Seasonal Allergies

Carol B. Blair, BS, DiHom, CNC
Wellness Educator

An allergen is a substance that has been targeted by the immune system as a carolforeign invader. The receptor on the mast cell binds to an allergen, and the body produces antibodies to this invader. The mast cells then release histamine that causes the typical allergic responses such as red, itchy eyes/coughing/nasal congestion/runny nose.

Most allergy medications work as anti-histamines, and there are many natural anti-histamines and anti-inflammatories that will help reduce symptoms without side effects.

Quercetin, a flavonoid found in apples, buckwheat, onions, and green tea, helps keep mast cells from releasing histamine. The absorption of quercetin is enhanced by bromelain, which potentiates its action, so you will often find them combined for best results. This combination is one of the most commonly used natural therapies for allergies.

Nettle leaf tea has been used for centuries to relieve allergies especially hayfever. It has been recommended highly by Dr. Andrew Weil. Nettle tea or the extract inhibits pro-inflammatory pathways related to allergies, and it has an impressive number of other benefits for the immune system.

Osha is an herb used for its anti-histamine-like properties. Osha will often quickly reduce allergic reactions; it also soothes a sore throat. Recent studies also show the herb, Butterbur, to be excellent for allergy symptom relief.

Antioxidants such as Vitamin C, Grapeseed extract, MSM, and fish oil can also help reduce inflammation, and therefore, symptoms.

Allergy relief is an area where homeopathy shines. Homeopathy is based on the theory that “like cures like.” Many homeopathic formulas contain the allergens, such as pollen, in minute doses that are prevalent in a certain region of the country, and formulas exist for allergies in our area. There are other allergy formulas available as well for individuals who have sensitivities to animal dander or dairy, for instance. These can be a big help for allergy sufferers.

Last but not least, new studies are showing the role of probiotics in down-regulating the immune system to help reduce allergies!

All of these supplements are quite effective in reducing congestion, sneezing, itchy eyes, headaches, and fatigue that are associated with seasonal allergies. The best part is that, instead of side effects, most of these supplements will have other beneficial uses for your immune system as well

Zinc: The Latest Vitamin Superstar

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Modern scientific studies have supported the use of zinc for boosting immune function, reducing infections, decreasing the occurrence of diarrhea, and removing toxic metals from the body. A research review published by Indian researchers earlier this year identified eight more reasons we may want to consider taking zinc: it acts like an antidepressant; it might help regulate blood pressure; it might help prevent zinc deficiency common in those with liver diseases; zinc supplementation during pregnancy may help prevent maternal morbidity and prolonged gestation; it may help prevent several risks associated with diabetes such as coronary artery disease and hypertension; it helps balance the endocrine system in geriatric patients; it may help with wound healing; lastly, it may shorten the duration of severe pneumonia.

Comp Rev in Food Science and Food Safety.July2014;13:4:358–376.

Thoughts on the Mystery Virus, Enterovirus D-68

By Carol Blair, DiHom, CNC Natur-Tyme Wellness Educatorcarol

A mysterious respiratory virus (actually known as enterovirus D-68) affecting mostly children has been spreading throughout the country. Proactive and concerned parents have already contacted me about what they can do preventatively. Here are some of my thoughts on this current health concern:

To keep the immune system strong, the child should be taking, on a regular basis, a good multi-vitamin supplement, vitamin D, and a probiotic. Extra vitamin C would be helpful as well. If a virus ensues, increasing the vitamin C can be very helpful because there are very few viruses that can withstand enough vitamin C. Chewable vitamin C is available in delicious flavors.

If the child is over the age of two, I suggest homeopathic Oscillococcinum at the very first sign of an illness. Then move on to King-Bio Cold and Flu, another homeopathic formula that usually proves to be beneficial. I always have these on hand.

Umcka has a strange name but not-so-strange benefits. Studied in Europe, it has been shown to increase interferon, the body’s own natural, anti-viral substance. It has been used in Germany for such illnesses as colds and flu, bronchitis, and TB.

Elderberry has been shown in many studies to keep viruses from replicating. One such study, performed at the University of Oslo School of Medicine in Norway, showed that Elderberry reduced viral flu symptoms by 50% and reduced the duration of flu viruses from 7.1 days to 3.1 days.

