Magnesium Glycinate: Supplement Guide

Originally authored by Jamie Witherby • Posted on hvmn.com on June 11, 2019 • 7 min read

You know those nights. The ones you wake up in the middle of, clutching your knees to rock yourself back asleep. It’s not a nightmare that roused you. It’s something much, much worse: leg cramps.

The pain is sudden, searing, and seemingly out of your control. But those calf contractions could be trying to tell you something. Muscle cramps are frequently a sign of magnesium deficiency in healthy adults.

In this article, we’ll discuss what magnesium is, why it’s crucial for optimal health, and how pairing it with glycinate makes it the ideal supplement form.

Meet Magnesium

Scoring an atomic number of twelve, magnesium (Mg) is a silver-white metal from the alkaline family. Its strong-yet-lightweight structure, high melting point (1,202°F), and brilliant white flame make it a hot choice for alloys in the aerospace industry, especially gearboxes for helicopters and other aircrafts.

Magnesium is the ninth most abundant element on the planet and the fourth most abundant cation (positively charged ion) in our bodies.

Over half of our magnesium lives in our bones, another quarter in our muscles, and the rest in our soft tissues and extracellular fluid (fluid outside the cells).4

You also eat this metal every day. Or at least you should. Magnesium is a critical cofactor for over 300 enzyme systems, including synthesizing proteins, regulating blood pressure, and controlling blood sugar levels. You probably didn’t know you were so dependent on this mineral, but you can’t do much without it; it’s required for aerobic and anaerobic energy production. Want to keep your healthy bone structure? Magnesium. Need to synthesize some RNA? Magnesium. Care to maintain nerve and muscle function? Magnesium.5 You get the picture. It’s an understatement to say magnesium has some pretty crucial health benefits.

Unfortunately, it’s not as abundant in our diets as it should be. The Food and Drug Administration estimates that up to 68% of people in the United States are magnesium deficient. Knowing which supplement to take is hard

Magnesium Deficiency is Everywhere

Before we dive into the problems of magnesium deficiency, let’s review some foods that are great forms of magnesium. Spinach, Swiss chard, and other dark greens are a saturated source of your daily magnesium. Go nutty with almonds, Brazil nuts, and cashews, too. Fiber-rich choices include beans, legumes, and filling whole grains. And the food that really puts the “yum” in magnesium? Dark chocolate.

But even if you’re eating all your leafy greens and fibrous beans to get the essential nutrient, the declining magnesium levels in the soil they were grown in puts you at risk for magnesium deficiency.6

Magnesium levels in soil are declining because of modern farming practices;6 overuse of the soil disallows it from restoring its natural mineral content before being used to grow food again. By the time vegetables are washed and transported, their meager magnesium content is laughable.7

Other produce processing techniques can strip away the food’s magnesium levels, like bleaching whole grains and overcooking greens.8 Even common medications such as antacids, antibiotics, and diuretics can affect the body’s ability to absorb magnesium or increase your renal (kidney) excretions of the precious mineral.3

The good news? The metal can be found in regular old drinking water—up to a tenth of your daily magnesium intake. The bad news? Purification practices are a little too efficient, so most of the magnesium content never even crosses your lips. But stick with water for a better chance of getting your recommended intake as coffee and alcohol increase your body’s demand for it.3

an image of a field, someone cooking, and a basket of grains showing that magnesium is being stripped from our food based on modern farming practices

Hypomagnamesia Symptoms

If you’re worried that you could have low magnesium levels, here are some medical conditions and symptoms of magnesium deficiency:4

  • Fatigue
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Depression
  • Muscle cramps
  • Muscle weakness
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood sugar
  • Asthma
  • Impaired exercise performance
  • Irregular heartbeat

Take another look at the list—how many of these have you experienced just in the past month or so?

The problem with identifying hypomagnamesia (magnesium deficiency) is that it tends to be asymptomatic until levels drop dramatically. And even when the symptoms are present, they can easily be attributed to other factors.

On the flipside, if you’re worried that you may be getting too much magnesium from your diet, fear not; your kidneys can take care of any excess magnesium.3

Magnesium Sufficiency for Overall Health

Sufficient magnesium intake has numerous benefits. Grab a handful of spinach and a piece of dark chocolate for good measure, and let’s discuss the positives of supplementing with magnesium.

Restored Rest for the Magnesium Deficient

Let’s return to our list of hypomagnamesia symptoms. One of the big ticket items is sleep disturbances. Supplementing with magnesium has been shown to improve sleep quality in individuals with low magnesium levels.9,10

A 2002 study found that taking magnesium before bed led to an increase in slow wave sleep, which is the deepest phase of sleep characterized by delta waves and non-rapid eye movement (NREM). If you’ve ever been caught sleepwalking, you can thank slow wave sleep for its zombie-style effects on your muscles.10

Reduced Inflammatory Stress

Unfortunately, those sleep disturbances come at a greater cost than dark circles under eyelids and general crankiness. Inadequate sleep is associated with increases in multiple inflammatory biomarkers.9 These proteins or enzymes are the biomarkers that point to systemic inflammation. One of the most infamous inflammatory biomarkers is the C-reactive protein (CRP), which is an effective predictor of cardiac morbidity. As you lose sleep from a lack of magnesium, these CRPs increase, meaning you’re inflamed.11

Persistent inflammation can lead to serious chronic inflammatory systemic diseases (CIDs), such as: rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and systemic lupus erythematosus—an autoimmune disease in which the immune system mistakenly perceives healthy tissues as a threat and begins attacking them.12 Of course, these serious disorders have complicated etiologies based on genetics as well as environment.

You can probably guess an initiative: taking magnesium can reduce the inflammation.

A 2010 study with sleep and magnesium-deprived adults found that supplementing with magnesium improved sleeping patterns and decreased the amount of CRP biomarkers found in their plasma. Their levels of inflammation went down, and which has been associated with a reduced risk for developing CIDs.9

an illustration of a book, a runner's good and a lightbulb, showing all the benefits of magnesium glycinate

Putting the Glycinate in Magnesium Glycinate

We covered magnesium, but we haven’t even talked about the other half of this powerful combo: glycinate.

Glycinate is the salt form of glycine, a non-essential amino acid that plays an essential role in both the peripheral and central nervous system (CNS). Glycine is considered to be a non-essential amino acid because the body naturally produces it, but research says our metabolic demands are higher than our abilities to produce it.13 Once chronic, glycine deficiency can lead to impairment of nutrient metabolism and impairment of nervous system function.14

Raise Your Inhibitions: Glycine in Nervous System Function

Along with gamma-Aminobutyric acid, glycine is one of the main inhibitory transmitters of the CNS. Glycine activates brain and spinal cord receptors to allow chloride into the CNS, which will inhibit the cells. Inhibition is imperative because it allows precise thoughts, movements, and attention to alter or stop a neurological response, all of which are required for normal motor and behavioral functioning.15 Glycine may also play a role in the synchronization of our circadian rhythms to influence our internal clocks.16

Bounce Back with Glycine: Tissue Treatment

Glycine is a precursor to the production of the ingredient in skin-tightening products: collagen. Collagen is the connective tissue component providing structure for your skin, cartilage, and tendons. Because glycine is so tiny (the smallest amino acid), it’s able to fit between the tight intersections of larger amino acids forming the collagen proteins. This flexibility is part of what gives your skin that youthful bounce.17

Better Sleep with Glycine

A 2006 study observed that glycine can also greatly improve sleep quality.16

But this amino acid doesn’t promise to put you to sleep as soon as your head hits the pillow or induce the deepest REM cycles. Instead, glycine has a greater effect on how you’ll feel once you get up.18 Glycine ingestion can alleviate fatigue, increase liveliness, and generate a clear-headed feeling upon waking.19

One of the possible mechanisms for ushering you into dreamland is glycine’s thermoregulatory effects.

