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Benefits of Vitamin D

Vitamin D is not a single vitamin, but a group of compounds that are essential for good health. And interestingly, it is not a true vitamin at all, but rather a prohormone that helps the body manufacture this all essential nutrient.

Vitamin D plays a role in keeping teeth and bones strong, helps your body absorb other important nutrients like calcium, and supports immune strength. Ensuring your body has plenty of this vitamin along with other essential nutrients and a wholesome diet will support your health any time of the year.

The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of vitamin D is from 200 – 600 IU (International Units) per day in the United States, but 400 to 800 IU per day in Europe. The more scientists learn about this vitamin, the more they realize the RDA numbers may be much higher than they are currently. In fact, some experts recommend dosages of  800 to 1,000 per day with others recommending a whopping 50,000 IU per week. (1)

Do I Need to Supplement Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is essential for digestive health and used by the intestines to absorb calcium that helps keep bones and teeth strong. It helps prevent loss of calcium through the urine, and can even support heart health, brain health and muscle function. (2) Because it is important for bacterial balance in the intestinal tract, vitamin D is also known to support a healthy immune system which relies on intestinal health.

It may be tricky for certain individuals to get the required amount of this nutrient every day. Vitamin D2 is naturally found in some mushrooms while D3 is found in oily fish (like salmon, herring and tuna), cod liver oil, liver and egg yolks. It is supplemented in milk as most people are not likely to get enough in their daily diets.

But if you avoid milk products, limit fish due to mercury and other toxins (or you just don’t like it), then supplementing your diet may be helpful. Also, those with darker skin or over 50 years of age may not be able to convert sunlight into vitamin D as efficiently as younger people and those with fairer skin.

Even though vitamin D is added to milk and dairy products, one would typically have to drink at least four, 8-ounce glasses of milk each day. Unfortunately, many people are not able to consume dairy products due to being lactose intolerant or don’t want to drink that much milk. And if you do enjoy fish, you would have to consume fatty fish every day to keep optimum levels of this nutrient. That adds up to quite a few calories, leaving little room for other types of protein. Because of these dietary limitations, many people choose to support their health with a vitamin D supplement.

Your Immune System

The immune system plays many roles in our health including protection from viruses and other pathogens that can harm, as well as chronic diseases. Taking care of your body with a diet centered around healthy, whole foods can help your body function at its best. Here are some practices that you can do to keep your immune system strong:

  • Exercise at least 30 minutes, five times each week
  • Drink plenty of fresh, spring water
  • Consume lots of fruits and vegetables; be sure to include citrus a few times each week
  • Get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night, depending on how much you exercise
  • Supplement your diet if you need extra support

Nutrition plays a vital role in our health and how well our immune systems work. Poor nutrition often leads to malnutrition as we lack the vitamins and minerals essential for healthy living. But consuming a healthy diet along with nutritional support when needed will have a positive effect on your health and your life.

Vitamin D Deficiency Risk Factors

Many people consume plenty of calories yet lack the required daily nutrients to stay healthy and well. Vitamin D is an essential vitamin that is important for overall health, but few foods provide it or the precursors necessary for our bodies to produce it. And while some experts warn that up to 50% of Americans are deficient in this vitamin, some people are more prone than others. Some risk factors include:

  • Dark skin
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Older adults of 65 years and over
  • Lack of sun exposure due to environment or limiting sun for other health reasons
  • Vegans
  • Lack of fatty fish or egg yolks in the diet
  • Obesity
  • Medications like anticonvulsants ad glucocorticoids

Vitamin D Foods and Supplements

Consuming foods like salmon, herring, cod liver oil, liver and canned tuna will supply some vitamin D through your diet. Daily exposure to sunshine without overdoing it will also help your body manufacture some. But if you don’t get enough of either or you have one or more of the above risk factors, you may benefit from a Vitamin D supplement.

There is quite a bit of research that shows the benefits of consuming healthy amounts of this nutrient and plenty of evidence that deficiencies can lead to health problems. Because of its effects on gut health, vitamin D supplementation can help support a strong immune system.

The best practice may be to do your best to consume foods that contain vitamin D and try to get at least 15 minutes of sunshine each day. Most experts agree it is unlikely most people will be able to get enough in their diet, and supplementing can help fill in the gaps. For the best health and to boost your immune function, consume a moderate amount of daily vitamin D and a little sunshine; it may go a long way in supporting your health.

