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How to Know What Vitamins and Supplements to Take

How to Know What Vitamins and Supplements to Take

Odds are, you have at least a little experience with taking vitamins or supplements – even if the last time you took a vitamin was shaped like a cartoon family. With as many products as there are on the market, it can be intimidating to know which ones you need, and which ones to stay away from. This process is made even more complicated by contradicting information and false-advertisement, but there is a way for you to know you are taking the right vitamins and supplements.

The key is to know what essential vitamins and nutrients you need to look out for. In order to do this, you should carefully assess your diet and lifestyle and pay attention to what nutrients you may not be consuming enough of. Remember that vitamins and supplements aren’t meant to be a replacement for fruits and vegetables. Fresh produce offers the antioxidants, phytochemicals, and fiber in which your body needs. Supplements and vitamins are simply an addition to ensure your body is retaining all of the nutrients in which it needs.

Know Your Essential Vitamins and Minerals

Most simply put, vitamins are essential organic substances your body’s cells need to function, grow, develop and heal properly. There are 13 essential vitamins – A, C, D, E, K, and the B vitamins, B6, B12, biotin, folate, niacin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, and thiamine. A deficiency in any of these vitamins can lead to serious health issues.

Along with the essential vitamins, there are 16 essential minerals, all of which you’ll recognize from the periodic table. Macrominerals are the minerals that your body needs in relatively large amounts, while trace minerals are needed in small amounts. The essential macrominerals are calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and sulfur. The trace minerals are iron, zinc, iodine, chromium, copper, fluoride, molybdenum, manganese, and selenium.

How to Assess Your Diet

The US Food and Drug Administration sets a Recommended Daily Intake for the essential nutrients to help people manage their nutrition.

The RDI is simply how much nutrient is needed each day for healthy adults. This obviously varies from person to person, depending on diet, lifestyle, and health factors. The nutrition labels on foods also list the nutrients they contain, as well as the percentage of your RDI for each particular nutrient.

One way to measure what vitamins and supplements to take is to look carefully at the nutrition; value of all the foods in your diet and see how close you come to the RDI. From there you can assess if you’re consuming too much or too little or a particular vitamin or mineral.

If you have a diet that is particularly low or high in certain foods, you could be getting too much or too little of certain nutrients. For example, B12 is commonly found in meats, poultry, eggs, and milk products. This being said, if you eat a plant-based diet, this may be a supplement that you need to take.

While the RDI can be a great starting benchmark, it isn’t the do-all-be-all of health. Depending on your body size, physical activity, health goals or issues, the RDI may be lower than your actual needs.

Factors like gender, age, fitness level, or even your geographical location can mean you need more or less of a certain nutrient. For example, women entering their 50s may need more bone strengthening vitamins to protect against osteoporosis, while women who are pregnant may need more folate or iron.

Depending on your long-term or short-term health goals, more or less of a certain vitamin may be necessary. Evaluate your daily life, your goals, your family history, and your current needs to see what vitamins and supplements may fit your needs best. However, taking too many of the wrong supplements can also be severely detrimental to your health.

Even the most health-savvy individuals could use professional guidance. Consulting with your doctor or medical professional could also be a great way to pin-point the best vitamin and supplements for you.

Getting a functional health report and labs is one of the most accurate approaches to navigating your supplement journey. Lab results don’t lie, and can give your medical professional a clear understanding of the best vitamins and supplements to improve your health.

You can sign up for an in person or virtual consult with Deep Relief professionals here. We’ll look at your current lab results, run a functional health report, and help guide you towards the right vitamins and supplements for you.

Whole Food Supplements vs. Synthetic

Whole Food Supplements vs. Synthetic

The majority of Americans don’t get enough nutrients from diet alone. 

Statistics show that over half of the U.S takes synthetic nutrients, such as multivitamins. 

There have been many debates between health professionals about whether or not there are benefits to synthetic nutrients. 

In this article we are going to take an objective look at what synthetic nutrients are, the differences between whole food supplements vs. synthetic, and the benefits they offer. 

