Thursday, March 15, 2012

Should You Take Lysine?

By Jill Turner, Vice President of Operations for Cooper Complete®

The Cooper Complete® line of supplements recently introduced L-Lysine, or Lysine, an essential amino acid and a building block of protein that is found in foods and supplements.

The best food sources of Lysine are animal protein and legumes, but Lysine is also found in dairy products, nuts and tofu. Lysine helps in calcium absorption, building muscle protein, recovering from surgery or sports injuries and the body’s production of hormones, enzymes and antibodies.

Researchers have studied the impact of Lysine on a variety of conditions, including stress, metabolic disorders, strength enhancement, Aphthous ulcers (commonly known as canker sores) and the Herpes simplex virus. Most of the studies involving Lysine have been small, but here is some of the research that’s encouraging.

Herpes simplex virus (HSV-1) infections are common, with an estimated 90 percent of American adults having been exposed to HSV-1. HSV-1 is the main cause of herpes infections on the lips and mouth, including cold sores and fever blisters. In some, the virus is dormant, while others suffer from repeated flare-ups. While some studies suggest that regular use of Lysine can help prevent flare-ups of cold sores and herpes, others showed no benefit, potentially due to the amount of Lysine administered daily in each study.

In a double-blind placebo controlled study of 52 participants with a history of HSV-1 flare-ups, the treatment group received 3,000 mg (three grams) of Lysine daily for six months. In comparison to the control group, the treatment group experienced an average of 2.4 fewer HSV-1 flare-ups than the placebo group. Also, the Lysine group’s flare-ups were significantly less severe and healed more quickly. While this study called for 3,000 mg of Lysine per day, in general, the studies that had subjects take a minimum of 1,000 mg per day had positive results.

Aphthous ulcers, or canker sores, are painful open sores in the mouth. While these mouth ulcers may be caused by a viral infection, canker sores have also been linked to stress, hormonal changes and food allergies. About 10 percent of our population suffers regularly with canker sores, and women, more often than men, seem to have them. There’s a small study that suggests 500 mg of Lysine daily works well for ulcer prevention with 1,000 mg daily used for treatment.

Individuals who suffer with canker sores or herpes outbreaks may find the supplement Lysine helpful in managing their condition. However, high doses of Lysine have caused gallstones and elevated cholesterol levels, so if you have high cholesterol, heart disease or high triglycerides, you should talk with your physician before taking Lysine supplements.

To purchase Cooper Complete Nutrition Supplements, visit our website or call 888.393.2221.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Sleep Tight with Melatonin

Cooper Complete® Nutrition Supplements is excited to offer our newest product, Melatonin. In fact, we’re introducing two melatonin products: Quick Release Melatonin for those who have difficulty falling asleep and Prolonged Release Melatonin for those who can fall asleep quickly but then have difficulty staying asleep. Each formula contains three milligrams of melatonin per serving.

Melatonin, a hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain, helps control sleep and wake cycles, essentially the internal clock in our body. It plays a role in regulating our natural wake-sleep cycle (circadian rhythm), with levels of melatonin increasing as exposure to light decreases, and decreasing as light exposure increases.

Researchers have studied the impact of melatonin on a wide variety of conditions, in doses ranging from 0.1 to 80 milligrams and in study lengths ranging from days up to three years. Melatonin is generally regarded as safe (GRAS) in doses up to five milligrams daily for up to two years.

