Author Archives: Tawnya Ritco

Bouncing back from surgery

I have been quite fortunate for most of my life to avoid surgery. There are only two exceptions: Emergency c-section at BC Women’s Hospital in Vancouver in November of 2016 and gum replacement surgery in September of 2019. In both cases, the outcomes were positive. And in both, I believe they were successful because of a combination of nutrition, natural supplementation and an active lifestyle.

The second of my two surgeries came less than a year ago. It involved the dreaded anticipation of gum surgery, which I was having performed on me for the first time. It was a bigger deal for me than most simply because I had so little experience with surgery. Outside of the c-section three years before, I have never had any other form of surgery. No broken bones. No cartilage or tendon damage. No removal of my appendix nor any issues with my tonsils.

Being in tune with my own healing process

In the days before the dental surgery, I was prepared for how uncomfortable it would be and told to expect to look like a chipmunk – with full-blown swelling — afterwards. Needless to say, I wasn’t looking forward to it – I was stressed! The upside was that I was entirely focused on taking care of myself and in tune with my own healing process.

This time, I faithfully took PURICA Recovery 3.0 – the “next generation” of PURICA Recovery – in the days following my surgery and literally felt the results. Not only did it noticeably mitigate the pain, making the discomfort much less than I had anticipated, but it was also a much faster recovery than projected. On my next check-up, the dentist was impressed with my healing, claiming that it was much quicker than most.

In the holistic world of wellness, I resist pointing to any one single factor as THE reason for something. There’s no doubt that my overall nutrition was good and as an active living person, I was helped by going into the gum replacement surgery in decent shape and with a good hiking routine and gym regimen behind me.  Yet there is also no question in my mind that natural supplementation made such a huge difference for me.

Stress relief as the key to wellness

My RHN training, combined with my time at PURICA, has taught me that stress relief, healing damage and relieving inflammation are among the keys to health and wellness. All three are achieved by PURICA Recovery 3.0. It works on the strength of organic chaga and ashwagandha (Sensoril®) and the powerful antioxidant Curcumin 30% BDMC, which provides 30 times the 1% found in most regular Curcumin extracts.

I now know first-hand the benefits of targeting the stress response. PURICA Recovery 3.0 delivers more than just fast pain and inflammation relief, but actual healing. It works by combating inflammation and supporting joint health by reducing cortisol and c-reactive protein levels, both of which are typically triggered by stress. With Curcumin 30% BDMC as one of its signature ingredients, PURICA Recovery 3.0 has been shown to provide rapid relief from pain and inflammation.

It works in three principal ways, by providing stress relief (anti-stress), healing damage at the cellular level (anti-catabolic) and by delivering rapid relief of inflammation (anti-inflammatory). While regular curcumin only inhibits Nuclear Factor Kappa-B, PURICA Recovery 3.0 comprehensively combats inflammation from two target protein markers; MSK1 (mitogen-and stress-activated protein kinase 1) and KF-KB. PURICA Recovery 3.0 also helps control electrolyte balance, sleeplessness, irritability, and lack of concentration. It’s a simple but important reminder that sleep and rest support the body’s natural recovery and repair functions.

I’m of course only one of the many case studies and testimonials supporting the efficacy of PURICA Recovery 3.0 and how it brings together Curcumin 30% BDMC, the medicinal mushroom chaga, the ayurvedic herb ashwagandha, magnesium, vitamin C and some of the other ingredients found in the original PURICA Recovery Extra Strength. Yet the rapid recovery from my gum surgery in 2019 only underlines the importance of nutrition, exercise…and natural supplementation. Whether or not I have more surgeries in my future, I will remain committed to achieving that natural balance by giving myself every opportunity to mitigate the stress that is part of life.

Tawnya Ritco, R.H.N., is Director of Education for PURICA and promotes natural health education and finds inspiration in the connection between nutrition, lifestyle, and vitality.

Don’t Get “Hangry”. Get Blood Sugar Balanced.

Weight management the natural way…with PURICA TrimActiv

When we have long lapses of time between eating, our blood sugar drops. When we are in this state, we tend to make more impulsive decisions. The quick “go-to” treats to fill the gap can give us that initial blood sugar spike, but that’s always followed by low blood sugar a few hours later. And don’t deny it: We’ve all been “hangry” more often than we’d care to admit. And even if we’ve avoided a bad case of the “hangries”, we’ve all been around someone who is hangry. With this fast-paced lifestyle of ours, it’s even become – as of 2018 — an official word in the Oxford Dictionary. “hangry” means “bad-tempered or irritable as a result of hunger”. It’s a classic case study in the chemistry of life, both the ups and the downs.

