement regimen or lifestyle.
Seasonal allergies are miserable and disrupt daily life. You may not be aware that many plants and natural antihistamine remedies can go a long way to helping you manage your seasonal allergies.
First, I will describe what histamine is so that you can be informed about how various products work. Read on to see if they are right for you and if you can trade in your conventional antihistamines soon.
What is Histamine?
Did you know that histamine works in your body as a neurotransmitter? Histamine functions to also get allergens, like pollen, and other triggers out of your body. This is important to know because when you take medications for allergies, they can disrupt these normal processes.
Brain histamine function is important for keeping us motivated and helps us be goal-directed. Histamine functions to also control appetite, controls our body’s responses to foods as well. Histamine acts to reduce appetite.
Histaminealso plays a role in the sleep-wake cycle in the body and also is a major regulator of the part of the brain called the hypothalamus.
I make a small percentage of money at no extra cost to you from a few links included below. Thanks for your support.
What Are High Histamine Causes?
High histamine levels result in symptoms of discomfort in the body, even though we need it to be healthy. Histamine can rise to high levels if you have any of the following conditions:
Histamine is a natural substance and we need it for normal function.
Sometimes the body overreacts to a substance and makes too much histamine; this is when you feel the discomfort of allergies; sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, fatigue, altered breathing, and more.
Allergies can be mild or severe, depending on your body’s immune system and tolerance. According to the National Institute for Allergic and Infectious Diseases, allergies are a loss of immune tolerance.
Through restoring natural processes in the body using a functional medicine approach, allergies can be managed more effectively than just taking medication.
How Do Conventional Antihistamines Work?
Our body has 4 types of receptors for histamine called H1, H2, H3, and H4.
Drugs classified in the first generation of antihistamines (sometimes called “classical” antihistamines) act non-selectively to block all of these receptors.
Newer antihistamines only block H1, which has LESS crossing of the blood-brain barrier while still blocking histamine from uptake into cells.
Dangers of Antihistamines
First-generation antihistamines also block muscarinic, adrenergic (or adrenoreceptors) and dopaminergic receptors, which can cause heart, urinary, and gastrointestinal adverse reactions.
They also cross the blood-brain barrier, causing sometimes dangerous side effects like drowsiness, decreased focus, reduced ability to learn and more.
Second generations drugs, by blocking only H1, have generally less side effects.
However, some of them could cause other serious adverse reactions, including weight gain and memory processing speed. According to Healthline.com, other side effects are drowsiness,excessive tiredness,dry mouth, stomach pain, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Do Natural Antihistamine Remedies Work?
It is important to know that you have options for helping treat allergy symptoms naturally. Early research shows that you have many natural options that can help give you symptom relief and even reduce inflammation.
Here are 12 options for you to try. They can be combined for additive benefits as natural antihistamines.
Stinging nettle may sound scary, but it’s actually a very nutritious and healthy herbal antihistamine when deactivated by drying or steeping into tea.
Lavender may help the body fight symptoms of histamine by working to reduce the stress response in the body. In fact, clinical study finds that lavender reduces anxiety as well as prescription medication for mild anxiety.
In asthma, allergy symptoms make lung function worsen. Lavender was able to reduce allergic inflammation and mucous cell stimulation in mice.
Supplements of lavender or inhaling lavender essential oil may be helpful as a natural antihistamine. Caution if you are allergic to the lavender plant.
As part of the citrus family, lemon contains a high amount of a healing compound called limonene. Limonene is found in highest amounts in the lemon rind.
Lemon essential oil has anti-inflammatory effects. It may reduce the body’s production of inflammatory compounds and immune cell migration, which are problematic for allergies.
Forty-three patients withgrass pollen allergy found benefit from a nasal spray including lemon. Lemon helped the nasal symptom score and nasal air flow compared more than placebo.
Lemon may also reduce release of histamine from mast cells.
Lemon may also reduce allergy symptoms indirectly because they help improve the production of mucin in the lining of the digestive tract. By strengthening the gut barrier wall, our body is able to reduce the allergic response.
Probiotic use in pregnant women may reduce chances of eczema in infants based on a review of current research. Eczema is an allergic type of skin response.
The use of probiotics improvedigestive tolerance of antibiotics, so may prove to be beneficial for allergies in the future. Research is preliminary for treatment of allergies with probiotics at this time.
The effects of peppermint aren’t fully understood, but it is thought that by cooling the skin, menthol reduces the itching caused by histamine.
Peppermint reduces smooth muscle contractile response to histamine in the digestive tract as well. The muscle contraction is part of why people feel discomfort with allergies.
Because peppermint has many components, it has many actions at play. Here are a few.
Menthol activates TRPM8: a voltage-gated ion-channel protein : this allows entry of calcium ions on sensing the change in temperature.
Whenever there is a drop in temperature, the voltage on TRPM8 changes so that it allows calcium ions to flow into the nerve cell. This triggers the current to flow from the membrane of the nerve cell and you then sense coolness.
By bringing down the perceived temperature, peppermint helps to bring down inflammation.
Peppermint oil can provide immediate symptom relief for allergy symptoms when used topically and when using Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade orally. Dosing information can be found on my peppermint blog.
Butterbur, also known as petasites hybridus is a shrub that grows in wet marshland, and damp soils of forest and riverbanks.
Butterbur has been used traditionally for many conditions, including migraines, wounds, cough, allergies, stomach ailments, headaches, infections, and was even used to fight the plague.
I found 4 double-blinded clinical trials that compared the use of butterbur to over-the-counter antihistamine drugs. Here is what they discovered:
Butterbursupplements in a large study were as effective as Fexofenadine (aka Allegra) in reducing allergy symptoms
As effective forallergiesas cetirizine and had much less side effects in 121 people
Reduced hay fever as much as cetirizine without the side effects in 125 people
Butterbur helps to reduce spasms and inflammation, even in conditions like asthma. The benefits of butterbur are additive to medication effects in this case.
Bromelain is an enzyme that is primarily found in pineapple. It is an appealing option because it is very safe and may reduce excessive clotting, improve sinusitis, and help bronchitis symptoms as well as improve absorption of food and medications.
The actions of bromelain are numerous and include reducing inflammation in the body.
Bromelain reduced allergic airway disease in an animal model. Bromelain research as a natural antihistamine is considered preliminary, but since it is beneficial for health in other ways, it could benefit you.
Vitamin C helps bust stress, which may also indirectly reduce the feelings of allergies in the body.
