Zinc, It’s Not Just about Vitamin C Anymore…

With school just around the corner, so are all the GERMS that come with this time of year.  Fun times!  Generally speaking, most people reach for the bottle of Vitamin C if they feel a cold coming on this time of year, or to prepare in the event of a possible cold.  I am not saying that Vitamin C isn’t effective (as I do take it daily), but more and more studies are showing that Zinc has some very beneficial qualities when it comes to dealing with the common cold, also known as the rhinovirus.

Without going into great detail, and pulling multiple research studies at this time, some studies are showing that Vitamin C does not actually do much to prevent the common cold.  Sorry Airborne L.  Zinc, being the mineral that it is, seems to somehow interfere with the replication of the rhinovirus. Zinc influences the immune system in a few different ways.  Zinc helps the immune system recruit white blood cells for proper and better immune system function, helps reduce systematic inflammation in the body, and is also an antioxidant – not too shabby Mr. Zinc J.  Some studies that have also been done in the past few years have shown that people who started taking zinc after recently getting sick, had less severe symptoms from the cold, and the duration of the cold was not as long either.

Zinc is what they call a “trace element”.  The cells of our immune system rely on Zinc to function. If one is getting enough zinc into their diet, the T-cells and other immune cells in our bodies can be greatly affected.  Based on what Harvard Medical Researchers say, the suggested daily amount of Zinc is 15-25mg.  Taking in an excessive amount of this supplement can actually cause a reverse reaction on the body, and is usually best to follow the recommended daily amount, or the amount prescribed by your physician.

If you are a person interested in getting more Zinc into your diet naturally, chickpeas, kidney beans, mushrooms, crab and chicken, are all good sources of food where Zinc can be found.  Lozenges like Cold-Ez or syrups containing Zinc, can also help aid in support when you are not feeling well.  If you are a person who would prefer to supplement, or your doctor has told you to do so, Metagenics ( www.metagenics.com ) has a supplement called, Zinc A.G.  Zinc A.G. is a special formula with enhanced absorption to help better address zinc repletion in the body.  This is the brand I use, and that we carry or you can order at or through our office.  I do not necessarily take Zinc all year around, but I do use it through out certain parts of the year to help fight off pesky germs, and when I may be training at a higher intensity for something if needed.  I do not find that Zinc really has any bad side effects either, other than it doesn’t smell the greatest, and sometimes people complain of nausea.  If I don’t take my supplements with some type of food or little snack, I can become nauseous regardless of what supplement it is.  If you have any questions regarding Zinc or other supplements, please feel free to email me anytime at: drv@performancehealthcenter.com.  Happy Back to School everyone, and so not ready for the summer to come to an end!



Improve Your Immune System With Nutrition!

Did you know 70-80% of your immune system is located in your gut? There are many things that can disrupt the beneficial bacteria in your gut, including antibiotics. If you fail to reinoculate the gut with the good bacteria following a course of antibiotics, you may feel the effects without knowing the cause.

My personal experience with immune issues began at two years old, after taking a three week course of antibiotics to treat Lyme Disease. My immune system began to react to the slightest challenge. I was constantly getting colds and viruses, even though my nutrition and lifestyle habits were healthy. For a long time I was of the mindset that if you ate properly there was no need for additional supplements. However, I have since realized I was very wrong. Last Spring I introduced a few supplements and made a few changes to heal my gut, and have experienced a remarkable change. This was the first year in my life that I haven’t been sick once!

4R Protocol

The 4R protocol is an important step to‘Remove, Replace, Reinoculate, Repair’ your gut. The first phase is to Remove offending foods, medication, sugars, and refined carbohydrates, while adding certain anti-fungal and anti-bacterial supplements like grapefruit seed extract and oil of oregano. During the Replace phase, supplements are added to aid in digestion, including betaine HCl, digestive enzymes, and fiber. Beneficial bacteria are added back into your gut in the Reinoculate phase, in the form of probiotics.. Repairing the gut consists of giving support to intestinal mucosal cells, goblet cells, and the immune system using L-glutamine, fish oil, and vitamin C. After completing the protocol, you should continue to eat 85% whole, fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, grass fed proteins, and healthy fats.


