Follow by Email for a regular dose of Health, Happiness, and Well-being


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Universal Kwik Energy Supplement Review

Is it just me or is there a serious shortage of physical and mental energy going around? I don't know if I just have a fatigue problem or is everyone else drained as soon as they wake up everyday, too? Physical fatigue is bad enough, but being a freelance writer seems to deplete any mental focus or energy I do accumulate. 
Needless to say, I'm a caffeine addict who's always looking for an energy supplement or energy drink to pick up both my physical and mental energy. With that said, I came across a new supplement that sounded promising -- called Universal Kwik Energy -- and after spending a good month using it, I thought it's high time I put my results in a review. 

*This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I receive a small commission when you use my link and make a purchase.

Universal Kwik Energy is basically an herbal energy supplement. The tablets combine anhydrous caffeine with energy-boosting herbs like guarana seed powder, kola nut seed powder, and cocoa bean extract. 

Guarana seeds, used for their stimulating effect, contain about twice as much caffeine as coffee seeds. 

Kola nut is a light stimulant that increases endurance and reduces appetite. 

Cocoa bean extract contains caffeine and may improve cognition and blood flow.

Caffeine Anhydrous is basically caffeine in powder form.

  •  Reliable -- They seems to work even after regular use. 
  •  No major crashing 
  •  Steady energy -- no intense ups and downs 
  • Great price for such a 60-day-supply (currently less than $10 for 60-day-supply at eVitamins)

  • Made in a GMP (Good Manufacturing Process) facility

  • Contains a substance known to the state of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm (California Residents Proposition #65 Warning)
  •   Some days I needed a second dose to keep myself going.
  •   Contains artificial coloring (Red #40)

    Detailed Account of My Results

 To elaborate on some of the points above, I'll start with the first point: Seems to work even after regular use. 

I've taken the Universal Kwik Energy tablets for about two months. One of my biggest concerns with energy products is that they often quit "working" with regular use. For example, the first time you drink a Red Bull you get wings, right? But after drinking them daily for a week or two, the effects seem to decrease, and suddenly it's not giving you wings anymore.

I've taken a two month supply of these Kwik Energy tablets (60 servings/tablets) in about a month in a half's time (taking two tablets daily sometimes). The results didn't diminish. Each time I took a tablet, the effects were noticeable. 

About the artificial coloring: 
I listed the Red #40 ingredient as a "con" because it's possibly harmful and some people, like my s/o are unable to take this due to having an allergy to the artificial dye Red #40. 
Who cares what color the tablet is, anyway?

How long does the energy last? 

I would have an energy boost for a steady 2-3 hours after taking one. The energy probably lasts as long as any energy supplement, but there were times when my energy would be depleted by late evening and I'd just take second dose to get myself back up and running.

I love that these tablets provide a steady energy boost for a few hours at a time without a major crash when it wears off. Note: Everyone's results can vary. If you normally crash from caffeine, then you should probably expect a crash to some extent from these too. 


 Caffeine Anhydrous      (250 mg)
 Kola Nut Seed Powder (50 mg)
 Cocoa Bean Extract      (50 mg)
 Guarana Seed Powder (50 mg)

Other ingredients: Dicalcium phosphate, microcrystalline celluose, stearic acid, magnesium stearate, red #40.

Overall Rating:  4/5 Stars
The Universal Kwik Energy tablets reminded me of an old energy supplement I used to take religiously (called Motivation) until I couldn't find them anymore, so this quickly became my favorite. 

However, when I read the label and saw that this supplement contains a substance known to cause reproductive harm or birth defects, it was extremely off-putting and worrisome.

You can find Universal Kwik Energy here. Click here to receive $5 off your eVitamins order.

Disclaimer: I am not a specialist, expert, professional or doctor of any kind. Content on this blog is not intended to be taken as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or advice of any sort. I'm simply sharing information about my own experiences and results from use of a product or activity in hopes of providing useful information to readers, not to be taken as a patient/medical adviser relationship. I am not responsible for what readers choose to do after viewing the content here. Furthermore, I do not hold an "exceptional" or other special relationship with any company mentioned on this site. I'm simply a consumer who worked with the company on a review that is in compliance with FTC's guidelines. That means, everything you read here is my own words, not anything of the company's. I was not provided with monetary compensation for my review. All information posted has been done so with complete honesty. No action should be taken based solely on the content of this publication ( I'm not responsible.) Readers who rely on the information in this blog to replace the advice of an appropriate health care provider assume all risks of such behavior.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

The Spice That's As Effective As Prozac (and How to Take it for Depression)

The vivid red spice known as saffron might be able to replace your Prozac, according to science and Traditional Persian Medicine, which uses saffron for the treatment of depression.

