Archive for the ‘Health & Wellness’ Category

Yoga has been around for a long time.  Originally, it was a spiritual practice but more recently has become an activity for those wanting to increase their physical and mental well-being.

Almost all the of the different types of yoga have similar elements:  postures, breathing and meditation.   You should try different styles and determine which works best for you.

yoga imageWhat are the health benefits of yoga?

  • Relieve stress
  • Relieve lower back pain and neck pain
  • Improve mobility, flexibility, balance
  • Improves sleep
  • Manage depression and anxiety
  • Manage pain and symptoms from chronic diseases

It can be overwhelming with all the different types of yoga represented in studios today.  Here is a short list of the most popular yoga types and what they offer:

  • Power Yoga: Challenging sequence of poses created to increase energy and heat flow
  • Ananda: Designed to harmonize your mind, soul, and body through a series of poses. May be best for beginning students since there is not a lot of aerobic output.
  • Lyengar: The priority of this type of yoga is on proper alignment by using props. The poses in this class are held longer than in other types of yoga classes.
  • Ashtanga: Fast paced series of challenging poses that increase in difficulty throughout the class.
  • Bikram: Often referred to as hot yoga, is a sequence of 13 standing and 13 sitting traditional yoga poses. The temperature of the room in which you practice this type of yoga is about 100 degrees.
  • Hatha: A good class for beginners, as it is slower paced and includes breathing/meditation exercises, flexibility, and strength.

Try one or try them all.

Take control of your health. offers discount online blood lab testing.



Can I Order My Own Blood Tests?

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Can I order my own blood tests?

Yes, with the exception of a few states, consumers can order their own lab tests.  This process is sometimes referred to as Direct Access Testing (DAT) and allows consumers to order discount lab tests online.

Why would someone order their own blood tests?

For some people, they like the convenience of ordering their own lab tests to save time and money.   They can order the tests that they want and get their lab tests done at their convenience.  Others are ordering their own lab tests because they are making dietary and other health changes and they want to see if their blood values are effected by their new choices.   Additionally, there are some people who are on medications that require them to have their blood tested frequently and they can order the tests whenever they need them.   Lastly, the prices are affordable and those that don’t have insurance or have high deductibles can take advantage of ordering their own lab tests at a discount.

Whatever reason one has, it is a nice option to be able to order your own blood tests when you need them.

Will I understand the test results?

Many worry if they order their own blood tests that they will not be able to understand what the results really mean.  The blood test results are easy to read:  they include the individual’s metric and then the reference range.   Each test is annotated if any of the results are outside the normal reference values.  Ordering and receiving your own lab tests are not the same as getting medical advice.  It is always recommended that an individual review and initiate a discussion with their health provider to explain those results.

See a Typical Lab Test Result for a Comprehensive Health Profile

How do you Order Your Own Blood Test?

  1. Go to
  2. Click on Tests Offered to view available tests
  3. Select a test and Add to your Shopping Cart
  4. Open a secure account on our server and use the secure check-out process
  5. You’ll receive the lab requisition form within two hours and take it to a lab location near you.

Results for different tests range in time on when they will become available, check at the bottom of the description to see what the turnaround time is for the test you want to order. You will receive an email that will notify you when these results are available.

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Ways to Naturally Boost your Immune System

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Boosting your immune system naturally sounds enticing, but is it feasible? The immune system consists of many moving parts and they all need to work together for optimal health. Many vitamins and supplements claim to have immunity boosting effects, however boosting immune cells in your system is not always a good thing. The body is always naturally creating immune cells, so creating more than your body needs can actually do more harm than good. As we get older, the strength of the immune system decreases, which means that it is easier to contract infectious diseases. Scientists are not sure why this happens, but they have found a relationship between decreased T cells, that are responsible for fighting off infections. Some believe this may be due to atrophy that comes with aging, but it has not been confirmed. A reduced immune system as you age has also been demonstrated in how elderly respond to vaccines, as opposed to children. Nevertheless, vaccines have been found to reduce the overall chance of infections. A healthy immune system, regardless of age, requires healthy nourishment.