Vitamin D plays a role in regulating the development and function of mast cells where hitamine is produced. Vitamin D deficiency results in mast cell activation, which can increase histamine release in the body.
Vitamin D may reduce allergy symptoms because it has anti-inflammatory effects and can also reduce IgE activation of mast cells, which release histamine.
Itching is often a symptom of allergic diseases and patients with long-term itching, or chronic spontaneous urticaria, have very high rates of vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D supplementation reduceditchingsymptoms when given high dose vitamin D2 daily for 6 weeks. Vitamin D also improved quality of life in these patients with chronic itching symptoms.
The vitamin D was given as add-on to usual itching therapies and had additive benefits.
Using honey for allergies could be a benefit as a natural antihistamine, especially if it is from your own region. A study of honey users of birch pollen honey had less allergy symptoms and used less allergy medicines than those who did not in a clinical study.
Regular honey also was beneficial for allergies in this study.
While results are considered preliminary for allergies, honey is very safe to incorporate into your allergy routine. Do not give honey to infants younger than 1 year of age.
Astragalus is also known as bei qi, huang qi, and milk vetch. It is a type of legume that has over 2000 species in nature.
Astragalusmay help allergies by reducing inflammation in the body. Topical astragalus for allergic rash reduced skin irritation and improved skin healing in mice.
Use of astragalus reduced nasal dripping in a small group of people with allergies and people generally felt better than those on placebo.
Astragalus decreased histamine release from mast cells in a rat study.
Homeopathic Natural Antihistamines
Homeopathic remedies are a safe option to try for seasonal allergies. Pharmacy timeshas a nice review of the effectiveness of these options. I personally have found Bioallershelpful in the past.
I’ve suffered from allergies my whole life. Vitamin C has minimally helped my symptoms, while a combination therapy of peppermint, lavender, and lemon helps me tremendously. That supplement is called TriEase and you can find it on my website.
I’ve also used quercetin and nettles in combination with good success. Butterbur holds a lot of benefit for allergies as well.
Plants can help with allergy symptoms as noted above. However, if you are allergic to any of the listed plants, please do not use. As with any new supplement, please discuss with your healthcare provider before using.
Natural remedies for allergies can work as well as antihistamine drugs and have less risk of side effects. Studies are generally small but demonstrate a high safety profile.
Studies have only determined safety in relatively shorter term duration, so do not take natural antihistamines for more than 4-6 weeks in a row.
I have had allergies all of my adult life. I took antihistamine drugs and felt many of the side effects. I never felt great symptom relief and had dry mouth, altered sleep as well as drowsy, hangover feelings every day.
By managing my diet, my stress, and by using natural histamine stabilizers from plants, I feel great and have a lot more energy. And the silver lining: no side effects for me.
I recommend starting the natural antihistamines at least a week before reducing your antihistamine drug dosage.
As with any change in your regimen, make sure to check in with your healthcare provider first. The risk of side effects of any of the plants as medicine listed above are low, but could be possible if you are sensitive to any of them.
Western diets are now a health burden worldwide. With the trend for eating fast foods and junk foods globally on the rise, the trend for nutrition problems are following as well.
Even when you eat a very healthy diet, it is next to impossible to get enough vitamin K2.
Vitamin K2 deficiency is newly discovered to be a problem in several regions of the world. Read on to find out why this deficiency is harming both healthy adults and children.
What is vitamin K?
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays an important role in proper blood clotting. New functions of a specific form of vitamin called vitamin K2 are now being discovered.
Vitamin K2 (Menaquinone) is distinguished from K1 by the presence of side chains in the structure, varying in length from 1 to 14 chains. The number indicates if it is menaquinone 4, menaquinone 7, menaquinone 9, etc.
The most commonly supplemented form of vitamin K2 is menaquinone-7.
Functions of vitamin K2 (not K1) include:
Calcium metabolismStrength of bonesArtery health (link to blog)Brain healthProper blood clotting
Although we don’t fully understand how vitamin K2 is working in the brain, we know that vitamin K2 is related eye and brain health too, according to recent research.
Deficiency of vitamin K2 at all ages increases risk of disease. These diseases include:
Bone fracturesOsteoporosisHeart diseaseAtherosclerosis
Vitamin K2 Deficiency is a Global Health Problem
Healthy children and adults have markedly low levels of a marker of vitamin K2 in the blood called undercarboxylated osteocalcin.
New research is showing that vitamin K2 deficiency is also a global problem for bone health.
Vitamin K2 Deficiency Increases Global Bone Fracture Risk
In Poland, children with low vitamin K status are at risk for a type of bone fracture called low energy bone fracture.
Children aged 5-15 years old, admitted to the hospital with low energy bone fractures, had significantly lower vitamin K markers (carboxylated osteocalcin) than healthy children.
Findings from Europe recently showed that vitamin K status (undercarboxylated factor II) was low in 36% of patients with hip fracture in the elderly.
Intriguingly, after being held off food pre- and post-surgery, this marker of vitamin K deficiency increased to 64% of the group with hip fractures.
Vitamin K2 Deficiency Increases Global Heart Disease RIsk
Research this year around the globe is showing how harmful low vitamin K deficiency is for heart health.
South Asians are at high risk for heart disease. A study in 700 people from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bhutan found new and important information about their heart risk.
Coronary artery calcification risk, which is highly related to vitamin K deficiency, increased cardiovascular disease risk over a 5-year period. This increase was as high as white men, the group at with the highest rates for heart disease.
This arterial calcification was a risk factor for cardiovascular disease in this group of South Asians, according to a publication in January 2019 of Journal of the American Heart Association.
This study is part of the long-term Mediators of Atherosclerosis in South Asians Living in America (MASALA) study.
In a newly released study from China, vitamin K2 deficiency (dephospho-uncarboxylated matrix gla protein) increased risk of heart mortality by almost 2 times. This study was conducted in a patient population that is at high risk for heart disease: peritoneal dialysis patients.
Those with low vitamin K2 status also had more inflammation and had an almost 3 times as high of a risk of heart events, such as myocardial infarction.
Why is there so much Vitamin K2 Deficiency?
The primary reason that vitamin K2 deficiency is so common is due to a lack of food sources. Even the best of diets fall short in vitamin K2.
As demonstrated in recent findings above, withholding of food perioperatively also increases deficiency. As you can see, deficiency can quickly develop, especially if people only rely on vitamin K1 food sources.
The RDA does not take into account our need for vitamin K2 for bone and artery health; it was only set to provide proper clotting.
