Anything That Tastes This Nasty, Has to be Good For You.
By L. J. Creapeau, CNH and Circkles Staff Nutritionist.

Even chocolate can't help the way this stuff tastes. I'm referring to the brewer's yeast that many people use as a dietary supplement. So why endure this nastiness?

Brewer's yeast tastes like it sounds. Actually, it tastes like the sludge you might find at the bottom of a beer barrel; and I'm talking about the de-bittered, de-activated nutritional version considered to be mild. Some beer drinkers might actually think that the fact that it tastes like beer sludge is a plus, but I doubt you will think that after trying it.
Brewer's yeast is an acquired taste and some people never really get used to it, so I bet you are asking yourself, "Then why in the world would I use it?" Brewer's yeast is the ONLY supplement that contains RNA - Ribonucleic acid - which supports cell replication, growth, and protein synthesis. Brewer's yeast is also one of few notable natural sources of chromium - known to enhance the action of the body's natural insulin, thereby being critical to the metabolism and storage of carbohydrate, fat, and protein in the body. In conjunction with the high protein content of brewer's yeast, this adds up to a very powerful, easily utilized, form of proteins, minerals and B vitamins for the body. It also contains biotin which is good for healthy hair and nails. Brewer's yeast is hands down the best supplement you can possibly take as a multi-vitamin because it is food-based, meaning the nutrients are natural and not synthetic and thereby better assimilated by the human body.
Watch out for some brewer's yeast powders or supplements that do not have B12. The B vitamins should be taken together and not one substantially more than the other. B12 is crucial to the body, so don't ever go without it. If you eat meat, you are probably already getting all the B12 you need, but vegetarians who rely on supplements for this vitamin should read the brewer's yeast nutritional labels carefully to make sure it is in there.

Brewer's yeast contains all the essential amino acids, 14 minerals, and 17 vitamins. It is one of the best natural sources of the B-complex vitamins thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, B6, pantothenic acid, biotin, and folic acid. It is also high in minerals, including chromium, zinc, iron, phosphorus, and selenium. Brewer's yeast is also a good source of protein. It contains approximately 16 g of protein per 30 g of powdered yeast. Brewer's yeast is a good source of RNA, an immune-enhancing nucleic acid that may help in the prevention of degenerative diseases and slowing the aging process.

The fungus known as Saccharomyces cerevisiae, or brewer's yeast, takes its name from its role in the beer-brewing process. This microorganism can be cultivated for nutritional purposes and used as a dietary supplement. The vitamins and minerals in brewer's yeast support the functions of your liver, digestive tract, brain and nerves. When taken in powder, tablet, flake or liquid forms, brewer's yeast supplements may also boost your energy and improve the health of your skin and fingernails, notes the University of Maryland Medical Center (UNMC).

Glucose Tolerance: Brewer's yeast is high in chromium, an essential mineral that helps your cells absorb glucose from your bloodstream. Taking brewer's yeast supplements may enable your body to utilize glucose more effectively. Chromium may increase your glucose tolerance and keep your blood sugar stable if you have diabetes; however, clinical research has not confirmed that taking brewer's yeast supplements is an effective way to manage your blood glucose levels, according to the UMMC.

Blood Circulation and Oxygen Usage: The iron in brewer's yeast allows your red blood cells to carry oxygen to your vital organs and muscles, giving you the energy you need for your daily activities. B vitamin deficiencies may lead to a lack of healthy red blood cells, resulting in anemia, fatigue, weakness or dizziness. Vitamin B-6 contributes to the formation of new red blood cells. Vitamin B-3, or niacin, increases blood flow by dilating blood vessels, improving circulation throughout your body.

Resistance to Infection: Brewer's yeast is rich in selenium, an essential mineral that supports your immune system and protects your cells against the oxidative damage that can lead to chronic disease. Saccharomyces boulardii, a fungus strain that is closely related to Saccharomyces cerevisiae, is sometimes sold as brewer's yeast. Both strains may be used as probiotic supplements to prevent infectious diarrhea or diarrhea caused by antibiotic use, according to MedlinePlus.

Tissue Formation: Brewer's yeast may be taken as a protein supplement to sustain lean tissue production. Protein is vital for the regeneration of new tissue during wound healing. The protein in brewer's yeast contributes to the structures of all of your body's cells, tissues and fluid compounds, such as enzymes or hormones, and is much less fattening than meats.

How does Nutritional Yeast compare to Brewer's Yeast?

