Monday, December 20, 2010

Do Your Skin, Hair, or Nails Need a Pick-Me-Up?

Skin is the body's largest organ and it, along with the eyes, is constantly assaulted by household and outdoor pollutants and sunlight. Almost non-stop exposure to one or several of these elements creates cell-damaging free radicals. To fend off that relentless assault, defenses beyond sunscreen and lotions are needed, says Adean Kingston, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist at Cooper Clinic.

Cooper Complete Dermatologic Health provides an array of nutrients that our skin, hair and nails welcome. Vitamin A, in the form of natural beta carotene with mixed carotenoids, and zinc are included to improve your complexion. Both nutrients counter facial oil and acne and its lesions.

Lutein is included in the formula for skin health. Lutein filters high-energy, blue light that can damage skin cells, and protects the skin by attacking free radicals. Lutein is an antioxidant found in spinach, kale, collard greens and other vegetables. Lutein also supports eye and cardiovascular health.

Results of a 2007 study published in the Skin Pharmacology and Physiology journal showed that 10 milligrams of lutein can improve skin hydration and elasticity and enhance the skin's photo-protective activity. Data indicate that lutein inhibits skin reactions to ultraviolet light and prevents UVB-induced skin cancer. Cooper Complete Dermatologic Health contains 10 milligrams of FloraGLO lutein, the most bioavailable form of lutein.

“Copper, essential to enzyme reactions, is part of the supplement's formula to increase elastin production and reduce the appearance of stretch marks, lax skin and wrinkles,” said Dr. Kingston. Copper combats psoriasis and other skin conditions. Biotin, a member of the B Complex and essential to skin, hair, and nail rejuvenation, is also in the formula.

Vitamins C and E are included as potent anti-oxidants, countering the effects of sun exposure by scavenging for free radicals. Studies have shown that when Vitamins A and E are taken together, the risks of basal cell carcinoma, a common, sun-induced skin cancer, are reduced. Selenium is included to protect skin from sun damage and lower the risk of skin cancer.

An antioxidant called polypodium leucotomas, derived from a tropical plant in South and Central America, is included in the supplement, too, to protect against ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Polypodium leucotomas is often marketed as heiliocare. Native Americans used the plant's extract to treat inflammatory disorders and skin diseases. Dr. Kingston says polypodium leucotomas is beneficial for dermatitis and psoriasis, and it lowers the risk of skin cancer.

Horsetail extract, included in the supplement's formula, is a living fossil that contains high levels of the element silicon, found to be effective in hair growth. Dermatologic Health also contains biotin and zinc to promote healthy hair. Biotin and horsetail extract are often used to help brittle fingernails, a condition affecting 20 percent of Americans. Brittle nails can be caused by a lack of nutrients, an underlying health condition, and other factors like repeated washing of hands.

To purchase Cooper Complete supplements, visit the Cooper Store.

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.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Stop The Stink

I know it’s a somewhat personal question, but do your feet stink? In a recent “Dear Annie” advice column, Annie had a nurse write in and report that a zinc deficiency can cause body odor, including stinky feet. I decided to look up the science on zinc to find any literature connecting a zinc deficiency with odor.

Our body requires zinc for the functioning of more than 300 enzymes. The U.S. recommendations for daily intake are 8 mg for women and 11 mg for men. While food sources of zinc include oysters, shellfish, poultry and meat, as well as fortified cereals and nutrition bars, the average diet may not contain enough zinc. Zinc supplements come in several forms – zinc chelate, citrate, picolinate and sulfate. The sulfate form is less expensive than the other forms. (Cooper Complete products use the chelate form of zinc.)

The scientific literature on zinc is extensive, and there is good evidence to support zinc supplementation to:

• Reduce the severity and duration of diarrhea in malnourished children

• Help the healing process of gastric ulcers

• Help manage or reduce symptoms of sickle cell anemia
In the studies, participants showed an increase in heath, weight, immune system function, and testosterone levels, while reducing the number of sickled cells.

• Prevent zinc deficiency
Zinc deficiency symptoms include hair loss, impotence, skin and eye conditions, and reduced appetite.

There’s conflicting research on the impact of zinc in treating the severity and duration of the common cold. In a small double-blind trial of 100 people experiencing early cold symptoms, the half given 13.3 mg of zinc from zinc gluconate recovered from their cold much more quickly than the placebo group. Coughing disappeared within 2.2 days (versus 4 in the placebo group), the sore throat lasted 1 day (versus 3), nasal drainage lasted 4 days (versus 7), and headache time fell from three days to two days. Unfortunately, other studies show little difference between zinc and a placebo.

In a search of the scientific literature, I came up empty when seeking a connection between smelly feet and zinc. In anecdotal information, the writer to “Dear Annie” reports that taking zinc supplements eliminated foot odor. The Graedon’s at the People’s Pharmacy have heard 50 to 100 mg zinc daily made a dramatic reduction in foot odor within 30 days. Another home remedy found in the People’s Pharmacy is to soak the feet in warm water with tannic acid. Because tea is high in tannic acid, adding tea bags to a foot bath is an easy way to try this remedy.

Because long-term high levels of zinc can be toxic, it’s important to talk with your doctor about any supplements you take.

The adult Cooper Complete multivitamin and mineral supplements (including Elite Athlete and Basic One) contain 15 mg zinc per daily serving.

To purchase Cooper Complete supplements, visit the Cooper Store.

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


Ask Annie Advice Column Suggests Zinc for Body Odor and Stinky Feet

Zinc Gluconate Lozenges for Treating the Common Cold


Strange Solutions for Smelly Feet

Smelly Feet – free download from the People’s Pharmacy with Joe and Terry Graedon

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.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Supplement Storage Suggestions

Food scientists at Purdue University published a study this year reporting the impact of temperatures and humidity levels on vitamin C. In the findings, vitamin C showed signs of deterioration when humidity levels rose to 80 percent and higher. While researchers only focused on vitamin C, the impact of temperature and humidity on supplements has been studied over the years.

Heat and humidity can degrade supplements quickly, therefore Cooper Complete supplements have these instructions on the container: “For optimal storage conditions, store in a cool, dry place (59 – 77 degrees Fahrenheit and 35 – 65 percent relative humidity).”

Generally we want to store our vitamins where we’ll see them and remember to take them. For most people, the obvious places seem to be the car, kitchen, bathroom, or desk.

In the bathroom
The bathroom suffers from major humidity issues and temperature changes. Each opening of the supplement bottle potentially exposes them to higher than recommended levels of humidity. And storing the supplements in the medicine cabinet can also be an issue if much time is spent in front of the cabinet mirror with the hot water running and razor in hand for the morning shave. If you must store your supplements in the bathroom, the linen closet, dressing area, or walk-in closet are better options.

In the kitchen
The kitchen can be a dicey location. Contrary to popular opinion, vitamins do not need to be stored in the refrigerator. The refrigerator is actually too cold and is also prone to humidity. If you elect to keep your supplements in the kitchen, our recommendation is to put them in a cabinet or on a counter away from the stove, oven, or sink, where heat and humidity levels are much higher than optimal.

At the office
Here at Cooper many associates keep their vitamins on their desk. Office temperatures stay fairly steady. Seeing the bottle is a good reminder to take the daily dose.

In the car
Those of us living in the hot south and southwest only have to leave our supplements in the car once during summer to realize that softgels are quickly reduced to a giant, solidified brick. Interior car temperatures climb to exorbitantly high levels during the summer – well into the three-digits. Just as the heat turns up in the summer, the winter months can become too cold for vitamin storage (similar to a refrigerator). To avoid any temperature problems, it’s best to keep vitamins out of your car for long periods of time.

