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The natural health supplements discussed in this piece represent not just personal health and well-being, but also the next generation of dietary health supplements (though many have been available for years) to buy. Health is becoming higher priority for people at an exponential rate. As an increasing number of people grow discontent with the current health-care practice of relying on drugs after getting sick, people buy natural health supplements geared towards preventing illness and creating a state of balance in the body are growing in popularity.  That's right, people are finally realizing what Benjamin Franklin said over two hundred years ago, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." A trip to your local brick & mortar health-food store can leave you confused and poor. We at Planetary Nutrition offer great prices on natural health supplements, and these articles as educational tools, so when you click the confirm button on your order, you can get up feeling confident in your choice of natural health products. The following categories of supplement products are not numbed, as numbers would denote importance, and different health concerns are of varying importance to different people.

Anti-Oxidants: There are dozens of antioxidants available to buy, however three in particular are of note: Co-Q10, is a potent anti-oxidant that the body produces plenty of during youth, but like HGH, declines drastically with age. Supplementation becomes advisable during the thirties, or earlier if one suffers from migraines or any metabolic disorder. It acts as a neuro and cardio-protective antioxidant. Carotenoids are also known as precursors to Vitamin-A, and include beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, leutine, and lycopene to name a few. Not all carotenoids convert to Vitamin-A. Leutine and lycopene for example do not, but act as anti-oxidants; scavenging cell-damaging free radicals that many believe to be the cause of various medical health conditions including cardiovascular disease. Beta-carotene is believed to prevent much of the cardiovascular damage caused by smoking. Leutine and lycopene help both eye-sight and cardiovascular function. Leutine in fact, concentrates in the macular region, and may ward off macular degeneration. There is also evidence that lycopene can prevent diabetes, osteoperosis, and certain types of cancer. (1,2)

Adaptogenic herbs: An adaptogen is an herb that helps the body adapt to various stress factors. Two powerful, herbal adaptogens are Ashwagandha (Withiana somnifera), and Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea). Ashwagandha is an herb that has been widely used in Ayurvedic (Traditional Indian) natural health medicine for hundreds of years, and is a potent adaptogen. Daily use of Ashwagandha supplement extract has been shown to decrease physical and emotional stress, and aid in sleep and relaxation without being directly sedating (3). Rhodiola has a long-standing use both as a mental and physical tonic/stimulant, although it is not directly stimulating. There's a good deal of research backing this claim as well (4). Rhodiola is one of the few (legal) mood-elevating herbs that effects can actually be “felt.”  Long-term use of this natural health supplement has been shown to improve oxygen utilization, even prevent altitude sickness. (4).

Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs): EFAs are the “good-fats” that have been getting so much media attention lately. There are two types of these essential fats that the human body cannot produce on its own: Omega-3,6. Omega-3's are found in fish, and fish-oil capsules, Omega 6 oils are found in Flax seeds, flax oil, Evening Primrose oil, and various nuts. The typical American diet is deficient in EFAs, Omega-3 in particular. Regular intake of EFAs has demonstrated decreased inflammation and cardio-protective effects.

Digestive Enzymes: include acidophilus and various good bacteria found in the intestines, as well as plant enzymes such as amalyse, bromelain, and papain to name a few.  Enzymatic deficiency can lead to poor absorption of essential nutrients, gas, bloating, and heartburn. Supplementing with digestive enzymes not only helps the body absorb nutrients, but also helps break down fats, protein, and carbohydrates for proper assimilation. In addition, there is evidence that using a supplement with amylase, the primary enzyme for breaking down starch in the G.I., can help alleviate carbohydrate cravings. Which is a bit ironic considering that most carb-blocker products contain a product that inhibits amylase activity.

Phospholipids: Include lecithin, phosphatidylcholine (PC), and phosphatidylserine (PS).  Derived from soy lecithin, phospholipids are truly amazing compounds. PS has been shown to ward off dementia in the elderly, as well as lower plasma levels of cortisol, a hormone released by stress that inhibits fat loss and eats away at muscle tissue. In addition, it also enhances memory and mood. PC has been shown to increase fatty-acid oxidation and lipolysis, in addition to having liver-regenerative properties. PC is extremely popular among hepatitis patients for this very reason. Lecithin is the most inexpensive of the phospholipids, and contains some amount of PC and PS. It's available in granules or liquid-capsules. PS is the most expensive, but has the most benefits. PC is right in the middle, and would be the clear choice for anyone looking to cleanse the liver or shed extra pounds.
 
Natural Health Research:
1. Lycopene. Wikipedia. Available: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lycopene
2. Eggs Can Prevent You From Going Blind.” Asian News International. Available: www.hindustantimes.com
3. Ashwagandha. Wikipedia. Available: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashwagandha
4. Rhodiola rosea. Wikipedia. Available: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhodiola_Rosea

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