Regarding sleep, researchers have studied the impact of melatonin on a wide variety of sleep disturbances. Here are a few of the findings:
  • Jet Lag – In several human studies, researchers found that melatonin supplementation reduces the number of days needed to establish a normal sleep pattern. Travelers took melatonin on the day of travel (close to the target bedtime of the destination) and for several days thereafter. Looking at several studies on the impact of melatonin and jet lag, melatonin seemed to provide benefit for about half the people studied.
  • Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome (DSPS) – This is the scientific term for delayed weekend sleep pattern, or the difficulty that many people experience each Sunday night trying to get back onto their “weeknight” sleep schedule after staying up much later on Friday and Saturday night. One study showed the time taken to fall asleep was reduced from almost 60 minutes to a few seconds over 20 minutes.
  • Insomnia in the Elderly – Several human studies have found that taking melatonin before bedtime reduces the time it takes to fall asleep in elder individuals with insomnia. Improved sleep quality and morning alertness were also found. Unfortunately, the studies were short in duration.
Melatonin is typically taken 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime. Unlike many prescription sleep aids, melatonin doesn’t increase drowsiness or have a “hangover” effect the following day. However, there have been reports of vivid dreams. Because melatonin is a hormone, testosterone and estrogen metabolism may be affected. For this same reason, women who are pregnant or couples who are attempting to conceive should not take melatonin.

Diabetics, those with low-blood pressure (naturally or through medications) and individuals taking warfarin or other blood thinning medications should talk with their physician before taking melatonin.

The products are available to purchase online at and in our store, The Coop, here on campus.

Our toll free number is 888-393-2221; email us at

Jill Turner is VP Operations for Cooper Concepts, the company that markets Cooper Complete nutritional supplements. Email ( or call 972-560-3262 with your questions and comments regarding supplements.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Introducing Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is important for metabolism, the formation of red blood cells, and the maintenance of the central nervous system, which includes the brain and spinal cord. Working in combination with Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B9 (folic acid), B12 plays a key role in converting homocysteine into methionine, one of the 20 or so building blocks from which the body builds new proteins.

B12 is naturally found in animal products such as fish, poultry, meat, eggs or dairy. Breakfast cereals and enriched soy or rice milk are also often fortified with B12. Both beef liver and clams, an odd combination, have incredibly high levels of B12, but omega-rich salmon and trout have good levels. There’s also some B12 in chicken, tuna, yogurt, milk, eggs and cheese. B12 is also found in virtually all multivitamins, as a standalone vitamin and in prescription form.

While most of us consume enough B12 in our diet, deficiencies do occur. As B12 is only found naturally in animal products, vegetarians and vegans, and those who consume very little animal protein, milk or dairy should supplement to avoid a B12 deficiency. Those with “pernicious anemia” are also often B12 deficient, as are heavy drinkers and those who have had weight loss surgery. As our stomach acid helps extract the B12 from the food we eat, those who take proton-pump inhibitors (like Prilosec or Nexium), H2 blockers or other antacids regularly to reduce stomach acids may have a deficiency.

With age, stomach acid levels decline. In addition, many older adults trend towards a diet with less animal and dairy products, and the combination of changing diet and lower stomach acid levels can cause a deficiency. For these reasons, Cooper Clinic regularly measures B12 blood levels in patients over the age of 65 and in others who might be at risk.

Symptoms of B12 deficiency include memory issues, moodiness or depression, muscle weakness, extreme fatigue, low blood pressure, numbness or tingling in arms and legs, shakiness, an unsteady gait and incontinence – the same exact symptoms that mimic the downside of aging for many. For this reason, and because it’s possible to have only one or two of the symptoms and still be deficit, our recommendation is to consider B12 deficiency if any of the symptoms exist.

The only way to know for sure if your B12 level is low is to get a blood test. The accepted range for B12 is between 254 and 1,320 picograms per milliliter of blood serum. Cooper Clinic physicians like to see levels at of least 400- to 500 picograms per milliliter of blood serum or higher.

Within the Cooper Complete line of supplements, all adult multivitamins contain 400 micrograms of B12. For those who need additional supplementation, we also have a liquid B12 that delivers 1,000 micrograms B12 per serving. The liquid is a mild cherry flavor, and because it’s in liquid form, the amount taken can be varied as needed. A 30-serving supply is $12.95. If you’d like to hear more about B12, click here to listen to this podcast on the subject by Todd Whitthorne, President and CEO of Cooper Complete® Nutritional Supplements.

To purchase Cooper Complete supplements, visit the Cooper Store.

Jill Turner is VP Operations for Cooper Concepts, the company that markets Cooper Complete nutritional supplements. Email ( or call 972-560-3262 with your questions and comments regarding supplements.

