Ins and Outs of Water Safety

During the summer months, the topic of water safety comes up as the warm weather attracts people of all ages to pools, lakes and the beach. Whether indoors or enjoying water sports outside, being “water competent” is key to having fun without being at risk of drowning. According to the American Red Cross, the skills required to achieve water competency are to be able to enter the water, get a breath, stay afloat, change position, swim a distance and then get out of the water safely.1

Common sense dictates that all children, whether they are water competent or not, be supervised when they are in or near bodies of water. “Better safe than sorry” absolutely applies to water safety. Drowning is a leading cause of accidental death among children of all ages and is a worldwide phenomenon. That’s why it is paramount that children are educated early in recognizing drowning risks to protect themselves and others. Public awareness and education focused on young children is the most powerful tool to prevent fatal and non-fatal drowning.2

Water can kill in more ways than by drowning. The World Health Organization says that every year more than 3.4 million people die as a result of water related diseases. Most of the victims are young children, the majority of who die of illnesses caused by organisms that thrive in contaminated water sources.3

In countries such as Canada and the United States, the law protects public drinking water supplies with specific standards, so it is generally safe to drink water straight out of the tap. However, even in North America, there are places that don’t have readily available potable water. Water in different states and provinces have discernible tastes, some palatable and others not. Whether due to convenience or taste, far too many people habitually drink bottled water, adding to the catastrophic carbon footprint of plastic waste. And ironically, the water within the bottles is not necessarily better for the health.

Why not commit to drinking water that is produced with Active Wellness and sustainability in mind? Plastic bottles simply are not sustainable—they use vast quantities of fossil fuels and water itself—they’re manufactured, filled and shipped around the globe, creating a massive carbon footprint!4 Even with recycling efforts, six out of seven plastic bottles consumed in the U.S. become waste in land fills or end up in the ocean.5garbage-unusedplasticimage

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there may be a slight chance that bottled water contains more contaminants than tap water. The EPA strictly regulates tap water, while bottled water is categorized as a packaged food product by the Food and Drug Administration. Testing is not as stringent or strictly enforced as tap water.6

The solution is so simple: drink water from a PiMag Waterfall® or PiMag® Sport Bottle. Not only do they help decrease your carbon footprint, it’s actually healthier for you! Alkalizing with 99%+ reduction in bacteria, particulates, chlorine, chloramine, cyst and lead—the eco-friendly bottle has replaceable filters, each of which provides the equivalent of drinking approximately 250 12 to 16-ounce bottles of water. The Waterfall holds 1.32 gallons or five liters of water and each replaceable filter lasts 90 days or for 900 liters, whichever comes first! Save money, but more importantly, save our planet.

Discover Planet Earth. Live Green and Clean. Share Community Conscience.

 

1 https://www.redcross.org/about-us/news-and-events/news/water-safety-month-how-to-be-safe-in-and-around-the-water.html

2 https://www.stopdrowningnow.org/?gclid=Cj0KCQjwhdTqBRDNARIsABsOl98GvIb5te6BAdcy_tRq6_wWGiD1sEYVa8_o74YWvEYzLy6S-NCQyAIaAvXvEALw_wcB

3 https://www.voanews.com/archive/who-waterborne-disease-worlds-leading-killer

4, 5 https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-11193/7-reasons-to-never-drink-bottled-water-again.html

6 https://www.livestrong.com/article/154123-bottled-water-side-effects/

 

 

Do You Have Itchy Skin and Stiff Joints?

At Nikken, we promote Active Wellness as a way of living. It’s a proactive rather than reactive approach to life. That means taking measures to maintain health and doing the best to prevent bodily and mental breakdown. Ironically, as we make huge advances in technology, we continue to be confronted with challenges that often have no sure-fire solutions. This is the case with psoriasis, a chronic autoimmune disease that affects more than 125 million people worldwide.1

No one knows the exact cause of psoriasis, but since August is Psoriasis Awareness Month, it is a good time to learn about it, whether we suffer from outbreaks of scaly skin or not. Researchers believe psoriasis can be triggered by cuts, scrapes or surgery, as well as emotional stress, infections, and even certain medications, such as beta-blockers that control blood pressure and antimalarial drugs.2 This skin disorder causes skin cells to multiply 10 times faster than normal, building into bumpy red patches with white scales.3 It’s not contagious but sometimes occurs with members of the same family.

