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Posts tagged: Vitamin D

Red Seal's Health Blog


Top tips for a strong immunity – naturally!

 

As we approach the autumn and winter months, temperatures drop, nights get longer and winter ills and chills become rife.

Fundamentally we know that there are things that can help keep our immune system strong: A healthy diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, plenty of Vitamin C, relaxation, hydration, exercise, a warm dry environment, lowered stress levels and a good mental attitude. But there are a few others that we can add to the list:

 

The Sunshine vitamin

Many people are shunning the sun due to fear of melanoma and as a result the ‘Sunshine Vitamin’, Vitamin D, has increasingly become a deficient in many people. The sun helps protect our immune system by stimulating the production of Vitamin D. Generally 5-15 minutes per day of sun exposure on bare skin will give us enough Vitamin D, but many people lose out on the benefits because of limited sun exposure, sunscreen, old age, or deeply pigmented skin.

Good levels of Vitamin D appear to support respiratory health and the body’s natural immune defences, as well as supporting cardiovascular and brain health, and easing joint stiffness.

  • Vitamin D absorption needs fats in your diet. So those people on fat reducing diets or taking medication that change their cholesterol levels may being impairing their Vitamin D levels.  
  • Help your Vitamin D levels by including nuts, avocados, walnuts, flaxseeds, egg yolk, trout, tuna, herring, and salmon into a meal, and consider taking Vitamin D supplement. Cod liver oil also helps with absorption.
  • If you think you are Vitamin D deficient a blood test can help determine your levels.

 

Our Internal Guardsmen  

The body system that controls about 70 per cent of our immune system often goes overlooked – it is our intestinal tract. The gut contains hundreds of different types of  bacteria; some of them do helpful things like break down carbohydrates in the intestine and produce infection-fighting antibodies and vitamins, while other destructive bacteria secrete toxins and promote disease.

In healthy guts the good bacteria outnumber the bad. When this is in balance, we are not even aware of the role that they do. However, when the bad outnumber the good we can have many health issues. There are two important things we need to help keep our intestinal tract robust: Prebiotics and Probiotics.

Prebiotics are like a fertilizer for the good bacteria to thrive upon. They are indigestible fibres that help to create a good environment in the gut and cleanse the body by helping keep our bowel motions regular. Found naturally in a number of foods; asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes, leeks, onions, beans, chickpeas, lentils and supplementary fibres such as psyllium, pectin, guar gum and slippery elm.

Probiotics: These bacteria are not just restricted to the intestinal tract but also populate the vagina, bladder, bowel, mouth and lungs. Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are the most common probiotic bacteria and there are a number of strains in each of these families.

Our western modern diet has unfortunately managed to process out any naturally occurring beneficial bacteria in many foods, while at the same time feeding harmful bacteria with a feast of processed starches and sugars. In contrast most traditional cultures have some form of fermented food that keep our bacteria balanced. We need regular intake of these fermented foods to ensure the balance. These include yoghurts, Kefir, sauerkraut, pickles, kombucha tea and tempeh.

  • A recent course of antibiotics (or other medication), overseas travel, signs of digestive imbalance,  change of season are all good reasons to add fermented foods into your diet or take a multi-strain probiotic supplement.

 

The On/Off Switch

Proper sleep is fundamental to a healthy lifestyle. Sleep is like an on/off switch that helps us to reboot, rebuild and rebalance on a daily basis. When we fail to get enough good sleep our body is not able to function well and we have lowered overall immunity.

If you are not sleeping well or getting inadequate sleep then you have to ask why. Is your sleeping environment suitable? Are you drinking too much caffeine? Are you stressed?

Many people refuse to listen to their body, stop, rest and give time to recuperate while sick. Sleep loss not only plays a role in whether we come down with lurgies, it also influences how we fight illnesses once we come down with them. When we are not well, sleep is one of the best healing things we can do.

  • Make sure the room where you sleep is completely dark
  • Get to bed in plenty of time.
  • Have a bath before bed time
  • Listen to relaxing music or mediation to help you sleep
  • A magnesium supplement can help you relax and prepare for sleep
  • Herbs such as Passionflower, Valerian, Chamomile and Skullcap can help the body relax and prepare for sleep so make a good night tea before bed.
  • Tart Cherry can also help support production of our natural sleep hormones.
  • There are numerous medications that have side effects that include insomnia. So it is a good idea to check the side effects of your medication if you are having problems sleeping.

 

Power of Vitamin C

Let’s not forget the winter essential! Vitamin C is an important antioxidant for immunity.  It helps to strengthen the body’s defences against the dreaded winter sniffles and also helps with healing.

