Immunity and Wellness: Q & A with Dr. Alfredo Galvez

With the world focusing more than ever on wellness, many are wondering what we can do to support our immune systems and overall health. Director of Product Development Tina Van Horn recently spoke with Dr. Alfredo Galvez, Reliv’s Chief Scientific Officer and the discoverer of the lunasin peptide, to learn more about the science of immunity, what role nutrition plays and what you can do to take charge of your health. 

Tina: What are the effects of nutrition on immunity and what role does epigenetics play in the immune function?  

Dr. Galvez: Fortunately our bodies are very smart and have evolved over time to fight against infections through our innate and adaptive immunity. But, we also know there are specific foods and nutrients that have co-evolved with the human body to support a more efficient immune response to environmental threats like viruses. When you combine this knowledge with our current understanding of epigenetics, we can have an even greater impact on wellness as a whole, but the immune system is of particular interest in the field of nutritional epigenetics.

The role of epigenetics is the key science that has been proven to be one of the underlying causes of not only infections and inflammation, but also chronic disease formation. That is the reason why we need to have nutrients available for our bodies to use.

Research in the last decade has revealed the expression of genes associated with immunity response to epigenetic influences. A study that caught my attention ten to twelve years ago, from Purdue and Indiana Universities, demonstrated the ability of lunasin to turn on the genes associated with the immune response, both for innate immunity, our first line of defense against infection, as well as adaptive immunity, which is the ability for the body to produce antibodies that prevent future infections. This is important research in light of novel viruses and infections. Epigenetics provides new research opportunities to find and develop more effective treatments and vaccines, which is important to me from a research perspective. But, there is also a practical application for individuals because with the right nutrients, we can strengthen our immune systems to counter pathogens AND to respond efficiently when vaccines are introduced by teaching our bodies to produce antibodies that can attack novel viruses.

Tina: With the growing body of research surrounding epigenetics and lunasin, in particular, we have gained a solid understanding of the cellular health benefits of lunasin for our long-term health, but it is interesting to hear you talk about how lunasin benefits our short-term immunity in fighting off those viruses and pathogens that are environmentally attacking us in addition to the long-term health benefits. What about other dietary ingredients and nutrients? Do we need them along with lunasin to support immunity?

Dr. Galvez: Scientific evidence supports that metabolism and nutrient absorption are unique to each individual, so it is very important to have a combination of multiple nutrients at optimal levels to support all of our physiological processes, especially metabolism which is directly linked to immunity.

When I started working with Dr. Carl Hastings on adding lunasin to the core nutrition, one of the main objectives was to improve metabolic health. In fact, we did some experiments on the combination of lunasin and Reliv Now® with Soy. The results showed an improvement in metabolic biomarkers and risk factors associated with a number of health conditions. We understand now, more clearly than ever before, how metabolic health directly affects the immune system. So the nutritional composition of the core nutrition (macronutrients and micronutrients) in combination with lunasin, optimizes genetic expression for good health today and improves our long-term health.

Tina: You already stated that what makes Reliv products so unique is that we don’t focus on single ingredients for a specific health benefit. Yet so many people when we talk about immunity they instantly think of taking mega doses of vitamin C or zinc.  But those mega doses are not nearly as effective as putting these ingredients together in synergistic formulas. How can we combat that misunderstanding?

Dr. Galvez: The body of research on nutrition and epigenetics is expanding exponentially. At Reliv, we are not only looking at lunasin, but also we are also looking at lunasin in combination with the other ingredients we have in core nutrition and even some of the targeted solutions like FibRestore®, CardioSentials® and GlucAffect®. These formulas contain ingredients also known to have an effect on the epigenome. As I see now with so much new research on bioactive agents and dietary nutrients, we are gaining a greater understanding of how the nutrients work together metabolically not only to support physiological functions, but also epigenetically to have a real impact on health. For example, when dietary fibers are digested in the gut, chemicals are released that send signals to the epigenome.

I am hopeful that the next generation of scientists, researchers, and medical professionals will expand on what we know so far and apply this understanding to develop nutritional solutions that can have a real impact on many of the chronic health conditions that are so prevalent today. So many of our current therapies only treat the symptoms, but with epigenetics, we can more effectively target the underlying causes of these conditions. I believe the best way we can find effective treatments is to understand the epigenome and the effect of natural bioactive agents working together to turn off the bad genes that promote disease and turn on the genes that support wellness. 