healthy lifestyleResearch has found that those who live in poverty, thus are malnutritioned, are more susceptible to infectious diseases. It is important to ensure you are fueling your body with real whole foods, so this means reducing the processed foods and increasing fruits and vegetables. If you suspect that you are lacking certain micronutrients in your diet and may be deficient of certain vitamins, it may be a good thing to incorporate supplements into your diet, but be sure to ask your physician first. Taking megadoses of supplements will not boost your immune system more, as mentioned previously you do not want to add more cells than your body really needs. There has also been found that there is a correlation between the mind and the body. This means that leading a high-stress lifestyle may be detrimental to the immune system. Incorporating daily exercise and meditation can be great ways to reduce stress. Exercise is also incredibly important for overall health, thus also having a positive impact on your immune system. Living an active lifestyle can seem daunting, so it is important to find an activity that you enjoy. It can range from walking 30 minutes a day to a yoga class, as long as you are moving your body in some way. Overall, living a healthy lifestyle is the best way to boost your immune system!


The Alkaline Diet

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The Alkaline diet’s goal is to cut out foods that produce more acid like processed foods, dairy, eggs, and meat. On the contrary, foods like some legumes, fruits, and vegetables can contribute to an increased production of alkaline. Proponents of the alkaline diet argue that it can enhance overall well being and can promote weight loss due to the lower production of acid.This diet consists of healthy whole foods that benefit kidney and bone health. The pH scale measures whether a substance is alkaline or acid. The scale is between 0 and 14, anything below 7 is an acid, 7 is neutral, and 7 to 14 is alkaline. The kidneys are responsible for controlling the pH levels in the blood by either expelling or soaking up compounds. Over time, the adjusting of pH levels could have a consequence on your health. Bone density is a measure of the strength of your bones, and the lower your bone density the higher the likelihood of osteoporosis. This means your bones are weaker and more likely to break. Research has found the diet high in acid foods leads to calcium to be sucked out from the bones, thus reducing bone density. Diets that are higher in acid can also cause kidney stone as well as kidney failure. The pH in the stomach is more acidic as opposed to blood which tends to be more alkaline. It is important to remember that certain foods paired together can affect the pH of each individual item. The alkaline diet promotes a diet that is high in legumes, fruits, and vegetables. It is also lower in processed food and animal protein, which is something health experts are proponents of. If you are considering giving the alkaline diet a try, you should speak to your physician beforehand to ensure it is a good option for you.


CBD Oil Can Benefit Your Overall Well Being

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CBD oil is getting a lot of attention but more research is needed. 

CBD imageCBD oils have become all the rage lately, however are there any real health benefits that can be obtained from it? CBD, or Cannabidiol, oil is extracted from cannabis that contains chemicals that are found in marijuana plants. This doesn’t mean that it gives you the “high” effect because CBD oil does not contain THC, the chemical responsible for getting people high. Even though CBD does not cause any intoxication, there is still a lot of controversy around it. Nevertheless, many are becoming more aware of the possible benefits it could have on overall wellbeing. The following are potential health benefits of CBD oil:

  • Anxiety management. Research has found that it can change the way your brain reacts to serotonin. A study found that a dose of 600 mg CBD oil helped people with social anxiety before having to give a speech
  • Pain relief. Studies have found that  CBD oil can be used to manage pain. It can provide benefits when taken after chemotherapy services. However, scientists believe that the anti inflammatory properties are the main contributors, and not necessarily that it helps with pain
  • Reduces acne. As mentioned previously, CBD has anti inflammatory properties that are very beneficial when it comes to acne. It was found that it helps prevent activity in the sebaceous gland that is responsible for sebum production. Too much sebum production is what causes acne.

