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Heart & Lung Health

Vaping vs Smoking

Vaping vs Smoking

Someone recently asked us if vaping was safer than smoking, and this question was particularly intriguing to me. It’s a rather new human behavior and very little is known about it. I love research though, so I decided to find out as much as I could about the subject and share the information with you.

First of all, I want to assure you that we are not going to pull a new rabbit out of an old hat – both vaping and smoking are bad, and I want to be clear about that. The simple answer through research is that yes, vaping may be less harmful. It’s not that vaping is healthier, but simply less harmful than smoking cigarettes.

Vaping vs Smoking

What is Vaping?

close up of female vaping with cloud of smoke

Over 500 articles have been published on vaping in the last few years, but very few of them are direct comparisons on the health risks or benefits of vaping versus smoking cigarettes. E-cigarettes are devices that produce an aerosol by heating a liquid containing various chemicals including nicotine, flavorings, and other additives. Users inhale the aerosol and those additives into their lungs. The aerosols produced by e-cigarettes can contain harmful chemicals such as heavy metals, lead, volatile organic compounds, ultra-fine particles, potentially cancer-causing chemicals, and other agents used for cleaning the device. Over 80 compounds are inhaled every time that you use an e-cigarette. Compare that to over 7,000 chemicals that are inhaled every time you smoke a cigarette!

electronic cigarette lying next to regular cigarettes

There has been a recent epidemic of e-cigarette users going to their doctor or even the emergency room because of lung disorders. The onset of respiratory findings, which can include nonproductive cough, chest pain, and shortness of breath, can occur several days or weeks before hospitalization. Systemic findings can include fast heart rate, fever, chills, fatigue, GI distress, and diarrhea preceding the lung symptoms.

Adult smokers who are attempting to quit should use evidence-based smoking cessation treatments, including counseling, nicotine replacement, and FDA-approved medications. Those who need help quitting tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, should contact their medical provider.

Are E-Cigarettes Safer Than Tobacco Cigarettes?  

man holding electronic cigarette and tobacco cigarettes

Smoking tobacco cigarettes is the primary cause of preventable cardiovascular deaths in the United States, and stopping the use of tobacco has long been the focus of public health organizations. According to the Surgeon General Report in 2014, rates of smoking in the US have reached historic lows. Parallel to the decline in cigarette smoking is the use of electronic cigarettes, which were introduced to the US in 2007. The market has since increased, especially among young people, which is a major concern. 3.1 million high school students in 2018 used e-cigarettes or vaped, and only 600,000 of them are illegal age.

E-cigarette use may be less harmful than tobacco use, but it comes with its own risks. Usage has increased from 700,000 users in 2012 to 3.2 million users in 2018. The effects of e-cigarettes on long-term cardiovascular health are rather inconclusive but still concerning. Multiple studies have shown temporary increases in oxidative stress, inflammation, vascular dysfunction, and platelet aggregation as well. These effects are consistent with the properties of nicotine, though the other components of e-cigarette emissions may also contribute to this.

E-cigarette use is less carcinogenic than tobacco smoke, as tobacco smoke is associated with lung cancer and other cancers throughout the body. It’s the number one risk factor for cardiovascular disease in the United States and worsens virtually every health condition we’re aware of. Tobacco smoke weakens the walls of the lungs, so we got plenty of air when we breathe in, but there’s little lung tissue left which means we’re not actually delivering air to the vital cells of our bodies.

vaporiser with different flavors on tabletop

Now let’s be clear: the vapor of e-cigarettes contains less harmful substances than tobacco smoke, but e-cigarettes are not a hazard-free lifestyle product. Just like tobacco, e-cigarettes cause inflammation of the lungs. E-cigarettes are also associated with a higher rate of illicit drug use because other drugs can be used in the vaporizing units.

Vaping with e-cigarettes may be less harmful to your health than tobacco cigarettes and less associated with cancers, but they have their own acute symptoms to be aware of. There’s a recent epidemic of e-cigarettes because of market increase and adulterated agents that you can put in the vaporizers, causing more individuals to need emergency room visits.

If you smoke tobacco, you should certainly move to e-cigarettes. If you use e-cigarettes, work with your healthcare provider to come up with techniques for quitting permanently.

Dr. Ryan Shelton of Zenith LabsIf you liked this video/article, do share it with your friends and loved ones. Subscribe to the Youtube channel for weekly tips on new tools and techniques to improve your health and well-being.

I believe in the original meaning of the word doctor, ‘docere’, which means teacher. I’m here to help educate you on how to take care of yourself in ways that you may not have heard of before, but that are effective. I always want to hear your ideas and feedback so be sure to leave me comments below!  




The Single Best Daily Habit To Prevent A Heart Attack

The Single Best Daily Habit To Prevent A Heart Attack

Did you know that every 40 seconds in the United States someone dies of a heart attack? You likely know someone who has suffered the devastating, often deadly effects of a heart attack. A heart attack is called the silent killer because we don’t know when and where it’s going to happen.

The Single Best Daily Habit To Prevent A Heart Attack

What is a heart attack?

man having a heart attack, clutching his chestA heart attack begins with inflammation, which can be caused by chemicals that your body produces, environmental toxins you’re exposed to every day, or damage from high blood pressure. Inflammation causes damage to the interior lining of blood vessels, specifically your arteries.

That inflammation begins to attract white blood cells and platelets which thicken the arteries over time. A heart attack is a silent killer because a small clot of that thickening can unknowingly break off, travel down the bloodstream, and cut off blood supply to the heart.

