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Seven Steps to Health – 7 healthy lifestyle recommendations.

Many clients and health seeking customers visit Aviva looking for a “miracle” supplement that will provide miraculous relief for their health problems.

At Aviva, we believe that the body has the innate ability to heal. This natural healing process can be enhanced and “accelerated” if the necessary nutrients required for healing are available to the body, and the toxic load, often caused by poor dietary and lifestyle choices, is reduced.

I am constantly asked for a specific natural, or orthomolecular (natural to the body) supplement to heal a specific health concern. Using a natural health product formulated to heal a specific ailment, before first ensuring that the body has all the basic nutrients, rest, and exercise required for natural healing, is not unlike the approach of many doctors, where symptoms are treated with drugs, without attempting to identify the cause of the health concern, while ensuring that the body has all the nutrients required to fight inflammation and accelerate the healing process.

Health problems are not due to a deficiency of a drug. Statins, ace inhibitors, calcium channel blockers, diuretics, and Cox-2 inhibitors are not part of the normal diet of a healthy person, and no known deficiency of these, or any drugs, has been identified.

I believe that the five most important concepts for achieving optimum health include:


Environmental conditions (i.e airborne contaminants), food allergies, lack of exercise, stress, insufficient sleep, nutrient deficiency, low gastric acid or enzyme levels, low levels of beneficial bacteria (probiotics/prebiotics) and insufficient consumption of dietary fibre can contribute to a wide variety if illnesses.


Through a diet and lifestyle designed to strengthen the immune system.


Integrating health promoting foods, understanding the importance of proper food preparation, consuming a variety of plant based foods that include whole grains (preferably sprouted when possible), vegetables, fruits (whole, not juiced), legumes, nuts and seeds, with 10% of the total diet based on animal products.


Ensuring that all nutritional needs are met based on the Aviva Magnificent Seven Steps to Health.


Integrating relaxation techniques (including meditation), thinking positively about your health, 8-9 hours of sleep each night, and believing that your body will heal when the conditions for healing are provided. Regular exercise, combining aerobic and resistance is vital to improving, and maintaining health.

The Aviva Magnificent Seven Steps to Health provides the vast majority of people with all the nutrients required to heal a wide variety of health conditions. I recommend that this approach be combined with sufficient sleep, exercise, stress reduction techniques (i.e. meditation, binaural beat technology, etc.) and positive health promoting affirmations for a period of three months. If, after three months, you continue to experience health concerns, specific targeted supplements, based on the concept of “biochemical individuality,” would be recommended. This concept, originally described in the landmark, classic book by Roger Williams, Ph.D. of the same name, illustrates that every individual, based on their unique genetics, can have requirements for specific nutrients that are far beyond the accepted “RDA’s.” Dr. Williams research proved that even identical twins could have significantly different nutritional requirements.

The Aviva Magnificent Seven Steps to Health

(1) Super green food powder mixed with water each morning on an empty stomach
(2) Quality multi vitamin / mineral supplement, taken with each meal
(3) Vitamin D, at least 2000 iu per day
(4) Anti Inflammatory Nutrition: EPA/DHA/GLA and Turmeric/Curcumin
(5) Fibre and Probiotic (beneficial bacteria). At least 50 grams per day of fibre, preferably combining soluble and insoluble fibre (i.e. Panachia, Fiberrific, Ground Flax, etc.) and a quality probiotic.
(6) Magnesium, 300-400 mg (elemental) per day, in divided doses (TID, or BID)
(7) Vitamin C, 500-1000 mg per day, in divided doses, preferably with bioflavonoids, or whole food (you can eliminate this step if your multi vitamin has sufficient vitamin C)

If there are any digestive issues, bloating, I recommend adding a digestive enzyme.

Super Green Food Drink

– Consume every morning on an empty stomach. Recommendations:

* Pure Synergy (The Synergy Company)
* Biotics Research Nitro Greens
* BioPharma NanoGreens 10
* Greens Immune (New Roots Herbal)
* Enerex Greens Rx
* Barlean’s Greens
* Green Alive
* Trophic Greens Concentrate (also in capsules)
* Sunny Greens
* New Chapter Berry Green
* Garden of Life Perfect Food (also in capsules/tablets)
* Raw Greens
* Earth’s Promise (Enzymatic Therapy)
* Freedom Greens (New Roots Herbal)

The order of the products above is based on my evaluation of the formulas; however, all are high in quality and will provide noticeable health benefits, especially increased energy. Noticeable benefits will result from regular consumption of any of the recommendations.

I recommend alternating between different formulas, to determine if you feel more energy, or have a more positive (or negative) reaction to specific formulas.

