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Is Your Thyroid On?

Thyroid imbalances affect millions of people. Some people have too little thyroid hormone, while others have too much. While thyroid issues have been well understood in terms of symptoms and treatments for some time, the way that the gland itself turns on (i.e. releases hormone) has been a mystery.

If your thyroid is under- or overactive, you may experience symptoms like weight gain or loss, mood changes, infertility or sleep issues.

Recently, a study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry revealed the answer to the question, “what turns the thyroid on?”. To learn more about this fascinating discovery, check out the Science Daily article, here.

If you suspect that you may have a thyroid imbalance, it may be caused by cortisol, a stress hormone. You can find out if your cortisol levels are normal by doing a simple saliva test. If you do have an issue with your cortisol levels, you should talk to your doctor about having your thyroid tested.

There are natural ways to support your thyroid, especially through your diet. In some cases medication may be necessary, but by catching any issues early, you may be able to avoid that potential outcome.

Find out if cortisol is causing your weight, sleep or mood issues.

Pet Power: Living Longer with Animals

As far back as 1789 Frederick II, King of Prussia coined the phrase, “dog is man’s best friend”, but did you know that having animals around can actually help you live longer? It’s true, pets can not only increase your lifespan, but also improve your quality of life.

The secret is out: the fountain of youth is alive, running around on four legs and wants you to go throw the frisbee.


Maybe that’s why we live longer with animals in our lives… we’re so busy playing, we forget to age.

Children eventually grow up, stop playing and may even become your biggest source of stress (just ask my mother), but dogs always want to play and maintain a youthful spirit well into their senior years.

Anyone who has ever taken a walk in nature with a dog can attest to the fact that dogs help you enjoy the great outdoors on a whole new level. Who is as excited to run amok in the wild, smelling every flower and rolling around in the dirt as gleefully as our faithful canine companions?

Dog-owners have been found to spend considerably more time outside. Spending more time in the outdoors means more active time, which is obviously great for your overall health; from reducing your risk of heart disease and cancer to strengthening your bones. Just being outside more has other health benefits too, like reduced stress levels, lower risk of respiratory allergies and a boost for your brain (due to an increased sense of novelty and excitement).

Man playing with cat


After a long day at the office, who on Earth is as happy to see you as your dog?

Your cat.

Okay, maybe not, but a study by the Minnesota Stroke Institute, following more than 4000 cat owners for 10 years, showed that having a cat can significantly decrease the risk of dying from heart disease.

Research has repeatedly shown the long-term benefits of having a pet include protection for your heart. During a 20 year study, people who never owned a cat were 40% more likely to die of a heart attack than those who had a cat. Another study showed that dog owners had a significantly better survival rate one year after a heart attack. Overall, pet owners have a lower risk of dying from any cardiac disease, including heart failure.

But why leave your pet at home when you can bring them with you to work?

A 2012 study in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management found that office workers who brought their dogs to work had lower levels of stress than employees who did not have pets and employees who left their dogs at home.

Woman playing with a cat in the office


Having animals in your life helps decrease your stress levels, lowers blood pressure, supports your cholesterol levels, improves your mood and boosts your immune system.

A recent study even found that people who have animals in their homes recover faster from surgery!

The benefits of having a pet or animal in your life are too numerous to count, but we can have fun trying. Some of the main advantages:

  • lower risk of depression and anxiety,
  • increased levels of serotonin, a chemical associated with feelings of well-being
  • decreased levels of cortisol, a hormone caused by stress and associated with higher risk of heart disease and larger waistlines
  • increased heart rate for over 20 minutes a day while on walks
  • lower levels of cholesterol and triglycerides compared to people who do not own pets

Having an animal around helps to keep you active even on those cold and gloomy days when you would prefer to sit in bed and eat ice cream. Your dog will get you outside to see the rainbow you would have otherwise missed, and you’ll even have a buddy to snuggle with under the covers when you return from your walk. The love a pet adds to your life cannot be measured.

The jury is in and the verdict is unanimous:

Having a pet doesn’t just add years to your life, it adds life to your years.

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”
                                                                                               -Anatole France



Kerry Emerson is a proud pet owner and a writer based in Hawaii.  Taking his cue from his famous relative, Ralph Waldo Emerson, he has a passion for the outdoors, natural living and the art of the written word.