The Nutrition Source
Three of the B Vitamins: Folate, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B12

Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 Recommendations

Vitamin B12 Deficiency: Causes and Symptoms

Vitamin B12

It Could Be Old Age, or It Could Be Low B12

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Year, Clean Sweep – Assessing Your Cabinets

While the science suggests that setting a multitude of New Year’s resolutions isn’t honestly a great idea and that we do much better if we focus on one goal at a time, many of us continue to view New Year’s as an overall fresh start. For me, my re-focus on healthy eating means clearing the cabinets and cupboards of leftover contraband from the holidays, and while I’m at it, checking expiration dates on all pantry items as well as all the condiments that have accumulated in the refrigerator. After making a clean sweep through the kitchen, it only makes sense to continue to the bathroom cabinets, another key area in our home with lots of items with “best used by” dates.

Prescription medications and over-the-counter medications, including vitamins and other dietary supplements, all have expiration/best used by dates. Prescription medications typically have a one-year shelf life, while vitamins and supplements have a two-year shelf life.

To dispose of supplements and medications that have expired or are no longer needed, many cities have hazardous waste collection sites that will take these items. The U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has scheduled the next National Prescription Drug Take Back Day for Saturday, April 28, 2012, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. During this event, unwanted medications can be dropped off at collection sites for free.

If waiting until April seems to far away, pharmacy chain CVS has partnered with Sharps Compliance Corporation, a company that handles medical waste, and all of their pharmacies have medication disposal envelopes which can be used to send unwanted medications directly to Sharps for disposal. (The postage paid envelopes are $3.99 each.)

If you elect to dispose of unused medications in your trash, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) offers these guidelines for handling:

• Take the pills out of their original containers.
• Mix the pills with an undesirable substance, such as used coffee grounds or cat litter to make the pills less attractive to children or pets and unrecognizable to someone who might intentionally go through your trash.
• Put the mixture in a sealed container or bag to prevent the pills from leaking or breaking out of a garbage bag.
• These products should not be burned, so those in rural areas with burn barrels should not put these items in the burn barrel.

The Office of National Drug Control Policy recommends that before disposing of prescription medication bottles, the label either be removed, or covered with a permanent marker or duct tape to prevent re-ordering by someone else.

Recommended storage instructions are noted on vitamin and supplement bottles, and on the insert that accompanies prescription medications. As a general rule, products should be stored at room temperature, away from both excessive light and humidity.

National Take Back Initiative

Sharps Compliance Corp’s TakeAway Environmental Return System ™ Envelope Solution Now Available at CVS/pharmacy

FDA How to Dispose of Unused Medicines

Jill Turner is VP of Operations for Cooper Concepts, the company that markets Cooper Complete nutritional supplements. E-mail or call 972-560-3262 with your questions and comments regarding supplements.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Cooper Complete: Coming Soon

We have several new “single ingredient” supplements that are being added to the Cooper Complete line. Below is a quick overview about each item.

Vitamin B12 (Liquid) Methylcobalamin (Now Available Online and at The Coop)
Cooper Clinic now checks B12 levels (through a blood test) as part of the comprehensive physical exam. People at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency include strict vegetarians, elderly people and those with pernicious anemia. Studies have shown that a deficiency of vitamin B12 can lead to abnormal neurologic and psychiatric symptoms. These symptoms may include shaky movements and unsteady gait, muscle weakness, spasticity, incontinence, hypotension (low blood pressure), vision problems, dementia, psychoses and mood disturbances. Researchers have reported that these symptoms may occur when vitamin B12 levels are just slightly lower than normal and are considerably above the levels normally associated with anemia.

Cooper Complete vitamin B12 comes in liquid form and is (natural) cherry flavored. Each bottle contains 30 servings of 1,000 mcg vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin).

