DIM

What is DIM and where is it found?

DIM (DIINDOLYLMETHANE) is a phytonutrient derived from cruciferous vegetables, such as cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts. It is thought to have cancer-protecting properties and promote a healthier estrogen metabolism.

.What are the benefits?

DIM if often take to prevent colorectal, breast, and uterine cancer. Some use it to treat PMS and to prevent BPH (enlarged prostate).

Are there interactions with food or medications?

A doctor should be consulted before starting DIM if you are taking estrogens, diuretics or CYPA12. There is conflicting evidence if DIM acts like an estrogen or block estrogen, so it should be avoided with hormone-sensitive conditions.

Are there side effects?

None reported.

Flaxseed

Flaxseed

What is flaxseed and where is it found?

Flaxseed is a plant that is rich in fiber, protein, minerals, and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). It also contains fiber and lignans, which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. Additionally, flaxseed provides magnesium, copper, and vitamins B1, B2, and B6. To get the maximum health benefits, flaxseed should be ground or it might pass through the GI tract undigested. You can buy it and grind it yourself, or you can buy it already milled. Ground flaxseed is best stored in the freezer to prevent it turning rancid.

.What are the benefits?

People take flaxseed to treat constipation, diarrhea, IBS, diverticulitis, and ulcerative colitis. Some take it to treat diabetes, menopause, high cholesterol, hypertension, lupus, high triglycerides, cardiovascular disease, obesity, ADHD, acne, and some cancers.

Are there interactions with food or medications?

Flaxseed should not be combined with medications that treat hypertension, diabetes or platelet aggregation. Be cautious combining acetaminophen, Lasix, estrogens and antibiotics.

Are there side effects?

Some people may experience digestive symptoms including bloating, gas, abdominal pain, nausea, constipation, diarrhea or dyspepsia. Higher doses of flaxseed increase the probability of symptoms and over 45 g per day is not recommended.

Saw Palmetto

Saw Palmetto

What is saw palmetto and where is it found?

Saw palmetto is a plant found in Florida and the southeastern US. The fruit of the plant is used to make medicine in capsules, liquid, tablets, and tea.

What are the benefits?

People take saw palmetto to treat BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia) and prostate cancer. Others use it for its diuretic, sedative, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory benefits. Some take saw palmetto to treat colds, asthma, hair loss, and migraines while others take it as an aphrodisiac and to increase libido.

In combination with other herbs, saw palmetto is used to treat prostate cancer.

Are there interactions with food or medications?

Saw palmetto should not be taken with oral contraceptives or anticoagulant/anti-platelet medication.

Are there side effects?

Some people report dizziness, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, vomiting, or headaches. Pregnant and lactating women should avoid saw palmetto because it may affect hormone levels in the body.

Kombucha

Kombucha

What is kombucha and where is it found?

Kombucha is a white or black sweetened tea fermented by a colony of bacteria and yeast commonly called SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). The SCOBY complex of bacteria resembles a mushroom in appearance, which has led to the nickname “mushroom tea.” Kombucha is high in acid and can contain caffeine, some alcohol, and vinegar. It contains sugar, B vitamins, antioxidants and other chemical compounds.

What are the benefits?

Kombucha has a reputation for having probiotic benefits, but only in the raw or unpasteurized state. Many claim kombucha helps with digestion and detoxification while some state it helps with sleep. People take kombucha to decrease symptoms of PMS, for memory loss, to increase metabolism, to strengthen the immune system, for weight loss, and to treat cancer, constipation, hypertension, and arthritis. Kombucha has not been highly researched and there is not much scientific evidence to support the purported benefits. Most of the benefits have been shown in animal studies and based on personal reports.

Are there interactions with food or medications?

People taking medications for diabetes should not take kombucha since it has been shown to lower blood glucose.  Since it has alcohol and may not be pasteurized, pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems should avoid the beverage.

Are there side effects?

Kombucha can cause nausea, vomiting, stomach problems, jaundice, head and neck pain, and yeast infections. Death has been reported from ingesting kombucha that was contaminated during home preparation.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar

What is apple cider vinegar and where is it found?

Apple cider vinegar is crushed apples that have been fermented. It is found in bottles in your local grocery store.

.What are the benefits?

Apple cider vinegar can be used both orally and topically. Orally, it is used to treat diabetes and gastroparesis. Some take it for weight loss, dyspepsia, hypertension, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, and to delay the aging process. Topically, it is used as a skin toner, acne treatment, for sunburn relief, and to treat insect bites.

Are there interactions with food or medications?

Before taking apple cider vinegar, consult a physician if you taking other blood glucose lowering drugs. Care should also be taken while on diuretics

Are there side effects?

None reported.

B-12

Vitamin B12

What is Vitamin B12 and where is it found?

Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is one of eight B-vitamins that is required by the body. The active forms of B12 in the human body are methycobalamin and 5-deoxyadenosylcobalamin. B12 is water soluble, and therefore it not stored in the body and excess amounts are excreted. Vitamin B12 can be found in animal products such as meat, eggs, fish, dairy and some yeast. It is not found in plant foods and therefore vegetarians need to supplement. Some foods are fortified with B12, and it is also available as a supplement and prescription medication.  Methylcobalamin is the most functional B12 supplement because the body doesn’t need to convert it since it is in its bioavailable form. Oral supplements are not absorbed well by the body because of intrinsic factor, which is a protein found in the stomach that binds to B12 so it can be absorbed in the small intestine. Some evidence suggests that B12 is better absorbed sublingually. Additionally, doctors prescribe B12 as a prescription medication to those with a deficiency, which can be administered intranasally or as an injection.

