Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Aging Naturally: Best Skincare Strategies as You Age

As we find ourselves getting older, hair starts graying and skin starts wrinkling. Besides the impact this has on us emotionally, skin health is important for our protection. After all our skin is the largest organ in the body and the first line of defense in our immune systems. In aging, the skin produces less collagen and loses skin cells, becomes drier, and becomes less elastic. Much of this is due to hormone changes and causes wrinkling and sagging skin. For women, menopause has a strong effect on skin as estrogen levels are reduced. Another skin problem hormone changes can bring on is acne. You may think of acne as being a problem in the teenage years, but according to a survey in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, many adult women also experience acne. Of the participants surveyed, women in their 20's reported 50% having acne, women in their 30's reported 35% having acne, and women in their 40's reported 26% having acne. According to Mona Gohara, MD, associate clinical professor of dermatology at the Yale School of Medicine, this is due to hormone surges that increase oils leading to bacterial inflammation. Ranella Hirsch, MD, past president of the American Society of Cosmetic Dermatology and Aesthetic Surgery, also observes that as we age our vision gets worse causing us to squint which can create lines around the eyes and Phil Haeck, MD, a Seattle plastic surgeon and the past president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons cites the wearing down of teeth as contributing to changes in facial structure and loose skin that wrinkles and sags. With all these things working against us in the aging process, it can be a challenge to maintain healthy and youthful looking skin, but there are many things you can do to help combat this problem. Good dental health, getting glasses or contacts as vision deteriorates, eating foods for healthy skin and making healthy skin lifestyle changes are some of the things to consider.

Tips on Caring for Aging Skin
There are lots of beauty products and medications that are available to keep skin glowing, smooth and youthful. Some work for some people and some don't. If you've found something in a bottle that works for you, that's great. But there are natural solutions for things we can all do and not do, that will help in keeping skin healthy as we are getting older. Here are a few we found experts recommend.

Reduce alcohol consumption – Drinking alcohol causes dehydration in the body which dries skin out, can dilate and damage blood vessels, and cause redness and swelling on the skin. Limiting the amount of alcohol you drink and drinking water as well if you do drink alcohol can help.

Stress – You know the more stress you have, the more it can affect your health and that includes the damage it can do to skin. The chemicals and hormones released in response to stress cause a sensitivity in skin that interferes with healing of skin conditions, can cause you to break out more and cause increased production of oil on skin. Stress can also cause various skin conditions to occur such as rashes, hives, and fever blisters. Marguerite Germain, MD, dermatologist in Charleston, SC, explains that stress causes the body to have an imbalance in hormones which can cause acne. When we are stressed out, we also tend to neglect skincare and exercise. Finding ways to cope with stress are very individual and what works for one person may not work for another person. Try a variety of stress coping techniques such as exercise, yoga, meditation, hobbies, journaling, talking with friends or even professional counseling until you find what works for you. Don't just guess at what will or won't work for you in managing stress; give different techniques a try. For example, you may think yoga is not for you, but according to research published in The Journal of Nursing Research, participating in a 90 minute yoga class can reduce stress significantly.

Exercise – Regular exercise can help with circulation which allows an increase in oxygen and nutrients to the skin and flushes toxins from your skin cells. This helps skin in collagen production and reducing wrinkles. While any type of movement can contribute to this, exercising to the point of sweating is good for helping unclog pores. Exercise also helps keep your muscles toned and is a stress reliever.

Stop smoking – If you are concerned about dry and wrinkled skin and you are a smoker, it's time to really put forth the effort to quit. Smoking causes collagen to breakdown and interferes with the blood flow to the skin. The act of smoking itself causes you to use those muscles around the mouth in a way that brings on even more wrinkling.

Hydrate Skin – As we age, we don't produce as much skin oil causing skin to be dry. Using a good moisturizing cream right after bathing or showering can help hydrate skin. Showering with hot water can destroy the natural moisture in your skin so use warm water when showering, bathing or cleansing.

Get Enough Z's – Lack of sleep can lead to puffy skin around the eyes, dark circles and pale skin color. Research shows that the best sleeping position is on your back as sleeping on the side or stomach can cause wrinkling and bags under the eyes.