What Are Synthetic Nutrients? 

Synthetic nutrients are dietary supplements made in a lab to mimic the way natural nutrients act in our bodies. 

They do not include “whole foods”, which are made from concentrated, dehydrated whole foods. 

They can be taken in pill, tablet, powder, or liquid form. To check whether the ingredients in your supplements are whole food based or synthetic, read the label. 

Supplements that list nutrients individually as opposed to listing them as food sources or labels that read 100% plant or animal based, such as vitamin C, are almost always synthetic. 

Whole Food Supplements vs. Synthetic 

Here’s the difference:

Whole Food Supplements – These are obtained through natural, whole food sources, such as plants or animals and are easily assimilated by our bodies.

Synthetic Nutrients – These are most often made artificially, in an industrial process. 

While synthetic nutrients are understood to be almost identical to whole foods chemically, your body reacts to them differently. 

Due to the fact that synthetic nutrients are created differently than how plants and animals make them, it’s unclear how well synthetic nutrients are actually absorbed and used in the body in comparison to whole food supplements. 

When you eat real food you’re not absorbing single nutrients but a range of vitamins, enzymes and minerals that allow for optimal use in the body. 

While whole foods are always the best option, there are an array of whole food supplements that are the next best thing to ensure your body is receiving enough nutrients. 

Standard Process is a whole food supplement company that offers products with beneficial and high-concentrates of naturally derived sources of nutrients. 

Benefits of Whole Food Supplements vs. Synthetic 

While it’s unclear how well the body absorbs synthetic nutrients, it is clear that natural nutrients are linked to a multitude of health benefits. 

Whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables, provide us with a wide range of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fibers, and fatty acids that synthetic nutrients can’t replicate. 

Foods such as fish, beans, nuts, and whole grains are known to help reduce blood pressure, improve heart health, reduce risk of diabetes, and also have cancer prevention properties. 

These benefits can only be achieved through natural sources, such as whole foods or whole food supplements. 

The evidence on the benefits of synthetic nutrients is mixed. While some multivitamins have been linked to reduced heart disease and cancer, some have been proven to have no effect at all, or to even increase the risk of cancer. 

Some studies suggest that B vitamins may improve brain function, yet other studies prove the latter. 

Overall, studies on synthetic supplements are inconclusive. Many studies have proven to be weak, contradictory, or downright harmful. 

While there are some groups  in which synthetic nutrients have proven to be beneficial, such as for the elderly, vegans and vegetarians, pregnant women, and people with nutrients deficiencies (such as iron), getting natural nutrients is always the better option. 

While supplements aren’t a replacement for a healthy and balanced diet, they can be a great option if you’re lacking nutrients in specific areas. 

With this in mind, always opt for a whole food supplement. There are many reliable sources for natural supplements, including these Standard Process supplements

The difference between Distal Needle, Motor Point, and Dry Needling  in Acupuncture

The difference between Distal Needle, Motor Point, and Dry Needling  in Acupuncture

 

Both traditional and modern acupuncture are very effective for reducing pain and discomfort, with additional benefits for muscles, tissues, organs, and more. But there are also many different approaches to acupuncture that we will consider, depending on the cause of the pain, the degree, and the style that we think will be most effective – not only as a treatment, but for your comfort level as well.

Here at Deep Relief Austin, Louisa is highly trained in different needle and acupuncture techniques. If you’re new to the acupuncture world or unclear on the differences, Louisa is more than happy to talk to you about the different options and discuss which treatment is best for your needs.

Three of the styles she may consider are called Distal Needle Acupuncture, Motor Point Acupuncture, and Dry Needling.

These styles have similarities, but differ dramatically in technique and strategy. We will explore the differences below.

  • Distal Needle Acupuncture

Traditional western acupuncture inserts needles in the area of the body most likely to be responsible for pain. Distal needle acupuncture, or DNA, uses points on the limbs, taking advantage of the connection in nerves at the distal region of the body to address pain at the inner portion of the body. DNA can often be completed with clothes on, and requires fewer needles than traditional acupuncture.

