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”.

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!

Nasal Irrigation Is the Key to Reducing COVID-19 Progression, Doctor Says.

Want to stop the progression of symptoms and infectivity of COVID-19? 

You might be surprised how you can do so.

Nasal Irrigation Is the Key to Reducing COVID-19 Progression, Doctor Says: 


According to Amy Baxter, MD., an Atlanta-based doctor known for creative solutions to long-standing medical challenges is touting a lesser-discussed method to combat the progression of COVID-19 in patients who are positive: nasal irrigation. 

After considerable research and talking to colleagues who focus on both ear, nose, and throat and pulmonary treatment, Baxter, CEO and founder of Pain Care Labs, “believe[s] strongly that nasal irrigation is the key to reducing COVID-19 progression of symptoms and infectivity.” 

What is Nasal Irrigation?

At Wilmington Clinic, we often recommend the regular use of nasal irrigation or wash. In fact, the Wilmington Clinic has been promoting “NASAL RINSING” for over 80 years.  In addition, there are other anti-viral and anti-bacterial solutions that we use to enhance the saline solutions, as well as, nebulizing to combat bronchial and lung invasions.   

Nasal irrigation, or a nasal wash, has long been considered an effective way to remove viruses or bacteria from sinus cavities.  According to Baxter, recent clinical trials show that nasal irrigation reduces the duration and symptoms for other viral illnesses like flu and the common cold, though it hasn’t yet been studied for COVID-19.

Why is Nasal Irrigation Effective?

Still, she has multiple reasons for believing that this approach can be effective in preventing coronavirus from worsening in a sick patient. Firstly, she says, “SARS-CoV2’s viral load is heaviest in sinuses/nasal cavity.” Secondly, the sex and age discrimination of COVID-19 supports her conclusion. “Children don’t develop full sinuses until teens; males have larger cavities than women, and the cavities are largest [in those] over 70 years,” Baxter says. Of course, you’ve heard by now that children have been the least affected by COVID-19, and the elderly and men are dying at faster rates.  Baxter also adds that the total deaths in Southeast Asian countries like Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam are particularly low. “Yes, they wear masks, and yes, they bow and don’t shake hands, but the biggest difference between them and places like South Korea or Japan is that nasal irrigation is practiced by 80 percent of people,” she says. 

Where can I get a Nasal Irrigation System?

At Wilmington Clinic of course!  She suggests a NeilMed sinus rinse bottle (over a neti pot) because the high pressure seems better than gravity. This “gives the immune system time to figure out what it needs while reducing the enemy.” 

In short, regular flushing of one’s sinuses in the manner described above could be an effective way to keep the COVID-19 contagion from building up and entering your lungs and causing potentially fatal respiratory problems. 

10 Ways To Get More Fruit & Veggies Into Your Child’s Diet

Encourage children to eat vegetables and fruits by making it fun. Provide healthy ingredients and let kids help with preparation, based on their age and skills. Kids may try foods they avoided in the past if they helped make them.

  1. Smoothie creations
    Blend fat-free or low-fat yogurt or milk with fruit pieces and crushed ice. Use fresh, frozen, canned, and even overripe fruits. Try bananas, berries, peaches, and/or pineapple. If you freeze the fruit first, you can even skip the ice!
  2. Delicious dippers
    Kids love to dip their foods. Whip up a quick dip for veggies with yogurt and seasonings such as herbs or garlic. Serve with raw vegetables like broccoli, carrots, or cauliflower. Fruit chunks go great with a yogurt and cinnamon or vanilla dip.
  3. Caterpillar kabobs
    Assemble chunks of melon, apple, orange, and pear on skewers for a fruity kabob. For a raw veggie version, use vegetables like zucchini, cucumber, squash, sweet peppers, or tomatoes.
  4. Personalized pizzas
    Set up a pizza-making station in the kitchen. Use whole-wheat English muffins, bagels, or pita bread as the crust. Have tomato sauce, low-fat cheese, and cut-up vegetables or fruits for toppings. Let kids choose their own favorites. Then pop the pizzas into the oven to warm.
  5. Fruity peanut butterfly
    Start with carrot sticks or celery for the body. Attach wings made of thinly sliced apples with peanut butter and decorate with halved grapes or dried fruit.
  6. Frosty fruits 
    Frozen treats are bound to be popular in the warm months. Just put fresh fruits such as melon chunks in the freezer (rinse first). Make “popsicles” by inserting sticks into peeled bananas and freezing.
  7. Bugs on a log
    Use celery, cucumber, or carrot sticks as the log and add peanut butter. Top with dried fruit such as raisins, cranberries, or cherries, depending on what bugs you want!
  8. Homemade trail mix 
    Skip the pre-made trail mix and make your own. Use your favorite nuts and dried fruits, such as unsalted peanuts, cashews, walnuts, or sunflower seeds mixed with dried apples, pineapple, cherries, apricots, or raisins. Add whole-grain cereals to the mix, too.
  9. Potato person
    Decorate half a baked potato. Use sliced cherry tomatoes, peas, and low-fat cheese on the potato to make a funny face.
  10. Put kids in charge 
    Ask your child to name new veggie or fruit creations. Let them arrange raw veggies or fruits into a fun shape or design.