Glycine can lower your body’s core temperature, which is one of your body’s natural mechanisms in preparation of sleep.20

Bonus round: glycine is considered safer than traditional sleeping drugs. Even relatively high doses yield no serious side effects.19

An image of Yawn by HVMN, showing how magnesium and glycinate together help you sleep

Magnesium + Glycinate are the The Perfect Pair

Magnesium glycinate is an organic magnesium salt created by combining magnesium with the amino acid, glycine.

Combine one sleep-improving mineral salt with a sleep-improving amino acid and you get—a sleep improving supplement. But it’s the details that matter. Taking magnesium in the glycinate, or salt, form is correlated with better absorption of magnesium than other common supplement forms, such as magnesium oxide.21

When you’re looking for a magnesium supplement and want to experience all the benefits of magnesium in the most efficient way, you could look for two different supplements, remember to take both before bed, inevitably forget and miss out on the benefits of supplementing with magnesium and glycinate together. Or simply take Yawn.

Yawn is a non-habit forming sleep aid featuring magnesium glycinate, L-theanine, L-glycine, and melatonin for increased sleep quality and a calming effect.

Remember that the glycinate will also help you enjoy more clarity and less fatigue when it’s time to get up, allowing you to start the day refreshed and ready to go. And because Yawn uses the most bioavailable form of magnesium, your body will be able to absorb it more easily and enjoy more of its effects.22

Magnesium glycinate supplements are usually taken in doses from 100mg – 400mg with no severe side effects reported. A high amount of magnesium is recommended for pregnant women.23 Some minor side effects include gastrointestinal issues such as bloating and diarrhea. As always, discuss your desire to begin magnesium supplementation with your healthcare professional for appropriate medical advice.

A Powerful Duo

Magnesium is an essential mineral the body uses for a majority of its basic functions, including producing the energy it takes to read this article.

Modern food processing makes it very difficult to consume the necessary daily amount, causing roughly two-thirds of the American population to be magnesium deficient, so you may need to keep an eye on your magnesium intake. Low levels of magnesium can contribute to health problems such as chronic inflammatory systemic diseases (CIDs).

The mineral and amino acid combination of magnesium glycinate can reduce the chronic disease-causing inflammation and health conditions and provide a better overall sleep experience without the adverse effects of other sleeping aids. While supplements can compensate for lack of training, using one to optimize recovery can help with better performance.

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Say Goodbye To Your Everlasting Backache!

There are many pain related moans and groans that people like to have. If anything, we’d say that one of the hot topics as you start to get older is how much you ache and how horrible you feel. Anyone would think that we’re 80 years old with the types of ache and pains that we have. And if we were to pick a most common complaint, it would definitely be back ache. Back ache can seriously be crippling, and it can happen for so many different reasons. It could have been a childhood sports injury that’s not finally showing its true colours, or it could even be weight related, which is one that a lot of people forget about or don’t associate with back ache. But one thing we do know, is that backache can simply be life changing, especially as we start to get a little older. It can stop us doing some of the things that we seriously know and love, and it can even lead to depression!

Image Source

Small Causes That Are Easily Solved

Backache is something that we usually just get on with, simply because we accept our fate and believe that’s how we should live our lives. But there are some small causes that you could easily address, and then your back ache would just melt away. So the first is your posture. Your posture is going to have changed now you’re in the working world, and one of the ways it changes is because the majority of us are slumped over a desk at work. So this might sound a bit extreme, but there are back braces that you can buy off Amazon that pull your shoulders back, and straighten out that spine. Definitely something worth considering, especially if you look in the mirror and you can see that years behind a desk have created a little slump!

Serious Issues That Need Addressing

Some back problems go a little bit further than slumping over in the chair. Some of you will be suffering with the pain that you are due to serious issues, you’ve just been putting it down to poor posture, or the fact that everyone else seems to have backache too! So if you know it’s not your posture, and you know that the pain is getting more severe as time goes on, then a spinal specialist is who you need to see. Even if you have a consultation and they say it’s nothing serious, they’ll be able to give you the best recommendations that will give you the best outcome!

Simple Daily Changes!

One daily change that you can make, is starting the day with a good stretch. We’re actually meant to stretch daily, but do we? No. Stretching allows those muscles and joints to open up, not just in your back, but all over your body. The more flexible you are, the less stiff you’re going to be, and the less pain you’re going to feel! There are plenty of stretching routines specifically for the back that you can try!

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Hemp Oil Uses: The Complete Guide

Originally posted on madebyhemp.com on SEPTEMBER 22, 2016 in CBD PRODUCT INFO

hemp oil uses complte guide

We live in a society that is constantly reaching for the next level of peak health and appearance, using only naturally effective methods. 

No pressure, right? 

Despite this never-ending climb, one little plant is paving the way for people to reach their health and wellness goals: hemp. Hemp oil is a nutty and flavorful oil that is extracted from the stalks or seeds of the hemp plant. There are different uses for each type of hemp oil, each offering its own array of uses and unique wellness benefits.

Three powerful uses for hemp 

Hemp oil’s benefits are so bountiful and unmistakable that scientists studied it in-depth even while it was banned in most of society, including the U.S. Thankfully, the 2018 Farm Bill completely cleared the air and legitimized hemp’s legality by separating it from its notorious cousin, marijuana. Both are from the cannabis family, but hemp doesn’t get you high. 

There’s no doubt more benefits will be discovered, but for now, let’s jump into what hemp oil has already proven.

Hemp seed oil uses for cooking 

Hemp seed oil offers a healthy alternative to vegetable oil, canola oil, or butter. 

Its delicious nutty flavor makes it perfect for sautéed vegetables or meats, salad dressings, or dipping in bread. The main reason for swapping popular oils for hemp seed oil, is because of the wellness benefits it offers. It’s very high in essential fatty acids (EFAs), with a perfect 3:1 ratio of omega-3 and omega-6. As the name suggests, EFAs are essential for human health.  

hemp oil food cooking

Another nutritious benefit of hemp seed oil is its content of insoluble fiber, protein, and array of minerals such as potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, and calcium. These nutritional benefits make hemp a great choice for anyone, including vegetarians and diabetics. Aside from being extreme healthy, hemp seed oil is a delicious and flavorful alternative to vegetable oil and butter. 

There is one catch. Using hemp seed oil to cook has some limitations. Mainly, it can smoke at low temperatures, so it should not be used for frying or deep-frying. 

