General Health | MIGRELIEF

General Health Category

Fruit Infused Water – A Great Way to Stay Hydrated and Beat the Heat

July 1st, 2020

 

Recipes Fruit Infused WaterSummer is in full swing and with rising temperatures comes the need for everyone, especially migraineurs to stay well hydrated.  Helping to prevent migraines is only one of the benefits to drinking plenty of water.  Water helps with controlling calories, energizing muscles, and keeping your skin looking good.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, water helps keep your body temperature normal, lubricates and cushions joints, protects your spinal cord and other sensitive tissues, and gets rid of wastes through urination and perspiration.

Your body needs more water in hotter climates, on hotter days and when your more physically active.  If you think you are not getting enough water, carry a water bottle with you throughout the day. Choose water over other beverages when eating out and freeze water in a freezer safe bottle for icy cold water all day long.  To jazz it up a bit, make your own fruit infused water.

Fruit Infused Water

Making your own fruit-infused waters is a great alternative to drinking sugary sports drinks and sodas with additives and dyes. Fruit infused water doesn’t really require a specific recipe. You can experiment by making small or large batches and adding as much or as little fruit as you would like to increase flavor and sweetness.  Let your concoction stand for 2 to 8 hours then enjoy!  Popular fruits:  raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, peaches, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, mango, pineapple, oranges, lemons, limes, and cucumbers.Popular herbs:  mint, basil and rosemary.  Slice strawberries but keep other berries whole and press lightly with a spoon to release some of the flavors.  Add your favorite ingredients to a 1/2 gallon pitcher of water, cover and let sit overnight in the refrigerator.  Or make by the glass.

Star Spangled Frit Infused Water – Red, White & Blueberry

Ingredients:  1 pint of blueberries, 1 pint of strawberries, and a pineapple.
Cut pineapple with star cookie cutter and combine in a pitcher with strawberries and blueberries for star-spangled beverage.  You can infuse water or mix fruit with white sangria or lemonade for a festive punch.

Mango-Ginger Water
This is a delicious drink that boosts your metabolism, acts a natural pain reliever for migraines to menstrual cramps, aides in digestion and boosts your memory.
Ingredients:  1 inch Ginger Root, peeled and sliced + 1 cup Frozen Mango (or fresh)
Drop into a pitcher of water and cover with 3 cups of ice.  The ice is important to hold down the ingredients to help infuse the water.  Chill 1-3 hours and enjoy!

OTHER GREAT FRUIT AND HERB COMBINATIONS FOR FLAVORFUL WATER

Ginger-Lemon-Mint Water
1 lemon slice, 2 sprigs mint, slice of fresh ginger (2 oz)

Strawberry-Lemon-Basil Water
4-6 strawberries, 1/2 lemon sliced, and a small handful of basil, scrunched.

Blueberry Orange Water
2 mandarin oranges, cut into wedges, handful of blueberries.
Squeeze in the juice of one mandarin orange and muddle the blueberries to intensify flavor.

Raspberry-Lemon
1 cup of raspberries and 1/2 lemon sliced.

Mango-Pineapple
1 cup cubed mango and 1 cup cubed pineapple.

Cucumber-Lemon
Cucumber slices and lemon wedges.

Rosemary-Grapefruit Water
1/2 grapefruit sliced, several springs of rosemary.

Lemon-Jalapeno-Cilantro Water
1 lime sliced, 1 halved jalapeno, and fresh cilantro to taste.
Cover and let sit over night in the refrigerator.

Watermelon-Mint-Lime Water
1 lime sliced, 2 sprigs mint, 1 cup watermelon chunks.

Watermelon-Mint Water
1 cup watermelon chunks and 2 sprigs mint.

 

 

 

Many stores carry various “Infusion Water Bottles” but any container may be used.

 

Fruit infused water bottles

 

 

Extreme Heat: A Prevention Guide to Promote Your Personal Health and Safety

June 25th, 2020

Heat and Your Health

With summer comes sun and warm weather—but rising temperatures also increase the risk of heat related illnesses.   Heat-related illnesses are responsible for more deaths per year than any other weather-related exposure, including tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes. Make sure you’re aware of how to best protect yourself and your loved ones from a heat related illness as it can creep up on you when you least expect it.

People suffer heat-related illness when the body’s temperature control system is overloaded. The body normally cools itself by sweating. But under some conditions, sweating just isn’t enough. In such cases, a person’s body temperature rises rapidly. Very high body temperatures may damage the brain or other vital organs. Several factors affect the body’s ability to cool itself during extremely hot weather. When the humidity is high, sweat will not evaporate as quickly, preventing the body from releasing heat quickly.

There are three types of heat-related syndromes:

  • Heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Heat cramps usually occur during heavy exercise in hot environments. These painful, involuntary muscle spasms are more intense and prolonged than those nighttime leg cramps many are familiar with. Heat cramps are caused by a loss of fluid and electrolytes in the body.
  • Heat exhaustion is caused by exposure to high temperatures, especially in humid climates, humidity, and high-intensity physical activity. Severe heat exhaustion can cause heatstroke, a life-threatening condition. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, faintness, dizziness, fatigue, nausea and headache.
  • Heatstroke is the most severe type of heat-related illness, and the most dangerous. Heatstroke occurs when your body overheats, usually as a result of spending a long period of time in high temperatures. Untreated heatstroke can cause damage to the brain, heart, kidneys and muscles, and can even result in death. Symptoms to watch out for: a high body temperature (104 degrees or higher), altered mental state or behavior, confusion, slurred speech, alteration in sweating, nausea and vomiting, flushed skin, rapid breathing, racing heart rate and headache.

Though the elderly (65+), infants and children are more susceptible to heat stress, even the best athletes can succumb to the health risks of hot weather. Certain conditions can limit the ability to regulate temperature as well including  obesity, fever, dehydration, heart disease, mental illness, poor circulation, sunburn, prescription drug use and alcohol use.

Understanding how and why the body cools itself, when faced with extreme temperatures, is the key to staying healthy and preventing injuries and even death.

Body temperature is regulated by the hypothalamus much as the temperature in your home is controlled by a thermostat: The hypothalamus responds to internal and external stimuli and makes any necessary adjustments to keep your body within a few degrees of 98.6.  But unlike a thermostat, which simply turns the heat or air conditioning on or off until a desired temperature is reached, the hypothalamus must regulate and fine-tune a complex set of temperature-control activities. It not only helps to balance body fluids and maintain salt concentrations, it also controls the release of chemicals and hormones related to temperature.

The hypothalamus works with other parts of the body’s temperature-regulating system, such as the skin, sweat glands and blood vessels. The middle layer of the skin, or dermis, stores most of the body’s water. When heat activates sweat glands, these glands bring that water, along with the body’s salt, to the surface of the skin as sweat. Once on the surface, the water evaporates. Water evaporating from the skin cools the body, keeping its temperature in a healthy range.

On most days, the hypothalamus reacts to increases in outdoor temperature by sending messages to the blood vessels, telling them to dilate. This sends warm blood, fluids and salts to the skin, setting off the process of evaporation.  Problems occur when a person is in the heat for a long time or in such extremes of heat or humidity that the evaporation process fails.  In prolonged heat exposure, the body sweats so much that it depletes itself of fluids and salts, leaving nothing to sustain the evaporation process. When this process stops, body temperature soars and heat illnesses may result.

