Allison Fletcher, Author at Wakunaga of America - Page 2 of 16

How to Make Your New Year’s Resolutions a Success This Year

The problem is, most of these resolutions are destined to fail. How can you make sure your aspirations for 2023 stick? Here are a few ways to help you achieve those lofty New Year’s resolutions.

New Year, New You—Then and Now

The practice of setting resolutions for the new year goes back millennia to the Ancient Babylonians and Romans. But the practice of making—and breaking—New Year’s resolutions as we know it today appears to have taken hold in the early 19th century. But while resolutions have always involved improving some aspect of one’s life, today’s goals typically relate to getting healthier. Whether it’s losing weight, getting into shape, eating better, or all of the above, forming healthier habits are by far the most popular New Year’s resolutions. Little surprise since only about three percent of all American adults are considered to lead a healthy lifestyle.1

Set the Right Type of Goals

So how do you set your New Year’s resolutions up for success? A recent study published in the journal PLOS ONE suggests that it’s the type of goal that makes the difference. Approach-oriented goals are more successful than avoidance-oriented goals, according to researchers. But what is an approach-oriented goal you ask? It’s something that you can add to your life as opposed to something you want to take away. Turns out that focusing on what you can’t do or can’t have may not be the best method for achieving your goals. For example, resolving to not eat potato chips with lunch every day (an avoidance-oriented goal) isn’t nearly as effective as resolving to add at least one fruit or vegetable to your mid-day meal. This played out in the study of New Year’s resolution–makers: 58.9 percent of participants who set approach-oriented resolutions considered themselves successful, compared to 47.1 percent of participants who set avoidance-oriented resolutions. And after a one-year follow-up, 55 percent of respondents considered themselves successful in keeping their resolutions.2

Divide Your Big Long-Term Goal into Smaller Short-Term Goals

It takes time to achieve big things, and that’s especially true for resolutions. No matter how motivated you are to make a change right now, it isn’t going to happen overnight—or even next week. But maintaining that level of motivation is tough over the long haul. That’s why focusing on the means instead of the end goal itself can help make your resolution more attainable.3 The best way to do this is to break up your big goal into smaller, more manageable goals. It feels good to accomplish things, and these shorter-term goals can keep you energized to see your resolution through.

Share Your Goals, But Not with Everyone

Despite previous evidence indicating that widely broadcasting your goals can lead to a premature sense of accomplishment, the truth is that sharing your objectives can lead to a better outcome—but only if you tell the right people. A recent Ohio State study showed that people were motivated by sharing their goal with someone they respected because they cared about how that person would evaluate them.4 So rather than posting your 2023 goals on social media, confide in a mentor or someone you look up to.

Start with a Goal That’s Within Reach

Whatever health-oriented resolutions you make this year, there’s a simple one you can add right now that provides huge health benefits: simply include an Aged Garlic Extract (AGE) supplement into your daily routine. AGE has been clinically shown to reduce blood pressure in patients with uncontrolled hypertension, and it also has the potential to improve arterial stiffness, inflammation, and gut microbial profile.5 One recent study out of Sweden showed that, compared to a placebo, AGE inhibits the progression of coronary artery calcification and lowers glucose levels and blood pressure in patients at an increased risk of cardiovascular events. There was also a significant decrease in systolic blood pressure in the AGE group, from 148 mmHg at the beginning of the trial, to 140 mmHg after one year.6  Not only is AGE is highly tolerable and safe for everyday use, it’s now available in vegan form! Kyolic Cardiovascular Health Formula 300 provides all of the same benefits of Kyolic Cardiovascular Health Original Formula 100, but in a clean vegan capsule.

Don’t make New Year’s resolutions that are destined to fail this year. By taking a science-based approach to achieving your goals, 2023 can be the year that you finally realize those healthy resolutions.

Back to School After the Holidays? Start the New Year Strong

And if you’re a parent, that means sending the kiddos back to school. But, along with gearing up for the return of pop quizzes and homework, kids are also facing a growing “tripledemic” of Covid, influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). While you can’t provide your child with total protection, there are plenty of ways to help them sidestep catching a virus in the classroom.

Protect With Probiotics

When you think about kids and bacteria, you probably think about those nasty infectious germs that cause illness. But, while some harmful types of bacteria can make your little ones sick, there are trillions of good bacteria in the gut microbiome that help protect them from harmful pathogens. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that provide health benefits when consumed by enhancing the total number and variety of good bacterial and fungal species in the microbiome. And since the microbiome houses at least 70 percent of your child’s immune system, the more diverse the bacteria in their gut, the stronger their defenses will be.

