Tag Archives: Immune System

Why Your Lymph System May Need Some TLC

Updated 2/10/2021

Source: Dreamstime.com
Though I rarely get whatever viral thing is going around any more, I was felled by a nasty virus (an adenovirus, I think) on January 13, exactly one week before Trump’s inauguration, and was quite ill with it for over a month. I called my virus “Donald Trump” since it seemed that fear and grief about his impending reign had weakened my immune system, allowing the virus to take hold. Then I took a two week trip that unexpectedly involved a great deal of inactivity with little opportunity for exercise and came home with a garden variety cold. A whole lot of being inactive and sick for me.
At various times last week I felt a strange kind of dull pain in my left side. In that lung? In the lower part of my heart? I couldn’t say exactly where it was located but it was something new and scary. So I mentioned it to my chiropractor when I saw her over the weekend. She did some lymphatic drainage massage in that area. My sinuses, which I’d thought had completely recovered from the two viruses, started draining, I immediately felt my energy improve, and the pain was gone.
Turns out, not surprisingly when I think about it, that the lymph had become stagnant on my left side (and probably elsewhere too) and she’d gotten it moving again. She reminded me that I know a bit about how to do lymphatic drainage on myself and recommended doing some daily. I’ve taken her advice.
Since I’m aware that most of us don’t know much about the function of lymph in the body, I decided to make this post (my first in a long while) about the lymphatic system.
Source: LiveScience.com


Lymph is a clear-to-white fluid containing white blood cells (especially lymphocytes – the cells that attack bacteria in the blood) and fluid from the intestines called chyle, which contains proteins and fats. The clear liquid inside a blister is lymph.  (MedLinePlus, 2017)


Source: Anatomy Chart Body
The lymphatic system transports nutrients to the cells and collects the cells’ waste products. It is made up of lymph fluid,  lymph nodes,  bone marrow, organs (thymus, spleen, appendix, tonsils, adenoids), lymphoid tissue in the small and large intestines (called Peyer’s patches), capillaries, vessels and ducts that transport lymph and fluids secreted by glands through the body. This system is responsible for removing cellular debris, large proteins, foreign bodies, pathogenic agents (bacteria, viruses, toxins, cancer cells, etc), and excess fluid from the extracellular spaces. The  lymph system is a major player in the body’s immune system, defending the body against harmful agents and destroying accumulated wastes. (DiagnoseMe.com, 2017), (MedLinePlus, 2017), (Science Clarified, 2017) & (Zimmerman, 2016)
As our blood moves through its circulatory system and reaches the capillaries, a portion of the blood’s plasma seeps out of the capillaries and into the spaces surrounding the cells. This plasma, at this point called tissue fluid, consists of water and dissolved molecules small enough to fit through the small openings in the capillaries.
Tissue fluid delivers needed nutrients to cells while also collecting waste products from the cells. Some tissue fluid gets returned to the blood capillaries via osmosis. Other tissue fluid enters capillaries that are part of the lymphatic systems and becomes known as lymph. (Science Clarified, 2017)


Source: websupport1.citytech.cuny.edu
Lymph nodes are soft, small, round or bean shaped structures. They usually cannot be seen or easily felt. They are located in clusters in various parts of the body, such as the:
  • Neck
  • Armpits
  • Groins
  • Inside the center of the chest and abdomen
The ones around our lungs and heart are located deep inside the body. The ones in our armpits and groins are closer to the surface.
Our bodies contain approximately 400 – 1,000 lymph nodes, with more than half of them located in the abdomen. These nodes are reservoirs that act as a purification system. They:
  • Make immune cells that help the body fight infection
  • Act as filtration and purification stations for the circulating lymph
  • Capture and destroy toxins
  • Trap cancer cells and destroy them
  • Concentrate the lymph, re-absorbing about 40% of the liquid present in the lymph
– (DiagnoseMe.com, 2017) , MedLinePlus, 2017), (Science Clarified, 2017) & (Zimmerman, 2016)


Source: Sott
The thymus gland is located in the chest, under the sternum,  between the lungs, just above the heart. This small organ stores immature lymphocytes and produces a hormone called thymosin, which stimulates the development of disease fighting T cells and prepares them to become active T cells. T cells help destroy infected or cancerous cells. (Zimmerman, 2016)
The thymus’s dual function as both an endocrine and lymphatic gland gives it a significant role in our long-term health. Fortunately, the thymus has produced all our T cells before we reach puberty, when the gland becomes smaller.
The thymus helps protect the body against autoimmunity (a condition created by chronic inflammation in the body that causes the immune system to turn against itself or other tissues in the body). (Sargis, 2014)



Source: www.slideshare.ne
In mammals the bone marrow is a primary site where lymphocytes develop. Unlike the thymus, bone marrow doesn’t atrophy at puberty and keeps producing lymphocytes as we age. (The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica, 2011)



Source: Live Science
 The spleen, our largest lymphatic organ, is located on the left side of the abdomen just above the left kidney. It is part of our immune system, involved in the production and removal of red blood cells. When it detects dangerous bacteria, viruses, or other microorganisms in the blood passing through it, the spleen and the lymph nodes around it create white blood cells called lymphocytes which produce antibodies to kill the intruders and stop infections from spreading. People who have lost their spleen to disease or injury are more prone to infections. (Zimmerman, 2016)


