Gluten Digest-Zyme Summary

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Gluten Digest-Zyme Summary

Kiwi Extract: Constipation Relief & Bowel Health

Based on the results of two clinical trials (with a high level of evidence based on their design), the following health claims for kiwifruit extract are supported (equivalent to Actazin found in Gluten Digest-Zyme with a dose of 400mg/day or more):

• Improves bowel movements in adults with constipation by improving colon transit time (1)

• Increases the frequency and ease of bowel movements in adults by improving the consistency and volume of stool (2)

1. Chan A, Leung G, Tong T, Wong N. Increasing dietary fibre intake in terms of kiwifruit improves constipation in Chinese patients. World J Gastroenterol 2007 September 21; 13(35): 4771-4775

2. Rush EC, Patel M, Plank LD, Ferguson LR (2002). Kiwifruit promotes laxation in the elderly. Asia Pacific J Clin Nutr. 11:164-8.

Kiwi Fruit: For IBS & Flatulence

Irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS/C) & flatulence may be easily reduced or totally eliminated by eating kiwifruit

Recent 2010 study* published in the Asia Pacific J Nutrition from Taiwan’s Taipei Medical University stated that colon transit time decreased significantly in the IBS/C patients

The group of 45 individuals in this 3-phase study  consumed 2 kiwifruit per day for 4 weeks

These findings suggest that kiwifruit consumption :

• shortens colon transit time

• increases defecation frequency

• improves bowel function

• reduces excessive flatulence


Gluten Digest-Zyme Promotes Healthy Colon Function

Actazin™, a kiwi extract, found in KCZ has a unique action on colon health:

• Proteolytic enzyme activity from the enzyme “Actinidin”:

  • Gently stimulates gut motility
  • Helps normalize bowel transit time
  • Changes the consistency of stool

–      Actinidin enzyme activity effectively digests proteins* including:

  • Dairy (casein & whey)
  • Meat
  • Corn (zein)
  • Wheat (gluten = glutenin, gliadin)

* J Agric Food Chem. 2010 Apr 28;58(8):5074-80 & 20232891

Carbohydrase Enzymes in Gluten Digest-Zyme (GDZ)

  • GDZ contains several different types of carbohydrase enzymes that break down complex polysaccharides (starch or sticky carbs)
  • Amylase Blend: Breaks down carbohydrates: starch, glycogen, and polysaccharides into smaller units; the combination of two types of amylase is more effective with a very broad pH range (3.5 -10.0)

Note: If proper chewing does not occur – amylase availability will be low

  • Glucoamylase: Added to complement the presence of Amylase & further break down or hydrolyze starch at the terminal linkages
  • Betaglucanase: Breaks down beta D-glucan components, helps break down beta-linked glucose bonds often associated with grains, such as barley, oats and wheat

Protease Enzymes in Gluten Digest-Zyme (GDZ)

  • GDZ contains six proteases – addressing the issue of hard-to-digest proteins, moving them efficiently & quickly through the G.I tract
  • Protease Blend: combines 3 protease enzymes – acid, neutral and alkaline proteases that will facilitate complete protein digestion with an effective pH range of 2.0 to 6.0. For this reason, Protease Blend provides protein digestion in the stomach and pyloric regions of the small intestine
  • Acid Stable Protease: used with low stomach pH below pH of 2.0
  • Dipeptidyl peptidase IV (DPP IV): functions (pH range 2.8-11.0) in breaking down casein and side chain activity in breaking down gluten, thus supporting the digestion of casein-containing milk products as well as the protein in gluten-containing grains (this assists in normalizing inflammatory response to the gluten)

Gluten Digest-Zyme (GDZ) Benefits

  • Potent “colon-health” aid which helps to relieve:

–      Constipation

–      Bloating & Gas

–      Irregular bowel habits

–      Odorous bowel movements

–      Toxic colon build-up

  • Helps to break down sticky, hard-to-digest carbohydrates, and proteins especially gluten
  • Aids in the complete digestion of all proteins, especially effective for meat and dairy proteins
  • Effective over the entire pH range from pH 2.0–11.0
  • Supports a gluten-free, dairy-free lifestyle
  • Improves intestinal immune function & gut health
  • Reduces inflammatory responses and potentially auto-immune diseases
  • Improves nutrient absorption as well as protein & carbohydrate utilization,
  • May directly improve all-over heath

Powerful plant-sourced enzymes in Gluten Digest-Zyme:

–      Six proteolytic enzymes including Protease DPPIV

–      Four carbohydrase enzymes for hard-to-digest starches

–      Actazin™, a natural Kiwi extract containing a potent proteolytic enzyme, minerals, vitamins, fibre and polyphenols

  • Convenient dosage: taken only once per day
  • Fast-acting: bowel evacuationmay occur within 24 hrs
  • Multiple functions: constipation relief , “colon-health” aid & digestive support for gluten & dairy, all proteins and complex CHOs
  • Totally Vegan product: 100% pure vegetable capsules
  • Contains non-GMO: both ingredients and enzymes
  • Specially formulated: a unique constipation formula that will not cause diarrhea (may be used for IBS diarrhea)
  • Tested gluten-free by ELISA test

Gluten Digest-Zyme Formula

Each vegetable capsule of Gluten Digest-Zyme (GDZ) contains

  • Colon Enzyme Blend………………………………………………….. 204.18mg

–      Peptidase DPPIV (A.oryzae) ……………………..10,262 FCC HUT

–      Protease (A.oryzae)……………………………………………..25,000 FCC HUT

–      Protease (B.licheniformis)…………………………………..3,948 FCC PC

–      Protease Acid Stable (A.niger)…………………………..25 FCC SAP

–      Amylase Blend (B.subtilus/A.oryzae)……………….7500 FCC BAU

–      Beta-Glucanase (A.niger/T.longibrachiatum,)……100FCC BGU

–      Glucoamylase (A.niger)………………..………………………..50 FCC AGU

  • Kiwi (Actinidia deliciosa, fruit) Actazin™….…….…….…200 mg

(providing 3750 AU of the enzyme Actinidin)

Two capsules of Gluten Digest-Zyme Formula provides the equivalent of ½ a peeled kiwi fruit.

Recommended Dose (Adults): Take 2 V-caps at the start of the main meal. For severe constipation, take up to 4 V-caps at the start of the main meal, for the first few days or as required.

For digestion of gluten and dairy as well as complex carbs and all other proteins take 2-3 capsules at the beginning of the meal.

(A= Aspergillus; B= Bacillus ; T= Trichoderma)

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Having Digestive Problems?

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Having Digestive Problems?

“Enzymes Help” says Pharmacist RoseMarie Pierce, B.Sc.Pharm

In my work as a Holistic Pharmacist, I am often asked questions such as the following:

”How is it possible that I am sick – again? I eat well. I exercise. I drink plenty of water. I seem to be getting adequate sleep. But, I still get sick and feel so tired! What’s happening?”

My short answer to this question is most often: “Good health requires good digestion.”

Our digestive tract was not designed to handle the modern North American diet of cooked and processed food, even if the food is organic and wholesome. Raw foods come with their own supply of enzymes, which are essential for digestion and for life itself. But most people eat over-cooked, pasteurized, irradiated, over-processed foods. Also, as we age, the enzymes produced by our bodies decrease in number and in activity level.

What are the effects of an enzyme-poor diet?

In this case, the body must work extra hard to create the enzymes we need, and our energy levels can be noticeably depleted. Feeling sleepy after a meal occurs because the body is working more intensely than it should to complete the digestive process. Consequently, the body most likely won’t have adequate energy or nutrients to produce the enzymes required for other essential functions such as removing toxic cellular waste, protecting itself against foreign invaders (immune function), producing hormones and neurotransmitters, and making new cells and tissues. The ultimate result? Our health suffers, digestion is poor, we become fatigued, and we age faster.