The other thing to keep an eye out for with hemp seed oil, is if it is being sold as either hemp oil or CBD hemp oil. Hemp seed oil does not contain cannabidiol (CBD) like hemp oil does. Therefore, hemp seed oil is much less expensive than CBD hemp oil or commonly referred to as CBD oil. 

CBD hemp oil uses for health 

Hemp oil is a loose term often used to talk about oil from any part of the hemp plant. It’s vital to distinguish the different types, so this next one is typically called CBD hemp oil or more commonly, CBD oil. 

hemp oil cbd use

Oil extracted from the mature stalks and flowers (NOT the seeds) of the hemp plant contain an incredible compound called cannabidiol, or CBD for short. CBD interacts with the Endocannabinoid System to support a healthy balance throughout the body. Studies have shown it has potential for concerns related to anxiety and inflammation, with virtually zero side effects

The benefits of CBD hemp oil don’t stop there. It’s also packed full of important vitamins and minerals that are important for your daily regimen. Most CBD oil supplements also feature the therapeutic benefits of plant terpenes

It’s worth noting the potential medical uses for CBD hemp oil that are being studied. CBD research topics include inflammationanxietyPTSDsleep, and much more.

Popular types of CBD hemp oil products

CBD hemp oil can be added to your diet in many ways, such as ediblespure extracts, and even flavored tinctures. Edibles are available as gummies, chocolates, and more. Pure extracts are straight CBD hemp oil with no added ingredients. Finally, tinctures are liquid extracts from the hemp plant and come in many flavors. These liquid drops are a great way to enhance your diet and supplement your nutrition. 

If you are just starting out with CBD hemp oil, our CBD Oil Buyer’s Guide is a helpful place to figure out which product type to start with. 

Hemp oil uses for skin 

Believe it or not, the benefits and uses of hemp oil are not limited to food or supplements. Hemp oil is becoming increasingly popular in cosmetics including lotions, shampoos, sunscreens, lip balms, and other skin products

hemp oil skin uses

Hemp oil is rich in vitamins A and E, which act as antioxidants that heal the skin. It also contains fatty acids that keep the skin hydrated, and calcium to keep it smooth. For these reasons, it’s becoming wildly popular for rashes and dry skin. We’re starting to see hemp seed oil added to products like moisturizers and lips balms as well.

However, it’s still fairly uncommon to find skin care products made with CBD hemp oil. The skincare benefits of CBD are nothing short of amazing, particularly for inflamed muscles and joints. 

With so many amazing vitamins, minerals and compounds, CBD hemp oil is a natural defense against dry, aging or sore skin.

Where does hemp oil come from?  

Hemp oil can come from the seeds, stalks, or flowers of the hemp plant. Depending on which part it’s extracted from, it creates different types of hemp oil. 

Hemp oil that comes from the seeds is rich in nutrients, vitamins, and EFAs. It does not contain cannabinoids, like CBD. 

When hemp oil comes from the stalks or flowers, it contains a blend of cannabinoids (CBD, CBDa, CBN, CBC, CBG), terpenes, and other phytonutrients.

Difference between hemp oil and CBD oil 

Sometimes there’s a major difference between hemp oil and CBD oil, and other time they mean exactly the same thing. It’s all about the context. 

Hemp oil can refer to the oil extracted from any part of the hemp plant, even though we know there’s a huge difference between them. Both are, technically, “hemp oil.” It makes sense to use this term in either situation, but then how do we know what we’re actually getting? 

If you buy a “hemp oil” salve with the hope it’s going to soothe sore muscles, fingers crossed it contains CBD or the benefits probably won’t meet your expectations. Find out how many milligrams of CBD or “hemp extract” are in it before buying. 

Full Spectrum Hemp Oil vs CBD Isolate 

Hemp oil can be considered “full spectrum” or sometimes called “broad spectrum” when it contains not only CBD, but also all the other plant parts in hemp.

CBD isolate is what you get when all plant matter and “full spectrum” characteristics are stripped away, leaving only CBD. CBD isolate should not be considered hemp oil, though it may be derived from hemp because it is only CBD and does not contain the other plant nutrients.  

Make sure you do your research on the product to verify if it is in fact CBD oil or hemp seed oil. If you’re looking for a CBD oil salve, it’s a good idea to ask the manufacturer for lab test results to verify how much CBD is in it. 

Hemp oil benefits 

Hemp oil is considered a superfood thanks to its wide scope of nutritional and health benefits. Keeping in our important theme of separating the two types of hemp oil, let’s look at the benefits of each separately. 

First up is hemp oil from the stalks of the plant, which contains several uniquely powerful compounds. 

This type of hemp oil offers the benefits of cannabinoids. A wide range of cannabinoids can be present in hemp oil, like CBD, CBDa, CBC, CBG, CBN. By a long-shot, however, CBD is the most abundant of the group. Cannabinoids interact with our endocannabinoid system to support important functions in the brain, central and peripheral nervous system. This system aims to keep us in homeostasis, so it must have a tight hold on inflammation, anxiety, and stress. 

Another benefit of hemp oil comes from the terpenes. While that may be an unfamiliar word, you’re most likely already familiar with their benefits. Terpenes are found in all plants, they are the reason for the benefits popularly associated with essential oils, like peppermint oil (terpene = mentha piperita). 

Not only do terpenes attribute to the plant’s aroma and flavor, the therapeutic properties play a major role in the benefits of hemp oil. When cannabinoids and terpenes are working together, they enhance the benefits in what’s known as the entourage effect.

Bottom Line 

Hemp oil is a natural product that offers a multitude of uses to support health and wellness. This versatile oil can be used in cooking, supplements, or skincare and provides a multitude of added nutrition. With so many different options for use, hemp oil can easily become part of a nutritional program that can help users improve and maintain their overall health.

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What Are Net Carbs?

Originally authored by Ryan Rodal on hvmn.com • July 27, 2019 •

In recent years, carb counting has become a major point of dietary emphasis. With many low-carb diets such as keto and Atkins becoming more commonplace, it’s crucial to account for carbohydrates properly.

The problem is, there’s an ongoing debate between whether carbs or “net carbs” should be counted as part of one’s macronutrient profile. While some groups argue total carb count is a more precise measurement, others disagree with this sentiment.

Not all carbohydrates have the same effect from a dietary perspective. While some are more digestible, others tend to pass through the body without being absorbed.

It’s important to understand the differences between carbs and net carbs so that you can determine which form of measurement is most conducive to your lifestyle and goals.

Let’s take a deeper look at various types of carbs and what roles they play within your body.

Let’s Define a Carbohydrate

Before we dive into net carbs, it helps to know what a carb actually is in the first place.

Carbohydrates are an umbrella term for molecules containing carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms. There are two main types of carbs found in the foods we eat—simple carbs and complex carbs.

This image describes the differences between simple and complex carbs including where they're found, how they're digested, and their nutritional value.

Simple carbs are found mostly in sugary foods and contain only one or two sugar unit molecules which can affect how quickly the food is digested and absorbed. Some examples are fruits and foods containing table sugar, like soda or cookies.

