6 Benefits of Saw Palmetto

It’s South Carolina’s beautiful state tree. It’s also an incredible natural and scientifically proven healer.

Regardless of how you are acquainted with this palm-like tree, the benefits of saw palmetto have been known and well known by humanity for centuries.

Among all its wellness uses— past and present— here are 6 benefits of saw palmetto that stand out and have withstood the test of time.

1. Saw palmetto helps support benign prostate enlargement (BPH).

This herb has become one of the most common supplements you can find at stores. This is mostly because of how well it supports prostate health, and particularly prostate enlargement.

Saw palmetto is also shown to support prostate health in all sorts of ways, including reducing men’s risk of prostate cancers, too.

2. Saw palmetto can improve kidney and urinary health.

Besides prostate benefits, the plant’s oldest and most longstanding use is for supporting urinary and kidney health in men and women.

Native tribes who first used it long ago— as well as natural health practitioners and scientists alike— have each found the berries of saw palmetto to be diuretic. This means saw palmetto can help cleanse and strengthen the urinary system, not unlike cranberry juice.

3. Saw palmetto can balance hormone health (in both men and women).

Saw palmetto is a unique plant full of impressive health-changing phytochemicals. These plant compounds have shown the special ability of influencing hormones in both men and women, and can have very desired, beneficial, and therapeutic purposes!

Some of these compounds include sitosterols and 5-alpha-reductase, natural saw palmetto phytochemicals and enzymes known to help the human body convert certain hormones into other types, thus creating more balance.

These can, for example, be beneficial to men who need help boosting testosterone (though it cannot boost testosterone directly). They may also support women to boost estrogen or even lower certain testosterone levels, such as in women with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome).

4. Saw palmetto may reduce inflammation.

Like many other herbs and whole plant foods, saw palmetto contains antioxidants: natural plant compounds that reduce inflammation and fight free radicals.

Taking a saw palmetto supplement could help reduce issues with inflammation: such as arthritis, digestive disorders, skin inflammation issues, and more, when taken daily and on the regular— though it’s not known to cure any inflammation-related condition.

5. Saw palmetto could potentially reduce hair loss.

In men (and some women), hair loss can be related to hormone levels, especially testosterone. Saw palmetto has been known to support the body’s conversion of certain types of testosterone to others that reduce the occurrence of hair loss.

It’s also known to block hair loss-causing hormones too, such as dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

6. Saw palmetto could boost respiratory health.

Along with its storied history as a kidney and urinary remedy, saw palmetto was often used in folk medicine for treating respiratory illnesses. These include coughs, colds, asthma, and more.

This may have to do with its anti-inflammatory properties! With so many benefits for different aspects of health, saw palmetto remains one of the most widely supported natural supplements even in the medical community.

Some doctors will enthusiastically recommend saw palmetto for prostate health. Talk to yours today— and experience its benefits for yourself!

Psyllium Husk and How It Can Help You

All of us can use a little help from time to time. Yes, often in the digestive health department, too.

Let’s be honest: irregularity and gut issues can strike at any time, affecting even the best of us— including constipation, diarrhea, IBS symptoms, and more.

If you’re searching for a natural way for supporting minor upsets like these, what are some of the best options? If you’ve never heard of psyllium husk— a herbal treatment for digestive issues— its true nature may surprise you.

On one hand, it’s one of the best natural remedies for digestive irregularity issues. On the other, it’s likely you’ve already tried some form of it at one time or another!

What is psyllium husk?

Psyllium husk comes from the seeds of the psyllium plant, known scientifically as Plantago psyllium, Plantago ovata, or other species from their same genus or family.

It is by no means an exotic or rare plant at all. It belongs to a large family of plants commonly found in the wild and that grows as weeds all over the world! For harvesting and processing psyllium husk, these plants are cultivated and grown commercially.

How psyllium husk works

Psyllium husk is incredibly rich in fiber, one of the best gut macronutrients. In fact, if you didn’t know already, most over-the-counter fiber powders you can buy contain psyllium husk or some ingredient derived from it!