What are the signs of enzyme deficiency?

One of the first and most obvious signs is indigestion. This includes gas, bloating, tummy ache, heartburn, constipation and/or diarrhea. A lack of enzymes can contribute to an increase in pain, inflammation, and a lack of stamina as well as hindering the body’s ability to resist infection or to heal a wound. Many people do not realize that feeling sleepy after a meal or not being able to eat dairy products, spicy foods or heavy foods in general, may all be signs of enzyme deficiency.

What are enzymes?

Enzymes are large protein-based molecules that catalyze (increase the rates of) chemical reactions. Every action and reaction in the body is dependent on enzymes; all cells require enzymes to survive and function. With respect to digestion, enzymes are required for the complete absorption of valuable nutrients. They help break down proteins into amino acids, fats into fatty acids, complex carbohydrates into simple sugars and complex fibre into smaller fibre units. Digestive enzymes also remove toxins from the bowel, relieve constipation, and recondition the lining of the digestive tract.

How can I increase enzyme intake?

We obtain enzymes externally from the food we eat (food enzymes) and internally from our digestive organs (digestive enzymes). But when food is cooked or processed at temperatures greater than 118°F, the enzymes in the food are destroyed. Aging, injuries, illnesses and stress also deplete enzymes. It is important to eat more enzyme-rich foods and take full-spectrum enzyme supplements designed to support optimal digestion. Taking a full-spectrum digestive enzyme blend helps break down proteins, fats, carbohydrates and fibre, making it possible to fully benefit from the nutrients in our food.

What are the best digestive enzymes?

Plant-based enzymes are the most popular enzymes found in natural supplements because their activity, potency, safety and efficacy have been well-documented over many decades of use worldwide. The top three plant enzyme categories are amylases (for starch breakdown), proteases (for protein breakdown), and lipases (for fat digestion). It is also important to include cellulase, hemicellulase and phytase enzymes (for fibre breakdown). Select enzymes contain high activity levels (called units) that enable them to break down more fat, protein and carbohydrates in the broadest pH range. Also, be sure to choose a patented, broad-spectrum, non-GMO enzyme that contains fibrazyme. Fibrazyme is a blend of fibre-digesting enzymes that maximizes fibre and grain digestion while enhancing the absorption of essential minerals. This blend is shown to be a necessary addition for proper nutrient absorption from high-fibre foods or for those taking mineral supplements with meals.

What results can I expect?

Plant-based enzymes help support and maintain a healthy digestive system by breaking down all the food groups more thoroughly. Noticeable results include less indigestion, gas, bloating, constipation and acid reflux. Along with better digestion, increased energy and alertness are also reported.

 How do I take enzymes?

Take your full-spectrum digestive enzymes with meals to aid in the digestion of all foods.

Chose a vegan formulation in a vegetable capsule. The relatively low cost per capsule of these enzyme formulas makes it a valuable investment in the health of your digestive system.



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Lemons, Minerals and Aloe Vera

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Lemons, Minerals and Aloe Vera

Cleanse and Alkalize Naturally with Lemons, Minerals and Aloe Vera

By RoseMarie Pierce B.Sc.Pharm

Many of us as children heard the expression, “Good Morning – Time to Rise and Shine”.  And often, we did just that!

Now, with ever increasing stressloads, starting the day feeling vitalized or energetic can often be a challenge.  Early morning fatigue, bad breath, coated tongue, indigestion, joint pain, water retention, weight gain and low moods – what do they have in common? All of these are signs of toxicity or acidic waste accumulating in the body. An imbalanced diet high in acidic food (animal protein, sugar, colas, fried foods, caffeine, processed foods) causes far-reaching damage to one’s health. The body constantly attempts to rebalance itself, and return to its natural alkaline state. The alkaline minerals: sodium, calcium, potassium and magnesium leech out of vital organs and bones in an attempt to return the body’s fluids to an alkaline state. Over time, poor eating habits deplete the body of these valuable alkalizing minerals and, as a result, acidic waste builds up in the cells and tissue. Consquently, it becomes more difficult for the body to naturally cleanse and detoxify itself, especially the liver. .

The Liver Loves Lemons!

Starting each day with lemon juice in a glass of pure water has been referred to in medical texts for hundreds of years, and known by our “grandmothers” as a beneficial, health-giving habit. The morning is the natural cleansing period for the body. The lemon, one of nature’s powerhouse foods, is known to stimulate digestion, increase saliva flow, and support the liver and the production of bile – releasing congestion & toxins. You can drink fresh lemon juice or lemon slices mixed with water throughout the day for further detoxification. Water is the key component here and you should ideally drink at least 64 ounces per day.

Lemons and Aloe Vera Juice – the Perfect Duo for Alkalizing

Starting the day with water and lemon alkalizes the body due to the high mineral content found in lemon juice – potassium, calcium, magnesium, and trace minerals. The aloe leaf naturally consists of approximately 75 nutrients, including 9 different minerals. Supporting the body’s natural cleansing process, aloe vera juice also reduces gastrointestinal inflammation and heals ulcers.  Making a healthy morning beverage upon waking, including lemon and aloe vera juice, can assist your body in removing toxins accumulated in the internal organs, and can help:

• Cleanse the liver and other organs of elimination
• Balance acidity/alkalinity and improve hydration
• Reduce digestive stress and bloating
• Repair the lining of the digestive tract
• Support the body to rebuild and heal itself

Simple, safe and extremely effective for cleansing, both lemon and aloe vera juice are acidic in the mouth but have an alkalizing effect in the body. Replacing the morning coffee, or sweetened and processed drinks, with a delicious lemon and aloe vera juice recipe will provide the double benefit of eliminating the acid-forming drink and offer instead a health-giving alkalizing alternative. For an extra bonus, add a heaping tablespoon of your favourite berry powder or super green-foods powder to your drink. Children and adults love the taste of lemon and berries.

RoseMarie Pierce, B.Sc.Pharm, is a holistic pharmacist with more than 40 years experience in both conventional and natural medicine. For more information on this popular writer, lecturer, formulator, and hormonal health specialist, visit her website at

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Stomach Acid – an Overlooked Digestive Aid

Stomach Acid – an Overlooked Digestive Aid

Almost everyone has experienced an upset stomach due to improper eating, at one time or another. Yet, chronic indigestion affects millions of people every day. Let’s begin with a few facts, relevant to Canadians. More than 20 million cases of digestive disorders are reported each year, resulting in lost productivity and health care costs in excess of $18 billion annually (2000). Five million Canadians experience heartburn at least once per week, while digestive disorders account for 10% of all hospitalizations. In fact, people with chronic upper gastrointestinal (GI) disorders have absenteeism rates nine times higher than healthy people. (1)


For some, eating fatty foods can bring on heartburn. For others, complex carbohydrates (like breads and pasta) may cause gas and bloating. And some find, spicy foods or acidic foods can cause reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD). Individuals suffering with stomach and other upper GI problems most frequently assume that heartburn, indigestion, gas, and reflux are caused by the overproduction of stomach acid. But is this the real issue? Let’s explore stomach acid and the role it plays.

Stomach Acid – Just the Facts!

Stomach acid, also known as gastric acid, is a digestive fluid formed in the stomach in aid of food digestion. It is composed of mostly hydrochloric acid (HCl), along with potassium chloride and sodium chloride. The stomach is designed to produce enough hydrochloric acid to transform a large solid meal, as much as 3 litres (>12cups), into a semi-liquid soup known as chyme. In a healthy stomach, this liquid mass has a pH of 1.0 to 3.5, a very strong acid with a very low pH.

Hydrochloric acid present in the stomach at a pH below 4.0 is responsible for starting a cascade of events necessary for the proper functioning of the entire digestive system. Without this low pH and sufficient production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, food cannot effectively be broken down.