Bottom line; keep your supplements in a location where you would be comfortable – not too hot, not too cold, not too dry, and not too humid.

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

To purchase Cooper Complete supplements, visit the Cooper Store.

Influence of simultaneous variations in temperature and relative humidity on chemical stability of two vitamin C forms and implications for shelf life models

Impact of deliquescence on the chemical stability of vitamins B1, B6, and C in powder blends

The Claim: Always Store Vitamins in the Medicine Cabinet

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.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Chelation Therapy – Metal or money eliminators?

While there are fantastic over-the-counter (OTC) solutions for all kinds of issues (for example, old-fashioned aspirin for a headache, or cortisone products for all kinds of itches), the reality is that there are also a lot of OTC items that are – plain and simple – a complete waste of time and money. One that recently crossed my path was Chelation therapy.

Chelation therapy was developed many years ago as an antidote for mustard gas poisoning during wartime. Chelating agents (chemicals) actually bind to heavy metals to carry them out of the body. The FDA has never approved any chelation product for OTC use for any health condition.

In mid-October, the FDA advised consumers to avoid “chelation” products that are marketed OTC to prevent or treat diseases. Eight companies received letters from the FDA about marketing claims made for treating a range of disorders from autism to Alzheimer’s disease with chelation. Some of the products are marketed as dietary supplements, and are available in various forms – nasal sprays, liquid drops, clay baths, and suppositories. FDA compliance expert Deborah Autor said “these (chelation) products are dangerously misleading because they are targeted to patients with serious conditions and limited treatment options.”

While there are thousands of different products on the market, the FDA does not approve vitamins and supplements. Research on what is right for you is imperative.

Please, do not try to take a supplement to treat a serious health issue! A dietary supplement cannot claim to treat, mitigate, prevent, or diagnose disease.

o The FDA’s warning
o Consumer warning
o Questions and answers

Jill Turner is VP Operations for Cooper Concepts, the company that markets Cooper Complete nutritional supplements, and oversees the Cooper Wellness, a medically supervised, in-residence lifestyle modification program. E-mail ( or call 972-560-3262 with your questions and comments.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Cooper Complete Supplements – A Few Things We’d Like You To Know

In our order department, callers regularly talk with us about how they use our supplements. We use the term “supplements” to encompass vitamins, minerals, herbs, omega-3 fatty acids, and any other dietary supplement. We know there are many more supplement users than the ones we to talk to, or correspond with through email. We want to offer a few of our hints and tips regarding supplement use:

• Supplements are best absorbed with food. It doesn’t matter which meal you choose, just make sure it’s one that also contains some amount of fat. This means if your morning breakfast is a piece of whole wheat toast with jam, a piece of fruit, and a container of fat-free yogurt, you need to take your supplements another time. Or, even better, add almonds to this breakfast and take your supplements then. An ideal meal contains fat, protein, and carbohydrates.

• Please take the supplement as recommended on the label. We hear from many people who take the original Cooper Complete formulation, but only take four of the eight tablets in the daily serving. Our scientific advisory team feels so strongly about the levels of vitamin D, B6, B12, Folic Acid, Pantothenic Acid, Zinc, Selenium, and Chromium, that the levels are identical in the original formulation and Basic One, our one-a-day product! When the number of tablets is cut from eight to four per day, the strength of these ingredients is also cut in half. Please consider taking Basic One instead of Cooper Complete if you are unwilling or unable to take all eight tablets.

• It is ok to switch between vitamins. It is perfectly fine to switch back and forth between Cooper Complete and Basic One. Many people take Basic One when traveling, and Cooper Complete when home. We also have marathoners and triathletes who switch from Elite Athlete to either Cooper Complete or Basic One during the off season.

• Keep tabs on your vitamin D needs. Our adult multivitamin and mineral formulations (Cooper Complete, Elite Athlete, and Basic One) all contain 2,000 IU vitamin D. We also sell a standalone vitamin D product that’s 1,000 IU vitamin D per tablet. In a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine last year, researchers reported that 77 percent of Americans fall short of the 30 nanograms per milliliter minimum. While we can statistically assume that chances are good you’re below the minimum and may need additional vitamin D, the only way to know for certain is through a blood test. After the blood test, your physician will help you figure out how much vitamin D you need, and the recommendations vary widely depending upon individual circumstances – we hear everything from an additional 1,000 IU per day to an extra 50,000 IU each week.

• Know your calcium requirements. Look at your diet, figure out how much calcium you get on a typical day, and then decide how much (if any) calcium you need to add in supplement form. Our body can absorb about 500 mg of calcium at a time. If you need more than 500 mg calcium per day, split it up into two or more servings.

• Do not add a supplement to your routine that you do not need. If you do not have joint pain, or if you don’t suffer the effects of an enlarged prostate, don’t take those supplements.

If you’re unsure about a product (be it ours, or another brand), or have a general supplement question, please call us or email us – we’d love to help you. A “real human” here at the Cooper Aerobics Center answers all the calls (so you’ll need to leave us a message if you phone after hours), and it’s genuinely our pleasure to help you figure out what supplements make sense for your particular situation.

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

To purchase Cooper Complete supplements, visit the Cooper Store.

Vitamin D deficiency soars in the U.S., study says

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.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Ginseng Dietary Supplements

We recently had a reader write in and ask us our opinion on Ginseng, a supplement not currently in the Cooper Complete line.

Ginseng is a dried root of one of several species of the Araliaceae family of herbs. Ginseng comes in several forms - Asian (Panax ginseng) and American (P. quinquefolius L.) are the most common, but there’s also a Siberian (Eleutherococcus senticosus) ginseng which is much less expensive, but doesn’t contain the same active compounds that American and Asian ginseng contain.

Ginseng root that is mostly unprocessed is called “white ginseng” while “red ginseng” is typically Asian ginseng root that has been steamed and dried. Traditional Chinese medicine delineates between the “white” and “red” form, but scientific evidence doesn’t indicate significant differences.

Ginseng is typically marketed as an herb that will improve overall energy, particularly in those who are tired or stressed, and in 1997 sales topped 300 million annually. Unfortunately, the scientific research to date hasn’t been able to confirm that ginseng helps to improve energy at all, so these are essentially unsupported but well believed marketing pitches.

Researchers have also studied the impact of Ginseng on other health conditions, and have found that American Ginseng may lower blood sugar levels before and after meals in patients with type II (adult onset) diabetes. Because of this, diabetes should work with their physicians when adding Ginseng to their supplement regiment.

There have been other interactions reported too - Asian ginseng (Panax Ginseng) may cause manic episodes in those on antidepressants. And taking Asian Ginseng in conjunction with Coumadin or Warfarin, may decrease the effect of the drug.

Long term use of Ginseng doesn’t seem to be the norm. Typically the product is taken for two- or three weeks, and then followed by a one- to two week “rest” period.

In August, 2010, reported test results on 11 ginseng supplements. Six of the supplements passed their review while five did not – either because they failed to contain the claimed amount of the ingredient on the label, or due to lead contamination.

To purchase Cooper Complete supplements, visit the Cooper Store.


Panax ginseng pharmacology: a nitric oxide link?

Ginseng Supplements

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.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Iron: “With” or “Without”?

It’s difficult to talk about multivitamins and miss talking about the iron. An essential mineral, iron handles the task of transporting oxygen to the muscles and organs.

There are two forms of dietary iron: heme and non-heme. Heme iron sources include meat, fish and poultry, while iron in non-meat foods is non-heme iron. Non-heme iron is found in a wide variety of foods (beans, lentils, yeast leavened whole grain breads, dried fruits, broccoli, spinach and other leafy greens, strawberries, nuts, and enriched pastas, rice and cereals) but this form of iron is not as well absorbed by our bodies as the heme form.

