Janus Baker, Author at Wakunaga of America - Page 3 of 7

Garlic Supplements: The Ultimate Guide to Understanding Aged Garlic Extract

The Ultimate Guide to Aged Garlic Extract

What are garlic supplements?  

What is the difference between garlic and aged garlic extract?

Who should take Aged Garlic Extract? 

What are the main benefits?

Aged Garlic Extract Vs Fish Oils 

How to get started with aged garlic extract

Is Aged Garlic Extract Safe?


Garlic supplements have seen a rise in popularity in recent years but throughout the ages, garlic has been credited with numerous health benefits. Hippocrates, widely known as the “father of medicine,” prescribed garlic to treat wounds, fight infection, and ease digestive disorders. Garlic’s reputation as a medicinal wonder continued into the Middle Ages. It was used in attempts to prevent the plague, cure leprosy, and treat a long list of other ailments. 

Garlic Supplements vs Raw Garlic

Traditionally, garlic bulbs were prepared in a variety of ways for medicinal purposes. The juice of the bulb was extracted and taken internally, while the bulb was ground into a paste for external treatment. Today, garlic is still a popular natural remedy for many ailments and general good health.

Sautéing a couple of cloves of garlic with your veggies…great. Adding some garlic to your scrambled eggs to give them a boost…perfect! Garlic is great for adding some flavor to certain foods, but if you are looking to gain some substantive health benefits from that garlic, a couple of cloves will not cut it. Studies have shown that raw garlic is necessary in high doses, about 5-28 cloves per person, per day, to feel the health benefits (1). Whereas garlic supplement dosage is much lower and offers many other benefits.

What are Garlic Supplements?

Garlic can be made into powders, oils, tinctures, tablets, and capsules. All of these have enjoyed much popularity over the years thanks to garlic’s reputation for antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. Did you know garlic was even used to treat wounds, many years ago? But modern science and research have revealed the added benefits of garlic that can be found in creating Aged Garlic Extract. Speaking of science, there are over 870 peer-reviewed published scientific articles on Aged Garlic Extract to back up the safety and efficacy of this unique nutrient.

Aged Garlic Extract (AGE) is a form of garlic created using a proprietary aging process. Kyolic® AGE™ is made from garlic grown on certified organic farms in California’s Central Valley, where it is cultivated without the use of chemical fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides. The garlic is harvested at its peak, then sliced and naturally aged for up to 20 months, unheated. Over 250 quality tests are conducted during the aging and manufacturing process to ensure the product meets nutrient compound standards for purity and potency, as well as overall product quality. One of the great side benefits of the aging process is that it removes the garlic odor and taste. 

What is the difference between garlic and Aged Garlic Extract?

For some of us, the odor of raw garlic is not acceptable, not to mention the digestive discomfort – especially if you need to take more than five cloves of raw garlic to derive some benefit!

We are often asked: will I get the same benefits if I use garlic in all my meals as I will if taking aged garlic extract?

Simply answered, no. Garlic used in cooking will not give you the same benefits as an Aged Garlic Extract supplement.

The proprietary process of creating AGE increases garlic’s antioxidant potential and converts harsh and unstable organosulfur compounds into the odorless, non-irritating, and bioavailable compounds that are responsible for AGE’s numerous health benefits.  Learn more about the chemistry of garlic.

Throughout the ages, the compound credited for garlic’s benefits was allicin, which is produced when fresh garlic is chopped or crushed. Although allicin appears to provide antibacterial, antifungal, and antioxidant benefits in test-tube experiments, human trials haven’t shown the same results. This is likely because, when allicin reacts with blood, it oxidizes and quickly metabolizes before it can do any good. Allicin is a transient constituent of garlic preparations and does not pass through the intestines or enter the bloodstream. It appears to have no beneficial effect internally. 

Scientist reviewing files

The process used to create Kyolic AGE results in very stable and consistent nutrient compounds in every product – from batch to batch. This makes clinical studies that include AGE very reliable.

There are over 870 published peer-reviewed scientific articles regarding Kyolic AGE and a number of these include meta-analysis that look at multiple studies to find a correlation between garlic and cardiovascular health. As one published study summarized, “The most consistent benefits were shown in studies that used aged garlic extract (AGE)”.²

However, as a growing number of studies show, there’s significantly more to AGE’s health benefits than just cardiovascular improvements.  So is AGE right for you?