While your child may get some probiotics from the foods they eat, they probably won’t get large enough quantities to effect a change in health. Fortunately, a daily probiotic supplement not only strengthens their immune systems, it can also ease a number of issues common to kids.

Calm Gastrointestinal Discomfort

All  kids get stomachaches every now and then. And just like adults, an imbalance in the microbiome is often to blame. But that doesn’t mean that they have to suffer the unpleasant consequences. Next time  your youngster has a bout of the belly blues, try a probiotic supplement to relieve symptoms such as diarrhea. A meta-analysis published in the journal Digestive Diseases and Sciences found that taking probiotics, along with drinking plenty of water, shortened the duration of diarrhea in children over five years old by about a day.1 And that day could make the all difference in whether they return to the classroom on time or not. Better yet, you can give your child a probiotic as a preventive treatment since they’ve been shown to also help prevent serious GI issues in the first place.2

Offset Antibiotics

When children get sick, they’re often prescribed antibiotics. While the antibiotics take out the harmful bacterial intruders that caused illness, they aren’t effective against viruses. What’s more, antibiotics can have a number of unpleasant side effects, such as stomach pain, constipation, and diarrhea. But probiotics can alleviate these side effects. In a review of 23 studies including nearly 400 children, researchers found that taking a probiotic at the same time as antibiotics reduced the risk of diarrhea by more than 50 percent.3 However, because probiotics are bacteria themselves, they can be killed off by the antibiotics if taken at the same time. That’s why it’s a good idea to take antibiotics and probiotics a few hours apart. And don’t stop just because the antibiotic course is done. One study showed that probiotics can restore the microbiota to its original state after taking antibiotics.4

Relieve Respiratory Tract Infections 

Although every child is different, most babies, toddlers, and preschoolers get about seven or eight infections a year, according to the Mayo Clinic Children’s Center. Fortunately, probiotics can help relieve respiratory tract infections (RTIs) and even prevent them. Results of a meta-analysis of over six thousand children showed that probiotic consumption significantly decreased the number of RTI episodes.5 The kids who supplemented with probiotics experienced less severe symptoms compared to those who took a placebo. They also had fewer numbers of days absent from school or day care.

Probiotics can also help with other, non-infectious respiratory problems. Studies show that a daily dose may reduce rhinitis symptoms in patients with allergic airway disease.6

Soothe Skin Issues

Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic skin condition that causes dry, itchy skin. It’s fairly common in children, typically appearing between the first 3 and 6 months of a newborn’s life.7 While the exact cause of AD isn’t known, probiotics have been shown to help manage symptoms.8 But don’t rely on a single-strain supplement to counteract your child’s skin woes. Data from a recent study indicate that probiotic mixtures are much more effective at reducing the risk of atopic dermatitis onset in children.9

Is There a Probiotic Supplement for Kids?

Yes! Kyo-Dolphilus Kids Probiotic is a probiotic supplement specifically designed for a child’s microbiome. Clinically shown to safely support a healthy GI tract, each dose boasts a proprietary blend of Lactobacillus gasseri, Bifidobacterium bifidum, and Bifidobacterium longum—also known as the Friendly Trio. Plus, Kyo-Dophilus Kids Probiotic comes in a tasty chewable tablet so you can be sure that your child is getting an effective boost. But as always, speak with your child’s pediatrician to determine if probiotics are a good fit.

Probiotics are a great way to get your child off on the right foot in 2023. A daily probiotic supplement can fortify their immune system against the bugs that abound this time of year. As a bonus, they also help alleviate symptoms if they do get sick so they can get back to being a kid again.

Top 5 Health Tips for 2023

But optimism is running high for a new year, and what better to start the year off right then with a few easy and effective health tips. So while you’re making your New Year’s resolutions, here are some ways to ensure that the new year is your healthiest year ever.

Try a Fun, New Way to Exercise

If you’ve ever joined a gym in January only to quit in February, you know how difficult it can be to get into the habit of working out. And it’s not just you: low attendance rates during the first few months of signing up for a gym membership are extremely common.1 Instead of buying in to the same old gym resolution this year, try getting in shape with something a little different. For instance, taking up pickleball is a great way to break a sweat while having fun and connecting with others. And that’s important since social support can improve physical performance and make physical activity seem less difficult.2 On the other hand, if hiking in the woods or swimming laps in the pool is more your style, then go for it! Whatever the activity is, evidence shows that you’ll actually move more often if you enjoy what you’re doing.3