Interestingly, coupling non-heme iron foods with foods rich in vitamin C boosts the absorption of iron in our bodies to the level close to that of heme iron foods. So, pairing vitamin C rich foods (orange and orange juice, broccoli, grapefruit, strawberries, etc.) can really boost iron absorption. Because heat can destroy vitamin C, we recommend that vitamin C fruits be incorporated raw into salsas and salads, rather than being cooked into a sauce, when iron absorption is a goal.

In an interesting study, scientists measured iron levels after people ate a typical meal of hamburger, string beans and mashed potatoes with various drinks.

Impact of Beverage on Iron Absorption of hamburger, string beans & mashed potato meal
Tea: Reduced iron absorption by 62 percent
Coffee: Reduced iron absorption by 35 percent
Orange Juice: Increased iron absorption by about 85 percent

Researchers report that compounds in tea and coffee affect the non-heme iron found in grains and vegetables, but that heme iron was unaffected. This study suggests that if iron consumption is a concern, we consider our beverage choice when consuming meals low in heme iron, and high in non-heme iron – for example, when having a spinach salad with strawberries, red onions, and almonds for lunch.

If the iron content of our blood falls, we may feel tired or have reduced energy. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for women 19- to 50 years of age is 18 milligrams (mg) per day, while men ages 19- and older, and women 51 years and older have a requirement of 8 mg per day. The higher RDA for women in their childbearing years is due to blood loss that occurs through the monthly menstrual cycle. In the U.S., about five percent of women, and two percent of men have anemia, caused by a prolonged and severe iron deficiency.

While an iron deficiency is a problem for some, at the other end of the spectrum are those who have too much iron, and too much iron can be toxic. Thankfully, the vast majority of us get enough iron in our diets to maintain appropriate iron levels.

Within the Cooper Complete supplement line, our adult formulations of Cooper Complete and Basic One are both available in “with iron” and “iron free” formulations. The “with iron” formulations contain 18 mg iron. We suggest that women in their childbearing years who have a monthly cycle take a “with iron” product, while men and post-menopausal women select an “iron free” formulation.

To purchase Cooper Complete supplements, visit the Cooper Store.

Effect of different drinks on the absorption of non-heme iron from composite meals.

The Claim: Drinking Tea Can Lower Your Levels of Iron

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, September 7, 2010

The Skinny on Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fats are polyunsaturated fatty acids, the “good fat” found in fish and some plants. Since our body cannot make omega-3 fatty acids, we must get them through food or supplements.

The impact of seafood’s omega-3s on heart health has been widely studied. The long running Nurses’ Health Study (which includes 80,000 women) reported back in 2001 that women eating one to three servings of fish per month cut their risk of heart disease by 20 percent, while eating at least five servings a week lowered heart disease risk by 40 percent. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends we eat fish, particularly fatty fish, at least two times per week. Two to three servings a week of fatty fish (about 8 ounces) leads to an average daily intake of 500 milligrams (mg) of EPA and DHA, which is associated with a lower risk of heart disease.

The AHA suggests that people with documented coronary heart disease (CHD) consume about 1 gram (1,000 mg) of EPA+DHA per day, preferably through fish consumption (which means eating fatty fish four- to five times a week), otherwise in supplement form. Patients who need to lower their triglycerides will need 2 to 4 grams of EPA+DHA per day.

Other research indicates omega-3 fatty acids provide benefits in the treatment of depression, inflammatory bowel disease, and autoimmune disease such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

There are two major types of omega-3 fatty acids in our diets. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are omega-3 fats found in fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, albacore tuna, sardines, and anchovies. Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is the omega-3 fat found in plant foods, mostly seed and nut oils (such as canola, flaxseed and walnuts). Our bodies can convert ALA into EPA and then DHA, so researchers used to assume that eating foods with ALA provided the same benefits seen in eating fish, with its EPA and DHA. Studies now show that humans are relatively inefficient in converting ALA into EPA and DHA. One study reported that boosting ALA to more than 10 times the current average U.S. intake caused only small increases in blood levels of EPA and DHA.

Studies show that EPA is important for optimal brain function and contributes to the reduction of inflammation. DHA has been recognized for brain, visual, and nervous system health and development. EPA and DHA work together to contribute to good heart health.

So, do you need omega-3 supplements? The answer depends upon your diet and overall health. If your heart is healthy, and you’re eating at least two servings of fatty fish every week, you’re probably fine. However, if your diet is fish deficient, or contains fish such as tilapia and catfish which aren’t fatty, then supplements are a good option. You should also consider supplements if you have CHD, elevated triglycerides, depression or inflammation issues.

Grocery, health food stores and discount club shelves are full of “fish oil” and Omega-3 fatty acid products, and like everything else there are more than enough options to quickly overwhelm us. The trick to deciphering all the options so you can compare products “apples to apples” is to go to look on the back of the bottle to the supplement facts portion of the label. Once there, add up the amounts of EPA and DHA documented to be in each serving.

For a comparison of the supplement facts panel and costs between Cooper Complete Advanced Omega-3 and Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega-3, click here.

The average American eats seafood about once every 11 days. If you’re in this category, consciously make a commitment to start eating at least one serving of fatty fish per week. An albacore tuna sandwich at lunch, a perfectly grilled piece of salmon for dinner, or a snack of sardines in tomato sauce atop a couple of saltine crackers are all great ways to incorporate omega-3 EPA and DHA into our diet. Omega-3 supplements are a great way to augment healthy eating habits.

To purchase Advanced Omega-3, visit the Cooper Store.


ISSFAL – fatty acids, lipids and health studies Global Recommendations

Nurses Health Study 2001 report

Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Cooper Complete Advanced Omega-3 ingredient panel and price information

Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega-3 ingredient panel and price information

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ginkgo Biloba Dietary Supplements

We recently had a reader write in and ask us our opinion on Ginkgo Biloba, a supplement not currently in the Cooper Complete line.

According to the Nutrition Business Journal, Americans spent about 107 million on Ginkgo biloba supplements in 2007. Ginkgo is most commonly taken by older adults worried about memory loss issues. While consumers typically believe that ginkgo will minimize the impact of dementia or Alzheimer’s, the research is pretty inconsistent and inconclusive.

The Ginkgo Evaluation of Memory (GEM) study, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of 3,069 participants aged 72 to 96 years, was conducted in 6 academic medical centers across the US between 2000 and 2008, with the average participant followed for 6.1 years. Over the five year period, half the group received twice-daily doses of 120 mg extract of Ginkgo, while the other half received a placebo. Participants took the Modified Mini-Mental State examination and Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale test every six months until 2004, and then annually along with 10 other neuropsychological tests. Unfortunately, the changes in cognition of the Ginkgo and placebo groups were about the same, leading researchers to conclude that 120 mg Ginkgo twice daily was not effective in reducing all-cause dementia or development of Alzheimer’s disease. For this reason, taking Ginkgo as a “preventative” doesn’t seem to be helpful.

The research to date on the potential impact of Ginkgo on Alzheimer’s (versus general cognitive decline) has primarily been in small studies. One of the larger trials was back in 1997, when researchers enrolled more than 300 participants with Alzheimer’s disease or non-Alzheimer’s dementia. Half the group took 40 mg of Ginkgo biloba extract three times daily for a year, while the control group took a placebo. The resulted showed significant, but not completely consistent improvements in the group that received the Ginkgo biloba. In 2007, another study followed 400 people for 22 weeks. In this study, half the group received 80 mg of Ginkgo biloba 3 times daily, and the results indicated that Ginkgo was significantly superior to the placebo. We need significantly more research, with higher numbers of participants and much longer study times, to determine if Ginkgo is worth the expense of consuming and the risk of increased bleeding.