Damage to Skin From the Sun – The sun is responsible for around 90% of all damage to skin. This damage can lead to wrinkles, dryness, and even skin cancer. Sunscreen, moisturizers, wearing a hat when outside, and long sleeves and long pants can help protect skin from the damaging rays of the sun. Don't forget the sunscreen and moisturizer on your hands too and wear gloves if need be. Remember to protect the skin around your eyes by wearing sunglasses that have UVA/UVB protection and that allow you to see well enough that you don't squint. When choosing a sunscreen, look for one that is a broad spectrum block with an SPF of at least 30. Be aware too that the sun's rays are at their strongest from 10 am to 2 pm and plan activities to avoid being outside during these times. Isaac Neuhaus, MD, dermatologic surgeon and associate professor of dermatology at the University of California, San Francisco, warns that you often can't depend on protective clothing to do the job as clothes light in color, wet, stretched or of unbleached cotton offer very little protection and in the case of the cotton can actually absorb UV rays, so don't neglect the sunscreen even if you think you are dressed for sunny weather. 

Cleansing Skin – Skin needs to be kept clean to stay healthy. This includes washing away the pollutants you've come in contact with throughout the day, removing dead skin cells and moisturizing skin to hydrate it. Find cleansers that are recommended according to your skin type to prevent extra dryness or oiliness. Dr. Gohara warns that over washing can dry skin by washing away the natural oils it has to keep it hydrated. This can cause an overproduction of oil that will clog pores and cause the skin to breakout. Emmy Graber, MD, assistant professor of dermatology at the Boston University School of Medicine, recommends that the optimal amount of washing the face is two times a day and that scrubs and microbeads are not necessary and can have negative effects on skin and our environment. Using a washcloth and warm water are adequate with possibly a gentle cleanser.

Weather – It's not just sunny weather that can harm skin. Cold and windy weather can also take its toll on our skin causing it to dry, flake and irritate eczema and other skin conditions. When it's cold outside and we have the heat on inside, skin can also react negatively to that dry type of heat. Inside a humidifier can be helpful as well as drinking plenty of water to keep skin hydrated.

Foods for Healthy Skin
In the fight for healthy skin, there are certain foods that can help and those that don't help. Eating bright colored fruits and vegetables can help provide antioxidants to reduce the damage done by free radicals which can help keep skin more youthful. Research has found that colorful veggies such as red peppers, squash, pumpkin, and carrots increases the yellow, red and orange tones of the skin according to Elisa Zied, RD, nutritionist and author of Younger Next Week. These fruits and vegetables that are high in the antioxidants vitamin C and vitamin E are especially good for building collagen and nourishing skin. Adding selenium to these can help protect from sun damage and reverse wrinkles and discolorations. This mineral can be found in foods such as oysters, clams, crab, sardine and fish, nuts and seeds, lean meats, whole grains, beans and legumes. Food sources high in vitamin C include Bell pepper, oranges, strawberries and broccoli and for vitamin E include green leafy vegetables, nuts and eggs. One study published in in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, reported that eating lots of foods with vitamin C reduced the chance of wrinkles, dry skin and flaky or scaly skin. If you are concerned about youthful looking healthy skin, avoid foods with unhealthy fats and simple carbs. Instead opt for complex carb foods and lean healthy proteins. Soy is another good food to add to the diet for healthy skin as it has isoflavones that resemble estrogen in the body. If acne is a concern then avoid sugars, dairy, and unhealthy fats as those have been found in research studies to contribute to acne. According to Mona Gohara, MD, associate clinical professor of dermatology at the Yale School of Medicine, any foods that have a high glycemic index increase cortisol levels which makes acne worse.

If you are not getting enough of this good nutrition for healthy skin, supplements may be an option for you. Here are a few supplements that can help you get the nutrition your body needs for healthy skin.

Stem Cell Support Supplement  – Adult stem cells that naturally occur in the body are able to morph into other types of cells and go to where they are needed to repair damaged cells. When it comes to healthy skin, this is a good reason to make sure your stem cells have the nourishment they need to flourish.

Immune Support Supplement  – This supplement provides a combination of 6 mushrooms and beta glucan that have been shown to support the immune system with their anti-inflammatory properties as well as the good superfood nutrition of AFA bluegreen algae. 

