Digestive Support from Top to Bottom

My Interview with Neil E. Levin

Neil E. Levin

Digestive Health

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Digestive complaints are one of the most common health issues. Common digestive problems include poor digestion, upset stomach, acid stomach, irritable bowel, gas, constipation, diarrhea, allergies, and probiotic imbalances. Those are the common ones. More serious digestive issues include Crohn’s, C-diff infections, leaky-gut, Celiac disease, and so on. The number of people who chronically use acid-blocking drugs is skyrocketing. The long term use of these medications has profound nutritional consequences.

This is not about treating any disease. For any medical condition always work with your doctor. Supplements are the delivery system for nutrients. Nutrients nourish the body. Nutrients are not drugs and drugs are not nutrients. Don’t confuse the two. The point is that there is a lot that you can do by using the proper nutrients whether or not you are being treated medically.

Digestive Issues
In this interview Neil E. Levin discusses the challenges throughout the digestive tract. It’s important to have as clear an understanding of your situation as you can. The more you understand the more likely you will be to find an effective solution. Neil explains some of the distinctions between problems and discusses which nutrients you can consider. Remember the best products are the ones that work best for you so be open to experimentation.

The first thing is to examine your diet. Are your foods or certain foods bothering you? Are you bothered when you eat protein, or fats, or dairy or wheat or sugar or acid foods, etc.? You need to be a nutritional detective and analyze what is not working correctly. You may have to alter your diet or consider an elimination diet as part of your process. One aspect to your diet should be “conscious eating” which includes how you eat as well as what you eat.

Health Conditions
Do you have food allergies or sensitivities? You can do allergy testing when indicated. 90% of all food allergies occur with these eight foods: wheat, milk, egg, nuts, peanuts, fish, shell fish and soy. There are also delayed allergies and gluten intolerance. Work with your doctor if you face these issues.

If you are being treated by a doctor do you feel he/she has a good understanding of your issues? Are you taking medications? Do you understand what the medications are doing? How are they helping? Are there side effects or contra-indications you should consider? Your pharmacist may be your best resource for questions about medications.

Stomach Issues
Neil discusses the various common issues and how nutrition can assist. For example, he explains that while many people have too much stomach acid, others have too little. The challenge is that they have similar symptoms. Neil explains how to tell the difference. You want to know if you have too little acid before you take acid blocking medications. Ask yourself: how do acid foods affect you? Can you tolerate vinegar, lemon juice, etc.? Do you feel better or worse when consuming acid foods? If you need acid to feel better and have better digestion, then you may benefit from hydrochloric acid (HCl) supplements.* If you are low in stomach acid you may not digest proteins well or break down minerals. If you have too much stomach acid occasionally you may benefit from natural buffering formulas.



Neil explains the importance of digestive enzymes. If your body does not produce enough digestive enzymes to break down food you will likely feel worse when you eat. Stomach distress can include gas, bloating, and poor digestion. Different enzymes digest different classes of foods. Pay attention to what does not digest well. There are enzymes for protein, fats, carbs, fiber, dairy, gluten and so on. You can easily take digestive enzymes with every meal. Sometimes this is all people need to promote normal G.I. health.* If you need enzymes you will likely notice the difference very soon, even the first time you use them. There are differences between plant-derived and animal-derived enzymes. For example, pancreatic enzymes can be found in supplements that may aid your digestion.*

Bitter Herbs
Neil discusses the value of bitter herbs. The use of bitters has been around for a long time. Bitter herbs stimulate the production of digestive juices.* For some people this may be sufficient.

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Probiotics are the hottest topic in the digestive category. The variations in probiotic supplements are overwhelming. Not all probiotics are equally good and effective. There is a lot to consider when choosing a probiotic. Choose quality products with a history then experiment until you find the one that works best for you. Neil covered probiotics in a general way and specifically for respiratory issues in a previous interview. Listen to that interview.

Gall Bladder and Bile Issues
Many people who no longer have a gall bladder may have problems digesting fats. There are fat digesting enzymes that should be considered; some provide bile, as well.

Bowel issues
Intestinal problems can include constipation, diarrhea, irritation, leaky gut, gas, and other more serious challenges. Again, for medical help see your doctor. There are many natural products that can be helpful at this stage. Probiotics may be the single most important.*

Listen to all of Neil’s interviews. Here is a link to the list.

About Neil E. Levin, CCN, DANLA
Neil E. Levin is the Senior Nutrition Education Manager and a product formulator for NOW®. He is a board-certified clinical nutritionist with a diplomat in advanced nutritional laboratory assessment. The U.S. Natural Products Association (NPA) presented Neil its Industry Champion Award in 2008 for “people who have made notable individual contributions to the natural products industry above and beyond what is expected to achieve commercial success.” Neil’s interviews and articles are published in magazines and newspapers. He has been featured in many radio interviews and television news reports. Neil blogs at www.honestnutrition.com; is on Facebook (Honest Nutrition) and Twitter (neilelevin).


Fermentation helps release the full nutritional value of plants.

My interview with Yolanda Fenten

Herbs & Plants

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Yolanda FentenFermented foods have been part of the human diet for thousands of years. People  have developed fermented foods and we now have access to these amazing foods from around the world. Analysis of ancient clay pots suggests people started making fermented beverages nearly 10,000 years ago. It is estimated that about 1/3 of all foods and beverages consumed globally are fermented.

You are likely already consuming fermented foods than you realize. Some common fermented foods include yogurt, beer and wine, vinegar, tempeh, sauerkraut, pickles, olives, kefir, kimchi, kombucha, miso and sourdough bread. There are others. Fermented foods are easy to digest and they are gentle on the stomach. Almost any food can be fermented. In this interview Yolanda Fenten we discuss the value of fermented foods. We also discuss Natural Factors Whole Earth & Sea 100% Organic Fermented Greens and Protein. 

Reasons to Go Fermented

  • Fermented foods taste good and add variety, flavor and improved nutritional status.
  • Fermented foods have increased levels of vitamins and minerals. 
  • Fermented foods increase phytonutrient levels and improves absorption.
  • Fermented foods increase the absorbability of plant proteins by up to 40%
  • Fermented carbs may be easier to digest

Potential Health Benefits of Fermented Foods

  • Fermented foods support gut health.*
  • Fermented foods support a healthy inflammation response*
  • Fermented foods support cardiovascular health*
  • Fermented foods support emotional and cognitive health*
  • Fermented foods aid in detoxification*
  • Fermented foods can guard against harmful bacteria*

The Power of Fermentation: To learn more you can download the free e-guide.

If you are a regular listener of HealthQuestPodcast.com, you already know that I am a fan of Natural Factors. When I talk about first finding the good companies, Natural Factors is one of those exceptional companies. I am excited about their fermented greens and proteins. So I want to know more and here’s what I learned.

Whole Earth & Sea 100% Fermented Greens and Fermented Greens and Protein. 

These products feature a grass, vegetable and herbs blend that is mostly grown at Factor Farms in the beautiful Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, Canada. I have a previous interview with Rob Yelland of Natural Factors where we discussed the Factors Organic Farm and the amazing efforts that go into creating their products.

  • Step 1 – Organic Ingredients – Non-GMO grasses, fruits, vegetables, legumes, herbs and mushrooms. Hand harvested at the peak of nutritional value.
  • Step 2 – Preserving the nutritional value. After harvesting, the plants are processed by a unique method EnviroSimplex. This cultures, protects and concentrates the plants and protects the delicate phytonutrients and enzymes. 1 scoop equals 8 servings of fruits and vegetables.
  • Step 3 – Fermentation. The plants are fermented in controlled environment using traditional methods. Clinically studied probiotic strains and organic molasses facilitates fermentation.
  • Step 4 – Pasteurization. Fermentation is stopped with a brief burst of flash heat. This ensures food safety and does not harm plant nutrients.
  • Step 5 – Quality Control and Third Party Certification. All products are tested to ensure purity and potency. Products are third-party tested by ISURA, which test for up to 500 protential contaminants. This testing confirms the products are free of GMOs, pesticides and other undesirable and unwanted substances.
  • Step 6 – Packaging. Bottles are made of 100% post consumer recyclable materials. Bottles are completely recyclable and certified BPA-free.

Each serving is equal to 8 servings of fruits and vegetables. WOW.

These are not easy things to do. These are best practices and most expensive. Most companies selling greens and proteins don’t do half of these important things. What Naturals Factors does as a company should give you great confidence in their products. These are excellent benchmarks by which you can judge other companies. Consumers need to hold companies to the highest standards. If you care about the quality of the products you consume, you must vet the companies whose products you purchase. The best companies go far above the minimum standard. They also want the consumer to understand and appreciate the distinctions. Natural Factors is one of those top-tier companies that you can trust.

Here is the list of all Natural Factors Interviews. At this point there are over 15 interviews many different topics. 

About Yolanda Fenten,

Yolanda Fenton, BSc, is Director of Product Development for Natural Factors. She has spent 24 years in the nutraceutical and supplement industry advancing product development and education. Her focus and passion for spotting product trends has helped to direct the dynamic evolution and growth of Natural Factors.Natural Factors

About Natural Factors

With more than 55 years in business, the independent, family-owned company has created a vertically integrated operation that delivers true “farm-to-supplement” quality. This commitment ensures a rare level of control over every stage of production, from cultivating herbs, vegetables and grasses on more than 1,000 acres of its own organic farmland to on-site extraction, testing, encapsulation, packaging and distribution of its supplements. Natural Factors’ vertically integrated approach clearly demonstrates transparency and integrity, high values for today’s consumers who want to trust the quality, efficacy and value of supplements.





295 – Is Your CBD Safe and Effective? What to Look For.

FacebookLinkedinTwitterGoogle+Print – PDF – Emailhttp://traffic.libsyn.com/healthquestpodcast/295_HQPC_Stuart_Tomc_CVS_CBD.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 50:05 — 91.8MB)Traceability, Transparency, Credibility, Science-Based My Interview with Stuart Tomc These are just a few of the key components to consider when evaluating any product or company. I have preached this many times: In order to find the best products, you have […]

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294 – Nutritional Support for Healthy Blood Pressure

This is an important interview on a couple of levels. First because Dr. Jaffe stresses the importance on nutrition, diet and lifestyles for healthy blood pressure and as a first line defense. Secondly he discusses some of the deficiencies in the medical approach of controlling blood pressure with pharmaceutical drugs and the failure of many doctors to consider the lifestyle factors. In this interview we will discuss how to maintain a healthy blood pressure by lifestyle choices before turning to pharmaceutical drugs.

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293 – The Benefits of Biochem Science by Nature Whey Protein

More consumers are seeking to boost protein consumption and whey protein is perhaps the most popular and for good reasons. We use protein powders in our home and we have found that whey protein is our preferred source of supplemental protein.
One of the great advantages that we have now as consumers is that nutritional science continues to evolve and wonderful products based on that science are widely available.

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292 – Astaxanthin: Nature’s Most Potent Antioxidant for Skin

Skin is our largest organ and our first line of defense against environmental exposures like damaging UV rays, pollutants and microbes that can leave skin feeling dry and showing fine lines. Topical applications, like serums and creams, reach the surface of the skin but can’t get down into the deeper layers that contribute to skin’s elasticity and nourishment. Taking astaxanthin orally promotes healthy skin from the inside out.

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291 – Nutritional Support for Auto Immune Issues – My Interview with Laurel Sterling

I have a strong personal interest in this topic. I have reported on this frequently because my wife, Debbie has been challenged with Rheumatoid Arthritis for over 40 years. In her case it was severe. She left her job as a teacher in 1989 and never was able to go back to work. She spent the next 15 years just trying to survive day to day by consuming 8 narcotic Darvocet doses each day. Those were tough days. So we personally know the challenge of auto immune breakdown. I have great empathy for those who suffer and their families. Our lives were turned around in 2003. There were two thing that changed her course in the most dramatic ways, drugs and nutrition.

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290 – Thyme Extract for Acne, Eczema and More – My Interview with Andrew Klenert

Thyme Out is effective and fast alternative for Eczema, Psoriasis, Acne, Dermatitis, Rosacea, Cold Sores, Pet Rashes, Bug Bites, Fungus, Poison Ivy, Any Skin Inflammation! This is a pretty impressive claim. That’s what I first thought when I learned about Thyme Out Skin Remedy. My second thought was “how do we know that those are the benefits of Thyme extract?” So I discovered the answer in conversations with Andrew Klenert. You’ll learn the answer as well in this interview with Andrew.

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289 – Nutritional Support for Eye Health – My Interview with Anthony Thomas

In this interview with Anthony Thomas, we are discussing what are called “macular carotenoids”. Studies have shown that increasing the consumption of macular carotenoids significantly improved serum levels with the benefits as noted above. The macular carotenoids are lutein, zeaxanthin, and mesozeaxanthin. We will also consider the benefits of astaxanthin. In this discussion we will consider the benefits of trademarked, branded, clinically studied nutrients.

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288 – The Nutritional Power of Green Foods – My Interview with James LaValle

Greens and sprouted foods have been a part of the human diet for thousands of years. The animals consumed for food also consumed green grasses and leaves. The insects consumed green plants. In the ocean, krill eat green algae, sardines eat krill and so on up the food chain. It all starts with energy from the sun becoming plants on the land and algae in the ocean. These greens eventually become the omega-3 fatty acids that are so important. This is one reason why grass fed beef is better than grain fed beef.  It’s one reason why wild ocean fish are better than farm raised fish. It’s one reason why we are encouraged to eat green foods.

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