Healthy body composition to feel your best

Of course, most of us would like to feel limber and physically strong — with sustained energy and a sense of ease within our bodies and minds — throughout the day. When we’re feeling sluggish just getting through the day, that utopia of feel-good energy sounds like it’s out of our reach. That’s where a holistic approach of positive lifestyles, shifting dietary habits and supplementation with a natural formulation such as PURICA TrimActiv can be a game changer, particularly when it comes to curbing cravings and balancing blood sugar.

In terms of “weight management”, it is really about healthy body composition. That allows you to feel your personal best. The beauty is that we’re all so different when it comes to our bodies. There is no “one size fits all”. Having said that, if we are losing or gaining weight too quickly – or doing a yo-yo dance between those two – it is a sign that’s worth exploring the underlying causes of those fluctuations.

Yet metabolic rate is only part of the equation. When we become what we may considered as overweight, it’s most often for more than one reason: From tucking in at night with a pint of ice cream, to focusing on the wrong kinds of foods, such as those high in carbohydrates and simple sugars. Another person may eat relatively healthy, but have a weak spot for at least one sugary drink every day. This can throw off the body’s ability to properly process the sugars and the extra pounds can become an issue.

It’s worth taking a moment to talk about how stress, blood sugar and cravings impact our weight – and just as important, if not more – our mood!

How does blood sugar affect our weight and mood?

Anyone who battles cravings knows just how overwhelming they can be. It can start out with an initial feeling of eating for comfort or an energy boost. What begins as “I’ll just have one cookie” becomes “okay, let’s just polish these off so they out of sight!” It’s easy to judge ourselves as not having any so-called will power. The truth is when our body is in that craving state, it’s difficult for us to control those impulses and regulate that primitive drive and behavior.

How does stress affect blood sugar?

When it comes to blood sugar and stress, it’s bit of a catch 22! When you are under physical, mental or emotional stress, it can also affect your blood sugar levels. When your blood sugars are not in balance, it can cause you to feel stressed. When we have a high level of stress, we are activating our sympathetic nervous system; the “fight or flight” response. Our hormone cortisol (and epinephrine) triggers the release of sugar (glucose). The body releases sugar into the blood so that energy can be circulated throughout your system. This results in higher blood sugar for the short term. The problem is that stress-induced cortisol can also increase our risk for food cravings.

Positive Lifestyle Strategies

So, what can we do to mitigate against the stress and wildly-fluctuating blood sugars? Small incremental changes — such as creating new habits — can go a long way toward effective weight management. The incorporation of these positive lifestyles does not have to be overwhelming. It’s all about consistency.

Some of the positive lifestyle changes we can look at include:

  • Eating small meals and snacks throughout the day to keep blood sugars balanced;
  • Thinking Rainbow! Incorporating as many colors of fruits and vegetables into your diet (rich in antioxidants and fiber which help with blood sugar);
  • Reducing simple sugars (out with the white!).

As noted above, “stress” – especially chronic stress – can impact us on so many levels. We can’t avoid stress completely if we are a living and breathing human being. It’s just there for us, for both good and bad. How we manage and handle stress, however, can be a game changer. Recognizing our own personal triggers can be a huge step in the right direction. The key is to look for ways to trigger our parasympathetic nervous system by doing things such as diaphragmatic breathing (also known as belly breathing). Stress impacts our absorption and assimilation of nutrients, making the weight management connection problematic.

Natural supplementation

PURICA TrimactivPURICA has always been committed to the connections between stress and immunity. It has always shined in its ability to identify and develop formulations that help the body and mind adapt to stress. When it comes to natural supplementation for weight management, PURICA TrimActiv is no exception.  It is weight management the natural way. This unique formulation is different than a typical weight loss product in that it stimulates metabolism in a holistic way. It focusses on supporting overworked adrenals (through the medicinal mushroom cordyceps) to help the body better handle stress. It helps to mitigate unhealthy cravings and encourages healthy, intuitive eating, stabilizing blood sugar and minimizing the cravings that affect both mood and energy. As the name suggests, being “activ” is an important consideration when it comes to achieving optimal natural weight. Supplementation using PURICA TrimActiv is intended to complement an active lifestyle and, of course, good nutrition.

