Dr. Jaclyn Chasse, naturopathic physician and President of the New Hampshire Association of Naturopathic Doctors says that when most people think about probiotics, they think about the important role they play in supporting digestive health.
There is a large body of research demonstrating the vital role that probiotics play in the proper functioning of the intestines as well as digestion, absorption, and assimilation of nutrients. In contrast, some people are not aware of some of the other beneficial effects of probiotic supplementation. One of the less publicized benefits of probiotics is the beneficial effect on the immune system.
Several human studies have been published demonstrating the protective effect of probiotics against several types of infectious organisms. With increasing concerns around superbugs and contagious diseases, probiotics are an inexpensive, safe, and easy option to support a healthy immune response to organisms and viruses in our environment. Read more
What you should know:
Vitamin D is extremely important for your bone health. Vitamin D increases your body's ability to absorb calcium, a mineral that builds our bones. Without enough vitamin D, our bones can become brittle, thin or misshapen.
If you are like most people, most of your vitamin D results from sunlight -- ultraviolet rays (UV rays). Some people do not have many opportunities to absorb vitamin D from sun exposure. They are often inactive people in nursing homes, people with very dark skin, and people who cover up with dark clothing. People who work indoors at night and sleep during the day are also at risk. Very heavy people with a lot of fat under their skin also have a problem absorbing enough vitamin D from the sun. Sunscreens (used to prevent burns, melanoma skin cancer, & moles) can also block out rays that help to build bones.
Diet can also affect your level of vitamin D. People with a milk allergy or lactose intolerance, and vegans & vegetarians might lack enough vitamin D in their diets. People who have had gastric bypass surgery are also at risk.
Women who breast feed might need a vitamin D supplement for themselves and their babies. Many people do not get enough vitamin D from UV light or food alone. Thus our government wisely started requiring dairies to add vitamin D to milk in the 1930s. This action made rickets, a damaging bone condition, rare. Good sources of vitamin D include fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, & tuna), cod liver oil, and orange juice, milk and yogurt fortified with vitamin D. Many cereals also include supplemental vitamin D and are eaten with milk. Read more
New research shows that besides lowering blood pressure and pulse rate, and reducing levels of the stress hormone cortisol spending time in nature also boosts your immune system.
In a study in Japan, 12 healthy men between the ages of 37 and 55 took a three-day, two-night trip to the forest. On the first day, the men spent two hours in the afternoon walking in the forest. On day two, they walked in the forest for two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon.
Blood samples tested on days two and three, showed that in 11 of the 12 men there was a 50% increase in natural killer cells. These cells are one of the main components of the immune system, and they play a central role in fighting tumors and viruses. Read more