Psyllium husk is processed from the delicate fibrous coating formed around the seed of the psyllium plant, which (not unlike chia seeds), forms a soft soluble fiber called “mucilage” when it’s exposed to water.

This fiber source is incredibly therapeutic: soothing inflamed tissues, helping allay diarrhea, constipation, sometimes upset stomach, and toning the entire digestive tract when taken regularly. Nowadays, psyllium is one of the most commonly used safe and natural laxatives, the top benefit it is known for.

Health benefits of psyllium husk

One of the best natural sources of fiber out there, psyllium husk is capable of offering quite a few other health benefits too— and not just in the digestive category.

Besides improving regularity and overall gut health, psyllium husk is shown by scientific studies to also be helpful for:

  • Improving heart health
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Lowering cholesterol
  • Increasing pancreatic health
  • Lowering risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Supporting type 2 diabetes symptoms
  • Boosting healthier metabolism
  • Supporting healthier weight
  • Reducing obesity risk
  • Esophageal reflux disease
  • Increasing colon health
  • Increasing energy levels
  • Removing digestive toxins
  • Improving digestion overall

Though most people rely on psyllium husk (or products made with it) for fiber needs, laxative use, or for digestive health only, finding a high quality, natural whole psyllium husk supplement can achieve far more beyond the gastrointestinal system— can support, prevent, and reduce the risk of all sorts of diseases!

Next time you see fiber powder at the store— or you’re considering using the powder for basic gut health needs— think about psyllium husk and embracing its core ingredient instead!

Does Food Affect Your Mood?

The weirdest things can throw you into a funk: hormones, sleep, even the weather! However, a lot of us don’t take into account how much diet or food affects our mood, too. The usual suspects —  junk food, sugar, processed foods, or trans fats — can cause chronic inflammation, and may eventually have a domino effect on how you feel.

Besides losing weight, reducing disease risk, improving health, and looking good, don’t forget to factor in food for your mood when following a healthy diet. Some foods, thankfully, are very nutritious and can have a holistic stress-relieving benefit…and other perks for you, too!

Food and diet affect digestive stress

Like all things food and nutrition, it begins in the gut. Foods that are difficult to digest or inflammatory — like gluten, meat, or dairy, along with the usual suspects — can cause your digestion some distress and pain, and affect mood, too.

The right foods, however, have soothing and healing effects on the digestive tract: especially fiber-rich ones like fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Probiotic and fermented foods can be incredibly helpful, too — while consuming antioxidant-rich foods curbs inflammation as well.

But if your diet’s out of balance, it’s almost certain that inflammation will take hold. This can in turn interfere with energy levels, your focus, and….you guessed it: your mood and how you deal with stress.

Food and diet affect mental and emotional stress

It can seem so strange that the gut impacts emotional and mental wellbeing! But it’s true.

In fact, the brain and the gut are connected by one of the biggest and most important central nerves in the body: the vagus nerve. This nerve can have an impact on nervousness, anxiety, digestion, stress, and yes, your mood.

Inflammation in the gut can also overload and stress out the body, and this in turn bogs down the brain. You probably know what it’s like to feel vaguely tired, foggy, and low energy too— it increases stress and anxiety, and it puts you in a bad mood! And it’s all thanks to chronic inflammation from those less-than-great food choices.

What foods help relieve your stress and improve mood?

Fortunately, staying on top of your diet a little better can literally help your stress and mood levels. Not only can it soothe stress from gut inflammation, but it also promotes better brain health simply because of the nutrients these healthier foods contain.

Some brain-boosting, stress-relieving foods include:

  • Garlic
  • Broccoli
  • Coconut oil
  • Fatty fish (omega-3 fatty acids)
  • Chamomile
  • Green tea and Matcha
  • Fermented foods and pickles (like kimchi)
  • Turmeric
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Mushrooms

Each of these foods help relieve stress (and can even improve sleep!) in their own way: either by offering up nervous-supporting nutrients or phytochemicals, inflammation-fighting antioxidants, or soothing and boosting the digestive system.

