Here’s what you need to know to keep your family healthy, from Vital Choice’s Mike Ventresca

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Vital Choice Health Store is located at 9243 Sprague Road in North Royalton’s Timber Ridge Plaza.

By Mike Ventresca, Vital Choice Healthstore

In many ways, being healthy is like building a house.

While it may be more exciting to focus on the latest trends in kitchen or theater room design, the most important component is building a solid foundation. In health, while taking advantage of new discoveries or innovations can be very beneficial, we can’t underestimate the benefit of a solid foundation. Eating as well as you can, getting proper sleep and exercise are critical.

With respect to supplementing the diet, we can’t forget about the basics. According to Vital Choice Health Store dietitian Nicole Gould, for many, a proper supplement foundation includes a whole-food multivitamin with adequate vitamin D3, a high-potency probiotic and an Omega-3 fatty acid supplement.

Let’s take a brief look at each of these in detail:

Whole-food multivitamin
This is very different from the majority of multis on the market. Where most vitamins are synthetic isolates that bear little resemblance to food, whole-food multivitamins present nutrients in a food form allowing for better utilization.

Most experts will agree, the body was designed to get nutrition from food, not from isolated pills. A whole-food multivitamin is the best of both worlds. Vitamins and minerals from food, but in a pill form. MegaFood, New Chapter and Garden of Life are three of the best brands on the market.

Probiotics are the beneficial bacteria that live in and on our bodies. Research continues to demonstrate their importance for everything from digestion and immune health to even mood and heart health.

When choosing a probiotic, look for one that has multiple research validated strains and a high bacteria count. Dr. Formulated, Raw Probiotics and MegaFlora are all excellent choices. Our Vital Choice brand is another excellent option. The clinically validated strains used in our probiotics have demonstrated the ability to survive stomach acid and are beneficial to take even when you’re taking antibiotics.

Omega-3 fatty acids
Most Americans do not consume enough Omega-3 fatty acids. Because the body does not produce essential fatty acids, Omega-3 must be consumed. Most commonly from fish oil, Omega-3s provide numerous benefits to the body including helping to regulate inflammation, enhancing brain health at all ages, lowering triglycerides, combating constipation and more.

Wholemega from New Chapter is an excellent whole fish oil source of Omega-3s. Unlike other brands, Wholemega does not isolate the Omega-3s, but provides highly concentrated wild Alaskan salmon oil in a softgel. This yields a supplement that is as close to eating wild Alaskan salmon as possible. If you are looking for a more traditional, high-dose Omega-3, Nordic Naturals is considered the gold standard and provides a large number of options.

Now that we have our foundation built, let’s review some of the most common health concerns and what you can do about them.

Inflammation and Disease
Inflammation is vital to health. However, due to a variety of dietary and environmental factors, today many of us suffer from chronic silent hyper-inflammation. This type of inflammation plays a role in nearly 80% of diseases including cancer, heart diseases, osteoporosis and more.

What causes inflammation to burn out of control? For many, the problem begins with diet and lifestyle. Diets high in meat, corn, peanuts, dairy and eggs have been shown to increase inflammation. Even stress has been shown to play a large part in increasing inflammation in the body. While one of the first and most common signs is pain, inflammation often exists without obvious symptoms making the detection of “hyper-inflammation” even more difficult.

In addition to eating a variety of anti-inflammatory foods and spices including wild caught salmon, ginger and turmeric, Zyflamend from New Chapter is the gold standard in modulating the inflammatory response. Zyflamend has been the subject of multiple studies at institutions including Columbia University, MD Anderson Cancer Center and the Cleveland Clinic. It combines ginger, turmeric, green tea, holy basil, rosemary and several other anti-inflammatory spices and herbs in one capsule.

Bone Health
Osteoporosis is generally thought of as a “woman’s disease,” but in truth millions of men and women are affected each year. Bone health is vital for everyone’s health. Sadly, for years we were told to take 1,000 milligrams of calcium every day. The result—our bones continued to break. Now, people are being told to take more, 1,500 milligrams.

However, the truth is there is no real evidence taking this much calcium will build bones, yet there is evidence that it could lead to an increased risk of heart attack. The key to solving the calcium riddle is understanding that not all calcium products are created equal. To support bone health, look for a formula that contains calcium in a highly bioavailable form (typically from a plant source), in addition to critical helper nutrients that help get the calcium to the bone.

Bone Strength from New Chapter and Algae-Based Calcium from Vital Choice are by far our most successful formulas. To date, we’ve had nearly 100 customers return after taking one of these formulas to report an improvement in their bone density as measured by bone scans.

Immune Health
Mother nature has provided us with countless options that can help support the immune system. While it may not be possible to avoid every cold or flu virus, there are quite a few research validated remedies to help shorten both the severity and duration of seasonal challenges.

One of the most powerful natural options is elderberry. Studies show elderberry can inhibit a virus’ ability to spread allowing your immune system to fight off an invader more quickly. While much of the research has concentrated on using elderberry after you get sick, some studies suggest taking elderberry before you are ill may help reduce your chances of catching a common cold.

Organic elderberry syrup from Vital Choice and Gaia herbs are great liquid options, while New Chapter’s Elderberry Force is a powerful capsule form.

And don’t forget about vitamin D3. Studies show people with low vitamin D levels are at an increased risk for getting sick. Typically, taking 1,000-2,000 IUs of vitamin D3 daily from September through June is considered a good starting point.

Last but certainly not least, medicinal mushrooms may provide the greatest overall benefit to all body systems. Mushrooms like reishi, maitake, chaga and turkey tail may have odd sounding names, but their ability to enhance immunity is perhaps second to none. In addition, medicinal mushrooms can support brain health, liver function and have inflammatory modulating properties.

Health experts including Dr. Andrew Weil believe daily use of medicinal mushroom is key to both short- and long- term immune health. Mycommunity by Host Defense is an outstanding product which provides a blend of 17 potent mushroom species.

Joint Health
Life takes a toll on the joints. Whether you are looking to maintain healthy joints, or combat symptoms like joint pain or stiffness, a variety of clinically validated options can help. It’s important to note, when discussing joint health, we’re really looking at two different but related issues.

In this case, I like to compare it to a house on fire. The two issues to contend with are eliminating the fire (pain), and second, rebuilding the damaged structure (cartilage). Just focusing on one or the other is not enough.

There are a number of effective products for joint health, but three that we’ve found to be most successful based on customer feedback are Baxyl, Zyflamend from New Chapter and Curamin from Terry Naturally. Baxyl is a unique preparation of hyaluronic acid (HA), a fancy sugar found in every cell of the body. HA is largely responsible for lubricating the joints, eyes, discs in the back and skin.

By keeping joint tissue moist and lubricated, Baxyl helps to maintain and prolong the health of the joint. While this can help long-term with pain, Zyflamend and Curamin are two standouts in this category. Zyflamend includes a variety of inflammatory modulating herbs and spices and has been clinically proven to reduce pain from exercise while Curamin relies on a turmeric extract to help manage pain.

What’s Trending?
Hemp Oil extracts rich in a naturally occurring plant chemical called CBD have been growing in popularity. Many are using them successfully as a natural alternative to combat pain or anxious thoughts.

Charlotte’s Web is a great option in this area. It’s important to note, hemp oil extracts produced from industrial hemp are legal in all 50 states and are not the same as marijuana. While they are produced from the same plant, they have very different chemical profiles. Industrial hemp has been used for years to produce everything from clothing and paper, to hemp seeds, proteins and oils.

To learn more about these and other topics including brain health, digestive support, heart health and more, please visit our website at Once there you can browse health articles, watch product reviews or submit a question.

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.