Complex carbs are slower-digesting in nature and contain several sugar units linked together. They are often found in whole grains, starchy vegetables, white and sweet potatoes, carrots, and oats.

While simple and complex carbs can be used as an energy source or stored as fat.

If a person consumes more carbs than needed, the body will convert excess carbs to fat.

There are other types of carbs which are not readily digestible by the body.

Fiber is different from the other two forms of carbohydrates. While it is similar in molecular profile, it does not provide a direct form of energy—it passes through the body without being digested and absorbed into the bloodstream for energy. The main role of fiber is to feed friendly bacteria in the digestive system.

Sugar alcohols also fall under the carbohydrate umbrella. They are typically used as a form of sweetener and contain only half the amount of calories as traditional carbohydrates. They are added to food as a reduced calorie sweetener and as a bulking agent.

Although each of these are considered carbs, the body handles each of them differently. It’s these differences that allow us to think that not all carbs are created equal, and we shouldn’t look at them as all playing the same role without our body.

Net Carbs Explained

Net carbs refers to carbs that are absorbed and processed by the body.

Simple and complex carbs are found in foods we eat. They are broken down in the small intestine and later become used as a source of energy in the body.

Those other types of carbs, such as fibers and sugar alcohols, can’t be broken as easily. Because our bodies don’t actually absorb these types of carbs (to use them for energy), many people subtract fibers and sugar alcohols from overall carbohydrate amount.

This is often where debate tends to arise.

While some count every single carb in their diet, others subtract fiber and sugar alcohols because the body does not retain these macronutrients in the same manner. Carbs are hiding in your favorite drinks

Why is Fiber Different?

Unlike other forms of carbohydrates, fiber is not directly used as a natural fuel source for the body. It passes directly into the colon and can’t be broken down by enzymes in the digestive tract. Because of this, less than half the total carbohydrates from dietary fiber are metabolized to glucose.1

Fiber is best known for its ability to relieve constipation, especially soluble fiber (hello fruit, oatmeal, avocados and broccoli!), but can also provide several other health benefits.

This image describes the differences between insoluble fiber and soluble fiber. It describes the benefits, nutritional value, digestion, and foods that can be found with these types of fiber.

Elevated fiber intake has been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer in one study, but as mentioned earlier, this cause and effect action is now being debated among the scientific community.2 Another review looked at 22 publications and found dietary fiber was associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease.3

Fiber consumption may be linked to lowering the risk of developing serious diseases.

The FDA Daily Value for fiber (the daily recommended amount) is 25 grams per day based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Even within fiber, there are two main types—insoluble and soluble fiber.

Insoluble Fiber

Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and can help speed the passage of bowel movements thereby preventing constipation. It contains no calories, nor does it spike blood glucose or insulin levels, and isn’t broken down by the gut.4

Insoluble fiber helps keep bowel movements regular and helps maintain a healthy digestive system. It’s typically found in the stalks, skins, and seeds of foods such as whole grains, nuts, and veggies,

Common foods with insoluble fiber include:

  • Beans
  • Whole wheat
  • Bran
  • Potatoes
  • Cauliflower
  • Nuts
  • Green beans

Insoluble fiber is an important part of a healthy diet that can help support several bodily functions.

Soluble Fiber

Soluble fiber dissolves in water and is digested by bacteria in the large intestine.

One of the benefits of soluble fiber is its ability to help you feel full (and potentially, this can help you lose weight). A study performed on soluble fiber found that consuming 14g per day was associated with a 10% decrease in energy consumption (less food eaten) and weight loss of 1.9kg over a four month period.5

As soluble fiber goes into your colon, it becomes short-chain fatty acids, which can help improve gut health and reduce inflammation.6 A meta analysis also looked at those with high fiber consumption and found soluble fiber can also help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.7

What are Sugar Alcohols?

Sugar alcohols are processed in a manner similar to fiber—they are not directly absorbed by the body. They’re found naturally in foods and can be used as low calorie sweeteners and bulking agents. Typically, they are used as sugar substitutes that contain about half the amount of calories as regular sugar.

As the name suggests, they’re a hybrid of sugar molecules and alcohol molecules.

Their chemical structure is similar to sugar, and thus have the ability to activate sweet taste receptors on your tongue. That’s part of their allure: sweet taste, far fewer calories.

You will typically find sugar alcohols in foods such as chewing gums, ice creams, frostings, cakes, cookies, candies, as well as some foods that claim to be low in carbs or sugar.

The most common sugar alcohols used today include:

  • Erythritol
  • Isomalt
  • Maltitol
  • Sorbitol
  • Xylitol

Erythritol has the least amount of net carbs. 90% of it is excreted in urine and only 10% enters the colon.8

There are limited studies available on sugar alcohols, but no known studies have shown raised insulin or blood sugar levels as a result.9 Studies have shown, however, that some individuals do not process sugar alcohols well and report excessive gas and sometimes, diarrhea.10 This is because sugar alcohols are fermented by the gut microbiome (fermentation produces gas as a by product) and because they affect the osmolarity within your intestine (they cause excess water to end up in your stool/colon). This response often depends on the amount consumed, so if you’re thinking of adding sugar alcohols to your diet or increasing the amount, do so cautiously.

How to Calculate Net Carbs

If you choose to use net carbs as a basis of your dietary calculations for macronutrients, it will help to make sure you are accurately accounting for them. Net carbs are calculated differently for both fiber and sugar alcohols. Be sure to read nutrition labels closely as “net carbs” are not listed separately.

This image shows how to calculate net carbs. You simply take the total number of carbs and subtract the amount of fiber to arrive at net carbs.

Net Carbs from Fiber

Calculating net carbs using both carbohydrate and fiber amounts is super simple.

If you are eating whole foods containing fiber, simply subtract the fiber from total carbs to calculate the net carbs.

For example, an apple contains 25g of carbohydrates and 5g of fiber. The result would be 20g of net carbs. This is a little more difficult when consuming those whole foods because they don’t have nutrition labels. But a simple online search should help you give you a pretty accurate estimation.

If you’re consuming foods with a nutrition label, both carbs and fiber should be listed and thus, net carbs easily calculated.

Net Carbs from Sugar Alcohols

In most cases, half the carbs from sugar alcohols can be subtracted from total carbs. For example, if a food contains 8g of sugar alcohols, you can subtract 4g from total carbs to determine net carbs.

One exception to the rule is Erythritol. The carbs from Erythritol can completely be subtracted from total carbs.

Most of the time, you’ll be subtracting fiber from carbohydrate amount to determine net carbs. Sugar alcohols are less common, but check nutrition labels to see if what you’re eating contains them, and make this part of your calculation when determining net carbs

Should You Use Net Carbs?

People debate about whether counting net carbs provides a more accurate representation compared to total carbs.

Using net carbs will allow for more dietary flexibility because you’re able to eat fiber-rich foods without consuming too many carbohydrates. There are also numerous health benefits associated with fiber consumption; a study performed on individuals who regularly consumed fiber showed improved blood sugar levels and lower cholesterol.8

On the other hand, people on a keto diet may argue against net carbs because the carbohydrate amount you’re consuming may take you out of ketosis. Not all people process fiber the same way—therefore, it’s important to understand what works best for your body.

