Gut Health 101: Probiotics & Prebiotics

We receive a lot of questions regarding both probiotics and prebiotics:

  • What’s the difference between the two?
  • Are they safe to take together?
  • What do they do?

We’re here to answer these commonly asked questions and explain why these two play a major role in achieving better digestion, improved immune response, and a host of other health benefits.

What are probiotics?

Your body has both good and bad bacteria, and a healthy gut is well balanced between the two. If you experience gut issues, one cause might be that your gut bacteria is imbalanced. Queue probiotics!

Probiotics are good bacteria that live in your body and help:

  • Break down and digest food
  • Support the immune system
  • Improve gut health

When you consume probiotics, this good bacterium gets added to the population of healthy microbes in your gut.

Probiotics can be taken through both food sources and supplements. Most fermented foods contain probiotics which include sauerkraut, yogurt, kombucha, miso, pickles and kimchi.

Every probiotic is different because of the variation in bacterial strains. For example, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are two common strains known to improve digestion and support gut health. In the Lactobacillus strain alone, there are over 120 species!

Dr Tobias Health Tip: When buying probiotic supplements, it’s important to note the strains it contains. We recommend a multi-strain probiotic that targets your specific gut health concerns. Each Dr Tobias probiotic contains a multi-strain formula with both Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains.

What are prebiotics?

Unlike probiotics, prebiotics don’t contain any bacteria. They’re a type of dietary fiber that helps feed and grow good bacteria in your gut. We like to think of them as fertilizer for good bacteria.

Like probiotics, they can be found in food sources and supplements. The fiber inulin is a prebiotic that can be found in foods such as bananas and asparagus. This fiber isn’t digestible by your body, so it passes through the digestive system and becomes food for bacteria and other microbes.

Foods that contain both prebiotics and probiotics are called synbiotics. These include cheese, kefir, and some varieties of yogurt.

Are they safe to take together?

The short and simple answer is YES!

They might sound similar, but they both play different (and complementary) roles in improving your gut and digestive health.

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Why You Need Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Whether you’re a health nut or not, you’ve probably heard omega-3 fatty acids are vital to our health. Not only are they vital, but they also deliver some incredible health benefits. Before we explain why they’re vital and their benefits, let’s cover the fundamentals. Don’t worry, we’ll keep it simple!

What are omega-3 fatty acids?

Omega-3 fatty acids are a family of important polyunsaturated fats (poly meaning many).

The three most important types are:

  • ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) – found in plants such as leafy greens, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts.
  • DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) – found in marine plants, fatty fish, and fish oil.
  • EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) – like DHA, they’re found in marine plants, fatty fish, and fish oil.

Since our bodies can’t produce omega-3s, they’re referred to as “essential fats”, meaning you have to get them from your diet. Over half the North American population is deficient in omega-3 fatty acids, largely due to our westernized diet.

Dr Tobias Health Tip: It’s important to note the EPA to DHA ratio when purchasing omega 3 fish oil supplements. We developed our Omega 3 Fish Oil with the optimal absorption-aiding ratio of EPA to DHA (800 mg to 600 mg) so you get the most out of every dose.

What about omega-6 and 9?

Omega-6 and 9 fatty acids are also important dietary fats.

However, omega-6 is needed in much smaller amounts. In a westernized diet, omega-6 intake is extremely high in comparison to omega-3 which can cause inflammation.

Foods high in omega-6 include:

  • Eggs
  • Nuts and seeds (cashews, almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds)
  • Processed cheese
  • Store bought salad dressings and mayonnaise
  • Vegetable oils (canola, corn, safflower, soybean)
  • Foods made with oils high in omega-6 (fast food, chips, snacks, etc.)

Omega-9s aren’t “essential” as they’re produced by your body and are the most abundant fats in majority of our cells.

Why are omega-3 fatty acids vital?

Omega-3s play a significant role in the development of cell membranes. DHA is arguably the most vital out of the omega-3 fatty acid family. It’s a key structural component of your brain, the retina of your eyes, and numerous other body parts. Without DHA, these body parts wouldn’t function properly.

