Hair Growth Healthy Hair

Hair Growth Vitamins that Boost Hair Growth & Volume

July 12, 2017

Hair is a fun topic for me because its a love/hate relationship! Do I like my hair? You bet, I’m grateful I have hair and that it grows nicely. I do wish it had some better qualities though. For example, the older I’ve grown the thinner my hair has become and my ponytails are 1 inch or less in diameter! It just has no volume whatsoever. Length wise, its not terrible but I do wish it would grow past a certain point on my back. I think that you’ll like my post today on how to grow your hair longer, fuller and definitely help it look healthier. One of my fav doctors blogged about some information on how to achieve this and I just had to share what he said below! Scroll down for the juicy details! (Source: Dr.Westin Childs)

There are various treatments you can do to improve the quality and texture of your hair but you need to make sure you are using the RIGHT supplements for YOUR body.

In this post I go over the best hair growth vitamins, how to use them, which ones work best and how to determine if you need further evaluation.

What Really Causes Hair Loss

Can vitamins and supplements actually help regrow your hair?

It turns out that the answer to that is yes, but they must be used correctly.

In order to understand which supplements to use you need to understand why you are having hair loss to begin in.

Hair loss occurs as a result of multiple causes:

  • Nutrient deficiencies (due to poor diet, processed foods, etc.)
  • Mineral deficiencies (specifically iron)
  • Hormone imbalances including: high testosterone (specifically in women), low thyroid (both sexes), high cortisol (both sexes)
  • Exposure to repeated or chronic stress
  • Genetics (we can’t change this)
  • Certain medications (including some thyroid hormones)

​So if you know WHY you are having hair loss then you can target your treatment to that specific problem.

Unfortunately you may have one or more of the following issues going on in your body without knowing it, which creates a problem for us.

​Luckily there are several things we can do to test for these problems and you can match your symptoms to the various problems to pinpoint where your problem is.

Once you have that information down you can target your treatment to get results. ​

​How to Regrow your Hair with Vitamins & Supplements (Start here)

If you know you don’t have any issues with hormones, stress, etc. then you can start here.

These supplements are REQUIRED for proper hair growth and they also happen to be depleted in many individuals.

​The use of these supplements will result in increased hair growth, increase hair volume and increased hair density.

grow your hair volume healthy longer

#1. Biotin + Silica + Choline

​Studies have shown that certain nutrients can dramatically help improve hair growth even in nutrient repleted states.

​The combination of Biotin and Silica represents one such combination.

​In this study women with thinning hair were given that combination of supplements over 180 days.

hair regrowth study

Compared to placebo the women had an increase in hair volume and number of hair follicles that was twice that of the control group (placebo).

This supplement is probably my favorite and one of the most effective hair regrowth supplements that I know of.

Does it work for everyone?

Unfortunately not, but in my experience up to 60-70% of people who try it will experience some benefit. ​

If you decide to use this supplement make sure you use it for at least 2 months.

If you don’t notice any improvement after 2 months then you aren’t likely to be a responder and you should re-evaluate the cause of your hair loss. ​

How to tell if you Need it

Patients with Hashitmoto’s, Hypothyroidism or impaired thyroid function AND with hair loss should consider these supplements in addition to changes in thyroid function and evaluation of serum iron levels. This combination of supplements is probably the most effective at regrowing hair than any other.

How to Use
  • 1 Capsule two times per day (used in the morning and in the evening, but make sure to use away from your thyroid hormone)
  • You should first notice improvement in hair thickness and volume within 1-2 months, then an increase in hair growth thereafter
Recommended Product: BioSil

#2. Iron

Iron represents one of the most common and underappreciated causes of hair loss in women.

Why?

Because adequate iron stores (in the form of ferritin) are REQUIRED for optimal hair growth and this has been shown in several studies.

You need at least a ferritin level of 30ng/ml for optimal hair growth.

By the way – this is usually why women who take a prenatal vitamin experience increased hair growth.

It’s because MANY women are iron deficient and pre natal vitamins almost always contain iron.

​So why is this an issue?

Because most of the focus of physicians is on iron deficiency but only if it causes anemia.

But many studies have shown that low iron by itself (even with normal RBC/hemoglobin count) STILL influences hair growth and can cause hair loss long term.

​This is a big deal for women because of menstruation.

If you have a heavy menstrual cycle there is a high chance you may be iron deficient (as evidenced by a low ferritin level) but NOT anemic.

If so then you need to make sure you check your iron studies including your ferritin.

If you find that your ferritin is below 30ng/ml AND you are experiencing hair loss then treating with iron would be the first step to take. ​

If you’ve taken iron before and it has made you constipated then you will be happy to know that you can take liquid iron which does not cause constipation and will still be absorbed.

How to tell if you Need it

Check your iron studies and only supplement if your levels are sub optimal or low:

  • Ferritin – Optimal Levels = 40-50
  • Serum Iron – Middle of the reference range
  • TIBC (Total Iron Binding Capacity) – Middle of the Reference range
  • Percent Saturation – 35-38%
How to Use
  • Liquid iron: Start with 10 ml each day, do not exceed 20 ml per day (if you take more than 1 dose per day make sure to split it apart from one another and take at least 4 hours away from your thyroid medication)
  • Iron capsules: Start with 1 capsule of iron and increase up to 3 per day as tolerated and based on your serum iron/ferritin levels (take at least 4 hours away from your thyroid medication)

*Use liquid iron if you have intestinal issues such as gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation or if you have previously failed capsule forms of iron.

Recommended Product: Salus Haus – Floravital Iron (liquid)
For Iron Capsules

#3. ​L-Lysine

L-lysine is another overlooked nutrient required for optimal hair growth.

L-lysine is present in the hair root and is responsible for the shape and volume of your hair.

When you are deficient in l-lysine your hair becomes brittle, thin and limp.

​This is a big deal for several reasons:

First:

It is often overlooked and quite common.

Not many people take L-lysine despite the many benefits it has (even on immune function).

Second:

L-lysine is required for optimal absorption of both ​iron and zinc.

We just got done discussing how important iron is for hair growth but we need to take it one step further.

