7 Common Signs of Nutrient Deficiency [Infographic]

July 29 2013 | General | Nutrition

Food alone may not provide sufficient micronutrients for preventing deficiency.

This study from the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition analyzed 70 athlete diets. Every single diet was deficient in at least three nutrients. Some diets were missing up to fifteen nutrients! Another study they performed showed that people following one of four popular diet plans (including Atkins, South Beach, and the DASH diet) were also very likely to be micronutrient deficient, particularly in six key micronutrients:

  • Vitamin B7 
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Chromium 
  • Iodine 
  • Molybdenum

The United States Department of Agriculture says the majority of Americans are deficient in many of the same nutrients and are not meeting the required daily amount of things like vitamin E, folate, calcium and magnesium. 


So how do you know if you're defiecient? First of all, if you're not eating A LOT of fruits and vegetables, especially greens, then you are probably deficient in many of these areas. There are also many different symptoms that could tell you you are dificient in some critical nutrient. 

7 Common Signs of Nutrient Deficiency




1. Poor Night Vision

Vitamin A, known as retinol, is essential for promoting good vision and overall eye helth. It also helps to maintain healthy skin and soft tissues throughout the body.


2. Cracks at the Corners of the Mouth

This is more likely to occur for those following vegan and vegetarian diets because it's harder to get sufficient zinc, iron and B12


3. Sores or Discoloration of the Mouth and Tongue

Water-soluble B-vitamins are essential for the health of the mouth and tongue. Unfortunately, the body doesn't store them, so wehave to constantly replenish them to maintain health. 

4. Weak, Spotted or Ridged Nails

These are common signs of a deficiency in zinc, an important trace mineral needed for the proper function of the immune system. Zinc also serves an important role in cell division and growth. 

5. Poor Blood Clotting

Essential for normal blood clotting, vitamin K also plays a vital role in bone mineralization and cell growth. Lack of vitamin K can result in bruising, frequent nosebleeds and brittle bones. 

6. Weak Muscles and Bones

In advanced cases it's called rickets (for children) or osteomalacia (for adults), but it boils down to a defiency in vitamin D, an essential nutrient for growth, health and maintenance of the structural system. 

7. Frequent Cramps in the lower legs or 'Restless Leg'

Magnesium, calcium and potassium support proper muscle development and growth. Lack of these important nutrients can cause persistent discomfort in the feet, calves and back of the leg.

***If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, make sure to talk to a doctor for medical advice and advice on supplementation. 

Consumer Lab Approves Nature's Prenatal on Dr. Oz

April 15 2013 | Nutrition | Product Quality

A recent Dr. Oz episode investigated the quality of the supplements Americans are putting in their bodies. And it revealed that not every supplement is created equal.

“When I found out that the $28 billion vitamin and supplement industry may be cheating you, it made me angry. I wanted to see for myself. And the results may surprise you,” Dr. Oz says in the episode.

Oz interviewed Dr. Tod Cooperman on research from Consumer Lab in a recent report that tested more than 60 leading vitamins and minerals sold in the United States and Canada. Throughout the episode, you can see a bottle of Nature’s Prenatal from Nature’s Sunshine, which received a full approval from Consumer Lab. To see the episode, go here. To see the report from Consumer Lab, go here

“We tested over 3,000 products and found problems in 1 out of 4 of them,” Cooperman said. The study tested supplements to see if they:

  • Provide exactly the claims on its supplement facts
  • Have too much of a particular vitamin 
  • Are contaminated with heavy metals 
  • Break apart properly for absorption.

The products that passed the tests for all these criteria, as well as met FDA labeling requirements, earned an APPROVED rating. In the interview, Cooperman said defects were found in nearly 40% of the supplements. Here are some of the discoveries Consumer Lab lists on its website:

  • One popular general multivitamin contained nearly 2.5 times its claimed amount of vitamin A in the retinol form. Too much of this type of vitamin A can be harmful. 
  • 12 multivitamins provided less vitamin A, vitamin C, or folic acid, or than claimed, some with less than 30% of the listed amounts. These include a prenatal vitamin and products for men, adults (general), seniors, and even pets. 
  • Tablets of a women’s multi and a general adult multi failed to break apart within the required time -- indicating they may not fully release all of their ingredients for absorption. 
  • One pet multivitamin was contaminated with lead. 
  • A range of multivitamins contained more than the upper tolerable limits established by the Institute of Medicine for niacin, vitamin A, magnesium, and/or zinc.

Consumer Lab tested and approved Nature’s Sunshine Prenatal Vitamin. The report said Nature’s Prenatal contained the claimed amount of nutrients tested, did not exceed contamination limits for lead and disintegrated properly.

