Monday……………ZOOM 6/21/21@5:30pm: Nutrition and Exercise: Digestion of Protein plus Other Helpful Hints

So join me on Zoom! …reviewing Pastor David’s “55 Hard Program” w/ his personal trainer Don Strange

June 21, 2021 @ 5:30pm as we discuss “Nutrition and Exercise” and the 55-Hard Program with my friend Don Strange!!

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 936 816 2888
Passcode: 9V7wmF


One of my patient’s inquired “if Niacin (B3) helps with hair health?” Well, yes and maybe no….Niacin is one of several “scientifically documented nutrients” that contribute to overall hair health, but it doesn’t end there! First, one MUST have proper circulation to the hair follicles in our scalp…then nutrients can feed these hair cells to do their job–grow hair. Hair is 88-90% protein- best gotten from fatty fish (salmon, sardines), grain-fed beef. eggs, beans. etc.. Next, Vit D, Zinc, Copper, Inositol, Biotin (Vit H: part of the B-complex family), Pantothenic Acid (B5), Niacin(B3) have all demonstrated some influence with hair texture, growth, graying, etc. So, if you go to a pharmacy, health food store or “on-line” you will find numerous products that I refer to as “designer supplements” (products developed based on the most up to date “guaranteed new discovery” for health). Buyer Beware- food is the basis of “nourishing” your body (hair cells -all cells). When I was 23, my first introduction to “Food Supplmentation” was Nutritional Yeast for healthy hair. I have been taking it regularly for the past 40+yrs. Initially, I did not know why this person told me to do it until the late 70’s when it was reported in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition that “hair health was found to be related to a Copper deficiency”. I looked at my can of Brewer’s Yeast and I was surprised to see that Copper, as well as many other hair related nutrients, were part of that food source. It was very high in protein, Biotin, Inositol, Niacin, B5, Zinc, etc….that’s when I realized that Food should be my supplementation form not the “miracle cure of the moment”.

Monday……………ZOOM 6/21/21@5:30pm: Nutrition and Exercise: Digestion of Protein plus Other Helpful Hints

So join me on Zoom! …reviewing Pastor David’s “55 Hard Program” w/ his personal trainer Don Strange

June 21, 2021 @ 5:30pm as we discuss “Nutrition and Exercise” and the 55-Hard Program with my friend Don Strange!!

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 936 816 2888
Passcode: 9V7wmF

Optimizing the Immune Response

Nutritional, Herbal & Lifestyle Considerations

By Sara Le Brun-Blashka and Kara Credle

The immune system is the body’s defense mechanism against external invaders: bacteria, viruses, parasites and more. To address a wide array of intricate microorganisms, the immune system’s response has to be equally as complex. But an extensive amount of research has been done over the years on the various inner workings of the immune system. These findings often point to nutrition as a way to support the immune system and reach optimal functioning.

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Why Nutrition Is Important for the Immune Response

Nutrition is important for a healthy immune response because, like other systems of the body, immune organs, tissues and cells need energy to complete their assigned functions. Nutrients provide that energy. Nutrients also provide support for the immune system in the form of:

  1. Reduced risk of infection
  2. Antioxidants to reduce oxidative stress
  3. Inflammation resolution

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is an essential vitamin; essential meaning the body cannot produce it in ample amounts on its own. Exposure to sunlight is typically the way an average person accesses this micronutrient, as ultraviolet rays stimulate vitamin D synthesis from within the body.

Dietary vitamin D sources include fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel, as well as fish liver oils, mushrooms and some fortified foods. Vitamin D is also a common ingredient in nutritional supplements.

Vitamin D is associated with calcium absorption and bone health, and it is also important for immune support. This is especially true for boosting the innate immune system (also known as the nonspecific immune response or the “first line of defense”), which aids in the prevention of common colds and influenza during peak infection months (i.e., “flu season”).1

Poor vitamin D status has long been understood to correlate with increased risk of contracting the infectious illness, but supplementation has yielded mixed results on reducing risk overall. A recent meta-analysis has shown that vitamin D supplementation is effective and safe to support acute respiratory concerns.2


Zinc is an essential mineral associated with immune barrier support in the innate immune system.1 Suboptimal zinc levels are associated with dysfunction in immune cells, potentially increasing the risk of infectious disease and other conditions. Physical barriers in the immune response are often characterized by mucus production and mucosal membrane integrity. Zinc is also associated with other immune support mechanisms, such as:

  1. Inhibition of rhinovirus replication, a microbe commonly responsible for the common cold
  2. Promotion of antigen presentation for the adaptive (specific) immune response
  3. Support of lymphocyte maturation and differentiation

Zinc is found in oysters and other types of seafood, red meat and poultry, beans, nuts, whole grains, and other foods. Phytates in whole-grain bread, cereal, legumes and other foods bind zinc and prevent it from being absorbed, limiting its bioavailability from these foods.3


Echinacea root (Echinacea angustifolia and E. purpurea) produce bioactive compounds called alkylamides that, along with other constituents found in echinacea, have been shown to support the innate immune response. Echinacea’s support of immunity comes from a variety of actions:

  1. Maturation of dendritic cells
  2. Increase in phagocytic activity and macrophage activity
  3. Increase in natural killer cell activity
  4. Balance of inflammatory response by inhibiting the “cytokine storm”

Studies also associate echinacea with reduced duration and severity of colds and upper respiratory infections, as well as the alleviation of symptoms associated with these conditions.4-5

Medicinal Mushrooms

A variety of medicinal mushrooms have long been associated with both innate and adaptive immune support, specifically in the form of promoting cytokine and cytokine receptor function; as well as the activation of important immune cells thanks to beta-glucans produced by many mushroom species. Medicinal mushrooms of particular immune importance include: maitake, turkey tail, shiitake, reishi and cordyceps.

Why Lifestyle Is Important for the Immune Response

Lifestyle factors in addition to diet, such as sleep habits, stress management and physical activity, also have an impact on the health of the immune system. A lifestyle balanced with healthy choices from all aspects of activity can maximize the efficacy of the immune system and minimize the risk of infection.

Sleep: People normally feel “good” after a night of restful sleep because sleep is the body’s chance to recuperate after a day of physical and mental stress. A good night’s sleep prepares the body for another day, and that includes the immune system, which has to stay on alert for external threats. Healthy sleep is important for optimal immune function, specifically the homeostatic balance of pro- and anti-inflammatory compounds that keeps inflammation initiation and resolution in equilibrium.

Stress: Management of stress is important for immune health because excessive or chronic stress can wear down the body over time. Like inflammation, acute physiological stress that has a definitive beginning and end is a normal part of the body’s response to life. But when stress (or inflammation) becomes chronic, the body may experience a perpetual state of strain.

Specifically for chronic stress, there is an issue with excessive cortisol production. Cortisol is an important hormone for acute states of stress, such as avoiding a fender-bender in bumper-to-bumper traffic or answering an important question when called on at school or work. But when cortisol production continues indefinitely as a result of chronic stress, it can have negative repercussions that suppress the immune system and prevent it from responding to infections effectively.

Healthy stress management is beneficial for whole-body health, which includes the immune system.

Take-Home Points

A wholistic approach is vital to maximize the protective capabilities of the immune system. Vitamins, minerals, herbs and other dietary components – as well as lifestyle factors like healthy sleep, stress management and exercise habits – are all important steps toward supporting the immune system’s natural mechanisms to keep the body healthy.


  1. Rondanelli M, Miccono A, Lamburghini S, et al. Self-care for common colds: the pivotal role of vitamin D, vitamin C, zinc, and Echinacea in three main immune interactive clusters (physical barriers, innate and adaptive immunity) involved during an episode of common colds-practical advice on dosages and on the time to take these nutrients/botanicals in order to prevent or treat common colds. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 2018:5813095.
  2. Martineau AR, Jolliffe DA, Hooper RL, et al. Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory tract infections: systematic review and meta-analysis of individual participant data BMJ, 2017;356:i6583.
  3. Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Arsenic, Boron, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium, and Zinc. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2001.
  4. Block KI, Mead MN. Immune system effects of echinacea, ginseng, and astragalus: a review. Integr Cancer Ther, 2003;2(3):247-67.
  5. Jawad R, Schoop A, Suter P, et al. Safety and efficacy problem of Echinacea purpurea to prevent common cold episodes: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Evidence-Based Compl Alt Med, 2012:841315.

Carbs! Carbs! Carbs!

