Wellness Combos for a New You in the New Year

Many Canadians start the new year determined to make healthy changes, but find their willpower deteriorating by February.  Below are 5 easy combinations of supplements, exercise and stress reduction methods for 5 common health concerns.

Melatonin + Skullcap + Chamomile + Healthy Sleep Habits = A Better Night’s Sleep

Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced by our bodies which helps with our sleep and wake cycles. The pineal gland in our brains makes melatonin when it becomes darker in the evening, allowing us to feel sleepy at “nighttime”. However, with an increased amount of artificial light in our homes and the light from electronic devices, our bodies may not be making enough. Supplemental melatonin helps reduce the time it takes to fall asleep, increases total sleep time and helps reduce the effects of jet lag. Basically, it works to re-set the body's sleep-wake cycle.[1]

Skullcap & Chamomile help relieve restlessness and/or nervousness.”[2] Skullcap additionally “can be used as a sleep aid during times of mental stress. [3] 

But don’t underestimate the importance of good sleep habits. They have been shown to have many overall wellness effects. Healthy sleep habits include:

  • consistent bed and wake-up times
  • keeping your bedroom dark with blackout blinds or a sleep mask
  • avoiding electronics at least 1 hour before bed

B6 + Mushroom + Yoga = Stress Management

Chronic stress depletes vitamin B6, which is known as the anti-stress vitamin, so those who feel stressed out may benefit from taking a high potency B-Complex supplement. [4]

All over the world people eat mushrooms as part of their diet, while others use certain fungi such as reishi, shiitake, lion’s mane and chaga as a traditional medicine. These fungi can provide the body with stress-relieving properties. If you don’t like mushrooms or want to eat them every day, Jamieson’s Mushroom Complex work “to help increase energy and resistance to stress in case of mental and physical fatigue related to stress.”[5]

Don’t forget to be “mindful” and breathe deeply; yoga in particular, has been shown to be very effective. Recent research found that yoga was associated with reduced blood pressure, resting heart rate, fasting blood glucose, and cholesterol[6] compared to those who didn’t practice yoga. These are not only important physical measures of stress but also when looking at heart health and diabetes!

Omega-3s + Garlic + Aerobic Exercise = A Healthier Heart

Diet and nutrient levels make a real difference when it comes to our heart health, particularly omega-3 fats. Only 2.6% of Canadian adults met the omega-3 blood level associated with a low risk of cardiac disease. Moving from a high risk to low risk omega index level, reduced cardiac events (such as heart attacks) by 90%! A healthy omega-3 level is easy to achieve supplementing with a daily Omega-3 fish oil supplement that includes 500 mg of EPA and DHA.[7]

Many people love to cook with garlic, but did you know it is also heart healthy? Garlic is used in herbal medicine to help reduce elevated blood lipid levels (high cholesterol) and maintain cardiovascular health

in adults.[8] You can also take it supplementally for the health benefits, without the bad breath.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation states that physical activity can dramatically lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. At least 150 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week added up throughout the week in bouts of 10 minutes or more are ideal. [9] [10]

Calcium + Magnesium + Vitamin D + Tai Chi =  Healthy Bones

Ensuring adequate calcium intake throughout life can help to prevent osteoporosis,[11] a disease caused by low bone mass which leads to increased fractures.[12]

Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, which affects bone growth and maintenance. [13]

Magnesium also plays an important role in bone structure. Inadequate magnesium is known to result in low blood calcium concentrations, and resistance to some of the important effects of vitamin D.[14]

Osteoporosis Canada suggests practicing some sort of balance exercise daily such as Tai Chi, dancing, walking on your toes or heels.[15] With better balance, there is less chance of falling and breaking brittle bones. Tai Chi is an exercise that has been reported to positively influence bone mineral density.[16]

Turmeric + Glucosamine + Stretching & Strengthening Exercises = Moving Joints

Turmeric is a spice not only used as a main ingredient in curry dishes, but also traditionally for a number of medicinal purposes, including as an anti-inflammatory to help relieve joint pain. [17] [18]

Glucosamine is an amino sugar found in cartilage, the tough tissue that cushions joints. Health Canada states that taking supplemental glucosamine helps to relieve joint pain associated with osteoarthritis and helps to protect against the deterioration of cartilage. [19] This is also important for athletes who may have repetitive pressure on overworked joints. It is important to note that you need to take it for at least 4 weeks to see beneficial effects.