It works on the strength of a series of synergistic ingredients:

Cinnamon: This helps to regulate blood sugar, prevent spikes and the associated deposition of fat. Regulation of blood sugar also helps to reduce cravings.

Garcinia cambogia: A source of hydroxycitric acid (HCA), it plays an important role in fat metabolism. HCA blocks the portion of the enzyme citrate lyase, which helps turn sugar and starches into fat. As a result, carbohydrates are deployed in the production of energy, as opposed to accumulating as fat on our stomach and hips. Physical activity ensures energy is burned off.

Green coffee bean extract: A source of chlorogenic acid, unroasted coffee bean extract has been shown to help fat loss. Chlorogenic acid is believed to reduce the absorption of carbohydrates from the digestive tract, lowering sugar and insulin spikes.

Yerba mate: This herb increases metabolism via a stimulant known as mateine. Like caffeine, mateine can increase energy levels, but doesn’t give you the “jitters”.

Cordyceps: This medicinal mushroom has been used for centuries for a number of health benefits, including increasing muscle mass.

The bottom line: By changing the narrative of a low-energy, sluggish lifestyle to a PURICA TrimActiv lifestyle, you can arrive at a healthier, natural weight. Make it a priority to integrate these positive lifestyles and natural supplementation into your day-to-day living. And while you’re at it, find out about other natural supplements such as PURICA Power vegan protein and PURICA Curcumin 30% BDMC.

NOTE: We are all about Nature. Science. You. We are whole food products, natural supplements and positive lifestyle solutions. While you’re at purica.com, you can find our podcasts, videos and blogs on natural supplementation and lifestyles. Look for The Triskelion: The PURICA Podcast, our PURICA Fitness Series, PURICA Yoga Series and more.

 

Tawnya Ritco, R.H.N., is Director of Education for PURICA and promotes natural health education and finds inspiration in the connection between nutrition, lifestyle, and vitality.

The powerhouse anti-inflammatory that is curcumin extract BioBDM30

The main active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin is a very powerful antioxidant and has strong anti-inflammatory effects. While turmeric is excellent when used as a spice, curcumin extract is a better choice for a wide range of health benefits.

Our inflammatory response – our body’s ability to fight foreign invaders and help repair tissues – is fundamentally important to our overall health. Yet when acute, short-term inflammation becomes chronic, protracted and starts attacking your body’s own tissues, it can be a significant problem. Studies suggest that chronic low-grade inflammation can play a role in various conditions, from heart disease to Alzheimers and other degenerative conditions.

That is why natural anti-inflammatories have become so important in recent years. Among them, curcumin has become well-recognized as natural anti-inflammatory that can be used therapeutically to help combat chronic inflammation, whether from acute injury, surgery or exercise.

The long-standing history and track record of curcumin

It is important to note that curcumin is an active compound found in the popular spice turmeric, which is the root of a plant known as Curcuma Longa. The flowering plant and its root – part of the ginger family best known as a spice used in curry – have been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years in Asian countries, including China. Bright in its yellow pigment and first officially identified back in 1815, the polyphenol curcumin belongs to a family of chemicals that are known as curcuminoids.

Given that curcumin is poorly absorbed during digestion, a series of different formulations have been created to improve its bioavailability. In recent years, science has also helped address some of the inconsistencies in regular curcumin – which typically vary in potency from batch to batch – and has led to the production of powerful anti-inflammatories that deliver exacting standards of relief to those dealing with these often painful conditions.

PURICA Curcumin 30% BDMCA case in point is the active compound in PURICA Curcumin Extra Strength; the patented curcumin extract Curcumin BioBDM30. This was developed with high levels of one particular curcuminoid: Bisdemethoxycurcumin (BDMC). On the strength of its high BDMC content, PURICA Curcumin with BDM30 is a more potent anti-inflammatory than standard curcumin. Standard curcumin is typically associated with lower levels in the range of 0.5-1% BDMC. PURICA Curcumin, on the other hand, delivers 30% BDMC.

The scientific research behind the patented BioBDM30 in PURICA Curcumin has focused on separating, isolating and mapping the pharmacological effects of these compounds to see how they each impact the subcellular activities that help to neutralize many disease symptoms, including of course the anti-inflammatory properties of the curcuminoids.