Hydrochloric Acid’s Vital Roles (2)

There are the 8 main reasons why we need to produce a large amount of hydrochloric acid during mealtime: 1. Acidify the stomach and liquefy dry or solid food into chyme, 2. Denature or unwind proteins, so they become more digestible, 3. Activate the protein-digesting enzyme pepsin, thereby further assisting in protein digestion, 4. Encourage the flow of bile & pancreatic enzymes, necessary for the completion of protein and carbohydrate breakdown as well as fat and fat-soluble vitamin absorption, 5. Assist in proper absorption of almost all minerals and trace elements, including Calcium, Zinc, Magnesium, & Iron, 6. Support optimal absorption of several important nutrients, including folic acid, ascorbic acid, beta-carotene, and vitamin B12, 7. Destroy micro-organisms (bacteria, viruses, parasites, yeasts and molds) which travel into the digestive tract from the human mouth or in food itself — as with contaminated meat or produce, 8. Act as a protective barrier preventing pathogen overgrowth and infection in the small intestine, in an effort to support the immune system and decrease the occurrence of inflammation.

(2)           Alternative Medicine Review, Volume 2, Number 2, 1997 25

Underproduction of Stomach Acid? Overproduction may be the Issue!

Symptoms of hydrochloric acid over-production and under-production can be virtually identical: heartburn, indigestion, acid reflux, gas and bloating, among others.

Dr. Jonathan V. Wright, MD states “Since 1976, I’ve checked literally thousands of individuals complaining of ‘heartburn’ and indigestion for stomach acid production using a commercially available, extremely precise, research-verified procedure. Over acidity is almost never found, especially in those over age 35. The usual findings are under acidity (from ‘just a little under’ to no acid at all) or normal acidity, in which case the indigestion symptoms are caused by something else. The majority have under acidity (as might be expected in a no-longer-young stomach)” (3)


Test before Taking Antacids or Acid-Blocking Drugs

For the purpose of reducing their seemingly excess stomach acid, most people take one or more of the following: antacids, or over-the-counter (Zantac, Tagamet) or prescription (Nexium, Losec, Pepcid) acid-blocking drugs. This may be the wrong choice, given just one ‘pill’ taken daily reduces stomach acid secretion almost completely for up to 24 hours. Medical doctors do not usually test for stomach acid before prescribing acid-blocking drugs. The Heidelberg pH test is probably the most accurate way to gauge HCl insufficiency. However the Heidelberg machines are not readily available. Another way to accurately gauge HCl insufficiency is through HTMA (Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis). Clinicians have identified direct correlations between the Heidelberg pH test and low HTMA values. Some blood tests such as,chloride and CO2 values can help identify hypochlorhydria. Plus, there are a few at-home methods that can be tried, one is the Burp Test using baking soda and another is the Betaine HCl test. Betaine HCl is a stomach acid supplement. This test is useful for assessing the integrity of the stomach lining, the amount of hydrochloric acid (HCl) produced, and if symptoms are actually caused by ‘too much’ stomach acid or ‘too little’ stomach acid production.

Common Signs & Symptoms of Low Hydrochloric Acid Production

The below listed signs and symptoms can also help to determine if decreased gastric secretions and low HCl production are present (5):

- Excessive gas, belching or burping after eating

- Intestinal gas, bloating & distention, especially within 1 hour after eating

- A prolonged sense of fullness long after eating

- Nausea after eating or after taking supplements

- GERD, indigestion, heartburn, IBS, diarrhea, or constipation

- Bad breath (halitosis)

- Soreness, burning, dryness of mouth & tongue

- Multiple food allergies or sensitivities

- Itching around the rectum

- Weak or cracked fingernails and cracks in the fingertips

- Hair loss in women & poor quality nails

- Dilated blood vessels in the cheeks or nose (non-alcoholic)

- Skin breakouts or adult acne

- Iron and other mineral deficiencies

- Undigested food in the stool

- H. pylori, chronic candida or intestinal parasite infections

(5) Sharp GS, Fister HW. The diagnosis and treatment of achlorhydria: ten-year study. J Amer Ger Soc 1967;15:786-791

Which Factors Reduce Hydrochloric Acid? Or What could be Causing Low HCl?

Situations such as illness, stress, very low-salt diets (low chloride), gall bladder removal, chronic use of antacids and acid-reducing drugs, H. pylori infection, as well as normal aging, contribute to insufficient secretion of stomach acid. This process is exacerbated by diets high in red meat, dairy products and refined, processed carbohydrate foods which create an imbalance in the body’s internal pH. Drinking large amounts of fluid with meals, eating too quickly and not properly chewing one’s food, all contribute significantly to the decline in stomach acid.

Numerous studies over the past 100 years have shown stomach acid secretion decreases with age, resulting in low gastric acidity in more than 50% of all patients aged 60 years and older. (4)

(4)          Davies D, James TG. An investigation into gastric secretion of a hundred normal persons over the age of sixty. Brit J Med. 1930;1:1–14.

Clinical Conditions associated with Low HCl

Many conditions can be correlated with increased incidence of impaired acid secretion. While these conditions may help assess an individual for hypochlorhydria, there could be other causes as well.

Addison’s Disease (chronic adrenal insufficiency)

Anemia (Iron or Pernicious – folic acid, B12)

Arthritis/Rheumatoid Arthritis & other auto-immune disorders

Asthma (of children)

Celiac Disease


Diabetes mellitus (type 1, 2 and gestational) + neuropathies

Eczema, Psoriasis, Rosacea, Urticaria & Vitiligo

Gallbladder disease

Gastric polyps, gastritis & carcinoma of stomach

Hypo-, hyperthyroidism and Graves disease

Lupus, Sjogren’s disease


Ulcerative colitis

(5)Reference: Alternative Medicine Review, Volume 2, Number 2, 1997

How are these Symptoms & Conditions Caused by Low Stomach Acid?

Stomach acid plays a key role in the digestion of protein, carbohydrates and fat from the food we eat. When food is eaten, the secretion of stomach acid (HCl) triggers the production of pepsin. Pepsin is the enzyme required to digest protein. If HCl levels are depressed, so are pepsin levels. As a result, proteins are not broken down into their component amino acids and peptides. These undigested proteins putrefy in the gut, and may cause gas, bloating, heartburn and other digestive issues.

At the same time, proteins that escape digestion by pepsin may end up in the bloodstream. When large proteins are absorbed intact, the body recognizes them as foreign and create antibodies to them, resulting in an allergic response to the food. Since this is not designed to happen, the body reacts to these proteins as if they were foreign invaders, causing allergic and autoimmune responses and inflammation.

Low stomach acid also impairs carbohydrate digestion. Stomach acid (HCl) supports the breakdown and absorption of carbohydrates by stimulating the release of pancreatic enzymes into the small intestine. If the pH of the stomach is too high (due to insufficient stomach acid), these pancreatic enzymes will not be secreted and the carbohydrates will not be properly broken down. As Dr. Norm Robillard explains in his book Heartburn Cured, undigested carbohydrates provoke an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine which in turn leads to increased gas production, extensive tension on the stomach opening the lower esophogeal sphincter leading to acid reflux, esophogeal inflammation and possibly hiatal hernia.

As well, the breakdown and absorption of nutrients can occur at an optimum rate only within a narrow range of acidity in the stomach. If there isn’t enough acid, the normal chemical reactions required to absorb nutrients are impaired.

The first step is to replace the lost stomach acid until the underlying cause is discovered.  One of the most common methods of supplementing for low stomach acid is using Betaine Hydrochloride (HCL).

