Nitric Oxide for Energy & Performance

Nitric Oxide for Energy & Performance

In 1998, the Nobel Prize for medicine was awarded for discovering the importance of Nitric Oxide in our cardiovascular system.

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are an antioxidant and anti-aging especially for the brain and heart

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  • Broccoli
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What the FDA’s Relaxed Food Label Rules Mean for People with Allergies

What the FDA's Relaxed Food Label Rules Mean for People with Allergies

The agency’s action is alarming consumers who rely on ingredient labels to stay safe.
To avoid potential food-supply-chain disruptions in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the Food and Drug Administration announced last month that it has temporarily relaxed food labeling guidelines, allowing manufacturers of packaged foods to substitute certain ingredients without changing the labels.

The guidance was meant to head off issues that could arise if manufacturers were to have trouble obtaining ingredients, and pertains only to ingredients that are present in foods in relatively small amounts.

But it immediately raised alarm for people with allergies or special dietary needs who need to know with certainty what’s in the food they eat. Almost 3,000 consumers have written to the FDA to express their concern.

“All I do is teach my child how to read food labels and how to be careful, and now the government is saying that might not work and he might have a deadly reaction?” says Debbie Tola of Denver, whose son is severely allergic to numerous foods—some of them among the top eight allergens (which include peanuts and eggs) but also others that are less common. “If I can’t trust the labels, how am I supposed to know what is or isn’t safe for my child to eat?” Consumer Reports is not aware of any public reports of adverse events resulting from this guidance to date, but numerous food safety groups say that the temporary rules are still cause for serious concern.

Shortly after the FDA issued the announcement on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend, parents, individuals, and consumer advocacy groups—including the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America (AAFA), and Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE)—mobilized with petitions and letters to the FDA requesting more transparency about food labels. And they say there is confusion among consumers regarding the new FDA rules.

What the FDA Food Label Guidance Says

The FDA states that the ingredient being substituted into a food cannot be one of the top eight food allergens without disclosing it to consumers. (In addition to peanuts and eggs, the other main allergens are milk, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, wheat, and soybeans.)

But beyond those eight, the guidance is more vague. It says manufacturers “should avoid” using as substitutes other foods that are known to cause allergies or food sensitivities, including sesame, celery, buckwheat, glutamates, and sulfites. But the guidelines allow manufacturers to make decisions about what constitutes a health and safety risk at their own discretion, without any transparency or accountability, or reporting to the FDA that they’ve done so.

Even more concerning and confusing to consumers: The FDA guidance specifically states that the temporary rules do “not establish legally enforceable responsibilities” and “should be viewed only as recommendations… The use of the word should in our guidance means that something is suggested or recommended, but not required.”

When Consumer Reports asked the FDA how it will ensure that companies comply with the new food safety recommendations, the spokesperson pointed to the information posted on the agency’s website but did not specifically comment.

Sarah Sorscher, deputy director of regulatory affairs at the CSPI, says the FDA guidance undermines transparency and puts consumers who must avoid even small amounts of certain ingredients at risk. “The FDA has tried to hedge against that risk by asking food companies to disclose any ingredients that pose a ‘health or safety issue,’” she says. But that’s insufficient, she believes, because food companies cannot know what consumers who have rare allergies or medical conditions might consider to be a health or safety risk for them.

Tola finds this directive terrifying. “I honestly can’t believe the FDA has allowed this. It’s so hard to be an allergy parent, to constantly monitor and worry about food,” she says. “We’re already so careful, the least we expect is that a label would be properly identified and that a manufacturer would be required to take the small amount of time and money to put a sticker on something to alert us that ingredients may have changed. It seriously alarms me that the government is essentially saying that they’re not overseeing it and they’re not protecting everyone.”

Lisa Gable, CEO of FARE, says that since the guidance was issued, she has met with 30 major food companies and organizations, including the industry group Food and Beverage Issue Alliance (FBIA), and was told that none of those companies have yet had to make any ingredient substitutions. But if substitutions do become necessary, FARE and other food safety groups have asked that manufacturers place temporary labeling stickers on products or post ingredient changes on their websites, at retailer’s websites that sell their goods, or on SmartLabel (an app that provides detailed information on food labels).

An FBIA spokesperson stated that “substitutions or changes would only be executed when it is temporarily necessary to do so in order to keep food products available to consumers, and any needed substitution will be communicated to the consumer on a manufacturer’s website or at point-of-sale.”

The concern with this approach, Sorscher says, is that “the FDA hasn’t required the industry to report these changes publicly or even privately to the agency, so there is no way to track the impact.”