In addition, there are 4 basic supplements that nearly everyone benefits from. A quality probiotic, a multivitamin, fish oil and vitamin D. We offer a variety of probiotics and fish oil. There are probiotics  for feminine health, children, intestinal distress, as well as the immune system. Depending on the EPA and DHA amounts in a fish oil, it could benefit your  joints, eyes, brain, mood, heart, or immune system! One of the best multivitamins we offer is the PhytoMulti  (with and without iron) because of its absorption and effectiveness. Plus, it includes resveratrol, grape seed extract, and green tea which most multivitamins don’t have. Recent research has shown Vitamin D, a fat-soluble vitamin, should be taken with an oil. There are many people who take high doses of Vitamin D, but never see an increase in levels because they don’t take it with an oil! Biotics makes a great liquid D supplement  emulsified in sesame seed oil for optimal absorption. Metagenics also makes a capsule vitamin D 5,000 with soybean oil.

Shauna’s Immune Boost Tea

Tea- either Yogi immune support or Gaia Sleep and Relax

Lemon- Squeeze juice of one organic lemon

Apple Cider vinegar- Braggs- 1 tbsp

Raw, Local honey- 1 tbsp

Echinacea- gaia herbs (liquid) 2 droppers  (Metagenics also offers a capsule form)

Turmeric- 1tsp

Black pepper- (for turmeric absorption) 1/8 tsp

My immune boost tea is anti-inflammatory (turmeric, lemon, apple cider vinegar and honey), anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti- bacterial (honey, lemon and apple cider vinegar), alkalizing  (lemon and apple cider vinegar), prebiotic-rich  (apple cider vinegar), and cold-preventative (echinacea). Drink it once a week for maintenance, and twice a day if you feel a cold coming on. Warning: Tea does not taste great, but I swear by it! In addition to the tea, you can take a spoonful of elderberry syrup, 2 Phytomultis, and Vitamin C to stop the cold.


Meditation can help reduce stress, which takes its toll on your immune system. Start with just 3 minutes a day. Set an alarm on your phone, and sit or lay down. It’s helpful to put one hand on your belly, and one on your heart. Take deep breaths.You may struggle to keep your thoughts from interfering with your meditation. Notice them as if you’re watching a movie and let them pass. Focus on breathing. The more you practice the less invasive your thoughts will be.

These are just some of the ways for you to begin to strengthen your immune system. Please read Dr. Ball’s article this month on how exercise can be beneficial to your immune system as well.

We have many of the immune-boosting supplements here at Performance Health Center, or you can order them online at shaunamchugh.metagenics.com. Through the month of March we are offering a 20% discount. Plus, if you are a new customer you receive an additional 20% off! The online store also has children’s chewable versions of the Phytomulti and probiotics. Many of teas and Gaia products are available at Whole Foods.

If you have any questions, or would like more information on the 4R protocol, or other ways to be a healthier you, please call 508-655-9008 for a free consultation.

(Always consult your physician before beginning any supplements. This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional. Consult with your healthcare professional to design an appropriate exercise prescription).

Shauna McHugh, MS    Shauna@performancehealthcenter.com

Boost Your Immune System with Exercise!

This past month I have had a lot of patients come in with either the flu, or a really nasty cold.  We are all exposed to bacteria and viruses on a daily basis, and the best way to fight these off and stay healthy is with a strong immune system.  Since we can not completely avoid being exposed to these bacteria and viruses the best way to prevent getting sick is to find a way to boost your own immune system.  How do I do that you ask?

There are several tings that you can do to help boost your immune system.  Eat a nutritious diet full of antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables; get enough sleep; stay hydrated on a daily basis; minimize stress when ever possible; exercise regularly; and maintain your regular chiropractic treatments.  I just read a recent article on how exercise can help boost our immune systems and it will be the focus of this month’s blog.

Research has established a link between moderate, regular exercise and a strong immune system. Early studies reported that recreational exercisers reported fewer colds once they began running. Moderate exercise has been linked to a positive immune system response and a temporary boost in the production of macrophages, the cells that attack bacteria. It is believed that regular, consistent exercise can lead to substantial benefits in immune system health over the long term.

More recent studies have shown that there are physiological changes in the immune system as a response to exercise. During moderate exercise, immune cells circulate through the body more quickly and are better able to kill bacteria and viruses. After exercise ends, the immune system generally returns to normal within a few hours, but consistent, regular exercise seems to make these changes a bit more long-lasting.