We have to get inflammation under control, and I want to share with you my favourite habit for preventing heart attacks.

The Best Daily Habit to Prevent a Heart Attack

woman holding a plastic red heart in her handsMy son Maxwell loves riding his bike every day, and that’s an example of my recommended habit for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attacks. I recommend exercise and therapeutic movement for 75 to 150 minutes every week. If you can bump that up to 200 to 300 minutes per week, you would be doing yourself an even bigger favor and greatly reducing your risk of coronary artery disease.

My favourite kind of exercise to recommend is the exercise you will enjoy each and every day. Maxwell riding his bike is the perfect example because it’s an activity he enjoys. It’s a form of play for him and he doesn’t even realize he’s decreasing his future risk factors. Maxwell is just playing, moving, having fun, smiling, and gaining the benefits of exercise.

heart-healthy diet with fruits and vegetablesThere are other contributing factors that can cause a heart attack and it’s important to get them under control.

To reduce risk factors, quit smoking, get your weight within a normal BMI, limit your alcohol intake, get plenty of sleep, reduce stress, and eat a balanced diet. Be sure to limit saturated and trans fats, and get healthy fats instead, like omega-3, 7, and 9. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, aiming for nine servings of five colors every day.

Remember though, the best strategy to reduce your risk factors for heart attack and coronary artery disease is engaging in exercise. Moderate movement like walking, biking, or cycling will reduce your risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Ryan Shelton of Zenith LabsIf you liked this video/article, do share it with your friends and loved ones. Subscribe to the Youtube channel for weekly tips on new tools and techniques to improve your health and well-being.

I believe in the original meaning of the word doctor, ‘docere’, which means teacher. I’m here to help educate you on how to take care of yourself in ways that you may not have heard of before, but that are effective. I always want to hear your ideas and feedback so be sure to leave me comments below!




The Truth About The “Longevity Gene” (DOCTOR THOUGHTS!)

You don’t want to die sooner than you have to. If you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering how to live a longer, happier, healthier life. A life in which you’re able to see your kids, even grandkids, graduate high school, graduate college, get married and create beautiful wonderful families of their own which you can engage in and enjoy for the rest of your life. Sometimes you make small choices, and you do not understand how it can change the entire trajectory of your life moving forward. Today, let’s talk about longevity genes.

an elderly couple at the beach jumping with arms and legs stretched out

There are many theories about aging, but what research has shown is that there are three important parts of the DNA which control aging and longevity. Most of our DNA codes for proteins, but these three enzymes change how the DNA responds to our environment in terms of longevity and aging. They don’t control or create new proteins. They tell the rest of our genes and the rest of our DNA, what to do.

There are two pathways when it comes to every cell in the body: growth and reproduction, or protection and maintenance. Growth and reproduction means that cells are replicating again and again to create new cells. With protection and maintenance, the cells are not replicating, reproducing, nor growing. They’re just maintaining the status quo. The three enzymes we’re going to talk about are responsible for which pathway a cell takes, and thus whether it ages or stays young.

The 3 Enzymes That Help Longevity

1. Telomerase

graphic of hedges sculpted in shape of DNA telomeres

Every time a cell divides, the ends of the DNA (telomeres) shorten a little bit. The shorter telomeres become, the more likely that cell is to age. Telomerase is an enzyme which helps to keep those telomeres long. Studies have shown that over-expression of telomerase can increase lifespan by 30%, and under-expression can decrease lifespan by 50%.

Every cell in your body has a limit of about 50 to 60 divisions before the telomeres become too short.

If we’re able to keep the telomeres long through encouraging greater activity of telomerase, then we are able to keep our cells (and thus, ourselves) young.

2. Sirtuin

Sirtuin is the determinant gene that decides if your cells are going to go down the path of growth and reproduction or protection and maintenance. If we are able to regulate/increase sirtuin enzymes, we can push our cells towards protection and maintenance, anti-aging and longevity.

3. TOR

TOR is known to push our entire DNA into growth and reproduction. If we can decrease the activity of the TOR enzyme, we can slow the aging process.

How Can We Influence These 3 Longevity Enzymes?

longevity activator supplement by zenith labs

Researchers have shown that a number of natural compounds, botanical agents, can increase telomerase, increase sirtuin, and decrease TOR.

Substances like resveratrol, Terminalia, Astragalus, purslane, Ashwagandha, ginseng, astatine, Cordyceps, pterostilbene etc. can all help. We’ve actually developed an important powerful supplement called Longevity Activator, where we include these agents, plus others, that can influence these three genetic genes so that we encourage protection and maintenance, and discourage growth and reproduction.

Want more secrets to living longer? Learn about 3 longevity superfoods that could actually help you add on years!

If you liked this video/article and found it useful, do share it with your friends and loved ones. Subscribe to the Youtube channel for weekly tips on new tools and techniques to improve your health and well-being.

I believe in the original meaning of the word doctor, ‘docere‘, which means teacher. I’m here to help educate you on how to take care of yourself in ways that you may not have heard of before, but that are effective. I always want to hear your ideas and feedback so be sure to leave me comments below!

Stop Making These Heart Health Mistakes Before It’s Too Late

Every year, over 600,000 people die of heart disease – that makes it the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. Though there is certainly a genetic component to cardiovascular disease, many risk factors are completely within your control. In fact, you are probably making some simple mistakes that, if you continue to make them, could have serious consequences down the line.

