A Pharmacist’s Guide to Staying Well This Season Tips to Help Keep Your Immune System in Check
(Family Features) To help maintain health this season, it’s important to get the nutrients your body needs every day, through your diet as well as through high quality vitamins and supplements. In a recent
nationwide survey, three in four people agree they feel more confident about their health when they take vitamins and supplements. However, many people are not aware of what types of vitamins they need in order to support a healthy immune system.
“Most Americans have nutrient gaps in their diet, but people can make up for the nutrients they lack by adding vitamins and supplements to a daily wellness routine,” says Suzy Cohen, registered pharmacist and author of “The 24-Hour Pharmacist.” “There are a variety of ways vitamins and supplements can support a healthy immune system, but when you’re in the vitamin aisle it is important to look for quality products.”
As the number of products in the vitamin aisle can be overwhelming, Cohen recommends first looking at the brand, seeking only those committed to science-based protocols for product development, and those that are tested and verified by third-party public health organizations such as the United States Pharmacopoeia (USP). Only products that meet the stringent criteria set forth by USP are allowed to use the USP verified mark on their label.
“I recommend Nature Made because of their quality standards and scientific rigor in product development. I know I can trust Nature Made to ensure what’s on the label is in the bottle,” says Cohen. She also adds, “Nature Made is the number one pharmacist recommended brand of letter vitamins, according to a 2011 Pharmacy Times survey.”
Immune Supporting Supplements
- Vitamin C – A powerful antioxidant, Vitamin C helps maintain a healthy immune system and protects against damaging free radicals. Additionally, Vitamin C, such as the Nature Made Vitamin C 1000mg, is necessary for the body to manufacture collagen, which is essential for healthy skin.
- Vitamin D – Supports teeth, bone and immune health, and healthy levels of Vitamin D in your body may promote your heart health as well.
- Probiotics – Certain types of probiotics supply “good bacteria” that can help maintain immune system health.
- Zinc – Maintaining healthy levels of zinc in your body is necessary for healthy growth, development and proper immune function. Zinc also provides antioxidant support which helps to protect the body against damaging free radicals.
- Echinacea – Echinacea may support healthy immune function.
Source: Nature Made
Additional Immune Boosting Techniques
- Strive to get seven to eight hours of sleep each night.
- Practice relaxation techniques to get rid of stress and the harmful hormones it can trigger.
- Wash your hands regularly, especially before meals.
- Eat a balanced diet. Check out the new dietary guidelines from the U.S.
- Department of Agriculture at www.choosemyplate.gov.
- Exercise regularly. According to Harvard Health Publications, exercise may additionally support a healthy immune system by promoting healthy circulation, moving immune system cells throughout the body.
If You Get Sick
If you do get sick this cold and flu season, there are a number of things you can do to stop the spread of the virus.
- Cough or sneeze into the inside of your elbow.
- Wash your hands often.
- Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Try to avoid close contact with others to minimize the spread of the germs.
For more wellness tips and information on vitamins and supplements to boost your immune system, visit www.NatureMade.com.
The survey was conducted by ORC International on behalf of Nature Made from Aug 26- 29, 2011 among a random sample of 1,014 adults in the continental United States.
Good Nutrition Important for Eye Health as You Age
Poor vision has many causes and treatments. As you grow older, you will likely experience some type of vision loss or reduction in visual performance.
For older adults, bright lights, glare while driving at night and even blindness can dramatically affect quality of life, but the treatment isn’t just glasses or a stronger prescription — it’s also nutrition and supplementation.
Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness for Americans older than 60, according to the American Optometric Association. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 7.3 million people are at substantial risk for vision loss from AMD. Other estimates indicate that as our population continues to rapidly age, as many as one in three could be diagnosed with AMD in the next 20 years.
AMD deteriorates central vision, affecting everything from seeing faces clearly to literally having no central vision at all. Key risk factors for AMD are age, family history, smoking (past or present), low macular pigment, light skin and eyes, obesity and Caucasian women are also at slightly higher risk.
Macular Pigment Optical Density is a brief, non-intrusive exam performed by many optometrists throughout the country, which measures macular pigment in the back of the eye.
Think of macular pigment as “internal sunglasses” for the back of your eye — they absorb harmful blue light that can adversely affect eye health. Internal sunglasses protect the photoreceptors in the back of the eye — specifically the cones, which are responsible for central vision, color, sharpness and sensitivity to bright light, among others.
Two key carotenoids, Zeaxanthin (zee-uh-zan-thin) and Lutein, comprise the internal sunglasses, which can become thin as we age, unable to block or absorb harmful blue light. In order to keep the internal sunglasses thick and dense, it is important to replenish Zeaxanthin, the predominant carotenoid in the area where the concentration of cones is the highest.
Zeaxanthin is very scarce in the average daily diet and vegetables like kale, corn, collard greens, spinach and peppers naturally provide nutrients to help maintain macular health, but supplementation is often necessary.
For example, one would have to eat approximately 20 ears of corn to get a recommended dosage of 8 to 10 milligrams of natural dietary Zeaxanthin per day.
Supplements like the EyePromise brand of eye vitamins help rebuild macular pigment through unique nutritional formulas that feature the highest levels of all natural Zeaxanthin, derived from paprika. In addition to protection, Zeaxanthin and Lutein can improve visual performance, reduce glare issues and sensitivity to bright light, as well as improve color intensity and contrast sensitivity.