There are many ways you can incorporate CBD into your lifestyle such as oil, capsules, sprays, and creams. The form of CBD really depends on what it is being used for. CBD is not approved by the FDA and you should consult your physician before incorporating it into your lifestyle. CBD oil is not legal in all states, so be sure to check your state law’s.


Childhood obesity can prevent physicians from being able to properly interpret their routine blood tests. Studies have found that 24 routine blood tests can be affected by obesity, including:

  • inflammation markers,
  • iron,
  • lipids, and
  • liver function.

Researchers evaluated 35 routine biochemical markers in serum samples like iron, magnesium, calcium, uric acid, phosphorus, and high sensitivity C-reactive protein. They converted waist circumference, BMI, and sex specific z-scores and grouped the children in normal-weight, overweight, and obese categories. The study found that 13 out of the 35 biochemical markers were different among different BMI categories. Some of these included GGT, cardio C-reactive protein, iron, transferrin, and HDL cholesterol. Waist circumference and BMI were related to serum concentration of 24 out of 35 markers. The most noticeable difference found among the various BMI’s was the uric acid results. The average among both males and females was 237 μmol/L, 261 μmol/L, and 270 μmol/L in normal weight, overweight, and obese. Research suggests that this may be due to immoderate adiposity is related to uric acid levels in a healthy population of kids, so it is important this be taken into account for obese kids. It is important for physicians to take this into account when interpreting routine lab results because they are often used for clinical decisions based off of a range derived from a healthy population. It is unknown whether childhood obesity is a marker for early disease, but it should definitely be taken into account when interpreting blood test results, as 70% of blood tests can be affected by obesity.

blood test checklist


Vegan Food – Is it Health Food?

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Go to the supermarket and you will be overwhelmed with all the vegan alternatives in the aisle.   There are vegan milks, vegan meats, vegan butters, vegan yogurts, vegan snacks and the list is endless.   For those that have been vegan or those that are trying to live a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, it seems like there is a plethora of food options for you now.  Are all these options healthy for you?   Have you read the labels on some of these vegan foods?   The list of ingredients is important and it’s prudent to read all labels.  Many of these items have added sugar, some bad fats and other chemicals that may not be particularly healthy.

One example of a meatless entree recently reviewed has jackfruit listed in the ingredients.   This fruit is similar to fig but it does not contain much protein.    Jackfruit is mostly carbohydrates so it’s probably not the best substitute for meat if you are seeking protein.  Another issue is that some vegan foods are highly processed.  They may have some veggies listed as an ingredient but recognize that they may not be the whole foods you need for your diet.   Generally, if you want to have a vegan diet, it’s best to consume whole foods – the actual fruit, vegetable, nut, etc.

Also, just because it is vegan does not mean that it is great for you.   Oreos, gummi bears, Wheat Thins, even some pop tarts are vegan.

vegetarians and vegans



Are the Ingredients in Sunscreen Safe?

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One of the most recommended products by aestheticians and dermatologists is sunscreen, but the FDA has found that the active chemicals in sunscreen is easily absorbed by the skin. The studies found that although they absorbed into the skin, it cannot be confirmed whether this is safe or not, which means more research needs to be done. The study’s goal was to see if they could find 0.5 nanograms per milliliters of sunscreen chemicals in the blood, which they did. The FDA has already concluded that mineral sunscreens, such as those composed of zinc oxide and titanium oxide, are safe. The one downside to these mineral sunscreens is that they often leave a white cast after application. The study performed by the FDA tested 6 chemical sunscreen ingredients from four different formulations- 3 of which were  sprays and one was a lotion. The chemicals that were tested were homosalate, octisalate, octinoxate, avobenzone, octocrylene, and oxybenzone. The participants applied sunscreen over 75% of their body once a day on the first day, and then four times a day for three days. It was found that all six chemicals exceeded the FDA’s 0.5 nanograms per milliliters in the bloodstream, and continued increasing over the course of the experiment. The main takeaway was that they found out how much of these chemicals is getting in the bloodstream, however new studies need to be conducted to find out if this information is relevant or not. This study does not suggest you stop applying sunscreen, however if you are concerned by the outcomes you can always opt for a mineral sunscreen. sunscreen image