It is this powerfully potent concentration of the BDMC curcuminoid that allows PURICA Curcumin to create tangible anti-inflammatory effects for everyone from high performance athletes and active living “weekend warriors” dealing with muscle and joint pain to those with much more serious and degenerative conditions. The 30-to-1 ratio of BioBDM30 (compared to regular curcumin) results in effects that are felt in hours instead of days.

How it works

Curcumin works by inhibiting NF-KB (Nuclear Factor Kappa-B), which is a molecule that travels into the nuclei of our cells and activates genes related to inflammation. PURICA Curcumin not only does this, it also targets MSK1 (mitogen-and stress-activated protein kinase 1).  This combats inflammation from two targets areas, whereas regular curcumin only inhibits NF-KB.

The BDMC contained in PURICA Curcumin also offers an ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) value of 565,000 units, compared to regular curcumin, which has just 9,500 units. This high ORAC value helps to reduce oxidative damage to the cells. The other benefit with the patented BioBDM30 in PURICA Curcumin is that it improves its stability, bioavailability and prolonged survival in the blood. This gives it the capacity to last longer, which in turn provides potent anti-inflammatory and rapid results.

For those of you suffering from the kind of joint pain and inflammation that prevents you from doing the things you love, or those interested in some of the other health benefits associated with powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatories such as Curcumin BioBDM30, PURICA Curcumin Extra Strength with 30% BDMC can become an important part of your natural health regime.

REFERENCES

Presenting a New Standard Drug Model for Turmeric and Its Prized Extract, Curcumin
International Journal of Inflammation
Published: 15 Jan 2018

Curcumin: A Review of Its’ Effects on Human Health
Foods — Open Access Journal
Published: 22 October 2017

Tawnya Ritco, R.H.N., is Director of Education for PURICA and promotes natural health education and finds inspiration in the connection between nutrition, lifestyle, and vitality.

Your Adrenal Glands – Your Body’s Battery Pack

BY TAWNYA RITCO, R.H.N

The two walnut-size glands that sit just above each kidney are the unsung heroes of the human body.  Our adrenal glands work as batteries to energize our body.  Although they secrete adrenalin and other hormones that play a number of essential physiological processes in our body, they are most commonly associated with their ability to help us deal with stress.

The adrenal glands are crucial to our overall health and taking good care of them throughout our life is essential as they also work as our back up sex hormones, a role which becomes even more important as we age. In addition, they help manage our blood sugar, regulating metabolism and controlling blood pressure.

So the three big questions are: How do these dynamos work? How do we know when they are not functioning?  And how can we take care of them?

How do our adrenal glands work?

The fact is, we are all subject to stress in our lives and our bodies are hard-wired with what is known as the “fight or flight” stress response. Think of it like pressing the gas pedal on your car. When there is a perceived threat, the hypothalamus sends a signal to the adrenal glands (via the pituitary gland). This causes them to release hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. It’s what allows us to spring into action with a burst of energy during times of emergency. For many of us, the challenge to our health arises when we are faced with “chronic stress” for protracted periods of time. Sadly, with modern-day living, this scenario is all too common.

Adrenaline and cortisol are released whether we are undergoing acute stress — such as a death in the family, a divorce, surgery and other forms of trauma — or simply dealing with low-grade stressors such as traffic jams, work deadlines, expectations from family and friends, environmental stressors, or even worrying excessively or just feeling irritated.  Over time, the constant secretion of these key hormones can cause the adrenals to become stressed to the point of exhaustion. The result: Adrenal exhaustion.

Symptoms of weakened adrenals

Knowing when you’re adrenal “batteries” are low and needing a boost has become more important than ever before. Weakened adrenals can manifest themselves through fatigue and lack or energy, insomnia, irritability, cravings, weight gain and ultimately a weakened immune system.  You might find your capacity to deal with workloads has decreased and your overall tolerance to stress and capacity to handling it is much lower than it once was. People often describe what they feel as an overall unwell feeling. For some, just having enough energy to get through the day is a challenge. It’s clear that prolonged stress plays havoc on the body and can potentially create a myriad of issues that can elevate anxiety and potentially affect our working memory.

Recognizing our own self-imposed stress triggers is a huge step towards managing, reducing and possibly eliminating them from our lives. Some of the most effective stress management and lifestyle strategies include diaphragmatic breathing — also known as belly breathing.  Walks in nature, meditation and laughing have all been shown to have positive effects on calming the sympathetic system (the fight or flight response) and activating our parasympathetic system (rest and digest).

