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The Role of Vitamin B6 In the Body

vitamin B6 photo 1

Vitamin B6 was first discovered and isolated in the 1930s. It is water-soluble and exists in six different forms. They are pyridoxal, pyridoxine, pyridoxamine and their respective phosphate bonded forms [1]. Of them, the pyridoxal form called P5P is the most important as it is the only form that our bodies can utilize [2].

Whenever we get vitamin B6 in any form other than P5P, our livers have to do the work of converting it into P5P. However, many people’s livers have trouble making the conversion. This means that no matter how many foods and supplements high in other forms of B6 are ingested, those people will be deficient. The effects can vary from skin inflammation and fatigue to slow learning and depression. The solution to that is to take supplements with the P5P form along with eating foods high in B6 like salmon, avocado, and spinach if needed. Evening Formula of Balanced Trio contains the adequate daily quantity of P5P, which makes it easier for you to manage your health and diet [3].

The benefits of P5P are many. For one, P5P is involved in the chemical processes that produce serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine [1,4]. These are three neurotransmitters or chemicals that send signals from one nerve cell to another which contain important information for the cells to function. Serotonin is known to contribute to feelings of contentment and an imbalance in serotonin levels can lead to depression and other mental disorders. Research shows that low levels of P5P lower serotonin levels, making more people depressed. Dopamine and norepinephrine are neurotransmitters that also contribute to feelings of well-being along with lowering fatigue. When P5P intake is at the recommended daily norms, these three chemicals are produced efficiently leading to a balanced mind [5,6].

P5P is also involved in the production of myelin which is a protein layer that forms around nerve cells [4]. This protein layer is what protects the cells. It is also important in the transportation of signals from nerve cell to nerve cell. Cells that have sufficient amount of myelin send and receive signals faster. This protein layer is extremely important as thinking, actions, and unconscious bodily functions all depend on brain signals being sent correctly. For example, people with multiple sclerosis, have damaged myelin layers leading to symptoms like spasms and cognitive difficulties. The health of the myelin layers often determines the kinds of diseases that affect us when we get older [7].

For many women, P5P offers extra benefits as it can alleviate or lessen PMS symptoms especially those of mood swings and depression. This makes a lot of sense as P5P maintains neurological health [1].

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of why P5P is the essential form of vitamin B6 that our bodies need. A wide scope of reactions would not happen without it. To put it into another perspective, over 100 enzymes that aid those reactions are dependent on P5P for activation and work [1]. With that in mind, consider how you can get the P5P form of vitamin B6 into your diet or regularly take Balanced Trio multivitamins.


[1] Vitamin B6. Linus Pauling Institute.
[2] Vitamin B6. National Institutes of Health.
[3] Pyridoxal 5-Phosphate. House of Nutrition.
[4] Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine). Mayo Clinic.
[5] “Vitamin B6 Level Is Associated with Symptoms of Depression.” Hvas, Anne-Mette et al. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics Psychother Psychosom 73.6 (2004): 340-43. Web.
[6] “The Neurotransmitters of Contentment and How to Help Your Body Make Them.”, Jan Hanson M.s. (n.d.): n. pag. Wise Brain. Web.
[7] Degenerative Neurological Conditions. Boulder Community Health.,-etc%29.aspx

Manganese: An Essential Trace Mineral

Manganese 9

For many years scientists have been astounded by manganese as there are many varied effects for its deficiency and toxicity. The name, originating from the Greek word for magic, matches these characteristics of manganese. Our bodies can produce manganese at levels below the recommended dietary intake or RDI. We supplement from food but research indicates that 37% of Americans still do not have the RDI of manganese [1,2].

Manganese deficiency has versatile effects. Some of them include infertility, bone malformation, weakness, and even seizures. When the RDI of manganese is adhered to however, there are many benefits, one of which is bone development. This is especially important for older women with osteoporosis and people with arthritis. In order to form healthy cartilage and bone, a certain group of enzymes is needed. People with osteoporosis and arthritis lack a working group of them due to decreased manganese levels. The mineral is a vital compound for their activities. When the enzymes are working correctly, they can create compounds that contribute to bone and cartilage structure [1].

