Do You Know What Beta Glucans Are?

Medical experts have routinely stated that having a strong immune system is important for all people, especially for those more vulnerable to illness, that is, the elderly, chronically ill and immune-compromised. Consumers are looking for products and ingredients that help immune systems and beta glucans are one of the newest. They’re well-grounded in science with more than 1,000 published articles in the scientific literature attesting to their efficacy.1

Beta glucans are chains of glucose molecules that are naturally present and act as storage depots and structural components in bacteria, fungi, algae and cereals. Their chemical structure and composition as well as their molecular weight affect the extent to which they can stimulate and support the immune system. Beta glucans exert a prebiotic effect on the GI tract: they specifically fuel beneficial GI microbiota, enabling them to flourish and compete against pathogenic bacteria for space and food.

 While we think of the digestive tract primarily as the organ for digesting food and absorbing nutrients, it is also the body’s largest immune organ. Approximately 70% of immune cells reside in the human intestine.3 Feeding and maintaining the health of intestinal cells maintains GI tract integrity so it can act as a physical barrier to invading pathogens.

Because beta glucans are a type of soluble fiber, it can slow down the process of food moving through the intestines. By slowing down the digestive process, the body doesn’t absorb sugar as quickly and this helps stabilize blood sugar levels, an important benefit especially for diabetics. As beta glucans travel through the entire digestive tract, it can help transport cholesterol out, helping to lower levels. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a heart-healthy label for foods that have high amounts of beta glucan, based on this evidence.4

Like many fibers, beta glucans are available in supplement form. They are also found in various types of fungi, such as maitake and reishi mushrooms. Less known ingredients such as inulin and spirulina are also sources of beta glucans. More commonly, beta glucans are found in whole grains, oats, bran, wheat and barley.

Dietary fiber is sourced from plant-based foods, another good reason to incorporate them into an Active Wellness regimen. Many Nikken nutritional supplements contain an assortment of beta glucans. Check out Kenzen® Immunity, Kenzen® Cleanse & Detox, Kenzen Lactoferrin® 2.0, Kenzen Vital Balance® Meal Replacement Mix, Kenzen® Jade GreenZymes®, Kenzen® Digestion 4-20 and Kenzen® Total Vegan Drink Mix.

 

1, 2, 3 Nutraceuticals World, April 2020, pp.24-25

4 https://www.healthline.com/health/beta-glucan-heart-healthy#TOC_TITLE_HDR_1

Drinking Water Helps Boost Your Immunity

March 22, 2020 is World Water Day. It’s an annual United Nations observance day that highlights the importance of fresh water and its sustainable management and promotes awareness about everything related to water. Whether you participate in celebratory local events, educational seminars or simply incorporate filtered, not bottled, water usage into your Active Wellness regimen, you can spread the word to help save Planet Earth.

Currently, the number one topic covered by global news media seems to be the pandemic. Schools and businesses are shutting down, events are being canceled and people are self-quarantining. This creates a new level of mental and physical discomfort that promotes a feeling of helplessness. But there are basic things we can do daily to help maintain our wellness. Things, such as washing our hands frequently, observing social distancing and leaving your dwelling only when necessary.

Water plays such an important role in helping to maintain a healthy body. Your immune system is the first defense against germs, bacteria and free radicals. How can you keep that immune system operating at optimal levels? Water helps carry oxygen throughout the body to organs, tissues, and blood cells. Since blood is composed of more than 90% water, water feeds those carrier blood cells.1 Keep your immunity up by drinking plenty of water to help stave off infection. Staying hydrated helps your body naturally eliminate toxins that may cause illness.2

Lymphocytes are white blood cells located in the lymph nodes in the immune system. Their job is to detect foreign antigens and produce the antibodies to destroy the waste material, which keeps the immune function intact. Drinking water works like a waterfall that helps the body’s digestive system work efficiently to process nutrients while ridding it of waste. In other words, drinking plenty of water helps boost the immune system by preventing the buildup of toxins in the kidneys and the liver.  Add Kenzen® Lactoferrin 2.0, Kenzen® Cleanse & Detox and Kenzen® Immunity for even more support!

