November Savings are here!

Our November Health First flyer is focused on keeping your stress levels in check during the upcoming holiday season. The holidays can be a hectic time, filled with last-minute shopping, family obligations, financial strain and many other stresses.

Read our November flyer for simple ways you can actually enjoy the holidays this year!

Nutritional Deficiencies in Crohn’s Disease and Colitis: 5 Key Nutrients

By Andrea Bartels CNP NNCP RNT

Registered Nutritional Therapist

Iron deficiency

To diagnose Crohn’s, a variety of tests are usually required and include blood testing, medical imagery and a colonoscopy to confirm the presence of the disease. Checking blood levels of ferritin and hemoglobin will usually identify the most common nutrient deficiency in Crohn’s and colitis patients: iron-deficiency anemia. In fact, 60 to 80 percent of IBD patients typically have iron deficiency. (9) This is for two reasons. First, the substantial blood loss that occurs during flare- ups of ulceration leads to not only a loss of iron, but loss of red blood cells themselves. Oxygen-carrying hemoglobin becomes deficient, leading to the classic picture of iron-deficiency anemia, with fatigue, weakness, and pallor. But the second reason for iron deficiency in these patients has to do with absorptive capacity. Iron absorption becomes difficult as the small intestinal surface’s brush border of villi—used to transport nutrients from the digestive tract into the bloodstream—becomes compromised. This occurs from the damage that chronic inflammation causes, and by surgical removal of chronically ulcerated small intestine. Iron repletion is not a task easily accomplished through diet alone. The mineral is famously difficult to absorb, especially in its inorganic format. Supplementary iron has a reputation for having side effects like nausea and constipation, but this is most commonly experienced with iron sulfate and ferrous fumarate, which have poor absorbability. (4, 9) However, not all iron supplements produce these unpleasant side-effects. Compounding iron with amino acids, for example, can reduce the risk of side effects dramatically, simply because the iron is absorbed before it has any chance to cause discomfort. For an already sensitive digestive tract, it makes sense to recommend organic iron compounds that have greater absorbability.

Vitamin B-12

As with iron, deficiency of vitamin B12 is not usually about inadequate intake, but rather, blood loss and limited absorption by the Crohn’s patient. (1) Since vitamin B-12 is absorbed in the lowest portion (the ileum) of the small intestine, IBD patients who have had surgical removal of part of/all of their ileum would be at highest risk of deficiency. That’s why taking B-12 under the tongue (sublingually) is the sure-fire way to get it into the bloodstream. Methylcobalamin is the biologically active form of B-12 that, when used sublingually, is a more direct and efficient way (outside of injection) to ensure blood levels of B12 are there to support the nervous system and healthy hemoglobin synthesis in these patients.

Vitamin D

Being acutely ill with Crohn’s or colitis can mean little to no sun exposure, poor absorption, bowel resections, and inadequate dietary intake, so deficiencies in vitamin D are common. In fact, while Crohn’s is less common in children than in adults, in kids with inflammatory bowel disease vitamin D and iron are the two most prevalent nutritional deficiencies found. (3, 9) Vitamin D appears to influence the amount of inflammation generated by the immune system as it is an immune-modulator. Perhaps this is why researchers have found that high vitamin D levels appear to be a protective factor in Crohn’s disease, and potentially in colitis as well. In one study, vitamin D was demonstrated to be necessary for the regeneration of the epithelial cells within the small intestine of experimental mice, suggesting that further studies could identify if the same benefit could influence the condition of human IBD sufferers. (11). No matter what age, for individuals with excessive inflammation vitamin D supplementation presents an opportunity to promote normal functioning of the immune system.


Folate status is another nutrient that has a significant association with Crohn’s and colitis when compared to those without IBD (7). Not only that, but the implications of low folate status include high blood levels of homocysteine, which is a risk factor for cardiovascular events such as thrombosis. (9,12) Since there are genetic variations in folate metabolism that could be at the foundation of IBD development, a biologically active form of folate– such as 5-methyltetrahydrofolate-may be indicated.