Manganese is also very important for neurological health. It is a component of the antioxidant enzyme: superoxide dismutase or SOD which helps fight free radicals. Free radicals are highly unstable compounds that do occur naturally in the body but can cause damage. By fighting off free radicals in the neural pathways, brain health is maintained. Manganese can also bind with neurotransmitters which are chemicals that send signals from one nerve cell to another which contain important information for the cells to function. By doing this, manganese helps send the signals faster and more efficiently, aiding in cognitive functions [1,3].

The most important benefit of manganese though is metabolism. Metabolism is a series of very crucial chemical process involving the breaking down of chemicals and the building up of chemicals. Without metabolism we would not be alive [4,5]. The production of glucose is dependent on two enzymes which need manganese to work. When amino acids are produced one of the waste products must be expelled from the body through the liver. To do so the liver needs a manganese-activated enzyme. The creation of cholesterols used to create hormones like testosterone is also dependent on the same kind of enzymes. [1,3].

Generally, manganese is useful for digestive health and absorption of vitamins like vitamin B and E. It is also useful for absorption of minerals like magnesium. Other benefits include alleviation of menstrual symptoms, thyroid health, and wound healing. It is quite easy to get the RDI of manganese in your diet. Green vegetables, brown rice, coconuts, almonds, and hazelnuts are the best sources. Other sources include berries, tropical fruits, turmeric, tofu, and peppermint. You can also get the daily value of manganese necessary from the Morning Formula of Balanced Trio which is safe and effective [1,3].



[1] Manganese. Linus Pauling Institute.
[2] Manganese. University of Maryland Medical Center.
[3] Health Benefits of Manganese. Organic Facts.
[4] What is Metabolism. News-Medical.
[5] Metabolic Disorders. MedlinePlus.

Benefits of Vitamin B12 and its Positive Effects on Aging

As we get older our memories degrade, our mental aptitude declines, and our motor skills are sluggish. We take these strikes to our human experience as being normal. After all, everyone gets older, and old age goes hand in hand with mental deterioration. However, we can actually control the likelihood that old age will make us go through these developments. How? Though there has been research that shows vitamins A, B6, and calcium have positive effects on age related diseases, B12, also known as cobalamin, is one of the more important vitamins that your body needs.

Research has shown that people who are deficient in B12 vitamins are more likely to acquire age-related diseases. As such, having adequate levels of B12 in the body ensure proper cognitive function, nervous system, and cardiovascular health. However, there is a problem with absorbing vitamin B12 as we age; people over 50 are especially susceptible to this inability as they do not have enough stomach acid to release B12 vitamins from foods[1]. Typically foods such as shellfish, poultry, eggs, and dairy products contain the needed amount of this vitamin. Non-animal sources of B12 are not reliable however, and so vegetarians are recommended to take vitamin supplements [2].

Studies have shown that about 10% to 30% of adults have vitamin B12 deficiency; however, this number may be higher because of how difficult it is to diagnose. Blood tests are not always a reliable indicator of B12 deficiency as most tests show the total amount of B12 in the body, both active and inactive forms. A person who eats a lot of seaweed will show high levels, when in actuality most of that B12 is in its inactive form. Also, because the liver is efficient at storing B12, even completely deficient diets might not result in low B12 levels for several years [3]. Thus a blood test will not give a real depiction of whether or not your body has enough active B12 to use.

B12 deficiency causes a buildup of homocysteine, an amino acid that is naturally made in the body. Elevated levels of homocysteine have been linked to heart disease and osteoporosis. Continued research has also shown effects such as: depression, alzheimer’s disease, memory loss, anorexia, and age related hearing loss. B12 deficiency also provokes a more rapid release of melatonin which upsets normal sleep patterns. The most important effect that proper B12 levels have is its impact on acquiring cancer; in one study subjects received 10 milligrams of folic acid daily, combined with 500 micrograms of vitamin B12 daily, for four months, producing a significant reduction in the number of subjects who exhibited abnormal bronchial cells believed to be cancer precursors [4].

So how can we give our bodies a helping hand when it comes to properly absorbing this very important vitamin? Well, there are actually four different types of vitamin B12, with some being more easily absorbable, while others may require more energy to take in. These four types include: methylcobalamin, cyanocobalamin, hydroxocobalamin, adenosylcobalamin[5]. Though none of these forms are bad for the body, cyanocobalamin is probably the worst out of the four. Cyanocobalamin is a synthetic version of B12, containing a cyanide molecule which requires the body to expend some energy to remove; it is the cheapest option to put into supplements. Hydroxocobalamin is naturally created by bacteria so is present in many foods; however, it too requires energy by the body to be converted into methylcobalamin. Adenosylcobalamin, also naturally occurring, is the least stable out of the four and difficult to incorporate into a supplement. All of these forms require methylation and energy input to be biologically active in the body.

