At Utzy we are dedicated to providing truthful, honest information that helps you to live a healthier lifestyle
As humans, it is our responsibility to take care of the Earth we live on.
There are people who reject this responsibility and are actively damaging the environment, while others simply don’t care.
Most of us though, want to help but don’t know where to start.
If you aren’t vegan or biking to work, you might feel like “What’s the point?” when it comes to helping the planet. Not so fast.
There are dozens of simple green habits you can start doing right now to help reduce greenhouse emissions and protect the environment for future generations.
Here’s how to start.
Purchasing durable clothes that are made using environmentally friendly processes reduces your environmental impact.
Did you know the average American throws away more than 80 pounds of clothing every year?
Making the decision to donate, recycle, or re-purpose clothing is a good starting point. Many textiles can be recycled but most end up in landfills.
Just like with other recyclable goods, sometimes the supply outpaces the demand. Many companies are only able to resell a fraction of the clothes that are donated.
And while the price is cheap, the environmental cost of producing and discarding clothes is very steep. That cute shirt made from nylon, polyester, or acrylic is more than likely made from petroleum, which will remain in a landfill for many centuries while it slowly decomposes.
The Organic Consumer Association recommends buying jeans made in the USA and purchasing fair trade, organic cotton clothing.
To keep the clothes you already have out of landfills for longer, there are simple things you can start doing right away.
The next time you get a stain or a tear in a favorite piece of clothing, drop that credit card and pick up the needle and thread.
Support vintage or second-hand stores and organize clothing swaps with friends.
For clothes that are on their deathbed, re-purpose them into cleaning rags or find cool craft projects online.
Paying attention to manufacturers’ instructions for care of garments, limiting how often you wash clothes, washing in cold water, and hanging clothes to dry are all proven ways to extend the life of your clothes and reduce your environmental impact as well.
Think about the big picture before using plastic and choose better options when you can.
We are literally drowning in plastic. According to National Geographic, there is so much plastic in the world’s oceans right now that 5 grocery bags full of the stuff could sit on every single foot of coastline in the world.
What’s even more sobering is that the vast majority of plastic that is used just once will go on to sit in a landfill for at least 450 years, with some experts stating plastic will never break down.
Plastic use has exploded over the past 20 years but it’s not too late to start making some changes.
Ask your server to “hold the straw” next time when you go out to eat. Bring your own bags whenever you shop. Choose fresh fruits and veggies that are free from plastic packaging.
Instead of buying bottled water invest in a home filtration system. When you’re on the go, opt for a glass water bottle with a water filter.
While recycling is a good idea if you don’t already, recycling a little bit of plastic is better than recycling a lot of plastic.
Just like with clothing, we are discarding so many plastics that most of them will end up in landfills. They can’t all be re-used.
Think critically before you reach for that next plastic item and get in the habit of using glass or just saying no when you can.
One of the biggest eco-friendly habits to consider is reducing the amount of stuff you buy. A lot of the problems plaguing the environment today can be traced back to overconsumption.
The problem is that the planet cannot keep up with the demands placed on it when all of us decide to acquire more stuff.
Whether it’s the newest iPhone, car, or living room set to fill the bigger house, the cost of these choices goes beyond price.
The first step to being a more responsible consumer is to become more aware.
First and foremost, do you truly need what you are about to purchase?
Asking yourself this simple question can stop impulse shopping in its tracks and may save you some money.
When you are preparing to make big purchases, do a little research.
Find brands that sell quality products that will last longer so you won’t have to replace them as quickly. If possible, try to buy items made from recycled materials that are locally made.
Another option is to buy things second hand or to borrow if it’s something you’ll only need to use a few times.
Be honest with yourself.
Do you really need that snowblower if every neighbor on your block has one? Get to know your neighbors and flex those sharing muscles.
When it’s time to get rid of something ask yourself if someone you know could use it before you throw it away. Sell it or donate it.
Stop wasting food, save money, and help the planet.
Imagine going to the grocery store and throwing away half of your groceries before you get to the car.
Most of us would be horrified if we saw someone so blatantly throwing away perfectly good food.
Unfortunately, it happens every single day.
In the United States alone, about 40% of food ends up in the trash. Wasting food is also quite the budget buster, with some estimates suggesting that the average family of four is throwing away $1600 per year.
Keep more of that money in your pocket and less of that food in landfills by following some simple strategies.
Always shop with a plan. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate plan. Simply think about what food you have at home already and make a grocery list based on the meals you’ll be eating before heading to the store.
When you get to the store, only buy what you need. Even if the larger items are on sale think realistically about how soon your household can finish what you buy.
Instead of letting 5 pounds of potatoes rot on your counter, opt for a few potatoes at a time.
Get in the habit of using your most perishable foods first and freezing the foods you won’t be using for a while.
Take it another step and think about backyard composting. Fruit and vegetable peels, overripe produce, egg shells, coffee grounds, and newsprint junk mail can be up-cycled into a rich soil amendment full of beneficial microorganisms for the soil.
If you don’t have the space or patience for backyard composting, consider vermicomposting, which uses worms. And no, the worms won’t escape if you keep a bin in the garage, basement, or even in a corner of the kitchen. There are great online resources for building and running a worm bin.
By planning ahead with your food purchases and re-purposing food scraps, you can make a significant impact on cutting your household’s food waste and save more money.
It's a harsh reality to grasp, but some of our favorite brands use toxic, life threatening chemicals that somehow have been approved for general consumption.
As conscious consumers, it is your right to know what these chemicals are and where to look for them. And how to spot them, as, while products may have their ingredients shown, there are many different names that chemicals may be listed as.
Below are 5 common toxins found in your everyday products and the common names they are often called.
You'll want to check your home for these ingredients and do your best to eliminate them from your home!
Phthalates are chemicals that allow for plastic products to be more flexible and durable. When your skin comes in constant contact with these plastics, the phthalates can begin to absorb into your skin.
Hair & body brands use phthalates to make fragrances last longer and for your skin to absorb substances quicker.
When you use products that contain phthalates you may be opening yourself up to potential health complications.