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Gut Bacteria are Shaking Up Cancer Research

Big Pharma is starting to recognize the role of our gut bacteria as the body’s ally in preventing and treating cancer. They have found that the microbiome has an innate intelligence that actually helps our immune systems. Considering we have more bacteria in our bodies than any other kinds of cells, this is good news! Read about the research into creating cancer immunotherapies made from certain strains of bacteria.


Effervescing Energy Elixir Recipe [Video]

Lemon-Lime Bicarb Phytoplankton Shots

Juice of 1 lemon, strained
Juice of 1 lime, strained
1 dropperful Oceans Alive marine phytoplankton
⅛ tsp sodium bicarbonate (per glass)

Serves 2

Mix the first three ingredients. Divide into two tall glasses. Add sodium bicarbonate to each glass, stir quickly and drink on an empty stomach.


This is a shot like no other and a great way to liven up your breakfast routine. It’s a simple and effective way to boost your energy without caffeine or other stimulants. The electrolytes will rehydrate you after fasting through the night. Plus, it’s full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to boot.

That’s not all! There may be even more reasons to make this your morning mocktail. Recent scientific study has explored the potential of limonoids — found in citrus fruits —to be anticancer, cholesterol-lowering and antiviral.

Sodium bicarbonate, otherwise known as baking soda, is part of many traditional remedies, known for a wide variety of uses and benefits. It is a popular antacid and can be helpful for treating urinary tract infections, preventing kidney stones and for delaying lactic acid buildup that causes muscle fatigue and soreness after a workout.

And then there’s this elixir’s secret weapon — marine phytoplankton. This microalgae is responsible for 90% of the oxygen on Earth, according to NASA, and is the foundation of the marine food chain. It is so incredibly nutrient-dense, just one dropperful contains dozens of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. My favorite marine phytoplankton supplement, Oceans Alive, is grown specially in a sealed photo bioreactor to ensure that there are no pollutants and that the microalgae is pure and perfectly selected for maximum bioavailability.  

The combination of lemon and lime, with baking soda and marine phytoplankton is one powerful way to start your day. For more on the benefits of this shot, have a listen to the podcast.

Author: Vic Love, www.Fb.com/Vityalove

Socializing for Longevity: With a Little Help from Your Friends.

Humans are social creatures. Whether or not we like to admit it, we literally need other humans to survive. From the moment we’re born, our survival is linked to our connections with others. The way we grow, develop and learn are all filtered through the values and influences of our family, friends and the social world around us.

Even those of us who tend to lean towards being more independent or introverted still need a helping hand sometimes, a kind word now and then and some affection here and there. It’s not just for basic survival; your need for others is directly linked to your quality and length of life as well.



If you want proof that humans are wired for social connection, ironically, all you have to do is look to your computer. The Internet’s most popular websites are social networks that allow us to connect with family and friends all over the globe. Services like Skype take networking to the next level by allowing us to have face-to-face conversations with people half a world away.

Out in the physical world, the importance of socializing for our health, happiness and longevity has been studied for decades. In what has been called The Roseto Effect, researchers have kept tabs on a close-knit community of Italian-Americans in Roseto, Pennsylvania who seem to defy the odds by living longer, healthier lives than average Americans.

It was more than thirty years ago when researchers first became baffled by a phenomenon that defied all medical logic. The citizens of Roseto had half the heart attack death rate compared to the rest of the United States. Scientists were fascinated and began decades of research into the phenomenon.

It wasn’t a diet or an overly active lifestyle that was creating this effect. The researchers found that the eating habits and exercise practices of Roseto residents were no different from any other blue-collar American town. The men of Roseto smoked like chimneys and drank wine freely. Their diets were full of modernized Italian cuisine, eaten in large quantities. So, what was different about the people of Roseto, Pennsylvania?

Socialization, networking and a neighborly atmosphere on a scale that would even impress Mr. Rogers.

Roseto was an incredibly close-knit community. They dined together, celebrated together and came together to help out when a neighbor was in need. The elderly weren’t sent away, but taken care of and kept close. Nearly every home had three generations living under the same roof. As a group they enjoyed many communal rituals, such as social clubs, evening strolls and church festivals. These all somehow combined to bring good health, happiness and longevity to the people of Roseto.

A group of friends having dinner outdoors in the sunshine


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The Power of the Clan is a report on the Roseto Effect by physician Stewart Wolf and sociologist John Bruhn. Their study covered the period of 1935 to 1984. The report highlights the fact that when a community bonds together, it actually contributes to the health and wellness of the people in that community. On the flip side, a lack of concern and disconnection between residents can have the opposite effect.