Both omega-3 and omega-6 are used by your body to produce signalling molecules called eicosanoids. Eicosanoids are essential for inflammatory response and regulating blood clots.

Benefits of omega-3 fatty acids

Not only does your body need them to function at optimal levels, they provide a load of additional health benefits.

Here’s a list of 10 science-based benefits:

  1. Helps prevent depression and anxiety
  2. Can improve eye health
  3. Promotes brain health
  4. Can fight inflammation
  5. Helps reduce fat in your liver
  6. Can improve bone and joint health
  7. May improve sleep
  8. Can alleviate menstrual pain
  9. Great for healthy-looking skin
  10. Can help lower blood pressure

The bottom line

Omega-3 fatty acids are vital for optimal health. If you’re not regularly consuming fatty fish, we highly recommend taking an omega 3 fish oil supplement. It’s the best way to ensure robust omega-3 intake.

Our Omega 3 Fish Oil contains 2,000 mg of fish oil with the optimal absorption-aiding ratio of EPA to DHA. It’s sourced from fresh, non-GMO, wild-caught fish. Forbes also rated our fish oil as number one in highest quality and number six in best value for fish oil supplements on the market. The best part? We guarantee NO fishy aftertaste or fish burps!

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Six Liver Detoxifying Foods

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With summer just around the corner, we could use a bit of a refresh and detox to feel good again.

Liver detoxing doesn’t have to involve an extreme diet or juice cleanse. A gentler approach can be taken by including more whole foods into your diet which have been known to benefit the liver. Try incorporating the foods listed below for a detoxifying boost!

1. Garlic

Eating garlic helps activate liver detox enzymes. These enzymes break down toxins and help the liver flush them out of your body. It also contains selenium – a mineral known to detoxify the liver.

When it comes to garlic, the fresher, the better. We recommend buying and using fresh garlic whenever possible.

2. Apples

Not only are apples high in fiber and water content, but they also contain pectin, a chemical that helps cleanse and remove toxins from the digestive tract. With fewer toxins to manage, the liver can better cleanse the rest of your body.

When buying apples, opt for organic. Apples have made it on The Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Dirty Dozen list many years in a row.

Dr Tobias Health Tip: Each year EWG releases an updated dirty dozen list. Keep the Dirty Dozen list in mind when buying produce to avoid harmful pesticides.

3. Berries

Berries are liver-friendly as they’re packed with antioxidants. They contain organic acids believed to help lower blood sugar levels, burn fat, and cleanse the liver.

Raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries are all great for the liver. We recommend wild blueberries over cultivated blueberries as they’re much higher in antioxidant properties.

4. Walnuts

Walnuts are rich in arginine, an amino acid that helps your body flush out toxic byproducts from alcohol and ammonia. Walnuts also contain glutathione and omega-3 fatty acids which support natural liver cleansing.

5. Artichoke

Artichokes are seriously underrated! They contain chemical functions that help the liver neutralize toxins before they reach your brain or heart. Artichokes also stimulate bile flow, which helps carry toxins from the liver out of your body.

Dr Tobias Health Tip: One artichoke contains nearly 25% of your daily recommended fiber intake and 16 essential nutrients including vitamin C, potassium, folic acid, magnesium and more.

6. Milk Thistle

Milk thistle is a flowering herb. Silymarin is the main active ingredient found in milk thistle. It’s both an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant known to support and maintain healthy liver function.

If you’re looking for a more advanced detox method, check out our Liver 21 Day Cleanse. It’s formulated with artichoke, milk thistle, dandelion, antioxidants, and enzymes to help cleanse and repair the liver.

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Essential Vitamins for Women

With so many vitamins and dietary supplements on the market today, deciding which vitamins are best for you can get overwhelming. Depending on your age, lifestyle, and diet, some vitamins take precedence over others. To help you out, we’ve put together a list of the essentials; whether you’re a woman in your 20s or 50s, we’ve got you covered.

20’s

Your 20s is the perfect time to implement a preventative plan and take control of your health. To begin, ensure you’re receiving a wide range of vitamins and minerals on a daily basis.

If you struggle to meet the daily recommended nutritional requirements through your diet alone, we highly recommend incorporating a multivitamin into your daily routine. For women specifically, look for a multivitamin that contains effective levels of vitamin A, C, D, and E.

  • Vitamin A is essential for preserving eyesight and healthy skin. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in North America, which is why we need to do everything in our power to prevent vision loss as we age.
  • Vitamin C and E fight free radical damage which is linked to many age-related diseases that affect your heart, eyes, skin, and brain.
  • Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium which supports a healthy immune system and stronger bones.

Our Adult Multivitamin contains the daily recommended dose of vitamins A, C, D, and E. There’s also a wide range of added vitamins and minerals including calcium, magnesium, zinc, and biotin.

30’s

For many women, this period of life involves an increase in responsibilities such as being in the workforce full time, taking care of finances, childbearing, and raising a family. This increase in responsibility often leads to an increase in stress levels.

Stress has a long list of negative side effects. A few of them include:

  • health issues such as a weakened immune system,
  • skin issues like premature aging and acne,
  • and mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.

That’s why it’s extremely important to include a source of antioxidants in your daily routine to help combat stress. Not only do antioxidants fight stress, but they also strengthen your immune system to help prevent illness.

Vitamin C and E are both rich in antioxidant properties. Vitamin C, in particular, improves immunity and helps fight free radicals. As an added benefit, it protects your skin from environmental pollutants and supports the creation of collagen, which increases the skin’s elasticity and youthful look. Vitamin E helps fight inflammation, which is partly caused by stress, to ultimately slow down the aging process and promote healthy, youthful looking skin.

Dr Tobias Smart Immune contains powerful antioxidants including vitamin C and E that are naturally-derived from non-GMO ingredients like graviola leaf, raspberry, green tea, curcumin root and more.

40’s

A lot of health problems can stem from an imbalance in our gut. When your gut is off balance, it typically means you have a large number of bad bacteria. Bad bacteria increases as a result of things like stress, antibiotics, and chlorinated water.

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that create a healthy gut and digestive system. They help eliminate the “bad stuff” in your gut like chemicals, toxins, and bad bacteria. The benefits of probiotics on women’s health are endless:

  • They help treat and prevent
    • Diarrhea
    • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
    • Urinary tract infections
    • Vaginal infections
    • Yeast imbalance
  • Promote gut health
  • Balance hormones
  • Support heart health

Keep in mind not all probiotics are the same. Different probiotic strains have different effects. That’s why we developed a probiotic specifically for women. Dr Tobias Deep Immune for Women contains probiotic strains that promote and support women’s health. It’s a powerful combination of probiotics, prebiotics and cranberry extract that work together to support yeast balance, urinary tract health, and a healthy digestive system.

50’s

Although this part of life involves many exciting moments, most women say menopause isn’t one of them! Let’s face it, menopausal symptoms are no fun, but there are supplements you can take to decrease them.

Look for a supplement that includes natural ingredients like black cohosh, dong quai, licorice and red clover. These ingredients have been shown to help balance hormones and decrease menopausal symptoms including the occurrence of hot flashes.

Dr Tobias Enlightened Woman is made with non-GMO ingredients, including black cohosh, dong quai, licorice and red clover, to help decrease unpleasant menopausal symptoms, naturally.

Important for all ages

Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids which are great for supporting overall health, especially for the heart and brain.

It’s important to find a premium quality fish oil that has high Omega-3 contents. Our best-selling Omega 3 Fish Oil only comes from fresh, wild-caught fish, so you get 3 times more Omega 3 fatty acids in each serving. It’s also designed with the perfect EPA to DHA ratio to help your body absorb Omega 3 and get the most out of every dose.

Please note these are general guidelines, as everyone has their own individual needs. It’s best to consult your doctor or physician to figure out what those needs may be.

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Boost Your Energy in 5 Simple Steps

Do you ever feel sluggish, tired, or struggle to stay alert throughout the day? Add these 5 simple steps into your daily routine to beat that sluggish feeling and boost your energy levels!

1. Eat for energy

Your body uses essential nutrients from food to fuel vital organs including your brain. Aim for fresh, whole foods, which are high in these nutrients and steer clear of refined sugars and processed foods.

Some of our favorite energy-boosting foods include quinoa, bananas, leafy greens, nuts, and dark chocolate.

2. Get moving!

Exercise is an incredible fatigue fighter. It releases epinephrine and norepinephrine which can decrease feelings of stress and help you feel more energized.

If you’re feeling sluggish, take a quick 15-minute walk, perform 10 minutes of yoga, or try stretching to instantly boost your physical and mental energy levels.

3. Hydrate your body

Water is essential for maintaining a healthy body and proper brain function. Dehydration can leave you feeling tired and drained. Aim for at least 2.5 litres a day to reap the benefits of hydration including feeling energized and refreshed.

4. Caffeinate

Contrary to popular belief, research shows caffeinated drinks actually contribute to your daily fluid requirement.

Caffeine increases mental alertness and cognitive function. Take into consideration caffeine is most effective when consumed in moderate amounts and earlier in the day.

Some great sources include coffee and green tea which also have great antioxidant properties.

5. Take a multivitamin

Juggling work, family time, a social life, and everything in-between can make it hard to get all of the nutrition you need, all of the time. A multivitamin provides you with all the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs to run at peak performance.

Our Adult Multivitamin was designed to help keep your body moving. It’s a natural, food-based formula, that includes stress-fighting and energy-boosting vitamins including vitamin A, C, and E. Each capsule contains 42, non-GMO fruits and vegetables, plant-based enzymes, and prebiotics.

For best results, we recommend eating a well-balanced diet, staying hydrated, and exercising regularly in addition to taking our Adult Multivitamin.

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The Best Time to Take Your Vitamins

Not all vitamins and supplements break down in your body the same way. So, it’s important to know when to take each product to best benefit you.

Consistency is Key

Keep in mind, supplements are most effective when taken consistently. Creating a routine will form a healthy habit and help you get the most from your supplements.

Whether that means writing down a reminder in your agenda, setting an alarm in your phone, or purchasing a weekly pill organizer, find what works best for you and stick with it!

Omega 3 Fish Oil

Omega 3 Fish Oil is better digested when taken with high-fat meals.

If your breakfast typically involves high-fat foods such as eggs, butter, avocados, or smoothies, this might be the ideal time. If your lunch or dinner consists of fish, meat, or nuts, then this might be a better time for you.

Ultimately, you’ll get the best health benefits from omega 3 fatty acids when you split up your dosage with different meals rather than taking them all at once. This can improve bioavailability and provide your body with a consistent supply of omega 3 throughout the day.

One serving of Dr Tobias Omega 3 Fish Oil contains 2 softgels so you can split up your dosage throughout the day.

Vitamin A, D, E & K

All these vitamins have something in common – they’re fat-soluble. Your body has the ability to store them for when they’re most needed. Like Omega 3 Fish Oil, they’re better absorbed when taken with a high-fat meal.

Vitamin B & C

Vitamin B and C are both water-soluble. Unlike fat-soluble vitamins, your body can only absorb a certain amount at any given time.

Therefore, we recommend splitting up your dosage to give your body a consistent supply throughout the day. Our Dr Tobias Adult Multivitamin is split into 3 tablets a day for ultimate effectiveness.

Probiotics & Prebiotics

There hasn’t been a whole lot of research done around ultimate consumption times for probiotics and prebiotics. However, if you’re taking them for digestive reasons, we recommend consuming them with a meal.

The bottom line is, whatever it is you take, it’s important to take your vitamins and supplements consistently to see their true effects.

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