How to Correct the Problem of low Hydrochloric Acid

Hydrochloric acid was routinely prescribed for many symptoms and clinical conditions until the introduction of acid-reducing drugs in the 1960’s. According to Dr. Jonathan Wright, the decline in HCl replacement therapy was due to poorly-designed and misinterpreted research, which convinced medical practitioners that HCl replacement therapy was not necessary. “Encouraged by the legal drug industry, medical students are not taught that hypochlorhydria (inadequate stomach acid production) is treatable only with unpatentable, natural replacement therapies. Instead, their education concentrates on hyperchlorhydria (excess stomach acid production) and its treatment with patentable acid-blocker drugs and highly profitable over-the-counter antacids.”

Supplemental Hydrochloric Acid in the form of Betaine HCl

Betaine hydrochloride (HCl) is a nutritional supplement that has been used for over 100 years to safely restore normal gastric acidity and to support healthy gut function. Dr Jonathan Wright states, “I can say that in 24 years of nutritionally oriented practice, I’ve worked with thousands of individuals who’ve found the cause of their ‘heartburn’ and indigestion to be low stomach acidity. In nearly all of these folks, symptoms have been relieved and digestion improved when they’ve taken supplemental hydrochloric acid.” The supplements also help restore the digestive system, which enables better absorption of nutrients, especially minerals, folic acid, ascorbic acid, beta-carotene, and vitamin B12.


Healthy digestion and absorption of nutrients is dependent upon the secretion of gastric acid. When gastric secretions are reduced, the result can lead to nutritional deficiencies and a variety of chronic disorders. Low secretion of gastric acid can also allow orally-ingested pathogens to prevail and contribute to their overgrowth in the stomach and small intestine. Betaine HCL supplementation, taken at mealtime, increases the level of hydrochloric acid in the stomach necessary for proper digestion and assimilation of nutrients from food. It is a safe and effective means of restoring normal gastric levels, particularly in cases where age or chronic conditions are a factor. If you are suffering from heartburn, look for a healthcare practitioner who is familiar with stomach acid level testing, who can help with the real cause of your digestive issues.


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Serrapeptase – A Natural Anti-inflammatory Enzyme

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Inflammation is the underlying factor in at least seven of the ten leading causes of death in North America. These include heart disease, cancer, chronic respiratory disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and kidney disease. (1)  Inflammation can spread slowly and unnoticed, contributing to disease, weight gain and accelerated aging, and thus has vast implications for long-term health.

Inflammation – The Good News

Inflammation is the rapid immune response which occurs when tissues are damaged by injury, trauma, infection or allergy. In all cases, the body is programmed to carry out a similar response: redness, heat and/or pain are the initial symptoms resulting from the increased blood flow to the damaged area. Via the bloodstream, immune cells are called to the site to defend the area under attack. Inflammatory chemicals including histamine, bradykinin, cytokines and pro-inflammatory prostaglandins are released. As a protective response, these chemicals cause blood vessels to leak fluid into the tissues, creating swelling. This swelling helps to isolate foreign substances and traumatized areas from further contact with healthy body tissues. Inflammation is a key part of the body’s defense and repair system – the inflammatory response is necessary to heal wounds and infections.

Chronic Inflammation –The Bad News

When no longer needed, the inflammatory process is designed to completely turned off or extinguished.  The normal inflammatory process is short-lived, lasting only a few days. If it persists longer, it is referred to as chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation, as an unhealthy inflammatory over-response, can linger for months to years, or even beyond. Inflammation can activate itself; more inflammation is created in response to the existing inflammation. It acts like a low-burning fire, continuing to stimulate and circulate inflammatory immune cells and chemicals when they may not be needed. They can damage healthy areas in our bodies, such as joints and connective tissue (causing arthritis), pancreatic tissue (causing diabetes), blood vessel linings (causing hardening of the arteries), and intestinal lining (in gluten intolerance).

What are the Causes of Chronic Inflammation?

Chronic inflammation can be triggered by cellular malfunction, such as that caused by increased production of free radicals, cellular acidic toxins, elevated blood sugar levels, and oxidative stress. When the body is unable to stop the spiraling free radical chain reaction and the resulting oxidative stress damages cellular proteins, membranes and genes, this leads to systemic inflammation.

Stress, lack of exercise, obesity, poor sleep habits, low sex hormones, smoking, food-intolerances and exposure to toxins, radiation, and electronic pollution can all contribute to chronic inflammation. The largest contributor is the typical North American diet, which promotes a low-grade acidic condition in the body – known as acidosis. Studies have shown acidosis in tissue is the primary reason for the presence of pain during inflammation. Diets low in saturated fats, omega-6 fatty acids, high-sugar and overcooked foods and conversely, high in omega-3 fats, fruits, vegetables, green superfoods and mineral-rich foods can suppress inflammatory factors in the body. However, many medical practitioners still deal with inflammation by recommending over-the-counter and prescription drugs.

Anti-inflammatory Drugs are NOT the Answer

Steroid drugs such as prednisone, as well as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) including ibuprofen and aspirin and the prescription varieties, are the standard drugs of choice. NSAIDs are among the most widely prescribed drugs for arthritis and other types of chronic and short-term inflammation. They reduce inflammation through inhibiting production of both the pro- and anti-inflammatory prostaglandins. Both classes of drugs offer temporary, symptomatic relief from swelling, inflammation and accompanying pain.  Anti-inflammatory drugs do not resolve the underlying issue, nor support the body in healing, and can result in a range of unpleasant and even dangerous side effects.  Everything from headaches, diarrhea and nausea to bleeding ulcers and even cartilage damage is possible with prolonged use of NSAIDS.  More serious adverse reactions such as blood dyscrasias, kidney damage and cardiovascular effects have been noted. Steroids and NSAIDs can also rob the body of many necessary nutrients; just taking a baby aspirin a day can deplete vitamin C, calcium, folic acid, iron, potassium and pantothenic acid. Many consumers are questioning the safety of anti-inflammatory pharmaceuticals, but if left untreated, the inflammatory process can lead to devastating consequences. The good news is that there is much we can do to control unwanted chronic inflammation while also seeking to make the proper dietary and lifestyle changes.

 Enzymes to the Rescue

Many people recognize the importance of digestive enzymes.  But the vast majority of enzymes found in the body are the types that regulate protein function at a cellular level – inside the body. They regulate everything from liver function to the immune system and are known as proteases, or proteolytic enzymes.  Proteolytic enzymes are important molecules produced continuously by the body. There are some 3000+ enzymes in the human body, most of them the proteolytic type. During inflammation, proteolytic enzymes are produced in the area of the injury in order to reduce inflammatory chemicals, destroy dead cells, and activate new tissue growth.

Protease enzymes increase the breakdown of the fibrin, a fibrous protein partially responsible for blood clots and swelling during the inflammatory process. With age, fibrin tends to build up in the body and contributes to a variety of conditions including slow wound healing, buildup of scar tissue, thickening of the blood, fibromyalgia, fibrous breasts, and uterine fibroid tumors. Pain, edema, and the pressure within tissue can be eased when enzymes intervene, converting a chronic inflammatory condition into a regenerative healing process.

Proteolytic Enzymes as Natural Anti-Inflammatory Agents

For more than 30 years throughout Europe and Asia (and now in North America), proteolytic enzymes have been in wide clinical use as anti-inflammatory agents. They are a safer alternative to the many prescription and over-the-counter pain relievers that may cause undesirable side effects.  One method by which proteolytic enzyme supplements work is by enhancing the normal function of our own proteolytic enzymes. And the good news is – proteolytic enzymes do not completely inhibit all phases of the inflammatory process to a point where the body is unable to trigger the normal healing process. Proteolytic enzyme supplementation reduces inflammation by neutralizing bradykinins and other inflammatory chemicals to levels where the synthesis, repair and regeneration of injured tissues can begin.

Inflammation Relief with Serrapeptase Enzyme

Serrapeptase, as known as Serratio Peptidase, is a unique proteolytic enzyme quickly gaining a reputation as one of the most potent anti-inflammatory enzyme supplements.