Nutritional yeast is much easier for most people's palates to tolerate. It has what is referred to as a nutty, cheesy flavor that makes it popular as a cheese substitute for many vegans. It usually comes in the form of flakes, or as a yellow powder, and can be found in the bulk aisle of most natural food stores next to the brewer's yeast. In Australia, it is sometimes sold as "savory yeast flakes".
While nutritional yeast contains most of the same nutrients as brewer's, it does not contain RNA or chromium, which is the key factor in making brewer's yeast so loved and well utilized by the body. People claim to have more energy, feel better overall, have better immune function, and are able to lose weight easier while using brewer's yeast. This is all due to the boost given to brewer's yeast by the RNA and chromium. So although you may like the taste of nutritional yeast better, it does not have the health benefits quite like brewer's yeast. Also, nutritional yeast products vary greatly in nutrient content because some manufacturers will add other nutrients like B12 or chromium to it and some will not. So compare brands and read labels carefully here. Twinlab makes a very good nutritional yeast that they fortified with chromium, several additional vitamins and B12, however, they cannot duplicate the RNA that is in brewer's yeast naturally and brewer's yeast is still the ONLY supplement that contains RNA - which a few studies claim is vital to some brain functions.

Is brewer's yeast worth the nasty taste? Only you can decide. But try it for at least a month before you give up on it to see if you think the way it makes you feel is worth the fact that it's a bit difficult to choke down. I've tried mixing all sorts of things to brewer's yeast to try and cover up the taste of it, but they all seem to make it worse. I have found the best way to take it is to mix 1 heaping Tbsp of the powder in a small glass of water. Stir it and then let it sit for about 3-5 minutes because it takes the powder a while to absorb the water and really mix with it at all. Otherwise, you will be fighting to try and get the powder to dissolve and mix with the water without being clumpy. Once mixed thoroughly, just slug it all down at once like taking a nasty-tasting medicine.
There are brewer's yeast tablets and other forms that are easier to swallow, but like everything else, the less processed it is the more health benefits it will have, and in the liquid form you are just paying for the water that is added to it, so the loose powder is the best form. I have found the best brand of brewer's yeast powder is made by Twinlab because it comes in a glass jar so it stays nice and fresh, there are no plastic container toxin issues, and it's relatively mild tasting compared to some brands. Look at the nutrition label on any good quality brewer's yeast product and you will be impressed with just how many proteins, minerals and B vitamins there are in it compared to most vitamin supplements including nutritional yeast, and these vitamins and minerals are in a food form the body can actually use, so they aren't just flushed out in the urine like most synthetic vitamins - which ends up being a big waste of money.
You will likely hate the taste of brewer's yeast; but your body will love it and love you for it. If multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, diabetes, or any nerve disorders run in your family, this would be the best vitamin supplement for you. If you lack energy, your hair is dull, your nails are brittle, you have a difficult time losing weight, you are a vegetarian, or you just want to be healthier all around, this supplement is also for you. Pretty much anybody could benefit from using this product. So plug your nose, take a deep breath, and down the hatch! In other words, choke it down any way you can. And if you find a way to take it that it actually doesn't taste half bad, please share it with me or the Circkles Hangout forum.

Photos from top: 1.) Beer glass. 2.) Part of the brewing process is the yeast activation. 3.) Twinlab's brewer's yeast label with nothing added. 4.) Twinlab's Nutritional yeast label with many fortified nutrients added.


The Latest Diet Craze: Eat Like a Caveman?
By L. J. Creapeau, CNH and Circkles Staff Nutritionist.

What's really starting to bug me about diet crazes lately is that somebody will take a dieting program or idea that has been around for decades, slap a different name on it, hype it up like it's some new scientific discovery and make billions off of it.

The most recent case of this is the Paleo Diet, or Caveman Diet. Oh yes, tons of people are boasting about it, books, videos and infomercials are all over the place on it, it's being marketed as the latest, greatest way to lose weight, cure everything that ails you, and solve world peace. Okay, I'm kidding about the world peace part, but this diet is just a slightly different version of Dr. Christopher's Regenerative and Transfiguration Diets of the 1980s.

Here is what the Paleo Diet is all about: 70-75% of your plate at each meal would be vegetables, about 3 oz of meat, a fruit, and throw in some omega 3s and 6s. It completely cuts out dairy and grains because they are "inflammatory foods". I hate to burst the creator of this diet's bubble, but meat is one of the most inflammatory foods there is. My other problem with this diet is the elimination of grains. Common sense and research proves that grains are a very necessary part of the diet because of their fiber and their high B vitamin content. Eliminating grains from the diet completely is a very bad idea and could easily lead to B vitamin deficiencies which are already very prevalent in the American diet. Especially since the Paleo Diet's other claim to fame is that it avoids all processed foods. Now that, as you know, I agree with. However, most processed foods are enriched with B vitamins like Riboflavin, Thiamin, B12, B6 and Niacin etc. What makes the Paleo Diet so dangerous, in my opinion as a Certified Nutritionist of the last 13 years, is that by eliminating all processed foods and grains it is eliminating the most major and common sources of B vitamins.

