Natural Remedies for Colic

First and foremost, what is colic and how do you know if your baby has colic?  All babies cry.  So what is normal and what is not?

Colic typically presents itself within 2-3 weeks following birth.  Most commonly presents as a constantly irritable baby of unknown cause. More specifically, if your baby cries for 3 hours a day, for at least 3 days a week, for 3 consecutive weeks your baby most likely has colic. Some common symptoms of colic include:

  • intense crying episodes
  • inconsolable crying episodes with no apparent trigger
  • arching of back, clenching of fists, recoiling to touch, and other physical/postural changes

So what do you do?  Don’t fret there are a lot of natural remedies to try before having to go the medication route. One of the first things to do is to try and figure out the cause.  Some of the causes include:

  • Antibiotic Use during pregnancy, labor, or shortly after birth by mom and/or baby resulting in a gut issue.
  • Birth Trauma resulting in nerve interference.
  • Lactose Intolerance.  Studies show that cow’s milk protein found in milk based formulas or in the milk of dairy-consuming, breastfeeding, mothers, is by far the greatest cause of colic.
  • Immature digestive system
  • Allergy/sensitivity to certain foods the baby or mom is eating
  • A bad latch while breast feeding (La Leche League can help!)
  • Baby not getting enough sleep.

Once you have figured out the cause of the issue, colic is a lot easier to treat.  Still unsure?  Start by getting you on a good refridgerated adult probiotic and your child on an infant probiotic like this one (both of which we carry at the office).  Probiotics help build up you and your child’s digestive system by loading up the digestive tract with healthy bacteria to help digest their food better.  This is especially helpful for those mom’s or babies that had to take antibiotics during pregnancy, labor or shortly afterwards.  Next, look up the elimination diet, which on this website Dr. Sear’s helps mom’s figure out which foods they are eating are irritating their baby.  One of the most common causes of colic are sensitivities to certain food groups.  The most popular being dairy, soy, chocolate, caffeine, spicy foods, cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower and broccoli. According to Dr. Linda Palmer, when looking at food sensitivities, “The chief source of colic in 67% of infants was found to be an intolerance to cow’s milk protein.  Additionally relief from colic was gained by additionally eliminating soy and corn (hydrolysate formula), increasing this figure to 84%.”

Another great recommendation is to allow the baby time to burp.  As you are getting the hang of having a newborn, especially first time mothers, it is common to not give the baby adequate time to burp, which will lead the baby to be gassy and irritable.  How often should you burp a colicky newborn? It is recommended with bottle deeding that parents try to burp their baby after every ounce.  Alternatively, with a breastfed baby attempt to burp after they come off the breast for a rest or when they complete draining the breast.

Herbal teas and colic mixtures are another natural way to help combat colic symptoms.  “Weleda” and “Holle” are great tea formulas that can be taken by the mother and baby once cooled through a bottle.  Fennel is also another great herbal option.  A study published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine found that fennel seed oil eliminated colic in 65% of infants without side effects.

Another great option would be get your child to a chiropractor.  Chiropractic adjustments are a proven effective technique to help combat colic symptoms.  A lot of the time, colicky babies have a disturbance in their cervical and thoracic spine’s that can be alleviated easily by a chiropractic adjustment. According to one of the many studies found in the Journal of Manipulative Physio Therapy, parents typically see results within 3 treatments, which stabilize within four weeks.   Another study found out of 316 infants over a period of 2 weeks of treatment (usually 3 visits), 94% of the infants showed a successful rating when compared with the other group of babies.  The other group of babies medicated for treatment using Dimethicone drops, improved by only 38%.

Lastly, another great way to help combat the gas associated with colic is to get your child on his or her stomach will help to alleviate the discomfort your baby is feeling.  You can also hold your child across your forearm to offer some therapeutic relief for the child.  There are also some great massage technique’s to help relieve gas that is associated with colic which you can ask your chiropractor how to perform.

