Homemade Vita Gummies

When you have picky kids like I do it becomes necessary to come up with creative and sometimes off the wall ways to get nutrients into their reluctant, gaggy little mouths.

This month I got around to trying something new. Raw veggies are one of the hardest things to get in our kids. Especially when they are sick. Which is of course when they need those nutrients most.

Enter the magic of the gelatin based gummy. I’ve blogged before about how fantastic gelatin is for the body, here. The marvelous thing about this is that you can customize it to whatever your children need. Can’t get liquid vitamins into them? Turn them into Gummies. Not sweet enough? Add Stevia or maple syrup.

Our kids have been getting raw veggie juice with whole food based Vit C. They gobble them up like they are delicacies. Haven’t the heart to break the news to them that some of their arch veggie enemies are housed in the nummy Gummies. Some secrets it’s best for a mama to keep to herself.

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The ratio of liquid to gelatin that I use is roughly 4 cups liquid to 2 and 1/2 tablespoons bovine gelatin. Additional gelatin can be added if you want them extra jiggly.

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We recently purchased a small hand juicer. It’s fun for the kids to use. Goes just fast enough to make enough juice for gummy purposes. Is easy to clean and oh so much easier than hauling out our huge electric juicer that is best suited for big jobs. Best of all it was cheap enough that even if it only lasts a couple of years it will have more than paid for itself in productive kid distractions and expedient nutrients for kids.

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Garlic Paste: Easy Peasy Poultice

Step by Step Garlic Paste Poultice

Step by Step Garlic Paste Poultice

We are big fans of Garlic in our family. We cook with it. Supplement with it. And use it medicinally. Garlic is one of the most incredibly potent antibiotics nature makes and also has components in it that boost the immune system in multiple ways. Once a fresh clove of garlic is crushed elements intermingle and create something called allicin. Allicin exhibits incredibly powerful anti bacterial and anti fungal effects. The nutritional industry has figured out ways to stabilize what is, in nature a fragile and limited time availability compound. Once a garlic clove is crushed the clock starts ticking. You only have a guaranteed 15 minutes from the time allicin is activated till the time it begins to fade. Some experts claim it lasts as long as 40 minutes. Immune boosting products that contain stabilized allicin are really fantastic and are an ideal way to get those benefits with no work and no smelly breath involved.

Supplements can be expensive. Especially for a large family on a tight budget. They also require the ability to swallow pills and are typically dosed for adults, not children.  For children, finding a way to get affordable allicin rich garlic compounds into them involves poultices. A while back I did a video tutorial on how to make a garlic poultice. This is the method we used in our family for several years and it works incredibly well. However, it is also wet and a bit on the messy side. This year a friend introduced me to the concept of Garlic Paste. We experimented with it and discovered that for our kids this is a more efficient and effective way of doing garlic poultices. So, without further ado, here is my DIY instructions on how to make:

Garlic Paste Poultice

The quantities in this tutorial should be enough for 2 to 3 pairs of child sized feet or 1 pair of large adult sized feet.

Start with a full head of fresh, raw, organic garlic. Why organic? The point of this is that it is going to be absorbed into the body and blood stream at a rapid rate. Any residual fungicides, pesticides and chemicals that are left on commercially raised garlic will be absorbed along with all the good properties. If it’s a choice between regular ol’ cheapest thing the local store has fresh garlic and none at all, by all means use what you can get. But, ideally, my recommendation will always be organic for this purpose.

Pre-minced garlic purchased at the store in glass containers, even that from the refrigerator section will not work for this purpose. Pre-peeled cloves will also not work nearly as well. Stick with the real deal still safely ensconced in it’s feathery papery layers.

Head of Raw Garlic

Head of Raw Garlic

Loosen all the outer dried layers off of it enough so that you can divide the individual cloves out. Once the cloves are separated lay on a firm surface (I use our granite counter top or a large wooden cutting board) take something solid like the flat bottom of a glass or bottom of a mortar and do a quick “whap” on each of the cloves. The purpose isn’t to crush them but to pop loose the dried individual outer peel enough so that they are easily removed.

Whapped garlic cloves Prior to Peeling

Whapped garlic cloves Prior to Peeling

Once the cloves are peeled they are ready for the next stage!

freshgarliccloves

This next stage you have a variety of options. I personally prefer using a tool we purchased a while back for this purpose. A high quality garlic press. Ours has been going strong for years. If you don’t own a garlic press you can crush the garlic with a fork and finish off the mincing with a knife. It can also be pummeled into small bits in a mortar and pestle.