“Too often we concentrate our diets on weight, blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure, but ignore one of the most important organs in our bodies — our eyes,” says Dr. Dennis Giehart, founder of Zeavision. “An abundance of science has found low macular pigment puts people at risk for AMD and increasing Zeaxanthin in the diet can help improve macular pigment for improved visual performance.”
Vision shouldn’t be something you take for granted as you age. Take care of your eyes with proper nutrition and supplementation if necessary and ask your eye care professional about having your macular pigment measured to maintain your central vision.
Good Doctor-Patient Communication Can Lead to Better Management of Rheumatoid Arthritis
For patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, pain is a part of life. Nearly 70 percent of people being treated for RA, experience pain, stiffness or fatigue on a daily basis. However, many patients don’t realize that better communication with their rheumatologist could lead to improved care.
Studies have shown that earlier treatment of RA can limit joint damage, which can limit loss of movement.
“Talking to your doctor and effectively communicating how RA affects your life are keys to improving the management of your disease,” says Dr. John H. Klippel, CEO of the Arthritis Foundation. “Patients need to recognize that the rheumatologist has the very same goal as they do — to understand how RA affects their life and to develop a plan to manage their disease.”
RA is a serious form of arthritis that impacts more than 1.3 million people in the United States alone. The chronic inflammation in the lining of joints that defines RA can lead to decreased range of motion and permanent joint damage.
The Arthritis Foundation suggests RA patients do some homework before visiting their doctor by “Taking P.A.R.T.”:
- Prepare: You should keep a journal of symptoms and compile a list of questions for your doctor. List all of your medications, including prescriptions, over-the-counter remedies and even herbal supplements.
- Ask questions: You should ask questions whenever something doesn’t seem clear. This will help to ensure you understand what’s going on and how to best manage your condition. Keep it simple, specific and direct.
- Repeat: Take notes and repeat the instructions and information you receive from your doctor to make sure you heard and understand it. Ask for written handouts and instructions.
- Take action: Be part of the solution. Let your doctor know about your lifestyle, concerns and preferences so a treatment plan can be customized to your specific needs.
The Arthritis Foundation has launched a national campaign called “Let’s Talk RA” to educate RA patients on how to better communicate with their rheumatologists and to highlight how important a doctor-patient relationship is to improving patient care. Bristol-Myers Squibb sponsors the “Let’s Talk RA” campaign.
A free “Let’s Talk RA” communication kit that can help patients take a more active role in their care is available from the Arthritis Foundation at www.letstalkra.org, or by calling (800) 568-4045.
A Major New Discovery in Stem Cell Medical Science
Perhaps you’ve heard of stem cell medical tourism. Patients travel to overseas clinics which provide stem cell treatments for diseases that don’t respond well to conventional medical methods. Many of these treatments involve administering stem cells taken from umbilical cord blood and placentas. What is less well known is that important major medical discoveries have recently emerged from this advanced overseas work.
At first researchers believed that the stem cells caused healing by themselves by replacing injured cells with new ones, as stem cells are known to do. However, scientists have since reported that the stem cells are not the most important part of this treatment process. Rather, it is the special substances produced by the stem cells called cytokines (siy’ to kinds) that do most of the healing. Stem cells given to sick patients produce these cytokine substances, which in turn activate and stimulate the body’s own natural stem cells to heal diseases by replacing sick and injured cells with healthy new ones.
This new information opens the door to more conventional medical methods. “We can stimulate the body’s cytokine chemical substances so that healing will be accomplished by the patient’s own stem cells, which are found naturally throughout the body.”, says Matthew Burks, M.D. of USA Stem Cells based in Florida. This can eliminate the need to inject stem cells into the patient, which is not yet allowed in the USA.
Dr. Burks has been using this method to treat COPD, a chronic progressive disease of lung tissue, which is irreversible by current conventional methods. According to Burks, it has recently been shown that COPD causes lung disease by interfering with those cytokine chemical signals needed to activate the patient’s own stem cell healing system process. This is why patients never get well again once they have COPD. To break the COPD
cycle of interference, Dr. Burks uses various medications that are injected, inhaled and given orally to help create the cytokine signals needed to stimulate and encourage the patient’s own natural stem cells to help heal injured lung tissue through cell replacement. Dr. Burks has also incorporated advanced laser therapy to the lungs by painless external exposure, which has been shown by recent medical research to activate cytokines which stimulate the patient’s own stem cell healing activity.
Dr. Burks became committed to working on COPD quality of life issues shortly after his own father was diagnosed with the disease. Using these methods of stimulating stem cells, his father has subsequently managed
to live a much better quality of life than most with the disease. According to Burks, USA Stem Cells is committed to treating only the lung diseases COPD and pulmonary fibrosis. He also stated that this is the only clinic he knows of that uses such stem cell stimulating procedures in attempts to ameliorate the ravages of this complex disease.
Dr. Burks admits that not everyone is a candidate for this adult stem cell therapy and not everyone responds to treatment. You can visit his website (www.USAstemcells.com) for more information. To schedule a free telephone consultation with Dr. Burks, call his office at (877) 578-7908 and find out if you are a candidate for this exciting advanced adult stem cell therapy.
Written by Roger M. Nocera, M.D., stem cell expert and author of Cells That Heal Us From Cradle To Grave, A Quantum Leap In Medical Science available at Amazon.com