Immune System Strength is So Important!!

We are not out of the woods yet, my friends.

I actually believe that no matter what happens over the next several months and years, we will forever need to prioritize the health of our immune systems. So, I thought I’d jump in with this quick reminder of the best supplements to support strong immunity.

🌱 Vitamin D (check your levels or take about 4000 IU/d)
🌱 Vitamin C (your body uses this up and needs to replenish every day)
🌱 N-acetylcysteine (this is a building block of glutathione—one of the most important antioxidants in your immune system)
🌱 Glutathione (if you take this directly, the best form is liposomal)
🌱 Immune Supporting Herbs

I also think its super important to take organic, non-synthetic vitamins so your body gets the most benefits.  That’s why I am a huge supporter of Mother Earth Labs….

They actually just came out with a new Immune Support Formula..:)

The other thing your immune system needs is lots of fresh fruits and vegetables for their antioxidants and phytonutrients. Load up on those as well as water, fresh air, and exercise.

The healthier you keep your immune system and body, the more resilient you will be in the face of any germs you encounter…:)

#nutritiontips #immunehealth #glutathione #familywellnesscoach 

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month..

149,500 people will likely be diagnosed with colon cancer in 2021.

I think that’s too many.

While it’s important to get screenings to detect cancer at an early stage, taking action to prevent colon cancer is equally important. Here are some things you can do every day to reduce your risk of colon cancer:

👍 Eat vegetables, fruits, and high-fiber foods
👍 Avoid overuse of alcohol
👍 Don’t smoke
👍 Exercise regularly
👍 Keep a healthy weight

You may have also heard the recommendation to avoid eating red meat. There is mixed information about this, and the latest study (published in December of 2020 in the journal Nutrients) found that eating red meat has no association with colon cancer risk.

The study showed that when meat is consumed as part of a healthy diet, it has no influence on colon cancer risk.

It’s likely that worse offenders than meat in the diet are things like sugar, food additives, refined oils, and processed foods.

Colon cancer is a serious disease affecting the gut. While there are many variables and contributing factors, we can always take proactive measures to keep our guts as healthy as possible. Depending on your unique situation, that may mean following the recommendations above PLUS adding in support like…

🌱 Probiotics
🌱 Digestive Enzymes
🌱 L-Glutamine
🌱 Herbs

Those are just a few of my favorite gut-support supplements. It all depends on what YOUR BODY needs. If you are interested in knowing some of the supplements I recommend to my clients send me an email at amy@functionalfamilynutrition.com.

The Downsides of PPI’s

Do you struggle with heartburn, acid reflux, indigestion, or peptic ulcers? Some of the most commonly prescribed drugs to treat these conditions are a class of medications called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). 

You might be asking—should I take this medication?

👉 Most importantly, you should always talk to your doctor and never change your medications based on a social media post 👈

Still…if you’re taking a medication, it’s important to understand how it works, what the side effects might be, and whether or not there are other options!

PPIs work by stopping the production of stomach acid. That sounds great if you have acid reflux, but then we have to think about all the downstream effects. Without enough stomach acid, you could…

  • Compromise nutrient absorption (like vitamin B12, calcium, and magnesium)
  • Reduce Iron production
  • Change your gut microbiota (possibly even leading to overgrowth and SIBO)
  • Affect the health of organs outside the gut (including the kidneys and heart)
  • Plus…

👉 A new study of more than 200,000 Americans found that regular use of PPIs increased the risk of developing diabetes by 25%

The risk for diabetes was highest in people who took PPIs for the longest duration of time. That’s important because PPIs were approved only for short-term use of 2 weeks. Sadly, many people take these medications for a much longer time because they don’t know what else to do! 

The real question we should be asking is whether there are other options. 

I say yes 👍

Functional medicine has an extensive toolkit of options for optimizing digestive function and eliminating symptoms like heartburn for good. Instead of covering up the symptoms with an acid blocker, it’s better to find the root cause(s) and help your gut recover naturally. One of the main root causes is eating healthier foods.