According to the Center for Disease Control:

Muscle cramping might be the first sign of heat-related illness, and may lead to heat exhaustion or stroke. Here is how you can recognize heat exhaustion and heat stroke and what to do:

Heat Exhaustion

  • Heavy sweating
  • Weakness
  • Cold, pale, and clammy skin
  • Fast, weak pulse
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fainting
What You Should Do:

  • Move to a cooler location.
  • Lie down and loosen your clothing.
  • Apply cool, wet cloths to as much of your body as possible.
  • Sip water.
  • If you have vomited and it continues, seek medical attention immediately.
Heat Stroke

  • High body temperature (above 103°F)*
  • Hot, red, dry or moist skin
  • Rapid and strong pulse
  • Possible unconsciousness
What You Should Do:

  • Call 911 immediately — this is a medical emergency.
  • Move the person to a cooler environment.
  • Reduce the person’s body temperature with cool cloths or even a bath.
  • Do NOT give fluids.

To download  list of heat related illnesses and what to do about them, click on the link below.  Share this PDF from the Centers for Disease Control with your friends and loved ones.

Click Here – WARNING SIGNS OF HEAT RELATED ILLNESS & WHAT TO DO


Stay Cool 

A few ways to stay cool in the extreme heat:

  • Soak a t-shirt in the sink in cool water (not cold or chilled water), wring it out, put it on and sit in the shade or in front of a fan.
  • Fill a plastic spray bottle with water and freeze over night. You will have a cool mist that lasts for hours.
  • Soak your feet in cold water. The body radiates heat from the hands, feet, face and ears, so cooling any of these will naturally cool the body.
  • Wear light colors! Darker colors will absorb the sun’s rays and be warmer than light or white clothing, which reflects light and heat.
  • Minty fresh – use mint scented or menthol lotions and soaps to cool your skin.
  • Rubbing Alcohol – Put some rubbing alcohol on a damp washcloth and hold it on the back of your neck and sit near a fan. The evaporative effect can feel 30 degrees cooler!

 

FROZEN GRAPES – NATURALLY SWEET SUMMER TREAT
The perfect low calorie, naturally sweet summer treat!
These frozen bites always stay icy, but not frozen solid. They must be eaten as soon as they are removed from the freezer before they thaw completely.

1. Wash and dry green or red grapes.
2. Place in sealable plastic bag.
3. Keep in freezer for 2 hours or until frozen.
4. Fill a bowl with several ice cubes and place the bag in the bowl to keep cool while you enjoy!

 

Be safe and have a wonderful summer!

 

 

 

 

The Coronavirus and How to Fortify Your Body Against It

June 3rd, 2020

The corona virus has disrupted life as we know it and caused much concern and confusion. News reports are constantly updating us on the spread of the virus and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has closely monitored the situation since the coronavirus began spreading between people in America. The first confirmed person to person spread of this virus was on January 30, 2020. Previously all confirmed U.S. cases had been associated with travel to China.

Corona Virus

As of today, over 6,662,643 people have been infected worldwide and this number changes daily. While there have been at least 391,019 deaths, the vast majority of cases have not been classified as severe.  The elderly are particularly vulnerable, as they often have weak immune systems.  In addition to taking commonsense precautions such as hand washing, maintaining a strong immune system is very important, more now than ever.

Building Your Immune System

Becoming dehydrated weakens your immune system so be sure to drink plenty of water daily.  A vast majority of people are chronically dehydrated as they opt for more flavorful drink alternatives or consume caffeinated beverages and other drinks that act like diuretics and cause the body to expel water, further compromising the immune system and health over-time.  Lymphatic fluids, part of the immune system, make up four times the volume of blood and are designed to remove cellular waste products, including inflammation by-products from the body. Suffice it to say, to work properly and do its job of protecting you, your immune system needs the support of a continuous supply of water, so staying well hydrated is #1 in building and maintaining a strong immune system.  In addition, I recommend taking the following supplements:

Vitamin C – 2,000 mg/day

Zinc  – 50 mg/day

Vitamin A – 900 mcg/day

Vitamin D3 – 1,000 – 2,500 IU/day

Elderberry Extract – 500 mg/day (increase to 1,125 mg day if you show symptoms of flu or virus.)

Andographis Extract – 200 mg/day

Siberian Ginseng – 200 mg/day

Pelargonium Sidoides Extract – (Commonly used for upper respiratory infections including bronchitis). P. Sidoides is marketed in the U.S. as Umckaloaba – 1 dropper full twice a day in 2 oz. of water or juice.

To learn more about the ingredients above, enhancing your immune system and taking precautions against the coronavirus, continue reading.

If you show symptoms of the flu or virus, be sure to contact your physician.

Coronavirus – Nothing New, But Some Types Can Be Severe

Coronavirus has existed for a while and both animals and humans have been infected. It is a kind of common virus that causes an infection in your nose, sinuses or upper throat. Most coronaviruses are not dangerous, but sometimes, more serious strains develop. In the past few decades, the SARS and MERS outbreaks were examples of serious cases.   In early 2020, following a December 2019 outbreak in China, the World Health Organization identified a new type, 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Scientists are still assessing how it spreads from person to person, but similar viruses tend to spread via cough and sneeze droplets.

But most coronavirus infections, in the past at least, have been mild and cause symptoms similar to the common cold. Although the concern for this new form of coronavirus, is that the symptoms and dangers can be severe for some people.

Symptoms of Coronavirus

  • Coughing
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea, vomiting

How Coronavirus Spreads:

It’s thought to have originally spread from an animal-foods market to humans. Now it’s known to spread from humans to humans. Scientists don’t know everything about how coronavirus is spread but it’s thought that it’s “likely that coughs or sneezes from an infected person may spread the virus.”

Fortifying Yourself Against the Coronavirus and Other Viral Infections

Maintaining a powerful immune system is the surest foundation of minimizing your chance of developing long and severe viral infections.

Naturally bolstering your immune system is the most you can do at this moment to fight the coronavirus, unless an effective vaccine is developed soon. And even in that case, many natural supplements have been shown to boost the effectiveness of vaccines.

Powerful Ways to Boost Your Immune System

It’s surprising to many people that sometimes the most effective and long-lasting ways of fighting infections have to do with natural methods.

Getting optimal amounts of immune-boosting nutrients and using herbs and other supplements to fight pathogens deeply boosts your body’s defenses and helps kill pathogens.

If you pour through research of the past few decades, you’ll find tons of cases of nutritional interventions effectively fighting the symptoms of stubborn “antibiotic-resistant” infections!

Boost Your Immune System, Fight Coronavirus

Coronavirus is another infection, similar to any other infection, that can be fought using immune-boosting practices. If fact, coronavirus is mentioned, along with other viruses,  in many studies that test immune-boosting methods.

Here are the methods that work and boost your immune system’s killing capacity in many ways.

1.  Astragalus

For at least 2000 years, Astragalus has been one of the most revered herbs in traditional Chinese medicine. Modern research has backed up its potential life-extending and strength-enhancing properties [1]

But most importantly to our conversation, astragalus is one of the most effective and straight-forward boosters of our immune systems. Research in humans has clearly indicated that astragalus boosts the number of many different types of immune cells (monocytes, neutrophils, and lymphocytes), and activates them to energetically kill pathogens [2][3]!