A common misconception is, if you have painful joints you should rest them. Yet, according to the Arthritis Society, daily stretching exercises (also called range of motion or flexibility) keep your joints moving and can reduce pain and stiffness. Strengthening exercises can also help by working to maintain or increase muscle tone, protecting your joints. Examples include resistance-based exercises using a set of free weights, your own body weight, or resistance bands. Please note that the frequency of strengthening exercises should be discussed with your doctor. [20]

[1] Health Canada. Melatonin -Oral. Accessed Dec 7, 2019 at: http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/atReq.do?atid=melatonin.oral&lang=eng

[2] Health Canada. German Chamomile – Matricaria Chamomile. Accessed Dec 6, 2019 at: http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/atReq.do?atid=cham.germ.oral.orale&lang=eng

[3] Health Canada. Skullcap – Scutellaria Lateriflora. Accessed Dec 6, 2019 at: http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/atReq.do?atid=skullcap.scutellaire&lang=eng#cont

[4] Stough C et al. (2014). Reducing occupational stress with a B-vitamin focused intervention: a randomized clinical trial study protocol. Nutr J. Dec 22;13(1):122.

[5] Health Canada. Product Information Natural Product Number 80087030. Accessed Nov 15, 2019: https://health-products.canada.ca/lnhpd-bdpsnh/info.do?licence=80087030

[6] Pascoe MC Thompson DR Ski CF. (2017). Yoga, mindfulness-based stress reduction and stress-related physiological measures: A meta-analysis. Psychoneuroendocrinology. Dec;86: 152-168.

[7] Langlois, Kellie & Ratnayake, Walisundera M.N. (2015). Omega-3 Index of Canadian adults. Statistics Canada Health Reports. 82-003-x Vol. 26 No.11:p3-11.

[8] Health Canada. Garlic – Allium Sativum. Accessed Dec 6, 2019 at: http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/atReq.do?atid=garlic_ail&lang=eng

[9] Heart and Stroke. The benefits of physical activity. Accessed Dec 9, 2019 at: https://www.heartandstroke.ca/get-healthy/stay-active/benefits-of-physical-activity

[10] Heart and Stroke. How much physical activity do you need? Accessed Dec 9, 2019 at: https://www.heartandstroke.ca/get-healthy/stay-active/how-much-physical-activity-do-you-need

[11] Osteoporosis Canada. Nutrition. Accessed Dec 8, 2019 at: https://osteoporosis.ca/bone-health-osteoporosis/nutrition/

[12] Osteoporosis Canada. About the Disease. Accessed Dec 8, 2019 at: http://osteoporosis.ca/about-the-disease/

[13] Janz T Pearson C. Vitamin D blood levels of Canadians. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 82624-x. Accessed Dec 10, 2019 at: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/82-624-x/2013001/article/11727-eng.htm

[14] Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center. Magnesium. Accessed Dec 10, 2019 at: https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/minerals/magnesium

[15] Osteoporosis Canada. Exercises for Heathy Bones. Accessed Dec 11, 2019 at: https://osteoporosis.ca/bone-health-osteoporosis/exercises-for-healthy-bones/

[16] Ferrara PE et al. (2019). Evaluation of quality of life and static balance in postmenopausal osteoporosis women after Tai Chi Chaun practice: An observational randomized case control study. J Biol Regul Homeost Agents. Mar-Apr;33(2 Suppl. 1):163-169

[17]Linus Pauling Institute. (2016). Micronutrient Information Center Curcumin. Accessed Dec 10, 2019 at: https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/


[18] Health Canada. Turmeric – Curcuma Longa – Oral Monograph. Accessed Dec 8, 2019 at: http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/atReq.do?atid=turmeric.oral.curcuma.orale&lang=eng

[19] Health Canada (2018). Glucosamine Sulphate Monograph. Accessed Dec 8,  2019 at: http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/atReq.do?atid=glucosamine.sulfate&lang=eng

[20] Arthritis Society. Osteoarthritis Physical Activity. Accessed Dec 11, 2019 at: https://arthritis.ca/about-arthritis/arthritis-types-(a-z)/types/osteoarthritis