Although not curable, certain precautions can be taken to help prevent flare-ups:

  • Stay warm in cold, dry weather. Researchers have shown that psoriasis occurs more often in wintry weather, so limiting the skin’s exposure to the cold is a proactive measure.
  • Keep skin moisturized. Dry skin is a trigger and can make scaling more severe. A humidifier may be helpful, especially in winter months. Alternatively, use True Elements® Marine Organic Skin Care to cleanse, tone and hydrate skin year round.
  • Get short, regular bursts of sunlight, because ultraviolet radiation has immunosuppressive effects. UV light therapy is a known treatment option for psoriasis.
  • Wear sunscreen to avoid sunburn. Skin damage of any kind is a trigger for flareups.
  • Make sure to get enough Vitamin D, since a deficiency is common in people with psoriasis.
  • Take extra care when cutting nails or shaving and avoid scratching insect bites. Wear gloves when gardening and be careful when preparing food with knives.
  • Reduce stress. Reports suggest that stress may trigger flare-ups in 68% of adults with psoriaris.4 Practice yoga and meditation to ease stress.
  • Eat a whole food diet that includes nuts and seeds, since they contain good fats, which may help improve skin health. Avoid food that is known to be inflammatory, especially processed carbohydrates and anything with lots of added sugar.
  • Take Kenzen® Omega Green + DHA. Research suggests that omega fatty acids may improve various signs and symptoms of psoriasis.5 Since Omega Green + DHA is made with flaxseed oil, cranberry seed oil and red algae, it comes from sustainable resources that are kosher, vegan certified and gluten-free. OmegaDHANew_317x310With all three types of omega fatty acids formulated in optimal proportions (3, 6, 9), Kenzen® Omega Green + DHA is designed for heart health, an added benefit, since the risk of heart disease rises for those suffering from psoriasis.
  • Stay hydrated. Dehydration is found among people with psoriasis, especially females 60 years of age and older.7 Keep a PiMag® Waterfall  in your kitchen for cooking purposes as well as drinking, and take a PiMag® Sport Bottle with you everywhere.
  • Take Kenzen® Joint. Although symptoms of psoriasis depend on the specific type, sufferers commonly experience some combination of itchy skin, burning or sore skin, scaly skin and swollen or stiff joints. Kenzen® Joint nutritionally supports collagen, bone and connective tissue repair with a high concentration of cetyl myristoleate combined with glucosamine, methylsulfonylmethane and compounds from the boswellia plant.
  • Use CM Complex Cream  for its naturally soothing and cooling effects on achy joints. In addition to cetyl myristoleate, this topical formulation includes aloe, menthol and peppermint, which are derived from plants and offer a natural alternative to chemical ointments.

All the precautions mentioned above may help those trying to prevent psoriasis flare-ups. They also are part of the Active Wellness approach to wellbeing for anyone seeking to maintain or improve health—physically and mentally.

 

1, 7 https://www.philips.co.uk/c-e/challenge-psoriasis/psoriasis-stop/life/staying-well-hydrated-with-psoriasis.html

2, 3 https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/psoriasis/understanding-psoriasis-basics#1

4 https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324185.php

5, 7 https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322302.php

 

Vaccines in a “Viral” World

August is National Immunization Awareness Month. Whether you have children or grandchildren, understanding how vaccines work is an important aspect of successful parenting/co-parenting and role modeling Active Wellness.

A vaccine works by training the immune system to recognize and fight pathogens, whether they’re viral or bacterial. In order to achieve this goal, certain molecules from either a virus or a bacterium (known as antigens) are injected into the body so that the immune system can identify and remember them as “enemies.” When confronted with the antigens, the immune system goes to work by activating white blood cells that make proteins called antibodies, which locate the “enemies” and wage a counter offensive.

Depending on the strength of the virus/bacteria, the immune system will succeed or fail. In cases where the antibody response is too late, the invading organism can cause a severe or life-threatening infection.1 Fortunately, in many cases, even when symptoms are already present, the immune system and its antibodies can eventually help stop many infections and help the body recover.