Who should take Aged Garlic Extract supplements?

Although many of the clinical studies have focused on the cardiovascular benefits of AGE, there are also a number of research papers that demonstrate its immune, gut microbiota, and inflammation benefits.  So anyone that is seeking a supplement to support whole-body wellness may benefit from taking AGE.  Understanding your body, your family history, and your long-term health goals will help direct you to the most appropriate supplements.  Kyolic AGE comes in a variety of formulas that help target specific health conditions. So, whether you are seeking ways to lower your cholesterol, improve your blood pressure or reduce the effects of stress or inflammation, there may be a Kyolic formula that is right for you.

What are the main benefits?

  • Immune System Support

Garlic Supplements support immune systemA study conducted by the University of Florida found that high-potency AGE can reduce the duration of the common cold or bout with the flu by as much as 61 percent.³  During this clinical trial, researchers gave 120 healthy adults a daily dose of either 2,500 mg of Kyolic AGE or a placebo. After 90 days, blood samples from each volunteer were analyzed. Compared to the placebo group, those taking the AGE supplement had a significant increase in the number of immune cells. What’s more, the supplement appeared to enhance the function of two specific types of immune cells: NK (natural killer) cells and gamma delta T cells.

One reason for this uptick in immune function, according to the authors of the study, is the glutathione-boosting ability of the sulfur-containing compounds naturally present in AGE. Other research suggests that glutathione enhances the immune response by optimizing macrophage function while protecting disease-fighting lymphocytes from oxidative damage and premature cell death.(4,5) Click here to learn about signs of a weakened immune system.

  • Cardiovascular Health
Doctor drawing heart rhythm

Your cardiovascular system is only as healthy as the arteries that carry your blood throughout your body. Healthy arteries are flexible with a smooth, undamaged endothelium—that single layer of cells that line the inner surface of your arteries—that allows oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to flow freely to all of your organs and tissues (click here to read more about how AGE can help support the health of your arteries). But over time, the effects of heredity, unhealthy habits, and age can cause the buildup of artery-damaging plaque and calcium deposits. When arteries become damaged—a condition called atherosclerosis—blood flow can eventually be hindered or even completely blocked. However, clinical trials show that Aged Garlic Extract (AGE) can reverse the buildup of plaque and coronary artery calcification, ultimately helping to minimize the progression of atherosclerosis. (6, 7)

Other benefits include:

Garlic Extract vs Fish Oil

Fish oil capsules in shape of fish

Traditional fish oil supplements come from several sources including salmon, sardines, and anchovies. The resulting oil from these sources contains two important omega-3s:  docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Research shows that these two types of omega-3s are potent anti-inflammatory compounds that reduce triglycerides, improves cholesterol, lowers oxidative stress, and discourages platelets from sticking together inside arteries. There is also evidence that the DHA in fish oil modestly lowers blood pressure. (8)

These important heart-health benefits can be credited to AGE as well, and more. A rich source of manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and selenium, AGE is different from the pungent garlic cloves used for cooking. The natural aging process that can take up to 20 months, converts the harsh unstable organosulfur properties in garlic into stable bioavailable compounds with numerous health properties. In addition to being a powerful anti-inflammatory, studies have shown that AGE is high in antioxidants, including carboxylic acid and L-arginine, which play an important role in cardiovascular health.

Benefits of AGE Garlic Supplements vs Fish Oil

Studies show that these beneficial properties of AGE translate to real cardiovascular benefits above and beyond those provided by fish oil.  

What if you combine the two? That could be a win-win.  The latest formula of Kyolic AGE, Omeg-AGE, does just that, with a combination of sustainably sourced fish oils, aged garlic extract, and a blend of vitamin nutrients that make it a very unique formula. Learn more about this formula

How to get started if AGE is right for you

older women in blue shirt

If AGE sounds like a good fit, consider all the formulas to find the one with added herbs, vitamins, enzymes, or nutrients that meet your needs.  Or you may want to start with the one that contains only aged garlic extract such as Cardiovascular Formula 100 or our Reserve Cardiovascular and Immune Health formula.

How much should I take?  

Clinical studies usually apply dosages of 1200 to 2400 mg a day but for general use and preventative care, 600 mg a day is appropriate. For best results, follow the directions on the bottle. It’s ok to start with a smaller dosage until you know how your body may react. (for example, take it just one time a day instead of two times a day) Taking Aged Garlic Extract is a routine that will benefit you in the long term – you won’t see results in days, but more like two to three months. 

