green salad with walnuts and greens

The Anti-Inflammatory Diet: Addressing Inflammation Through The Diet

The Anti-Inflammatory Diet: Addressing Inflammation Through The Diet

Kayla Robinson headshot

by Kayla Robinson

Inflammation, a crucial biological process (1) regulated by our innate immune system, is most commonly associated with symptoms such as pain, swelling, redness, and heat resulting from injury or cell damage. However, the inflammatory response and healing process actually involves a balance between pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory mechanisms that allow our bodies to repair and recover.

The pro-inflammatory response, known as classical inflammation, is an acute mechanism characterized by cellular destruction and common symptoms of pain, swelling, redness, and heat. The anti-inflammatory mechanism, on the other hand, is responsible for the repair and regeneration of cells, helping the body return to homeostasis. (14)

While the acute inflammatory response is normal and essential to the healing process, chronic or “silent” inflammation, in which the pro-inflammatory response persists at a low level below the pain threshold, has been associated with several chronic health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, inflammatory bowel conditions, arthritis, cancer, and diabetes. (3)(5) The anti-inflammatory diet has been proposed as a promising therapeutic approach to targeting chronic inflammation and associated health conditions.

Anti-inflammatory nutrition: the role of diet in the inflammatory response

In the past several years, we have seen changes in dietary patterns that may contribute to inflammation and an increase in inflammatory conditions. Three specific dietary trends linked to the increase in silent inflammation include:

  • An increased intake of refined carbohydrates;
  • Increased consumption of omega-6 fatty acids; and
  • A decreased consumption of omega-3 fatty acids (14)

Furthermore, research focusing on the role of diet in inflammation and disease has identified foods and nutrients that affect inflammatory pathways and therefore, modulate levels of inflammation in the body. (9)(13)

This has led to the belief that an anti-inflammatory diet, incorporating an abundance of anti-inflammatory foods and restricting the intake of pro-inflammatory foods, may be a promising approach to targeting inflammation in the body.

Components of an anti-inflammatory diet

The anti-inflammatory diet focuses on the consumption of anti-inflammatory nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids and an abundance of phytonutrient-rich plant-based foods, such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, and whole grains. The diet also restricts the intake of potentially pro-inflammatory foods, such as refined carbohydrates and saturated or trans-fats. (6)

In addition, the glycemic load (GL) and the composition of omega fatty acids in the diet can impact inflammation. Therefore, two of the most important aspects of the anti-inflammatory diet include maintaining a stable glycemic response and a healthy ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids. (5)(11)

avocado, nuts, oils, and leafy greens

The anti-inflammatory diet focuses on the consumption of anti-inflammatory nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids and an abundance of phytonutrient-rich plant-based foods.

Plant-based foods

The effects of an anti-inflammatory diet may be attributed in part to a high intake of plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, which are associated with a lower risk of inflammation. Certain bioactive plant compounds, such as carotenoids and flavonoids, appear to be involved in the modulation of inflammatory and immune processes. (9)(16) In particular, flavonoids, found primarily in plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, cocoa, and wine, may target inflammation in a number of ways and are shown to have modulatory effects on inflammatory cytokines and C-reactive protein (CRP) concentrations. (9)


The quality of dietary carbohydrates appears to be a determinant of their inflammatory potential. While the consumption of whole grains is a component of the anti-inflammatory diet, refined carbohydrates, such as white flours and sugars, have been associated with increased levels of inflammation. This greater inflammatory potential may be a result of their effect on the glycemic response. Ingestion of refined carbohydrates, typically lower in nutrients and fiber, results in an increased glycemic response, classifying them as high glycemic index (GI) foods.

High GI foods are a significant dietary factor contributing to inflammation. (8)(14) One study of individuals with type 2 diabetes examined the effects of the glycemic index on body composition, inflammation, and metabolic markers. Reductions in body fat and prevention of negative metabolic and inflammatory markers were noted in individuals following a low GI diet when compared to baseline and individuals following a high GI diet. (7)

As high GI carbohydrates appear to contribute to inflammation, carbohydrates included in an anti-inflammatory diet should be composed of non-starchy, low-glycemic vegetables, fruit, and whole grains. These foods provide a high content of polyphenols and help to maintain stable blood sugar and insulin levels between meals. In addition, overeating should be avoided as excess calories in a meal can also raise blood glucose and insulin levels. (14)

green salad with walnuts and greens

Adding walnuts to your diet can be a great source of omega 3!


Research has shown that the composition of dietary fat in an individual’s diet can also promote or prevent inflammation in the body. There is some evidence that saturated fats, primarily found in animal products, may promote inflammation by binding to the transmembrane protein TLR-4, leading to the activation of the NF-κB pathway and production of inflammatory cytokines. (14)

While saturated fats may play a part in inflammation, much of the research focuses on the role of omega fatty acids, specifically the ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. It was found that the balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can affect the eicosanoid formation and the expression of inflammatory genes. (13) Eicosanoids are bioactive signaling lipids involved in the inflammatory response. They are typically produced from arachidonic acid (4), a polyunsaturated fatty acid primarily found in animal foods such as meat, fish, and eggs. (15) Arachidonic acid can also be produced from linoleic acid (12), which is the primary fatty acid found in vegetable oils, such as corn, soy, and sunflower oil. (14)

While omega-6 fatty acids are essential to body functions, the ratio between omega-3 and omega-6 is imperative as research has shown higher blood ratios of AA/EPA is correlated with greater levels of silent inflammation in the body. (5) Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), omega-3 fatty acids, well-known for their anti-inflammatory effects, have been shown to partly inhibit inflammatory mechanisms, including the production of eicosanoids derived from arachidonic acid. These omega-3 fatty acids also produce eicosanoids with lower biological potency and anti-inflammatory resolvins and protectins. (2)

EPA and DHA are primarily found in seafood, particularly fatty fish, such as mackerel, salmon, sardines, and anchovies. Other plant-based foods like flax seeds and walnuts provide ALA, which can be converted to small amounts of EPA and DHA in the body. (10)


An anti-inflammatory diet is also characterized by reductions of inflammatory arachidonic acid-rich animal proteins. However, even individuals adhering to a vegetarian diet may produce excess AA if they are consuming large amounts of omega-6 fatty acids and carbohydrates with high glycemic indexes. (14) Furthermore, as the insulin response is largely connected to inflammation, the balance of protein and the glycemic load of a meal is essential to preventing unhealthy fluctuations in blood glucose. (13)

The anti-inflammatory food pyramid can be used as a general guideline when planning your diet.

Anti-inflammatory food list


  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Herbs and spices
  • Whole grains
  • Healthy fats and oils
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Beans and legumes
  • Fatty fish


  • Meat
  • Eggs
  • Dairy
  • Vegetable oils (unprocessed)


  • Refined carbohydrates
  • Processed fats and oils
  • Other processed foods

Download our guide to the anti-inflammatory diet.

The bottom line

The key to a successful anti-inflammatory diet is to regulate blood glucose levels and focus your diet on anti-inflammatory plant-based foods and omega-3 fatty acids. To learn more about the anti-inflammatory diet and find out if its right for you, be sure to consult an integrative healthcare practitioner for guidance.

If you are a practitioner, consider signing up to Fullscript. If you are a patient, talk to your healthcare practitioner about Fullscript!

  1. Bordoni, A., Danesi, F., Dardevet, D., Dupont, D., Fernandez, A.S., Gille, D., … Vergères, G. (2017). Dairy products and inflammation: A review of the clinical evidence. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 57(12), 2497-2525.
  2. Calder, P.C. (2013). Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and inflammatory processes: nutrition or pharmacology? British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 75(3), 645-62.
  3. Chen, L., Deng, H., Cui, H., Fang, J., Zuo, Z., Deng, J., … Zhao, L. (2018). Inflammatory responses and inflammation-associated diseases in organs. Oncotarget, 9(6), 7204–7218.
  4. Dennis, E.A., & Norris, P.C. (2015). Eicosanoid storm in infection and inflammation. Nature Reviews Immunology, 15(8), 511–523.
  5. Galland, L. (2010). Diet and inflammation. Nutrition in Clinical Practice, 25, 634-640.
  6. Giugliano, D., Ceriello , A., & Esposito, K. (2006). The effects of diet on inflammation: Emphasis on the metabolic syndrome. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 48(4).
  7. Gomes, J.M.G., Fabrini, S.P., & Alfenas, R.C.G. (2017). Low glycemic index diet reduces body fat and attenuates inflammatory and metabolic responses in patients with type 2 diabetes. The Archives of Endocrinology and Metabolism, 61(2),137-144.
  8. Kim, Y., Chen, J., Wirth, M.D., Shivappa, N., & Hebert, J.R. (2018). Lower dietary inflammatory index scores are associated with lower glycemic index scores among college students. Nutrients, 10(2), 182.
  9. Minihane, A.M., Vinoy, S., Russell, W.R., Baka, A., Roche, H.M., Tuohy, K.M., … Calder, P.C. (2015). Low-grade inflammation, diet composition and health: current research evidence and its translation. British Journal of Nutrition, 114(7), 999–1012.
  10. National Institute of Health. (2018). Omega-3 fatty acids. Retrieved from
  11. Ricker, M. A., & Haas, W. C. (2017). Anti-inflammatory diet in clinical practice: A review. Nutrition in Clinical Practice, 32(3), 318-325.
  12. Sanders, T.A.B. (2016). Introduction: The role of fats in human diet. Functional Dietary Lipids, 2016, 1-20.
  13. Sears, B. (2010). Anti-inflammatory diets. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 34(Suppl 1),14-21.
  14. Sears, B., & Ricordi, C. (2011). Anti-inflammatory nutrition as a pharmacological approach to treat obesity. Journal of Obesity, 2011, 1-14.
  15. Taber, L., Chiu, C.H., & Whelan, J. (1998). Assessment of the arachidonic acid content in foods commonly consumed in the American diet. Lipids, 33(12), 1151-7.
  16. Watzl, B. (2008). Anti-inflammatory effects of plant-based foods and of their constituents. International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research, 78(6), 293-8.

