Magnesium to the Mood Rescue!

So many people deal with mood instability, and long periods of low mood – “the blues.” And, this can be despite the fact that they have reasonably healthy lifestyles. Consider that 350 million people globally actually have depression (a disease), and adding people who have mood fluctuations without depression is many millions more than that.

The good news is that a common mineral – magnesium – has been found to be effective for addressing symptoms of low mood and even depression.

Researchers at the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont conducted a clinical trial of over-the-counter oral magnesium tablets for mild-to-moderate depression. Their results showed that magnesium is safe and effective and comparable to prescription SSRI treatments in effectiveness. According to the study authors, magnesium is critical for heart rhythm, blood pressure, bone strength and inflammation control; and although it has been shown to have an impact on depression, only a few clinical trials have explored its efficacy.

The researchers conducted an open-label, blocked, randomized cross-over trial involving 126 adults in outpatient primary care clinics. The study participants reported that they were currently experiencing mild-to-moderate depression; the group had a mean age of 52, with 38% male, and 62% female.

Participants in the active arm of the study received 248 milligrams of elemental magnesium per day over six weeks, while those in the control group consumed placebo. Depression symptom assessments were conducted on all participants on a bi-weekly basis.

The study team found that in 112 participants with analyzable data, consumption of magnesium chloride for six weeks resulted in a clinically significant improvement in measures of depression and anxiety symptoms. In addition, these positive effects were shown quickly, at two weeks, and the supplements were well tolerated and similarly effective regardless of age, sex, or use of antidepressants, among other factors.

“This is the first randomized clinical trial looking at the effect of magnesium supplementation on symptoms of depression in U.S. adults,” says lead author Emily Tarleton, MS. “The results are very encouraging, given the great need for additional treatment options for depression, and our finding that magnesium supplementation provides a safe, fast and inexpensive approach to controlling depressive symptoms.”

Tarleton added that the conclusion of this study is that over-the-counter magnesium appears safe and effective to treat mild to moderate depression, and the next step is to see if their promising results can be replicated in a larger, more diverse population. The study by Tarleton, et al was published in PLoS One.

But there’s more that you can do if you or someone you love finds that low mood is becoming an issue. Take Fucosea daily along with magnesium to support memory, energy recovery and enhance physical endurance. Consider that low mood directly affects physical energy by draining it, as well as affects rapid retrieval of memory, Fucosea makes great sense as a companion to magnesium to support increased pleasant mood and sustaining pleasant, healthy mood.

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Summertime Tips for Heat Management

It’s no secret that July and August – often called the “dog days” of summer – can be dangerous for many people, especially when heat waves arise.

We at Herbsea encourage our customers and readers to follow some tips to remain more comfortable and prevent possible heat stroke.

Dietary Supplementation: Very first thing to ensure you do is to take a nutrient-dense dietary supplement such as Fucosea, which provides your body with minerals, antioxidants, omega 3 EFAs, vitamins and specialized nutrients to nourish your bodily systems, organs and cells, making you much stronger to withstand high heat and humidity.

Fucosea contains the goodness from seven nutritious marine plants: kelp, bladderwrack, wakame, mozuku, schizochytrium, Haematococcus pluvialis, and spirulina, and we use a patent-pending extraction method to provide the most potent active ingredients contained within them for FucoseaTM. Take Fucosea by itself or in addition to a multivitamin, should you desire.

Hydration: We need water to survive, and especially in summer when we tend to lose a lot of water via perspiration. Dehydration – not enough water for a period of time – can be damaging and is also one of a key cause of many health problems or conditions. It’s not enough to be simply surrounded by water (frolicking in the pool, lake or ocean), but you must drink purified water to nourish and hydrate all your cells. Did you know, too that before you feel “thirsty,” which is a signal your body needs water – it actually needs water before it sends out that SOS?

