Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Natural Cold Remedies for Children

Cold and flu season is in the air and many parents are dealing with sniffling noses and hacking coughs in the household, but many over the counter medications are not safe for children under 4 years old. While the FDA has considered changing medication recommendations for children between 2-11, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association still maintain that these medications are NOT SAFE for children under 4 years old. So what can parents do to help treat children with colds and coughs naturally? Below I've listed 10 natural remedies to help aid comfort and healing processes for cold sufferers.

Parents should keep in mind that most remedies including cold and cough medications aren't touted to shorten the length of cold but just help manage symptoms and make children more comfortable. On average colds will last 7 to 10 days so parents should try to keep this in mind when dealing with sick children.

1) Get plenty of rest. Stress can play a role in healing, so children can definitely get benefits from staying away from school drama and homework deadlines with a few days rest at home. Fighting off infection when dealing with a cold also takes a lot of energy so make sure your little one gets plenty of rest. Setting up a little fort with extra tissues, plenty of blankets and pillows, books, magazines, and puzzles can help assist them in staying comfortable while resting.

2) Extra fluids and warm liquids. Making sure your little one is drinking plenty of fluids such as water and real fruit juices can help to keep them hydrated as well as provide some nourishment if they seem to tired to eat. On average your child should drink at least one glass of water an hour when their awake, even if it seems they keep getting up to use the restroom. Warm liquids such as chicken soup or chamomile tea can help ease sore throats as well.

3) Saline sprays and bulb syringes. Saline sprays or drops can help to clear up nasal passages for easier breathing and sleeping. For children to young to blow their nose, a bulb syringe can help to clear up nasal passages to make breast or bottle feeding a bit easier.

4) Steamy air. Steamy air can help loosen up mucus to make breathing easier, so don't hesitate to give your little one a warm bath in a steamy bathroom or stick a clean humidifier in their room to help speed things along.

5) Vapor rubs. These may not assist in breathing easier but the cold sensation helps cold sufferers feel like they are breathing more deeply. Rubs should not be applied around the nose or mouth in children under 2 as they can ingest the rub and cause problems. There are many different options for vapor rubs in children such as baby rubs specifically for children under 2 and also natural rubs that don't have parabens or petroleum which can interfere with natural hormone production.

6) Honey in children over 1 year. Honey is safe to give to children over a year old. Honey has antimicrobial properties that can help assist in fighting off infection and soothing coughs or sore throats in children. I'd recommend 1 teaspoon of honey no more than three times a day for children over 1 year old and it can also be added to bottles or warm tea to help soothe the throat and fight off infection. In a recent research review from the Cochrane Database, honey was found to be as effective as cough suppressant medications for acute cough in children. In a study from Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, parents of 105 children ages 2-18 rated honey helpful and better than cough syrup in treating night time coughs in children.

7) Gargling or mouth rinsing with warm salt water. This can only be used in children who understand how to gargle or spit out a mouthful of salt water which usually means around 4-6 years old but some children can understand the concept sooner if they're great at imitating. It has been shown to sooth a sore throat and clear mucus as well. I'd recommend 1/2 teaspoon of salt per glass of warm water and repeat 2-3 times a day.

8) Nose Blowing. As soon as children are old enough to understand the concept of blowing their nose into a tissue which is around 2 and above, you can assist your child with blowing their nose. Make sure they blow gently into the tissue as forceful blowing can rupture blood vessels and cause a bloody nose.

9) Neti Pots using purified or bottled water. Neti pots can be used in children 4 or older. Children will have to lean over a sink so make sure you have a step stool for them to stand on while flushing out the nasal passages. Make sure you use purified or bottled water to mix with the salt solution because tap water can contain harmful bacteria that can pool in sinuses and cause further infection.