 

Additional Reading

 

 

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Pregnancy and Depression

According to The American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology , 14-23% of pregnant women suffer from depression.  Women suffering from depression usually have the following symptoms that persist for 2 weeks or more:

  • Persistent sadness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Loss of interest in activities that you usually enjoy
  • Recurring thoughts of death, suicide, or hopelessness
  • Anxiety
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Change in eating habits

There are many treatments that are commonly used to treat depression during pregnancy, such as psychotherapy, light therapy, support groups, and medication.  Treatment with medication typically involved SSRI’s or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Lately, research has been coming out against medicating for depression during pregnancy because it has been linked to a lot of problems in newborns, such as physical malformations, heart problems, low birth weight, pulmonary hypertension, and an increase in the likelyhood to give birth to a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  This evidence scares me, so I wanted to present moms with a more natural option of treatment to go along with their support groups, light therapy, and psychotherapy.

So what typically causes depression anyway?  One of the recurring themes I have been reading in my research is that chronic inflammation is the culprit. According to studies found in JAMA (1) (2), “Higher levels of inflammation dramatically increase the risk of developing depression.  And the higher the levels of inflammatory marks, the worse the depression.”  In more detail, inflammatory cytokines (inflammation) increase the breakdown of serotonin, which means our impression should not be that depressed people are unable to make enough serotonin.  The problem with depression is that a chronic inflammatory state is associated with a loss of normal serotonin levels.  This means that one of the major natural treatments for depression would be to reduce chronic inflammation.

One way to reduce inflammation is encourage patients to exercise more.  Studies have shown that exercise can be as effective as Zoloft.  Exercise naturally increases serotonin levels and decreases cortisol (inflammatory) levels.  Another way to help reduce inflammation is adequate sleep, around 8 hours a night, which is essential in allowing your body the time to heal and rejuvenate for the next day.  Your body and mind will then have a better chance at handling the next day’s stressors more effectively.  Next, you can  reduce inflammation by consuming a diet of anti-inflammatory foods such as lots of dark leafy greens (kale, spinach, brussel sprouts, collared greens, broccoli, cabbage) and adding anti-inflammatory spices to your meals (turmeric, curcumin, cayenne pepper, ginger, oregano, curry, basil, coriander, cumin).  The more vegetables you add to your diet the better.  Almonds, walnuts, and cashews are also anti-inflammatory.  You can add teas to your diet as well (ginger, herbal rest tea or sleepy time tea, white tea, etc) Basically you want to stay away from processed foods with sugar or grains.  According to research, people that consumed a Mediterranean-type diet, rich in healthy, anti-inflammatory fats and proteins, enjoy significantly lower rates of depression.  Next, make sure you are taking your prenatal multivitamin, probiotics, magnesium (150 mg), fish oil (2 grams), and vitamin D3 (400o IUs).  All of these supplements have been shown to reduce inflammation.   Lastly, chiropractic adjustments are another added benefit.  Not only do the adjustments cause you to be in less pain, but it will also elevate your mood because you will feel better and be able to do more things that you like to do.

Resources and/or further reading:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Folic acid vs Folate

Do you know the difference between the two vitamins above?  Most people commonly interchange these two vitamins, medical professions included, without knowing that there is a small but very significant difference between the two.

Folate is a group of water soluble B vitamins made up of tetrahydrafolates also known as B9.  It is the vitamin that is found naturally in foods such as spinach, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, beets, collard greens, kale, asparagus, turnip greens, broccoli, mustard greens, lentils, garbanzo beans, and parsley to name a few.  Folate is necessary during rapid cell division and growth. In fact, pregnancy is known to actually double the need of dietary folates.

Folic Acid is the synthetic form (does not occur naturally) of B9 that is oxidized and found in dietary supplements and food fortification.  According to an article found in pubmed, humans exposure to folic acid was nonexistent until 1943 when it was chemically synthesized and then later introduced as a mandatory additive for food fortification in 1998 to help aid in the decrease of Neural Tube Defects in babies.  Unfortunately, many did not take into account how much processed foods people would eat, and therefore taking a folic acid supplement caused there to be a build up of it in our blood.  This has lead researchers to find many studies linking the build up of unmetabolized (not broken down) folic acid in the blood to an increase in the chance of certain cancers. (more studies here and here and here )

So what is my advice?  Number one, make sure you are eating a healthy diet full of all those delicious dark leafy greens, as you can see cauliflower and beets are also a great addition to add.  Secondly, ditch that folic acid supplement.  You are already getting enough of folic acid in the food fortification process.  Lastly, if you are not pregnant, trying to get pregnant or not breastfeeding, you do not need to be taking a folate supplement.  If you are pregnant, are trying to get pregnant, or breastfeeding you should be taking a FOLATE supplement.  You should be getting an average of 800-1200 mcg of folate a day, so depending on your dietary intake I would recommend taking around 600-800 mcg of Folate/day.  Some popular or good brands include Metagenics (we sell this brand at the office), Designs for Health, Solgar, and Pure Encapsulations to name a few.