Avoid the Power Hours: Heat is most intense between the hours of 10:00 am and 4:00 pm, when the sun is at its apex during the earth’s daily revolution. Staying indoors during heat wave days and during this time frame will help avoid heat-related issues, which can include vomiting and fainting.

Get into the Cool Zone: Sometimes, window units and fans are just not enough to become comfortable. But there’s good news – your local libraries, malls, theatres, coffee cafes and museums typically are very cool. Supermarkets with cafes are also welcoming – go and have a sweet tea and salad!

It’s Not the Heat, It’s the Humidity! This famous line is actually very true. High humidity – where the air feels heavy as though you are walking through a bowl of hot soup is extremely uncomfortable, especially for those with breathing problems such as asthma. The combination of high heat and humidity impairs the ability to cool off via our cooling system – perspiration through sweat glands. Of course, you can just open the door and feel the humidity factor, but now, weather apps and reports can give you accurate “feels like” index readings.

Eat Light: Did you notice that when it’s really hot, you don’t want hot meals or heavy casseroles? Listen to your body – it wants lighter fare with fruits and vegetables high in water content, NOT heavy meals laden with carbs. During heat waves, your body is in constant need of hydration, and when it comes to mealtimes, there are tons of recipes using in-season and fresh produce that not only give you nutrition, they give you extra hydration that your digestive system needs during this time.

Be Mindful: When heat-related health issues arise, there are symptoms to look out for. Dizziness, nausea, lightheadedness, disorientation, are all warning signs to get into a cool zone quickly. Also, sudden face redness that is not sunburn.

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How Fucosea Can Help Minimize Cravings

Cravings can damage a diet and impair weight loss because they are so powerful, and therefore hard to resist. So, we give in. If we don’t, the cravings become more frequent and more intense. But did you know that your cravings are also telling you something?

Sweet: Craving desserts and other sugary foods signifies sadness or depression; sweets are immediately uplifting and comforting. St. Clair explains that the sugar tells your brain to release the feel-good neurohormone, serotonin. The problem? The inevitable “crash” feeling, often back to the same sad level or lower than you were before. Fruits are a good way to satisfy sweet cravings, as they provide fiber and antioxidants and will not cause the crash. When feeling blue – get out into some sunlight, and exercise. Breathe in fresh air with deep breaths.

Salty: The pretzels and chips reign supreme here – especially when you are stressed out, and do not have enough minerals in your body. (Fucosea offers attractive doses of several minerals derived naturally from sea plants). For example, when those visions of Doritos hit, you may need more sodium and the trace minerals that are in salt. WE do not suggest suddenly adding typical processed table salt, instead use minimally processed salts such as pink salt (Himalayan sea salt). Drink lots of water in order to keep up your electrolytes, which help cells uptake water they need. Take Fucosea, and/or eat delicious seaweeds such as nori.

Fried Foods: Deep-fried anything, French fries – if these are what you crave, you may be requiring good fats (such as omega 3 EPA and DHA, found in Fucosoea). Did you know, points out Marra, that imbibing too much alcohol can cause fried food cravings? Use healthy cooking oils like extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil. Eat fish and seafoods that contain omega 3 EFAs.

Red Meat: If you suddenly find yourself salivating over the thought of a burger or a steak or beef, this means that your body is desiring more iron; a low level of iron will also make you feel a little lethargic. Lean red meat (and let’s go with grass-fed, organic) also packs a powerful protein punch, which helps you maintain a healthy weight. If you are a vegan or vegetarian, eat spinach because it does contain iron, and also take Fucosea.

Bad Carbs: The junk foods, the white breads, the potatos, the macaroni and pastas, all these are empty calories and only serve to spike your blood sugar. In fact, just like sugars, you can feel that crash often afterwards. But, carbs are necessary in the diet as they can be a sustainable energy source. So, eat complex carbs, such as cruciferous vegetables. You will find that you crave the bad carbs a lot less. Women often crave the carbs when their hormonal cycles are in the luteal phase; this is not abnormal.