There are many things that still need to be understood. There is also a learning curve for the medical establishment and consumers as far as epigenetics is concerned. With the foundational work that I have done on nutritional epigenetics, along with other researchers in the space, we are certainly moving in that direction. I anticipate that as the trend continues for patients and consumers to be more proactive with their health, the demand for effective nutritional solutions will keep driving researchers to find effective solutions.

Tina: You have a very unique perspective as a researcher on the current situation. What are some of the challenges that researches are facing that are inhibiting their efforts to finding effective therapies or developing a vaccine for COVID-19?

Dr. Galvez: That is a very good question. Actually, that was a question posed to me when I was taking my Ph.D. oral examination because it was during the height of the HIV infection. Like HIV, this new coronavirus is an RNA virus and it is more difficult to find a cure or even a vaccine because RNA viruses only have a single strand of genetic material (versus DNA viruses which have two strands). This means that it can mutate more easily than other types of viruses. In fact, that is one of the reasons why we have to reduce the infection rates, so we can reduce the chance of mutations.

It is going to be very difficult to develop vaccines. There are a lot of stages of testing that must be done. It will take anywhere from a year or a year and a half. Of course, you also have to take into consideration the mutation rate of this virus. It’s a serious problem, but it’s not something that we haven’t seen before.

I think individually we can each do things to help control this, so all the suggestions that the CDC and epidemiologists have been giving us we should accept it and practice it. This is the only way we can fight against this virus. In the meantime, it becomes vitally important to do what you can personally to keep supporting your immune system with nutrition and lifestyle choices.

Tina: What are a few recommendations that you have for our readers and what are you personally doing to protect yourself and your family?

Dr. Galvez: My family is certainly taking Reliv nutrition and focusing on the basic principles of health and wellness – plenty of vegetables and fruits along with quality protein, emphasizing plant-based protein sources. We exercise at least 30 minutes each day. There are a lot of studies done on exercise and epigenetic changes. In fact, exercising can reduce the epigenetic age to optimize your epigenome and support immunity. Getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep at night can also have an effect on delaying epigenetic aging. There is not a short-term fix that is going to protect everyone. You have to be vigilant and proactive so when you get challenged by these environmental stresses and viral infections your immune system and your body is strong enough to fight it.

 

Wellness and Working Remotely: Why You’re Positioned for Success Right Now

We’re in the wellness industry (something everyone is talking about right now) and our products are here to support your overall wellness during this season and every day. In recent days, the world has turned its attention to wellness and immune support, and Reliv has been at the forefront of those efforts for decades.

Across the United States and world, people are adapting the way they live and work. You’ve likely heard terms like “social distancing,” but take a moment to consider how as a Reliv Distributor, you have all the tools you need to connect with your customers!

The online communication tools at your disposal (Zoom, Facebook and Instagram) are the perfect way to keep your business churning and burning at a time when people are having to change their way of life. Most of them are free and can be used right from your phone! Did you know you can have up to 100 people on a Zoom video conference? That sounds like a great way to host an opportunity presentation!

Technology tools have given us the ability to develop relationships and introduce new people to Reliv from the comfort and safety of home. We can give people world-class customer service that they won’t find anywhere else. Reliv Distributors and customers are perfectly positioned to provide what people are searching for, and it’s easier than ever to present and share your business online.

The opportunity to help others get healthier and live happier is more urgent and important now than ever before. We all have a social responsibility to help our loved ones and communities and there isn’t a better way than through Reliv’s science-based products and flexible, home-based business opportunity. So if you’re with us – thank you! If you’re thinking about joining us, we’re thrilled to have your support as we make our world a healthier place.

Epigenetics: All in the Family

By Director of Product Development & Fit3 Trainer Tina Van Horn

Nature and Nurture

Everyone has genetic predispositions, those things that “run in the family.” For many, this is a list of conditions such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis. Sound familiar? Epigenetics brings a positive perspective to the fear and uncertainty that comes from checking all those boxes on a health history form. We now know that healthy lifestyle choices have the power to influence and even override our faulty genetic codes.

Families pass on both DNA and lifestyle habits that serve as epigenetic signals to that DNA. Nutritional choices, exercise, stress management and environmental exposures all influence whether genes get turned on or remain silent. While epigenetic marks are reversible (e.g. activated genes can be deactivated), healthy habits that start early in life can prevent negative genes from ever being activated in the first place.

