An Attitude of Gratitude

An Attitude of GratitudeSusan Brown Health and Wellness Editor

Ahh, the holidays, that magical season that lasts from Thanksgiving until New Year’s Day. The holidays are a time of festivities, family gatherings, honored traditions, and sharing of gifts and good cheer, culminating with toasts of goodwill to welcome in the New Year. While the joy and wonder of the season is sometimes temporarily lost to the hustle and bustle, taking a few moments to embrace gratitude can make the holidays and, eventually every day, more meaningful. As we look forward with optimism at the start of a new year, why not encourage an attitude of gratitude, an appreciation for all that is positive in our lives. Because, when it comes right down to it, every day has the potential to be a good day. If the sun is shining, even better.

Why gratitude? In its simplest form, gratitude is a state of thankfulness. Studies show that gratitude can positively affect our long-term health and long-lasting happiness, as well as raise levels of optimism, enthusiasm and energy. When practiced regularly, gratefulness decreases self-centeredness, keeps envy at bay, facilitates positive emotions, raises self-esteem and strengthens the quality of our relationships with family, friends and coworkers. It appears that focusing on gratitude creates a contagious zest for life that encourages positivity and motivates those around us to be more grateful, as well.

Like any other skill, cultivating an attitude of gratitude takes patience, practice and commitment. And like any other habit you’d like to improve upon or develop a new, changes begin with small steps. Carving just a few minutes out of a busy day to show appreciation to those we love and often take for granted, and being thankful for all that we have, can reap spiritual, emotional, physical and mental health benefits. Taking time each day to count our blessings rather than our burdens, can result in increased sleep quality, decreased blood pressure, improved mood, a more positive outlook and enhanced recovery from health-related quality of life events. In short, feeling grateful helps us to feel good about ourselves.

For that, we can thank our brains. Neuroscience tells us that expressions of gratitude activate brain regions associated with dopamine and serotonin, mood enhancing neurotransmitters. The brain recognizes and reinforces positive stimuli, making it more likely you will engage in this type of behavior again. As grateful thoughts and deeds continue, neural pathways are strengthened, ultimately changing neural structures and creating a permanent grateful, positive and more content nature within ourselves. Considered by some to be the healthiest of all human emotions, it is gratitude that drives happiness and joy.

Real joy lies in the small things that become big things when touched by gratitude. Perhaps, instead of expensive gifts, give the thoughtful gift of time. Giving of oneself with no expectations of receiving is the true meaning of generosity and unselfishness. If someone in your past made a difference in your life, give back by making a difference in someone else’s. Thank someone every day just for being a special part of your life. Perform acts of kindness. Help others. Share with those in need. Spread the love out into the universe and watch it come back to you. Cultivate gratitude and a fullness of heart and you will inspire others around you to do the same.

References:
The Grateful Brain. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/prefrontal-nudity/201211/the-grateful-brain
6 Ways to Cultivate Gratitude. https://psychcentral.com/blog/6-ways-to-cultivate-gratitude/
28 Benefits of Gratitude & Most Significant Research Findings. https://positivepsychology.com/benefits-gratitude-research-questions/
The Neuroscience of Gratitude and How It Affects Anxiety and Grief. https://positivepsychology.com/neuroscience-of-gratitude/

Tips for Healthy Holiday Travel

Tips for Healthy Holiday TravelJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

If 2019 holiday travel predictions are anything like the past few years, more than one-third of Americans plan on traveling during the busy holiday season. Based on recent travel trends, approximately 112.5 million people will go the distance to spend time with family and friends or perhaps, take a much needed vacation. As we look forward to holiday celebrations, good food and good cheer, many of us seem to get sidelined by illness before, during and after traveling. It appears that planning and making holiday travel arrangements may increase the stress of the already stressful holiday season. As well, we tend to get less sleep, forgo exercise, consume more alcohol and overindulge when it comes to holiday treats and sweets, all of which have consequences for immune and digestive function.

While we might like to believe we can push ourselves to the limit during the holidays, chances are high that our normal healthy routine will be disrupted, making it less likely that our immune and digestive systems can function at the highest level. While we may be too busy to stick to the usual schedule, simple steps can be taken to support overall health whether traveling or celebrating at home. December is prime cold and flu season and no one has time to be sidelined by illness. Taking some precautions to support energy production and maintain proper immune and digestive function may be just the ticket for staying healthy during the busy, festive season.

When there’s no time for the gym, any physical activity will do. Epidemiological studies show that regular moderate-intensity exercise enhances immune regulation and competency, thereby reducing susceptibility to communicable bacterial and viral infections. Daily participation in some form of enjoyable physical activity optimizes immune function by increasing the circulation of natural killer cells, white blood cells and other immune system warriors, helping to ensure a strong and vigorous defense against opportunistic infection-inducing pathogens. If you do get sick, rest or least tone down exercise intensity. There’s some evidence that light exercise may help to break up mild congestion in well-hydrated persons.