Methylcobalamin on the other hand is the most active form in the human body and readily absorbable because it already contains a methyl group. This saves the body’s reserve of methyl groups for other purposes such as detoxing chemicals and stabilizing free radicals, groups of highly reactive atoms that can damage cellular components such as DNA and cell membranes[5].

Not only does B12 promote the removal of toxins, it also supports brain health. Methylcobalamin is the only form that can cross the blood-brain barrier and so can directly protect brain cells from degeneration[6]. While crossing the barrier, it also stimulates production of serotonin, a chemical neurotransmitter responsible for elevated mood; research where Alzheimer’s patients were administered methylcobalamin showcased improvements in memory, communication skills, and emotions. It also helps form the myelin sheath, the insular coating around nerve cells that allow for electrical impulses to travel through the nervous system more efficiently[6].

Along with protecting nervous and cardiovascular functions, methylcobalamin specifically has been proven to reduce risks of breast cancer, birth defects, and depression; and have shown to provide more energy, improve sperm count in males, and treat pernicious anemia, a dangerous condition that prevents the body from making specific proteins to absorb vitamin B12.

Needless to say, B12 is extremely important in one’s diet. The recommended dietary amounts of vitamin B12 are: 2.4 micrograms daily for ages 14 years and older, 2.6 micrograms daily for pregnant females, and 2.8 micrograms daily for breastfeeding females; these amounts increase as one ages[7]. The mid-day formula of Balanced Trio contains 100% of the daily requirement and also uses methylcobalamin which is easily absorbed so your body can enjoy all of its amazing health benefits.








Getting the Most Benefits from your Supplements

supplementsMore than half of Americans take vitamins and other dietary supplements. Many take more than one supplement daily. If you’re one of these people then you’ve likely wondered: What is the best time of day to take supplements? Can I take them at the same time? Are there interactions between any of my supplements?

Vitamins and minerals have been used as supplements for almost a hundred years. Over this time there has been done a lot of research regarding vitamin and mineral interactions as well as their interactions with food and beverages. Research has shown that some combinations can dramatically enhance absorption of nutrients, while others can inhibit it.

The most well-known example is the interaction between calcium and iron. Taking these two minerals together can decrease their absorption up to five-fold. Another good example is fat-soluble vitamins and micronutrients such as CoQ-10 or carotenoids. They will be very poorly absorbed if taken on an empty stomach or with a meal that does not contain fat.

Most people take multivitamins either in the morning with breakfast or in the evening with dinner. What time is the best? There is no one answer to this question. It all depends on the specific vitamins and minerals that the person is taking. Some of them have an energizing effect on the body, while others have relaxing effects. As such, some vitamins and minerals are best taken in the morning and others are best taken in the evening. A good example is calcium. The body uses calcium at night as it is a natural muscle relaxant. Research has shown that disturbed sleep patterns, such as a lack of deep REM sleep, has been associated with low levels of calcium.

Another important aspect to consider is that some foods and beverages can influence the absorption of vitamins and minerals. For example, coffee and tea dramatically decrease absorption of iron and calcium. On the other hand, vitamin C greatly enhances iron absorption, so taking an iron supplement with a cup of orange juice would be a great idea.

Below is summary of the most important aspects to consider when taking supplements:

Best taken during the first half of the day:  B1, B12, vitamin C, antioxidants, iron, CoQ-10

Best taken in the evening: calcium, magnesium, potassium

Best not taken together: iron and calcium, copper and zinc, zinc and iron, zinc and calcium, coffee/tea and iron/calcium

Best taken with fat-containing meal or together with fish oil: vitamins A, D, E, K, carotenoids (beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, astaxanthin), CoQ-10

What about daily multivitamins? Most of them include a large number of vitamins and minerals mixed together in one pill.  In this case it would be best to take them earlier in the day with a fat-containing meal. Make sure not to take them with coffee, tea or soda. Drink water or juice. Alternatively, you can look for multivitamins that divide nutrients into several formulas according to the best time of day to take them. One-a-day multivitamins are more convenient, but their nutrient absorption is much lower when compared to the formulas that take into account nutrient interactions.