“The animal studies suggest there is a potential for the phthalates to impact birth outcomes, including gestational age and birthweight, fertility (lower sperm production), and anatomical abnormalities related to the male genitalia.” - DR. MAIDA GALVEZ, PEDIATRICIAN.
Below are various everyday products that commonly contain phthalates.
“The most widely used phthalates are di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), diisodecyl phthalate, and diisononyl phthalate.” - SafeCosmetics.Org
Be sure to check for phthalates in your home, as you can see, they are commonly used in a variety of consumer goods.
Parabens are preservatives that are used in products that contain water. They work to prevent bacteria and mold growth.
Parabens are endocrine-disrupting chemicals that affect the hormonal systems of all organisms that they come in contact with. It does this through its ability to mimic estrogen, a hormone produced by your body.
“Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that may interfere with the body’s endocrine system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects in both humans and wildlife.” - National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
The most commonly used parabens are methylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben, according to the FDA. Look for these names on the labels of products that you use.
BPA or Bisphenol A is a pretty well know chemical that is used in the packaging of hundreds of everyday plastic and canned products; from lotion bottles to meats & produce.
What people may not know is that BPA is a synthetic estrogen that disrupts your endocrine system (your hormonal system). It is thought to have the same health implications as parabens & phthalates.
BPA has also been linked to asthma, obesity, and breast cancer. More companies are becoming aware and are making changes, but the responsibility will always fall on the consumer to become wiser when out shopping.
“If you use plastic dinnerware and reheat food in it, you are poisoning yourself. The microwaves heat your food up, which heats the plastic up and makes it degrade. When it degrades, additives like BPA leach into your food.” - Dr. Tanei Ricks, PhD Organic Chemistry
Look for bottles that are BPA-free. If a product is BPA-free it will usually say so on the label. If there is no info on the label about it being BPA-free, then it probably contains BPA - not good!
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or SLS is a very common chemical used in skin and body care products, mainly to create foam when lathered. SLS is similar to Phthalates in that it is used to penetrate the skin quickly, which can serve to be a major issue when coupled with other toxic chemicals that may be in the product.
While there has been debates about the safety of SLS and ALS (Ammonium Laurel Sulfate), we encourage our readers to still be aware of the potential dangers that come with using products that contain these chemicals.
According to Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep: Cosmetic Safety Reviews, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate consumption has been linked to irritation of the skin and eyes, organ toxicity, developmental and reproductive toxicity, neurotoxicity, endocrine disruption, ecotoxicology, and biochemical or cellular changes.
Formaldehyde is another commonly preserving chemical mainly known for its use in embalming. What many people may not know is that Formaldehyde is considered a cancer causing agent by the National Cancer Institute.
An even lesser known fact is that not only is Formaldehyde used in products like shampoos, lotions, and deodorant; it is also used in the construction of many homes in the forms of glue, plywood, and insulation.
Consumption of Formaldehyde can result in low testosterone, impotency, skin irritation, and even death.
“Formaldehyde is an irritant compound, which can elicit adverse respiratory responses in children and adults. After acute inhalation, irritation of eyes, nose and throat are observed in different patients. Exposure to high concentration (>120 mg mm-3) of FA vapour caused hypersalivation, acute dyspnea, vomiting, vascular spasm, convulsion and finally death.” - National Institutes of Health
A great way to reduce your exposure to formaldehyde is to grow plants in your home. Certain plants can bind up toxins and neutralize them. Read our article on the best plants to purify your home!
It is extremely important to do your part in avoiding these toxins and the products that contain them. The first course of action should be to eliminate as many of these products from your home as soon as possible.
Follow up by being a more conscious consumer when you shop your local markets. Always read the ingredient listing before purchasing to make sure they are safe to consume/use.
Start replacing your everyday products with brands that pride themselves on offering goods that are healthy for you.
Another great way to support yourself against toxins is to eat a diet rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants can help to neutralize harmful free radicals (found in toxins). Foods rich in antioxidants include most fruits and veggies (1).
If you are looking to increase your antioxidant intake, consider our Essentially-U multi-nutrient formula. It contains the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that your body needs for optimal daily health.
What Are Micro Nutrients?
Micro nutrients are vitamins and minerals that help your body deliver oxygen to your cells, produce sufficient energy, defend against attacks on your immune system, maintain fertility, and so much more.
Micro nutrient status is an often overlooked but crucial piece of the puzzle for optimizing health and well-being.
When you think of good nutrition, you may be focusing too much on getting enough of the energy-providing macro nutrients: carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
While you obviously need to eat enough calories in order to live, good health requires so much more than just calories.
Even though micro nutrients are required in very small amounts compared to macro nutrients, they play vital roles for optimal body function, metabolism, and wellness.
Even with a well-planned diet, it can be difficult to get enough of the micro nutrients that you need from food alone.
We will explore the reasons why in more detail below.
Depending on your age, your lifestyle, your medical history, and your individual dietary restrictions/needs, you may require more micro nutrients than you can reasonably get from food.
For example, a pregnant vegetarian woman may need to consume over 48 milligrams of iron per day just to meet her higher needs during pregnancy and to account for lower absorption of iron from plant foods compared to animal foods.
To put this into context, she would need to eat about 7.5 cups of lentils every day to meet her iron needs!
While fortified foods like breakfast cereal might help fill in some of these gaps, there are still plenty of other scenarios where it’s simply not feasible to rely on only food to meet your micro nutrient needs.
We have traditionally gotten the micro nutrients we need through food.
Minerals are naturally occurring in the soil and therefore are pulled into plants. When we eat these plants or eat the animals that eat these plants, we are able to get these minerals directly from our food.
However, due to aggressive 21st-century farming practices, the soil that produce is grown in can be lacking in minerals and other needed nutrients.
Instead of cultivating the soil and naturally enriching it, most modern farmers simply pump chemicals into their fields so that they can grow crops as quickly as possible.
This produces fruits and vegetables, that, while they look good on the outside, are noticeably lower in nutrient content. Also, major changes in the way that animals are raised have resulted in lowering the nutrient composition of our meat, eggs, and dairy as well.
