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Why a Multivitamin is Important for Your Child

Importance of kids multivitamins
Importance of kids multivitamins

Good nutrition is important for a child’s healthy growth and development. Along with smart food choices, many parents do their best to ensure their children receive their recommended, daily dose of vitamins, minerals and micronutrients. But getting your child to eat right all the time can be challenging, as we live in a world filled with foods that are high in sugar and saturated fats, and low in nutrients. Today, studies show this scenario has created the dual burden of a population that is overfed but undernourished.

Providing kids with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables along with healthy proteins and whole grains will help them meet many daily nutritional requirements. And to get an extra boost, adding a high-quality multivitamin to a child’s daily diet can help fill any gaps, so you don’t have to worry.

Good Nutrition and Growing Kids

Unlike adults, kids are continuously growing. They tend to experience growth spurts scattered throughout their childhood, but the process in continuous. Their bodies are working hard as their bones are becoming dense and strong, the brain is developing, the heart is growing, and muscles are filling out. Keeping up with their nutritional needs can ensure your child’s body can grow and develop with healthy cells that are less likely to succumb to health problems. The following is a breakdown of the many reasons why kids need balanced nutrition.

Growing Bones – Skeletal and bone development are part of growing, and the right vitamins (nutrients) can ensure healthy bone density and size. Some habits like exercise help develop strong bones, but some habits like soda and sugar consumption, can create a nutrient deficit leaving the body starved for nutrition. Our bones are made of living tissue that requires nutrients like vitamin D and calcium, and a steady supply of the right vitamins and minerals helps bones grow strong.

Brain Development – Our brains are constantly changing and updating, but a child’s brain is more than twice as active than the adult brain. (1) As they learn and grow, the brain is constantly making new connections, which is why learning and stimulation are important. However, nutrition is important too, because iodine, iron and vitamins like A, B12, D and folate are crucial to support brain development.

Immune Health – Kids play with other kids, pets, and dirt. That’s why it becomes even more important they get their daily dose of nutrients to support their immune health. The immune system is a vast network of organs and vessels, but when the body is supplied with adequate amounts of Vitamins A, C, D and E, it has a much better chance at keeping up with an active child and ward off potentially harmful pathogens.

Sugar – While many parents strive to feed their children healthy foods and teach them good habits, treats like cookies or cakes can find their way into your child’s life. When kids consume too many treats or food and drink with hidden sugars, their bodies need more nutrition. Extra nutrition will not stop the effects of unhealthy foods, but it can help limit some of the damage that excess sugar may cause.

Strong Muscles – As a body grows, muscles need fuel for healthy development. While we often think of protein as the nutrient muscles rely on most, they also need vitamin D for growth, biotin to help muscles use protein and vitamin C for fuel. The right nutrition is important, so your child has all the energy they need to play and recover, and if your child is an athlete, proper nutrition becomes even more important. A wide array of vitamins is important for healthy muscle development.

Healthy Means Happy – Good physical health is important for kids to remain healthy and active, but it is also important for their emotional health. In fact, diets that are rich in B vitamins like folate and B-6 are known to help anyone maintain a positive outlook. On the other hand, a poor diet that is deficient in adequate vitamins and minerals can leave kids feeling tired and cranky.

Top Vitamins for Growing Kids

  • Vitamin A is important for healthy eyes and to support the immune system. It is mainly found in dairy products and liver as well as some vegetables like carrots and broccoli. Those who cannot tolerate dairy may have a difficult time getting enough of this vitamin.
  • B Vitamins include biotin, folate, pantothenic acid, and more. This array of vitamins is important for a healthy body and provides energy that kids need.
  • Vitamin C is an antioxidant and top vitamin for immune support, but it also contributes to healthy hair and skin, among other things.
  • Vitamin D supports strong bones and is important for the growing child.
  • Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that can help protect the body and cells from free radical damage. And while we usually don’t think of kids needing this protection, it is just as important for them as it is for adults.
  • Iodine supports growing bodies and may support the endocrine system and brain health.
  • Zinc is a nutrient found throughout the body and may help support the immune system and metabolism.