Melatonin – Two Forms: Quick Release & Prolonged Release
At some time or another, almost all of us have issues with sleep. Sometimes the issue is that we fall asleep easily, but then wake up long before dawn and have difficulty getting back to sleep. Other times, the issue is simply difficulty in falling asleep. To address these different sleep disturbances, two new Melatonin products are coming. Quick Release Melatonin will help those who have difficult falling asleep, while Prolonged Release Melatonin is for those who can fall asleep quickly but then have difficulty staying sleep. Each formula will contain 3 mg Melatonin and 60 servings.

For best results, our recommendation is to take one tablet one hour before bedtime or as directed by a physician.

Iron – Prolonged Release
Most of us have iron levels that are perfectly normal without supplementation. This product is for those who have a deficiency and have been directed by their physician to take supplemental iron. Our prolonged release iron tablets will dispense iron (in the Ferronyl® form) for a six to eight hour period to aid in absorption.

Two tablets of Cooper Complete supplemental Iron contain 54 mg Iron (from Ferronyl®). Each bottle contains 60 tablets.

The amino acid L-Lysine is an essential amino acid that we get in food, particularly meat and poultry, but also in dairy products, eggs and beans. The supplement L-Lysine is often taken to control herpes simplex virus outbreaks, also known as “cold sores” or “fever blisters.” In a small placebo-controlled clinical trial, the treatment group took 1,000 mg L-Lysine three times a day for six months (3,000 mg L-Lysine total per day), and compared to the placebo group, had an average of 2.4 fewer herpes simplex virus outbreaks over the six-month period. The treatment group also reported a lessoned severity of symptoms and significantly reduced healing time. In a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over study of forty-one patients, researchers found that supplementation of 1,248 mg of L-Lysine per day decreased the recurrence rate of herpes simplex attacks in non-immuno-compromised individuals.

Cooper Complete L-Lysine capsules contain 500 mg. Each bottle contains 100 capsules.

While Vitamin B12 has already arrived and is available online and in our store, The Coop, located inside Cooper Fitness Center in Dallas, the remaining new items will not be arriving until January or February of 2012.

To purchase Cooper Complete supplements, visit the Cooper Store.

Our toll free number is 888-393-2221; email us at

Success of L-lysine therapy in frequently recurrent herpes simplex infection. Treatment and prophylaxis.

Treatment of recurrent herpes simplex infections with L-lysine monohydrochloride.

Lysine as a prophylactic agent in the treatment of recurrent herpes simplex labialis.

Subjective response to lysine in the therapy of herpes simplex.

Jill Turner is VP Operations for Cooper Concepts, the company that markets Cooper Complete nutritional supplements. Email ( or call 972-560-3262 with your questions and comments regarding supplements.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Dynamic Duo Omega-3, Vitamin D: Two Nutrients Proven to Boost Heart Health

More than 200 years ago Scottish philosopher David Hume wrote, “A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence.” Today, that advice still holds true, especially when it comes to nutritional supplementation.

In the multi-billion dollar vitamin and supplement industry, products often claim more “sizzle” than “steak.” However, when you look at the research, evidence shows that supplementation with appropriate nutrients makes sense for most people. The key being “appropriate nutrients,” and when it comes to heart health there are two nutrients in particular we should pay close attention to—omega-3 and vitamin D.

Connecting Healthy Hearts to Omega-3s
The cardiovascular benefit of omega-3 fats is not a new health discovery. It was identified in the early 1970s by Jørn Dyerberg, MD, DMSc, and his colleagues in Greenland. They sought to understand how Eskimos living in Greenland could eat a high-fat diet—consisting mostly of fish and seal—and still have one of the lowest death rates from cardiovascular disease in the world. Through research they found the answer—omega-3 fats. Their work was published in The Lancet and The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Today more than 18,000 published studies show the benefits of omega-3 fats, especially for the heart because they help lower blood pressure, resting heart rate, risk of arrhythmia, sudden death and triglycerides. Omega-3 fats also improve the HDL/LDL cholesterol ratio and reduce the risk of developing metabolic syndrome.

Noted omega-3 researcher William Harris, PhD, touts the cardiovascular benefits stating, “There is no nutrient more important for decreasing risk of cardiovascular death — and more lacking — than omega-3.”