Mincing the Garlic via a Press

Mincing the Garlic via a Press

This is what a head of garlic looks like after it’s minced. One of the advantages of mincing is that it goes fast and thoroughly mixes all the different parts of each clove together ensuring optimal allicin creation.

Head of Minced Garlic

Head of Minced Garlic

This is where the instructions differ from the water and heat based poultices we did before. Although some properties are drawn out faster and more effectively with the hot water it can be somewhat tricky to make sure the water isn’t too hot. Making it into a paste means that the active properties will be drawn out at a slower rate via the warmth of the skin.

A crucial component of the paste is the base the minced garlic is mixed with. Something too thin will not allow you to maintain that all important “paste like” spreadable consistency. It will also not adequately buffer or protect the skin from the burning elements of the garlic. Part of what makes the paste preferred by us is that it can be worn longer periods of time with reduced chances of irritation and burning over the water poultice method.

The original tutorial I read about this recommended using petroleum jelly. Petroleum jelly is a no-no in our house mostly because…well, it’s derived from petroleum. So, it was important to me to find an acceptable substitute. Coconut oil is too thin and melts too rapidly in contact with warmth. Same with olive or almond or any of my normal go-to carrier oils. The first couple of batches I used Beeyoutiful’s Body Butter. It worked incredibly well and was the perfect consistency. It’s also rather an expensive base. With a second sickness hitting our house I needed something that would be affordable to use multiple times per day. As I stood in front of our open refrigerator wracking my brain for what I could use it occurred to me. Lard! That lovely tub of white lard. Not the best smelling but relatively cheap, natural and safe.

lard

Ideally you want to use at least 50% ratio of base carrier to minced garlic. For very small children, infants or individuals with extra sensitive skin the ratio can be increased to 2 parts Lard (or carrier base of your choice) to 1 part minced garlic. Once the base and garlic are mixed together it should be a thick, spreadable concoction.

The Mixed Garlic Paste

The Mixed Garlic Paste

Although technically this paste could be used on any part of the body my preferred spot is the feet. The skin is thicker and more protected from burning there while at the same time having a very high concentration of receptors that handles the uptake of the best properties of the garlic extremely well. Make sure the footsies are clean and dry and then slather the paste on. It’s Ok to be generous!

Garlic Paste spread on the foot

Garlic Paste spread on the foot

To top the paste off you can use water proof bandages which are my preference because they are nice and tidy with minimal risk of mess leaking out as the oil warms. Ran out of those before writing up this tutorial though so used my fall-back. Folded paper towels. You want the paper towel to be folded in enough layers to keep the oil from leaking out all over everything as the mixture warms against the feet. I use medical tape to secure it in place.

tapeandpapertowels TapedPoulticePasteThe finished product on my 2 yo Cmans footsies. For the record, he isn’t crying because of the foot paste, he was on his third hour of crying in misery from the on-set of a virus with full body malaise. He felt much improved after the garlic paste treatment and ran around happily for a couple of hours despite still having a low-grade fever!

Some cautionary safety notes:

Please understand that raw garlic potency and “burn factor” can vary a lot from one batch, one harvest, one head and one variety to another. There is no way to know for sure how “hot” a particular batch of paste is going to be. For this reason please DO NOT leave on feet all night as some tutorials recommend. Far too many individuals have been burned this way. Especially do not leave on the feet of children. Check frequently to make sure no initial redness or irritation is starting. My policy is to check every 10 minutes with the paste on our children and more frequently if they start whining or complaining about it. Garlic is powerful. It has literally burned holes into peoples feet. As with all things anything that has properties to be incredibly potent also has the potential to cause harm if not used with common sense, precaution and wisdom.

Sometimes it can be hard to tell if it’s “done” or if it’s been left on long enough to do a good job. A rule of thumb that has served us well is to leave it on until you can smell garlic on the breath of the individual receiving the poultice. It’s a sure sign that adequate levels of garlic have been absorbed into the blood stream to do an effective job against whatever you need it to do. As soon as we smell the garlic breath we remove the poultice immediately. And prior to that if any irritation of the feet happens.

Let me know if you try this! Happy and safe poulticing and to all a goodnight!