All cells and organs need water to function properly. So, drink lots of water and this year, celebrate World Water Day in your own way. Don’t join the panicked crowds lining up to buy single-use bottled water. Simply make sure you and everyone you care about have at least one PiMag Waterfall® at home to filter your tap water. When on-the-go, make sure you have portable eco-friendly PiMag® Sport Bottles to filter out bacteria and other pathogens wherever you fill up—from water fountains and taps. Drink to your health and to reduced plastic waste for Planet Earth!

Most importantly, remember to change your water filters regularly to insure optimal performance from your Waterfall and Sport Bottle!

1https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/290814

2https://www.fishertitus.org/health/boost-your-immune-system

 

 

Probiotics Help You Eat Right

Probiotics are in the news now more than ever. From the Greek pro, meaning promoting, and biotics, meaning life, these life-promoting compounds are gaining in usage for good reason. Fermented foods have been shown to be probiotic-rich and may help balance the microbiome and support the immune system!

Our bodies naturally have good or helpful bacteria as well as bad or harmful bacteria. Maintaining the correct balance between these bacteria is necessary for optimal health. This is where probiotics come in. The wrong bacteria in the wrong place can cause problems but the right bacteria in the right place can have benefits. Probiotics are live microorganisms that may be able to help prevent and treat some illnesses.1

Age, genetics and diet may influence the composition of the bacteria in the body. When the bacteria in our bodies are not in balance, we are in “dysbiosis” and may experience certain illnesses linked to the digestive system. Probiotics help shift the balance in favor of good bacteria for healthy digestion. When the digestive tract is healthy, it filters out and eliminates things that can damage it, such as harmful bacteria, toxins, chemicals and other waste products.2

The other way that probiotics help overall health is how they affect the immune system. Since the immune system protects against germs, dysfunction can cause allergic reactions, autoimmune disorders and infections.3 Just like the digestive system, the immune system functions optimally when in balance, and probiotics have been shown to be of benefit.

As we age, changes take place in the gut. These include shifts in the composition of the intestinal microbiota where there is an increase in harmful bacteria and a decrease in good bacteria. The amount of time it takes for food to be processed and leave the digestive system increases as metabolism slows down with age. These changes may result in increased putrefaction in the colon and a greater susceptibility to disease and infection.4

Taking probiotics through natural foods and beverages such as yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi and kombucha can easily be part of an Active Wellness diet.kim-deachul-NOAzwcMzZJA-unsplash Dietary and nutritional supplements such as Kenzen Lactoferrin® 2.0, Kenzen® Cleanse & Detox and Kenzen Vital Balance® contain prebiotics and/or probiotics—they not only help boost the immune and digestive systems, but they also promote healthy minds!  Incorporating them into a daily regimen truly is a no-brainer!

 

 

1, 2, 3 https://www.medicinenet.com/probiotics/article.htm

4 https://www.functionalfoodscenter.net/

Enjoy Your Celebrations but Moderation is Best

From the holiday season of exuberant dining and imbibing, we plunged headlong into New Year’s resolutions! All that extra indulgence had to be dealt with! By the end of January, our resolve had been tested and some of us may already have fallen. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, there may be temptations galore yet again!

Staying well informed is one way to prevent excessive consumption of alcoholic spirits and sugary foods during celebrations. Many people are surprised to learn what counts as one drink. The amount of liquid in your glass, can, or bottle does not necessarily match up to how much alcohol is actually in your drink. Different types of liquor can have very different amounts of alcohol content. That’s why it’s important to know how much alcohol your drink contains.

In the United States, one “standard” drink (or one alcoholic drink equivalent) contains roughly 14 grams of pure alcohol,1 which is found in:

  • 12 fluid ounces of regular beer, usually about 5% alcohol.
  • 5 fluid ounces of wine, typically about 12% alcohol.
  • 5 fluid ounces of distilled spirits, about 40% alcohol.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, moderate drinking is up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men.2

 One way to keep yourself from overindulging is to slow down the pace of drinking and to eat something at the same time. Dietician Cynthia Sass recommends eating something that has protein, fat or both because those two empty out of the stomach slower. She explains that they create a better buffer than carbohydrates.3 She also suggests a glass of water with each alcoholic drink, then adding another glass of water before your next beverage. She adds that “mock-tails” are a great alternative to alcohol when you are staying within your limit. Mock-tails often have sparkling water, berries and herbs to make them taste delicious without the alcohol content.