Ginkgo is available in leaf, leaf extract, and seed formulations. Ginkgo leaf exact is the most commonly used form in studies. Although ginkgo seeds were traditionally used in China, the fresh seeds are toxic and potentially deadly. Ginkgo supplements are generally considered safe, but since ginkgo may increase the risk of bleeding, anyone taking anti-coagulants or with known clotting disorders should not take Ginkgo too. Also, Ginkgo should be discontinued two- to three weeks prior to many surgical and dental procedures, due to the increased risk of bleeding.

When ConsumerLab reviewed ginkgo product in 1999, they found that nearly 25 percent of the 30 brands tested had issues. When they tested Ginkgo products again in 2003, they found that seven of the nine ginkgo products tested lacked adequate levels of certain marker compounds. According to ConsumerLab, a lot of the Ginkgo on the market seems to be adulterated or “spiked” with other compounds.

While the conventional “man-on-the-street” opinion tends to be that Ginkgo biloba is beneficial in slowing or reducing cognitive decline, the research just doesn’t conclusively give the same results.

To purchase Cooper Complete supplements, visit the Cooper Store.

Ginkgo biloba for Prevention of Dementia

Ginkgo biloba for Preventing Cognitive Decline in Older Adults

Effects of ginkgo biloba in dementia: systematic review and meta-analysis

Thinking about Ginkgo?

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, August 12, 2010

Prenatal Products

We received this question today via email:

The Email
"Hello - My active wife, for our first time, became my active pregnant wife. I did not see prenatal products on your site and wondered (a) if you had such a product, and (b) if not, could you recommend a few companies' products that are very good (and why, if you have time). Thanks so much for all you do and for looking into this specific request. All the best, Paul N."

Our Answer
Congratulations on the upcoming arrival! The only product we have specifically targeted to expectant moms is our Omega Soft DHA Product. You’ll see it under the category of kids, but the package label actually says “for kids and expectant moms.”

There are tons of prenatal products on the market. We’ve had many expectant moms report that their gynecologists have approved use of Basic One With Iron or the original Cooper Complete With Iron formulations for prenatal use. However, the rule here is to talk with your particular doctor and get their feedback as everyone is different, and all doctors tend to have their preferred products (over the shelf or prescription).

As far as omega-3 fatty acids go, please make sure your wife is getting plenty of omega-3’s overall, but in particular DHA. While EPA is great for heart health, DHA is an awesome powerhouse for helping in cell development.

Ocean Nutrition, the company who supplies us with the raw materials for our omega-3 product, says the following:

Pregnant and Nursing Women
Research indicates that Omega-3 EPA and DHA play an essential role before, during, and after pregnancy. As the sole source of nutrients for her developing baby, a mother needs to consume ample amounts of Omega-3 EPA/DHA, which are integral to the healthy development of the fetus’s vital organs, such as the brain and eyes. Additionally, Omega-3 EPA and DHA support a healthy pregnancy and labor. Even after childbirth, a mom still needs to watch her Omega-3 EPA and DHA intake, as her child will continue to absorb nutrients from her breast milk.

Research indicates that consuming foods rich in Omega-3 EPA/DHA may help to:

  • Prevent early labor
  • Reduce the risk of gestational diabetes
  • Reduce the risk of preeclampsia (a hypertensive disorder of pregnancy)
  • Reduce the risk of post-partum depression
  • Provide the mother with enough EPA and DHA to meet her infant’s needs through breastfeeding
  • Ensure adequate levels of Omega-3 EPA and DHA to support another healthy pregnancy

Fetuses and Infants
DHA is essential to the development of the nervous system — which includes the brain, spinal cord, and network of nerves — and the eyes, particularly the retina. Because the formation of these organs is complete by the age of three or four, it’s critical that the growing child get plenty of DHA during fetal development and throughout the early years of life.

Research indicates that Omega-3 EPA and DHA plays many roles in supporting the health of the fetus and infant, including helping:

  • Develop a fully functional nervous system, including a healthy brain
  • Develop healthy eyes and visual acuity
  • Reduce the risk of allergies in at-risk infants
  • Increase birth size and weight
  • Reduce the risk of cerebral palsy
  • Increase IQ and ability to solve problems
  • Support visual acuity
  • Promote good coordination and motor skills
  • Contribute to good behavior
In addition to the omega soft product that we offer, we also have a traditional soft-gel product Two omega-3 softgels provides 1,000 mg EPA and 200 mg DHA, so if your wife can swallow soft-gels it’s a easy and inexpensive way to get a nice punch of EPA and DHA.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Aches and Pains – Will Supplements Help?

People regularly e-mail or phone looking for a supplement that will help alleviate their aches and pains. When asked if we have a product, I always say, “It depends.”

Joint Maintenance Formula is a blend of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, as well as gelatin, magnesium and bromelain. Originally developed for people who suffer from osteoarthritis, I regularly hear from people with tennis elbow and other repetitive motion pain who find relief with Joint Maintenance Formula, so when pain is an issue, I always suggest this product.

Glucosamine is an amino sugar that is the fundamental building block of the molecules that attract and hold water in cartilage. Amino sugars are the basis of virtually all connective tissues and lubricating fluids in the body. Although the body makes glucosamine, injuries and aging may result in a deficiency. Supplemental glucosamine has been shown to be a successful treatment of osteoarthritis by effectively controlling pain and halting or reversing the progression of the disease. Several studies have shown that besides stimulating the production of cartilage, glucosamine helps to reduce pain and improve joint function in those with osteoarthritis.

Chondroitin sulfate helps promote water retention in the cartilage, which is essential for shock absorption. It has been reported to maintain joint viscosity, stimulate the mechanisms for cartilage repair, and inhibit enzymes that break down cartilage. In the early stages of joint disease there are changes in chondroitin that affect the response of the chondrocytes (cells that form cartilage) to damage in the cartilage that surrounds the joints. When taken orally, chondroitin provides the necessary compounds for the formation of healthy tissue that otherwise may not be available due to the joint disease.

Bromelain is an extract from the pineapple stem and acts as a natural anti-inflammatory. Many times, new Joint Maintenance Formula users will call us 4 or 5 days after they’ve started the product to report that the product is making an amazing difference for them. When we get these early reports, we know it’s the bromelain providing relief.

Glucosamine and chondroitin don’t work for everyone who has joint issues. The ingredients also take a period of time to work into our system. For this reason, we suggest that you take the product for two months, and then evaluate if the product is providing the desired relief.

Another supplement that may help with pain relief is Advanced Omega-3. Omega-3 fatty acids were originally added to our product line because EPA and DHA, the compounds in the fish oil, working together provide great heart health benefits. However, in addition to omega-3 heart health benefits, studies show that EPA is also a great overall inflammation fighter.

Each two softgel serving of Cooper Complete Advanced Omega-3 provides 1,000 mg EPA and 200 mg DHA. Our general recommendation for people experiencing pain is to double-up the normal serving and to take four softgels daily for a few weeks to see if that provides relief. After relief is achieved, an attempt can be made to go back down to the two softgels daily and see if pain relief is maintained.

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.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Forms of Vitamin K

We recently had an email asking us about Vitamin K:

"I recently heard that there are different forms of vitamin K. I noticed Cooper Complete has vitamin K. Is it vitamin K2? I'm not sure how many different kinds of vitamin K there are."

There are two forms of vitamin K, K1 and K2. The vitamin K in Cooper Complete multivitamin and mineral formulations is K1. Vitamin K1 (phytonadione) is the natural form of vitamin K found in the vegetables we consume, and is our primary source of vitamin K. Vitamin K2 compounds (menaquinones) are made by the bacteria in the human gut and provide a smaller amount of our vitamin K requirement. The prescriptions for vitamin K that some people take are in the vitamin K1 form.

Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, asparagus, watercress, and cabbage are rich in vitamin K, as are cauliflower, green peas, beans, and olives. Cooked vegetables do not have significantly lower levels of vitamin K. Vitamin K is also found in soybeans, meat, cereals and dairy products.

Eat More Fish!

In a study published in the July 12 (2010) journal of Ophthalmology, researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore analyzed data from 2,520 adults aged 65- to 84 who had eye exams and completed detailed dietary questionnaires. 15 percent of those in the study were identified as having early- or intermediate- stage Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), while less than 3 percent were in the advanced stage of the disease. AMD is the leading cause of blindness in senior Americans.

Researchers didn't find a clear link between fish consumption and the risk of AMD. However, they did find a connection between diet and the odds of advanced AMD. The subjects with advanced AMD were significantly less likely to consume fish/shellfish high in omega-3 fatty acids. Study participants who reported eating one or more servings of fatty fish each week were 60 percent less likely to have advanced AMD than those who averaged less than a serving a week!

Omega-3 rich seafood choices include salmon, mackerel, anchovies, and sardines. There are also good levels of omega-3 in halibut, pollock, shrimp, trout and tuna (including canned or packages of tuna fish). Tilapia and catfish, two very common items on seafood menus, unfortunately have very low levels of omega-3s.

4: Ophthalmology. 2010 Jul 12; [Epub ahead of print]

The Impact of Fish and Shellfish Consumption on Age-Related Macular

Swenor BK, Bressler S, Caulfield L, West SK.

Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland.

PURPOSE: To determine the relationship between fish and shellfish consumption
and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) status in the Salisbury Eye
Evaluation (SEE) Study participants. DESIGN: A cross-sectional study of dietary
and ophthalmologic data. PARTICIPANTS: A random sample of 2520 Salisbury,
Maryland, residents aged 65 to 84 years. METHODS: A food frequency questionnaire
was used to estimate weekly fish/shellfish consumption for each participant.
Age-related macular degeneration status was determined from fundus photographs
obtained at baseline and graded by 2 masked readers for drusen size, retinal
pigment epithelium abnormalities, geographic atrophy (GA), and choroidal
neovascularization (CNV). The association between weekly fish/shellfish intake
and risk of AMD was investigated using logistic regression while adjusting for
risk factors and correlation between eyes. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Status of AMD.
RESULTS: The distribution of weekly fish/shellfish consumption was not different
between specific AMD categories compared with controls (P = 0.6, 0.7, and 0.7
for large drusen, pigment abnormalities, and advanced AMD compared with
controls, respectively). Those with advanced AMD (CNV or GA) were significantly
less likely to consume fish/shellfish high in omega-3 fatty acids (odds ratio
0.4; confidence interval, 0.2-0.8). There was no relationship of AMD with intake
of crab and oysters combined, each of which has high levels of zinc.
CONCLUSIONS: These data support a protective effect of fish/shellfish intake
against advanced AMD. FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE(S): Proprietary or commercial
disclosure may be found after the references. Copyright (c) 2010 American
Academy of Ophthalmology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Basic One tablet is big; what about Basic Two?

We recently received this question:

"Has your company considered manufacturing a smaller sized complete vitamin which would be easier to swallow? Even if one would have to take two pills it would be an improvement over the current option."

The Basic One multivitamin and mineral product you take was introduced several years ago after we had scores of requests for a one-a-day product. When the Cooper Complete product line launched in the late 1990's, we initially had only the 8-tablet a day multivitamin and mineral supplement Cooper Complete.

Our market research continues to suggest that there is a huge population of consumers who simply won't take more than 1 tablet per day. So, because this group is so large, we just don't believe we have the opportunity to re-configure Basic One into a 2-tablet a day product.

There are also a lot of liquid products on the market, and we have tried many times to come up with a liquid Basic One. The issue with the liquid product is that the manufacturers (we have talked with several) keep telling us we will have to significantly reduce the level of the ingredients in order for the product to be tasty. (Vitamins don't all taste great, but All the minerals in the product just don't naturally taste good!)

The good news is that Basic One can be cut or crushed into whatever sized pieces are most comfortable for you to take

Monday, June 28, 2010

Vitamin D - What Level is Right?

A listener on KGO radio in San Francisco recently emailed this question in after hearing Todd Whitthorne talk on the Joanie Greggains show.

"I'm really worried that I'm going to overdose on Vitamin D. The bottles still claim that 400 IU Vitamin D is 100 percent of the daily value, but the Cooper expert said that 2,000 IU vitamin D is in all their multivitamins. What's the right amount for me. If I take a multivitamin with 2,000 IU vitamin D AND calcium with vitamin D, am I getting way too much?"

Todd responded with this message:

The only way to truly know how much vitamin D you need to take is to have a blood test called 25-hydroxy-vitamin D. Anything below 20 ng/ml is defined as deficient; anything between 20-30 is insufficient. Approximately 80% of Americans are believed to have D levels below 30 ng/ml.

At Cooper we like to see our patients with a D level of at least 40 ng/ml….. higher is better. I personally want my level to be at least 60 ng/ml. How much you need to take is dependent on what your blood level is. Most experts, including our Cooper Complete scientific advisory team, believe that 2,000 IU/day of vitamin D-3 should be the starting point for everyone. This is why we have 2,000 IU of vitamin D in all of our adult multivitamin formulations.

Our research shows that most Americans (unless you are a lifeguard in San Diego), will need more than 2,000 units/day to get to goal (target). I take 7,000 IU of D per day and my last blood test showed by blood level to be 62 ng/ml. That said, keep in mind that everyone is different so based on diet, sun exposure, time of year, latitude, age, complexion, etc…, all those things will impact vitamin D level.

D controls the uptake of calcium which means we really need to make sure our D level is where it should be so that we can effectively address bone health issues/concerns.

Chewable Calcium - with or without food?

We recently received this question:

"I take Cooper Complete Chewable Calcium. My question is may I take them at any time of the day or night, and do I need to take them with food?"

Our Chewable Calcium is in the carbonate form, so it’s preferable to take the product with your meal. Calcium carbonate is not well absorbed by people with reduced levels of stomach acid, so taking this supplement with meals improves absorption because of the stomach acid generated to digest the food in the meal.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

We received received this question via email:

"Since vitamin aren't regulated, how would I know that the calcium and B-12 vitamins I am taking contain the exact amount of ingredients as stated on the label?"

The only way to know for sure if your calcium and B-12 contain the exact amount of ingredients as stated on the label is to send the product off to a laboratory for analysis. The process typically takes several weeks and can cost from a few hundred dollars to well over a thousand dollars, depending upon the number of ingredients being tested.

Another option is to ask the consumer affairs department of your supplier supplier (Cooper Complete, Centrum, CVS, NOW, etc.) to provide you with a certificate of assay for the products. (This is an easy process in a small company like Cooper, but it may be difficult to find someone in a larger company who knows what you’re talking about and can provide you with the information.)

When a supplement is made, good manufacturing standards will have the facility test the raw materials used in the product before mixing to make sure the product is actually what it says it is. If we think of this like baking, and bread calls for yeast, salt, flour and water, the process essentially making sure that the ingredients we’re pulling out of our cabinet are actually yeast, salt and flour (not sugar or corn starch, for example). In the world of supplements, the manufacturer will also test the product to make sure that the ingredient is in the concentration that was specified and that there aren’t any additives or contaminates. After the manufacturer has determined that the ingredients are “as stated” they can then be used in a product. Once the product is blended together and in tablet/capsule/softgel, it’s going to be tested again to make sure that the completed product looks right.