Source: Ecology Global Network
The human appendix is a narrow pouch of tissue about four inches long and about a quarter of an inch in diameter. It extends from the lower end of the cecum, between the small and large intestines. Like the rest of the digestive tract, it has an inner mucosal layer;  but unlike the rest of the intestine, the submucosal layer of the appendix contains masses of lymphoid tissue, suggesting it plays a role in the immune system in addition to the digestive system. (Taylor, 2017)
While it has long been thought that the appendix is vestigial and useless to modern humans who don’t live on a diet of raw foods, recent research has shown that the appendix is indeed useful, that it serves as a “backup factory” for beneficial probiotic bacteria in the gut that promote digestion and protect the body from illness.
“Not only was it recently proposed to actually possess a critical function, but scientists now find it appears in nature a lot more often than they had thought. And it’s possible some of this organ’s ancient uses could be recruited by physicians to help the human body fight disease more effectively.
“Your appendix may serve as a vital safehouse where good bacteria can lie in wait until they are needed to repopulate the gut after a case of diarrhea. Past studies have also found the appendix can help make, direct and train white blood cells.
“The appendix appears in nature much more often than previously acknowledged …  in Australian marsupials such as the wombat and in rats, lemmings, meadow voles, and other rodents, as well as humans and certain primates.
“If the good bacteria in your colon dies, which could happen as a result of cholera or dysentery for instance, it appears your appendix steps up to help recolonize your gut with good bacteria.” (Mercola, 2009)


Source: solopetje.com
The tonsils are large clusters of lymphatic cells located in the pharynx (the membrane-lined cavity behind the nose and mouth, connecting them to the esophagus). The American Academy of Otolaryngology describes the tonsils as the body’s “first line of defense as part of the immune system. They sample bacteria and viruses that enter the body through the mouth or nose.” (Zimmerman, 2016)
For a large part of the 20th century, children in the US were likely to have their tonsils removed – often for no good reason. I vividly remember being subject to this surgery when I was five (not a good memory) and getting rewarded with strawberry ice cream while I was recovering. While the surgeon was in there, he also removed my adenoids.
“A generation or two ago, taking out a child’s tonsils often was the first line of defense against chronic throat infections and breathing problems. Today, as doctors have studied the tonsils’ purpose and have developed stronger antibiotics, it often is the last.
“In the 1930s, tonsillectomies were performed as preventive measures. By the 1960s and ’70s, close to 2 million were performed in the United States each year. The American Academy of Otolaryngology estimates that now fewer than 600,000 tonsillectomies are performed annually.” (Washington Times, 2000)
Although not done in the 1930’s, a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy were advised by my pediatrician even though I wasn’t having chronic throat infections or breathing difficulties.


Source: Bupa Salud
The adenoids are a mass of soft tissue located in the roof of the mouth where the nose and throat connect behind the soft palate. They are a part of the immune system and, like lymph nodes, are composed of lymphoid tissue. As with the lymph nodes, white blood cells circulate through the adenoids to help fight off infections and other foreign invaders. Typically, the adenoids shrink during adolescence and may disappear by adulthood. (WebMD, 2017)



Source: www.slideshare.net
The lymph system also performs a second important function. Fats that have been absorbed in the small intestine enter lymph vessels located there. Those fats are then carried through the lymphatic system back into the blood circulatory system. (Science Clarified, 2017)
After the lymph has collected the emulsified fats from the small intestine and has been propelled along via tiny valves inside the vessels of the lymphatic system,  it is collected into the thoracic duct (the largest vessel in the lymphatic system).
The thoracic duct is the the major vessel in the lymphatic system. It begins near the lower part of the spine and transports lymph that has collected emulsified fats from the small intestine. This duct runs up the body, emptying the lymph back into the blood through a large vein near the left side of the neck. Without adequate movement of the body, the lymph moving upwards in the thoracic duct becomes stagnant and lymph accumulates in the body. (Innovate Us, 2013)



Here’s a short video describing the lymphatic system:



While the blood has a pumping heart to create enough pressure to propel it into and along the arteries, the  lymphatic system isn’t connected to the heart and has no pump of its own to move lymph around the body. Instead, it relies on muscular contractions to create a pumping action. The lymph system contains millions of tiny one-way valves which allow lymph fluid to circulate, flowing in only one direction – usually upward, against gravity.
And this is where we get into trouble. Most of us sit a lot and don’t get adequate exercise to keep our lymph circulating efficiently.
Source: BBC


Source: vandonnasam.wordpress.com
When your lymphatic system becomes congested or your lymph nodes are swollen, your body will feel sluggish, stiff, achy, maybe even in pain.  Your joints may feel painful or weak.
Your kidneys and liver will become toxic because the toxins delivered to them for excretion are unable to be processed efficiently by these purifying organs. This toxicity may lead to digestive disorders, frequently catching whatever virus or bacterial thing is going around,  hormonal imbalances, poor circulation, and weight gain.
Your immune system will eventually become compromised because it requires an efficient lymphatic system to keep the body in good health – – and you’ll be on your way to cooking up some unpleasant autoimmune diseases and conditions. Even cancers. (Benjamin, 2017)


Source: Organic Lifestyle Magazine
“The American medical community historically ignores lymph stagnation as a possible cause of disease.  Despite this, the following conditions are examples that are reported to improve through improved lymphatic drainage:
“Allergies, prostatitis, chronic sinusitis, heart disease, eczema and other skin conditions, fibrocystic disease, chronic fatigue, repetitive parasitic infections, MS, edema, lupus erythematosis, inflammation, high blood pressure, bacterial infections, viral infections, puffy eyes, low back pain, cancer, ear or balance problems, arthritis, headaches, cellulite, excessive sweating and obesity.” (DiagnoseMe.com, 2017)