“We looked at the social structure of healthy communities,” Wolf said, “and found that they are characterized by stability and predictability. In those communities, each person has a clearly defined role in the social scheme.”

There’s no doubt that socializing makes us feel good. Whether it’s chatting with the person next to you in line at the store, making new contacts at work or being with family and friends, we are stimulated in ways that make us happy when we connect with others. In fact, it’s instrumental to our emotional well-being.

According to the Gallup-Healthways Happiness-Stress Index study, we are at our happiest when we spend time socializing. Over 140,000 Americans were surveyed and it was found that those with the lowest scores on the Happiness-Stress index tended to be at home all day and had zero hours of social time. The opposite was true for those who devoted spending large amounts of time with others, the ratio rising with each hour of socialization.


If you’re wondering how this works, it all begins with stress. When your stress levels are high, your levels of the hormone cortisol rise. That can lead to a rise in blood pressure and a destabilization of your immune system. Constant stress leads to all kinds of issues, from heart disease to other illnesses that find their way in due to a compromised system.

According to Shelley Taylor, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles, there is a cure for high-stress levels that can ultimately lead you to a longer, healthier life. “(Social contact with others) has effects on the body that are more powerful than cigarette smoking and your cholesterol level,” said Taylor. “The magnitude is very strong.”

Get the World’s Most Powerful Antioxidant with Oceans Alive Marine Phytoplankton.

This is the answer that surprised researchers many decades ago in Roseto. Socialization is key to your ultimate health. It cuts down on the amount of stress you carry around in your body, which has a direct impact on your overall health. If increased socialization impacts your health with the same as magnitude smoking, it’s no wonder the people of Roseto had fewer heart attack deaths than the rest of the country.

We all know that exercise and a proper diet are important for our health, but the evidence here reveals that having an active social life can offer equivalent results for your well-being. While times have changed and gadgets can make it hard to feel like actively socializing, you can take steps to become more connected. Put away the cellphone at dinner. Have more family time; plan game nights for example. Invite the neighbors over. Eat lunch with a coworker instead of at your desk, staring at a screen. Expand your network. Soon, you might just find yourself living a longer, more fulfilled life.

An active social life isn’t the only thing that can help you live longer with less stress… Sleep is fundamental to good health, happy living and longevity. Check our new book Sleeping Without Pills to discover more about the importance of natural, restorative sleep.

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Get the World’s Most Powerful Antioxidant with Oceans Alive Marine Phytoplankton.



Mouth Breathing and Your Health

A lot of people, including health care professionals, are unaware of the problems associated with mouth breathing, but studies have shown that it can cause major issues for your health. In my own investigations, I have discovered that mouth breathing is an easily overlooked cause of many problems, especially when it comes to sleep disorders.  Mouth breathing is typically caused by an inability to breathe through the nose, whether the obstruction is temporary (as with allergies during pollen season) or more long-term because of a chronic infection or anatomical issue. If you’re a mouth breather you should know that it can cause hypocapnia if you tend to breathe in too deeply or breathe out too quickly. Hypocapnia is a state of reduced carbon dioxide (CO2) in the blood.

Among other functions, carbon dioxide regulates the pH in the blood. Without enough CO2 the body becomes too alkaline. Symptoms can include anxiety, visual problems, muscle cramping, panic attacks and dizziness. You can even pass out if your CO2 levels get too low (that’s what happens when you hyperventilate).

It turns out that though hypocapnia may be an extreme consequence of mouth breathing, it’s by no means the only risk. There are numerous health concerns associated with this habit, for both children and adults.  

For me, having been a practitioner of yoga for many years, I find this news about mouth breathing especially interesting. The ancient yogic tradition maintains that you should only breathe through your nose because the prana (a.k.a. life force) that animates all life can only be inspired through nose breathing.

Check out Somastruct for more info on mouth breathing and the health concerns linked to it.

Author: Vic Love, www.Fb.com/Vityalove

Simple Vegan Almond Cheese (Recipe)


This vegan cheese recipe will satisfy your craving while providing you with a healthy dose of probiotics. Enjoy with all your favorite foods! We like to add this cheese to our salads and grain dishes for a boost of nutrition and flavor.

1 c blanched almond meal
1/3 c nutritional yeast
1 tbsp sun-dried Celtic sea salt
1/2 sauerkraut juice

Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Mix well. Knead into a ball. Let it sit at room temperature for 3-4 days to culture. Store in fridge.