Vaccines can be effective to protect entire populations even when not everyone is inoculated. This phenomenon is called “herd immunity” or “community immunity.” Public health officials and scientists continue to study herd immunity to identify key thresholds. One notable example is in Gambia, where 70% of the population was vaccinated and that was enough to eliminate the Hib disease, a bacterial illness that can lead to potentially deadly brain infection in young children. 2

In addition to those who choose not to vaccinate, there is a percentage of the population that cannot be vaccinated due to severe allergies, pregnancy or compromised immune systems. Fortunately, when “herd immunity” occurs, these unvaccinated people are able to stay safe—this was the case with the 30% of Gambians who were not vaccinated but did not contract Hib.

Those with hardier immune systems fare better when attacked by pathogens. The elderly are especially at risk, because they are more likely to contract infectious diseases than the young. Respiratory infections, influenza and particularly pneumonia are leading causes of death in people over 65 worldwide. Furthermore, studies have shown that people over 65 respond less favorably to vaccines than healthy children. Despite this reduction in efficacy, sickness and death in older people have been significantly lowered when compared with those who do not get vaccinations.3

Scientists continue to research why certain nutrients and micronutrients may alter components of immune function—but there is no evidence they can actually bolster immunity to the point of being protective against infection and disease.4 There are so many different kinds of cells in the immune system that they respond in innumerable ways to the myriad types of microbes. Scientists still don’t know which specific cells to boost and by how much. What they do know is that the body continually generates immune cells and the extra cells remove themselves through a natural process of cell death.5

Studies have been conducted over the years regarding the relationship of mushrooms and immune response.* Mycologists continue to produce evidence that mushroom species have been used as far back as 3,000 B.C. for their potential benefits.6

Kenzen® Immunity is formulated with 14 species of mushrooms, of which six strains are exclusive to Nikken.

 

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

 

1 https://www.healthychildren.org/english/safety-prevention/immunizations/pages/how-do-vaccines-work.aspx?gclid=Cj0KCQjwsvrpBRCsARIsAKBR_0K1qpH3l8MWxw8F7XDByXgroXsUyZfesNBZRk-NUqM6OroO9z3dlYsaAkiKEALw_wcB

2 https://www.publichealth.org/public-awareness/understanding-vaccines/vaccines-work/

3,4,5 https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-boost-your-immune-system

6 https://www.christopherhobbs.com/library/featured-articles/mushroom-medicine-challenges-and-potential/

Help Keep Our Beaches and Oceans Clean

In order to help keep our oceans and marine life sustainable, we need to keep our beaches clean. Beaches are home to many creatures, including sea lions and sea turtles that depend on both land and sea to survive. Even sea creatures that live solely in the water are affected by polluted beaches when trash that accumulates on the beach is washed out with the tides. In addition to plastic and paper trash, chemical and human wastes on the beach also wash out to sea.

Plastic pollution impacts virtually every living organism in, or thriving off of, the oceans of our world.1  Sea turtles, sea lions, sea birds, fish, whales and dolphins are creatures that often are found dead with huge amounts of plastic debris in their bellies, digestive tracts, fins and other internal organs.

Every person who visits any beach in any part of the world can help keep our beaches and oceans clean. We each can commit to making a difference and educating our children, so they can practice green behaviors from an early age. If you haven’t already started, this summer is a great time to take action:

  1. “Take 3 for the Sea” is an organization that teaches people to take three pieces of trash with you when you leave the beach or any waterway. By doing so, you will have made a difference. Participation in this program has burgeoned to 129 countries with 300,000 people educated in helping to make plastic pollution a thing of the past.2
  2. Don’t drink bottled water. More than one million plastic bottles are purchased every minute around the world. 3 They require large amounts of energy and water to produce, then end up clogging landfills.
  3. Use re-usable alternatives to plastic bottles. You can buy re-usable water bottles everywhere, but you can only purchase the PiMag® Sport Bottle with the nano-technology filter system at Nikken. PiMagSportBottle-with-straw_small_7-18[2]At home, you can make a difference by drinking filtered water from a PiMag Waterfall®—good for Active Wellness as well as minimizing your personal carbon footprint. PiMag-Waterfall-4-3-18
  4. Use re-usable tote bags and containers. Avoid buying food and other items wrapped in plastic. For example, when buying fresh food, buy whole fruit and vegetables instead of pre-cut, prepackaged versions wrapped in plastic. Shop at bulk food bins and bring your own containers. Carry out with your own totes.
  5. Decrease chemical usage as much as possible. Pesticides, fertilizers and weed killers are harmful for our oceans—the closer you live to the sea, the more likely those chemicals will end up there. About 245,000 square kilometers (about the size of the UK) are known as “dead zones” where marine life cannot survive, due to chemical poisons in the eco-system.
  6. Opt for mineral sunscreens or non-nano zinc oxide as the primary active ingredient. Chemicals such as oxybenzone and octinoxate that are commonly found in popular sunscreens are not eco-friendly. Once these chemicals make their way off beach bodies into the ocean, they can damage coral DNA. Sunscreens without these damaging chemicals are called “reef-safe.” 5
  7. Be careful what you flush down the toilet. Medicines have been detected in ground water and marine life. For example, 4500 wet wipes were found in a 154 square-meter portion of the Thames river in 2017, an example of what doesn’t break down in the flushing process. 6

Share your knowledge of eco-friendly habits with friends and family. The more people who commit to making a difference, the better chance we have of maintaining the lives of our beaches and oceans.

1 https://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/marine-animals-are-dying-because-of-our-plastic-trash/

2 https://www.take3.org/?gclid=CjwKCAjwg-DpBRBbEiwAEV1_-F4JC9qmJy35k0TPp6tB0pi5o-jQFIESz_NNK61DuzePtQM2QoFj_xoCpJsQAvD_BwE

3 https://www.take3.org/the-plastic-facts/

4, 6 http://mentalfloss.com/article/546495/things-you-can-do-help-keep-oceans-clean

5 https://oceanconservancy.org/blog/2019/05/25/4-ways-help-protect-ocean-beach-summer/?ea.tracking.id=19HPXGJAXX&gclid=CjwKCAjwg-DpBRBbEiwAEV1_-NIxzfGU-rDeqiEyBfzBtl-AOOB3v8vGZ9Ekzb0xAswuQwI2d1A-vBoCL9EQAvD_BwE

 

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

 

Do You Eat Right and Stay Hydrated During Summer Heat?

As temperatures rise, our bodies have varying needs in order to function optimally. Everyone is aware that high temperatures require more liquid intake, but sometimes it takes the symptoms of dehydration to remember to grab the water bottle! It’s far safer to drink water throughout the day, since thirst is already a sign of dehydration.

Overheating is especially easy for children and family dogs that we transport frequently in cars. It only takes 10 minutes for a car to heat up by 19 degrees; and since children’s bodies heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s, it renders them far more susceptible to heat stroke. 1 By the same token, a dog’s normal temperature is about 101.5, and a degree up or down is fine; however, once a dog’s internal temperature reaches 105, its life is in danger. 2 Never leave a child or a dog (or any other pet) in a car in the summer, even if the windows are cracked open.

In addition to staying hydrated, what we eat can also affect how our bodies cope with the summer heat. Meats and other high protein foods need to utilize more water during digestion, and food poisoning reaches its annual high during the summer. According to the Center for Disease Control, anything that has mayonnaise, dairy, or eggs in it and any meat products can develop some pretty nasty bacteria after only a couple of hours unrefrigerated.3

To prevent food poisoning, the U.S. Department of Agriculture advises us to “Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill.” This refers to washing hands and surfaces where we prepare foods, wrapping raw meat and keeping it separated and stored away from other food, cooking meats to a minimum of 145 to 165 degrees internally (poultry requires the highest heat), and keeping everything chilled in the refrigerator as long as possible, then transported in an insulated cooler.4

If drinking enough water proves challenging, there are certain foods that are easy to eat and prepare. Since they’re composed mostly of water, they help us hydrate.