If you eat 5 or more servings of fresh vegetables and at least 2 servings of fresh fruit daily, you can eliminate this step; however, even if you are consuming high volumes of fresh vegetables and fruit, you will realize improved health and energy by starting each day with a super green food powder mixed with water and consumed on an empty stomach.

For convenience and additional health benefits you can combine Step 5 with Step 1. As the control of blood sugar is vital to good health and because additional fibre will help correct a wide variety of health conditions, the addition of PanaChia (with flax is even better) and the Probiotic will make it easier to integrate all Aviva Magnificent Seven Steps into your daily routine. Add Rice Bran Solubles and Barley Beta Glucan for the ultimate in a health promoting, immune system boosting drink.

* 1-2 tablespoons Rice Bran Solubles (proven to control blood sugar, and extremely high in immune boosting plant sterols, vitamins and minerals (tastes good, too).
* 2-3 tablespoons PanaChia (appetite and blood sugar control, normalize bowel activity)
* 1 tablespoon of ground flax. Golden Flax (which has twice the fibre content) Sprouted Flax (highest nutritive value of all flaxes), or Natunola are highly recommended.
* 1 Teaspoon Barley Beta Glucan (control/lower blood sugar, cholesterol, appetite)
* A powdered probiotic (see recommendations in Step 5)

Quality Multi Vitamin

– Take with each meal. Recommendations:

* Douglas Laboratories Ultra Preventive X (the best supplement available)
* Douglas Laboratories Ultra Balance III
* Douglas Laboratories Symptom Specific Formula
- Arth Support Formula (for arthritis)
- Cardio Support Formula
(cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart function)
- Chronic fatigue Support Formula
- Digestive Support Formula (IBS, Crohnes, Colitis, etc.)
- Energy Sports Formula
(protects from exercise induced oxidative stress)
- Executive Stress Formula
- Osteo Support Formula (maintenance of bone health)
- Rehab Support Formula
(accelerate the healing process following injury)
* Pure Encapsulations Nutrient 950 w/o Iron (vegan, hypoallergenic)
* Enerex SONA (under 50 years)
* Enerex SONA Rx (over 50 years)
* NOW ADAM for Men (support for prostate health)
* NOW “Eve” for Women (specific herbs for women’s health)
* NOW Special Two (take two capsules or tablets with each meal (TID)
* NOW EcoGreen Multi (take one tablet with each meal)
* Nutribiotic Ultimate Matrix for Men / Women (Spirulina Bound)
* Vita Synergy for Men (completely natural whole food supplement)
* Nature’s Way Completia Energy (natural whole food supplement)
* New Chapter Every Woman (3 per day, or tid), or Every Woman II (organic)
* AOR Ortho Core (exceptional formula, 9 capsules per day)
* AOR Multi Basic (excellent formula, 3 capsules per day)
* Solaray Spectro (with or without Iron) - Best seller in the U.S.A.

If you choose a Symptom Specific Douglas Laboratories supplement, I recommend taking 2 tablets with each meal (not four per day as recommended). Three bottles of 120 tablets will last two months.

I do not recommend ‘one a day’ formulas; however, if you find it difficult to take a vitamin three times a day, I recommend taking a “one a day,” twice a day, once in the morning, and once at dinner.


* Enerex Supreme Once a Day (the tablets are very large, so avoid if you have trouble swallowing large tablets)
* Quest Super Once a Day
* Quest Maximum Once a Day
* New Chapter Every Woman’s One Daily (with organic ingredients)
* New Chapter Only One

Vitamin D

Research indicates that Vitamin D may be the most important vitamin of all, although as you will read in Step 7, Vitamin C is also very important. Low levels of vitamin D are associated with depression, osteoporosis, a higher incidence of 22 different forms of cancer, gum disease, heart failure, muscle weakness, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), muscle pain, Fibromyalgia, as well as MS and Cystic Fibrosis. As there are currently no multi vitamins that have sufficient levels of Vitamin D, I recommend additional daily supplementation.

* Biotics D-Mulsion - 1000 IU, 2 Drops per day
* Carlson Labs Solar D - 2000 IU, 1 capsule per day
* Carlson Labs Vitamin D - 2000 IU, 1 capsule per day

Anti-Inflammatory Supplementation

– Omega 3 and 6 Essential Fatty Acids and Curcumin / Turmeric

* 1 Tablespoon Carlson or Nordic Naturals Cod or Finest Fish Oil per day
* 1 Tablespoon Barlean’s, Omega Nutrition, or NOW Flax Oil, with Lignans, for every 100 pounds of body weight.
* 1 Tablespoon per day for every 100 pounds of body weight of either:
- Barlean’s Total Omega
- Hemp Oil (Mum’s is an excellent brand), or
- Renew Life OilSmart EFA Blend
* 1 Capsule Turmeric/Curcumin Supplement, Three Times Per Day (take with vitamin below)

You can take the oil products by the tablespoon in the morning, or add them to drinks, salads, etc. If you add these oils to your salad dressing you will not taste them, other than the light lemon flavor that is added. I recommend that you purchase organic turmeric (spice), and use it liberally in your cooking. Ask for Nathan’s Own Salad Dressing recipe.