All of this means that much of the food you may buy today is likely not as nutritious as it was even just 50 years ago.
Back in the day, the consequences of micro nutrient deficiencies were much more obvious.
Children who didn’t get enough Vitamin D developed rickets, a condition resulting in weak bones and bowed legs.
Sailors who didn’t get enough vitamin C would succumb to scurvy on long trips at sea.
Given the increased awareness of the importance of micro nutrients and heavy food fortification and supplementation programs, the frequency of these nutrient-related diseases has plummeted in most developed countries.
However, what is on the rise is subclinical nutrient deficiencies.
This is a state where you may appear to be well nourished on the surface, but your nutrient levels can be lower than what’s optimal, typically shown through nutrient testing.
Or you may notice more subtle problems that can be nutrient related like fatigue, weakened immune systems, rough skin or more.
While subclinical deficiencies are likely not serious enough to put you in the hospital, they are not without consequences. In addition to poorer body functions, there are long term problems as well.
Some scientists are starting to believe that long term low intakes of micronutrients can actually increase the risk for poor health later in life.
The good news is if you’re reading this you probably care more than the average person about getting enough micro nutrients in your diet. In addition to consuming food sources such as organic fruits and vegetables, high-quality supplements can help fill in gaps you may have in your diet.
Here we will discuss the top 5 micro nutrients to pay close attention to in your diet.
Vitamin D also helps your body absorb calcium from food and supplements and thus helps maintain the appropriate balance of calcium in your bones.
A jack of all trades, vitamin D also plays a role in supporting your immune system, releasing insulin into your blood, and even maintaining normal blood pressure.
It is nearly impossible for most adults to get enough Vitamin D from diet or sun exposure alone. Furthermore, the 600 IU of vitamin D recommended each day for most adults may be too low for optimal health.
Those at particularly high risk for vitamin D deficiency including exclusively breastfed infants (whose mothers may be vitamin D deficient), people who live in temperate (i.e. not tropical) climates, and people who routinely cover their skin when outdoors.
A high-quality vitamin D supplement can go a long way toward improving vitamin D levels and may have other important health benefits as well.
About 90% of US adults do not get enough Vitamin E from their diets. Its most important role in the body is as a component of a powerful antioxidant that protects the fats in cell membranes from damage caused by oxidants.
A potential consequence of poor vitamin E intake is oxidative stress. This occurs when the body becomes overwhelmed by attacks of free radicals on body tissues. Oxidative stress can interfere with normal body functions.
Some of the best sources of vitamin E are sunflower seeds, almonds, olive oil, and avocados.
Vitamin E and other antioxidants found in a high-quality multivitamin supplement can help support protection for your cells from free radical damage.
Iron is a component of multiple proteins in the body involved in the production of energy, the transportation of oxygen to cells, and even immune function.
Iron deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency in the world and comes with a lot of negative consequences.
For children, these can include alterations in cognitive and behavioral development. Fatigue, poor athletic performance, and a weakened immune system may afflict adults with iron deficiency.
The best sources of well-absorbed iron come from animal products and include red meats and organ meats, seafood, poultry, and eggs. Vegetarian sources include legumes, leafy greens, tofu, and whole grains but the iron in these foods is not as well absorbed.
Women and adolescent girls with heavy menstrual cycles, those who engage in intense exercise on a regular basis, pregnant women, toddlers, and those with GI diseases may be at higher risk for iron deficiency.
It’s good to be cautious with excessive iron supplementation as high levels may actually be harmful. If you have reason to suspect you or your child has anemia, always ask your health care provider to confirm it with a blood test before starting a supplement.
Calcium is a micro nutrient you probably hear a lot about, and for good reason. Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and is essential for healthy bones.
Along with bone health, calcium also plays a role in muscle contraction and cell signaling, blood pressure regulation, and maintenance of healthy body weight.
Calcium intakes during youth are critical for establishing peak bone mass. Higher bone mass can protect against osteoporosis later in life.
In the US average intakes of calcium are falling as more and more people are replacing cow’s milk with other beverages lower in calcium.
While there is some controversy about how much calcium you need for optimal health, supplements may be helpful for those who do not eat calcium-rich foods. These might include vegans or those who are unable or prefer not to consume dairy products.
Aside from dairy, fortified foods like calcium-set tofu and orange juice are good sources of calcium. Low oxalate leafy greens like kale and bok choy are also great sources.
Experts recommend no more than 1200 mg a day from food and supplements combined, so if you regularly consume dairy products, you may not need to take an additional supplement.
Magnesium plays essential roles in hundreds of reactions in your body.
Required for functions including energy production, muscle relaxation, and production of fats and proteins, poor magnesium intake or status can negatively impact multiple body functions.
Almost half the US population is not getting enough magnesium from diet alone.
People who are likely to be magnesium deficient are those recovering from G.I. surgery or conditions and those who may excrete excessive amounts of magnesium in urine like individuals with diabetes or those using diuretics, laxatives, or antacids for long periods of time.
Another group at risk for magnesium deficiency may be those who don’t consume grains. Many of the best magnesium sources are whole grains. Other sources include seeds, nuts, avocados, spinach, seafood, and lima beans.
A high-quality vitamin and mineral supplement can help fill in gaps left the diet.
Food is the preferred source of most micro nutrients, but there are times when a supplement is more feasible and required to meet additional nutrient needs.
Due to the risk of potential medication interactions, nutrient excesses, or other potential issues, it’s always a good idea to speak with your health care provider about any supplements you are taking or thinking about starting.
Compared to many other formulations, Utzy Natural's supplements contain forms of micro nutrients that are highly bioavailable due to careful inclusion of minerals in highly absorbable chelated forms.
Chelated minerals are different from other mineral formulations because they don’t need any specific environment to be absorbed and they don’t need to be consumed with food.
Utzy believes in the efficiency of chelated minerals and has a well-reviewed multi-mineral supplement called Essentially-U.
January is here. Planning to jump into a new workout routine?
Get ready to wait in line at the gym.