How much do garlic supplements cost? 

How much is your health worth? Priceless, right?  But the good news is that garlic supplements are very reasonably priced. A thirty-day supply of Kyolic AGE may cost from $15 to $35 dollars at SRP (suggested retail price).  Visit the store locator to find Kyolic aged garlic supplements at your local health food stores or online.  

Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract is one of the most carefully grown, quality controlled, and highly researched supplements in the world. Almost anyone can enjoy the therapeutic benefits of AGE.

Is Aged Garlic Extract Safe?

We often hear the ‘myth’ that dietary supplements are not regulated so how can they be safe to take. While yes, you should ask questions and be wary of claims that sound too good to be true, if you take a little time to check on the products you are buying you can be assured that they are safe for you and your family.  We always say, trust but verify.

We do a deep dive and answer is aged garlic extract safe in this post citing the science behind AGE and some frequently asked questions regarding its safety.


Hormones As You Age: Unlocking the Power of the Endocrine System

If you are of a certain age, you may spend a bit more time thinking about hormones, aging, and certain changes your body might be going through, or preparing to go through. When most of us think about hormones, we probably jump to estrogen and testosterone, but there is so much more to our endocrine system than the sex hormones that command our reproductive cycle. Every second of every day, you have dozens of hormones acting in your body to get certain physiologic functions accomplished. Hormones control much of what we feel, be it tired, hungry, hot, or cold. Simply put, they are like little traffic signals telling our body what to do and when, so it can run smoothly. 

Hormones As You Age: Signals to Watch

Hormones affect people in different ways throughout their lives, and hormone levels can spike dramatically at physical or emotional transitions. It is important to understand these hormones, especially at these transition points in our life, and how they can affect our bodies.

The endocrine system is an amazing thing. Without your endocrine glands – and the hormones they release – your cells wouldn’t know when to do important things. Your body’s endocrine system secretes and controls the hormones that regulate many body processes like your metabolism, use of nutrients, excretion, and reproduction. When you age, these systems become less efficient, leading to changes in our bodies like menopause, which are important to understand.

The Endocrine System

One of the easiest ways to answer the question “what are hormones,” is to take a look at some of the major hormonal systems in the body. Hormones are created by glands, which are part of the endocrine system. The main glands that produce hormones are:

  • Pituitary: Often thought of as the master control gland, the pituitary gland controls other glands and makes the hormones that trigger growth.
  • Thyroid: The thyroid produces hormones associated with calorie burning and heart rate.
  • Adrenal: Adrenal glands produce the hormones that control sex drive and cortisol, the stress hormone.
  • Hypothalamus: This gland is responsible for body temperature, hunger, moods, and the release of hormones from other glands. It also controls thirst, sleep, and sex drive.
  • Pancreas: The pancreas produces insulin that helps control blood sugar levels.

The body has many types of hormones:

  • Insulin 
  • Estrogen
  • Progesterone
  • Prolactin
  • Testosterone
  • Serotonin
  • Cortisol

Certain types of hormones have a larger role to play in the body’s overall health and well-being. For women, estrogen is the main sex hormone. It causes puberty, prepares the body and uterus for pregnancy, and regulates the menstrual cycle. During menopause, estrogen levels change, causing many of the uncomfortable symptoms women experience¹.

Menopause: Natural Solutions

older women in blue shirt (Hormones as you age)The most common consequence of age-related hormonal changes for women is menopause. Even though roughly half the world’s population is female, it often seems that we do not all know what truly goes on during major life changes like menopause, and do not know very much about how these changes can affect us.

At around age 50, women’s ovaries produce decreasing amounts of estrogen and progesterone. The pituitary gland tries to compensate by producing more follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH – regulates the function of the ovaries). While menopause is normal and happens to all women, symptoms might include the following: hot flashes, decreased libido, insomnia, depression, and osteoporosis.

Current health guidelines indicate that it may be beneficial to take a supplement medication containing estrogen/progesterone to alleviate these symptoms². For those that want something more natural, try looking for natural, plant-based supplements containing the nutrients below.