If you want to take control of your heart health now to prevent major heart problems later in life, you need to step back and take a look at your cardiovascular health and the habits you have which could be negatively impacting it. Keep reading to learn about the top 5 heart health mistakes you should stop making now to ensure a brighter and healthier future for you and your heart.

How Late is Too Late?

It is never too early to start making healthier choices in your life. Striving for a more balanced diet and engaging in regular exercise are two of the best things you can do for your health, both now and for the future. Simple things like this can add up and, over time, they will help your body run at its optimal level which will ensure that all of your organs and systems work more efficiently. So, while making a healthy choice is a good thing for sure, it is important that you continue to make those healthy choices each and every day if you want the results to last.

So, it’s a good idea to start thinking about your health sooner rather than later, but how late is too late? According to Deepak Bhatt, MD, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and the executive director of interventional cardiovascular programs at Brigham Women’s Hospital Heart & Vascular Center, several risk factors for heart disease start to go up in a person’s 40s. Though risk factors like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity are always dangerous, these things become major drivers for heart problems in middle age.

What does that mean? It means that while it is best to adopt healthy habits early on to preserve your cardiovascular health for the long-term, it becomes even more important to make healthy changes once you hit 40 if you haven’t done so already. But what kind of mistakes are the most damaging to your heart and what can you do to fix them? Keep reading to find out.

Mistake #1: Carrying Around Too Much Weight

As you get older it is natural for your metabolism to slow down and that makes you prone to weight gain. If you are already overweight or obese, this could be all the more dangerous for your heart and your health. The first step in correcting this mistake is to make yourself aware of how bad the problem really is. Step on the scale and ask yourself just how much weight you’ve gained over the past few months, the past year, or even the past decade. If your weight has been steadily climbing, you could have some other health problems you need to address – talk to your doctor about doing a cardiovascular fitness test to see what kind of shape your heart is really in.

Eating a salad once in a while or going for a walk one day a week are good choices to make, but they won’t make much difference for your bodyweight or your heart health until they become frequent habits. Unfortunately, losing weight over the age of 40 can be tricky for many people but there are a few simple rules you can follow to make a change:

  • Aim for slow and steady weight loss – The goal is to lose the weight and keep it off, so aim for a 1- to 2-pound loss per week at most to ensure that your body adjusts properly so you keep the weight off after you lose it.
  • Make veggies the focus of your meals – Sure, you should include complex carbohydrates in your diet but try to fill up on veggies and lean proteins to limit your calorie intake and maximize your nutrient intake.
  • Eat smaller portions – Not only should you make an effort to eat healthier meals in general but watch your portion sizes as well. You can gain weight just as easily from eating too much chicken as you can too much pizza.
  • Don’t skip meals – Your metabolism is already struggling, so why mess with it by skipping meals? You’re better off drinking a smoothie or eating a small meal to control calorie intake than you are skipping the meal entirely.
  • Be mindful of treats – There’s nothing wrong with the occasional indulgence, but it’s probably not a good idea to go eating a bowl of ice cream after dinner every day.

In addition to making these simple changes, you should make an effort to move more as well. You don’t necessarily have to train for the marathon but going for a 30-minute walk once or twice a day will make a big difference for your cardiovascular health.

Mistake #2: Failing to Nurture Relationships

When you work a long day, it’s tempting to just go home and veg out in front of the television. While this is fine once in a while, don’t let your relationships fall by the wayside. You may not realize it, but nurturing social relationships is important for your heart health. According to a study conducted in 2016, social isolation and loneliness can increase your risk for coronary heart disease just as much as smoking. In fact, a lack of social relationships was correlated with an increase in a person’s risk for heart disease by nearly 30%.

Forcing yourself to go out with friends every night of the week may not be the healthiest choice, but you should take the steps necessary to preserve and grow your friendships. Men in particular are at-risk for letting relationships slide in their 40s, so you might need to make a concerted effort to keep in touch. Try joining a recreational sport league, take up a new hobby, or just schedule a weekly dinner out with friends. You don’t have to do anything crazy, just keep in touch!

Mistake #3: Going Too Hard at the Gym (or Not at All)

The benefits of physical exercise for your heart health are undeniable, but there is such a thing as working out too hard. While it is recommended that you get 30 minutes of exercise per day, if all of that exercise is high-intensity, it could be damaging to your heart once you reach middle age and older. If you choose to do high-intensity exercise like running, make sure you warm up your body properly and try to do something low-intensity in between your more intense workouts. If you are new to exercise, it is especially important that you start slow and build your fitness over time.

While hitting the gym too hard is not good for your heart, neither is avoiding it entirely. You don’t have to spend an hour on the treadmill every day or train for a triathlon, but you should be making a daily effort to get moving. Go for a walk after work every evening or play a round of tennis with a friend on the weekend. Whatever kind of exercise you enjoy, make that your focus and the heart health benefits will be a bonus.

Mistake #4: Not Managing Your Stress

Stress seems unavoidable in this day and age. Many people who suffer from chronic stress don’t even realize it because it has become the norm for them. What you may not know, however, is that chronic stress can wreak havoc on your body, including your heart. When you are faced with some kind of threat, your body has a built-in “fight or flight” response that revs up your heartrate and breathing and focuses your mind – these metabolic changes give you the energy and focus to tackle the threat head-on or to successfully escape it. When the threat dissipates, your body goes back to normal.