70% of U.S. residents intend to start exercising more this year. By February, most will be ready to quit.
We all know that exercise is essential for our health and wellness. So why is it so hard to make this habit stick?
With the right plan and mindset, your workout goals do not have to crash and burn.
Read on for our best tips on how to start working out and how to keep going all year long.
This sounds very obvious, but start with something you enjoy. If you are dreading your workout every time you lace your shoes up, you may not be on the right path.
There are many choices for working out including cardio, strength training, high intensity interval training, and more.
You can start on your own or join a group class. You can workout in a gym or even in your living room. You can take up outdoor hobbies like hiking, kayaking, or rock climbing.
If you’re still trying to decide what you like, many classes will let you try for free in the beginning.
For those of you who may have concerns about your ability to safely workout, consult your doctor. Then, get started.
So you’ve found an activity you like. Now it is time to start thinking about what your goals are.
Why do you want to work out?
The more specific you can get, the better.
Write your goals down and post them in a place where you can view them daily.
Goals are essential to remind you of what you hope to accomplish but they can also be daunting.
One simple way to start tackling them is to take the teeniest possible baby step. Every step gets you closer to making your workouts a lasting habit. Plus, as you achieve each little baby goal you will get more confident and motivated to continue.
You may have heard this idea of simple progression described as the tiny habits approach.
For others the Japanese principle of Kaizen comes to mind. However you think about it you can use this practice in your workouts.
Let’s say your goal is to run 30 minutes 3 times per week. Set a micro goal of running for 5 minutes once per week. Then work up to twice per week. Then add 1 minute to each workout, and so on.
As you grow stronger both physically and mentally, you will be much better prepared (and more likely to stick to it) by the time you reach 30 minutes.
Besides, even 5 minutes of activity has important health benefits.
Despite our best intentions, there are days where we feel very unenthusiastic about what we want to accomplish.
This is normal.
We go wrong when we blame ourselves for not reaching out goals because we lack willpower.
A lot of people who are successful with keeping their workout goals have learned not to rely on willpower.
In fact it is often our surroundings that help determine if we will continue to workout or stay inactive.
Building a supportive environment to hold you accountable to work out even when you don’t feel like it is essential.
You can do this by joining a weekly class or exercise group or finding a workout buddy who you know is all about their fitness (and yours!).
You can even recruit your partner, kids, or roommates to remind you to workout even if they won’t be joining you.
You might also hire a personal trainer to help you stay on track.
Have a system in place that will push you to work out when you don’t feel like. This transforms your workout from an activity to a habit.
Perhaps you are some who likes your workout and knows it needs to get done but you still don’t love it.
You will love temptation bundling. This simple approach combines something you really enjoy (think: guilty pleasure) with something you want to get done.
For example, get in the habit of listening to a good audiobook or podcast while you workout.
If you can, stream your favorite show on the treadmill instead of binge watching it on the couch.
Catch up with a friend by inviting them to walk with you or give them a call and chat on the go.
Social activities can be a great way to enjoy quality time with friends and stay active at the same time. Organize group runs or join a sports league. Walk around the field while you enjoy your child’s soccer game.
Get inspired, get creative, and get moving.
How can you do something you love and get your workout in at the same time?
Tracking how you are progressing with your workouts is essential to maintain motivation. Simple tracking adds another layer of motivation beyond viewing your written goals.
Think of a simple symbol you can use to show if you worked out or not.
It can be as basic as a check mark. Then in a planner you check daily or even on a sheet of paper, add a checkmark every time you work out.
When you look at all those check marks adding up over time, you will feel proud and more motivated to keep going.
It’s a simple hack that inspires you to keep going.
If visual tracking interests you, find more great ideas of how and what to track on Pinterest.
Last but not least, remember to treat yourself compassionately.
Sometimes we fall into a trap of working out to punish ourselves for eating too much or for looking a certain way.
Or we feel we need to workout more than we realistically can or should.
This is not the kind of mental space that fosters healthy exercise habits.
When you exercise in the ways you enjoy and in the ways your body is designed to move, you are giving yourself an invaluable gift.
Exercise can boost your mood, help increase your self-confidence, and do wonders for your health.
It is natural to feel guilty if you miss a workout here or there.
The key to being compassionate is to acknowledge that setbacks happen but they do not define you.
Also be realistic.
Some days you will not have the time or energy to work out.
If you miss a day, it doesn’t mean you have failed.
You can always start working out again tomorrow.
Taking a trip to the grocery store can feel like you need a PhD to figure out what to buy.
Which foods are the healthiest?
Organic? Gluten-free? Keto? Before long, a simple errand starts to feel like a pop quiz you aren’t prepared for.
The good news?
Shopping for healthy foods doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming. We’ll share some simple tips to help you stock your cart like a champ.
This simple rule will steer you toward the healthiest foods in the store.
Have you ever seen a nutrition label on a sweet potato?
While there are some minor exceptions, you’ll find that most fresh produce and seafood, spices, tea and coffee do not contain labels.
This means these foods don’t have any additional artificial ingredients or additives. Most of the foods in this category are also plant based.
This matters because eating more phytochemicals, which are found only in plant based foods, dramatically up our odds of living longer, healthier lives.
Choosing more foods without labels is an easy hack to increase the amount of fresh, whole foods in your diet.
We can’t deny that some processing is essential for our sanity. Think of all that time we’re saving by not growing and milling our own flour!
The problem arises when foods are over processed and key nutrients are removed and replaced with extra sugar, salt, and other ingredients.
Eating a diet high in heavily processed foods can leave our bodies over-nourished calorie wise but otherwise starving for essential nutrients.
One simple way to tell if your food is highly processed is to check the ingredient label and see how long the list is.
Select products with fewer ingredients.
Next time you’re at the store, try getting real potatoes instead of instant. Or sneak whole wheat white flour into your baked goods instead of white flour. Choose fresh fruit and nuts instead of fruit snacks and chips.
The possibilities are limitless and each shift brings you closer to a more nourished and better functioning body.
For context, one small container of flavored yogurt contains about 7 grams (almost 2 teaspoons) added sugar!
Note: natural sugars found in unsweetened dairy products, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans are not harmful to our health. As mentioned above, many of these plant-based foods that also happen to be natural sources of sugars provide unique health benefits.
Regardless of which diet you follow, use this list to help you figure out which types of foods deserve more room in your cart. Don’t get so hung up on food rules that you neglect the basics.
Shopping for healthier foods does not need to be complicated or time consuming if you keep these simple principles in mind.
I get it.
Bone health isn't the most exciting topic.
But it IS crucial for your overall health and wellness.
Without healthy bones you can't move around and live an active life.
And unfortunately, as we age, our body's naturally start to lose bone density.
You don't have to be a victim.
Thankfully there are many ways that you can naturally strengthen your bones.
You don't need some fancy exercise machine or a magical potion to build stronger bones.
Actually, building stronger bones is surprisingly simple.
So how are you supposed to build healthy bones?
Read on below...
Below are the top, researched-backed tips for building stronger bones.
It is quite easy to stay indoors and be inactive on a daily basis.
This inactivity not only effects our muscles (due to limited exercise), it also impacts our bone health.
When you're outside your skin is exposed to sunlight. This start a natural process whereby your body starts making Vitamin D.
Vitamin D is important for bone health because it helps your body to properly absorb calcium, a key nutrient in bone health.
So start getting more sunshine in your life.
Go for a walk in the morning (or on your lunch break). Jog outside instead of inside on the treadmill. Take your dog for a walk. Etc...
Now, if you live in a cold climate where it's difficult to get sunshine, or if you are afraid of getting too much sun (and potentially risking skin cancer), taking a Vitamin D supplement is a great option.
We'll go over this later on in the article.
Calcium is important for bone health.
We all know this.
But do you know why calcium is so good for you bones?
Calcium is the mineral that is laid down when your body builds new bone tissue.
And since old bone cells are constantly being broken down and replaced by new bone cells, eating enough calcium gives your body the "raw materials" that it needs to build up and repair your bones.
The amount of calcium that you need differs depending on your age.
In general, the older you are, the more calcium you need.
Here's a link to a helpful article that goes over how much calcium your body needs throughout different stages of life.
While you can supplement with calcium, you should aim to get the majority of your calcium needs via your diet.
The best source of dietary calcium is found in milk (you can also check out our article on the 10 best foods for bone health here)
Now, if you still can’t get enough calcium from drinking milk (or if you have an allergy), you can supplement with calcium.
Our Essentially-U multivitamin contains calcium as well as other vitamins and minerals that are important for bone health.
While calcium is important, there are other nutrients that are important.
You may be surprised to see protein on this list, but there's a good reason for it.
Protein is a key for good bone health.
We usually think of protein as being important for muscles, not bones. However, 50% of bone tissue is actually made of protein (1).
According to studies, protein intake has an impact on calcium absorption and can affect both bone formation and bone breakdown (2).
In order to maximize bone formation, make sure to get enough protein.
For protein-rich meals, you want to rely on foods such as chicken and eggs. Beans and nuts are also great protein options.
So how much protein is necessary for the body to have strong bones?
It depends on different factors; from your size to the activities that you do.
As a rule of thumb, a person with a larger frame requires higher amounts of protein per meal and vice versa.
We said earlier that there is no "magic potion" for building stronger bones.
While that is true, there are very important nutrients involved in building bone density.
In addition to calcium, the two most important nutrients for bone health are Vitamins K2 and D3.
Getting enough of these nutrients is vital for maintaining your bone health.
However, the majority of American are deficient in these two vitamins.
This is problematic.
Vitamin K2 is involved with guiding calcium from your bloodstream into your bones. This helps to support joint elasticity and overall bone health.
Vitamin D helps you to absorb calcium into the bones.
As you can see, these two nutrients are key for your bone health.
However, it can be difficult to get enough of these vitamins through diet alone.
This is where supplementation is a good idea.
We recently launched a Vitamin K2 + D3 supplement. Our formula contains highly absorbable vitamin forms, and will help to support your overall bone health.
If you think that you might not be getting enough K2 (or D3), definitely check out our K2 + D3 formula.
If you are interested in learning more aobut the role that K2 and D3 play, check out our in-depth article on the benefits of Vitamin K2 + D3
Want to learn more about supplementation?
Check out our blog post on the Best Bone Supplements. Complementing vitamin D3 and K2 with other supplements like Magnesium can be beneficial, as these nutrients all work together to build stronger bones.
The body is known for its ability to adjust to the stress that it is experiencing.
If you don't exercise, which is a "good stress" for your body, then your body will become weak.
And one thing that you have to understand is that your bones can also become weaker or stronger depending on the activities that you do.
One of the best ways to stimulate the bone growth is via exercise.
You need to lift heavy if you want your bones to stay strong.
Now, "heavy" is relative.
What's considered as being heavy for a grandma is different from that of a young male powerlifter.
The key is to find something that challenges your body.
While lifting heavy weights is awesome for bone health, it's not always a great option for everyone. Especially those with an injury history.
In that case, doing cardio, such as running, is a great option.
While running outdoors is best (get that sunshine!), you can also run on a treadmill. Getting a good treadmill is a great way to stay active daily, even during the winter months.
It should come as no surprise that having a healthy diet and exercising are keys for building stronger bones.
It seems that "diet and exercise" are the answers to most of our ailments.
However, simply knowing this doesn't do anything if you don't make changes.
Knowledge is power WHEN it's put into action.
So make sure you endeavor to live a healthy lifestyle. This is the key to naturally building stronger bones
I'm James Hood from FitnessAbout.com. I'm a vegan bodybuilder and a passionate blogger from Detroit. I believe in holistic development and likes to cut the BS promoted my media about health.
At Utzy we are proud to announce that two of our sleep aid formulas have won awards for being the best natural sleep aids in their categories.
Stay Asleep won the category as the "Editor's Choice" for best overall natural sleep aid. Our top selling sleep formula was recognized for having ingredients that are "tested for quality, purity, strength, and composition".
Micro-Melatonin won the category for being the "Best Low Dose Melatonin". Micro-Melatonin was recognized for it's small dosage of 250mcg that allows for "more precise dosing". It was also noted that Micro-Melatonin's innovative cherry flavoring helps to "promote your body's natural melatonin production".
We are honored to have receive these awards; we will continue to strive to create the cleanest, most effective natural supplements on the market.
-The Utzy Team
Physical fitness is the result of perseverance.
While many things in life are not in our control, there are many aspects of fitness that are completely in your control.
For instance, you can't change your genetics....
.....but you can change your habits.
A well-crafted routine can help you achieve your fitness goals on auto-pilot.
In this article we'll go over five fitness principles that are foundational to physical and mental wellbeing.
Making these principles part of your life will go a long way towards helping you lead the productive, vibrant life that you desire.
A diet rich in high-quality meats, fruits, and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of disease (1).
This should come as no surprise.
A whole-food diet emphasizes real foods; this includes vegetables, fruits, tubers, and legumes, and also includes other great sources of nutrients like seeds, beans, grassfed beef, chicken, and whole eggs.
The key is to buy and consume fresh food.
Fresh, organic food has been shown to be better for you, this is due to higher nutrient density.
So make sure to consume real food.
Here's a quick guide to help you get started with eating more REAL food.
a) Eat fewer convenience and proceeded foods (if the product is stable on your shelf for more than a year - stay away!)
b) Don't eat foods with enriched flour or added sugar
c) Eat plenty of fruits and veggies (shop at your local farmers market if possible)
d) Stay away from processed vegetable oils, such as canola and soybean oil (these are polyunsaturated oils which are unstable in the body and can cause cellular damage and inflammation)
A simple rule of thumb to live by when it comes to eating a healthy diet is to:
"eat real food, not too much, mostly plants" (2).
This simple maxim boils down all of the complex dietary research that has been done in the past 100 years.
Keep it in mind next time you go to the grocery store and buy real food.
Your body is designed to move.
If you spend long hours sitting on the couch or typing on the computer, there's a good chance you're compromising your health (3).
Instead, make sure you stand up and move around every 30 minutes or so - it's a simple habit that will keep your muscles AND brain active.
Making this small change will go a long way in boosting your health.
TIP: if you have a fitness tracker (like a Fitbit) you can program it to *beep* whenever you have been inactive for too long (every 30 minutes, etc..). Every time it beeps you can stand up and do some stretching (or air squats!).
Whenever you find an opportunity to walk, do it.
Even if it means parking your car farther away from where you're going, it still counts.
Take the stairs more often.
When you combine all of these small things together, they will help to keep your health in check.
Not getting enough sleep will drain your energy and kill your productivity (4).
TIP: If you're having trouble sleeping, it may help to wake up at the same time every day. A consistent sleep pattern will make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep at night.
Make it a goal to get a minimum of 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night so that you're able to be productive the next day.
If you struggle with occasional sleeplessness, check out our award-winning natural sleep aids.
We also have an awesome article (written by a top sleep scientist) on the 10 Best Sleep Tips.
One of the keys to getting in better shape is to strive to get progressively better with each workout.
Add 5 extra pounds to the bar.
Do one more rep.
This concept, called progressive overload, is what causes your body to get stronger and leaner over time.
If you focus solely on body composition changes, it can be easy to get down on yourself because it can take a long time to see changes in the mirror. Plus, if you're used to seeing your body every day, you'll often miss the changes your body is making.
So instead, focus on increasing your work capacity.
Strive to get stronger with each workout.
To do an extra set.
This way you can make incremental progress every day.
This will keep you motivated in the long run and will help you to reach your fitness goals!
Here's are a few simple tips for increasing your work capacity:
Staying hydrated is one of the most important daily habits for health.
Your body is comprised of over 50% water, needless to say, getting enough daily water is important for your health and wellbeing (5).
One major benefit of getting enough water intake is that it allows your body to more easily excrete toxins.
The recommended daily water intake guides are below (6):
•Adult males should drink around 12 and a half cups of water each day
•Adult women should drink around 9 cups of water each day.
If you've never been able to touch your toes, don't worry, you're not the only one.
Start with a workout program and add on a good nutrition plan + adequate hydration, and with time you will be able to improve your flexibility - which is important for preventing workout injuries.
We have a few rules for improving your range of movement:
Fitness is a key part of life.
Whether your goal is to compete in a Crossfit competition or simply to be able to keep up with your young kids, make exercise a part of your daily routine.
Whether it's weightlifting or walking, find an exercise type that you enjoy and stick with it.
Ryan is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer at fitnessgoals, with a passion for writing and a love for chocolate. He enjoys long walks with a breeze and finding ways to make dessert healthy.
(1). Aguayo-Patrón, S. V., & Calderón de la Barca, A. M. (2017, November 15). Old Fashioned vs. Ultra-Processed-Based Current Diets. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/article
(2). Pollan, M. (2020.). How to Eat. Retrieved from https://michaelpollan.com/reviews/how-to-eat/
(3). Owen, N., Healy, G. N., Matthews, C. E., & Dunstan, D. W. (2010, July). Too much sitting: the population health science of sedentary behavior. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3404815/
(4). Worley, S. L. (2018, December). The Extraordinary Importance of Sleep: The Detrimental Effects of Inadequate Sleep on Health and Public Safety Drive an Explosion of Sleep Research. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6281147/
(5). Popkin, B. M., D'Anci, K. E., & Rosenberg, I. H. (2010, August). Water, hydration, and health. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908954/
(6). Meinders, A.-J., & Meinders, A. E. (2010). How much water do we really need to drink? Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20356431
No human is an island and the same is true of nutrients.
While there’s constantly clamor out there as to which nutrient will supposedly cure all your woes, your body actually needs a variety of nutrients, working together, to keep you in optimal health.
The symbiotic and synergistic relationship of vitamins K2 and D3 are a great example of that, if not one of the best examples.
Synergy is far more than a word your boss can’t stop overusing in board meetings. It means working together to create something better. In this case, vitamin K2 and vitamin D3 work synergistically to balance the scales of each other’s duties.
In fact, vitamin K2 and vitamin D3 are part of a nutrient powerhouse squad along with calcium, magnesium and zinc. All of these nutrients need to be present for you to live your best and healthiest life. Keeping optimal levels of all these nutrients is key for bone, cardiovascular, mental and neurological health; oh, and blood clotting.
Vitamins K2 and D3 individually and together are showing promise in clinical research in relation to helping with health conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, depression, cardiovascular disease and fatigued immune systems.
Those are some substantial health benefits. Let’s dig deeper into the combine health benefits of vitamins K2 and D3 from dietary supplements and dietary intake.
Both vitamin D and vitamin K, in any form, are fat soluble vitamins. That means they need fat in order to be absorbed and utilized. There are 4 fat soluble vitamins - A, D, E and K. With the exception of D, there are a bevy of food sources of each of the fat soluble vitamins. Vitamin D is the outlier as the sunshine vitamin which is found in some amount in some mushrooms, which ironically grow in the dark.
Vitamin D is made when sunlight comes into contact with your skin. Inside your skin there is a compound made out of cholesterol that is provitamin D3. This compound is activated by UVB rays. Once made in your skin, the vitamin D is sent to the liver where it’s converted into a form that you can use for over 200 enzymatic functions that play a role in everything from bone health, hormone regulation, nutrient absorption and disease prevention.
When searching for vitamin D supplements you’ll notice that many say vitamin D3. Upon occasion, you’ll stumble across some supplements that say D2. Both are forms of vitamin D and nearly every bottle that exclusively says vitamin D on the front is vitamin D3. Double check the nutrition facts panel to be sure.
Vitamin D3 is cholecalciferol, the animal-derived version of vitamin D. Vitamin D2 is ergocalciferol, the plant based version of vitamin D. D3 is better absorbed and utilized by your body for one reason - you’re an human. Vitamin D2 is well and good for vegans to take, but know that it’s not absorbed as well, so a higher dosage may be required.
Vitamin K primarily has 2 forms - K1 and K2. Vitamin K1 is phylloquinone and is found in green produce items. Deriving the phyll from chlorophyll the pigment that makes green plants green. Vitamin K2 is menaquinone and is found in some animal-derived products, certain fermented foods and synthesized by bacteria. K2 derivatives depending on the length of the attached side chain compound. What vitamin K1 and K2 have in common is a base quinone ring.
MK-4 and MK-7 are the most common and effective types of vitamin K2 supplements. The number at the end refers to the length of the side compound. Recent research is finding that MK-7 is the form best absorbed and utilized by your body[*]. Great news for vegans and vegetarians, MK-7 can be made from fermented soybeans and chickpeas, with MenaQ7® being the best supplemental form of MK-7.
A frequently discussed sources of vitamin K2 is that found in a Japanese fermented soy product called natto. Natto has a very distinct appearance, smell, taste and texture that’s not for everyone. Although the health benefits of natto are amazing, it’s an acquired taste. So you’ll notice a lot of articles mentioning it, but not where to purchase and how to enjoy.
Vitamins K2 and D3 work in harmony to keep your blood vessels and supple while keeping your bones strong[*][*]. These 2 vitamins work to make sure that calcium is deposited in your bones, rather than your arteries.
In order for this to work, you must consistently have healthy amounts of vitamin K2, vitamin D3, and calcium. If any of these are out of balance than the exact opposite happens. That is why calcium supplementation without both vitamins K2 and D3 has been proven to be dangerous to your health.
When calcium is put in your bones, instead of in your arterial walls or as plaques in your arteries the results is strong, healthy bones and pliable arteries. Long-term that translates to reduced risk of bone and heart diseases.
Vitamins K and D are both associated with supporting healthy inflammation levels, the number 1 cause of all health woes, especially weight problems. Vitamin D is involved in all hormone synthesis and regulation, which in turn plays into your weight.
Multiple studies have shown that the lower your vitamin K and D levels are, the harder it is to lose weight.
These two vitamins work together to make sure you properly absorb and utilize each other. Additionally they work together to regulate your hormones and the absorption of calcium, magnesium and zinc. This dynamic duo keeps your pancreas, thyroid, cardiovascular system and everything in between in check to help you lose weight.
If you’ve been struggling to lose weight it could be that you need to take a closer look at your vitamin K and D levels. If you find that you have low levels, taking a Vitamin K2 + D3 supplement is a great way to boost your levels.
No one likes to take a lot of supplements. Vitamins K2 and D3 are clearly important, as is getting them in proper amounts along with calcium, magnesium and zinc. Our high stress society paired with indoor lifestyles and toxic food system make vitamin K2 deficiency and vitamin D deficiency common.
Look for formulas that contain both vitamin K2 + D3. Additionally, eat your green leafy vegetables and getting 5 to 10 minutes of sunshine a day, unless otherwise recommended by your doctor.
At Utzy we created a premium K2 + D3 formula, it contains the doctor recommended dosages of each vital nutrient. Made with MenaQ7, the most researched form of vitamin K2.
Take the daily dose recommended on the supplement or in accordance with your healthcare professional’s advice, which may vary significantly if you have a severe vitamin D deficiency.
Store per the supplement’s recommendations and in a place you’re likely to see the supplement daily so that you take it. Supplements only work if you take them.
There are a lot of misconceptions about the safety of supplementing with these vitamins. And they’re based on outdated research on the nutrients being used in large doses as rodent poison. It was hypothesized incredibly large doses could cause calcification in soft tissue. But the amounts of these nutrients it would take for this to occur is basically impossible for a human to consume.
Do look for supplements with a third party certification, take the recommended dosage and confirm with your healthcare provider that it’s not contraindicated for any existing health condition and/or medication you may have.
Mega high doses of calcium is definitely a bad idea and even worse if the supplement doesn’t have vitamins K and D. High doses of calcium supplementation are associated with kidney stones and calcium deposits in arteries. Always discuss calcium supplementation with your doctor and avoid supplements that don’t contain vitamins K and D.
