Doctors and nutritionists believe that the average American’s immune response is only functioning at about 70%. That means their immune system is about 70% effective. Is that good enough? For some, maybe. But if you’re getting sick too much, probably not. Your immune function may be well under that national average.
Chilly weather is here, and this is the favorite time of year for the flu and many other seasonal health challenges. There is fear that we are going to be a sick nation this year with the addition of the Swine Flu (H1N1 Virus). I prefer to focus on prevention. The same as we do at home, I sent my daughters to college loaded with natural supplements that will help build their immune system - college campuses are known for fast spread of illnesses. Still it is challenging. However, when your immune system is strong, your body is more prepared than it might otherwise be, and even if you do get some part of the ‘bug’, it is likely that the symptoms will be less and the recovery time will be quicker. That is what my goal is for myself and my family.. we have to be pro-active if we want to get good results.
Whether you do or don’t get the flu shots because of supply and demand, or your own personal choice, and even if you do get the shots, there are preventive measures to take as well. Everyone talks about washing your hands, but don’t let that lessen your observance of it. Wash your hands. Often.
We know that nutrition can help us be well, and yet most of us don’t eat the best diets every day. And we eat fast foods. And we eat processed foods. And we are stressed. And many of us don’t exercise enough or sleep well. These things and more can put us in the less than national average immune system statistics. And it can make us sick more than we want to be.
I don’t know about you but I hate to be sick, even with the common cold. I am faithful to an array of supplements every single day of the year, and it pays off for me. When I am exposed to something, or maybe feeling tired (one of the first signs of getting sick), I take a special echinacea blend for a week to ten days. Almost always, I can beat it.
I may get the flu, one of them, this winter. Of course I hope that I don’t. All I know is that I am doing everything I can to prevent it, and that is all I can do. Besides supplementing with the nutrition that I know I don’t get enough of in the foods that I eat, I try to do other things that are associated with a healthy immune system: sleep enough hours every night, exercise, balance stress, and think positively. These may sound like things you’ve heard before, and brushed off, but bottom line is: they work.
Science tells us these things. They are proven. They are not even that hard.. it just takes desire. I answered a question on LinkedIn yesterday. Someone was asking why people don’t succeed at something when they have proven answers or ways to be successful. My answer is that it is all about desire.
We have to want things for ourselves. There has to be a ’strong why.’ It is what will drive us each day. It will keep us going. It will make sure we do what we need to do. And it will bring us results.
I started this article writing about the Immune Response, and went a little off-track (especially if you were looking for an all-technical article). What I wrote about is still associated with our immune response because the immunity results we get can be very closely related to the choices we make. We have to want wellness for ourselves.
Hello Shaklee Family,
Back to school shopping, anxiety over who your child’s teacher will be this year, sending your oldest (or youngest) child off to college—all very exciting activities, but not without a bit of stress for all involved. And to add to all of these very typical types of activities and concerns, we have some new and additional threats to staying healthy. So it has never been more important to focus on doing all you can to protect your family’s health—beginning with arming yourself with the latest information.
Your ability to stay well and not fall prey to circulating pathogens rests upon the vibrant functioning of your immune system, and an optimally healthy immune system occurs when you are doing a few simple things:
1) Eat a healthy diet, full of antioxidants and immune supporting nutrients. This means avoiding the fast food restaurants (generally empty calories) and committing to eating at least FIVE servings of fresh fruits and vegetables every day—salads, stir-fry vegetables with chicken breast or salmon or hearty stews or soups made with plenty of colorful vegetables!
2) Be sure you are taking supplementation to support immune health. Your favorite version of Vitalizer along with Nutriferon provides a solid nutritional foundation for immune function. Sustained Release Vita C (or Chewable Vita C), Optiflora Probiotic, and Defend and Resist Complex can be added for additional support on an as needed basis. For children ages 12 and younger, choose Incredivites with immune supporting lactoferrin and more vitamin D, and for infants and toddlers age six months to four years, our terrific ShakleeBaby Multivitamin & Multimineral Powder with clinically tested prebiotics and more Vitamin D to help support immune function.*
3) Get plenty of rest. Your immune system can be very negatively impacted by inadequate sleep. Your school age children require at least nine hours of sleep each night so be sure that becomes a routine as the school year gets started. And Moms and Dads, you need seven and a half to eight hours yourself!