Unfortunately, the body has a hard time distinguishing between physical threats and emotional or mental stress. If you’re constantly busy, over-worked, and under-rested your body is operating at a low level of panic all the time and that can be incredibly draining on your heart. Taking just 15 minutes out of your day to rest and relax can work wonders for your mental and physical health. Try starting the day with a 10-minute meditation session or set aside a half hour every evening to read a book or soak in a hot bath. Even if you aren’t able to change your stressful situation, you can change how you handle it and giving your mind and body a break once in a while will do you immeasurable good.

Mistake #5: Smoking

According to the American Heart Association, smoking is the most preventable cause of premature death in the United States, accounting for more than 440,000 deaths each year. Smoking contributes to a number of serious chronic health problems, not the least of which is heart disease. Cigarette smoking can increase blood pressure, decrease exercise tolerance, and increase the risk for blood clots. It can also contribute to atherosclerosis, or the buildup of fatty plaques in the arteries which greatly increases your risk for heart attack.

When you quit smoking, the health benefits kick in almost immediately, though it may take a few years for your risk of heart attack or stroke to drop down to normal levels. Just know that these benefits may be limited if you continue to smoke other substances such as cigars or marijuana. Even secondhand smoke can increase your risk for heart problems.

Following a healthy diet and engaging in regular exercise is a recipe for heart health, but you also have to take a look at some of your other habits to see if they might be harming you as well. If you want to keep your heart beating strong for another couple of decades, start taking care of it now by dropping the bad habits discussed above.

Atherosclerosis The SECRETS OF LONGEVITY That You Do Not Know

Atherosclerosis: The SECRETS OF LONGEVITY That You Do Not Know

Atherosclerosis is the number one cause of disease and disability for adults in the United States, and research shows it develops in your 20s, 30s, and 40s. It’s important to understand so I want to share with you seven shockingly strange factors that contribute to heart disease and strokes.

atherosclerosis diagram of a clogged artery

Is it possible to prevent or reverse heart disease? Absolutely. When people ask me to explain heart attacks and strokes, I give them one simple answer: inflammation. Inflammation equals heart attacks and strokes.

Think of your heart and brain as plants that need a constant flow of water. High blood pressure is like turning the water pressure up too high, which causes damage to the arteries. High cholesterol, on the other hand, is like clogging your arteries with liquid concrete. However, cholesterol is not the enemy. It’s actually produced by the body in high amounts to repair the damage of inflammation in your arteries.

Secrets to Longevity… Atherosclerosis

7 Strange Factors Contributing to Heart Disease

1. Sound and Noise

young woman listening to headphones

Sounds can be damaging to your heart and your brain. Starting around 50 decibels, the volume of a refrigerator or a friendly chat, noise can raise your blood pressure and increase the likelihood of heart failure. For every 10-decibel increase, your odds of getting heart disease and having a stroke go up even more. It’s your body in survival mode, as it reacts to loud noises by pumping you with stress hormones.

2. Irregular Menstruation

menstruation calendar

Women who get their first period before they’re 12 years old or who stop having their periods before they’ve reached 47 years old are more likely to have a stroke or develop heart disease. A woman’s risk also goes up if she’s had a miscarriage or have her ovaries or uterus removed.

3. Migraines

woman with headache working at her desk

You’re more likely to experience chest pain, strokes, or heart attacks when you get migraines because of inflammation. If heart disease runs in your family or you’ve had heart problems before, you should probably avoid taking medicines called triptans because they narrow your blood vessels and exacerbate the process of inflammation and atherosclerosis.

4. Loneliness

woman alone on a swing on the beach at sunset

Having too few friends or being unhappy with your life raises your odds of heart disease by about as much as second-hand smoke does. Feeling alone has been linked to high blood pressure and other effects of stress.

5. Stimulant Medications

medications and pills on the table

Stimulant drugs such as dextroamphetamine and methylphenidate are designed to help you focus, but they can also raise your heart rate and blood pressure. It’s important to work with your doctor to decide if the benefits outweigh the risks with these kinds of medications.

6. Overworking

woman overworking at her desk late at night

People who work 55 hours per week are more likely to have heart disease than those who only work 35 to 40 hours a week. This could be the result of many things including increased stress, a sedentary lifestyle, or perhaps drinking more alcohol. If you tend to work a lot, it’s especially important to take care of yourself to avoid heart disease and stroke.

7. Gum Disease

woman checking for gum disease

Bacteria from your mouth can enter your blood and cause inflammation in the lining of your arteries, which can lead to the buildup of fatty lipids and cholesterol. Research shows that by treating gum disease, you can lower the level of an inflammatory marker called C-reactive protein in your blood. Doctors use this measurement through laboratory results along with cholesterol levels to predict cardiac events.

Key Steps to Take

doctor checking patient's blood pressure

In order to protect yourself from atherosclerosis, there are several key steps you can take. Control your blood pressure, keep your cholesterol and triglycerides under control, stay at a healthy weight, don’t smoke, manage your stress, manage diabetes, and get plenty of sleep.


stethoscope wrapped around a red apple

One class of medications that are typically used to treat heart disease is blood pressure agents, and one of the most common agents is lycinapro. Lycinapro comes with a variety of side effects, so work with your doctor when taking this medication and get your blood pressure down through diet and exercise.