Look for supplements that contain:

  • Black cohosh root extract (for hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms), 
  • Soybean isoflavones (which the body uses to maintain normal estrogen levels),
  • Wild yam extract (often used as a natural alternative to estrogen therapy, which increases energy and sexual drive),
  • Sage extract (aids in digestive problems like bloating, gas and reduces perspiration),
  • Chaste tree berry extract (used to treat menstrual cycle problems and pain),
  • Vervain extract (used to treat many conditions like depression, headaches, anxiety, and insomnia), 
  • Astragalus extract (used to fight the common cold, respiratory infections, and allergies) 
  • Motherwort extract (used to treat heart conditions including irregular heartbeat, fast heartbeat, and anxiety).

Being more in tune with our body’s hormonal changes as we age can help us to be more aware of our health, and can help us understand what to expect, what is normal, and when we should see a healthcare professional.



Heart Health Hacks

It’s been a challenging couple of years of social restrictions for the good of public health, that many of us may have become a bit more sedentary than in the past. We may have engaged in things like emotional eating, skipping workouts, spending less time outdoors, and all of that was most likely coupled with some additional stress. We commiserate with you; it was a tough year for all of us! A sedentary lifestyle though can have a negative effect on your heart health.

Luckily, improving your cardiovascular health doesn’t have to be a huge ordeal and simple lifestyle changes can get you back on track in no time. From being conscious about what you eat to blocking out time to catch those Zzzz’s, we are sharing some of our favorite heart health hacks below, to strengthen your heart and keep it as healthy as possible. Click here to learn more about the cardiovascular and immune benefits of AGE.

Don’t worry, these hacks will not be hard to keep up with. We chose these for a reason…they are very achievable. Living a heart-healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be time-consuming or expensive, anyone can do it by making a few small tweaks in their everyday routine.

Before we get into the list, we want to preface this by saying that one of the best ways to keep up these heart health hacks and habits is to repeat them for 21 days and build them into your daily routine. Eventually, you will take part in these hacks so many times that they will become second nature, and you won’t have to think twice (Richardson, 2017).

5 habits you can practice every day to achieve a more heart-healthy lifestyle:

  1. Eat colorful foods: It is recommended by the American Heart Association to get at least eight servings of fruits and vegetables per day. It sounds like a lot but you can do it. Each time you feel the need to snack on something, try reaching for something fun and colorful, like an apple, cucumber, bell pepper with hummus, and you’ll be at eight servings in no time. Much healthier than reaching for a bag of chips or a handful of candy. Nowadays, lots of grocery stores even offer to-go style cups of fruits and veggies with hummus and small pieces of cheese, pretzels…etc., so take advantage! Remember: eating healthy can help you maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels, while also reducing your risk for obesity and diabetes.
  2. Portion patrol: Eating fruits and vegetables is all well and good, but not if you’re eating two or three times what your portion-size should be. In fact, the CDC noted that portion sizes in this country have increased over the past two decades. The CDC’s research showed that portion size influences how many calories a person consumes, and may hinder the ability of individuals to accurately assess how much they are eating. This puts people at risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and more. A quick way to get the right portion size is to eat off of a smaller plate. The average dinner plate today clocks in at twelve inches, so switching to a slightly smaller plate, like eight inches, will help you control your portions (it will also make your portions looks larger since your plate is a bit smaller, win-win!).
  3. Catch those Z’s: Sleep is so important for a healthy heart. People who don’t sleep enough are at greater risk for cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease. Also, sleep is when your body repairs itself, so you want to give it ample time. Your sleep also affects your energy levels for the next day, as well as your ability to control your weight. Insomnia is linked to high blood pressure and heart disease. Over time, poor sleep can also lead to unhealthy habits that can hurt your heart, including higher stress levels, less motivation to be physically active…the list goes on.  Make a bedtime, and stick to it. Aim for getting 6-8 hours of sleep per night. It helps to shut off your electronic devices half an hour before bedtime, and just let the body unwind.
  4. Get moving: Walking improves cardiac risk factors like cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, inflammation, and more. When it comes to walking for heart health, some is better than none, but more is even better. If you are new to being physically active, start with a 10-minute walk around the block each day. Try to increase the number of steps you take in a day. That could mean incorporating a daily 30-minute walk, or it could just mean parking farther away from the entrance of the store. Parking towards the perimeter of the parking lot will help get those steps in and increase your heart rate. If you are at work, once an hour, try to get up, get outside, and take a lap around the office. Walking for an average of 30 minutes or more each day can lower the risk of heart disease and stroke by 35%.
  5. Brush and floss: This might not sound like it is related to heart health, but you’d be surprised. There are some studies that show that dental health and cardiac health are intertwined. Gum disease, for instance, is associated with an increased risk of developing heart disease. Poor dental health also increases the risk of a bacterial infection in the bloodstream, which can affect the heart valves, which, in turn, can lead to heart attack and stroke. So make sure to brush twice each day, and floss once.