LYMPHADENOPATHY, enlargement of the lymph nodes caused by blockages of lymph fluid there (LYMPHEDEMA). Symptoms of lymphadenopathy include a feeling of fullness in the arms or legs; a reduction in flexibility in the wrists, hands, and ankles; noticing that clothes, rings, and wristwatches have become too tight. Swollen lymph nodes can also be felt in the neck, armpits, and groins. Causes of lymphadenopathy are usually infection, inflammation, or cancer. (Zimmerman, 2016)
Source: SlideShare
LYMPHOMA, which develops when lymphocytes grow and multiply uncontrollably,  is a blood cancer that develops in the lymphatic system. The two main types are Hodgkin and Non-Hodgkin:
HODGKIN LYMPHOMA (HL) is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow affecting the lymphatic system. It is one of the most curable forms of cancer. If HL is left untreated, the cancerous cells crowd out normal white cells and prevent the immune system from fighting infection.
NON-HODGKIN LYMPHOMA (NHL) generally develops in the lymph nodes and lymphatic tissues. In some cases, it also involves the bone marrow and blood. NHL refers to a diverse group of blood cancers that share a single characteristic in how they develop. It is further classified into a variety of subtypes depending on whether they are slow growing or aggressive. (Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, undated)
Source: Mayo Clinic
CASTLEMAN DISEASE is a group of serious inflammatory disorders causing lymph node enlargement and perhaps resulting in multiple-organ dysfunction. Without being classified as a cancer, it is similar to lymphoma and is often treated with chemotherapy. (Zimmerman, 2016)
Source: Castleman Disease Collaborative Network
LYMPHANGIOMATOSIS is a condition in which multiple tumors (lymphangiomas) or cysts form  on vessels in the lymphatic system. These tumors can cause pain, difficulty breathing, or other symptoms depending on where they are located.  (patientslikeme, 2017) & (Zimmerman, 2016)
Source: LMI
Clearly you want to avoid developing any of these diseases and conditions!
Source: Youth Voices



Practitioners of Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) massage use a variety of rhythmic, gentle pumping actions to move the skin in the direction of the lymph flow. Getting regular lymphatic drainage massage from a professional is very beneficial for keeping stagnant lymph moving. Any deep tissue massage is helpful, but lymphatic drainage massage is specifically designed to get the lymph moving around the body so impurities are removed and fresh hydration and nutrients are flushed through the system. (Benjamin, 2017) & (DiagnoseMe.com, 2017)
Source: Endo Systems
Fortunately, there are also quite a few things you can do yourself to get your lymph fluids moving so they can do their important jobs and keep you healthy. Here are some of them:
Exercising creates a pumping action with the muscles that moves lymph fluids, circulating them to your liver and kidneys so they can be filtered by these organs and excreted from the body. Good exercises include walking briskly and high intensity workouts, or both, every day to get your lymphatic system moving. (Benjamin, 2017)
“An exercise plan for anyone at risk for or diagnosed with lymphedema includes some combination of flexibility and stretching exercises: strength training, aerobic exercise that uses the upper body, helping with weight loss and encouraging deep breathing, which in turn helps lymph move along.” (BreastCancer.org, 2017)


Source: Lymphoedema Support Group of New South Wales
Chronic dehydration slows and stagnates the flow of lymph. The lymphatic system consists mostly of water so a dehydrated body causes it to slow down.  If you’re dehydrated, the system will be unable to filter its lymph properly or remove  chemicals and toxins through the liver and kidneys. Remember that you can be dehydrated even if you don’t feel thirsty. (DiagnoseMe.com, 2017)
Source: School of Natural Medicine UK
Breathing calms your heart and nervous system, improves mood, calms OCD-type racing thoughts, alters your brainwaves (for the better!), and also helps your lymphatic system properly drain and purify your body.
By taking adequate, calm breaths in through your nose,  you’re providing your body enough oxygen to work with. Oxygen and hydration are essential to keeping the lymphatic system clear of impurities. Exercise also promotes adequate breathing. (Benjamin, 2017)


Rebounding – jumping on a trampoline – gets your heart and respiration rate up. This easy up and down movement uses the force of gravity to move lymph around the body. (Benjamin, 2017) If you don’t have a trampoline, you can put your hands against a wall or sturdy piece of furniture and jump up and down in place.
“It is claimed that rebounding is so efficient in stimulating the lymph flow that some call it ‘Lymphasizing’.” (DiagnoseMe.com, 2017)



Laughter, as they say, is great medicine. It’s also an effective method for helping your lymphatic system. When we laugh, we take deeper breaths that stimulate the lungs, circulatory system and other organs that work in harmony with the lymphatic system. (Benjamin, 2017)
If nothing strikes you funny enough to actually LOL about, try some Laughter Yoga.

Laughter Yoga can be done by yourself too. Maybe while showering. It doesn’t add any extra time to your morning routine and can vastly improve your whole day.
You’ll learn how to do effective head and neck lymphatic drainage massage on yourself in this video by Heather Wibbels, LMT:

Another video by Heather shows how to do lymphatic drainage on your arms:

How to do self lymphatic drainage on your breasts:

Another video showing how to perform lymphatic drainage massage on your abdomen and trunk.

You can Google self lymphatic drainage to find other videos on how to drain the lymph from puffy under eyes, stopped up ears, swollen legs, and other body parts.