When it comes to statin medications, some studies have shown there is only a 1% decrease in heart disease if you’re taking a statin medication. Cholesterol is important for the body as a precursor hormone for testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone. A decline in these hormones can aggravate the process of heart disease and stroke.

senior couple exercising outdoors together

The rise in cholesterol is late in the chain of events because remember, cholesterol is patching up the arteries and repairing the damage of inflammation. Fear of cholesterol comes from a primitive perspective of pharmaceutical companies and even some doctors. High cholesterol actually signals that you have extraordinary inflammation and your body is trying to repair the inflammation.

Statin medications lead to an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease. It decreases CoQ10, which can lead to negative consequences in your health like muscle pain, hormonal imbalances, and more. There are more than 300 adverse effects of statin medications, so try to correct your diet, activity level, and hormones first.

I tell patients that mindfulness is most important. Understanding heart disease as inflammation and not high cholesterol, and knowing that it can be improved with lifestyle changes. It takes some effort but you can make drastic changes not just for heart disease but for a number of health conditions.

Dr. Ryan Shelton of Zenith LabsIf you liked this video/article, do share it with your friends and loved ones. Subscribe to the Youtube channel for weekly tips on new tools and techniques to improve your health and well-being.

I believe in the original meaning of the word doctor, ‘docere’, which means teacher. I’m here to help educate you on how to take care of yourself in ways that you may not have heard of before, but that are effective. I always want to hear your ideas and feedback so be sure to leave me comments below!





What’s Worse Smoking Or Alcohol (Doctor’s Opinion)

We’re all gonna die. It is inevitable. Excluding accidents and genetic causes, the most common contributing factor to how we die is how we live and lifestyle choices. So when it comes to lifestyle choices, have you ever wondered which is worse? Smoking or alcohol? We’ll be looking at the statistics and effects of smoking and alcohol to evaluate if one is, in fact, worse than the other.

About smoking

fingers holding a smoking cigaretteNo matter how you slice it, inhaling any amount of cigarette smoke is bad for your health. A new meta-analysis study in the British Medical Journal found that smoking just one cigarette a day can drastically increase the risk factors for coronary heart disease and stroke. They found that men who had one cigarette per day had a 48% higher risk of heart disease and stroke. For women, the numbers are even grimmer. Women who smoke one cigarette per day have a 57% chance of heart disease and a 30% higher risk factor of stroke compared to non- smokers.

middle aged man breaking a cigarette in halfAlthough cutting down smoking has clear benefits (particularly for the risk of cancer), the reduction in cardiovascular disease risk is not as large as smokers would hope. Smokers need to quit completely (rather than cut down) if they wish to avoid most of the risks associated with heart disease and stroke, two of the most common and major disorders caused by smoking.

Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States, including more than 41,000 deaths resulting from second-hand smoke. Second-hand smoke accounts for about 1 in 5 deaths annually, about 1300 deaths every single day in the United States. On average, smokers die 10 years earlier than non-smokers.

young woman smoking a cigarette against dark blue backgroundThe tobacco epidemic is one of the largest, biggest health threats the world has ever faced. Tobacco kills up to half of its users, which is more than seven million people each year worldwide. More than six million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco intake while 890,000 are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke. Around 80% of the world’s population live in low and middle-income countries where people are more likely to smoke.

If you’re a smoker, there is still hope. Quitting smoking before the age of 40 reduces the risk of dying from smoking by almost 90%.

About alcohol

close up of hand holding onto a glass filled with whiskyPeople drink to socialize, celebrate, and relax. Alcohol often has a strong effect on people and throughout history, we’ve struggled to understand and manage alcohol’s power over us. About 27% of people over the age of 18 have reported that they’ve engaged in binge drinking in the past month. 7% report that they’ve engaged in heavy alcohol use in the past month. Over 15 million adults over the age of 18 have some kind of alcohol-dependency problem. This includes 9.8 million men and 5.3 million females.

An estimated 88,000 people, approximately 62,000 men and 26,000 women, die from alcohol-related causes annually, making alcohol the third most preventable cause of death in the United States. The first is tobacco, and the second is poor diet and physical activity.

close up of waiter pouring red wine into a glassIn 2012, 3.3 million deaths, or 5.9% of all global deaths, were attributed to alcohol consumption. In 2014, the World Health Organization reported that alcohol contributed to more than 200 diseases and injury-related health conditions. Most notably, liver cirrhosis, cancers, and injuries such as motor vehicle accidents.

So, smoking is a worse vice than alcohol. No cigarette intake is safe, whereas science does show that alcohol intake, particularly red wine or darker beer, may be protective in extreme moderation. Drinking one to two drinks a day can be beneficial, but any more than that and it can be extremely problematic.

What happens if you smoke and drink?

close up on a man's hand holding a glass of beer and lit cigaretteCigarettes and alcohol are often used together. Studies have found that people who smoke are much more likely to drink, and that people who drink are much more likely to smoke. Dependence on alcohol and tobacco is correlated. People who are dependent on alcohol are three times more likely than those in the general population to be smokers. People who are dependent on tobacco are four times more likely than the general population to be drinkers.

We all have vices. However, it is prudent to understand that some of your vices may leave serious impacts on your health. Quitting smoking and/or drinking in extreme moderation will help prolong your life. The good news is, there are options. You can reach out locally to organizations, societies, or your local physician to get help.

dr ryan shelton of zenith labsIf you liked this video/article, do share it with your friends and loved ones. Subscribe to the Youtube channel for weekly tips on new tools and techniques to improve your health and well-being.

