Friday, November 30, 2007

Constant Health Vanilla Latte & Chocolate Coffee

My friend, Evelyn, did try the French vanilla flavor of Constant Health in a cup of steamed milk for a Vanilla Latte protein booster. She liked it and everyone who tried it thought it was either good or just fine (hey, there was no coffee, so it's an unusual latte).

I brought the chocolate flavor of Constant Health home last night. Steve put coffee on this morning, as usual (yes, I'm spoiled in the mornings). I decided to put a scoop of chocolate Constant Health in my coffee. It's not quite as sweet as the vanilla flavor, so a little extra sweetener might have been nice, but I refrained. It's like I have Dr. Rodier's voice in my head scolding about "sweet death."

Protein powder in your coffee is definitely an acquired taste, but I actually kind of liked it the more I sipped. Steve tried it too and he said, "It's not wretched, I like it." Think: Mikey in those old Life commercials. You have to understand, Steve drinks his coffee black most of the time, so adding anything to his coffee and not hating it is big.

I shared with Steve that we considered him the target market for Constant Health at the two scoop level. He made a funny smile and shook his head. I think he was amused to hear he was the subject of another newsletter piece.

Teri shared that she stirred some vanilla Constant Health into her steel cut oatmeal porridge this morning and thought it was perfect that way. So our little Co-op tribe is happily experimenting with ways to use Constant Health in the mornings.

Hmmm. I wonder if we are the anomoly (if I'm influencing the experiment with my enthusiasm for this formula) or if others will also enjoy boosting their hot coffee and hot chocolate drinks and who knows what else.

My favorite flavor, by the way, is the French Vanilla. I like it in cold water (low cal) while I like the Rich Chocolate in a sweeter Vanilla Rice Milk or blended with a banana with nuts and such.

By the way, our flavoring goals were twofold: first to keep the formulas low in glycemic index and allow people to add more sweeteners to taste and second to create an overall flavor that blended well with other ingredients.

Far better in my mind for everyday use than some of the competitive products that taste and smell like Fruit Loops or aromatherapy gone wild.

If you are one of the early adopters, let me know how you like your Constant Health.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Constant Health Arrives At Last

Constant Health is finally in stock. Hard to believe. It feels like having a child, but it took a little longer, alas.

My mom is excited to taste the new chocolate flavor. One of our partners in Utah is eager to stock up. I have a taste-testing luncheon scheduled next week with a group of healthcare practitioners here in Salt Lake City. And, some of our persistent members have already discovered Constant Health in our catalog.

It's always good news when a product starts selling before you announce it. It's even better when people keep saying, "I think I need to try that!"

Eric Bell, our favorite Co-op chef (actually, he's an execuive chef, involved in the Slow Foods movement and savvy on all things organic and healthy) will be providing recipes for using Constant Health in the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, my friend, Evelyn Rodriguez, in town to clean out her storage locker on her way to a new life in New Orleans, tried Constant Health today. Evelyn had dropped by my office and wanted to try the new formula, but we didn't have any rice milk, soy milk, or regular milk. I offered to mix up some of our French Vanilla stash in some cold water. Evelyn is a risk taker, so she was all for it. Her take?

"It tastes like chai, my favorite tea. Have you tried this as a latte?!"

Who knew someone would want to try the formula hot? I think this signfies a "hot" product in the making. Wanna try some?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Heart Plus in Powder Form Coming Next

Vendors can be maddening. One vendor's sales rep was incommunicado while a production run was running late. Tess left voicemails. I left a voicemail. No word. Nothing.

Finally, I had Tess call and track down the sales manager. Voila. Suddenly, we got a return call and a status. Our rep said unconvincingly, "I didn't get any of your voicemails. Did you try my cell phone?" Ah, the old gremlins in the voicemail defense.

We had our regular Tuesday afternoon Co-op call with Teri and Stephen yesterday and relayed the story. Teri's response cracked us all up. "Oh, yeah, our voicemail does that too when we have bad news!"

Stephen talked about another vendor with whom he had to talk tough, saying: "It's okay to tell us things aren't going well. It's not okay to avoid our calls until you have good news. You're fired the next time you do that." Going to our rep's manager got the same results.

It's funny too, how now that we're talking again, it's like nothing happened. We did get encouraging news on the Heart Plus Powder we're working on (another Cell Nutritionals product).

We're working on bringing out a new powder formulation that delivers 12 tablets worth of Heart Plus (vitamin C, l-lysine, l-proline, rose hips) per scoop and offers 30 scoops per jar. For our Heart Plus fans, taking 6-18 tablets a day, while effective, is no picnic.

We have to change the form of vitamin C (calcium ascorbate) to create more stability in the powder form. Otherwise, the formula turns orange, then red, then brown, and becomes sticky after exposure to air. Not pretty.

