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.