The Earlier, the Better

Child development experts and medical professionals agree that healthy lifestyle habits are learned behaviors most strongly influenced by the family. Researchers also concur that nutritional habits established in infancy and childhood set the stage for a lifetime of dietary patterns.

A recent CDC report, for example, highlights the importance of eating practices in the first year of life. When children drink sugar-sweetened beverages during the first 12 months, this doubles the odds they will drink those beverages at age six. And limited fruit and vegetable consumption in the first year leads to limited fruits and vegetables at age six.

Nature and Nurture

Dietary preferences aren’t the only behaviors from home that carry over into adulthood with lingering epigenetic effects. Stress management, sleep patterns, and exercise are all influenced by family culture.

Work, social activities, media, and electronics compete for time that could be spent planning and preparing meals, engaging in physical activity or getting sufficient rest. Parents today work an average of three hours more per week than they did in the 1960s. That can mean the difference between home-cooked meals and visits to the drive-thru.

The American Academy of Pediatrics report, titled “Children, Adolescents, Obesity and the Media,” states: “American society couldn’t do a worse job at the moment of keeping children fit and healthy — too much TV, too many food ads, not enough exercise and not enough sleep.”

Top 10 Family Health Tips

Raising healthy kids today can feel like climbing Mt. Everest. But it can be done! It all starts when you embrace health as a family.

1) Be a good role model. You don’t have to be perfect, but if kids see you trying to eat right and exercise, they will take notice.

2) Get the family moving together. Take walks, ride bikes, go swimming, garden or just play hide-and-seek outside. Everyone will benefit from the exercise and time together.

3) Limit TV, video games and computer time. These habits encourage a sedentary lifestyle and contribute to excessive snacking.

4) Encourage physical activities that they enjoy. Let your child experience different activities. Be creative and incorporate exercise into everyday situations.

5) Pick truly rewarding rewards. Resist the urge to reward kids with TV, video games, candy or snacks.

6) Make dinnertime a family time. Get your kids involved in cooking and planning meals. No TV or portable media devices during dinner (that includes YOUR phone).

7) Make a game of reading food labels. The whole family will become more conscious of what they eat — a habit that can change behavior for a lifetime.

8) Make healthy food choices easy. Save countertops, front-of-fridge and lower shelves for fruits, vegetables, and healthy snacks. Provide a variety of choices. You might be surprised at what they like!

9) Limit sugary beverages. Beware of sugar-laden drinks marketed as juice beverages. Check the ingredient labels and serving sizes.

10) Stay involved. Be an advocate for healthier children. Insist on good food choices at school and other social settings.

Healthy families don’t happen overnight, so set realistic goals when adopting new behaviors. Pick one strategy and allow time for kids to adjust. Small steps and gradual changes can make a big difference in your health over time and in the health of your kids over their lifetime!

Give Your Kids a Healthy Head Start

Optimal nutrition promotes healthy growth, cognitive development and strong immunity during childhood — and reduces the risk of health problems later in life. Reliv Now® for Kids is specially formulated to provide the vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients growing bodies need to thrive, plus advanced ingredients for added benefits:

LunaRich®: Reliv’s exclusive epigenetic superfood proven to support innate immunity and overall cellular health.

DHA: omega-3 fatty acid critical for development and function of the brain, eyes and central nervous system.

PS and PC: (phosphatidylserine and phosphatidylcholine) natural compounds that support healthy cellular development, mental clarity, memory, learning, and cognitive function.

Grape Seed Extract: a powerful antioxidant that protects against cell-destroying free radicals.

A Closer Look at Eye Health

Every day starts the same. You wake up, open your eyes, look at your bedroom ceiling and start your day. Your morning routine might be repetitious, but the gift of eyesight should not be taken for granted. Your eyes cannot properly function if denied the proper nutrients. Understanding how your eyes work and remain healthy is crucial in maintaining both eye health and overall wellness.

Your eyes are susceptible to many health problems throughout a lifetime, particularly that of macular degeneration as we age. Whether eye issues have yet to become a problem for you, the fact is that your eyes demand good care over time in order to function properly.

Stay active by exercising regularly
Exercise is a key part of any healthy routine, and is especially important for eye health. In fact, regular exercise has been shown to help reduce the risk of eye conditions such as cataracts and macular degeneration. Physical activity increases heart rate, making heart muscles work more efficiently for better blood circulation to the entire body. This includes reduced pressure to nerves including the ocular nerve within the eye. Excess ocular nerve pressure can lead to vision disorders, and in extreme cases, irreversible blindness.