Enzyme Algae Supplement  – Contains a wide variety of plant-based proteolytic enzymes--bromelain, papain, protease, lipase, and serratiopeptidase that have been found useful in fighting inflammation, nourishing cells and reducing damage from free radicals. 

Joint and Cartilage Support Supplement  – This supplement provides vegetable-based glucosamine, chondroitin, UC-II® undenatured collagen and AFA bluegreen algae to aid in the support of joint and cartilage health to help your body keep up with all you do.

Don't wait until the signs of aging catch up with you and start showing on your skin. Get started making some of these lifestyle and nutrition changes now to help keep your skin healthy and looking good. If you already have those signs sneaking up on you or even full blown in your face, it's still not too late. You can make a difference by making a few changes now no matter what age you are.

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Thursday, April 25, 2019

Spring Allergies Keeping You Indoors? We've Got Natural Solutions to Help

Spring can be a wonderful time of the year, but not so much if you are a spring allergy sufferer. Runny nose, itchy eyes, scratchy throat and sneezing can make springtime miserable. Along with all the fresh blooming and budding plants that are so beautiful, comes pollen. Pollens are microscopic "seeds" and like all other seeds are surrounded by a protein skin that protects them from sprouting prematurely. If you suffer from spring allergies, your body is reacting to this protein skin, which is an irritant. When pollen gets into your nasal passages or lungs, your body mistakenly believes that the pollen is a foreign invader and your immune system begins an attack. Your body releases antibodies to attack the pollen, and in the process, chemicals called histamines are released into the bloodstream. Histamines are chemicals responsible for allergy symptoms, such as runny nose, itchy eyes, sneezing, and watery mucous as an attempt to wash away the irritating pollens. Anti-histamines block this natural response of the body.

How the Body Deals With Pollens
Ideally, the body has enough digestive and metabolic enzymes (particularly the enzyme protease) to break down the protein skin of the pollen, thus neutralizing its effects. The histamine then flows to escort the neutralizing, and downsized (digested) pollens out of the body. This usually happens within a matter of minutes, and can be over within a matter of minutes, with no further irritation or "allergic response" until the next over-exposure to pollens. People who suffer with persistent spring allergy symptoms typically either have a deficiency of digestive and metabolic enzymes (especially protease) or do not produce enough histamine or don't produce histamine that is strong enough. 

Digestively, something else happens to your body when you suffer from allergies. When you have an allergic reaction, your body releases an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE). Research indicates that the levels of probiotics, the good bacteria that live in your gut, can affect how much IgE your body produces, and how severe your allergy symptoms will be.

Of course understanding how all this works doesn't do much to relieve your present misery. So let's look at some natural solutions for allergy relief that you can do to support your body's natural response to pollens this spring instead of just taking an anti-histamine for relief.

Natural Solutions for Allergy Relief
1. Drink More Water
Drink half your body weight in ounces per day. Drink even more during the allergy seasons. The histamine production centers of the body are controlled by our internal water cycles.

2. Take More Enzymes
Take extra digestive enzymes (with protease) to help your body cope with all the pollen. Taking digestive enzymes throughout the day is a really good idea, either every hour or every other hour, and before going to bed. This constant inflow of "protease" and other digestive enzymes will provide the needed help when pollens are ingested.

3. Fill Up On Antioxidants
Getting extra antioxidants into your diet can help strengthen your body's defenses. That means lots of veggies and fruits as well as possibly supplementing with an antioxidant booster like this sprouts supplement, blue green algae, or green tea extract. Antioxidants will help reduce the inflammation in your body which means less of the miserable allergy symptoms.

4. Support Your Digestive System Health
Studies show that having a healthy population of acidophilus in your small intestine can reduce the amount of IgE that your body produces in response to pollen. Participants who took extra acidophilus during spring allergy season showed lower levels of IgE in blood tests.

5. Flush Out Your Nasal Cavity 
You can find a neti pot at just about any drug store to use as a natural solution for washing out your nasal cavity with saline water. You pour water from the small pot into one nostril and let it flow out through the other nostril. If you can't for whatever reason use the neti pot, then try using a saline solution spray to help flush out your nose.