What are the benefits?

Vitamin B12 is used for many functions in the body. Vitamin B12 is necessary for the proper function of nerve tissue, brain tissues, and red blood cells. B12 is required for folic acid absorption, and therefore is needed for cell metabolism, since folate is integral in the release of energy. It is also is necessary for metabolism because it is involved in fatty acid synthesis. Vitamin B12 also important for the regulation and synthesis of DNA. It is needed to prevent Vitamin B12 deficiency and pernicious anemia. Additionally, the body needs B12 to convert homocysteine to methionine, stimulate serotonin production, support immune function, and maintain a positive mood.

Are there interactions with food or medications?

Vitamin B12 should not be taken with metformin, proton pump inhibitors and h2 receptor agonists, since it may interfere with their absorption. Vitamin C and Potassium may decrease B12 absorption.

Are there side effects?

Some people may experience diarrhea, swelling or itching, but this is rare.

Garlic

What is Garlic and where is it found?

Garlic is an herb related to the onion, leek, and chive. It contains a chemical called allicin, which has antimicrobial and antifungal effects. Garlic capsules contain concentrated garlic powder, essential oil or powdered extract.  Not all garlic supplements contain the active compound of allicin, but instead contain alliin, which can be converted to allicin.

What are the benefits?

Garlic is used to treat high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, colon cancer, prostate cancer, rectal cancer, ring worm and jock itch. Some people take garlic to reduce the probability of breast cancer, diabetes, and cystic fibrosis. It is also used to treat candidiasis (thrush) and yeast infections. Topically it is used to prevent tick bites and athlete’s foot.

Are there interactions with food or medications?

Garlic may speed up the breakdown of certain medications and therefore decrease the effectiveness of the medication. As a result, garlic should not be taken with HIV/AIDS transcriptase inhibitors, isoniazid, and saquinavir. Also, care should be taken when combining garlic with birth control pills, cyclosporine, medications that slow blood clotting, and warfarin.

Are there side effects?

Orally, garlic can cause bad breath, gas, body odor, diarrhea, and heartburn, especially with raw garlic. Garlic may increase the risk of bleeding and should not be taken before surgery.

Evening Primrose Oil

Evening Primrose Oil

What is Evening Primrose Oil and where is it found?

Evening primrose oil is the oil from the evening primrose plant. It is high in omega-6 fatty acids, especially gamma linolenic acid (GLA) and linoleic acid. It also has Vitamin E. Evening primrose oil has anti-inflammatory effects and it taken as an oral supplement, and it is also used in some soaps and cosmetics.

.What are the benefits?

Evening primrose oil is used to treat eczema, PMS, menopausal symptoms, acne, nerve pain, and osteoporosis. Others use it to treat ADHD, Raynaud’s Syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, hyperlipidemia, cancer, obesity, chronic fatigue syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease and psoriasis.

Are there interactions with food or medications?

Do not take evening primrose oil with blood thinners. Those with epilepsy or seizure disorders should avoid it as well. Evening primrose oil should be stopped 2 weeks before any kind of anesthesia.

Are there side effects?

None reported.

iodine

Iodine

What is Iodine and where is it found?

Iodine is a trace mineral and an essential nutrient. It is used for normal thyroid function, the production of thyroid hormones, and the conversion of food into energy in the cells. It is found in iodized table salt, seafood, kelp, dairy product, and plants grown in iodine-rich soil. Lack of iodine for many months can cause goiter or hypothyroidism. Additionally, iodine deficiency can cause low thyroid hormone, which can prevent ovulation in women and lead to infertility. Deficiency during pregnancy can mental retardation and nervous system issues to the baby, and it may cause high blood pressure in pregnant women.

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What are the benefits?

Iodine prevents and treats iodine deficiencies and its consequences, including goiter and hypothyroidism. It is also used for radiation emergencies, to treat a skin disease called cutaneous sporotrichosis, and dermatitis. Some people take iodine to prevent breast cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and stroke. It is also used as an expectorant. Topically, iodine is used to treat diabetic ulcers in the mouth and to prevent sore soreness from chemotherapy.

Are there interactions with food or medications?

None.

Are there side effects?

Iodine may cause nausea, abdominal pain, headache, diarrhea, a metallic taste, or soreness in the teeth or gums.

Blackboard with the chemical formula of GABA

Pharma GABA

What is GABA and where is it found?

GABA is Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid, which is a neurotransmitter found in the Central Nervous System. Pharma GABA is utilized as a supplement since synthetic GABA has not been shown to be clinically effective. Pharma GABA is a natural form of GABA that has been fermented by a lactic acid bacteria called Lactobacillus hilgardii.

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What are the benefits?

Pharma GABA is used to treat stress and anxiety, to improve concentration and alertness treat, and improve sleep quality. It is often used to treat ADHD and alleviate PMS symptoms. Additionally, some use Pharma GABA to treat hypertension, and to promote lean muscle mass and to burn fat.

Are there interactions with food or medications?

GABA should not be taken with anti-hypertensive medications or supplements.

 

Are there side effects?

None reported