In the body, the antioxidant process is similar to stopping an apple from browning.  Once you cut an apple, it begins to brown, dip it in orange or lemon juice, which contains vitamin C, and is stays white!

  • Antioxidant rich foods are essential. Fruits & vegetables, whole grains and nuts
  • Keep a tub of chewable vitamin C’s in your cupboard and on your desk at work. This will ensure you’re getting your daily dose wherever you are.

  

Always read the label and use as directed. Supplementary to a balanced diet. Red Seal, Auckland.

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The Sunshine Vitamin – are you getting enough?

VitDBlog_650x300_v1

 

Most of us are now very aware of the damage the sun can cause and the days of sun baking and sun worship are gone. The nationalised program of “slip, slop, slap, wrap” to cover up with clothing, hats, sunscreen and sunglasses has become a national mantra to protect against sunburn. It is no surprise when New Zealand rates of melanoma are the highest in the world. Shunning the sun has meant many have taken a toll on their health without realising it. This combined with aspects such as an indoor lifestyle, increased age, increased weight, dark pigmented skin and dietary constraints such as avoiding dairy products, adhering to a strict vegan diet or those who are on cholesterol lowering medication impact the level of Vitamin D intake.  The “sunshine vitamin”, Vitamin D is produced by the body in response to skin being exposed to sunlight, but it is also occurs naturally in a few foods – including some fish, (such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel), fish liver oils, egg yolks, and fortified dairy.

Many people tested for Vitamin D levels show that they are below optimal levels.  Generally it is considered 5 to 15 minutes of daily summer sun exposure on bare skin on our arms and legs, to give us enough Vitamin D to help keep us healthy.

The symptoms of a Vitamin D deficiency in adults include:

  • unexplained fatigue
  • severe bone or muscle pain
  • stress fractures, especially in the legs, pelvis, and hips

The change of season often means increased chances of winter bugs. Cold wet days of winter and end of summer for many of us means reduced outdoor time and decreased sunshine exposure.

It is not surprising with the change of season that more people come down with lurgies as the drop in this vitamin has been linked to a decrease in immune function. Vitamin D for many years has been one of those nutrients that have gone almost unnoticed by many because we make it naturally with sun exposure. Recent studies have shown there is a connection to this nutrient with supporting the immune system, mood balance, bone health and other serious illnesses.

Vitamin D is important for:

  • Normal growth and development of bones and teeth
  • Disease resistance
  • reducing risk of some serious illnesses.
  • reducing risk of ills and chills.
  • Supporting weight Management
  • Supporting balanced mood.
  • Bone strength and integrity
  • Healthy heart function and normal blood pressure
  • Joint mobility
  • Protective effect from some serious illnesses

Doctors can diagnose a Vitamin D deficiency by performing a simple blood test. If you have had your Vitamin D levels tested, it’s important to understand what the results mean, and what action you might need to take. The results of the blood test can tell you whether you’re getting too little, too much or the right amount of vitamin D.

There has been some controversy over the amount of vitamin D needed for healthy functioning. Recent research indicates that you need more vitamin D than was once thought. Normal blood serum levels range from 50 to 100 micrograms per decilitre. Depending on your blood level, your Vitamin D intake needs may be increased.

Vitamin D blood levels  
0-10ng ml Deficiency – likely to have health problems
10-20 ng/ml Low levels
20-30 ng/ml Maybe enough
40-50 ng/ml Getting enough
50-60 ng/ml Good range/ normal
60-70 ng/ml High normal
80-90 ng/mg Higher than normal range
100 -150 ng/mg Not toxic but considered too high
<150 ng/mg Levels considered toxic and may be damaging to your health
   

 

If you feel you are lacking Vitamin D and are looking for a way to supplement it, consider adding Vitamin D rich foods into your diet, enjoy a few minutes of sunshine daily and look for supplements such as a multivitamin, Cod Liver oil and calcium products with it added.

Always read the label and use as directed. Supplementary to a balanced diet. Endeavour Consumer Health, Auckland

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Six ways to battle Joint Stiffness

Joints photo

Joint stiffness is an almost inevitable part of aging, but the good news is that there are many ways to support joint comfort and joint health.

What is joint stiffness?

Joint stiffness occurs when joint cartilage wears away and bone rubs against bone. Not surprisingly, this can affect your quality of life and how active and fulfilled you feel.