 2. Your Diet Should Be Mostly Whole (Unprocessed) Plant Foods

High blood sugar weakens your immune system response, causes immune dysfunction [4][5].

Eating plenty of fiber and antioxidants helps balance out your blood sugar levels and keep them within a normal healthy range. That’s why your diet should mostly consist of vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and fruit.  Avoiding excessive amounts of sugar in your diet is very important to maintaining a strong immune system.

All of these foods also help feed the good bacteria in your gut, which is critical for a healthy immune system [6].

3. Reishi

Reishi mushroom is another powerful immune-boosting tool. It’s a mushroom that has been shown to increase the number of immune cells in our blood and the amount of immune-stimulating cytokines (signals that activate immune cells)  [7][8][9].

Reishi may also help destroy biofilms – protective layers of mucus that pathogens hide inside of to protect themselves from being killed [10].

4.  Vitamin D3

This sunshine “vitamin” is actually a hormone that boosts the amount of your antimicrobial peptides  (substances that help kill viruses and bacteria) [11]. Your immune cells produce these killing peptides.

Also, some studies have shown that vitamin D3 reduces the incidence of flu viruses and other infections [12][13].

Approximarely 42% of Americans are deficient in vitamin D3, which humans synthesize from UV light. Now that most of us are sheltering in place, we’re probably getting even less vitamin D from sun exposure than before, so supplementing with vitamin D is important to strengthen the immune system, particularly of people whose Vitamin D levels are low. Vitamin D3 supplementation reduces the risk of respiratory infections, regulates cytokine production and can limit the risk of other viruses such as the flu.  A respiratory infection can result in cytokine storms – a vicious cycle in which our inflammatory cells damage organs throughout the body, which increase mortality for those with COVID-19. Maintaining healthy vitamin  D3 levels may potentially provide some protection for vulnerable populations.

5.  Zinc

Zinc deficiency leads to a weak immune system function because this mineral is involved in so many metabolic reactions in the body and helps create cytokines that the immune system uses to fight infection [14][15].

If you’re deficient in zinc, you won’t make as many immune cells as you should and your thymus gland, responsible for developing immune cells can actually shrink [16]!

Also, many studies have shown that zinc supplementation can shorten the duration of viruses and interfere with virus replication [17].

Researchers say to take 75 mg a day of zinc if you have virus symptoms [18].

6.  Vitamin C

Good, old-fashioned vitamin C is critical for immune health. Your immune cells use vitamin C as fuel for killing pathogens [19]. Extra vitamin C helps immune cells literally eat viruses and bacteria and also empowers the “oxidative burst” – (think of it as toxic bombs) that immune cells kill pathogens with [19].

Many studies have shown that vitamin C supplementation can reduce virus duration [20].

7.  Elderberry Extract

This special berry can interfere with virus replication and has been seen to handicap influenza virus [21]. Elderberry has even been shown to bind to the outside of viruses and prevent them from entering host cells – those could be your cells [21]!

In one incredible study in humans, flu symptoms “were relieved on average 4 days earlier” in elderberry users compared to non-users [22].

8.  Pelargonium Sidoides 

Common names for pelargonium are “African geranium” and often marketed as “Umckaloaba” and “Zucol”.  There has been some evidence for effectiveness in treating bronchitis/acute respiratory tract infections due to Pelargonium’s direct antibiotic effect and host immune stimulation. [23].  It is not recommended for anyone with kidney or liver disease.

9. Andographis Extract – This plant that is native to South Asian countries such as India and Sri Lanka. The leaf and underground stem are used to make medicine.  Andographis is frequently used for preventing and treating the common cold and flu (influenza). It is known for its ability to boost the immune system. [24]

 

Common Sense Precautions – Hand-Washing = First Line of Defense

Like all viruses, the coronavirus can be spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Hand-washing is a first line of defense. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, they release droplets of saliva or mucus. These droplets can fall on people in the vicinity and can be either directly inhaled or picked up on the hands then transferred when someone touches their face, causing infection. Because it is also flu season, it is always a good idea to take sensible precautions everyday including:

  • Stay at least 6 feet away from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Keep your hands away from your face and far from your mouth and nose.  Viruses don’t infect the skin.  They have to make it to mucosal membrane in your mouth or nose to cause an infection.
  • Wash your hands after touching any communal surfaces. Wash with soap and water then use a clean towel or air dry.  You may also use hand-sanitizer (60% alcohol).

The Power of Sleep
 When it comes to immune defense, never underestimate the power of sleep. These are uncertain and confusing times for everybody, and it’s normal if you are finding it harder and harder to sleep at night. But getting a good night’s sleep is more important now than ever, as research shows that poor sleep is associated with increased vulnerability to infectious diseases and viruses.  Lack of sleep can also affect how fast you recover if you do get sick.

When you get a full night’s sleep (i.e., you go through all the stages of the cycle and reach deep sleep), your immune system gets the chance to produce and release cytokines, a type of protein that acts as a chemical messenger and is secreted directly into the tissues and bloodstream. Cytokines bind to immune cell receptors and trigger an immune response targeting infection and inflammation.

An overproduction of cytokines can result in an auto-immune disease like rheumatoid arthritis, where the immune system targets and promotes inflammation in healthy tissue. But when you don’t get enough sleep, and your body can’t secrete enough cytokines, you become more vulnerable to diseases.

Sleeping also increases T cell production, which play an essential role in protecting you against viruses. T cells contribute to the body’s immune response when a potentially harmful foreign body enters the system. These immune cells recognize pathogens then activate integrins, which are a type of protein that allows T cells to attach to and tackle their targets. In fact, research has shown that quality sleep can increase your T cell’s ability to fight off infections.  In addition, infection-fighting antibodies and cells are reduced during periods when you don’t get enough sleep. If you have difficulty reaching deep rejuvenating and protective sleep, consider Akeso Health Science’s Sleep All Night supplement.

Use Your Tools
Now that you know how many great tools you have at your disposal, build an incredibly strong immune system and fend off the nasty viruses all around us!

To the Best of Health,

Curt Hendrix, M.S., C.C.N., C.N.S.
Chief Scientific Officer, Akeso Health Sciences

Corona Virus Updates & InformationCenters for Disease Control & Prevention

 

The Coronavirus and How to Fortify Your Body Against It-

May 26th, 2020

The corona virus has disrupted life as we know it and caused much concern and confusion. News reports are constantly updating us on the spread of the virus and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has closely monitored the situation since the coronavirus began spreading between people in America. The first confirmed person to person spread of this virus was on January 30, 2020. Previously all confirmed U.S. cases had been associated with travel to China.

Corona Virus

As of today, over 8,234,491 people have been infected worldwide and this number changes daily. While there have been at least 444,720 deaths, the vast majority of cases have not been classified as severe.  The elderly are particularly vulnerable, as they often have weak immune systems.  In addition to taking commonsense precautions such as hand washing, maintaining a strong immune system is very important, more now than ever.

Building Your Immune System

Becoming dehydrated weakens your immune system so be sure to drink plenty of water daily.  A vast majority of people are chronically dehydrated as they opt for more flavorful drink alternatives or consume caffeinated beverages and other drinks that act like diuretics and cause the body to expel water, further compromising the immune system and health over-time.  Lymphatic fluids, part of the immune system, make up four times the volume of blood and are designed to remove cellular waste products, including inflammation by-products from the body. Suffice it to say, to work properly and do its job of protecting you, your immune system needs the support of a continuous supply of water, so staying well hydrated is #1 in building and maintaining a strong immune system.  In addition, I recommend taking the following supplements:

Vitamin C – 2,000 mg/day
Zinc  – 50 mg/day
Vitamin A – 900 mcg/day

Vitamin D3 – 1,000 – 1,500 i.u./day

Elderberry Extract – 500 mg/day (increase to 1,125 mg day if you show symptoms of flu or virus.)