Why I don’t recommend rice cereal

People are always asking what to start their baby on when they start solids. A common thing I get asked about is Rice cereal.  Rice cereal has really no nutritional benefit what-so-ever.  It purely is just adding calories to your babies diet.  Additionally, there have been studies showing how rice products have high levels of arsenic in it.  From Consumer Reports:

Arsenic not only is a potent human carcinogen but also can set up children for other health problems in later life.

Following our January investigation, “Arsenic in Your Juice,” which found arsenic in apple and grape juices, we recently tested more than 200 samples of a host of rice products. They included iconic labels and store brands, organic products and conventional ones; some were aimed at the booming gluten-free market.

The results of our tests were even more troubling in some ways than our findings for juice. In virtually every product tested, we found measurable amounts of total arsenic in its two forms. We found significant levels of inorganic arsenic, which is a carcinogen, in almost every product category, along with organic arsenic, which is less toxic but still of concern. Moreover, the foods we checked are popular staples, eaten by adults and children alike. See the chart summarizing results of our tests for arsenic in rice or rice products.

Though rice isn’t the only dietary source of arsenic—some vegetables, fruits, and even water can harbor it—the Environmental Protection Agency assumes there is actually no “safe” level of exposure to inorganic arsenic.

Another question I get asked a lot is when should you introduce solids?   I do not recommend adding any solids until at least 6 months of age.  There are even sources that say to wait until children are around 1. Think of it this way, food before one is just for fun.  So try not to stress over getting your child to eat.  If he or she is not showing any interest in it, do not force the issue.  One big thing you want to make sure of is that your baby can sit up on his/her own.  If you breast feed, it is always recommended to nurse your baby first because it is your babies single most important food until they turn one.

What do I recommend as a first food?   With Harper, we started with Avocados.  You can mash up avocados pretty easily and they actually are a great super food full of good fats and nutrients!  As with any first food, you want to really milk it down.  Whether you breast feed or use formula add a little of each of those to your introductory foods.  The better the baby gets, the thicker you make the food.  You can even mash up the avocado and put it in the babies bottle, just be sure to use a nipple that allows a stronger flow because of the thickened milk.  Below is a list of foods that I would recommend.  They say that you should introduce one food every 2 weeks.

  1. Avocado
  2. Sweet Potato
  3. Butternut Squash
  4. Bananas
  5. Green Beans
  6. Carrots
  7. Egg yolk
  8. Bone Broth

***It is important to note that if you or your family has a history of any food allergies, it is better to be safe and not try any of those foods until your child is at least one.  What we did with Harper was when we knew we were going to go to the pediatrician that day we would introduce foods that are common allergies like almond butter, eggs, strawberries, fish, etc.

***The American Academy of Pediatrics***

  • “Pediatricians and parents should be aware that exclusive breastfeeding is sufficient to support optimal growth and development for approximately the first 6 months of life and provides continuing protection against diarrhea and respiratory tract infection. Breastfeeding should be continued for at least the first year of life and beyond for as long as mutually desired by mother and child.
    • Complementary foods rich in iron should be introduced gradually beginning around 6 months of age. Preterm and low birth weight infants and infants with hematologic disorders or infants who had inadequate iron stores at birth generally require iron supplementation before 6 months of age. Iron may be administered while continuing exclusive breastfeeding.
    • Unique needs or feeding behaviors of individual infants may indicate a need for introduction of complementary foods as early as 4 months of age, whereas other infants may not be ready to accept other foods until approximately 8 months of age.
    • Introduction of complementary feedings before 6 months of age generally does not increase total caloric intake or rate of growth and only substitutes foods that lack the protective components of human milk.
    • During the first 6 months of age, even in hot climates, water and juice are unnecessary for breastfed infants and may introduce contaminants or allergens.
    • Increased duration of breastfeeding confers significant health and developmental benefits for the child and the mother, especially in delaying return of fertility (thereby promoting optimal intervals between births).
    • There is no upper limit to the duration of breastfeeding and no evidence of psychological or developmental harm from breastfeeding into the third year of life or longer.
    • Infants weaned before 12 months of age should not receive cow’s milk but should receive iron-fortified infant formula.”