What the FDA Guidance Means for You

So what should you do if you or someone in your family has a food allergy or follows a special diet? “While it sounds like it probably won’t be an issue for most of my patients, if they are worried about their allergy to a nonmajor allergen and they have a product they depend on, I advise them to call the manufacturer and confirm everything is okay and hasn’t changed,” says Scott H. Sicherer, M.D., director of the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City and author of “Food Allergies: A Complete Guide to Eating When Your Life Depends on It.”

Gable at FARE also suggests that consumers make their voices heard by registering any concerns on the FDA’s website or by writing to the industry group representing manufacturers at

The CSPI’s Sorscher also encourages consumers to be diligent about following up with manufacturers in the coming months because the FDA has not set an end date for these temporary rules, which she fears could linger and become permanent. “It’s troubling that the agency has discussed extending the policy for an indefinite period beyond the current pandemic,” Sorscher says. “We don’t want to see the pandemic become an excuse to roll back regulatory safeguards in the name of promoting ‘flexibility’ for businesses.”

Contributor: Rachel Rabkin Peachman-Consumer Reports

7 Tips to Prevent Burnout and Improve Wellness Working From Home

7 Tips to Prevent Burnout and Improve Wellness Working From Home

According to an American Psychological Association study in May, the average reported stress level for U.S. adults related to the coronavirus pandemic was 5.9 out of 10.
For many employees, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a sudden collision between their work and home lives.

Roughly four months after initial lockdowns, the country is in the process of reopening. But this has been a difficult and disruptive period for most people.

Lockdowns caused a sudden shift in working environments for employees whose companies might not have had the proper infrastructure, policies or resources in place to support remote work. Roles, responsibilities and priorities have rapidly shifted, both professionally and personally.

We have made some adjustments to this new normal, but uncertainty and stress remain for when a true return to normal is possible.

“These are very uncertain and scary times,” said Stephanie Andel, an assistant professor of psychology at IUPUI. “Many employees are likely to experience feelings of stress, anxiety and even fear. These feelings are completely normal and valid. It is important to remember that we remain in the midst of a pandemic, one that continues to impact virtually all aspects of life.”

Set boundaries

With no office to relocate to and the physical action of a commute replaced by a short walk from the bedroom to a different location in the home, it can be difficult to maintain a clear separation between professional and personal time. Andel’s first tip was to create work boundaries in both time space.

“Once you get to the end of the workday, put your work tasks aside,” Andel said. “Focus on deliberately engaging in an activity that helps you to detach from work and transition into a non-work mindset. Even if you must physically remain in the same space, you can trick yourself into creating some mental boundaries.”

Andel recommended that employees create a designated workspace at home where distractions are limited and use space to provide mental separation.

“Working from home can produce feelings of role confusion, like everything is melding together between your work life and your non-work life,” Andel said. “Am I supposed to be a Mom right now or a coworker? It can be difficult, but maintaining that structure around your workday can help alleviate those feelings of confusion.”

Find a routine, but not too much of one

“Today is … Thursday? No, wait. It’s Tuesday.”

A common experience for many during the pandemic is losing track of the day of the week. When engaged in repetitive activities such as working from home and staying in the same physical environment for successive days, Groundhog Day Syndrome can come into play.

Named after the 1993 movie starring Bill Murray as a weatherman who keeps reliving the same day, the syndrome was defined in Psychology Today as “the feeling of living the same thing over and over again or feeling stuck in an everyday routine, which makes it seem like life is passing you by.”

Routines are helpful to define boundaries, but being too rigid in a routine can make life monotonous.

Outside of finding a new passion or hobby, Andel said that you are likely to feel better by making small and subtle changes to your daily routine. Try to make a new coffee drink or recipe. Try different activities during your lunch break, like taking a walk or sampling a new TV show.

“It is really important to create little moments of joy each day,” Andel said. “If we don’t make a conscious effort to add some novelty into our daily routines, it is easy to feel like you are stuck in a rut.”

Show compassion toward yourself

Navigating such tumultuous times can be helped by learning and engaging in practices of self-compassion. Andel defines self-compassion as “the tendency to extend compassion and kindness toward oneself in instances of perceived inadequacies, failure or general suffering.”

She said it may seem strange to treat compassion as a skill, but often we can be our own worst critic. The practice of self-compassion as a skill starts with examining your own internalized self-talk, those little conversations we have with ourselves. When we have failed at something or done something wrong, our internal narrative is often something to the effect of, “I am a loser. Why am I so terrible at this? Get it together.”

