Tag Archives: immune system

A Quick, Easy, and Fun Way to Boost Your Immune System.

17 Dec

Few would disagree that raising children is more difficult today than ever before. Many people believe the world has become much more complex and children are exposed to many things much earlier in life than their parents would like them to be, if at all.

It’s not uncommon for young kids to surf the net unsupervised and see things not meant for young eyes.  When not online, children often watch hours and hours of adult-oriented programs on countless TV channels.

Even when children are not exposed to adult content, marketers have the ability to reach them in many different ways with increasing frequency.

One example is the use of superstar athletes to sell them products.  When athletes are used to sell sneakers and apparel, the only danger is to your bank account.  But, other products hawked by the top pros are not so harmless…

A study by the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale, and published in the November issue of Pediatrics, shows that a majority of food and beverage brands endorsed by professional athletes are for unhealthy products like sports beverages, soft drinks, and fast food.

Researchers selected the top 100 professional athletes based on their endorsement value according to a 2010 report in Business Week.

According to Yale News: “Of the 512 brands associated with these athletes, food and beverage brands were the second largest category of endorsements behind sporting goods. We found that LeBron James (NBA), Peyton Manning (NFL), and Serena Williams (tennis) had more food and beverage endorsements than any of the other athletes examined.  Most of the athletes who endorsed food and beverages were from the NBA, followed by the NFL, and MLB.”

The top three athlete food endorsements came from:  #1 sports drinks, #2 soft drinks, and #3 fast foods. One thing is shocking:  Of the 46 beverages endorsed, 93% received

ALL of their calories from added sugar.

The study’s lead author, Dr. Marie Bragg, writes, “The promotion of energy-dense, nutrient-poor products by some of the world’s most physically fit and well-known athletes is an ironic combination that sends mixed messages about diet and health.”

The researchers also opined that professional athletes should be aware of the “health value” of the products they are endorsing and use their star status to sell healthier products.

Here is one issue that was not raised in the study: Are these athletes telling the truth?  Do they actually eat this junk food and drink this sugar?  Is it really something that helped them become some of the world’s greatest athletes?

Clearly, this is a difficult issue for parents trying to raise healthy children.  Do you tell your children that their sports idol is probably not telling the truth and only saying he or she eats those products just to make money?

Even if they actually do eat or drink what they endorse, it is nearly impossible for adolescents to understand that sometimes people succeed in spite of something they do, not because of it.

Did LeBron James really become one of the greatest basketball players who ever lived by eating fast food burgers, donuts, and drinking sugar-filled soda?  Who knows?  But we do know this, according to Forbes, he gets paid $42 million a year in endorsements, and a chunk of that is from companies selling fast food, donuts, and sodas.

But the real question is:  If he actually does eat and drink this junk, how good would he be if he didn’t?

An even better question is:  As a parent, what’s the best way to counteract all that star power and expert marketing?

There is no perfect answer, but two things will help:  (1) leading by example, and (2) communication.

The only person you can really control is yourself.  Choosing to eat healthy, exercise, reduce stress, and be an honest, ethical person is not only one of the best things for you, but it is one of the best things you can ever do for your children.

If you are stressed out about all this, or life in general, here is a great way to reduce stress NATURALLY…

Research has clearly shown that stress is a serious health problem.  It can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, weight gain, and diabetes.

In other words, it makes you age faster, look older, and shortens your life.  The best possible scenario would be to eliminate all stress from your life, but everyone knows that is impossible.

That’s why is it so important to learn to deal with and manage stress in a healthy way.

One of the biggest problems with stress is how it affects sleep.  Getting the proper QUANTITY and QUALITY of sleep is one of the most important aspects of staying healthy.

Sleep is when your body and mind repair and rejuvenate. Many studies have shown how devastating not getting enough quality sleep can be on the mind and body.

Here’s where it gets good:  Most people think they simply do not have enough time to get enough sleep.  But, in most cases, it is the quality of sleep that is hurting them, not the total hours.

Those who have the ability to relax and enter deep sleep need much less sleep than those who are stressed and hardly ever reach deep sleep. This is one reason so many people practice meditation.  Experts at meditation say they can induce a state of relaxation that achieves in minutes what most people cannot after hours of restless sleep.