Diastasis Recti

Ever since having Harper, I have struggled to get my abdominal strength back.  I knew there was something I was missing so when my husband came across this book I was excited to read it.  If you have been diagnosed with a Diastasis Recti or know someone that has this book is definitely for you.  You can find it on Amazon, titled Diastasis Recti by Katy Bowman.  The book explains what it is and gives you stretches and exercises starting from beginner and going all the way to expert.  Below is a short summary of what you will find.  I hope you get as much out of it as I did!

What is it?

It is the unnatural distance (meaning abnormal to you) of the right and/or left halves of the rectus abdominus (abs) from the midline.   Usually caused by the stretching of the linea alba, which is a ligament that holds all the muscles in place in the abdomen and it runs from the rib cage all the way down to your pelvis.  To be clear a DR is not simply just a separating of muscle, but a whole body issue that lead to the symptom of your abdomen separating.

What can cause it?

Most commonly a DR is a result of pregnancy.  Not all women get it, and there are varying degrees of separation.  It can also be a result of muscular imbalances, weak muscles, tight muscles or poor body posture as a whole.  Another reason for DR’s to occur is an increase in intra-abdominal fat.

What can you do to correct a Diastastis Recti?

One of the main things Katy repeats in the book is that it is a whole body issue.  You need to treat it that way and really go back to the basics of simple stretches before getting into the more complex exercises to strengthen, which was what I was doing wrong.  I was trying to get into the exercises right off the bat, not realizing my posture was incorrect during the moves which was leading to more issues and not helping correct the problem.

Secondly, not only do you have to stretch and do exercises, but you have to eat healthy as well.  Nutrition is the building blocks of health.  We can exercise until we are blue in the face, but if we eat like crap or do not take care of our bodies, the exercises and stretches are worthless.

Lastly, our society has become extremely sedentary.  We need to get up more and move.  If we have to sit, we need to learn how to sit better. We constantly hear all day long that I don’t sit much, but if you really think about it you probably are more sedentary than not.   For example, we sit when we commute to and from work, when we watch TV or read a book, when we are eating breakfast, lunch, or dinner, using the internet, going to the bathroom, and when we are sleeping just to name a few!

Here are three stretches that Katy suggests to start with:

  1. Floor Angels – AKA snow angel, you want to keep your palms up with your elbows slightly bent.  Do not go any higher than what you can do with your ribs down on the ground!  Do this exercise 10 times moving slowly and making sure your ribs are in contact with the ground at all times!
  2. Windmill Stretch – Starting on your back, bring your knee up toward your chest and then roll your entire body to the left, until your knee rests on the ground.  Without hyperextending the elbow, reach your right hand, arm, and shoulder blade up toward the ceiling and away from the spine.  Slowly drop your arm as far as you can without thrusting your ribcage.  (move your arm between 12-6)  Do this 10-15 times and then repeat on the other side.
  3. Doorway walkthrough – if you can reach the top of the door way, hold both arms up above you for 20-60 seconds.  If you can’t reach do a single-armed version of this exercise, doing one arm at a time on the right and left side of a doorway.  (Make sure your elbows are pointing straight ahead)

With the first two stretches, you need to make sure your ribs are in contact with the floor at all times.  You do not want any gap in between the ribs and the floor. What she recommends is to prop your head up with bolsters(rolled up towels) until you ribs are in contact with the floor and as you do the exercises you will notice that you need less and less of a bolster.

Again, I can’t state how great this book was.  I have been doing these stretches for a week and I already notice a difference.  Check it out for even more details and exercises to help correct your Diastasis Recti.  If you have any questions or are wondering if you are doing any stretches or exercises correctly, come into the office and I will be happy to help!