Vitamin D is often associated with strong bones. The major biological function of Vitamin D is to keep the serum calcium and phosphorus concentrations within the normal range which maintains essential cellular functions and promotes mineralization of the skeleton. But more is not necessarily better. Research has found that those who take large amounts of vitamin D not only did not see any benefits in regards of bone density, but actually ended up with worse bone density in the long run.

vitamin D graphic

It has been found that high doses of vitamin D do not provide additional benefits for bone health. There are are a few instances where doctor’s believe higher doses of vitamin D are beneficial with those that have conditions that prevent the body from absorbing nutrients properly: ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. But increasing vitamin D in hopes your bones will be stronger, is not recommended for most people.

There are simple tactics you should follow to maintain your bone health. It is safe and sensible to take small amounts of vitamin D, like 1,000 International Units (IU), if you believe that you are not getting enough of this vitamin naturally. Get tested to see if you have sufficient vitamin D. Supplements are best for those who consume a small amount of vitamin D in their diet but it is recommended that you get vitamin D through diet and sun exposure rather then supplements, when possible. Some good sources of vitamin D are cheese, milk, yogurt, fatty fish like tuna or salmon, and cereals. People that don’t spend a lot of time outdoors should also consider taking small doses of vitamin D supplement. This vitamin is often referred to as the “sunshine vitamin” as it is produced by your body after exposure to the sun. As you get older, your body produces less and less vitamin D. People that are over the age of 65 make about 25% of the vitamin D they did in their twenties. Doses of vitamin D 4,000 IU or higher should only be taken under the advice of your primary care physician. In rare cases, a high dosage can actually be toxic. It can even lead to hypercalcemia, which is a condition that causes high amounts of calcium build up in the blood. This condition could cause a formation of deposits in soft tissues or arteries. It could also cause a predisposition to kidney stones, which are pebble like masses, created when high levels of minerals in your urine begin to crystallize in the kidneys. Again, the preferable method of getting your vitamins and minerals is through your diet. You can check food labels on the back of packaged foods to see the amount of vitamin D they contain.


How to identify Vitamin B12 Deficiency

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Studies have found that around 20% of people over 60 years old are deficient in Vitamin B12, but many are not even aware of it. Vitamin B12 is responsible for creating nerves, DNA, and red blood cells.

vitamin B12 graphic

Order your own Vitamin B12 blood test at

Deficiency of this vitamin may present itself as shortness of breath, tingling/numbness of extremities, constipation, paranoia, and irritability. B12 deficiency can also be developed over time, and may present only a few or all symptoms. It is often overlooked to diagnose as symptoms presented can resemble other diagnoses, and if left untreated it could cause irreversible damage. The optimal amount of B12 you should be getting daily is somewhere around 2.4 micrograms, and it can be found naturally in animal products such as dairy, fish, eggs, and fish. For this reason many vegetarians and vegans are deficient in B12. Even those older adults that consume plenty of Vitamin B12 can lack sufficient amounts because the production of stomach acid reduces with age, which makes it more difficult to absorb B12. Certain medications like omeprazole and ranitidine can also affect B12 levels. Autoimmune disorders like pernicious anemia, usually present themselves in people over the age of 65, and is one of the most common causes for severe Vitamin B12 deficiency. If you believe you are suffering from any of the symptoms related to deficiency, you can check your vitamin B12 levels through a blood test. If your blood test determine you don’t have sufficient amount of B12, you can speak to your physician about possibly taking a B12 supplement. Your doctor will help you determine the best dosage for you depending on the extent of your deficiency. Always check with your physician prior to taking vitamin B12 supplements.