The serrapeptase enzyme is naturally produced by bacteria (known as Serratia 15) in the gut of silkworms, and is used to digest their protein-based silk cocoons. Serrapeptase has been isolated and is now processed commercially through fermentation. When Serrapeptase is enteric coated to protect it from the effects of stomach acid, and is taken on an empty stomach, it is easily absorbed from the intestinal tract and found enzymically active in the bloodstream. (2)

Serrapeptase enzyme activity is thought to induce the breakdown of fibrin (preventing excessive blood clots), and digest dead tissue, cysts, scar tissue and arterial plaque. Serrapeptase has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, pain-blocking and anti-edemic (prevents swelling and fluid retention) activity in a number of tissues, and that its anti-inflammatory effects are superior to other proteolytic enzymes. (3)

Unlike NSAIDs and other drugs, serrapeptase has no inhibitory effects on the pro-inflammatory prostaglandins and is devoid of gastrointestinal side effects.

More Good News about Serrapeptase 

Researchers have recently proposed that inflammation contributes to the development of arterial blockage.  Cardiac patients with high levels of CRP (C-reactive protein, a marker for systemic inflammation) were found to have a greater risk of future heart attack and stroke, independently of other risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure, or cholesterol levels. (4)

The German physician and researcher, Dr. Hans Nieper, a legendary medical doctor known for his extensive use of proteolytic enzymes, named serrapeptase the “Miracle Enzyme” because of its unique abilities.  Dr. Nieper used serrapeptase to treat arterial blockage in his coronary patients. (5)

Because Serrapeptase is a blood-thinning agent, it’s wise to consult your physician if you’re already taking any form of anticoagulant therapy (or, for that matter, if you suffer from any serious illness). Despite these cautions, however, serrapeptase has an excellent tolerability profile in general.

Are YOU Someone who could benefit from Serrapeptase?

While studies with serrapeptase in the treatment of coronary artery disease are relatively new, it has been used successfully for years as an anti-inflammatory agent in the treatment of chronic sinusitis, to improve the elimination of mucus from the bronchopulmonary airways, traumatic injury (e.g. sprains and torn ligaments), fibrocystic breast disease, post-operative inflammation and to facilitate the therapeutic effect of antibiotics in the treatment of infections. In the urological field, serrapeptase has been used successfully for urinary bladder inflammation known as cystitis.

If you’re already taking supplements for sports injuries, arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, PMS or any other condition involving inflammation, try adding or substituting serrapeptase. The results may be profound or at the very least noticeably supportive.



RoseMarie Pierce, B.Sc. Pharm. - Canada’s First Holistic Pharmacist

RoseMarie Pierce earned her degree in Pharmacy from Dalhousie University in 1972. After extensive studies in herbal and nutritional medicine, RoseMarie integrated these disciplinary practices with her pharmacy education to become Canada’s first Holistic Pharmacist. She is recognized as one of Canada’s foremost integrated health spokespeople.

RoseMarie’s core health message focuses on the pH connection to good health! She emphasizes the many powerful ways that balancing our body’s pH impacts the quality of our daily lives.

Using her pharmaceutical and nutritional expertise, RoseMarie has researched and formulated her own line of nutritional supplements with a special focus on pH balancing.

RoseMarie is an educator and product formulator for Prairie Naturals, one of Canada’s leading supplement

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Do You Have Gluten Sensitivity?

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By RoseMarie Pierce BScPharm, Holistic Pharmacist

Many of us feel miserable soon after eating bread, pasta, sushi or even licorice. It could be because these foods contain hard-to-digest gluten proteins. Is gluten the cause of your digestive issues?

While only about 1% of our total population has Celiac Disease ( a severe, gene-based auto immune / gluten intolerance disease) a far larger percentage of people have difficulty digesting gluten.

These “gluten-sensitive” individuals experience distress when eating gluten-containing products and then show improvement after following a gluten-free diet. Scientists are beginning to realize that high gluten-containing foods are not well tolerated by almost all of us!

What is Gluten?
Gluten is a group of proteins found in grass-related grains, such as wheat, rye, barley, spelt and kamut. These cereals are the basis for a variety of flour- and wheat-derived food products consumed throughout the world. For a comprehensive list of gluten-containing food products visit

In North America, most breads, pastas, and cereals are made from high-gluten wheat; extra gluten may even be added! Interestingly,, in Europe, most of their grain products contain less gluten. One explanation for this is that the wheat crops in North America have been hybridized to contain higher percentages of gluten to meet bakers’ needs for fluffy pastries and white bread.

What is Celiac Disease?
Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disease that requires a life-long elimination of gluten from the diet in order to heal damage done to the small intestine. As little as 10mg or a crumb of bread could cause intestinal wall damage. For these people, a gluten-free diet is the only option. In many other people, gluten can cause gastrointestinal distresses similar to those in Celiac Disease even though these symptoms may be less severe.

What is Gluten Sensitivity?
Gluten sensitivity is an inflammatory disorder of the small intestine triggered by consuming gluten-containing foods and can lead to nutrient malabsorption and overactive immune responses. Gluten sensitivities generally worsen over time.

Enzymes Help!
Whether you choose to stay away from gluten completely, or just would like to occasionally enjoy fresh pasta or a piece of your favourite cake – there is help. Specially formulated plant-based enzymes aid in the digestion of gluten and other hard-to-digest proteins such as casein proteins found in milk and other dairy products. Look for enzymes with Dipeptidyl Peptidase IV (DPP IV), a type of natural protease and Actazin, a natural extract from kiwi fruit. Actazin contains a high level of actinidin, a protease enzyme that mimics the body’s own protein-digesting enzymes. Actazin not only helps digest gluten, dairy and other proteins; it is highly effective for correcting the causes of constipation.

In addition to supporting gluten and casein digestion, a good enzyme formulation will include enzymes that assist in the digestion of other proteins and complex carbohydrates found in all grains. An enzyme product that contains a variety of protease (for digesting proteins) and carbohydrase (for digesting starches & complex sugars) along with the special protease know as DPPIV is most beneficial.

Just like taking a multivitamin to supplement our daily vitamin intake, taking a digestive enzyme blend with kiwi extract supplements our body’s need for enzymes.

Enzymes cannot replace a diet free of gluten for those with Celiac Disease, but they can help protect against hidden gluten and casein when eating away from home. And for those with gluten sensitivities, enzymes will make a world of difference to your digestive health!

ABOUT THE AUTHORRoseMarie Pierce, B.Sc. Pharm. – Canada’s First Holistic PharmacistRoseMarie Pierce earned her degree in Pharmacy from Dalhousie University in 1972. After extensive studies in herbal and nutritional medicine, RoseMarie integrated these disciplinary practices with her pharmacy education to become Canada’s first Holistic Pharmacist. She is recognized as one of Canada’s foremost integrated health spokespeople.RoseMarie’s core health message focuses on the pH connection to good health! She emphasizes the many powerful ways that balancing our body’s pH impacts the quality of our daily lives.

Using her pharmaceutical and nutritional expertise, RoseMarie has researched and formulated her own line of nutritional supplements with a special focus on pH balancing.

RoseMarie is an educator and product formulator for Prairie Naturals, one of Canada’s leading supplement companies.

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Creatine – Gain in the Brain

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I am often confronted by patients with the concern of poor memory, poor concentration or uh……the combination of both. Have you ever walked into the kitchen, opened the refrigerator and then realized you forgot what you were looking for? If the answer is yes, you may be a candidate for creatine. You have probably heard of creatine as a sports supplement before and wondering if I am discussing the same thing. That is correct, I am, the same thing that most body builders use to develop big muscles can help to improve the function of the brain. The research into creatine and its effect on brain function has me definitely questioning the concept of the “dumb jock”.