If stress or mood have you laid low recently, consider cleaning up your diet. Be sure to add more of these mood-lifting foods: your stress levels and mental wellbeing will feel the difference.

Vitamin C and Its Incredible Benefits

You hear about getting enough vitamin C more often than most other vitamins. But it tends to be for when you’ve got a cold, the flu, or sniffles — what about all other times? Is staying on top of vitamin C necessary then, too?

All of us need a certain amount of vitamin C to be healthy. If you take a little extra, it can have some extra health benefits, too!

What is vitamin C? | What does vitamin C do for your health?

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin. This means you can take a lot of it and never overdose, so you don’t have to worry about taking too much (for the most part).

Since your body can’t produce its own vitamin C you must get it from food! It’s required for healthy tissues, strong immunity, and for healing wounds to form scar tissue. Blood vessels also require vitamin C to function well and be healthy, too.

How much vitamin C do you need?

Thankfully, you don’t need lots of vitamin C to stay on top of being healthy: experts recommend somewhere between 65 and 90 milligrams a day for the average adult.

For specific health benefits or to boost your immunity (such as when you’re sick with a cold), you can take more per day, up to 2000 milligrams. However, it’s best to take this in 100 mg doses spread throughout the day. Your body will absorb it better (it stops absorbing vitamin C at around the 1000 mg mark!)

What are signs of vitamin C deficiency?

If you’re eating plenty of vitamin C-rich foods (or you’re staying on top of your supplements), you need not worry about deficiency. Not getting enough vitamin C isn’t common— but it still can happen.

Symptoms of vitamin C deficiency include:

  • Easy bruising
  • Slow healing wounds
  • More infections and sickness (colds and flu)
  • Dry or damaged skin and fingernails
  • Painful and swollen joints and bones
  • Other nutrient deficiencies
  • Tooth loss
  • Bleeding gums
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Scurvy (severe vitamin C deficiency)

What are the best sources of vitamin C?

For most of us who are relatively healthy, the best way to get enough vitamin C is from diet. You’re probably already familiar with some of the most vitamin C-rich foods:

  • Citrus fruits
  • Strawberries
  • Dark leafy greens
  • Sweet peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Dark blue or red berries

This definitely isn’t an exhaustive list! If you have a hard time getting enough of these, supplement sources can help. Some of the best of these include:

  • Acerola cherry
  • Citrus
  • Rosehips
  • Elderberry
  • Calcium ascorbate
  • Ascorbic acid

By far the most common type of vitamin C supplement you’ll find contains ascorbic acid. But be careful! Taking too much of this synthetic vitamin can cause uncomfortable side effects in some people.

Cover your vitamin C needs with a much healthier combination of whole food sources and natural supplements. Your body more easily absorbs what is natural versus what is synthetic— whether food or supplement, always go natural!

Why You Should Take Vitamin D3 in the Winter

It’s not called the “sunshine vitamin” for nothing. Vitamin D is one of the only vitamins that you don’t get primarily through food. Instead, it’s produced from your skin cells, and then processed by other parts of your body (including the liver).

Sadly, a lot of people are deficient! And they tend to get a lot more deficient in the winter with less sunlight, shorter days, and staying inside more.

If you knew the benefits of vitamin D (and specifically of taking vitamin D3 supplements during the winter), you might think twice about getting enough heading into winter. Here are 3 compelling reasons why you should take vitamin D3 during wintertime.

Vitamin D keeps away the winter blues

Scientists have discovered something else special about vitamin D. Not only is it created by sun exposure, but it also functions just like a hormone— and, in some ways, like a happiness neurotransmitter.

That happy feeling after spending some time in the sun? Yep, turns out it may be thanks to the vitamin D. Studies also show it may be good for dispelling depression, a common struggle for many of us during wintertime, and it is even being considered as an important treatment for major depression disorders.

In short, taking vitamin D3 could help keep away those winter blues.

Vitamin D protects your immune system

There are more than a few reasons why cold and flu season blows up in the winter. One reason is we spend more time indoors, increasing its spread. But the other reason is because we’re more susceptible to it, thanks to a natural dip in winter vitamin D.