Pelargonium Sidoides Extract – (Commonly used for upper respiratory infections including bronchitis). P. Sidoides is marketed in the U.S. as Umckaloaba – 1 dropper full twice a day in 2 oz. of water or juice.

To learn more about the ingredients above, enhancing your immune system and taking precautions against the coronavirus, continue reading.

If you show symptoms of the flu or virus, be sure to contact your physician.

Coronavirus – Nothing New, But Some Types Can Be Severe

Coronavirus has existed for a while and both animals and humans have been infected. It is a kind of common virus that causes an infection in your nose, sinuses or upper throat. Most coronaviruses are not dangerous, but sometimes, more serious strains develop. In the past few decades, the SARS and MERS outbreaks were examples of serious cases.   In early 2020, following a December 2019 outbreak in China, the World Health Organization identified a new type, 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Scientists are still assessing how it spreads from person to person, but similar viruses tend to spread via cough and sneeze droplets.

But most coronavirus infections, in the past at least, have been mild and cause symptoms similar to the common cold. Although the concern for this new form of coronavirus, is that the symptoms and dangers can be severe for some people.

Symptoms of Coronavirus

  • Coughing
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea, vomiting

How Coronavirus Spreads:

It’s thought to have originally spread from an animal-foods market to humans. Now it’s known to spread from humans to humans. Scientists don’t know everything about how coronavirus is spread but it’s thought that it’s “likely that coughs or sneezes from an infected person may spread the virus.”

Fortifying Yourself Against the Coronavirus and Other Viral Infections

Maintaining a powerful immune system is the surest foundation of minimizing your chance of developing long and severe viral infections.

Naturally bolstering your immune system is the most you can do at this moment to fight the coronavirus, unless an effective vaccine is developed soon. And even in that case, many natural supplements have been shown to boost the effectiveness of vaccines.

Powerful Ways to Boost Your Immune System

It’s surprising to many people that sometimes the most effective and long-lasting ways of fighting infections have to do with natural methods.

Getting optimal amounts of immune-boosting nutrients and using herbs and other supplements to fight pathogens deeply boosts your body’s defenses and helps kill pathogens.

If you pour through research of the past few decades, you’ll find tons of cases of nutritional interventions effectively fighting the symptoms of stubborn “antibiotic-resistant” infections!

Boost Your Immune System, Fight Coronavirus

Coronavirus is another infection, similar to any other infection, that can be fought using immune-boosting practices. If fact, coronavirus is mentioned, along with other viruses,  in many studies that test immune-boosting methods.

Here are the methods that work and boost your immune system’s killing capacity in many ways.

1.  Astragalus

For at least 2000 years, Astragalus has been one of the most revered herbs in traditional Chinese medicine. Modern research has backed up its potential life-extending and strength-enhancing properties [1]

But most importantly to our conversation, astragalus is one of the most effective and straight-forward boosters of our immune systems. Research in humans has clearly indicated that astragalus boosts the number of many different types of immune cells (monocytes, neutrophils, and lymphocytes), and activates them to energetically kill pathogens [2][3]!

 2. Your Diet Should Be Mostly Whole (Unprocessed) Plant Foods

High blood sugar weakens your immune system response, causes immune dysfunction [4][5].

Eating plenty of fiber and antioxidants helps balance out your blood sugar levels and keep them within a normal healthy range. That’s why your diet should mostly consist of vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and fruit.  Avoiding excessive amounts of sugar in your diet is very important to maintaining a strong immune system.

All of these foods also help feed the good bacteria in your gut, which is critical for a healthy immune system [6].

3. Reishi

Reishi mushroom is another powerful immune-boosting tool. It’s a mushroom that has been shown to increase the number of immune cells in our blood and the amount of immune-stimulating cytokines (signals that activate immune cells)  [7][8][9].

Reishi may also help destroy biofilms – protective layers of mucus that pathogens hide inside of to protect themselves from being killed [10].

4.  Vitamin D

This sunshine “vitamin” is actually a hormone that boosts the amount of your antimicrobial peptides  (substances that help kill viruses and bacteria) [11]. Your immune cells produce these killing peptides.

Also, some studies have shown that vitamin D reduces the incidence of flu viruses and other infections [12][13].

Approximarely 42% of Americans are deficient in vitamin D, which humans synthesize from UV light. Now that most of us are sheltering in place, we’re probably getting even less vitamin D from sun exposure than before, so supplementing with vitamin D is important to strengthen the immune system, particularly of people whose Vitamin D levels are low. Vitamin D supplementation reduces the risk of respiratory infections, regulates cytokine production and can limit the risk of other viruses such as the flu.  A respiratory infection can result in cytokine storms – a vicious cycle in which our inflammatory cells damage organs throughout the body, which increase mortality for those with COVID-19. Maintaining healthy vitamin  D levels may potentially provide some protection for vulnerable populations.

5.  Zinc

Zinc deficiency leads to a weak immune system function because this mineral is involved in so many metabolic reactions in the body and helps create cytokines that the immune system uses to fight infection [14][15].

If you’re deficient in zinc, you won’t make as many immune cells as you should and your thymus gland, responsible for developing immune cells can actually shrink [16]!

Also, many studies have shown that zinc supplementation can shorten the duration of viruses and interfere with virus replication [17].

Researchers say to take 75 mg a day of zinc if you have virus symptoms [18].

6.  Vitamin C

Good, old-fashioned vitamin C is critical for immune health. Your immune cells use vitamin C as fuel for killing pathogens [19]. Extra vitamin C helps immune cells literally eat viruses and bacteria and also empowers the “oxidative burst” – (think of it as toxic bombs) that immune cells kill pathogens with [19].

Many studies have shown that vitamin C supplementation can reduce virus duration [20].

7.  Elderberry

This special berry can interfere with virus replication and has been seen to handicap influenza virus [21]. Elderberry has even been shown to bind to the outside of viruses and prevent them from entering host cells – those could be your cells [21]!

In one incredible study in humans, flu symptoms “were relieved on average 4 days earlier” in elderberry users compared to non-users [22].

8.  Pelargonium Sidoides 

Common names for pelargonium are “African geranium” and often marketed as “Umckaloaba” and “Zucol”.  There has been some evidence for effectiveness in treating bronchitis/acute respiratory tract infections due to Pelargonium’s direct antibiotic effect and host immune stimulation. [23].  It is not recommended for anyone with kidney or liver disease.

Common Sense Precautions – Hand-Washing = First Line of Defense

Like all viruses, the coronavirus can be spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Hand-washing is a first line of defense. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, they release droplets of saliva or mucus. These droplets can fall on people in the vicinity and can be either directly inhaled or picked up on the hands then transferred when someone touches their face, causing infection. Because it is also flu season, it is always a good idea to take sensible precautions everyday including:

  • Stay at least 6 feet away from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Keep your hands away from your face and far from your mouth and nose.  Viruses don’t infect the skin.  They have to make it to mucosal membrane in your mouth or nose to cause an infection.
  • Wash your hands after touching any communal surfaces. Wash with soap and water then use a clean towel or air dry.  You may also use hand-sanitizer (60% alcohol).