Since some vitamins and minerals have strong negative interactions with each other, it’s best to pay attention to these interactions and space such nutrients 3 to 4 hours away from each other. Specific vitamins and minerals have different effects on the body; some are best taken at night while others are best taken in the morning. To get full benefits from your supplements, it’s worth setting appropriate times for taking each of them.

What to Eat For Dry or Damaged Skin

dry skin 5Many classic activities during the summer include beaches, carnivals, island getaways, and other events under the sun. However this time spent outside greatly affects the condition of our skin. UV rays can cause sunburns and constant sweating dries skin. Sunscreen may prevent sunburns for some people but doesn’t stop the sweat. Lotion will only temporarily moisturize. This leads to a greater emphasis on diet to repair dry or damaged skin. The best foods to eat this summer are those high in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, vitamin A, selenium, zinc, and generally high in antioxidants.

Omega-3 fatty acids are healthy and essential for the body. Dr. Ann Yelmokas McDermott, a nutritionist at the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, says they are responsible for the health of the cell membrane. This membrane not only prevents harmful things from getting into the cell but also lets in nutrients and lets out waste products. Omega-3 fatty acids aid the cell membrane in retaining what is necessary like water which softens dry skin. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids include fish like salmon, avocados, and walnuts [1].

Vitamin E is a powerful fat-soluble vitamin that helps skin in retaining natural moisture and in bolstering defense against UV rays [1]. The former is achieved through repair of the cell membrane so that water is retained [2]. The latter is achieved by counteracting the oxidative stress or damage from free radicals caused by the sun rays [3]. Some foods high in vitamin E are spinach, tofu, sunflower seeds, and other leafy greens.

Vitamin A, also known as beta-carotene, promotes growth and repair of body’s tissues. This heals damaged skin and helps retain water in cells similar to vitamin E. Vitamin A is also capable of protecting against sun damage [4]. Foods that are high in vitamin A are sweet potatoes, carrots, apricots and others that have a bright yellow or orange color.

Selenium is a mineral that preserves the elasticity of skin tissue and other tissues. It can also slow down oxidative damage in the form of hardening tissues. To add to those benefits, selenium helps protect skin from sun damage, going as far as preventing skin cancer caused by sun exposure. It can also generally prevent other cancers of the body [5]. Brazil nuts, oysters, whole wheat bread, meat and mushrooms are great foods high in this mineral.

Another essential mineral for skin is zinc which helps in protein formation and cell membrane formation. It is known to improve the healing of wounds and has anti-inflammatory effects, both of which are useful when the skin is sun burnt. Zinc can also protect against UV radiation and it maintains the level of collagen which keeps skin firm [1,6]. Several foods to add to your diet are dark chocolate, beans, and mushrooms.

Foods high in antioxidants will also leave your skin feeling great. Antioxidants are substances that delay or prevent different types of cell damage. The main type of damage that antioxidants delay or prevent is that of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is caused by free radicals which are highly unstable molecules produced by our bodies during exercise and when food is changed into energy. These molecules lead to cell damage and even cell death. By counteracting this, antioxidants specifically help in maintaining the cell membrane of skin cells. The skin cells that are damaged due to the sun are also repaired faster, and healthy skin cells are maintained in top condition so that water loss and nutrient loss are minimal. The result is moisturized skin. Some antioxidants have been listed already like vitamin A, vitamin E, and selenium. Other examples of antioxidants are lutein and lycopene which can be found in dark leafy greens like kale and in fruits like tomatoes. Berries like strawberries or blueberries are excellent sources of antioxidants too and so is dark chocolate [7].

All the compounds listed here are safe, versatile, and healthy, providing your skin with the necessary nourishment it needs in order to maintain a smooth and moisturized look. You will also find that these compounds are found in Balanced Trio’s three daily formulas, simplifying diet management so that you have less stress in the planning of your meals.