Want to get started on a better path to health?

I help families learn the tools they need to improve both their health and the health of their families..:)

#reflux #heartburn #guthealth #rootcause

Feeling Lonely During the Pandemic?

Feeling lonely is a part of being human, and the pandemic has only made loneliness more common and more challenging. But there are actions you can take to feel better. Try incorporating some of these ideas into your routine to feel more connected to others—even when you’re alone:

😊Schedule a regular time (every day or every week) for a phone call with a family member or friend. This will give you something to look forward to and a sense of routine.  Community is very important!!

😊Put down the phone and pick up a book. Social media can worsen feelings of loneliness and missing out. Rather than scroll social media feeds on your phone, try picking up a book. Reading can invigorate your imagination and give you more of a sense of well-being.

😊Do something creative. Whether you like to draw, paint or journal, engaging in a creative activity can keep you feeling happy and inspired.

While some feelings of loneliness are normal and expected, don’t let it go too far. If you’re struggling with low mood that is affecting your sleep, work, or relationships, you may need additional support.

Functional Nutrition can help support a healthy mood in a variety of ways. To learn more, check out my family wellness options. I am here to help!

Those Lovely USDA Food Guidelines

The new dietary guidelines have been released, my friend, and here’s the deal. There are 2 pieces of advice that the experts on the committee recommended…but were left out of the final document.

Those 2 pieces of advice?

  • To reduce the maximum intake of sugar to 6% of calories (instead of 10%)
  • To reduce the maximum intake of alcohol to 1 drink per day for both women and men (instead of 2 for men)

It would be interesting to know which lobby groups got their way in getting these two recommendations eliminated…

Another area where these guidelines fall short is in their recommendations for fats and oils. They still recommend vegetable oils (errr, since these are highly processed) over saturated fats (which can naturally occur in healthy foods like coconut oil and grass-fed beef).

But for those of us who have the ability to choose our foods and make independent decisions about our diet, it’s smart for us to keep in mind what the expert committee really wanted in the guidelines: eat less sugar and drink less alcohol.

There are other pieces of advice in the guidelines, like…

  • “Make every bite count”
  • Limit intake of sweetened beverages ( I say eliminate soda or greatly reduce intake)
  • Avoid added sugars entirely in children under the age of 2 (switch to natural sweeteners)
  • Include nutrient-dense foods that include vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy, and proteins

The USDA guidelines are useful to be aware of because they influence so many nutrition programs across our country. Ideally, however, I think we need to go beyond these guidelines to truly achieve an optimal diet and health.

Leaky Gut and Covid 19

Why do some people get really sick with COVID, while others show no signs at all? It’s a question that has been baffling doctors and scientists from the start.

We found out relatively early that people with chronic health conditions (like diabetes or heart disease) are at a greater risk of serious illness and hospitalization. Then we learned that obesity (and even overweight) increases the risk.

Now we are seeing more and more evidence that there is another determining factor…

👉Gut Health 👈

Two new studies just came out to support this. Here’s what they say:

  • The composition of the gut microbiome influences the immune response and the severity of COVID infection (published in mBio)
  • Leaky gut may contribute to more severe disease and COVID (published in BMJ)

Here’s why this might be happening.

The SARS-CoV-2 virus binds to receptors on cells called ACE2. These receptors are present on the surface cells of the digestive tract as well as on internal organs. They may be the way that leaky gut allows the virus to reach a variety of internal organs and cause harm.

Because we’ve seen that the virus can damage organs that range from the kidneys to the heart to the liver to the brain. 

Here’s the message I think we need to take away from this…

Your gut health matters.

Whether or not you have ANY other health issues or conditions, you should be taking care of your gut. You do that by eating a healthy diet that is rich in vegetables and fiber. You do that by exercising. You do that by reducing stress. There are just so many ways.

And if your gut health is at all compromised, my family wellness coaching and detox programs offer an extensive toolkit to help.