This type of quality is what Nature’s Sunshine has been aiming for over the last 40 years. Nature’s Sunshine rigorously tests each product and ingredient to ensure purity, safety and potency.

“Quality has always been, and will always be, central to Nature’s Sunshine Products,” said Lynda Hammons, VP of Quality Assurance and Regulatory Affairs. “High-quality supplements are not an accident. It doesn’t just happen! Nature’s Sunshine spends millions of dollars every year plus a lot of time, effort and expertise, assuring that we offer the highest quality supplements on the market. I have never been asked to cut costs. We have the funding for testing because we need to test to ensure that we can use high-quality ingredients to make the best supplements.”

SuperFood Faceoff: Broccoli vs Cauliflower

January 11 2013 | Food Faceoff | General | Infographic | Nutrition

Broccoli and Cauliflower are in the same family, both look like small trees, and are two vegetables that pack a serious nutrition punch. Pound for pound, it's harder to eat anything else that has more nutrients in one serving.

Although cauliflower has fewer calories, carbohydrates and sugars, the amounts for both of these foods is so low that neither one can be discounted. If you look at the image below, broccoli wins out on the strength of its many other nutrients and beats cauliflower in every single similar category.

A source of numerous vitamins and minerals, broccoli is one well-rounded vegetable that everyone should eat every chance they get. There's not many other superfoods that can stand up to the nutrition value of broccoli. 

With that said, both are extremely healthy (although too much of them might give you gas). Cauliflower makes a delicious mashed potatoes substitute, and you can't go wrong with either one. 


Related Posts: Food Faceoff: Kale vs. Spinach and Greek Yogurt vs. Cottage Cheese




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Friday Food Faceoff: Greek Yogurt vs. Cottage Cheese

January 3 2013 | General | Nutrition | Food Faceoff

Greek yogurt has seen a dramatic increase in popularity, and for good reason. It's high in protein, low in sugar and calories, and is a good source of probiotics. It makes a perfect snack. 

But cottage cheese, though not as trendy, still packs a mean punch for those looking for a good source of protein. It has more calories than greek yogurt, but also has more protein, and even less sugar and fat!

While Greek yogurt wins with more probiotics, there are some cottage cheese products that also have them. Both are also good source of Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), a natural fatty acid with several unique structural and functional properties. It modulates cellular processes, including the maintenance of muscle mass and lipolysis. CLA has also been shown to be effective for maintaining normal cholesterol levels and supporting the immune system. It can help modify body composition by sustaining lean muscle tissue and enhancing lipolysis (the burning of fat), resulting in a number of health and weight benefits. 

If you're looking for a good snack full of protein, you can't really go wrong with either one:

Related Post: Food Faceoff: Kale vs. Spinach




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6 Simple New Year's Health Goals Anyone Can Do

December 28 2012 | Body System Health | Exercise | Family Health | General | Nutrition | Weight Management

In the memoir, "What the River Knows," Wayne Fields writes this nursery rhyme:

“The best six doctors anywhere
And no one can deny it
Are sunshine, water, rest, and air
Exercise and diet.
These six will gladly you attend
If only you are willing
Your mind they'll ease
Your will they'll mend
And charge you not a shilling.”

             -- Nursery rhyme quoted by Wayne Fields, What the River Knows, 1990”

Fields' book was a beautiful and poignant memoir; a meditation on families and aging, and a whimsical response to what time, and streams, and those we care about bring into our lives.

In the nursery rhyme, he struck a simple chord for anyone searching for health and well-being. He mentions 6 simple doctors: sunshine, water, rest, air, exercise and diet. Improving on even just one of them would be a noble, and reachable, resolution for the New Year. We examine each one below:

Get More Sunshine

Now, we're not talking about tanning. With the Sun, there can definitely be too much of a good thing. However, that fiery ball of radiation that climbs into the sky every morning can be just as good for your health as it is damaging.

"Being out in the sun boosts our mood, improves sleep, and promotes vitamin D production," says James Spencer, associate clinical professor of dermatology at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York. "There's no controversy about that."

An article in U.S. News says the Sun can help you get better sleep; can make you happier by increasing serotonin (psychiatrists often recommend that depressed people spend 30 minutes of the day in the sun); may give you protection from autoimmune diseases and asthma; and can lesson the symptoms of Alzheimer's. 

Drink More Water and Eat More Water-Based Foods

There might be too many benefits of drinking water to list here. But some of the benefits as cited by MindBodyGreen include: increased energy, promote wieght loss, flushes out toxins, improves skin, aids digestion, supports the immune system, a natural headache remedy, prevents cramps, much cheaper than flavored drinks. A six-year study also suggests that people who drink more than 5 glasses of water per day were 41% less likely to die from a heart attack than people who drank less than 2 glasses per day.   

But aside from drinking more water, don't forget putting more water-based foods into your diet. The more fruits and vegetables you consume, the more nutrition you'll get and the better you'll feel.  

Get More Rest

A recent survey found that more people are sleeping less than six hours a night, and sleep difficulties visit 75% of us at least a few nights per week. A short-lived bout of insomnia is generally nothing to worry about. The bigger concern is chronic sleep loss, which can contribute to health problems such as weight gain, high blood pressure, and a decrease in the immune system’s power, reports the Harvard Women’s Health Watch.

The Harvard Women’s Health Watch also says a good night sleep supports learning and memory; metabolism and healthy weight; safety and better performance in daily tasks; a better mood; cardiovascular health; and a strong immune system. Go here for more information on herbs and natural supplements that support rest and relaxation

Breathe Better and Get More Oxygen

Diaphragmatic breathing

Oxygen is arguably the most important substance for our health. If we run out of it, we'll die in minutes. It's important we get enough oxygen to keep our body and organs functioning correctly.

We breathe more than 20,000 times a day. It is the first thing we do when we are born and the last thing we do when we die, so it makes sense to become good at breathing. Soldiers master different types of breathing to perform in life or death situations -- whether it's to calm down, to increase endurance or to wake up and have more energy. In Yoga, correct breathing is not just crucial to supply the various organs enough oxygen, but to also to help rid the body of waste and toxins. 

Oxygen is critical to our well-being, and any effort to increase the supply of oxygen to our body -- and especially to the brain -- will pay rich dividends.

Get More Exercise

The benefits of exercise are obvious: stronger muscles and bones, a healthier immune system, better weight, higher metabolism, stress relief, warding off depression, etc. But it also might make you smarter. A recent article in the New York Times claims that the size of the human mind increased over time because of the necessity of exercise for early humans.

"The broad point of this new notion is that if physical activity helped to mold the structure of our brains, then it most likely remains essential to brain health today," says John D. Polk, an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and co-author, with Dr. Raichlen, of the new article. "And there is scientific support for that idea. Recent studies have shown, he says, that 'regular exercise, even walking,' leads to more robust mental abilities, 'beginning in childhood and continuing into old age.'”

There seems to be a direct, and even an evolutionary, correlation between a healthy body and a healthy mind. This gives an even more powerful incentive to be active in 2013. 

Eat More Whole Foods

Diet and exercise are probably the top two resolution goals made every New Year's. But, instead of a diet plan that is doomed to fail, it might be more realistic to focus on eating better.

Eat more natural foods, more vegetables, more nuts, more fruits, more lean protein, more essential fatty acids like fish and avacados, and make sure to get the right herbal and vitamin supplements to fill in the holes.  Don't eat processed foods, refined flours, conventional frozen meals, and cured meats with byproducts. Instead, eat more whole foods that are as close to nature as possible, including high-fat foods grown the way nature intended. If you have difficulty getting enough whole foods, consider shakes like Nature's Harvest, which is full of vegetable protein. 

13 Tips For Healthy Aging

December 11 2012 | Brain Health | Exercise | Family Health | General | Nutrition | Sleep

The fountain of youth … a magical elixir that prevents aging, illness and death. 

It sounds great, but for those of us with a more realistic outlook on life, we can do simple things right now to feel good and to help give our bodies their best shot at longevity.

Here are 13 of them:


13 Ways to Age Healthy


1. Stay active. Keep moving. Walk, work in the garden, play tennis or golf. Do anything that sounds fun if you can. Not all of us will be skydiving on our 80th birthday, but regular activity keeps the circulatory and respiratory systems in better shape, burns calories, warms us up, and helps lower the risk of debilitating diseases. And it’s good stress therapy.

2. Use your brain every day. Do mental math, crossword puzzles, jumbles, etc. Keep those neurons firing and active to help preserve healthy neural pathways. Also eat brain foods and brain supplements known to support brain health and function.  

3. Antioxidants. Fight cellular damage to your skin, eyes and circulatory system by getting plenty of antioxidants in your diet. These nutrients have extra electrons that neutralize dangerous free radicals caused by sunlight, pollution, radiation and other things in our environment. Choose colorful fruits and vegetables, including leafy greens like spinach, purple and red fruits, orange and yellow veggies, tomatoes, dark chocolate and more. Or drink your antioxidants in a potent beverage like Thai-Go® or in a supplement like Super Orac.

4. Put things on your calendar. Look forward to a concert, a family gathering, lunch with friends, etc. Australian researchers found that elderly people who are more social live longer compared to those with fewer friends.

5. Drink plenty of water. Proper hydration keeps blood and waste moving and helps the kidneys flush toxins and waste out of the body.

6. Take a nap! Naps may help combat stress in the body. One study of 24,000 people found that those who take a nap regularly are 1/3 less likely to die from heart disease than those who don’t get regular naps. 

7. Go fishing. At the dinner table that is. Fish provides important essential fatty acids, including omega 3s and 6s, that are often lacking in our diets. These EFAs support circulation, heart health, brain health, blood pressure and more.

8. Eat less. Cutting back on calorie consumption by 20–25% is enough to increase your lifespan markedly. Instead of filling your stomach, fill your time with learning, moving and socializing.

9. Get a little nutty. Adding uncooked nuts and seeds to your diet adds important trace minerals like selenium and the essential amino acid tryptophan. The former helps quench free radicals and eliminate heavy metals, and the latter helps with both mood and sleep.

10. Pray. A 12-year study of adults over 65 shows that people who attend religious services more than once a week had stronger immune systems that those who did not attend services. They were also less likely to die. Worshipping together creates strong social bonds between friends, which may boost health.

11. Sprinkle on the seasonings. Shakespeare was right. Rosemary is for remembrance. Cooking with herbs like rosemary, sage and turmeric can help improve mood and memory.

12. Watch your waistline. Being overweight puts you at risk for heart disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis and other unwelcome conditions. Stay active and eat smart to keep your weight in check and disease at bay.

13. Invest in a healthy future. Get a physical once a year, and stay on top of your recommended health screenings.


Sources: WebMD



49 Basic Nutritional Supplements For An All-Around Healthy Body [Infographic]

December 10 2012 | Body System Health | Brain Health | Circulatory System | Digestive Health | General | Heart Healthy/Cholesterol | Immune Health | Infographic | Intestinal System | Men's Health | Nervous System | Nutrition | Respiratory Health

There are a lot of nutritional supplements out there. For some, it can be daunting to know what to take, and what parts of the body they benefit.

This graphic shows some basic nutrients that support the skin, brain, eyes, lungs, intestines, bones, colon, joints, muscles and heart. If you want to dig further into a specific area, and go beyond these basic nutrients, try out our Health Assesment quiz to see what could help you for your specific needs.  


Click to see larger image:


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Supplements for the Heart:

  • Omega 3 EFAs
  • Soluble Fiber
  • B-Complex Vitamins
  • Reservatrol
  • Calcium and Magnesium
  • Vitamins A, C, and E

Supplements for Muscles:

  • Protein
  • Carbohydrates
  • B Vitamins
  • Antioxidants

Supplements for Joints:

  • Glucosamine
  • Chondroitin
  • Calcium and Vitamin D
  • Antioxidants

Supplements for the Colon:

  • Fiber

Supplements for Bones:

  • Calcium and Magnesium
  • Vitamin D
  • Potassium
  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin B12

Supplements for Digestion

  • Fiber
  • Probiotics

Supplements for the Lungs

  • Lycopene
  • Beta-carotene
  • Lutein
  • Resveratrol

Supplements for Eyes

  • Vitamins A, C, and E
  • Lutein
  • Zeaxanthin
  • Beta-carotene
  • Selenium

Supplements for the Brain

  • Omega 3 EFAs
  • Antioxidants
  • Vitamin E

Supplements for the Skin

  • Silica
  • Zinc
  • Selenium
  • Vitamins A, C, and E
  • Omega 3 EFAs


8 Body Hacks to Live a Longer, Healthier Life [Infographic]

November 28 2012 | Brain Health | Exercise | General | Heart Healthy/Cholesterol | Infographic | Nutrition | Respiratory Health | Sleep

Note: This article is being reproduced for its educational value only. It is not intended to promote a particular manufacturer or brand of dietary supplement.

The human body is a biological miracle, and can respond quickly to basic rules like diet and exercise.

Jason Statham, English actor and former diver, said,

"Your body's like a piece of dynamite. You can tap it with a pencil all day, but you'll never make it explode. You hit it once with a hammer, bang! Get serious, do 40 hard minutes, not an hour and a half of nonsense."

This graphic (below), which was created from information at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health, outlines 5 areas to focus on to live a longer, healthier life. It mostly focuses on what may be a plague of our time: Chronic Inflammation, which is often the cause of things like heart disease, obesity, and cancer. 

Inflammation is caused by a number of factors, including a poor diet, high insulin levels, stress, lack of sleep and consistent physical activity. The graphic also goes into areas other than diet and exercise, such as intellectual, emotional and mental health. Don't ignore that part of a holistic health plan. Mental health can greatly help your overall health, including chronic stress, fatigue and well being. 

In addition to this graphic, Dr. Melina Jampolis in this interview talks extensively on the Mediterranean Diet and how it can support inflammation.  

Health Tips for Healthy & Longer Life (Infographic)

[Via: Geeky Stuffs]



Kale vs Spinach? Which Wins the Superfood Faceoff? [Infographic]

November 27 2012 | General | Infographic | Nutrition

Kale has been the trendy new health food in recent years, and with good reason. But don't forget about the old standby super food, spinach.

Looking at this graphic we made from information provided by USNews, there seems to be a reason behind Popeye's obsession with spinach instead of other green superfoods -- namely perhaps more fiber, protein, calcium and potassium.   

You can't really go wrong with either one. It's one reason we include both in some of our products, like Nature's Harvest:





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5 Things to Be Grateful For This Year -- Message From Michael Dean, CEO of Nature's Sunshine

November 20 2012 | Nature's Sunshine Business | Nutrition

By Michael Dean, CEO of Nature's Sunshine Products

I really enjoy this time of the year. The holidays sure are busy, but they’re also a lot of fun. I especially like Thanksgiving because it gives us a day or two away from the daily business-world grind to catch up with family and friends. And I don’t mind the wonderful food either!

We have so much for which to be thankful. I can only speak for myself, but I’m thankful for:


I regularly mountain bike and ski to take advantage of the amazing mountains here in Utah, and it makes me happy to get out there and be active. Good health can be gone in a second, and we should live each day to the fullest. And so I’m thankful that we’re in the business of helping people improve their health. It’s a great feeling to wake up day after day, knowing that our products and our efforts are helping millions of people feel better.


Free Enterprise

Nature’s Sunshine is a wonderful organization, founded over 40 years ago on quality, service and integrity. I believe in the principles of a free market economy and am thankful that we are in a position to provide goods and an opportunity that greatly benefit so many people around the globe. When we share the NSP business opportunity with friends and neighbors, we open the door for them to have the peace that accompanies financial independence. We give people hope, both through our quality supplements and our financial opportunities.

THE NSP Opportunity from NSP on Vimeo.


Mother Earth

Our beautiful, spinning planet has provided us with natural supplements and ingredients that are truly amazing! We’ve got fruits, seeds, roots, leaves and plants that boost energy, nourish our cells and help the body heal. What a gift! And to have the knowledge and ability to get these from the fields and into the hands of the masses is almost miraculous. 

NSP Quality 2011 from NSP on Vimeo.



I believe that family is the most important thing in the world. And in this regard, I feel very blessed. Not only do I have a wife and three children that are amazing, but I am fortunate to be part of the NSP family. This company was built by Gene, Kristine and Pauline Hughes on the belief that we are not just another company, but we are a family. We can accomplish more as a family, because we share a deeper bond and caring for each other. And this is why after 40 great years, our company has never been stronger.

Untitled from NSP on Vimeo.


Thank You

So let me take a minute to say thank-you to all of our wonderful managers, distributors and employees the world over who are sharing NSP products and the opportunity with their fellow men. This company wouldn’t be where it is today without your tremendous efforts. I invite you to keep sharing the sunshine today, tomorrow and next week because when we reach out to others, we in turn are blessed.

May your Thanksgiving be filled with the people and good things you love dearly.

About Michael Dean


Michael D. Dean is the President and CEO of Nature’s Sunshine and serves as a member of the Board of Nature’s Sunshine Products. Prior, Mr. Dean served as Chief Executive Officer of Mediaur Technologies Inc., responsible for all aspects of the privately-owned satellite technology company that provides proprietary antenna system solutions for both private industries and governments. Before joining Mediaur, Mr. Dean worked at The Walt Disney Company from 1997 to 2003. He was Executive Vice President of ABC Cable Networks, a multi-billion dollar global division of Disney, where he was responsible for the non-creative, day-to-day business, including Affiliate Sales and Marketing, Finance, Legal, Broadcasting Operations, IT, Human Resources, and Business Development. Earlier at Disney, he was Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategic Planning and Development, responsible for all corporate strategy, development and deal work in Disney’s broadcasting, cable, and film studio businesses. Before Disney, Mr. Dean was a strategy consultant with Bain & Company and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.

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