In working with patients suffering from autism spectrum disorders and progressive developmental disorders, I have studied the energy pathways of the brain quite extensively. Many impairments in mental function develop as a direct result of poor energy generation in the brain. If we can improve the capacity of the brain to produce or use energy, we can improve the ability of the brain to function. This was my drive to develop a creatine product with Prairie Naturals called Zipfuel.

When a cell wants to do something; contract in the case of muscle cells, think in the case of neurons, or make mucous in the case of mucosal cells; they need energy. Energy in the cell is found in the form of ATP (adenosine tri-phosphate). When the cell turns ATP into ADP (adenosine di-phosphate) energy is released and action takes place. The ATP is regenerated from ADP when creatine phosphate donates a phosphate molecule back to the ADP. The ATP in the cell is limited, about a 2-4 second supply, so creatine has to act fast. Once the creatine phosphate runs out sugar takes over as the fuel to regenerate ATP. The reason we don’t jump straight to sugar as fuel is that takes time to get started (about 10 seconds) and so we need something to buy us time. As you can guess the more creatine in the cell the easier it is for the cell to regenerate energy and the more the cell can do. This helps a body builder to build muscles because they can increase the number of lifts they can do in the same amount of time. The more you lift, the more damage you do to muscles, the bigger and stronger they get in response. Creatine won’t necessarily make you bulky though – that depends on the type of exercise you do.

When it comes to neurons creatine does the same thing. The same theory with body building can be put into practice. The more creatine your brain has the better it becomes at processing information and recalling information. Even just one week of creatine supplementation was shown to significantly increase cognitive function in the elderly . Creatine also showed that it helped improve brain function and cognitive performance during sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation costs us work efficiency, health, and good moods. One study of sleep deprivation showed the reduced efficiency of the sleep deprived costs the average company about $2500 per sleep deprived employee. Creatine may be able to help alleviate this lost productivity by making the brain more efficient.

Creatine may have originated as a supplement for athletes and jocks, but it has been discovered to be much more. I routinely prescribe this in my practice for a variety of conditions related to low energy, and with the results I have seen, I will continue to use creatine for my patients and myself.

1 Neuropsychol Dev Cogn B Aging Neuropsychol Cogn. 2007 Sep;14(5):517-28.

Physiol Behav. 2007 Jan 30;90(1):21-8. Epub 2006 Oct 13.


Jonathan Beatty is a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine in Ontario, having graduated from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in 2007. Dr Beatty also holds an Honours Bachelor of Science Degree in Nutrition and Nutraceutical Science from the University of Guelph.

Dr. Beatty is a member of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, the Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors and the Canadian Association of Naturpathic Doctors

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Seasonal Digestive Health – Help for the Holidays

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Enzymes support proper digestion – but do we have enough to do the job? They are instrumental in helping to break down and utilize the nutrients from fats, carbs, proteins, sugars and fibres in order to produce energy for the body. While enzymes are found in raw food, there are only enough to digest that particular food and many of us do not eat sufficient quantities of raw food for it to be significant. Eating a meal that contains mostly cooked or processed food can provide very little to no enzymes. The cooking and processing of foods at a temperature of 115° F (46°C) or above destroys the naturally-occurring enzymes found in raw food and reduces a significant amount of the food’s nutritional value. In order to compensate for the lack of enzymes from the food itself, our bodies must produce the majority of the digestive enzymes required to properly digest a meal.

Can the Body Produce Enough Enzymes?

Digestion begins in the mouth, continues in the stomach, and is completed in the intestines. Digestive enzymes are secreted along the digestive tract by the pancreas, the liver/gallbladder, the salivary glands, the cells lining the stomach, and by the lining of the small and large intestines. Unfortunately, the body has a limited supply of energy and raw materials designated to make enzymes. With largely cooked meals and the festive baked treats during the holiday, the body has to work overtime to meet the demands of digestion. This is probably the most noticeable period of time for digestive issues caused by an overly-taxed digestive system without enough enzymes.

Bloating and Gas – Not a Pretty Picture!

Without adequate enzymes available to the body at meal time; protein putrefies, fat turns rancid, carbohydrates ferment, and the fibre in fruits and vegetables does not properly release trapped vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients for absorption. The result is a heavy feeling in the stomach, gas, cramps, bloating and either constipation, diarrhea or both. These symptoms indicate inadequate enzyme production by the digestive system and improper nutrient absorption.

The body normally produces 1.5 litres of gas per day, but production can go as high at 10 litres if just half a small muffin is left in the small intestines undigested. The carbohydrates in that muffin will be fermented by unhealthy, putrefying bacteria producing large amounts of hydrogen gas that will either cause bloating and severe abdominal distention and/or rolling gas. The rolling gas expels from the body without producing an odour yet may cause loud embarrassing sounds.

Why Holiday Food can Make us Sick

1. Holiday meals tend to be eaten in large amounts. The more food you cram into your stomach, especially carbohydrates, sugars, fructose and lactose, the more gas is produced. This gas creates pressure on the esophageal sphincter (the muscle that closes off the top of the stomach & keeps digested food down where it belongs) by pushing the stomach up. When the pressure is great enough, food and acid will back up, causing heartburn. Carbohydrate-digesting enzymes along with the lactose-digesting enzyme lactase (Lactaid) can aid in breaking down the complex starches and sugar, helping to prevent discomfort from bloating and gas.

2. Holiday foods are generally high in dairy, fat, and alcohol which can cause liver congestion, and weight gain. Liver congestion can produce a heavy feeling in the stomach and often nausea upon awakening. Also, fatty foods slow down digestion and can trigger reflux. The fat-digesting enzyme lipase supports the liver in its ability to break down fats.

3. Most holiday treats contain hard-to-digest proteins such as the dairy proteins and the gluten proteins found in wheat, barley and rye. When proteins are not properly broken down into amino acids, they tend to form a paste in the bowel causing constipation. Or they irritate the lining of the intestines, causing a flushing action that often leads to diarrhea. Protease or protein-digesting enzymes can help to break down most proteins, especially the turkey, ham or most meat-based protein. However, special protein-digesting enzymes are needed for foods containing gluten and dairy. Both Peptidase DPP IV (a special type of protease), and Kiwi extracts with standardized protease enzyme content, are known to be effective for breaking down dairy and gluten proteins and relieving constipation and symptoms of IBS.

4. Holiday foods are usually low in fibre. Fibre tends to be missing from the holiday dinner table. Low-fibre foods tend to aggravate constipation and do not provide the right environment for healthy intestinal bacteria to flourish. Even if we add a salad or some cooked vegetable to the meal, poor chewing habits and drinking fluids with meals prevents the fibre and other nutrients in the produce from being properly broken down and utilized to the maximum. Enzyme supplements can provide fibre-digesting enzymes to help.

5. Holiday stress. Stress triggered by mall shopping, cooking, cleaning, travel, and family visits can cause upset stomach and heartburn. During stress, and the flight or fight responses, enzyme production is significantly decreased. On top of that, many people cope with stress by overeating and drinking too much.

Improve Your Digestion with Enzymes

Excessive eating can overwhelm the body’s ability to produce sufficient enzymes, but it is possible to improve digestion by adding an all-purpose digestive enzyme supplement at the beginning of a meal. This is very valuable as it will help to conserve the body’s own enzyme supply and decrease the amount of energy the body expends during the process of digestion. When choosing a supplemental enzyme formula, look for one that incorporates a variety of plant-based enzymes to ensure complete and proper digestion. Plant-based enzymes are more active, versatile and effective throughout the entire digestive tract. They can perform their enzymatic activity across a wider range of acidity and alkalinity within the body. Another aspect of an effective, all-purpose digestive enzyme is the ability to digest fibre. The body does not make the cellulase and other fibre-digesting enzymes necessary for proper breakdown of fibre, so it must be introduced through the raw foods we eat or added to an enzyme supplement, such as FibraZyme. FibraZyme is a fibre-digesting enzyme combination that will break down the fibrous cell walls present in grains, fruits and vegetables and increase the availability of vitamins and minerals from fruits and vegetables.