Additionally, absorption of vitamin K1 is very poor from green leafy vegetables.
Experts used to think that vitamin K2 could be made in enough quantity in the digestive tract from bacteria. The most recent evidence suggests otherwise.
A study was conducted where vitamin K was restricted in the diet, which resulted in vitamin K deficiency, so the digestive source of vitamin K2 is likely much less than previously thought.
Easy bruisingExcessive bleeding from wounds, punctures, and injection or surgical sitesHeavy menstrual periodsBleeding from the gastrointestinal (GI) tractBlood in the urine and/or stoolIncreased prothrombin time (PT/INR)
Newborn vitamins get supplemental vitamin K. This is because, while rare, bleeding is life-threatening in infants.
Now we know that vitamin K deficiency isn’t just a concern for infants. The discovery of vitamin K2 and its roles has uncovered important areas of function and new risks of deficiency.
An increased suspicion of vitamin K deficiency occurs in the following situations. This includes people with malnutrition or poor food absorption, such as digestive disease.
People who are chronically ill are also very high risk, including cancer or dialysis patients.
Medication nutrient interactions can also rob the body of vitamin K2. They include:
Anticonvulsants (carbamazepine, phenytoin and barbiturates)Antituberculosis drugs (isoniazid, rifampicin),Some antibiotics (cephalosporins)Vitamin K antagonists (warfarin): INR vitamin interaction
Supplementing vitamin K2
Keep in mind, the last updates to the RDA for vitamin K were made BEFORE the important discoveries about vitamin K2. Therefore the RDA isn’t reflective of our actual need of vitamin K2.
Cutting edge research suggests that, for adults, supplements of vitamin K2 (MenaQ7) at 180 micrograms per day is an effective dose for improving bone and heart health. For children, a dose of 45 micrograms per day is beneficial.
A nice review of vitamin K2 and the problem of food sources is on Chris Masterjohn's website.
Can’t I just supplement Vitamin K1?
I wish this was the case, but we know that vitamin K1 isn’t even as good at clotting factors as vitamin K2.
It doesn’t absorb as well, and it doesn’t impact bone and heart health, unfortunately. You must get vitamin K2 if you want these benefits.
Here is a list of some great vitamin K2 patented supplements: (I will use some or all from the blog about best heart supplements).
Vitamin K2 is very safe.
If you are on blood-thinning medication, make sure to check with your doctor before adding in any supplements.
Vitamin K2 deficiency, as measured in blood levels, increases risk of heart disease mortality and death around the globe.
Bone health may suffer from low vitamin K2 globally as well.
Supplemental vitamin K2 may improve overall health and well-being and should be considered in all populations.
If you wait to protect your heart until you have a health issue, your window for prevention of disease closes. It is much easier to prevent heart disease than to reverse the process once it develops.
Experts know that the development of heart disease starts when you are young.
Can you help prevent heart problems with supplements? Absolutely.
Some might argue, "I can get enough nutrition from my food." The better argument might be, ARE you getting enough?
If you think much about the answer to the question, you probably aren't.
You certainly should try to get nutrients in your foods, primarily.
For best heart health, however, your diet is not enough. Starting on a routine of great preventive supplements may go a long way to keep your arteries healthy AND keep you young at heart.
High quality supplements can help you feel better and provide heart protection.
Keep in mind, the root cause of heart disease is inflammation, which drives an increase in arterial plaque. Lack of nutrients and antioxidants can drive up inflammation in the body and cause the blood vessels to function poorly.
Here is a list of nutrients you should include:
Vitamin D3Vitamin K2Coenzyme Q10MagnesiumOmega 3
You absolutely must become a label reader because some forms and brands will not be the best or may contain unknown substances that aren't best for your health.
In this blog, I will help break down what you should look for in these supplements, brands, and doses.
Vitamin D3 Supplements
Four really important functions of vitamin D3 for heart health have been proven. Here is a synopsis of those functions:
1. Vitamin D3 plays a central role in making the hormone called calcitriol, which helps prevent calcification of arteries in proper doses.
2. Vitamin D3 reduces inflammation in the body and helps restore the function of the arteries in the body.
3. Vitamin D3 supplements also help restore function of the arterial wall called the endothelium.
4. At least 18 studies have shown that vitamin D3 improves quality of life. This means that vitamin D3 makes people feel better and function better.
If you live north of 40 degrees latitude, you are almost guaranteed to be low in vitamin D3 if you don't supplement.
Clinical studies use doses in the range of 2000 IU to 10,000 IU per day.
While these doses may see like a lot, a summer day in the sun can easily give you this much vitamin D3. Check with your doctor before taking higher doses of vitamin D3.
Vitamin K2 Supplements
Heart health supplement routines should contain both vitamin D3 AND vitamin K2. Why?
Vitamin K2 and vitamin D3 work well together for heart health and what's more important: they are two nutrients that are VERY deficient most likely if you aren't supplementing them.
Vitamin K2 reduces risk of calcification in the artery wall. This is helpful for heart health because calcification increases plaque and narrowing of the arteries. This atherosclerosis increases risk of heart attack, stroke and more.
I recently a 3-year double-blind, placebo-controlled trial showing that supplemental vitamin K2 as MenaQ7 at a daily dosage of 180 micrograms per day, improved arterial stiffness. This is one more reason vitamin K2 should be part of your heart health supplements.
Statin cholesterol drugs rob the body of vitamin K2 as well by reducing its metabolism in the body.
This is important to remember if you are on cholesterol-lowering medication. It may explain, in part, why patients who take cholesterol drugs still get arterial plaque and calcification in the artery wall.
Vitamin K2 Dosage
Clinical studies use 45 micrograms per day in children and 180 micrograms per day for healthy adults.
Coenzyme Q10 Supplements
Coenzyme Q10 supplements are helpful as a heart health supplement.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) supplements are helpful as a heart health supplement. CoQ10, or ubiquinol, is a potent antioxidant that helps protect neurons and heart muscle cells.
Most CoQ10 is made within the body, but it's a very finicky substance. If your diet isn't pristine, you won't make enough of it.
Another reason you need coqQ10 supplements may be that you are on cholesterol medications called statins. Statins are notorious for robbing the body of this critical nutrient.
They also deplete another critical heart nutrient: vitamin K2. The difference is: it is common practice for doctors to recommend CoQ10 supplementation for patients on statins; no such recommendation is being made regarding Vitamin K2.
Patients after heart surgery recovered quicker when taking coenzyme Q10 before their operations.