Vitamin K

In a Japanese study, deficiencies in vitamin K and vitamin D were very common among IBD patients, despite the fact that dietary consumption was higher in this group than Japanese guidelines for recommended daily intake. (5) Since vitamin K is manufactured by intestinal bacteria, and IBD flare ups are characterized by frequent stool evacuation, it stands to reason that flares leading to substantial loss of microbiota would impact vitamin K levels. In a study of children with Crohn’s and children with UC, 54 percent of those with CD and 43.7 percent of those with UC were deficient in vitamin K. (6) Not only is vitamin K required for healthy calcification of bones, but it also serves as a coagulant of the blood. Realizing that blood loss by IBD sufferers leads to the complication of anemia, supplementary vitamin K could be of benefit under medical supervision.

Nutritional Supplementation is Key

Currently, gastroenterologists prescribe a variety of anti-inflammatory drugs to manage the symptoms of Crohn’s in their patients. However many individuals find that pharmaceuticals alone are not effective in managing their symptoms. While there isn’t a specific dietary protocol recommended by gastroenterologists, patients are often advised to follow a low-residue diet. This is a diet low in fiber, to avoid further injury to the intestinal tract while it’s ulcerated. While it makes sense to minimize the intake of scratchy roughage fibres during active (bleeding) Crohn’s, using a low-fiber diet as long term management can limit a patient’s intake of essential nutrients found only in fruits and vegetables, such as folate, vitamin C and beta-carotene. Fruits and vegetables that are cooked and puréed, or juiced may be better tolerated. However, it can still be challenging to replenish depleted nutrient levels through diet alone due to the compromised absorption and blood loss experienced by Crohn’s patients. Therefore, appropriate dosing of specific nutritional supplementation could make a significant difference to nutritional status.


Certain circumstances once meant that Crohn’s flare-ups could be fatal due to the complications of excessive blood loss, blockages and multiple resection surgeries but today, prognosis is far better, with Crohn’s patients living higher quality lives, and living longer than ever before. Clearly, there are good reasons to employ supplementary nutrients in Crohn’s and colitis patients. With careful attention to nutritional status, stress management and regular monitoring by health care practitioners who are well-versed in the challenges of Crohn’s and colitis, the well-being of these patients stands a very good chance of improvement.


  1. Battat R., Kopylov U., Szilagyi A., Saxena A., Rosenblatt D.S., Warner M., Bessissow T., Seidman E., Bitton A. Vitamin B12 deficiency in inflammatory bowel disease: Prevalence, risk factors, evaluation, and management. Inflamm. Bowel Dis. 2014;20:1120-1128.
  2. Domislović V, Vranešić Bender D, Barišić A, Brinar M, Ljubas Kelečić D, Rotim C, Novosel M, Matašin M, Krznarić Ž. HIGH PREVALENCE OF UNTREATED AND UNDERTREATED VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY AND INSUFFICIENCY IN PATIENTS WITH INFLAMMATORY BOWEL DISEASE. Acta Clin Croat. 2020 Mar;59(1):109-118.
  3. Fritz J, Walia C, Elkadri A, Pipkorn R, Dunn RK, Sieracki R, Goday PS, Cabrera JM. A Systematic Review of Micronutrient Deficiencies in Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2019 Feb 21;25(3):445-459.
  4. Kaitha S, Bashir M, Ali T. Iron deficiency anemia in inflammatory bowel disease. World J Gastrointest Pathophysiol. 2015;6(3):62-72.
  5. Kuwabara A, Tanaka K, Tsugawa N, Nakase H, Tsuji H, Shide K, Kamao M, Chiba T, Inagaki N, Okano T, Kido S. High prevalence of vitamin K and D deficiency and decreased BMD in inflammatory bowel disease. Osteoporos Int. 2009 Jun;20(6):935-42.
  6. Nowak JK, Grzybowska-Chlebowczyk U, Landowski P, et al. Prevalence and correlates of vitamin K deficiency in children with inflammatory bowel disease. Sci Rep. 2014;4:4768.
  7. Pan Y, Liu Y, Guo H, et al. Associations between Folate and Vitamin B12 Levels and Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A Meta-Analysis. Nutrients. 2017;9(4):382.
  8. Schäffler H, Schmidt M, Huth A, Reiner J, Glass ä, Lamprecht G. Clinical factors are associated with vitamin D levels in IBD patients: A retrospective analysis. J Dig Dis. 2018 Jan;19(1):24-32.
  9. Stein J, Dignass AU. Management of iron deficiency anemia in inflammatory bowel disease – a practical approach. Ann Gastroenterol. 2013;26(2):104-113.
  10. Yakut M, Ustün Y, Kabacam G, Soykan I. Serum vitamin B12 and folate status in patients with inflammatory bowel diseases. Eur J Intern Med. 2010 Aug;21(4):320-3.
  11. Zhao H, Zhang H, Wu H, Li H, Liu L, Guo J, Li C, Shih DQ, Zhang X. Protective role of 1,25(OH)2 vitamin D3 in the mucosal injury and epithelial barrier disruption in DSS-induced acute colitis in mice. BMC Gastroenterol. 2012 May 30; 12():57.
  12. Zezos P, Papaioannou G, Nikolaidis N, Vasiliadis T, Giouleme O, Evgenidis N. Hyperhomocysteinemia in ulcerative colitis is related to folate levels. World J Gastroenterol. 2005;11(38):6038-6042.