Enzyme Supplementation Helps More than Digestion

Adding enzymes to the holiday meals and even when having desserts will help to digest food more efficiently hence improving digestion, elimination & bowel health as well as reducing the risk of heartburn, gas and bloating. Plus, an effective digestive enzyme is also ideal for those suffering from other health issues which often are more pronounced during the holidays such as, stiff muscles and back pain, low energy, allergies as well as colds and flu.

Supplementing with a plant-based digestive enzyme helps the body do its job much more effectively. For the large turkey dinner with all the trimmings, take 1 or 2 capsules before the meal, along with 1 or 2 with dessert depending on how much you eat. You will be amazed at how awake and good you feel afterwards!


RoseMarie Pierce, B.Sc. Pharm. - Canada’s First Holistic Pharmacist

RoseMarie Pierce earned her degree in Pharmacy from Dalhousie University in 1972. After extensive studies in herbal and nutritional medicine, RoseMarie integrated these disciplinary practices with her pharmacy education to become Canada’s first Holistic Pharmacist. She is recognized as one of Canada’s foremost integrated health spokespeople.

RoseMarie’s core health message focuses on the pH connection to good health! She emphasizes the many powerful ways that balancing our body’s pH impacts the quality of our daily lives.

Using her pharmaceutical and nutritional expertise, RoseMarie has researched and formulated her own line of nutritional supplements with a special focus on pH balancing.

RoseMarie is an educator and product formulator for Prairie Naturals, one of Canada’s leading supplement companies.

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Choose Natural Remedies for Colds & Flu!

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Cold and flu season is upon us! The late fall through early spring is typically the peak period for the most commonly-occurring viral infections; influenza-like illnesses including the flu, and upper respiratory tract infections such as the common cold. Although it can be annoying and downright inconvenient to have a cold or flu – sometimes it’s our body’s way of telling us something important about our state of health.

A Cleansing Cold?
Sneezing and coughing, along with a runny nose and watery eyes can be the body’s way of releasing toxins, including acidic waste build-up from a year or more of accumulation. This natural process plays an important role in releasing an overburdened body of toxic load. Modern medicine continues to offer quick fixes for cold and flu symptoms, but at what cost are they to the body’s natural cleansing mechanism? Let’s take a look at the available symptomatic relief found in the consumer marketplace and what the overall cost to your health could be.

Drug-based Cold & Flu Medicines – Not Significantly Effective
Antihistamines, decongestants and analgesics, often combined together in a powdered form to be mixed as a hot drink, are normally used to treat the symptoms of cold and flu in the hope of decreasing nasal secretions, sneezing, congestion and sore throat. The most recent Cochrane Database Systematic Reviews (February 2012) included 27 trials with 5117 participants. This scientific review found that, although sold in large quantities for the common cold, evidence of effectiveness of over-the-counter (OTC) products containing antihistamines, decongestants and/or analgesics in, was very limited. In particular, there is no evidence of product effectiveness in young children. While these OTC products provided some general benefit in adults and older children, the benefits must be weighed against the risk of adverse effects. (1)

What are the Dangers of Common Cold & Flu Meds?
Over-the-counter cold and flu medications have multiple side effects. They commonly include drowsiness, dizziness, and possible interactions with antibiotics, blurred vision, dry mouth, gastric disturbances, and potential heart palpitations. Additionally, some patients with a cold or flu who try antihistamines for sleep experience the exact opposite effects with anxiety, sleeplessness, and agitation. Antihistamines, normally used to treat allergies, are used in the hope of decreasing runny nose & sneezing by blocking the action of histamine. It is more helpful to the body to allow the secretions that contain the virus to flow out of the body rather than trying to block them. Decongestants used to shrink nasal blood vessels in order to relieve swelling and congestion further reduces the body’s natural ability to properly release viruses and toxins. Decongestants should be used with caution by those with a history of any heart disease or high blood pressure, and are not recommended at all for children under age six. Analgesics such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen or aspirin help to relieve aches pain and fever but may mask the signs of a developing bacterial infection in the body. Aspirin and ibuprofen also cause significant mineral depletion. Minerals are essential to proper immune system function and for the maintenance of body alkalinity. A proper pH balance in the body is crucial to curbing excessive inflammation as well as preventing viruses and bacteria from multiplying and spreading throughout the body.

Healthy Immunity & pH Balance are Key 
A healthy immune system is the best protection against colds and flu. The factors that can contribute to a less than optimally functioning immune system include poor quality sleep, excessive exercise, stress, smoking, recurring or chronic illness, or an unhealthy diet – all of which contribute to creating an acidic environment within the body’s internal fluids. Since the body’s natural & health-giving state is alkaline, when an acid condition prevails, cellular oxygen is decreased. Bacteria and viruses thrive in an acidic, oxygen-deprived environment and the converse is also true – they cannot survive when the pH is properly balanced to an alkaline state.

The Natural Approach
Herbs and herbal extracts traditionally have been used for centuries to help strengthen the immune system and offer relief from the unpleasant symptoms associated with colds and flu viruses. Herbs, along with immune supporting nutrients such as vitamin C and zinc, may be helpful in reducing the severity and duration of illness. In combination with eating alkaline-forming foods these herbs and nutrients are most helpful. An easy-to-read alkaline food chart and pH paper (to help monitor your body’s pH) can be found in your local health store. View the pH chart at:

Certain plant compounds have been shown in studies to have immuno-stimulating properties. They appear to help stimulate viral defense mechanisms by activating immune cells. Herbal tea mixtures or cooked decoctions have long been used in many cultures because of the synergistic effect of the herbs.

Science Supports Natural Remedies for Colds & Flu
Recent research suggests that the high molecular weight polysaccharides present in Echinacea purpurea have potent non-specific stimulatory actions on the immune system. (2). Echinacea is generally recommended to be used at the very beginning and throughout the course of an illness and then tapered off. Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), has been traditionally used as an immune strengthening remedy with colds and flu. Several components (e.g., rosemarinic acid and caffeic acid) are reported to possess antibacterial and “viro-stopping” properties. (3) Lemon Balm is widely used as a mild sedative to clam the nerves and producing a relaxing sleep – ideal in times of stress and infection. . Sleep deprivation is associated with disruptions of immune function. (4)Vitamin C, elderberry extract and zinc are a better choice than antihistamines at the start of a cold or flu. Elderberry binds to and prevents infection with influenza H1N1 virus. (5) Studies suggest that black elderberry can inhibit the growth of influenza viruses and shorten the duration of influenza symptoms while enhancing antibody levels against the virus. Vitamin C and zinc help to overcome an infection by strengthening mucous membranes of the nasal passages and throat from virus penetration. A Cochrane systematic review performed a subgroup analysis of 642 very healthy adults engaged in highly physically stressful activities (marathon runners, skiers, and soldiers on subarctic exercises) showed a 50% decrease in the risk of developing a cold among those who took vitamin C supplements. (6) Vitamin D is an important immune regulator, stimulating innate immunity and moderating inflammation, in addition to its well known effects on bone health. A suboptimal level of Vitamin D is associated with weaker production of anti- microbial proteins that work with immunesystem cells to kill pathogens. (7)

Taste the Power of Honey, Lemon & Ginger
Hot tea with honey, lemon and ginger is another popular remedy during winter months. Honey is a home remedy commonly used to treat the symptoms of respiratory infections, particularly scratchy throats and coughs. (Note: Unpasteurized honey should not be given to children younger than 2 years old.)Lemons are high in vitamin C, and lemon juice’s anti-inflammatory qualities soothe sore throats and irritated membranes. Ginger helps stimulate perspiration, which cleanses the system and reduces body temperature. Like lemon, ginger has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger also acts as a cough suppressant and has remarkable sleep-inducing, analgesic properties. In Chinese medicine, ginger is used for its warming properties.