  • Motor Point Acupuncture

Unlike distal acupuncture, motor point acupuncture addresses pain near its source. Perfect for sports injuries, motor point acupuncture places needles where the nerve enters the muscle, giving it a jump start that relieves pain and relaxes contracted muscles. Some motor point acupuncture also utilizes trigger points as well, which are pockets of tight muscles responsible for aches and pains.

  • Dry Needling

Dry needling is more of a technique than a style of acupuncture. The term is most often associated with trigger point acupuncture, often administered by a physical therapist or chiropractor, after completing a short certification class, allowing them to use acupuncture. Dry needling, is basically acupuncture administered in a particular way as to release stubborn trigger points, and as the name implies, it uses dry needles, with no anesthetic or medication involved. It is simply an acupuncture needle.

Find Out What Acupuncture Style Is Best For You at Deep Relief Austin!

Louisa is a skilled Austin acupuncturist that is happy to walk you through each different style and let you know what is recommended for your types of pain.

​If you’d like to schedule your appointment or learn more about each treatment, call today at 512-529-0027.

5 Benefits of Acupuncture

5 Benefits of Acupuncture

 5 Benefits of Acupuncture:

​Acupuncture can do amazing things for pain management, migraines, anxiety and more. Learn the benefits of acupuncture by reading this article today!

Have you ever wondered if sticking yourself full of needles is the answer to your health problems?

To be clear, we’re not talking about taking drugs. In fact, we’re talking about how to avoid taking prescription ones.

What we’re talking about is the age-old practice of acupuncture. Acupuncture has been around for thousands of years and has been a strong part of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
More recently, the benefits of acupuncture are being discovered and promoted in the western world. Here we’ll discuss 5 of them.

1. Reduces Dependence on Prescription Drugs
Drug overdoses don’t just happen in back alleys where junkies are looking for their next high. They’re happening in the homes of average Americans. People just like you and me.
The thing is, these folks live with some kind of chronic pain or a disorder that requires pain management. Their doctors prescribe them painkillers to ease their suffering.
But, over time, they get hooked on these prescription painkillers and/or begin to abuse them. In the US, about 40% of opiate drug overdose deaths are from prescription painkillers.

That is a staggering and heartbreaking statistic.

But what choice do people have? Is it either live with their chronic pain or take the chance they’ll develop a drug addiction?

Doctors have been on the lookout for better methods of pain management. They don’t want their patients to develop drug problems either.

Alternative treatments are becoming more common and acupuncture has emerged as a beacon of hope. One of the greatest benefits of acupuncture is its ability to manage pain.
The acupuncturist inserts fine needles into certain points that block the transmission of pain signals to the brain. The process also involves a release of endorphins that help the body address pain.

Reducing dependence on prescription drugs is a huge benefit to acupuncture. Who wouldn’t rather visit an acupuncturist than risk a possible life-threatening drug addiction?
But what about folks who are afraid of needles? For most people, simply putting pressure on the same points can produce similar results.

2. Reduces the Frequency and Intensity of Migraines
If you suffer from migraine headaches, you know how debilitating the pain can be. It can be so bad that you miss work or other important events.

And it’s not only the headache that affects you. Migraines bring with them a whole host of unpleasant symptoms like

    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Sensitivity to light and sound
    • Blurred vision

Around 37 million Americans suffer from migraines. About 5 million of those report experiencing an episode at least once a month.

One of the fantastic benefits of acupuncture is the ability to manage these symptoms. Acupuncture can prevent both tension headaches and migraines from happening. If you’re already experiencing symptoms, it can ease your pain effectively.

3. Alleviates Symptoms Associated with Diabetes
Another of the great benefits of acupuncture is its ability to help people with diabetes. Its benefits are twofold.

First, many people with diabetes develop peripheral neuropathy as they get older. This is a nerve disorder that can cause pain, tingling, or a sensation of burning or numbness in the extremities.