Ingredients Matter

Diet is the best source of vitamins, minerals and micronutrients that children need, but sickness, stress, and active lifestyles can create a need for more. For those who want to support their child’s health with a multivitamin, it is important to know that ingredients do matter. Not all vitamin sources are created equal and some added ingredients like extra sugar just aren’t necessary.

A multivitamin can be a part of a healthy diet. Organic ingredients and high-quality vitamin sources will provide the extra support and fill in any nutritional gaps that parents often worry about. Keep up with your kid’s nutrition to help them stay happy, healthy and fit.

References:

1 Osawa M, Konishi Y. [Developing the brain–proposal to child neurologists: how to nurture and stimulate brain development]. No To Hattatsu. 2003 Mar;35(2):113-6. Japanese. PMID: 12661091.

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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America’s Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D is a unique nutrient that our bodies are capable of manufacturing from sunshine. And while this sounds like an easy way to get our share of this important vitamin, it turns nearly 50% of Americans are deficient in it. To make things worse, many people are currently staying indoors more, so the true numbers may be higher.

What is Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that our bodies manufacture but is also found in some animal products and plant foods. It is essential because it helps the body absorb vitamin C, supports the skeletal system and supports immune health, among other things.

Vitamin D is not just one, but a family of compounds that are slightly different from each other. Vitamin D2 is found in plant-based food, while D3 is the type our bodies make and found in animal foods such as butter, beef liver and egg yolks, and lanolin. Vitamin D4 is less studied, but we do know that mushrooms are a good source for this.

Lack of vitamin D is linked to some health problems. Up until the 1940s, a skeletal disorder called rickets was devasting children in American. Rickets results in softening and weakening of the bones, and researchers eventually found that vitamin D deficiency was the cause. Surprisingly, some doctors today see the number of rickets cases growing, especially in industrialized countries. (1)

Who’s at Risk?

Just like any nutrient deficiency, some people are more at risk than others. Risk factors include:

  • Lack of sunshine
  • Using sunblock or sunscreen lotion
  • Dark skin
  • Vegan diets
  • Digestive problems or absorption
  • Obesity

Sunshine is necessary for the production of vitamin D, and doctors recommend spending at least 20 minutes in sunshine every day with more than 40% of the skin exposed. (2) About 50% to 90% of vitamin D is from sunlight and the rest comes from diet, but covering up while outside can stop the body from using sunshine, while cloudy days can also inhibit the sun necessary for vitamin D. Those with dark skin may need more time in the sun because darker pigmentation acts as a natural sunscreen.

Digestive problems can cause a vitamin D deficiency due to absorption problems. Celiac disease and inflammatory bowel disease (IBS) are two of the digestive health issues that can lead to the inability to absorb certain nutrients. In addition, body fat can bind to vitamin D, making obesity a risk factor for deficiencies, as well.

Benefits of Vitamin D

Aside from rickets there are many reasons to ensure you get enough vitamin D. Here are just a few of the health benefits and the role that it plays in your body:

  • Maintains healthy levels of calcium and phosphorus
  • Maintains healthy bones and teeth
  • Supports the immune system
  • Supports lung and cardiovascular health
  • Supports the nervous system

Vitamin D can also support healthy pregnancies and nursing babies. It seems that having a sufficient amount of this nutrient provides many benefits in pregnant women. But low exposure to vitamin D in children seems to correlate with a greater risk of allergies. Maintaining healthy nutritional levels can certainly benefit both mother and child.

Sources of Vitamin D

As mentioned, sunshine is the best source, however, doctors note that even if you get adequate sunshine, your body can only make so much at once. Therefore, food sources of vitamin D are just as crucial, and may be more important when people are inside for longer periods than normal. Knowing which foods are the best sources of vitamin D can help you maintain healthy levels of it in your blood.