It’s in the Label
When it comes to buying nutritional supplements it pays to be an educated consumer. This is particularly the case with omega-3 fats, which are often referred to, almost interchangeably, as fish oil and or poly-unsaturated fatty acids. Not all omega-3 products are created equal—the important ingredients to look for are the amounts of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) in the product.

EPA and DHA are the “long chain” omega-3s that are so beneficial for the heart as well as the brain, eyes and immune system. EPA and DHA come from the micro-algae that fish eat, especially fatty fish such as salmon, trout, mackerel, anchovies and sardines.

For maximum benefit most experts recommend at least 1,000-2,000 mg of EPA and DHA combined every day. If you are eating fatty fish at least three to four times a week, you are probably getting enough omega-3 fats from your diet. However, studies indicate that Americans eat fish once every 11 days on average.

When determining which omega-3 supplement product is the best buy, you will need to do some detective work. That is, read the small print on the back of the bottle. Well over half of omega-3 products provide only a 30 percent concentration of EPA and DHA. That means every 1,000 mg (1 gram) soft gel will give you 300 mg of EPA and DHA. With that in mind you will need to take four soft gels per day to total 1,200 mg of EPA and DHA.

The higher quality—and often best value—fish oils provide a 50-60 percent concentration, which means you need to take just two 1,000 mg soft gels per day to reach the target daily dose.

The Vitamin D Dilemma
The other nutrient that deservedly is currently getting lots of positive press is vitamin D, which actually is not a vitamin at all. It’s a steroid hormone manufactured, or synthesized, by our body when UVB light from the sun hits our skin. We can also get some vitamin D from our diet by consuming fish, milk and fortified cereal. But it’s difficult to get the proper dosage through food alone.

Vitamin D was “discovered” when many children in New England began developing rickets during the winter months. Rickets is a softening of the bones in children that can potentially lead to fractures and deformity (osteomalacia is a similar condition in adults). There was limited sunshine during the day and everyone wore long pants, coats and hats due to the cold temperatures, making it difficult for the children’s bodies to synthesize enough vitamin D. Because vitamin D regulates the uptake of calcium into the bones, without enough of it the bones simply won’t calcify.

As it turns out though, vitamin D is involved in much more than just bone health. Thousands of studies now link low vitamin D status to many conditions including cardiovascular disease, hypertension, several cancers, depression, diabetes, chronic pain, macular degeneration, poor lung function and arthritis.

Cedric Garland, DrPH, a recognized vitamin D expert contends, “The benefit of vitamin D is as clear as the harmful link between smoking and lung cancer.”

A 2008 study of 1,354 men, ages 40-75, published in The Archives of Internal Medicine, showed those deficient in vitamin D (a blood level less than 15 ng/ml) were 2½ times more likely to suffer a heart attack than those with the highest levels and those heart attacks were more likely to be of the fatal variety.

Yet at the same time, studies indicate that vitamin D levels are dropping throughout much of the world. One factor is most of us spend a majority of our days inside—working and doing indoor leisure activities. And when we do go out in the sun we’ve been taught to wear sunscreen to reduce our risk for skin cancer. Sunscreen with a SPF of 15 or greater decreases the synthesis of vitamin D by 99 percent. Keep wearing your sunscreen, but give yourself 15 minutes in the sun before applying it.

Determining D Levels
There is only one way to determine your vitamin D level—a blood test known as 25 hydroxyvitamin D.

• Insufficiency – level less than 30 ng/ml
• Deficiency – level less than 20 ng/ml
• Toxicity – level of at least 150 ng/ml

Of interest, most lifeguards and people who live near the equator (where UVB light is most prevalent) have vitamin D levels around 70-100 ng/ml.

The recommended target level for vitamin D is open to debate. Most experts agree your vitamin D level should be least 30 ng/ml. However, Cooper Clinic in Dallas, Texas, recommends patients target at least 40 ng/ml as a baseline.