6. Butterbur Leaf Extract
Phytotherapy Research is one of numerous sources reporting studies showing that butterbur leaf extract can work as well as an antihistamine for allergy symptoms. Be sure to consult your healthcare provider before using an extract with butterbur as it has alkaloids that can affect the liver. These alkaloids can be extracted, so make sure the extract you get has used this removal process. An extract called Ze 339 has been reported as effective for allergy symptoms. Butterbur is related to ragweed so there have been questions raised as to its use for people with ragweed allergies, but studies have not indicated this to be a problem even for ragweed sufferers.

Don't let your allergy symptoms keep you from getting out and enjoying the warm weather and beauty of spring. Give some or all of these tips a try and take control of your allergy symptoms this spring.

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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

How to Help Constipation

Constipation ... it's not something people really want to talk about, yet almost everyone has been affected by constipation at one time or other in their lives.

Did you know that you are considered medically constipated if you have the following symptoms:
  • fewer than 3 bowel movements per week
  • hard stools 25% or more of the time
  • straining to have a bowel movement 25% or more of the time
Are you constipated? Afraid to admit it? Don't worry. If you are wondering how to help constipation, rest assured that there are numerous natural solutions.

How to Help Constipation: Start with Causes
There can be many causes of constipation, ranging from poor diet to pregnancy or a change in routine. Before you can know how to help constipation, you have to know the causes of constipation. Common causes include:
  • not drinking enough water (usually 6-8 glasses per day)
  • not enough fiber in the diet (about 35 grams per day)
  • lack of regular exercise or mobility
  • stress
  • eating too much dairy
  • overuse of laxatives (causes your digestion to become "lazy")
  • medication
  • depression
  • disruption to regular diet or routine
OK, so there are a LOT of causes of constipation. Now the question is, "What can you do to help constipation?"

The answer? "Lots!"

How to Help Constipation: Natural Solutions
Some of natural solutions that help constipation are very simple. For example, you can increase your water and fiber intake or start a regular exercise program. If you are traveling, you may need to pay even more attention to your water and fiber intake, as well as the amount of exercise you get.

If you take medication that causes dry mouth or is a diuretic, you may need to drink more water and take in more fiber than usual.

If you have become dependent on laxatives, which can actually cause your digestive system to shut down or become less active, you can transition away from the laxatives by adding more fiber and water to your diet. In addition, taking 2-4 acidophilus capsules in the morning, 2-4 bifidus capsules at night, and 2-4 enzymes with meals can help wake up your digestion. Expect to see results from this regimen within a few days (being sure to use spring water or well water to take these supplements). A full-spectrum probiotic, often works well in an "emergency" situation ... when you really can't go!

One sure key to success is an open mind. Be open to using multiple natural solutions when you consider how to help constipation. You may want to increase your water and fiber intake one week. The following week you might add in probiotics or enzymes. Finally, top off your new healthy regimen with a short period of exercise each day!

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Also, check out the free health resources or order blue-green algae products  on our website.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

What You Should Know About Chronic Inflammation

by guest contributor Barbara Swanson

Healthy Tips: Chronic Inflammation

It's nearly impossible to scan health headlines without seeing this buzzword--but what is inflammation, really?

First, it is important to realize there are two different types of inflammation.
Acute inflammation is an essential part of the healing process. It signals our immune system that we have an injury and enables healing. Fever, heat, pain, swelling--all are symptoms of acute inflammation.

Chronic inflammation is startlingly common and is the #1 cause of free radical production. It is a response to a low-level injury or ongoing internal stress signals. Whatever is "injured" in your body isn't able to be healed, as with an acute injury. It's like having a sore on the inside of your body that never heals. It is estimated that 75% of the population have silent inflammation and do not realize it.

One common reason for chronic inflammation is poor food choices. Highly processed, sugary foods are extremely hard on the body and can actually injure your organs.

Diet is estimated to be up to 80% responsible for reversing or reducing inflammation. This is because micronutrients are essential to create healthy body responses to inflammation signals.

Unlike many dietary goals, you'll start reaping the benefits of anti-inflammatory foods as soon as you take your first bite.