There are over 17,000 published clinical trials on the health benefits of Omega 3 (EPA/DHA) for cardiovascular, skin, joint, eye, and brain health. EPA and DHA are converted to the anti inflammatory prostaglandin PG3.

GLA (Gamma Linolenic Acid), is the only Omega 6 I recommend, as this particular omega 6 converts to the anti inflammatory Prostaglandin Series 1. GLA is found in Barlean’s Total Omega, Renew Life OilSmart, and in small quantities in Hemp Oil. Other excellent sources of GLA include Borage Seed Oil, Evening Primrose Oil, and Black Currant Seed Oil.

Turmeric, and curcumin (the alkaloid derived from the herb, a close cousin to ginger) has been shown to lower inflammation by inhibiting the expression of the Cox-2 enzyme, but unlike Cox-2 inhibiting drugs (Vioxx), there are no side effects. Curcumin can lower C-Reactive Protein (a risk factor for cardiovascular disease), and is thought to lower the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease (along with Omega 3 and Selenium). Research has found that curcumin may be useful in treating and the prevention of heart failure and cancer. Turmeric / Curcumin is the most powerful, most healing of all herbs.

Turmeric / Curcumin Supplements:

* Solaray Turmeric One Daily
* Quest Turmeric Ginger Complex
* NOW Curcumin
* New Chapter Turmeric Force
* Natural Factors Turmeric & Bromelain

Fibre Supplementation with Probiotic

– Optimum GI Function and Fibre Benefits

* PanaChia (2-6 tablespoons per day)
* Ground Flax - 2 tablespoons per day (choose from one of the following)
- Sprouted NutraFlax (highest nutrient density)
- Canmar Roasted Golden Ground Flax
(twice the fibre of normal flax)
- Natunola Flax 70 (unique shelf stable ground flax)
- Barlean’s Forti-Flax
* Fiberrific – Unique Prebiotic that multiplies the benefits of the probiotic. Add to drinking water, juices, etc. What is amazing about Fiberrific is that it dissolves completely in water and adds no flavor, providing very effective levels of soluble fibre.
* Probiotic Supplement – For proper digestion, elimination, gastrointestinal function, and immune system support. Take as directed.
- Now Probiotic Defense (powder or capsules)
- Complementary Prescriptions Bio Pro (powder or capsules)
- Enerex The Friendly Trio
- New Roots Acidophilus Ultra
- AOR Opti Biotics, or Advanced Biotics
- O’Donnell Ultimate Acidophilus
- O’Donnell Flora Balance (Supreme Flora) (Candida treatment)

Magnesium Supplementation

Magnesium is a catalyst for over 300 biochemical reactions in your body. A key component for the production of metabolic enzymes, magnesium is required for the production of energy and to help the body eliminate toxins. Magnesium helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm steady (essential for regular heartbeat), supports a healthy immune system, is required to produce protein, and to keep bones strong. Magnesium also helps regulate blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure, and is known to be involved in energy metabolism and protein synthesis.

Approximately 90% of the population does not get the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of magnesium. Some of the common symptoms of magnesium deficiency include: chronic fatigue, weakness and exhaustion, high blood pressure, headaches, anxiety, depression, insomnia, irregular or rapid heartbeat and muscle spasms/cramps.

My research has found that Magnesium Oxide and Magnesium Citrate are the least absorbable, and the most likely to result in loose stools. This is the reason that Magnesium Citrate and Oxide are both used as laxatives. Loose stools are a function of magnesium that is not being absorbed.

I recommend chelated forms of magnesium, using the Albion Glycinate process (Magnesium chelated to the amino acid glycine), chelation with Taurine (Magnesium Taurate), chelation with orotic acid (Orotate) and chelation with aspartic acid (aspartate). Many find that Magnesium Taurate is more calming (better before bed to help with sleep), and very gentle on the stomach. Taurine is required to transport magnesium (and potassium) into the cells, which explains why there are so many positive reports on this type of magnesium. Any of these forms will be well absorbed. Solaray produces a fine product they call Magnesium Asporotate, which is a combination of Magnesium Aspartate, Magnesium Citrate, & Magnesium Orotate.