References:

1 Bordelon, P., Ghetu, M. V., & Langan, R. C. (2009, October 15). Recognition and Management of Vitamin D Deficiency. Retrieved March 30, 2020, from https://www.aafp.org/afp/2009/1015/p841.html

2 Office of Dietary Supplements – Vitamin D. (2020, March 24). Retrieved March 30, 2020, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-Consumer/#h3

Cindy Papp

Author

Body Cleanse and Detoxification Specialist with over 22 years experience; BSc in Holistic Nutrition, C.C.T. Colon Hydrotherapist, Cert. Holistic Health Practitioner, Spiritual Guide, Energy Work, Reiki, Author, Holistic Health Researcher

For more information on Cindy visit https://www.springclean-cleanse.com/ 

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Boosting Your Immune System

The immune system is a vast network of cells, proteins, organs and vessels situated throughout your body to protect you from pathogens and organisms compromise the immune system. Each part of this system works with the others to act as barriers, such as specialized cells that can neutralize toxins, cells that activate proteins to kill bacteria or even some that tag a toxin for destruction by a killer cell, or T Cell.

Sometimes the immune system becomes compromised due to autoimmune disorders, genetic abnormalities or even stress. For this reason, it is important to take care of ourselves with a wholesome diet and exercise, both of which naturally support a healthy immune system. During times of stress, we can add more support with extra nutrition like vitamin C, zinc or herbs like elderberry. And the more support we give, the better is can function.

Your Two Immune Systems

The immune system is divided into two main types of immune responses; the innate immune response (or system), and the adaptive immune response (or system). Ideally, both of these systems work together to protect your body and keep you healthy.

  • The innate immune system consists of nonspecific defense mechanisms that jump into play when antigens invade your body. Sometimes known as barriers to disease, certain parts of this immune system include skin, blood chemicals and cells that are specific to the immune system. These are responsible for limiting the spread of bacteria, viruses, parasites and other antigens as they travel through your body. We are born with this natural immunity and it is the first line of defense.
  • The adaptive immune system is another response system that defends you against pathogens. As the name implies, it is adaptive. When certain bacteria or other antigens invade, it can create more immunity to the specific invader and ensure its destruction if infected again.

This immune system consists of specialized cells and processes that can neutralize, eliminate or prevent the growth of antigens that can harm your health. It is also known as the acquired immune system because it adapts to changes in the environment to protect your body from future challenges. This helps defend you against recurrent weakened immune states, leading to long-lasting and stronger defense.

What Inhibits Immunity

Stress can have an impact and weaken our immunity in a couple of ways. It may lead to unhealthy coping strategies, like poor food choices and drinking alcohol, which can leave us more susceptible to sickness. It can also increase stress hormones like cortisol, which also may contribute to suppressing the immune system. Stress can also contribute to internal inflammation and other changes in the body, which also suppress the immune system.

Poor diet can also affect the immune system. Consuming too much processed meat, saturated fats and sugar all play a roll in how well we respond to pathogens that can lead to illness. Too much of the above foods can lead to a state of internal inflammation, which is linked to several health issues. In addition, certain substances in excess, like sugar or unhealthy fats, may also suppress the immune system. At the same time, these types of foods do not contribute nutrients that support health.

Medications like TNF inhibitors and corticosteroids may increase the chance of contracting a fungal infection as they suppress the immune system. These should be used only under the supervision of a qualified healthcare professional.

Alcohol has a direct impact on the microbiome of your digestive tract and disrupting it can lead to digestive issues. In fact, alcohol consumption can disrupt the barrier and allow excess bacteria to cross into your bloodstream, leaving you more susceptible to illness. Avoiding excess alcohol is key during times of heightened immune stress to ensure your body is able to protect itself from outside attack.

How to Boost Your Immune System, Naturally

Direct evidence or research about how to naturally boost the immune system is difficult to find. This is because the immune system is just that; a system that includes a lot of parts from many types of cells and organs. To understand how any component would affect the immune system would require a study of how the component works with each cell and organ of the immune system as well as the lymph vessels that are also part of this vast system. Because of this, any approach to strengthening the immune system should be a holistic one to ensure your entire being is healthy.