This recipe provides you with a ton of nutritional benefits. Almonds are great for protein, fiber and healthy fats, as well as vitamin E, manganese and magnesium. Nutritional yeast is an excellent source of vitamin B12, which is hard to find in non-animal sources, making it a staple of vegan cuisine. It’s also high in protein, magnesium, copper and manganese, and is a very good source of fiber, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid and zinc. Sauerkraut is a fermented food, so the juice is chock full of beneficial bacteria. It’s also high in potassium, which is great for cardiovascular health, kidney health and bone support. Vitamin C and iron round out this superfood’s nutritional profile.

Even meat-eaters will love this cheesy and delicious snack.

Author: Vic Love, www.Fb.com/Vityalove

Insomnia Help: Sweet Dreams are Made of Zzzzzs

Good quality sleep is a must. It’s as important as food, oxygen and water. According to the National Sleep Foundation, more than a third of our lives are spent sleeping. Typically, a person with great sleeping habits is in excellent health. Does good health lead to better sleep or does good sleep lead to better health? It can be tough to tell which comes first, but if you have insomnia, working on fixing that issue is a good place to start.

Insomnia is a terrible condition to live with. If you’ve got insomnia, you’re probably waking up feeling exhausted. Makes it hard to get through a normal day, right? It’s probably not only complicating your ability to get things done, but it might be impacting your mood, health and overall quality of life too.



Insomnia is a tricky thing to diagnose, but if you regularly suffer from these symptoms, you probably have it:

  • waking up frequently during the night
  • having trouble falling asleep (more than 30 minutes on average)
  • waking too early (getting less than 6 hours a night, despite making time for more)
  • not feeling rested after waking

If you do have insomnia, you’re probably also dealing with other unpleasant symptoms like:

  • headaches
  • gastrointestinal issues
  • struggling to concentrate or focus
  • feeling exhausted during the day
  • depression or irritability
  • distraction
  • feeling clumsy or like you’re making a lot of mistakes

With insomnia, these conditions get progressively worse as time goes on. If you believe that you have insomnia, you should see a doctor to be properly diagnosed, especially because insomnia can sometimes be a sign of a deeper problem. A qualified medical professional can determine the right path and schedule you in at a sleep center for testing.



Stress and anxiety are major causes of insomnia. Worries related to work, school, money and family issues can keep your mind active at night, even if you don’t normally suffer from insomnia. A death in the family, illness or struggles relating to lack of work, divorce and other difficult situations can make insomnia worse, leading to a chronic condition.

Beyond the day-to-day struggles that nearly everyone faces at one time or another, insomnia is also often linked with illness and disease. Cancer, heart disease, acid reflux, GERD, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and arthritis have all been known to cause bouts of insomnia, as have many types of medication. Discuss with your doctor before starting any regimen if you know it will cause you to lose sleep, as a proper good night’s rest is a great start to fighting off any ailment.

Woman writing in a notebook


You may not need to see a doctor. Initially you may want to treat your insomnia by making simple adjustments to your home life and your diet. For starters, figure out how many hours of sleep you need each night and set out a plan and schedule. It’ll probably take a couple of weeks to nail it down, as you see how you respond to different amounts of sleep. Track your mood, energy levels and overall health on good nights versus bad nights.

By sticking with a sleep schedule, and tracking how you feel the next day, you will learn what works best for you. Keep to it even on the weekends. Set up a time each night when you will put away all distractions and start a nice, relaxing bedtime ritual. 

We’ve created the ultimate sleep routine to get you started. Check it out here.



According to the National Sleep Foundation, studies have revealed that a regular exercise regimen can help sufferers of chronic insomnia. In one study, there was significant improvement in sleep quality after moderate aerobic exercise (at any time of day) like walking or swimming laps. Insomnia sufferers found themselves able to fall asleep more quickly and stay asleep longer.

There is still a lot to learn about insomnia and exercise. There seems to be a lot of variety from person to person when it comes to the impact of exercise on sleep, especially where time of day is concerned. Some people find that working out right before bed is the key to great sleep, while others find it keeps them up. Studies show that exercise does help, it’s just not easy to know what kind of exercise to do or when to do it. Keeping a sleep journal with notes on your exercise routine will help you determine what works best for you.

Foods high in tryptophan


A great way to combat insomnia is by eating the right foods, at the right times and avoiding certain other foods. Several natural components in food can work as sedatives and help to inspire sleep.

For example, we all hear about tryptophan around Thanksgiving. When you eat turkey or other foods with tryptophan in them, it creates a neurotransmitter in the brain known as serotonin. Serotonin is the ‘happy hormone’. It also helps to calm the body and makes it easier for us to fall asleep. Tryptophan is in tofu, cheese, eggs, red meat, beans and lentils, among other foods.