People trying to avoid carbohydrate intake may tend to eat more sugar-free problems, which can lead to other health problems such as weight gain, metabolic disorders, and type-2 diabetes.11

When it comes down to it, using net carbs can be an imperfect science. Using total carbs can help provide a better framework for helping you to stick to your diet. However, if you eat lots of fibrous foods such as vegetables, using net carbs may be the perfect choice for your lifestyle. Or, if you’re on keto, and you find yourself constipated, consuming more fiber might be advantageous. You may have avoided those carbs to stick to your macros, and in the process, avoided fiber as well.

No matter if you choose to use net carbs or not, always make the dietary choices that best fit your individual lifestyle and goals. The best diet will always be the one you can stick to long-term.

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How to Lower Blood Sugar

Originally authored by Ryan Rodal • HVMN.com -April 16, 2019 •

What does it mean if you have high blood sugar? Maybe you are under immense stress, or haven’t had the best diet lately, or have been fairly inactive. Even a big, carb-heavy meal will lead to higher blood sugar. Just because you once registered high blood sugar doesn’t mean you’re immediately at risk of poor health. But consistently high blood sugar should be taken seriously.

It’s usually related to a few health concerns—most often, diabetes. Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are characterized by high levels of blood sugar (or blood glucose).Table of ContentsScience Behind Blood SugarConnection Between Weight and Blood SugarLosing WeightLowering Blood Sugar Through DietConsume the Right CarbsConsume Little or No CarbsIncrease Fiber IntakeCount Calories and Monitor Food IntakeAdditional Ways to Lower Blood SugarSleep MoreDrink Apple Cider VinegarExogenous KetonesExercising RegularlyRegularly Monitor Blood Sugar LevelsLowering Blood Sugar for Overall Health

Type 1 diabetes usually begins in childhood and is considered an autoimmune condition. In cases of type 1 diabetes, the pancreas produces little-to-no insulin. Generally, type 1 is caused by a genetic predisposition—meaning most people are born with it.

Type 2 diabetes is far more common, accounting for a majority of all cases. This form of diabetes is typically developed in older children and adults, but can occur in people of all ages. In type 2 diabetes, the body fails to properly use and store glucose because it doesn’t respond to insulin.

Obesity is one of the main risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes.

Diabetics also tend to have other health issues, often relating to processes involved with the heart, kidney, eyes, and blood vessels. According to a study from 2015, type 2 diabetes has become worryingly prevalent in the American population; 12% – 14% of adults are estimated to have the disease.1

Even before diagnosis, having higher-than-recommended blood sugar levels can be harmful to your health and may ultimately be a sign that you are on the path to developing type 2 diabetes. This is called “pre-diabetes.” Pre-diabetes means that you have blood sugar levels that are higher than recommended (possibly due to insulin resistance), but below what is considered in the diabetic range. An additional 38% of the population has been diagnosed with pre-diabetes.

What role does elevated blood sugar play in diabetes, pre-diabetes, and obesity? And how can you lower your blood sugar? Do you even need to lower it in the first place?

Let’s explore the science behind the data to understand how blood sugar is correlated to these health concerns.

Science Behind Blood Sugar

Many people use the terms “sugar” and “glucose” interchangeably, but their differences are nuanced. All forms of sugar consumed must be converted into glucose as a fuel source for the body; this energy is created through a process called glycolysis. Any extra glucose from the diet is stored in the body as glycogen.

When present, the brain and body prefer to burn carbohydrate (and thus glucose). The brain is reliant on carbs, but the rest of the body can switch to burn fat in between carb-rich meals. Glucose stores are low compared to the seemingly endless bodily fat stores. Thus, on a typical eating plan, carbs or sugars are regularly consumed and metabolized into glucose to be used as energy for the brain.

However, if you don’t eat carbs, small amounts of glucose can also be made through non-carbohydrate food sources through a process called gluconeogenesis. The body can also slowly learn to make ketones from fat, and ketones can supplement glucose as brain food.

While glucose can power the body, uncontrolled levels can lead to complications.

Diabetes is a disease characterized by high blood sugar (glucose) levels. In healthy humans, blood glucose levels are controlled by the secretion of insulin from the pancreas. The insulin acts as a regulator, lowering blood glucose levels as needed.

When you eat certain food, blood glucose levels increase. Insulin is secreted from the pancreas to normalize levels through the uptake of glucose into the body’s cells. In people with type 2 diabetes, cells don’t respond correctly to insulin. The result? Blood sugar doesn’t get into cells and thus, can’t be stored for energy. When sugar can’t enter these cells, that’s when high levels of blood sugar occur (this is called hyperglycemia).

Connection Between Weight and Blood Sugar

Although a definite link cannot be established, there is some evidence to suggest weight gain is often associated with increased blood glucose. A study showed weight gain increased risk of diabetes among overweight adults.2 Weight loss was shown to have major beneficial effects over time. Every kg of body weight lost annually was associated with a 33% lower risk of diabetes.2

An illustration of a brain, separated by a light switch, showing how the brain and body use sugar

For people who are considered overweight and have high blood glucose, improving body composition may help lower blood glucose levels thereby lowering the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Losing Weight

Maintaining healthy weight is key for overall health.

Many studies have shown being overweight has been linked to hypertension and type 2 diabetes.3 There is no one-size-fits-all weight for each and every person. However, for many people having a body mass index (BMI) below 25 is considered within normal weight range. BMI calculators online can help determine whether or not you are considered overweight.4

Even modest weight gain can have a substantial impact on the development of diabetes.5 Careful monitoring and maintenance of weight is important for overall health, especially in the case of diabetes prevention.Are you at risk for diabetes?

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Lowering Blood Sugar Through Diet

The most direct way to impact blood sugar levels is through healthy diet. Blood sugar or blood glucose is directly affected by the foods that we eat; carbohydrates are readily converted into glucose, entering the bloodstream and becoming blood sugar.

It’s important to make the right dietary choices to minimize the risk of high blood sugar, and potentially developing type 2 diabetes. Instead of a diet, think about these strategies as lifestyle changes.

Consume the Right Carbs

The body converts dietary carbs into glucose to be used as energy. Because carbs are so readily converted into glucose, foods high in carbohydrate have the largest impact on blood sugar levels (which normally increase after a high-carb meal). But when you consistently consume too much sugar, the pancreas will secrete extra insulin; and over time, it can’t produce enough to keep blood glucose at normal levels.

images of chickpeas, sweet potatoes and beans, the right carbs to consume

One way of maintaining healthy blood sugar is to simply eat the right type of carbohydrates.

Just like calories—not all carbs are created equal. Every source of carbohydrates has a Glycemic Index (GI), which is a ranking of carbohydrates in food relative to how blood glucose is affected. Carb sources with a GI index of 55 or less digest slowly, causing a lower and slower rise in blood glucose. Commonly, they’re referred to as “complex carbs.” Carb sources with a GI index closer to 100 are considered “simple carbs,” broken down quickly to be used as energy.

But what makes a carbohydrate complex or simple? Often, it’s how processed the food is.

More processed, sugary items have likely been stripped of all natural fiber, leaving it to be rapidly metabolized into glucose. Whole grains, on the other hand, will have a lower glycemic index (GI).

Consuming low GI carbohydrate sources may help manage blood sugar levels to stay within normal range.

Foods with a low glycemic index include meats, oats, beans, lentils, legumes, sweet potatoes, corn, yams, some fruits, and all non-starchy vegetables.

Consume Little or No Carbs

Instead of considering what types of carbs you’ll eat, another approach is to consume little-to-no carbs. Studies have shown that limiting carbohydrates is an effective strategy for improving glycemic control.6

Consuming very few (or zero) carbs and higher amounts of fat can control blood sugar and limit your glycemic response, which can help prevent diabetes.

There have been numerous instances in which diabetics have benefited from low carbohydrate diets. Andrew Koutnik, a graduate researcher at the University of South Florida found that type 1 diabetics were able to lower their blood sugar levels to normal range on a low carb diet.7 He says, “I simply took the foods in my diet with the highest elevation in blood glucose and replaced them with nutrient-dense fat sources.” His TED Talk provides anecdotal evidence of using low carbs to combat type 1 diabetes.

In 1976, another researcher named Bruce Bistrian discovered that seven cases of type 2 diabetes were reversed within one year on a low-calorie ketogenic diet, which employs a low-carb, high-fat eating regimen.8,9 Individuals on a ketogenic diet saw better improvements in health compared to a low-glycemic index diet.10

Increase Fiber Intake

Fiber can help you control blood sugar levels.

In diabetics, soluble fiber can slow the absorption of sugar and help improve blood sugar levels by controlling glucose and insulin spikes.11 If you have (or are at risk of) type 2 diabetes, introducing high-fiber foods into your diet may help control high blood sugar. Fiber will pass through your digestive tract and will not cause a large spike in blood sugar, and it has been shown to be helpful in managing type 2 diabetes.12

The national fiber recommendations for individuals over 50 is to consume 30g – 38g daily for men and 25g per day for women. Another guideline is to simply consume 14g of dietary fiber per every 1,000 calories in your diet. Try adding more fiber to your diet if you are looking to lower your blood sugar.

Count Calories and Monitor Food Intake

Being overweight or obese has been linked to high blood sugar and an increased risk of diabetes. Like it or not, one of the best ways to lose weight is through a caloric deficit, consuming less energy than you expend. A healthy weight has been proven to help lower blood sugar levels, thereby lowering your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.13

Ever been to a restaurant and got served a plate the size of your head? Portion control can be difficult, but today, when portion sizes seem to get bigger and bigger, it can be a method to help you lose weight. Although not as precise, studies have shown that portion control has been an effective way to help obese individuals lose weight.14

General “I’ll finish eating when I’m satisfied” portion control may work for some people, but precise methods will provide more consistent results.

Some of the best ways to make counting calories easier include:

  • Use a food scale: it can be difficult to accurately determine caloric intake without determining precise serving sizes
  • Use a food diary app: there are several free apps that will record calories and servings
  • Learn to read food labels: you should learn to read serving sizes to more accurately record meals in your food diary
  • Eat slower: studies have shown the speed at which you eat can have a direct effect on obesity, BMI, and waist circumference. Eating slower may prevent weight gain15

Counting calories and constantly monitoring food intake may be time-consuming, but it can pay dividends for weight loss, which means dividends for overall health.

Additional Ways to Lower Blood Sugar

Diet may be the most direct and obvious way to keep your weight within healthy levels and help you control blood sugar. In addition to diet, there are also other techniques to supplement your journey along the way.

Sleep More

It’s no secret adequate sleep is essential for overall health and well-being. Sleep can help lower stress, strengthen our immune system, and decrease blood pressure. Sleep is also important for mental function including: alertness, memory consolidation, mood regulation, and physical health.

Poor sleeping habits also affect blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity.

Slow wave sleep (SWS) is thought to be the most restorative sleep stage, as it affects hormonal changes. These hormones impact glucose regulation. Studies show when people do not get enough SWS, they have decreased levels of insulin sensitivity without an adequate compensatory increase in insulin release. This leads to an increased risk of diabetes due to reduced glucose tolerance.16 Reduced sleep quality may contribute to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

The benefits of a good night’s rest are important for maintaining hormonal balance and glucose regulation. But just how much sleep should you be getting? The amount of sleep required will differ depending upon age. For adults, seven to nine hours of sleep are recommended. At H.V.M.N., we know getting enough sleep is vital for performance. That’s why we developed Yawn—it’s our non-habit-forming sleep aid shown to decrease time it takes to get to sleep and improve sleep quality, leaving you feeling refreshed upon waking.17,18,19

Illustrations of a brain, a drop of blood in a shield, a blood pressure monitor and a brain, showing all the benefits of sleep

Drink Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has many benefits to overall health and wellness. Studies have suggested ingesting vinegar before sleeping may favorably impact waking glucose concentrations in people with type 2 diabetes.20

The everyday kitchen staple can influence the body’s response to sugar by improving insulin sensitivity, with studies indicating vinegar can improve postprandial insulin sensitivity in insulin-resistant subjects.21

An easy way to incorporate apple cider vinegar into your diet is by creating vinegar-based salad dressings. You can also mix two teaspoons into a glass of water and drink it that way. The use of apple cider vinegar is an inexpensive remedy to potentially improve blood sugar levels.

Exogenous Ketones

A low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet and the state of endogenous ketosis is a great way to bring blood sugar down over time. Focusing on consuming healthy fats, along with general carb restriction, will undoubtedly lower insulin and glucose.

Interestingly, exogenous ketones such as H.V.M.N. Ketone can also regulate blood sugar in the short term. But it doesn’t require weeks of dieting to get into ketosis, so the effects on blood sugar are fundamentally different, because the body can still consume carbs and be in ketosis with H.V.M.N. Ketone.

Studies have shown that H.V.M.N. Ketone lowers blood sugar and may even reduce the insulin spike if you consume carbs.22 Maybe it’s not just the macros of the food you don’t consume—maybe the food you do eat can have a direct blood-sugar lowering effect.

Exercising Regularly

Regular exercise in conjunction with a proper diet can help you maintain or lose weight. People with type 2 diabetes can benefit from aerobic exercise, because physical activity is effective for reducing visceral fat as well as liver adipose tissue.

A single bout of exercise can increase insulin sensitivity for up to sixteen hours through multiple adaptations in glucose transport and metabolism.23 When you exercise, blood sugar is more effectively used for energy and muscle contraction.

Exercise can come in several forms including walking, running, biking, swimming, boxing, and weight lifting. The most important part of exercise is making the time to do it.

Regularly Monitor Blood Sugar Levels

Regular monitoring of blood sugar levels will help determine where you stand. If you are pre-diabetic, it’s important to get levels down to normal range to prevent full diabetes from occurring.24 If you already have type 1 or type 2 diabetes you must regularly check and log blood sugar levels to prevent seizures or a diabetic coma.