All this said – blending together products is not that different from making chocolate chip cookies. Even if we use a scoop or measure out the portion so that each cookie is the same size, it’s not that unusual to find a slightly different number of chocolate chips in each particular cookie. So, on average each cookie may have 5 chocolate chips. There are slight variations in supplements, no differently than in cookies. When we have a batch of product (which can be thousands of bottles) we’ll pull a couple of bottles from the line and test the finished product.

I’m attaching a certificate of assay for calcium where you can see that in our latest batch of calcium, there are 264.50 mg of calcium citrate in each tablet checked. Our ingredient panel for Cooper Complete Calcium Citrate states that each tablet is 250 mg of calcium citrate. Because of variances in blending/mixing the product together, the specifications for the manufacturer are actually that the tablet contain a minimum of 225 mg calcium citrate and a maximum of 312.5 mg calcium citrate. With 264.50 mg of calcium citrate, this batch of product passes and is approved.

Calcium Citrate takes several minutes to dissolve in water; should I be worried?

We recently received this question via email:

"I have read that Calcium Citrate is the easier form of calcium to digest. When I place the pill in water, it takes several minutes to dissolve. Is that a problem? Would it be easier to digest if I dissolved the calcium pill in water?"

It’s honestly not a problem for it to take some time for any of your supplements (or prescription pills/capsules/softgels/tablets, etc.) to dissolve in water or any other fluid. On the certificate below, USP (Pharmacopia) 30 is used to test the dissolution of the tablet. USP 30 protocol allows 45 minutes for a calcium citrate tablet to dissolve. For this particular batch, the samples dissolved in 19 minutes. When we consider that in healthy adults, it typically takes the foods we eat anywhere from 24- to 72 hours for the full digestive process, the time it takes for the tablet is very small.

Liquid products are absolutely faster at dissolving – hitting the blood stream in seconds; however, in the greater scheme of things it honestly doesn’t matter how quickly the calcium hits the blood stream and starts the absorption process, just that it does.

Monday, May 24, 2010

If Cooper Complete Is Good, Is Elite Athlete Better?

We recently had this question: "My doctor has suggested that I (female) take Cooper Complete With Iron, and that my husband take Cooper Complete Iron Free. I noticed that there is a Cooper Complete Elite Athlete which seems to have more of certain key ingredients. What is the difference for us between the two kinds of multivitamins?"

Cooper Complete Iron Free and Cooper Complete With Iron are our most comprehensive multivitamin/mineral supplements. These two products are identical save for the 18 mg of iron in the "With Iron" formulation. The daily "serving" is 8 tablets (4 in the morning with breakfast and another 4 in the evening with dinner). The level of the ingredients in these products is typically much higher than you'll find in a one-a-day product. For example, in addition to great levels of vitamin D (2,000 IU) and robust levels of the B vitamins, we also have 10 mg lycopene, 6 mg lutein, and 50 mg CoQ10.

Cooper Complete Elite Athlete has been for formulated for those who exercise at least 5 hours per week at 80% (or higher) of their maximal heart rate. The average person who is exercising an hour most days of the week just isn't going to hit the baseline for Elite Athlete because of the heart rate level.

For this product (Cooper Complete Elite Athlete), we define 80 percent of maximal heart rate as 205 - 1/2 age x 0.8. (You'll may see the maximal heart rate equation elsewhere as 220 - age (instead of 205 - 1/2 age), but we use this formula for Elite Athlete because of the higher overall level of fitness of these individuals.)* The foundation of Elite Athlete is the original formulation (described above) to which we have a higher level of vitamin C (2,000 mg instead of 500 mg) and E (800 IU instead of 400 IU). This product also contains 18 mg Iron (like Cooper Complete With Iron).

The iron in Elite Athlete is important for athletes, but not needed for men and postmenopausal women who are not exercising at these high levels.

*Both of the calculations for maximal heart rate are really rough estimates but the best you can do the gold standard treadmill stress test, available at Cooper Clinic as part of the overall preventive exam.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Omega-3 – Please explain all the numbers on the label

We recently received an email with this question: “Can you help me understand why on fish oil capsules the ingredients do not seem to add up? On most fish oil capsules the front of the bottle will say 1,000 mg or 1,200 mg, but when you add up the EPA and DHA they add up to much less. On your capsule, I see Fish Oil concentrate listing of 2,258. Then I see Omega 3 fatty acids of 1,400 mg. When I add up the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, I get 1,200 mg. My doctor has recommended I take 1,000 mg of Omega 3 daily. The way these ingredients are listed is very confusing.

Supplement information can be very confusing! Since a picture helps, here is the ingredient panel for Cooper Complete Advanced Omega-3:

On the ingredient panel, we have 2,258 mg of “fish oil concentrate,” a blend of anchovies and sardines. Below that, we list Omega-3 fatty acids at 1,400 mg. The 1,400 is actually 1,200 mg EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and 200 mg DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) plus 200 mg omega-3 fatty acids in unspecified form. The 200 mg of omega-3 fatty acids in “unspecified form” isn’t that unusual when we consider nutrition labels. For example, when we look at “fat” on an ingredient panel, we’ll often see that the “total fat” line is larger than the breakdowns of saturated, poly-unsaturated, mono-unsaturated, and trans fats shown below, because there are other lesser known type of fats that are also included.

While most of us think of our omega-3 softgel as being 100 percent “omega-3” the reality is that the level of EPA and DHA vary from as little as 30 percent to as high as 70 percent in over-the-counter products, with a prescription level containing a concentration of EPA and DHA that’s 84 percent. The 1,000 mg EPA, 200 mg of DHA and 200 mg in “other omega-3 fatty acids” in Cooper Complete Advanced Omega-3 comprise 60 percent of the overall softgel. The remaining 40 percent of the product is simply fish oil.

We have evaluated moving to a 70 percent concentration of EPA/DHA in our product as it’s the most concentrated option currently available over-the-counter. However, the 70 percent concentration from our manufacturer (Ocean Nutrition) is significantly more expensive than the 60 percent concentration, and we would have to pass the cost along to you. At this point, it is more cost effective to take an additional softgel of our existing product if higher levels of EPA and DHA are needed.

There are many “1 gram” fish oil products (billed as omega-3) on the market. In many cases, the brands screaming “1,000 mg” or “1 gram” on the front of the bottle are also the products that contain the lowest 30 percent concentration of EPA and DHA. When you look at all of the omega-3 products on the market, our recommendation is to use the ingredient panel to add up the levels of EPA and DHA. With FDA labeling standards, if the product doesn’t list EPA and/or DHA, you can trust that EPA and DHA are not in the product.

The omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA are the compounds in fish oil researched so extensively. Since the EPA and DHA in fish oil are what’s so important for us, when someone tells us they’ve been advised to take 1,000 mg “fish oil” per day, we get to that level by adding up the EPA and DHA, which means with our product we would expect you to take two softgels daily.

To purchase Cooper Complete multivitamins and supplements, visit the Cooper Store at

Jill Turner is VP Operations for Cooper Concepts, the company that markets Cooper Complete nutritional supplements. Email ( or call 800-980-6311 with your questions and comments regarding supplements.


If you'd like to see the certificate of assay (COA) from Ocean Nutrition, our raw material provider, for the latest batch of Cooper Complete Advanced Omega-3, send us an email and we'll send the COA to you.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Chia Seed

We've recently had several questions about Chia seed.

Chia is a member of the mint family and was historically used as a staple food in the ancient Aztec diet. In the popular book Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen, author Christopher McDougall describes a fermented energy drink that includes chia.