I believe in the original meaning of the word doctor, ‘docere’, which means teacher. I’m here to help educate you on how to take care of yourself in ways that you may not have heard of before, but that are effective. I always want to hear your ideas and feedback so be sure to leave me comments below!




How To Reduce Chronic Inflammation (MASTER-TIP!)

If you’ve watched any network news channel over the past few years, you know that scientists and researchers have attributed chronic disease with chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation contributes to most of the modern day maladies or ailments, including Alzheimer’s, mood disorders, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, erectile dysfunction, hair loss, the list goes on and on. You need to control chronic inflammation if you want to prevent, if not reverse, some of these chronic ailments.

What Contributes to Chronic Inflammation?

greyscale image of a woman's back, with her neck, shoulder and spine highlight in red to show chronic inflammation

Simply put, one of the most contributing factors to chronic inflammation is a simple three-letter word: fat. Controlling the amount of fat in your body is a way to reduce chronic inflammation in your body. There are a few different types of fats in your body to look out for.

graphic of fat cells

Firstly, the visible fats you can see in the mirror. We used to think that fat cells were just an inner, benign reservoir to store extra calories. They looked a bit unseemly and gross in a mirror, but they were generally there to store energy. Research has actually shown that this is not true, and that these fat cells are actually active organs. Fat cells produce over 80 different types of proteins and other highly active chemicals that promote inflammation in your body. The good news is, when you lose weight and the visible fat you see in the mirror disappears, you can curb the inflammation happening in your body.

graphic of fat cells and its membranes

Secondly, you also need to be aware of the fats that you can’t actually see. Every cell in your body has a membrane, and within that membrane is a type of fatty acid called “arachidonic acid”. Arachidonic acid is meant to protect us, but it can go overboard and promote inflammation. Arachidonic acid produces a series of chemicals in the body called “prostaglandins” and “leukotrienes”. Some of these chemicals are anti-inflammatory, but there are pro-inflammatory prostaglandins and leukotrienes too.

Here’s the secret: If you are consuming adequate healthy amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, then the type of prostaglandins and leukotrienes produced in your body are anti-inflammatory rather than pro-inflammatory. As long as you eat these healthy fats, you can lower the level of pro-inflammatory chemicals in your body.

How to Reduce Chronic Inflammation

shot of healthy foods like omega-3 supplement pills, avocado and brown grains on a wooden board

One of the best ways to reduce chronic inflammation is to eat foods high in essential fatty acids. These include:

  • Avocados
  • Nuts like walnuts, almonds, pistachios
  • Chia seeds and flax seeds
  • Olives
  • Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, anchovies
trim-14-lysine supplement by zenith labs

By including these healthy fatty foods in your daily diet, you’ll change the pathway of how arachidonic acid is broken down, and can change the parameters of inflammation in your body.

omega 3-7-9+krill supplement by zenith labs

We’ve actually created a program to help with weight loss, and a supplement to help with weight loss, called Trim-14. You can check them out to use as a weight loss option. We’ve also developed an essential fatty acid, Omega-3, 7, 9 + krill oil supplement, that contains high amounts of the essential fatty acids plus krill oil which helps with more effective absorption.

As always, we would love to hear from you! Let us know what your favorite type of healthy fatty food is, and how you manage chronic inflammation. Let us know what works for you or what doesn’t in the comments below so that together, we can win the battle with chronic inflammation.

Dr. Ryan Shelton of zenith labs

If you liked this video/article, do share it with your friends and loved ones. Subscribe to the Youtube channel for weekly tips on new tools and techniques to improve your health and well-being.

I believe in the original meaning of the word doctor, ‘docere‘, which means teacher. I’m here to help educate you on how to take care of yourself in ways that you may not have heard of before, but that are effective. I always want to hear your ideas and feedback so be sure to leave me comments below!

Pill Nation Doctor Speaks Out


Instead of talking about a specific health condition in this article, we’re going to touch on a topic I’m quite passionate about. In fact, it’s one of the reasons I ultimately decided to become a naturopathic medical doctor. It’s something I call, ‘pill nation.’

Pill Nation Doctor Speaks Out

An important disclaimer

small glass jars of pills, supplements, and medicine

First, let’s start with a disclaimer: many medications are essential for maintaining good health and you should never discontinue a medication without speaking to the prescribing physician first. Many supplements, whether nutritional or botanical, are great for supporting health and wellness. Again, you should not discontinue these supplements without checking in with the individual who recommended or prescribed them to you.

Alarming facts around pill dependency

pile of different pills

There’s an alarming trend that’s been developing in America over the last few decades, and unfortunately, other countries around the world are following our patterns.

In the year 2000, 50% of Americans were taking at least one medication. Fast forward to 2012 and that number jumped up to 60%. During that 12-year gap, the number of people taking five or more medications doubled from 8% to 16%, and these numbers are still increasing every year.

Why are people taking more than five medications? There are many factors. We know that medications can cause side effects, so some doctors prescribe additional medications to treat the side effects of the first, second, or even third medication. Another key factor is due to the legal changes that happened in the early 1980s. Legislation was passed by Congress and Ronald Reagan, president at the time, allowing for direct to consumer marketing and advertising.

handful of different pills

This new legislation took some of the power from a physician. A physician would typically review your medical history, give you a physical exam, make a proper diagnosis, recommend a treatment, and probably prescribe medication. Thanks to the new legislation though, big pharma companies were able to bypass this practice of medicine by marketing directly to people. Suddenly there were commercials on TV, sometimes with cartoons involved but always with happy people.