Iron deficiency can definitely be caused by iron less (through menstruation, etc.) but it can also be caused due to reduced absorption.

And this is where L-lysine comes in.

Even if you are taking iron supplements you may not be absorbing it.

And l-lysine has been shown to INCREASE that absorption (along with zinc). ​

So if your hair quality is changing, or you feel that your hair is getting more sparse or more thin than it has been in the past it is a great idea to try the combination of L-lysine plus Iron plus zinc.

This combination gives you back ALL of the critical nutrients required for hair growth.

How to tell if you Need it

Patients who still have hair loss despite iron supplementation and normal ferritin levels should consider adding L-lysine to their regimen to boost hair growth.

How to Use
  • Use 1,500mg per day (3 capsules) for best results in combination with iron, but away from thyroid hormone
Recommended Product: L-Lysine

 

#4. Minoxidil​

​Minoxidil isn’t necessarily a vitamin, it’s actually a medication, but it can be purchased over the counter.

It’s actually FDA approved to treat hair loss in both men and women and can be helpful in certain circumstances so it’s worth mentioning here.

hair growth with minoxidil

​It’s not a matter of whether minoxidil works or not, it definitely works – it wouldn’t be FDA approved if it didn’t.

The problem with minoxidil is that once you stop using it your hair will go back to the way it was previously, and that’s the issue.

The entire goal of growing your hair, increasing your volume and density is so that it STAYS that way.

But, as I mentioned, minoxidil still has value and here’s why:

First:

Minoxidil can be combined ​with other supplements for a compounded boost to hair growth.

What I mean is you can start minoxidil AND other therapies at the same time.

Once your hair starts growing from the other therapies then you can stop the minoxidil (or continue with it if that’s your preference). ​

Second: ​

Minoxidil offers a very quick solution to your hair loss/thinning hair.

It offers immediate improvement and has a very high chance of working.

This is important because we have to realize that hair loss can have a very big effect on self confidence.

If you have significant anxiety surrounding your hair loss, or your thinning hair is keeping you from going out into the public then minoxidil (short term) is a good idea to use while you also try other supplements. ​

In terms of how it works?

We aren’t 100% sure how minoxidil works, we just know that it does.

Studies have shown that it probably works by increasing blood flow, improving oxygenation to hair follicles and by altering certain potassium channels – all of which likely help to reduce hair loss and increase hair growth. ​

If you choose to use Minoxidil just remember that once you stop using it the beneficial effects that you experienced will subside (unless you use minoxidil + other vitamins). ​

Who should use it
  • People who are self conscious about their hair loss and need an immediate stop to the hair loss
  • People with high levels of testosterone (both men and women) who haven’t been able to lower it through lifestyle changes
  • People who have tried other oral supplements without benefit
How to Use
  • Apply the topical solution to your scalp (or areas where your hair is thin, remember that this works topically)
  • Make sure to wash your hands afterwards so you don’t stain your cloth (and be careful because it can run down your head)
  • Allow enough time to dry (usually between 2-4 hours) before shampooing your hair or applying hair spray, etc.
  • Apply at least once per day but preferably twice per day
Recommended Product: Minoxidil

healthy hair growth supplements

#5. B12 Shots​

B12 is another big one that is worth spending some time on.

I specifically mention B12 shots here instead of oral or sublingual B12 and that is intentional.

​Before we talk about why B12 shots are superior we need to establish why you would want to use B12 for your hair.

Well it turns out that studies have shown that you need all of the following nutrients in adequate amounts in order to regrow your hair:

  • Vitamin B12 level: Serum levels need to be higher than 700 (I prefer 1,000) ng/L
  • Ferritin: Must be 70 ng/ml (some studies show greater than 30, but I prefer closer to 50-70)
  • Hemoglobin: Must be at least 13 g/dL in women

We’ve already talked about ferritin (which is a marker of your iron stores) and hemoglobin isn’t usually a problem unless you have iron deficient anemia – but most patients are aware of this condition.

That leaves the B12.

You probably know Vitamin B12 as the “energy” nutrient, but what you might not have known is that it also plays an important role in hair growth.

​Like iron, Vitamin B12 is another very common nutrient that many patients are also deficient in.

B12 requires proper thyroid hormone, gastric acid and other cofactors for optimal absorption.

This leads to a situation where many patients taking oral B12 supplements (and even sublingual B12 drops) still have sub optimal levels.

And that’s where B12 shots come in.

Taking B12 bypasses gastrointestinal absorption by placing the B12 directly into your subcutaneous or skeletal muscles.

This results in near 100% absorption and assimilation right into your cells for optimal benefit.

​B12 shots also come with other benefits including potentially helping with weight loss, energy and more

How to Tell if you Need it

Patients with the following symptoms should consider using B12 shots:

  • Obesity or weight gain
  • Fatigue or low energy levels
  • Lack of sleep or insomnia (including difficulty falling asleep)
  • Depression or other mood issues like anxiety
  • Hair loss or a lack of hair growth
  • Low serum B12 levels (less than 1,000)
  • High homocysteine levels (greater than 9.0)
  • MCV (mean corpuscular volume) that is higher than 92
  • High levels of inflammation
Low serum B12 levels
How to Use
  • Take 5,000 mcg of Methylcobalamin every 7 days for at least 10 weeks
  • You will need 10 weeks worth of injections to saturate tissues and increase cellular B12 levels
Recommended Product:

Make sure you get methylcobalamin shots in a high enough dosage for best results. Recommended Lab coming soon.

These first 5 supplements are all things that can boost hair growth and can be used if you aren’t certain what is causing your hair loss.

Below I will go over some other specific situations that can lead to hair loss and how to deal with those. ​

What if High Testosterone is Causing your Hair Loss?​

Another very common reason for hair loss in women is due to high testosterone levels.

Much like men, women also can develop hair thinning and a male pattern baldness like scenario based on their testosterone levels.

​High testosterone levels can also cause coarse or dark hair growth in other places like the chin and upper lip.

male patterned baldness

I won’t go over the causes of high testosterone here, for now I want to focus on why high testosterone levels generally lead to hair loss in women.

​When we talk about testosterone in women we really need to talk about testosterone metabolites.