Focus on Mental Health

The world seems to get more stressful by the year, and this year will surely bring its share of nerve-racking moments. That’s why it’s important to make your mental health a top priority. Spending time with others can have a huge benefit, especially if you’ve become more isolated due to the work-from-home life. A recent study showed that participation in social activities such as a team sport, book club, running group, game club, or cultural group had a positive effect on mental well-being while decreasing the symptoms of anxiety and depression.4 On the other hand, if you need to get away from all of the chaos, calming the mind with meditation can provide a big boost to your mental state. Mindfulness-based training can help you effectively deal with stress, anxiety, and depression to restore balance to your headspace.5

Limit Screen Time

With all the streaming and scrolling we’ve been doing during (and after) the pandemic, our time in front of screens has risen significantly.6 That was especially true for children who experienced a whopping 52 percent increase in screen time since 2020.7 But all that screen time can expose you to high levels of blue light. Blue light has been shown to decrease sleep quality and sleep duration—and that won’t just have you dragging through your day, it could also reduce physical and cognitive performance and recovery.8

The simplest way to cut back on your screen time is to change the settings on your phone so it won’t distract or tempt you all day, every day. For instance, you can limit how much time you spend on apps and websites on your Android device with Digital Wellbeing. And the Do Not Disturb feature on Apple devices silences calls, alerts, and notifications so you can disconnect when you need to the most.

Make Up That Doctor’s Appointment You Missed

The rate of missed medical appointments during the pandemic soared, increasing from 12.5 percent to 26.8 percent.9  Many people have even delayed or avoided urgent or emergency care.10 But now that life is starting to get back to normal, it’s a good time to reschedule that doctor’s appointment that you skipped. Though a yearly physical may not be necessary, seeing your physician is a smart move if it’s been a while since your last visit. That’s especially true if you’ve been putting off a procedure or you need an update to a prescription. Also, be sure to stay up on your shots so that you’re protected from whatever’s going around. While the new vaccines are top of mind, don’t leave yourself vulnerable by not getting a flu shot this year.

Start Taking a Probiotic Supplement

Another new year on the calendar means another birthday for you. And with advancing age comes a decline in immune function. Fortunately, you can fortify your immune system and even slow these age-related changes with a probiotic supplement. In fact, a study of 733 participants published in Nutrition Research showed that short-term probiotic supplementation enhances cellular immune function in healthy seniors.11 But when choosing a probiotic, remember to look for a clinically studied supplement like Kyo-Dophilus Daily probiotic that guarantees beneficial live and viable probiotic strains.

The new year is the perfect time to reset your focus and improve your health. With these health tips, this year can be the your best one yet!

Podcast: Dr. James LaValle and Dr. Ronald Hoffman Discuss Immunity, Inflammation, and Aged Garlic Extract

Dr. LaValle also talks about the latest research on Aged Garlic Extract focusing on immunity and inflammation.

About Dr. James LaValle

Jim LaValle, R.Ph., C.C.N, a nationally recognized clinical pharmacist, author, board-certified clinical nutritionist, and founder of Metabolic Code Enterprises, Inc. a web platform and practice solution enterprise, launching AIR Support and the Metabolic Code Assessment.

Click here for part one and here for part two of this interview.

About Dr. Ronald Hoffman

Dr. Ronald Hoffman is one of New York’s pioneering Integrative Medicine practitioners. He obtained his MD from Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and has been practicing for 34 years. His radio program, Intelligent Medicine, is the longest-running physician-hosted health program on the air.

This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.

How to Support a Healthy Gut During the Holidays

Instead of digestive upset ruining your cheer, keep your gut happy all season long with these helpful holiday health tips.

‘Tis the Season to Indulge

Overeating is a holiday tradition unto itself. From sugar cookies to spiral hams, there’s no shortage of tasty treats to indulge in. Little wonder that the six-week season from Thanksgiving to New Year accounts for 51 percent of annual weight gain.1 But all that extra eating and drinking not only leads to tighter fitting pants, binging over the holidays can trigger some debilitating gut issues as well, such as bloating, heartburn, abdominal pain, and constipation.2

The Gift of a Healthy Gut

It’s easy for your diet to go off the rails during the winter months. Yet a few simple steps can help you maintain a healthy gut while allowing you to still enjoy everything the holiday season has to offer.

Keep portions small. There are seemingly endless opportunities to stuff yourself full of holiday treats. Fortunately, you don’t have to torture yourself by passing on your favorite goodies. Instead, just focus on smaller portions so that you can get a taste of everything without overdoing it. Try to limit high-fat foods, which can upset digestion. Also keep in mind that goodies such as chocolate, peppermint, and alcohol are known to cause heartburn.