4) Talk to your doctor about immunization. We encourage everyone to speak with your doctor to determine if vaccination is right for you, especially if any member of your family falls into one of these target groups at higher risk identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): pregnant women, people who live with or care for children younger than six months of age, health care and emergency medical services personnel with direct patient contact, children six months through four years of age, and children five through 18 years of age who have chronic medical conditions. Click this link to learn more: http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/vaccination/public/vaccination_qa_pub.htm.
5) Wash your hands frequently. You don’t need antibacterial soaps; in fact, many experts are concerned that the widespread use of antibacterial products may contribute to the increasing prevalence of resistant bacteria that antibiotics do not work against! So, use plain ordinary soap, warm water, and wash your arms and wrists and lather up for 30 to 60 seconds before rinsing off. When hand washing is not possible, hand sanitizers are sometimes recommended.
6) Wash down your countertops, bathroom wash areas, and other hard, non-porous surfaces that your hands contact with an effective germicidal product such as Shaklee Basic-G. Basic-G has been tested and shown to be effective in neutralizing influenza type A viruses as well as a host of other microorganisms and the EPA has issued a statement that it believes, based on available scientific information, that the currently registered influenza A virus products will be effective against the 2009 - H1N1 flu strain and other influenza A virus strains on hard, non-porous surfaces.
(Guest Post by Vicki Zerbee)
The health of our kids has changed dramatically in recent years. We have solutions that target good, even great, health. And yet we have higher rates of overweight, obesity, asthma, and other health challenges than ever before. Scientists have discovered that kids fish oil can make a difference. It can play a beneficial role in brain and eye development, learning, moods and behavior, and in specific areas like with asthma, and issues associated with heart disease and high cholesterol from being overweight or obese.
Did you know that today 30% of our kids are either overweight, obese, or at risk of becoming overweight? There are issues that go along with these, and kids fish oil can play a role in helping young children. That’s important because overweight teens have an 80% risk of being overweight as an adult as well. Children who are overweight or obese suffer greatly from low self esteem, and those feelings can impact them throughout their lives. The risk for having heart disease, cancer, hypertension, and arthritis in adulthood is greater when overweight and obesity are part of childhood.
Research tells us that good health is not only essential for physical growth and development but to a child’s ability to learn as well. As parents, we have choices that we can make to have a positive impact on our child’s daily diet and overall health and well being. Parents are responsible for introducing their kids to healthy foods, and having good eating habits demonstrated in the family. It starts during infancy and early childhood, when vitamins and minerals are key to growth.
These choices we have can help our children in many areas: brain development, learning skills, and even behavior. Studies are showing that kids fish oil improves learning and concentration, and calms behavior in children who need it. Since children do not like fishy tastes, and most do not get fish in their diet on a regular basis, science tells us that kids fish oil supplements can fill the gap and insure that fish oil is consistently present in the child’s body.
Food has been linked to behavior for a long time, mostly focused on being able to recognize foods to avoid if they cause an unfavorable reaction. Kids fish oil can be a nutrient that we want to add to our children’s daily diets in order to give them the healthy benefits associated with it.
Does your child get sick often or struggle in school? Nutrient deficiencies affect growth and the ability to learn, and increase risk of frequent illnesses. They also set the stage for developing more serious illnesses later in life.
Health challenges like high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels, and immune challenges are being diagnosed in young children today. This is very sad when you think how it can be a life-long health struggle for many, and it is frustrating because these illnesses in young children are almost completely avoidable.
With the high numbers of children with asthma, I was excited to learn that researchers discovered children who used kids fish oil from the time they were weaned from breastfeeding, until age three, were 10 percent less likely to have chronic coughs—a good predictor of asthma—than those who didn’t. The reason can be that fish oil contains anti-inflammatory fatty acids, reducing inflammation in children’s airways. It’s always good to hear these things confirmed, even though we have had many children benefit from kids fish oil and they know it works without having to read about a clinical study because they can ‘feel’ it working.
As I dig deeper for information about kids fish oil, I find some very interesting stats. In a study with ADHD kids from Australia, there was a 40-50 percent improvement in behavior for two groups of children using kids fish oil for 30-weeks, and a 30-40 percent improvement for ADHD kids using fish oil for 15-weeks. If you compare that with results of studies of Ritalin and Concerta, drugs that are prescribed for ADHD, fish oils were more effective.