Beware the usual germy suspects. Coming into contact with large groups of people in highly trafficked areas can increase the likelihood of exposure to bacteria and viruses. While crowds are often unavoidable during holiday travel and events, the truth is we are often exposed to easily transmissible germs in public places. One of the best ways to avoid sickness when those around you may be contagious, is to keep your hands clean. Scrubbing hands for at least 20 seconds with good old soap and water can rid your skin of microbes easily picked up from door handles and other surfaces. While proper hand washing is the first choice to remove bacteria, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer can effectively eliminate germs when properly applied in sufficient amounts.

Boost immune defenses with healthy sleep. Prioritizing sleep is one of the most beneficial ways to support immune health. Science shows that the immune system functions at its best when the body is well-rested. Sufficient restful sleep enhances immune defense by boosting the effectiveness of specialized immune cells, while lack of sleep appears to lower white blood cell count. In addition to all the stress and  energy-depleting tasks the holidays bring, insufficient quality sleep can suppress immune function, making one more susceptible to infections and lengthening recovery time. Sleep deprivation coupled with stress is associated with low-grade inflammation that negatively impacts immune and overall health. Adequate sleep allows for more efficient stress management, as well as balanced hunger hormones. To support effective immune and stress responses, make healthy sleep a habit and strive for seven hours of restorative sleep nightly.

Stay well hydrated. Sufficient hydration is important all the time, and particularly during air travel. Many blame recirculated air for travel induced illness. However, low humidity in aircraft cabins can cause dryness of the eyes, throat and nasal passages, hindering the airway defense system that normally traps and clears most potential airborne intruders. As there’s good reason why Yale researches call low humidity “the flu virus’ best friend,” the Aerospace Medical Association recommends consuming eight ounces of water each hour of the flight. As low humidity makes one more susceptible to illness, pay close attention to proper hydration before, during and after the flight. Consider adding powdered electrolytes to water and use eye drops and saline nasal spray to combat dryness and repel lingering airborne germs. Additionally, even though it’s holiday time, avoid drinking alcohol while flying. As alcohol is a diuretic that can contribute to dehydration, it’s best to wait until you reach your destination to enjoy some holiday cheer.

  • Unfamiliar foods and the tendency to overindulge during the holidays can wreak havoc on the digestive tract. Support healthy digestive function with fiber and nutrient rich fruits and vegetables.
  • Be choosy about holiday treats and try to limit portion sizes of foods high in sugar, fat and salt. When healthy eating is off the radar, digestive enzyme supplements help break down foods that may lead to digestive distress.
  • If your schedule is packed with activities, a daily B complex supplement helps fight fatigue and boost energy production.
  • Shelf-stable probiotics can reduce the risk of digestive upset, as well as boost immune response.
  • A magnesium supplement can assure regularity, while supporting the nervous system, muscle health and energy production.
  • Bio-active silver hydrosol has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and immune supportive properties. It can be used to alleviate dry skin and nasal passages, as well as to relieve minor sore throats, insect bites, cuts, rashes and burns.

Professional Supplement Center offers these and other high quality formulations in support of overall health:

Electrolyte Energy...Electrolyte Energy Formula Stick Packs by Pure Encapsulations®: Perfect for travelers and those on-the-go, these convenient stick packs mix easily with water to provide a unique blend of minerals, carbohydrates and vitamin C in support of hydration, electrolyte repletion and ATP energy production. One box provides 30 single serve natural pomegranate juice flavored stick packs. Hypoallergenic, gluten free, Non-GMO formulation.

Magnesium CitrateMagnesium Citrate by Professional Supplement Center®: This highly absorbable chelated magnesium supplement supports nerve and muscle function, healthy heart rhythm, energy production, regularity and the relaxation response. Gluten free, Non-GMO, vegetarian formulation.

Active B-ComplexActive-B Complex by Integrative Therapeutics®: This formula provides a full complement of bioavailable B vitamins necessary for multiple biochemical processes. Active B-complex naturally boosts brain chemicals that improve mood, energy, concentration, visual clarity and alertness. Free of sugar, salt, yeast, wheat, gluten, soy, dairy, animal products and artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. Vegetarian formulation.

Multi-Probiotic 15...Multi-Probiotic® 15 Billion by Douglas Laboratories®: This potent, shelf-stable multi-strain pre- and probiotic proprietary formula provides a blend of eight strains of live beneficial microorganisms in support of immune and gastrointestinal health. 15 billion CFU per capsule. Free of wheat gluten, soy, yeast, corn, sodium, starch and artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. Non-GMO formulation.

Bio-Active Silver...Bio-Active Silver Hydrosol Nasal Spray 10ppm by Sovereign Silver®: This liquid, immune supportive formula provides pure, positively charged, active silver hydrosol in highly absorbable nanometer particle size. Well-researched for immune support, this spray may be safely used short or long term. TSA approved 2 ounce bottle. Gluten and allergen free, Non-GMO, vegan and NSF Certified.

