Garcinia Cambogia Supplements Compared.

Also known as the Malabar tamarind, the gambooge fruit grows across southwest India, Myanmar and Indonesia. It ripens to a red or yellowish fruit about the size of an orange, but resembling the shape of a pumpkin.

People have long used the dried gambooge rinds for chutneys or curries, and sometimes as an aid for stomach problems. But in the late 1960s, scientists identified a substance in the rind of the fruit called hydroxycitric acid, or HCA, which stops an enzyme that turns sugar into fat, according to Catherine Ulbricht, senior pharmacist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

There is some conflicting information regarding Garcinia Cambogia's effectiveness for weight loss however. Animal studies of HCA showed that mice taking the substance ate less, lost weight and produced less fat from sugar. One weight loss study showed no difference between people who took Garcinia cambogia and those who took a placebo pill. Other trials linked HCA to weight loss and healthy blood lipid levels (lipids are fats).

"Further, well-designed clinical trials are needed before any firm conclusions can be made," Ulbricht said.

Like anything else, we would recommend trying it and if it doesn't work, then you know. As with any new supplement craze, it's important to single out the hype and fad products from the real deal. You may or may not have heard of Garcinia Cambogia, one of the latest products claiming to be a miracle cure for weight loss, so I'm sure many of you are ignoring it, but it has gotten so much press and attention from some prominent sources that we thought we would dive into it further and see if it really is everything it claims to be, and if so, which brands are the real deal and which ones are the ones to steer clear of.

The problem for consumers with supplements is always that some are not what they would like you to believe. The front labels look very appealing and often misleading, but if you read the back labels of many supplement bottles, are so full of fillers and ineffective dosages or ingredients, the only thing you get out of them is taken advantage of. As with all supplements, in order for them to work, they have to have effective ingredients, in effective potencies, and they have to be fresh. Supplement manufacturers are always looking for cheaper ways to put out a product because most of them are just chasing that almighty bottom-line and every latest fad. But some of the more reputable companies that have been around for a while believe in also putting out a product that works.

The best Garcinia Cambogia supplements should be a minimum of 1,500mg of the herb, potassium to help your body absorb it better, and at least 60% HCA - or the active ingredient in Garcinia - and nothing else. Also, be leery of any dieting product the manufacturer is not willing to back up with a money-back guarantee or equivalent. If they don't believe in their product enough to do this, neither should you.

We chose 30 different Garcinia products and picked the top three based on brand reputation, price, guarantees, integrity of ingredients and consumers we polled who have used the supplement.

#1. Our best overall rating goes to the brand Whole Body Garcinia Cambogia.

• No fillers, binders, synthetic ingredients

• Users reported seeing weight loss from within one week to a month.

• Best overall price for the value.

• Many weight loss products contain caffeine, which is not dangerous per se, but can cause undesirable side effects and complications. It is not necessary to weight loss and Whole Body does not include it. Whole Body brand offers the purest form of any brand on the market thus far.


#2. Genesis Today Garcinia Cambogia..

• Has the 60% HCA, but contains a few other ingredients not directed toward weight loss, such as black pepper, which only dilute their product. Not to mention, their potency is only 800mgs versus the 1500mgs of Whole Body's product, so you have to take twice as much of the Genesis Today brand to equal the Whole body brand, therefore, it is not as cost effective.

• Consumer testing still verified that the product does work for weight loss.



#3. Vitamin Shoppe Garcinia Cambogia..

• While Vitamin Shoppe's products may offer a better price than many, there is usually a reason. Their Garcinia is full of fillers, is not an effective potency, and doesn't have potassium for better absorption, so therefore is not very effective.

• With a diluted supplement such as this, it will take you much longer, and a lot more money to achieve results.In the long run, you are not saving any money.




Mesquite Meal.

Mesquite meal or flour is made from the dried seed pods of the mesquite tree, a common tree in the American Southwest that has long, narrow, tan seed pods. The tree and its pods were an important food staple of the Native Americans, who would grind them to make sweet flour that could be used for soups, drinks, puddings, porridge, and dried cakes. The dried pods also were picked right off the tree and chewed on. Some people say the seed pods taste similar to slightly sweet Cracker Jacks snack food.