 

 

What causes the rise in colds/Flu’s in the fall?

Most of us know that Flu season and cold season is during the fall, but a lot of us don’t know why it occurs every year at the same time.

As Fall nears, the season starts to change from warm sunshine to a cold and dreary place.  Meaning we get less hours of sunlight, and we get less exercise.  Therefore, we are getting less Vitamin D which in turn will start to tax our immune system.  The journal Nature Immunology provides details of the synergy between the sunshine vitamin and our adaptive immune killer T cells. Vitamin D is shown to provide the activation key that stimulates T cells into action when invaders are detected.  Maintain your vitamin D blood levels between 50 and 70 ng/ml for optimal protection.

Another common trigger is the Holidays.  The fall brings Halloween where we and our kids get lots of candy, and eat more than usual because it is Halloween. Next comes Thanksgiving, where we are overindulging with appetizers that really could be a meal in itself, and then eating a full course meal for dinner with stuffing, gravy, breads, biscuits, candied ham,  candied potatoes.  All filled with excess sugar than our bodies are used to.  And don’t forget we haven’t even gotten to dessert!   Then we have leftovers!  And just when we think we are done with the leftovers, the holiday parties start, the cookie bakes, Hanukkah, and Christmas Eve and Day.  Are you starting to understand what I am saying?  We are eating WAY more sugar than ever before.  There are actual research studies and papers showing the negative effects of sugar on our immune system.  it basically shuts our immune system down because it is so overloaded by the sugar.  The results of a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN) demonstrates that the amount of sugar in two sweetened beverages lowers immune response by 50% for up to five hours after drinking or eating. A diet filled with complex carbohydrates has no detrimental effect on immunity and the high nutritional content of fresh vegetables, nuts and seeds provide the building blocks required to mount a healthy attack as needed.

So what can we do about it?  Being informed that sugar, exercise, and Vitamin D all play a role in weakening our immune system is a start.  Get yourself outside as much as possible, try to exercise or do some form of vigorous activity at least an hour/day.  Start taking a Vitamin D3 supplement.  Dr. Chris and I take 4000 IU’s /day, and Harper takes a combined Fish Oil/Vitamin D3 supplement which we follow the directions on how much to give her according to weight/age.  (nordicnaturals.com)   We have found her supplement at Nature’s Nutrition, Amazon, and even diapers.com.  Next, watch what you eat.  Try not to overindulge.  If you have a problem with saying no, don’t keep it in the house.  Eat more salads with dark leafy greens (ex. spinach, kale, collard greens, Swiss chard, arugula).   Try to skip all the sugary juices, sodas, or alcoholic beverages.  Drink more water!  Be sure to wash your hands especially after using the restroom or being in any public place.  We need to start to become more proactive with our health and not wait for the symptoms to start.

Dangers of Sports Drinks and What to Drink Instead

Have you or your child ever tried a sports drink or pedialyte?  Both have been advertised to be a great hydration for the body, full of electrolytes, and even better than water!  However, it turns out that they have been misleading us.  There are many harmful ingredients in these drinks that have been linked to a lot of potential problems down the line, such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and ADHD.  For example, take a look at the ingredient list found on the Gatorade Thirst Quencher Orange:  water, SUGAR, dextrose, citric acid, natural flavor, salt, sodium citrate, monopotassium phosphate, gum arabic, sucrose acetate, isobutyrate, glycerol ester of rosini, and yellow 6.  Basically all I see there is sugar and chemicals!?!  AND, yellow number 6 has been linked to learning and concentration disorders in children, aggravating ADHD symptoms!

One of my biggest concerns is the sugar content.  In just one 32 ounce Gaterade/Powerade there is 200 calories and 52.5 grams of sugar! That amount of sugar alone cancels out the electrolyte benefit right off the bat.  It will cause your blood sugar levels to spike and then drop so quickly that you will feel even more tired than before you had the drink!

Furthermore, according to the journal of applied physiology, sports drinks do not quench your thirst, but actually in fact just make you drink more.  They state in their research that it is actually the flavoring and salt intake that make you drink more, and in turn stay more hydrated than before.