Sleep

Getting a proper night’s sleep allows your body to rejuvenate and restore all of your bodily systems, including the immune system. Not getting enough sleep may suppress your immunity and leave you more susceptible. A sufficient night’s rest is imperative so your body can make the proteins your body needs to fight invaders, heal and restore full function to any areas that may be weakened.

Daily Hygiene

Protecting your health is just as important as boosting your immunity. Seemingly little things like washing your hands with soap and water throughout the day, or avoiding close contact with those who may be ill play big roles in keeping you healthy. And if you do have to work in close quarters with others, wash your hands more frequently and wipe down keyboards or other workplace machinery you share with others.

Healthy Diet

There are no particular foods that are linked to boosting immunity, but we do know [studies show] that certain vitamins do help by supporting your immune system. Vitamin C, for example, is widely acknowledge as a potent antioxidant that may contribute to immune defense support. We do know that deficiencies are linked to an increased susceptibility immune compromise, so getting your daily dose is important. (2)

Avoid junk foods like the plague, for these can use up your storage of nutrients as your body attempts to digest these highly processed foods. This means your body is left depleted and more susceptible to illness or infections.

The best diet to support your immune system should include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Fresh produce provides an abundance of phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals that help support your body and maintain a healthy immune system. We know that vitamins and minerals are catalysts that can help our bodies stay strong, but phytonutrients also help as they can aid in the creation of healthy cells to replace sick or damaged ones.

Exercise

Exercise aids in overall health by keeping your body weight in control and ensuring your muscles remain strong. But it also helps by increasing circulation and oxygen supply to the blood stream. This means your body is more able to carry out waste, that can weaken the body. At the same time, better circulation increases the ability to move oxygen and nutrients to all areas of your body, including the organs that are involved with a healthy immune system.

Stress Management

Stress is known to wreak havoc on the body in a number of ways, including curbing immunity. Using techniques like yoga or biofeedback can help get stress under control. Taking care of your body with healthy food, proper rest and exercise also help lower stress levels, so you remain stronger to tackle the daily battle of the germs.

Supplement Your Nutrition

As lifestyles have become increasingly busy, many people don’t find time to eat a healthy diet the way they’d like to. In this case, certain supplements might help fill the nutritional gap. Here are just some that might help.

Zinc

Zinc is a mineral that is found naturally throughout the body. It can also be found in many foods such as oysters, crab, some poultry and red meats and certain dairy products. Some people have a difficult time getting enough zinc, including vegetarians, those with digestive issues and those who consume too much alcohol.

A deficiency of this mineral is known to slow growth in adolescents or can lead to hair loss or wound healing issues. At the same time, there are some studies that show it may reduce symptoms of the common cold if taken in an appropriate amount of time. For this reason, many home remedies include zinc supplementation.

Elderberry

Elderberries are a fruit from the Sambucus tree and have long been used by native people as a remedy for sickness. Believed to fight colds and flus, it has been used in juices and tinctures, along with other herbs or vitamins, and as a home remedy to support one’s health during times of stress.

Some small studies show that lozenges containing elderberry seemed to help improve the bodies responses to cellular attack. (3) Elderberries do contain nutrients like vitamins C, A and even potassium and folate and so contribute to overall health.

Supplements like elderberry contain natural substances called flavonoids. These substances play a role in reducing inflammation and the supporting the immune system. Some people believe they help with other types of immune attacks as well. Most companies boost this herb with zinc and vitamin C to provide all around protection and immune support. And supplementing with herbs and nutrients can fill in the nutrition gap for people on the go or those who have less than adequate diets.

Vitamin C

While easy to consume vitamin C through certain fruits, it is also easy to miss if you are too busy. At the same time, stress can deplete our nutrient preserve, so taking supplements may be a way to support our health during times of heightened immune distress.

For this reason, many people take a vitamin C supplement to ensure they get what they need. Some studies do show that having adequate levels of this vitamin can help optimize cell function and play a role in supporting the immune system. Along with helping you stay healthy, this vitamin can promote healthy skin and protect your cells from oxidative stress.

Conclusion

Boosting your immune system requires a holistic approach that anyone can easily incorporate into their lifestyles. Being proactive in your health can help you avoid the downtime and may even help you avoid the emergency room.

Daily practices like a healthy diet, proper rest, and exercise all work together to ensure you remain healthy and do your best to support your immune system. And when life gets stressed or too busy, using supplementation can provide extra support.