No matter the craving, Fucosea daily can dramatically help curtail them both in incidence and in intensity. It’s like a multivitamin and mineral from the sea, providing your body with what it needs to remain in balance, along with a reasonably healthy diet.

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Enzyme May be Responsible for Middle-Age Weight Gain

It’s no secret that a frustrating aspect of getting older is the facility to gain and hold onto some extra pounds, and poor diet and lack of sufficient exercise are not as much responsible as once thought, according to a new study. A team of scientists identified an enzyme — DNA protein kinase (DNA-PK) – that increases with age may be the culprit.

In a study, mice were given a high-fat diet and divided into two groups; one group had DNA-PK blocked while others did not. The group that had the enzyme blocked gained less weight than mice in the normal group.

It has been said that the average American adult gains approximately 30 pounds between ages 20 and 50, despite maintaining the same diet and lifestyle. Although this study was performed on mice and is not conclusively shown to be exactly the same in humans, the human body also manufactures DNA-PK, and there is compelling evidence to see if inhibiting this enzyme can indeed lead to weight loss during a phase of lifestyle renovation that includes nutrient-dense diet and moderate but regular exercise.

In the study, the mice that received the drug to block the DNA-PK also showed more mitochondria in skeletal muscle cells and corresponding increased aerobic fitness compared to the control mice.

In the abstract of the study published in the May 2017 issue of Cell Metabolism, (Vol. 25, No. 5, 1135-1146-e7, 2) the authors write, “hallmarks of aging that negatively impact health include weight gain and reduced physical fitness, which can increase insulin resistance and risk for many diseases, including type 2 diabetes. The underlying mechanism(s) for these phenomena is poorly understood. Here we report that aging activates DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK) in skeletal muscle, which suppresses mitochondrial function, energy metabolism, and physical fitness.”

They also describe the mechanism of action as follows: “DNA-PK phosphorylates threonines 5 and 7 of HSP90α, decreasing its chaperone function for clients such as AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), which is critical for mitochondrial biogenesis and energy metabolism. Decreasing DNA-PK activity increases AMPK activity and prevents weight gain, decline of mitochondrial function, and decline of physical fitness in middle-aged mice and protects against type 2 diabetes. In conclusion, DNA-PK is one of the drivers of the metabolic and fitness decline during aging, and therefore DNA-PK inhibitors may have therapeutic potential in obesity and low exercise capacity.”

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Sea Plants and Cerebrovascular Health

Did you know that nature’s gifts from the sea promote healthy blood pressure, along with diet, exercise and good stress management?

Astragalus and wakame are two key ingredients in Fucosea that help address healthy blood pressure and may thus protect against stroke.

A stroke is caused by reduced blood supply to the brain, which deprives it of nutrients and critically, oxygen. There are two types of strokes: ischemic (a blocked artery), and hemorrhagic (blood vessel burst). Elevated blood pressure – called hypertension – can increase your risk of stroke up to six times, and it also can lead to blockages in small blood vessels to the brain.

A stroke occurs in Americans every 40 seconds, and approximately 133,000 Americans die of stroke each year, making it the fifth leading cause of fatality.

Astragalus is a popular botanical remedy in Traditional Chinese Medicine, where it has been and continues to be used to protect the body against stress (stress elevates blood pressure). A review of studies appearing in the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine (June 2013) examined the benefits, effects and mechansism of action of Astragoloside IV (an active ingredient in astragalus). The authors concluded that Astragaeloside IV “has broad application prospects” notably in vascular conditions.

Wakame, an edible sea plant, is also neurovascular protective. The beauty of wakame is that you can enjoy eating it (it is quite delicious), and you can take it as part of Fucosea! According to the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention (2004), “Intake of seaweeds is advised not only for prevention of lifestyle-related diseases [such as cerebrovascular] but also iodine deficiency.”