Bonus Heart Health Hack

Try a natural supplement, one containing Aged Garlic Extract, to improve cardiovascular health. Aged Garlic Extract is one of the most heavily researched herbal medicines today and is among the most commonly used supplements in people with heart disease. To read more about AGE’s heart health benefits, check this out.

One 12-week clinical study of 88 patients with uncontrolled hypertension found that AGE reduced systolic blood pressure by 11.5 mmHg and diastolic pressure by 6.3 mmHg compared to a placebo. This same study discovered that AGE improved cholesterol levels and arterial stiffness while also reducing artery-damaging inflammation. A more recent review of 12 clinical trials reported similar results and noted that this AGE-induced reduction in blood pressure was associated with a 16-40 percent drop in the risk of experiencing a cardiovascular event. 

A heart-healthy dose is 1,200 mg daily. AGE can support healthy blood pressure levels, keep bad cholesterol in check, protect LDL cholesterol from oxidation, increase adiponectin (a hormone that helps protect against inflammation), thin your blood, and stave off plaque in your arteries. 

By prioritizing yourself with these heart health hacks, and practicing them each day, you are committing to living a healthier and longer life!


What are Probiotics, Exactly?

For a long time, the word “bacteria” was associated with germs and disease. But the reality is that the body is teeming with healthy bacteria that keep digestion, immunity and a score of other bodily functions in balance. Once people began to understand this, they looked for products and foods to help them maintain this balance. Enter probiotics. Probiotics refer to the specific live strains of “good” bacteria that help the body maintain wellness. They’re found naturally in foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi and pickled vegetables, in supplement form and increasingly as additives in a number of functional food and beverage products.

How do probiotics work?

Once they arrive in an adequate host environment, these microbes can replicate. Generally, a moist environment is necessary for probiotics to stay alive. But in the case of supplements, if the bacteria are stabilized and dried properly, they remain alive and can start to grow and replicate again once they return to a moist environment (in this case, in your body).

When you supplement the body with probiotics, you’re essentially repopulating the gut with the healthy bacteria it needs to maintain a balanced microbiome (the collection of microbes that lives in and on the human body). The microbiome can be thrown off balance by a lack of sleep, antibiotics, stress, travel or a poor diet, so probiotics can play a positive role for many people.

Because the intestines are home to trillions of bacterial cells – not all of them friendly –introducing healthy bacteria into the diet through probiotic-rich foods or supplements can result in better digestive health. Probiotics also benefit immune health because the intestines house about 70 percent of the body’s innate immune function. Increasingly, scientists are also beginning to link microbial balance with body-wide benefits ranging from heart health to mental health.

What’s the difference between probiotics species?

In general, any probiotic supplement will help maintain or restore gut bacteria. But each probiotic genus – and the different species within that genus – performs a different role. Important to remember is that more may not be better when it comes to CFU count. Below are some general guidelines of CFUs to look for based on species, but be wary of claims that exorbitantly high numbers of CFUs are superior.

The microbiome affects almost every part of your body, your digestion, your immune system…even your allergies! One way you can support your microbiome is through a daily probiotic supplement. There are lot’s of top-notch probiotics out on the market, so how do you know which one is best for you? Here are some tips to help you get started.

Finding the right probiotic for your needs means looking a little deeper into the genus, species and strains, [link to blog that explains these- think we have one right?] and really assessing what specific benefits you are looking for. There are dozens of friendly bacterial species found in commercial probiotics, and they all help the body in different ways. It’s important to know what these different bacteria do, so that when you buy a probiotic you’re choosing one that has the specific species that will be most helpful to meet your health needs. Here are some of the most beneficial genus/species below, along with which conditions they may be able to improve.