The role of adaptogens in supporting our adrenals

That’s where adaptogens come into play in mitigating the effects of protracted stress. They are a group of specialized substances that help normalize the body’s response to stress and rebalance the hypothalamic, pituitary, adrenal axis (HPA), which is the body’s central stress response system.  Adaptogens such as those found in PURICA Vitality Adrenal Support can literally help revitalize our adrenals and increase our capacity to manage the inevitable stressors that have become synonymous with daily living.

Inspired by the principles of Chinese, Tibetan and Ayurvedic medicine, PURICA Vitality is a powerful combination of two certified organic micronized medicinal mushrooms (Chaga and Cordyceps) and the herb ashwaghanda.  This powerful blend calms and restores balance within our overworked adrenal glands, enabling them to better deal with the impacts of stress. Especially when used in conjunction with some of the stress management techniques outlined above, it is one of the ways we can replenish the adrenal “batteries” and maintain the kind of energy we need to make the most of our lives, whether at work or at play.

Tawnya Ritco, R.H.N., is Director of Education for PURICA and promotes natural health education and finds inspiration in the connection between nutrition, lifestyle, and vitality.

Why Magnesium Matters So Much to Your Health

BY TAWNYA RITCO, RHN

Among essential minerals, magnesium is truly essential. Always has been. Always will be. It’s only gained more prominence in recent years because of the heightened occurrence of mineral and vitamin deficiencies in many of us. They are deficiencies that have only been exacerbated in this era of protracted, chronic stress.

The important role that essential minerals in general and magnesium in particular play in the maintenance of good health is one that has been recognized for decades. Above and beyond the proliferation of daily stress in our lives, what is new is the science around just how important magnesium is to vital organs and key body processes. Combine that with the fact that over 40 percent of Canadians – two in every five of us — are magnesium deficient!

It’s such an important health and wellness issue because magnesium is crucial for the normal function of our cells, nerves, muscles, bones and heart. In fact, magnesium is a co-factor in over 300 enzymatic processes in the body. It’s not surprising, therefore, that entire body systems can be thrown off when we lack essential vitamins or minerals such as magnesium.

Magnesium is essential in the maintenance of our bones and teeth. It is vital in the regulation of muscle contractions and overall muscle function. Magnesium also helps to metabolize our food and regulate blood pressure and nerve transmission. That’s why adequate levels of magnesium are required in order to for body to produce enough serotonin naturally so as to maintain balanced mental function. Note that serotonin helps regulate our mood, appetite and sleep as well as cognitive functions such as memory and learning.

No outline of the importance of magnesium to health and wellness is complete without acknowledging that it has also been used intravenously in hospital settings to reduce the risk of death after an acute heart attack. It is also deployed in managing acute asthma in emergency situations.

Over the course of time, we have typically received the significant amounts of this macro mineral that we need from a balanced, nutritious diet comprised of nuts, seeds, dark leafy greens and unrefined whole grains. Yet many of us are falling short in this era in which the soil that is the foundation for the nutrients we consume is itself depleted of minerals. Add to that the modern issue of chronic stress, which releases adrenaline and triggers a series of metabolic processes. Since the body’s reaction to stress in turn further depletes the magnesium supplies in our body, the vicious circle continues and we become more reactive to stress.

With many people supplementing daily with 350 mg of magnesium, I recommend one teaspoon daily of PURICA Effervescent Magnesium Glycine as it is a highly absorbable form of magnesium. That’s the good news in an era where many of us are not getting the levels of this essential mineral that we need to function optimally.

PURICA Magnesium

REFERENCES:

Magnesium in Prevention and Therapy. 2015 Sep; 7(9): 8199–8226. Published online 2015 Sep 23. doi:  10.3390/nu7095388  / Nutrients

The Importance of Magnesium in Clinical Healthcare Scientifica (Cairo). 2017; 2017: 4179326. Published online 2017 Sep 28. doi:  10.1155/2017/4179326

A study on the mineral depletion of the foods available to us as a nation over the period 1940 to 1991. Nutr Health. 2003;17(2):85-115.

Subclinical magnesium deficiency: a principal driver of cardiovascular disease and a public health crisis Open Heart. 2018; 5(1): e000668. Published online 2018 Jan 13. doi:  10.1136/openhrt-2017-000668 Ter Arkh. 2015;87(9):114-122. doi: 10.17116/terarkh2015879114-122.