Controlling Inflammation

Lifestyle factors to reduce chronic inflammation include:

  • Adequate sleep
  • Reduce chronic stress
  • Exercise 
  • Drink enough good water 
  • Whole-food, micronutrient-rich supplements

Anti-Inflammation Diet

  • Healthy fats
  • Foods with Natural Color
  • Ancient or wild foods

Fatty fish: Oily fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines give the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce inflammation.

Algae and seeds: For vegetarians, you can get your healthy fats in algae and seeds like chia, walnut and brazil nuts.

Fiber: Whole, raw fruits and vegetables are loaded with fiber.  Fiber stimulates the growth of healthy bacteria; it sweeps the gut clean; and it supports DNA integrity.

Foods of Color: Any dark leafy green; and all fruits, contain powerful antioxidants that help to control chronic inflammation.

Nuts: Nuts have anti-inflammatory properties and are natural sources of protein.

Olive oil: The thing that makes virgin olive oil tasty is also the reason for its anti-inflammatory properties. Oleocanthal, a compound found in olive oil, has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects.

Green tea: A 2010 study from Case Western Reserve University found that EGCG, the predominant polyphenol in green tea, may prevent arthritis through its inflammation-reducing properties.

Signs that you have less chronic inflammation
You'll most likely begin to notice over time that it's a bit easier to fight back against that seasonal flu or cold virus that everyone else is getting; or your knee is a bit less stiff after you pulled it the wrong way while working out the night before. Many people report just an overall feeling of vibrant well-being.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Also, check out the free health resources or order blue-green algae products  on our website.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Natural Solutions for Boosting Your Immune System

Your immune system is your protection from virus, bacteria and yeast infection. If your immune system is weakened, it is not able to protect you from these type of foreign invaders and you are more likely to get sick. It may be a clue that your immune system is weak if you get sick more than a couple of times a year or if you are often fatigued even though you get adequate sleep. If your immune system is failing to protect you, there are natural solutions that can help.

What Weakens Your Immune System?
There are a variety of things that can cause your immune system to become weakened. Environmental toxins, stress, poor nutrition, lack of sleep, and overuse of antibiotics are some of these. Stress can affect the number of killer T cells the body produces, adequate sleep is required for producing cytokines that protect against disease, and toxins found in household products can lower the effectiveness of your immune system.

What Strengthens Your Immune System?
You can help strengthen your immune system with natural solutions such as getting enough rest, finding ways to cope with stress, eating a healthy diet, and taking probiotics. When considering natural solutions to boost your immune system here are a few more specific things that have been found helpful.

Most people in the U.S. do not get enough zinc in their diets and zinc is a crucial mineral for boosting your immune system. This is especially true for vegetarians as beef is high in zinc. Zinc aids in the development of white blood cells that are a part of your immune system that destroy foreign invaders such as bacteria and viruses. If you are a meat eater, then eating lean beef, pork, oysters and poultry will add zinc to your diet. Other sources of zinc for you vegetarians include fortified cereals, sesame seeds, milk, yogurt, and miso. Miso which is a soybean paste also has protein and B12 which are immune system boosters. Zinc supplementation may be necessary as our food sources often don't give us enough.

Beta Glucan and Mushrooms
Beta glucan is a complex carbohydrate of the simple sugar glucose. It can come from cereals like oats and barley or from yeast, bacteria and fungi. Beta glucans differ in structure according to how the glucose is linked. Yeast beta glucan is linked in such a way that it has been found to enhance and stimulate macrophages, a type of white blood cell that kills off foreign invaders and stimulates other immune cells to fight them off. The beta glucan that comes from baker's yeast is the most potent anti-infective beta glucan immunododulator. Since the body does not produce beta glucans by itself, we have to get them from the foods we eat or supplements. Baker's yeast, shiitake mushrooms, barley, oats, rye, and wheat are all sources of beta glucan. Animal studies have reported that eating beta glucan from oats and barley showed less risk of contracting flu, herpes and anthrax. Other studies have found beta glucan to be effective against bacterial infections and viral infections and even lessen duration of symptoms of the common cold in people. Certain types of mushrooms are being found effective for immune support because they have polysaccharides, glycoproteins, ergosterols, and triterpenoids. These are all precursors to beta glucans. Mushrooms have been found to be supportive of white blood cells that fight off infections. With their immunosupportive agents, they can help protect you from viruses, bacteria and even yeast. You can get the immune supporting power of beta glucan and six of the most extensively researched mushrooms that show positive immune system support together in this one supplement. It combines reishi, cordyceps, maitake, shiitake, Turkey Tail, and Agaricus blazei mushrooms along with astragalus, beta glucan and bluegreen algae to help support your immune system function.