Additionally, the acid found in the sports drink will actually erode your teeth more than drinking a can of soda!  A study done in the journal of general dentistry said “after 5 days of consistent consumption, the acid starts to irreversibly destroy tooth enamel”.

After reading all of this, you must be thinking ok, I do not want to drink that anymore, but what can I do to keep myself and my child hydrated while exercising or playing in sports or even if your child gets the stomach bug and needs to stay hydrated.  There are many different things you can make or use as your own natural sports drink without all the dangerous add-in’s you find in sports drinks like Gatorade or Powerade or even Pedialyte. Coconut water is the liquid that is found inside the coconut. It has actually been nicknamed “Nature’s Gatorade.” It contains 5 important electrolytes:

  1. Potassium: The most important positive ion (cation) inside your cells; potassium regulates heartbeat and muscle function. Coconut water contains 295 mg, which is 15 times the amount in the average sports drink
  2. Sodium: The most important positive ion in fluid outside your cells, and also the one most depleted with exercise, as you lose sodium through sweat and urine
  3. Magnesium: Important for maintaining the electrical potential of your cells, proper muscle function, and preventing calcium overload
  4. Phosphorus: Plays important roles in bone health, but also in transferring energy throughout your body, helping your muscles contract, and regulating nerve function (partners with calcium)
  5. Calcium: Important for bone health (partners with phosphorous)

Now you can drink the coconut water alone or you can add it on to your own homemade sports drink.  A simple homemade recipe you can use is the following: 3-4 slices of fresh ginger, 1 cup of water plus any extra you want to add in, juice of 1/2 a lemon, 1/4 tsp of sea salt, 1-2 tsp of raw honey (not for the use of children under 2).  All you have to do is mix well, and it is ready for your consumption!  You can even freeze the concentrate for later use, and all you will have to do is add water when your ready to drink it!

Super Immunity & The American Diet

Dr. Chris and I have read “Super Immunity” by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, MD over 100 times by now.  Each time we read it we find another valuable piece of information.  It is a good book to read if you are looking to improve your families health/diet.

Did you know that today the American Diet takes over 60% of its calories from processed foods?  Each year that percentage raises more and more.  This includes most foods made with sweeteners, white flour and oils; such as: white bread, bagels, chips, pasta, donuts, cookies, breakfast bars, cold cereals, soft drinks, pretzels, condiments, and premade salad dressings.  We as a country consume less than 10 percent of their calories from unrefined plant foods such as fruits, beans, seeds, and vegetables.  However, this is misleading because at least half the vegetable consumption in America is white potato products, including fries and chips!

What does this mean to us?  The modern diet is not just slightly derived in a handful of micronutrients, but grossly deficient in hundreds of important plant derived immunity building compounds!  Vegetable consumption is something we as a country need to start making a priority in our diets.  If we don’t make that change we are going to start seeing a lot more chronic conditions, poor quality of life and premature deaths earlier than ever before.  As I have talked about earlier, obesity has become a major problem in America.  We are the first generation who won’t live out our parents generation in age.  According to the CDC, more than one third of American Adults are obese, costing us $147 billion dollars in health care costs in 2008!  That was 7 years ago, and with the rate steadily increasing each year, the health care cost goes up!  Childhood obesity is also extremely high at 17% of Americans for the age groups of 2-17, which affected 12.7 million children last year!

So how do we change these staggering statistics? We need to not only start educating our children with the importance of eating more vegetables, but we ourselves need to start eating healthier too.  We can not expect our kids to want to eat healthy if they watch our unhealthy eating habits.  So not only do we have to be good role models for our children’s behaviors, but their eating habits too!  Get rid of the excuse, “I just don’t like the taste of vegetables”.  There are no excuses when it comes to health.  There are so many vegetables out there.  Find ones that you and your family like and try and incorporate them into your meals.  Here are some tips at eating healthier and getting your kids to eat healthier.  Start food shopping on the weekends or a day off so that you have a day to start preparing meals for the week.  We cut up all our vegetables on Sunday, and make mason jar salads for throughout the week.  Every night, we always make sure there is at least one vegetable on our plate!  We typically will snack on carrots, peppers, snap peas, or cut up cucumbers through out the day.  We always try and have a small salad for lunch or a side of dark leafy greens sauteed for dinner.  Then we always have another type of vegetable medley for dinner.  Obviously, it is going to be harder to start to change on a drastic measure so start small.  Make your goal this month to find which veggies your family likes, and at least incorporate one a day!  Then you can add on from there!