Incorporate a gut health supplement. A good way to keep your gut in shape is with a probiotic supplement. The holidays have a way of throwing your gut microbiome out of whack. Taking a probiotic brings balance back to your intestinal microbiota.3 These beneficial bugs have also been shown to prevent and alleviate digestive disorders, including irritable bowel syndrome and diarrhea.4

To get the most out of your probiotic, look for one that contains both probiotics and prebiotics, such as Pro+ Synbiotics. This combination can be more effective than probiotics alone because prebiotics support the growth and survival of good bacteria. Synbiotic supplementation has been shown to increase the abundance of gut bacteria associated with positive health effects, including the all-important Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains.5

Drink more water. You’ll probably be consuming a lot of fluids over the next month, from eggnog at the office holiday party to champagne on NYE. But there’s one liquid that you should not be missing out on: water. Drinking plenty of H20 will not only revitalize your hydration levels after a night of Christmas rum punch, but it will also support a healthy gut. Water keeps your gastrointestinal tract running smoothly. Not getting enough can lead to constipation.6 And staying hydrated also improves the composition of your gut microbiota.7

Get plenty of fiber. Fiber is key to proper gut function, with the best sources coming from fruits and veggies. However, heavy holiday meals can be severely lacking in these healthy foods. Even when you do eat holiday vegetable dishes, they’re probably covered in cheese or cream or marshmallows. Not exactly gut-friendly fare.

Missing out on fiber can be a problem since this key nutrient nourishes gut microbiota and helps protect your gut from a high-fat holiday diet.8 It does this by feeding your “good” bacteria, allowing them to thrive. A greater number and diversity of microbes in your intestines helps aids digestion. So opt for gut-friendly foods rich in fiber to accompany your merry meals this year. Look for recipes that use green peas, carrots, brussels sprouts, apples, and almonds for a much needed hit of fiber.

Stress less. It’s no secret that the holidays can be stressful. Cooking a big meal, traveling to see family, buying gifts for everyone—it can be overwhelming. And clinical studies have shown that these stressors negatively impact your gut microbiota.9 The result? Heartburn, indigestion, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal pain—all of which can make you even more stressed out. While limiting stressors this time of year may be easier said than done, scheduling a little time for yourself to unwind can do wonders for your mental health, in addition to your gut health.

Exercise. Even though your holiday calendar may be overloaded with events and social gatherings, making time to stay active over the winter season is crucial for good gut health. Recent studies have found that exercise has all sorts of intestinal benefits, including enhancing the number of beneficial microbial species, enriching the diversity of microflora, and improving the development of living bacteria in the gut.10 One study even showed that exercising during the Christmas period can prevent the dreaded holiday weight gain and keep blood pressure, cholesterol, and insulin sensitivity in check.11

The holidays should be a time for good tidings, not digestive problems. Taking a high-quality gut health supplement like Pro+ Synbiotics while staying active and not overindulging can help you and your gut stay in a festive mood all the way to 2023.

Got Atherosclerosis? How to Avoid This Leading Cardiovascular Risk Naturally

And that can be a serious problem since this stealthy condition has been figured as the leading cause of heart attack and stroke.

What is Atherosclerosis?

Atherosclerosis, (also known as “hardening” of the arteries), occurs when plaque builds up inside your arteries. This plaque is made up of cholesterol, cellular waste, calcium, and a blood-clotting material called fibrin which causes the lining of arteries (called the endothelium) to malfunction. Over time, this build-up can narrow and stiffen your arteries, limiting the amount of blood traveling throughout your body and to the heart. This reduced blood flow also prevents your heart from getting the oxygen and nutrients it needs to function properly.2

Mild to moderate atherosclerosis often doesn’t have any symptoms. In fact, symptoms don’t usually occur until an artery is so narrowed or clogged that it can’t supply enough blood to organs and tissues. When they do, symptoms can include chest pain, cramping or pain in legs or arms upon exertion, erectile dysfunction, mental confusion, muscle weakness, shortness of breath, and unexplained fatigue. 3  But be aware that some people never experience any symptoms—even if their arteries are severely clogged. Their first clue might be a heart attack or stroke.

How can you tell if your arteries are compromised? While your doctor may look for risk factors like high blood pressure or elevated cholesterol levels, they may also order an angiogram. This test uses X-ray imaging to see your heart’s blood vessels and check for reduced blood flow. However, the best way to diagnose atherosclerosis is with a coronary calcium scan. This test uses computed tomography (CT) technology to scan your circulatory system and measure the amount of calcium in the walls of your coronary arteries. Compared to an angiograph, a coronary calcium scan carries less risk and is less invasive. It’s also a very accurate way to determine any blockages in your arteries.