First Aid for Colds

We are all familiar with the necessity and just good ol’ common sense of keeping around a First Aid kit in our homes and cars. It isn’t that we plan for accidents or injuries to happen just makes sense to be prepared for that “just incase” possibility. These days our injury oriented first aid kit is stocked with items like Miracle, OwEase, Bee’s Aid and various essential oils. The homeopathic form of Arnica and activated charcoal have also become permanent fixtures.

I’ve been thinking lately that I should keep an illness first aid kit stocked. Not that I am planning on illness but if preparedness with a scraped knee or bee sting is common sense why wouldn’t the same rule apply for colds, sniffles or allergies? If we get sick there are certain items I need and often times don’t have on hand. Some of them are easy to replace and others not so much. Especially for the items that require a lot of effort to find or might be difficult to find at all it is especially important to deliberately keep those items on hand.

So, what would a First Aid Kit for Colds look like in our house? I made a list. Cuz I love lists. Lists are my friend. They help me out a lot in life. You should make friends with lists too if you haven’t already. 😉

  • Raw local Honey. Indefinite shelf life. Can be difficult to locate so always keep a supply on hand.
  • Real from healthy bones and joints from scratch Chicken or bone Broth to the tune of 1/2 a gallon minimum standing by in the freezer. I wrote about how to make bone broth and about some of it’s incredible healing properties here.
  • Jars of rich bone broth

    Jars of rich bone broth

  • Herbal Teas from Traditional Medicinals My personal favorites are the Throat Coat for Kids, Throat Coat for Adults, Breath Easy and Gypsy Cold Care. These Teas are shelf stable for a good long while and are wonderfully soothing and beneficial. Especially for those prone to asthmatic complications of various illnesses.

    Breath Easy

    Breath Easy

  • Fresh Garlic, preferably organic. Whole Heads of garlic last me anywhere from 1 to 3 months depending on the average temp in my kitchen. I re-stock as soon as I’m down to 1 head. Poultices use up garlic pretty fast and for an average cold for 4 people doing poultices several times a day you can easily use up 5 to 6 heads worth. So, when I re-stock that is the amount I shoot for. We also eat a lot of fresh garlic. If I see it starting to sprout or shrivel I make a point of using fresh garlic for the next couple of meals and replenish the supply my next shopping trip. Need to learn how to do a garlic poultice? I made this video a while back and it covers the how-to in all it’s simplicity. 🙂 Just click Garlic Poultice Tutorial
  • Winter Breeze. This is one of the best products ever. It’s a necessity in our house. You know about Vick’s Vapor Rub? This is like that only waaaay better. Better FOR you because it doesn’t have icky petroleum based ingredients and WORKS better due to the high powered ingredients it’s made from. It is super effective and actually helps to kick whatever the problem is much faster because the oils in it are antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti viral not to mention lung and sinus soothing and nasal passage opening. Massaged over chest and back if there is a tight cough, on the soles of feet for pretty much everything and around the nose for sinus pressure and stuffy noses. Child safe and (after testing for sensitivity) safe for use on infants feet.
  • BerryWell. This is a one stop shopping spot for convenient yet incredibly effective cold and allergy superhero. It’s expensive and sometimes goes out of stock but it has a VERY long shelf life so there is no reason to wait till the last minute to get it and risk having to wait a week or more to get it in your hands. It works best the earlier into a situation you take it so having it on the shelf ready to go is by far the best policy. I try to keep 2 to 4 bottles on my back shelf for that *just incase* scenario.
  • Probiotics. I’m fairly flexible on which one, but infusions of broad spectrum good bacterial are crucial for helping the gut get a handle on whatever war is being waged in the body. The vast majority of our immune system is regulated in our yards of GI track so dumping some reinforcements down there when dealing with an illness, even if it isn’t a stomach oriented problem is a good policy.
  • Essential Oils. These multi faceted tools are useful for everything really and First Aid for sicknesses is no exception. Not only can they be used in a myriad of remedies to directly fight the illness and symptoms in the body they can also be used in cleaners around the house to keep the sickness from spreading.

Those comprise my Sickness First Aid Essentials. All of these items are multi faceted. You’ll probably find yourself reaching for various ones for totally different reasons than an illness. The trick in my experience is to keep them on hand because illnesses don’t come with a 1 week advance notice so you can have time to scramble and assemble some last minute troops to fight it with. Wish I had a dollar for every time a desperate Mom called me when I was taking customer service calls with Beeyoutiful begging for a next day shipping option and willing to pay a ridiculous amount to have it shipped fast because her family had been struck down by an illness of some sort and she was out of Berrywell or some other crucial immune boosting supplement.

