As January begins what often motivates our New Year's resolutions is that we have “let things slide “over the holidays.
Lack of exercise, too much food, sugar, or alcohol can leave you feeling bloated, toxic, and fat, with post holiday low energy. So to help you in your quest for improved wellness, here are some ideas for getting back on track. You may not use all of them, but see what seems the most applicable and start there.
1. Support your detoxification and elimination.
The first step to quickly turning around the holiday hangover is to give a boost to your detoxification, i.e. support your liver. For this raising levels of the master molecule called Glutathione is critical. Glutathione helps your liver process toxins and move them out of your body.
To aid this Optimum Health provides Opti-Liv Extra. This formula contains Milk Thistle, well researched for its ability to regenerate damaged or overworked liver cells, and NAC, a direct glutathione precursor. Also included in the formula is Schizandra, which not only increases glutathione, and protects the liver, but helps shield you from numerous kinds of stress, while maintaining your energy production.
The "Extra" in Opti-Liv Extra is Alpha-Lipoic Acid, (ALA) which is highly antioxidant, also significantly raises glutathione levels, and plays direct roles in energy production. Lastly, the mineral Selenium is included to support the function of the extremely important antioxidant enzyme glutathione peroxidase. Together these ingredients provide a synergystic effect, helping you neutralize and clear harmful substances, while reducing inflammation and supporting your mitochondria's ability to keep using oxygen normally.
Something else to be aware of is that if a toxin is only partially or improperly detoxified it will usually add to the body's acid load. Water is then retained to help neutralize the acidity, and it can make us feel puffy and bloated. For this, another of our products that can be very useful is Opti-Alkaline. The citrate mineral salts it contains help the kidneys rebalance the body's pH so you can release excess water. Reducing excess acidity also decreases tendency for pain and inflammation.
After detoxification by the liver, neutralized toxins are transported to the kidneys and colon to be eliminated. But if the bowels are backed up, and /or being predominated by yeasts and undesirable bacteria, you run a much higher risk of reabsorbing them. Hence, helping the colon empty-out with a product like Opti-Colon Cleanse can be a very necessary first step to detoxing. Opti-Colon Cleanse provides a bulking effect, as well as gentle stimulation.
In addition to emptying out the bowel, repopulating your intestines with probiotics can also be extremely important. Otherwise, not only do you set yourself up for higher levels of inflammation and a leaky gut, but again the toxins have much more of a tendency to get reabsorbed and recycled.
Cleaning out your liver and bowels doesn’t have to be a long process, but getting your liver back on track, and giving your colon a good flush is one of the quickest ways to feel better. It also has numerous benefits for your skin, which can get red and blotchy after holiday excesses!
To learn more about the importance of a healthy liver and skincare, see here. Addtionally, here is a good read on the importance of detoxification and elimination.
2. Rebalance your blood sugar and metabolism.
Those of you who want to shed extra pounds can work on your fat burning potential with things like L-Carnitine, and improving insulin function and blood sugar balance with products like Opti-GlucoBalance or Glucotrim.
The basic function for L-Carnitine, (reviewed in every physiology textbook for the last 20 years), is to increase the transport of fatty acids into the mitochondria, where they are burned as fuel. So if you want to burn more fat for fuel especially during exercise, L-Carnititne can be very helpful. For this purpose, I usually recommend 2x500mg capsules twice a day, i.e. upon arising, and again in the afternoon.(L-Carnitine is absorbed somewhat better if taken on an empty stomach).
Body fat storage is largely governed by blood sugar and insulin levels. When our blood sugar rises, insulin levels also rise to push food energy into storage. (The majority is often stored as bodyfat). Yet, when this insulin storage signal gets overworked, you can become insensitive and resistant to insulin's message. The more resistant your cells become, the more insulin you need to produce to get your blood sugar down...and the more of a tendency you have to store fat.
Elevated fasting levels of insulin also increase our tendency to experience low blood sugar (i.e. hypoglycemia), low energy, increased appetite, with more cravings. Other signs of insulin resistance include weight gain around the midsection, increased inflammation, elevated LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, as well as snoring, and unwanted skin tags.
To help increase how efficiently your insulin works, Optimum Health offers Opti-GlucoBalance, which contains a collection of insulin-sensitizing herbs including berberine, cinnamon, bitter melon, and green tea along with the mineral chromium. Opti-GlucoBalance also contains African Mango to help improve the function of the hormone leptin, as well as brown kelp to support thyroid function.
Leptin is a hormone produced by our fat cells, which provides messages to our brain regarding how much energy we have in storage. Improving leptin sensitivity not only increases satiety and decreases food-seeking behavior, it also sends the signal that fat reserves are plentiful and can be burned for energy.
Improving the functions of insulin and leptin yields many benefits including more balanced blood sugar, better metabolism, more constant energy levels, and fewer cravings. (Stay tuned for a fully referenced article on the ingredients in Opti-GlucoBalance coming in January 2016.)
To further enhance these effects we also offer a formula called Opti-Slim Garcinia, the main ingredient of which is Garcinia cambogia. Its active ingredient, Hydroxycitric acid (or HCA), inhibits the conversion of blood sugar to fat, and reroutes it to the liver and muscles where it is stored as a glycogen.
Glycogen is an immediate energy source for your muscles. It is also released from the liver as needed to maintain blood sugar balance, and to provide feedback to your brain that increases satiety, and reduces appetite and cravings. This isn’t to say you won’t eat normally, but you simply don’t feel as hungry. (This can be an absolute boon for sugar and carbohydrate addicts.)
With improved metabolism, more energy, less cravings, and less of a tendency to store fat, we are in a much better position to be healthy as we move into the New Year, and strive to improve ourselves.
Here's to optimum wellness in 2016!
John H. Biggs BSc, NCP, OHP
Optimum Health Vitamins
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