10) Elevating the head during bed time. Elevating the head with a pillow or elevating a crib mattress with a towel or slim pillow underneath can help keep stuffiness to a minimum at night time so children can sleep better. More restful sleep can also make for more pleasant children in the morning.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

10 Healthy Halloween Treats

Halloween rolls around every year and children look forward to dressing up to Trick or Treat so they can amass piles of candy and chips. Many parents, including myself, wish there were healthier options that Trick or Treaters collected or healthier ways to cut down on the excessive sweets and snacks around this time of year. I want to assure you that there are a few great options your family can partake in to cut down on the sugars and help promote a healthier lifestyle in your community!!

Many dentists offer a candy buy back program where you can trade in Trick or Treat spoils for gifts and prizes. In Pekin, Dr. David Kuban will be giving kids $1 for every pound of candy they turn in with a 10 pound limit and he is planning on shipping that candy to troops over seas. He also has some pretty spiffy light up toothbrushes he is giving away as well. MapleShade Dental Group in Peoria and Dunlap are on their third year of the candy buy back program with no limit on how much can be traded in. In fact, last year they collected more than 500 pounds of candy from local Trick or Treaters!! So parents should definitely check out these options since many give away prizes for movie tickets, gaming cards, pizza coupons, and of course toothbrushes and toothpaste to cut down on cavities!! You can always do a candy trade in at your house as well in order to cut down on the candy consumed and trade the kids for a gift they've really been wanting to get their hands on!

So how can you set an example in your community? Try handing out healthier options than candy and chips to Trick or Treaters and make sure you spread the news to your neighbors so they get the memo that healthier options are better options for your neighborhood. I've listed 10 Healthier Halloween Treats below.

1.) Frozen yogurt sticks (this way they stay nice and cold for the rest of the night)
2.) Bags of Pumpkin Seeds
3.) Cereal or Granola Bars (check the label to make sure they aren't high in sugars)
4.) Carrot Sticks (there's many single serving options out there and you can always throw in a small thing of peanut butter for kids to dip them in since ranch wouldn't be feasible to keep from spoiling)
5.) String Cheese
6.) Popcorn Balls (don't opt for the caramel coated)
7.) Peanuts or Trail Mix (see if you can find one with dried fruit)
8.) Pretzels (try for those with sea salt)
9.) Sandwich crackers (not the best options but healthier than a mouthful of candy)
10.) Toothbrush (a great addition to the loot that will make kid's smiles a bit brighter)

Stay safe and healthy this Halloween! 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Are Your Reflux or Heartburn Symptoms Not Improving?

Have you been suffering from reflux or heartburn for months or years? Have you tried every over the counter and prescription medication with little or no noticeable changes? You are not alone. According to the the American Gastroenterological Association estimate that 33% of Americans have acid reflux disease! In April the Center for Research on Aging found that 23% of men and women over 65 in nursing homes or other care facilities are suffering from some form of gastric problem. What's worse is that these conditions are the most expensive GI disorders in the United States and costs of treatment are approaching $10 billion every year!!

Doctor's frequently prescribe reflux medications and over the counter antacids such as Tums to help reduce symptoms and battle the excessive acid that is thought to be the cause of reflux and chronic heartburn. But here's the thing that will blow your mind... Stomach acid production and thus stomach acid pH DECREASES WITH AGE!! This means that if you're over 30, your stomach acid production has already begun to decrease and thus you're not digesting your food as well. As you reach 40 your stomach acid production is about half as much as when you were 20. This means that if you are on a reflux medication that decreases your acid production you are literally making the problem WORSE!!!

Researchers have known that acid production decreases with age for over 30 years!!! Don't believe me? The A study published in 1986 in the Journal of American Geriatric Society found that 30% of men and women over 60 have atrophic gastritis where they produce little or no stomach acid. Another study 1963 in Gastroenterology found that 40% of post menopausal women have NO basal gastric acid secretions!!!!

So what we need to do instead of dampening the stomach acid production with medications is to eat foods that help to naturally increase stomach acid and/or take a supplement with digestive aids and enzymes designed to assist in food digestion. We should also cut down on foods that increase or trigger symptoms of reflux or heartburn.

