fight infection

  1. Raise your vitamin D levels with good bacteria

    Probiotics: Your key to vitamin D

    Seems like everyone knows the importance of getting more vitamin D, but not everyone knows the best way to get it.

    Sure, you need a supplement -- but you also need the ability to absorb what's in that supplement so your body can put it to use and raise your vitamin D levels. That requires a balanced belly full of the friendly bacteria needed for good digestion.

    Just one problem: If there's anything more common than a D deficiency these days, it's a gut so unbalanced that it's a wonder you don't tip over.

    That's why new research finds that one great way to boost your vitamin D levels isn't by boosting your supplement dose. It's by taking a probiotic -- specifically a bacterial strain called Lactobacillus reuteri NCIMB 30242.

    In just nine weeks, supplements of L. reuteri can boost your blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D by 25 percent, according to the study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

    The study didn't look beyond D, but a well-rounded gut full of helpful bugs can also improve the absorption rates of other fat-soluble nutrients.

    And the strain used in this study packs a few other benefits as well. For one, L. reuteri NCIMB 30242 is a great way to control cholesterol levels naturally. And if that's not enough, it's also been shown to help improve digestion, fight infection and more.

    But let's stick to vitamin D levels for today -- because one of the biggest problems with the sunshine vitamin is that many of the people who are deficient don't even know it, and that includes people who take a supplement.

    They pop their vitamins and assume they're covered -- and they never bother to get their levels tested to confirm that the supplement is doing the trick.

    Don't let that happen to you.

    Along with taking a supplement of between 2,000 IUs and 5,000 IUs a day, have your levels checked by a holistic doctor -- and if supplements aren't increasing your blood levels, work with that doctor to find out why.

    In some cases, it could simply be a low-quality supplement. In others, it could be anything from the gut imbalances I just mentioned, to obesity, to problems converting the form of D you ingest to the form your body uses.

    Whatever the reason, get it taken care of -- because you need highly vitamin D levels for your bones, your brain and everything in between.

  2. Chamomile tea benefits turn off cancer cells

    Chamomile compound fights cancer

    There's nothing quite like a piping hot cup of tea at the end of a long and hectic day -- and if that tea happens to be chamomile, you're not just getting a warm mug of liquid relaxation.

    You're getting a ton of chamomile tea benefits and a powerful ally in the fight against cancer.

    Cancer cells have what's considered a superpower, at least on a cellular level: They just don't die the way other cells do. They live much longer, allowing tumors to grow, and cancers to spread.

    Well, it's time for that superpower to meet its kryptonite -- a natural substance called apigenin that's found in abundance in chamomile. In a series of experiments on breast cancer cells, apigenin was able to correct the defect that gives cancer cells their super longevity.

    Once corrected, the cells died like normal cells, according to the study of apigenin and chamomile tea benefits in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    Out in the real world, cancer cells that live and die like normal cells are easy to defeat. And in some cases, they might not have the chance to form a tumor at all -- which is why this discovery could pave the way for a natural treatment that could work alongside current therapies or even fight the disease on its own.

    And since up to 80 percent of all cancers survive and grow thanks to this same "superpower," the benefits almost certainly won't be limited to the breast cancer cells used in the new study.

    I'll keep you posted on this as the research continues to unfold. But in the meantime, you may be able to get the bulk of the chamomile tea benefits right now just by drinking a cup or two each day.

    As I wrote in my book The Natural Physician's Healing Therapies, there are two forms of chamomile used medicinally, German and Roman. I prefer German because it's less likely to be contaminated with pesticides and other chemicals.

    I find it works best when you brew it fresh, but it's also available in other forms -- including capsules, tinctures, skin creams, and more. And along with protecting you from cancer, chamomile tea benefits can also fight infection, stress, ulcers, and stomach problems such as irritable bowels, cramps, and flatulence.

    But if you're just looking for a source of cancer-fighting apigenin and chamomile isn't your cup of tea, you can also find it in celery and parsley.

    I've got more on tea -- this time, the green variety. Keep reading!

  3. Wriggling away infection

    Maggots, as it turns out, are proving to be highly effective at treating diabetic wounds that won't heal -- the types of wounds that affect up to a third of all diabetics and often result in disability and even amputation.

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