To reverse this and keep your immunity strong, vitamin D is one of an important handful of nutrients crucial to reducing your risk of colds, flu, and other viral illnesses. It can’t cure, treat, or 100% prevent viral illnesses, but research does show it can reduce your risk, lessen symptoms, and help you deal with it faster and with a quicker recovery time.

Vitamin D supports a healthy weight

Besides the winter blues and more colds and flus, winter is also that season when some of us get a little soft! Good news: vitamin D3 supplements may help with that, too.

It’s not 100% clear why, but studies have found that people were more likely to lose weight if they took vitamin D3 supplements compared to if they led the same lifestyle but took a placebo. It may have to do with how vitamin D helps boost calcium intake, which can help those who don’t get enough calcium lose weight.

Winter is coming. When it does, a lot of us struggle with the blues, depression, mood changes, weight gain, and getting sick often. But it might be because you’re vitamin D deficient!

Taking vitamin D3 supplements this winter can be a great way to combat this— as well as getting outside and getting some sun exposure on sunny winter days when you can.

5 Ways to Detox After Thanksgiving

The holiday season is a season for rich food. Come the New Year a lot of us have resolutions to get healthier, lose a few pounds, and detox from all those high-fat, sugar-laden, yet delicious goodies you’ve noshed on through Thanksgiving and Christmas.

But why wait until New Year? You can stay ahead on holiday indulgence by doing a gentle, natural detox or cleanse after Thanksgiving. Here are some of the best and safest ways to do this at home.

1. Drink lots of water

Drinking water often is always a safe bet and highly recommended. Health experts recommend 7-8 glasses per day to keep you healthy, and they even recommend drinking room temperature or heated water over cold (it metabolizes better).

Besides keeping you hydrated, water does wonders for detoxing your body. It’s essential for good digestion and naturally cleansing the colon, too. You can even do what is called a “saltwater flush,” which is drinking warmed, lightly salted water twice per day on an empty stomach.

2. Eat plenty of probiotics and fermented foods

Maybe you’ve heard about probiotics, but you never knew what they were. Turns out they’re essential to a healthy gut and naturally help with detoxification and cleansing. Why? Because they’re full of body-friendly bacteria!

You need these microscopic organisms in your digestive tract to do a “self-cleaning” of your gut, as well as to help you digest and absorb nutrients. Without them you’ll experience chronic inflammation, and possibly fatigue, digestive imbalance, and a lot more.

Find them in probiotic supplements, fermented foods (like pickles), yogurt, kefir, and more.

3. Bulk up on fiber

People don’t realize that if you want to keep your gut (and gut bacteria) healthy, you’ll need to feed them!

To really do a proper cleanse requires eating plenty of fiber along with your probiotics to reap the benefits. Vegetables like celery, lettuce, and cucumbers are especially recommended for their fiber content— but also because they have high water content, too.

4. Pack in the prebiotics

You can also take “prebiotics” with your probiotics, which is basically a fancy word for fiber— soluble fiber, to be specific, and usually in supplement form.

You can take all the probiotics you want. But without fiber or prebiotics, they won’t keep your body cleansed and detoxified as they should.

Dr. Tobias Health Tip: Deep Immune Probiotics & Prebiotics contains both for the ultimate digestive aid.

5. Herbal teas and supplements

Along with good hydration, fiber, and probiotics, healing herbs add an extra boost to your natural home cleanse — and for more than a few reasons. These can help with detoxifying in either tea or supplement form.

Herbs like aloe vera, psyllium, licorice root, or slippery elm promote regularity and provide extra fiber in a pinch. Other herbs, such as cayenne or garlic, can be taken to prevent harmful microbes from creating imbalance and toxicity in your gut (often the result of too much junk food and too little healthy plant-based foods).

The body knows how to cleanse and detoxify itself — all you have to do is show it how. Even after a sumptuous celebration like Thanksgiving, with the right lifestyle changes, herbs, foods, and supplements, a natural detox or even a colon cleanse is possible right at home.