Verdict: CoQ10 is a safe heart health supplement that may help you get energy.
Coenzyme Q10 Doses
For heart health, most studies use doses of coenzyme q10 between 100-400 mg per day.
Magnesium is a powerful mineral that plays a tremendous role for benefiting the whole body, including the heart. Most people aren't eating enough magnesium-rich foods, including green vegetables and seeds.
Magnesium helps keepheart rhythmnormal, reduces risk of ischemic heart disease, and reduces risk of sudden cardiac death.
Magnesium supplements also can help people sleep better and metabolize glucose better.
Heart patients perform better on exercise tests after supplementing magnesium as well.
Many people benefit from taking magnesium supplements for these reasons.
My favorite forms of magnesium supplements are magnesium glycinate, magnesium, chloride, magnesium malate, and dimagnesium malate.
Start with a low dose, such as 100-200 mg per day and work your way up if you need.
Side effects: magnesium has a laxative effect if you get too much.
Omega 3 Supplements
Omega 3 deficiency is common.
Why? The best source of omega 3 fats is wild-caught fish. Research suggests that the ratios of omega 3 intake are lower than ever in the typical American diet.
Fish oil supplements are the primary supplement for omega 3s that protect the heart from inflammation. They also reduce the stickiness of platelets.
Omega 3s also help reduce triglycerides and blood pressure. If you don't eat fish at least 2-4 times a week (be honest with yourself) you are likely low in omega 3s.
While omega 3's reduce inflammation, they don’t have the potential to reduce calcification like vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 have.
Recent research suggests that high-dose omega 3 supplementation reduces chances of fatal heart attacks and strokes by 25% over and above the benefit of cholesterol medications.
In this study, they used omega EPA only. Other studies show benefits of both omega DHA and EPA.
Plant sources are available as well. Look for plant sources of DHA and EPA. Linolenic acid is an omega 3 from plants, but it isn't easily converted into the active form of omega 3 in the body.
Omega 3 Doses
Clinical studies use omega 3 doses of 100 mg all the way up to 4000 mg per day.
Supplements listed in this blog are generally safe. While safe for healthy people, some supplements interact with blood-thinning and other medications.
Always check with your doctor or dietitian before starting any supplement routine.
Heart health supplements help keep your body and heart strong and resilient. The supplements listed above all help get to the root cause of heart disease.
Some supplements help treat vitamin deficiencies that are common today.
Make sure to also eat a healthy diet to achieve the best heart health.
Children's Heart Health Supplements
Kids and teens also benefit from supplements for lifelong heart health. I recently reviewed these benefits in my blog about 5 Reasons Why Children Need Vitamin K2 Supplements.
Product Research Guide
I know how challenging it can be to comb the vitamin supplement shelves and not know what to look for, so I am providing what I hope will be a useful product guide.
The following products I researched all have Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP)-certified), contain patented forms of vitamin K2, and are all GMO free.
Supplements with both vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 (MenaQ7)
If you are looking to just add vitamin D3 and vitamin K2, there are some great options on the market.
An ample dose of both vitamin D3 and K2 are in this gem of a supplement.
It contains Vitamin D3 as Vegan Cholecalciferol from Lichen 5,000 IU, Vitamin K2 680 mcg as MK-4 (Menatetrenone), 500 mcg, and vitamin K2 MK-7 (MenaQ7® as Menaquinone-7), 180 mcg. Other Ingredients: Medium Chain Triglycerides from coconut oil, olive Oil, D-Alpha Tocopherol (derived from sunflower oil).
Contains vitamin D3 500 IU and vitamin K2 90 mcg (MenaQ7® as Menaquinone-7) per serving. This might be a good option for people spending time outside in sunnier southern climates as it has a much lower dose of vitamin D3. It also has bovine gelatin, extra virgin olive oil, and annatto.
Vitamin K2 Add-On Supplements
I am including a section for vitamin K2 add-on because many great multivitamins and minerals do not have vitamin K2 at all.
They only contain vitamin K1, which isn’t as helpful for heart health.
Per small capsule, contains omega 3's (375 mg EPA, 125 mg DHA, 30 mg other Omega 3s), and vitamin D3 2000 IU, vitamin K2 80 (MenaQ7® as Menaquinone-7), fish gelatin, glycerin, sunflower oil, medium chain triglycerides, natural tocopherols. I love this one because it is a liquid gelcap that is easy to swallow.
I like this one because I'm a big fan of the benefits of seaweed too. It contains per serving a great dose of vitamin D3 and K2 as well: vitamin D3 5000 IU (cholecalciferol), vitamin K2 180 mcg (MenaQ7® as Menaquinone-7), 672 mg calcium from seaweed, and 52 mg magnesium from seaweed.
I’m really impressed with Healthy Cell AM/PM. This is comprehensive and natural multivitamin and mineral combination. It has vitamin K2 80 mcg (MenaQ7® as Menaquinone-7), vitamin D3 1000 IU, magnesium 40 mg, many trace minerals, and naturally-derived folate.
Their iodine comes from kelp, which I love. Iodine, by the way, is a nutrient that most Americans are low in. Omega 3s are also found in this supplement from plant sources borage and evening primrose at 100 mg per serving.
You may still need to add in extra vitamin D3 and fish oil to your daily routine, but it’s a great base supplement for almost anyone.
Walk down the aisles of produce and meat with me. Everything is strangely uniform in shape and size. Chicken meat packages have tidily been placed in plastic with all fat removed. They don't look at all like...chicken. This is by design.
Two options are available: chicken breasts and thighs. Perhaps a small section of wings may appear on the shelf if Super Bowl is around the corner.
These uniform meats, while appearing antiseptic, are pale and to be frank, lacking. Are we missing the best, most nutritious foods today because our food choices are so narrow?
Are the most nutritious foods being thrown away? Could organ meats like liver be your next superfood?
1. Liver is a Superfood for Sustainability
Reverse the time clock 150 years. Hunters would eat the liver at the hunting site, both honoring the animal and deeply nourishing their bodies.
Nothing from the precious hunt was thrown away. This both honored the animal and was important as fuel and nutrition for the hunter or huntress.
This has been on my mind for quite a while. What happens to the rest of the chicken or beef in the grocery store? What happens to the mis-shapen apples?
Do we throw away a huge majority of foods, including liver, for no good reason, and perhaps even throw away the most nutritious ones?
Can we both be sustainable and MORE healthy by eating the rest of the food? The answer is undoubtedly yes.
Sustainable eating trends are moving towards this, but the grocery stores have a long way to go. The good new is you can ask your butcher to give you many other options.