daily-like flowers

Headache Prevention Protocol: A Resource for Practitioners

Headache Prevention Protocol: A Resource for Practitioners


by Fullscript’s Integrative Medical Advisory Team

Approximately one out of every six Americans struggle with migraine headaches. The statistic is even higher for women, with one in five women reporting a migraine over a 3-month period. (4) Unfortunately, there is no known medical cure for migraines. (10) Current medications used for prevention include antiepileptic drugs, such as topiramate (17) and valproate (18), antidepressants such as amitriptyline, β-blockers, and calcium channel antagonists. (14) Dietary supplements such as butterbur, feverfew, and magnesium, which will be discussed later, have also been shown to be effective preventative measures against migraines.

What is a migraine?

Migraines are a chronic health condition that involve episodic headaches and associated symptoms. (14) Migraine attacks can range from 4 to 72 hours with symptoms ranging from mild to debilitating. Chronic migraines are distinguished from episodic migraines when the patient has migraine headaches occurring more than 15 days per month. (11)

man holding his head in pain

As there is no cure for migraines, treatment focuses on prevention and acute symptom treatment.

What are the signs and symptoms?

A migraine attack involves several phases. In most patients, it begins with prodrome or premonitory symptoms, which include tiredness, mood changes, gastrointestinal symptoms, and sensitivity to light and sound. (5)(15)

The next phase is characterized by neurological symptoms. The International Headache Society has classified two major types of migraine that present with different neurological symptoms:

Migraine without aura – The headache lasts between 4 and 72 hours. The patient can experience nausea and/or vomiting, photophobia (sensitivity of the eyes to light), and phonophobia (a fear or aversion to sounds). In addition, the headache itself exhibits at least two of the following characteristics: unilateral location, pulsating quality, moderate or severe pain, and/or aggravation by routine physical activity. (11)

Migraine with aura – Involves central nervous system symptoms that develop gradually and may be followed by a headache and other migraine symptoms. The patient experiences at least one of the following aura symptoms: visual, sensory, speech, motor, brainstem, and/or retinal symptoms. (11) The aura phase overlaps with the headache itself. (5)

Once the headache subsides with either of these migraine types, some sufferers will still experience migraine symptoms referred to as the postdromal phase. (5)

Risk factors and triggers

Risk factors for chronic migraines include:

  • Overusing migraine medication
  • Ineffective acute treatment
  • Depression
  • Stressful life events
  • Having a lower educational status
  • Being female (22)
  • Being either obese or underweight (12)

Migraine triggers can be challenging to pinpoint as they may vary between individuals. Tracking personal data, including triggers and symptoms, can be used to identify an individual’s specific migraine triggers. Some of the studied trigger factors include:

  • Fasting or not eating in time (21)(31)
  • Sleep disturbances (21)(31)
  • Alcohol (21)(26)
  • Premenstrual periods in women (21)(31)
  • Weather changes, specifically low barometric pressure (21)
  • The time after stress when the relaxation or “letdown” occurs (21)(26)(31)

Integrative protocol for headaches

Butterbur (Petasites hybridus)

Butterbur is a perennial shrub from the daisy family, Asteraceae, whose root can be used for preventative treatment of migraines. (20) The plant itself contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PA), which are known to be hepatotoxic. However, certain butterbur extracts are found to be alkaloid-free and therefore, do not pose the same risks. (2)

Recommended dosage:
100-150 mg, total per day, minimum 12 weeks (13)(19)

Research findings:

  • Petasites hybridus is well-tolerated and is recommended as an alternative for prophylactic treatment in migraine patients (1)(8)(13)(19)
  • A 50% to 68% decrease in frequency of migraine attacks was observed (1)(8)(13)(19)

US: Search for Petasites hybridus in the Fullscript catalog.
CAN: Search for Petasites hybridus in the Fullscript catalog.

butterbut plant

Butterbur root extract has been found to be safe for migraine prevention.

Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium)

Feverfew is a perennial plant native to Europe, North America, and South America. The aerial parts of the plant (leaves, flowers, and stems) are used in herbal supplements. (24) The chemical constituents of the plant include sesquiterpene lactones, flavonoids, and volatile oils. Supplementing with feverfew has been shown to be safe, with only mild adverse effects being reported, such as inflammation of the tongue or oral mucosa. (25)

Recommended dosage:
50-100 mg, total per day, minimum 8 weeks (29)

Research findings:

  • Feverfew has been shown to be beneficial in the prevention of migraines (9)(30)
  • Migraine frequency, severity, and degree of vomiting was shown to be reduced (7)(23)(28)
  • Although shown to be safe, Tanacetum parthenium possesses cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibition activity; long-term use could be of concern (7)(9)(23)(28)(30)

US: Search for Tanacetum parthenium in the Fullscript catalog.
CAN: Search for Tanacetum parthenium in the Fullscript catalog.

daily-like flowers

Feverfew has daisy-like flowers and commonly grows in gardens or along roadsides.


Magnesium is an abundant mineral required by over 300 enzymes involved in many physiological processes in the body. Magnesium is present in drinking water and in foods such as leafy green vegetables, grains, nuts, and legumes. Food processing and cooking, specifically boiling, can lower the magnesium content in food. Low magnesium status has been linked to adverse clinical outcomes, including diabetes, hypertension, coronary heart disease, osteoporosis, and migraines. (32)

Recommended dosage:
600 mg, total per day of magnesium citrate, minimum 12 weeks (16)(27)(33)

Research findings:

  • A reduction in the intensity and number of migraine attacks was observed when a high level of magnesium is administered (600 mg qd) (27)(33)
  • An increase in cortical blood flow in the insular regions, inferolateral frontal and inferolateral temporal was observed after magnesium treatment (16)
  • Intravenous magnesium has been shown to decrease acute migraine attacks within 15 minutes to 24 hours after the initial administration (3)(6)
  • High dose of magnesium is well-tolerated, however, adverse events including diarrhea and gastric irritation have been noted (27)(33)

US: Search for Magnesium citrate in the Fullscript catalog.
CAN: Search for Magnesium citrate in the Fullscript catalog.

woman leaning back on her couch with both hands behind her head, resting

Migraine frequency can be reduced with the prophylactic supplements butterbur, feverfew, and magnesium.

The bottom line

Incorporating these dietary supplements into your prophylactic treatment plans may help migraine sufferers reduce the frequency and severity of migraine attacks. A protocol using dietary supplements can be used therapeutically on its own or as an adjunct to existing treatment. If you are not an integrative healthcare provider, we recommend speaking with one to learn whether these supplements are right for your wellness plan.


The Fullscript Integrative Medical Advisory team has developed or collected these protocols from practitioners and supplier partners to help health care practitioners make decisions when building treatment plans. By adding this protocol to your Fullscript template library, you understand and accept that the recommendations in the protocol are for initial guidance and may not be appropriate for every patient.

  1. Agosti, R., Duke, R. K., Chrubasik, J. E., Chrubasik, S. (2006). Effectiveness of Petasites hybridus preparations in the prophylaxis of migraine: a systematic review. Phytomedicine, 13(9-10), 743-6.
  2. Aydin, A. A., Zerbes, V., Parlar, H., & Letzel, T. (2013). The medical plant butterbur (Petasites): Analytical and physiological (re)view. Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis, 75, 220-229.
  3. Bigal, M. E., Bordini, C. A., & Speciali, J. G. (2002). Arquivos de Neuro-Psiquiatria, 60(2-B), 406-9.
  4. Burch, R., Rizzoli, P., Loder, E. (2018). The prevalence and impact of migraine and severe headache in the United States: figures and trends from government health studies. Headache, 58(4), 496-505.
  5. Charles, A. (2013). The evolution of a migraine attack – a review of recent evidence. Headache, 53(2), 413-9.
  6. Chiu, H. Y., Yeh, T. H., Huang, Y. C., & Chen, P. Y. (2016). Effects of intravenous and oral magnesium on reducing migraine: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Pain Physician, 19(1), E97-112.
  7. Diener, H. C., Pfaffenrath, V., Schnitker, J., Friede, M., & Henneicke-von Zepelin, H. H. (2005). Efficacy and safety of 6.25 mg t.i.d. feverfew CO2-extract (MIG-99) in migraine prevention–a randomized, double-blind, multicentre, placebo-controlled study. Cephalalgia, 25(11), 1031-41.
  8. Diener, H. C., Rahlfs, V. W., Danesch, U. (2004). The first placebo-controlled trial of a special butterbur root extract for the prevention of migraine: reanalysis of efficacy criteria. European Neurology, 51(2), 89-97.
  9. Ernst, E., & Pittler, M. H. (2000). The efficacy and safety of feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium L.): an update of a systematic review. Public Health Nutrition, 3(4A), 509-14.
  10. Fenstermacher, N., Levin, M., Ward, T. (2011). Pharmacological prevention of migraine. BMJ, 342, d583.
  11. Headache Classification Committee of the International Headache Society (IHS). (2018). The International Classification of Headache Disorders, 3rd edition. Cephalalgia, 38(1), 1–211.
  12. Gelaye, B., Sacco, S., Brown, W. J., Nitchie, H. L., Ornello, R., & Peterlin, B. L. (2017). Body composition status and the risk of migraine: A meta-analysis. Neurology, 88(19), 1795-1804.
  13. Grossman, W., Schmidramsl, H. (2001). An extract of Petasites hybridus is effective in the prophylaxis of migraine. Alternative Medicine Review, 6(3):303-10.
  14. Gürsoy, A. E., Ertaş, M. (2013). Prophylactic treatment of migraine. Nöropsikiyatri Arşivi, 50(1), S30-S35.
  15. Kelman, L. (2004). The premonitory symptoms (prodrome): a tertiary care study of 893 migraineurs. Headache, 44(9), 865-72.
  16. Köseoglu, E., Talaslioglu, A., Gönül, A. S., & Kula M. (2008). The effects of magnesium prophylaxis in migraine without aura. Magnesium Research, 21(2), 101-8.
  17. Linde, M., Mulleners, W. M., Chronicle, E. P., & McCrory, D. C. (2013). Topiramate for the prophylaxis of episodic migraine in adults. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 6, CD010610.
  18. Linde, M., Mulleners, W. M., Chronicle, E. P., & McCrory, D. C. (2013). Valproate (valproic acid or sodium valproate or a combination of the two) for the prophylaxis of episodic migraine in adults. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 6, CD010611.
  19. Lipton, R. B., Göbel, H., Einhäupl, K. M., Wilks, K., & Mauskop, A. (2004). Petasites hybridus root (butterbur) is an effective preventive treatment for migraine. Neurology, 63(12), 2240-4.
  20. Malone, M., Tsai, G. (2018). The evidence for herbal and botanical remedies, Part 1. The Journal of Family Practice, 67(1), 10-16.
  21. Marmura, M. J. (2018). Triggers, protectors, and predictors in episodic migraine. Current Pain and Headache Reports, 22(12), 81.
  22. May, A., Schulte, L. H. (2016). Chronic migraine: risk factors, mechanisms and treatment. Nature Reviews Neurology, 12(8), 455-64.
  23. Murphy, J. J., Heptinstall, S., & Mitchell, J. R. (1988). Randomised double-blind placebo-controlled trial of feverfew in migraine prevention. Lancet, 2(8604), 189-92.
  24. National Institutes of Health (NIH). (2016). Feverfew. Retrieved from:
  25. Pareek, A., Suthar, M., Rathore, G. S., & Bansal, V. (2011). Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium L.): a systematic review. Pharmacognosy reviews, 5(9), 103–110.
  26. Park, J. W., Chu, M. K., Kim, J. M., Park, S. G., Cho, S. J. (2016). Analysis of trigger factors in episodic migraineurs using a smartphone headache diary applications. PLoS One, 11(2, e0149577.
  27. Peikert, A., Wilimzig, C., & Köhne-Volland, R. (1996). Prophylaxis of migraine with oral magnesium: results from a prospective, multi-center, placebo-controlled and double-blind randomized study. Cephalalgia, 16(4), 257-63.
  28. Pfaffenrath, V., Diener, H. C, Fischer, M., Friede, M., Henneicke-von Zepelin, H. H. (2002). The efficacy and safety of Tanacetum parthenium (feverfew) in migraine prophylaxis–a double-blind, multicentre, randomized placebo-controlled dose-response study. Cephalalgia, 22(7), 523-32.
  29. Pittler, M. H., Ernst, E. (2004). Feverfew for preventing migraine. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (1), CD002286.
  30. Saranitzky, E., White, C. M., Baker, E. L., Baker, W. L., & Coleman, C. I. (2009). Feverfew for migraine prophylaxis: a systematic review. Journal of Dietary Supplements, 6(2):91-103.
  31. Spierings, E. L., Donoghue, S., Mian, A., Wöber, C. (2014). Sufficiency and necessity in migraine: how do we figure out if triggers are absolute or partial and, if partial, additive or potentiating? Current Pain and Headache Reports, 18(10), 455.
  32. Swaminathan, R. (2003). Magnesium metabolism and its disorders. Clinical Biochemist Reviews, 24(2), 47–66.
  33. von Luckner, A., & Riederer, F. (2018). Magnesium in migraine prophylaxis- is there an evidence-based rationale? A systematic review. Headache, 58(2),199-209.

man sitting at the airport with luggage

Travel Health: How To Stay Healthy Before, During, & After Traveling

Travel Health: How To Stay Healthy Before, During, & After Traveling

Find out why traveling makes you sick, what the most common travel illnesses are, and what natural tactics and supplements you can use to avoid getting sick on your next trip.

What could be worse than losing your luggage while traveling? Getting sick while traveling! More than 2.6 million passengers board a plane in the United States alone each and every day. And while many are looking forward to getting that sun-kissed tan, countless others will enjoy a less-pleasant side effect of travel: getting sick.

Did you know?
Almost everyone tends to get sick from traveling. A 2016 study found 79% of participants reported illness upon arrival, during travel, or following their trip. (1)

man sitting at the airport with luggage

Nothing can ruin a trip faster than coming down with a travel illness. There are many natural ways you can ensure and enjoy healthy travel wherever you go.

Why do we get sick when we travel?

From close, unsanitary seating on airplanes, questionable meal choices, to flipping your daily routine upside down, travel puts a good deal of stress on our bodies and our health at risk. It almost feels inevitable — but it doesn’t have to be.

Travel often means crowded places and highly trafficked areas. It’s essential for you to be on high alert for the spread of germs. Side by side seating on airplanes, subway handles, public restrooms, and taxis are just a few of the places to be wary of.

Did you know?
If you see or hear a person coughing, sneezing, or who simply looks sick while traveling, keep your distance — six feet to be exact. That’s the distance virus-filled droplets can travel. (2)

Health Tip 1: Wash your hands, avoid touching your face too much, and wear a mask

Are you traveling by air? One of the most common concerns that vacationers have when it comes to getting sick while traveling is the time spent on airplanes. Many people are quick to blame the recycled air in an airplane cabin as the main culprit of illness, but the real reason is the low humidity levels.

The combination of hand-washing and wearing masks has been shown to decrease the chance of contracting influenza by 75 percent. (3)(4)(5)

close up of person washing their hands

It is extremely important and recommended that you wash your hands regularly when travelling, especially by air!

When flying, the flight elevation causes a significant drop in humidity levels. The decrease in humidity triggers our noses and throats to dry up, which leaves our body’s natural defense system compromised. (6)

Health Tip 2: Stay hydrated and drink a lot of water before, during, and after your flight

Are you overdoing it on vacation? It’s important to enjoy yourself on vacation (that is the point, after all!) but just try to do it within reason. Excessively drinking alcohol or skipping out on sleep to party, is going to compromise your immune system and make you more likely to pick up something while traveling.

When traveling, it’s easy to justify skipping out on workouts and letting your diet and supplement regimen fall to the wayside. Remember travel days should not count as “cheat” days — especially when you are traveling for an extended period of time.

Health Tip 3: Pack your supplements, stay consistent with workouts, opt for healthy meals, make time for sleep, and avoid excessive drinking

Plan ahead and bring healthy snacks with you, and whenever you can – take the stairs over moving escalators and sidewalks.

What are the most common illnesses while traveling?

According to a study with most of its subject visiting tropical regions, travelers’ diarrhea (TD) is the most common disease while abroad, followed by different skin problems and fever.

Did you know?
Hand sanitizers are not a cure-all to avoid all travel illnesses. A 2005 study found that using hand sanitizer while traveling did not alter diarrhea or respiratory tract illness rates. (7)

Over 69% of subjects in the robust 2016 study reported TD, 15% skin problems, 17% fever, 12% vomiting, 8% respiratory tract infections (RTI), 4% urinary tract infections, 2% ear infections, and 4% gastrointestinal complaints other than TD or vomiting. (1)

Travel and health insurance

Worried about travel and health insurance after seeing these statistics? Don’t be! Symptoms are usually mild and do not require seeking out medical attention while abroad and having to worry — but are often bad enough to spoil enjoying your trip to the fullest.

If you are traveling for a long period of time, you are better off safe than sorry. It’s worth finding out what medical services your health insurance will cover overseas. Be sure to check with your provider if your health insurance policy provides coverage outside your country of origin. And remember, it’s very important to bring both your insurance policy identity card as proof of such insurance and a claim form.

Travel health tips for before, during, and after travel

Before you travel

Prior to departure, make sure that you have set yourself up for success. If you’re traveling outside the country, make a point of touching base with your doctor beforehand. It’s worth doing this well in advance of your trip since some immunizations you may need can require multiple doses over time. The following travel health tips are also useful:

  • Get plenty of sleep. If excitement or stress is keeping you up in the days before traveling, consider different sleep supplements and essential oils.
  • Hydration is key. Dehydration often makes you feel run down and more prone to illness while traveling.
  • Start taking vitamin C supplements before you travel. Studies have shown that vitamin C can’t cure a common cold — but taking it regularly with slightly shorten the amount of time that you’re ill. (And every second counts on vacation!) (9)
  • Add some probiotics to your daily supplement routine. (10)
  • If you often suffer skin problems while traveling, talk to your doctor about natural skin supplements.

child drinking orange juice while on vacation

Drinking orange juice while you travel can help get you the vitamin C you need. (9)

While Traveling

Traveling is an amazing thing, but it can also be quite detrimental to your health when you’re constantly on the move and in a new environment. Stay healthy on your trip using the following natural health tips while traveling:

  • Maintain a balanced diet. Meals high in omega-3s that can help reduce inflammation and boost your immune system.
  • If you exercise regularly, continue to do so while traveling.
  • Probiotics can be taken to help relieve the symptoms of diarrhea.
  • Pack zinc supplements to acutely combat a common cold if you start coming down with something. (11)
  • If you are traveling to a different time zone, bring melatonin to combat jet lag symptoms.
  • Magnesium helps combat constipation. (12)
  • If you are prone to sinus infections or sore throats, nasal saline can make a huge difference.
  • To avoid bad bug bites and heavy chemicals, opt for natural citronella products.
  • Stay hydrated and drink at least 8 glasses of water daily.
  • Drinking alcohol depletes your body of B-vitamins. Ask your doctor about taking an activated B complex supplement. (13)
  • Remember to sleep. Try to allow yourself at least seven hours of sleep each night.
  • Avoid ice if you’re traveling to an area where the water quality is a concern, be sure to order drinks without ice. Canned or bottled beverages are preferable.

pistachios in a bowl

Suffering from jet lag but forgot to pack supplements? Eating a handful of pistachios before bed is equivalent to taking a high dose of melatonin. (14)

After you travel

Have you ever come home from vacation and had to take days off from work due to an illness? You are far from alone! An average of one-third of returning travelers experience health problems after traveling. (8)(1)

Did you know?
After travel, the most frequent complaints are fever, respiratory tract infections (RTIs), and skin problems. (1)

Getting sick when you return home from a trip and having to jump right back into your pre-vacation routine to play catch up at work and school can be daunting. Most of the time, you can’t control catching a cold or coming down with a stomach bug, but there are things you can do to arrive home rejuvenated following a trip.

  • Boost your immunity by continuing to take vitamin C daily.
  • Taking magnesium supplements and eating bananas for a natural source of potassium can help restore your body’s electrolyte balance.
  • If you feel a cold coming on once you are home, ask your doctor about taking zinc supplements.
  • Don’t stress out about catching up at work. It actually increases the likelihood you come down with a cold. (16) Consider relaxation techniques, such as a daily meditation practice.
  • Continue to get enough good quality sleep. If you’re feeling down about returning back to your normal routine, chamomile tea before bed may help. (17)
  • Coughing after traveling? A diet rich in antioxidants has been shown to promote respiratory health. (18)

If you travel more, do you build up a ‘tolerance’ to travel sickness?

Unfortunately, no. Frequent corporate travelers get sick a lot too. A survey of over 250 employees frequently traveling by plane found that 35% of participants experienced diarrhea, and 29% contracted a respiratory illness. (19)

Did you know?
Do you ever experience chest pain, difficulty breathing, or a persistent cough after flying? You may be experiencing what is known as Ozone toxicity. It’s more likely to occur on high-altitude, long international flights abroad. (20)

The bottom line: eat, sleep, supplement, and bon voyage

Don’t let travel sickness derail your next trip! Check in your doctor to talk about potential post-travel health problems by setting up a pre-travel visit before setting off abroad.

During your pre-travel check-up, discuss putting together a personalized travel health kit with your doctor. You’ll worry a lot less about your health being compromised by your travels, giving you more time to focus on enjoying your experience while traveling.

Have any tactics or travel supplements you use to stay healthy while traveling and avoid getting sick abroad? We would love to share them! Comment below with all the ways and precautions you take to enjoy your travel time to the fullest.

If you are a practitioner, consider signing up to Fullscript. If you are a patient, talk to your healthcare practitioner about Fullscript!

man sitting at kitchen table eating fruit and drinking orange juice

(Lifestyle & Diet) How To Improve Memory And Concentration Naturally

(Lifestyle & Diet) How To Improve Memory And Concentration Naturally

We have all had moments when it was hard to recall some detail — like where you last left your car keys or struggling to remember that line, you know, from that movie, how did it go?

Healthy people at any age can experience memory loss or memory distortion, and some of these memory flaws become more pronounced with age. Becoming forgetful and taking more time to process information are common cognitive changes associated with aging, more common in those over the age of 40. (1)

A strong memory depends on the health and wellbeing of your brain. Whether you’re a student studying for final exams, a working professional with various responsibilities demanding your attention, or a senior looking to stay mentally sharp, there are lots of natural ways that you can improve your memory and concentration.

Foods that improve memory and concentration

Just like there is no magic pill to improve concentration, there is no single food that can ensure a sharp mind as you age. The most important strategy is to follow a healthy diet, one that includes lots of vegetables, fruit, legumes and whole grains.

That being said, certain foods are rich in healthful nutrients that support brain health. (2) Including these foods into a healthy diet on a regular basis can improve your brain health, which in turn can translate into improved memory and concentration.

Did you know?
The best foods for your brain are the same ones that help to protect your heart and blood vessels.

man sitting at kitchen table eating fruit and drinking orange juice

The foods you eat play a role in keeping your brain healthy and can improve specific mental tasks, such as memory and concentration.

1. Oily fish

Oily/fatty fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, healthy fats with many health benefits for adults and children. Omega-3 fats may help lower the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s. In infants, omega-3 fats help with brain, nerve and eye development. (3) Aim to eat fatty fish at least twice a week, opting for varieties that are low in mercury, such as salmon, cod, canned light tuna, and pollock. If fish isn’t your thing, choose plant-based sources of omega-3’s such as ground flaxseeds, avocados, and walnuts. You can also talk to a healthcare professional about taking omega-3 supplements.

2. Berries

Berries are rich in flavonoids, natural pigments that give these fruits their brilliant hues. Flavonoids are best known for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory health benefits and may help boost memory and concentration by helping to stimulate the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain. (4) In 2012, researchers at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that women who consumed two or more servings of strawberries and blueberries each week experienced slower mental decline. The association was equivalent to up to two-and-a-half years of delayed aging. (5)

3. Green leafy vegetables

Leafy greens such as kale, spinach, arugula, collards, and broccoli are rich in nutrients like lutein, vitamin K, nitrate, folate, alpha-tocopherol, and beta-carotene. Research suggests that these nutrients are positively associated with brain health. A report published in 2018 in the Journal of Neurology found that a diet containing approximately one serving of green leafy vegetables per day was associated with a slower age-related cognitive decline. (6)

4. Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds such as almonds, cashews, pecans, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts are rich in a variety of nutrients that are important for brain health and optimal cognitive performance. These include healthy fats, proteins, and antioxidants. Nuts also contain essential vitamins including several B vitamins, vitamin E and minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, potassium and magnesium, selenium, manganese, and copper. Eating nuts on a regular basis helps to strengthen brain waves associated with learning, healing, memory, and cognition. (7) So the next time your stomach starts rumbling, go nuts! It might be one of the smartest snacks you ever eat.

woman sitting on couch and looking at her laptop

Even though caffeine is not the best solution for improving concentration, it is also not harmful in the proper doses.

5. Tea and coffee

The caffeine in your morning cup of joe might offer more than just a short-term boost in your concentration. Caffeine helps block a substance in the brain called adenosine, which can make a person feel sleepy. (8) Beyond boosting alertness, a 2018 study suggests that caffeine may also help to increase the brain’s ability to process information. (9) Now, this is not a free pass to drink all the coffee you want, the USFDA recommends that adults should limit their caffeine intake to no more than 400 mg per day.

Lifestyle practices that improve memory and concentration

Eating the right foods is just half the battle when it comes to natural ways to improve your memory and concentration. To experience the effectiveness of these natural concentration boosters, you must also adopt a few simple and healthy behaviors.

1. Give your brain a workout

Just like a muscle, memory requires you to “use it or lose it”! The more you work out your brain, the better you’ll be able to process and remember information. The best activities for your brain are those that are novel and challenging. (10) Think of something you’ve always wanted to try, like learning to speak another language, play the piano or dance the tango. Even activities as simple as driving home via a different route or brushing your teeth with the opposite hand can help you improve your memory, just as long as they keep you challenged and engaged.

2. Don’t skimp on exercise

Exercise is important for overall physical and mental health. Breaking a sweat through physical exercise can help your brain stay sharp. It increases delivery of blood and oxygen to your brain, reduces stress hormones and boosts the effects of helpful brain chemicals. Perhaps most importantly, exercise can help improve the growth and development of neurons (cells within the nervous system that transmit information to other nerve cells, muscle, or gland cells), leading to improved memory in people of all ages, from children to older adults. (11) Even a quick exercise break at work can help you get past that mid-afternoon slump. A short walk or even a few jumping jacks can be enough to hit the reset button.

3. Get your sleep

Lack of sleep is associated with poor memory. Research shows that sleep is necessary for memory consolidation, a process where short-term memories are strengthened and transformed into long-term memories. This is the key memory-enhancing activity occurring during the deepest stages of sleep. There is a big difference between the amount of sleep you need just to get by, and the optimal amount of sleep to keep your brain functioning at its best. Most adults need between 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. Even skimping on a few hours makes a difference! Memory, creativity, problem-solving abilities, and critical thinking skills are all compromised. (12)

4. Manage your stress

Even a little stress can be a great motivator. Just ask that student who’s left a big paper to the day before its due! A lot of stress, however, can greatly impair cognitive function. Too much stress can inhibit the way we form and retrieve memories and can affect how our memory works. (13) To stay sharp and focused, it’s important to take steps every day to lower your stress levels. Meditation is a soothing and relaxing way to reduce stress and help you concentrate.

woman meditating

Stress management may reduce health problems linked to stress, such as impaired memory and cognitive function.

5. Be a social butterfly

Having a rich social life comes with many health benefits. A rich social network can help reduce stress, combat depression, enhance intellectual stimulation and provides support. Studies show that those with the most social interaction experience the slowest rate of memory decline. (14) So make a point to see friends more often, or reach out over the phone. And if there’s no human around, don’t overlook the value of a pet!

The bottom line

There are many natural ways that you can improve your memory and concentration. Whether through brain-boosting foods or a few lifestyle practices, try adding a few of these tips into your daily routine in order to boost your brain health and keep your memory and concentration in peak condition.

If you are a practitioner, consider signing up to Fullscript. If you are a patient, talk to your healthcare practitioner about Fullscript!

man and daughter cooking in the kitchen

Paleo Diet: What You Need To Know

Paleo Diet: What You Need To Know

The paleo diet, also known as the hunter-gatherer, caveman, or Stone Age diet is based on the belief that our bodies have not evolved to eat and digest foods produced through modern farming and agriculture.

The diet consists of food that our prehistoric ancestors would have eaten during the Paleolithic era, such as lean meats, fish, nuts, vegetables, and fruit. The Paleolithic period extended from approximately 2.5 million years ago to 10,000 years ago, ending with the arrival of agriculture and foods like dairy, grains, beans, and legumes.

Advocates of the paleo diet believe that the consumption of foods from cultivation and modern agriculture has contributed to the prevalence of many chronic health conditions, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. (3)

man and daughter cooking in the kitchen

The paleo diet consists of food that our prehistoric ancestors would have eaten during the Paleolithic era, such as lean meats, fish, nuts, vegetables, and fruit.

The benefits of a paleo diet

Many studies have been conducted examining the effects and potential benefits of the Paleolithic diet on health. Research has shown that the paleo diet improves several metabolic and cardiovascular risk factors and may, therefore, be an effective therapeutic diet for individuals with type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular disease. (3) One study noted that even a short-term paleo diet resulted in improvements in blood pressure, glucose tolerance, insulin sensitivity, and lipid profile. (1)

Much of the research on the health benefits of the paleo diet compare its effects to those of other diets. A systematic review of randomized, controlled trials examined the impact of the paleo diet on the risk factors for chronic disease and found that the paleo diet showed greater improvements in risk factors for metabolic syndrome compared to guideline-based diets. (5)

In a 2009 report from Cardiovascular Diabetology comparing a paleo diet to a traditional diabetic diet, the paleo diet resulted in greater improvements in glycemic control and several cardiovascular risk factors, including triglyceride levels, hemoglobin A1c levels, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and weight. (2)

Furthermore, the paleo diet appears to be more effective in improving glucose tolerance when compared to a Mediterranean-type diet. A study compared a paleo diet based on lean meats, fish, eggs, nuts, vegetables, and fruit with a Mediterranean-style diet comprised of whole grains, vegetables, fruit, oils, margarine, fish, and low-fat dairy products. Results from the study showed a 26% decrease in AUC glucose in the paleo group compared to a 7% decrease in the Mediterranean diet group. (4)

Similarly, another randomized, controlled study compared the effects of the paleo diet and the Mediterranean diet in patients with ischemic heart disease and glucose intolerance or type 2 diabetes. While improvements in glucose tolerance were observed in individuals following both diets, those following a paleo diet demonstrated significantly greater improvements. (3)

The rules of engagement: tips for a successful paleo diet

The key to following any successful diet is to adhere to a few evidence-based rules of engagement (and a little bit of planning, of course!).

Following a few simple rules of engagement can help you follow a paleo diet successfully and safely.

Rule 1: consume foods that our prehistoric hunter-gatherer ancestors would have eaten, including:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Lean meats and poultry
  • Fish and seafood
  • Eggs
  • Herbs and spices
  • Healthy fats and oils (i.e., olive oil, coconut oil) (3)

Rule 2: avoid modern foods that would not have been a part of a hunter-gatherer’s diet, including:

  • All grains, including gluten-free
  • Beans and legumes
  • Dairy products
  • Processed foods
  • Hydrogenated oils and trans fats
  • Refined sugars
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Added salt (3)


person cooking fish in a pan

A paleo diet should include a variety of fresh, local vegetables and fruits to ensure you’re meeting your daily nutrient needs.

Rule 3: choose good-quality, fresh foods when available

To ensure you’re getting the healthiest and most nutrient dense foods, consume a variety of fresh, local, and organic vegetables and fruits. Varying your sources of vegetables and fruits will help ensure you’re meeting your daily nutrient needs. When purchasing animal products, the best quality and nutrient-dense sources come from organic, free-range, pasture-raised, wild-caught, and sustainable options. Processed meats, such as deli meats, should be avoided as they often contain unhealthy preservatives and nitrates.

Rule 4: incorporate plant-based sources of protein

When it comes to the paleo diet, you likely think of a diet rich in animal protein. While beans and legumes are excluded from the diet, there are many other plant-based protein sources that can be incorporated, including coconut and a wide variety of nuts and seeds. An added bonus, these foods are also rich in unsaturated fat.

Rule 5: choose natural sugars

There are several acceptable natural sweeteners included in a paleo diet. Moderate amounts of raw honey, maple syrup, blackstrap molasses, coconut sugar, and stevia can be enjoyed. Avoid refined sugars, which spike your blood sugar, and artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and saccharin.

Rule 6: try a modified paleo diet

Making sustainable dietary changes can be difficult, particularly when looking to move away from a high-carbohydrate diet like the standard North American diet to a grain-free paleo diet. A modified paleo diet including gluten-free grains and organic grass-fed butter or ghee can help ease the transition.

Rule 7: support your diet with supplements

While a well-planned paleo diet can provide all the nutrients your body needs to thrive, certain supplements can provide additional support. Be aware of potential calcium deficiency as the paleo diet is typically lower in calcium due to the fact that few people consume bone broth, organ meats, or meat cooked on the bone. Calcium supplementation can prevent deficiencies and associated complications such as bone mineral loss. (3) A broad-spectrum multivitamin can also act as “extra insurance” to fill any nutritional gaps and prevent deficiencies.

The bottom line

Research has demonstrated significant metabolic and cardiovascular benefits associated with the paleo diet. As with any diet, it’s important to ensure that your diet is properly-planned, incorporating a variety of fresh foods to prevent nutrient deficiencies. An integrative healthcare practitioner can help monitor your health and choose the diet best suited to your individual needs.

If you are a practitioner, consider signing up to Fullscript. If you are a patient, talk to your healthcare practitioner about Fullscript!

  1. Frassetto, L.A., Schloetter, M., Mietus-Synder, M., Morris, R.C. Jr., & Sebastian, A. (2009). Metabolic and physiologic improvements from consuming a paleolithic, hunter-gatherer type diet. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 63(8), 947-55
  2. Jönsson, T., Granfeldt, Y., Ahrén, B., Branell, U.C., Pålsson, G., Hansson, A., … Lindeberg, S. (2009). Beneficial effects of a Paleolithic diet on cardiovascular risk factors in type 2 diabetes: a randomized cross-over pilot study. Cardiovascular Diabetology, 8, 35.
  3. Klonoff, D.C. (2009). The beneficial effects of a Paleolithic diet on type 2 diabetes and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology, 3(6), 1229-1232.
  4. Lindeberg, S., Jönsson, T., Granfeldt, Y., Borgstrand, E., Soffman, J., Sjöström, K., & Ahrén, B. (2007). A Palaeolithic diet improves glucose tolerance more than a Mediterranean-like diet in individuals with ischaemic heart disease. Diabetologia, 50(9), 1795-1807
  5. Manheimer, E.W., van Zuuren, E.J., Fedorowicz, Z., & Pijl, H. (2015). Paleolithic nutrition for metabolic syndrome: systematic review and meta-analysis. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 102(4), 922–932

doctor taking the blood pressure of a patient

Blood Pressure Support Protocol: A Resource for Practitioners

Blood Pressure Support Protocol: A Resource for Practitioners


by Fullscript’s Integrative Medical Advisory Team

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a significant and growing global health concern. Accounting for 7.5 million deaths annually (17), hypertension is the leading risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and premature death. (6) The number of individuals with hypertension is expected to increase in the coming years and is predicted to reach 1.56 billion adults worldwide by 2025. (17)

doctor taking the blood pressure of a patient

Hypertension is the leading risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and premature death globally.

What is hypertension?

Hypertension is a common condition in which blood flows through blood vessels and arteries with greater than normal pressure. (12) While normal blood pressure is defined as systolic blood pressure less than 120 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure less than 80 mm Hg, hypertension is characterized by systolic blood pressure greater than > 140 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure greater than > 90 mmHg. (2)(17)

Causes and risk factors

Several causes and risk factors have been identified in the development of hypertension, including:

  • Excess dietary intake of sodium
  • Age: the risk of developing hypertension increases with age
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Family history/genetic predisposition
  • Excess alcohol intake
  • Race: hypertension is more common in African American individuals compared to white, Hispanic, and Asian individuals
  • Gender: men are more likely to develop high blood pressure before age 55, while women are at an increased risk after 55
  • Certain medications such as contraceptive pills and cold-relief medications
  • Certain medical conditions such as chronic kidney disease, obesity, sleep apnea, thyroid conditions, and certain tumors (12)
  • Urban living (compared to rural) (17)

Signs, symptoms, and complications

Hypertension is known as the “silent killer”. While individuals with hypertension will sometimes experience lightheadedness, fainting episodes, vertigo, or altered vision, the condition is most often asymptomatic until the occurrence of a severe medical event such as a heart attack or stroke. (17)

Complications associated with high blood pressure include:

  • Mycardial infarction
  • Heart failure
  • Peripheral artery disease
  • Stroke
  • Aneurysms
  • Visual impairment and retinal hemorrhage
  • Renal impairment
  • Vascular dementia (12)(17)

Integrative protocol for blood pressure support

Hypertension and its complications are largely preventable with lifestyle and dietary modifications. (6) Studies have shown that reductions as little as 10mmHg systolic or 5 mm Hg diastolic blood pressure decreased the risk of cardiovascular-related death and stroke by approximately 25% and 40%, respectively. (7)

The evidence-based ingredients and dosing included in this protocol have been shown to effectively reduce blood pressure in individuals with hypertension.


Among the most abundant minerals in the body, magnesium plays an integral role in many body functions, including insulin metabolism, energy production, nerve transmission, cardiac excitability, and blood pressure regulation. (5) A number of underlying mechanisms are believed to be involved in the hypotensive effects of magnesium. These mechanisms include:

  • Interaction with calcium in the body
  • Reduced peripheral vascular resistance
  • Increased secretion of endothelial prostaglandin I2
  • Enhanced effect of antihypertensive medication
  • Increased nitric oxide levels (3)

Recommended dosage:
300-450mg of elemental magnesium, total per day, 1 to 6 months (3)(21)

Research findings:

  • Consistent supplementation resulted in a decrease of both systolic and diastolic blood pressure (3)(21)
  • An inverse correlation between levels of circulating magnesium and the incidence of hypertension has been clearly identified (5)(19)

US: Search for Magnesium in the Fullscript catalog.
CAN: Search for Magnesium in the Fullscript catalog.

garlic gloves in a basket

Garlic, a bulbous plant belonging to the Lillaceae family, has a long history of culinary and therapeutic uses dating back to ancient civilizations.

Garlic (Allium sativum)

Garlic, a bulbous plant belonging to the Lillaceae family, has a long history of culinary and therapeutic uses dating back to ancient civilizations. Allicin is the primary active constituent of garlic and commonly extracted for use in supplements. Allicin is produced by the allinase enzyme, which is activated when raw garlic is crushed or chopped. Another common form of garlic extract, aged garlic extract, is produced by storing the plant in 15-20% ethanol for longer than one and a half years. (1) Among the most popular complementary therapies for hypertension (20), garlic demonstrates immunomodulatory and cardiovascular protective effects. (15)

Recommended dosage:
300 to 960mg, total per day, minimum 8 to 12 weeks (11)(16)(18)

Research findings:

  • Consistent supplementation for 8-12 weeks has demonstrated reduction in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure (11)(15)(16)(18)(20)
  • Garlic supplementation is widely considered a safe and effective approach to hypertension (11)(15)(16)(20)

US: Search for Garlic in the Fullscript catalog.
CAN: Search for Garlic in the Fullscript catalog.


L-arginine is an amino acid involved in protein synthesis, tissue repair, immune function, and the urea cycle. (13) It is characterized as a “semi-essential” or “conditionally essential” amino (9), as it can be synthesized by the body, but its production may be limited by a number of factors, such as the individual’s health and the availability of precursors. (14) L-arginine is also a precursor for the production of nitric oxide, a signaling molecule involved in cellular function (8) and essential for the regulation of blood pressure. (9)

Recommended dosage:
2.4g, total per day, minimum 6 months (10)

Research findings:

  • Reduction in blood pressure observed in patients with mild to moderate hypertension (10)
  • Compared to placebo, L-arginine supplementation was shown to lower systolic blood pressure in patients with gestational hypertension (4)

US: Search for L-arginine in the Fullscript catalog.
CAN: Search for L-arginine in the Fullscript catalog.

The bottom line

While hypertension is a widespread and serious condition, it is also largely preventable. A protocol using natural supplements can be used therapeutically on its own or as an adjunct to existing treatment. If you are not an integrative healthcare provider, we recommend speaking with one to learn whether these supplements are right for your wellness plan.

If you are a practitioner, consider signing up to Fullscript. If you are a patient, talk to your healthcare practitioner about Fullscript!

To see our full protocol library, click here!


The Fullscript Integrative Medical Advisory team has developed or collected these protocols from practitioners and supplier partners to help health care practitioners make decisions when building treatment plans. By adding this protocol to your Fullscript template library, you understand and accept that the recommendations in the protocol are for initial guidance and may not be appropriate for every patient.

  1. Bayan, L., Koulivand, P.H., & Gorji, A. (2014). Garlic: A review of potential therapeutic effects. Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine, 4(1), 1–14.
  2. Delacroix, S., Chokka, R.G., & Worthley, S.G. (2014). Hypertension: Pathophysiology and treatment. Journal of Neurology & Neurophysiology, 5, 250.
  3. Dibaba, D.T., Xun, P., Song, Y., Rosanoff, A., Shechter, M., He, K. (2017). The effect of magnesium supplementation on blood pressure in individuals with insulin resistance, prediabetes, or noncommunicable chronic diseases: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 106(3), 921–929.
  4. Gui, S., Jia, J., Niu, X., Bai, Y., Zou, H., Deng, J., & Zhou, R. (2014). Arginine supplementation for improving maternal and neonatal outcomes in hypertensive disorder of pregnancy: a systematic review. Journal of the Renin-Angiotensin-Aldosterone System, 15(1), 88-96.
  5. Han, H., Fang, X, Wei, X., Liu, Y., Jin, Z., Chen, Q., … Cao, Y. (2017). Dose-response relationship between dietary magnesium intake, serum magnesium concentration and risk of hypertension: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Nutrition Journal, 16, 26.
  6. Joffres, M., Falaschetti, E., Gillespie, C., Robitaille, C., Loustalot, F., Poulter, N., … Campbell, N. (2013). Hypertension prevalence, awareness, treatment and control in national surveys from England, the USA and Canada, and correlation with stroke and ischaemic heart disease mortality: a cross-sectional study. BMJ Open, 3(8).
  7. Law, M.R., Morris, J.K., & Wald, N.J. (2009). Use of blood pressure lowering drugs in the prevention of cardiovascular disease: meta-analysis of 147 randomised trials in the context of expectations from prospective epidemiological studies. BMJ, 338, b1665.
  8. Luiking, Y. C., Engelen, M. P., & Deutz, N. E. (2010). Regulation of nitric oxide production in health and disease. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care, 13(1), 97–104.
  9. McRae M. P. (2016). Therapeutic benefits of l-arginine: An umbrella review of meta-analyses. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, 15(3), 184–189.
  10. Menzel, D., Haller, H., Wilhelm, M., & Robenek, H. (2018). L-arginine and B vitamins improve endothelial function in subjects with mild to moderate blood pressure elevation. European Journal of Nutrition, 57(2), 557-568.
  11. Nakasone, Y., Nakamura, Y., Yamamoto, T., & Yamaguchi, H. (2013). Effect of a traditional Japanese garlic preparation on blood pressure in prehypertensive and mildly hypertensive adults. Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine, 5(2), 399-405.
  12. National Health, Blood, and Lung Institute (n.d.). High blood pressure. Retrieved from
  13. Pahlavani, N., Jafari, M., Sadeghi, O., Rezaei, M., Rasad, H., Rahdar, H. A., & Entezari, M. H. (2017). L-arginine supplementation and risk factors of cardiovascular diseases in healthy men: a double-blind randomized clinical trial. F1000Research, 3, 306.
  14. Reeds P.J. (2000). Dispensable and indispensable amino acids for humans. The Journal of Nutrition, 130(7), 1835S-40S.
  15. Ried, K. (2016). Garlic lowers blood pressure in hypertensive individuals, regulates serum cholesterol, and stimulates immunity: An updated meta-analysis and review. The Journal of Nutrition, 146(2), 389S-396S.
  16. Ried, K., Frank, O.R., & Stocks, N.P. (2010). Aged garlic extract lowers blood pressure in patients with treated but uncontrolled hypertension: a randomised controlled trial. Maturitas, 67(2), 144-50.
  17. Singh, S., Shankar, R., & Singh, G.P. (2017). Prevalence and associated risk factors of hypertension: A cross-sectional study in urban Varanasi. International Journal of Hypertension, 2017, 5491838.
  18. Sobenin, I.A., Andrianova, I.V., Fomchenkov, I.V., Gorchakova, T.V., & Orekhov, A.N. (2009). Time-released garlic powder tablets lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure in men with mild and moderate arterial hypertension. Hypertension Research, 32(6), 433-7.
  19. Wu, J., Xun, P., Tang, Q., Cai, W., & He, K. (2017). Circulating magnesium levels and incidence of coronary heart diseases, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes mellitus: a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Nutrition Journal, 16(1), 60.
  20. Xiong, X.J., Wang, P.Q., Li, S.J., Li, X.K., Zhang, Y.Q., & Wang, J. (2015). Garlic for hypertension: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Phytomedicine, 22(3), 352-61
  21. Zhang, X., Li, Y., Del Gobbo, L.C., Rosanoff, A., Wang, J., Zhang, W., & Song, Y. (2016). Effects of magnesium supplementation on blood pressure: A meta-analysis of randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trials. Hypertension, 68(2), 324-33.

two people in child’s pose

You Could Use These 10 Natural Tips To Stop A Headache

You Could Use These 10 Natural Tips To Stop A Headache

When you have a headache—whether it’s a tension headache, a cluster headache, or a migraine—you just want relief. It’s no wonder people turn to heavy-duty medications to get rid of a headache. After all, the pain can be debilitating.

Headaches don’t just cause that telltale pain behind the eyes or in the back of the head. A headache can also come with nausea, fatigue, and all-around misery.

10 natural tips for headache relief

But medication isn’t the only way to treat headaches. If you’re wondering how to get rid of a headache without drugs, read on. We’ll dig into the science behind essential oils for headaches, supplements for headaches, mind-body practices for headaches, and more.

These 10 tips will help you halt your headache, keep the pain at bay long-term, and improve your overall health and well-being.

man pouring water in his kitchen

If you start feeling a headache coming on, drink lots of water. Dehydration is a major cause of headaches.

Tip 1: drink plenty of water

It’s a well-known fact that dehydration can cause all kinds of headaches, including tension, cluster, and sinus headaches. Some research even suggests it could play a role in migraines. (1)

The good news is dehydration has a simple fix—water. The research we just mentioned found that students suffering water-deprivation headaches found quick relief by drinking water. (1)

Of course, an ounce of prevention is worth a pint of cure! Drink water throughout the day to stay hydrated and keep dehydration headaches from striking in the first place.

Tip 2: prioritize sleep for headache prevention

As anyone who has ever pulled an all-nighter knows, sleep loss and headaches go hand-in-hand. Turns out there’s plenty of science behind this common knowledge.

According to an article in Neurology Reviews, sleep problems may contribute to headaches in a number of ways. (2) It could be that when we lose out on deep REM sleep, our serotonin levels drop, causing a headache. Or it could be that the decreased melatonin that can cause sleep loss is to blame. After all, people with cluster headaches have been shown to have low melatonin levels. (3)

Whatever the mechanism, it’s clear that poor sleep is at the root of many headaches. Make sure you’re doing everything you can to get good, deep sleep every night. If you’ve tried everything and still you wake up feeling like you hardly slept at all, talk to your doctor. You could be suffering from sleep apnea, which is another common headache cause.

Tip 3: take magnesium for migraines and tension headaches

Magnesium is one of the best-studied natural treatments for migraine. Three decades ago, researchers found that brain levels of magnesium tend to be low during a migraine. (4) Since then, several studies have looked at the role of magnesium in migraines. It turns out that taking magnesium every day can be a game-changer for migraine sufferers. It reduces the frequency, duration, and severity of migraine attacks. (5)

Magnesium for other types of headaches is less well-studied, but some evidence suggests it can be helpful for tension-type headaches as well. (6)

Try making a daily habit of eating foods rich in magnesium, like almonds, avocados, spinach, and legumes. For an even simpler way to get headache relief, magnesium oxide supplements are safe, convenient, and effective. Dosages between 400 and 600 mg can help, though some studies used even higher amounts. If you start noticing digestive troubles, lower your dose. (7) If you are unsure, consult with your healthcare practitioner.

two people in child’s pose

Practicing yoga poses, such as the child’s pose may relieve headaches.

Tip 4: do these 5 headache-halting yoga poses

It makes sense that yoga—which is well-known for reducing stress and tension—can be the perfect remedy for a tension headache. But research also shows that yoga may help improve migraines as well. (8) If you suffer from headaches, these five yoga poses are most recommended:

  • Child’s Pose
  • Reclining Bound Angle Pose
  • Bridge Pose with Bolsters
  • Legs Up the Wall Pose
  • Corpse Pose with Chair

Either try these poses at home or make time to go to a yoga class nearby. Many local recreation centers offer them for free or for a small fee, and yoga studios can be found in just about every town.

Tip 5: shut down the screen

More time looking at a screen means more migraines, according to research. (9) But screen exposure can lead to another type of headache too.

Staring at a screen for long periods of time may be part of your everyday routine, but it can also cause eye strain, which often shows up as a headache.

The solution? Shut down your screen and pick up a book instead. According to the Mayo Clinic, screens cause more eye strain than printed materials. That’s because we blink less while looking at screens, they have glare, and we tend to look at them at the wrong angle or distance. (10)

Tip 6: meditate

Like yoga, meditation is well known as a tension-buster. So it’s not surprising that many people find headache relief when they start incorporating meditation into their daily routine.

Did you know?
Research shows that even kids can benefit from meditation for headache relief! (11)

Meditation has other health benefits too. The best part? You can meditate anywhere for any amount of time and reap the benefits. No equipment—or medication—necessary.

Tip 7: try biofeedback for headaches

Biofeedback sounds oddly sci-fi, but it’s actually a really useful way of exerting control over your health. With biofeedback, you learn to identify your body functions so that you can then learn to change them.

Biofeedback has been shown to help people with both tension headaches and migraines. (12)(13) How? By teaching people to recognize changes that happen in their bodies when they have a headache, and then to curb those changes.

Butterbur extract

Butterbur extract is an herbal relief for headache management.

Tip 8: use butterbur for herbal headache relief

Several herbs have been studied for headache relief, but only one is so effective that it earns the endorsement of both the American Academy of Neurology and the American Headache Society. Research shows that using 50 to 75 mg twice daily of the butterbur extract Petasites hybrids significantly reduces the frequency of migraine attacks. (14)(15)

Tip 9: use these essential oils for quick headache relief

When it comes to essential oils, it’s sometimes hard to separate fact from marketing hype. But for headaches specifically, there are two popular essential oils that do have real science behind them.

The first and probably most popular headache-relieving essential oil is peppermint oil. Research shows that peppermint oil has pain relieving properties and can help increase blood flow. When used for headaches, it can promote relaxation and reduce pain sensitivity. (16)

The second headache-helping essential oil is lavender. Research shows that inhaling lavender essential oil for 16 minutes reduces the severity of migraine headaches. (17)

Other benefits of essential oils are that they can help promote sleep, which is essential to headache-free health & they promote brain health!

Tip 10: identify your headache triggers

If you really want to get to the root of your headaches and stop them for good, one of the best things you can do is find the hidden cause of your pain. Headaches can be caused by anxiety and stress, triggering foods, or even food allergies. If you want to stop headaches for good, work with your integrative practitioner to identify the source of the problem—and then eliminate it.

The bottom line

There’s plenty of headache relief available that doesn’t require taking medication. These simple tips will halt your pain quickly and get your head back in the game of feeling good. Consult with your healthcare practitioner if you have questions about headaches and headache relief.