Certain people should avoid alcohol completely, including those who:

  • Plan to drive or operate machinery, or participate in activities that require skill, coordination, and alertness.
  • Take certain over-the-counter or prescription medications.
  • Have certain medical conditions.
  • Are recovering alcoholics or are unable to control the amount that they drink.
  • Are younger than age 21.
  • Are pregnant or trying to become pregnant.

Most people recognize that alcohol can do serious damage to the liver when used in excess; however, your immune system takes a hit, too. Even one night of drinking too much liquor can impair your body’s ability to evade infections, for up to 24 hours afterward.4 Any individual prone to colds or sinus infections should monitor alcohol intake to avoid illness this winter. To help stay on the Active Wellness path, Kenzen® Immunity and Kenzen® Cleanse & Detox are two of our favorite organic supplements that help counteract the possible effects of overindulgence!

Wishing you a Happy Lunar New Year of the Rat—full of prosperity and moderate indulgences in a healthy life of Active Wellness!

 

1 https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/what-standard-drink

2 https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/moderate-binge-drinking

3 https://abc7.com/4767686/

4 https://www.keckmedicine.org/how-too-many-drinks-during-the-holidays-can-be-bad-for-your-health/

Is it Heartburn or is it GERD?

Most of us have had an occasional bout of heartburn, and as unpleasant as it might be, it’s relatively benign. On the other hand, if heartburn becomes chronic, it may be a symptom of GERD, short for gastroesophageal reflux disease.

November 24-30, 2019 is GERD Awareness Week in the United States. American Thanksgiving is celebrated each year on the fourth Thursday of November and often involves overeating, so that week is dedicated to educating the public about GERD, a disease which affects about 20% of the population and revolves around the digestive system.

GERD is also known as acid reflux disease and its prevalence is on the rise. Because GERD is a primary risk factor for esophageal cancer, it’s important to develop preventative habits and understand the triggers.

GERD affects the lower esophageal sphincter, which is the ring of muscle between the esophagus and stomach. In normal digestion, the lower esophageal sphincter opens to allow food to pass into the stomach and then closes to prevent food and stomach acids to flow back upwards. Screen Shot 2019-11-20 at 12.36.35 PMReflux occurs when the esophageal sphincter is weak and allows the stomach contents to go back upward into the esophagus.

If heartburn occurs more than once a week, becomes more severe, occurs at night and awakens you, these are possible signs of GERD. Less known symptoms that may be associated with GERD include belching, difficulty or pain when swallowing, a sudden excess of saliva, dysphagia (the feeling of food being stuck in the esophagus), chronic sore throat, laryngitis, gum inflammation, tooth enamel eroding, morning hoarseness, bad breath and a sour taste in the mouth.1

Whether you suffer from occasional or frequent heartburn or even GERD, there are some precautions that can help prevent episodes:

  • Eat a plant-based diet. Greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries and seeds all help prevent or shorten GERD attacks. Winter squash, corn, beets and whole grains also help minimize symptoms.2
  • Make green juice in a blender with cruciferous veggies such as cabbage or kale. These nutrient-rich foods promote a healthy digestive tract lining and help reduce stomach acids.3
  • Eat five to six small meals a day rather than three larger ones. Too much food triggers acid production in the stomach.
  • Eat your last meal of the day at least three hours before bedtime.
  • Drink at least eight glasses of water daily, as water helps dilute stomach acid.
  • Try to avoid citrus, because they produce more stomach acid. These include oranges, grapefruits, lemons and limes.
  • Alcohol and smoking worsen GERD and heartburn symptoms.
  • Fried and high-fat foods as well as caffeinated beverages trigger heartburn and GERD.4
  • Try to maintain a healthy weight. Obesity or being overweight contributes to GERD. A British study of more than 10,000 people, ages 20 to 59, found that obese participants were nearly three times more likely to suffer GERD symptoms than those of normal weight.5

 As we approach Thanksgiving, let’s be mindful of what we’re eating and how much we’re eating. It’s all part of Active Wellness and treating ourselves is enjoyable unless we have to suffer the consequences of overindulgence. During the holidays, it’s prudent to keep Kenzen® Cleanse & Detox and Kenzen® Digestion Complex 4-20 with you everywhere you go!

