Lifestyle Factors to Keep in Mind for Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention

Losing Brain FunctionBy Jennifer Morganti, ND, Needs Director of Education

 

As Alzheimer’s disease (AD) rates continue to rise, many of us are wondering what our own risk is of  becoming a statistic. Current data says your chances are one in nine if you are over 65 years old, and if you’re over 85, it’s one in three. With such high risks, wouldn’t it be great to better understand what we can do to prevent it? There isn’t a good treatment to reverse AD and we still are not clear what causes it. Genetics and lifestyle factors seem to play in to the scenario, but the picture is fuzzy at best.

A recent study was published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, which may help provide clues as to which lifestyle risk factors can be modified to help decrease the chances of developing this devastating disease.  This study was a meta-analysis of other studies that contained data about AD risks. The diligent researchers initially browsed through almost 17,000 relevant studies, then narrowed it down to 323 which were appropriate to include in the review. There were over 5,000 patients included in the 323 studies.

The review of these 5,000 patients brought to light some interesting findings. They found a strong protective effect from five dietary factors: coffee intake, light to moderate drinking (alcohol), vitamin E, vitamin C, and folic acid. They found a significantly increased risk of developing AD when homocysteine levels were high or if a person was depressed. Risk also increased in the presence of other health conditions such as obesity (in middle age), atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, and having type-2 diabetes. Interestingly, the study found a seemingly contradictory risk factor; a “low” BMI (being underweight) also is a hazard. Smoking or having a lower education level increases a person’s risk. Frailty (lacking strength and not exercising) puts a person at risk as well.

Some of the results were surprising and all in all, some were familiar. Although nothing is conclusive from this one review, the information is useful.  I think it does help point us in the right direction to make smart lifestyle choices for AD prevention, and those choices are also generally wise recommendations for overall health and wellness. 

Reference:
Xu W, Tan L, Wang H, et al: Meta-analysis of modifiable risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry 2015;August 21, 2015.

Make your Own Antioxidant Tea

By Sam Derbyshire

One thing I love about Natur-Tyme is the bulk department. We carry more high-quality herbs than any other place in CNY.

I rely on the bulk department for ingredients for my immune-boosting tea:
– 1-part hibiscus
– 1-part rosehips
– 1-part red tea

Lay out a tea ball and fill half of one side with red tea and half of that same side with hibiscus, then on the other side, fill half way with cut/sifted rosehips. Hang that tea ball in a gallon pitcher of cold water. Let it steep overnight in the fridge.

The rosehips have lots of vitamin C, bioflavonoids, and carotenoids, making them great antioxidants.

The hibiscus also has a lot of vitamin C, is a diuretic, and is great for high-blood pressure. Studies have also shown it to be helpful in atherosclerosis, reducing triglycerides, LDL, and overall triglycerides.  It is an overall antioxidant, contains phytosterols, and vitamin E.

The red tea (or Rooibos tea, or red bush tea) has the same antioxidant and polyphenol qualities as green tea, but without the caffeine and with much lower tannins.

The combo is a great option as a cold summer tea, which, in my opinion, needs no sweetener.  It is also great as a warm tea with just a dash of honey.

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

Nine Tips to Help You Stay Healthy During Flu Season

By Boiron USA

Sadly, according to trends, we are in a high-activity flu area.

A homeopathic brand that Natur-Tyme carries, Boiron USA, offers the following tips on how to stay healthy this flu season and what to do if the flu bug bites:

  1. TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR. Get professional advice if you are at risk for complications from flu.
  1. WASH YOUR HANDS FREQUENTLY. Flu viruses are spread by droplets from infected people when they sneeze, blow their nose, or wipe away secretions from their nose or eyes. During flu season, everyone should be encouraged to keep their hands out of their mouths, avoid rubbing their eyes and wash their hands thoroughly several times a day, especially before meals.
  1. EAT A HEALTHY DIET RICH IN VITAMINS C AND E. Foods containing these vitamins are believed to be helpful in supporting the immune system. Foods rich in vitamin E include sunflower and corn oils, sunflower seeds, and nuts such as almonds and peanuts. You can get your daily vitamin C from foods like orange juice, citrus fruits, broccoli, and green peppers. And make an effort to reduce your intake of concentrated sugar (e.g. soda, candy) because excessive sugar impairs the immune response.
  1. GET A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP. Lack of sleep may profoundly inhibit your immune system. Get a full night’s sleep to keep your body’s natural defenses at optimum efficiency.
  1. STAY HYDRATED. Increasing your water intake will help you stay healthy and lessen the chance of you coming down with flu. When you are feeling under the weather, drinking extra fluids prevents dehydration caused by fever, loosens mucus, and keeps your throat moist. Warm liquids are preferable, and there is some evidence that inhaling steam early in the course of a cold or flu may reduce the spread of viruses in your upper respiratory tract.
  1. KEEP OSCILLOCOCCINUM®READILY AVAILABLE. Oscillococcinum (Oscillo®), one of the world’s most popular natural flu medicines, can reduce the duration and severity of flu-like symptoms when taken at the onset of symptoms. Its use is supported by published clinical studies, as well as more than 65 years of use throughout the world. Plus, unlike other flu medicines, Oscillo does not cause drowsiness, it does not interfere with other medications, and it is recommended for both adults and children ages 2 and up.
  1. EXERCISE REGULARLY. Not only can regular exercise lower stress, but research indicates that exercise can stimulate the immune system and promote healthy sleep. In a recent study reported inMedicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, scientists found that modest exercise may prevent the elderly from getting colds and flu.
  1. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. If you do come down with a cold or flu, take it easy. Spending excessive energy steals valuable resources from the immune system. Even attempting to perform normal activities at work or school may be too much. Besides, if you believe you’re coming down with flu, probably the best thing you can do for friends and family is to not expose them unnecessarily to the virus.
  1. SEEK HELP IF YOU GET WORSE. If your symptoms become significantly worse after the first three days of illness, especially if your fever subsides and then returns, be sure to seek medical attention right away. The reason that flu is considered a potentially dangerous infection is that it leaves the body vulnerable to other infections like pneumonia.

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!

The Greatness of Green Drinks

By Laurel Sterling, MA, RD136706785

It’s a New Year! One of the best ways to ramp up your nutrition is by consuming green drinks. Typically, many of these green drinks contain spirulina, chlorella, barley grass, and wheat grass. These greens alone are packed full of nutrients! Spirulina is a microalgae. It contains 60-70% protein, B12, iron, essential amino acids, and chlorophyll. Chlorella is an algae with a high amount of chlorophyll. It contains B vitamins, amino acids, and trace minerals. According to Dr. Anne Wigmore, founder of Hippocrates Health Institute, one pound of wheatgrass is equal in nutritional value to 25 pounds of standard vegetables. Wheatgrass is a good source of protein and is beneficial to the body for its detoxifying properties. It protects lungs and blood from air and water pollution. Wheatgrass contains vitamins B, C, and E, as well as high amounts of chlorophyll, which further assists cleansing the blood and keeps it at high alkaline levels.

There are all sorts of green drinks out there. Some are just the individual greens, and others are mixed with berries and/or electrolytes. Some are organic; some are raw and/or organic; some have added electrolytes. How do we choose??

The benefits of eating raw are that the food is easily and quickly digested in 24-36 hours (vs. 48-100 for cooked foods), and enzymes and nutrients remain intact.

We live in a sea of chemicals, so reduce exposure where you can by choosing organic. Refer to the Environmental Working Group’s list of the dirty dozen and be certain to choose organic for those items; if the green drink you are spotting is not organic and contains a Dirty Dozen item, I’d go with another choice.

When you exercise, you lose electrolytes (particularly sodium and potassium) in your sweat and these must be replaced to keep the balance. Minerals come from greens, and some of these drinks have additional minerals. Green drinks with electrolytes are great for athletes! Also, minerals are so important because our bodies are made of 70% mineral water.

As you can see, there are a wide variety of choices as far as greens drinks go. I prefer the ones with the berries and fruit added. Whatever your preference….choose green!!

Multiple Benefits of Vitamin C

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Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is the antioxidant that most people think about when they are asked if they take vitamins. Because it is awater soluble vitamin, your body doesn’t store it so it needs to be replenished daily. Scurvy, caused by a vitamin C deficiency, is the disease known to soldiers and sailors for centuries before the reasons for the disease were discovered during the 20th century.