If you are not pre-diabetic, type 1, or type 2, it is still important to check readings regularly. Blood sugar levels are fluid and always fluctuating. Based on test results, you can adjust your diet (or medication if applicable) to help regulate blood sugar levels.

There are different ways of checking blood sugar.

  • Fasting Plasma Glucose Monitoring: fasted glucose levels are considered the baseline, used to compare against times when sugar was ben consumed. In order to obtain fasted plasma glucose, don’t eat for twelve hours prior to measurement. Then, prick your finger and obtain a small drop of blood to be used on a test strip. The strip is then placed into a glucose meter that reads blood sugar levels. Normal fasted glucose levels range from 100 – 125. If your blood sugar is 126 or higher you may be at risk for diabetes or pre-diabetes.
  • Oral Glucose Tolerance Test: in this method, you are given a measured dose of glucose (approximately 75g) after taking the fasting glucose test. Blood is tested prior to the intake of glucose, immediately afterwards, and two hours later. The two hour measurement is most important. Normal range is considered blood glucose of less than 140. If your blood sugar is 140 – 199 after the second test, you may be at risk for pre-diabetes. If your blood sugar is 200 or higher after the second test, you could be at risk for diabetes.
  • Hemoglobin A1C: this method of blood sugar testing provides data over a three month period. As blood sugar levels are elevated over time, the sugar molecules will bind with the hemoglobin. Some of the sugar molecules will bind with the hemoglobin. The HbA1C tests determines the percentage of hemoglobin with bound glucose and is considered a much better measurement of long term glucose control. Using a percentage of glycosylated Hb, the HbA1C tests determine the percentage of hemoglobin with bound glucose. Hb A1C tests consider A1C levels of 4.5 – 5.6 range to be normal. An A1C test of 5.7 – 6.4 is considered pre-diabetic and 6.5 or higher is considered diabetic.

Glucose levels can vary significantly depending on many outstanding factors, like sleep and diet. It’s important to continually monitor levels on a regular basis to get a clearer picture of health.

Lowering Blood Sugar for Overall Health

Keeping your blood sugar within normal recommended ranges is important for overall health.

By effectively controlling these levels you are less likely to develop diabetes. Make smart lifestyle decisions, including practicing regular exercise along with having a proper diet. There is no excuse when it comes to your health. Stay healthy. Stay strong. Stay happy.

Contributed Post.

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Gallup Poll: 14% of Americans Use CBD

It may have taken almost a century to lift the prohibition on hemp, but it’s taken only a couple of years for the world to fall in love with cannabidiol (CBD). It hasn’t even been one full year since the non-psychoactive member of the cannabis family was declassified as a schedule 1 controlled substance. 

Now, a Gallup report finds that one in seven Americans use some form of CBD products. Let’s take an in-depth look at what Gallup found out about the 14% of Americans who use CBD, including where they live and what they use it for.

What is the Gallup CBD Poll About?

Gallup is a long-standing analytics and advisory board out of the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. Noted for their public opinion polls, Gallup has been cited by reputable sources penning articles on everything from current events to science to politics. Founded in 1935, this American institution has seen it all, including the first blow against hemp in the 1900s with the Marihuana Act of 1937. 

As 2018 drew to a close, an amended Farm Bill was signed into law. Under this legislature, hemp products became available from the Pacific to the Atlantic. Due to increased accessibility, CBD products are suspected to hit around the $22 billion mark by 2022. Naturally, these numbers caught the eyes of Gallup, prompting experts to conduct a survey on CBD usage in America.

This study was conducted from June 19, 2019, until July 27, 2019. 2,500 adults willingly participated in phone interviews with analysts. These discussions spanned a wide range of topics around the CBD industry. Here is what Gallup interviewers found. 

gallup poll American's use of cbd products

Image Source: Gallup

Who Uses CBD the Most?

The results are in. All age demographics use CBD in some fashion! Currently, the biggest proponent of CBD is the generation who has pushed the hardest to lift the prohibition. Almost 500 of the 2,500 surveyed fell within the 18 to 29 age bracket.

As the demographics aged, the number of people who used CBD decreased. 16% of adults in the 30 to 49 range stated they used CBD, while 11% of those between the ages of 50 and 64 also enjoyed the benefits of CBD. Lastly, just 8% of seniors 65 and over, turned to hemp-based products.

While seniors seem to be using the least amount of CBD, they are, interestingly enough, far more educated than the other age brackets. Only 42% of the seniors polled said they weren’t aware of CBD. Those numbers are in comparison to the 52% of those surveyed in the 50 to 64 and 30 to 49 age groups who claimed not to know much about CBD. Funny enough, the age group who knew the least about CBD were the 18 to 29 year-olds. 54% of them claimed to be unfamiliar with CBD products.

Where Do the Most CBD Users Live?

CBD is now available across all state lines. While there is a representation of CBD usage in each of the 50 states, some areas are more apt to use hemp-based products than others. Perhaps a given, the West represents the highest number of CBD users. With the first state to allow medical cannabis, California, plus cannabis hotspots like Colorado and Washington, this statistic shouldn’t come as a shock. 

21% of people who take CBD, come from the West. This area of the States seems to be a little more familiar with hemp-based living because the plant has been a part of their culture long before the rest of the country caught on. 

In what may perhaps be a shocking realization, the South had the second-highest number of CBD enthusiasts. 13% of the people who used the products came from below the Mason-Dixon line.

A gasp-worthy turn of events sees the East and Midwest tie for last place in the number of CBD users. Just 11% of CBD users come from these areas. What makes this statistic such a jaw-dropper is that this includes states where alternative forms of therapy are popular such as New York, Maine, and Massachusetts. 

Meanwhile, the Midwestern state, Kentucky, was the first state to regulate industrial hemp production. The state’s pilot program served as the prototype for the first Farm Bill amendment made by former President Obama back in 2008. 

What Do People Use CBD For?

Not only did Gallup find out who is using CBD and where they are living, but the analysts also pinpointed why people are turning toward hemp in the first place. An overwhelming majority of people are using CBD products to help with managing pain. 40% of people stated pain management was their number one reason for switching to hemp products. 

Anxiety came in at a distant second, bringing in 20% of the votes. However, finding alternative ways to handle mental distress is still a priority for CBD users. That’s why it still has quite a significant lead over the number three reason most people use CBD.

In third place, 11% of people surveyed claim that CBD helps as a natural sleep remedy for managing insomnia. 

Furthermore, some people use CBD for multiple reasons. Therefore, they voted for more than one option. That further drives home the versatility of CBD products. When it was all said and done, Gallup projected that 90% of people used CBD for therapeutic purposes. 

[RELATED ARTICLE: 5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress: CBD Can Help]

The Future of CBD

14% of people using a product that was virtually unknown a year ago is impressive. However, when you look at how many people are still uneducated about CBD, it shows there’s still a long way to go. As more people see their friends and family enjoying the potential benefits of CBD, the demand for hemp-based care will inevitably go through the roof.

Currently, CBD products are unregulated. The Department of Justice just handed off the oversight of hemp products to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). With the USDA regulating hemp cultivation, the next step of regulating CBD for the masses will be to get the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) involved.