Patients turned into consumers, visiting the doctor, requesting a certain medication based on an advertisement they saw, and having the doctor sign off on it. This trend is still on the rise. In 2014, 4.3 billion prescriptions were written, equaling $375 billion – and that doesn’t even include over the counter medications or supplements. In 2014, roughly a third of Americans were taking at least one nutritional or botanical supplement, equaling $5 billion. We’re becoming increasingly dependent on pills.

Why it’s dangerous to depend on pills

young woman sorting through her pills

Why is the idea of a ‘pill nation’ so alarming? Some pills certainly cause side effects and some pills can actually cause disease. A common one is proton pump inhibitors. Proton pump inhibitors are quite effective at reducing acid reflux, but they’re almost too effective. They can decrease your acid to the point where you’re not able to extract and absorb certain nutrients anymore.

If you’re not absorbing nutrients because of low stomach acid, you can face mood changes, physical pain, increased rates of asthma, high blood pressure, diabetes, and even osteoporosis.

In 2018, John Hopkins University showed that due to medical errors and excessive medications, modern medicine is now the third most common cause of death. I believe that most doctors intend to help with health, but the trend of individuals taking more and more pills is alarming.

Good health begins with you

close up of herbal pills

Instead of immediately turning to pills, remember that good health begins with you. If you follow a healthy diet, engage in physical activity, balance your hormones, and reduce stress in your life, you can make tremendous strides in your health and wellbeing.

The next step in creating your good health is adding in nutritional or botanical supplements. Look for companies that do in-house testing and third-party testing to ensure the potency and purity of the ingredients. If you do need medication for a health condition, remember to consult with a physician instead of blindly following an advertisement. You can have a dramatic impact on your health with the right lifestyle changes.

Dr. Ryan Shelton of Zenith LabsIf you liked this video/article, do share it with your friends and loved ones. Subscribe to the Youtube channel for weekly tips on new tools and techniques to improve your health and well-being.

I believe in the original meaning of the word doctor, ‘docere’, which means teacher. I’m here to help educate you on how to take care of yourself in ways that you may not have heard of before, but that are effective. I always want to hear your ideas and feedback so be sure to leave me comments below!




What Is The Best Diet To Prevent Heart Disease

What Is The Best Diet To Prevent Heart Disease (DOCTOR THOUGHTS!)

You have so much power to reduce your risk factors and prevent the progression, if not reverse the risk factors for the number one killer in the United States — heart disease. We’ll be reviewing researched nutritional strategies to help you achieve those goals. Small choices that you can make can really change the trajectory of your risk factors, and how you live a happier, healthier life.

Statistics about Heart Disease

graphic with a heart, pulse line, and stethoscope

Let’s review some statistics — scary statistics. It’s estimated that 17,900,000 people die every year from cardiovascular disease, and that accounts for nearly a third of all deaths. Unfortunately, over 75% of these deaths from cardiovascular disease occur in low or middle income households. 1,100,000,000 people in the world have high blood pressure and hypertension, and only less than one in five have it under control. In the US alone, approximately 85,000,000 people suffer from some form of cardiovascular disease causing about 2200 deaths a day, averaging one death every 40 seconds. Almost one out of every three deaths results from cardiovascular disease.

graphic of a human heart with veins and one blood vessel coming towards the screen with blood cells inside

Not to mention the economical price. Direct and indirect costs of cardiovascular disease and stroke are estimated to be at $320,000,000,000 a year, and this figure is only increasing. One study showed that 98% of seven to 12 year olds showed at least one major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, and 54% showed three or more risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Another study on people enrolled or enlisted in the army showed that between the ages of 18 and 23, they were already showing signs of atherosclerosis.

So this is a disease that starts in your youth, but you have the power to really change your risk factors and prevent the development of cardiovascular disease.

Common Risk Factors of Heart Disease

Let’s look at some common risk factors and how to address them nutritionally.

1. High cholesterol

graphic of clogged arteries with cholesterol plaque

We all know high cholesterol is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Studies show that eating breakfast can improve cholesterol, as well as eating smaller, more frequent meals. Eggs do not seem to be a problem, actually up to 28 eggs per week showed no increase in the body’s production of cholesterol. You should be eating foods that are high in omega and seven fatty acids, nuts and seeds, garlic, high-fiber foods, beans and legumes, and rice bran oil. It’s important to avoid foods that are high in sucrose and fructose, and limiting your alcohol intake.

It’s no wonder vegetarians and vegans have a lower risk factor of cardiovascular disease with a diet high in fruits and vegetables.

2. Homocysteine and C-reactive protein

graphic of a person drawing out the chemical makeup of homocysteine

These are both independent risk factors for cardiovascular disease or heart disease. Homocysteine can be improved by eating fruits and vegetables, avoiding coffee, and eating foods that are high in essential fatty acids.

A Mediterranean-type diet has been shown to reduce C reactive protein. In addition, high fiber intake, limiting alcohol, limiting food allergies and barbecue or charred foods, all helps reduce C-reactive protein.

3. Platelet aggregation

graphic of blood platelets in a vein

Platelet aggregation is also an independent risk factor for heart disease. Avoid foods in high sucrose and eat a low fat, whole foods diet, limiting sodium or salt intake.