The Inflammation Link

So what causes atherosclerosis in the first place? According to recent studies, the culprit is likely chronic inflammation. 4, 5  Here’s how it works: when damage occurs inside your arteries, your immune system sends inflammatory molecules called cytokines to the scene to heal the injury. But instead of helping to correct the problem, these cytokines create a makeshift “band aid” by encouraging cholesterol and other compounds to build up in the walls of your arteries. This, then, creates more damage, which the immune system tries to fix by producing even more inflammation inside your blood vessels. But this process doesn’t just cause artery-clogging atherosclerosis. The steady stream of inflammation can also make the plaque in your arteries more likely to burst, blocking the flow of blood and leading to a heart attack or stroke.Unfortunately, this vicious cycle doesn’t just affect your arteries. Less blood flowing through your arteries can have a downstream effect on your smaller veins and capillaries, and this can reduce blood flow to a variety of body parts like your eyes or your skin. 6

Aged Garlic Extract to the Rescue!

How can you counteract this damaging—and dangerous—inflammation? It’s easier than you might think! Recent research from scientists at Sweden’s Skåne University Hospital and Lund University reports that a daily dose of Kyolic Reserve Aged Garlic Extract (AGE) can safely reduce levels of an immune system molecule called interleukin-6 (IL-6) that triggers chronic inflammation.7  This can be a game-changer since IL-6 sparks the production of another inflammatory marker called C-reactive protein or CRP in the liver. CRP may sound familiar since it’s often measured during routine blood tests. Both IL-6 and CRP have been linked to the development of atherosclerosis.8

During another study, these same researchers found that AGE also boosted blood flow within the tiny blood vessels and capillaries that feed your extremities (think your legs, feet, and hands). It was so effective that AGE was shown to boost microcirculation by an impressive 21.6 percent.9 While this benefit might not seem nearly as important as AGE’s ability to tamp down artery-damaging inflammation, it can be critical for people with atherosclerosis. This is because impaired blood flow to the tissues in your extremities can lead to slow wound healing—and that can increase the risk of infection.10

Healthy Habits to Lower Your Risk Even More

Adding AGE to your daily routine is a great place to start when you’re looking to reduce your risk of atherosclerosis. But adding the following lifestyle swaps to the equation has been shown to reduce your risk even more.11

Focus on whole foods. Ditch ultra-processed foods in favor of a Mediterranean diet filled with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meat and poultry, fatty fish, nuts, and seeds. Going Club Med on a long-term basis has been clinically shown to slow the progression of atherosclerosis.12

Move your body. Engaging in physical activity can help your muscles use oxygen more effectively, as well as improve your blood circulation by promoting new blood vessel growth.13 What’s more, regular workouts have an anti-inflammatory effect that helps to protect against atherosclerosis.14

If you smoke, quit! Kicking those butts is the single more important thing you can do to lower your risk for atherosclerosis.15 It’s also important to avoid second hand smoke since cigarettes contains a number of toxic chemicals that, when inhaled, increase inflammation in your arteries.16

Sidestepping atherosclerosis—or keeping it from progressing if you’ve already been diagnosed with the condition—doesn’t need to be complicated. Adding Kyolic Reserve Aged Garlic Extract to your supplement routine and adopting the lifestyle strategies above can help to protect your arteries for a lifetime.

You’re Starting to Feel a Cold Coming On—Here’s What You Should Do

It’s cold season, and you’re coming down with something. But while the common cold will usually go away on its own within a couple of weeks, who has time for that? Here are some natural immune supporting health tips that can help you get a jump on cold symptoms before they get a jump on you.

Aged Garlic Extract to the Rescue

Aged Garlic Extract (AGE), is a powerhouse when it comes to fighting off the effects of a cold. In one trial published in The Journal of Nutrition, healthy participants between 21 and 50 years old were given either a daily dose of AGE or a placebo for 90 days during cold and flu season. After 45 days, researchers noticed an increase in the number and activity of certain immune cells in the AGE group—increases that didn’t occur in the placebo group. After the full 90 days, those in the AGE group who did come down with a bug saw a reduction in their cold or flu severity. Along with fewer symptoms, they also experienced fewer days of feeling suboptimal and fewer work or school days missed.1

Other Natural Cold Remedies

Aged Garlic Extract isn’t the only natural cold fighter. The following tips will have you feeling better sooner while making your symptoms easier to deal with.

Take some vitamin C. Well known for its immune-supportive effects, vitamin C is a great addition to your immune-strengthening arsenal. Increased doses of this nutrient can help relieve common cold complaints such as chest pain, fever, and chills, as well as shortening cold duration, even if you already take a supplement.2  But don’t wait until you’re sick to start taking a vitamin C supplement. Incorporating this crucial nutrient into your regimen all year long can have a huge impact on your health. In fact, a recent South Korean study even showed that vitamin C can lessen the odds of developing a cold in the first place.8

Fortunately you can get both AGE and vitamin C in a single cold-busting supplement. Immune Support Formula 103 combines the potency of these two powerhouse nutrients, along with a premium mushroom complex, astragalus, oregano, and olive leaf extracts, to support healthy immune function.