The R&D batch will ship next week to us (plain, no flavoring). Stephen hopes it will work without flavoring as an addition to morning protein shakes (think: Constant Health). The flavoring consultant thinks an orange flavor will be better and will send us a flavored sample in a couple of weeks. We're hoping for a vanilla flavor to test as well.

T. David Thompson, yes, I have you on my list to taste test the samples. Cutting white powders and sending them through the mail is just one more of our value-added services for folks who keep in touch as well as you do!

As background, David currently grinds his Heart Plus tablets and has gotten excellent results, staying off statins with his nutritional regimen. He's been very vocal about us needing to do whatever it takes to get the powder formula on the market! Here's what David wrote in our product reviews section:

"By 1997, I was having angina when exerting myself. In 2000, my M.D. tried to scare me into having an Angioplasty procedure by which a tube is run up the groin artery and an injection is made to view and clear the heart blood supply. Of course, this is a very risky procedure in the hands of an inexperienced person, because if the artery is punctured, they have to immediately open the chest and do open heart surgery! So, I ordered and began taking the Heart Plus. Within several months, my cholesterol had been reduced to much safer levels, and I no longer had angina. It is my understanding that the Lysine part of Heart Plus acts as a sort of "solvent" by which the arterial plaque is slowly dissolved and in fact removed! I interrupted taking the Heart Plug tablets in 2003 because of their large size, and I am still waiting for the powder form. I'm 77 and owe my life to Heart Plus as well as sundry other supplements from the Coop, and I did it without going broke."

Meanwhile, I'm debating about changing the name for the powder formula.

Our current members know and love Heart Plus (it's at the top of the Top 10 list only always).

However, we keep getting so many referrals from Bill Henderson for his anti-cancer protocol that I wonder about other names that get at the value of this Linus Pauling-inspired, collagen-building, heart-healthy, connective tissue-friendly formula.

For a good read on the theories behind the Heart Plus formula, read Mike Ciell's article "One Pharmacist's View of Coronary Heart Disease."

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Critical Eye On "Synergistic" Formulas

When you hear a manufacturer touting a "synergistic" formula, it is often shorthand for "small amounts" of "more things."

I met a physician-turned-manufacturer who lamented the fact that he "could formulate the very best supplements but no one would buy them due to the cost." Instead, he had opted to experiment with "synergistic ingredients" in smaller serving sizes so that he could sell at lower prices.

I was chatting back and forth this week about another physician's so-called synergistic formula for heart health with my friend, Gino Giglio, who regularly routes around interesting health information (and amusing stuff too). Anyway, I got to thinking more about the "synergistic ingredients" theory.

When I first took over Our Health Co-op, I met a "formulator" at one of the original manufacturers, and he was little more than a guy promoted from the mixing and blending floor. I ended the relationship with that manufacturer (and a few others) and built an advisory group of my own -- comprised of people with serious credentials, none of whom had anything to do with manufacturing.

When I was working on the formula for Constant Health, I worked with a team of people, including Dr. Rodier (integrative physician) and two practicing naturopaths at a leading research institution.

Our bias was to include therapeutically-significant servings of individual ingredients and ensure that our 46-ingredient formula didn't have any unintended problems (the antithesis of synergies).

While it would have been great to include probiotics in the formula, I was skeptical, since I know how delicate these live organisms are and how important it is to protect them from air and moisture. I checked with our biochemist, Dr. Patel, and he agreed, leave out the probiotics. One so-called synergy nixed.

It also would have been great to include digestive enzymes in Constant Health, with its focus on supporting a healthy gut. Dr. Patel cautioned against this too, since the enzymes would start to break down the protein and carbohydrates in the formula and diminish efficacy. Another so-called synergy nixed.

However, while examining labels in Wild Oats the other day (Steve is tolerant of this particular form of lollygagging), I noticed that more than a few prominent formulas had enzymes in their protein powders and probiotics in their powder blends (greens and protein formulas).

I'm not sure if the "formulators" for these products don't know any better or just look the other way and cave in to marketing pressures.

I called Dr. Rodier to hear his take on "synergistic formulas." Here's what he said:

"In all of my years of clinical practice, I've never seen anyone feel better from small servings of many things, which is why I don't even recommend multivitamins. The theory of synergy is great, but there's no evidence today for most of these formulas with small amounts of active ingredients."

"In my patients, I see a lot of problems with absorption. I prefer to flood cells with nutrition at levels that have been proven in clinical trials. The worst thing that can happen is the body will excrete whatever it doesn't need."

"The body is very forgiving with extra nutrition. Think about drinking too much water. You pee out what you don't need, but that's far better than rationing your intake of water. I believe in flooding the system with nutrition and letting cells make intelligent choices for themselves about what need."

"I've seen great results with nutritional products based on proven therapeutic amounts. I've never seen that happen with microscopic amounts of lots of ingredients."

Amen. The nursing home where my mom is recuperating from her fall doles out a multivitamin every day, and they think that's a big step forward in her daily nutrition. We bring her Constant Health every day in our yellow-lidded shaker bottles, so my mom is doing better all the time with her daily serving of concentrated nutrition.