Now a recent study from Loyola University says there is another great way to relax and reduce stress.  According to the study, taking a walk is a great way to relieve stress and taking a walk in the woods or in nature is much better for reducing stress and improving health.

According to Dr. Aaron Michelfelder, Professor of Family Medicine at Loyola University, “When we get to nature, our health improves, our stress hormones rise all day long in our bloodstream and taking even a few moments while walking to reconnect with our inner thoughts and to check in with our body will lower those damaging stress hormones.  Walking with our family or friends is also a great way to lower our blood pressure and make us happier.”

Walking in nature increases your white blood cells, lowers your pulse rate, lowers your blood pressure, and reduces the stress hormone cortisol. But wait, there’s more! Recent research from Japanese scientists shows that walking in the woods may help fight cancer because plants emit phytoncides, chemicals that helps protect plants from rotting insects. Phytoncides help your body’s immune response to cancer when they are inhaled.

One last relaxation tip is to stay away from electronic screens (like a computer) at night because they “activate” the brain and can make it difficult to sleep.

Don’t forget, if you ever have any questions or concerns about your health, talk to us. Contact us with your questions. We’re here to help and don’t enjoy anything more than participating in providing you natural pain relief.

Fibromyalgia and the Immune System.

14 Dec

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a condition with a polarized audience comprised of those who believe it’s real and those who don’t. This interesting political-like conflict is, in a large part, centered around the topic we discussed last month concerning the causes of FM. This month’s article will focus specifically on the immune system and its relationship to FM.

“EXTRA, EXTRA, READ ALL ABOUT IT! New research published on 12-17-12 in BMC Clinical Pathology describes cytokine abnormalities were found in FM patients when compared to healthy controls.” OK! But what does that mean?

Very simply, this study reports that immune dysfunction is part of the cause of FM. The most exciting part is that this study identified a BLOOD TEST (finally!) that, “…demonstrates value as a FM diagnostic tool.” Looking at this closer, the researchers used multiple methods to examine cytokine (proteins that help regulate our immune response) blood levels in FM patients. They found the FM group had, “…considerably lower cytokine concentration than the control group, which implies that cell-mediated immunity is impaired in fibromyalgia.” This study’s findings of an immune response abnormality strays from previous study findings which largely pointed to the central nervous system (CNS – brain & spinal cord) as the origin of the FM syndrome. This makes some sense as the study of immunology (in this case, “neuroimmunology” – the combination of neurology and immunology) has only been around for about 10 years, and as such, may hold some important answers as more evidence is uncovered to further support this potential “paradigm shift” in considering the primary cause of FM. The authors offer further excitement as this focus could lead to a better understanding of the cause of other neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis (MS)! They go on by describing how body temperature, behavior, sleep, and mood can all be negatively affected by “pro-inflammatory cytokines” (PIC) which are released by certain types of activated white blood cells during infection. PIC have been found in the CNS in patients with brain injury, during viral and bacterial infections, and in other neurodegenerative processes (like MS)!

To further support this advance in understanding, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reported, “…Despite the brain’s status as an immune privileged site, an extensive bi-directional communication takes place between the nervous and the immune system in both health and disease.” They describe multiple signaling pathways that exist between the brain and the immune system that function normally throughout our lifetime. When immune, physiological, and psychological “stressors” occur, cytokines and other immune molecules stimulate interactions within the endocrine (our hormone) system, nervous system and immune system. To prove this, brain cytokine levels go up following stress exposure and similarly go down when treatments are applied that alleviate stress. They list other conditions such as stroke, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s disease, MS, pain, and AIDS-associated dementia as being similarly affected as well. They also report that cytokines and other neuro-chemicals play a role in our neuro-development throughout our lifespan, help regulate brain development early in life and brain function throughout life, and how this all changes in the aging brain. There are also interactions of these immune chemicals that result in gender differences on brain function and behavior.

Needless to say, it will be very interesting to watch for additional developments along this line of research as it pertains to the FM patient and future treatment recommendations! Also, immune stimulation by chiropractic adjustments has been postulated as a benefit and this too may be better understood using this new research approach!

If you, a friend or family member requires care for FM, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services!