Alliums are foods such as leeks, onions and garlic. Foods in this family are known to have natural antibiotic properties to help fight off germs. They have also been found useful in helping lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels and there is research that suggests they can help reduce the growth risk of prostate, stomach and colon cancer cells. Allicin, found in garlic and released when crushing or chopping garlic, has antibacterial and antifungal properties. It has been found to improve immunity and to be useful in fighting off colds.

Aloe Vera Juice
Aloe vera juice contains a variety of minerals, vitamins, amino acids, enzymes, and micronutrients and is rich in polysaccharides and flavonoids known to help fight damage from free radicals. It has been shown to have anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties and give an overall boost to your immune system. Aloe vera has been reported to affect an increase in lymphocytes, cytokines, interleukin and Natural Killer Cells that are all important parts of your immune system.

Your immune system health is important in helping to keep you productive and feeling good. If you suspect your immune system could use a boost, give some of these immune boosting natural solutions a try and help your immune system to help you.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Also, check out the free health resources or order blue-green algae products  on our website.


Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Allergies Kicking Your Butt? Kick Back with This!

If allergies are kicking your butt, get proactive and kick back with natural solutions. While there are allergy drugs to use, they can often leave you sleepy and unable to keep functioning throughout the day. On the other hand a great many people are able to control their symptoms due to allergens with supplements, herbs, lifestyle changes and/or other natural alternatives such as acupuncture or acupressure.

About An Allergy
According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, around 35 million people in this country report they have allergic reactions to some type of allergen. Categories of allergens identified by this agency include those resulting from animals such as pet dander, roaches, and waste from dust mites, allergies from foods such as wheat, nuts, eggs, and shellfish, stings from insects such as bees and wasps, reactions to mold spores, allergies to drugs like penicillin, reactions to particular plants like pollens from grasses, weeds and trees, and reactions stemming from other materials such as latex or certain metals. If you have an allergy to one of these types of items, your immune system responds when you come in contact with the allergen. The immune system is designed to protect you from infections, bacteria, viruses, and other things that can harm you and make you sick. In the case of an allergy, the immune system identifies the allergen as a foreign substance that can hurt you and responds by attacking it. According to what you are allergic to, this produces symptoms such as sneezing, watery and itching eyes, runny nose, coughing, a rash, welts, and even difficulty breathing. If you have symptoms such as these and are not sure what they stem from, this is where your health care provider may be able to help. They can perform scratch tests and blood tests to help identify what allergens you react to and help you select medications, supplements or other alternatives that can help control your allergy symptoms.

Natural Solutions for An Allergy
Michael Cantwell, M.D., M.P.H., lead physician at the Institute for Health and Healing at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, David Rakel, MD, founder and director of the University of Wisconsin Integrative Medicine Program and other experts agree that there are natural solutions that can help allergy sufferers. They recommend beginning by examining your environment and stresses to see if there is a way to eliminate the source. In some cases people have found that just by moving to a new location, they avoid the allergen and thus eliminate symptoms. That may be extreme for most people, but there are still other ways to manipulate the environment in ways that will reduce exposure to the allergen. HEPA filters, keeping windows closed, using dust mite covers on pillows and mattresses, and rearranging your schedule to avoid being outside at times when pollen counts are high are examples of some of this type of solution.

There are also shots and drops for under the tongue that your healthcare provider can help you with that put a small dose of the allergen into your system so that your immune system begins recognizing it and stops attacking that substance when it encounters it. Along this line is homeopathy treatments which focus on the allergy symptoms rather than the source of the allergy. Certain types of acupressure have also been found helpful for some people in controlling allergy symptoms.