  • Fatty fish like salmon, sardines and tuna are excellent sources of vitamin D. These fish are also a great source of healthy Omega 3 fatty acids and protein, too.
  • Cod liver oil is taken by many for skin and digestive health as well as a source of vitamin D. In fact, just one dose can account for more than 200% of the recommended daily value
  • Mushrooms are a vegan favorite when it comes to nutritional superfoods, and mushrooms don’t disappoint. They are a great source of vitamin D as well as potassium and vitamin C.
  • Yogurt is a source of vitamin D, magnesium and potassium. Avoid the high-sugar yogurts and opt for plain. Adding your own toppings like fruit and honey can boost the nutrition count and allow you to control the amount of sugar you consume.
  • Eggs are a rich source of nutrients, but don’t throw out the yolks. Egg yolks contain vitamin D along with healthy amounts of iron and protein.
  • Ricotta cheese is considered a great source for D as well as protein. But go easy because it is also high in fat.

What About Supplements?

Even if you are an avid outdoor person or sun worshipper, sunny days are not guaranteed year-round. At the same time, it is not advisable to sit in the sun with 40% of your skin exposed if it is too cold outside. And even if sunshine exposure is adequate, vegans may have a more difficult time obtaining their vitamin D through food since sources are mainly from animal products.

Luckily, supplementing with vitamin D does have an impact when it comes from a natural source. And it makes getting your daily dose of this nutrient easy when you have to stay home, like during bad weather or for other reasons. Supplementation may also help vegans and pregnant women reap the benefits of adequate levels of vitamin D, like boosting energy and strong bones.

Keep your body strong with healthy nutrition and exercise. Focus on foods that contain vitamin D along with daily sunshine to help you maintain healthy levels of this all-important nutrient. And when life gets too busy, supplements can help fill in nutritional gaps, so you be sure that you are doing all you can to support your healthy body.

References:

1 Uday S, Högler W. Nutritional Rickets and Osteomalacia in the Twenty-first Century: Revised Concepts, Public Health, and Prevention Strategies [published correction appears in Curr Osteoporos Rep. 2017 Aug 14;:]. Curr Osteoporos Rep. 2017;15(4):293‐302. doi:10.1007/s11914-017-0383-y

2 Sizar O, Khare S, Goyal A, et al. Vitamin D Deficiency. [Updated 2020 Feb 26]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK532266/

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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The Benefits of Vitamin C

Vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid, is an essential nutrient and antioxidant that is important for tissue repair and enzyme function. It is considered essential because our bodies don’t manufacture it, and it is water soluble, so you need to replenish this vitamin every day. The recommended daily amount of vitamin C for women is 75 mg and 90 mg for men, while some studies showed that more benefits are recognized at higher amounts.

Unfortunately, vitamin C can be destroyed by high temperatures and other forms of food processing. Boiling and steaming food can cause up to a 34% loss of C while pressure cooking creates a loss of around 10%. Fresh fruits and vegetables are the best way to take advantage of all nutrients including vitamin C, but if you aren’t able to keep up with the recommended 5 – 9 servings a day, supplementation might be an option.

The functions of vitamin C are extensive, making it a widely researched nutrient with more benefits still being discovered today. It turns out that patients with health issues often have low levels of this nutrient, while those with health concerns have an increased need for antioxidants like ascorbic acid.

Environmental and lifestyle factors like smoking, stress or high amounts of air pollution also increase the need for vitamin C. And because it is an essential nutrient that our bodies rely on, the benefits are numerous including immune support, brain health protection and wrinkle prevention.

Immune Support

Immune support is by far the most common reason why people supplement with vitamin C. That’s because this nutrient is associated with many areas of immunity, helps protect cells and may even shorten wound healing time.

As an antioxidant vitamin C becomes part of the skin’s defense system, which is our outer layer of protection and often our first line of defense. Antioxidants protect us from free radicals that are linked to a host of health issues, and it just so happens that vitamin C is a type of antioxidant called carotenoids. And because it protects the integrity of cells, it is the perfect nutrient to support immune health.