Bifidobacterium bifidum: This specific species can help reduce allergy symptoms like itchy skin, sinus congestion, headaches, and even diarrhea.* It does this by discouraging the production of histamine, a chemical that is released in the body to trigger allergic reactions during times of stress or allergy.1

Bifidobacterium longum: This species may help improve the immune response and help to prevent gut disorders.* Research suggests it may also suppress allergies and improve skin health.2

Bifidobacterium infantis: This species may improve IBS symptoms and help to eliminate E. coli in the gut.* 3

Lactobacillus gasseri: This species produces vitamin K, lactase, and anti-microbial substances. It may also help people with lactose intolerance to digest dairy foods. L. gasseri also helps prevent indigestion, diarrhea, and yeast infections.*4

Lactobacillus rhamnosus: This species boosts cellular immunity. It also helps reduce IBS symptoms and may help to prevent recurrent bacterial vaginosis.*5

Another strong indicator of a great probiotic supplement is if its species and strains have been clinically researched and even more than that, if they have been clinically researched as the combined blend that is found in the supplement. Many probiotics out there do say “clinically studied” on their packaging, but oftentimes they are referring to clinical studies that have been carried out for each of the species, separately. The best-case scenario is if the probiotic’s combined species have been researched together which adds to the studies’ validity. For example, let’s say your probiotic contains these three species: Lactobacillus gasseri, Bifidobacterium bifidum, and Bifidobacterium longum. A clinical study reflecting the benefits of this blend of bacteria, not just each as a standalone bacterial species, is all the better, because then you have proof that they work well together, and you can see from the clinical study which gut health benefits you can look forward to enjoying.

When looking for a new probiotic to try, here is another helpful tip: more CFUs does not equal a better probiotic! When shopping for a probiotic, many people believe that more is better, when it comes to colony forming units (CFUs) so they grab whatever product boasts the highest number. There is no standard recommended daily dose for probiotics, but research suggests aiming for one to two billion live CFUs to maintain good health. If you are taking antibiotics, have digestive problems, or suffer from Candida or frequent urinary tract infections though, you may want to boost that amount.

Lastly, watch out for binders and fillers. Make sure you read the “other ingredients” listed on the probiotic label. Some commercial probiotic supplements contain binders and fillers, including lactose or cornstarch, and these can cause unwanted side effects like gas and bloating.

So, who should take probiotic supplements? In short, anyone who is interested in supporting and improving their digestive health should consider taking a daily probiotic. And not just adults, children can benefit from taking a probiotic too. A healthy gut is more important than you might think. The state of your gastrointestinal tract can impact much more than your digestive system — it can affect your immune health, brain health, and allergies too!* Considering what your GI tract does for you, it makes sense to give it some extra attention and support with a probiotic.

Generally regarded as safe, probiotic supplements cause no significant side effects apart from the intended improvement in your gut health. But not every probiotic is right for each person. It may take some trial and error to find the probiotic that works best for your body. If you notice no benefits from one probiotic after several weeks, try a different one with a different species of bacteria and see if that works better for you.

Something else to be aware of when starting a probiotic is that it may cause some initial gas and bloating, as well as changes in your stool patterns – which are indications that the probiotic is doing its job. If these unwanted side effects continue to persist for several weeks though, it may not be fully compatible with your body. You may want to try a different combination of probiotic bacteria.



Understanding the Microbiome

What it is, why it’s important and how to support it

Microbiome. The word alone sounds complicated. In fact, the microbiome is one of the body’s most complex systems—and one of its most important.

Essentially, the microbiome is the collection of microbes (bacteria, fungi and viruses) that lives in and on the human body. These microbes number in the trillions and impact nearly every bodily function. In fact, the human body has about 10 times more bacterial cells than human cells, most of which reside in the large intestine. This collection of microbes is known as the gut microbiome.

While promoting healthy digestion and nutrient absorption is the most obvious role of the gut microbiome, it isn’t the only role. The healthy bacteria within the gut microbiome also impacts the body’s inflammatory response, immunity (because up to 70 percent of the immune system resides in the gut), and even functions like mood, blood pressure and congnitive function. Scientists are still understanding how exactly the microbiome can do all of this, but one thing’s clear: a healthy microbiome is linked to overall health.

So how can you support a healthy microbiome? Here are five simple ways:

Repopulate with probiotic-rich foods.

One, or ideally two, servings of probiotics per day will serve up healthy bacteria and keep the microbiome running smoothly. Yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi and pickled vegetables are all natural sources of probiotics. Tip: Purchase these products from the refrigerated section to be sure that the cultures remain intact.

Take a supplement.