 

1 https://www.aboutgerd.org/signs-and-symptoms-overview.html

2, 3,4,5 https://medshadow.org/avoiding-gerd-meds-side-effects/?gclid=Cj0KCQiA5dPuBRCrARIsAJL7oegRPO3Tz8m5wlXCjX3nKpESBen-Y9dIukdxY0fBUhTCeSj3j0Iw4akaAt6IEALw_wcB

What’s the Best Way to Enjoy the Autumn Months?

Traditionally, autumn is the colorful harvest season that precedes the cold winter months. The temperature begins to drop and the air becomes dryer as winds blow and leaves fall. In contrast to Nature’s beautiful brush strokes, autumn is often a time for many people to get sick with colds and flu, and for the digestive system to take a major hit, causing various intestinal disorders. Fortunately, there’s a reason for this and simple solutions.

Each change of season is a transitional period in Nature and our bodies follow suit even if we are unconscious of what’s happening. Autumn is a time when leaves fall and vegetation is either harvested or dies off. During this natural cycle of life and death, mold is released. Even though mold is airborne year round, this extra release can be a stress on the immune system.

Depending on the individual’s state of Active Wellness, the immune system either continues working well or becomes overloaded during autumn. Digestion may not be as smooth and the foods that worked well during the summer may suddenly be overwhelming. Autumn is therefore an ideal time to reduce the toxic load on the immune and digestive systems. In fact, since 60 to 80% of the immune system revolves around the digestive system, the two impact each other a great deal.1

In addition to being the perfect time to incorporate Kenzen® Cleanse & Detox and Kenzen Lactoferrin® 2.0  into your daily regimen, here are some things to do that may help decrease toxic overload:

  • Minimize exposure to chemical toxins in the environment or in products you might use on a daily basis, including cosmetics, laundry detergent, cleaners, plastics, air fresheners, etc.
  • Try using unscented cleaners and detergents. Scented products often are full of artificial ingredients that tend to burden the immune and digestive systems.
  • Read labels and try eating food without artificial food coloring and preservatives. Processed foods in general may irritate sensitive digestive tracts.
  • Dry cleaning often contains chemicals that not only create breathing issues but also tax the central nervous system, which rules the digestive system! Even if you can’t avoid dry cleaning clothing, be aware and try to allow time for them to air out.
  • Pay attention to food sensitivities. This is a great time of year to eat warming foods, just as summer was a perfect time to eat cooling salads. A rule of thumb is to heed Nature and eat what grows seasonally, for example, pumpkins, squash, root vegetables (like beets and turnips), dark leafy greens, and whatever is locally grown.
  • Store your reusable plastic bags and containers in closed cupboards and air-tight containers. Plastics contain petrochemical molecules that are airborne, especially indoors.
  • Drink filtered water. Chlorine is a harsh chemical placed in many municipal water systems. The PiMag Waterfall® exceeds the standard for chlorine reduction and helps households filter tap water and reduce or eliminate the use of bottled water that becomes trash in landfills.
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine recommends preventing gastrointestinal flare-ups by eating moistening foods, such as tofu, tempeh, spinach, barley, pears, apples, seaweed, mushrooms, almonds, sesame seeds, persimmons and loquat, also known as monkfruit.2
  • Protect skin from the dryness and wind. Use a moisturizer such as True Elements® Youthful Face Cream at night and Nourishing Face Cream during the day. For optimum results, exfoliate first to get rid of flaky skin—True Elements® Radiance Scrub is gentle and soothing.

Try to get plenty of rest and sleep to help keep your immune system happy, and enjoy this beautiful season!dennis-buchner-p_tvAd7HBxo-unsplash

 

1 https://www.no-ibs.com/blog/why-does-ibs-act-up-in-spring-or-fall/

2 https://thehutong.com/what-to-eat-in-autumn/

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® 2.0,  Kenzen® 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.

No wonder Kenzen Ten4® Energy Drink Mix and Kenzen® Cleanse & Detox are two of our best selling Active Wellness nutritional supplements!

 

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/