Focus on fluid intake. You’ve heard it a thousand times when you get sick: drink plenty of fluids. But what fluids should you be drinking if you have a cold? According to a study published in the journal Rhinology, consuming a hot drink can provide immediate and sustained relief from symptoms like runny nose, cough, sneezing, sore throat, chills, and fatigue. Interestingly, drinking the same beverage at room temperature still had benefits, but it reduced only runny nose, coughing, and sneezing.3 Hot tea is a great option, but try to stick to decaf as too much caffeine can lead to fluid loss and sleeplessness.

Have some honey. You can sweeten up that hot beverage with a soothing spoonful of delicious honey. Not only tasty, honey has long been used as a home remedy to manage cold symptoms. And now there’s emerging evidence to back up its medicinal use. A study of 300 children with upper respiratory tract infections (URIs) showed honey to be more effective at relieving nocturnal cough and sleep difficulty than a placebo.4 And in a 2021 systematic review and meta-analysis, honey was shown to improve cough frequency and severity in patients with URIs.5

Take it easy—but not too easy. It’s a good idea to scale things back and try to relax when you notice cold symptoms setting in. After all, stress not only increases your susceptibility to illness; it also inhibits the response of your immune cell when you do come into contact with a harmful pathogen.6 On the other hand, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still be active—if you’re feeling up to it, that is. Moderate‐intensity aerobic exercise—activities like a brisk walk, a bicycle ride, or a session on the treadmill—has been shown to reduce the severity of acute respiratory infection symptoms and the number of symptom days.7

Keep Future Threats at Bay

With so many bugs going around this time of year, it’s practically inevitable that you’ll encounter something at some point. Typically, adults get an average of two to four colds per year and young children suffer from an average of six to eight. However, practicing good hygiene habits can fortify your immune response and reduce your chances of coming down with whatever’s going around. One of the best things you can do is to regularly wash your hands. Proper handwashing reduces respiratory illnesses, including colds, by 16 to 21 percent, according to the CDC.

Getting through cold and flu season may not be as bad as you think. Incorporating an AGE supplement and these immune-enhancing tips into your daily life can decrease the severity of your symptoms if a bug does strike. Better yet, these strategies can also reduce your chances of getting sick at all!

Got Tummy Troubles? It May NOT Be Something You Ate!

But what if it’s not from something you ate? A growing number of studies show that other, sometimes surprising, factors can also upset your digestive tract and trigger a bout of gastritis or indigestion.

Gastritis vs. Indigestion

Gastritis is an inflammation of the stomach lining. Symptoms can include upper belly pain, nausea, and vomiting. Indigestion, on the other hand, is often caused by an irritation or erosion of the stomach lining or the throat. It can cause bloating, feeling uncomfortably full after eating, gas, heartburn, and nausea.

While the food you eat can be a source of these symptoms, your stomach ache may not actually be food related. Instead, it could be caused by a seemingly random or unrelated factor like a lifestyle habit. This is particularly true if you suffer from chronic digestive upset.

Surprising Causes of Tummy Troubles

Your everyday habits and environment can play an unexpected role in triggering a stomach ache. The most common include:

Alcohol overuse. Drinking too much alcohol can trigger heartburn. This is because alcohol can cause your stomach to produce more acid than usual. If alcohol overuse becomes routine, this can gradually wear away your stomach lining, making it inflamed and painful (gastritis).1 

Antibiotics. Some antibiotics can irritate the lining of the stomach. In response, the glands in the stomach secrete more acid. This acid can then lead to greater reflux of food and acid into the esophagus, causing heartburn. Worse yet, frequent antibiotic use can cause antibiotic-related diarrhea and a recurrent Clostridioides difficile (C.diff) infection.2

Caffeine intake. Ever wonder why heartburn hits after enjoying that cup of coffee? New research reports that caffeine causes an uptick in stomach acid production and changes the bacterial composition in your gut.3

Nonsteroidal anti-Inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Whether it’s aspirin, ibuprofen, or a prescription NSAID, frequently taking these pain-relieving drugs for chronic pain can increase acid reflux and other symptoms of indigestion.4

Sleep deprivation. Studies have linked a lack of sleep to a variety of digestive problems, including abdominal pain, gas, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, and vomiting.5 This is because shortchanging your sleep can upset your gut microbiota, increase stress, and make you prone to poor food choices. 