You can get B12 from meat. But the best source for the rest of your Bs is grains. That is why the FDA started requiring food manufacturers to fortify their cereal and flour products years ago. They even add grains to most dog foods. This is because B vitamins were being stripped from the source by processing, so the manufacturers had to add the B vitamins back in after processing in order to meet the RDA requirements in the average diet. If you eat whole, unprocessed grains this isn't a problem; you will get B vitamins in a natural form that the body can more easily assimilate than fortified chemical equivalents. Yes, you can get most B vitamins from vegetables (not B12), but you would have to eat considerably more vegetables to equal what you get from a cup of non-processed, minimally-cooked grains.

What about the Paleo Diet's claim that grains are inflammatory? Life is inflammatory. Toxins are the biggest source of inflammation in our environment. Yes, some foods are known to cause more inflammation than others, it all has to do with how acidic or alkaline a food is, but again, it's the processed foods, chemical preservatives, fertilizers and pesticides that are the biggest food source of inflammation. Raw organic foods create very little inflammation if any, and if you are eating plenty of alkaline foods like fresh fruits and vegetable, you actually need some acid foods to keep your pH balanced. Eating a raw foods, organic, non-processed diet, you will never have to worry about inflammation even if you eat grains.

My recommendation on the Paleo Diet is the same as with any other: use common sense and don't believe everything the producers of these diets are trying to feed you. Be very careful of any diet that is too extreme: in that it completely eliminates one of the food groups or makes outrageous claims. The best diet I have ever found and use myself is Dr. Christopher's Regenerative Diet because it just makes sense. It's a balanced, non-processed raw foods, minimally cooked grains, organic diet on which so many so-called "new" diets are being based these days. And for a reason: Because his diet is founded on common sense and it works. Dr. Christopher's Diet also cuts out dairy, because frankly, there isn't anything good about dairy that you can't find a better substitute for in other foods, and cutting out the mucus caused by dairy is a big plus to the body. The Dairy Industry of course wants us to believe otherwise, but truth and studies be told, the calcium in dairy products is almost always calcium carbonate; which the body cannot utilize well at all because it's too difficult for the body to digest and assimilate. The best sources of calcium are vegetables like rhubarb or soy, which are very high, as well as spinach, almonds, okra, molasses and many other vegetables, nuts, and yes grains.
The only artificial calcium supplement that should even be considered as having any benefit to the body is calcium citrate, any other calcium supplement is a waste of your money and could cause kidney or gallstones because the calcium cannot be used well and is just stored, eventually building up in the body where you don't want it. Calcium is a mineral that is very difficult for the body to break down and use anyway, and calcium citrate is the one artificial calcium that can be more readily used by the body. The best source of calcium that the body can actually use with any efficiency at all comes from fresh vegetables, nuts, seed and grains grown organically.

Eat like a caveman? Just eat what a human being should and you will be better off. That means a variety of only organic, minimally cooked foods from all the food groups and nothing in excess. Pretty simple right? If the caveman diet was so wonderful, they would have lived longer.

Other new diet crazes: Everybody is jumping on the "avoid processed foods" bandwagon now, which I for one am very happy to see because I have been saying processed foods are detrimental to good health for years. Another "new" not so "new" fad that is starting to circulate is that we should be making breakfast our main, biggest meal and dinner the smallest meal of the day. I tend to agree with this and I will explain how and why in next month's issue of Health Circkles.

Photos from top: 1.) The Paleo Diet chart. 2.) Our friendly caveman cooking a chicken drumstick?

© 2013 All images and articles.

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There are several natural remedies you can try to ease the symptoms of eczema listed below. A very recent study in Europe has isolated a particular cell in the body they believe is responsible for eczema. It's a cell that responds to parasites and worms in the skin. So hopefully they will soon find an effective treatment. Many things help the symptoms some, but there is yet to be a cure for this condition because up until now, scientists could not isolate the true cause. Many speculate it is a type of allergic reaction, but that doesn't really seem to be the case. It is also sometimes thought to be diet related; in that eczema sufferers are deficient in a particular nutrient such as vitamin C, or they are reacting to a toxin in foods. We will be following the progress on Europe's studies and post any breakthroughs they come up with. Until then, try any of the natural remedies below to see if they will bring some relief.

Grapeseed oil: is anti-inflammatory, moisturizing, high in vitamin E and antioxidants and is not as thick or greasy as olive oil, which has also been recommended for eczema. It also soaks into the skin much quicker than olive oil. If you have eczema on your hands, apply it to your hands every night before bed so it has time to soak in and work without being washed off. Grapeseed oil should be kept refrigerated as it gets rancid rather quickly.

Calendula: Often recommended for any skin conditions because it has a soothing and restorative effect. Calendula is best used fresh from the plant. They can be grown easily around the yard as a pretty, marigold-type ornamental. Pick the petals off the flowers, gently mash them with a spoon just to release the oils and juices in the petals and add them to a small jar of the grapeseed oil mentioned above and keep it handy in the refrigerator for future use.