It turns out that androgens, specifically a very potent androgen​ known as DHT or dihydrotestosterone has direct action on hair follicles that leads to hair loss in both sexes.

Testosterone metabolism

​Your body turns testosterone into DHT through the enzyme 5-a reductase.

So high activity of this enzyme will result in higher than normal testosterone metabolism in favor of more DHT.

The more DHT you have (as a woman or male) the more hair loss that occurs. ​

What makes this tricky is that standard lab tests only check for serum testosterone levels.

Very few physicians actually check for DHT, so it can be missed. ​

The good news is that there is a way to slow down the enzyme 5-a reductase and reduce the amount of DHT your body is producing.

The way to do this is by using two supplements:​

#1. Zinc + Saw Palmetto

​Both zinc and saw palmetto have been shown to slow down this enzyme and reduce DHT production

This gives you a powerful tool in managing testosterone conversion inside your body.

Taking the combination of these supplements won’t necessarily reduce your total testosterone level, but it will impact your DHT conversion.

Along with this benefit, the combination of zinc and saw palmetto also has positive influence on inflammation, immune function and even thyroid function in your body.

We will talk more about zinc and thyroid function, but just realize that zinc IS required for hair growth as well.

So taking zinc in this setting is actually a really great idea.

By the way, this is also why taking zinc for acne has been shown to be helpful in hormonal acne (it reduces androgen activity in hair follicles AND sebaceous glands). 

How to Use
  • Take up to 60mg per day of zinc (max) – Zinc can also help promote proper thyroid function and immunity
  • Take up to 600mg per day of Saw palmetto
  • Combine both therapies for maximum benefit
Recommended Product:

Use 30-60mg of Zinc bound to picolinic acid per day and use it in conjunction with saw palmetto to help lower testosterone levels:

Zinc Supplement

Saw Palmetto

 

What if Hypothyroidism is Causing your Hair Loss?

Ok this is another big one and worth spending some time on as well.

You probably already know that low thyroid function is associated with hair loss, but what you may not have realized is how common the condition actually is.

Hypothyroidism is so common that I have 50+ posts on the subject alone.

Some studies show that up to 10-20% of people have thyroid related diseases (and at least 10% of the population is walking around without knowing it). ​

In addition most of us think as hypothyroidism as CAUSING obesity, but the opposite is also true.

Obesity causes thyroid dysfunction.

This means if you are overweight you HAVE thyroid issues, whether or not your thyroid problem caused your weight gain. ​

Couple this with the fact that most patients are under treated and/or misdiagnosed and you can see that the odds are high that (or inability to grow your hair back).

So how does this relate to hair loss?

Well, because your thyroid has direct action on your hair follicles any problem with your thyroid will also result in a problem regrowing your hair.

In fact, hair loss is one of the major symptoms of hypothyroidism, right up there with weight gain and fatigue.

When you take a look at these symptoms it’s easy to see that many people are suffering with thyroid issues without even realizing it.

Other symptoms that tend to accompany thyroid problems include:

  • Weight gain or inability to lose weight
  • Hair loss, brittle hair or inability to grow back your hair
  • Fatigue or low energy
  • Problems with sleep
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Constipation or other GI problems like gas/bloating/acid reflux
  • Mood issues like depression or anxiety

​Bottom line?

If you have hair issues AND any of the above symptoms then you need to have your thyroid function evaluated correctly.

​Why?

Because if you don’t address your thyroid then it will be difficult to regrow your hair.

Having said all of this there are a couple of things you can do to boost your thyroid function, and these supplements also happen to be required for proper hair growth anyway so it’s a win-win. ​

#1. ​Zinc

We’ve already discussed how zinc can positively impact testosterone metabolism.

What we need to talk about now is how zinc can positively impact thyroid function AND improve hair growth.

Zinc metabolism has been shown to be required for optimal hair growth (this is why zinc is almost all hair growth formulations).

​Not only is zinc involved in the hair growth cycle but it’s also a nutrient that many people are deficient in.

People who notice an improvement in their hair when taking zinc probably don’t realize HOW it’s working, they just know that it is working.

Taking zinc can help improve your hair growth if your problem is related to thyroid function because zinc actually increases peripheral thyroid conversion.

Most of the thyroid hormone in your body ​is circulating around in an “inactive” form.

In order for thyroid hormone to be activated your body needs certain nutrients like selenium and zinc.

When in adequate amounts these nutrients help boost the conversion from T4 (the inactive thyroid hormone) to T3 (the active thyroid hormone).

Zinc obviously plays a role in this important process but it also helps metabolize testosterone, reduce inflammation, promote hair growth directly and improves immunity.

​These factors make taking zinc very important if you are having issues with hair growth.

 

#2. Selenium​

Selenium is another important nutrient that many people are deficient in.

What’s more is that selenium is required for proper hair growth.

Why?

Because selenium is an important part of selenium proteins that play a role in thyroid function, DNA synthesis and anti oxidant defense.

Selenium is also a component of the hair matrix and normal levels must be taken up by hair follicles in order to have normal hair growth.

In addition, selenium also promotes T4 to T3 conversion in deficient patients and may boost immune function.

Couple all of these benefits together and you can see why patients with hair issues should consider supplementing with selenium.

If you do decide to supplement with selenium it’s also a good idea to combine the combination of zinc plus selenium.

These two nutrients seem to work in tandem with one another in a multiplicative effect.

Who should use it
  • Patients with hair loss or hair thinning
  • Patients with known a known thyroid disorder and hair loss (or brittle hair)
  • Patients with other nutrient deficiencies like zinc or iodine
  • Patients who frequently take acid blockers for acid reflux
  • Patients with other GI related issues (gas/bloating, IBS, IBD, etc.)
  • Patients also taking Zinc
How to Use
  • 200-400mcg per day (do not exceed 400mcg per day)
Recommended Product: Selenium

 

Other Factors that Cause Hair Loss

We’ve already hit that majority of the main causes of hair loss and how to treat those problems, but we aren’t done yet.

There are other conditions that alter hair loss and they should at least be considered if you don’t know why your hair is falling out or not growing as well as it used to.