Smoking. It’s no secret that smoking can boost the risk of cardiovascular and respiratory disease. But it can also irritate the stomach lining and increase the prevalence of gastritis and acid reflux.6 Long-term smokers who suffer from chronic indigestion also have an higher risk of developing a serious precancerous condition known as Barrett’s esophagus.7

Stress. Feeling a little stressed-out? It could be causing your stomach ache. This is because stress can make the colon contract, leading to stomach pain. And since stress-related anxiety can interfere with digestion, it can also spark indigestion and heartburn.8

Happy Belly Habits

Making a few swaps to your lifestyle can improve the symptoms of gastritis or indigestion. Plus, adopting these healthy habits may even help to prevent a future stomach ache.

Boost your activity level. Research shows that regular aerobic exercise can help protect against constipation, diverticulosis, gas, and bloating. 9,10  What qualifies as aerobic exercise? Anything that raises your heart rate like walking briskly, bike riding, playing tennis, swimming, rowing, jogging, or dancing. Aim for at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity daily.

Get zen. One of the best ways to manage gut-wrenching stress and prevent stress-related digestive upset is by employing relaxation techniques whenever life throws you a curve. This is especially true for those who suffer from chronic digestive problems like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).11 Stress-busting techniques that may help restore a sense of calm to your digestive tract include mindfulness meditation, yoga, hypnosis, progressive muscle relaxation, mental imaging, biofeedback, deep breathing, and even simply listening to soothing music.

Mind your alcohol and caffeine intake. Limiting the amount of alcohol and caffeine you consume can reduce inflammation and the production of stomach acid.12,13 Swapping out that nightly glass of wine or second cup of coffee for water not only benefits your digestive tract, it also enhances your body’s ability to eliminate waste.

Trade in ultra-processed foods for minimally-processed fare. While food may not be at the root of your stomach problems, what you eat can support a healthy digestive system. Instead of fast food or convenience foods, opt for fresh fruits and vegetables, cold water fish like salmon, organic poultry, and fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, kim chi, or sauerkraut. It’s also important to eat foods high in fiber which helps to prevent constipation, lowers the risk of colon cancer and hemorrhoids, and boosts the beneficial bacteria in your gut. Some high-fiber foods include almonds, artichokes, avocado, beans, broccoli, chickpeas, edamame, lentils, oats, pears, and raspberries.

Try a probiotic. Taken daily, probiotics can help keep your digestive system operating optimally. What to look for? Studies show that a supplement like Kyo-Dophilus Max Probiotic provides a diverse array of friendly flora, including three specific types of beneficial bacteria shown to support healthy digestion. L. gasseri, B. bifidum, and B. longum¾also known as the friendly trio¾are the most prevalent bacteria found in the intestines. Combined, these beneficial probiotic strains help guard against occasional bouts of constipation, diarrhea, gas, and bloating. Plus, Kyo-Dophilus Max Probiotic is shelf-stable and is made from human probiotic strains that are guaranteed viable through the expiration date on the label.

When to Seek Help

Most bouts of gastritis or indigestion aren’t serious and resolve themselves within a day or two. But if you have any of the following symptoms, you may have a more serious condition and should see a doctor right away.

  • Black, tarlike stools
  • Bloody vomit
  • Difficulty swallowing or painful swallowing
  • Frequent vomiting
  • Losing weight without trying
  • Severe and constant pain in your abdomen

You should also see a doctor if your indigestion lasts longer than 2 weeks.

Diabetes: Are You At Risk?

What’s even more alarming, it’s estimated that that one in three American adults will develop the disease by the year 2050.1

What’s behind this looming diabetes epidemic? The spiraling rate of obesity in America plays a significant role. But even if you’re not overweight, eating a diet high in ultra-processed foods, guzzling gallons of sugary drinks, and living a sedentary lifestyle can make you vulnerable to developing type 2 diabetes, especially as you age.2 This in turn can put you at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, amputations, and blindness.

Since November is American Diabetes Month, we thought it was important to make sure this potentially devastating disease was on your radar. But the news isn’t all bad. Read on to discover some helpful tips to help you avoid becoming one of the statistics.

What Is Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes occurs when there is an impairment in the way the body regulates and uses sugar (glucose) as a fuel. Typically, this happens when the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin. Insulin is a hormone that shuttles glucose into your cells so they can use it for energy. Making matters even worse, when you have diabetes, your cells become insulin resistant and take in less glucose than they normally would. This can lead to too much sugar circulating throughout your blood stream. Over time, these high blood sugar levels could lead to problems with your circulatory, nervous, and immune systems.