Photo credit: Zoyachubby
*This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you choose to make a purchase through the links.

  •  Saffron is just as effective as pharmaceutical anti-depressants... 
A review of six separate studies that included 230 clinically depressed patients concluded that saffron is just as effective as pharmaceutical anti-depressants, for some cases of mild to moderate depression.
In one study, 15 milligrams of saffron was given to patients twice a day.

The results, published in Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental Journal, showed that anti-depressent effects of taking saffron were comparable to those of the common prescription drug Prozac.

  •  Smelling the Spice Also Improves Anxiety in Women
An unrelated study found that just smelling saffron for 20 minutes provided women with relief from anxiety. Since anxiety and depression are almost synonymous with each other, that interesting finding may be useful to many. 

...So How Does Saffron Work as an Anti-Depressant?
While nobody's entirely certain how saffron works as an anti-depressant, it's believed that the power lies in the serotonergic, neuro-endocrine and neuroprotective effects of the the spice. In other words, saffron protects against neuro-degenerative disorders like depression.

The natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant substances found in saffron could also contribute to the spice's anti-depressant activity.

One of the authors of the original study, Dr. Lopresti, mentions that people with depression have high levels of inflammation and free-radical damage caused from oxidative stress.the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant substances found in the spice.

The two substances deemed responsible are "crocin," a natural anti-inflammatory, and the antioxidant "crocetin."

As inflammation and free-radical damage continue to be linked to depression, those who struggle with mild to moderate forms may be able to finally find some relief simply by using natural foods and substances that reduce the inflammation and free-radical damage.

Tips to Help You Combat Depression using Saffron:
Photo credit: Anne White

1. Whether you're using natural or prescription anti-depressants, it's usually recommended that you give them 6-8 weeks to begin taking effect. This rule of thumb applies to natural anti-depressants, too.

2. As a culinary spice, you can add a pinch of saffron shreds in dishes like soups, stews.

3. Alternatively, you may wish to take a saffron supplement for ease and convenience. Saffron supplements come in liquid extract or a pill-form.

So, will you be incorporating this powerful spice into your daily anti-depressant regimen? Or perhaps you're one step ahead of us and have already tried it? Let us know in the comments below.

If you're interested in trying saffron extract, you can receive $5 off your order by going here.

Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental (Lopresti & Drummond et al., Vol. 29; Issue 6; November 2014; Pages 517–52) 

Fukui H,; Psychological and neuroendocrinological effects of odor of saffron (Crocus sativus). Phytomedicine. 2011 Jun 15;18(8-9):726-30.

Monday, May 22, 2017

How to Tell if a Vitamin B Deficiency is Responsible for Your Depression

photo credit: mrdonduck

One of the biggest misconceptions surrounding depression is that people still believe it's synonymous with sadness, but did you know that low vitamin B intake is a major cause for depression as well?

40% of the population is severely deficient in vitamin B12, according to the USDA.

Vitamin B deficiencies share an undeniably strong connection to depression. There have been numerous cases where symptoms of depression significantly improved when the B's were put back into balance.  

If you have depression, you'll want to find out if your vitamin B levels are responsible.

However, before you take a vitamin supplement and expect to be cured, there's something you must know:

If your body doesn't have an abundant, regular supply of each B vitamin, you basically won't benefit much. This is because the B vitamins work in combination with each other, and when you don't get all of them, your body can't absorb the ones you are getting.

This article will discuss how the B vitamins affect your mental health, the signs of vitamin B deficiencies, and exactly what you need to do to reverse the problem.

  *Warning Note: There are many causes of depression, including but not limited to nutrition. Nutritional deficiencies are not the sole cause for everyone's depression. This article is only meant to shed light on one of the causes, and to give you a better understanding of the B vitamins and the role they play in depression.

Monday, December 26, 2016

3 Remedies to Help You Survive (and Enjoy) The Holidays With Depression

Photo credit: Luca Rossato
The chaos and stress of the holiday season can take its toll on even the most chipper of people. This is the time of year that depression hits the hardest for some.

For those of you who can relate to the santa in the photo, this post is for you. 

These 3 simple, natural remedies will help you survive the holidays with depression (and hopefully not end up like this santa at the end.)

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A Highly Effective, Cheaper Alternative to Calcium Supplements is Already in Your Kitchen

Photo credit: Chris Salt

The importance of calcium intake is grossly underrated. When you think of calcium, you probably only think of it as a necessity for strong teeth and bones, but this mineral is required for so much more. For example, did you know that the formation of your cells depend on calcium? Your heart rhythm, muscles, nerves, and your mental health also need a supply of this mineral in order to function properly. 
The health problems that can manifest from low calcium levels are mind-boggling. Sleep, is one example -- Insufficient calcium levels can prevent you from getting good quality, deep sleep. 