Probiotic supplements are another great way to inject more beneficial bacteria into your diet. Just be sure that the packaging of the supplement indicates that the bacteria will be live at expiration, rather than simply live at manufacture. Some labels may indicate that the supplements are heat-stable or stomach acid resistant, which means they’re able to reach the large intestine intact. Keep these supplements in a cool, dark and dry location to promote the stability of the bacteria inside.

Support with prebiotics.

Think of prebiotics as food for bacteria. And bacteria love fiber. Boosting the diet with soluble fiber from sources such as chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp fiber, sprouted grains and organic fruits and vegetables will give these microbes lots to munch on. Also, some probiotics include prebiotics in them, which can provide the benefits of colonizing good bacteria, as well as providing food to thrive.

Reduce sugar.

As good bacteria need soluble fiber to survive, bad bacteria feast on sugar. Eliminate or minimize refined sugar in the diet to minimize unhealthy yeast in the digestive tract.


According to the American Gut Project, eating a wide variety of plant foods and soluble fiber is linked with a greater diversity of gut bacteria. Essentially, different bacteria prefer different foods, so the more diverse the diet, the more diverse the bacteria in the gut. And when it comes to bacteria, the more diverse the merrier. Ideally, aiming for 25 to 35 different species of plant foods can change the diversity of the microbiome within days. Bonus points for organic plants: Soil that clings to garden-fresh food is teeming with beneficial microbes.


This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.

New to probiotics? Here’s what you need to know.

How to read the label.

While most supplements are measured in milligrams, probiotics are measured in CFUs, with numbers normally in the billions. CFU stands for Colony Forming Units and refers to the number of live bacteria cells capable of dividing and forming colonies. You’ll want to look for dosages of at least 1 billion, though products can contain 50 billion or more. If you are healthy and are looking for maintenance, aim for a dose of 1 billion to 5 billion CFUs per day.

Because probiotics must reach the intestines live and intact in order to produce results, choosing a stable supplement with bacteria count guaranteed through the product’s expiration date is critical. In other words, it’s not enough for a product to list the organism counts at the time of manufacture. Supplements must also be stable at room temperature (for storage purposes) and heat resistant (so they can travel through the body).

How to choose a probiotic.

“Probiotic” is a catch-all term for good bacteria. But there are many, many different kinds of bacteria in the gut – and on the shelves as supplements – and they each provide a different benefit. These different kinds of bacteria are organized into genus and species. For example; in the case of lactobacillus gasseri, “lactobacillus” is the genus, and “gasseri’ identifies the species. Taking this one step further, some (but not all) manufacturers include a strain code, which is a unique identifier of the strain, which can be traced back to its origins.

The species you choose will depend on your health goals. Strains in the Lactobacillus genus, for example, are generally helpful for boosting immunity and fending off allergies. Strains in the Bifidobacteria genus, on the other hand, are linked closely to digestive health and reducing gastrointestinal symptoms. Often, products will provide a combination of probiotics to encourage diversity in the gut for better overall health.

How to make it part of your routine.

It’s common to experience some mild stomach upset, gas or bloating when you first start taking probiotics. Some experts believe these fleeting symptoms are a result of the “bad” bacteria dying off in a newly healthier environment. If symptoms are bothersome, try to avoid inflammatory foods (like sugary or processed options) and load up on anti-inflammatory antioxidants instead. If symptoms persist, it’s possible that you are taking bacteria strains that may not compatible with your system. You may want to try a different combination of probiotics. While this process could take a little time and trial to find a match, it will be worth it to support your overall well-being.


This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.

Moducare for a Balanced Immune System

Today, we are finally getting the message out that the immune system plays a huge role with your vitality and how well you feel every day, and not just when you are getting sick. When your immune system gets out of balance, it can affect inflammation, mood, and your overall energy, so it truly can have a huge impact on your daily life.

Moducare® is one of the most important supplements I teach about and recommend in my practice, because it is one of the only supplements I know of that can help people restore and maintain balance in their everyday immune system functions.

Moducare is a blend of compounds extracted from pine, known as plant sterols and sterolins. These two substances are combined in in a very specific 100:1 ratio and have been heavily researched. Moducare is unique to the supplement world because it is acts as an immune modulator. In other words, it can help balance out immune system function. Studies have shown some pretty incredible results.