When measured in blood tests, the levels of omega-3s in children who have ADHD are lower than in kids who don’t have it. Some pediatricians have been recommending kids fish oil supplements for these children for quite a while because they get such great results. You have to wonder why a natural supplement, that has no side effects AND can produce measurable results, is not more widely known about and suggested.
To learn more, visit our Kids Fish Oil page.
And you will still get cleaning power.. there's a good chance this brand was already tested against the popular store brand you may use. These are some Green Clean Testimonies.
To learn more about how you can be green when you green clean, visit our Green Clean website.
Don't hesitate to email or call me for more information.
The body has its own defense system called the immune system. You can boost your immune system, your first line of defense for everything from the common cold to serious disease like cancer, to fight invaders and disease. Having a healthy immune system helps us stay healthy. Finding healthy immune boosters will ensure the immune system stays healthy.
The components of our body’s immune system are bone marrow, the thymus, the spleen and the lymph nodes. There are cells that are part of the immune system as well. Cells such as T-cells, natural killer cells, B Cells, Granulocytes, Macrophages and Dendritic are key components. These all work together to form a complex response when the body requires one against disease, bacteria and germs.
When the immune system is activated they work to eradicate the invaders, no matter what they are. The immune system is a vital part of our good health. We need it in optimum condition to stay healthy and happy. There are measurable things we can do to build our immune system, and they are tracked in the form of good health and not getting sick. Do you hear people say that they have not been sick in a very long time? Chances are that these folks are making good choices in regard to nutrition and other factors that are keeping them healthy.
Our first course of action is to keep our overall health in the best shape we can. This means we eat a healthy well-rounded diet filled with fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Ensure there is enough protein in the diet as well. Lean meat, poultry and fish are excellent sources of protein. Low fat dairy and cheese also provide the body with essential nutrients. If it is hard to get these items integrated in your daily diet, a high quality soy protein shake is an excellent choice for optimal nutrition from protein.
It is also essential we keep our bodies in the best shape. The healthier we are the better our immune system will function. You should have heard the following recommendations from many sources. They are not just words, they have truth for good health. Get plenty of sleep. Exercise regularly and drink six to eight glasses of water daily. Avoid things that are bad for your body. Excess alcohol, drugs and tobacco can negatively impact the body’s health and the immune system. These are things that will aid in building a healthy immune system.
Two very important minerals that affect the immune system are zinc and magnesium. Both are needed for a healthy immune system. Unfortunately these are two minerals we often lack in our daily diet. Zinc can be found in foods such as lean beef and pumpkin seeds. Magnesium can be found in dark green vegetables, nuts and grains. There are recommended daily allowances for all vitamins and minerals although even many doctors now feel that they are too low because they are seeing more deficiencies when patients have blood work performed.
There are herbs that will also act as immune boosters. Millions of dollars are spent every year fighting the flu and the common cold. One herb you can take to strengthen your immune system and fight off these two culprits is Echinacea. It is commonly called the coneflower. It grows wild and is cultivated in North America. Studies at the University of Connecticut show taking Echinacea can cut the chance of getting a cold nearly in half. It will also shorten the duration of suffering a cold or the flu. It is thought to be an Immunostimulant, a fancy title for an immune system booster.
Interferon treatments are used to manage many diseases. Interferon therapy is used in tandem with radiation and chemotherapy for cancer patients. It is also used in Multiple Sclerosis and Hepatitis C treatments. Russia and Eastern Europe use interferon in low doses to treat common ailments of cold and the flu. There are very effective natural interferon supplements that are used safely to boost immune systems, help with allergies, asthma and other immune related challenges. Natural interferon does not have the side effects associated with more potent interferon.
On a daily basis our immune system is at work. We come in contact with germs, bacteria and viruses continuously. Our big fears are disease, such as cancer and hepatitis. The healthier our immune system is, the better it is able to fight off the common and the more feared diseases. The more you do to boost your immune system the healthier you can be.
For more information on magnesium, zinc, and echinacea, visit immune booster options here.
Guest post by Vicki Zerbee
Why do our bodies age? How does a natural substance like resveratrol help keep us younger? First, it is our cells that age, not specifically our bodies. Hold that thought and we will look at that in a minute. We grow older because of a combination of factors, including 1) genetics, 2) lifestyle, 3) environment, 4) stress, 5) hormones, and 6) immune system, and 7) inflammation.
