Tag Archives: Chaga

Managing Menopause: A Three-Pronged Approach

BY TAWNYA RITCO, RHN

While some women float through the menopausal years relatively carefree, with little in the way of hormonal disruptions, others find it very challenging and in some cases debilitating. That’s why managing menopause is one of the most important issues for women in their transitional years. Ideally, this is done naturally, with women following a three-pronged approach designed to manage menopause effectively and reduce or even eliminate many of the common symptoms and effects of this hormonal shift.

The Context: Change of Life

We have two significant shifts in life: teenage puberty and the changes leading into menopause. Although these are certainly natural transitions in life, the challenge arises when our bodies have difficulty adapting to fluctuating hormones. Menopausal symptoms can range from hot flashes, night sweats, headaches, irritability, vaginal dryness and sleeplessness…and unfortunately, that’s just to name a few.

How a woman transitions during her perimenopausal years leading into menopause – the phase in life that is marked by one year without menses — depends on a number of factors, from her genetics and diet to overall lifestyle.

A contributing factor that adds to the challenge is stress and this has only become exacerbated for modern day women who have made multi-tasking their middle name.  It is not uncommon in this digital world for our boundaries to be consistently blurred. Women are finding that ideal balance — between the never-ending to do list, career, family, social life and other daily expectations — doesn’t always come easy.  If you are feeling overwhelmed, you’re not alone in that regard.

Recognizing Your Personal Stress Triggers

So the question becomes how does stress play into the equation when it comes to menopause? First, it is important to recognize that as we enter into the period of perimenopause leading up to menopause, our ovaries slow down and produce less progesterone, testosterone and estrogen. This forces our adrenal glands into a taxing back-up role. This is why protracted levels of stress in a woman’s younger years can potentially contribute to a more difficult time transitioning into menopause.

If your current stress level is high or you experienced chronic stress when you were younger, your adrenal glands may not be functioning optimally.  This is often when those nasty menopause symptoms rear their ugly head.  The good news is that there are things that you can do for a more graceful transition.

Positive Lifestyle Solutions

The first step is making some lifestyle adjustments to help eliminate the extra stressors that can tax your adrenals over time. What are your personal stress triggers and how can they be eliminated?  Do you have coping strategies in place to help mitigate the impacts of stress?  For some a walk in nature, yoga, meditation or mindfulness, diaphragmatic breathing can help bring the body into a more parasympathetic state (rest and digest) as opposed to relying on the sympathetic system (fight and flight) commonly associated with our stress response.

Nutrition

Are we fueling our body with whole food nutrition? Eliminating or reducing too much coffee and alcohol, white sugar and other stimulants helps reduce the extra pressure.

Supplementation

Working in tandem with nutrition and lifestyle adjustments, supplementation can play a key role in providing additional support during this pivotal time in life.  When it comes to supplementation, among the leading natural supplements is PURICA Rebalance Menopause Relief, a blend of three medicinal mushrooms and three herbs that work synergistically to support the whole body by naturally rebalancing your hormones.

Headlining the blend of medicinal mushrooms in PURICA Rebalance is Chaga, which helps relieve stress, promotes youthfulness of the skin, hair and nails, and perhaps most important, increases energy.

Certified organic PURICA Lion’s Mane is a mushroom powerhouse that is included to help improve cognition and memory and has the added benefit of helping digestion.  Meanwhile the third mushroom ingredient – Cordyceps – helps enhance vitality and energy and increases libido while providing all important support for the adrenals.  It also increases the immune response.

PURICA Rebalance also includes a blend of herbs such as Giant Angelica, Sok-Dan and Wilfords Cynanchum.  It is present in this menopause relief product as a proprietary blend of three hot water extracts known as EstroG-100 clinically proven to reduce the symptoms of hot flashes, night sweats, nervousness, occasional sleeplessness and mood swings.

Following this three pronged approach of healthy dietary changes, lifestyle adjustments to manage stress and supplementation on the strength of natural products such as PURICA Rebalance, we can significantly help smooth the transition to embrace this new chapter in life.  And who wouldn’t want a smoother landing at this time in 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.

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.

The PURICA mushroom advantage

Modern science confirms what many ancient cultures have known: many mushrooms contain a host of ingredients that strengthen and heal the body.