Free Webinar: Are you affected by SAD?

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Join Cyrus Kuhzarani of Pure Lab Vitamins on October 7 at 7p.m. to learn more about this common form of depression and how you can improve your mood without prescription antidepressants.

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PLUS – for the month of October, see our in-store display of Pure Lab products and take advantage of BIG savings!  We’ll also be giving away 1 SAD lamp to a lucky winner – see in-store for entry.


Fall Wellness Guide

Introducing the Health First Get-Back-on-Track Fall Wellness Guide. Yes, we believe masks, sanitization protocols and physical distancing are essential in protecting ourselves and our community from the spread of COVID-19. We also know that our immune system plays a foundational role in wellness. The key to a fantastic immune system is good overall health, and many factors contribute to ensuring this system is functioning optimally. Adequate nutrition, movement, stress reduction, good sleep, and time for self-care are all required to keep this system primed!

The Fall Wellness Guide features:
• Healthy meal ideas and recipes
• Self-care and supplement strategies
• Sleep and stress reduction ideas

See the full guide here!

Your October Health First flyer is live!

Our October Health First flyer is focused on keeping your immune system strong.

Maintaining a strong foundation when it comes to our immunity is important year-round, of course, but it’s particularly meaningful when life throws us a curve ball or two. With a robust immune response, we are more inclined to handle challenging situations, combat sickness
or recover quicker if we come down with something after being exposed to bacteria, viruses or parasites.

See our full October flyer here.

Vitamin C: A Game-Changer in the Recovery from Infection

By Andrea Bartels CNP NNCP RNT
Registered Nutritional Therapist

27 Jul 2020

There are several ways that vitamin C fights infectious agents. It enhances the production and proliferation of both B and T lymphocytes, immune cells involved in response to infection. It improves the mobility of phagocytes-the cells that ‘eat’ pathogens and infected tissue. Additionally, vitamin C is involved in antibody production against pathogens, so that we have immunity to them the next time they come around. Further, as an antioxidant, this vitamin also regenerates other antioxidants like glutathione and vitamin E-resulting in even greater protection against the oxidative stress caused by the inflammatory response to infection. Finally, in high doses, ascorbic acid has also been shown to be toxic to certain pathogens and abnormal cells. Put all these talents together, and you can see how valuable vitamin C is to our immune systems.

In a clinical trial of 715 students aged 18 to 32 years of age, 252 students took 1000 milligrams of vitamin C for the first 6 hours once cold and flu symptoms set in, then 3 times daily after that. Compared to the control group-who took pain relievers and decongestants instead-the Vitamin C -treated students experienced an 85 percent reduction in symptoms.

In a randomized controlled double-blind trial, 57 elderly patients that were admitted to hospital with acute bronchitis or bronchopneumonia were given either 200 milligrams of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) or placebo daily. The results: those who actually took the vitamin C had significantly better symptom improvement than those taking placebo.