Could you be deficient in calcium?  
Hypocalcemia or "calcium deficiency" is more common than you'd think and it can have devastating effects on your health.

Signs of hypocalcemia
Hypocalcemia can be asymptomatic for some people while others may experience life-threatening symptoms. 

It's important to know all the symptoms, but here are some of the more common signs of low calcium levels.
  •  Muscle spasms/twitches, including in your face
  •  Muscle cramps
  •  Muscle weakness
  •  Numbness
  •  Shaking and trembling
  •  Loss of body control 
  •  Tingling sensations in your feet, hands, or lips
  •  Seizures 
  •  Slow or uneven heartbeat
  •  Lightheaded-ness 
  •  Cardiac arrest, in severe cases
  •  Anxiety
  •  Depression 
  •  Confusion
  •  Anger
  •  Hallucinations, including auditory hallucinations
Those last 5 are interesting, if not scary. If you have the signs of calcium deficiency, then first thing you should do is start implementing this important mineral into your diet. 

Let's talk about how you can get those calcium levels up without having to shell (no pun intended) out a fortune on expensive supplements. 

Photo credit: Fetching Photos
For an alternative to expensive, questionable calcium supplements, try getting your calcium from eggshells

I know, it sounds horrifying, when you imagine crunching and swallowing something as sharp and glass-like as broken eggshells. 

The truth is, eggshell calcium is made by grinding eggshells into a fine powder, so it's much smoother than chewing on glass shards.

Is eggshell calcium better than a supplement?
Aside from the fact that it's cheaper to use eggshells (and cheaper is sometimes better in my opinion), there are a couple of reasons that eggshells may be a better alternative to calcium supplements.
  •  Eggshell calcium (calcium carbonate) is said to be the perfect source of bio-available calcium, according to the research conducted in the1940's by Hungarian physician I. Krompecher. (Krompecher and his colleagues are the folks who developed the basics of therapeutic eggshell use.) The calcium in eggshells is similar to that found in our bones and teeth, so it's no surprise that eggshell calcium is at least a good source of calcium, if not "perfect," as Krompecher found.
*Bio-avaiable means that it's easily absorbed by the body. Some believe that our bodies don't always absorb minerals like calcium when we take them in the form of supplements. There's probably a reason why nutrition obtained from food sources (over supplements) is always the preferred and recommended route.

  • Eggshells can contain up to 27 important minerals (like magnesium, phosphorous, silicon) and 20 essential amino acids (such as lysine, cysteine, isoleucine) all of which are critical for healthy bones and teeth. 
  •  Store bought supplements often contain questionable ingredients like preservatives, additives, and who-knows-what-else. If you use organic, free-range eggs, you don't have to worry about the questionable ingredients that are found in supplements. Just be sure to opt for organic, free-range eggs.

Diseases That Benefit From Eggshell Calcium 
photo credit: Dawn Endico

1. Orthopedic diseases like osteoporosis.

Eggshell powder has shown significantly positive effects in the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis, according to researchers from the National Institute of Rheumatic Diseases. Furthermore, clinical studies found that eggshell powder decreases pain and osteoresorption (problems caused by decreased bone formation) while increasing mobility in women with senile osteoporosis and post-menopausal women with osteoporosis.

The study authors also noted that healing time was faster when eggshell calcium was used in the treatment of orthopedic problems such as osteoporosis.

2. Arthritis 
Eggshell calcium stimulates the growth of cartilage and decreases pain from arthritis, according to a study conducted on animals.

3. Bone Mineral Density
Another study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, found that a year of taking eggshell calcium (added to a vitamin/mineral supplement) increased the bone mineral density in healthy, late post-menopausal women. 

4. Plaque and weak tooth enamel
Using an eggshell based toothpaste can strengthen tooth enamel and some folks are even using it to help remineralize their teeth and prevent cavities.

There's some information swarming the Internet claiming that  a dentistry school in the Philippines found that when used overtime, eggshell toothpaste leads to stronger enamel, cleaner teeth, and less plaque formation. I have to be upfront and say that I've had no luck finding any reputable source that mentions this "study."

5. Nutritional Rickets
Some parents use ground eggshells to prevent nutritional rickets and promote healthy bone tissue formation.  Dr. Krompecher, from the Biological Research Institute, began using crushed or ground eggshells to treat rickets in children back in the 40's. According to the study published in the International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy, Dr. Krompecher would administer up to 6 grams of eggshells daily to children with rickets.