Remember that these conditions I am talking about are complex and usually interact with multiple systems in the body.

Because of these interactions it is important for you to address any and all problems you find in your body.

By taking this approach you will have the best success in improving your hair texture, quality and density. ​

Stress

Stress is often overlooked as a cause of disease, even though it may be one of the most important aspects of modern diseases.

Stress has been linked to multiple disease states (including an increased risk for heart disease and developing autoimmune disease) but here we will focus on its effects on hair follicles.

It is well known that high levels of stress alter the life cycle of your hair follicles.

When you perceive stress (this can be emotional, physical or social) your body responds by releasing cortisol – your stress hormone.

​Simply triggering this stress response isn’t necessarily a big deal, but when you constantly trigger your stress from day to day activities then you develop problems.

This constant exposure to stress alters your HPA axis and cortisol levels.

​This is important because high levels of cortisol have been shown to alter hair growth acceleration by up to 40%!

​What this means for you is this:

High stress levels may be LIMITING the ability your body has to regrow your hair.

So while it may not necessarily cause hair loss (although it can if you develop autoimmune disease) it most certainly will limit your body’s ability to regrow any lost hair.

This can be incredibly problematic if you have more than one condition like hypothyroidism induced hair loss PLUS stress which can then limit regrowth potential.

So what can you do about it?

It turns out that certain adaptogens can help reduce your cortisol level and indirectly influence hair growth through this mechanism.

​The adaptogen I am referring to is known as Ashwagandha and it has been shown in certain individuals to dramatically improve hair growth:

How to tell if you Need it

I recommend checking the following lab tests prior to supplementation:

  • Serum 8 am cortisol: For best results this level should be somewhere between 4-16. Levels higher than 20 may require different treatment.
How to Use
  • Dosage varies from 500-2,000 mg per day depending on tolerance and degree of symptoms
  • Length of treatment varies by condition, for adrenal fatigue supplementation as long as 6+ months may be required.
Recommended Product: Ashwagandha

Estrogen/progesterone Imbalances

​Lastly, and another important factor for hair loss, is your sex hormones.

We’ve already discussed how testosterone can influence hair growth but it turns out that your estrogen and progesterone levels ALSO play an important role.

estrogen and hair loss

​In fact, it’s well known that estrogen helps your hair stay thick and grow quickly.

This explains why some pregnant woman notice an improvement in both the texture and quality of their hair (and unfortunately why the hair reverts back to normal post pregnancy).

What you may not realize is that estrogen/progesterone imbalances lead to hair LOSS and a reduction in the quality and texture of your hair.

Another important factor is that these imbalances in estrogen and progesterone are increasingly becoming more common.

How do you know if you have sex hormone issues?

You may have 1 or more of the following symptoms:

  • Hair loss (or changes to hair density or texture)
  • PMS/PMDD
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Mood changes (especially that coincide with your menstrual cycle)
  • Bloating or swelling in extremities
  • Breast tenderness
  • Pelvic cramps or pelvic pain
  • History of PCOS, endometriosis or fibrocystic breast disease

​If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above AND you have hair issues then you may have a problem with your sex hormones.

​The evaluation of sex hormones, and treatment of those problems, can be quite complex and I’ve gone into detail in previous posts about how to treat it but I won’t include it in this post.

Back to you

​The moral of the story:

Hair loss is a complex issue and may require more than just 1 or 2 supplements to fix the problem.

Your hair follicles are influenced by a variety of factors including: stress, hormones, nutrients and even your diet.

If you want to promote proper hair growth you need to find WHAT is wrong in your body and fix that problem.

Having said that there are multiple nutrients that have been shown to simply promote hair growth and these would be where you should start.

If you fail with these basic nutrients then it might be time for further evaluation of your thyroid function and sex hormones with specific treatment to those areas if necessary.

 

***Thank you Dr. Childs for an excellent article!***

Have you used hair vitamins that work? Comment below if you have tried something that has worked well for you, or if you’re wanting to try something new!

healthy ready for summer body

Getting Ready and Toned for Summer

May 10, 2017

When it comes to toning up after weight loss, everyone has an opinion about what works best. There seems to be a new fitness trend just about every week that promises to be your perfect solution. But if you’re not a fitness expert, it can be tough to know what will truly help you achieve the results you want.

The truth is that while “toning up” is typically associated with increased strength training, it is best achieved through a combination of different types of exercise and quality nutrition. Here we provide some of the most effective ways to tone up this summer:

1. Add Variety to Your Workout Routine

Adding variety isn’t just important to prevent you from getting bored. The best exercise routines are the ones that are constantly changing and challenging you to improve your fitness level. Many exercisers find that simply switching out their usual workout for something new a couple times a week can be the answer they’ve been looking for. It’s not uncommon to enjoy one type of exercise more than another, but with the limitless workout options out there, you’re bound to find plenty of new workouts you enjoy.

For example, the PRISE Protocol developed by Paul Arciero, Ph.D., Director of the Human Nutrition and Metabolism Laboratory at Skidmore College, is based on variety. The PRISE Protocol consists of four different types of workouts with each one performed one day per week. The exercise protocol includes a combination of resistance training, interval sprint training, stretching, and endurance training. By incorporating this protocol with protein pacing, athletes were able to better achieve the benefits of exercise with greater reductions in body fat and greater gains in lean muscle mass.

2. Prioritize Cleanse Days

People often turn to Cleanse Days for the overall health and weight loss benefits, but for those looking to gain muscle, the idea of fasting might seem counterintuitive. However, as intermittent fasting (IF) makes its way into the spotlight, an increasing amount of research supports IF as an effective way to lose fat while maintaining muscle compared to basic calorie restriction.

One study found that during a day of IF (or a Cleanse Day), the body conserves muscle by increasing the use of body fat for fuel and increasing growth hormone levels. These findings show that muscle loss is not a concern during Cleanse Days. If anything, making sure to work in regular Cleanse Days might help you achieve faster results.

3. Maximize Results With Protein Pacing

Protein pacing is a nutritional strategy of consuming high-quality protein foods at appropriate times throughout the day to maximize health and performance. The goal is to spread your daily protein intake evenly between four to six small meals, while consuming about 20-30 grams of protein per meal.