Chia ads promote the product as being rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and a good source of fiber, protein, minerals and antioxidants. Unfortunately, market interest is far ahead of published research on the product.

While there's a study in animals suggesting that chia may lower LDL (the lousy) blood cholesterol and triglycerides while increasing HDL (the healthy) cholesterol, the study hasn't been replicated in humans.

However, Chia is a good source of fiber, so adding it to smoothies or breakfast cereal might be a good way to increase your fiber intake. If you elect to go this route, our recommendation would be to price various Chia products in your grocery store.

Here’s a nice write-up on Chia from the American Dietetic Organization - You can search for "chia" within the article, or simply go to page 13.

Email us with your supplement questions at

Monday, January 25, 2010

I give in… I’ve been Cooper-ized

Here it is Monday morning and I am sitting at my desk, my lunch is in the fridge: a salad with corn and bean salsas, chopped turkey, bell peppers, avocado and a bit of feta cheese. And I just finished a bowl of oatmeal with walnuts, blueberries, and raspberries.

I have been Cooperized. And I wasn’t the only one to leave Cooper Aerobics Center feeling inspired to make changes to my lifestyle. Since you heard from me all week, I thought it best to introduce you to a few of the other participants in Cooper Wellness.

Sorry about the wind noise. We wanted to be outside enjoying the nice weather. The extra noise was the price we paid for that.

Wish us luck as we continue to “square off the curve”.

Thanks for your encouragement!

Friday, January 22, 2010


The Cooper Wellness Team, or at least a few of us (we're missing Peter, Joe and Linda). That is John Harris, Phillip McLeod, me and Tony Bass just after a lecture.

Just finished a quick walk around the 1-mile jogging path on campus. Thought I should break away to give you a heads up about what's going on (and my feet are sore, haha)

We've got a packed day today at Cooper Aerobics Center. No slacking off for any of us.

  • Personal training

  • Wake-up and walk

  • Breakfast (can't wait to see what Kathy's done with eggs and oatmeal today)

  • Get Some Sleep lecture by Dr. Craig Schwimmer

  • Indoor cycling class

  • The Process of Change lecture by Dr. Kevin Gilliland

  • Lunch

  • Stress Management for Peak Performance lecture by Connie Tyne

  • Form roller stretch class

  • Vitamins and Supplements: What You Should Know lecture by Todd Whitthorne

  • Cardio workout

  • Cooking School with Chef Matt White

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Can you put that, and that, and this, and that on the side?

It is only 9:30 a.m., but I’ve accomplished a lot already or at least a lot for me. I started off with a few laps around the jogging path. Took my much-needed shower, and met the rest of the team to go out for breakfast.

This was the true test for me: eating out.

I love eating out. I am the person in the office always dragging everyone else out over lunch and the one in our group of friends that organizes dinner parties. Eating out is a social experience for me. I think of it as my way to bond with my loved ones. All for the low-price of only 1,000 calories a plate. YIKES!

Kathy and Cindy took us to Benedict’s, a local favorite for breakfast. Kathy had called ahead (something she said we should all start doing) to make sure the coffee came with skim milk, not cream, and that the fruit would be served family style on the table when we arrived; having fruit before the meal acts a stomach-filler for the rest of your meal.

Then she made us tell her what we would have ordered pre-Cooper Wellness. We all shamefully looked over the menu (some of us might have been drooling) and told her our options. Naturally, I went for the dish with hollandaise sauce poured all over it! And, she didn’t take that away. Luckily, I changed my mind just as I was ordering and got a Mexican omelet instead. Which, was much easier to health-ify. (Technical term, haha!)

She made sure we all knew that we had to be picky orderers to really get what was healthy for us. Here’s how she taught us to order our omelets, which I promise were still filling and delicious:
· Egg Beaters or egg whites
· Cheese, sour cream, guacamole, salsa on the side
· English muffin or wheat toast
· Tomato slices instead of potatoes

Ta da! Our meal was wonderful. I didn’t even finish half my plate because I was so full. The best part was that I didn’t feel guilty walking out of the restaurant.

Does anyone else worry about eating out? Or is that just me?

Erica's Wake-Up Call

The first couple of days have been great. I am working out every minute I am not in a lecture or writing to you all. Kathy Duran-Thal has been feeding me such decadent foods, that she swears are healthy for me. And I am really starting to focus on MY OWN health again.

But, it isn't easy.

Todd Whitthorne told me last week that the first 4-6 weeks of a new exercise and diet program are hardest to get through. Yesterday, Chad Krisher said that most people quit an exercise regimen after the third week.

The odds are stacked against me.

And, to be honest, all I wanted last night was a spoonful of Nutella. (Or a second helping of Kathy's dessert from Monday....) The last thing I was interested in was taking another lap around the walking path here at Cooper Aerobics Center.

What is even more daunting for me is that after my functional fitness test, I really learned how bad my health has become over the past three years.

(This is the part of the post I wish I could just shut my eyes and type through... But I think sharing it will help to hold me accountable.)

In June 2007, I moved to Dallas. I was 5'10", 135 lbs, and had a BMI of 19. I was physically active and hadn't suffered through the slowing of my metabolism yet. Given, I have never truly had good nutritional habits, so I wasn't ready for what was to come. (As a result, nutrition has been the most fascinating part of this experience so far for me.)

Somewhere between 2007 and today, I stopped exercising regularly. I became too busy to prepare my own meals. And today, January 21, 2010, I am 5'10". I weight 152 lbs. and my current BMI is 27. And that's not the end of it. I am constantly tired. I gnaw away at my fingernails, which probably means I am stressed. (I honestly don't know what about either?!) And, to top it all off my skin is constantly broken out.

I don’t even want to think about what these years of inactivity and poor eating habits have done to my arteries, especially after seeing Dr. Kimball’s slides yesterday of overweight and obese person’s heart, kidney, lungs, etc. It was scary!

This is my wake-up call. Yesterday, Dr. Cooper showed us what a healthy BMI range was for individuals of various ages. For me to be over 25 is considered overweight.

I am on a slippery slope.

Now, you all know that I am getting married in June. What better time to set my goal for improving my health?

I wish that all of you could be eating the food, attending the lectures and, yes, even sweating your way through Zumba with me. What I am learning is truly eye-opening. Stay tuned! And thanks for the positive encouragement thus far. Keep it coming!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

(Brilliantly) Simple Susie

We've heard a lot of information throughout the program so far. The staff keeps describing the process as drinking water from a fire hydrant, and I can not think of a better way to phrase it.

What has been the easiest for me to repeat -- over and over again -- are the tips from Susie Kania, a Cooper associate for nearly 20 years. Today, she took resistance bands and taught us to work our back, chest, biceps, triceps, shoulders, quads, hamstrings, hips and thighs -- all with a piece of modified elastic mind you! It was the perfect traveling or office workout because of its simplicity. (Not to mention that you can fit the resistance band she gave us in your pocket!)

Another valuable lesson she gave was on walking efficiently. I'll let her explain more here:

Wednesday's Wellness Line-up

Phew! First breather all day. Here is the schedule for today's Wellness team:
  • Breakfast (another wonderful meal)
    21st Century Medicine lecture by Dr. Kenneth Cooper
  • Power Walk
  • Resistance Bands: Exercising Your Options by Susie Kania
  • Cooking Class: Deliciously Healthy, Delightfully Simple-Meals in Minutes by Kathy Duran-Thal (this class was SO FUN!)
  • Coronary Calcium Scores and Wellness CT at the Cooper Clinic by Dr. Thomas Kimball
  • Tai Chi taught by Michael Proctor
  • Personal Exercise Time
  • Pilates
  • Dinner
Also, I had a chance to pull Dr. Kenneth Cooper aside this morning to recap his 21st Century Medicine presentation. Here's what he had to share with all of you:

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Your foot's soulmate

Tonight Dr. Allan Sherman taught us the importance of picking the appropriate shoes for your workout.