References

1 Medications that Weaken Your Immune System and Fungal Infections. (2017, January 25). Retrieved January 21, 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/infections/immune-system.html

2 Maggini S., Wintergerst E.S., Beveridge S., Hornig D.H. Selected vitamins and trace elements support immune function by strengthening epithelial barriers and cellular and humoral immune responses. Br. J. Nutr. 2007;98:S29–S35. doi: 10.1017/S0007114507832971

3 Zakay-Rones, Z., et al. “Randomized Study of the Efficacy and Safety of Oral Elderberry Extract in the Treatment of Influenza A and B Virus Infections.” Journal of International Medical Research, Apr. 2004, pp. 132–140, doi:10.1177/147323000403200205.

Cindy Papp

Author

Body Cleanse and Detoxification Specialist with over 22 years experience; BSc in Holistic Nutrition, C.C.T. Colon Hydrotherapist, Cert. Holistic Health Practitioner, Spiritual Guide, Energy Work, Reiki, Author, Holistic Health Researcher

For more information on Cindy visit https://www.springclean-cleanse.com/ 

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Beets – The Performance Enhancer

Beets are a jewel-red, root vegetable and sometimes referred to as beetroots. They are a powerfully potent source of nutrition that helps improve brain function and athletic performance. Beets get their color from phytonutrients called betalains, which have cancer-fighting properties, among other benefits. But the taste isn’t for everyone, which is okay because concentrated beet juice in liquid and powder have some extra benefits.

Beets might be difficult to fit into your diet, every day, but a concentrate makes it easy. This is because a beet supplement can be added to water or your favorite drink, and provide all the nutrition without the sugar. Here are some of the phenomenal benefits of beets.

The Benefits of Beets

Beets are high in nitrates, which are converted to nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is what makes beets a superfood as it improves blood flow, boosts stamina and lowers blood pressure. The combination of nutrients in beets have been proven to reduce fatigue and can even speed up post-workout recovery.

This powerful vegetable encourages weight loss, thanks to the high mineral count that includes betalin. Betalain is a vital nutrient that helps the liver remove waste and toxins, and helps increase bile flow. This means that it keeps your system clear so your liver can metabolize more fat.

Beets fight inflammation, which is important for any athlete, including weekend warriors. It’s no secret that hard workouts can increase internal inflammation, making it difficult to recover. And chronic inflammation is associated with fatigue, digestive issues and even acne. Consuming beets or beet concentrate on a daily basis helps you stay balanced to avoid this condition.

Beets improve athletic performance. They increase energy by supporting your cell’s mitochondria, while the nitrates improve blood flow to the muscles and lungs. This means increased strength and energy for every hardcore workout.

Beets can lower blood pressure. Studies show that the nitrates found in beets can dilate blood vessels, which in turn helps lower blood pressure. Making them a staple in your diet can help keep your numbers low while you enjoy the many other nutritional benefits beets deliver.

All in all, beets are a true superfood. Aside from the above benefits, they contain Vitamins C and B6, magnesium, potassium, folate, manganese, copper and iron. Folate is shown to lower the risk for cancer and heart disease and can even ward off depression. Manganese and copper promote healing and healthy bones and are necessary for red blood cell production. With all these benefits, beets can also be classified as an anti-aging food.

Some people prefer to eat beets, but many just can’t fit them into their everyday diet. But, concentrated beets in liquid or powder can supply the nutrients without the hassle of peeling, cutting and cooking. Research proves that this form is as beneficial as fresh beets, and possibly even more so. Best of all, concentrated beets are so powerful they are referred to as Nitric Oxide supplements to improve athletic performance. This is definitely one supplement you don’t want to miss out on.

Life Beets whole beetroot powder and juice is a great source for natural nitric oxide. Life Beets is super concentrated 15:1 beetroot with 25 times more natural nitrate and 10 times more antioxidants than normal beetroot. Life Beets from Balanced Health is available in powder or easy-to-use liquid.

Cindy Papp

Author

Body Cleanse and Detoxification Specialist with over 22 years experience; BSc in Holistic Nutrition, C.C.T. Colon Hydrotherapist, Cert. Holistic Health Practitioner, Spiritual Guide, Energy Work, Reiki, Author, Holistic Health Researcher

For more information on Cindy visit https://www.springclean-cleanse.com/