This invigorating technique consists of switching the water in your shower between very hot and very cold – emulating a Finnish sauna in which you sit in the hot, steamy sauna and then run outside naked into the snow or dip your body in near freezing water.
The temperature changes stimulate movement in your lymphatic system and blood circulation by expanding and contracting vessels in each system. Said to be quite rejuvenating.  (Benjamin, 2017)

The acids and enzymes in raw fruits eaten on an empty stomach stimulate lymphatic system drainage – grapes, lemons, limes, grapefruit, apples, etc. Adding essential oils of these fruits to your water bottle to drink throughout the day also stimulates lymphatic drainage and digestive detoxification.  (Benjamin, 2017)


Applying essential oils – lemon, ginger, peppermint, and rosemary – to the lymph node rich areas of your body is also good for stimulating lymphatic drainage. (Benjamin, 2017)

Please send a comment to share other ways you know of to stimulate the lymph system.
Source: Pinterest

The body contains almost twice as much lymph as blood: about 6-10 liters of lymph compared to 3.5-5 liters of blood. (DiagnoseMe.com, 2017)



Benjamin, D. (2017). 10 Ways To Empty Your Lymphatic System From Toxins Causing You To Feel Weak. See: https://healthywildandfree.com/10-ways-to-empty-your-lymphatic-system-from-toxins-causing-you-to-feel-sick-fat-and-weak-immunity/

BreastCancer.org. (2017). Lymphedema and Exercise. See: http://www.breastcancer.org/treatment/lymphedema/exercise

DiagnoseMe.com. (2017). Lymphatic Congestion. See: http://www.diagnose-me.com/symptoms-of/lymphatic-congestion.php

Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. (2011). Lymphatic system. See: https://www.britannica.com/science/lymphatic-system

Innovate Us. (2013). What is the function of Thoracic Duct? See: http://www.innovateus.net/health/what-function-thoracic-duct

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. (undated). Lymphoma. See: https://www.lls.org/lymphoma

MedLinePlus. (2017). Lymph system. See: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002247.htm

Mercola, R. (2009). Your Appendix is Useful After All. See: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/09/17/your-appendix-is-useful-after-all.aspx

patientslikeme. (2017). Lymphangiomatosis. See: https://www.patientslikeme.com/conditions/1737-lymphangiomatosis

Sargis, R.M. (2014). An Overview of the Thymus: The Gland that Protects You Long after It’s Gone. See: https://www.endocrineweb.com/endocrinology/overview-thymus

Science Clarified. (2017). Lymphatic system. See: http://www.scienceclarified.com/Io-Ma/Lymphatic-System.html

Taylor, T. (2017). Appendix. See: http://www.innerbody.com/image/dige03.html#full-description

Washington Times. (2000). Once-routine tonsillectomy now performed as last resort. See: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2000/oct/1/20001001-012109-2030r/

WebMD. (2017). Picture of the Adenoids. See: http://www.webmd.com/children/picture-of-the-adenoids

Zimmerman, K.A. (2016). Immune System: Diseases, Disorders & Function. LiveScience.com. See: http://www.livescience.com/26579-immune-system.html

© Copyright 2017. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Good Gut Daily – Good News for Your Gut & Overall Health

Updated 5/24/2015. Last updated 5/25/2015.




Those of us living in developed countries where we have multiple food choices often focus on our calorie intake while neglecting the health of our gut microbiome – the vast numbers and variety of microorganisms inside our intestines. We’re talking about several pounds of tiny critters – 10’s of trillions of them, including about 1,000 different species of bacteria made up of over 3 million genes  all living and working in our intestinal walls to digest our food and keep our bodies healthy.




Some of the important functions of those multitudinous microorganisms in our guts (Gut Microbiota WorldWatch, 2015):
  • Helping digest foods that the stomach and small intestine have not been able to digest
  • Helping produce some vitamins (B and K)
  • Helping combat aggressions from other microorganisms
  • Maintaining the integrity of the intestinal mucosa
  • Playing an important role in the immune system, performing a barrier effect


Gut Microbiome

(Source: www.diapedia.org)
(Source: www.diapedia.org)


If you’re not keeping those pounds of critters healthy and in balance, you’re likely to become ill – perhaps not in the short run but as you move along through your life. The kinds of illnesses and conditions we’re talking about include acne, allergies, asthma, autism, cancer, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, depression, diabetes, eczema, endocrine imbalances, endometriosis, Graves’ disease, some heart disease, infertility, juvenile arthritis, lupus, Lyme disease (chronic), MS, myesthenia gravis, peripheral neuropathy, psoriatic arthritis, psoriasis, rheumatic fever, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, vitiligo … and many more.


(Source: livegracefully.com)
(Source: livegracefully.com)





Isn’t the image below graceful and beautiful? It shows the villi, mucosal cells in the lining of a healthy small intestine. The mucosal layer is where our probiotic microorganisms live and work. It’s also home to the body’s largest population of immune cells.


(Source: library.med.utah.edu)
(Source: library.med.utah.edu)


Now compare that lovely image to the one below. This person’s  intestinal villi have been seriously damaged by celiac disease:

(Source: commons.wikimedia)
(Source: commons.wikimedia)

Here’s another image of damaged intestinal villi. There are holes where there should be intact cells that allow only needed nutrients to get through the intestinal walls into the blood stream. These holes allow larger particles of undigested food and toxins through and the body attacks them as invading pathogens, producing an inflammatory response.


(Source: www.slideshare.net)
(Source: www.slideshare.net)





As someone who’s now having to work hard to repair a very damaged gut lining and reverse several autoimmune conditions – the result of being given infant formula instead of breast milk, childhood exposure to heavy metals (fluoride in my formula and in my city’s water supply, mercury fillings), many courses of antibiotics in adulthood – I assure you it’s wise to nurture your gut microbiome so your gut lining resembles that first, beautiful slide above and is never  allowed to turn into the second or third.
A diagram of how damage to the intestinal lining leads to increased gut permeability – also called Leaky Gut:


(Source: nothippyjusthealthy.com)
(Source: nothippyjusthealthy.com)


And another graphic depicting how damage to the gut’s mucosal lining allows undigested food particles and toxins to escape into the body, where they cause an inflammatory response. Chronic inflammation –> autoimmune responses –> disease.