It is said that Native Americans did not experience diabetes until they started to replace their mesquite flour with processed flours. Mesquite is a high-protein superfood that is low on the glycemic index so is good for diabetics, is gluten-free and is a good source of calcium, iron, lysine, manganese, potassium, and zinc. It's also a good source of soluble fiber, tannins, inulin, and mucilaginous polysaccharide gums that help to prevent and improve diabetes.

More popularly used as a flavoring to enhance smoked meats, it can also be used in many recipes that use flour such as cookies, cakes, and bread. Because it is naturally sweet, you may be able to reduce sugar in recipes by substituting with mesquite flour and reducing the amount of sugar. When cooked, the flavor of mesquite becomes stronger and can be overbearing. To tone the flavor down, it is best to include a mix of mesquite meal and wheat flour in recipes. Replace 1/4 to 1/2 of each cup of wheat flour with mesquite flour.

Mesquite meal can also be sprinkled on hot cooked cereal instead of sugar and can also be added to smoothies to add nutrients such as fiber and protein. There are traditional simple recipes using mesquite meal for porridge and drinks called "pinole" and "atole" that are usually not much more than just mesquite meal and water.

If you drink smoothies or meal replacement drinks for breakfast and find you are hungry long before lunch, add mesquite powder to them to stave off hunger for hours.

Mesquite Meal Suppliers:

Desert Harvesters
We sell mesquite flour made from pods harvested by hand direct from native velvet mesquite trees (Prosopis velutina) (pods are not picked up from the ground) in Tucson, Arizona.

Skeleton Creek
Aravaipa Canyon, Arizona
Skeleton Creek is a wonderful small, locally owned and operated outfit that sells an impressive variety of mesquite flours, both at Tucson-area farmers’ markets and online. Check their website for contact information or descriptions of in-stock flours and online ordering information.

San Xavier Cooperative Farm
8100 S Oidak Wog, Tucson, Arizona 85746
Phone: (520) 295-3774
They sell mesquite flour made from pods handpicked from velvet mesquite trees (Prosopis velutina) in southern Arizona.

Native Seeds/SEARCH
3061 N Campbell Ave, Tucson, Arizona
Phone: (520) 622-5561
They sell: Seri fire-roasted mesquite flour made from pods handpicked from honey mesquite trees (Prosopis glandulosa), and roasted in Sonora, Mexico Casa de Fruta mesquite flour from Peru Arizona Milling Company’s pod-only mesquite flour (Bouse, AZ) has Barry Farm brand,. 1 pound of flour for $8.00. Organic Mesquite Flour from Natural Foods for $10.00 per 1 pound.



Vitamin D. What's it Good For?

This is part of a series on vitamins and nutrients. You can find what we've covered so far in our article archives.

Muscles need it to move, for example, nerves need it to carry messages between the brain and every body part, and the immune system needs vitamin D to fight off invading bacteria and viruses. Together with calcium, vitamin D also helps protect older adults from osteoporosis. Vitamin D is found in cells throughout the body.

The body makes vitamin D when skin is directly exposed to the sun, and most people meet at least some of their vitamin D needs this way. Skin exposed to sunshine indoors through a window will not produce vitamin D. Cloudy days, shade, and having dark-colored skin also cut down on the amount of vitamin D the skin makes.

However, despite the importance of the sun to vitamin D synthesis, it is prudent to limit exposure of skin to sunlight in order to lower the risk for skin cancer. People who avoid the sun or who cover their bodies with sunscreen or clothing should include good sources of vitamin D in their diets or take a supplement. Recommended intakes of vitamin D are set on the assumption of little sun exposure.

Some studies suggest that vitamin D may protect against colon cancer and perhaps even cancers of the prostate and breast. But higher levels of vitamin D in the blood have also been linked to higher rates of pancreatic cancer. At this time, it’s too early to say whether low vitamin D status increases cancer risk and whether higher levels protect or even increase risk in some people.

Is Too Much Vitamin D Toxic?