Andel said that people frequently measure themselves to excessively high standards, when they deserve kindness and compassion. Instead of being harsh to oneself, she recommends that individuals try to think of what they would say to a friend in the same circumstances.

“Small tweaks to that internal dialogue can be incredibly powerful,” she said. “Research consistently shows that self-compassion is a skill that can be learned and that it’s practice is associated with significant positive effects for health and well-being”

Be proactive in creating safe social opportunities

Because of the rapidly-changing public health situation and people’s varying levels of comfort with different types of social interactions, identifying safe opportunities for social activity is critical. The circumstances of COVID-19 lend to a higher likelihood of people experiencing loneliness and isolation.

Virtual social events such as video trivia contests, game nights and group chats provide the chance to catch up with friends and family members with time that you might not have had before. If trying to spend face-to-face time with other people, make sure to take the necessary health precautions.

“Try to brainstorm some creative ways to have social interaction while maintaining physical distancing,” Andel said. “This can be a profoundly isolating time, so it is more important than ever to identify safe ways of maintaining social connections.”

Parents have to engage in self-care

In May, the American Psychological Association released a study finding that parents are reporting higher levels of stress related to the coronavirus pandemic than non-parents.

For those with young children, childcare facilities were — or are still — closed. School-age children transitioned to remote learning before summer break. These changes mean that attention-starved children are in the home which often force parents to maintain a difficult balance between work and family.

“As working parents continue to juggle multiple responsibilities, they are especially prone to feeling overwhelmed and exhausted,” Andel said.

It’s important for parents to dedicate energy to maintaining a balanced diet and finding time for exercise and relaxation, if possible said Andel. If there are two parents in the home, it can be helpful to “divide and conquer” household duties to ensure that both parents are able to meet their work goals while also providing necessary care for children.

It’s become commonplace to have a kid sit on a lap during a Zoom meeting or to announce their presence with screams in the background. In the past, such distractions were discouraged in professional settings, but they have become increasingly accepted as part of this new normal.

“It seems that the standards and expectations are changing, and now seeing co-workers’ children or pets in the background of the video is often welcomed,” Andel said. “I think those situations help to illustrate this idea of common humanity, that we really are all in this together.”

Take time off

While many traditional vacations and activities may be off limits for the time being, disconnecting and recharging can be helpful if you are able to take time off.

When dealing with the daily stresses of life and trying to balance work and home responsibilities, detaching from being on the clock is something Andel recommends.

“We expend a lot of energy when we are working,” she said. “Taking time off allows us to rebuild our mental resources so that we are less likely to burn out.”

Measure productivity differently

 We are currently in the middle of a pandemic, there’s an increased spotlight on social issues like racism, sexism and police-community relations, and we live in a polarized political environment. People are dealing with issues around the clock that are not solely work-based.

In terms of measuring worker productivity during the pandemic, Andel said that organizational leaders must recognize that like everyone else, their employees are likely to be under a great deal of stress right now. Expecting productivity to resemble pre-pandemic levels may not be realistic and she suggests that organizations cut their employees some slack.

“We are in the midst of a unique and very stressful public health crisis,” Andel said. “It is important for organizational leaders to acknowledge that this situation is inevitably going to impact employee productivity and personal well-being, and to offer additional supports to their employees.”

Contributor: Justin Whitaker-Indiana University

Checks are a Flawed Way to Flag Covid-19 Cases. Experts Say Smell Tests Might Help

Fever Checks are a Flawed Way to Flag Covid-19 Cases. Experts Say Smell Tests Might Help

Unfortunately, temperature checks could well join the long list of fumbled responses to the pandemic, from the testing debacle to federal officials’ about-face on masks.
Workplaces do it. Newly reopened public libraries do it. LAX does it. Some restaurants, bars, and retail stores started doing it when governors let them serve customers again: Use temperature checks — almost always with “non-contact infrared thermometers” — to identify people who might have, and therefore spread, the infectious disease.

Unfortunately, temperature checks could well join the long list of fumbled responses to the pandemic, from the testing debacle to federal officials’ about-face on masks.

Because many contagious people have no symptoms, using temperature checks to catch them is like trying to catch tennis balls in a soccer net: way too many can get through. On Tuesday, the head of the Transportation Security Administration told reporters, “I know in talking to our medical professionals and talking to the Centers for Disease Control … that temperature checks are not a guarantee that passengers who don’t have an elevated temperature also don’t have Covid-19.” The reverse is also true: Feverish travelers might not have Covid-19.

In this case, however, a growing body of science suggests a simple fix: make smell tests another part of routine screenings.