Advanced neuropathy is often associated with diabetic foot ulcers as it increases the risk of developing them. Thus, the condition also increases the risk of needing to amputate the feet.

Acupuncture helps improve the symptoms of diabetic peripheral neuropathy in most people. It is a far better alternative than dealing with the pain and watching the symptoms slowly progress.

More recent discoveries indicate that acupuncture can actually help control blood sugar. As blood sugar problems are big issues in diabetes this can help significantly.

The best way to use acupuncture to treat diabetes is in conjunction with your established medical routine.

Electroacupuncture shows the best results with diabetic patients. This method involves adding a tiny electric shock to the needles. (Don’t worry, it isn’t painful).

4. Help Increase Fertility
There is not a direct relationship between acupuncture and increasing fertility. But even so, increasing the chances of conception stands out as one of the benefits of acupuncture.
Why? Because acupuncture can treat some of the underlying causes of infertility.

Some people have a medical condition that prevents them from conceiving. In those cases, conception is unlikely without addressing that issue.

However, many people struggle with infertility for different reasons. Stress is one of the biggest culprits. The inability to conceive often adds more stress on top of it and they go around in a vicious cycle.

You can break the cycle by introducing acupuncture as a way to relieve the stress. Stress also tends to negatively affect libido. Thus, reducing stress can help in that department as well.

Acupuncture can also increase blood flow and balance the hormones in the body. Both blood flow and hormones have a strong effect on the reproductive organs. Thus, improving these can improve the chances of conception.

5. Treat Depression and Anxiety
As acupuncture can help with infertility, it can help improve your mental health. Issues such as depression and anxiety often come about because of imbalances in the body.

Acupuncture releases a flow of endorphins which flood your brain with “happy chemicals”. These hormones can help you feel better and more positive.

The act of acupuncture itself is also very calming. It relieves stress and helps you feel better physically. This serves to help improve your mental health.

Benefits of Acupuncture for YouAs you can see, the benefits of acupuncture are wide-ranging. Do you think that acupuncture could help you?

The best way to find out is to ask. Contact us today to learn more about acupuncture. We can help you decide if it would be helpful in your particular situation.

The great thing is that it is a safe procedure that you can trust. So you can try it out for a few sessions to see how it works for you. You don’t have anything to lose but the pain!

7 Frequently Asked Questions About Dry Needling

7 Frequently Asked Questions About Dry Needling

Should You Try Dry Needling?

Despite the fact that dry needling has been around for decades, it remains a relatively unknown and misunderstood therapy.
 
Is dry needling just another name for acupuncture? What conditions does dry needling help? Learn the answers to these questions and more as we address the 7 most frequently asked questions about dry needling therapy.
 
Dry needling is a specific treatment used to help with the alleviation of pain associated with muscle tension and spasms. It has proven highly effective over the last few decades with many chronic pain sufferers swearing by its positive effects.
 

Also known as trigger point therapy, there are numerous benefits to this lesser-known, yet highly therapeutic treatment. If you’d like to learn more about dry needling therapy, then just keep on reading…

Everything You Need to Know About Dry Needling

When a muscle becomes tense or worked up into a spasm, it forms what is known as trigger points. Trigger points are essentially the working material of dry needling therapists.

But if you’re wondering ‘what does dry needling do?’ and ‘does it really help to alleviate pain?’, read on.

1. What is Dry Needling?

So, why is it called ”dry” needling? This is because dry needling does not use any form of solution injected into the body, muscles or skin.

Instead, thin filament needles are inserted through the skin into specific trigger points which elicit a ”twitching” response. Essentially, this twitching kicks starts your body’s immune response to begin healing a painful, inflamed area.

The twitching also helps to increase blood flow in the affected area, helping with range-of-movement. Dry needling is one of the deepest tissue release therapies available today and is renowned for its pain relieving after effects.

Trigger point dry needling has proven to reduce muscle tension, improve range of motion and improve dysfunctions of motor-end plates and nerve impulses.

2. Is Dry Needling the Same as Acupuncture?

But wait, isn’t dry needling the same as acupuncture? It all sounds and looks very similar doesn’t it?