Isagenix products, including IsaLean® PRO Shake, IsaPro®, IsaLean Shake, and IsaLean Bars can help to make this nutritional strategy easy to achieve. Research has shown that protein pacing can help you maximize muscle maintenance during weight loss and muscle building when combined with exercise.

Dr. Arciero has been a key figure in research on the health and performance effects of protein pacing and has used Isagenix products in his research.  In a series studies, Dr. Arciero found that research participants who consumed a diet higher in quality protein combined with protein pacing and exercise lost more body weight, more body fat, more abdominal fat, and maintained their lean body mass (research). The study participants were able to achieve these beneficial improvements even though the total calories they consumed were identical to a normal eating pattern.

Through science-backed strategies, toning up couldn’t be easier. You may be surprised by how simple changes can make a big difference. There’s no better time to start shifting focus to what works best for toning up so you can feel your best, and most confident this summer.

Source: Isagenix

Ellie Monthly Subscription Box Review

May 5, 2017

Who doesn’t love stylish and adorable workout clothes? I am obsessed with all things cute + fitness. Hence my search for a great subscription box featuring stylish apparel at a good price. After doing a search, Ellie was the first one to come up. I checked them out on Instagram and was impressed by the cute clothing choices they put out each month.

Here is how it works. You sign up for a subscription at Ellie and tell them your preferred sizes. Once you set up your subscription, they will send you a monthly box with 5 items for $49.95. They will do a sneak peek at the beginning of every month so you can decide if you want it or not. They do offer the option to cancel or skip the box that month.

Your pretty and shiny box shows up on your doorstep. Once opened, you’ll find an Ellie cinch sack that has all the items inside. Your usual box will have a sports bra, a top, leggings or capris, some type of accessory and a piece of equipment. Now keep in mind you may receive an alternate item. They let you know up front in their FAQs that they don’t guarantee that every customer will receive the exact same item. If they do sell through a certain style, they will substitute it with something that’s super similar and as close to the original as possible. That is totally reasonable in my opinion. In fact, my first month was March and I didn’t get the same blue tank that they displayed on IG. However, I really liked the alternative version they sent me. Same with the month of April, I got a cute pink tank that wasn’t the original one..but I liked it MORE!

So far I’ve had a March box (themed blue) and I loved it. No problems! I’ve had an April box, and I’ve got my May box which is probably my most favorite of all. The items just get cuter and cuter.

Each month, they curate a unique matching outfit, except this month (MAY) each box will feature the same color scheme but with varying styles!

Ellie may Box blog review

All in all, I’ve been extremely happy with this subscription service, and I would recommend it to a friend. I do want to address some of the comments on social media. I’ve read unhappy comments about not being able to cancel, skip or just get in touch in general. First of all, the best way that Ellie recommends getting in touch with them is, to private message them on Instagram. You can also email, but I believe IG is faster. Second of all, give it some time. They are extremely busy and they may take more than 48 hours to respond. I had something that I needed resolving and they responded within a few days. In this day and age, everyone expects instant gratification and that is not how businesses work. Also, some of the not so happy comments would have never existed had they read through the information and FAQ’s on the website. So do yourself a favor, go through and read everything, that way you know what to expect. They want to resolve any questions or concerns as soon as they can, so give them some time to respond.

Feel free to check them out on Instagram at @EllieActivwear

A few more photos and angles of my May box! Can’t wait for next month!

Ellie Subscription Fitness Activewear Box

 

 

smoothie fruit bowl

How To Make Smoothie Bowls (Recipes Included)

April 5, 2017

There is a popular health food craze going around, and it’s called smoothie bowls! Why drink your smoothie in a boring cup when you can pour it into a bowl and decorate it all pretty! From bee pollen to spirulina, there are all kinds of health foods that people add into their bowls to increase nutrition, color, flavor and texture.

The possibility of options and colors are endless with smoothie bowls, which is what makes this such a fun and exciting thing to create. Toss in your favorite fruits, nut butters, protein powders, and supplements, and load it up with any and all of the toppings you can dream up.

Thanks to byrdie.com for sharing how to make a smoothie bowl in a few simple steps.

Step 1: Start with your base.

Ideally, the bulk of your smoothie should be a mix of fruit and veggies. “Greens, lots of greens!” says McKel Hill, blogger at Nutrition Stripped and author of the upcoming cookbook by the same name. She suggests adding two or three handfuls of organic kale, spinach, chard, or whatever other leafy vegetable you’d prefer—it’s an easy way to knock out a few servings of veggies, and if you add the right balance of fruit (Hill suggests one cup) and other ingredients, the taste is virtually undetectable. Want nutritional bonus points? Add some frozen peas or zucchini as well.

The smoothie will likely be too thick without liquid, so add a nut milk, coconut water, or regular water until you get the right consistency.

Step 2: Add…

Next you’ll want to throw in protein, healthy fats, and any other supplements or powders you desire. For your fat, consider 1/4 avocado or a small spoonful of nut butter. If you’re a fan of protein powder, try to choose a variety that’s plant-based and minimally processed. And if you struggle to remember to take your vitamins on a daily basis (I can relate), take this opportunity to toss in any supplements you can think of, whether it’s matcha, wheatgrass, or any of the countless ingestible beauty powders on the market. “If you have them on hand, I also recommend adding powders like medicinal mushrooms, maca, turmeric, cinnamon, freeze-dried fruit/veg powders, spirulina, or any other nutrient-dense powder,” says Hill.

Step 3: Top it off.

After blending your smoothie until it’s smooth, take your pick of nutrient-dense toppings, whether it’s goji berries, chia seeds, nuts, dried fruit, coconut… you name it. And if you really want to overachieve for Instagram, serve it all up in a makeshift edible “bowl”—a coconut, pineapple, or any other hollowed-out fruit with a thick rind will do.