[1] Foods That Improve Dry Skin. Popsugar.
[2] Promotion of Plasma Membrane Repair by Vitamin E. Howard, Amber C. et al. Nat Comms Nature Communications 2 (2011): 597. Web.
[3] Ultraviolet Light-induced Oxidative Stress: Effects on Antioxidant Response of Helicoverpa Armigera Adults. Meng, Jian-Yu, Chang-Yu Zhang, Fen Zhu, Xiao-Ping Wang, and Chao-Liang Lei. Journal of Insect Physiology 55.6 (2009): 588-92. Web.
[4] Dietitians Dish: How to Feed Your Skin. Popsugar.
[5] Minerals: Selenium. Healthy.Net.
[6] Nutrition for Healthy Skin: Vitamin A, Zinc, Vitamin C. Chris Kresser.
[7] Antioxidants. MedlinePlus.

Iodine’s Importance for Overall Health and Well-Being

Iodine article picture

Research over the course of years has uncovered many different health benefits that natural iodine has on the body, so many that it is sometimes referred to as the “Universal Nutrient.” However, its discovery was nothing less of ironic.

In 1811, a scientist by the name of Bernard Courtois was asked by Napoleon to make gun powder for his army. At the time, gunpowder was made by mixing sulfuric acid with dried, burnt seaweed. However, one day as Courtois was mixing his solutions, he accidentally added a little too much acid. To his surprise, a purple, metallic substance formed in his beakers and immediately he knew that he had found a new element [1]. Though he didn’t know it at the time, he, the man who was trying to “kill people,” discovered a substance that would advance medicine for years to come.

As research persisted over the next few years, many new and exciting revelations were made about Iodine. Now we know that one of its major uses is providing our bodies with energy [2]. When we consume iodine rich foods like seafood, yogurt, and cranberries, or through supplements, our thyroid glands use that nutrient to produce thyroid hormones that help generate energy used by every single organ in your body [2,3].

Appropriate levels of iodine, help our bodies flush out toxic chemicals such as fluorine, mercury, lead, and bromine. They also enhance the body’s ability to adequately release hormones or remove toxins. Along with combating heavy metals that may be ingested, iodine improves our immune system. It effectively hunts out free radicals in the body while stimulating the use of antioxidants to specifically defend against heart disease and even cancer. Though it is still not understood how iodine is able to combat cancer, research shows that it is able to make cancer cells go through apoptosis, a process where a cell is destroyed because of old age or improper functioning; once destroyed, these cells are replaced by new, healthier cells [2].

The list of iodine’s benefits can fill up numerous pages, as it also has effects on keeping skin bright and youthful, maintaining hair’s lustrous look, assuring proper brain growth, helping in the development of a mature reproductive system, and even allowing proper blood flow throughout the body [2,4].

Iodine has so many benefits that medical school students in the 1900’s had a saying:
“If ye don’t know where, what, and why
Prescribe ye then K [potassium] and I [iodine].”

This truly shows iodine’s potency at being one of the ultimate healing agents and essential nutrients for holistic wellbeing [5]. Though back then people were not sure why it was so effective, ongoing research has uncovered more properties. These benefits include improved immune function, reproductive health, and lowered chances of acquiring cystic fibrosis.

Clearly, large doses of iodine are not advised as too much can cause thyroid problems [6]. However, eating organic foods that are naturally rich in iodine allows for safe amounts in our diets. Some foods that are packed with iodine are cranberries, organic strawberries, cheese, potatoes, and beans. If your diet does not include the recommended level of iodine, vitamin supplements are a great alternative [7]. The morning formula of Balanced Trio provides 150 mcg of iodine, satisfying the daily intake requirement.

[1] The History of Iodine

[2] Health Benefits of Iodine. Organic Facts.

[3] Iodine. Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center.

[4] Universal Remedy. Grow Youthful

[5] The Universal Nutrient.

[6] Food Fact Sheet. BDA The Association of UK Dieticians

[7] 7 Foods Rich in Iodine. Global Healing Center

Lycopene: An Antioxidant Powerhouse

Ever wondered how tomatoes get their red color? It’s due to an antioxidant cartenoid pigment called lycopene. Why does lycopene matter? And most importantly, why should you care? Lycopene has many healthy benefits and is essentially an antioxidant powerhouse. It functions by maintaining the strength, thickness, and fluidity of the cellular membrane [1]. The cell membrane is responsible for determining what gets in and out of the cell—allowing good nutrients to enter while removing cellular waste. As a natural byproduct of our metabolic processes, oxidative damage from free radicals can damage the cell membrane and, consequently, our genetic material—DNA. And this could lead to aging, mutations or chronic illnesses. Therefore, it is important to maintain healthy and strong cellular membranes with the help of lycopene.