  • Broccoli and cauliflower are composed of more than 90% water, as are radishes.
  • Eggplant is a great source of hydration and fiber and can serve as a versatile meat replacement, minimizing the need for much liquid during digestion.
  • Bell peppers are more than 92% water, with the green variety containing the most.5
  • Melons such as honeydew, cantaloupe, casaba, Crenshaw, hami, golden, Korean, and so many more, are natural hydrators and packed with sweetness and antioxidants.
  • Watermelon is the universally loved summer fruit that contains lycopene, an antioxidant found in fruits and vegetables with red pigmentation. Lycopene offers the added benefit of protecting against sunburn.6

Take advantage of the sunny weather to participate in outdoor activities but remember that hydration is part of Active Wellness. Keep your PiMag® Sport Bottle handy as you go to picnics, barbeques and summer outings.

1 https://www.care.com/c/stories/3357/summer-safety-tips-a-guide-to-protecting-kids-from-heat/

2 http://www.vetstreet.com/dr-marty-becker/heatstroke-summer-days-can-turn-deadly-quickly-for-overheated-dogs

3, 4 https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/features/top-7-summer-health-hazards#2

5 https://blog.memd.me/hydrating-foods-to-eat-this-summer/

6 https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/lycopene

 

Men Need to Pay Attention to Bone Health

Osteoporosis causes the skeleton to weaken and become brittle, making it easy to fracture or break. Too often, osteoporosis is a disease that is attributed only to women because men tend to have larger skeletons with bone loss starting later in life and progressing more slowly. Nevertheless, in just the United States, millions of men suffer from osteoporosis.1

Because osteoporosis often goes undiagnosed, it is especially important to prevent it. Known as a “silent disease,” osteoporosis may not exhibit any symptoms until a fracture actually occurs. Men in their fifties do not experience the rapid loss of bone mass that women do in the years following menopause; however, by age 65 or 70, men and women lose bone mass at the same rate as well as the decrease in ability to absorb calcium.2

There are two main types of osteoporosis: primary and secondary. The primary type is caused by age-related bone loss. The secondary type is caused by bone loss related to unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as smoking and excessive drinking of alcohol, lack of exercise and a diet low in calcium. Although men of any race can develop osteoporosis, Caucasians seem most at risk as well as men who have chronic diseases that affect the kidneys, lungs, stomach and intestines.3

Since osteoporosis is often asymptomatic, both men and women need to be self-aware and see their physicians if they notice a change in posture, height or the onset of back pain. These are all signs of possible osteoporosis and a bone mineral density test can confirm whether the disease is present or in the precursor stages.

If a diagnosis of osteoporosis is made, the treatment plan may include calcium and/or vitamin D supplements, exercise and a change in diet. There are also medications that may be prescribed, but this is a source of much continuing controversy as there are risks of negative side effects, even though the drugs are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.4

There have been fewer research studies on osteoporosis in men than in women; however, the consensus is that both genders should take steps to preserve bone health. Here are some preventative measures:

  • Ensure a daily calcium intake that is adequate for your age. For example, recommended calcium intake for those 9-18 years old is 1,300 mg daily but it decreases to 1,000 mg for men 19-70 years old and women up to 50 years old. At 51 years for women and 70 years for men, the recommended calcium intake increases to 1,200 mg.5
  • Ensure an adequate intake of vitamin D. 600 IU daily is recommended, while men over age 70 should increase intake to 800 IU daily.6
  • Participate regularly in weight-bearing exercises in which bones and muscles work against gravity. An Active Wellness regimen is easy to start simply with walking, jogging and climbing stairs.
  • Incorporate resistance exercises into your daily routine. Start with lifting small weights and work up to heavier ones. Or use the resistance machines at a gym.
  • Some medications are known to cause bone loss, for example, those known as glucocorticoids.7 If you take them or other medications, check with your doctor for known side effects that affect bone loss.

Check out the Nikken Bone Health Pack. Composed of Kenzen® Calcium Complex and Kenzen BDZ™, these partner products deliver maximum support for the body’s skeletal system. Bone buddies are your best friends for life.

Remember to Celebrate Father’s Day with our special Limitless Energy Pack—with the purchase of a KenkoTouch®, you also receive two Kenzen Ten4® and two black KenkoTherm DUK® Tape—available only through June 14!

 

1,2 https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/osteoporosis/men

3 https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/osteoporosis/men#c

4 https://www.naturomedica.com/blog/news/osteoporosis/what-are-the-controversies-surrounding-osteoporosis-medications

5, 6, 7 https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/osteoporosis/men#e