The Power of Sleep
 When it comes to immune defense, never underestimate the power of sleep. These are uncertain and confusing times for everybody, and it’s normal if you are finding it harder and harder to sleep at night. But getting a good night’s sleep is more important now than ever, as research shows that poor sleep is associated with increased vulnerability to infectious diseases and viruses.  Lack of sleep can also affect how fast you recover if you do get sick.

When you get a full night’s sleep (i.e., you go through all the stages of the cycle and reach deep sleep), your immune system gets the chance to produce and release cytokines, a type of protein that acts as a chemical messenger and is secreted directly into the tissues and bloodstream. Cytokines bind to immune cell receptors and trigger an immune response targeting infection and inflammation.

An overproduction of cytokines can result in an auto-immune disease like rheumatoid arthritis, where the immune system targets and promotes inflammation in healthy tissue. But when you don’t get enough sleep, and your body can’t secrete enough cytokines, you become more vulnerable to diseases.

Sleeping also increases T cell production, which play an essential role in protecting you against viruses. T cells contribute to the body’s immune response when a potentially harmful foreign body enters the system. These immune cells recognize pathogens then activate integrins, which are a type of protein that allows T cells to attach to and tackle their targets. In fact, research has shown that quality sleep can increase your T cell’s ability to fight off infections.  In addition, infection-fighting antibodies and cells are reduced during periods when you don’t get enough sleep. If you have difficulty reaching deep rejuvenating and protective sleep, consider Akeso Health Science’s Sleep All Night supplement.

Use Your Tools
Now that you know how many great tools you have at your disposal, build an incredibly strong immune system and fend off the nasty viruses all around us!

To the Best of Health,

Curt Hendrix, M.S., C.C.N., C.N.S.
Chief Scientific Officer, Akeso Health Sciences

Corona Virus Updates & InformationCenters for Disease Control & Prevention

 

Grinding Your Teeth at Night: What Causes It and How To Prevent It

May 15th, 2020

What Is Bruxism?

Bruxism is when you clench or grind your teeth unconsciously. According to the Mayo Clinic, bruxism is a movement disorder that can be caused by a combination of physical, genetic, and psychological factors.

Bruxism is a fairly common disorder that tends to be more prevalent among children than in adults. A 2015 study conducted by researchers at the Children’s Hospital Boston Dental clinic showed that 38 of participants aged 17 or younger clenched their teeth at night, based on self-reported questionnaires filled by their parents.

Most people who clench or grind their teeth do so at night. However, awake bruxism (grinding your teeth during the day), is also common among adults who experience a lot of stress.

What Causes Bruxism

Experts don’t fully understand what causes teeth grinding, though a number of internal and external factors can make you more likely to brux. In children, bruxism usually begins when the first few teeth start to erupt. Experts believe that babies and toddlers sometimes grind their teeth as a pain response from teething, like when you rub a sore muscle with your hands.

Children and adults can also clench their jaws when their top and bottom teeth are not aligned properly, which is called an occlusal discrepancy. Bruxism can also be a side effect of some medications like certain antidepressants or antipsychotics. Additionally, several studies have linked chronic stress and anxiety to adult teeth grinding.

Exposure to certain substances, including alcohol, cigarette smoke, and caffeine, has also been shown to increase your risk of grinding your teeth at night. In fact, in a systematic review of studies looking at night-time bruxism found that the odds of developing it were two times higher for people who drank alcohol and for those who smoked cigarettes. The odds were 1.5 higher for people who drank more than eight cups of coffee a day.

Some neurological conditions like cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, and Alzheimer’s disease are also associated with teeth clenching. Experts suggest that these abnormal jaw spasms can be caused by malfunctions in the direct and indirect pathways of the basal ganglia. Sleep apnea and snoring may also trigger bruxism on some people.

Treating and Preventing Bruxism

While bruxism is not a dangerous condition in and of itself, clenching or grinding your teeth repeatedly can cause oral health issues. Severe and chronic teeth grinding, for example, can result in fractured teeth or tooth loss. Frequent grinding can also wear down your teeth, creating a need for implants, root canals, and other dental procedures. People who have bruxism can also suffer from earaches, headaches or migraines, temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ), and disrupted sleep.

There is no cure for teeth grinding, but managing stress is one of the best approaches for treating and preventing it. Several strategies for managing and avoiding bruxism, include:

Using a night guard: a custom-fitted appliance that you wear at night over your top teeth won’t stop you from clenching your teeth but can protect them from the constant grinding and rubbing that happens when you brux during sleep.

Taking a bath before bed: any technique that can help you relax your jaw muscles before bed, including taking a warm water bath or shower, may be useful for preventing teeth grinding. Applying a warm washcloth on your cheeks or even using a heating pad in the lowest setting can also help.

Avoiding alcohol and caffeine: research shows that excessive caffeine or alcohol consumption can increase your risk of grinding your teeth at night. If you are susceptible to bruxism, avoid drinking coffee or alcohol in the evening.

Some experts believe that sleeping better at night can also help you improve or prevent teeth grinding, especially if you usually go to bet stressed or anxious, as many of us do. Having good sleeping habits like keeping your bedroom or sleeping space clean, quiet, and at an appropriate temperature can help you to sleep better at night. Daily exercise, mindfulness meditation, and relaxing night-time rituals like breathing exercises may also help.

For people who toss and turn all night but don’t want to experience the side effects involved with prescription sleeping pills, a natural supplement can potentially help them reset their internal clock, reestablish healthy sleep patterns, and improve sleep quality. Some science-backed ingredients that are known to promote sleep are:

Valerian Extract: an herbal remedy extracted from the perennial valerian plant, valerian extract is commonly used as a natural treatment for sleep disorders, ADHD, anxiety, and restlessness. Research suggests that valerian might reduce the amount of time needed to fall asleep and improve sleep quality. One of the benefits of taking a valerian extract for sleep is that it doesn’t cause morning grogginess or difficulty to wake up.

Melatonin: melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that is closely tied to your sleeping patterns. As people age, their melatonin production declines, and it gets more challenging to fall asleep. Melatonin is a popular ingredient in sleeping aids because it can shorten the time needed to fall asleep and even improve the symptoms of jet lag.

Magnesium: magnesium is an essential mineral used in over 600 biochemical reactions throughout the body. Magnesium supplements have been shown to offer a variety of benefits, including a better mood, improved migraine symptoms, and a greater ability to stay asleep during the night.

Hops extract comes from the flowers (seed cones) of the hop plant Humulus lupulus. Hops has long been recognized for its relaxation and calming effect. Studies suggest Hops extract may help to improve sleep quality, shorten time to fall asleep and improve sleep brain wave patterns.

Zizyphus Jujube extract is a fruit most frequently used for sleep problems in Traditional Chinese Medicine with little side-effects. It is also used for purposes related to gastrointestinal health and digestion and is also known for its relaxation and calming effect.

Glycine is an amino acid that enhances sleep and supports whole-body health. Early research on glycine and its essential role in sleep was published in 1989 and later in 2008. One of the ways in which glycine aids in sleep was clarified when it was discovered that glycine is responsible for the profound muscle relaxation that occurs during various stages of REM sleep. In another study, glycine improved sleep efficiency, reduced difficulty in falling asleep and enhanced sleep satisfaction.