Brain Health

It turns out that vitamin C is an important antioxidant that is vital for healthy brain function. (1) Our brains use a lot of oxygen, which makes them more prone to oxidative stress than other organs; it’s no wonder the brain has higher concentrations of vitamin C. In fact, some studies have found higher levels of C in those with healthy cognitive function but lower levels in those with impaired function. (2) It may be because as an antioxidant, vitamin C helps protect the brain from oxidative stress that can impact cognitive performance.

A Powerful Antioxidant

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that protects out entire body, inside and out, from free radical damage. It helps the body manufacture collagen, which keeps our skin, eyes, and blood vessels strong. It helps prevent damage that can lead to a host of health conditions associated with oxidative stress and can even help your body regenerate vitamin E supplies. This may be the reason why it has been associated with lower blood pressure and considered a heart healthy nutrient.

Anti-Aging

Some researchers have gone so far as to call C the anti-aging vitamin. That’s because it is involved with collagen synthesis; the protein that keeps our skin from sagging. Collagen is not only necessary for firm skin, but also plays a role in skin repair and helps maintain the integrity of ligaments and tendons. It also gives our blood vessels flexibility which becomes more important as we age.

Signs of aging include wrinkles and deterioration of our eyes and overall health. Many aging experts claim that free radicals accelerate the aging process, while superior nutrition seems to slow it down. Antioxidants like vitamin C help ward off the signs of aging as it combats free radical damage. Consuming a diet high in foods that are abundant with this nutrient can help you fight the signs of aging, while supplementing with vitamin C can fill in any nutritional gaps.

Stress Management

Nutrition plays a role in not only physical health, but our mental health, as well. Our bodies need a supply of vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients to function at full capacity. And our brains rely on nutrients and antioxidants like vitamin C to function at its best. But vitamin C is also necessary for the balance of healthy brain chemicals that our bodies naturally produce.

When under stress, our bodies become depleted of nutrients. In fact, stress can impair the digestive system, leading to a lessened ability to break down and extract nutrients from foods we eat. This can create a cycle of stress and malnutrition as each condition worsens the other. To make matters worse, low levels of vitamin C have been linked to negative moods like sadness and anxiety.

This may be why researchers have found that vitamin C should be considered a part of stress management protocols. It seems to suppress stress while some studies showed that those who consume higher amounts of antioxidants like vitamin C report feeling calmer and less anxious.

Conclusion

Citrus fruits like oranges and lemons are known to be high in vitamin C, but you can also add strawberries, raspberries, cantaloupe, and red peppers to the list of foods rich in C. Since most foods contain far less than the RDA of this nutrient, aim for 7 – 9 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. And if you believe you need more, supplements are well tolerated and found to be useful when it comes to keeping your blood levels of vitamin C in a healthy range. And with all the benefits, you don’t want to miss your daily dose of this important nutrient.

References:

1 Harrison FE, May JM. Vitamin C function in the brain: vital role of the ascorbate transporter SVCT2. Free Radic Biol Med. 2009;46(6):719‐730. doi:10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2008.12.018

2 Travica N, Ried K, Sali A, Scholey A, Hudson I, Pipingas A. Vitamin C Status and Cognitive Function: A Systematic Review. Nutrients. 2017;9(9):960. Published 2017 Aug 30. doi:10.3390/nu9090960

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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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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Vitamin B12 Methylcobalamin the Better Way

Vitamin B12

If you have issues with fatigue, weakness or even less than adequate moods, you could be deficient in certain nutrients, including many of the B vitamins. In fact, Vitamin B12 can be difficult to obtain by vegans and vegetarians or hard to absorb for those with compromised digestion and immune problems.

Deficiencies in B12 come with a host of health problems from fatigue to anemia and damage to the nervous system. Our bodies are not able to manufacture it, so we rely on food as our source of this all-important nutrient. Some of these food sources include meats, eggs, poultry and fish. Some breakfast cereals are fortified with B12, but this may not be a good source if it is not a high-quality version.

Natural or Synthetic?

Cobalamin, or Vitamin B12, is a water-soluble vitamin that we must consume from external sources. Our bodies then use it in DNA synthesis and to help manufacture red blood cells. It also seems to play a role in brain health, and deficiencies are correlated with poor learning skills and memory. (1) Vitamin B12 also stimulates serotonin production, a compound associated with well-being and happy moods.

Vitamin B supplements come in many forms like pills, injections, and oral liquids. The form that is taken will determine how quickly it works and how many benefits will be recognized. In addition, there are two types of supplements sold; natural and synthetic. When it comes to B12, choosing the right version will give you better results.

Methylcobalamin and Cyanocobalamin

Vitamin B12 may be sold as the synthetic form called cyanocobalamin, or the natural form as methylcobalamin. Methylcobalamin consists of carbon and hydrogen, while cyanocobalamin contains carbon, hydrogen and cyanide. Even though only a small amount of cyanide is used and not generally considered harmful, your body still must detoxify and eliminate this compound before it can convert it into the usable methylcobalamin.

Needless to say, methylcobalamin is the most preferred form of this supplement. While some studies show the body might absorb the synthetic version a little easier, the result is the body eliminates more through the urine leaving a deficit; a trait not seen in the natural version. Because of this, methylcobalamin is considered to be the more usable form of B12.

Health Benefits of Methylcobalamin

Vitamin B12 in the form of methylcobalamin is a healthful source of this nutrient and widely studied for its benefits. Research shows it aids in visual acuity, and allows your eyes to quickly shift their focus. It seems to help with sleep as it normalizes the body’s internal clock, or circadian rhythm. B12 also helps the body detoxify to protect itself from free radical damage and can reduce the risk of heart health issues.

Supplementing with B12 is common for many people, and can be done in a number of ways. Some doctors give B12 shots into the muscle to ensure the body quickly absorbs it, especially if digestion is impaired. A liquid vitamin of B12 as methylcobalamin is a very cost-effective and convenient source for those who don’t want to wait for a doctor’s appointment. If you do decide to supplement, find the highest quality and most bioavailable for your money, and your body will thank you

References:

Köbe, T.,
Witte, A. V., Schnelle, A., Grittner, U., Tesky, V. A., Pantel, J., . . .
Flöel, A. (2016, April). Vitamin B-12 concentration, memory performance, and hippocampal structure in patients with mild cognitive impairment. Retrieved August 18, 2019, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26912492

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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Who Says I Need Iodine for Hormonal Health?

Iodine for Hormonal Health

Iodine is a trace element and an important nutrient necessary for thyroid health, metabolism and brain development. The function of iodine is to help the body synthesize thyroid hormones. But our bodies cannot produce it, so it must be consumed through the diet. In the early 1900s, iodine was added to table salt to combat hypothyroidism cause by a lack of the nutrient. Today, we know that table salt isn’t for everyone as it can raise blood pressure and put the heart under stress.

Natural iodine can be mainly found in foods like seafoods such as shrimp, tuna or lobster, which can be a concern due to mercury content. Other foods that contain natural iodine include cheese, eggs or beef but this is minimal as it depends on how iodine rich the soil was where the animals grazed, and these sources are not helpful for vegans. Luckily, the natural iodine found in kelp is highly bioavailable and can help keep iodine levels up, leading to better thyroid health.

The Problem with Iodine Deficiency

Balanced Health Natural Iodine sourced from Kelp
Learn more about natural iodine from kelp.

The thyroid is a gland that is responsible for the production of hormones known as T3 and T4, which help the body convert calories and oxygen into energy. Iodine is the element the thyroid converts into these necessary hormones, but when iodine is low, the thyroid gland works harder as it attempts to absorb it, and may become enlarged in the process. This is known as hypothyroidism, and can cause fatigue, weight gain and hair loss, among other things.

Deficiency of iodine in normally healthy adults can also lead to health problems. Weight gain is one symptom of deficiency as the body will not be able to produce the necessary T3 and T4 hormones for a healthy metabolism. This means more calories can be stored as fat instead of used for fuel. Weakness and fatigue are also symptoms of low iodine, since the same hormones are required for energy. Low thyroid hormone is also linked to hair loss and dry skin, as these hormones are needed for skin cell and hair follicle regeneration.

Iodine Deficiency Risk

Certain groups of people are more at risk for iodine deficiencies than the general population. These include pregnant women and those who do not use iodized salt, and older women also have a greater risk of low thyroid, especially if other family members also have low thyroid. People who live in areas that have low iodine content in the soil are also at risk as well as those who are exposed to fluorine, chlorine or bromide; sources of these chemicals are chlorinated swimming pools and drinking fluoridated water.

Vegans and vegetarians are sub-groups that may be prone to iodine deficiency, since most natural nutritional sources are found in animal-based products. Lastly, people who consume foods that contain high amounts goitrogens can be iodine deficient. Goitrogens are substances that interfere with the absorption of iodine. The foods included in this group are cassava, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and soy. Since vegans and vegetarians may consume higher amounts of these foods, they could be at a higher risk when combined with the lack of iodine rich foods.

Health Benefits of Iodine Supplementation

Iodine supplements can help one avoid deficiencies and the health problems that accompany them. Choosing iodine from kelp ensures that you are using a natural source of iodine, and liquid iodine has the highest absorption rate. Added potassium promotes even better bioavailability, so it is more easily used by your body.

Vitamin D is an important nutrient for many body functions, and deficiencies can lead to a number of health problems including thyroid autoimmunity and disfunction. Supplementing iodine with vitamin D can help those who have a difficult time with the absorption of iodine, especially due to health problems. And with that, here are some of the primary benefits of supplementing your diet with liquid iodine.

Healthy Thyroid Function – The thyroid cells use iodine to make T3 and T4 hormones for metabolism, heart rate and increase protein synthesis. If you fall into a higher risk category, supplementing with liquid iodine can ensure your thyroid and metabolism remain healthy. If you have hypothyroidism or symptoms of it, then natural iodine supplementation is an easy way to bring your thyroid hormone levels back into healthy balance.

Strong Metabolism – Insufficient amounts of iodine in the diet can cause sluggishness and food to be stored as fat, leading to weight gain. Since thyroid hormones are responsible for how well your body is able to digest and use nutrients from food, adding iodine to your diet can increase your metabolism.

Increased Energy – Since the thyroid hormones are used for energy, low iodine in the diet can cause fatigue and weakness. Many older women who suffer from low thyroid have shared symptoms of constant fatigue along with weight gain as the body diverts food into storage instead of converting it to energy. Each of these problems can be helped by increasing natural iodine into the diet.

Increased Concentration – Iodine is necessary for healthy brain function and cognitive skills, and there is evidence that iodine supplementation can improve brain health. In some areas of Australia and New Zealand, researchers found that changes in farming practices have lowered iodine in the food chain, resulting in children with iodine deficiency and lowered cognitive function. Fortunately, iodine supplementation increases scores in cognitive tests in children in about 24 weeks. (1)

Protection from Environmental Toxins – The thyroid uses iodine to convert into the hormones T3 and T4, used in a variety of bodily functions including metabolism. Fluorine, chlorine and bromide are all halogen chemicals found in our everyday environment from drinking water, swimming pools and hair dyes. All are similar in structure to iodine, and so are easily absorbed into the thyroid as well as other tissues that normally use iodine; a process called halogen displacement. When a sufficient amount of iodine is ingested, displacement is less likely to happen. Supplementing with a natural iodine source, like kelp, can help ensure the body absorbs iodine, as it should. This is especially true if the supplement is liquid iodine, as it can bypass the digestive process and be directly absorbed where it is needed.