For older children, Zinc Throat Spray or Zinc lozenges are excellent choices. If they can swallow capsules, consider Russian Choice Immune to increase Natural Killer (NK) cells.

So parents, don’t lay awake at night worrying about this “mystery virus.” No deaths have been reported although with any respiratory illness, including a cold, those with asthma obviously have higher risks. As you can see, there are many options, so handle it like you would any other cold or flu virus–by keeping the immune system strong!

What the Natur-Tyme Difference Means to Me

By Pamela Walker, Supplement Educator

Where do I begin? I guess I’ll start with the grateful Natur-Tyme customer that we helped one day who told us that, “Coming here is better than going to the doctor!” While we can’t diagnose anyone, we can certainly provide them with compassion, understanding, and knowledge of our products. I think of our customers as our extended family because that is exactly what they are. It’s a home away from home for all of us. It’s always wonderful to hear a customer say, “Oh here’s a friendly, familiar face!” as one of us walks up to help them.

And our new store is amazing for the employees as well! I thought we had it going on at the old store on Bridge Street; however, the Tyme-Out Café is just what we needed! I love getting a healthy juice, smoothie, or soup every day from there. And the salads and wraps are tasty and healthy. And did I mention the Enhanced Beauty Salon? It’s so easy to get an appointment for a haircut, facial, or massage. I truly believe that offering massage here at Natur-Tyme compliments our mission of providing health and wellness because massage helps our immune system, cardiovascular system, lymphatic system, and much more. I love what we do here, love our customers, and am very grateful that Natur-Tyme exists!

Combat Seasonal Affective Disorder

By Supplement Educator Andrew Greeley152149018

Fall foliage is fading and snow storms are nearing. According to the laws of nature, winter months are a time to hibernate.  Well, I say hiber-not, young lad!  Kick winter in the teeth this year by utilizing Mother Nature’s deceiving gift. Get outside and build a snowman, hit the bunny hills for some skiing, or treat your significant other to a romantic evening of ice skating.

Motivate your winter endeavors with supplemental vitamin D. Nearly every cell in the body has a receptor for vitamin D, including brain cells; and vitamin D plays a role in serotonin and dopamine production. These feel-good chemicals are sure to raise you out of your seasonal slump.

Maintenance dosing for vitamin D is around 2,000 IU per day depending on each individual, but those who experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) may need a higher doseage. Maximize your mood and immune system this long season with vitamin D and some form of physical activity. Snow-blowing doesn’t count!

Joining a gym is a great way to avoid seasonal claustrophobia.  Not only is exercise essential for the release of those feel-good chemicals that increase mood, but gyms are usually brightly lit.  If you don’t have a light therapy lamp on hand, hit the gym and kill two birds with one stone.  Enjoy your winter!

 

The Benefits of a High-Quality Fish Oil Supplement

By The Natur-Tyme Wellness Team148266535

Fish oil. It’s no longer the foul tasting oil of your youth. Not only do high-quality fish oils smell and taste good, they provide the nutrients, thus health, the body craves—literally!

The nutrients in question are the Omega-3 fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Extensive research connects DHA and EPA deficiencies to heart disease; brain disorders, such as ADHD and Alzheimer’s; diabetes; stroke; depression; arthritis; allergies; circulation problems; skin disorders; and gout just to name a few. By simply adding high quality fish oil to your health regime, you can vastly improve the health of your eyes, skin, digestive and immune systems, joints, and especially your heart and brain.

Our highly processed Western diet has drastically changed America’s nutritional landscape. The use of vegetable oils in processed foods caused an enormous increase in Omega-6 fatty acid consumption, elevating the Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio from its ideal 2:1 to an estimated 20:1. In some cases, it’s even as high as 50:1. Omega-3s can reduce inflammation, while Omega-6s may increase inflammation. Omega-3s can prevent excessive blood clotting, while Omega-6s may promote clotting. Omega-3s can moderate immune system reactions, while Omega-6s may often make it over-react. So you can see how an imbalanced intake can create imbalance in the body, leading to disease.