Magnesium deficiency and stress: Issues of their relationship, diagnostic tests, and approaches to therapy. Ter Arkh. 2015;87(9):114-122. doi: 10.17116/terarkh2015879114-122.

Magnesium for treatment-resistant depression: a review and hypothesis. Med Hypotheses. 2010 Apr;74(4):649-60. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2009.10.051. Epub 2009 Nov 27.

Tawnya Ritco, R.H.N., is Director of Education for PURICA and promotes natural health education and finds inspiration in the connection between nutrition, lifestyle, and vitality.

Healthy, happy hearts

Provascin is designed to protect the cardiovascular system in a host of ways.

Q&A WITH PURICA FOUNDER JASON WATKIN

Q. We tend to think of heart disease as something that mainly affects the middle-aged or elderly. When does someone need to start thinking about their heart health?

Jason: It’s never too early. Ideally, we’re thinking of heart health in our late teens and early 20’s when we start to reach our full height and our growth hormones start to drop. Our body is at that second stage of life. There’s a higher state of breakdown, with a lower capacity to heal and maintain optimal status of the cells and body overall.

Practically speaking, though, most people don’t wake up until they feel themselves declining—when energy levels drop and their skin and whole body starts to show signs of aging.

It’s important to note that if you tend to be a more “high-strung” person, you are typically more susceptible to heart disease because you have higher level of stress hormones circulating throughout the body. This induces the breakdown of tissue and decreased PH levels, which cause inflammatory bursts and suppression of the immune system. Potential warning signs are you find yourself easily irritated, worrying excessively or having mood swings that are not related to hormone fluctuation. The biggest sign will be low energy!

So starting as early as possible is best, but definitely as soon as you start seeing symptoms.

Q. Is heart disease hereditary? Your father had major heart surgery. How did that change how you looked at your own heart health?

Jason: Instead of being what we would classify as genetically hereditary, it’s more familial. Different families exhibit different traits. It’s related to stress and how people process potential stressors. In my dad’s family, there was a tendency to hold things in.

My uncle had a massive heart attack and died at age 42. That’s why my dad initially got tested—because there was an indication that it could be a familial problem. Sure enough, my dad had six blockages that were over 95% and they rushed him in for surgery. He had six bypasses and had a massive heart attack on the table. Given his congestive heart failure, they gave him a defibrillator and pacemaker and didn’t expect him to live past seven years. It’s now 25 years later.

Q. Was this family history the inspiration behind Provascin?

Jason: It started with my uncle dying and then my dad having his heart attack, which literally happened within just a few weeks of each other. The shock was that my uncle was in great shape! His death caused me real concern, especially given that he died so young and in such good shape. It shouldn’t have happened. I was already interested in cardiovascular health, but finding out my entire family had abnormal blood markers only increased that interest, but now on a personal level.

Q. When we refer to heart disease, what conditions are we actually talking about?

Jason: Artherosclerotic, arteriorsclerosis, valvular heart disease, cardiomyopathy, arrhythmias, coronary artery disease, heart attack, stroke, angina, arteriol stenosis, ambiliousim. These are some of the conditions that define heart disease.

Q. What are the causes of cardiovascular disease? What are the risk factors to look for?

Jason: Using an analogy, let’s say you have a small leak in plumbing that you don’t notice and then over a long period of time it creates rot and swelling on the floor. It’s the same kind of idea with heart disease. For instance, high blood pressure is an after effect of something that is already going on. The key question is where is the source? The damage is happening underneath. That damage leads to breakdown of tissue and inflammation. It happens way before the blood pressure and cholesterol issues arise. Often you don’t notice it until the damage is already done; again, just like with the leak in the plumbing.

Our culture is set for go-go-go and we are often in a state of accelerated aging due to stress. Even low-levels of stress are very common in modern-day living. Whenever you stress, you are breaking down. This can manifest itself in mild on-going stressors such as irritation, worry, frustration, blood sugar issues and mood swings. Over time these things start to become more pronounced. Subconsciously, our bodies are always in a state of tension, in that fight-or-flight state of readiness, instead of the restand- digest parasympathetic state.

We need to try to reduce and mitigate the stress response that leads to that damage. That’s why PURICA Provascin was formulated: to provide broad spectrum cardiovascular support and help to mitigate the stress response. Heart disease is not from one single cause, so addressing it from a number of different angles is what PURICA Provascin is intended to do.