A 1991 double-blind crossover study in the American Journal of Hypertension showed that sea plants supported healthy blood pressure levels by blocking sodium in the system. Wakame capsules were used in another study published in the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry Nutrition (2001) where the results showed attractive drops in blood pressure. Another double-blind, placebo-controlled study, published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2009) found that volunteers who took six grams of wakame daily showed a significant decrease in blood pressure in those whose levels were high.

We at Herbsea recommend that if you are concerned about blood pressure (have a family history, for example), definitely watch your salt/sodium intake by reading labels. On average, Americans ingest approximately 3,400 mg sodium every day; and according to experts at the American Heart Association, consuming no more than 1,500 mg sodium daily is very effective in promoting healthy blood pressure levels. (Remember: the sodium content on the labels is per serving, not for the entire product.)

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8 Healthy Summertime Habits

The official start of summer is next week, June 21, and we are very excited, as we are sure you are too! However, due to the depleted ozone layer and the rise of stress, summer can bring with it some dangers.

Here are eight healthy habits that will help you and your family enjoy summer, safely.

  1. Beat the heat and exercise by working out in water! Swimming, moving in water burns calories and primes muscles.
  2. Everything is ripening – so make farmers’ markets a regular trip and challenge yourself to create new recipes. By adding carotenoid-rich colors of the rainbow (fruits and vegetables), to your daily meals, you will keep your GI tract healthy as well as your immune system.
  3. In the “dog days” of summer – when it is truly too sizzling and humid to be outdoors, take the exercise indoors by walking through malls, museums, and other fun spots, or tune the TV to a fitness video and work out in the comfy AC.
  4. Hydrate with water, not sugar-laden drinks – and that includes fruit juices. When it is hot and humid, you sweat, losing water. Carry water bottles around and keep sipping; refill them constantly. Dehydration can become severe.
  5. Sunscreen – at all times. That depleted ozone layer no longer affords the protection against harmful UVA and UVB rays emanating from the sun, which hit the skin more potently than ever. We also love to use aloe from a freshly picked aloe leaf to massage into skin after a day in the sun. It soothes and it leaves skin feeling soft and smooth.
  6. Equally, wear those shades. Sunglasses help protect against development of cataracts, macular degeneration and even skin cancer on the eyelids.
  7. If you are lakeside or hiking in the woods or mountains, pest repellent is important. Nobody likes bites from hungry mosquitoes, and now that we know some of those “skeeters” carry their own diseases such as Zika that they inject into humans, using insect repellent is more critical.
  8. Perhaps most important – take nutrient- and antioxidant-rich Fucosea and related supplements from the Herbsea family of health products. Fucosea is a foremost supplement containing numerous nutrients found in sea plants, including omega-3 EFAs.

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New Research: Vitamin A is Necessary for Blood Stem Cells

Scientists who are experts in stem cell research revealed findings that a lack of vitamin A has a negative impact on blood stem cell health. According to ScienceDaily.com, research team at the German Cancer Research Center

Specialized cells, such as those in the blood, have a natural lifespan that is very short, a few days, and therefore, stores of the cells need to be continually replenished. This is done via adult stem cells that divide. In 2008, scientists found a group of specialized stem cells in the bone marrow that are only activated during times of infections (viral and bacterial), or other situations such as heavy loss of blood. Once these cells finish their activity, they go back into dormancy. Up until recently, the mechanisms that dictate the cells’ activity-and-dormancy cycles have not been clarified.

In a new study published in Cell, (10.1016/j.cell.2017.04.018), scientists have now identified the vitamin A metabolite retinoic acid as a crucial factor in this process. If the body lacks sufficient retinoic acid, those bone marrow stem cells that are active are unable to go back to dormancy, and then mature into specialized blood cells, according to the study. As this continues to occur, the body has less stores to use when needed. This was shown in a mouse study where the test subjects were fed a diet deficient in vitamin A. At the end of the study, the mice showed a loss of stem cells, as shown by dramatically fewer dormant stem cells that were fluoresced green.