Dr. Leticia Rao from the University of Toronto explains that lycopene counteracts the free radical disturbance in the balance of new bone formation with bone loss as people age [2].  The elderly, who are especially concerned with brittle bones or osteoporosis (when bone loss exceeds bone formation), should make sure they have plenty of lycopene in their diet.

Not only does lycopene act as an antioxidant by quenching free radicals and preventing cellular damage that advocates aging and cancer, but it also seems to be reducing the risk of stroke!  Recent studies show that lycopene is linked to a possible 55% reduction in men stroke risk [3]. It’s suggested that lycopene may help reduce ischemic strokes, the most common type of stroke. Ischemic strokes occur when clots form that obstruct the blood flow to the brain. When lipid peroxidation (oxidative degradation of fat) occurs in the bloodstream, the body’s immune and inflammatory responses get triggered, releasing macrophage white blood cells to relieve the oxidative stress and, ultimately, causing a blockage of blood vessels. This inflammatory response that clots the artery walls as a result of a sudden accumulation of white blood cells is also known as atherosclerosis. So by reducing inflammation caused by lipid peroxidation in the bloodstream, lycopene minimizes clot formation that restricts oxygen-rich blood flow to the heart, brain, and other important organs of the body. And this can lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

There is also evidence that suggests lycopene inhibits HMG-CoA reductase, an enzyme that produces cholesterol [4]. This means that lycopene can help lower blood cholesterol levels as well. And because lycopene levels are more concentrated in the male reproductive system, it helps protect men from the high frequency of prostate cancer [4]. But most importantly, studies have shown that low blood levels of carotenoids were found to be a predictor of earlier death while very low blood lycopene was the strongest predictor of mortality [4]. Thus, getting your daily dose of lycopene is important for a healthy lifestyle! And because lycopene is fat soluble, it is better absorbed in the body when it’s combined with some fat. Therefore, the lycopene and the omega-3 fish oil in the Balanced Trio Mid-Day Formula is an easy way to get the maximum benefits of this powerful antioxidant powerhouse.



[1] Health Benefits of Lycopene

[2] Lycopene Benefits

[3] Lycopene-rich Tomatoes Linked to Lower Stroke Risk

[4] You Say Tomato—We Say Lycopene, a Protective Carotenoid

Cooling Spices: Taking the Heat Out of Summer

cooling spices collage


Everyone loves summer because it is a season of fun and relaxation. What is not welcome is the extreme summer heat. Sometimes staying hydrated just isn’t enough to keep the body cool. Skin becomes irritated and damaged from the sun. Many people gorge on cold desserts which do not help cool their bodies down. The sudden cold drops internal temperatures causing our bodies to work hard bringing the temperatures back up. The end result is warmer bodies due to the work put into regulating temperatures [1].

Cooling spices, though, have a much more helpful impact. Part of Ayurvedic practices, these spices regulate pitta also known as the energy needed to regulate metabolism. Heat increases this energy leading to negative effects. [1]. Below are five different spices that can be added to the diet during these next few months to counteract that.

1. Mint: Many of us have enjoyed the flavor of mint as it’s everywhere from dishes to gum. Full of menthol, mint helps release excess pitta. Menthol stimulates cold-sensitive receptors on the skin causing pores in the body to open, letting extra heat out [1,2]. Other benefits of mint include relief of indigestion and bad breath [3]. It’s simple to add mint to dishes, drink as tea, or to take a leaf and chew on one.

2. Cilantro: This herb is at its best when raw. The oils that it contains soothe the burn of heat. It is frequently used as garnish for spicy dishes with the intention of taking the edge of heat off [1,2,4]. Cilantro is also known to relieve anxiety to the same effect as a low dose anti-anxiety drug [5]. For your next meal, think of garnishing soup or dishes with cilantro.

3. Turmeric: This is the spice that gives mustard its distinct yellow color. It is also a constant in curries around the world [2]. Though bitter, it is well-known that it is the bitterness that cleanses the body of the surplus heat [1]. Another added benefit of turmeric is its antibiotic capabilities especially when combined with some honey. This concoction has been touted as the strongest natural antibiotic [6].

4. Cinnamon: This is a very well-known spice used in apple pies, chai lattes, and more. It works by balancing the amount of pitta produced. On hot days, cinnamon will counteract the heat and lower pitta. When winter comes, cinnamon can be used to warm the body and increase pitta [2]. You can also expect lower cholesterol and lower blood sugar with just one gram or less of cinnamon a day [7].