Doodlebug curled up in her chair on a cold winter day

Doodlebug curled up in her chair on a cold winter day

Be prepared! Get prepared! Go take stock and make sure you have enough resources on hand to fight something from day one.  And while you are checking your families sickness inventory let me know what you consider to be crucial. What is the one thing you never ever want to be without no matter what?

Sinus and Cough Travel Buster Tip

We decided to take a last minute trip to GA this weekend to see my family. The day before we left I had that pre-sickness “ick” feeling all day. Downing immune boosting supplements and of course my trusty Gut Guardian since I’m still faithfully plugging away at the challenge I blogged about a couple of weeks ago. No specific symptoms developed other than a mild sore throat from drainage. A few spritzes of Bee’s Aid and all was well.

Steve woke up the morning of our departure feeling like I had the day before. We discussed staying home since it was obvious both of us were actively fighting off the cold Doodlebug had been so generously sharing with us for a couple of weeks. She of course got it from a friend who generously shared it with her. Such sharing people we all are. Packing extra supplements in our handy travel supplement bag along with our travel case of essential oils and diffuser we decided to go anyway. We were already packed! Plus, without any specific symptoms other than “I think maybe kinda sorta we might be getting sick” it seemed like the lamest of reasons to cancel.

So off we went. As long as we stayed on top of the supplements we all felt pretty good. Kinda tired but we were sleep deprived and traveling. We took care to eat as well as we could traveling and I packed an ice chest from home with an electric skillet to do a bit of hotel room cooking to save us from the necessity of eating out much. The first night in the hotel we noticed we were struggling with stuffy noses. My chest felt a bit tight. An experienced asthmatic (although inhaler free for years now!) I knew to take that as a serious indication that my body was struggling to get on top of this thing. Concerned that I might be on the brink of succumbing despite the  the diffuser running I decided to get creative with the tools we have here in the hotel room.

Step one was to utilize the coffee maker for a much healthier purpose than coffee. I cranked it up with a full pitcher of water.

Hotel Room Coffee Maker with Plain Water

Hotel Room Coffee Maker with Plain Water

Next was a stop by the handy dandy essential oil travel case to select which oils I wanted to use in this particular concoction.

Essential oil padded Travel Case

Essential oil padded Travel Case

My selection was a bit random, but they would all help each other to get the job done.

Essential Oils for sinus pressure and chest tightness

Essential Oils for sinus pressure and chest tightness

Waiting for the water to finish getting nice and hot I sprinkled drops of the oils in varying amounts into the bottom of the hotel provided disposable coffee cup. Once the water was nice and hot I poured it in on top of the prepared essential Oils in the cup. The steamy rich aroma of the blend instantly rose up around me. Ahhhh. Nice! It started working right away.

Pouring hot water over essential oils in cup

Pouring hot water over essential oils in cup

Grabbing a towel and throwing it over my head as the last step I got settled in and breathed in the steam as deep as I could through my nose and deep into my lungs.

Towel Donned and steamy cup of essential oil laced hot water in hand

Towel Donned and steamy cup of essential oil laced hot water in hand

10 Minutes of this “breathing treatment” and all my sinus pressure was gone and the tightness in my chest had loosened. Whew. I’m going to be able to sleep much better tonight. Sometimes the extra moisture in a steam delivery method makes the essential oils more effective. In my experience this is especially true of chest tightness. The moisture helps everything let go and relax faster and more effectively than just the cold mist diffusing of the oils. The cold mist diffuser is helpful, don’t get me wrong, it’s what keeps our noses clear all night long as we sleep but for that immediate fast relief nothing beats a steamy oil treatment.

What is your favorite sickness busting travel trick?

 

 

 

 

 

Probiotically Prepared: A Challenge to Guard our Guts

Illness = Exhaustion and Expense

Doodlebug as sa baby zonked out in an office chair

Doodlebug as sa baby zonked out in an office chair

Several months ago I was at the Beeyoutiful Store-front when a customer came in seeking supplements and advice. Her entire family had Hand Foot and Mouth disease. A highly contagious virus like that in a large family is a nightmare. We discussed supplements and protocols to help the sick ones recover faster and how to keep the ones who had already gotten it from getting it again and how to keep the well ones well.