Alas, I just can't endorse the trend toward "synergistic formulations," where the supplement facts panel looks more like trendy window dressings than proven amounts of anything scientific.

My two cents. I may have some protests, but that's okay.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tess's Constant Health Story

I often ask Tess to read my blog entries. She promptly caught a typo in my last one, which I fixed. The funny thing was her response, that went along the lines of:

"I like this one, a lot. But don't you think I was the first one to mention a major benefit from taking Constant Health?"

Tess is 24, almost 25 (her birthday is December 6th). She has this remarkable, flawless complexion that even her peers admire. But I tend to forget that she did formerly have problems with her immune system.

You see, Tess still has her tonsils and she used to blame her annual downtime on her tonsils, ending up on antibiotics more than once when bad colds became practically life-threatening. Tess's health has gotten better since she came back to work for me, and I like to joke that I didn't give her enough stress to make her immune system collapse on a regular basis.

Maybe that's part of it. However, even though Tess works for a supplement company, she was not always good about taking her supplements (she's a kid, they think they will live forever, right?).

When the early shipment of Constant Health came in, Tess started drinking a morning "shake" (she loves the new shaker bottle with the little metal wire wisk ball). Tess said she felt more energy and looked forward to her shakes, but didn't think much more about it until she noticed that her knees didn't hurt going down stairs anymore.

Anti-inflammatories such as turmeric or curcumin and boswellia, in particular, in Constant Health are a few of the likely suspects in Tess's new ease going down stairs (Tess injured her knees playing basketball in school).

But here's "the rest of the story." Tess caught a cold that was going around and she spent only one day being a bit tired and resting, and the next day she was on the mend. No tonsils getting inflamed. No spiking fever. No rushing to the doctor for antibiotics.

It's not scientific fact, but Tess has been bragging about her new-found immune system strength. And, the correlation is definitely there. Tess has been religiously taking her Constant Health (well, "taking" is really not so apt, as Tess doesn't "take" her vitamins -- she does like to "drink" them though).

Maybe seniors and twenty-somethings have more in common than you'd believe otherwise. Both groups complain about "taking" pills!

If you want to read more about cellular health and the ingredients in Constant Health, see the white paper I wrote over the summer:

Cancer Cell Suicide & The Terrain

Programmed cell death, also known as apoptosis, is a normal part of cellular life. But cancer cells are notoriously resilient characters that are rather hard to kill.

However, there's some hot news off the press. According to HHMI:

"Howard Hughes Medical Institute researchers have developed a small molecule that can turn the survival signal for a variety of cancer cells into a death signal. The molecule mimics the activity of Smac, a protein that triggers the suicide of some types of cancer cells."

Pretty interesting research. It means these new compounds may be used to target hard-to-treat cancers, like lung cancer, without the toxicity associated with most cancer treatments.

There's reason to applaud this kind of research -- it's good news, of course.

However, I'll still sound the bell for taking a lot better care of the trillions of normal cells in your body -- before disease sets in.

Dr. Rodier loves to quote Louis Pasteur's most memorable final words, "The microbe is nothing. The terrain is everything." With even genetic predisposition, something has to turn cancer cells on. It's just not the case that everyone with a genetic wild card gets the "big C."

While not remotely related to cancer, my mom is recovering from a bad fall (came in to the hospital with a stage 4 wound, the worst kind).

Her wound doctor is impressed with her rate of recovery, attributing it to the nursing home protocol of including protein with every meal and extra protein shakes (loaded with corn syrup and who knows what else).

What the doc doesn't know is that Stephen and I have my mom on a special protocol, including two scoops of Constant Health and two scoops of whey protein to boost my mom's immune system and protein levels (wound healing capacity). Yes, she got the advance shipment and our regular inventory should be stocked by next week.

The Constant Health formula, which I designed with Dr. Rodier and a couple of naturopaths, is chock full of gentle rice protein and amino acids, antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and detoxification agents, and the difference in my mom's energy, complexion, and wound healing rate is dramatic.

My mom's face was incredibly ruddy red (inflamed) and it was clear she was nutritionally bereft when she came in (she refused to take her supplements before falling and had some bad habits with her diet). After four weeks on her shakes, her skin is returning to a more natural color, the scabs on her knees have healed up nicely, and her joints are feeling better.

My mom's "terrain" is healing and it shows on the outside.

My dad didn't make it long enough to use the product that his illness inspired, but my mom is the first major beneficiary of Constant Health.

And, while my mom is not fighting cancer, the significant amounts of anti-inflammatory curry spices (turmeric and boswellia) and many other immune system boosters (red raspberry seeds, quercetin, n-acetyl-cysteine, glutamine, selenium, etc.) in Constant Health are all well-known for their anti-cancer, I mean, terrain-improving, capacities.

One of the best things? My mom loves the taste of the French Vanilla version of Constant Health. She's said so, over and over. All I can say is yay!