References:
The handiwork of good health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/The_handiwork_of_good_health
Debunking the Myth of Exercise-Induced Immune Suppression: Redefining the Impact of Exercise on Immunological Health Across the Lifespan. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5911985/
How sleep can boost your body’s immune response. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324432.php#1
Sleep and immune function. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3256323/
Chronic sleep deprivation suppresses immune system. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/01/170127113010.htm
Flu virus’ best friend: Low humidity. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/05/190513155635.htm
Low ambient humidity impairs barrier function and innate resistance against influenza infection. https://www.pnas.org/content/116/22/10905

 

LivOn Labs – Featured Brand

LivOnSusan Brown Health and Wellness Editor

Professional Supplement Center now offers LivOn Labs, a line of vital nutrients delivered with patented liposomal encapsulation technology for enhanced absorption and maximum utilization. Similar to the double-layer structure of cellular membranes, liposomes are composed of essential phospholipids that protect nutrients from the harsh digestive environment, aiding safe and effective delivery of nutrients to the cells and tissues. Liposomal nutrients achieve maximum absorption in the bloodstream and cells by bypassing absorption barriers without relying on transport systems. Research has shown that encapsulation is one of the most effective ways to increase the therapeutic value and bioavailability of nutrients.

In additional to the principal nutrient, each formula contains essential phospholipids and phosphatidylcholine. Phospholipids are the primary building blocks of cellular membranes that provide cellular protection from free radicals, pathogens and toxins. Phosphatidylcholine is the prominent phospholipid that is necessary for neurotransmitter synthesis and proper heart, brain, immune and nervous system function. LivOn Labs Lypo-Spheric™ nutraceuticals are free of gluten, sugar, dairy, hexane, fillers, and artificial colors and flavors. All formulations are Non-GMO and vegan.

Professional Supplement Center now offers the following liposomal products from LivOn Labs:

Lypo-Spheric™...Lypo-Spheric™ Vitamin C: To maximize bioavailability, Lypo-Spheric™ Vitamin C is delivered via smart liposomal nano-spheres. Each packet provides 1,000 mg vitamin C, as sodium ascorbate, and 1,000 mg of essential phospholipids in support of healthy immune, cardiovascular, reproductive and nervous system function, collagen production, cellular health and healthy aging. Gluten, dairy, sugar, filler and artificial flavor and color free, Non-GMO vegan formulation.

Lypo-Spheric...Lypo-Speric™ Glutathione: Lypo-Spheric™ Glutathione provides 450 mg of reduced form glutathione and 1,000 mg of essential phospholipids delivered via smart liposomal nano-spheres for maximized bioavailability. Considered the “mother” of all antioxidants, glutathione supports tissue building and repair, healthy liver function, and immune system health, as well as promotes optimal cellular health by providing protection from free radial damage. Gluten, dairy, sugar, filler and artificial flavor and color free, Non-GMO vegan formulation.

Lypo-Spheric™...Lypo-Spheric™ Magnesium L-Threonate: This product supplies 1,000 mg of highly absorbable liposomal magnesium l-threonate, a form clinically shown to support cognitive and neuronal function, calcium absorption and bone health. The formula includes 1,000 mg of phospholipids which allow for assimilation of intact magnesium into cells, and 500 mg of phosphatidylcholine, necessary for healthy cardiovascular, reproductive, immune and nervous system function, neurotransmitter synthesis and cell membrane fortification. Gluten, dairy, sugar, filler and artificial flavor and color free, Non-GMO vegan formulation.

Lypo-Spheric™ Acetyl...Lypo-Spheric™ Acetyl L-Carnitine: For maximum absorption, Lypo-Spheric™ Acetyl-L-Carnitine utilizes liposomal encapsulation technology to deliver 1,000 mg of bioactive acetyl-l-carnitine, 1,000 mg of essential phospholipids and 500 mg of phosphatidylcholine. Together these nutrients support cellular energy production, mitochondrial fat metabolism, healthy cognitive function, neurological health, increased endurance and muscle recovery after exercise and overall wellness. Gluten, dairy, sugar, filler and artificial flavor and color free, Non-GMO vegan formulation.

Lypo-Spheric™ R...Lypo-Spheric™ R-Alpha Lipoic Acid: Liposomal encapsulation of the most bioavailable and biologically active R form of alpha lipoic acid enables maximum absorption of this powerful intracellular and extracellular water and fat soluble antioxidant. In addition to whole body free radical protection, alpha lipoic acid supports mitochondrial energy production, glucose utilization and the maintenance of healthy glucose levels already within the normal range.  Gluten, dairy, sugar, filler and artificial flavor and color free, Non-GMO vegan formulation.