Importance of Priobiotics

Probiotics are a type of “good” bacteria used by the body to aid in natural and healthy digestion.  Friendly bacteria are vital to proper development of the immune system, to protect against microorganisms that cause disease, and to maximize the digestion and absorption of food and nutrients.  Due to unhealthier diets and the increased number of people on antibiotics and other medications, men and women’s natural flora (good bacteria) have been decreased leading to digestive issues such as bloating, diarrhea, constipation, and irritable bowel syndrome.  Probiotics have also been linked to strengthening the immune response and help reduce the severity of colds, flu’s, UTI’s, vaginal yeast infections, and certain skin infections such as eczema.  Did you know that 70% or more of our immune system function is in our gut?  Your stomach has 5-7 pounds of good bacteria which is constantly under attack by the foods we eat or the medications we take.  Another fun fact is that 90% of seratonin production is made in the gut which helps prevent anxiety and depression.

Probiotics can be found naturally in foods such as yogurts and kefir.  Kefir is a drinkable form of yogurt which contains beneficial yeast as well as probiotics, which when found together actually produce an enzyme called lactase (lactase is what helps break down lactose in the body).  Kefir also has been found to help cleanse the intestines and boost immune system function (www.kefir.net).

Probiotics may also be taken in supplemental form.  The most effective probiotics are found in the refrigerated section of your health food store.  It is recommended that when taking antibiotics and certain medications you should supplement with probiotics offering around 85 billion organisms per day.  If you are not taking any medications or antibiotics, I would recommend getting a good probiotic and following the bottle’s instructions.  Here at the Chiropractic Family Center, we sell a probiotic by Metagenics for adults, and soon we will also offer probiotics for your children and infants as well!  The infant probiotic is actually a liquid so it can be used right from birth for both breastfeeding mom’s and for formula feeding mom’s!  If you have additional questions please don’t hesitate to ask!

Elderberry Syrup

Fall is a common time for colds and/or the Flu to start showing up.  If you or any of your family members have ever gotten the Flu, you know how helpless you feel to watch them suffer because there is no antibiotic to give to treat a viral infection.  Elderberry syrup is one way to treat the flu naturally by speeding up the healing, and getting you or your family member better at a faster rate.

Elderberries are a type of plant that is known is have therapeutic benefits.   The berries contain high doses of vitamin A, B, and C all of which stimulate the immune response.  Black Elderberries (sambucus nigra) have been shown to prevent flu and speed recovery in those who have the flu.

Elderberry syrup can be purchased online.  We found ours on amazon, it is by the brand Nature’s Way.  You can also make your own after purchasing the elderberries , which also can be found online or at your local health food store, like Nature’s Nutrition in Brick.  Here is the recipe below:

Ingredients

  • ⅔ cup black elderberries
  • 3½ cups of water
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh or dried ginger root
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • ½ teaspoon cloves or clove powder
  • 1 cup raw honey (we get from our farmer’s market)
  1. Pour water into medium saucepan and add elderberries, ginger, cinnamon and cloves (do not add honey!)
  2. Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour until the liquid has reduced by almost half. At that point, remove from heat and let cool enough to be handled. Pour through a strainer into a glass jar or bowl.
  3. Discard the elderberries and let the liquid cool to lukewarm. When it is no longer hot, add 1 cup of honey and stir well.
  4. When honey is well mixed into the elderberry mixture, pour the syrup into a pint sized mason jar or 16 ounce glass bottle of some kind.
  5. Hooray! You just made homemade elderberry syrup! Store in the fridge.
  6. Standard dose is ½ tsp to 1 tsp for kids and ½ Tbsp to 1 Tbsp for adults. If the flu does strike, take the normal dose every 2-3 hours instead of once a day until symptoms disappear.

It is recommended to take daily during the flu season, but if you have a healthy diet and get your rest like us, we only take it when we start to feel like we are coming down with something or if one of us in the house gets sick.