5. Fennel Seeds: A popular mouth freshener, this spice has a distinct licorice flavor [1,8]. It has anti-inflammatory properties which counteracts the effects of raised pitta levels in the body [1]. An added benefit for women is that it can help regulate the menstrual cycle and reduce menstrual cramps. [8]. Fennel seeds are good as is or in tea.

There is no better way to combat heat than with cooling spices. They are safe and effective in helping your body stay cool internally with many more added benefits. This means that spices can do more than just what was listed in this article about helping with anxiety and lowering cholesterol. They can lower blood sugar, relieve acid reflux, and much more. These spices are also healthier alternatives to eating ice cream and other cold desserts. It’s summertime, explore and learn more about spices!



[1] 6 Spices That’ll Keep You Cool on a Hot Day. NDTV Food.

[2] 6 Herbs and Spices That Keep You Cool This Summer. Skinny Mom.

[3] Using Mint to Treat Upset Stomach. How Stuff Works.

[4] The Top 8 Cooling Spices for Summer. Global Healing Center.

[5] Anti-Anxiety Activity of Coriandrum Sativum Assessed Using Different Experimental Anxiety Models. Mahendra, Poonam, and Shradha Bisht. Indian Journal of Pharmacology 43.5 (2011): 574–577. PMC. Web.

[6] This “Golden Honey” Mixture is The Strongest Known Natural Antibiotic. Healthy Food House.

[7] Cinnamon Reduces Blood Sugar and Cholesterol Levels. Life Enhancement.

[8] Got Cramps? Fennel’s Liquorice-Flavored Seeds Can Cure Menstrual Symptoms. Medical Daily.

Bilberry and Its Health Benefits As A Superfood

Hailing from Northern Europe, bilberry is a cousin of blueberry. While it is widely used throughout the continent, the eastern region in particular makes use of it as a food and as a supplement. Traditionally and today, this little berry was taken for eye health support and stomach health. This fruit is a true superfood, filled with antioxidants making it anti-inflammatory and a fighter against diabetes and cancer [1].

What makes bilberry so powerful is the anthocyanidins that it is packed so full of. These compounds are what give this berry so much of its capabilities. It even affects its color which varies between inky blue and dark purple. These compounds fight off inflammation which is useful in treating many diseases or conditions that have an inflammatory side to them.

An example would be macular degeneration or simply retina decay. Bilberry cannot be used as a cure for the condition though, since the positive effect is mild as David Kiefer, MD, in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Wisconsin says. Damage won’t be reversed completely, but if bilberry is used daily to preserve eye health, minor inflammation and possibly eyesight will improve.

Interestingly, there is an old story set during World War II about a group of British Royal Air Force pilots. These pilots regularly consumed bilberry jam for tea. They began to notice better night vision. One night they bombed the enemy with overwhelming accuracy that was attributed to their enhanced night vision caused by the effects of the fruit. Their story became well-known [2,3]. Unfortunately there is no evidence, so the story has been brushed off as just a legend.

Now, bilberry also has positive effects against diabetes and cancer. In research done on diabetic mice, bilberry extract lowered blood sugar levels and raised insulin sensitivity. This means that blood sugar levels went down to a normal state and insulin was able to maintain that state. Before, insulin sensitivity was too low to react and maintain healthy blood sugar levels in the mice [4].

As for bilberry’s effects on cancer, it is known that bilberry extract has the ability to suppress tumor cells and initiate “cell death” where the cell destroys itself. One specific study treated breast cancer cells with bilberry extract and observed suppression of tumor cells and at higher concentrations induction of “cell death”. A little above those concentrations, the extract performed even better and played an active part in destroying the cell itself rather than watching the cell die after being induced to do so [5].

In conclusion, the evidence shows that bilberry is much more than just a commodity. Its use as a supplement in Europe dates back a thousand years. Through research, bilberry is shown to be beneficial for inflammation, eye health, diabetes, and cancer. Currently it is one of the top selling herbal supplements in its extract form consisting of 25% anthocyanidins. This is one of the many components in the Morning Formula of Balanced Trio. It is proven to be safe and effective.



[1] Bilberry. University of Maryland Medical Center.