One of the elements that came into play very quickly was how difficult it can be to supplementally treat a large family with an illness like that. The very best supplements often come with a high price tag. In her case, Berrywell (famed for it’s anti viral super powers) was reserved for the Dad since his income supported the entire family and they literally couldn’t risk him succumbing. The rest of the supplements were divided out amongst the remaining children by priorities of weakest immune systems and specific vulnerabilities. One of her children was very prone to digestive problems so the best probiotics went to him and so on and so forth.

In addition to all the supplement challenges she was doing multiple loads of laundry per day, enforcing a no touch, no contact rule in a large affectionate family of children and making sure NOTHING was used after another by way of towels and other regular household items. All the while attempting to cook nourishing, time consuming meals to help the sick ones heal faster. Every few hours she was also dosing everybody with supplements, and doing various homemade remedies with the sick ones. I felt exhausted on her behalf just thinking about it all.

It made me realize yet again that prevention is by far the easier path than dealing with an illness in all it’s full blown glory. Most of us are not inclined to spend money on things we don’t need. It’s easy to warrant running out on an emergency basis and buying whatever supplements or medications we can possibly afford when we have a sick child on the line. Sometimes we have to buy items we can’t afford but we find a way to make it happen anyway even if it means debt in order to best care for our families when a sickness is sucking the life out of a child, or risking severe complications.

The old saying “An Ounce of prevention is worth a Pound of cure” holds very true in the realm of health management. In fiscal terms prevention it also makes sense. It costs less money, less time, less heart-ache, less worry less, misery and stress. The idea of health prevention is something almost universally accepted.  The concept of *how* exactly to implement health preparedness can be rather elusive on specifics though. What is especially challenging is finding things to do that will yield long term benefits vs. only the immediate protection.

Guts on Guard

In the years of reading and learning I have done in the realm of supplements and holistic health it has become increasingly clear to me just how crucial digestive health is. It’s no new-news to anybody that we live in a nation of compromised guts. With anti-acid over the counter medications now a part of many Americans daily meal routines and even more over the counter medications to counter constipation, gas, bloating, diarrhea etc. it’s taken for granted that our guts need help.

When “guts” are referred to in so flippantly exactly are we talking about? In an average adult the gut is about 30 feet, including the small and large intestines. I’ve read that the normal bacterial population in the human gut is equal to the total number of cells in our entire body. This complex hoard of bacteria is made up of more than twenty trillion cells, weighing approximately 2.2 pounds. Isn’t that incredible?

We all know probiotics are good. They’ve become so well known we hardly ever get the question anymore of “Pro-bi-what??” We know we need good bacteria. We buy those yogurts that say “live cultures” on the label. Some of us culture all kinds of foods at home in an attempt to help our guts out by diet. A lot of us have learned to take digestive enzymes to help the digestive load not be so difficult for our bodies. Supplementing with digestive enzymes and probiotics get a lot of individuals amazing relief from all sorts of digestive system ailments.

What isn’t so commonly recognized is that our guts are a huge part of our immune system. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that our digestive system and all those yards and yards of intestines are there purely to help us breakdown the foods we eat and then eliminate the waste. The truth is the whole system does so very much much more than that. Good bacteria aka probiotics are a crucial part of our guts immune boosting element.

Now, please don’t miss this next part. This is absolutely crucial to understand if we are to effectively prevent illnesses before they start.

70 to 80% of our Immune System is regulated and found in the Gut

This is the vast majority of our immune system. Right there in those squishy intestines. Regulated by our American life-style traumatized guts. Is it any wonder many of us are perpetually vulnerable to contagious illnesses? We absolutely must give our guts the immune system credit it deserves and even more than credit, actual help to do it’s immune regulating job well. We tend to be far more familiar with the concept of boosting the blood based immune system part of our bodies via well documented supplements like Elderberry, Vit. C. Vit. D. and more. But in all reality that is the smaller part of our immune system!

This is something that I deeply regret not understanding better a long time ago. When Doodlebug was a baby she had a pretty weak immune system. Little wonder since her immune system was being regulated by MY Immune system! As a person who has been on countless rounds of antibiotics in my lifetime while eating a pretty typical SAD diet it is little wonder our sweet girl got a poor health start on life.