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine HCL) Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine HCL) helps your body convert food energy into glucose, metabolize fats and proteins, and ensure proper function of your nervous system. With these various effects, there are ways in which your vitamin B-6 status may cause or contribute to your sleeping difficulties, or insomnia. Pyridoxine is considered adequate for neurotransmitter production to support sleep. Studies show that vitamin B6 positively impacts aspects of sleep and is essential for promoting and maintaining a good mood.

Taking a comprehensive natural sleep supplement containing the above mentioned ingredients in the right amounts shown in clinical studies to be beneficial to sleep, will help you reach the stages of DEEP SLEEP and help prevent night-time teeth grinding.

For more sleep tips, download our FREE SLEEP E-BOOK

5 Facts You Need to Know About Joint Pain

April 2nd, 2020

Joints are the places on the body where two or more bones meet. Humans have three main types of joints: synovial, cartilaginous, and fibrous. Synovial joints are freely movable, meaning that they allow you to extend, rotate or pivot the bones to which they are connected. Some common examples of synovial joints are the knee, elbow, wrist, and knuckle joints.

Cartilaginous and fibrous joints provide little to no range of motion; the fibers that connect the bones on your skull are examples of fibrous joints. Cartilaginous joints can be found in between the vertebrae or connecting the pubic bones. When we talk about joint pain, we are typically referring to synovial joints.

Synovial joints, as the name suggests, are surrounded by a membrane filled with synovial fluid. Synovial fluid is a viscous liquid that keeps joints lubricated, but too much of it can trigger inflammation and pain. More often than not, join pain occurs when there is a buildup of synovial fluid caused by normal wear and tear, an injury or an autoimmune condition.

Joint pain can be chronic or temporary, mild or severe, and it can happen for several different reasons. These are five important facts that everybody who experiences joint pain should know.

 

Joint Pain

Joint pain can be caused by a variety of factors

The most prevalent cause of joint pain is arthritis, which is not a disease in and of itself, but an umbrella term used to describe inflammation and pain in one or more joints. Arthritis is extremely common; according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in every four American adults suffers from some type of arthritis. As of this year, arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States.

There are more than 100 different types of arthritis, and while it is usually more common among older adults (especially women), people of any age or gender can develop it. The two most frequent forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

OA, sometimes called degenerative arthritis, happens when one or more joints break down as a result of normal “wear and tear.” OA is the most common type of arthritis in middle-aged and older adults and tends to affect the hands, knees or hips. Symptoms of OA include pain, swelling, stiffness, and tenderness in or around the affected joints.

RA is an autoimmune disease that happens when the immune system attacks the joints and other parts of the body by mistake. When a person has RA, their immune system constantly activates an inflammatory response that causes the joints to swell and become extremely tender and painful. While most types of arthritis cannot be cured, certain medications, lifestyle changes, and natural supplements have been shown to help ease the symptoms and manage their pain.

But arthritis is not the only responsible for joint pain; other factors and conditions that may cause pain in or around the joints are:

  • Bursitis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Gout
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Injuries
  • Lupus
  • Lyme disease
  • Polymyalgia rheumatica
  • Some types of infections
  • Tendonitis
  • Whipple disease

Medications can help ease joint pain

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers that reduce inflammation and relieve pain and discomfort. Common NSAIDs that you’ve probably seen or even used yourself before are ibuprofen (Advil), naproxen (Aleve), and aspirin. These medications can help with mild to moderate joint pain and even arthritis.

When OTC medications aren’t effective, your doctor may want to take a more serious approach. Injections are usually the second line of treatment for moderate to severe pain that doesn’t respond to drugs because they allow the medication to penetrate directly into the joint.

Depending on the type of injury and the location of the pain, your doctor may decide to inject hyaluronic acid, corticosteroids, stem cells or platelet-rich plasma. The downside to injections is that the effect is temporary, so the pain generally returns within a few months.

But long-term use can cause serious side effects

Just because OTC medications are available without a prescription doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be careful when you take them. Experts advise never taking NSAIDs for more than ten days without consulting a healthcare professional because extended use has been shown to:

  • Increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke
  • Cause headaches and dizziness
  • Develop stomach ulcers or cause stomach bleeding
  • Cause heartburn
  • Increase blood pressure
  • Damage the liver and kidneys

Nutritional Options

Supplements with proven benefits for joint pain include boswellia, hyaluronic acid,

Boswellia – A tree that produces a resin known to have anti-inflammatory properties and therapeutic benefits for joint pain/arthritis, rheumatism and gastrointestinal disorders. Of all the boswellia species, Boswellia Serrata is the most commonly used in herbal extracts and research.  (100 mg / day)

Hyaluronic Acid –  Is similar to a substance that occurs naturally in the joints.  It works by acting like a lubricant and shock absorber in the joints and helps the joints to work properly.  Hyaluronic acid helps in both initiating early inflammation for recovery and stopping the natural inflammatory response from going overboard.  (150 mg / day)

Ginger –  Recent research studies have shown that ginger can help reduce inflammation in people with arthritis and joint pain. Ginger contains more than 200 substances in its oils, which is why it has so many different uses. It has been used medicinally for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine in India and has anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcer and antioxidant properties. Ginger has been known to be beneficial for arthritis sufferers because it blocks the formation of inflammatory compounds (prostaglandins and leukotrienes) and also has antioxidant effects that break down existing inflammation and acidity in the fluid within the joints.  (600 mg / day)

Feverfew  – Traditionally used for joint pain, feverfew  is more commonly used in migraines.  This herb can protect the joint against inflammatory changes. It can reduce the symptoms of arthritis like pain in the joints, restricted movements, swelling in the joints, redness of the skin overlying the joint, and stiffness.  (50 mg / day)

Boron – The element boron plays an important role in theintegration of calcium into the joint’s cartilage, which helps prevent joint deterioration and arthritis pain. Research shows people with lower boron concentrations in their bones and synovial fluid experience higher rates of arthritis than those with higher levels. (10 mg / day)

Physical therapy can give you some of your mobility back

When medications simply aren’t cutting it – but you are not ready for major surgery yet – it may be time to consider other options for relieving your pain. Physical therapy (PT) is a fantastic drug-free alternative for managing arthritis and other conditions that cause joint. The principal benefit of PT is that it can help you relieve stiffness and pain by gently strengthening the affected joint and surrounding areas.

PT uses a combination of tailored exercises and therapeutic approaches like ultrasound, massage therapy, and hydrotherapy to help people recover from injuries, manage conditions like RA or OA, and improve balance.

During a PT session, a licensed professional, called a physical therapist or physiotherapist, will assess your condition by asking you to perform a series of movements. Then, they will create a personalized routine and teach you exercises that you can do at home to improve your range of motion. In many cases, PT can help people avoid surgery and significantly improve their quality of life.

PT is often prescribed by doctors, but in some states you can go to a physical therapist by yourself without a referral. Most health insurances cover all or most of the costs of PT.

Lifestyle changes can minimize pain

Natural approaches to pain management are becoming more and more popular because people want to avoid the side effects of painkillers. Here are three lifestyle changes that will help you maintain function and keep your pain at a minimum.