Dr. Sherman embodies the Cooper philosophies. He began coming to Cooper Aerobics Center in Dallas back in 1976. And since, has run more than 50 marathons and even a handful of ultra-marathons. His active lifestyle has clearly kept him healthy, sharp and in shape. And, most importantly to Dr. Sherman, it has helped him minimize his risk of heart disease, a condition that runs in his family. Really fascinating guy, especially for someone who works with feet all day.

He started off by teaching us the basics of how the foot moves and what impact that has on our joints. From there he took it a step further (pun intended) and taught us how OUR walking/running affected our joints. Then, like a human rolodex, he spouted off the best shoe option for each of us based on our stance, how the heel hits the ground, etc.

Dr. Sherman also taught us how to buy the right shoe, in case he isn’t around to make recommendations:

  • Start by finding a shoe store that you can trust.
    Somewhere with real experts that understand the in’s and out’s of feet. What I found really impressive was that he didn’t just give Dallas examples! He offered reputable stores in Houston and Atlanta too!

  • Bring in your old shoes and your favorite work-out socks.
    Just seeing your worn-out shoes will help the sales person address what your movement is. How you hit the ground, how you lean, and so on.

  • Get sized.
    Dr. Sherman told us that your foot size, much like your weight or hair color, can change year-by-year. Make sure to always get the latest measurement. He also recommends leaving 3/8” between your toe and the front of the shoe.

  • Learn your arch type.
    This is where the experts can help. Let them watch you stand and walk to access whether you have a high arch, normal arch or flat foot.

  • Identify what function your shoe must serve.
    Learning about how you walk and carry your weight can help an expert identify the amount of stability and/or cushion your perfect shoe will require.

Here is a quick video of my personal assessment.

(Also, Dr. Sherman recommends Nike Free for Zumba classes!)

A Mexican Meal with 550 Calories?

Earlier, Kathy Duran-Thal took us through her lecture “Guide for Optimal Nutrition.”

Personally, nutrition is the toughest aspect of health for me to maintain. For as long as I can remember I have been an over-eater, but up until just a few years ago, I was blessed with a fast-paced metabolism that burned all my calories off as quickly as I put them on.

Eating out is even trickier for me. I adore the first plates at many restaurants, especially at Mexican joints here in Dallas. Put some chips and queso in front of me and I am a goner. Well, Kathy taught us that it only takes 20 chips to consume 500 calories. Yes. You read that right! 500 calories with just 20 chips!

I was a little shocked when our lunch was fajitas. It is no wonder Kathy is the gem of Cooper Wellness. This meal was fantastic. So good that I was afraid to ask afterward how many calories it was. To which Kathy gave a chuckle and said: “Just about 550.”

I’ll let Kathy explain more here:

The Zumba Team Starts Off Strong

That’s right. The Zumba team. We are the three participants that braved Donna’s class last night and also the three that met at 7 a.m. for a fast-paced walk through campus.

Already had a great breakfast with Kathy Duran-Thal. I’ll make sure to post pictures later tonight when I get more time.

And, with that, I will give you today’s schedule:
· Early morning exercise class at Cooper Fitness Center
· Wake up and Walk session with Valerie Ponce, an avid runner and Cooper Wellness associate· Breakfast lesson with Kathy Duran-Thal (watch for a subsequent post from Kathy on the Whole Grain Council’s stamp of good and excellent grains later)
· Guidelines for Optimal Nutrition by the one and only Kathy Duran-Thal
· Heart Rate Monitor Demonstration by Susie Kania
· Walking for Health and Fitness with Susie Kania
· The Fitness Connection by Chad Krisher, Cooper Fitness Center Professional Fitness Trainer
· Lunch
· Understanding Your Blood Profile by Dr. Riva Rahl
· My first Cooper Personal Training session!!!
· Designing Your Personal Fitness Plan by Susie Kania
· Yoga
· Dinner
· Feet Don’t Fail Me Now lecture and walking assessment with Dr. Allan Sherman

More to come. Did you enjoy that Zumba video last night?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Starting off Strong

Day one: check!

It started off great. Really! There are six other participants this week. Surprisingly, only two of us were rookies to Cooper Wellness. The other four had gone through the program at least once and one couple from Virginia has been coming once a year for 16 years! We’ve got a diverse group with one participant coming all the way from Ecuador and another just a few miles down the road in Coppell, Texas.

Prescription for a healthy life.
Drawing from her experience as a mother, Dr. Riva Rahl simplified the lecture into the ABCs of healthy living:

In lock-step with all Cooper philosophies, her entire presentation was deeply rooted in scientific studies that led her to each recommendation. One unknown risk really stood out to me during her presentation, I have asked her to guest blog later this week to share the secret with you!

4-Course Dinner with just 800 Calories
Three words describe this meal: delicious, filling and healthy. Tomorrow we’ll have Kathy Duran-Thal, our in-house food miracle worker share the recipes.
Check out some pictures I snapped on my iPhone in the latest Cooper Facebook album.

As promised: ZUMBA
Coming in at just over 5 feet, Donna Fisher may be petite, but she packs a serious punch! She had me and the other two men brave enough to take her class sweating, laughing and missing every other step in her routine.

Taking my home to work

Some people have a problem bringing their work home, for me it is just the opposite this week.

It is day one of Cooper Wellness and my suitcase is jam packed with tennis shoes, at least a dozen mix-matched socks and every piece of workout attire I own.

Here is the schedule for the day:

  • Campus tour
  • “Prescription for a healthy life” by Dr. Riva Rahl
  • Dinner at the Cookery (the on-campus chef-supervised test kitchen)
  • Introduction to Zumba
    I am not at all coordinated. I won’t even pretend to be. Knowing that please be kind when you see the video later. :)

Lucky for me, I won’t be traveling back and forth between my house and work all week. The kind folks at the Cooper Guest Lodge have agreed to host me (and all the other participants, of course) for the week.

I must say, I was pleasantly surprised when I saw my room today.

  • The tall bed is incredibly plush (just what I need after a Monday)
  • The shower is immaculate and stocked with Aveda products (much better than the mystery bottles I’ve seen at other places!)
  • Each room comes with an iHome, ready to the latest pop music hit that will get me revved up each morning
  • There was a gift basket full of healthy snacks, including a low-calorie cookie waiting for me
  • Each morning, the room is restocked with Starbucks coffee (they even put a Starbucks cup in the room, for that extra touch!)
  • And, I get to avoid all the traffic in Dallas! It will be even sweeter when they've got me waking up at 6 a.m. to work out!

...Talk about living in the lap of luxury!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Erica's Week of Wellness

First, let me introduce myself. I am Erica Snyder, public relations manager at Cooper Aerobics. I am just over a month into my career here and am currently mentally preparing myself to be "Cooper-ized".

Starting Monday, January 18, I will be blogging, tweeting and Facebooking my way through Cooper Wellness, a six-day healthy retreat hosted by our on-campus experts.

Things you should know about me before we start this journey together:
  • I am a paid employee of Cooper Aerobics
  • For the past few years, I have let my own health fall through the cracks
  • This is going to be the real thing. I will tell you how hard it is, how hungry I am, and—hopefully by the end of it—how thankful I was to experience it all.
  • And, I am getting married in five months exactly (AHH!)

Now that is all out of the way, let's get to the program. I took a moment this afternoon to talk with Todd Whitthorne, the executive director of Cooper Wellness. He assured me I would learn from, enjoy being part of and even make friends through Cooper Wellness.