Keep Hydrated!
During a cold or flu, dehydration can dry the respiratory mucosal surfaces. Ensure adequate fluid intake while avoiding deficiencies of essential nutrients by sipping on several natural hot lemon, honey and ginger drinks during the day and before sleep. Natural remedies can be effective as preventative or therapeutic and their use is becoming increasingly supported by enlightened healthcare providers as a safer and healthier alternative to over-the-counter cold and flu medications.


  1. Oral antihistamine-decongestant-analgesic combinations for the common cold, 2012.
  3. Wichtl M. “Herbal Drugs & Phyotpharmaceuticals. CRC Press: Boca Raton, 1994.”
  4. Spiegel K, Sheridan JF, Van Cauter E. “Effect of sleep deprivation on response to immunization.” JAMA. 2002; 288:1471-1472.
  5. Elderberry & Flu
  6. Vitamin C for preventing and treating the common cold, 2004.
  7. Association between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D level & upper respiratory tract infection in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Surve, 2009.


RoseMarie Pierce, B.Sc. Pharm. - Canada’s First Holistic Pharmacist
RoseMarie Pierce earned her degree in Pharmacy from Dalhousie University in 1972. After extensive studies in herbal and nutritional medicine, RoseMarie integrated these disciplinary practices with her pharmacy education to become Canada’s first Holistic Pharmacist. She is recognized as one of Canada’s foremost integrated health spokespeople.

RoseMarie’s core health message focuses on the pH connection to good health! She emphasizes the many powerful ways that balancing our body’s pH impacts the quality of our daily lives.

Using her pharmaceutical and nutritional expertise, RoseMarie has researched and formulated her own line of nutritional supplements with a special focus on pH balancing.

RoseMarie is an educator and product formulator for Prairie Naturals, one of Canada’s leading supplement companies.

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Your Vital Energy Depends on Optimal pH Balance

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By: RoseMarie Pierce, B.SC. Pharm.

Did you know that low energy levels accompanied by carbohydrate cravings, muscle soreness, low back pain or headaches, most likely indicate a pH imbalance? Many people are astonished once they realize the ill health effects caused by an overly acidic condition in the body. Yet, one of the most compelling nutritional discoveries in recent times is the role that balanced pH plays in our energy levels and overall health.

What is Optimal pH Balance?

pH is the measure of the alkalinity or acidic of a fluid. The body’s internal fluids are alkaline and are maintained at a pH close to 7.0, though the exact pH of different fluids varies. Sustaining healthy blood pH (pH 7.35-7.45) is one of the body’s most important tasks, since even slight deviations can severely compromise health. The body must constantly strive to maintain a pH balance of these critical internal fluids: blood, saliva, urine, extracellular and intracellular for all normal bodily reactions and functions to occur. Ironically, as each cell performs its task of respiration, metabolism and other normal cellular functions it secretes acidic cellular waste!

What Creates Acidic Waste?

As we age, many factors contribute to the toxic acid load stored up in our bodies. Along with cellular function, acidic waste can be caused by high-acid foods and beverages, excessive stress, intensive and prolonged exercise, pollution, over-the-counter and prescription drugs, poor lifestyle habits and even negative thinking. Fortunately, the human body is very effective at filtering out most of our daily acidic waste with the help of our lymphatic system.

What Role Does Our Lymphatic System Play?

The lymphatic system, made up of lymph fluid, tiny vessels, nodes and organs, is responsible for removing excess fluid, infections and acidic waste from the interstitial spaces between the cells. But with years of poor lifestyle and eating habits, an accumulation of acid occurs. An overload of acid causes lymphatic vessels to constrict, inhibiting the lymphatic system’s ability to work efficiently. This leads to dead cell parts, discarded proteins, fluids, acidic cellular waste and toxins accumulating in body tissues and causing swelling o known as lymphedema. Other lymphatic system problems can include infections, blockages (swollen glands), and cancer.

Reducing Acidity Helps Maintain a Proper pH Balance

Our bodies have many ways of neutralizing or eliminating acidic waste products in order to promote optimal pH balance. Collectively, the lungs, kidneys, intestines, and skin are in control of the body’s pH balancing act. The body needs oxygen, water, acid-buffering minerals and bicarbonates to ensure adequate pH buffering. Regular breathing is a very effective way of reducing acidity. When oxygen is taken in and carbon dioxide released, carbonic acid levels are decreased in the blood. Just as important as breathing is the use of mineral and bicarbonates to neutralize or buffer acids within the cells, blood, kidneys, and the lymphatic system. Bicarbonates are naturally produced in the body, present in all body fluids, and play a major role in neutralizing acids throughout the body.

Alkaline Minerals and Bicarbonate-Producing Food Groups Buffer Acidity

Research has revealed that the body’s natural ability to produce pH-balancing bicarbonates declines with age. Mineral-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables, are rich in precursors to bicarbonates in the form of organic acids (citric, malic, acetic etc.). The continual replacement of key minerals & bicarbonate-producing foods is essential. The most obvious source of mineral and bicarbonate buffers is the diet. The best foods are those that form the fewest acidic waste products and provide the greatest amount of acid-neutralizing minerals (potassium, magnesium, calcium, sodium) and bicarbonate precursors. The highest mineral-containing and bicarbonate-producing foods are: fruits (lemons, limes, melons, prunes, berries); root vegetables (celeriac, rutabaga, turnips, carrots, parsnips, sweet potato, potato, yams, onions); vegetable or vine fruit (tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, cucumbers); leafy greens (spinach, lettuce, kale, chard); stalks (celery, broccoli stalks); mushrooms.

Start Your Day the Alkaline Way!

One of the most convenient and effective ways to reduce the body’s level of acidity is to hydrate and energize first thing in the morning and throughout the day with an alkalizing drink. Lemon juice added to water provides alkaline minerals and bicarbonate precursors in the form of citric acid. Citric acid can be converted by the kidneys into bicarbonate and used as part of its buffering system to neutralize acid accumulating in the blood. Lemons contain the highest amount of citric acid (up to 10%) of any food. As a super-alkalizing agent, lemons play an important role in cellular detoxification and energy production. When taken every morning, an alkalizing drink (lemon water) can aid the body in naturally releasing harmful acidic impurities and other toxic build-up that retard metabolism and add weight to the abdominal area. Bringing your body into the optimal pH balance does not necessarily require a radical change to your total lifestyle or eating habits. Simply adjust your diet to include more fruits and vegetables, hydrate with a lemon-based alkaline drink mix one or more times per day and follow as many of the 8 Simple Steps as possible. By focusing on alkalizing the body to maintain an optimal pH balance, you will experience a noticeable increase in your energy and overall health.

About the Author

RoseMarie Pierce, B.Sc. Pharm. – Canada’s First Holistic Pharmacist
RoseMarie Pierce earned her degree in Pharmacy from Dalhousie University in 1972. After extensive studies in herbal and nutritional medicine, RoseMarie integrated these disciplinary practices with her pharmacy education to become Canada’s first Holistic Pharmacist. She is recognized as one of Canada’s foremost integrated health spokespeople.

RoseMarie’s core health message focuses on the pH connection to good health! She emphasizes the many powerful ways that balancing our body’s pH impacts the quality of our daily lives.

Using her pharmaceutical and nutritional expertise, RoseMarie has researched and formulated her own line of nutritional supplements with a special focus on pH balancing.

RoseMarie is an educator and product formulator for Prairie Naturals, one of Canada’s leading supplement companies.

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