Avoid these pitfalls:

While we’ll enthusiastically praise the deliciousness of frozen bananas, from a nutritional standpoint, they’re not totally ideal. “It’s easy to use frozen bananas because they taste sweet and they make smoothie bowls extra thick, but it adds up very easily,” says Hill. Sugar content is a good thing to keep in mind in generalwhile fruit is healthier than say, ice cream, the carb load is high. Stick to single servings (one cup of frozen or fresh fruit) and you’ll be in the clear. If you’d like your smoothie to be a little sweeter, consider adding a few pinches of stevia. The same goes for calorie-dense nut butters, granola, and treats like chocolate chips. As always, the rule of thumb is to practice moderation.

Recipe to Get You Started

Endless options can feel overwhelming, so dive in with LaVeque’s spa smoothie:

  • 1 serving vanilla protein powder
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1–2 tbsp. chia seeds
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice (to taste)
  • Handful of spinach
  • 1 small Persian cucumber
  • Mint leaves (to taste)
  • 2 cups unsweetened nut milk

Directions:

  1. Blend ingredients in high-speed blender until smooth.
  2. Top with less than 1/4 cup berries.
19 high protein meals

19 High-Protein Dinners Under 550 Calories

March 27, 2017
Eating protein-heavy meals for dinner is great because they keep you super full — so full that you won’t feel hungry again by the time you’re getting ready for bed.

That’s because it takes a lot longer for protein to digest than carbs, which means you can eat less food and still feel satisfied for the same amount of time.

Protein is also necessary for important processes in the body. It helps our muscles recover from a workout; it helps us build muscle, which is great if you’re trying to lose weight; and it won’t spike your blood sugar levels the way a carb-heavy meal would.

I rounded up a bunch of dinners with more than 20 grams of protein that still come out to 550 calories or fewer per serving — mostly because they contain whole, minimally processed ingredients.

Unless otherwise noted, nutritional information is for one serving as defined by the recipe. And my calorie calculations come from here.

Cool, let’s dig in!

1. Chicken Parmesan Zucchini Boats

Chicken Parmesan Zucchini Boats

Amanda Finks / Via thewholesomedish.com

Zucchini stuffed with chicken Parmesan, guys.

Calories: 500 (includes three zucchini boats)
Protein: 57.3g

Get the recipe here.

2. Zoodles With Chicken and Spicy Almond Butter Sauce

Zoodles With Chicken and Spicy Almond Butter Sauce

Lindsay (The Lean Green Bean) / Via theleangreenbean.com

You’ll want to douse everything in this spicy almond butter sauce. Trust.

Calories: 370
Protein: 39.3g

Get the recipe here.

3. Skinny Mini Meat Loaves With Sweet Potato Coins

Skinny Mini Meat Loaves With Sweet Potato Coins

Kim (Kim’s Cravings) / Via kimscravings.com

Make one medium sweet potato worth of coins per person to get the nutritional information below.

Calories: 516 (for five mini meat loaves)
Protein: 46.7g

Get the recipe here.

4. Garlic Teriyaki Shrimp

Garlic Teriyaki Shrimp

Kendra (Kendra’s Treats) / Via kendrastreats.com

Probably better for you than takeout, and it only talks 30 minutes to whip it up.

Calories: 272
Protein: 43.95g

With a cup of brown rice: Add 216 calories and 5 grams of protein.

Get the recipe here.

5. Asian Shredded Chicken Salad

Asian Shredded Chicken Salad

Kendra (Kendra’s Treats) / Via kendrastreats.com

This tangy, chicken-loaded salad will hit the spot. Yum.

Calories: 512
Protein: 40.2g

Get the recipe here.

6. Sesame Kale Glow Bowl

Sesame Kale Glow Bowl

Christine (The Glowing Fridge) / Via theglowingfridge.com

Make this vegan recipe in only 20 minutes and easily pack any leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch.

Calories: 428
Protein: 20.9g

Get the recipe here.

7. Chipotle Sweet Potato Turkey Burgers

Chipotle Sweet Potato Turkey Burgers

Erin (Well Plated) / Via wellplated.com

Use this recipe to whip up four chipotle burgers. Then throw them on some wheat buns and treat yo’ self.

Calories: 337
Protein: 33.7g

With a whole wheat bun: Add 130 calories and 7 grams of protein.

Get the recipe here.

8. Salmon Quinoa Bowl

Salmon Quinoa Bowl

Megan Wells / Via megiswell.com

Use 3 ounces of salmon, 2 ounces Greek yogurt, and 2 ounces of feta cheese to get the nutritional info below.

Calories: 524
Protein: 39.7g

Get the recipe here.

9. Marinara and Kale Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Bowls

Marinara and Kale Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Bowls

Sarah (Making Thyme for Health) / Via makingthymeforhealth.com

Halve a spaghetti squash, toss in the kale, cheese, and marinara, and you’ve got a stringy, gooey comfort food dinner.

Calories: 513
Protein: 23.8g

Get the recipe here.

10. Pizza Frittata

Pizza Frittata

Nupur (The Veggie Indian) / Via theveggieindian.com

Pizza is good. So is breakfast. And with this dish, you can have it all.

Calories: 450
Protein: 29.2g

Get the recipe here.

11. Baked Salmon With Lentils and Lemon Herb Sauce

Baked Salmon With Lentils and Lemon Herb Sauce

Lindsay (Pinch of Yum) / Via pinchofyum.com

Only takes five ingredients and one pan. Heck yes.

Calories: 516
Protein: 24.6g

Get the recipe here.

12. Parmesan Crusted Cod

Parmesan Crusted Cod

Kim (Kim’s Cravings) / Via kimscravings.com

Switch up your dinner routine with this baked cheesy cod recipe.

Calories: 230
Protein: 21.4g

With a cup of brown rice: Add 216 calories and 5 grams of protein.

Get the recipe here.

13. Quinoa & Swiss Chard Patties With Avocado Tahini Dip

Quinoa & Swiss Chard Patties With Avocado Tahini Dip

Alexandra (Occasionally Eggs) / Via occasionallyeggs.com

Eat four of these vegetarian quinoa patties to get the nutritional info below.

Calories: 500
Protein: 20g

Get the recipe here.

14. Ranch Pork Chops With Grilled Jalapeño Corn Salsa

Ranch Pork Chops With Grilled Jalapeño Corn Salsa

Megan (With Salt and Wit) / Via withsaltandwit.com

Add a little kick to your dinner with this spicy dish.