So what can you do?
1) Cut down on how many over the counter antacids you are taking each day and talk to your doctor about reducing or eliminating your medications that may be interfering with stomach acid production.
2) Drink water 30 minutes before or after your meal rather than with the meal so that you don't lower the pH of your stomach and effect how well you digest your food.
3) Eat five smaller meals throughout the day rather than three large meals so your stomach has less food to digest at one time.
4) Try Peppermint Tea. Peppermint has been used as an antibacterial and for increased gastric acid production. It can also combat gas, increase bile flow, and aid in healing the stomach and liver.
5) Try a digestive aid such as Gastro Plus. This supplement combined pepsin to assist in digestion with betaine hydrochloride to help restore the normal stomach acid and support healthy gut function. It will also help to decrease the amounts of bacteria in the gut that can lead to stomach ulcers.
6) Take a probiotic such as Ultrabiotic to help restore intestinal balance. This supplement will help to get those "good" bacteria back to normal quantities in your gut so you don't have as much stomach upset and so you can absorb the nutrients your body needs.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Pumpkin Seed Oil Reduces Hot Flashes, Improves Cholesterol, and Reduces Blood Pressure in Women

We are always looking for the next best thing when it comes to improving our cholesterol scores and lowering our blood pressure, but many of us may not be looking to the harvest of the season for answers. Pumpkin seed oil has long been used for treating intestinal disturbances, cholesterol and blood pressure regulation, and most recently prostate hypertrophy.

However a pilot study released in October of 2011 looked at the links between women taking pumpkin seed oil and the many positive effects on their health. Not only did these researchers find that these women's blood pressure decreased, but they also found an improvement in both HDL (good) cholesterol levels and menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and mood swings.

What these researchers may be looking into in the near future is, why? Well the answer is two fold so I'll try to keep it simple.

Pumpkin seeds have high incidence of chromium which is an essential nutrient needed for proper function of sex hormones and insulin in the body. This means that the chromium present in this miracle seed may actually be helping these women's bodies to function and direct their hormones to be more balanced. This balancing effect can help with not only menopause but women suffering from PMS, painful periods, PCOS, and even infertility. If the researchers would have looked at diabetes or weight loss, they might also have found that the women involved in the study would have also had improvement in their rate of weight loss and managing their diabetes as well since the insulin regulation would have been improved.

Pumpkin seeds are also rich in magnesium which is a really important mineral that is said to be even more important that calcium!! 80% of the population is magnesium deficient, so most likely the women involved in this study might have had some deficiency. Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant that helps to relax the skeletal and smooth muscle of the body so it can help to reduce muscle spasms and cramping as well as relax the walls of the blood vessels to improve blood pressure. In addition, magnesium is an essential mineral that is used to regulate the enzymes used to produce cholesterol in the body, so supplementation using pumpkin seed oil would have increased production of HDL cholesterol in the body.

Wow that's some great stuff, but what do I want you to take from this? Make sure you're eating your seasonal fruits and vegetables so you're not only rounding out your diet but getting many of the essential minerals that are needed for everyday body functions. If you're not a bit fan of pumpkin or pumpkin seeds, I'd recommend talking to a doctor or a specialized nutritionist that would be able to make some suggestions for supplements that would help you get enough magnesium and chromium to improve your health. If you need some guidance, AlignLife offers nutritional phone consultations to those that feel a bit overwhelmed by the many different food sources and supplement choices there are available on the market today. Just call 309-689-6200 to set-up your appointment today.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Vitamin C Reduces Labor Time and Stretch Marks

During pregnancy the demand for vitamin C skyrockets due to the increased stress on the body and the need to form protein and connective tissue for mom and baby. However, since humans can't make vitamin C like other animals and vitamin C crosses over the placenta for baby's development, moms-to-be really need to make sure they are getting enough from their diet or using supplementation to get the amount their bodies need. The current RDA of vitamin C according to the National Academy of Food Science and Nutrition Board for pregnant mothers is 60mg, however this is only the amount known to reduce the risk of scurvy. Many doctors are finding amazing results with increased vitamin C intake during pregnancy including reduced labor times, less or no appearance of stretch marks, and faster healing of the perineum after birth. In fact, these doctors are recommending amounts of vitamin C for their patients that are 2 to 83 times more than the RDA!!