A surprising benefit of Moducare is its ability to help manage the effects of stress on our immune system. Virtually every patient that I see has some measure of stress pounding away at his or her immunity and vitality. Moducare helps control the production of the stress hormone, cortisol. When someone is under a lot of stress, whether physical from intense workouts, mental or emotional stress, cortisol is elevated triggering an increase production of IL-6, an inflammatory cytokine. This suppresses the part of our immune system known as the TH1 immune system. The TH1 side produces cells that can kill cells infected by viruses (so they are side of our immune system that works against colds and flu.)  And at the same time, if your TH1 Immunity is too high you could begin to attack your own tissues like in the case of autoimmune thyroiditis. Moducare is my go to recommendation in that situation. Other studies have shown that it can help with allergies, so it can help balance out the TH2 side of the immune system also.

The take away is that Moducare lowers production of heightened cortisol from physical and mental stress. It doesn’t mean that it automatically lowers cortisol, it just protects the immune system from the changes that occur under stress that lead you to being more prone to getting sick. A study showed that marathon runners that took Moducare did not get the same immune deficits or cortisol spikes as people who did not take it, resulting in less post event upper respiratory infections for those runners taking Moducare.

Moducare has Anti-inflammatory Activity

The effects of the inflammatory cytokines are very far reaching. For example, IL6 mentioned above, can contribute to depression, pain, and leaky gut. Our immune cells produce many inflammatory cytokines, not just that one, so the production of cytokines from the immune system can be a big source of inflammation in our bodies. When IL-6 gets turned up in your body, it triggers the re-release of a compound called claudin-2 and once that happens big changes start to occur in the immune reactions that go on in the gut. When claudin-2 upregulates, the tight junctions between mucosal cells of the intestine loosen. This sets people up for food intolerances and allergies along with setting their bodies up for even bigger immune problems.

As you can see, our immune system affects many areas of health. Here are just a few of the situations where Moducare can help by providing nutritional support for the immune system:

  1. Allergies – environmental or food allergies
  2. Autoimmune conditions
  3. Chronic high stress
  4. Athletes or people who do regular intense workouts
  5. High cholesterol
  6. Hepatitis C
  7. Leaky gut
  8. Mood issues
  9. Mycotoxins and other infections like Lyme’s disease

With the emergence of CIRS (Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome), people are finally beginning to understand that the immune system needs to be supported every day for its best function, just as we take a nutrient for the heart or for better cognition. Daily maintenance to help keep balance in the immune system may well be the single most important thing you can do for your healthy longevity.


James B. LaValle, R.Ph., CCN, is an internationally recognized clinical pharmacist, author, board certified clinical nutritionist and naturopathic doctorate with more than 30 years of clinical experience. He works with the NFL, NBA, MLB and the Pro Football Hall of Fame Village to offer personalized health, wellness, diet and performance strategies. LaValle is best known for his expertise in metabolic and integrative medicine, with an extensive background in natural products, lifestyle drug/nutrient depletion and uncovering the underlying metabolic issues that keep people from feeling healthy and vital.  https://www.metaboliccode.com/

This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.

Podcast: The Importance of Probiotics with Dr. LaValle

Dr. LaValle will show listeners how to become proficient in their probiotic use by sharing three things probiotics can do for your health now that science supports and two things they can’t do, just yet.

To listen to this radio show, click here.

About Dr. James LaValle

Jim LaValle, R.Ph., C.C.N, a nationally recognized clinical pharmacist, author, board-certified clinical nutritionist, and founder of Metabolic Code Enterprises, Inc. a web platform and practice solution enterprise, launching AIR Support and the Metabolic Code Assessment.

About “Herbally Yours” Radio 

Hosted by Ellen Kamhi, Ph.D., RN, this radio program focuses on current issues in natural health, such as natural foods, herbs, essential oils and mind-body techniques.

This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.

Podcast: Why We Need Probiotics with Dr. LaValle

For the full interview, click here.

About Dr. James LaValle

Jim LaValle, R.Ph., C.C.N, a nationally recognized clinical pharmacist, author, board-certified clinical nutritionist, and founder of Metabolic Code Enterprises, Inc. a web platform and practice solution enterprise, launching AIR Support and the Metabolic Code Assessment.

About Bob Gourley 

Bob Gourley’s “Issues Today” has been in on the air since 1998. The first affiliate was the legendary KPPC radio in Pasadena, California. The fast-paced half hour features leading guests discussing the challenges that face us all. Past guests include Ann Coulter, Ben Stein and columnist Michael Barone.

This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.