(Source: www.wakingtimes.com)
(Source: www.wakingtimes.com)


See INCREASED GUT PERMEABILITY – CAUSES & CONSEQUENCES  for more information on Leaky Gut and some great images of what the inside walls of our intestines look like.








Now that we’ve covered the importance of the probiotic microorganisms living in your gut microbiome, I hope you’re ready for some really good news!
It’s about polyphenols and how they can help us repair our overall health by restoring the health of our gut linings. Polyphenols are a type of PREbiotic, the kind of nutrient that feeds your PRObiotics.

PREbiotics and PRObiotics

(Source: sitn.hms.harvard.edu)
(Source: sitn.hms.harvard.edu)

Polyphenols are anti-oxidant micro-nutrients derived from a variety of plants that increase the amount of good bacteria (probiotics) and inhibit  the amount of bad bacteria in our guts. They also act as PREbiotics. (Marksteiner, 2014)
This table shows the 100 richest sources of dietary polyphenols. (Pérez-Jiménez, 2015)
Strong evidence is accumulating that polyphenols’ play an important role in preventing degenerative diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases. (Manach et al, 2004)

Now a start up company in California, Greenteaspoon, has formulated a combination of nutrients called Preliva™ from plant extracts rich in polyphenols.






Prepare for a radical improvement in your digestion and your general health! Greenteaspoon’s Good Gut Daily is a tasty, liquid dietary supplement containing antioxidant, PREbiotic polyphenols for protecting or rebuilding a healthy gut.
Preliva™, the proprietary active formula in Good Gut Daily, is made from plant extracts rich in bio-available polyphenols. The results of a large double-blind and placebo-controlled clinical study, published in the  peer-reviewed publication the World Journal of Gastroenterology (Noguera et al, 2014), strongly support the prebiotic potential of the polyphenol blend in Preliva™ to:
  • Strengthen the protective digestive lining
  • Nourish the body’s good microflora (the friendly digestive microbes living in our guts
  • Reduce digestive distress – diarrhea, stomach discomfort and bloating
  • Calm digestion
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Strengthen your immunity
  • Fight immune burnout
  • Combat symptoms of stress
  • Support your overall well being


Greenteaspoon makes three versions of Good Gut Daily in a variety of  flavors and sizes:





Good Gut Daily Natural Immune Health is formulated to strengthen your immunity and support your overall well-being.
Good Gut Daily Natural Immune Health is designed for people with ongoing digestive problems, food sensitivities or ‘leaky gut’ symptoms – including acute digestive issues like gastroenteritis, travelers sickness, diarrhea, gas, bloating, or an upset stomach. Taken daily, it protects your digestive system and can decrease digestive distress.
What it does:
  • Fights immune burnout
  • Clinically proven to calm digestion
  • Reinforces your digestive lining
  • Combats symptoms of stress, diarrhea, stomach discomfort and bloating
Who it’s for:

Good Gut Daily Natural Immune Health is for people actively trying to improve and manage their ongoing immune health.

  • Pomegranate-Blueberry
  • Mango Passion Fruit
Available in three sizes:
  • 2-oz quick-shots (sold in 12-packs)
  • 12-oz bottles (12 servings)
  • 32-oz (32 servings)
Safe for children over age 2 and for adults of all ages.







Good Gut Daily Natural Digestive Health is designed to help you manage your ongoing digestive issues. Taken daily, it protects your digestive system and can decrease digestive distress.
What it does:
  • Calms Your Digestive System
  • Clinically Shown to Alleviate Occasional:
  •            Diarrhea
  •            Upset stomach
  •            Gas and bloating
  •  Nourishes Your Body’s Good Microflora
Who it’s for:

Good Gut Natural Digestive Health is for people with ongoing digestive problems, food sensitivities or ‘leaky gut’ symptoms – including acute digestive issues like Gastroenteritis, travelers sickness, diarrhea, gas, bloating or an upset stomach.

  • Cranberry-Raspberry
  • Orange-Mango
  • 2-oz quick-shots (sold in 12-packs)
  • 12-oz (12 servings)
  • 32-oz (32 servings)
Safe for children over age 2 and for adults of all ages.





Double strength Good Gut Rescue rapidly soothes the symptoms of digestive distress, alleviating occasional diarrhea, upset stomach, gas and bloating. Good for rapid-onset upset stomach and handy for travel.
What it does:
  • Clinically Shown to Alleviate:
    • Diarrhea
    • Upset Stomach
    • Gas & Bloating
Who it’s for:

Good Gut Rescue is for children and adults ages 2 and up with acute digestive issues like gastroenteritis, travelers sickness, diarrhea, gas and bloating or upset stomach.

How it works:
  • Strengthens the protective digestive lining
  • Supports friendly digestive microbes
  • Reduces digestive distress
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Soothing Mint
  • Honey Ginger
  • 2-oz quick-shots (sold in 12-packs)
Safe for children over age 2 and for adults of all ages.




Ingredients NOT in Good Gut Daily

All the versions of Good Gut Daily contain NO calories, sugar, gluten, soy, dairy, or GMOs – and come with a 30-day money back guarantee.