She was sick so many times her first year. And had frequent ear infections. Thankfully we were able to quickly deal with every ear infection with garlic oil and garlic poultices so what good bacteria she had wasn’t wiped out by the necessity of antibiotics. We began supplementing her with Tummy Tune Up at 3 months old. Whenever she got a bottle we would put some Colostrum or Tummy Tune Up in it. And now, at 5 years old now her immune system is finally what I would call stable and even good. It’s taken years of good bacteria boosting and other supplementation but we can see such a big difference.

In the subsequent years between her birth and the birth of our son this past year I also had been supplementing with a lot of probiotics. Have also been eating muuuch healthier and incorporating traditional foods which include fermented foods rich in natural bacterias into our diets. Our little man is all of 8.5 months old now and has not been sick yet. He’s been healthy as a horse all the way around. A pretty stark contrast to the many health issues we had already been dealing with at this point with his sister. We are very grateful for his health and attribute it in no small part to my improved health and gut bacteria.

Prevention Challenge!

In my quest to do the most effective and practical prevention for my families health I am going to put us all on a 2 month long course of intense probiotic supplementation.  Doodlebug is getting 1 whole capsule of the Gut Guardian 25 billion. Steve and I will be taking Gut Guardian Supreme 50 billion. I believe this is the best form of prevention we can possibly take to prepare our bodies immunity for the coming months of winter illnesses. Because these bacteria will colonize and establish a healthy flora it is supplementation that will make a difference for months and months.

Gut Guardians Probiotic Blend

Gut Guardians Probiotic Blend

The Gut Guardian probiotics are one of the most potent blends available anywhere on the market today and at very reasonable cost compared to others of similar quality and potency. Beeyoutiful keeps the Gut Guardians in a freezer to help preserve the maximum potency when it arrives at their customers door. The amount of bacteria counts on the label are the guaranteed potency at the time of expiration. If they are well treated and stored at cool temps (I keep our bottles in the door of the refrigerator) and used before the expiration date they will be even more potent than indicated on the label. Please note: Because these are so very potent and immediately begin their work in the gut some individuals may experience die-off symptoms. Should this happen to you please don’t be discouraged. Drink extra water, cut back on the amount if you have to but stick with it. It is all the more indication that your body really NEEDS it.

I want my families guts and subsequently our immune systems to be  as prepared as they possibly can be for the onslaught of illnesses this Fall and Winter. We plan on starting on August 1st and going through till the end of Sept. The cost to do this will have to come out of my already tight budget. But when I weigh it against what we could save as a family over the course of long winter months with super-viruses lurking around every corner it is easy to justify. There couldn’t be a better time to do this because Steve has just put the Gut Guardians on sale for the next few months! It’s going to be a little easier for me to squeeze these into our family budgets.

The Gut Guardians come 50 per each bottle. We are planning on taking this challenge for 61 days. Since we probably won’t remember (Ok ok who am I kidding??) Since we WILL be forgetting for at least a few days of the challenge I figure the 50 capsule bottle will be sufficient. 1 for each member of our family during this challenge.

Would you consider joining us? It is my personal belief that this is one of the most effective prevention protocols possible for the health of you and your family. I’d love to do this with some fellow prevention minded friends. Let me know if you are going to join us! 😀

If you can’t afford to have your entire family do this challenge with us will you at least consider having the “gut challenged” in your family do it? You know the ones. Either weaker than average immune systems or those who constantly have digestive problems? They need it more than anybody and this could really help them to have better health for the coming year.

I’m excited. Will be even more excited if some other people do this with me. I do supplements better with encouragement and accountability. Will be starting a thread on the Beeyoutiful forums. EDIT: Got the thread started! 🙂 Click Here to post! If you decide to join us check out the thread and jump right in! 🙂 Would be thrilled to see you there.

CoQ10: The Crucial Component

Beeyoutiful recently added to it’s line a supplement I’ve long wanted the company to carry. We had a hard time finding a product that was ether not in a bad oil (usually soy), or made with less than desirable processing methods.  The few that we found that were high quality had also *very* high price tags. After years of looking around we finally found one that met our quality criteria as well as being reasonably affordable.

Although it is a very well known supplement in many circles I’ve been surprised at how many people have only ever heard of it but don’t really understand what it does or how it works.

First of all let’s summarize what it is exactly. CoQ10 occurs naturally within the part of our cells that are responsible for energy production. CoQ10 plays a major role in the production of adenosine triphosphate or ATP, the basic energy unit and the major energy source for the execution of a large variety of different body functions, such as muscle contraction and protein production. The human body can manufacture CoQ10 but production slows down and even halts as we get older. There are dietary sources for CoQ10…it is found in whole grains, oily fish and organ meats. This is an item that the body requires fats in order to fully utilize. This makes organ meats and fatty fish the best dietary sources of it in terms of optimal utilization. If you take it in a concentrated supplement form like what is offered via Beeyoutiful I *highly* recommend you eat it with a meal that is high in good fats or take it with a fat based supplement like Omega 3-6-9 or Cod Liver Oil.

So what situations or health issues does it help with specifically?

First of all, allow me to point out that this is one supplement that is of benefit to anybody. Especially if you are like me and do not eat enough (cough cough) or any organ meats to speak of. Because it does it’s work on a very basic cellular level it’s a tool the body will utilize in maintaining good health in addition to repairing or healing from a specific problem.

There are however some very specific health situations it is especially beneficial for.

Diabetes: CoQ10 can help control blood sugar and the possible long-term complications of diabetes, such as heart disease, high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. Two studies have found that 100 mg of CoQ10 twice daily improved A1c levels, a measure of long-term blood sugar control.

Heart Health: One clinical study found that people who took daily CoQ10 supplements within 3 days of a heart attack were less likely to have subsequent heart attacks and chest pain. They were also less likely to die of heart disease than those who did not take the supplements. Clinical research also indicates that introducing CoQ10 prior to heart surgery, including bypass surgery and heart transplantation, can reduce damage caused by free radicals, strengthen heart function, and lower the incidence of irregular heart beat during the recovery phase.

High Blood Pressure: Several clinical studies  suggest that CoQ10 may lower blood pressure. However, it may take 4 – 12 weeks to see any change. After reviewing 12 clinical studies, researchers concluded that CoQ10 has the potential to lower systolic blood pressure by up to 17 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by 10 mm Hg, without significant side effects.

Parkinsons, Huntingtons and other Neurological related age associated disorders: An initial study has indicated that CoQ10 slows the disease progression in early on-set Parkinson patients. The group in the study that supplemented with the largest amount of CoQ10 (1,200 mg per day) experienced a 44% less decline in mental function, motor movement and ability to maintain normal daily activities than the placebo group. Some improvements were seen in the groups that received 300 mg and 600 mg per day but were not nearly as significant as those who received 1,200 per day. There have also been studies using CoQ10 in Huntington patients with measurable improvements noted.

Because of the way CoQ10 works within the body it is a valuable supplement for anyone who is suffering from age related mental struggles. For this same reason it is also helpful for special needs children and adults.

Take away points:

1) It’s good for everybody. From Children to the Elderly. Even if only used because of it’s powerful antioxidant properties to help the body “clean up” it’s act. It is most important to consider supplementing if the diet does not include organ meats or other foods naturally high in CoQ10.

2) Dosages vary greatly depending on what the compelling physical or dietary need is. Research to find out what dose would be ideal for you and take it accordingly.

3) Because of it’s powerful antioxidant and “clean up” actions within the body it has been shown to reduce the negative side effects of some prescription medications but also to mess with how other prescription medications are able to work. Check with your prescribing Dr. or Pharmacist before supplementing with CoQ10 if you are on prescription medications.

4) Take it with fat. Either in a meal or in a supplement form such as Evening Primrose Oil, Cod Liver Oil, Omega 3-6-9 etc. Failure to take it with a fat source will seriously impede the bodies ability to utilize it at all.

CoQ10 in Capsules from Beeyoutiful

CoQ10 in Capsules from Beeyoutiful

Pregnancy Projects: Anemia

One of the most carefully monitored aspects of pregnancy is a healthy blood supply. It can be very frustrating for women who chronically struggle to keep those numbers where they need to be. There are a lot of good dietary modifications that can be taken and for women who have “borderline” issues they may be sufficient to reverse an iron deficiency.

Some women can follow allll the dietary recommendations; Choke down Spinach salads and fresh juiced greens 3x a day, cook their grass-fed red meat and everything else on cast iron, drink herbal teas and gag down liver. (Yup, seriously, liver. Kudos to any pregnant woman who is able to eat liver *and* keep it down.) and still not see the numbers budge very much. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking amping up all the iron that you can via diet in pregnancy just being honest about the reality that it may not be enough for some women.