Of all the nose-to-toes symptoms of Covid-19, the loss of the sense of smell — also known as anosmia — could work particularly well as an add-on to temperature checks, significantly increasing the proportion of infected people identified by screening in airports, workplaces, and other public places.

“My impression is that anosmia is an earlier symptom of Covid-19 relative to fever, and some infected people can have anosmia and nothing else,” said physician Andrew Badley, who heads a virus lab at the Mayo Clinic. “So it’s potentially a more sensitive screen for asymptomatic patients.”

In a recent study, Badley and colleagues found that Covid-19 patients were 27 times more likely than others to have lost their sense of smell. But they were only 2.6 times more likely to have fever or chills, suggesting that anosmia produces a clearer signal and may therefore be a better Covid-catching net than fever.

There is no definitive study on the predictive value of temperature checks for Covid-19. But there are clues from when that strategy was used during the SARS epidemic of 2003. Deployed at airports, especially in Asia, the devices fell far short of the ideal, an analysis found. Although contact-less thermometers are quite accurate if used correctly, many other conditions (including medications and inflammatory disease) can cause fever. As a result, the likelihood that someone with a fever had SARS ranged from 4% to 65%, depending on the underlying prevalence of the disease.

The likelihood that someone with a normal temperature reading was SARS-free was at least 86%. That suggests SARS fever checks didn’t miss many infected people. Unlike SARS, unfortunately, Covid-19 can be contagious even before an infected person runs a fever, which makes missed cases more likely.

As experts have cast around for other screening tools, some have zeroed in on smell tests, which could be as simple asking people to identify a particular scent from a scratch-and-sniff card. Though not a universal symptom, loss of smell is one of the earliest signs of Covid-19 because of how the virus acts. Support cells in the olfactory epithelium, the tissue that lines the nasal cavities, are covered with the receptors that SARS-CoV-2 uses to enter cells. They become infected very early in the disease process, often before the body has mounted the immune response that causes fever.

“These support cells either secrete molecules that shut down the olfactory receptor neurons, or stop working and starve the neurons, or somehow fail to support the neurons,” said Danielle Reed, associate director of Monell Chemical Senses Center, a world leader in the science of taste and smell. As a result, “the [olfactory neurons] either stop working or die.”

In an analysis of 24 individual studies, with data from 8,438 test-confirmed Covid-19 patients from 13 countries, 41% reported that they had lost their sense of smell partly or completely, researchers reported in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. But in studies that used objective measurements of smell rather than simply asking patients, the incidence of anosmia was 2.3 times higher.

A Monell analysis of 47 studies finds that nearly 80% of Covid-19 patients have lost their sense of smell as determined by scratch-and sniff tests, Reed said. But only about 50% include that in self-reported symptoms. In other words, people don’t realize they have partly or even completely lost their sense of smell. That may be because they’re suffering other, more serious symptoms and so don’t notice this one, or because smell isn’t something they focus on.

UC San Diego Health is doing that. It asks about loss of smell (and taste) when it screens visitors and staff before allowing them to enter its buildings.

Because many people are unaware of their anosmia, testing would be even better than asking, Reed said.

The gold-standard test is the University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test, called UPSIT. It uses 40 microencapsulated scents — including dill pickle, turpentine, banana, soap, licorice, and cedar — released by scratching with a pencil. The test taker has a choice of four answers for each, and the whole thing takes 10 to 15 minutes.

A screening test for anosmia in the context of Covid-19 could be much simpler, experts say, especially since the idea is to identify whether individuals can smell or not, rather than whether they can discriminate different scents.

“I can see several practical ways is to have people check their sense of smell as a routine matter when entering public areas,” Reed said. Medical offices could “ask people to smell a scratch-and-sniff card and pick the correct odor out of four choices. For workplaces and schools, one way is to ask people to ‘stop and smell the roses’ as they enter buildings and report abrupt reductions in their ratings of odor intensity.”

To avoid cultural bias (not everyone knows what bubblegum or grass smells like), a test for anosmia in Covid-19 could have a standard amount of phenyl-ethyl alcohol (which smells like roses) on a swab or stick and have people sniff it, Reed said. A second stick could have less, testing for diminished sense of smell. A third stick could be a blank, to identify people who falsely claim they can smell.

Contributor: Sharon Begley, Senior Science Writer – STAT News

Dietitian-Approved Superfoods for Summer Salads

Dietitian-Approved Superfoods for Summer Salads

Include these ingredients to create salads packed with nutrition and deliciousness.
SUMMER MAY BE IN FULL swing – with picnics and BBQs – but keeping our immune systems healthy remains at the top of everyone’s mind right now. Why not take advantage of the season’s bounty of fresh veggies and fruits and feed ourselves things that boost our immune system?