A 2005 study found that patients who suffered from chronic insomnia found improvements in their sleep when they ate a tryptophan-heavy diet or took dietary supplements with tryptophan as the main ingredient.

Tryptophan needs a little bit of help to get into the brain, though. Studies have shown that eating carbohydrates triggers a release of insulin and that insulin helps the tryptophan to cross the blood-brain barrier. So consider this your free pass to enjoy some carbs before you hit the hay!

Whether you suffer from occasional insomnia or deal with it every day, hopefully, these tips have given you a place to start. Insomnia is a big deal, unchecked it can affect every aspect of your life and can put you in danger of serious health risks. Always check with your doctor before starting any program or regimen.

We’ve got lots more info on insomnia and other sleep issues, as well as tips for getting better rest in our new book. Download your copy of Sleeping Without Pills.


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Birth and the Microbiome

Midwives, doctors and doulas have known for a long time that the transfer of beneficial microbes from the mother to the newborn is essential for jumpstarting a healthy immune system for the baby.

But what about babies born by C-section? In recent years a flurry of new research has shown that these babies are at increased risk for certain health issues and there is widespread speculation that the lack of bacteria (normally transferred from mom to baby during vaginal birth) is the culprit.

A really exciting new pilot study has shown that even babies born surgically can have the mother’s microbiome transferred to them easily, giving them the same bacterial benefit as a natural birth.

Our bodies are 1-2% bacteria by mass. By comparison, your brain is also about 2% of your total weight. Bacteria cells actually outnumber our human cells by 10 to 1 in our own bodies. Having a healthy population of beneficial bacteria in and on your body is fundamental to good health… and that begins at birth.

Visit Science Daily to learn more about how surgeons are transferring mothers’ beneficial bacteria to their babies at birth.


Amaranth: Your New Favorite Squalene Source

The Skinny on Squalene

Has anyone ever told you to eat shark liver? How utterly immoral and frightening. But the reason people do it is that it’s high in squalene. Squalene is a lighter-than-water, 30-carbon chain compound similar to beta carotene. It assists in the making of cholesterol, hormones and vitamin D. Your skin is 12% squalene. Sounds pretty important, right? Oxygen radicals can’t break it down easily, so it serves the skin well, protecting it from UV and ionizing radiation that can wreak havoc by breaking down connecting lipids. In other words, it keeps your skin youthful and elastic. We can absorb 60% of the squalene in food sources, so squalene-rich foods are a desirable addition to any diet. Animal studies suggest it has anti-cancer properties, but no human trials have been conducted to verify this. I wonder why? In mice, cellular and immune functions were enhanced. Aside from the livers of our prehistoric shark friends, other sources of squalene include rice bran, wheat germ, olives and amaranth. It has been suggested that squalene is the secret behind the low cancer rates of Mediterranean people because their traditional diets contain so many squalene-rich foods.

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A Vegan Source of Squalene for your Skin

In my opinion, the best source of squalene is amaranth. Called the “never-fading flower”, amaranth is a gorgeous flowering plant cultivated by South American civilizations as a staple for more than 6000 years, both for its seed and its purple flowering tops. I have been enjoying its delicious nutty flavor as part of my breakfast for twenty-plus years. Amaranth is 6-8% squalene. It’s also one of nature’s few vegetarian sources of complete protein and the highest non-legume source of lysine! Lysine is an essential amino acid; meaning our cells need it, but can’t make it themselves. Amaranth also contains also contains lunasin, oleic acid, linoleic acid, vitamin E and folic acid. shutterstock_229443985 - 700x270 Feb10 Amaranth oil is a really easy way to get your squalene fix, but because of the minuscule size of the amaranth seed it’s very difficult to produce high quality amaranth oil without damaging the squalene and other nutrients. Recently though, our favorite oil presser has begun skillfully squeezing amaranth in Germany. Their result is delicious and nourishing when taken both internally and externally. Adding it to food, taking it as a supplement and putting it directly on your skin are all amazing ways to absorb squalene and nourish your skin. Check out one of the only stable amaranth oils you can buy here. Live long and look great doing it with squalene… and leave the sharks alone. Those majestic creatures have been around for millions of years and they deserve our respect. They need their squalene for themselves. Learn more about Panaseeda Amaranth Seed Oil.  

Author: Vic Love, www.Fb.com/Vityalove

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