Q. People often don’t think about how important cardiovascular support is. So what advice would you give baby boomers and others in terms of monitoring their heart health?

Jason: I would say to eat as many antioxidant-rich foods as you can, along with supplements. Try to change your dietary habits by minimizing those simple sugars and trans fats. I also really believe it is very important to learn how to manage stress through meditation or other relaxation techniques.

Q. As someone with heart disease in your family, what message do you want to send people who may find themselves in the same situation?

Jason: The good news is that there definitely are ways to deal with familial predisposition to heart disease. The key is the earlier the better. Heart disease is the number one killer. Signs often show up after the damage has already started. I encourage people to start changing their dietary habits to reduce those simple sugars and trans fats. Stop cooking with cheap oil. Incorporate as many antioxidants as possible. It’s certainly not always easy, but strive to “let go” mentally where possible. As I often say, it’s simple but true: ease is the opposite of dis-ease.

Introducing PURICA IonicBone Vegan Bone-building Formula

Strengthening Your Framework

Strengthening your own body foundation is much like choosing a well-built house to live in. That’s always better than being forced into one that is on a shaky foundation. Simply put, the well-built house will serve you for the long-term, whereas the other one will need constant maintenance and repairs.

This is an important consideration because up to the age of 20 we continue to build our bone mass and by the age of 30, we generally reach peak bone mass. Many of us become vulnerable to deteriorating bone health in the years that follow. That’s why protecting your bones early on and throughout your life is the key to avoiding fragile bones as we age.

The good news is that nutrition and lifestyle factors can help you build and maintain strong bones as you age. Supplementation can help bridge that gap where there are deficiencies.

For those at risk of bone loss, PURICA® IonicBone™ Vegan Bone-building Formula is designed to make a difference in ensuring optimal bone health throughout adult life, especially in seniors and post-menopausal women and those at risk of bone loss.

PURICA® Ionicbone™ supports the development and maintenance of strong bones and teeth and helps to maintain normal muscle function, metabolism, tissue formation and electrolyte balance. These are all vital for bone health and overall wellness.

Combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise, this new formulation may also reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis. It is powered by K2VITAL® and features natural calcified Atlantic Seaweed (CAS®) mineral complex, it has 32% more elemental calcium than other leading organic calcium sources.

Rich in calcium, magnesium and iron, it is free of chemicals, additives and solvents. PURICA® IonicBone™ works on the strength of 28 bone-building elements made from sustainably harvested Atlantic red algae.

The key to PURICA® IonicBone™ is how its ingredients work together in the body. The ingredients have been carefully balanced to include the most effective forms of Magnesium and Vitamin D3; both of which play a key role in calcium absorption.  Magnesium bisglycinate is highly-absorbable and crucial in the development of the bone mineral complex, as is the bioactive, plant-based Vitamin D3 from lichen.

The Vitamin K2 (Menaquinone K2VITAL®) activates the protein osteocalcin, which stores calcium in the bone mineral matrix. It regulates the usage of calcium, ensuring it is kept in your bones and not in the blood streaming through your arteries. This is critical for both bone and heart health.

With PURICA® IonicBone™ Vegan Bone-building Formula, you’re building a stronger and healthier body to help you live better – and thrive – in middle-age and beyond.

Ionicbone - Now available

Tawnya Ritco, R.H.N., is Director of Education for PURICA and promotes natural health education and finds inspiration in the connection between nutrition, lifestyle, and vitality.

Keep Your Castle Strong

In this world in which we are inundated daily by stress and pathogens, it’s useful to think of our body as a castle. The walls of the castle – our skin, bone and connective tissue – keep things out – our mucosal membranes, genital urinary tract and eyes function like a moat. Inside our body is an army of cells, millions of loyal soldiers maintaining the fortress and multitasking as a self-defense system made up of archers, sentries, intelligence agents, communicators and armed guards.

With daily attacks from toxins and pathogens, imagine how taxing it is for the protectors of our castle to keep our immune system strong and active. An underactive immune system makes us more vulnerable to become sick and recovery time can take much longer than had we started from a strong base. On the other hand, if our immune system is overactive, we can be left subject to allergies and it can potentially trigger an autoimmune response. As in the castle analogy, an optimal immune system is a balanced one.