According to recent data, 150,000 tons of food are wasted EACH DAY in the United States. or a pound of food per person per day.
That's around 300 billion pounds of food. per year. This estimate sounds really conservative too [R].
Let's talk about organ meats, particularly liver. This is a common cast-off food, which is a total shame.
As you will soon find out, no food can compare to its nutrition quality.
2. Liver Is A Superfood Source of Absorbable Iron
This blog about liver is both a personal and a professional take on the topic. Why? I've always struggled with low iron in my blood.
You may need to worry about it too. Are you tired all of the time? Find out how to test for iron deficiency from a brilliant colleague of mine, Jeanette Kimszal, RD.
She's an expert in micronutrient testing.
For me? No, I can't just eat a bunch of spinach or burger. Read my previous blog onmyths about iron here.
For a while, I was taking an increased dose of gentle iron (ferrous gluconate) and I felt great. More energy, less pain, no side effects.
And then, one day, it happened. My belly started refusing iron. It got nauseated and painful each and every time I tried to take my iron.
I've always had low ferritin, which is the storage form of iron. I needed some great source of iron. Skipping it isn't an option for my health.
Are you female and having periods? This may be you as well.
I needed to revisit the most natural form of iron: liver. This makes some people squeamish at the thought.
Let's get over ourselves (this includes me) and remember to honor what nature gives us.
Liver, by weight, has more iron than any food on the planet. It has 13 mg per 100 grams. In contrast, spinach has 3 mg per 100 grams. Only 0.35 mg of iron from spinach is absorbed due to plant inhibitors [R].
I needed to change my daily habits to open my idea to eating more liver, but now there is no turning back. We simply may need liver in our diets to be healthier.
Liver doesn't have to be gross, and it isn't unhealthy, contrary to popular misconceptions.
3. Liver is a Superfood of Nutrient Content Overall
Liver is not unhealthy. It is, in fact, a superfood.
But it is the body's toxin filter!
True. The good news, though, is that the liver doesn't store these toxins. It cleans the body of toxins, along with the intestines and more.
Where are toxins stored? In your fat tissue and in your nerves among other places. Examples include breast tissue, belly fat, and your brain.
Liver has enzymes that clear out these toxins or neutralize them.
Filters in the liver are enzymes, which may have some potent health benefits for you when you eat them. A steak doesn't have these enzymes.
Contrary to popular opinion, eating liver has never been shown to increase heart disease risk [R] [R]. However, chemicals in processing do, so it is best to eat it fresh and natural.
What is stored in the liver? Nutrients. Lots of them. Liver is the most nutrient-dense food on the planet. No other food can compare to its nutritional density.
And we have been throwing it away for so long.
These nutrients include per 100 g of beef liver [R] [R]:
Protein 27 gIron 13 mg (70% DV)Zinc: 4 mg (36%DV)Vitamin B12 21 mcg (800% DV)Vitamin A 4300 RAE (400% DV)Folate 560 mcg (100% DV)Vitamin B6: 0.8 mg (60% DV)CoenzymeQ10 5-6 mgDNA and RNA building blocks
These nutrients are at least double, if not triple, the amount of any comparable foods.
Nutrients aren't great in isolation. This is why we find toxic reports of those taking synthetic forms of high-dose vitamin A.
Toxicity of vitamin A from eating liver is an extremely rare occurrence and happens if people are supplementing high doses of retinol in addition to eating liver.
Liver is a perfect food for women of childbearing age and for those with blood losses (also women). Women with periods lose many nutrients, even run low in vitamin A and iron.
Nutrients vary slightly from chicken, beef, goose, duck liver. They all are nutrition powerhouses.
Many people claim that eating liver has changed their lives. It takes away their pain, fatigue and more. I know I feel great since I've added it into my life. Perhaps they have been deficient in nutrients for a very long time.
4. Liver Can Taste Great
Read Weston's Price's fascinating information about liver and the Anti-Fatigue factor that liver also may provide. You can find some amazing recipes are here as well.
A couple of common -sense points about eating liver. Buy liver from animals that are grass-fed exclusively (for beef) and free from chemicals and pesticides in their feed.
For those who have iron overload, you need to be mindful of iron everywhere, not just in liver.
Yes, liver CAN taste great. There are many cooking techniques that make it more delicious than a rib steak.
You can saute and grill liver. Marinate in flavorful spices, especially garlic. Liver is fantastic as pate.
5. You Can Supplement Liver Pills
As much as I can extol the health benefits of liver as a superfood, it may never fit your taste palate. There are liver supplements out there for you!
You can find countless brands on the market. Some are dessicated (fat removed), some are not. Dessication can mean that some nutrients are taken out too. Some chemicals are used in the dessication process.
It's best to do your research here. Find liver from grass-fed, chemical free animals, just as you would want to do if you are eating it.
I like the one from Ancestral Supplements. They also sell a grass-fed beef spleen supplement, which contains even more iron than liver!
Do your homework. It is well worth your time to get your nutrients in a natural way whenever possible.
Many people claim that the RAW version of liver supplements help them feel the best. No science can back this up, but boundless testimonials do say this.
Some people even dice up raw liver and put it in capsules if they want the benefits of knowing where the liver comes from. This could be a big benefit.
Logic suggests that raw liver is good. Active enzymes would be present and more B-vitamins. Small risk of food-born illness could occur. Remember that raw liver has been eaten forever, just like raw fish is eaten on sushi. Quality matters.
Liver is nutrient-dense. It's a great way to get extra iron, vitamins, and minerals in your diet. If you are not able to tolerate iron supplements, liver supplements are a great option that are easy on your stomach. It is a better first option than buying iron alone due to the numerous other nutrients you get.Liver may boost your energy by replacing nutrients in your diet. Experiment with cooking methods that you like.Always choose liver from animals raised in healthy conditions.
I value medicines and all the advances we have made in healthcare.
Yet, I have a very strong pet peeve in drug practices.
Heartburn medications are given out with broad liberties, almost as if there are no consequences to their use.
Heartburn drugs, or proton pump inhibitors, such as Prilosec and Nexium, are now over-the-counter, allowing anyone to take them.
There are deep and far-reaching consequences to taking these medicines long-term, and no one is talking about them.
A recent analysis showed that over 80% of patients given the medicines in the category called proton pump inhibitors had no valid indication for use [R].
Use of these drugs are now linked to increased risk of SERIOUS infections, memory loss, and more [R] [R].