Good Gut Daily isn’t available at stores yet. You can order it on the Greenteaspoon website to try it for yourself.
Remember: If your gut microbiome is balanced and healthy, the rest of your body will be a nice happy place to live too.


(Source: http://charansurdhar.com/is-your-microbiome-happy/)
(Source: http://charansurdhar.com/is-your-microbiome-happy/)



A Personal Note:

My experience with Good Gut Daily is that it greatly improved my GI health (which had become bad again a few months ago) in just a few days (4 to be exact) – alone, without taking any of my usual PRObiotics or other nutritional supplements.
I started with a single 1-oz dose of Good Gut Daily’s Natural Digestive Health (the Mango-Passion Fruit flavor) and then increased to 1 oz in the AM (on an empty stomach, 30 minutes before breakfast)  + another 1 oz 30 minutes before dinner. This 1 oz twice a day dosing calmed down my over-active gut and gave me back my energy, which had been disturbingly low during the previous weeks of GI upset.
I’ve been taking Good Gut Daily for about seven weeks now. My gut and the rest of my body never want to be without it. Rob Wotring, Greenteaspoon’s Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, is currently engaged in clinically testing a pill version for travel. I’m hoping it’ll be available before I leave for a long vacation this fall.


(Source: www.probiotein.com)
(Source: www.probiotein.com)


Rob Wotring at Greenteaspoon told me: “We’re convinced polyphenol prebiotics will play a huge role in advancing our understanding of the importance of the gut mucus layer in health and wellness.” Many highly respected scientists, doctors, and other health care professionals agree.






Good Gut Daily. (2015). Website. See: http://goodgutdaily.com/

Gut Microbiota WorldWatch. (2015). Everything you always wanted to know about the gut microbiota… See: http://www.gutmicrobiotawatch.org/en/gut-microbiota-info/

Hardin, J.R. (2015). Increased Gut Permeability – Causes & Consequences. AllergiesAndYourGut.com. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2015/05/10/increased-gut-permeability-causes-consequences/

Manach, C. et al. (2004). Polyphenols: food sources and bioavailability. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 79:5, 727-747. See: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/79/5/727.full

Marksteiner, K. (2014). Do Polyphenols Improve Your Gut Bacteria? See: http://chriskresser.com/do-polyphenols-improve-your-gut-bacteria/

Noguera, T. et al. (2014). Resolution of acute gastroenteritis symptoms in children and adults treated with a novel polyphenol-based prebiotic. World Journal of  Gastroenterology, 29:34, 12301-12307. See: http://www.wjgnet.com/1007-9327/full/v20/i34/12301.htm

Pérez-Jiménez, J. et al. (2015). Identification of the 100 richest dietary sources of polyphenols: an application of the Phenol-Explorer database. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. See http://www.nature.com/ejcn/journal/v64/n3s/fig_tab/ejcn2010221t1.html


© Copyright 2015 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.


DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Fighting Off A Virus



(Source: http://thornefx.com/)
(Source: http://thornefx.com/)


Since we’re well into the flu and colds season, I thought it might be useful to describe how I ward off becoming ill when I feel the first inkling that something viral is trying to take hold in my body – a scratchy throat, a slight fever spike, and lethargy are my early warning symptoms.
These are the steps I take, in the order I do them:





I take two Dr. Shen’s Yin Chiao Pills right away. They’re made of herbs and contain no pharmaceuticals, dyes, animal products,  preservatives or unlisted ingredients. They’re intended for use at the first sign of a cold or flu.
One or two doses usually dispatch my symptoms. If any of the symptoms return, I take two more Yin Chiao an hour later and every hour until they’re gone. This has never required more than four hourly doses. Last winter, when a rather virulent flu was going around and I was exposed to many people who were sick but nevertheless felt compelled to be out and about (and in my office), my symptoms returned every few days for about a week so I repeated the dosing until my immune system had successfully fought off the virus.


From the Dr. Shen website:

This formula was first published in a Chinese herbal text by Dr. Wu Ju Tong in the year 1798.

Take six pills immediately, then four every four hours for the rest of the day. Continue to take four every four hours. Beyond the second day, switch to Dr. Shen’s Zong Gan Ling.


  • Honeysuckle (Lonicera flos) Jin Yin Hua
  • Forsythia (Forsythia Suspensa Fructus) Lian Qiao
  • Balloon Flower (Platycodi Grandiflori Radix) Jie Geng
  • Peppermint (Menthe Herba) Bo He
  • Edible Burdock (Arctium Lappa) Niu Bang Zi
  • Crested Grass (Lophatheri Gracilis) Dan Zhu Ye
  • Schizonepeta (Schizonepeta Tenuifolia) Jing Jie
  • Fermented Soy Bean (Sojae Praeparatum Semen) Dan Dou Qi
  • Chinese Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza Uranelsis Radix) Gan Cao


Take six pills immediately, then four every four hours for the rest of the day. Continue to take four every four hours. Beyond the second day, switch to Dr. Shen’s Zong Gan Ling.


Keep a dozen tablets in your car, purse, or pocket. Take promptly.
Use for immune support at home.


Unlike some Yin Chiao imported from China, Dr. Shen’s Yin Chiao contains no drugs, dyes, pharmaceuticals, animal products, or unlisted ingredients. Each tablet contains a generous amount (750 mgs.) of premium grade wildcrafted herbs. Each tablet is also coated with natural food glaze and shaped for easy swallowing.

Though Dr. Shen’s Yin Chiao is considered a Wind Heat formula, it is traditionally used, and effective for, both Wind Heat and Wind Cold patterns. However, using this formula to support normal patterns can require the addition of herbs or formulas such as Er Chen Wan to dry dampness and leech dampness from the tissue.