If you are dealing with a case of anemia that is not responding to diet improvements it may be time to bring in some serious supplements. Supplementing with *most* iron supplements on the market = constipation and other side effects which can be a whole ‘nother pregnancy nightmare. Not to mention that iron in prescription form are often not very bioavailable. Soooo, short of having iron clad poops many peoples bodies do not respond well to pure iron supplements/prescriptions as far as seeing the bloodwork numbers get up where they need to be.

First of all, in my experience researching and talking to women and hearing what has worked and what hasn’t worked over several years now it seems like the most effective course of action is a multi-front attack. One of the most common mistakes I see women make in trying to reverse a low iron problem is to tackle it with only supplements or only diet. The most effective is to increase the iron intake in the diet from both plant and animal whole food sources to go along with quality iron rich supplements.

On the supplement front there are only three that I would personally recommend simply because these three, or some combination of the three are the only ones that seem to consistently produce fast and effective results for women who really need significant improvement.

1) Spirulina is a single-celled fresh water, blue-green algae that has been seen in history to be used as a staple in diets and is known to provide nutrients such as beta-carotene, vitamin B-12, iron, and chlorophyll, as well as RNA, DNA and important GLA fatty acids. Although unusually high in iron for a whole food supplement it does not contain a sufficient amount of iron in and of itself to correct a significant deficiency without other sources being present for the body to utilize. However, part of it’s magic and efficacy when used seems to be in how it enables the body to absorb and utilize iron that is being consumed via diet and other supplements. This is the single best iron-enhancement-absorption aid product I am personally familiar with. You can purchase it in a loose powder and add it to smoothies or slug it down in water or juice. Consider yourself forewarned: It tastes and smells like fishfood. For this reason I personally prefer tablets because they are far easier on the tastebuds to get down.

A side comment on Spirulina quality control: This is a product that is very vulnerable to environmental contaminants. Unfortunately buying it “Cerified Organic” is less than ideal because in order to meet the stringent certification processes the Spirulina has to be grown in an artifical environment. The Spirulina produced from this certified organic growing operation has less nutritional and mineral content than it’s wild-ocean grown counterpart. The solution is to make sure that the Spirulina you purchase is batch-harvest tested for heavy metals, environmental toxins etc. as it is harvested. Hawaii is considered one of the purest and safest sources for Spirulina. The two resources I link to above are “safe” sources I have already personally vetted out. Wanted to pass the quality control info along though so you can be an informed consumer if you shop for it from other venues and companies.

2) Liquid Chlorophyll This liquid green goodness is a powerhouse of multi function benefit to the body. Rich in magnesium, iron, protein, potassium, calcium, Vit. E. Phosphorus, zinc and a slew of other essential nutrients it is a jack of all trades in providing nutrient based healing resources for the body. Chlorophyll helps to stimulate the red blood cells, and improves oxygen circulation in the blood. It aids in the rapid delivery of magnesium, a highly alkalizing effect that helps the blood to transport oxygen to the cells and tissues of the body. Liquid chlorophyll also possesses anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The primary benefit to a person struggling with anemia is that it directly supports the production of hemoglobin. As a very safe, non-toxic supplement this can be taken as often as needed.

I did a short video demonstrating how I have used liquid Chlorophyll in this pregnancy.

3) Encapsulated/Dessicated Liver You know how I mentioned before that I have the utmost respect for any pregnant woman who is able to down liver in it’s cooked form? Well, for those of us who are not able to summon the will-power to overcome the pregnancy gag reflex at the very thought there is another option. Dessicated liver in capsules can allow you to get it down without having to eat or smell it. Some of you may be wondering, why is liver good to help with anemia? The simple answer is that most animals bodies “store” extra iron reserves in their liver making it one of the most iron rich parts of their bodies to eat. It is also a form of iron that seems to be easily assimilated by most. This “Animal” based of iron for whatever reason seems to work especially well in women who have not noticed improvement with their plant based iron-increasing measures. Supplementing with liver as an addition to other supplements is a really good idea for anybody who needs a multi-front-rapid iron improvement.

Now, because we are talking about liver, one of the major filtration systems of the body it is very important to make sure that *any* source you get of it is as pure as possible. You want grass-fed, antibiotic and hormone free and a company that sources well and does quality control testing.

That pretty much sums up what I know about supplementing for anemia in pregnancy. It’s a topic I want to continue to research because it seems to be an increasingly common problem for many women.