Food doesn’t kill viruses, but certain foods can strengthen our immune systems and help fight off unwanted illness. Oftentimes, illness and immunity are thought of more frequently in the wintertime, and foods like stews and soups are our go-to items. But these superfoods pair perfectly in summery salads.

Ginger and Garlic
Aromatic and loaded with flavor, both garlic and ginger contain compounds that naturally support your immune system. Coming from the allium family, garlic contains compounds that naturally aid in the destruction of bacteria and infection. There’s research that shows eating garlic helps to reduce the risk of becoming sick.

Garlic helps flush the body of harmful toxins, stimulating immune responses and reducing bodily inflammation. Add a few minced garlic cloves to a salad like Memphis-based dietitian Sylvia White at does with her quinoa salad with tomatoes, cucumber and mint.

Ginger is another ingredient many turn to for illness prevention. Ginger may help decrease inflammation, which can help alleviate a sore throat. Ginger may speed up digestion, and it’s packed with vitamins, says dietitian Shena Jaramillo, founder of in Ellensburg, Washington. She makes a salad dressing with fresh ginger and garlic. She mixes mango, tahini, ginger, garlic, olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a blender – ready to toss on your favorite salad.

Many people turn straight to vitamin C after they’ve caught a cold. That’s because it’s known to help build up your immune system. Vitamin C is thought to increase the production of white blood cells, which are key to fighting infections.

Almost all citrus fruits are high in vitamin C. With such a variety to choose from, it’s easy to add a squeeze of this vitamin to any meal. Popular citrus fruits include grapefruit, lemons, limes, oranges and tangerines. These fruits tend to go very well in summer salads or in a homemade dressing. Nashville-based dietitian Karman Meyer, founder of, likes to pair fresh-squeezed pink grapefruit, orange and lime juice in a citrus vinaigrette with salmon – rich in omega-3s – and greens.

Because your body doesn’t produce or store vitamin C, you need to ingest it daily for continued health. The recommended daily amount for most adults is around 75 mg for women and 90 mg for men.

Dark leafy greens in general are great for our immune systems due to the myriad of nutrients they contain. Spinach specifically makes my list because not only is it rich in vitamin C, it’s also packed with numerous antioxidants and beta carotene, which may increase the infection-fighting ability of our immune systems.

Spinach is healthiest when it’s cooked as little as possible so that it retains its nutrients. However, some light cooking makes it easier to absorb the vitamin A and allows other nutrients to be released from oxalic acid, which is an organic compound found in a variety of plants.

Wisconsin-based dietitian, chef and cookbook author Julie Andrews created a salad recipe on her website, The GourmetRD, full of immune boosting ingredients: fresh baby spinach, strawberries, fennel, avocado, snap peas and almonds.

Sunflower and Pumpkin Seeds
Sunflower and pumpkin seeds are full of immune boosting nutrients. Sunflower seeds contain phosphorous, magnesium and vitamins B-6 and E. Vitamin E is important in regulating and maintaining immune system function.

Sunflower seeds are also incredibly high in selenium. Just 1 ounce contains nearly half the selenium that the average adult needs daily. There have been a variety of studies looking at selenium’s potential to combat viral infections, but they have mostly been performed on animals.

Pumpkin seeds contain zinc and iron, which are both vital for immune function and possess anti-fungal and anti-viral properties. They are also not a common trigger of allergies and intolerances. And both can be easily sprinkled on just about any salad.

Dietitian Melissa Groves Azzaro uses them in her festive salad that also includes pomegranates and honey – two more superfoods – along with green apples, greens and an orange-lemon juice dressing. Based in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, she’s the owner of Avocado Grove Nutrition & Wellness.

Red Bell Peppers
While citrus fruits have lots of vitamin C, check out the vitamin C content of a red bell pepper: One medium sized bell pepper contains 152 milligrams of vitamin C, which fulfills your recommended daily allowance. They are also a rich source of beta carotene, which our bodies convert into vitamin A, which is important for healthy skin, eye sight and immune system. Bell peppers are excellent chopped up in a salad. Colorado- and Minnesota-based dietitians Stacie Hassing and Jessica Beacom, known as the Real Food Dietitians at, created a salad chock full of red bell peppers, kale, mango and avocado, plus chicken for added protein. I love the variety of nutritious vegetables this recipe contains.

Contributor: Carrie