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.

Protect your Skin from the Sun- Inside and Out

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Outside…
What’s in your sunscreen? Is it loaded with chemicals you can’t pronounce? And what are the effects of those chemicals? We know we need to protect our skin from UV rays, but it’s still important to be thoughtful about what we use to protect it. That’s why Natur-Tyme offers all-natural sunscreen lotions. Badger brand sunscreen uses zinc oxide for UV protection, in a base of organic sunflower oil, organic beeswax, vitamin E, and organic sea buckthorn. It’s water resistant, unscented, and 100% organic. Aubrey offers a “kids” (of course, adults can use it too!)  sunscreen spray. The spray option is a conconvenient way to apply sunscreen without the mess. The base is made of natural ingredients such as coconut oil, aloe extract, shea butter, and rosemary extract. Time to ditch those chemical-laden sunscreens and switch to a safe and natural solution.

Inside…
There is a lot we can do to protect our skin from the inside as well. Antioxidants can help protect skin cells from damage and they can slow the time it takes for skin to redden from UV exposure. One study showed that sufficient doses of beta-carotene and vitamin E together increased the time it took for skin to redden. Lutein and lycopene are also carotenoids that show promise in slowing the rate of sunburn. Another study showed that high-dose vitamin C and vitamin E regularly reduces the risk of sunburn by 34% as compared to those taking Placebo.

If you have questions about which sunscreens or supplements are best for you, feel free to stop by and speak with one of our Licensed Estheticians or supplement educators at Natur-Tyme.

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.

What to Look for in a Supplement

carolCarol B Blair, BS. DiHom, CNC
Wellness Educator

Some of us spend a fair amount of money on supplements to keep us well but are you getting what you pay for?

Here are a few tips in what to look for:

  • Are the minerals in forms that your body can absorb such as citrate, glycinate, or another chelated form (not oxide, carbonate, sulfate which are poorly absorbed by the body)?
  • Vitamin D should be the more easily absorbed D3 as opposed to the cheaper and synthetic D2.
  • Vitamin E should be mixed tocopherols and even added tocotrienols if possible. How do you know if E is synthetic? Look for an “l” after the D such as Dl-alpha tocopherol. The natural form would be D-alpha tocopherol. Studies show the synthetic form to be useless and possibly even harmful.
  • Is the nutrient in an amount that is useful or is it what I call pixie dust – enough so they can put it on the label?

Be sure to check the “other” ingredients. You may be surprised at what you find there:

  • Artificial colors, flavors, and dyes should be avoided. Why do you want to give you body more work to detoxify these non-foods?
  • Fillers such as propylene glycol (think antifreeze!) are not in there for your health. They are in there for economical purposes – so they can run supplements through the machines faster. Time is money.
  • Some supplements even contain artificial sweeteners!

Natur-Tyme carries only high-quality supplements and you won’t find any of these ingredients in our Natur-Tyme brand.

Speaking of that, our Natur-Tyme brand of supplements is a superior line. They are from GMP-certified labs that are FDA-approved, and you won’t find any “junk” in them. I use them myself because I know they are top-shelf.

So don’t waste your money buying substandard supplements that aren’t doing you any good. If you can’t afford a quality vitamin, mineral, or herb, do your body a favor and wait until you can get a good one.

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!!

The Most Superior Forms of Vitamins E, D, B-12, and B-6

By Jennifer Morganti, NDWhich Drug?

One of the most common questions I have been asked over the years is that regarding the difference between the multivitamins found at the drugstore or big-box store, and the type of multivitamins found at Natur-Tyme. After all, they seem to have the same vitamins listed on the supplement facts panel, right?

On the surface, they do all appear the same. But there are big differences in the actual forms of each nutrient in terms of absorption and the way the body uses them. As a general rule of thumb, the cheaper materials are the least effective and the biggest waste of money. So it really pays to know what forms are the best and to spend a little extra money on the ingredients that work best.

One vitamin that you want to pay close attention to is vitamin E. The most important concern is that the product contains d-alpha tocopherol, the natural form of this fat-soluble vitamin, instead of dl-alpha tocopherol, the synthetic form that should be avoided entirely. If you really want to reap the benefits of vitamin E, you should look for all four forms of tocopherol: alpha, beta, gamma, and delta-tocopherol. There are also four forms of the tocotrienol part of vitamin E (the same four prefixes as the tocopherols), but it is quite rare to find all eight isomers in a multivitamin formula due to the expense. At a minimum, be sure to avoid the synthetic vitamin E, which is common in TV-commercial type multivitamins.

Another important fat-soluble vitamin is D. Cholecalciferol, known as D3, is the one better utilized by the body, as compared to D2. D2 is the form that can be toxic to the liver in high doses, but D3 is far less likely to cause a reaction. D3 is typically derived from lanolin and is very affordable, so most manufacturers have converted to using this form exclusively.

In the water-soluble B vitamin family, there are a few basic things to consider. B12 can be found as hydroxyl-, methyl- and cyano-cobalamin. Cyanocobalamin is the least effective but most common form found in a multivitamin. It is not a form found in nature and isn’t utilized effectively by the body. A high-quality multi will offer the hydroxyl or methyl-cobalamin forms which offer superior activity.

Vitamin B6 is usually found in the basic form of pyridoxine. A superior and more active form is pyridoxal 5′-phosphate, also known as P5P, but you are less likely to find this in a multivitamin.

Up next: what forms of minerals you should look for in a multivitamin!

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