Lead author Nina Cabezas-Wallscheid asserted, “we can prove for the first time that vitamin A has a direct impact on blood stem cells.” This new finding emphasizes previous studies showing that lack of vitamin A impairs immune function (the human body cannot produce its own vitamin A). “This shows how vitally important it is to have a sufficient intake of vitamin A from a balanced diet,” Cabezas-Wallscheid underscored.

These results may have influence on cancer research; as there is some scientific evidence that cancer cells also have a dormancy period, similar to stem cells. When in the dormant phase, cancer cell metabolism is slowed considerably, and this phase makes them resistant to chemotherapy.

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Healthy Ideas for 20-Somethings

It used to be that young adults in their 20s never really thought about their health, and just went about their lives eating junk foods as they scurried from work time to play time, and trying to get married.

But modern 20-somethings have been brought up to mind their diets, at the very least. This is a great place to start. If you are in your 20s, or are parents to 20-somethings, here’s what you need to know to get into outstanding shape – physically, mentally and emotionally.

Starting with diet, many in their 20s who graduated from college find that a few extra pounds have crept in. But eating a healthy diet reduces risk of developing heart disease and other chronic health issues such as diabetes type II later in life.

Eliminate those convenience processed foods (no more convenience store fare while your car is getting filled with gas), no more chain restaurant fare (processed, loaded with chemicals), and of course, no more junk food (middle aisles of the supermarket).

Instead, load up on a bounty of colorful fruits and vegetables (fiber and antioxidants), whole grains, spices and herbs (for flavor), lean proteins and low- or nonfat dairy products. Good news: there are hundreds of recipe sites and apps to teach you to make these delicious and interesting. In your 20s, you want to ensure you have optimal amounts of protein, potassium, omega 3 EFAs, and calcium and folic acid (especially for women).

Exercise without going crazy. You don’t need to spend two to three hours in the gym every day, pumping iron. Walk, lift weights moderately – move.

If you smoke, stop. Cold turkey, say doctors, is the most effective way of quitting for good. No props (nicotine patches) or substitutes (gum or food). Vaping is unacceptable, as it is only an expensive substitution that still supplies some nicotine.

Those 20-somethings who enjoy “partying” with excessive alcohol (leftover from college) should curtail dramatically. No more than two drinks per day.

Get on a regular sleep schedule and adhere to it. Studies show that regular, healthy sleep (six to eight hours) promotes good health, weight and mood. In tandem, learn good stress management techniques now: unbridled stress leads to a host of health issues, such as high blood pressure, overeating, anxiety, insomnia.

Use sun protection (SPF) moisturizers and wear good sunglasses. Blocking dangerous sun rays preserves healthy skin and eyesight (sun damage in eyes is a causative factor for development of cataracts).

Finally, do not be afraid of doctor visits, in fact, see specialists regularly to ensure sound health for your future decades, especially if you have a family history of early onset diseases such as cardiovascular, diabetes, stroke, and/or dementia. Get a checkup every two years, and regular eye exams. Men in their 20s should get testicular exams and women should get regular gynecological exams and develop solid pre-natal care habits.

In addition, all men and women in their 20s should supplement with products such as Herbsea’s Fucosea. This supplement is jam-packed with vitamins, minerals, omega 3 EFAs, protein, fiber and antioxidants. It is a wholesome daily support that provides you with an effective platform for all other health-promoting activities.

If you are in your 20s, we would love to know your favorite healthy habits for a future blog! Email us at info[at]herbsea.com today!

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Mediterranean Diet is Smart!

Aging to elderly years is characterized by the brain shrinking and the increased risk of developing dementia and other brain diseases or disorders, and stroke. If you are reading this, you are indeed following a healthy lifestyle and respect your health. Nutritious diet and exercise are likely keying your lifestyle.