What about prediabetes? This condition simply means that your blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes. That doesn’t mean it isn’t serious though. Without intervention, it’s likely to become type 2 diabetes within 10 years. But here’s the good news: progression from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes isn’t inevitable. With lifestyle changes, weight loss, and targeted supplementation, it’s possible to bring blood sugar levels back into a normal range.

Are You at Risk?

There are a number of risk factors that can contribute to the development of pre-diabetes and diabetes. Here are the most common:

Weight. The more fatty tissue you have, the more resistant your cells become to insulin. However, you don’t have to be overweight to develop type 2 diabetes.

Fat distribution. If your body stores fat primarily in your abdomen, your risk of developing type 2 diabetes becomes greater than if you store fat elsewhere, like your hips and thighs.

Inactivity. The less active you are, the greater your risk of type 2 diabetes since a sedentary life can downgrade insulin sensitivity.

Family history. The risk of type 2 diabetes increases if your parent or sibling has type 2 diabetes.

Race. Although it’s unclear why, blacks, Hispanics, American Indians and Asian-Americans are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

Age. The risk of type 2 diabetes increases as you get older, especially after age 45.

Gestational diabetes. If you developed gestational diabetes when you were pregnant or if you gave birth to a baby weighing more than nine pounds, you are at increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

Polycystic ovary syndrome. This common condition, which is characterized by irregular menstrual periods, excess hair growth, and obesity, increases the risk of diabetes.

6 Ways to Prevent Diabetes

Even if you have a family history of type 2 diabetes, the following strategies can proactively reduce your own risk of developing the condition. As a bonus, they’ll also improve your overall metabolic health—even if you’ve already been diagnosed with full-blown diabetes.

Get tested. Because pre-diabetes and early-stage diabetes often have no symptoms, it’s smart to get an A1C test. This simple blood test provides information about a person’s average blood sugar levels over the past three months. The A1C test result is reported as a percentage. The higher the percentage, the higher a person’s blood glucose levels have been. A normal A1C level is below 5.7 percent.3

Choose your food wisely. At its core, type 2 diabetes is a nutritional disease. That means what you eat can play a critical role in preventing, managing, and even reversing diabetes. The most important thing to know is that eating a diet high in refined, starchy, or sugary foods and drinks promotes high fasting blood sugar and makes you more prone to insulin resistance, weight gain, and an increased risk of diabetes. Opt instead for foods that help keep your blood sugar on an even keel. Among the best are minimally processed foods that are low on the glycemic index (GI). These include antioxidant-rich non-starchy vegetables, high quality protein, and healthy fats. To find the GI of your favorite foods, visit

Watch your weight. Studies show that losing just five to ten percent of your body weight can reduce your chances of developing the disease by nearly 60 percent.4 And if you’re already suffering from type 2 diabetes, shedding those excess pounds can make you less insulin resistant.

Get moving! When you engage in physical activity, your muscles require more energy in the form of blood sugar. This lowers the amount of glucose in your blood. Exercise also increases insulin sensitivity. But you don’t need to become a gym rat to experience the metabolic perks of physical activity. Research in the journal Diabetologia found that engaging in brief snack-sized portions of moderate- to high-intensity exercise before meals helped to control blood glucose levels better than spending an uninterrupted hour on the treadmill.5

Don’t shortchange your shuteye. Numerous studies report that sleep deprivation can have a dramatic effect on your blood sugar and insulin levels. Aim to consistently get seven to nine hours of quality sleep each night.6

Add supplemental blood sugar support. While diet and exercise can go a long way towards keeping your blood sugar levels in a healthy range, sometimes you need a little extra support. This is especially important if you are prediabetic or otherwise at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. But, be aware that not all blood sugar supplements are the same. Look for a comprehensive supplement like Kyolic Blood Sugar Balance that provides clinically studied ingredients such as Aged Garlic Extract, which has been shown to improve the uptake of glucose and help reduce diabetic complications; bitter melon, which helps make cells more sensitive—rather than resistant—to insulin; and salacia, which prevents blood sugar spikes by stabilizing glucose levels.7, 8, 9  What’s more, Kyolic Blood Sugar Balance also includes two nutrients—chromium picolinate and niacin—that not only improve blood sugar but also aid in weight management when combined with a healthy diet and exercise.10, 11

Type 2 diabetes may be heading toward epidemic territory but it doesn’t have to be part of your future. Taking steps now to support healthy insulin production and sensitivity can keep your blood sugar in check and your odds of developing diabetes low. But if you’ve already been diagnosed with prediabetes or diabetes, working with your healthcare provider to develop a plan that incorporates these lifestyle changes can help you break free from this all-too-common condition.