Calories: 284
Protein: 24g

With a cup of brown rice: Add 216 calories and 5 grams of protein.

Get the recipe here.

15. Dustin’s Stir Fry

Dustin's Stir Fry

Diane and Dustin (Homan at Home) / Via homanathome.com

Serve up four delicious servings of this stir-fry in just 20 minutes.

Calories: 158
Protein: 21.7g

With a cup of brown rice: Add 216 calories and 5 grams of protein.

Get the recipe here.

16. Sizzling New York Steak With Chimichurri Sauce

Sizzling New York Steak With Chimichurri Sauce

Helen Tzouganatos / Via hungryandfussy.com

Throw this on a bed of leafy greens (3 cups spinach, romaine, etc.) and you’re good to go.

Calories: 450 (includes 3 cups of greens and chimichurri sauce)
Protein: 74.8g

Get the recipe here.

17. Turkey Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers

Turkey Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers

Nikki (Love and Food Foreva) / Via loveandfoodforeva.com

Quickly toss together the filling, stuff the peppers, sprinkle some cheese, throw in the oven, and voilà — dinner is served.

Calories: 496
Protein: 45.9g

Get the recipe here.

18. Cheesy Black Bean Stuffed Sweet Potatoes With Arugula and Poached Eggs

Cheesy Black Bean Stuffed Sweet Potatoes With Arugula and Poached Eggs

Jessica Merchant / Via howsweeteats.com

Vegetarians meals can be high in protein too.

Calories: 528
Protein: 25.8g

Get the recipe here.

19. One-Pan Pesto Chicken and Veggies

One-Pan Pesto Chicken and Veggies

Julia (Julia’s Album) / Via juliasalbum.com

Mo’ pans mo’ problems. So this savory dish only uses one.

Calories: 450
Protein: 35.9g

Get the recipe here.

Source: BuzzFeed Articles

summer challenge healthy weight loss

Spring into Summer Slim Down

March 21, 2017

I want to invite you to my private facebook health and wellness group. A few times a year I host a 6 week health challenge/motivation.  It has been beneficial and fun in the past for all those in the group. There is no participation required either, just lots of great info being posted in the group to help with accountability and motivation. Here is what you’ll find:

Health Tips
Snack Ideas
Meal Ideas
Workout Tips
Healthy Mind and Body Awareness
Motivation
Accountability
Giveaways
Recipes
Support

It’s free to join in on and everyone is welcome. It doesn’t matter if you’re vegan, vegetarian, keto, dairy free, gluten free, soy free etc. We are here to support you in your goals regardless! If you want me to add you to the page, leave a comment below and I’ll invite you in via email! Or find me on facebook and add me as a friend and I can add you in that way. Here is to another round of getting healthy, feeling amazing and keeping ourselves on track!

summer challenge weight loss

niacin vitamin isagenix nutrients

Nutrient in the Spotlight: Niacin

March 21, 2017

Niacin, or vitamin B3, is one of the eight B-complex water-soluble vitamins. Niacin is a hard-working nutrient that supports many vital functions like metabolism and overall cardiovascular health.

Niacin is found naturally in two different forms, nicotinic acid and niacinamide, each with slightly different characteristics. Many foods such as meat, fish, milk, eggs, nuts, green vegetables, beans, enriched breads, and cereals are good sources of niacin.

Why is niacin important?

Like all B-complex vitamins, niacin works to help your body release energy from food. This is one reason why B vitamins, including niacin, are commonly used to support energy levels. Niacin is a major component of two critical coenzymes which are involved in many aspects of cellular metabolism.

Beyond its role in energy production niacin also acts as an antioxidant, plays a role in cell signaling, and is involved in the normal process of making and maintaining DNA. Without an adequate amount of niacin, you may experience symptoms such as memory loss, confusion, fatigue, headaches, and diarrhea. Outright niacin deficiency is uncommon and most people can meet their body’s basic requirement with a balanced diet.

However, consuming additional supplementation with niacin can be helpful for many people. Researchers have investigated the benefits of higher levels of niacin for supporting heart health and blood flow, among other functions.

What about flushing?

One side effect of some niacin supplements can be mild “flushing.” A niacin flush occurs as small blood vessels and capillaries relax, allowing blood to flow freely through your body. It’s often described as a feeling of warmth in combination with redness, itching or tingling of the face, neck, arms or upper chest. While this may be uncomfortable, it’s not harmful and will typically fade within a few minutes.

To help avoid this sensation, Isagenix uses niacinamide in most of its products because it’s known as the “nonflushing” form of niacin.

How much do I need?

Niacin is a water-soluble vitamin, so any amount that the body can’t use is easily excreted. This also means that you need to consume enough niacin daily since your body can’t store niacin. To maintain adequate niacin levels, the U.S. Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends that people over the age of 14 consume 14 milligrams of niacin daily.

Adverse reactions to niacin are rare, but have been observed in doses of 3,000 milligrams in a day. As the table below illustrates, Isagenix Systems are designed to provide you with a safe and effective amount of niacin daily.

Products Used on a Shake Day Amount of Niacin Products Used on a Cleanse Day Amount of Niacin
Ionix® Supreme (1 serving) 13 mg Cleanse for Life® (4 Deep Cleanse Servings) 8 mg
Natural Accelerator™ (2 capsules) 24 mg Ionix Supreme (1 serving) 13 mg
IsaLean® Shake (2 Shakes) 8 mg Natural Accelerator (2 capsules) 24 mg
Complete Essentials™ Daily Pack 15 mg Complete Essentials Daily Pack 15 mg
Total 60 mg Total 60 mg

Source: IsagenixHealth

Organic Feminine Care Products

March 14, 2017

You know when you find a new product that is not only good for your health and well being, but its super convenient too? It’s exciting huh? I recently came across this company who ships out feminine products as a monthly subscription service. Period products without the harmful chemicals.  No pesticides, rayon, chlorine or dyes. Organic Cotton.

