Make Sure Good Health is Your Priority

Men, listen up! From infancy to old age, women tend to be healthier than men. Part of it is biological but part of it is due to men’s more cavalier attitude towards health. According to webMD, men tend to avoid the doctor and are less likely to acknowledge any health challenges.

Since June is Men’s Health Awareness Month, here are a half dozen tips to maintain good health:

  1. Routine check–ups are important to monitor heart health. The top cause of death among adult men in the U.S. is cardiovascular disease. According to the American Health Association, an estimated 2.8 million men experience stroke each year and hypertension is common even in young men.1
  2. Don’t smoke. Avoid exposure to secondhand smoke, air pollution and chemicals, as much as possible. According to the American Lung Association, more men are diagnosed with lung cancer each year, with smoking as the leading cause.
  3. Limit alcohol. Imbibe in moderation, which means up to two drinks a day for men 65 and younger and one drink for those older. One drink is 12 fluid ounces of beer, five fluid ounces of wine or 1.5 fluid ounces of 80-proof liquor.2 Men experience higher rates of alcohol-related deaths and hospitalizations than women, according to the Center for Disease Control. Alcohol abuse increases the risk for mouth, throat, esophagus, liver and colon cancers. It also interferes with testicular function and hormone production.3
  4. Eat a healthy diet. Choose vegetables, fruits, whole grains, high-fiber foods and lean sources of protein, such as fish and free-range chicken. Limit foods high in saturated and trans fat, sodium and sugar. The high sugar of diabetes acts like a slow poison on blood vessels and nerves, with heart attacks, strokes, blindness, kidney failure and amputations being the fallout for thousands of men.4
  5. Maintain a healthy weight. Overweight and obesity feed the diabetes epidemic and increase the risk of heart disease and various types of cancer.
  6. Use sunscreen. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, men aged 50 and older are at the highest risk for developing skin cancer, more than twice as likely as women.5 This higher risk is attributed to more frequent sun exposure and fewer visits to the doctor.

Nikken Active Wellness supports the overall health of both men and women. Our nutritional supplements address the maintenance of health from head to toe! For men, you simply can’t get better year round support than with Men’s Kenzen® Mega Daily 4.

1, 3, 5 https://www.clinicaladvisor.com/top-10-mens-health-issues/slideshow/1369/

2 https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/mens-health/in-depth/mens-health/art-20047764

4 https://www.webmd.com/men/features/6-top-health-threats-men#1

The ABCs of MCTs

No matter how much we weigh, each of us needs fat to maintain balance in our diets. Unfortunately, most of us are ingesting the wrong type of fats and far too much of it. MCTs, on the other hand, are a good source of fat that may also help reverse the effects of harmful fats.

MCT stands for medium-chain triglyceride. Triglycerides are the main constituents of natural fats and oils. High concentrations in the blood are indicators of a higher risk of stroke. In contrast, medium-chain triglycerides are composed of three fatty acids attached to a glycerol backbone. MCTs are sometimes used to counter the effects of high triglycerides in the blood.

The name refers to the way carbon atoms are arranged in their chemical structure. Typically, fats found in the diet are long-chain triglycerides (LCTs) with 20 or more carbon chains.1 MCTs range from six to 12 carbon chains.2 Due to their shorter chain length, MCTs travel straight from the gut to the liver and do not require bile to break them down. LCTs require the break down first. In the liver, fats are broken down to be either used as fuel or stored as body fat.

Since MCTs enter our cells without having to be broken down, our bodies use them as instant sources of energy that pass through the blood-brain barrier to fuel the brain cells.3 In addition, MCTs may help burn calories more effectively. In one study, the thermogenic effect of a high-calorie diet containing 40 percent fat as MCTs was compared to one containing the same level of LCTs. The thermic effect (calories wasted six hours after a meal) of the MCTs was almost twice as high as the LCTs. With MCTs, 120 calories were used, compared to 66 calories from LCTs over the six hours. A follow-up study demonstrated that MCT oil given over a six day period can increase diet-induced thermogenesis by 50 percent.4

In another study, researchers compared the effects of single meals of 400 calories composed entirely of MCTs or LCTs. The thermogenic effect of MCTs over six hours was 300 percent higher than the LCTs meal. Since the MCTs went directly to the liver, they had no effect on the blood fat level. However, the LCTs elevated blood fats by 68 percent. Researchers concluded that “long-term substitution of medium chain triglycerides for long chain triglycerides [MCT for LCT] would produce weight loss if energy intake remained constant.”5

Athletes sometimes use MCTs for nutritional support during training, to increase exercise performance, for decreasing body fat and increasing lean muscle mass, and for weight loss.6 During exercise, rising lactate levels can negatively impact exercise performance. MCTs may help reduce lactate buildup when taken before exercising and may also help us use more fat instead of carbs for energy.7

One small Chinese study of 40 people with diabetes found that those who consumed MCTs daily had significant reductions in body weight, waist circumference and insulin resistance, compared to those taking LCTs.8 Continuing studies are being done to see how MCTs may help us control blood sugar levels.

MCTs clearly provide numerous health benefits for an Active Wellness lifestyle, but how easy are they to access and consume? Look no further than Kenzen Vital Balance® Meal Replacement Mix. Read the labels for both Vanilla and Chocolate flavors and you will see that MCTs are the second ingredients for both flavors.

1, 2 https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-915/medium-chain-triglycerides-mcts

4, 5 https://www.sharecare.com/health/fats-nutrients-diet/mtcs-and-ltcs-utilized

3, 6, 7, 8 https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/mct-oil-benefits?utm_source=Sailthru%20Email&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=authoritynutrition&utm_content=2018-05-14

Plain and Simple: Conquer the Desire for Sugar

Just as with any harmful addiction, breaking the sugar habit can be difficult. But as more health research comes to light, it truly is necessary to reduce sugar consumption, if not eliminate it completely from our diets.

Research continues to show that sugar reduction is among the top product claims sought after by consumers. A recent survey conducted by the International Food Information Council (IFIC) shows that:

  • 48% of consumers say they are eliminating certain foods and beverages from their diets.1
  • 25% are using low-calorie sweeteners instead of sugar.2
  • 22% are switching from caloric beverages to low- and no-calorie options.3

Many consumers have a mixed opinion about low – and no-calorie sweeteners, but 63% now believe that these sweeteners help them reduce sugar consumption.4

Our previous blogs discussed healthy natural sweeteners The Healthiest Natural Sweetener vs. the unhealthy artificial sweeteners.

The increased focus on sugar consumption in relation to health has led to new regulatory guidelines in markets globally. In the United States, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has implemented changes to labeling added sugars and dietary fibers on Nutrition Facts to make it more clear to consumers. Nikken began the transition to the new labeling requirements as early as last year. Below is an example of the differences in labeling.

Revised Nutrition Facts (Blog).png

Here are some tips for reducing sugar consumption in pursuit of Active Wellness:

  1. Eliminate sodas and other sugary beverages.
  2. Need a sugar fix? Eat a piece of fruit or a sweet vegetable, such as a carrot or beet.
  3. Frozen berries, grapes, cherries and bananas are delicious as sorbets when blended.
  4. Are you a coffee or tea drinker? Try to drink it “straight” or only with a little creamer—without any sweeteners. Lemon in tea is a flavorful replacement and you can train your taste buds to appreciate tangy over sweet.
  5. Be careful with “alternative” sweeteners, such as honey and molasses. They are still forms of sugar, high in calories and have limited nutritional value. Instead, choose no-calorie natural sweeteners such as monkfruit and stevia.
  6. Do you want something sweet without empty calories? Have a “milk shake” made with Kenzen Vital Balance® mixed with the milk of your choice: coconut, soy, almond, cashew or regular!
  7. Drink more water. A recent survey in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics found that people who drank just 1% more water daily cut sugar intake by one to four teaspoons.5
  8. Read labels. Packaged food contains lots of hidden sugar, so eat fresh food whenever possible. For example, instead of packaged oatmeal, buy oatmeal that requires cooking. The packaged oatmeal frequently has little to no fiber and instead contains added sugar and artificial flavoring.

Sugar is a bad habit, but the good news is, we can beat it!

1, 2, 3, 4 http://www.foodinsightorg/2017-food-and-health-survey

5 https://www.womansday.com/health-fitness/nutrition/g2480/low-sugar-diet/

Elderberry: Our BFF

You hear about antioxidant this and antioxidant that. You know antioxidants are good. But why are they good and how do they work? Relative to antioxidants, you hear a lot about free radicals. Here’s why:

Antioxidants are natural substances that may slow or even prevent damage to the body’s cells. Our bodies contain natural antioxidants in the form of vitamins, minerals and hormones. Our immune system uses these natural antioxidants to fight “threats” such as pollutants, toxins, radiation and UV light. Importantly, antioxidants fight and work to reverse the damage caused by free radicals that wreak havoc in our bodies and are the leading cause of premature aging.1

Free radicals are bad cells that are unstable and reactive. They enter our bodies as we breathe in polluted air and cigarette smoke; they creep in from unclean water; they’re generated when we’re under prolonged stress or suffering from illness; they even come in the form of unhealthy diets. Every metabolic reaction that involves oxygen has the potential to generate free radicals and if nothing is done, inflammation and arterial wall damage are the end results.2

Even though our bodies contain natural antioxidants, we obviously need more support to maintain Active Wellness in our increasingly polluted world. That’s where the elderberry can play a starring role.

The elderberry is generally traced back to Hippocrates, the Greek known as the “father of medicine.” He described it as his “medicine chest” for its wide variety of health benefits. Over the centuries, elderberry has been used to treat colds, flu, fever, burns, cuts and more than 70 other maladies. 3

In the year 2007, the US Department of Agriculture looked at the oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) or overall antioxidant capability of various berries. That is, which berries were the most effective at attacking damaging free radicals? Elderberry had higher ORAC values than blackberry, blueberry, cranberry, raspberry and strawberry, which also are relatively high in antioxidants.4

With such a high ORAC, it’s no wonder that elderberries are known as excellent immune system boosters. Your local drugstore in the US, Canada and Europe are likely to have an array of elderberry syrups or tablets. Numerous studies have demonstrated that elderberry extract is highly effective in mitigating flu-like symptoms and shortening the duration of colds.5

Research published in the Journal of Nutrition show that elderberry extract helps expedite the process of clearing excess sugar from the bloodstream and into muscles and the liver, thereby helping to maintain normal levels of blood sugar.6 Studies also show that Sambucus (the scientific name for elderberry) has natural diuretic and laxative effects, which helps the body decrease fluid retention and constipation.7

Kenzen Super Ciaga® contains a mighty medley of berries with the powerful maqui berry having the highest ORAC value at 27,600 per 100g serving of fresh fruit. Elderberry, which is an excellent source of vitamins A, B and C, provides substantial support with an ORAC value of 14,500 per 100g serving of fresh fruit. Blueberry, blackberry and raspberry add to the overall ORAC value as well as enhancing flavor with their natural sweetness. Kenzen Super Ciaga® is a delicious way to ingest some powerful antioxidants!

In the next three months, the Nikken Facebook page will be posting the 10 winning Kenzen Super Ciaga® recipes from our contest. Check it out and why not do a little experimentation of your own—Kenzen Super Ciaga® tastes like a treat and acts like bodyguard!

1, 2 http://www.blackelderberry.info/understanding-antioxidants/

3 http://www.blackelderberry.info/elderberry-history/

4 http://www.blackelderberry.info/sources-of-antioxidants-and-orac/

5, 6, 7 https://draxe.com/elderberry/

 

World Autism on the Rise: April is Autism Awareness Month

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) refers to a group of complex neurodevelopment disorders characterized by repetitive and characteristic patterns of behavior and difficulties with social communication and interaction. The symptoms are present from early childhood and affect daily functioning.1

The term “spectrum” refers to the wide range of symptoms, skills, and levels of disability in functioning that can occur in people with ASD. Some children and adults with ASD are fully able to perform all activities of daily living while others require substantial support to perform basic activities. ASD occurs in every racial and ethnic group, and across all socioeconomic levels. However, boys are significantly more likely to develop ASD than girls.1

There is no cure for ASD. Therapies and behavioral interventions are designed to remedy specific symptoms and can substantially improve those symptoms. The ideal treatment plan coordinates therapies and interventions that meet the specific needs of the individual. Most health care professionals agree that the earlier the intervention, the better.

A new government survey of parents suggests that 1 in 45 children, ages 3 through 17, have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This is notably higher than the official government estimate of 1 in 68 American children with autism, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).2

“The 1 in 45 estimate is not surprising and is likely a more accurate representation of autism prevalence in the United States,” comments epidemiologist Michael Rosanoff, Autism Speaks director for public health research. “This means that 2 percent of children in the U.S. are living with autism. The earlier they have access to care, services and treatment, the more likely they are to progress.”

Research suggests that autism develops from a combination of genetic and nongenetic, or environmental, influences.3 There is reason to be concerned about high levels of exposure to toxic chemicals in our environment. For this reason, Autism Speaks continues to support research to better understand the effects of chemical exposures during pregnancy, as there is preliminary evidence that pesticides may increase the risk of autism. Although researchers cannot confirm that avoiding exposure to pesticides or any specific chemical can reduce autism risk in a child or future child, they do say that exposure to toxic chemicals during pregnancy or early infancy poses a general threat to future health. High lead exposure has been shown to lower IQ scores. Certain endocrine disrupting chemicals have been linked to birth defects. So it’s reasonable for parents to take reasonable steps to avoid these exposures.4

Scientists also have been reporting links between the composition of bacteria in the gut and autistic behavior. A review of more than 150 papers on ASD and gut bacteria found that since the 1960s, studies show that restoring a healthy balance in gut bacteria can treat ASD symptoms.5

Dr Qinrui Li of Peking University, China says, “The environmental factors include the overuse of antibiotics in babies, maternal obesity and diabetes during pregnancy, how a baby is delivered and how long it is breastfed. All of these can affect the balance of bacteria in an infant’s gut, so are risk factors for ASD. Efforts to restore the gut microbiota to that of a healthy person has been shown to be really effective. Our review looked at taking probiotics, prebiotics, changing the diet – for example, to gluten- and casein-free diets, and fecal matter transplants. All had a positive impact on symptoms such as increased sociability, a reduction in repetitive behaviour, and improved social communication: all hugely beneficial to the life of an ASD sufferer.5

A Nikken Wellness Home can help create a healthy environment with clean water, organic nutritional supplements and effective Sleep Products. Here are just a few success stories:

Carla P. says, “My son James was diagnosed with autism before he turned three. Over the years, we made progress, but James still had difficulty sleeping and this child would get up and roam all over the house, turn on lights, turn on TVs with loud volume, and go into his brothers’ rooms and wake them up. It disrupted the entire household. I decided to try a Kenko Mattress Topper on his bed.  It still amazes me. He continues to sleep every night, and he is now making progress through the day because of this good sleep he is getting.

“He has had other positive effects from Nikken products, and if I didn’t experience this myself, I would have never believed it.  The best part was how non-invasive all of these products are. Autism is like a puzzle, and you are always seeking the right pieces that fit.  Well, I definitely found some of the biggest pieces to help my son.  It didn’t cure him, but his quality of life is so much better. And isn’t that ultimately what we all desire?”*

Lorri from Alberta, Canada says, “After two weeks of sleeping on the Kenko Sleep System, Brody was sleeping well and this good sleep has helped him function better during the day.  Brody wears the magnetic insoles and necklace during the day to help him feel more relaxed and calmer.  After using all of these magnets, his behavior has also improved. Now, a year later, I can’t believe it! Wow oh wow, it’s wonderful stuff! Everyone notices such a huge difference in him.”*

Beth says, “My cousin’s adopted son is a five-year-old who is autistic. He has always been a high energy, non-speaking autistic child. Since the day he was put on the large Kenko PetPad and the insoles in his shoes, he has calmed down considerably. When my cousin unwrapped the PetPad, he walked up to it and wrapped his arms around it. It seemed to immediately ‘soothe’ him and help him feel more relaxed and calm. He now goes to sleep at regular hours, remains calm throughout the day and is able to function better as a result of the Nikken products. Nothing else in his life has changed, only the addition of Nikken products.”*

Gretchen T. says, “I worked with a woman with a 21-year-old autistic son. She used the Kenko Sleep System for him because he had never been able to sleep an entire night in his life. He would wake up several times. He would also pull his covers over his face, which made his mother very nervous. From the first night on the system, he slept all night long and never pulled the comforter over his face, and was more relaxed. So she then tried the PiMag water with him. He always hated drinking water and would only take a few sips. The first glass of PiMag water he was given, he drank right down and even asked for another one. Was she ever delighted!”*

Do you know someone with a child who is on the spectrum and might benefit from a Nikken Wellness Home? You could be the one who helps improve lives with Active Wellness!

*These testimonials are not paid for or endorsed by Nikken.

1 https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Autism-Spectrum-Disorder-Fact-Sheet

2 https://www.autismspeaks.org/science/science-news/new-government-survey-pegs-autism-prevalence-1-45

3 https://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/learn-more-autism/what-causes-autism

4 https://www.autismspeaks.org/blog/2012/04/06/avoiding-environmental-hazards-during-pregnancy

5 https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-06-autism-gut.html\

The Horror of the World’s Plastic Footprint

The discerning mind understands the importance of drinking filtered water and commits to using a good filtration system. Unfortunately, the success of the bottled water industry continues to grow, even with the knowledge that plastic bottles are a huge potential health hazard. As reported in the Japan Times earlier this month, the world’s leading brands of bottled water have been contaminated with tiny plastic particles that are likely seeping in during the packaging process.1

There’s also the matter of conscience. Every one of us can choose to contribute to the preservation of our environment or expedite its demise. As recently as earlier this month, the Ocean Cleanup Foundation—with researchers at institutions in New Zealand, the United States, Britain, France, Germany and Denmark—published in the journal Scientific Reports, that 79,000 tons of plastic debris, in the form of 1.8 trillion pieces, now occupy an area three times the size of France in the Pacific Ocean between California and Hawaii.2 It’s known as the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch.”

According to the Ocean Cleanup Foundation researchers, the plastic is coming largely from Pacific countries, but they also believe that some of the debris comes from elsewhere, moved by ocean currents. Based on prior examinations dating back to the 1970s, the study finds that the plastic in the patch is growing, as more flows in than out. 2

Plastic pollution is so far-reaching that even the pristine Artic has been infiltrated. A study published in 2017 in the journal Science Advances, estimates that 300 billion pieces of tiny plastic are suspended in Arctic waters, with even more on the seafloor. 3 Because the population in the Arctic is so small, it is unlikely that it directly contributed to so much waste. Instead, researchers believe the aged and weathered state of the plastic waste suggests that it has been traveling the seas for decades, breaking down along the way. The study was led by Andrés Cózar of the University of Cádiz in Spain, together with researchers from universities in Denmark, France, Japan, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Environmental engineer Jenna Jambeck at the University of Georgia conducted a study on plastic waste processes in 2015 and found that humans were filling the oceans with an estimated eight million tons of plastic annually. Projections are that this will increase 22 percent by 2025.4 In addition, the study found that much of the plastic was sinking and damaging the lower depths of the ocean as well as the seafloor. As the plastic footprint enlarges, the future of our planet diminishes.

For Active Wellness and for the planet, quit the bottled water habit. You have until the end of this month to benefit from the PiMag® Waterfall sale, indisputably an amazing deal for PiMag® water technology.

1 https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/03/16/business/top-bottled-water-brands-contaminated-plastic-particles-report/#.Wr0YvrT83zI

2 https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-22939-w

3 http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/4/e1600582.full

4 https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/02/12/humans-are-putting-8-million-metric-tons-of-plastic-in-the-oceans-annually/

 

Keep Your Heart Healthy

Keeping your heart healthy is a critical aspect of Active Wellness. Cardiovascular disease includes heart attack, stroke or congestive heart failure. 1 A new study shows that one of the main effects of being chronically overweight is that you are at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease than those with normal weight. This study is particularly meaningful given that the researchers followed 190,672 participants for at least 10 years and mined the accumulated data. 2

Participants were grouped according to age and weight. After adjusting the data for risk factors such as age, race, ethnicity and smoking status, head research Dr. Sadiya Khan of Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine and her colleagues found that the higher the BMI (body-mass index), the greater the lifetime risk of some type of cardiovascular event.2

Normal weight and BMI are personal issues and can best be determined with the help of a physician. People at exactly the same height can be at a wide range of weights and still be healthy. Bone structure and musculature may account for much of the variation. Other than staying at a comfortable and healthy personal weight, here are some other tips for heart health:

  1. Aim for seven hours of sleep. According to a study discussed on WebMD, young and middle-aged adults who slept seven hours a night had less calcium in their arteries (an early sign of heart disease) than those who slept five hours or less or nine hours or more. In addition, those who got good-quality sleep had healthier arteries than those who did not sleep soundly.3 Kenko Sleep Products help support restful sleep.
  2. Get your blood pressure checked regularly. The rule of thumb is to get it checked every three to five years if you’re between the ages of 18 and 39; and if you’re 40 or older, to check it annually. If you know you have high blood pressure, definitely check it every year or even more often. Kenzen® Bergisterol™ capsules help support blood pressure that is within normal limits.*
  3. Develop healthy eating habits. Focus on vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean protein. Limit salt, sugar, saturated fats and alcohol. One of the fastest ways to clean up your diet is to cut out sugary beverages like soda and fruit juice.3 Kenzen Super Ciaga® makes it so easy to quit drinking soda.
  4. Get your blood sugar tested regularly. Millions of people have diabetes and aren’t aware of it until they suffer from a cardiovascular event. Diabetes adds to the risk of heart disease.
  5. Dr. Monika Sanghavi, assistant professor of cardiology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center says, “We now know that even if you exercise for 30 minutes a day, being sedentary for the other 23.5 hours is really bad for your heart.”3 Break up long periods of sitting by standing or walking intermittently.
  6. If you smoke, quit. Don’t replace tobacco with e-cigarettes. They may not have the harmful chemicals in cigarette smoke, but they still contain nicotine.

Take part in the Super Ciaga® Recipe Contest for a chance to win a six month supply of NEW Kenzen Super Ciaga®!
 We challenge you to come up with your own recipes for Kenzen Super Ciaga® and share them with Nikken. We’re going to pick our favorite submissions and send each winner six months of new Kenzen Super Ciaga® via Autoship. (That’s 12 bottles, a real haul!) There’s no limit to the number of submissions but you only have the month of March to send them. If you send in a photo or video, that increases your chances of winning! Please email submissions to pate@nikken.com.

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*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

1 http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/What-is-Cardiovascular-Disease_UCM_301852_Article.jsp#.WqAxi7T83zI

2 https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamacardiology/article-abstract/2673289?redirect=true

3 https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/prevention-15/heart-healthy/12-tips-for-better-heart-health?page=1