Note: Low levels of phosphorous and Vitamin D are also known to cause rickets, so don't rely solely on calcium. Eggshells are commonly ground into a fine powder and added to foods for this purpose.

How To Make Your Own Eggshell Calcium
If you're as thrilled as I was to learn a simple way to get of calcium without spending a lot of money, then you'll want to make your own right away. There are a few slightly different ways to go about making eggshell calcium, but each method is pretty simple. If you want to make your own eggshell calcium, pick whichever method suits you and follow the instructions below:

1. Rinse the eggshells, but feel free to leave the nutritious "membrane" (the white papery film attached to the inside of the egg.)

2. Bake or Hard boil the eggs to kill any pathogens. Some people speculate that boiling the eggshells would diminish their mineral content. Reports have stated that this isn't the case except with the potassium content, which will leach out of the shells. Some people opt to bake them, which is what I do. Spread the shells out on a baking sheet and bake at 325 F for 15 minutes.

3. Crush 'em! (Use a food processor, coffee grinder or blender) Personally, this is my favorite part and you'll probably find it odd, but I actually enjoyed crushing them by hand (mortar and pestle style.) There's something a little soothing about the repetitive crunching of the shells. Either that or I had no other option but to crush them by hand, so I've convinced myself it was enjoyable! 

It's much more time consuming to crush the eggshells by hand. I have managed to crush a batch down to powder form, but you'll probably want to use a coffee bean grinder or a food processor if you have one. Just don't use the plastic bag + hammer method. I tried it the first time and it was a total fail. 

As for using a blender, it won't grind them down into a fine powder, but you can mortar and pestle the rest of the way or just toss your eggshell in the blender with smoothie ingredients.

4. Store
your eggshell calcium in a jar with a tight lid. Glass baby food jars work well, but the only jar I had on hand was a plastic instant coffee container. Some people store the jar of calcium in the fridge.

How to Make Calcium Citrate:
Calcium citrate is a more easily absorbed form of calcium for some people. You can make calcium citrate easily by adding either lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to your eggshells. I only tried making calcium citrate once, but I find the powdered method easier.  

Watch the step-by-step video tutorial by Living The Hedge Witch Life if you're interested in making your own calcium citrate.

How Much Eggshell Calcium Should You Take

1 teaspoon of crushed eggshell contains around 800 - 1,000 milligrams of calcium. Or around 400 milligrams per gram. The old study "Eggshell Calcium for the Prevention and Treatment of Osteoporosis" published in the International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy says 1 gram of powder contains 370 milligrams of calcium.

Obviously, the daily dosage of calcium will depend on your personal daily needs, so you'll have to adjust your dose accordingly. The most common "dosage" I've heard of people using is between half a teaspoon to  1 teaspoon daily. I'm not one for exact measurements, so I typically just dip my teaspoon in and eyeball it.

How Should You Take Eggshell Calcium?
If you ask me, the quicker and easier, the better. Well, when it comes to taking supplements. 

Most days, I just scoop a small amount of powder out (usually around half a teaspoon) and swallow with water or juice. However, you can add this virtually tasteless powder to many foods and drinks if you really care to.

Most people seem to prefer taking their supplements in smoothies. You can put your eggshell calcium in applesauce, oatmeal, juice, ice cream, thick soups, etc. You can even sprinkle it on your salad or other dishes. Just keep in mind that the powder will give your smoothies/foods texture. If small bits of powdered shell is bothersome, you might have to get creative.

How to Make Natural Toothpaste Using Eggshells 
You can make your own toothpaste using a scoop of your crushed eggshell powder and very few other ingredients. The best part about DIY toothpaste is that the recipes can be tweaked to include ingredients that fit your specific needs and taste.

Here is a quick video that tells you how to make a super simple eggshell toothpaste using coconut oil and eggshells

Baking soda and coconut oil are the most commonly used base ingredients. As long as you have those, you'll be able to make your own toothpaste right away.

Warning: Only use calcium carbonate for your toothpaste. Do not use calcium citrate -- it's too acidic for use on the enamel.

Marissa from the Becoming Kindred blog has a simple recipe for those of you who are interested in making your own eggshell-based toothpaste.

Note: Always remember that your body needs all its  important nutrients, vitamins, and minerals in order to properly utilize them, and calcium is no exception. It works with other vital nutrients and minerals. In other words, calcium can't do much for you if you're deficient somewhere else

Vitamin D3, Vitamin K, and Magnesium are some of the critical ones needed for calcium to be useful.