Dr. William Saccoman, general practitioner and preceptor at the University of California, has found that in women taking large doses of Vitamin C not only has labor time decreased by less than half, but these labors are less painful and have less incidence of tearing or lacerations due to the increased tissue elasticity. He also commented on the fact that these same women have less incidence of stretch marks and heal quicker to get back to normal activities. His observation has been documented over 500 pregnancies and deliveries made over the past 10 years.

According to Dr. Robert Scott, Head of the Southern California Women's Medical Group in Los Angeles and assistant clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Southern California, " I have seen no adverse reactions to the Vitamin C and never a deformed baby when the mother was on this program [high Vitamin C dosage]." He reports that over 500 of his patients have been put on the high dosage with labor times that in many cases are little over an hours time.

Dr. Archie Kalokerinos from Austrailia reports that he has seen the same "marvellous" results with Vitamin C supplementation while serving as the medical officer for the government funded Aboriginal Medical Service. Dr. Kalokerinos has been using mega doses of up to 30 grams of Vitamin C in practice since 1971 while serving as the medical superintendent for 20 years at the Collerenebri District Hospital northwest of Sydney. He also commented that, " A large number of them were alcoholics who ate very poorly and no matter how hard I tried I couldn't correct this problem. Nevertheless, what I found was that by supplementing them with Vitamin C, they actually produced babies that were healthier than a lot of babies in the community. And, as the babies were growing, they were showing fewer signs of recurrent infections and problems in infancy than other babies. To me, this has always been quite incredible. Even if we couldn't correct the diet, just the simple supplementation was doing so much good."

While these doctors are using high dosages of vitamin C in the field, researchers have yet to explore these effects with large scale research and supplementation. However, some research has been done on the effects of low levels of vitamin C during pregnancy and have found an increased risk of pre-eclampsia, anemia, and lower birth weight babies. In addition, a recent study has also been looking at the impact of vitamin C supplementation in reducing the risk of asthma and lung development for babies in smoking mothers and showing that a dosage of 500mg is enough to help reduce this risk.

Drinking more orange juice isn't going to cut it, so if you want more information on nutrition during pregnancy call AlignLife at (309) 689-6200 to schedule a nutritional consultation today.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Flu Vaccination is a HOAX

For years we've been told that we need to make sure to get our flu vaccinations to protect ourselves and our families from "catching" the flu, however experts and medical research reviews have uncovered evidence that this ISN'T TRUE!

According to Dr. Charles B Simone, an immunologist and oncologist, there are more than 200 viruses that cause influenza and influenza-like illness and vaccines might be effective against only about 10% of all the viruses that cause the flu like syndromes. The Cochrane Collaborations and Lancet's published findings, which are relied upon as the golden standard in independently reviewed research, found that the vaccine does not prevent flu in babies, adults, or in the elderly populations.

According to a 2008 Cochrane Database of Systemic Reviews, involving 51 studies and 294,000 children aged 6 months -2 years there was "no evidence that injecting with a flu shot was any more effective than placebo." In children older than 2 years old, it was only effective 33% of the time in preventing the flu!

In a 2006 study Cochrane found that "vaccination only reduced the risk of influenza infection by 6% and reduced the number of missed worked days by less than one day after studying 48 reports including 66,000 adults!!

Agreements between the Lancet and Cochrane Database were reached in their reviews of over 5707 screened articles that "Evidence for protection is lacking" for flu vaccinations used in the elderly populations.

So what's the harm?
Well there are risks of serious harm and injury to those that receive the vaccine including narcolepsy, febrile convulsions, and even neurologic diseases such as Guillain Barre. In addition, there are many toxins and additives in the vaccines that have potential health and allergen risks including nerve toxic mercury derivatives and formaldehyde, corrosive sodium hydroxide and hydrochloric acid, and cancer causing injectible aluminum.

Is it really worth the risk?

Want more information??? Call AlignLife (309) 689-6200 to setup a consultation to discuss natural ways of improving your body's immunity and ways to protect yourself from the flu!!