If you are a practitioner, consider signing up to Fullscript. If you are a patient, talk to your healthcare practitioner about Fullscript!

man stretching arms outdoors

Nutrient Deficiencies In Men: Four Key Nutrients For Men’s Health

Nutrient Deficiencies In Men: Four Key Nutrients For Men’s Health

It may be surprising, in a country with such abundant food resources, that men aren’t getting enough of the nutrients they need. But the fact is the high-calorie, low-nutrient foods so many Americans rely on leave men struggling with low levels, and sometimes even outright deficiency, of the nutritional building blocks they need.

Men’s health depends on getting enough of these four key nutrients. But unfortunately, many men are falling short. Read on to learn what nutrients men need more of, why they’re important, and how to get them.

Vitamin D and men’s health

Vitamin D is one of the most talked about vitamins—and with good reason. First, because it’s essential to health. And second, because vitamin D deficiency is staggeringly common. According to one study, more than 40 percent of American adults are deficient in vitamin D. (1) The numbers who have less-than-ideal levels of the vitamin are even higher.

Known as the “sunshine vitamin,” vitamin D is produced in the body when we’re exposed to ultraviolet rays. If you don’t get much sun exposure with sun protection, or if you’re dark skinned, you might need to up your vitamin D intake. In addition, older adults, people with inflammatory bowel disease, obese people, and people who have had gastric bypass surgery are at risk of vitamin D deficiency. (2)

close up of pan with egg yolk

Egg yolks are a great source of vitamin D!

Why vitamin D is important for men

Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, which is essential for healthy bones. In addition, vitamin D plays a vital role in muscle and nerve health and makes it possible for the immune system to protect us. Inadequate vitamin D levels can lead to increased risk of bone fracture (3) and several types of cancer. (4)(5)

Another reason men need to be concerned about vitamin D levels is that they’re linked to testosterone levels. In one study, men who were overweight and deficient in vitamin D saw increases in their testosterone levels after taking 3,333 IU of vitamin D a day for a year. (6) Another study found that men with low vitamin D levels had significantly lower testosterone levels than men with normal vitamin D status. (7) It’s not entirely clear why vitamin D and testosterone levels are linked, but it’s clear that keeping your levels up is a good idea all around.

How much vitamin D men need

Aim for 600 IU per day if you’re between the ages of 19 and 70. If you’re 71 or older, that number goes up to 800 IU per day. (8)

How men can increase their vitamin D

Mostly through exposure to sunshine. Also from fortified foods, fatty fish, beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks. And of course, supplements are available—an easy and reliable backup plan.

Calcium and men’s health

Calcium is so scarce in the Standard American Diet that it earned a place on the “nutrients of public health concern” in the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. (9) You’re at higher risk of deficiency if you have lactose intolerance, don’t eat dairy, or are over the age of 70. Also, vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption, so if you’re not getting enough of that key vitamin, your calcium levels may suffer as well.

man stretching arms outdoors

Calcium is essential to avoid rapid bone loss as a man ages.

Why calcium is important for men

Calcium is essential for healthy bone development, meaning it’s especially important to get enough while bones are developing—up to age 30. But even after that, low calcium intake can lead to bone breakdown. That’s because when you’re not taking in the calcium needed for things like cardiovascular function, muscle function, and hormone secretion, your body will pull the calcium it needs from your bones.

There’s also some evidence that diets with enough calcium may help lower blood pressure. (10)(11) Given that men are more likely than women to have high blood pressure—and that high blood pressure is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease—it’s important that men do what they can to keep their blood pressure in check. (12)

How much calcium men need

If you’re between the ages of 19 and 70, you need 1,000 mg per day. If you’re 71 or older, aim for 1,200 mg per day. (13)

How men can increase their calcium

The obvious source is dairy products, but that’s not the only way to get calcium. Kale and broccoli are good natural sources, and cereals are often fortified with calcium. Supplements are available as well, but be careful not to overdo it. There’s some research that suggests getting too much calcium from supplements increases men’s risk of cardiovascular disease. (14)

Omega 3 and men’s health

Omega 3s are fatty acids that we get through dietary sources like fish and nuts. When we talk about the health benefits of omega-3s, we’re generally talking about the three main ones: DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), and ALA (alpha-linolenic acid).

In a perfect world, we’d get plenty of these essential fatty acids from our diet. But as we know, the Standard American Diet is anything but perfect.

We face two challenges when it comes to omega 3s. One is that the vast majority of us simply don’t get enough. The other problem is that omega 3s need to be in balance with other fatty acids, omega 6s.

The problem is that since we started relying on industrial foods, our omega 3/omega 6 ratio has gone seriously awry. Scientists believe that human bodies evolved to need a 1:1 ratio of omega 3s to omega 6s. But because we rely now on so many processed foods—which are abundant in omega 6s—our ratio is now something like 1:20. That means we’re getting 20 times as much omega 6 as omega 3. (15)

chia seeds in a white bowl and on a wooden spoon

If you are on a vegan diet, chia seeds are a great source for omega 3.

Why omega 3 is important for men

Omega 3s are essential fats, meaning you need to get them from your diet—your body can’t make them. They are key to countless aspects of health, but here are some of the biggies that men need to consider:

  • Brain health. Omega 3s are the building blocks of nerve cells, so they’re crucial for brain health. Research has found links between omega 3s and a variety of brain and mental health issues: Alzheimer’s disease, depression, Parkinson’s, learning ability, and more. (16)
  • Heart health. Heart disease is the leading health concern for men. Omega 3s have been shown to reduce heart disease risk nearly across the board—lowering your chances of heart failure and both fatal and nonfatal coronary heart disease. (17)(18)
  • Exercise recovery. Omega 3s help curb the muscle soreness that comes with weight lifting. This is good news not just for those who go to the gym a lot, but also for people undergoing physical therapy. (19)

How much omega 3 do men need

The official adequate intake for men is 1.6 grams of omega 3s per day. (20) Some of the studies that were looking for therapeutic effects used higher doses.

How men can increase their omega 3s

Seafood—specifically fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, anchovies, and herring—is the best source of DHA and EPA. ALA can be found in vegan sources like flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts. Supplements are another good option, and high-quality ones don’t contain mercury, which can be a concern when eating fish.

Magnesium and men’s health

Most men do not get the recommended daily intake of magnesium—but men in their 70s and beyond are especially susceptible to magnesium deficiency. People with gastrointestinal disorders like Crohn’s disease or celiac disease, those with type 2 diabetes, and those who consume too much alcohol are also at risk of not getting or absorbing enough magnesium.

older man lifting dumbbells at the gym

Having the right amount of magnesium can help prevent osteoporosis and low bone density.

Why magnesium is important for men

Not getting enough magnesium won’t necessarily produce any immediate signs or symptoms. But over time, low magnesium intake can lead to a number of health concerns. Here are a few of the main ones men need to worry about.

  • High blood pressure and heart disease. Research shows that eating a diet rich in magnesium or taking magnesium supplements can lower blood pressure. (21)(22) Plus, research has found that people with the highest levels of magnesium in their blood are 38 percent less likely to suffer sudden cardiac death. (23)
  • Type 2 diabetes. Magnesium is an important player in glucose metabolism, which might be why people with higher magnesium intake have a significantly lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. (24)
  • Osteoporosis. When we think about bone health, we usually think about calcium. But magnesium is also essential for bone formation. Magnesium deficiency has been linked to osteoporosis and low bone density. (25)
  • Migraines. If you have migraines, low magnesium might be playing a role. People who supplement with magnesium daily report reduced frequency, duration, and severity of migraines. (26)

How much magnesium do men need

Between the ages of 19 and 30, aim for 400 mg per day. If you’re 31 or over, that number goes up to 420 per day. (27)

How men can increase their magnesium

The good news is that magnesium is very easy to find in a whole-foods diet. It’s abundant in green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Supplements are also available.

Getting the nutrients you need

If you’re a man looking to improve your health—and maintain it for years to come—you should pay attention to your intake of these key nutrients. The good news is that you can get plenty of them by eating a healthy, whole-foods diet like the Mediterranean diet.

A focus on fish, leafy vegetables, whole grains, and some dairy—as well as a bit of daily sunshine—will check most of the boxes and help you prevent some of the most common nutrient deficiencies in men.

If you are a practitioner, consider signing up to Fullscript. If you are a patient, talk to your healthcare practitioner about Fullscript!


apple pay on Fullscript

Apple Pay: Simplified Checkout

Apple Pay: Simplified Checkout

Apple Pay has been added to your practitioner’s dispensary checkout! It’s easier and faster than ever to order the supplements you need.

apple pay processing gif

Paying for supplements, is made easy!

You no longer need to add payment information when checking out with Apple devices. With Apple Pay, simply scan your fingerprint or process the payment with face ID and purchase the products that you have been recommended.

Check out all the improvements we’ve made to the patient experience!

Q: How do I set up Apple Pay?
A: You can visit the Apple website and get set up in seconds.

Q: How do I access the feature?
A: On any Apple device, including the Safari browser, you can set up Apple Pay in ‘Settings’ or “Preferences’ under ‘Wallet & Apple Pay’.

Q: Where will I see this?
A: If Apple Pay has been set up, the Apple Pay option will automatically appear at checkout.

Other supported digital wallets:

  • Amex Express Checkout
  • Masterpass
  • Visa Checkout
  • Google Pay
  • Microsoft Pay