For Immune Enhancement: Take three tablets every four hours.

Some people have said they get diarrhea after taking Chinese herbs. This has not been a problem for me but I have noticed slightly more frequent BMs if I’ve had to dose myself three or four times in a single day.
I can get Dr. Shen’s Yin Chiao at LifeThyme, my local health food store. It’s also available on Amazon. I’ve tried several other herbal remedies for this purpose but have had the best results with this product.



Our body’s lymphatic system is essentially its sewer system, removing toxins from the body. Like our blood system, it consists of millions of vessels – but it lacks a heart-like pump to keep the lymph moving.
This lack of a pump wasn’t a problem when we moved around a lot doing physical labor. Now that most of us sit at desks, in cars, and in front of TVs and computers much of the time, our lymph systems have become sluggish.  Lymph is moved along when we breathe and walk, and also by intestinal activity and muscle action. The lymph vessels are squeezed by tightening muscles, pushing the lymph along to be filtered through lymph nodes on its way back to the heart. (Williams, 2014)
Exercise helps move the lymph efficiently. So do slant boards or inversions like head and hand stands. Lymphatic drainage can also be achieved manually.
Since I usually notice my body is fighting off a virus when I’m in the middle of a therapy session or am otherwise occupied in a public place and can’t conveniently do a Down Dog, I manually drain, or ‘milk’, the lymph glands just under my lower jaw, starting next to my ears. It’s quick and certainly not the weirdest thing I’ve seen people do in public.
This gets the stagnant, toxin-containing lymph out of those glands. While I find pressing on these glands a bit nauseating, draining them always leaves me feeling a whole lot better immediately afterwards.
I highly recommend doing this drainage whenever you start to feel a sore throat or have sinus congestion. It’ll also give you a nice burst of energy when you’re feeling tired and sluggish. And of course doing it prophylactically is an excellent idea.
It’s important to do the manual drainage in a downward motion, moving the lymph down toward the heart.
Here are two diagrams showing the lymph glands in the head and neck:



(Source: www.swollenglands.com)
Lymph glands of the head and neck. (Source: www.swollenglands.com)




(Source: www.mothering.com)
Lymph glands of the head and neck. (Source: www.mothering.com)


From the diagrams above, it looks like the glands I’m referring to are the parotid lymph glands.
If I have a little more time, I’ll also start under my jaw and milk down my throat on either side of my windpipe to drain those glands too – the anterior cervical.

(Source: meded.ucsd.edu)
(Source: meded.ucsd.edu)



I came across this in Dr. Williams’ article Exercises to Help Drain Your Lymph System but haven’t tried it yet – it looks wonderful. He says this manipulation alone is good for relieving headaches and neck tension:
Starting at the base of the skull with your thumbs just behind your ears, push under the skull, into the neck, with firm pressure slowly going down toward your collar bones. Continue doing this, each time moving your thumbs closer together toward the spinal column.


(Source: Williams.com)
(Source: drdavidwilliams.com)



  • If you have Hodgkins or non-Hodgkins lymphoma, it’s not good to press on your lymph glands.
  • Regularly draining the lymph glands across the chest, from inside the armpits toward the breastbone in the center of the chest, is good for preventing breast cancer.


(Source: www.slideshare.net)
(Source: www.slideshare.net)







(Source: drdavidwilliams.com)
(The thymus gland under the sternum. Source: drdavidwilliams.com)


The thymus gland, located under the sternum (breast bone), is a reflex point that helps stimulate lymphatic drainage in the upper body. Tapping it will also stimulate your immune system to kick in.
The gland sticks out on both sides of the sternum so tapping it vigorously with the finger tips of both hands or rubbing it vigorously for about two minutes helps get lymphatic drainage going. (Williams, 2014)
It will probably feel a little – or a lot – sore when you’re on the right spot.






I do this if I have time:
Use your knuckles to squeeze the stagnant lymph and toxins out of the line of lymph glands running across your chest in a line with your thymus gland. Be sure to start inside your arm pits and move toward the thymus gland so the lymph drains back to the heart.
I do this a few times a month, whether I feel viral or not.


(Source: www.drravindracancercure.com)
(Source: www.drravindracancercure.com)



  • Up my fluid intake
  • Avoid any foods I know are inflammatory
  • Do a little breath work (pranayama) to center myself
  • Avoid letting things upset me
  • Go to bed early if at all possible



The general idea is to get your immune system to kick in to overpower the virus.





(Source: http://9gag.com/)
(Source: http://9gag.com/)





Dr Shen’s Quality Chinese Herbs. (2014). Yin Chiao. See: http://www.drshen.com/chineseherbproducts.html#yinchiaoherbs

Williams, D. (2014).  Exercises to Help Drain Your Lymphatic System. See: http://www.drdavidwilliams.com/lymphatic-system-drainage-exercises/



© Copyright 2014 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.


DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Probiotics for Sinusitis and Sinus Infection



The Misery of Sinusitis (Source: healthxwellness.com)
The Misery of Sinusitis (Source: healthxwellness.com)


If you’ve ever suffered through sinus congestion or, even worse, a sinus infection, you’ve probably wondered why these cavities are there in our heads.


Symptoms of Chronic Sinusitis. (Source: www.asthmacenter.com)
Symptoms of Chronic Sinusitis. (Source: www.asthmacenter.com)

It turns out our sinuses are necessary:
  • They warm and moisturize the air on its way to our lungs.
  • They allow us to balance our big-brained heads on our relatively meager necks so we can walk upright on two feet. These empty spaces in our skulls lighten the weight of our heavy heads so we’re not like the rhinoceros, whose head is so weighty the animal often keeps it resting on the ground.