10 Tips To Add More Vegetables To Your Day

It’s easy to eat more vegetables! Eating vegetables is important because they provide vitamins and minerals and most are low in calories. To fit more vegetables in your day, try them as snacks and add them to your meals.

1. Discover fast ways to cook

Cook fresh or frozen vegetables in the microwave for a quick-and-easy dish to add to any meal. Steam green beans, carrots, or bok choy in a bowl with a small amount of water in the microwave for a quick side dish.

2. Be ahead of the game

Cut up a batch of bell peppers, cauliflower, or broccoli. Pre-package them to use when time is limited. Enjoy them in a casserole, stir-fry, or as a snack with hummus.

3. Choose vegetables rich in color

Brighten your plate with vegetables that are red, orange, or dark green. They are full of vitamins and minerals. Try acorn squash, cherry tomatoes, sweet potatoes, or collard greens. They not only taste great but are good for you, too.

4. Check the freezer aisle

Frozen vegetables are quick and easy to use and are just as nutritious as fresh veggies. Try adding frozen vegetables, such as corn, peas, edamame, or spinach, to your favorite dish. Look for frozen vegetables without added sauces, gravies, butter, or cream.

5. Stock up on veggies

Canned vegetables are a great addition to any meal, so keep on hand canned tomatoes, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, mushrooms, and beets. Select those labeled as “reduced sodium,” “low sodium,” or “no salt added.”

6. Make your garden salad glow with color

Brighten your salad by using colorful vegetables such as black beans or avocados, sliced red bell peppers or onions, shredded radishes or carrots, and chopped red cabbage or watercress. Your salad will not only look good but taste good, too.

7. Sip on some vegetable soup

Heat it and eat it. Try tomato, butternut squash, or garden vegetable soup. Look for reduced- or low-sodium soups. Make your own soups with a low-sodium broth and your favorite vegetables.

8. While you’re out

If dinner is away from home, no need to worry. When ordering, ask for an extra side of vegetables or a side salad instead of the typical fried side dish. Ask for toppings and dressings on the side.

9. Savor the flavor of seasonal vegetables

Buy vegetables that are in season for maximum flavor at a lower cost. Check your local supermarket specials for the best in-season buys. Or visit your local farmers market.

10. Vary your veggies

Choose a new vegetable that you’ve never tried before. 

Based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Revised October 2016.

What is a Cytokine Storm?

Your immune system does everything it can to clean up environmental pollutants, bugs, pathogens, viruses, and infections of all sorts. It uses a delicate mix of anti-inflammatory and inflammatory cytokines to bring more nutrients and white blood cells to the rescue. A cytokine storm can happen when too many inflammatory cytokines come into an area like the lungs. Signs and symptoms include high fever, inflammation (redness and swelling), and severe fatigue and nausea. Sometimes, a #cytokinestorm may be severe or life-threatening and lead to multiple organ failure.

We have some amazing whole food supplements and herbs that help reduce the risk of this happening. Protect yourself by reducing inflammation, supporting your immune system, and becoming healthier day-by-day! Call us to get a phone appointment to assess what you are doing and provide a supplement program with dietary recommendations to strengthen your immune system.

#cytokine #storm #immune #supplements #virtualappointments