To break that down, genetics is only one influence of aging. Currently, lifestyle choices including what we eat, how much stress is in our lives, if we smoke, drink excessively, get too much sun, and our exposure to toxins, chemicals viruses and bacteria, influence aging at a greater rate. These factors in turn affect hormones, immune systems and inflammation in our bodies.
Hormones can create havoc and cause one person to age faster than another. Are you tired all of the time? Do you feel lousy or just out of balance? Do you get sick too much? Are you having problems with your heart, cholesterol, or your bones? Is your skin sagging or looking too old for your age? Are you forgetting things? Do you have weight issues that you can’t control? Hormones have been related to all of the above, and they in turn to our cells’ aging. The good news is that we can balance our hormones and that can help keep us younger.
The immune system is very powerful when it is strong because it is constantly fighting invaders to our cells, and we aren’t sick as often as someone who has a weak immune system. Unfortunately, mental stress, poor diet choices, and other lifestyle factors can weaken our immune systems so that they can’t fight off the diseases of aging. The good news is that we can enhance our immune systems so they can fight the diseases of aging.
Inflammation can be equally destructive to our cells and our bodies. Inflammation is a good thing when it protects us from infection. For example, if we get cut with an object that might produce an infection, the inflammation that responds, in combination with our immune system fighting off the infection, is good. However, we can also have inflammation when there is no invader, and at those times it is our own bodies that are hurt. Inflammation is connected to and can predict many of the diseases of aging like heart attacks, heart failure, diabetes, Alzheimers, and even cancer. Scientists have known for a long time that inflammation increases with age. The good news is that research has found ways to control inflammation in the cells which can help us live longer and healthier.
All of these causes of aging are happening at the cellular level, so it is the cells within our bodies that age and make us not only get old but get sick. If we can find a way to help our cells repair themselves, survive longer and even prevent cell death, we will live longer. We will also live healthier which makes a lot more sense that simply growing older.
Scientists have been studying aging and natural ingredients that can trigger the aging process in our bodies for many years. Resveratrol, a natural substance found in grape skins and red wine, is a revolutionary discovery that can work directly on our cells, triggering the aging gene in each one of us. Finding a way to make a natural resveratrol supplement in a formula that can impact aging, and be safe and affordable for all, has been a challenge that has recently been solved. Pharmaceutical grade resveratrol supplements are a choice that we have to help keep our cells healthy and give us quality of life in terms of feeling younger, having more strength and endurance, and fighting disease.
If you are a woman between the ages of 40-50 you are either getting ready to go through, or are in, menopause. I was 42 and started to experience irregular periods, hot flashes, insomnia, and fatigue. I knew through family and friends that there were choices between natural menopause treatments of vitamins and nutrition, and doctor prescribed treatments that help women through the process of menopause.
Wanting to rule out a more serious medical condition, I first made an appointment with my medical physician. Never having been pregnant I did not have a regular obgyn. I had gone to the same general practice doctor since I was 18 years old, and had a lot of confidence in going through this new phase of my life with him.
After a blood test confirmed the start of menopause, I have to admit I was happy. Some may think I was crazy, but I figured after almost 30 years of monthly cramps, pms, and the other restrictions I had paid my dues.
As I said, my relationship with my doctor was great. He immediately offered to prescribe a hormone replacement drug to get me through the 3-5 years of menopause. After doing my own research I did not care for all the negative information I was getting. I thought it would be a more healthy option to target things like menopause treatments with vitamins and nutrition at the very first signs my body was changing.
Thankfully my sister was a Shaklee Independent Distributor and introduced me to a combination of natural products. I immediately started using them and sailed through menopause drug free. With reports of some of these very same drugs that are prescribed for menopause being pulled off the market, I am glad I chose the natural way.
Whether it is coping with menstrual cycle issues like PMS, or dealing with the transition to menopause, there are natural health solutions to help meet the unique health needs of women throughout every stage of life by giving the body what it needs in the form of nutrients targeted for women. When the body processes are functioning properly, you feel that in the form of feeling good because your body is not having the symptoms that make you feel lousy.
The products that I feel helped me the most are soy protein, an herbal menopause blend, calcium-magnesium, and a unique gamma linolenic acid formula (GLA). One difference that I have come to appreciate with Shaklee nutrition is that they combine ingredients in many of their products, allowing them to work together to give better results than individual ingredients. It was explained to me that they work synergistically to perform best. The definition of synergy is: a dynamic state in which combined action is favored over the sum of individual component actions.