BY TOM MASON

The healing powers of mushrooms have been well known to humans for thousands of years. These unique lifeforms that are neither plant nor animal were used as a vital source of medicines in Tibet, China, India and other ancient cultures. The medicinal properties of mushrooms are referenced in the Rigveda, a collection of Sanskrit hymns dating from around 1,200 B.C. There’s also evidence that the ancient Greeks used mushrooms in medicinal drinks more than 3,000 years ago.

In the modern era of medicine, mushrooms and other fungi have been used to develop treatments for everything from diabetes and malaria to fungal infections. The first antibiotics were developed from fungi; so were statins used for the treatment of high cholesterol. Mushrooms have also been used as a commercial source of vitamin D and other pharmaceuticals.

Today, PURICA applies scientific methodology to these ancient healing substances, creating a safe, powerful and balanced range of products that is helping with everything from relief from chronic stress to modulating the immune system and improving memory. PURICA products are also used as a complement to the treatment of a number of serious medical conditions.

Many of the mushroom ingredients PURICA uses have roots in ancient medicines. They have proven to be safe and effective for centuries. Chaga mushroom is a fungus that grows on the sides of birch trees. In the right formulation it delivers more than 200 powerful phytonutrients that help the human body with a range of conditions. Lion’s Mane mushrooms are known to promote the synthesis of a protein crucial to the growth and health of nerve cells within the brain. Cordyceps mushrooms improve oxygen uptake in cells.

To make these and other mushroom products even more effective, the company incorporates the four PURICA Advantages into everything it produces: full spectrum formulation; therapeutic grade ingredients, the highest quality products and arguably the most important, easy absorption.

 

The PURICA difference

Micronization unlocks active compounds from their indigestible fibrous matrix.

Producing a full spectrum product means that PURICA uses the entire mushroom in all stages of its growth and life cycle—the mycelia, fruitbodies and spores—to produce each of its carefully formulated products.

Easy absorption is ensured through a process known as micronization, which reduces large particles into fine, soluble particles, measured in micrometres, which are easy for the body to absorb. Great care is taken in all stages of the growing, harvesting and processing of every mushroom used in PURICA products—a process that preserves active ingredients to deliver a consistent therapeutic grade product. Because of the high degree of quality control, each PURICA product qualifies as a healing superfood, grown on a certified organic plant base with trace minerals.

PURICA has developed a range of healthy products that includes Complete 360, a powerful energy booster; Immune 7 that provides serious immune support, supercharges vitality and provides support for mainstream therapies; Vitality to help combat adrenal exhaustion; and Rebalance for menopause relief.

PURICA Complete 360 contains a combination of eight species of organic, full-spectrum mushrooms including shiitake, cordyceps, coriolus, maitake, red reishi, chaga and lion’s mane—each known for its health-giving qualities. The carefully balanced formulation is ideal for people who find they are losing energy, feeling stressed, experiencing sleep loss or suffering from frequent colds and viruses.

PURICA Immune 7 is a combination of six medicinal mushrooms and a proprietary ingredient called Nutricol® that have been carefully formulated to help with suppressed immune systems, infectious diseases, allergies, skin conditions and stress. Favoured by athletes, its ingredients have been shown to significantly strengthen the immune system.

Our adrenal glands have a profound impact on our health. They produce the hormones adrenaline and cortisol that induce stress. Too much over time and they negatively affect the body. To help improve adrenal function, PURICA Vitality uses chaga mushrooms, one of the most biochemically loaded substances on Earth with over 200 potent phytonutrients, along with cordyceps mushrooms that contain powerful adaptogens that help support the adrenals.

PURICA Rebalance works to ease the most common symptoms of menopause—hot flashes, mood swings, stresses and hormone imbalances—with ingredients that include certified organic micronized chaga, cordyceps and lion’s mane mushrooms, along with several other organic active ingredients.

PURICA takes its cues from the ancient traditions of medicine—zeroing in on products with well-known properties, with a solid track record for safety and reliability. Modern science also plays an integral role in the formulation process. Quality control is assured by growing the mushrooms in a pristine lab environment under carefully controlled conditions. PURICA has perfected the technology of micronization to make compounds more bioavailable for easier absorption.

The result is a family of products that is true to the PURICA mantra: “Nature. Science. You.”

Health-giving mushrooms

Sun mushroom (Agaricus blazei)

Agaricus has long been recognized for its ability to galvanize immune response, reduce both physical and mental stress and help the body to detoxify. It also possesses powerful anti-inflammatory action.