Yes, when amounts in the blood become too high. Signs of toxicity include nausea, vomiting, poor appetite, constipation, weakness, and weight loss. And by raising blood levels of calcium, too much vitamin D can cause confusion, disorientation, and problems with heart rhythm. Excess vitamin D can also damage the kidneys.

The safe upper limit for vitamin D is 400 to 600 IU/day for infants, 600 to 800 IU/day for children 1-8 years, and 800 IU/day for children 9 years and older, adults, and pregnant and lactating teens and women. Vitamin D toxicity almost always occurs from overuse of supplements. Excessive sun exposure doesn’t cause vitamin D poisoning because the body limits the amount of this vitamin it produces.

Drug Interactions with vitamin D:

Like most dietary supplements, vitamin D may interact or interfere with other medicines or supplements you might be taking. Here are several examples:

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This health section is updated monthly to give our members a chance to view it, so check back the first of every month for new posts. Disclaimer: This page is designed to offer information only on topics the average person can use themselves. It is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice.

Nutrition Calculator: Type any food into the nutrition calculator below and it will bring up all the nutritional and dietary statistics on that food, which can come in very handy when planning your diet for weight loss, less fat, more fiber, less sugar, deficiencies or nutritional requirements regarding certain health concerns.

HOME REMEDIES: Pamper Your Pups: Your Feet and legs that is.

Restless legs syndrome (RLS):

Drink a 6-ounce glass of tonic water each night before bed until symptoms go away. Tonic water contains quinine, which stops repeated muscle contractions. Magnesium may be necessary if your legs are tightening up and not letting go. Calcium and magnesium work together. Too much of one or the other can cause an electrolyte imbalance and muscle problems.

Charley horse or cramp in the calves of your legs:

Place your thumb in the middle of the calf and press firmly for 30 seconds. When you release your thumb slowly, the cramp should have subsided.

Corns on Your Feet.

Soak the area for 10 to 15 minutes and then use a pumice stone to remove dead skin. You may have to do this several times over the course of a month or so to remove a corn.
Soaking your feet in a little peroxide diluted with water will also do the trick. A mix of 50/50 works well without being too irritating.



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.

Elderberry Sambucus nigra.

Medicinal Properties: This is also on the top of my list as one of my favorite, remarkable herbs but it requires some caution to use (see warning and how to use). Elderberry contains cyanogenic glucosides (which release cyanide) but if used properly is the most effective anti-biotic and anti-viral compound out there. It will greatly decrease your recovery time from the flu or a cold to at least half what it would be without the elderberry. This is the most amazing herb I have ever worked with next to comfrey root because of the miraculous way in which it works. Elderberry prevents a virus from being able to enter the cells, thus making it easier for your natural defenses (T cells) to locate and destroy the virus. So, you overcome a virus much faster and if taken early, your symptoms will not be so severe.
It is also said that elder flowers used topically in a tea form or steam can reduce freckles and other dark skin blemishes.

How to Use: (see Elder Flower Champagne recipe in our recipe section.) Tea (make sure to use boiling water and steep for at least 10 minutes to cook berries.) Extracts, capsules do not work as well as the tea and extracts.

Parts Used: Cooked berries, flowers.

Warnings: DO NOT EAT ELDERBERRIES RAW OR ANY PART OF THE LEAVES, STEMS OR ROOTS. Cooked berries are harmless such as in jams, pies or pouring boiling water and steeping well for tea and elderberry wine is fine.

Growing: Needs a lot of water the first year, after that it is pretty much wild under the right conditions and can be very invasive so be careful where you plant it.

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 cars in moderation.

Collard Greens:

Therapeutic Properties: Full of anti-cancer compounds, but also high in oxalic acid so they should be eaten in moderation and not by those with kidney stones.

Acid or Alkaline: Alkaline

Significant Nutrients: Calcium, vitamins A and C

Phytosterols? No. Collard are an estrogen blocker

We have a great recipe for Southern-Style Collards in our circumstantialities club blog.

Become a Circles subscriber and join our Recipe of the Month Club for ways to incorporate Foods That Heal into your meals and get our latest recipes sent to you automatically.

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


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March 2014

and Nutrition Circkles

"The Doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease."
~Thomas Edison