Berberine is a chemical found in several plants including European barberry, goldenseal, goldthread, Oregon grape, phellodendron, and tree turmeric.
Berberine is most commonly taken by mouth for diabetes, high levels of cholesterol or other fats (lipids) in the blood (hyperlipidemia), and high blood pressure. It is also applied to the skin to treat burns and canker sores, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.
How does it work?
Berberine might cause stronger heartbeats. This might help people with certain heart conditions. Berberine might also help regulate how the body uses sugar in the blood. This might help people with diabetes. It also might also be able to kill bacteria and reduce swelling.
Quercetin is a plant pigment (flavonoid). It is found in many plants and foods, such as red wine, onions, green tea, apples, berries, Ginkgo biloba, St. John’s wort, American elder, and others. Buckwheat tea has a large amount of quercetin. People use quercetin as a medicine.
Quercetin is most commonly taken by mouth to treat conditions of the heart and blood vessels and prevent cancer. It is also used for arthritis, bladder infections, and diabetes. But there is limited scientific evidence to support these uses.
How does it work?
Quercetin has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects which might help reduce inflammation, kill cancer cells, control blood sugar, and help prevent heart disease.
Resveratrol is part of a group of compounds called polyphenols. They’re thought to act like antioxidants, protecting the body against damage that can put you at higher risk for things like cancer and heart disease.
It’s in the skin of red grapes, but you can also find it in peanuts and berries.
Manufacturers have tried to capitalize on its powers by selling resveratrol supplements. Most resveratrol capsules sold in the U.S. contain extracts from an Asian plant called Polygonum cuspidatum. Other resveratrol supplements are made from red wine or red grape extracts.
Ads touting these supplements on the Internet promise everything from weight loss to a healthier, longer life.
Do resveratrol supplements really deliver on those promises?
It’s gained a lot of attention for its reported anti-aging and disease-fighting powers. Still, it’s important to note that while experts agree that it does have potential, there’s still not enough data to confirm its effectiveness. Still, early research does suggest it might help protect you against:
Melatonin works together with your body’s circadian rhythm.
In simple terms, the circadian rhythm is your body’s internal clock. It lets you know when it’s time to sleep, wake and eat.
Melatonin also helps regulate your body temperature, blood pressure and hormone levels.
Melatonin levels start to rise in your body when it is dark outside, signaling to your body that it is time to sleep.
It also binds to receptors in the body and can help you relax. For instance, melatonin binds to receptors in the brain to help reduce nerve activity. In the eyes, it can help reduce dopamine levels, a hormone that helps you stay awake.
Although the exact way melatonin helps you fall asleep is unclear, research suggests these processes can help you fall asleep.
Conversely, light suppresses melatonin production. This is one way that your body knows it is time to wake up.
As melatonin helps your body prepare for sleep, people who don’t make enough of it at night can struggle to fall asleep.
There are many factors that may cause low levels at night. Stress, smoking, exposure to too much light at night (including blue light), not getting enough natural light during the day, shift work and aging all affect melatonin production.
Taking a melatonin supplement may help counter low levels and normalize your internal clock.
SUMMARY:Melatonin works closely with your body’s circadian rhythm to help prepare you for sleep. Its levels rise at night-time.
Evidence shows that taking melatonin before bed can help you get to sleep.
In an analysis of 19 studies on people with sleep disorders, scientists found that melatonin helped reduce the time it took to fall asleep by an average of 7 minutes.
In many of these studies, people also reported significantly better quality of sleep .
Additionally, melatonin can help with jet lag, a temporary sleep disorder.
Jet lag occurs when your body’s internal clock is out of sync with the new time zone. Shift workers may also experience jet lag symptoms since they work during a time normally saved for sleep.
Melatonin can help reduce jet lag by syncing your internal clock with the time change .
For instance, an analysis of 10 studies explored the effects of melatonin in people who traveled through five or more time zones. Scientists found that melatonin was remarkably effective at reducing the effects of jet lag.
The analysis also found that both lower doses (0.5 mg) and higher doses (5 mg) were equally effective at reducing jet lag .
Taking melatonin may provide you with other health benefits as well.
May Support Eye Health
Healthy melatonin levels may support eye health.