Chelated minerals simulate the structure of organic minerals as found in foods. Minerals are naturally chelated (or attached to) proteins in vegetables. By consuming mineral chelates, you are providing your body with a form of mineral that is easy to absorb. Magnesium Malate (magnesium reacted with malic acid) is often helpful for those with CFS or Fibromyalgia, as for some it appears to help with energy production.

ZMA is a patented combination of Magnesium Aspartate, Zinc Aspartate and Vitamin B6. Originally designed for athletes, as exercise results in a loss of magnesium and zinc, this formula combines the many benefits of magnesium with zinc, an extremely important mineral that recent studies have shown reduces the incidence of colds and flu while strengthening the immune system.

A deficiency of Vitamin B6 can prevent the uptake of magnesium into the cells. Vitamin B6 is also required along with magnesium as a cofactor in the production of many of the metabolic enzymes (including Delta 6 Desaturase, which is required to convert EPA into anti inflammatory prostaglandins), so including B6 with magnesium is a very good idea. In addition, clinical studies have proven that supplementation with vitamin B6 and magnesium reduces the incidence of kidney stones by over 90%.

* Metabolic Maintenance InGear - 1 scoop, 3X per day, including before bed)
* Douglas Laboratories Magnesium Glycinate (3X per day, including before bed)
* Pure Encapsulations Magnesium Glycinate (3X per day, including before bed)
* Magnesium Taurate (AOR), a chelate of Magnesium and Taurine
* Cardio Mag (AOR) - Specifically for heart function, heart failure, etc.
* Solary Magnesium Asporotate
* Preferred Nutrition MagSense (1 scoop dissolved in water, 2X per day as directed)
* Chelated Magnesium by Carlson Labs
* Trophic Magnesium Chelazome VCAPS
* Trophic Magnesium Chelate, Caplets

Vitamin C

Probably the most researched vitamin of all. I recommend 500-1000 mg per day taken in divided doses. The whole food formulas or products that have equal amounts of bioflavonoids (as is found in nature) should be the most healthful (Enerex Bio-C).

Many prefer the non acidic forms, including Ester-C, or other forms of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) that have been reacted with minerals to form a more alkaline supplement. Some find the more alkaline mineral “ascorbates” to be easier on their stomach. Mineral Ascorbates are formed by “reacting” ascorbic acid with minerals, which also provide essential minerals. Most of the alkaline vitamin C products are “calcium ascorbates,” including Ester-C.

New Roots Vitamin C8 includes Calcium Ascorbate, Magnesium Ascorbate, Potassium Ascorbate, Zinc Ascorbate, Sodium Ascorbate, Manganese Ascorbate, Selenium Ascorbate, and Ascorbyl Palmitate (fat soluble form of Vitamin C), with a variety of other power antioxidants. I have never seen a better formula; however, Naturally Nova Scotia’s new certified organic Acerola C is a completely natural product containing all the naturally occurring co-factors (bioflavonoids, antioxidants, etc.) that would be found in the Acerola berry fruit. Many believe that no “synthesized” or laboratory created product can compare to what nature provides.

* New Roots Vitamin C8 (the most comprehensive Vitamin C supplement in the world. Includes 8 forms of vitamin C, green tea, resveratrol, bioflavonoids, quercetin, bromelain and more.
* Naturally Nova Scotia Acerola Vitamin C (certified organic whole food)
* Now Tru-C Bio Complex
* Biotics Mixed Ascorbate Powder
* Carlson Super-C Complex (500mg Vitamin C, 500 mg lemon bioflavonoids)
* Enerex Bio-C (500mg Vitamin C, 500mg Bioflavonoids)
* Sisu, or NOW Ester-C
* Solaray Buffered Super Bio C (Vitamin C, Bioflavonoids, etc., in a two stage time release formula.
* Carlson Mild-C (alkaline vitamin C crystals, calcium ascorbate)

While I always recommend getting your vitamins from food when possible, it is difficult, if not impossible to absorb more than about 200 mg of vitamin C per day from food, so 90% of the population should take a vitamin C supplement.

The following health conditions have been shown to benefit from Vitamin C.