Hot and cold therapy

Applying heat and cold to your joints is the simplest (and cheapest!) treatment to relieve joint pain, and you can do it from the comfort of your own home. Heat is an effective home remedy for treating stiffness because it promotes blood circulation and relaxes the muscles, and cold reduces inflammation and temporarily alleviates pain.

Apply heat to the affected area by taking a long, warm bath or by laying a heating pad or electric blanket over the affected area. Cold treatments can be done by placing a gel ice pack on the painful joint, but remember to protect the skin with a towel or a cloth to avoid injuries. Do not apply cold for more than 8 minutes at a time.

Losing weight

Every one pound of excess weight exerts three to six pounds of extra force on joints.  Losing even a couple of pounds can significantly improve joint pain according to experts. In fact, one research study published in 2005 found that losing only one pound can ease up to four pounds of pressure from your knees. This means that if you lost just five pounds you would be removing 20 pounds of weight from your knee joints!

Swimming

Everybody knows that physical activity is important for improving your overall health and reducing your risk of developing a chronic condition like heart disease or type 2 diabetes. Regular movement also helps to maintain flexibility in your joints. However, when you have an achy joint exercising is usually the last thing on your mind and weight-bearing exercises such as running and walking can be damaging.

The good news is that low-impact exercises such as aquatic activities are both gentle on the joints and extremely effective at soothing pain. The buoyancy of water reduces impact while making you work harder than you would on land, which means that you can burn more calories.

Swimming on a heated pool can also provide some much-needed relief. Remember to bring a flotation device if you are going to work out the deep end of the pool if you get tired or want some extra support.

Keep Moving

Joint pain can make even the simplest of activities challenging.  Holding a joint still to protect it or to avoid pain can make moving more difficult and put pressure and stress on other parts of your body.  For example, a painful knee can cause you to walk in a way that affects other parts of your body, such as your feet, back and hips.  You must keep moving however, to maintain flexibility and joint health. Taking dietary supplements and incorporating the above mentioned tips into your daily routine can go a long way towards keeping active by protecting and lubricating your joints, improving mobility and promoting comfort.

Never Underestimate the Power of Nutrition
To learn more about a combination supplement to nutritionally support overall joint health, joint integrity and joint comfort, visit AllJointsUltra.com

HEALTHY EASTER EGGS – Hunting for the Truth About Eggs and Cholesterol

March 30th, 2020

Easter Eggs ImageHow many times have you heard (perhaps even from your physician) to limit the consumption of eggs because they contain a lot of cholesterol and that by eating too many eggs, you will negatively affect your cholesterol levels?

Well, for those of you who love eggs but feel guilty eating them, there is some really good news.  All of those warnings about egg consumption were JUST PLAIN WRONG!

First of all, for about 70% of people, consuming cholesterol in your diet (from any source) has absolutely no meaningful effect on your cholesterol levels! There are several studies proving this and NOT one study showing that dietary cholesterol causes heart disease.

Secondly, it has been shown in the 30% of people whose cholesterol levels rise modestly when consuming eggs, that their LDL cholesterol particle size gets bigger….AND THIS IS A GOOD THING.

Dr. Maria Luz Fernandez of the University of Connecticut’s Department of Nutritional Sciences summarized the results of egg consumption on blood cholesterol levels. In children aged 10-12, in men aged 20-50, in premenopausal and postmenopausal women, in whites and Hispanics:  two or three eggs per day has little or no effect on the blood cholesterol levels of over two thirds of the population. (1)

But there was even good news in the less than 1/3 of the population whose cholesterol did go up with egg consumption.  Their good and bad cholesterol went up equally and there was no change in their ratio of LDL to HDL or even the ratio of LDL to total cholesterol both of which are considered much more important than total cholesterol levels.

But the good news continued. It turns out that the LDL in egg eaters actually became safer. When LDL particles are small and dense, they can more easily penetrate into the lining of your arteries and cause plaque. The LDL in egg eaters got larger and fluffier making it safer and less susceptible to damage from oxidation and less susceptible to causing plaque in the arteries.

In addition, other health benefits of eggs are:

1- Eye health – May help prevent macular degeneration and cataracts because of lutein and zeaxanthin levels they contain
2- Provide high quality protein and essential amino acids
3- Contains Vitamin D
4- Possible breast cancer prevention – in one study, 6 eggs per week reduced risk by 44%
5- Healthy hair and nail due to high sulfur content

Enjoy your Easter holiday.

To the Best of Health,

Curt Hendrix,  M.S., C.C.N., C.N.S.

 

(1)-Fernandez ML. Dietary cholesterol provided by eggs and plasma lipoproteins in healthy populations. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2006;9:8-12.

Arthritis and Obesity, a Debilitating Combination

March 26th, 2020

The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) reports that by 2040, an estimated 78 million (26%) US adults aged 18 years or older are projected to have doctor-diagnosed arthritis.  Arthritis sufferers are 54% more likely to be obese than non-sufferers.  Almost 23% of overweight and 31% of obese US adults report doctor-diagnosed arthritis.

Managing arthritis pain can feel like a losing battle if you are overweight or obese.  Many arthritis sufferers avoid exercise due to pain and stiffness of joints, even though exercise or activity has been shown to  reduce arthritis pain by replenishing lubrication to the cartilage of the joint.  In turn, lack of exercise can lead to weight gain, placing more strain on joints which can aggravate arthritis and pain.  Every one pound of excess weight exerts three to six pounds of extra force on joints.

Obesity makes every type of arthritis harder to manage.   But taking it one step at a time, and losing even a little weight can have a huge impact on physical and mental health.

Arthritis sufferers who are obese can benefit immeasurably from consistent, daily moderate exercise like walking 30-40 minutes a day, along with cutting fatty and sugary foods from the diet.

    • Go Slow:  If you haven’t exercised in awhile, start off slowly with a few, low-intensity exercises and short walks. Walking is a low-impact form of exercise that can help with aerobic conditioning, heart and joint health, and mood. It is essential to wear proper shoes and stay hydrated, even if the walking is not strenuous.  Walk slowly initially and then increase the pace when possible.
    • Stretching can help improve flexibility, reduce stiffness, and increase range of motion. Stretch slowly and gently moving the joints of knees, hands, elbows and other joints.
      A typical stretching routine can start with:

      • Warming up by walking in place or pumping the arms while sitting or standing for 3–5 minutes.
      • Holding each stretch for 10–20 seconds before releasing it.
      • Repeating each stretch 2–3 times.
    • Tai chi and yoga combine deep breathing, flowing movements, gentle poses, and meditation. They increase flexibility, balance, and range of motion while also reducing stress. You can access instructional, “how to” videos and follow along on your smart T.V. or on your smart phone – on Youtube.
    • Water exercises help support your body weight and do not exert heavy impact on the joints.  Swimming, walking in water or water aerobics can reduce joint stiffness, increase flexibility and strength as well as range of motion.
    • Cycling can keep your joints moving and  help with cardiovascular fitness.
    • Strength training helps to strengthen the muscles around the affected joints and can help increase strength while reducing pain and other arthritis symptoms.
    • Hand exercises like bending the wrists up and down, slowly curling the fingers and spreading the fingers wide on a table and squeezing a stress ball can help increase strength and flexibility in the hands.

In addition to exercising, eating nutritiously and sensibly, avoiding appetizers and desserts and decreasing entree portions can result in significant decrease in both weight and pain.