It has powerful antioxidant benefits that could help lower the risk of eye diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
In one study, scientists asked 100 people with AMD to take 3 mg of melatonin over 6 to 24 months. Taking melatonin daily helped protect the retinas and delay damage from AMD, without any significant side effects.
A study with 21 participants found that taking melatonin and tryptophan along with omeprazole — a common medication for acid reflux — helped heal stomach ulcers caused by the bacteria H. pylori faster.
In another study, 36 people with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) were given either melatonin, omeprazole (a medicine that helps treat GERD) or a combination of both to treat GERD and its symptoms.
Melatonin helped reduce heartburn and was even more effective when combined with omeprazole.
However, this area of research is fairly new. Future studies will help clarify how effective melatonin is in treating stomach ulcers and heartburn.
May Reduce Symptoms of Tinnitus
Tinnitus is a condition characterized by a constant ringing in the ears. It is often worse when there is less background noise, such as when you’re trying to fall asleep.
Interestingly, taking melatonin may help reduce symptoms of tinnitus and help you get to sleep.
In one study, 61 adults with tinnitus took 3 mg of melatonin before bed for 30 days. It helped reduce the effects of tinnitus and significantly improved sleep quality.
May Help Increase Growth Hormone Levels in Men
Human growth hormone is naturally released during sleep. In healthy young men, taking melatonin may help increase growth hormone levels.
Studies have shown that melatonin can make the pituitary gland, the organ that releases growth hormone, more sensitive to the hormone that releases growth hormone .
In addition, studies have shown that both lower (0.5 mg) and higher (5.0 mg) melatonin doses are effective at stimulating growth hormone release .
May Help With Seasonal Depression
Seasonal depression is commonly known as the “winter blues” or seasonal affective disorder (SAD). It may affect up to 20% of adults in the US .
Some evidence shows that seasonal depression is affected by changes in light and sleep cycles (36Trusted Source).
In turn, melatonin could possibly help reduce symptoms of seasonal depression by helping with the sleep cycle.
However, the evidence is not entirely clear. Future studies will help clarify if melatonin could be useful for treating seasonal depression.
SUMMARY:Melatonin may support eye health, ease tinnitus symptoms, treat stomach ulcers and heartburn, increase growth hormone levels in young men and help with seasonal depression.
If you would like to try melatonin, start with a lower dose supplement.
For instance, start with 0.5 mg (500 mcg) or 1 mg 30 minutes before going to bed. If that doesn’t seem to help you fall asleep, try increasing your dose to 3–5 mg.
Taking more melatonin than this likely won’t help you fall asleep faster. The goal is to find the lowest dose that will help you fall asleep.
However, it is best to follow the instructions that come with your supplement.
Melatonin is widely available in the US. You will need a prescription for melatonin in other places, such as the European Union and Australia.
SUMMARY:If you want to try melatonin, start with 0.5 mg or 1 mg 30 minutes before bed. If that doesn’t work, then try increasing it to 3–5 mg or follow the instructions on the supplement.
Safety and Side Effects
Current evidence suggests that melatonin supplements are safe, non-toxic and not addictive.
That being said, some people may experience mild side effects, such as sleepiness, dizziness, headaches and nausea.
Melatonin may also interact with a variety of medications. These include blood thinners, blood pressure medication and antidepressants .
If you take any of the above, it’s best to check with your doctor before beginning a supplement.
There is also some concern that taking too much melatonin will stop your body from making it naturally. However, several studies have found that taking melatonin won’t affect your body’s ability to make it on its own .
SUMMARY:Current studies show that melatonin is safe, non-toxic and not addictive. However, it may interact with blood thinners, blood pressure medications and antidepressants.
The Bottom Line
Melatonin is an effective supplement that can help you fall asleep, especially if you have insomnia or jet lag. It may have other health benefits, as well.
If you would like to try melatonin, start with a lower dose of 0.5–1 mg, taken 30 minutes before bed. If that doesn’t work, you can increase your dose to 3–5 mg.
Looking to cut back on sugar? We’ll give you some sweet tips
Our Nutrition newsletter’s 10 day sugar challenge guides you in bringing more awareness to the sugars in the foods you eat and gives you the tools you need to make healthier choices.