As you can see both vitamins K and D are important for your optimal health and it’s important to have both present. Speak with your healthcare provider to see where your vitamin K and D levels are.
If they’re low, make sure to discuss both a dietary plan and supplementation options.
Sheila Amir is a health and nutrition writer in love with Durham, North Carolina and the Sheila of NutritionSheila.com. After spending several years as a nutritionist, she turned in her office keys for laptop life to research, write and present while on the go. When she puts the laptop down she's either on her yoga mat or out enjoying life in the Bull City.
September 05, 2018 | 0 comments
Many people find themselves asking the question, “how long does it take for supplements to work?”.
Though this question seems simple, it can actually be quite complex. The answer depends on the individual person and the supplements that you take.
Thankfully, we can dig into scientific research and get a better idea of how long it takes for specific vitamins and minerals to kick in.
One of the first things we have to do is to define what it means for a supplement to “work”. By “work”, we mean that a supplement has been readily digested and utilized by your body.
Your body has stores of nutrients that it maintains for different bodily processes. Think of these as your “nutrient pools”. If your nutrient pools are empty, your body doesn’t have enough raw materials that it needs for different functions and processes. When this happens you have what is called a “nutrient deficiency”.
For instance, if you have low amounts of Magnesium in your body (which can lead to muscle cramping and negative mood), if you start taking Magnesium and see those issues go away, then that would mean that the product is “working” for you.
The amount of time it takes for a supplement to start working depends on a few different factors. This includes supplement dosage, how extensive your nutrient deficiency is, how quickly your body is able to digest the supplement, and a few other factors (we'll go over them below).
Below are a number of different factors that play a role in how long it takes for a supplement to work. As was stated above, much of it comes down to the person, the product taken, and the health complaint.
The first question to ask is "what’s causing your nutrient deficiency?". Why are your nutrition pools empty in the first place? Is it genetic? Is it a side effect from something else? Is it the result of a poor diet?
If you don’t find out what’s draining your nutrient stores in the first place, you may never be able to fully re-fill them (let alone maintain healthy levels going forward).
This is one of the main factors in how long it takes to absorb a supplement. If you have a big deficiency in a particular nutrient, you’ll need a major surplus of that nutrient over a long time period to get back to normal levels.
A greater deficiency means that it will take a longer time to get back to ideal nutrient levels.
If you have a big deficiency, you’ll need a large dosage to fill up your pools. A supplement with a larger dosage will speed up the process.
If you take a micro-dose of a vitamin and you have a major deficiency, it will take a LONG time for you to even out your levels. So, if you have a major deficiency, make sure that you have an appropriately dosed supplement.
An example of this is with vitamin D. Many people are deficient in this crucial vitamin. Taking a supplement with 500 IU's or even 1,000 IU's is not enough to give you the surplus that you need. These dosages will cover your needed daily requirements, but won't allow for a surplus.
That's when you need a product like our Natural D3 5,000. This larger dose is ideal for helping normalize your body's vitamin D levels.
The quality of the product you buy is very important. If you buy a cheap supplement in a cheap form, you’ll end up being disappointed.
High quality supplement brands will formulate their products with easily-absorbed ingredients. At Utzy we source our ingredients from the finest natural suppliers in the US and Europe, we do this so that you can have confidence that our supplements will work.
Additionally, it’s very important that you purchase a product that has full testing, cheaply made products will skimp on testing. Without full testing backing a product, you can never really be sure what's in the product.
Below are some tips on what to look for in a supplement:
There are a lot of companies out there that cut corners. As with most things in life, with supplements, you get what you pay for. Buy high quality supplements otherwise you might be throwing your money away.
Each person’s body has a different absorption rate. This can be due to your own genetic makeup, environmental factors, or it can be due to other deficiencies.
For instance, if you are low in Vitamin K2, then you won’t be able to utilize Vitamin D properly (which is why we now offer a combination K2 +D3 formula).
So make sure that your baseline nutrition is covered. Taking a premium multivitamin is recommended, which is why we have a highly regarded formula called Essentially-U. It contains the vitamins and minerals that you need for optimal daily health.
Diet is key. People tend to forget that ‘supplement’ means “in addition to,” not “in place of”. We should get the majority of our nutrition through the food we eat.
That means eating a health, balanced diet. Eat lots of vegetables (and fruit). Look for high quality grass-fed beef, and natural chicken. Buy Organic when possible.
Eating a high quality diet is how you can prevent nutritional deficiencies from happening in the first place. Of course, we all don’t eat perfectly. We cheat a little, and that's ok. Just make sure to maintain a healthy diet at least 80% of the time.
And if you know you aren’t getting all the nutrition that you need on a daily basis, then make sure to take a daily multivitamin like our Essentially-U.
In general, a supplement is going to take 2 to 4 weeks to begin to work before you star to feel them 'kick in'. Keep in mind that since the process is slow, you'll gradually start to feel the supplement work in your body. It won't always be a night and day difference.
If it's a mineral, you're looking at about 90 days before your deficiency is fully amended because you're essentially asking your body to absorb a rock. You can speed up the mineral absorption process if you take high quality chelated minerals, but it will still take some time.
That said, if you pair your supplements with a healthy diet, you can speed up the process.
A great example of a common nutrient deficiency is magnesium. A large number of US citizens (over 40%) are deficient in this vital nutrient. Magnesium is involved in the proper functioning of every cell in your body - that’s over 37 trillion cells!
Don’t join the masses, you can help to boost your Magnesium levels by eating a healthy, organic diet and by supplementing regularly with a magnesium formula.
Realize though, that supplementation isn’t an instant fix. It never was and never will be. Supplements are meant to be taken in addition to eating well.
Supplements only work if you take them. Different types of supplements are best taken at different times. For instance, there is a best time to take fish oil (who would have though?).
That being said, the takeaway from this article is that when you supplement with a particular nutrient, the results aren't going to be over night.
There are a lot of different factors.
It's going to take some time, as well as consistency. So make sure to get high quality products to start with (such as our line of premium natural supplements), and to give them time to work!