Natural Health Products

Vitamin D status among Canadians is dismal. It’s not surprising…the Great White North is not always a great place to get a suntan, a natural dose of vitamin D, eh?! However, the problems linked to not having enough vitamin D in your body is no joking matter: heart disease, glaucoma, the common cold and neurological conditions.

If the sun isn’t shining, an accessible source of vitamin D is cod liver oil. For centuries, the Vikings believed ingesting cod liver oil prevented them, from falling ill and gave them incredible strength. Hey, now - no giggling! Those beliefs may sound silly but, they are actually well founded. Cod liver oils has been shown in modern science to prevent the common cold (falling ill) and act as a powerful anti-inflammatory (incredible strength).

Let’s take a closer look at cod liver oil’s health benefits. Of note, cod liver oil is not just a source of vitamin D, it also contains omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin A.

treatment for low vitamin d or deficiencyInfants
In Norway, when over 2000 babies were compared, researchers discovered the use of cod liver oil, or other vitamin D supplement, during the first year of life was linked to a reduced risk of type 1 diabetes.

At pediatric offices, doctors wondered if young children were given cod liver oil (omega-3s, vitamin A and D) and a multivitamin was there any impact on how often they suffered from upper respiratory tract infections (common cold). Taking these supplements decreased illness frequency by 36 - 58%.

A link may exist between low vitamin D intake during adolescent years and a greater risk of multiple sclerosis. Scientists suggest cod liver oil consumption, particularly in northern countries, is a good option for adolescents as a source of vitamin D.

Adequate vitamin D intake may influence the likelihood of some diseases: autoimmune, neurodegenerative, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, osteoporosis and cancer. How can this vitamin be involved in such a wide array of health conditions? Vitamin D plays a role in as basic cell functions, such as multiplication, differentiation and metabolism.

Older Adults
Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of visual impairment and blindness. Nutrients that may help prevent glaucoma include vitamin D, vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids. Vitamin A helps preserve normal vision as it plays a role in the maintenance of the eye’s structures. Omega-3 fatty acids improve pressure and blood flow in the eye. Vitamin D is needed for basic cell function, so it is no surprise that low vitamin D status was linked to a greater risk of glaucoma in a study involving over 123,000 participants. Conveniently, all of three of these nutrients are found in cod liver oil.

Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 Dec;78(6):1128-34.
Use of cod liver oil during the first year of life is associated with lower risk of childhood-onset type 1 diabetes: a large, population-based, case-control study.

J Am Coll Nutr. 2010 Dec;29(6):559-62.
Cod liver oil, young children, and upper respiratory tract infections.

Mult Scler. 2015 Dec; 21(14): 1856–1864.
Timing of use of cod liver oil, a vitamin D source, and multiple sclerosis risk: The EnvIMS study.

Orv Hetil. 2011 Feb 27;152(9):323-30.
Cod liver oil. A natural Vitamin D for preserving health.

Rheumatology (Oxford). 2008 May;47(5):665-9.
Cod liver oil (n-3 fatty acids) as an non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug sparing agent in rheumatoid arthritis.

Korean J Ophthalmol. 2016 Dec; 30(6): 426–433.
The Relationship between Vitamin D and Glaucoma: A Kangbuk Samsung Health Study.
Int J Ophthalmol. 2011; 4(6): 648–651.

Cod liver oil: a potential protective supplement for human glaucoma

Article Authored by Allison Tannis

1. Toast the Day

Drinking plenty of water when it’s warm outside is an easy way to keep you feeling your best. Dehydration happens quickly in the summer, and even faster when you’re being physically active. According to research published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine, being even just a little dehydrated affects your ability to physically perform. Stay hydrated. You can start by toasting the morning with a glass of water. Then, toast your friends with something more sexy like crushed pineapple in ice water, or cucumbers in water that’s been cooled in the fridge. Yum!

2. Savor Your Skin

Glorious sunshine-filled summer days expose your skin to harmful ultraviolet rays. Vitamins, minerals and antioxidants can help protect your skin. According to the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, when researchers compared the diets of some people in Greece, Sweden and Australia they found those that ate more vegetables and olive oil had fewer wrinkles. Eat lots of delicious seasonal foods like leafy greens and vegetables (and supplement if you fall short) to support your sun-drenched skin this summer.

