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