In a study conducted by Tufts University, a direct link was found between healthy weight maintenance and healthy eyes. Diet and exercise naturally fight the trend of obesity, which is a contributing factor to type II diabetes. If left untreated, diabetes deteriorates vision in adults and can eventually lead to blindness.

Reliv’s Fit3™ program can help you commit to staying active on a daily basis and maintain a healthy weight to support long-term eye health.

Maintain a diet high in nutrients
It may seem obvious, but a diet high in nutrients naturally helps your eyes remain healthy. Leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale and broccoli, for example, contain important nutrients known to combat the risk of cataracts. Reliv’s core nutrition products go way beyond the minimum daily requirements giving you more of the essential vitamins and minerals needed for healthy vision.

Core nutrition: Reliv Now® with Whey or Soy, Reliv Classic®, Reliv Now® for Kids

Beta-carotene and Vitamin A
Beta-carotene can be found in carrots and other fruits and vegetables. It is converted into Vitamin A once inside the body and offers natural protection to the cornea, which is essential for good vision.

Found in: Reliv Now® with Whey or Soy, Reliv Classic®, Reliv Now® for Kids, FibRestore®, Innergize!®, and Fit3™ Active.

Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are vital to eye health, especially in early development. Found in breast milk and also added to infant formula, omega-3 fatty acids support normal and healthy vision in newborn babies. The presence of omega-3 fatty acids in pregnant women is central to healthy vision development for their infants.

Found in: Reliv Now® for Kids, 24K®, GlucAffect®, and ReversAge®.

Zinc
Zinc is known as a “helper molecule” for the body. It transfers Vitamin A from the liver to the retina to produce an important chemical called melanin, a protective pigment in the eye. Zinc is heavily concentrated within the eye and is also associated with improved vision in low light environments.

Found in: Reliv Classic®, Reliv Now® with Whey or Soy, Reliv Now® for Kids, Fit3™ Active, and Innergize!®.

This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA. Reliv products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Sources

http://www.allaboutvision.com/nutrition/vitamin_a.htm

http://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/caring-for-your-vision/diet-and-nutrition

http://www.allaboutvision.com/nutrition/supplements.htm

http://www.allaboutvision.com/nutrition/nutrition_summary.htm

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/the-positive-effects-of-nutrition-and-exercise-on-ones-vision-244771331.html

http://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Research/Daily-multivitamin-supplement-may-decrease-cataract-risk-in-men-RCT-data/?utm_source=newsletter_daily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Newsletter%2BDaily&c=HL0OlOmWuYkQ7

Power Your Workouts With ProVantage®

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By Fit3 Head Coach Tina Van Horn

There’s no better time than now to perfect your workouts with the optimal performance nutrition found in Reliv’s ProVantage®. Designed with a patented plant-based protein formula, ProVantage meets your nutritional needs for both immediate and long-term athletic performance.

“Whether you’re working out in the gym or your backyard, you need the right nutrition to perform your best,” says Dr. Carl Hastings. “ProVantage delivers that nutrition and the patent confirms the uniqueness of a formula designed to deliver real results.”

Walk into any fitness center or grocery store today and protein powders are in abundance. There are so many to choose from—it is overwhelming! So what makes ProVantage different? No other performance supplement harnesses the power of plant-based protein with the combination of powerful antioxidants and supercharged amino acids.

Let’s take a look at how this synergistic blend of ingredients works:

One of ProVantage’s key ingredients is lunasin. This cell-protecting protein and naturally-occurring peptide combats the oxidative stress and inflammation caused by strenuous exercise. Your body will feel the difference and thank you for this.

ProVantage also has medium chain triglycerides, or MCT’s, which work to help reduce body fat and increase muscle mass. MCT’s also improve muscle repair and muscle quickness while providing more energy than carbohydrates. So your workouts will be fueled all week long!

Say goodbye to your midday slump. The CoQ10 and grape seed extract promote energy production, combat free radicals and support the immune system.

So how do these superior ingredients translate to everyday performance fuel?

Work harder. From adding extra reps at the gym to hiking further up that hill, discover the stamina to power through fatigue.