Once again, the Mediterranean-type of diet could help here. Tomatoes, and the allium family (garlic, onions, leeks), a glass or two of red wine, dark chocolate, grape juice, green tea, essential fatty acids, and culinary herbs like ginger, rosemary, thyme, and oregano, have been shown to help with platelet aggregation.

4. Lipoprotein A

graphic of Lipoprotein A

Another risk factor for heart disease, we can improve Lipoprotein A levels by avoiding trans-fats, unfiltered coffee, incorporating red wine and grapes, eating a diet that’s rich in vitamin C foods and essential fatty acids.

5. Fibrinogen

graphic of a type of body tissue

Fibrinogen is also an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Eating a diet high in fiber, and reducing intake of senior saturated or trans-fatty and refined carbohydrates is important. Your diet should include more of the allium family of vegetables, cayenne, apple cider vinegar, vitamins C, E, and B, and enzymes like Nattokinase or Bromelain foods that are high in zinc.

6. High blood pressure

person measuring using a blood pressure machine

High blood pressure is an absolute contributing factor to cardiovascular disease. You need to avoid heavy metals like lead and cadmium, which have been shown to have a relationship with the development of hypertension. To help this, reduce sodium intake, processed foods that are typically high in salt, and avoid sucrose and fructose. Stick to a diet high in fruits and vegetables.

Are you seeing a pattern here yet?

The Best Diet to Prevent Heart Disease

top down view of a woman's hands holding up a bowl of salad with other plates of vegetables defocused on the table below

It is recommended to follow a vegetarian diet, and have nine servings of five colors every single day. Include water-soluble fibers such as pectin and oats and rice bran, vegetable proteins, beans and legumes. These foods happen to also be rich in sources of magnesium and potassium, which helps to prevent heart disease. The allium family, garlic, leeks, onions and culinary herbs and spices, can be used to flavor your food but also use them to live a longer life.

BP Zone advanced blood pressure support supplement

Avoid sucrose and fructose, refined carbohydrates, fast foods, fried foods, chard foods, highly-processed foods that are high in sodium and salt, a diet that’s rich in essential fatty acids. Cold water, fish, nuts and seeds, avocado, olives and grass-fed free range meats such as beef or chicken or eggs. Obviously, avoid smoking. The intake of coffee in moderation seems to be protective as long as that coffee is filtered, so unfiltered coffee actually increases cholesterol and triglycerides which contributes to heart disease. Alcohol really needs to be taken in moderation. If you drink nothing, your risk factors go down. If you drink too much, your risk factors go way up. But if you drink in moderation, say between one and three glasses of particularly red wine rich in flavonoids, you may actually reduce your risk factors for heart disease.

Omega 3-7-9 + Krill

We have created other videos on high blood pressure, so do go check those out. We’ve created a couple of supplements, one for blood pressure called BP Zone, and one that’s rich in omega 3-7-9 fatty acids, it’s called Omega 3-7-9 + Krill. Give them a try and supplement with these nutritional strategies so you can prevent the progression of heart disease.

Find out which heart health mistakes you’re making, and how to spot heart attack symptoms before it’s too late.

Dr. Ryan Shelton

If you liked this video/article and found it useful, do share it with your friends and loved ones. Subscribe to the Youtube channel for weekly tips on new tools and techniques to improve your health and well-being.

I believe in the original meaning of the word doctor, ‘docere’, which means teacher. I’m here to help educate you on how to take care of yourself in ways that you may not have heard of before, but that are effective. I always want to hear your ideas and feedback so be sure to leave me comments below!

I Stopped Drinking Coffee For 30 Days (THIS HAPPENED!)

I Stopped Drinking Coffee For 30 Days (THIS HAPPENED!)

There are many known benefits of drinking coffee. You get more energy, increased focus, and it may even help you to complete tasks. Some people can drink a pot or two pots a day and get away with it, but there are also those of us who do not process caffeine very well and can only have a cup a day. Now and again, we all need a detox from caffeine. But what actually happens to your body when you decide to take a break from coffee? What happens when you stop drinking coffee for 30 days?

Here’s What Happens When You Stop Drinking Coffee

woman with headache sitting on a couch holding her head in her hands

One of the first thing that happens when you stop drinking coffee is getting a withdrawal headache. This is an initial headache that occurs because you’re simply withdrawing from a chemical – caffeine.

How can you counter this? Firstly, you can try taking a herb called Eleutherococcus. Eleutherococcus is a type of ginseng that has been shown in studies to help alleviate, or at least release and reduce the chances of getting that withdrawal headache from caffeine.

Secondly, you can take an all-natural amino acid called L-theanine. L-theanine increases alpha brain waves, giving you energy, focus, and calm. Taking a combination of Eleutherococcus and L-theanine for 30 days will help you come off caffeine quite easily.

dramatic picture of a human brain

We’ve worked with pharmacists and researchers to develop a supplement called “Meditation in a Bottle” that contains L-theanine, Eleutherococcus, as well as other herbs.

It’s a really powerful formula that helps with stress, energy, mood, and focus.

We’re really proud of it, and patients’ feedback has been amazing so far. Please write in with your comments, suggestions about other things that you want to learn. This is a channel dedicated to your health and your wellness.


Dr Ryan Shelton

Make sure that you like this page, subscribe to notifications, share it with your friends and loved ones. I believe in the initial word of doctor, which is ‘docere’. It means teacher.

I’m Dr. Ryan Shelton, and I’m here to teach and educate you each and every week. Thanks so much.

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