3. Minerals on the Menu

The radiant heat of summer brings with it sleeveless fashions, sockless footwear and sweat. Sweat is a combination of water and electrolytes meant to cool the body. When you sweat, don’t forget to recharge: seek out foods rich in minerals (peas, green vegetables, bananas), use multivitamins or try smoothie mixes that include vegetables.

hand holding a fresh strawberry4. Cool Off

Yuck! Sweaty! As the thermometer rises our bodies cool off by increasing blood flow to the skin, and sweating. As it gets even hotter, people experience irritability, fatigue and reduced physical performance. Find a seat in the shade, get a cold drink, and cool off. Better yet, jump in the sprinkler or lake! Go on, jump in and live young – it’s fun and research studies have found that with age the body is less efficient at recognizing and adjusting to heat.

Sawka MN et al. Hydration effects on temperature regulation. Int J Sports Med. 1998 Jun;19 Suppl 2:S108-10.
Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. Hot Environments – Health Effects. 2008.
Purba MB et al. Skin wrinkling: can food make a difference? J Am Coll Nutr 2001 Feb;20(1):71-80.

Article reposted with the permission of Allison Tannis

5 Seemingly Healthy Foods that are Making You Age

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Those foods you’ve been eating because you think they are healthy for you…(sorry to be the bearer of bad news)…some of them may be making you age faster!

Yup! Those granola bars, multi-grain wraps, rice crackers, seasame seeds, milk, parmesan cheese, and even some vegetables (like GMO corn, canola oil, or imported snap peas) contain nutrients that actually speed up aging processes in your body. Don’t even let me start on those sugar coffees and other indulgences… (Sugar is double trouble – it  causes the formation of AGEs in the body which render parts of body dysfunctional…it’s worse than fat…yes, I just wrote that…fat isn’t your enemy!).


How Well are You Aging?

Adults today, are aging faster than any other generation before! Today, for the first time, researchers expect younger generations may not out live their parent’s generation. Even if we did grow old, 60% of us don’t want to live past the age of 90 as we’re worried we’ll have to endure a poor quality of life!

Does Aging have to Bite?

Grey hair. Saggy skin. Sore joints. Lack of energy. Poor eyesight. Memory loss…what was I saying? Aging bites, eh!? So, my inner geek got frustrated with getting old. And, I hit the research papers. To my surprise, around the world researchers have been working on aging for years – and they know why and how we age.

Let’s bite back against aging! In Aging Bites, discover why certain foods turn on aging in the body, why other foods speed aging up, and which foods SLOW it down.

Want a sneak peak?

Aging Bites Vivacious Morning Granola – “Blueberries rock your aging body! They contain pterostilbene, a seriously jacked superhero antioxidant that kicks some serious butt in the brain – they’ll be no old timer moments here.”

Aging Bites Put a Spring Back Into Your Step Gazpacho – “This is packed with antioxidants like vitamin C that protect our ears from free radicals…pardon me…can’t hear me…lol”

Protein and Aging – How Much and What Kind?  “The trick with protein is that you need enough to build your muscles…but some also turn on your aging pathways making you age faster…”


Article reposted with the permission of Allison Tannis

Are you Feeling Old?

Tired? Feeling like you don’t have a lot of energy? Find yourself thinking, “Self, I’m getting too old for this…” You’re not imagining it…feeling old is a biological process that is happening in your body. What if I told you feeling old is NOT a normal part of aging? Researchers from around the world have been looking into why we lack energy as we age. [Yes, and I’ve summarized all of the research on aging in my book, Aging Bites]

1. Exercise

When you exercise it triggers your build more battery packs inside your cells…they’re called mitochondria. Mitochondria make energy. Feeling old isn’t the only problem your dysfunctional, misbehaving mitochondria are causing. They’re to blame for many annoying aging processes like hearing loss, & even cognitive degradation

Allison Kennedy smiling in front of a head of Kale

2. Nourish

Certain nutrients triggers your cells to make more mitochondria like PQQ and CoQ10.

3. Protect

Other nutrients, like antioxidants found in bright coloured fruits and veggies, protect your mitochondria from pesky free radicals. Free radicals form in our cells when we eat bad foods & are stressed.

4. Boost

Put down that coffee. Get a better boost with B vitamins – their in loads of awesome foods…

Aging doesn’t have to bite. Bite back! Never “feel old” again.

AGING BITES: How the foods you’re eating may be making you age faster

AVAILABLE for sale at

Article reposted with the permission of Allison Tannis

What Vitamin and Mineral Supplements Can and Can’t Do

Food First, Then Supplements

Vitamins and other dietary supplements are not intended to be a food substitute. They cannot replace all of the nutrients and benefits of whole foods.

"They can plug nutrition gaps in your diet, but it is short-sighted to think your vitamin or mineral is the ticket to good health -- the big power is on the plate, not in a pill," explains Roberta Anding, MS, RD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association and director of sports nutrition at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston.