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Preventative Medicine

Adopt Healthy Habits, Supplement Wisely

Endurance - “The ability or strength to continue or last, especially despite fatigue, stress, or other adverse conditions; stamina.”

When you say the word endurance, most people think of the ability to continue to exercise. Endurance is so much more. It has both physical and emotional components. This is why we can see average people running a marathon hit “the wall” and then just keep going until they finish the race.

This summer my family and I will be testing our endurance when we ride in Toronto’s annual Ride for Heart. I’d love to spend all my time from now until the ride preparing, training and getting in shape. That would be great, but not practical. Like most people, I have daily family commitments and a full-time job.

Sleep well – We all need sleep. Many of us burn the candle at both ends. The work day doesn’t end when we leave work, and our cell phones never leave our sides. We are connected to the world 24/7/365.  Where does this leave sleep? We are supposed to get a minimum of 8-9 hours of sleep nightly to function. Most of us work on less than 60% of that, with many getting significantly less. This can only go on for so long before it takes a toll on your health.

Exercise – For decades we have been told that we are becoming sedentary. We sit in front of our computers (as I am now writing this) instead of moving around. It has gotten so bad that there is a campaign to get children walking to school with their parents, because it may be the only exercise either get in the day. Most of those who live within walking distance, drive. We now have guidelines on the minimum number of hours elementary school children should move around. When I was young, we had a word for that, Play. We all need to move more and play. Take the stairs, park in a spot far from work, walk your kids to school.  

Eat Cleaner – To improve endurance, you need to “feed the machine”. Your body is only able to use the fuel you provide to it, in the form of food. The cleaner the fuel is, the more efficiently your body can run. By fueling with fresh organic fruits and vegetables, grains and legumes, you avoid forcing your body to waste resources detoxifying chemicals, pesticides, preservatives and other toxins. Your metabolic processes produce toxins that your body is well equipped to handle. It is these other “man-made” toxins that truly task your body. Going back to nature (where possible) gives your body a break, allowing it to expel your energy where you (and your muscles) want to.  

Prebiotic + Probiotic – Probiotics are live friendly bacteria that help your digestive and immune systems function. As they are alive, like all living things, they require food to survive and thrive. Without their food, the probiotics you are taking may leave your system without providing any benefit. Prebiotics are the food for probiotics. By taking an organic combination product (prebiotic + probiotic) you ensure that you are taking clean probiotics that can survive and thrive improving your digestive and immune systems. This will help keep you healthy, absorb more nutrients from your food and eliminate waste.

Chlorophyll – The green pigment in plants is a prominent component in the majority of workout supplements. Companies do this because chlorophyll acts as a bronchodilator (it opens up your airways). This allows greater airflow with each inhalation, allowing you to get more oxygen with each breath. The extra oxygen increases energy levels and endurance. Prolonged use enables you to go further, harder, longer and to recover faster from exercise.

Active Vitamin B12 – B12 is the energy vitamin. It works with iron, helping the mineral move into and out of cells. Without sufficient B12, iron doesn’t work properly and your body can’t function.  B12 is required for your body to make DNA for new cells, form healthy red blood cells, and turn the food you eat into energy to power your metabolism. With prolonged insufficiency, memory, mood and energy levels are impaired. Endurance and cognition suffer. When you take adequate levels of B12, your digestive and metabolic systems are able to function properly and you can get an effective, healthy energy and endurance boost. Be sure you use “active vitamin B12” as it is the only type of B12 that your body can use without prior conversion.

Ginseng – Ginseng, specifically Asian Ginseng (Panax ginseng) has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese and Korean medicine to increase strength and endurance. Ginseng can give your brain and muscles a boost by dilating blood vessels, which boosts blood flow to these areas. Ginseng contains hundreds of active compounds, which contribute to boosting strength and endurance. These compounds work together to tone and revitalize your body.

Horny Goat Weed – Yes the name seems a little funny but it is appropriate. The story behind the name goes that several centuries ago, Chinese goat farmers noticed that their goats experienced increased energy and sexual rejuvenation after eating the horny goat weed that grew wild in their fields. It turns out that the same effect happens in humans, both men and women. Horny goat weed has a testosterone-like effect on energy, endurance, strength, muscle growth and sex drive, without the negatives of testosterone. The effect on endurance is most evident in older people.

We are all under a great deal of stress. We have to endure mountains of both physical and emotional stress. With the rapid advancement of technology, the stresses on us (and our time) are set to increase exponentially. Any help we can get to endure this and possibly thrive is welcome. By adopting healthy habits — diet, sleep and exercise — you can set the foundation. By supplementing wisely, you can meet or even exceed your goals and truly thrive.


Joel Thuna, MH, is a master herbalist with over 30 years of experience. Dr. Claude Gallant holds a PhD in Microbiology.