The fiber in salads and vegetables makes us feel fuller, decreases our food intake and helps significantly with regularity, which is often compromised in the obese and also in patients taking some pain medications.

Even if you are not obese, but suffer with arthritis and are somewhat over-weight, these suggestions can be of significant benefit if you implement them consistently.

To the Best of Heath,

 

Curt Hendrix, M.S., C.C.N., C.N.S

 

 

THE CHEMISTRY OF LOVE

February 13th, 2020

Valentines Day Chemistry of LoveWhat makes us attracted to one type of look and not another? Is there really such a thing as “Love at First Sight”?

Do chemicals within our bodies play a role in determining when, who and why we fall in love or get a crush that makes our heart flutter and our palms sweat?

Non-verbal signals very much play a role in both initial and continuing physical attraction.

For example, it is known that testosterone (T) levels can determine the level of lust in women as well as men. Though lust can be an overwhelming and exciting sensation, there may also be a downside. Recent research has shown that higher T levels in men causes them on average to have more sexual partners and increases their chance of remarriage. No such effect was shown in women.

Lots of neurotransmitters like norepinephrine, dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and vasopressin can cause both psychological and physical responses related to desire, love and commitment to a relationship.

For example oxytocin, a pregnancy hormone that induces uterine contraction and milk flow, is also known to bond mothers to babies, couples and increase intimacy. A study of new couples showed that after 6 months the couples with higher levels of oxytocin tended to remain together.

While oxytocin may keep a couple together, it may be dopamine that initially brings you together. A study at Stony Brook University looked at the brains of couples who had just recently fallen madly in love. The areas of the brain that were most stimulated were those areas known to be high in dopamine, a pleasure and addiction related neurotransmitter. A New York Times article titled “Dear, I love you with all my brain” may be very accurate, but I don’t think Valentine’s Day cards with brains all over them, instead of hearts, will be a big hit.

Norepinephrine, a stimulant neurotransmitter, may be why we get nervous and our palms sweat when in the initial stages of lust and attraction.

For some answers to fun and interesting questions like, “Is there really such a thing as love at first sight” or “What time of the month is your husband or boyfriend most attracted to you?” or “Is love similar to addiction?” check out this WebMD slide show. I think you will enjoy it.

WebMD:  Sex-Relationships & the Science of Love

 

Curt Hendrix M.S. C.C.N. C.N.S.

Quinoa – Amazing Superfood for Migraine Sufferers

January 29th, 2020

This amazing low-fat, high protein food could…

* protect against heart disease
* help to prevent type II diabetes
* help with migraines
* provide antioxidant protection
* Protect against breast cancer
*Protect against childhood asthma
* Prevent gallstones
* Provide all 9 essential amino acid (protein building blocks)
* Provide healthy levels of dietary fiber and magnesium

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is an ancient whole grain that has been recently rediscovered in the U.S.  The Inca’s once held the crop to be sacred, calling it the ‘mother of all grains’.

HEALTH BENEFITS

Quinoa contains more protein than any other grain; an average of 16.2  percent, compared with 7.5 percent for rice and 14 percent for wheat.  Unlike rice and potatoes, for which quinoa is an excellent replacement, it is a whole grain food source which results in many of the health benefits listed above.  Quinoa is gluten-free and high in protein content, which also makes it a wonderful choice for vegetarians.  Because of all these characteristics, quinoa is being considered a possible crop in NASA’s long-duration manned spaceflights.

QUINOA NUTRIENT PROFILE

High nutritional content of 100gms or half cup of cooked quinoa –

Magnesium: 17% of the Recommended Daily Allowance
Complete Protein: 4 grams
Fiber: 3 grams.
Manganese: 32% of Recommended Daily Allowance
Phosphorus: 15% of the Recommended Daily Allowance

It is also packed with minerals like Zinc, Iron, Copper, and Potassium along with B-Vitamins and Calcium. These tiny grains are also good for weight watchers offering a total of 120 calories, 21 gms of carbs and 2 gms of fat. Quinoa is also a source of Omega-3 fatty acids.

MIGRAINE SUPPORT

Quinoa is a good source of magnesium and riboflavin, which are also key ingredients in MigreLief dietary supplements.  These ingredients have been shown to help relax blood vessels, encourage energy production within cells and help to maintain normal cerebrovascular tone and function.  Magnesium is involved in more than 300 chemical reactions in the body. Studies show that many migraine sufferers have low levels of magnesium. Studies have also shown that many migraine sufferers have  a deficiency in mitochondrial (powerhouse in cells) energy right before an attack.  Mitochondrial dysfunction in your brain cells can make you more susceptible to migraines which studies show vitamin B-2 (Riboflavin) can help correct.

DIET

Both the glycemic index and the glycemic load of quinoa (these are measurements of how various foods can impact your blood sugar levels) are favorable as well, when compared to rice or potatoes.

A half cup of cooked quinoa contains only about 110 calories and with its fiber content makes it a good choice for those trying to watch their weight, as well

HOW TO COOK WITH QUINOA

Quinoa is typically simmered, as you would prepare rice. It’s often added to savory recipes, like salads, sautés, and soups. You can also serve it alongside grilled or pan-seared meats and fish.

When whole, quinoa seeds have an outer husk coated with a natural substance called saponin. This protects the seeds from the birds. While the husk is already removed when you buy commercial quinoa, some of the saponin can remain. It’s rather bitter, so it’s important to rinse the quinoa well before simmering it.

Some Serving Ideas for Quinoa:

* Use quinoa as a side-dish replacing rice, potatoes or even pasta

* Many health food stores carry quinoa sourced pasta noodles

* With nuts and fruits, quinoa makes an excellent porridge

* Quinoa can be added to vegetable soups

* Use sprouted quinoa in sandwiches or salads instead of alfalfa sprouts

 

RECIPE – SWEET BREAKFAST QUINOA PORRIDGE

Quinoa Porridge with fruit

When slowly cooked in a mixture of water and milk with a little brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla, quinoa seeds become a rich porridge with a soft bite. If you’re a quinoa fan, it’s a lovely alternative to oatmeal in the morning.

You can easily adapt this breakfast quinoa to your personal tastes and dietary needs. For a softer rather than chewy quinoa, especially this sweet breakfast dish, adjust the seed-to-liquid ratio (add more liquid) until you find the perfect texture for you.

For a non-dairy breakfast, quinoa porridge is also delicious prepared with almond milk or coconut milk


Ingredients

1 cup water
1-1/2 cups milk (whole, low fat, almond, or coconut), plus more for serving
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
1 cup quinoa , rinsed well
pinch salt
3 tablespoons brown sugar , plus more for serving
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup blueberries (or berries of your choice)
sliced almonds, walnuts or chopped toasted pecans , for topping

Instructions
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine water, 1-1/2 cups milk, vanilla extract or paste, rinsed quinoa, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat (stirring occasionally and watching carefully so it doesn’t boil over).
Reduce heat to low, cover with lid slightly vented, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in 3 tablespoons brown sugar and the ground cinnamon. Re-cover and continue to simmer for about 5 minutes, until almost all of the liquid has been absorbed.

Remove from heat and gently fold in blueberries. Serve, topped with extra brown sugar or maple syrup, warm milk, and nuts.

Enjoy quinoa for its taste and texture as well as its multiple health benefits.  You will be very pleasantly surprised and pleased to add it to your family’s diet.

~