At the moment, the FDA is still trying to calculate the most efficient, fair, and safest way to regulate CBD products. Officials are taking into consideration practices used when regulating supplements. Hopefully, CBD will be classified as a supplement in the very near future. 

With a change in classification, more research will be conducted, and analyses will be readily available. Naturally, the mainstream media will get a hold of this data and share it with media consumers. Undoubtedly, this shift in coverage on CBD products will have a monumental impact on the results of the Gallup poll. 

Where to Get CBD Now

While the FDA catches up to the 14%, you can still find high-quality CBD products. Just be sure to do your due diligence. Research the companies to make sure they are using the finest ingredients. Check to see if they participate in third-party lab testing. In an unregulated world, the more transparent a company is, the better you can feel about choosing their product. 

Contributed Post. Article originally posted on https://madebyhemp.com/

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Benefits & Drawbacks of CBD Dabs: What You Need to Know

Originally posted on AUGUST 8, 2019 in CBD NEWSHOW TO TAKE CBD

cbd dab benefits drawbacks

Those unfamiliar with dabbing are likely to associate it with stereotypical stoner culture or a millennial dance move. But in this context, dabbing is a method to consume CBD that’s quickly gaining popularity in the mainstream cannabis industry. Read on to learn more about this practice that’s taking the CBD industry by storm, and find out if it’s the right delivery method for you.

How to Dab CBD

Dabbing is the practice of inhaling small quantities of concentrated vapors, typically cannabis products like hemp or marijuana, which can come in the form of wax. There are two methods for dabbing CBD extracts.

The most simple way to dab CBD oil is through a CBD dab pen, which functions a lot like a standard vape pen, but is designed to work with non-liquid substances. Simply place a small amount of CBD wax on the dab pen’s coils and it will heat up the substance to create a vapor that can be inhaled through a mouthpiece.

Another more complicated way to dab CBD is with a dab rig. This is a device typically made up of a water pipe, a dome, a blowtorch, and a dab tool. Use the handheld blowtorch to heat up the bowl, then use a dab tool to place a small amount of CBD extract inside the nail, vaporizing the substance. Finally, inhale the vapor and place the dome on top of the nail to prevent vapor from escaping.

What is a CBD Dab?

The most commonly used CBD dabs are treated so that they crystallize and solidify. These concentrated substances are derived from a process that extracts compounds like THC, CBD, and terpenes out of hemp oil. The resulting substances come in varying forms, the most common being wax, a sticky concentrate. Other similar CBD concentrates are budder, crumble, shatter, pull-and-snap, and honeycomb.

Beyond their texture and consistency, there aren’t many differences between these substances. Their texture is determined by how much moisture they hold, and how agitated they are during the extraction process. As their names suggest, “budder” is creamy and butter-like, while “crumble” has a crumbly texture. “Shatter” is transparent and glass-like, while “honeycomb” has a soft, honeycomb-like texture. “Pull-and-snap” extracts are taffy-like, and usually snap when stretched or bent.

Though most CBD oils cannot be used for dabbing, CBD dab oil is highly concentrated and designed specifically for dabbing. With a thick dark gold liquid, it’s also referred to as honey oil. Another dabbed substance is the CBD crystal, or isolate, which is a highly purified substance that is tasteless and odorless.

[Related Article: Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum, Isolate, & PCR: Decoding the Difference]

What are the Benefits of Dabbing CBD Wax?

If you’re familiar with CBD products, you probably know that they’re a lot cleaner than smoked cannabis. Smoking cannabis produces resin and smoke. Extracts do away with most of these toxins while still delivering the benefits of cannabinoids. CBD dabs can be derived from hemp, the non-intoxicating and legal variety of cannabis, for those who do want the benefits of CBD without getting high.

CBD products are more commonly ingested orally or applied topically. It takes some time to feel the effect of edible CBD, as opposed to dabbing, where CBD wax vapor is able to quickly enter the bloodstream within 5 minutes. CBD dabbing is also considered a very bioavailable method, which means that much of the CBD content enters the bloodstream quickly.

According to research, only 13-19% of orally-consumed CBD makes it into the bloodstream. With dabs, they’re believed to significantly increase that absorption rate, meaning users need to consume more to get the same effect of CBD dabs. While that would explain the stronger effects experienced with dabbing, we haven’t found reliable studies to prove that fact yet.

[Related Article: What is the Bioavailability of CBD?]

Compared to vaping, dabbing is more effective as it uses a much more potent form of CBD. Vape oils are blended with several ingredients to create a liquid substance while dabbing uses pure CBD extract.

People who suffer from soreness, anxiousness, and trouble sleeping but have not felt much relief from vaping may have more success with dabbing. Many also prefer the flavor of dabbed CBD to vapes, as they’re quite flavorful. However, people who are new to dabbing should be prepared for stronger effects as compared to other CBD products.

While some dabs contain extremely high levels of THC, a pure CBD isolate extracted from industrial hemp only has trace levels of THC, up to 0.3%, if that. This means their consumption won’t lead to addiction or other intoxicating effects, making dabbing ideal for people who want relief and soothing benefits without getting high. If you’re buying from a dispensary, make sure to ask questions and for a lab test about the THC content so you know exactly what you’re purchasing.

What are the Drawbacks of CBD Dabbing?

Most of the dangers of dabbing revolve around extraction. Though the process is quite complicated, many amateurs try extracting their own dabs, which can lead to contaminated finished products and even explosions. Therefore, it’s best to leave the extracting to the professionals and always buy from a reputable company.

Apart from the extraction, CBD dabbing is quite safe, although it’s not as accessible as, say CBD edibles. Most of the health risks linked with dabbing are related to the excessive-high that some people get when dabbing marijuana. However, hemp-derived CBD has very little amounts of THC, so it doesn’t get you high, and side effects are quite mild, such as fatigue.

Some say that the effects of CBD dabbing don’t last as long as orally consumed CBD. While the effects of swallowing CBD can last up to seven hours, the effects of inhaling vapor typically only last two to three hours. Also, for many new users, working with a blowtorch may seem daunting. If conventional dab rigs are too intimidating or off-putting, using a dab pen or electric nails is a great workaround.

Because dabbing is a fairly new practice, there are many misconceptions around the practice, especially when a person is using a dabbing rig with a blowtorch. But CBD dabs derived from hemp containing less than .3% THC are legal in all 50 states. Still, CBD dabs can be hard to find in states where recreational marijuana isn’t legal.

How Much CBD Wax Should You Use?

Different CBD extracts have different potencies, so it’s always good to know how concentrated your CBD dab is. Generally, it’s recommended to start small and see how your body reacts. Most CBD dab users use 1-2 crumb-sized pieces per dose. Though it doesn’t look like much, note that these substances are very potent. Start with a very small serving, then add more if you feel like your body can take it.

Do take into account that alcohol-based extracts should never be smoked or dabbed, as they’re designed for oral consumption. Only dab extracts that are specifically intended for that purpose. 

Contributed Post. Article originally posted on https://madebyhemp.com/

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