Nutraceuticals are foods containing potential health benefits and are becoming more popular among those looking for more natural remedies or a more holistic health approach. Among the most common ways to take nutraceuticals are by taking capsules that make dosing convenient and easy.
Black Seed Oil
Extracted from the tiny black seeds of a small flowering shrub called Nigella Sativa, which has purple or white flowers and grows in Eastern Europe, Middle East and Western Asia. Black seed oil has been suggested in research to have antioxidant properties, relieve inflammation, relieve asthma and arthritis, reduce nausea and gas, help with stomach bloating, ulcers, and lower high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Some studies suggest that black seed oil may have possible interactions with warfarin and may not be good for people with diabetes or kidney issues.
Lion's Mane Mushrooms
Known in Latin as Hericium erinaceus, and often referred to as “The Hedgehog Mushroom”, these mushrooms are non-intoxicating and native to North America, Europe, and Asia. These mushrooms are widely considered to be a natural Nootropic (a compound used to enhance and improve cognitive function). Lion's Mane specifically has been studied extensively for its nerve growth factor (NGF) that promotes neuron growth in the brain. The neurogenesis that Lion’s Mane is suggested to promote occurs mainly in the frontal part of the brain that controls decision making, memory, and higher thinking. The production of neurons in the brain can correspond to an increase in memory as well as learning and concentration. Some studies suggest that by increasing this growth it could potentially reverse or slow down cell degeneration in the brain in diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Research is also exploring other potential benefits such as slowing the progression or reversing the spread of several cancers, supporting heart and circulatory system health, improving digestive health, and reducing inflammation.
A nutrient our bodies use for building and maintaining healthy bones, and many other cellular functions. Research suggests that it has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and neuroprotective properties that support immune health, muscle function and brain cell activity. Studies are investigating Vitamin D3 for uses such as cognitive health, cancer, inherited bone disorders, multiple sclerosis, osteomalacia, osteoporosis, psoriasis, and rickets. More research is needed to fully understand the potential benefits of Vitamin D3. It is often referred to as the “sunshine vitamin” as it is made naturally in the body when our skin is exposed to the UV rays from the sun. Vitamin D3 can also be found in fortified milk and cereal as well as in fatty fish including mackerel, sardines, and salmon. Studies show that people who already get plenty of sunshine, are already taking a vitamin D supplement or allergic to vitamin D should avoid taking vitamin D3.
A bright yellow spice powder that comes from the rhizome of the plant Curcuma longa in the ginger family that is native in tropical South Asia for cooking and medicinal purposes. It contains a chemical called curcumin, which research suggests may help with issues such as inflammation, arthritis, digestive disorders, respiratory infections, allergies, liver disease, and depression. Some studies suggest that the bioavailability (percentage of a substance absorbed into our body) of curcumin is relatively low, however one study showed that the active ingredient in black pepper, piperine, may increase the absorption by 2000%. Research indicates that taking turmeric may not be good for people with scheduled surgeries or suffering from gallbladder issues, diabetes, and liver diseases.
The term probiotics comes from the latin (pro) and the greek (bio) meaning “for life,” and they are live microorganisms that are intended to have potential health benefits when consumed. Fermented foods such as yogurt, pickles, drinks like kombucha or kefir, and foods with a label saying “contains live and active cultures” contain probiotics. Many people turn to probiotic supplements as a way to consistently introduce the good bacteria in a convenient form and higher concentration than food alone. These good bacteria are suggested to help you stay healthy and balanced by supporting your immune function and keeping inflammation down. Studies suggest that certain types of good bacteria, commonly found in probiotics, can help your body digest food, keep bad bacteria from getting out of control and make you sick, create vitamins, breakdown and absorb medications, and support the cells lining your gut to keep bad bacteria at bay. While more research is needed there is evidence to support the use of probiotics in treating diarrhea, constipation, some of the discomfort that comes with irritable bowel syndrome, boosting the immune system, and reducing inflammation and allergies. Studies also suggest that probiotics may work more synergistically when taken with prebiotics which are nutrients that are degraded by the probiotics for energy that stimulates their growth and activity. Probiotics and prebiotics are considered safe for most healthy people to take, but it is advisable to check with your healthcare provider before choosing any new supplements.