They sometimes are needed and beneficial. Keep in mind, they are indicated for short-term use. Yet people stay on them for years, even decades.
Many people recover and feel so much better if they choose natural treatments for heartburn instead. They absorb their food better, have more energy as well.
I love helping people get better. Help support me and my writing by clicking on links in this blog. I make a small percentage at no increased cost to you.
What Do Heartburn Drugs Do
What happens if you take a proton pump inhibitor or PPI?
This medicine blocks acid production in the stomach. Seems pretty benign, right?
Here’s the story you don’t hear. By blocking acid, they also block absorption of B12.
Stomach acid is keyto freeing or liberating B12 for absorption.
Consequences of B12 Deficiency
What’s the big deal about plummeting your B12 also known as cobalamin?
Vitamin B12 is necessary to make red healthy red blood cell cells and nerve cells. Low B12 can cause PERMANENT nerve damage, memory loss, and mood disorders.
B12 deficiency is now extremely common, and I have no doubt that heartburn drugs are contributing to these issues.
Deficiency of B12 also interferes with energy production and liberation of energy from food.
Even the most skeptical nutrition critic probably doesn’t want low energy. I’m pretty confidant of this.
It would be all still manageable if it was just B12 deficiency. However, there are some other consequences of blocking acid.
Proton Pump Inhibitors Have Far-Reaching Side Effects
PPIs interfere with absorption of calcium, iron, zinc, and chromium to name a few [R] [R].
Stomach acid is also required for proper protein digestion as well. Think about it.
You are trying to block acid, but the blocking of acid causes indigestion. Yikes.
Some research suggests these drugs even create small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.
Long-term, this can wreak havoc for health! We now know that long-term PPI use increases risk of cardiovascular disease and dementia [R].
PPI drugs rob the body of minerals needed for just about every function in the body. These include calcium, iron, magnesium, and likely more.
Sound worse than heartburn to anyone?
You need to carefully consider the risks of this drug versus the benefits. Also consider that natural treatment for heartburn is within your grasp too.
Consider, perhaps, that you don't have too MUCH acid. You may have too LITTLE acid as well. Here's a really great link from my colleague Jeanette Kimszal RDN about low stomach acid symptoms.
Natural Treatments for Heartburn
Acid sounds painful, and it can be a problem.
By eliminating food sensitivities and/or using safe add-ins like ginger, plant enzymes and many other food tricks, you can be on your way to better digestion and reduced heartburn.
Many people's heartburn simply go away when the eliminate or minimize the big food sensitivities. This can be a challenging journey, but well worth it. Reach out to me if you think this might be you.
Ginger as a Natural Treatment for Heartburn
Let’s take a comparative look at ginger.
Ginger reduces symptoms of indigestion, nausea, vomiting, improves movement of food through the digestive tract, and increases saliva production [R].
Ginger reduces the chances that stomach acid will flow up into the esophagus. It also decreases arthritic pain and headaches in some people. Read more about the benefits of ginger here.
What does ginger deplete?
Nothing. In fact, ginger enhances nutrient absorption [R]. Is more research needed? Always.
However, logic says to try food approaches FIRST to manage heartburn. It works for me and many others as a natural treatment for reflux or heartburn.
Plant Enzymes as a Digestive Aid
Our digestive tracts are THE most complicated parts of our body, some argue. We have so many things that can go awry if we don't have the right balance for our own bodies. Each digestive tract is unique.
We need enzymes to digest foods. Simply put, enzymes help us break down our foods so we can digest them.
We have many places that we make enzymes: in our mouth, stomach, small intestines, and pancreas. Could enzymes be a natural treatment for heartburn? Or part of the recovery process? Absolutely.
Our small intestines actually produce MORE digestive enzymes than our pancreas. What does this mean for us? It could be a silent problem that makes your digestion way off, and you may never know it without actually trying to supplement enzymes.
What can make your enzyme production low? Inflammation, food intolerance, and anything that can throw off the gut bacteria (think PPI drugs, antibiotics, and more) [R].
Enzymes are a safe and emerging treatment option for many digestive issues, including Celiac disease. They can be combined with bile acids as well [R].
Digestzen as a Natural Treatment for Heartburn?
Personally, I use an all-natural treatment for heartburn called Digestzen that is full of plants that support digestion: Anise, ginger, caraway, peppermint, tarragon and fennel.
While we don't have ten clinical trials to prove this out, I have this: everyone I know who has ever tried it won't go without it.
Let's break this down a bit. Remember, most people treated for heartburn may not have heartburn at all. They often have INDIGESTION. This poor digestion of food creates a "back-up" of food into the stomach or poor emptying, giving symptoms of pain and acid.
In a review of over 12 clinical studies, a blend of caraway, licorice, and peppermint is effective as natural treatment for heartburn-like symptoms; functional dyspepsia [R].
Peppermint oil reduces pain, flatulence, as well as diarrhea in clinical studies [R]. Peppermint itself may contribute to reflux symptoms in some people, but the combination does not appear to have any negative side effects.
Bonus: their nutrient absorption is much improved when using natural treatment for heartburn instead of drugs.
Fermented Foods as Natural Treatment for Heartburn
I also eat fermented foods and use a great probiotic and natural digestive enzymes as well.
Fermented foods are complicated and can be a very concentrated way to get probiotic into your diet.
They include sauerkraut, Puerh tea, kimchi, pickles, aged cheeses, kefir, yogurt, and more.
Probiotic supplements are often a great add-in for digestion but are complicated and our guts are highly unique. Probiotics help break down our food to ease the digestive process. They can be part of a very natural treatment for heartburn.
When I branched out into the world of online health, one amazing benefit that I have had is connecting with health experts across the globe. This group of experts is changing how medicine is done, and most importantly, changing people's health and vitality.
This week, I am honored and excited to interview the bestselling author and specialist in the field of weight loss; Dr. Lori Shemek.
Dr. Lori Shemek is a dynamic writer and speaker who is changing the way the world eats and lives. Dr. Lori has written the bestselling book, How to Fight Fatflammation. She is endorsed by foremost experts in the field of health, including Dr. David Perlmutter, JJ Virgin, and Tosca Reno.
The world is full of health advice, some good, some not. I love how Dr. Shemek's book is based on the best science out there and how to truly help people get well.
Dr. Lori and I connected on Twitter a couple of years ago and I admire her strength, her kindness, and her unique and practical approach to health.
Thank you so much for taking time to let me interview you.
First of all, I want to thank you Heidi for your kind words. You are one of my favorite nutrition experts and a wonderful friend.