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4 Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

Though apple cider vinegar (ACV) makes for great sour pickles, tangy salad dressings, and even marinades, ACV has some impressive health properties too.

When you look at the research, you might wonder what ACV can’t do. The list of benefits is long, so we’ve highlighted a few:

1. Supports metabolism and weight loss

A tablespoon of ACV per day (about 1,000 mg) in a glass of water, food, or in supplement/gummy form, up to two times per day may support your metabolism, helping it burn fat a little faster.

This study even showed it may help reduce your risk of diabetes. But keep in mind: ACV isn’t a magic bullet! You’ll have to pair your daily dosage of ACV with all the other basics necessary for weight loss, like a clean diet and regular exercise.

Dr. Tobias Health Tip: One Dr. Tobias Apple Cider Vinegar Gummy is the equivalent of two liquid tablespoons of traditional ACV.

2. Aids digestion

If you’re a fan of probiotics, you might be a fan of apple cider vinegar. It’s great for digestion in similar ways…and ACV made with The Mother also contains beneficial bacteria with probiotic properties!

All types of apple cider vinegar contain acetic acid. These alter your digestive enzymes in a good way. It helps you process difficult-to-digest foods like fats, sugars, and the like, while boosting the absorption of vitamins and minerals.


Dr. Tobias Health Tip: Dr. Tobias Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies are made with The Mother for the added health benefits.

3. Can help lower blood sugar levels

Unfiltered apple cider vinegar with The Mother can help lower blood sugar levels. By its very nature, vinegar can regulate healthy blood sugar levels in the body, which is great for those with Type Two Diabetes.

It’s important to note the most effective and healthiest way to regulate blood sugar levels is to avoid refined carbs and sugar, but apple cider vinegar may also have a beneficial effect.

4. Supports detox and fights free radicals

Free radicals are pushed away since apple cider vinegar actually harvests them and keeps oxidation stress and damage from taking out important tissues and cell membranes. Unruly free radicals can land you all sorts of problems like arthritis, immune diseases, and even emphysema. ACV helps keep the correct amount of these free radicals to allow health to come to you and stay.

There’s much more to apple cider vinegar than these few benefits. For the wellness enthusiast, ACV is a dream come true: a 100% natural, nutrient-rich health tonic, helping you feel good from the inside out!

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3 Easy & Healthy Pumpkin Recipes

People often associate pumpkins with Halloween and Thanksgiving — from the delicious dishes like pumpkin pie to the decorations. But how did this association come to be? And why is pumpkin so predominant in American culture?

The History of Pumpkin

Pumpkin is native to Mexico and the southern part of the United States. When the colonists arrived in America, the natives were already consuming it. Pumpkins were abundant in the fall and in the wild. Its flavor, versatility, and the scarcity of other foods made the English quickly incorporate it into their diet.

Today, pumpkin has become one of the most versatile products in the kitchen. It’s added to lattes, soups, salads, and a whole range of desserts thanks to its creamy texture.

The Health Benefits of Pumpkin

Besides being delicious, pumpkin is high in fiber and contains very few carbohydrates. It’s also high in potassium, which, combined with a low-sodium diet, has incredible effects in improving hypertension.

The yellow pigment in the pulp of the pumpkin (known as beta-carotene) is considered a Provitamin A. Provitamin A can be converted by the body into retinol. Vitamin A acts as an antioxidant, protects against cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis. It also strengthens the immune system and helps us fight off various infections.

Now that we know the benefits, let’s get cooking!

Pumpkin Pancakes

Servings: 10 small pancakes

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

• 1 cup flour of choice (oat, coconut or all-purpose)

• 1 cup pumpkin puree

• 1 egg

• ½ cup milk of choice

• 1 tbsp of butter or butter alternative

• 1 tsp of baking powder

• Sweetener to taste

• A pinch of ground cinnamon

• 1 tbsp of oil (for the pan)

Instructions:

  1. Put all the ingredients in the blender glass, except the oil. Beat on high speed for about three minutes until you get a homogeneous mixture.
  2. Turn the stove on to medium heat. Grease the surface of a frying pan with oil.
  3. Pour in about ¼ cup of mixture and cook covered for three minutes. When the pancake has bubbles on its surface, turn it over and cook it on the opposite side for two more minutes. Remove and place on a plate. Repeat this procedure until the mixture is gone.