Recover faster. Don’t settle for sore muscles. A precise balance of nutrients can shorten recovery time.

Get stronger. The right protein helps you build higher-quality muscle than you ever thought possible.

Simply mix 1-3 scoops daily with water or your other favorite beverage, depending on level and intensity of training.

Bottom line: ProVantage delivers a performance edge that is unparalleled! See for yourself how ProVantage outperforms all the others….the proof is in the powder!

Is Whey or Soy Protein Better?

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By Product Marketing Specialist & Fit3 Head Coach Tina Van Horn

Are you trying to decide which version of Reliv Now® is best for you? Maybe you haven’t tried the new Reliv Now® with Whey formula and are wondering how it is different from the original soy protein-based version. Maybe you are just wondering, “Which formula does Coach Tina take?” or “Which is better?”

The answer is: I take both and BOTH are great! One is not better than the other. Which one I take is completely dependent on how I am customizing my shake with Reliv’s targeted solution products. I prefer my shakes to contain combinations of protein sources so if I am adding ProVantage® or SoySentials® to my shake, which each contain 14 and 10 grams of soy protein respectively, I will use Reliv Now with Whey. This allows me to take advantage of the complementary amino acid profiles found in the different sources of protein. This is typically a post-workout shake when I really want to optimize the muscle-building benefits of protein.

I tend to lean toward Reliv Now® with Soy in combination with FibRestore®, ReversAge® or Arthaffect® (collagen protein) for my shakes in between meals to keep me from giving in to temptations and cravings. Research suggests that soy protein absorbs a little more slowly and may help suppress your appetite, so I maximize my intake.

Whey or soy protein ultimately comes down to your personal preference. “You can choose the new whey-based version or the flagship soy-based formula, but either way, you get optimal nutrition from guaranteed quality ingredients,” says Dr. Carl. “Our core nutrition formulas are the cornerstone of your Reliv nutrition.”

I’m nursing a hamstring injury so I will be leaning toward extra ProVantage and Reliv Now with Whey. What are you taking today?

4 Strength Training Tips Everyone Should Know

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By Fit3 Head Coach Tina Van Horn

For many people, turning 40 can be a dreaded milestone. For the health and fitness conscientious, however, turning 30 could be considered the new 40.

Why 30, you may ask? From the time you were born until around the time you turn 30, your muscles grow larger and stronger. But during your 30s, you naturally start to lose muscle mass and function. This is called sarcopenia or “muscle loss with aging.”

The good news? Muscle-strengthening activities help increase or maintain your muscle mass and power. Steadily increasing weight and repetitions will give you even more benefits, no matter your age.

That’s why, if you haven’t already, it’s time to get serious about adding strength training to your workouts. I know machines at the gym can be confusing, so don’t even look at the intimidating guys (and ladies) who hang out in the free weights area!

Continue reading “4 Strength Training Tips Everyone Should Know”

Reliv September 2016 Prodcast: What Do I Eat To Be Healthy?

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Confused about what foods are truly healthy? You’re not alone. We are often inundated with confusing and sometimes contradictory statements about nutrition. In this month’s Prodcast, Product Marketing Specialist Tina Van Horn cuts through the chaos and talks about how Reliv makes nutrition simple. You’ll also hear Tina’s inspiring interview with Jim and Sandy Schaben – two Reliv Distributors who have seen great health and fitness results by making the right nutrition choices, staying active and supplementing with Reliv.

 

Listen to the Prodcast online.

 

Science & Health Today: Have Reliv Will Travel

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By Reliv Product Marketing Specialist Tina Van Horn

Many of you are getting excited about your summer travel plans, but here at Reliv we want to make sure you have a plan for staying healthy while you travel. We’ve all been there. You plan a relaxing vacation, but when you return home your souvenirs include digestive issues, icky infections or viruses or even some extra pounds. The good news is that with a little bit of preparation you can avoid these common health hazards typically associated with travel. Continue reading “Science & Health Today: Have Reliv Will Travel”

Reliv July 2016 Prodcast: How Globe-Trotters Stay Healthy On The Go

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Summer is in full swing and that means more travelling, which can lead to some common health hazards, like dehydration and weight gain. But host Tina Van Horn, product marketing specialist, has you covered with some practical health tips and simple things you can do to prepare before your trek. She’s joined by Steve Lucks a retired navy captain and holistic health practitioner who takes Reliv products with him around the world.

Listen to the Prodcast online.