According to Professor David Nieman, Dr. PH., of Appalachian State University, when moderate exercise is repeated on a near-daily basis there is a cumulative effect that leads to a long-term immune response. His research showed that those who perform a moderate-intensity walk for 40 minutes per day had half as many sick days due to colds or sore throats as those who don’t exercise.

Here is a great article that was recently published in the New York Times on how Exercise may help us fight off colds:

http://mobile.nytimes.com/blogs/well/2015/12/16/how-exercise-may-help-us-fight-off-     colds/?smid=fb-nytimes&smtyp=cur&referer=http://m.facebook.com

Next month my Blog will focus on exactly how Chiropractic treatments boost your immune system.

If you have any questions on this Blog or your health in general, please feel free to contact me at: drtomball@performancehealthcenter.com

Boost Your Immunity This Cold and Flu Season!

As we all know, this is a tough time of year for many, especially with the holidays approaching, plus the temperamental weather changes in good ol’ New England.

A couple of years ago I was really battling getting repeatedly sick through out the year, especially over the holiday and winter season.  I was having some difficultly figuring out what was wrong… I mean, I exercised regularly, I ate exceptionally clean and healthy, so…how could I be getting sick so much?

There were a handful of factors that played a roll, and I really had to take a step back and re-evaluate my health.  My vitamin D3 levels were okay, not great, my vitamin C levels were very low, I was more stressed, and I was not getting enough hours of sleep.

In regards to getting enough hours of sleep, most of us don’t, period!  The only thing I can suggest is trying to make a more conscious effort to turn in for the night 30-90 minutes earlier then you normally do in the evening.  Minimizing, or actually completely negating the use of electronics 60-90 minutes before bed is very useful too.  Grabbing something light to read (non work related), whether it be a book or magazine, to help calm down brain activity is helpful as well.  I struggle with this still leading such a busy lifestyle, but have been making a much better effort and noticed differences.

Working to improve sleep habits also helps to decrease levels of stress.  Let’s face it, life is stressful these days.  We all have too much going on and not enough time to do it in.  Trying to prioritize what is really important to stress over or not helps to lower stress levels as well.  Organizing calendars and weekly schedules ahead of time always helps to control my levels of stress.  And, every now and then, just stop and ask yourself, “Is this really worth stressing over?”  It sounds silly, but it does help put some things into perspective.

In regards to the vitamin deficiencies, I did have blood work done at my annual physical to help figure this out.  I started taking the Metagenics brand of Vitamin D3 that we carry in our office immediately.  I felt huge differences in levels of energy just by taking that, I just didn’t feel as “run down”, which can contribute and lead to sickness.  To this day, I take one 5,000 IU capsule a day.  In one of the previous news letter articles, I had written about the benefits of Vitamin D3, so I won’t bore you with all of that information again.

In regards to being deficient in Vitamin C, I also started taking Immu-Core, a formula by Metagenics that has more potent Vitamin C, combined with some Zinc, Vitamin D, and mushroom extract in it as well.  Vitamin C levels play a huge roll in healthy immune system and function, which I take daily, as well as the Immu-Core.

Something else I decided to add in regularly with some discussion and personal research was taking a probiotic.  There are many types out there, some better then others, but I also decided to go with the Ultra-Flora Intensive Care by Metagenics about 2 years ago. I take the proboitic daily, which consists of pure strains of “gut friendly” bacteria that help to support sinus, respiratory, and GI health.

We have been working very hard with our Regional Metagenics Rep to stay up to date and well educated in regards to all of the wonderful products this company has to offer our patients.  So needless to say, I was very happy when he came to our office and told us that the company was going to be putting together an “Immunity Kit” to help patients and their immune systems this time of year.  The kit consists of the Ultra Flora Probiotic Immune Booster, Immu-Core, both of which I already take, plus Essential Defense, which is a traditional Chinese formula to support healthy immune function after sudden changes in weather and season.

I am looking forward to staying on top of my health and my immune system this holiday and winter season, and hope you all do as well.  If it is anything like last winter, I want to be prepared.  And, by purchasing all three in this kit together, you will save 15% this holiday season at our office.  Again, if any of our patients have questions in regards to what one should or should not be taking, please feel free to consult with any of the doctors at PHC, www.performancehealthcenter.com.

Metagenics Immune Boosting Vitamins