Pumpkin Soup

Servings: 6

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

• 1 kg. of pumpkin

• 1 tbsp olive oil

• ¾ cup onion, diced

• 1 tsp dried thyme (optional)

• 3 cups of chicken broth (fat-free)

• Salt

Instructions:

  1. Cut the pumpkin in two. Extract the seeds. Peel it and cut it into pieces of about 5 cm approx. Place the pieces in a refractory container in the microwave on the “cooking” function for ten minutes until smooth.
  2. In a saucepan over medium heat, add the oil and the chopped onion. Cook it for about three minutes. Add the cooked squash and continue cooking for about 5 more minutes. Then add the broth, dried thyme, and a pinch of salt. Cook over high heat for five more minutes. Turn off and wait a few minutes for it to cool down a bit.
  3. Then, take all the mixture to the blender glass and process until you get a homogeneous mixture. Serve hot garnished with cilantro or sour cream.


Fish Fillet with Pumpkin Puree

Servings: 4

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

• 4 Mahi-Mahi fillets (or fish of your choice)

• 1 tbsp of lemon juice

• 1 tbsp of oil

• 6 cups pumpkin (peeled and diced)

• 1 medium potato (peeled and diced)

• 1 tbsp of butter or butter alternative

• Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Put the potato and pumpkin cubes in a heat-proof glass bowl and cook in the microwave for about 8 minutes. Remove when fully cooked and slightly dehydrated. Blend them with the butter in a food processor until smooth. Season with a little salt and ground ginger if desired.
  2. Season the fish with lemon, salt, and pepper. Cook on the grill, about 4 minutes on each side.
  3. Serve a bed of puree, place the fish on top and garnish with a mix of lettuce and vinaigrette.

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Four Ways to Fight Germs, Naturally

The new school year has begun! We adore our little ones – but once school starts, you know the drill: they start bringing home all sorts of germs and bugs.

This makes “back to school” time an occasion to keep clean and protect both yourself and your kids. If you’re trying to do this in a simpler and more natural way, you’re in luck. There’s plenty of options!

Here are some of the best natural ways to keep germs at bay, and to protect yourself naturally from germs.

Natural Soaps

When it comes to fighting germs, washing your hands will always be number one. We recommend a natural-based soap like Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Lavender Hand Soap. There are plenty of soaps out there made with protective yet natural ingredients.

Some of these ingredients include antimicrobial essential oils, like peppermint, eucalyptus, or lavender. One of the greatest benefits of natural soaps: they’re quite gentle. Perfect for children and adults with sensitive skin.

Natural Hand Sanitizers

When there’s no direct access to water and hand soap, we’d recommend having a hand sanitizer nearby. Just like natural hand soaps, natural hand sanitizers are gentle and often even have skincare benefits – for both little and adult hands alike.

Many contain vegetable glycerin, vitamins, or aloe, all of which are natural ingredients that help soothe, pamper, and cleanse the skin. Germ-killing essential oils and natural alcohols are also added to halt pesky microbes in their tracks. The Honest Beauty Hand Sanitizer Spray (Fragrance-Free) is a great travel-sized option to throw in your bag or car.

Immune-boosting Herbs

Germ-fighting doesn’t just happen topically. A whole world of herbs and supplements can help control the effects of contagions, even after they’ve already taken hold… and when you’re already experiencing symptoms!

These natural remedies do their part by ramping up the immune system in your body, which can help fight the effects germs can have. They increase natural antibodies and T cells to fight infection though they cannot do something like “kill a cold” directly.

Many immune-boosting herbs and supplements are fully natural and gentle on the body, and some are safe even for children. Great supplements for fighting germs include turmeric, reishi mushroom, garlic, and many others, each being antioxidant-rich and nourishing to immunity. Read our blog post, 7 Immune-Boosting Herbs & Supplements, to learn more.