  • Allergies (seasonal) / Asthma: Vitamin C lowers histamine blood levels.
  • Arthritis: 2 Grams per day significantly reduced pain in osteoarthritis of the knee.
  • Bone Fractures: Randomized trial showed reduced risk by 83%.
  • Bone Health: Helps the body make collagen, required to maintain bone and tissue.
  • Cancer: Reduced risk of cancer in men with higher blood levels of Vitamin C.
  • Cardiovascular Health: Higher levels of Vitamin C is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
  • Colds/Influenza/Pneumonia: Studies have proven that there is a lower risk of getting pneumonia and a greater chance of surviving or recovering from pneumonia when Vitamin C was used with conventional medication. There is some debate about whether Vitamin C reduces the risk of cold and flu. Many health professionals and millions of users believe it does, but because Vitamin C is so powerful in improving survival from pneumonia (a major killer), it should be taken by everyone daily.
  • Dental Health: Dental health depends on vitamin C (through collagen production).
  • Energy Levels: Carnitine, used by every cell in the body, cannot be made without Vitamin C. Carnitine uses fuel and fatty acids to make energy. Carnitine is also one of the most popular nutrients (as L-Carnitine) as part of a natural treatment for fibromyalgia (along with Coenzyme Q-10, Ribose and Magnesium) and cardiovascular disease. Researchers are studying vitamin C and carnitine, as these nutrients can reduce fatigue and improve energy levels for people with many diseases, including cancer and MS.
  • Exercise: Vitamin C has been shown to reduce muscle fatigue and soreness after aerobic and resistance exercise. Vitamin C can also reduce the risk of infection if the immune system is compromised, which can result from extreme exercise.
  • Eye Health: 500 mg of vitamin C is part of the most well known formula proven in clinical studies to reduce risk of vision loss from AMD (macular degeneration) the major cause of blindness in the United States and Canada. Vitamin C is also being studied to determine if it can prevent cataracts and improve recovery time from Lasik surgery.
  • Fertility/Infertility/Birth Control: Vitamin C has been shown to result in a higher sperm count and an enhanced ability for sperm to reach its destination. Male and female reproductive areas have 50-100 times the blood level of vitamin C.
  • Immunology/Immune Boost/Infectious Disease: Studies have proven that higher levels of Vitamin C are associated with a stronger immune system.
  • Maternal/Child Health/Pediatrics: After the critical B-Vitamins (folic acid), the next most critical nutrients are Vitamin D, Vitamin C, essential fatty acids and beneficial bacteria (probiotics). Pregnant women are often more susceptible to acid reflux, so a non acidic form (i.e. Ester C, Mild-C) of Vitamin C is recommended.
  • Medical Procedures: Vitamin C may reduce the side effects or risk of kidney, heart, or other organ damage from the medical contrast dyes used in visualizing anatomy used by many hospital diagnostic procedures. These dyes are quite toxic, so it is thought that taking vitamin C prior to the administration of the contrast dyes can reduce their toxicity
  • Mental Health: Vitamin C improves neurotransmitter levels in the brain. There is ongoing research on the benefits of vitamin C for the treatment of depression.
  • Skin Health/Anti Aging: More than any other nutrient, Vitamin C is associated with the greatest reductions in the signs of aging, skin damage, wrinkles, thinning of the skin (skin atrophy). This was determined through one of the largest government studies, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Vitamin C is involved in collagen production and the regeneration process of skin and in wound repair
  • Sleep: Vitamin C may reduce the negative impact of insufficient sleep by improving the immune system and circulation. I recommend getting your 8-9 hours, but if you don’t, take more vitamin C.
  • Smoking: Vitamin C requirements for smokers are the highest for any group, but of course none of you reading this are smokers.
  • Stomach/Intestinal Health/Reflux Disease: Acid Reflux medications are one of the most commonly prescribed drugs. If you suffer from Acid Reflux, it is probably best to choose one of the non acidic forms of Vitamin C, including Ester-C, Mild-C, or New Roots C-8. Vitamin C is being studied along with more traditional medications and antibiotics to eliminate the H. Pylori bacteria that causes most ulcers and some stomach and intestinal cancers.
  • Stress: (Mental and Physical): As stress naturally depletes levels of Vitamin C, it makes sense that people under stress should take additional Vitamin C. Recent clinical trials proved that vitamin C supplements, even at low doses, are associated with significantly lower rates of infection in people under stress of a variety of types (exercise, temperature).
  • Surgery: Vitamin C improves wound healing.
  • Urologic/Kidney Health: There is some concern that very high levels (10-20 grams/day) of vitamin C could result in higher oxalate levels, which are associated with kidney stones. Of course, everyone who has read this far, knows that if you take magnesium and B6 every day, you will never get a kidney stone, but for those who believe that high doses of vitamin C can cause them, if you choose an alkaline type of vitamin C (Ester-C, Mild-C, C-8), this should reduce the risk of kidney stones.

Health Disclaimer. Copyright ©2008. Nathan Zassman is a trained nutrition practitioner and the owner of Aviva Natural Health Solutions.