Pregnancy

Iodine maintains thyroid health and helps regulate hormones. It also plays a role in the regulation of body temperature, heart rate and metabolism, but enough must be ingested to also supply the developing fetus. Iodine is one of the most important nutrients for the development of the baby’s brain and nervous system during pregnancy. Because of this, the American Thyroid Association (ATA) recommends pregnant women intake from 220 to 250 mcg per day, and those who breastfeed to consume 250 to 290 mcg per day.

Conclusion

Iodine is an important nutrient in any diet, especially if you fall into one of the higher risk categories. Even if you are not in a high-risk category, we are all exposed to environmental toxins that can interfere with normal thyroid function, especially if you drink water with fluoride or swim in a chlorinated pool.

Luckily, supplementation can counteract this, especially liquid iodine sourced from kelp. The average person should consume 150 mcg per day of iodine from a natural source, such as kelp, for best absorption and bioavailability. There is no need to take more than this amount, unless you are pregnant, as it could result in negative effects. If you have any concerns, check with your doctor to learn your specific needs.

References:

1 Norton, A. (2009, October 30). Treating mild iodine deficiency boosts brain power. Retrieved September 28, 2019, from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iodine-deficiency-idUSTRE59T4FO20091030.

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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Vitamin D3 and Cholecalciferol

Most people have heard of Vitamin D, often called the sunshine vitamin because our bodies naturally make it from the sun. It is a necessary nutrient that helps us absorb calcium and keep our bones strong. What most of us don’t know is that Vitamin D is not just one, but a combination of nutrients with similar chemical structures. The most common forms for supplementation are D2 and D3, with the latter being the more potent version.

This is because even though both are equally absorbed into the bloodstream, only D3 can be metabolized properly by the liver and, in turn, raise the amount of D3 in the body. Vitamin D3, also known as cholecalciferol, is found in some foods such as fatty fish (salmon or tuna), egg yolks and beef liver. While supplementation to maintain strong bones is associated with menopausal women, the benefits of cholecalciferol go far beyond that.

Support for Healthy Bones

We’ll start with the obvious benefit of Vitamin D3; strong bones. Vitamin D is a vital nutrient that our body requires to absorb calcium and ensure it is not excreted through the kidneys. It also aids in keeping healthy phosphorus levels in the blood, which is also a component in strong bones. It is necessary for people of all ages, and some research indicates that those who lack sun exposure or regularly use sunscreen may need supplementation.

Supports Health Insulin Sensitivity

Some research shows children who get adequate Vitamin D have less chance of developing blood sugar issues. These same studies also indicate that supplementation was just as effective as sunshine.

Helps Improve Mood

Research has shown for years that people who experience depression are deficient in Vitamin D. It is believed that the lack of sunlight, which helps the body manufacture D, leads to a condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is marked by depression. This left researchers to question whether the vitamin deficiency actually caused the depression or if other factors were involved, but now it is believed that supplementation does help. Here’s why.

Recently, some small studies have shown that patients suffering from depression did benefit by taking a D supplement. Researchers generally agree that nutrient levels play a role in mental well being and areas of the brain that have Vitamin D receptors are found in the same brain regions associated with depression. This is a promising extra benefit for those who use a cholecalciferol supplement.

Promote Health Weight

In one study, dieters who supplemented with Vitamin D and calcium lost more weight than those taking a placebo. (1) Another connection to weight loss is this vitamin’s ability to reduce parathyroid hormone, which may promote health weight management.

These are just some of the health benefits from supplementing a diet with Vitamin D, or cholecalciferol. Adding coconut oil can greatly increase the body’s absorption while taking a liquid vitamin ensures it quickly enters the bloodstream. Maintain bones, immunity and overall health by adding this valuable supplement to your daily fitness regimen.

References:

1 Major, G., Alarie, F., Doré, J., & Tremblay, A. (2008). Calcium plus vitamin D supplementation and fat mass loss in female very low-calcium consumers: Potential link with a calcium-specific appetite control. British Journal of Nutrition, 101(5), 659-663. doi:10.1017/S0007114508030808

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/