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Antioxidants are naturally occurring substances that prevent damage to cells, membranes or organs by blocking free radicals and reactive oxygen-containing molecules. These oxygen-compounds are unstable and ‘looking’ for extra electrons: in doing so they injure DNA and cells, such as causing a cut apple to turn brown, accelerating human aging, and contributing to heart disease and cancer. Antioxidants can lend an electron to 'calm' the free radical and prevent tissue damage. Most antioxidants are best taken with food, e.g. CoQ10 is fat-soluble and much better absorbed along with oil or fats in a meal.

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Botanicals are medicinal herb plants: the leaf, flower, bud, stem or root may be used. Botanical medicines can either stimulate or boost normal function, or they can act to calm excessive activity of a hormone, gland or tissue. Nowadays there are excellent methods for extracting and concentrating herbs, to free up and standardize effective doses of their active constituents. Herbs are much better absorbed when taken between meals with water, herbal tea or broth, rather than with food.

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Minerals are single elements that are necessary for the structure of bones, blood, hair and nails. They are also catalysts for enzymes to create chemical bonds to form new tissue or break bonds to liberate energy. Certain hormones cannot function without minerals, for example insulin cannot efficiently move glucose into cells without chromium. Minerals are categorized into those of which we need more than 100mg. per day, calcium, magnesium, sodium, chloride and sulfur; and trace minerals that we need smaller amounts of, boron, chromium, copper, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, silicon, vanadium and zinc. Minerals should be taken with food, like vitamins, as they are food derivatives and are better absorbed along with other nutrients in meals, and will sit better in the stomach.

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Multivitamins are balanced mixtures of the essential vitamins and minerals, in correct proportions to each other. Because we may each need widely different daily amounts of vitamins and minerals, depending on our food sources, local soils, activity level, individual metabolism and our ability to absorb nutrients from our meals, a good multivitamin is an 'insurance formula' against possible deficiency. Multivitamin blends may include key nutrients for organ function, antioxidants, adrenal activity, and blood sugar support. Good quality multivitamins come in capsules, and usually require 2-3 pills daily (ample mineral doses cannot fit into a one-a-day pill, it would be too huge. We also dislike hard tablets that may not dissolve, and can show up intact in the colon!). Multivitamins are best taken with food, as they are food derivatives.

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Other Specialty Nutrients

This group includes accessory nutrients that are important for the body’s structure or function, or to provide nourishment. They offer profound health benefits, but may not be as essential for survival as vitamins and minerals. The specialty nutrients include probiotics, purified or isolated food derivatives, fiber, digestive enzymes, and more. The listing for each one specifies whether it is best taken with or between meals.

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Skin Care

These include pure items made by professional nutritional companies, not cosmetic brands, for therapeutic effects for acne, rosacea, eczema, psoriasis and preventive skin care. These carefully tested, patented, all-natural formulas are oil free, soap free, hypoallergenic: designed to cleanse your skin naturally, without harsh or drying chemicals. They include niacinamide (Vitamin B3) to reduce production of sebum that clogs pores, reduce pore size, inflammation, and redness while increasing collagen production. We recommend gentle cleansers and a toner with aloe vera and an amino acid moisturizer to decrease inflammation and redness, and to treat and seal the skin against outside contaminants.

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Specialty Oils

Specialty oils include omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for cell membranes, nerves, inflammatory modulators like prostaglandins, and many cells in the human body to function efficiently and in peak health; and also certain omega-6 oils with specific health benefits and medical actions. Because these nutrient oils are foods, they are best taken with meals.

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Vitamins are essential nutrient molecules needed for enzymes to work in the body. Enzymes are often proteins that speed up chemical reactions for energy production or for building new tissues by forging new chemical bonds. Enzymes work with coenzymes and they cannot function without their essential vitamins. The fat-soluble vitamins are A, D, E and K; the body can store them in fat cells to use on demand. The water-soluble vitamins are the B-group and vitamin C. They are only stored in small amounts, they rapidly flush out, so deficiencies can more readily occur. All vitamins should be taken with food, because they are food derivatives: they are likely to be better absorbed along with other nutrients in meals, and will sit better in the stomach mixed with food.

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Dr. Herdman is a graduate or member of the following organizations:

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