That means so much to me, thank you, Lori! What are the most important facts people should be aware of when looking for health information?
It is so easy to go down that rabbit hole of health information or investigation on the Internet and unfortunately, much of it nonsense, outdated or simply useless. It is important to look at the source of the information such as the expert’s credibility. Many times you will run across sites or ‘experts’ making wild claims and they haven’t neither the research, nor prior experience nor education in that field. So many ‘experts’ feel that if they are even tangentially connected to the information, they then are a bonefied expert. I would also caution the reader to be aware of bias. This is a common issue in the health space and this includes research. So always bear in mind the possibility of stating ‘facts’ for dollars.
You are incredibly smart, but also relatable. Your book tells a story that people can understand and apply to their lives. What inspired you to become an author?
I grew up with a single mother, an absent father and two younger brothers of which I was the oldest. My sweet mother had a constant stream of different health conditions throughout my childhood. The choices my mother made added to her dwindling health such as she smoked a pack and half of cigarettes a day, she was very overweight bordering on obese, her diet was based largely on sugar and refined carbohydrates Additionally, she was under enormous chronic stress, she was raising 3 young children with no support, no family, no husband and very little income. I remember often walking into her bedroom and seeing her laying there in the dark on the bed suffering. However, I knew intuitively, even as a young girl, that she could make different choices. Sadly, my mother passed away at the very young age of 36 leaving behind three young children with literally no where to go. Unfortunately, my brothers and I were forever separated and would never live in the same household again – we all ultimately lived in different states.
It was at my mother’s memorial service that I knew my mother could have made different choices and that she just needed the guidance and self-love to make healthier ones. That was the moment I decided I wanted to help others make better choices. My mother was my motivation and why I have written two books in her honor and for anyone who needs to make better choices. Our lives ultimately condense down to the choices we make.
Lori has been featured on almost every major news network out there. What was your favorite interview and why?
Thank you for sharing that Heidi. I really loved them all but I have to say that my very favorite would be my appearance on The Doctors TV show. It was the first time I was in a national debate on the pros/cons of intermittent fasting in front of millions and it was very lively to say the least!
Your book describes how inflammation drives the obesity crisis we are in and how we can solve it with practical approaches. What is the first step for people to make if they are tired, overweight, inflamed, and struggling?
Low-level inflammation is the core underlying cause of most illness, disease, faster-aging and weight gain. If you cut your finger, for example, an enormous amount of inflammatory molecules are released, the wound heals and all is well – this is acute inflammation – a necessary, healing immune response. Then there is a type of cellular inflammation that is called silent inflammation. This type of inflammation is like a sore on the inside of the body that never heals. Unlike acute inflammation, which emits a substantial release of inflammatory molecules, silent inflammation emits just a trickle and it is 24/7; it never goes away. Even our fat cells (our largest endocrine organ), if inflamed, release molecules that not only slow down the metabolism, causing weight gain, but promoting the potential for poor health.
The first step is to reduce and reverse low-level cellular inflammation. Remember that our cells need nutrition to create energy in the cell. If we do not have that fuel, we will not have the energy, motivation to do much in life and that includes exercise or choosing healthy foods.
Choosing specific foods that reverse inflammation is key to optimizing cell health, including mitochondrial health and weight loss. Healthy mitochondria are a crucial part of an optimal health span. Examples of specific foods to add to your grocery cart that fight inflammation are: avocados, leafy greens, wild salmon, berries, nuts, whole eggs and many more.
The science behind the ketogenic diet is exploding and now has many areas of application. Can you describe some benefits you have seen first-hand with ketogenesis and even ketone supplements?
The ketogenic diet is a very low carb, moderate protein and high fat diet. I have my clients use this form of eating to powerfully change their health. Ketones are the active component, if you will, in this diet or in the supplement form. I highly recommend both for those that want to achieve a healthier life. Some of the benefits are: reversing inflammation, weight loss, improved focus/clarity, better brain health, heart health, marked improvement in migraines, blood sugar balance, better sleep, more energy, less joint pain, helps to stop cravings for sugar and much more. So you can see why I’m so excited about and currently writing a book on this subject!
When you are not busy writing, podcasting, coaching clients, what is your favorite way to make sure you are healthy and not over-stressed?
Life is busy for many of us and so it is imperative that we are proactive in reducing our stress on a daily basis. Each day I walk my dog and it really helps me to de-stress. I also practice deep breathing and guided meditation. I highly recommend guided meditation for those, like me, who have trouble with traditional meditation. I also exercise most days of the week as a combination of strength training and HIIT workouts – exercise is the #1 stress reduction tool.
Sugar is definitely a problem in our culture and even is involved in making our skin age faster. In a world of hidden sugars, what is the most important thing for people to watch out for?
Yes, hidden sugar is huge. Many clients initially come to me frustrated that they can’t stop their sugar cravings – it is not their fault. You can eliminate sugar but if you are not reading labels or know the sneaky names they have ascribed to sugar, it then becomes a hidden source and unknowingly, to many, reinforcing that sugar addiction. For example, most breads, yogurts and condiments are very high in sugar.
If you were Queen for a day, what one change would you make?
If I were queen for a day, I would ensure that each individual had a healthy balanced diet for the day so that they can experience a better quality of life. If each of us ate a diet that was nutrient-dense, it would promote health and powerful neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine to improve mood. The result would be a happier life for all.
Want to learn more about Dr. Lori Shemek? Read more on her website
It's taken me a long time to write about oregano essential oil uses.
I think I've been holding it close to me because I may not be objective about the topic. I'm ready now.
Will Oregano Essential Oil Change Healthcare?
We can't keep potent plants like this a secret. We need to help each other. I'm here to help you. Then you can help the next person by telling your story.
Health care is based on stories and experiences, that is, up until the Big Pharma decided it should be something different. Let's not kid ourselves. Huge trials of clinical research are almost exclusively funded by them.
Small studies still manage to surface due to the virtues of great scientists, but usually don't have funding to take them further.
Oregano essential oil has never failed me. Never. I'll get into more of this and why it is so potent.
But, I want to explore the topic of immunity with a broader lens before I do that. Right now, healthcare is more expensive than ever. And drug-resistant infections are no small contributor to this expense.
Every day I hear how people can't afford their prescriptions and even worse, they aren't feeling healthier. We have largely abandoned tools that the earth has given us for name brand drugs with pink shiny coating on them. "Name it to tame it" then throw a pill at it.
While some prescription medications are absolutely necessary and save lives, they don't touch the broad category of immunity at all. This is why I am now bold enough to tackle oregano essential oil uses. This, as you may know by now if you read my blogs, starts in the gut.
Oregano addresses most everything our immune system requires when acute illness sets in.
If you like my content here, you can support me by clicking on a couple links here to support me and keep me writing.
Using Oregano Essential Oil at The First Signs of Illness
Have you ever felt a waive of nausea and stomach pain overcome you and you KNOW that you are going to be down for days with vomiting?
I've felt this, but I have oregano essential oil. It is REALLY strong and it REALLY works.
About a month ago, this happened to me. Here is the key. I didn't wait 5 minutes. I grabbed 3 drops of oregano oil, added it to 8 oz of water and gulped it down RIGHT away. And I gulp it fast because it is STRONG!
What happened? One minute later, stomach pain was gone and so was the nausea. Gone. This has happened to me at least 20 times for various illnesses setting in over the years. The second I start feeling sick, I grab the oregano and it always helps super fast. Needless to say I don't take sick days ever!
But, you may be asking yourself right now, am I imagining it all? Would I have gotten better anyway? Perhaps, but perhaps not. And my track record is very good.
Let's take a look at what we know about oregano, and you can answer that for yourself. Then, let's review what you need to know before embarking on adding oregano oil into your life.
Oregano Essential Oil Uses Overview
Oregano essential oil kills over 90 known strains of bacteria, fungi, viruses, molds, and parasites!
Why do I talk about the essential oil for medicinal purposes instead of fresh oregano?
The essential oil is a very concentrated form of the medicinal parts of the plant that has been used for 100s of years.
Essential oils are often 30 times or moree concentrated than the original plant. We need this in times of illness.
How much does Certified Pure Therapeutic oregano oil cost per dose? $0.29 cents per dose (3 drops). Think how much money, time, and agony you could be saving. You can have it in your home and your car AND your purse at all times for much less than the cost of a doctor's visit.
Don't skimp and buy the inferior kinds at the grocery store or so-called "organic" either. They can be laden with chemicals! I will explain why.
Oregano Essential Oil Fights Viruses Effectively
Noravirus is a nasty virus that causes nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. It is exceedingly common for people.
Enter oregano essential oil use. A substance in oregano oil called carvacrol reduced replication and growth of noravirus within an hour in cell study and on surfaces [R].
Oregano oil kills many other viruses too. Those include acyclovir-resistant herpes simplex virus type 1, acyclovir-sensitive HHV-1, human respiratory syncytial virus, bovine herpesvirus type 2, and bovine viral diarrhea virus [R].
Many people successfully treat warts, a type of virus, with diluted topical essential oil when applied three times daily.
What prescriptions are antiviral? Very few, and you have to go to the doctor within a very narrow window of exposure. This is a very expensive trip! And often, you will be too late.
Antibacterial Effects of Oregano Oil
It's not just viruses that oregano is able to fight. Oregano essential oil fights nasty bacteria too. A cell study found that oregano oil was effective against all tested strains of bacteria, including gram negative bacteria and gram positive bacteria [R]. This included dangerous e.coli.
Oregano essential oil use inhibits E. coli Proteus and Pseudomonas bacteria. This makes it a very effective remedy for both urinary tract infections (UTIs) and prostatitis or some forms of enlarged prostate.
Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) is a common condition that results in a lot of pain and food intolerance, to name a few. Often, SIBO is resistant to current antibiotic therapy as well.
Oregano oil was as effective as triple antibiotic therapy and had MUCH less side effects for people with SIBO-resistant disease [R].
Oregano destroys MRSA on surfaces, and has been used in creams for helping effectively treat MRSA infections in a small trial [R] [R].
Another fascinating role for oregano against bacteria: Oregano reduces the growth of excess bacteria when people are receiving iron therapy for anemia [R].
Bacterial overgrowth is a common side effect to iron therapy or iron overload.
Oregano Treats Athletes Food, Candida, and Fungal Infections
Fungi turns out to be no match for oregano either.
Five disease-causing strains of fungus were reduced by oregano oil [R].
Oregano oil use is also VERY effective against athletes foot type of fungus. In fact, it was the most effective treatment athlete's foot [R].
Candida also may be effectively treated with oregano essential oil. Even more importantly, oregano essential oil helps fight fluconasole-resistant forms of candida infections [R].
Oregano Essential Oil Reduces Parasites
Oregano may also help fight intestinal parasites that are very difficult to treat [R].
Other Benefits of Oregano Essential Oil
Oregano may also help protect the body from cancer and reduce inflammation [R].
What can antibiotics do? Selectively kill certain strains of bacteria.
What can oregano do? Kill over 90 strains of pathogenic bacteria, viruses, fungus, AND parasites. Oregano for the win.
It appears that oregano can do pretty much everything except the dishes.
Safe Ways To Use Oregano Essential Oil
I don't talk about the fresh or dried oregano for cooking here. Why?
While I do love the flavor and use it all the time, all the research so far is dedicated to oregano oil because it is a VERY concentrated form of oregano. This is what is needed in times of illness.
A few sprigs of fresh oregano may not have the medicinal effects acutely.
Only buy and use Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade oregano oil. Even so-called organic types can be processed with dangerous chemicals like hexane! Many of these oils disguised as "pure" can have solvents and chemicals that are bad for you.
You may also add drops of oregano oil to an empty gelcap and take internally.
If using oregano essential oil for treating illnesses, make sure to use higher doses for 10 days or fewer. Small, frequent doses work better than large doses. Try 3 drops orally 3 times daily when feeling ill. Always dilute in water or take in an empty capsule.
For health maintenance, you can take 1 drop in a capsule daily.
Always dilute oregano, both topically and internally! If using topically, dilute with fractionated coconut oil and apply to area of concern.
Oregano essential oil used on surfaces is great used to help disinfect your home naturally and to reduce the chemical load in your homes. For molds and for surface cleaners, simply add 10 drops per 16 oz glass spray bottle. Shake before using.
Diffuse oregano oil to help keep the air healthy in your rooms at home.
Diluted oregano oil (with coconut oil) may be placed on a cotton ball and rubbed around the ear to help ease ear infections.
While the flavor of CPTG on itself is very strong, adding it to olive oil can temper it very quickly. It tastes great as a dip or sauce for foods!
Always seek medical help for emergent health conditions, and as always, discuss your healthcare options with your practitioner. Use of oregano essential oil is not recommended when pregnant.