***UPDATE BELOW after reviewing this product***

Organic Feminine Products

L. is dedicated to the rebellious notion that people everywhere deserve better.

L. provides unquestionably safe, natural products. You wouldn’t eat harmful chemicals, so why would you put them in your body? No ingredients you can’t pronounce. No exhausted cliches, just the quality you expect and the authenticity you deserve.

I have always used the regular store bought tampons and products because I never thought twice about it. After doing some research and reading that feminine products are filled with unsafe and potentially harmful chemicals, I thought it was time to find something on the safe and healthy side. You can read more here about what is really in your feminine products.

Organic Feminine Care Products

Since I just got them in the mail today, I haven’t used them. Once I do I’ll update here with my thoughts. Obviously usability and ease are also an important factor. As far as cute packing goes, they nailed that!

If you’re wanting to give it a try, you can use my referral link to get 15% off your first order. I actually pay the same amount for these as I did my previous not so healthy products. These have free shipping too! Let me know what you think!

**UPDATE**

Okay, so after having ordered twice from this company, and using their products, communicating with their customer service etc I have CANCELED my account.

On a scale of 1 to 5 this is how I rated them:

Products (Tampons & Panty Liners) – 4
(They do the job and are organic.)

Ease of Order & Adjusting Monthly Order – 1
(This was difficult, confusing and their software is not user friendly. It was pretty frustrating.)

Customer Service – 2.5 
(First of all, I referred many people over to them as per all the emails I received each time it happened. I was supposed to receive credit towards my future orders. After my second order went out and I didn’t receive any compensation, discount or credit of any kind I emailed them to find out why. I was directed around to several different customer service representatives. No one had an answer for me and after over a week and a half of waiting I decided to cancel. At least the canceling was easy.) 

Overall, I am disappointed in this company. They may have a pretty product, but they are also a business and need to take care of some back end business issues. I do NOT recommend ordering from them because of the difficulty of the recurring orders plus the user interface is clunky and needs updating. Also, don’t waste your time in referring others to them because they will not give you any kind of discount like they promise.

I have since signed up with LOLA  The sign up was easy, and the user interface so far has been very easy and user friendly. I can even choose to order every month or every two months, or even skip a month. These were not options with the company above. You can sign up with Lola here, and use the code jfeely1 to get a $5 credit. Also if you order 2 or more boxes your first month you’ll get one for free!

Lola Feminine Care

lola organic tampons feminine care

 

Transformation Tuesday

March 8, 2017

My favorite day of the week! Transformation Tuesday. In our private nutrition page (almost 100k people) I come across daily many amazing stories and transformations from those who have incorporated this nutrition into their lifestyle. I love watching lives change because of this. I’ve been using these products and working with others for two years now and its just as exciting now as it was when I first started. I’ve learned that some people lose really slowly but consistently, others lose faster and get right to their goal in no time. They all do experience a lot more energy, better sleep, mental clarity and so many more things. My favorite change I’ve experienced is the energy…I feel like I could power a few ipads with all the energy I have all day long. And I absolutely notice when I miss my vitamins or shakes. So much amazing fuel for the body. Here are some examples of fat loss transformations from our group that show how amazing this lifestyle is. Some took 4 months, some 6 months some a year. Everyone’s body is different. However, not matter how long it took, their health on the inside changed for the better!

Weight Loss Transformation Isagenix

avoid weight regain with 5 metabolism boosters

Avoid Weight Regain With 5 Metabolism Boosters

March 5, 2017

After you lose weight, your metabolism slows down, making it easier to regain weight. Once you gain the weight back, the harder it is to lose again.

Your experience with weight loss and weight maintenance doesn’t have to be this way. If you know how to employ a few nutritional and lifestyle strategies, you may be able to optimize your metabolism.

But first, let’s briefly discuss the facts regarding metabolism: metabolism is the sum of all the chemical reactions occurring in your body. You can only do so much to drive it toward being more efficient. Changing your metabolism is no small task.

Optimizing your metabolism can help keep your weight off for good once you’ve lost it. Based on the science of food metabolism and energy balance, here are five ways to provide boosts to your metabolism and stop weight regain:

1. Pace Your Protein Intake

Because of its own inherent thermogenic effects, protein can increase your metabolism with every meal. Consider raising your protein intake and distributing it across meals throughout the day—breakfast, lunch, and dinner. By distributing protein over the course of the day, instead of getting most of your protein intake at dinner time, you’ll support greater muscle retention and growth to power your metabolism.

2. Work Out Daily

Combine resistance, aerobic, and flexibility training over several workouts per week. Try working your way up to five workouts per week with two to three aerobic workouts like running or biking and two to three resistance training sessions. Also, make sure to keep some form of stretching in your routine. Your objective is not solely calories burned, but to also boost your body’s metabolism and response to exercise through recovery and rebuilding.

3. Perform Routine Cleanse Days

A routine Cleanse Day isn’t just about limiting calories. Nutritional cleansing provides your body with a “reset” for your appetite, metabolism, and insulin sensitivity. Cleanse Days could also initiate a type of decluttering and recycling process called “autophagy” in your liver and in your body’s cells. Cleanse Days enable your body and metabolic processes to operate more efficiently.

4. Manage Daily Stress

Your level of stress, both emotional and psychological, can have just as much as an effect on your body and metabolism as sleep deprivation. With hormonal systems out of whack, your metabolism and insulin sensitivity is also affected for the worse. You’re also less likely to exercise, and more likely to eat more, which can throw you off your goals.

5. Sleep Well   

Sleep is critical. Even a single interruption in your normal sleep pattern can have a detrimental effect on both fat metabolism and tissue recovery. It’s why a cup of coffee may be a great way to wake up in the morning, but stay away from it after a certain hour. Plan out your sleep and relaxation periods just as you would your workouts. By sleeping on a consistent schedule, you’ll support the release of important hormones like melatonin and growth hormone that help govern your metabolic rate on a daily basis.

Your energy levels, ability to work out, and weight loss or weight gain all depend on your body’s many metabolic processes. It’s really quite difficult to pin down what an optimal metabolism is, but using the strategies above, science suggests that your body will run more efficiently and you’ll more easily be able to avoid weight regain.

Source: IsagenixHealth

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