In the herb category, supplements or tinctures of nettles have been found to have antihistamine properties and some people find benefit from goldenroot, grapefruit seed extract, Butterbur, echinacea, spirulina, cat's claw, and Tinospora cordifolia which is an herbal tablet that comes from India. Other natural solutions include using a neti-pot or other types of saline nasal rinses, Quercetin which is a bioflavenoid some fruits, vegetables and wine contain, the enzyme bromelain found in pineapple, and Sinupret that combines botanicals European elderflower, sorrel, cowslip, verbena, and gentian root. Which of these supplements, if any, will be helpful for you depends on the type of allergy you have and what allergen you react to. Before using these types of solutions it is of course a good idea to check with your healthcare provider to make sure they will safely mix with any medications you are on or are safe to take for your particular medical situation.

For food allergies there has been some research indicating that the use of probiotic supplements to boost the friendly bacteria in the intestines helps create a barrier to keep food allergens out of the bloodstream. Digestive enzymes can also help with proper digestion and keeping food particles out of the bloodstream by passing through the intestinal barrier. Enzymes, especially those with protease, can also help your body cope with pollens that have been ingested. In the case of severe life-threatening food allergies however, these are not a substitute for avoiding those foods you have an allergic reaction to, so keep your Epipen handy and keep away from those foods.

Michael Cantwell, M.D., M.P.H., lead physician at the Institute for Health and Healing at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, advocates getting plenty of down time and rest during allergy seasons as stress worsens allergy symptoms and reduces the effectiveness of the immune system. Many varieties of mushrooms have been found to help in boosting immune system function. This algae and mushroom supplement  combines six of the most extensively researched mushrooms that show positive immune system support: reishi, cordyceps, maitake, shiitake, Turkey Tail, and Agaricus blazei, with astragalus, beta glucan and bluegreen algae. Besides the immune boosting support of these medicinal mushrooms, this supplement provides WGP beta glucan which is able to activate macrophages (a type of white blood cell in the body's defense system). Activating these macrophages can result in a stronger immune system. Getting extra antioxidants into your diet can also help strengthen your body's defenses. That means eating lots of fruits and vegetables as well as possibly supplementing with an antioxidant booster like this sprouts supplement, blue green algae, or green tea extract. Antioxidants will help reduce the inflammation in your body which means less of the miserable allergy symptoms.

According to David C. Leopold MD, director of Integrative Medical Education at the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine in San Diego, whichever method you use to control allergy symptoms should be started several weeks before the symptoms occur. It is easier to stop symptoms before they occur than after. So don't wait until you are suffering and miserable with allergy symptoms. Get a plan going in advance whether it is manipulating your environment, making some lifestyle changes or adding supplements, diet changes or herbal remedies.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Also, check out the free health resources or order blue-green algae products  on our website.


Thursday, April 4, 2019

Why You Should Go "Wild" With Supplements

A lot of people come to me for nutritional counseling and I always suggest that they "go wild" when they choose their supplements. When I say "go wild," I don't mean that they should go buy up everything in the vitamin aisle, I mean that they should consider supplements that are made from wild, organic, whole foods. These kinds of supplements benefit is in four different ways.

1. Wild Foods Fit Our Bodies
Foods from nature are made to suit our bodies. We are all part of the same ecosystem and wild foods, especially ancient foods that have been on the planet for millions of years, strengthen our genetic and cellular integrity.

2. Whole Foods are Easily Absorbed
Our bodies often require enzymes, co-enzymes, and other co-factors to absorb and use vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Synthesized supplements often lack these co-factors, so our bodies can't use the supplements. They often just come out the other end. On the other hand, whole foods have a much higher absorption rate, so we get more nutrition for every bite.

3. Balanced Mineral Ratio
It's very important for the food we eat to have balanced mineral ratios. Many disease conditions are caused by imbalanced mineral ratios, so taking supplements that don't have a balanced mineral ratio can worsen pre-existing health conditions. Luckily, Mother Nature produces foods that tend to have balanced mineral ratios, so whole foods are always better than artificially created supplements.

4. Organic Foods Are Not Polluted
Many of the chemicals used in farming cause the vitamins and minerals in our food to be unavailable for our bodies to use, not to mention that these chemicals can cause serious health problems. Organically-certified foods meet a rigorous standard of testing and contain far fewer harmful ingredients.

So when you go to the health food store to pick out your daily supplements, go wild, go green, go natural, go organic. In other words, go healthy!

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