[2] Bilberry Extract and Vision.WebMD.

[3] Every Herb Has a Story: Bilberry for Eyes. Mother Earth Living.

[4] Dietary Anthocyanin-Rich Bilberry Extract Ameliorates Hyperglycemia and Insulin Sensitivity via Activation of AMP-Activated Protein Kinase in Diabetic Mice. Takikawa, M. et al. Journal of Nutrition 140.3 (2010): 527-33. Web.

[5] Cytotoxic Effects of Bilberry Extract on MCF7-GFP-Tubulin Breast Cancer Cells. Nguyen, Vy,et al. Journal of Medicinal Food 13.2 (2010): 278-85. Web.

Micronutrients: What your Body Needs on a Daily Basis

micronutrientsThe foods you eat provide your body with the raw materials for growth, development and function. There are two basic groups of nutrients that must be obtained through the diet: macronutrients and micronutrients.

Macronutrients include proteins, carbohydrates, fats, fiber and water. Micronutrients include vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. All nutrients play different, but vital, roles in your health and well-being.

Unlike macronutrients, micronutrients are required in very small amounts. Their main function is to enable the many chemical reactions to occur in the body. Each vitamin and mineral has a specific role in bodily functions.

Your body cannot produce many of the micronutrients, so they must be supplied through diet. Different foods contain different amounts of vitamins and minerals, so it’s important to eat a wide variety of foods from different food groups.

In a 2005 article in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, Bill Misner Ph.D. concludes that food alone is not sufficient to meet the minimum Recommended Daily Allowances (RDA) micronutrient requirements for preventing nutrient-deficiency diseases. Misner analyzed the diets of 20 people from different lifestyle categories. Each of the 20 subjects had between 3 and 15 deficiencies from food intake alone. None of them met the minimal RDA micronutrient requirements for preventing nutrient-deficiency diseases.

A healthy diet is the foundation of good nutrition.  However, it is a challenge to create a healthy, diverse diet because of the time and energy required to research, plan, shop and cook. Hence, it makes sense to take a high-quality broad spectrum multivitamin complex as part of a healthy diet. It will help to prevent any nutrient deficiencies that the diet might have. Not all multivitamins are created equal though.  The best ones have higher quality vitamins and minerals that are better absorbed by the body. In addition, phytochemicals, coenzyme Q 10 and omega-3 are important micronutrients that need to be included.

Below are the specific nutrients that your body needs for healthy functioning.

  • Thirteen essential vitamins (four fat-soluble A, E, D, K and nine water-soluble C, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, pantothenic acid, biotin, folic acid). Plus there are several important vitamin-like substances such as choline, inositol, coenzyme Q 10, lipoic acid, lecithin, and some others. Look for natural forms of vitamins, such as D3 (cholecalciferol) form of vitamin D, d-alpha tocopherol form of vitamin E, etc.
  • Eleven essential minerals that should be supplemented if not present in sufficient quantities in the diet: calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, iodine, selenium, copper, manganese, chromium and molybdenum. Also important are trace minerals, such as boron, bromide, carbonate, sulfate. All of these minerals are required for normal functioning of the body.
  • Minerals come in many different forms. Avoid sulfates and oxides (such as zinc oxide, magnesium oxide, cupric sulfate, etc.), since they are very poorly absorbed. The best source for minerals is chelated minerals.
  • Coenzyme Q 10 is an important antioxidant and vitamin-like substance found throughout the body, but especially in the heart, liver, kidney and pancreas. It is made by the body; however, as we age, the level of CoQ 10 production decreases. CoQ 10 is beneficial for the heart, blood vessels, high blood pressure, chronic fatigue, asthma and energy production in the body.
  • Also important are antioxidants and phyto-extracts. They help neutralize free radicals and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause. Look for a supplement that contains carotenoids, such as lutein, lycopene, astaxanthin and standardized extracts of herbs and berries.
  • Omega-3 fatty acid is crucial for heart and brain health. Its benefits have been verified by a number of studies and include support for cardiovascular system, neurological function, healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels and many others.

In summary, eating a variety of fruits and vegetables will help guarantee that your diet is rich in all the micronutrients.  Try to include a rainbow of colors in your daily meals. In addition, consider supplementing with a high-quality multivitamin complex that includes all thirteen vitamins, chelated minerals, omega-3 and standardized phyto-extracts and antioxidants.