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In addition to adequate protein, you need more calories. Use the following formula to calculate the number you need to take in daily to gain 1 pound a week. (Give yourself 2 weeks for results to show up on the bathroom scale. If you haven’t gained by then, increase your calories by 500 a day.)
A. Your weight in pounds: _____
B. Multiply A by 12 to get your basic calorie needs: _____
C. Multiply B by 1.6 to estimate your resting metabolic rate (calorie burn without factoring in exercise): _____
D. Strength training: Multiply the number of minutes you lift weights per week by 5: _____
E. Aerobic training: Multiply the number of minutes per week that you run, cycle, and play sports by 8: _____
F. Add D and E, and divide by 7: _____
G. Add C and F to get your daily calorie needs: _____
H. Add 500 to G: _____. This is your estimated daily calorie needs to gain 1 pound a week.
If you’re a beginner, just about any workout will be intense enough to increase protein synthesis. But if you’ve been lifting for a while, you’ll build the most muscle quickest if you focus on the large muscle groups, like the chest, back, and legs.
Add squats, deadlifts, pullups, bent-over rows, bench presses, dips, and military presses to your workout. Do two or three sets of eight to 12 repetitions, with about 60 seconds’ rest between sets. That rep range will put your muscle cells on the fast track to hypertrophy, the process they use to grow.
3. Have a Drink First
A 2001 study at the University of Texas found that lifters who drank a shake containing amino acids and carbohydrates before working out increased their protein synthesis more than lifters who drank the same shake after exercising.
The shake contained 6 grams of essential amino acids—the muscle-building blocks of protein—and 35 grams of carbohydrates.
“Since exercise increases bloodflow to your working tissues, drinking a carbohydrate-protein mixture before your workout may lead to greater uptake of the amino acids in your muscles,” says Kevin Tipton, Ph.D., an exercise and nutrition researcher at the University of Texas in Galveston.
For your shake, you’ll need about 10 to 20 grams of protein—usually about one scoop of a whey-protein powder. Can’t stomach protein drinks? You can get the same nutrients from a sandwich made with 4 ounces of deli turkey and a slice of American cheese on whole wheat bread. But a drink is better.
“Liquid meals are absorbed faster,”. So tough it out. Drink one 30 to 60 minutes before your workout.
Do a full-body workout followed by a day of rest. Studies show that a challenging weight workout increases protein synthesis for up to 48 hours immediately after your exercise session.
“Your muscles grow when you’re resting, not when you’re working out,” says Michael Mejia, C.S.C.S., Men’s Health exercise advisor and a former skinny guy who packed on 40 pounds of muscle using this very program.
Turmeric and especially its most active compound curcumin have many scientifically-proven health benefits, such as the potential to prevent heart disease, Alzheimer’s and cancer. It’s a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant and may also help improve symptoms of depression and arthritis.
How much turmeric curcumin should I take?
“If you want anti-inflammatory effects you need to get 500 to 1,000 milligrams of curcuminoids per day.” When using the spice on its own, the common rule of thumb is that there are 200 milligrams of curcumin in one teaspoon of fresh or ground turmeric (though it varies a bit depending on the source and origins).
What medicines should not be taken with turmeric?
If you are currently being treated with any of the following medications, you should not use turmeric or curcumin in medicinal forms without first talking to your health care provider. … Interactions
Turmeric is safe for most people when consumed in amounts found in food. But turmeric can have side effects when taken in large doses. Some supplements contain up to 500 milligrams of turmeric extract, and their labels recommend taking four capsules per day. … Little research has been done on excessive doses of turmeric.
Does turmeric lower blood pressure?
Turmeric is a natural blood pressure reducer and cardiovascular spice that has been used for years. Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties that help lower blood pressure by lowering the excess platelet aggregation that occurs in sticky, clot-forming blood.
There are many possible reasons for a dry, itchy scalp, but often turmeric can come to the rescue. “The antiseptic and anti-inflammatory qualities that it contains can help soothe and rid dandruff,” Punnapuzha says. … Punnapuzha notes that it’s best on dark hair, since turmeric can stain blonde or light-hued hair.