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Larry Newman is the Chief Operating Officer, Technical and Regulatory Affairs of Kirkman Group, Inc. (Kirkman). Contact Kirkman at 1-800-245-8282; 6400 Rosewood St., Lake Oswego, OR.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Role of Dietary Supplements During the Holiday Season

By Larry Newman

Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the traditional holiday season that continues through the end of the year. During this season it becomes very easy to forget to take our dietary supplements because we are “too busy.” The irony of this is that this holiday time is one of the most important periods for us to remember to take dietary supplements for several reasons.

The start of the holiday season is concurrent with
the beginning of winter cold and flu season.  It is important for our immune systems to be strong at this time to help ward off the flu bug and the other viruses and infections that seem to be prevalent in the winter months.  Family gatherings, dinners, and holiday parties also lead to perfect situations for spreading these nasty germs and illnesses.  Having strong, uncompromised immune responses can keep us healthy and help us maintain maximum resistance to these “bugs.”

Dietary supplement ingredients that aid in supporting our immune response include vitamins A, C, and E, the minerals zinc and selenium, and immune enhancing dietary ingredients such as beta-glucan, astragalus root and echinacea.  Kirkman® offers these ingredients alone or in various combinations.  An excellent product incorporating all of these nutrients into one formula is our Immuno-Aid™Colostrum is another dietary supplement that supports immune health and is available in both flavored and hypoallergenic versions. 

Our diets change during the holidays.
  For one thing, we generally eat more and consume additional calories.  Two, we may overindulge in the types of foods that are not particularly healthy, such as more fats and proteins, more sugars, and more alcoholic beverages.  Our digestive systems will be taxed to properly digest these added calories and nutrients.  Digestive enzymes can help to achieve proper digestion during these periods.  Consuming more fats and proteins may require added lipase and/or protease for proper digestion, while consuming extra sugars and starches may require additional amylase and carbohydrase enzymes.  By supplementing with a multi-spectrum digestive enzyme that digests all of the food groups, adequate digestive enzyme activity to compensate for these additional food intakes can be assured.  Kirkman’s Enzyme Complete II/DPP-IV™ with Isogest® is an excellent multi-purpose enzyme that supplies enzymes that aid the digestion of any food group consumed.  Only Kirkman® enzymes contain Isogest®, a specialty enzyme with isomaltase activity, which helps digest the isomaltose and palatinose that is present in some complex starches, such as potatoes.  Kirkman’s Maximum Spectrum Enzym-Complete/DPP-IV™ Fruit Free w/Isogest®  is another version of a multi-purpose enzyme with Isogest®, and it contains no fruit based enzymes; thus it is geared for those individuals sensitive to fruit based ingredients. 

Many individuals are on special diets such as gluten-free/casein-free (gf/cf) or the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD).  Digestive enzymes taken during the holidays can help compensate for accidental dietary infractions that may occur.   Traces of casein, gluten or monosaccharides may be consumed unknowingly (or intentionally) and cause sensitivity reactions.  Digestive enzymes may help minimize the reactions to these infractions, as long as the quantity consumed is not too large.  Oftentimes, sensitive individuals may “sneak” a taste of some enticing holiday treat.  Digestive enzymes can be a good safety factor.  Kirkman®, of course, recommends that these infractions be avoided. 

The extra food we eat during the holidays, especially the sugars and carbohydrates we overconsume, can upset the balance of good flora needed for a healthy gastrointestinal tract.  Taking probiotics during this period can help to keep the good flora in balance, which, in turn, helps to crowd out the undesirable bacteria or yeast that thrive on the sugars and carbohydrates.  Multi-strain probiotics, such as Kirkman’s Pro-Bio Gold™ - Hypoallergenic, Multi-Flora Spectrum™ - Hypoallergenic and Super Pro-Bio™ 75 billion - Bio Max Series - Hypoallergenic, would be excellent choices for helping to maintain that good flora balance.  All Kirkman® probiotics are casein and gluten free, verified by independent third party laboratory testing.   

Often during the holidays, individuals consume lots of treats, cookies, candy, desserts and other foods that lack proper nutritional balance.  It is easy to be lacking in proper vitamin and mineral intake to assure balanced nutrition.  Consuming a comprehensive multiple vitamin and mineral will help guard against nutritional deficiencies during this period.