Vitamins and Minerals

Keeping the effects of germs and illnesses away can also be incredibly simple: as simple as cooking and eating healthy to make sure the whole family gets plenty of vitamins and minerals.

A healthy diet full of whole fruits and vegetables can accomplish this, as they do their own part in making sure immune systems are strong. But if you have concerns that your family might not be getting enough, a complex supplement full of all your daily nutrient needs can help. Make sure you opt for a vitamin supplement with vitamin C and vitamin E (like our Immune Daily), the most important vitamins for immunity!

As the new school year arrives, make sure you’re stocked up on the best natural ways to prevent germs at home. Both natural sanitary and health-boosting products are sure to do the trick, though be sure to see a doctor and turn to over-the-counter medicines if and when you or your kids do happen to get sick.

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Want a Healthier, Happier Pet? Start With Their Immune System

Does your dog have itchy skin, seasonal allergies, mobility issues, digestive problems or general lack of pep?  You may be surprised to hear it might be a problem with their immune system.

Your Pup’s Immune System

Your dog’s immune system is made up of organs and cells that communicate with each other to decide how to keep the body healthy and in balance.  Even your dog’s skin is part of the system, along with the gut, and the respiratory system, tears, the spleen and white blood cells.

A healthy immune system – one that isn’t overactive or underactive – understands when it is being attacked by pathogens (germs) and mounts a defense.  If the system is underactive, it is not able to defend the body against these foreign pathogens.  And if it is overactive, it sees even friendly normal cells as a problem and may attack them.  This is known as an auto-immune response, and it can happen in both humans and pets.

What Harms Their Immune System?

Several things affect your dog’s immunity:

  • Emotions, both positive and negative
  • Poor nutrition, which weakens the system
  • Seasonal allergies, which activate certain antibodies and wear down the immune system
  • A toxic environment, whether the toxins are:
    • Physical, such as chemicals used in household soaps, carpet cleaners, pest control sprays in the house, or even the chemicals on a flea collar
    • Audible, such as constant loud noises
    • Airborne, such as unclean air in the house from pollution, smoking, etc
  • Chronic stress, which depletes the overall effectiveness of a dog’s immune system. Stress in dogs can be caused by:
    • Repeated trips to the vet
    • Thunderstorms
    • Fireworks
    • Interruptions when they are eating
    • Changes in routine
    • New additions to the family
    • Loss of a companion, whether animal or human

Antibiotics – The Good and The Bad

When a dog’s immune system is unable to mount an effective enough defense, they may need antibiotics. We are fortunate to have antibiotics available when we really need them.

But for dogs, as for humans, the downside is that often these medicines are so powerful they not only kill “bad” bacteria, they can also kill “good” bacteria at the same time.

The best thing to do after your dog has been on a course of antibiotics is to support his immune system, and that means fortifying healthy gut bacteria.

Try adding some or all of the following to your dog’s diet after a course of antibiotics:

  • Probiotics
  • Milk Thistle
  • Yogurt made from grass-feed cow milk
  • Asparagus
  • Dandelion Greens
  • Fermented vegetables like sauerkraut or kimchee

Other Ways to Support Your Dog’s Immune System

  • Exercise: getting enough daily exercise is key to keeping a dog’s cells turning over properly, burning off excess energy and improving mood.
  • Massage: not only does this help increase lymphocytes (natural killer cells found in the canine lymphatic system) in your dog, but the physical touch can also improve a dog’s emotional health.
  • Keeping a Healthy Weight: for all kinds of reasons, including joint health, heart health and general health. A healthy immune system can be overtaxed by having to deal with these preventable issues.
  • Antioxidants: if you are not feeding your dogs fresh organ meat, herbs, fruits and vegetables, they may not be getting enough antioxidants, and as a result their immune system can malfunction.

Finally, the key ingredient in our All-in-One Dog Chew’s, OxC-Beta, is the cornerstone of our chewable no-wheat-added treats that contain digestive and immune-supporting ingredients to promote a healthy response to seasonal allergies.  It strengthens your dog’s natural defenses to keep your pet healthy and happy.