Final week of the plant-based meal comparison to animal-based meal discussion! This week, dessert will be served! We will be talking about carbohydrates, paleo, keto, vegan and more!

7pm tonight (10.26.2020) at the sanctuary at Faith Church! 13001 Gravois Rd, St. Louis, MO 63127

Come with questions! We will stay with answers. Looking forward to seeing everyone!

So Many Diets…It Can Get Confusing!

If you read anything at all about nutrition,
you’ve likely come across a variety of diets
which all tout health benefits and claim to be
the best. Here’s a little breakdown on the
most common diets and a commentary that,
hopefully, makes it all less confusing!

Standard American Diet (SAD)
This is the most common diet in the US and
includes sugar, fried foods, trans fat,
prepackaged foods, GMOs (genetically
modified organisms), foods filled with
pesticides and other chemicals/additives that
keep you addicted and cause you to gain
weight. These foods have low nutrient levels
and because you aren’t getting what you
need, you tend to eat more in an effort to

The paleo diet is designed to resemble what
our hunter-gatherer (Paleolithic) ancestors
ate thousands of years ago. Researchers
believe their diets consisted of whole foods
such as meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits,
nuts, seeds, herbs, spices, healthy fats and
oils. Foods to avoid would
include grains, sugar,
processed foods, most dairy
products, legumes, vegetable
oils, artificial sweeteners,
margarine and trans fats.

The Atkins diet is a low-carb
diet, usually recommended for weight loss.
Proponents of this diet claim that you can
lose weight while eating as much protein and
fat as you want, as long as you avoid foods
high in carbs. The Atkins diet was originally
promoted by the physician Dr. Robert C.
Atkins, who wrote a best-selling book about
it in 1972.

The ketogenic diet (or keto diet) is a lowcarb, high-fat diet that shares many
similarities with the Atkins diet, but with a bit
higher fat content. It involves drastically
reducing carbohydrate intake and replacing
it with fat. This reduction in carbs puts your
body into a metabolic state called ketosis.
When this happens, your body becomes
incredibly efficient at burning fat for energy.
It also turns fat into ketones in the liver, which can supply energy for the brain. Ketogenic diets can cause massive reductions
in blood sugar and insulin levels.

The Mediterranean diet is based on the
traditional foods that people used to eat in
countries like Italy and Greece back in the
1960’s. The basics include eating vegetables,
fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, potatoes, whole
grains, breads, herbs, spices, fish, seafood and
extra virgin olive oil and eating in moderation
poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt.

Plant-based diets have been popular for
centuries because of the health benefits.
Vegetarian diets contain various levels of
fruits, vegetables, grains, pulses, nuts and
seeds. The inclusion of dairy and eggs
depends on the type of diet you follow. The
most common types of vegetarians include:
 Lacto-ovo vegetarians: Vegetarians who
avoid all animal flesh, but do consume dairy
and egg products.
 Lacto vegetarians: Vegetarians who avoid
animal flesh and eggs, but do consume
dairy products.
 Ovo vegetarians:
Vegetarians who avoid all
animal products except eggs.
 Vegans: Vegetarians who
avoid all animal and animalderived products.

So what are we supposed to eat?
The simplicity of it is…the more your food is
unaltered and in its natural form, the better.
Chemicals don’t belong in our food or in our
bodies. So, start there. Our nutritional needs
can fluctuate depending on the season, age,
energy demands, ancestral heritage, etc. We
all need protein, fat and carbohydrates but the
RATIO of what we need can vary. Some do
well with a 100% plant-based diet and some
need animal protein. In the summer, we
usually feel like more fruits and vegetables but
on a cold winter night, we might want a beef
stew. Once you clean out the chemicals from
your diet, it will be easier to tell what your
nutritional needs are because your body will
tell you. Pay attention to how you feel and
adjust until you find what works for you. If you
can, attend our upcoming classes and ask questions!

Night One a Success! Are You Coming to Night Two?!

Thank you to everyone who came out on Monday night (especially the family that drove in from Kentucky!) for our series comparing diet options!

We are excited for night two, October 19th at Faith Church where we will dive into the Keto and Paleo diets and more!

Didn’t attend night one? No worries! We will give a brief recap!

Please call us to RSVP so we an make sure we have enough yummy food for all! 314-353-1477