Aloe Vera Gel: has long been used to heel many skin conditions, but here is what we have found about aloe plants over the years. There is a variety of aloe plant that works better than the kind you usually find in the stores. Known as Barbadensis Miller, it gets very large, has more of a bluish tint to the leaves and grows naturally in the Caribbean or Africa. If you ever find this species of aloe, buy it. It is very handy to have around the house. The smaller varieties you usually see at local stores will also work, but not as well. Make sure you are using the gel from the leaves not just the juice. Aloe gel will stop the itching almost immediately. Several applications over several days or weeks can clear up eczema and heal the skin.

HERBS: How to use herbs for maximum benefit. Short and sweet descriptions and uses written by our on-staff Nutritional Herbalist. Always remember that herbs should be treated as a medicine. Almost all of our modern-day medicines are derived from compounds found in herbs and plants. If you have not used a particular herb before, try a half dose at first to make sure you do not have an unfavorable reaction to it.

Cayenne Pepper Capsicum annuum:

Medicinal Properties: This little wonder contains more vitamin C and A per ounce than almost any other food. Capsaicin -the active ingredient in cayenne -has now come into the lime light as the next wonder ingredient in arthritis formulas. Cayenne does have a stimulating effect and helps to increase circulation. It also is just about the only thing that will cure Strep throat in just 1-2 doses. Dr. John Christopher ND suggests that it can stop bleeding and even nosebleeds, but I have yet to try it for this. He also suggests that cayenne can cure ulcers although I would take caution in using it if you have ulcers or severe stomach trouble. It does increase digestion and is wonderful for clearing up any kind of mucus in the throat.

How to Use: A small amount goes a long way. For strep throat, mix a pinch of cayenne in  1/2 cup warm water and gargle or (works better if you can slowly swallow small amounts by letting it trickle down your throat.) If it gives you an upset stomach, go back to gargling or take it with food. Sprinkle on foods and incorporate into more recipes for aiding circulation.

Parts Used: Ripe fruit, some peppers are more medicinal than others. It is said cayenne from Seirra Leone, Africa is the most medicinal, but over-the-counter cayenne works.

Warnings: Can cause stomach upset if too much is taken at once on an empty stomach. Do not apply full strength directly to the skin as it can burn or cause irritation.

Growing: Easy to grow in the garden or containers. It loves a sunny, warm location and doesn't require as long as a growing period as full-sized green peppers. It does well in a pot in a very sunny window in the house and can make an attractive houseplant as such.

Some Herb Basics: Most herbs work better on an empty stomach. A few exceptions are garlic, goldenseal and cayenne due to stomach upset. Herbs work in a cumulative fashion meaning they are not a "one dose wonder." They need to build up in the system a little, usually within 2-3 doses, before any real affect can be noticed. Fresh herbs always work better than old herbs and science is always proving the fact that a whole herb usually is more effective than one isolated compound of that herb.

Do you know what foods will give you more energy, calm your nerves, act as an anti-inflammatory, help prevent cancers, or help you lose weight? Hopefully this column will help you to have a better understanding of food and its healing properties. The best diet for optimal health is a wide variation of foods, plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and minimally cooked whole foods. Sweets, fatty foods, meat, dairy and carbs in moderation.

Broccoli: Heads, stalks, flowerets.

Therapeutic Properties: Said to help prevent cancer due to its high levels of anti-oxidants, it also helps regulate insulin and blood sugar, helps speed up the metabolism of estrogen and regulate hormone levels, and is anti-viral and anti-ulcer. Studies have shown it may actually reduce the size of some tumors, specifically breast and colon. This may be due to recent studies which discovered that members of the cabbage family, and especially broccoli,i have recently been found to possess the ability to lower estrogen levels which can be a benefit to perimenopausal women and anybody who is getting an overdose of chemical estrogens from plastic food containers. (Which is almost everyone these days.)

Acid or Alkaline: Alkaline action in the body.

Significant Nutrients: Calcium, loaded with anti-oxidants. To best preserve broccoli and any other member of the cruciferous family's nutrients, they are best eaten raw or lightly steamed.

Growing: Broccoli is a cool-weather plant and grows best in northern regions. It also requires at least 100 days until maturity, which may be too long of a growing period for some climates. To grow broccoli effectively, it should be started in a sunny window or greenhouse at least 2 months before it's planted outdoors so it can take advantage of the cool spring to really get going. Keep it out of hot, direct sun in a semi-shady location in southern regions and it may still produce for you.

See our Recipe of the Month Club for an excellent way to use broccoli in a soup the whole family will like.

You can find more herbs and home remedies in The Circkles Hangout under the Main Menu. (Sorry, you must be a member of


May 2013
Health and Nutrition Circkles
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