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.

Form a Reliv-Vitamin D Friendship

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By Copywriter Alisa Reale

When it comes to your body getting enough of this vital nutrient, just 15 minutes soaking up the sun (without sunscreen) every day will increase your vitamin D production. And, on days when the sun isn’t shining, one serving of Reliv Now® or Reliv Classic® contains 400 IU, which is 100% of your recommended daily value. One scoop daily of Reliv Now® for Kids contains 50% of the recommended daily value for children.

In other words, vitamin D and Reliv go hand in hand for your overall health.

Putting it in Perspective

Twenty to thirty minutes of sun exposure each day produces approximately 10,000 IU of vitamin D in the skin. Kids and those with darker skin will need more sun than this. In comparison, drinking 6-8 ounces of pasteurized milk gives your body only 100 IU.

Continue reading “Form a Reliv-Vitamin D Friendship”

You’re The One That We Want!

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If you weren’t at the Reliv International Conference this year, you missed a number of firsts! First of all, Reliv Kalogris Foundation Chairman Scott Montgomery was dressed as Danny from Grease and his wife, Kari, was dressed as Sandy!

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This 50’s theme was carried over to the barbecue Saturday night at Reliv HQ. The most unforgettable element was the message You’re the One that We Want with photos of kids from our various nutritional programs pointing at YOU… reminding all of us that WE, together, are the ones who make a difference in these kids’ lives by donating to the Reliv Kalogris Foundation. Continue reading “You’re The One That We Want!”

Science & Health Today: Taking Prevention Personally

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By Tina Van Horn, Reliv Product Marketing Specialist

You might say that we take prevention personally here at Reliv. That’s because we know chronic diseases are a growing crisis in the United States. Currently, nearly half of the population suffers from at least one chronic disease such as heart disease, asthma, cancer, obesity, arthritis, and Type 2 diabetes. We can do better! So at Reliv corporate headquarters, we started our Fit3* program. Continue reading “Science & Health Today: Taking Prevention Personally”

Tricks to Keep Treats Healthy this Halloween

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Is the abundance of Halloween treats overflowing from the grocery store isles and into your cart? It can be very tempting when you’re walking past the endless displays of fall-themed sweets. Here are some ways to fight the temptation and come up with your own healthy versions of Halloween-themed treats! Continue reading “Tricks to Keep Treats Healthy this Halloween”

Science & Health Today: Focus on Children’s Health

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October is Children’s Health Month, an observance created to bring national awareness to the health issues children face today. Unfortunately, too many U.S. children suffer from our national epidemics of diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease — problems that used to be very rare in children. Changes in society and poor health habits are increasing children’s risk of disease. Consider these statistics: Continue reading “Science & Health Today: Focus on Children’s Health”

Food Fight! Tips to Get Your Toddler Eating

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The biggest struggle of my day lately is getting my 2-year-old to eat. Up until a month ago, she ate everything I prepared for her without a fight. Now, a typical mealtime consists of whining, crying, kicking and throwing her food, followed by a huge headache for mom! “Snackies” she says, as she tries to pry open the cabinet to find the hidden stash of fruit snacks. If only fruit snacks delivered all the nutrition she needs! Here are some tips to get our tricky toddlers eating right: Continue reading “Food Fight! Tips to Get Your Toddler Eating”

High Hope: the Reliv Kalogris Foundation in Peru

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By Reggie Ament, Reliv Kalogris Foundation Director

With each trip to visit our Reliv Kalogris Foundation feeding programs, I leave with the feeling that every country is unique. I’m always taken by the delicious food, distinctive culture, friendly people and amazing volunteers who are so committed to our mission. What is not unique is the level of poverty found among the children in our programs. Peru is no exception. Continue reading “High Hope: the Reliv Kalogris Foundation in Peru”

Keeping Kids Healthy: Building Immunity Through Nutrition

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Ah, the joys of fall — the leaves are turning, the pumpkins are out and the kids are back in school.  During all those back-to-school preparations, did you remember to prepare your child’s immune system? Fall is also the start of cold & flu season and all the sniffling, sneezing and coughing that goes with it, putting our immune systems to the test.

Prevention: The Earlier, the Better
It’s important to remember with children that their immune systems are still developing and are not the same as an adult’s. The immune system strengthens over time. During the first few months of life, an infant relies partly on mother’s antibodies. We see that babies often get infections that are uncommon in adults and react differently to vaccines. It isn’t until a child is about five years old that they are able to make effective antibodies against certain antigens. A child’s immune system won’t resemble an adult’s until he or she reaches puberty.

That’s why it’s so important to teach our kids good habits now that support their developing immune systems and overall health. Continue reading “Keeping Kids Healthy: Building Immunity Through Nutrition”

What Reliv Nutrition Means to Me… and Could Mean for You

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by Ryan Montgomery, President

If you’ve been around Reliv, chances are you’ve probably heard my Reliv health story. I was nine years old when Dr. Theodore Kalogris started sending his original formula to our family. There was no can or label, and yes, the powder didn’t dissolve well and usually rested in large clumps at the bottom of my morning OJ. But my parents believed in Dr. Ted and the need for optimal nutrition.

I can honestly say I might have missed my Reliv shakes less than a handful of days over the past 31 years. I don’t know what life would be like without Reliv nutrition. I take almost every product Dr. Carl Hastings has developed. A Reliv shake is the first thing I do in the morning, and last thing I do every night. Continue reading “What Reliv Nutrition Means to Me… and Could Mean for You”