Supplement the Sun
One of the best ways to ensure your vitamin D level is appropriate is to use supplements. Vitamin D-3 is recognized to be more bioavailable than D-2. How much is needed varies greatly based on age, skin tone, time of year, sun exposure, where you live, weight and other factors.

While Dr. Garland and other researchers recommend a daily oral intake of 2,000 to 2,400 IU of D-3 for adults, it’s best to consult with your physician on what your specific intake should be based on your vitamin D test results, age and other health issues.

There are two things to keep in mind. One, don’t be surprised if your level is low. If your level is very low (less than 15 or 20 ng/ml), your physician may place you on a prescription vitamin D at a dose of 50,000 IU once or twice a week for a period of eight to 12 weeks. This is known as a “hyper dose” to quickly get your blood level where it needs to be.

Secondly, if your level is low, even real low, don’t worry. Correcting the problem is easy and inexpensive.

There are a number of things we can do to keep our hearts healthy including exercise, weight management and preventive medical exams, but making sure our omega-3 and vitamin D levels are appropriate is certainly a great place to start. Stay well!

Todd Whitthorne
President & CEO, Cooper Concepts, Inc.

Cooper Complete® is a pure, potent vitamin and supplement line scientifically proven to improve well-being. Included are Advanced Omega-3 and Vitamin D-3. Cooper Complete can be purchased online or by phone at 888.393.2221.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The “Hot” News About Cayenne Supplements

We recently received an inquiry about Cayenne Pepper supplements. Cayenne pepper is a member of the Capsicum family of vegetables, which also includes red peppers, bell peppers, pimento and paprika. Capsicum adds color, pungency and aroma to foods. The level of pungency (heat) in peppers depends mainly on the concentration of capsaicinoids. Chili peppers and red peppers have higher capsaicinoid levels, while paprika has lower levels. Spanish paprika, made from pimentos, has almost no heat and is used primarily for coloring. Cayenne pepper is made by drying, and then grinding, the hotter chili peppers and red peppers into a powder.

When we consume foods containing higher levels of hot peppers, the capsaicin causes a chemical messenger “substance P”, to artificially release. Substance P in our nerve cells is responsible for transmitting pain signals. This artificial release is transmitted to our nervous system, and this is how we feel the burning pain in our mouth from the heat. Over time and repeated intake of hot, spicy foods, the level of substance P is depleted in our mouth, so people who eat a lot of hot foods regularly actually do build up a gradual tolerance to the heat.

The same “tolerance” that allows frequent hot pepper eaters to tolerate the heat more easily than those who only occasionally have hotter foods is the basis for over-the-counter capsicum creams that can be topically applied to the body. Caution should be exercised when using these creams though, as the same “hot” sensation we get when eating peppers or prepping hot peppers for food dishes also applies to these creams. They can be painful, particularly if they hit any open cuts or mucous membrane. There’s good clinical evidence that Capsicum topically applied in a plaster or cream is helpful in reducing lower back pain. There has also been research findings that capsicum plasters combined with acupuncture can help relieve post-operative nausea and vomiting.

When used orally, Capsicum may cause gastrointestinal irritation, mouth and throat irritation, damaged taste buds with reduced ability to taste foods, fullness, flatulence, gas, indigestion, diarrhea, ulcer aggravation and stomach pain. Even with all these side effects, oral Capsicum supplements have been suggested as a cure-all for everything from weight loss, sore throat, gastrointestinal disorders, diabetes and skin conditions. However, the science for Capsicum in these areas is lacking. Capsicum supplements may also impact blood-thinners, antidepressants, insulin levels and blood pressure. They can cause allergic reactions in those who are allergic to bell peppers, paprika or other peppers.

For all of these reasons, we’ll continue to enjoy all kinds of peppers in our food, and yes, cayenne pepper in some of our dishes, but might shy away from taking Capsicum supplements.

For more information about Cooper Complete vitamins and supplements, please call 888.393.2221 or visit

Jill Turner is VP Operations for Cooper Concepts, the division that markets Cooper Complete nutritional supplements. Email ( or call Jill at 972-560-3262 with your questions and comments regarding supplements.