Six supplements that can support joint health:

  • Red Seal Glucosamine, Chondroitin & Calcium
  • Red Seal Omega 3, Glucosamine & Chondroitin
  • Red Seal Krill
  • Red Seal Krill with Glucosamine & Chondroitin
  • Red Seal Fish
  • Red Seal Magnesium Forte

 

Glucosamine

This is a natural substance found in healthy cartilage. A supplement will provide you with the building blocks to help repair cartilage wear and tear. Most people find one supplement (1500 mg per day) will benefit their joints.

Note: Diabetics or the hypoglycemic should be cautious when taking glucosamine as it is an amino sugar and if you have a shellfish allergy this supplement may not be right for you. Always check with your doctor.

Always read the label and use as directed. Supplementary to a balanced diet

Chondroitin sulfate

Chondroitin is a molecule that occurs naturally in the body. It acts like a “liquid magnet”, helping to attract fluid into the joint and make it more resistant to compression and movement. Again, this is often a shellfish-based supplement, so if you have an allergy to shellfish it may not be right for you.

Always read the label and use as directed. Supplementary to a balanced diet

Omega-3

Studies have shown that the actives contained in fish or krill oil, EPA and DHA, can support joint mobility and comfort. If you’re not a fan of oily fish such as salmon, you can try adding chia seeds (rich in omega-3s) to your diet. Supplements are also a great way to increase your omega-3.

Always read the label and use as directed. Supplementary to a balanced diet

Boron

Boron may be key to maintaining and preserving levels of calcium. Research has shown that in areas where boron can be easily absorbed into the local diet, the number of people with joint issues is usually low. But New Zealand soil is low in boron so this is a common deficient mineral for many Kiwis. Since it’s not present in many foods, an easy fix is to take Red Seal Vitamin D3 with boron and selenium.

Always read the label and use as directed. Supplementary to a balanced diet

Magnesium

Magnesium is important for uptake of calcium and is also vital to help those tight, tense muscles to relax at night. Foods rich in magnesium include dark, leafy greens, avocados and bananas.

Always read the label and use as directed. Supplementary to a balanced diet

Vitamin D

In March 2009 a Mayo clinic study showed that patients with low vitamin D levels had lower joint comfort than those with adequate levels. Ask your doctor to check your vitamin D levels. It’s known as the sunshine vitamin but is also found in cod liver oil and supplements such as calcium and magnesium.

Always read the label and use as directed. Supplementary to a balanced diet

Did you know?

As there is no direct blood supply to your cartilage (that’s why it is white), it does take some time for supplements to have an effect. So be prepared to be patient and consistent – give them a go for at least six to eight weeks.

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A case of the Chickenpox?

Chicken Pox

It is never an easy time, looking on, when your child is sick.
Thankfully, Red Seal’s Naturopath, Julie Fergusson has some suggestions that may help.

Fight the virus with Vitamin’s
Kindervital 10 ml gives important nutrients such as Vitamin A and Vitamin D, which are important to support the immune system. Add herbs such as Echinacea or olive leaf for better results.

Lysine for the little ones
Lysine is also a good option to help strengthen the body’s defences. Generally a dose for a child is 20 mg per kilo. Often this supplement is mixed with zinc for lip health, but you may need to break or crush a tablet as you usually find them in 500 mg or 1000 mg tablets.

The classic baths and balms for itchiness
To help sooth the itchiness, add baking soda to the bath in about 1/2 cup.
Mix up about a tablespoon of Baking Soda with Aloe Vera gel, a few drops of Tea Tree, Peppermint and Lavender oil and spread thinly on the skin affected skin.

Homeopathics for chickenpox
In cases like chickenpox, homeopathic support really comes into its own and well worth having these tools to support recovery.

Homeopathic remedies include:

Aconitum for the early stages:
This is a remedy that is commonly taken at the initial stages of the virus. This can be identified by a fever, restlessness, and increased thirst.

Rhus Tox for intense itching:
Rhus Tox is the most commonly recommended remedy. If your child is experiencing itching, and restlessness, especially at night Rhus Tox could help.

Apis for when symptoms are worse with heat:
If your child’s pox are itching or stinging more when the room warms up or they are exposed to heat this remedy may be helpful.

Belladonna for headache, flushed face, hot skin and drowsiness:
Severe headache, flushed face, hot skin, and drowsiness with the inability to sleep are signs that a Belladonna should be considered.

Last but not least
Monitor temperature closely. A temperature is your body’s response to help cook off a virus however the key is not to let the temperature go on for too long or get too high. Seek medical attention if the temperature goes over 40°C, goes longer than 72 hours (or more than 24 hours if under age 2).

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