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.

heart health.png

*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

 

What’s in Your Water?

There are three different types of drinking water: tap water, filtered water and bottled water. In many countries, tap water is not potable, so it has to be boiled first. Even in North America, not all tap water is potable—for example, the Flint, Michigan water crisis1 and the First Nations indigenous water crisis in Canada2 are still not fully resolved.

Water is supposedly tasteless, but everyone knows tap water can taste nasty. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) conducted a study in 2003 that showed public water supplies in 19 of America’s largest cities delivered drinking water that contained contaminant levels exceeding EPA limits, including rocket fuel, arsenic, lead, fecal waste and chemical byproducts.3

According to the NRDC, approximately 25% of bottled water is nothing more than tap water. The best way to find out is to read the label and see whether it tells you how the water is filtered. If it doesn’t say, chances are it’s straight from the tap.

The other problem with bottled water is the bottle itself. Many plastic bottles are created with a chemical called bisphenol A, otherwise known as BPA. It’s linked to numerous health issues, including infertility, obesity, diabetes, insomnia, arthritis, heart disease and more.4 And, the plastic bottles add to the trash that goes into landfills and the oceans, adding to environmental degradation.

Filtered water is clearly the best option for drinking. According to the Food and Water Watch Organization, even expensive water filters are more cost effective than bottled water, especially when evaluating costs over a 5, 10 and 20-year period.5

Water filters offer the last line of defense between the body and the more than 2,100 known toxins that may be present in drinking water.6 Experts recommend looking for a water filter that satisfies the standards of NSF International, a nonprofit organization that conducts safety testing for food and water industries. Look specifically for what type of contaminants the water filter will remove.

The PiMag Waterfall® complies with NSF standards as follows:

  • NSF Standard 42—Reduction of chlorine, chloramine, taste and odor*
  • NSF Standard 53—Reduction of mercury, volatile organic chemicals (VOCs)*
  • NSF Standard 372—Lead compliance

*Reverse Osmosis systems do not remove VOCs, chlorine or chloramine.8

The PiMag Waterfall® is an advanced filtration system that produces water with added minerals (unlike expensive Reverse Osmosis systems that leach out beneficial minerals) in a pH range of 8.5-9.5. Regular tap water typically has a pH range of 6.5-8.5, with 7 considered “basic” and below 7 as acidic.7

Because the PiMag Waterfall works without electricity or plumbing, it can be used in any location. As with all PiMag products, the Waterfall is made with recyclable and biodegradable materials, including a polymer that does not leach chemicals into water.

Waterfall-promo_nikken_3-18.jpg

From now through the end of this month, get a deal you can’t pass up: $120 off the retail price of the PiMag Waterfall and $12 off the replacement filter retail price!

1 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flint_water_crisis

2 https://news.vice.com/en_ca/article/3kpjby/canadas-indigenous-water-crisis

3 https://www.greenamerica.org/green-living/facts-about-water-filters

4 https://draxe.com/bpa-toxic-effects/

5 https://www.waterbenefitshealth.com/filtered-drinking-water.html

6 http://www.allaboutwater.org/water-filters.html

7 www.water-research.net/ph.htm

8 https://www.waterbenefitshealth.com/filtered-drinking-water.html

Your Best Friend Deserves the Comfiest Sleep!

Generally speaking, an adult dog sleeps about 12 to 14 hours a day, depending on breed and age.1 Cats can sleep as much as 16 hours a day and elderly feline companions spend as many as 20 hours sleeping!2 With so many hours spent laying down on their stomachs, sides or backs, it’s really imperative that our pets are supported during rest.

A true pet lover is never an “owner” but always “dad” or “mom” or some other relative of the family. With this in mind, Nikken created the Kenko PetPad—because who wouldn’t want a treasured member of the family to have the best rest and relaxation available?