There are also differences in the quality of ingredients and formulation processes that set this brand apart. For instance, the high quality energizing soy protein is water-washed so that it retains the critical isoflavones genistein and daidzein that provide health benefits associated with the whole goodness of soy. Other brands that are alcohol processed remove these beneficial isoflavones, and use chemicals that cross-contaminate. There are different options for using the soy, including my favorite, the Cinch shakes. They contain the same energizing soy, and are formulated into a full meal with fiber included, to make a perfect breakfast and wonderful nutrition start for the day.
A key product that made a difference for me once I knew that I had started menopause was the Menopause Balancing Complex, a combination of black cohosh, soy isoflavones, flaxseed oil, dong quai extract, red clover extract, and licorice extract. It is a unique combination of phytoestrogens that help reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes, promotes restful sleep, and helps reduce mood swings.
GLA promotes well-being for women during their menstrual cycles and is beneficial through menopause as well. The Shaklee formula contains GLA, an omega-6 fatty acid that our bodies use to form prostaglandins – potent, hormone-like subtances that help the body to regulate many normal body processes, sunflower seed oil that is another source of health omega-6 fatty acids, and vitamin E.
Calcium is not to be underestimated in its value to girls and women throughout their lives. Other nutrients in this brand’s highly absorbable calcium blend include vitamins D & K, and magnesium. Benefits include reduction of PMS symptoms such as bloating, cramps, water retention, irritability, and moodiness.
A good friend of ours was experiencing some health issues recently. He had stomach pain and diarrhea. It was starting to affect his daily living so he made an appointment with his doctor who ordered a biopsy.
It was discovered that he had an intolerance to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and oats. He immediately thought, “How is this going to change my life?” When diagnosed, people are given all kind of information about ways to adjust, including foods, overall daily diet, and gluten free vitamins and nutrition. There is a definite adjustment that has to take place and fear of the unknown can make you uneasy.
There is a genetic component with about 10% of people affected having a close relative with the disease. Gluten is believed to stimulate the production of certain antibodies that damage the inner lining of the small intestine, and can result in malabsorption of nutrients.
We know that most people are not getting enough nutrients in their diet for optimal health even without a challenge like this, so this decreased absorption makes it a significant concern on a daily basis. The small intestine’s normal surface and function are restored when the person stops eating foods containing gluten.
After doing some additional research on this condition I discovered that there have been various studies conducted and the results show a range of gluten allergies in children from 1 in 40 to 1 in 167. In regard to adults, 1 in 30 to 1 in 111 were affected by gluten allergies. The range where it is more common involves children and adults who were already having some symptoms. Overall, studies show that a gluten allergy is quite common, so that many kids and adults out there have uncomfortable guts.
There are many symptoms of a gluten allergy sufferer. They include: extreme fatigue, mouth ulcers, anemia, diarrhea, constipation, weight loss, abdominal bloating, crohn’s disease, diverticulitis, depression, attention and behavioral problems, skin problems, irritability, and more. While having a few of these symptoms together might alert you to something being wrong, a proper test will determine if you have a gluten allergy. Since you are the one who has the uncomfortable symptoms, and if you have several of the above symptoms, insist on a test even if your doctor is hesitant.
People who must be on a gluten-free diet say that it changes their lives because they must read labels closely and really become aware of ingredients in foods, making gluten free nutrition including vitamins important to keep the nasty symptoms away. Not being able to eat bread as they always have is one of the hardest adjustments kids and adults will have. Of course it is not only bread that must be removed from the diet, but bagels, muffins, croissants, hamburger and hotdog buns, many cereals, pasta, breaded meats, and pizza.
Of course there are alternatives. Health food stores and now more grocery stores carry gluten-free products, including bread. It is important to make sure the label reads “100% gluten-free.” Corn and rice-based cereals, and rice noodles in place of pasta made with wheat, are good choices. Our friend and his wife are both professionals with a business of their own, and like so many of us live a very busy lifestyle. This health issue has affected his life in a lot of different ways and takes time to manage, but you have to be grateful that in most cases it is manageable.
The Shaklee Independent Distributor brand tests and compares gluten content in nutritional products based on testing standards and threshold levels set forth by the Food and Drug Administration’s proposed law, and will soon include the “gluten free” claim on their labels. A majority of Shaklee vitamin and nutrition products do not have gluten-containing ingredients.
To learn more about high quality gluten free nutrition, contact Nancy Cashman through her website www.havegoodhealthforlife.com.