Vitamin C has many beneficial properties – perhaps some you didn’t even realize. Did you know, for instance, that vitamin C is a natural antihistamine? Many people with allergies find that taking 2,000-3,000 mg per day in divided doses reduces their allergy symptoms. Vitamin C also has some natural anti-viral properties which is why some people find these larger doses helpful when they have a cold.

Did you also know that Vitamin C is required for collagen formation? Consequently, it can be helpful for the skin, as well as cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and even bones. It also aids in the reduction of inflammation, improves gingivitis, enhances iron absorption, and expedites wound healing. Vitamin C is depleted by cigarette smoking, and it is recommended that for every pack of cigarettes smoked, at least 500 mg of vitamin C be consumed to reduce oxidative stress.

Vitamin C is concentrated in the adrenals and is part of the adrenalin molecule which is why, when combined with the B-complex vitamins, it is so helpful for stress.

Much of the Vitamin C content of food is destroyed by heat so the best sources are uncooked fruits such as citrus (oranges, grapefruit, tomatoes, limes, and lemons). Other delicious fruits such as strawberries, kiwi, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, watermelon, pineapple, and papaya are also good sources. Small amounts of C will also be found in red and green peppers as well as lightly steamed green vegetables such as spinach and broccoli. Brussel sprouts are a surprisingly good source containing about 50 mg in a cooked, half-cup serving.

To avoid stomach upset, I often recommend Vitamin C be taken in buffered form. It must also have some bioflavonoids to make it work fully. Lipoic acid, another antioxidant, helps to recirculate the C so it lasts longer in the body. One of the few supplements that fit this criteria is Natur-Tyme Vitamin C – always ahead of the game! A food-based Vitamin C is also excellent but the doses are typically lower.

With its multiple benefits, I must ask, have you taken your Vitamin C today?

 

Let’s JUICE it UP!

Cafe_Group_EditBy Laurel Sterling, MA, RD

The nutritional benefits of juicing are immense. Juicing can pack a tremendous amount of nutrients in just one delicious cup. Fresh juice, not from a bottle or concentrate, is an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, proteins, and so much more!

Because juice is assimilated with very little effort from the digestive system, the body can easily make use of all the nutrition it offers. Juicing combined with a nutritious and balanced diet is ideal.

So whether your health is at a low point right now or even if you are feeling very healthy, juicing is excellent for your health and energy. This is a great gift you can give to your body all year-round!

Here at Natur-Tyme’s Tyme-Out Café, we have several great ones to choose from:

  • CNY Yogi is a very refreshing drink. It’s a perfect choice for its cooling and detoxifying properties. Rich in nutrients that aid the body in ridding excess fluids as well as toxins, what a great choice for someone who is looking for a jumpstart on cleansing!
  • Lightening Bug is rich in antioxidants, and loaded with vitamin C. This is a wonderful choice any time of the year due to its immune-enhancing properties!
  • Popeye’s Punch is a great option for those looking to decrease systemic inflammation. This is in part due to the alkalinity of the fruits and herbs within. This is another one I love!
  • Ginger-Snap is packed full of vitamin A, which enhances immunity, and with the addition of warming ginger, it has an added benefit of being anti-inflammatory as well.
  • The Blue-Green Elixir is filled with minerals, antioxidants, and also protein from the algae. This elixir can assist with energy as well as immunity.
  • Transfusion is a power-packed juice! This combo of fruits, veggies, and spices will give your body a transfusion of several nutrients to aid in cleansing, detoxifying, and decreasing inflammation. This one is my personal favorite!
  • Re-Fresh is a lovely cooling and cleansing drink that assists in detoxifying as well as having diuretic properties. A perfect juice choice in the summer to cool down! The simplicity of this juice appeals to many juicing novices.
  • Wheatgrass is a very rich nutritional food that is filled with vitamins, mineral, and trace elements. According to Dr. Anne Wigmore, founder of Hippocrates Health Institute, one pound of wheatgrass is equal in nutritional value to 25 pounds of choice vegetables. Come in and try one of our wheatgrass shots!
  • This warming Ginger shot can assist in digestion, decreasing inflammation, cleansing, and alkalizing the body. What more can you ask for in one shot! This is great during those long cold winter months we have here in Syracuse.

So come in, sit down, relax, and try one of our juice combo drinks or juice shots. You will be sure to fall in love with them! Enjoy!

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