Red Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum)

The Red Reishi mushroom has long been known in traditional Chinese medicine as the mushroom of immortality—a claim that’s been backed up by scientists who have found that it increases longevity in mice and may possibly do the same for humans. It supports better sleep, helps with calming and de-stressing the body and supports the immune system.

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Maitake (Grifola frondosa)

A powerful antioxidant, Maitake—or “hen-of-the-woods” possesses anti-viral properties and contributes to the immune-enhancing properties of PURICA Complete 360. The mushroom encourages a healthy lipid profile. A recently identified Maitake compound, known as SX fraction, has been shown to reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels.

Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus)

This tree mushroom has long been known for its ability to enhance memory and cognitive ability, as well as to calm the nervous system and reduce anxiety. Lion’s Mane stimulates the synthesis of nerve growth factor (NGF), a small protein crucial to the growth, maintenance and survival of nerve cells within the brain.

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Chaga (Inonotus obliquus)

Although its health benefits have been known for centuries, the chaga mushroom gained fame in modern times as the curative mushroom in Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s semi-autobiographical novel, Cancer Ward. Chaga is a rich source of antioxidants and beta-glucans, which protect the body’s tissues and stimulate the immune system.

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Shiitake (Lentinula edodes)

Well known by modern cooks and gourmets for its subtle flavours, the shiitake mushroom also restores the immune system to optimal balance. Shiitake contains lentinan, a compound that activates the immune system’s natural killer cells that halt the replication of cells with mutated DNA. Lentinan also reduces hormone-like prostaglandins that create inflammation.

Cordyceps (Ophiocordyceps sinensis)

Cordyceps helps the body increase its output of energy by enhancing oxygen uptake by the cells. It also helps athletes recuperate faster and improves a flagging libido. And like all medicinal mushrooms, Cordyceps also boosts the immune system. In short, it can make you feel young and vital.

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Coriolus (Coriolus versicolor)

Often referred to as turkey tail mushroom, Coriolus is widely recognized for its powerful and consistent ability to affect the human immune response. Two of its active ingredients, polysaccharide peptide (PSP) and polysaccharide krestin (PSK), have been shown to profoundly affect immunity. Over 600 studies have been carried out on PSP, and close to 25 clinical trials. In one study, researchers at the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York found Coriolus superior to all other immune enhancing natural substances tested.

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How to Beat the Sweets: The Gradual Approach

BY MELISSA TUCKER, RHN, Training Coach & PURICA Ambassador

If the thought of cutting out every last gram of sugar sounds impossible – especially the idea of going cold turkey – maybe we could simply reset the goal. Cutting back gradually may be more effective in the long run.

Here are a five Fitlicious ways to help cut your sugar intake without feeling deprived. I really believe they’ll give you big returns:

  1. Start your day with a no-added-sugar breakfast, because starting your day right sets the tone and balances your blood sugar for your remaining meals;
  2. Use cinnamon and 1 tablespoon protein Chaga powder instead of sugar in your coffee. It helps curb sugar cravings and balance energy;
  3. Replace sugar and fat laden ice-cream with Fitlicious 3 ingredient banana ice cream (yes, only three ingredients);
  4. Craving a chocolate fudge Brownie? Have a Perfect Date instead! For a single serving after dinner dessert, simply remove the pit of a Medjool date and replace it with a tablespoon of almond butter and 1 teaspoon of raw cacao nibs and unsweetened coconut flakes. You’ll love it;
  5. Make protein, fibre and healthy fats the building blocks of your meals and snacks. These nutrients slow down the digestion process and prevent quick blood sugar spike and crash. That’s important, because a sudden drop in blood sugar can cause extreme sugar cravings.

Most importantly remember, you’re human. You don’t need to be perfect. Give your taste buds and brain time to adjust to lower sugar intake by reducing your sugar intake a little bit each week until you reach your new goal.

(Recommended PURICA superfoods and supplements: PURICA Trimactiv, PURICA Power vegan protein powder; PURICA Nopal, PURICA Fiberlicious and Garcinaia Cambogia).

Chaga Mushroom and Health

Health Benefits of Chaga Mushrooms

Like so many of its natural counter-parts the health benefits of the Chaga Mushroom, or Inonutus Obliquus, have been known for thousands of years.  A 5,300 year-old “Ice Man” mummy discovered in 1991 wore two walnut-sized pieced of Chaga drilled through the middle and tied to his wrists.  Known in ancient China and Russia as the “King of Herbs”, Eastern Europeans have been using Chaga mushrooms medicinally since the 16th Century.  Continue reading

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