Do You Know how Prebiotics & Probiotics Help the Gut?

In the past decade, word has gotten out more and more consistently that good bacteria helps us digest food and keep the gut healthy and happy. Simply put, a happy gut is responsible for overall health in a big way—both physically and mentally.

Probiotics are the good bacteria that are found naturally in the gut. Probiotics are actually live cultures, which means they’re active and functional, allowing them to help boost immunity, gastrointestinal health and overall wellness.1 Probiotic bacteria can also be found in yogurt and fermented foods such as sauerkraut or kimchi. Since what we eat and drink passes through our gastrointestinal tract every day, it’s no surprise that our diets affect the gut microbiome. In fact, studies have shown that even a single day of a strict animal-based diet or plant-based diet can alter the composition of the gut microorganisms—but that we typically revert to our regular microbiome once our diets go back to normal.2

Newer research shows that probiotics work more efficiently when assisted by prebiotics. Unlike probiotics, prebiotics are not found naturally in the gut. Instead they are found in non-digestible carbohydrates and fibers that stimulate the growth of good bacteria.3 Prebiotics are found in fibrous components of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Bananas, onions, garlic, leeks asparagus, artichokes, soybeans and whole-wheat grains are examples of foods containing prebiotics. Prebiotics work by supporting the good bacteria that are naturally present in the gut and help them proliferate.

According to the World Health Gastroenterology Organization, one in three people around the world struggle with gut-related symptoms. These symptoms include flatulence, bloating, heartburn, nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, food allergies, incontinence and abdominal pain.4 Though not necessarily life-threatening, these digestive discomforts can significantly alter our ability to practice Active Wellness.

Since some prebiotics are indiscriminate and feed both good and bad bacteria, it makes sense to incorporate the right prebiotics to support both natural and ingested probiotics. Well-established prebiotics like inulin, oligofructose (FOS), and galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) help fuel the human gastrointestinal tract, which contains trillions of microbes.5

The synergistic effect of prebiotics with probiotics has led to the emergence of a category referred to as “synbiotics” to promote digestive health and overall wellness. When the correct prebiotics are provided in the exact proportions necessary to maximize the desired health effects of the specific probiotic strains through stimulating the growth and activating the metabolism of health-promoting bacteria, symbiosis occurs.6 Eating whole foods is the best way to obtain prebiotics and add probiotics to the diet.

Nutritional supplementation is also helpful. Take a look at Kenzen Lactoferrin® 2.0Kenzen® Cleanse & Detox and Kenzen Vital Balance®. All three of these Nikken nutritional supplements contain prebiotics and/or probiotics. Sharing these products can help you take advantage of the July promotion, so call your Nikken Consultant or Nikken Customer Service for details. Incorporate them into your daily regimen and help your gut do a happy dance!

1 https://www.eatright.org/food/vitamins-and-supplements/nutrient-rich-foods/prebiotics-and-probiotics-creating-a-healthier-you

2 https://foodinsight.org/nutrition-101-prebiotics-probiotics-and-the-gut-microbiome/

3, 5, 6 https://www.nutraceuticalsworld.com/issues/2019-04/view_features/flora-amp-fiber-for-a-healthy-microbiome/1931

http://www.worldgastroenterology.org/UserFiles/file/WGOHandbookonDietandtheGut_2016_Final.pdf

 

Boost Your Energy Levels During the Summer Months

When temperatures go up, energy levels go down. Air-conditioning helps, but it can be expensive and gives the body more extreme temperature fluctuations to contend with. Fortunately, there are a few easy things that can be done to conquer the heat and boost your energy levels.

  • If you’re able, simply run cold water over your wrists to cool off. You don’t actually need to take a whole body cold shower. The arterial pulse points in the wrist help cool off the body, because arterial blood flows away from the heart and the cold water will circulate cooler blood throughout the body and ultimately lower your core temperature. 1
  • Do the same thing with cold water on your feet. Arterial pulse points are located in areas where the blood vessels come closest to the surface of the skin. 2
  • Appetites generally dip when the weather is hot, but eating small amounts every few hours is important for keeping energy levels up. Try hydrating fruits and vegetables such as watermelon, celery, green peppers and radishes.
  • Stay away from heavy foods, such as fatty meats and desserts. They take a lot of energy to digest and the effect is sluggishness.
  • Drinking hot beverages may actually help you cool down. The hot liquids enhance circulation and cause you to perspire freely and expel heat. Once the perspiration evaporates, your body cools down. Drinking hot beverages to cool down is effective in dry desert-like heat, not in humid, tropical weather, where perspiration doesn’t easily evaporate. 3
  • Hot spicy foods act the same way as hot beverages. That may be why chili peppers are so popular in hot continents, such as Asia and Africa. The spicy chilis activate nerve receptors in the tongue, which tell the brain to turn on the body’s cooling mechanism: sweating. 4
  • Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning, and save the caffeinated beverages for later. Contrary to popular belief, according to a study in 2013, drinking coffee first thing in the morning depletes energy levels.5 Try Kenzen Ten4® Energy Drink Mix with its superior blend of matcha green tea that provides 80 mg of natural caffeine for smooth energy support at the suggested times of 10 am and 4 pm. It’s delicious hot or cold.
  • Use ice in a bucket in front of a fan to provide a quick cool down. When the fan blows air over the ice, the surrounding air cools down.
  • Breathe in deeply. When the body doesn’t obtain enough oxygen, energy levels dip drastically. No matter how heavy the air may feel, make a conscious effort throughout the day to breathe in and out as fully as possible. Use your hands to push your belly in as you exhale to release your breath.
  • Clean out your system by keeping your liver functioning at full capacity. “Regular” or not, everyone carries excess waste all year round, which results in lethargy. Cleanses are popular because by lightening the load, you can boost your energy level and temporarily lose weight. Unfortunately, many bodies cannot take the harshness of those 7-14 day cleanses. Using Kenzen® Cleanse & Detox is far more convenient and gentler to your system. With organic natural ingredients, Cleanse & Detox will help your liver function optimally so you feel more energetic.

Kenzen Ten4® Energy Drink Mix and Kenzen® Cleanse & Detox are two of the best selling Active Wellness nutritional supplements included in the Nikken July promotion to celebrate Canada Day and U.S. Independence Day. Be sure to take advantage of your choice of gifts. For details, call Customer Service at US 800-669-8859 or CN 800-669-8890.

 

1, 2 https://www.prevention.com/health/a20480309/beat-the-heat-and-boost-energy/

3 https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/a-hot-drink-on-a-hot-day-can-cool-you-down-1338875/

4 https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2012/07/11/156378713/cool-down-with-a-hot-drink-its-not-as-crazy-as-you-think

5 https://www.whitewaternow.com/tips-boosting-energy-heat-summer/

 

Do You Drink Bottled Water?

Most of us drink bottled water at one time or another. It’s sold everywhere—in supermarkets, corner stores, concert venues, theaters, etc. Can we even imagine not drinking bottled water? Realistically, it’s important not only to imagine it, but also imperative to start practicing it. Planet Earth depends on us.

Bottled water marketing campaigns have been so successful in making people suspicious of tap water that sales skyrocketed 700 percent between 1997 and 2005.1 With this growth in sales, environmental degradation, landfill waste and other abuses associated with bottled water also grew exponentially.

Although most people think of bottled water as being healthier than tap water, bottled water is not subject to the same high level of scrutiny and regulation that the federal government mandates for tap water. In fact, the chemical pollution standards for bottled water and tap water are nearly identical—most brands of bottled water are simply filtered tap water. In the U.S., while public water utilities are required to disclose their testing results, bottled water companies are not required to release testing data, except in the state of California, where a minimum of information is required. Essentially, when we buy bottled water, we can never be sure of what we’re getting—research done by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found 38 contaminants in 10 popular brands of bottled water, including disinfection byproducts, industrial chemicals, arsenic, fertilizer residue and pain medication. 2

Water is life and an Active Wellness lifestyle requires drinking lots of water to maintain a healthy body. We also owe it to ourselves and future generations to minimize waste in order to save the environment. Producing less plastic waste by breaking the bottled water habit is key to this effort. Here’s why:

  • Every year, the equivalent of 17 million barrels of oil are used to produce plastic water and soda bottles in the U.S.—not including transportation. Bottling water produces more than 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide per year.3
  • Next to plastic bags, plastic bottles are the most prevalent source of pollution found on our beaches and shores. Each year, over 500 billion disposable bottles and cups end up littering our soil, rivers, lakes and oceans, killing countless fish and animals.4
  • Once you add in the water needed to manufacture paper labels and transportation fuel, it actually takes closer to six bottles of water to produce one liter of bottled water.5
  • From creation to disposal, plastic water bottles contribute to air pollution. And many of the chemicals that go into their production continue to leach out into the air and into the water they hold.

It’s really not that difficult to change. Get used to taking a portable water bottle when on-the-road and using a countertop water filter at home. Filtering tap water at home and from water fountains elsewhere can help remove impurities and make water safer to drink. Pathogens, dirt, chemicals and other contaminants are effectively removed by micro-, ultra- and nano-filters.6

Two young scientists have tackled the problem of plastic waste in a huge way. Jeanny Yao and Miranda Wang have developed a bacterium that may transform plastic into CO2 and water. They have already won the Perlman science prize and obtained financing to begin developing the product.7 As we look forward to other innovations, we can all contribute to the well-being of the environment by drinking filtered water instead of bottled water.

Nikken is a pioneer in water filtration and helps us break the bottled water habit. The PiMag® Sport Bottle and the PiMag® Waterfall feature state-of-the-art filtration that exceed NSF standards. Both feature multiple filtration systems that help remove chloramine, chlorine, cysts, lead and bacteria.

 

1 https://www.greenamerica.org/green-living/facts-about-water-filters?gclid=CjwKCAjw27jnBRBuEiwAdjQXDAfQz_jr881m7-AjKT_B2FwveSZ7K9bQOejrcNIf4PH9pacaC8UPsBoCOIEQAvD_BwE

2, 3, 4 https://www.smallfootprintfamily.com/why-do-we-need-to-filter-water

5 https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2013/10/28/241419373/how-much-water-actually-goes-into-making-a-bottle-of-water?ft=1&f=1007

6 https://www.livestrong.com/article/152739-water-purification-advantages-disadvanages/

7 https://www.thescienceandspace.com/2019/05/the-high-pollution-in-oceans-is-big.html?fbclid=IwAR1xy1xbHd5Rlm0H8Slftnlb5hhXzIAvUeCpHrs1ymD2xSRfVVx3X_XJm0E

 

Fight Seasonal Allergies without Drugs

This is the time of year when the sounds of sneezing, sniffling and nose-blowing reverberate in far too many households throughout the world. Allergies are not contagious, but they are definitely irritating, with reactions ranging from wheezing, runny nose, watery or itchy eyes and more. Many depend on antihistamines, but that may actually aggravate them further or produce side effects of lethargy, drowsiness and other discomforts. Instead of just addressing the symptoms, getting to the root of the allergies may help decrease or get rid of them.

Understanding the cause of allergies is the first step in committing to an Active Wellness regimen that eschews allergy medications. Allergic reactions begin in the immune system. When something like dust, mold or pollen produces an allergic reaction in people, it’s because their immune systems are overreacting to the foreign substance. Those with strong immune systems may not react at all, while others may be mildly to severely irritated. Here are some ways to fortify the immune system and possibly minimize allergies in the long run:

  • Massage: The lymphatic system is the main carrier of the immune system and functions similarly to a sewer system by helping the body drain clogging fluids such as mucous. One way to open up the lymphatic system and to keep it flowing smoothly is through massage.1 The body can then rid itself of excess mucous produced from the allergic response.
  • Turmeric: Lymphatic drainage is blocked when the adrenal gland manufactures too much cortisol, known as the stress hormone. Turmeric is an adaptogenic herb that addresses the stress-lymph connection by helping to naturally lower cortisol levels while increasing antioxidant stress-fighting activity and boosting lymphatic circulation.2
  • Gut health: The connection between a strong immune system and a healthy gut is becoming common knowledge. More than 80% of the body’s immune function is stored in the GI tract, so research continues to link gut health with the reduced risk of allergies.3 When taken together, lactoferrin and probiotics provide a synergistic effect to the immune system by working together to help prevent chronic inflammation, help limit the spread of harmful microbes and help stabilize colonies of friendly bacteria.4
  • Healthy diet: Eating an anti-inflammatory diet can help reduce the risk of allergies and many other health problems. Nutrient-dense foods give the immune system the ability to repair itself, bringing it back into balance so it can help fight off common allergies in the environment.5 Beneficial foods include garlic, green leafy vegetables, lemons, fermented foods rich in probiotics (kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, natto, kombucha, etc.), gluten-free grains (flours made from coconut, almond, spelt, oat and rice, etc.), and seeds (flax, chia, pumpkin and sunflower).

Take advantage of the Father’s Day Promotion and get a super deal when you purchase a Limitless Energy Pack. The KenkoTouch® enables you to give and have a portable massage to help keep the lymphatic system humming.

 

1 http://www.navacenter.com/community/blogs/how-to-prevent-allergies-the-holistic-approach

2 https://lifespa.com/rescue-lymph-stress-late/

3 https://draxe.com/8-natural-allergy-relief-remedies/

4 https://www.naturopathic.org/content.asp?contentid=526

5 https://draxe.com/8-natural-allergy-relief-remedies/

Get Close to Nature and Improve Your Outlook

According to the Journal of Exposure Analysis and Environmental Epidemiology as surveyed in 44 U.S. cities, Americans only spend 2% of their time outdoors, 6% in transit, and 92% of their time indoors.1 What this translates to is a severe distancing from nature—not just Mother Nature but our own natural selves.

Richard Ryan, author and professor of psychology at the University of Rochester says, “Nature is fuel for the soul. Often when we feel depleted we reach for a cup of coffee, but research suggests a better way to get energized is to connect with nature. Research has shown that people with a greater sense of vitality don’t just have more energy for things they want to do, they are also more resilient to physical illnesses. One of the pathways to health may be to spend more time in natural settings.”2

A series of five studies published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology showed that spending time outdoors is an integral aspect of Active Wellness. The five separate experiments involved 537 college students in actual and imagined contexts:

  1. Participants were led on a 15-minute walk through indoor hallways or along a tree-lined river path.
  2. Undergraduates viewed photos of buildings or landscapes.
  3. Students were required to imagine themselves in both active and sedentary situations, inside and outside, with and without others.
  4. Over a four-day period, participants had to track their moods and energy levels throughout the days with diary entries. Students were asked to record their exercise, social interactions, time spent outside and exposure to natural environments, including plants and windows.
  5. Same as four above, but participants had to record activities over a two-week period.

In all five studies, participants felt consistently more energetic when they spent time in natural settings or imagined themselves in nature. The findings concluded that being outside in nature makes people feel more alive and that only 20 minutes daily was enough to boost vitality levels significantly. 3

Studies also have shown five potential benefits of spending more time outdoors:4

  1. Your vitamin D levels will go up. Going outside in the sunlight a few times a week with arms and legs exposed for 10 to 15 minutes makes all the vitamin D needed.
  2. You will get more exercise. British researchers tracked 1,000 children via accelerometers that sense movement and noted that children were more than doubly active when outside.
  3. You will be happier. Light elevates moods and physical activity is proven to relax and cheer up people. Researchers at the University of Essex have noted that “green exercise” or activities taking place in nature, have added benefits, especially for mental health.
  4. Your concentration will improve. Researchers have reported that children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) seem to focus better after being outdoors.
  5. Recovery times may improve. University of Pittsburgh researchers reported that spinal surgery patients experienced less pain and stress and took fewer pain medications during their recoveries when they were exposed to natural light. Even the view out the window (trees instead of a wall) had an effect on recovery times.

Psychologists posit that nature affects us similarly to meditation.5 Thoughts slow down or ideally, our minds take a complete break. The result is inner stillness, renewed energy, a sense of well-being and clearer perceptions.

Nature is everywhere—why not reap the benefits? And if you need some extra reinforcement when venturing into nature, Nikken has an entire line of support wraps and an environmentally-friendly PiMag® Sport Bottle to help you stay hydrated.

 

1 https://mindfulminutes.com/10-steps-to-detox-your-mind/

2, 3 https://www.rochester.edu/news/show.php?id=3639

4 https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/a-prescription-for-better-health-go-alfresco

5 https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/out-the-darkness/201204/the-power-nature-ecotherapy-and-awakening

 

Nature’s Perfect Food

It’s hard to imagine a single food having the multiple benefits of nutritional ingredients such as vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, amino acids, enzymes, plant protein and fiber. Yet, barley grass is composed of all those ingredients and more, making it a true superfood. Take a look at all the benefits provided by barley grass!

If you don’t want the calories that come with the antioxidant-laden fresh fruit juice, consider barley grass powder, easily mixed with water. It’s loaded with vitamin A, vitamins B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B6 (pyridoxine), folate, vitamins C (ascorbic acid), E (alpha-tocopherol) and K (phylloquinone). It contains an abundance of electrolytes such as magnesium, phosphorous and potassium along with other essential minerals such as zinc, iron and calcium.1

High in chlorophyll and beta-carotene, barley grass helps stimulate the body’s natural processes of eliminating waste materials and helps support metabolic processes while strengthening and detoxifying the liver. Zinc, selenium and copper are the minerals in barley grass that contribute to its cleansing abilities.2

By helping the body stay clean internally, barley grass also assists the gut in propagating healthy bacteria and thus decreasing inflammation and other associated symptoms of ulcerative colitis.3

With these cumulative benefits, it comes as no surprise that barley grass helps boost the immune system, which helps strengthen the ability to prevent and combat infection and disease. Regular consumption of barley grass provides the required nutrition, which is necessary for balancing the optimal production of immune cells in the body.4

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), barley grass powder is the best functional food that provides nutrition and helps eliminate toxins from cells in human beings; however, its functional ingredients have played an important role in providing health benefits. NIH comprehensive databases show numerous studies of barley grass that attribute super powers to the green food, including the prevention of chronic disease.5

 Short of calling barley grass a miracle food, various papers housed by the NIH show that “barley grass promotes sleep; has anti-diabetic effect; regulates blood pressure; enhances immunity; protects liver; has anti-acne/detoxifying and antidepressant effects; improves gastrointestinal function; has anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, hypolipidemic, and anti-gout effects; reduces cardiovascular diseases, fatigue, and constipation; alleviates atopic dermatitis; improves cognition; and so on.”6

As if all these benefits for the internal organs were not enough, barley grass also has been shown to be effective in protecting against UV radiation. The superoxide dismutase enzyme essentially helps protect the body on a cellular level from the effects of radiation and barley grass is a good source. Barley grass juice can be consumed regularly to help prevent any such damage and reduce the effects of harmful radiation. The chlorophyll content in barley helps the regeneration of new cells and also helps with the repair of damaged cells.7

Nikken has taken “Nature’s Perfect Food” and turbo-boosted it for Active Wellness. Kenzen Jade GreenZymes® is made with organic barley grass and a proprietary blend of organic acacia and organic pearl barley seed extract powder. Acacia is a source of dissolvable dietary fiber used to promote good bacteria in the intestines.8 Pearl barley contains potassium, calcium and magnesium, which have been found to decrease blood pressure naturally.9 It has also been linked to a lower risk of chronic disease and a stabilizing factor in blood sugar and weight management.10

1,2, 3, 4 https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/cereal/barley-grass.html

5, 6 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5904770/

7 https://www.naturalfoodseries.com/11-benefits-barley-grass/

8 https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-268/acacia

9, 10 https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/295268.php

 

How Healthy is Your Indoor Environment?

When we think of pollution, smog, plastic, garbage and contaminated bodies of water come to mind. But what about indoor pollution? Other than bad air caused from smoking, cooking, mold, mildew and animal dander, what else makes our indoor environment unhealthy?

The use of EMF and RF devices is growing exponentially.  These devices transmit wirelessly using Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) and Radio Frequencies (RF).  They are not safe and are harmful to adults and children.1 Examples include mobile or cordless phones, WiFi or Bluetooth-enabled devices, and the infrastructure that allows for their usage. Electromagnetic radiation around the 1 GHz frequency band, which is mostly used for modern wireless communications, has increased from extremely low natural levels by about 10 times.2

Radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation is also used for radar, security scanners, smart meters, and medical equipment (MRI, diathermy, and radiofrequency ablation). In a nutshell, exposure to EMF and RF is virtually at every indoor facility we may enter. This type of health risk is known as anthropogenic environmental exposure. Anthropogenic is defined as “relating to, or resulting from the influence of human beings on nature.”3 EMF and RF exposure will continue to surge as technological advances proliferate.

At the Oceania Radiofrequency Scientific Advisory Association, an independent scientific organization, volunteer scientists have constructed the world’s largest categorized online database of peer-reviewed studies on radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation and other man-made electromagnetic fields of lower frequencies. A recent evaluation of 2266 studies (including in-vitro and in-vivo studies in human, animal, and plant experimental systems and population studies) found that most studies have demonstrated significant biological or health effects associated with exposure to anthropogenic electromagnetic fields.4

The evidence supports the International EMF Scientist Appeal by 244 scientists from 41 countries who have published on the subject in peer-reviewed literature and collectively petitioned the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations (UN) for immediate measures to reduce public exposure to artificial electromagnetic fields and radiation. Evidence also exists of the effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation on flora and fauna. For example, the reported global reduction in bees and other insects is linked to the increased radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation in the environment.5

Some government health authorities have recently taken steps to reduce public exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation by regulating use of wireless devices by children and recommending preferential use of wired communication devices in general.6

It’s unrealistic for us to stop using our EMF and RF devices; however, we can make concerted efforts to detach from them during downtime. We also need to make sure our children are not glued to their cell phones and gaming devices. As inhabitants of planet Earth, we urgently need to reconnect to Mother Nature!

Try KenkoGround™ against your skin and incorporate it into your Active Wellness lifestyle.

 

1 https://www.globalindoorhealthnetwork.com/

2 Smith-Roe SL, Wyde ME, Stout MD, et al. Evaluation of the genotoxicity of cell phone radiofrequency radiation in male and female rats and mice following subchronic exposure. Environmental Mutagenesis and Genomics Society Annual Conference; Raleigh, NC, USA; Sept 9–13, 2017.

3 https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/anthropogenic

4, 5, 6 https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanplh/article/PIIS2542-5196(18)30221-3/fulltext