You have likely heard for years that eating the so-called Mediterranean diet is a way to enjoy excellent health – and delicious food. A new study validates that the Mediterranean diet is indeed a health-promoter, and this study, published in Neurology, shows that it can enhance and maintain brain health.

Researchers analyzed the diets of about 400 Scottish adults aged 73 to 76 for three years; the scientists MRI scans of the participants to evaluate overall brain volume and brain cortex thickness. The volunteers who ate a Mediterranean-type diet were less likely to lose brain volume as they got older, compared to those who ate non-Mediterranean diet. (Luciano, et al. Neurology 2017, vol. 88 no. 5 449-455.)

An earlier study also published in Neurology also shows beneficial brain effects from following the Mediterranean diet; this study concluded that it can make your brain a few years younger. In this study of 674 elderly adults (average age of 80), researchers performed brain scans and showed that the those who regularly ate a Mediterranean diet had heavier brains with more white and gray matter than their peers who didn’t eat a Mediterranean diet. (Gu, et al. Neurology vol. 85 no. 20 1744-1751.)

This earlier study only measured brain volume at only one point in time where researchers in the new study took two measurements, one at the beginning of the three-year study and one at its conclusion.

Unlike many other diets, the Mediterranean diet is pretty easy to follow and is abundant in foods that are familiar and enjoyable. Most of the diet is plant-based – fruits, beans, cereal grains and vegetables; poultry and fish can be eaten at least twice a week. Carbs are encouraged as from whole grains and cruciferous vegetables (which also provide healthy fiber).

And this is the diet that also is characterized by enjoying sipping a glass of wine. The only limitations are red meats, dairy and sources of saturated fats. Olive oil – we encourage the healthiest type, which is EVOO, or extra virgin olive oil – is preferred to cook with instead of butter.

Fish as part of the Mediterranean diet also provides the goodness of Omega-3 essential fatty acids, but, there are many people who just can’t stand eating fish. So, a similar diet, called the MIND diet, allows you to eat less fish and fruit.

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Ladies: Dong Quai is Your Ginseng

First thing’s first: not all ginsengs are the same. And that’s a good thing, because each ginseng has specific actions and are suited for targeted issues. Dong quai (Angelica sinensis) is often known as the “women’s ginseng” because it helps nourish the feminine system for several benefits.

As with numerous botanicals you find in modern supplements, the roots of dong quai (DQ) have been used traditionally as a tonic and medicine in Asia, notably in China, where it’s also used as a spice. The ancient Chinese who practiced Traditional Chinese Medicine – and those millions of doctors today who follow these principles – still like to recommend dong quai to women for specific feminine issues, such as supporting reproductive health, and for painful menstruation, improving blood flow, as well as for several symptoms of PMS and perimenopause.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, dong quai contains phytochemicals that allows blood vessels to relax and open more, help reduce discomfort, and relax the uterus (a smooth muscle). In so doing, it may help with amenorrhea (interruption of the menses cycle when pregnancy does not exist). It may also help regulate the female hormone, lowering when too much, raising when too little, which appears to benefit adult women of almost all ages.

Meanwhile, there are also some reports that DQ has other emotional benefits – such as acting as a libido booster (aphrodisiac), and can improve and/or regulate mood. Both of these actions are attractive for otherwise vibrant women going through peri-menopause. And speaking of that time in a woman’s life, dong quai has been reported by women to relieve hot flashes yet researchers are conflicted as to how that may work – if the herb blocks estrogen or is phytoestrogenic (acts like estrogen).

Also, as with many other botanicals, there are a couple of cautions. Women who are pregnant should not take dong quai – and if you are a woman who believes you may be pregnant, don’t take it until you know you aren’t. Also, consistent use may cause sensitivity to sunlight in some people.

TCM practitioners – then and now – dry the root to make tinctures, tonics and powders. Now you can see why DQ is mostly for women only!

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