In a meta-analysis of 18 controlled trials involving a total of 2004 patients, the length of stay in the ICU was reduced in those given supplementary vitamin C due to improvements in their status). What’s more, those patients who were put on ventilators for over 24 hours and were given C simultaneously had an 18.2 percent reduction in duration of ventilation (with improvements in their condition). Considering the poor survival rate of ventilated COVID-19-positive patients have had during the COVID-19 pandemic, hopefully this data will inspire further study within the context of the pandemic.

There are a multitude of studies that show similar results, and we can’t ignore the exciting recent observations of a highly published doctor, Paul Merik, MD. The doctor, who has treated hundreds of patients with sepsis—a condition in which bacteria has infected the bloodstream-decided that the mortality rate from the condition was unacceptably high in today’s modern world. He began treating his septic patients with an intravenously-delivered combination of the anti-inflammatory drug hydrocortisone, vitamin B-1 (thiamine) and vitamin C. After successfully curing 25 septic patients, he began sharing his successful results and protocol with other doctors. By 2017, Merik had saved the lives of all but one of the 150 septic patients he’d treated with his vitamin C – containing cocktail!

What these reports demonstrate is that vitamin C supplementation effectively enhances recovery from different kinds of viral and bacterial infections. However, waiting until one is sick to take supplementary nutrients is a missed opportunity. As they say, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. Taking Pure Lab Vitamin C on a daily basis helps reduce the risk of insufficiency, and supports the immune system so that it can fulfil its job description to protecting us.

Why Pure Lab Vitamin C is NOT buffered

Some individuals prone to GERD complain that vitamin C triggers the sensation of heartburn, and in these cases a less acidic version of vitamin C like calcium ascorbate is perceived to be the more comfortable choice. However, consider that GERD is associated with an acid-forming diet of processed foods and the latter is associated with calcium LOSS from the bones. Where does this calcium go? Well, consider that conditions such as heel spurs, breast cysts, arthritis, urinary blockage, atherosclerosis and other chronic inflammatory diseases all have in common the calcification of soft tissues. So, the root cause of the acidity cannot be blamed on vitamin C intake; it’s the diet that needs attention.

Sodium ascorbate is another, inexpensive way of offering a so-called buffered vitamin C product. But it’s not the ideal buffer either, because the standard North American diet already contains excessive amounts of salt. Associated with high salt intake is hypertension, and it is an all too common risk factor for heart and kidney disease.

Also, considering that larger doses of vitamin C are given orally and intravenously by some health practitioners to treat or manage certain health conditions, the cumulative intake of these mineral buffers could create serious imbalances when consumed in combination with dietary sources of calcium and sodium. That’s why PLV Vitamin C is pure, unbuffered ascorbic acid. Taken in daily divided doses, side effects of vitamin C are minimized and concern for mineral excesses or imbalances is thereby eliminated. Combined with good hygiene practices, optimizing vitamin C intake is an essential part of maintaining healthy immunity!


Carr AC, Maggini S. Vitamin C and Immune Function. Nutrients. 2017;9(11):1211.

Centers for Disease Control. CDC’s Second Nutrition Report: A comprehensive biochemical assessment of the nutrition status of the U.S. population. Accessed online July 24, 2020.

Cheng RZ. Can early and high intravenous dose of vitamin C prevent and treat coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)?. Med Drug Discov. 2020;5:100028.

Gorton HC, Jarvis K. The effectiveness of vitamin C in preventing and relieving the symptoms of virus-induced respiratory infections. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1999;22(8):530-533.

Hemilä H. Vitamin C and Infections. Nutrients. 2017;9(4):339.

Hemilä H, Chalker E. Vitamin C Can Shorten the Length of Stay in the ICU: A Meta-Analysis. Nutrients. 2019;11(4):708.

Hunt C., Chakravorty N.K., Annan G., Habibzadeh N., Schorah C.J. The clinical effects of vitamin C supplementation in elderly hospitalised patients with acute respiratory infections. Int. J. Vitam. Nutr. Res. 1994;64:212-219.

Morrison, Jim. Could Vitamin C be the cure for deadly infections? Smithsonian Magazine, June 27, 2017. Accessed online on July 23, 2020.