Don’t be fooled, these two treatments are different! Acupuncture is a practice based on traditional Chinese medicine and is centuries old.

Acupuncture is solely focused on directing different forms of energy throughout the body.

Dry needling is a westernized form of medicine and nowhere near as ancient as acupuncture practice. While similar needles are used during both therapies, dry needling is solely focused on pain and tension release.

Acupuncture uses the body’s meridian pathways to target and direct energy, while dry needling is focused on particular muscular trigger points.

3. What Type of Conditions Can it Treat?

Dry needling is ideal for those who suffer from chronic, long-term pain caused by repeated stress or injury.

However, those with acute pain associated with temporary injury can also benefit from dry needling therapy. Very often those seeking the relief of dry needling therapy have undergone some form of manual physical therapy beforehand.

If these therapies have not helped, dry needling is often the next step when seeking pain and tension relief.

This form of physical therapy needling can benefit an assortment of conditions, including:

  • Chronic or long-term pain
  • Muscular strains
  • Ligament sprains
  • Neck pain and spams
  • Lower back pain
  • Sciatica nerve pain
  • Shoulder pain and frozen shoulder syndrome
  • Tennis and golfer’s elbow
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Athletic stiffness or strain
  • Hip and glute pain
  • Knee pain
  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Headaches and migraines

For those in need of intense physical therapy, dry needling is recommended as a complementary therapy to other regular therapies.

4. Does Dry Needling Hurt?

Yes, dry needling does hurt to some degree, but the pain is only fleeting and should pass within seconds. Upon insertion of the needle into a specific trigger point you should feel an initial sting of pain, but this only lasts about a second.

The insertion of the dry needle should bring on a twitching response in the muscle, as previously mentioned. This can sometimes result in a dull, deep ache or a cramping sensation within the targeted muscle during the therapy session.

Post dry needling therapy your muscles may feel sensitive or ache. However, this is generally a good sign that the therapy has done its job!

5. What Kind of Needles Are Used During Dry Needling?

Dry needling makes use of sterilized, ultra-thin filiform needles which are designed to specifically penetrate your skin, down to the muscle. These needles are used to successfully stimulate myofascial trigger points in the muscles, as well as muscular and connective tissues.

These needles are ideal as they allow physical therapists to target such specific points within a muscle group which cannot otherwise be accessed.

During each session, a therapist is required to wear gloves and personal protective equipment to ensure a sterile working atmosphere. Used needles are then disposed of in a medical sharps collector.

6. What Can I Expect Post Treatment?

While some patients report relief from pain and tension after just one session, multiple sessions are best for maximum results.

It is definitely possible to experience a renewed range-of-motion after one dry needling session. Although consistent therapy is required to fully heal a chronic or long-term strain.

After each needling session, you will most likely feel sore and tender in both the treated muscle and surrounding area.

This tenderness can last a few hours or up to two days post-therapy. Pain can be alleviated with an ice pack or heat.

7. Am I Suitable for Dry Needling?

It’s important to note that not everyone is suited to dry needling therapy. It is considered an invasive therapy, so there are a few factors to keep in mind.

You may not be an ideal candidate for dry needling if you display any of these characteristics or symptoms:

  • You have an irrational fear or needles i.e. a needle phobia
  • If you have lymphedema
  • If you are pregnant, primarily if you’re in your first trimester
  • If you have a blood clotting or immune system disorder
  • If you are ill / fighting off an infection
  • If you are unable to sign with cognitive consent to the therapy, i.e. if you suffer from a mental disorder
  • If you under the age of 12 years old

However, if you suffer from chronic or acute muscle pain and you’re looking for the ideal treatment, dry needling could be it for you.

Interested in Dry Needling Treatment?

At Deep Relief Austin we are specialists in the treatment of pain through massagedry needling, acupuncture, and chiropractic support.

If you’re looking for relief from pain caused by injury or repeat strain, our team is here to care for you.

Looking to book an appointment? Get in touch with us here.