The Kenko PetPad provides a cozy 48” x 30” pad that accommodates most large breeds of dog. With the smaller breeds, both canine and feline, more than one can fit on one PetPad. Some people put the Kenko PetPad right into a baby crib. Here’s why the Kenko PetPad is so comfortable:

  • Ceramic reflective fibers are permanently infused into the fabric. They release excess heat to help the PetPad maintain a comfortable temperature range regardless of the weather.
  • The cover of the pad is soft for maximum comfort and “breathes” to minimize odors.
  • The strong, durable backing helps minimize slippage, keeping the pad in place.
  • Nine 750 gauss magnetic disks are inserted into the polyurethane foam. The use of magnetic technology in the Kenko PetPad replicates the earth’s magnetic field that all animals live with when in the wild. The PetPad helps pets sleep in the kind of natural environment they were intended to live in.

It’s well known by both veterinarians and pet lovers that elderly animals are especially prone to arthritis in their necks, shoulders and legs. Sleeping on a supportive PetPad can help alleviate their discomfort. Kind, loving pet parents can help their four-legged family members benefit from restful and restorative sleep, and even help extend their lifespans. Just as skin renews itself during sleep, so does every part of the body.

Personally, my two chowbradors (half chow, half lab) lived to be 15 and almost 17 respectively, and during their mature years, I learned about the Kenko PetPad. Since I loved them even more during their senior, rickety years, I had more than one PetPad around the house. I never introduced them formally to the Kenko PetPad, but simply placed one in the kitchen and one in the den. The older they got, the more they circled either PetPad and chose it over their other doggy beds and blankets. Feral dogs and cats instinctively know the best places to sleep and have to find their own safe spots in nature. When they have loving homes, it’s up to us to provide them with the best for their health!

1 https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-long-dogs-sleep-average/

2 http://www.catster.com/lifestyle/cat-behavior-five-facts-sleep

 

Kick the Soda and Sugary Drink Habit!

Last year, the many reasons to reduce or eliminate added sugar from our diets were explored on NikkenActiveWellness. See Get Smart and Get Rid of Sugar and Is Sugar as Deadly as Cigarettes? What we know is right and what we do, are unfortunately not always the same. That’s why Kenzen Super Ciaga® is such an exciting new product for Nikken to launch. It’s an organic mixed superfruit concentrate that’s going to help us kick the soda habit for good! And it’s coming to you on March 1, 2018!

Here are just a few simple numbers—average calories from sugar—of commercially sold beverages1:

  • 12 oz. can of coca cola contains 140 calories from sugar at 39g
  • 8 oz. can of Rockstar Energy Drink contains 124 calories from sugar at 31g
  • 8 oz serving of Arizona Lemon Ice Tea contains 90 calories from sugar at 24g
  • 8 oz serving of Snapple Lemon Iced Tea contains 92 calories from sugar at 23g

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, in one study, people who added soda on top of their current diet ended up consuming 17% more calories than before.2 That is because liquid sugar does not cause a feeling of fullness in the same way as solid foods, making people eat more total calories. Sugar-sweetened beverages may be the most fattening aspect of the modern diet. In fact, as little as one can of soda per day has been consistently linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. To put that number in perspective, if the entire U.S. population added one can of soda to their daily diets, almost 3.5 million people might become diabetic.3

Here’s why Kenzen Super Ciaga® can be so helpful in kicking the soda habit. It’s at least three times more concentrated than CiagaV, so dilution is recommended. That means instead of drinking one ounce in a shot glass, diluting to your taste is best. We suggest that you add three to four ounces of water per ounce. Add Super Ciaga to seltzer and you have a natural soda that’s jam packed with antioxidants—from maqui berry, elderberry, blueberry, blackberry and raspberry—and so delicious you won’t miss those nasty sodas, fully sugared or even worse, made with artificial sweeteners.

New Kenzen Super Ciaga is really a perfect “mixer.” It makes the perfect companion to Kenzen Ten4® Energy Drink. The natural sweetness from the organic mixed superfruit juice concentrate gives the organic matcha green tea a different flavor and double the antioxidant punch! Active Wellness has never been easier to maintain.

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, that increases your chances of winning! Please email pate@nikken.com.

See the contest rules here.

1 http://www.sugarstacks.com/beverages.htm

2 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10878689 

3 https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/13-ways-sugary-soda-is-bad-for-you