In order to keep our defenses strong, it’s become more important than ever to support our immune system. That base always starts with balanced nutrition and hydration as well as positive lifestyle strategies to reduce the impacts of chronic stress. Prolonged stress, even at a low-grade level, weakens our immune response. Incorporating a few routines into our lives, including diaphragmatic breathing or belly breathing can create a more calming environment in our body and break that on-going “fight or flight: stress response that triggers our sympathetic nervous system and helps train the body to activate the “rest and digest” parasympathetic nervous system.

Another way we can strengthen our defenses is through supplementation, including the use of medicinal mushrooms. That’s where PURICA medicinal mushrooms shine. Many medicinal mushrooms have been used in eastern cultures for thousands of years. They have proven to be powerful allies in the fight against stress by working as immunomodulators; substances that bring balance or calm and activate the immune system, as needed. Medicinal mushrooms also share the remarkable qualities of adaptogens, which protect our bodies from stress. They literally help our cells adapt to stressors.

Each mushroom has been its unique characteristic. If you’re low on energy, Cordyceps is a good fit. If it’s focus that you are looking for, Lion’s Mane has been associated with optimal cognitive and nerve function. If it’s stress that’s weighing you down, Red Reishi may help you bridge that gap by helping balance the system with its innate ability to calm the mind and encourage restful sleep.

If you are looking for 360 degrees of optimal health, PURICA Complete 360 is a natural winner! It is a synergistic formulation of eight medicinal mushrooms — agaricus, cordyceps, coriolus, red reishi, maitake, shiitake, chaga and lion’s mane — along with the ayurvedic herb ashwaganda to provide comprehensive immune support. Like all PURICA mushroom formulations, PURICA Complete 360 has the advantage of micronization for better absorption.

Using PURICA Complete 360 – or other PURICA immunity formulations such as Immune 7 and Prevent — can strengthen the walls in our castle to optimize our immunity. Like anything, the best approach is an integrative one of positive lifestyle choices, healthy balanced diet and using supplementation to bridge the gap.

Tawnya Ritco, R.H.N., is Director of Education for PURICA and promotes natural health education and finds inspiration in the connection between nutrition, lifestyle, and vitality.

Pay Attention To Your Gut Instincts

Support your second brain

Tawnya Ritco, RHN

Modern gastroenterology suggests that our “gut instinct” stems from the 500 million neurons contained in the gastrointestinal tract, in the network of nerves contained in the walls of everything from our esophagus to our stomach and intestines.

That network—the enteric nervous system (ENS)—is what’s known as the “second brain.” And for good reason. The ENS is the body’s second-largest concentration of nerves behind only the brain (and ahead of the spinal column). In fact, there are 30 to 40 percent as many neurotransmitters identified in the gastrointestinal tract as there are in the brain.

The body’s prime source of serotonin

The ENS controls digestion, including everything from the biomechanics of the stomach and intestines to the alkalinity that allows digestive enzymes to work effectively. By producing 95 percent of the serotonin found in the body, this “second brain” does much to govern how we react to environmental stress. As a regulator of aging, learning, and memory, along with many organ functions and growth factors, serotonin affects our overall physical and mental well-being.

The ENS also produces as much dopamine as the brain—important for everything from motivation to motor control and the production of other key hormones. Working with the brain or independently, the ENS thereby plays a strong role in supporting the healthy functioning of the body.

Protecting the GI tract

The connectivity between the ENS and the brain is yet another reason why nutrition is so important: the healthier the digestive system, the healthier the body. More specifically, the healthier the epithelial tissue in the walls of the gastrointestinal tract, the better it will protect the nervous and circulatory systems from bacteria and viruses. The healthier the digestive system, the more likely the ENS will function optimally.

Nutrition, hydration, and supplements

Consuming fewer processed foods and eating more plant-based foods reduces the stress on our digestive system (and, by extension, the ENS). Hydration is also important, as is relaxation prior to and during meals.

The medicinal mushroom lion’s mane (Hericium erinaceus)—associated with optimal nerve health—may also assist in the proper functioning of the ENS and the way it communicates with the brain.

Nutritional supplements known to enhance tissue health are another avenue toward good digestion: by optimizing the integrity of the epithelial lining of the GI tract.

Everything from mood to decision-making can be affected when the GI tract is inflamed or otherwise under duress. Making the right decisions around healthy eating is one of the surest ways to sustain balance and good choices in every other facet of our lives.

Previously published in Alive Magazine.

Tawnya Ritco, R.H.N., is Director of Education for PURICA and promotes natural health education and finds inspiration in the connection between nutrition, lifestyle, and vitality.

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