A fish oil supplement can help create that needed balance. In regard to cardiovascular disease, the benefits of Omega-3s are so well understood and accepted that the American Heart Association published statements recommending increased fish intake and/or the use of fish oil supplements. One study even showed that the Omega-3s in fish oils cut your risk of sudden death from heart disease in half.

At least one epidemiologic study has shown that patients with Alzheimer’s disease have significantly lower levels of Omega-3s than healthy seniors. Researchers report that older people can reduce their risk of developing Alzheimer’s by increasing their intake of fish and fish oil (DHA).

Omega-3s from fish oil are also a great choice for optimal nutrition during pregnancy, not only for fetal development, but for the mother as well. DHA is the most abundant Omega-3 long-chain fatty acid in breast milk and studies show that breast-fed babies have IQ advantages over babies fed formula lacking DHA. Research also shows that by adding DHA to her diet, a new mother can significantly decrease the possibility and/or effects of postpartum depression.

OTHER BENEFITS INCLUDE

  • Protection against symptoms of hay fever, sinus infections, asthma, food allergies, and allergic skin conditions, such as hives and eczema
  • Inhibition of the production of the inflammatory compounds related to psoriasis and improvement of the health of skin, nails, and hair
  • Reduction in insulin resistance
  • Improvement of immune function (research links the intake of fish oil to a lowered risk of breast and prostate cancers)
  • Lowered risk of age-related macular degeneration—an eye condition which is the leading cause of severe visual loss in people over age 50
  • An anti-inflammatory effect on inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease)

When selecting a supplement, choose a product that delivers a high concentration of DHA and EPA per serving. Finally, be sure to look for oils that are clean. Some brands that we recommend for their high-quality fish oils include: Nordic Naturals, Carlson Labs, and NutriNeeds.

 

Probiotics Offer Benefits to Most

By the Natur-Tyme Wellness Team166674176

Probiotics are microorganisms that exert beneficial effects in humans and have been the subject of many recent scientific studies. They benefit us in wide variety of ways, including averting harmful organisms from growing (such as yeast), preventing food and environmental allergies, enhancing the immune system, assisting in the digestion of foods, and promoting the degradation of toxins. Some strains of probiotics have also been shown to bind mercury and other heavy metals, preventing their absorption into the body. Also, probiotics have been shown to prevent and inhibit the growth of colon, liver, and breast cancer. The health benefits of these organisms are so profound; it is one of the few supplements we recommend that almost all people include as part of their daily regimen.

Probiotics are found in a variety of foods, including cheese, yogurt, butter, sauerkraut, and other fermented foods. However, most of us can’t or don’t eat these foods in sufficient enough quantities to counteract the challenges of modern life. The proper balance of these microflora can be thrown off by a diet high in meat, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and other processed foods. Also, constipation, diarrhea, stress, birth control pills or other forms of estrogen replacement therapy, chlorinated water, and antibiotics in the food supply also readily off-set the balance of these beneficial organisms.

So, supplementation is necessary. There are many probiotic products to choose from.

Someone who has difficulty swallowing capsules should consider the tiny Acidophilus Pearls from Enzymatic Therapy; because these do not need to be refrigerated, they are also great for when you travel.

Ideally, infants and toddlers should have primarily Bifidobacterium in their intestines to help prevent and stop diarrhea and to aid in the prevention of allergies. Supplementing with a powdered form of Bifidobacterium, either by itself or with a small percentage of Acidophilus, is easy with infants by dipping your fingertip in the powder and having your child suckle it. Adding one-eighth teaspoon to food, such as applesauce, is a great way to provide the Bifidobacterium to toddlers. Children older than two can be given combinations with higher percentages of Acidophilus.

In order to acquire the most significant benefits that probiotics can provide, maintenance is essential. For maintenance, we suggest the use of products that have a multitude of probiotic strains present to provide broad coverage, such as Flora Biotic Plus from Nutrineeds or Garden of Life’s Primal Defense.

One of the principal foundations of good health is maintaining a vigorous digestive tract. Probiotics are fundamental to this and have been shown to have so many immediate and long-term positive health effects. They inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria that cause digestive stress, improve digestion of food and absorption of vitamins, stimulate the body’s natural defense mechanism – the immune system, and help make vitamins needed by the body. With all of these outstanding health benefits, you should consider the importance of working them into your daily routine.

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