There are four sets of sinuses behind our faces. Here’s where they’re located:


Locations of sinuses. (Source: ookfordiagnosis.com)
Locations of sinuses. (Source: ookfordiagnosis.com)



And here’s a diagram of what they look like when they become inflamed with mucus building up inside them:


Front view of face with sinuses visible. Sinus lining is red and inflamed, and mucus is building up inside. (Source: www.uofmmedicalcenter.org)
Front view of face with sinuses visible. Sinus lining is red and inflamed, and mucus is building up inside. (Source: www.uofmmedicalcenter.org)



Having had chronic sinus inflammation, congestion and infections for many, many years, I can attest to their often making me feel like that rhino – feeling like my head was too heavy to hold up. Other symptoms were – having to breathe through my mouth all the time making it hard to eat and sleep well, having a constantly scratchy throat and uneasy stomach from post nasal drip, suffering from sour breath, feeling slightly dizzy from being unable to get enough air, feeling physically depressed from being exhausted all the time. When I finally figured out how to correct my unbalanced gut bacteria and fix my allergies, that all mercifully stopped.



Not me - but how I feel now that my sinuses aren't inflamed. (Source: www.happyhealthyhomepage.com)
Not me – but how I feel now that I don’t have allergies and my sinuses aren’t inflamed. (Source: www.happyhealthyhomepage.com)


That’s the background.
The purpose of this post is to share a nifty suggestion for resolving sinusitis or a sinus infection – naturally, without the antibiotics doctors usually prescribe. Each time you take an antibiotic, you’re killing off many of the good, probiotic bacteria in your gut – bacteria which the body requires to stay healthy. And these antibiotics often don’t even  address the sinus infection.



Since most sinus infections are caused by viruses, not bacteria, taking antibiotics to treat them is unwise. (Source: www.buzzle.com)
Since most sinus infections are caused by viruses, not bacteria, taking antibiotics to treat them is unwise. (Source: www.buzzle.com)




THE NATURAL AND EFFECTIVE SINUS REMEDY (Pope, 2010) (Saunders, no date)


  1. Empty the contents of a probiotic capsule into a ceramic neti pot or nasal spray bottle.
  2. Add warm filtered water.
  3. Add a bit of sea salt (about 1/8 teaspoon) and baking soda (if desired).
  4. Mix ingredients together carefully with a spoon or shake nasal spray bottle after screwing on the lid.
  5. Neti Pot Method: While standing over a sink or in the shower, insert the nozzle of the neti pot into one nostril, and make sure there is a good seal between the nozzle and your nostril. Lean forward, close the back of your throat and breathe through your mouth. Then allow the contents of the neti pot to enter one nasal opening and rinse through to exit out the other nasal opening. This may take up to two or three minutes if your nasal passages are congested. Repeat on the other side. Try to avoid swallowing the water that goes into the nostrils and blow your nose when finished.
  6. Spray Bottle Method: Insert the nozzle of the spray bottle into one nostril while covering the other nostril. While compressing the pump on the nasal spray bottle, inhale deeply. Repeat several times on both sides. Be prepared to spit out anything left after inhaling the mist.
  7. When finished, wash out the neti pot or spray bottle with warm water and soap and allow to dry before using again.
  8. Probiotics can be used not just as a natural sinus remedy.  They can also be used to prevent sinus infections in the first place.  Click here for an article which describes this method. (Pope, 2013)



Using a Nasal Spray Bottle. (Source: www.telegraph.co.uk)
Using a Nasal Spray Bottle. (Source: www.telegraph.co.uk)



Using a Neti Pot
Using a Neti Pot. (Source: www.occhealthnews.net)










This is Raine Saunders’ report of her experience using probiotics to vanquish a raging, seemingly intractable sinus infection:

Now here’s the most amazing part – at bedtime, I emptied the contents of a probiotics capsule into the neti-pot and proceeded to pour the warm water, salt, baking soda and probiotic mixture into my nasal passages. Immediately I felt a terrible burning sensation that went on for a good ten minutes. It was quite painful, but as it subsided, I was filled with a peaceful calm, and then retired to bed and had a good night sleep. The next morning, I awoke and was surprised to find that even as time went on, my head remained pain-free throughout the day. The horrible “ice pick” sinus pressure which was normally in full-swing by 10 a.m. was completely gone. Whenever I felt like I was getting a slight ache, I performed the facial massage to my temples and sinuses I had done the day before. I also used the probiotics in my neti pot a few more times over the next five days, along with my Whole Body Defense from Gaia Herbs, and some grapefruit seed extract (about 5 drops in 6 ounces of water twice a day). I was cured! I really believe those probiotics did some magical trick – although I’m sure some of the other things I did helped as well – because the first time I did it, after the burning came and went, the pain was completely gone and has not returned since. (Saunders, no date)


So be prepared for a “terrible burning sensation in your sinuses and nose” if you try this. I can only say that, if I get another sinus infection (which is unlikely given how strong my gut microbiome is now), I would prefer choose 10 minutes of discomfort over the damage done by antibiotics – especially knowing the probiotics treatment is likely to work!)






(Source: drkateklemer.com)
(Source: drkateklemer.com)






Keeping your immune system balanced and strong so you don’t develop sinusitis or an acute sinus infection is clearly the way to go. Getting enough and the right variety of prebiotics and probiotics – from your diet and from high quality supplements – is important to achieve that goal.
As is true everywhere in the body, the nasal passages are colonized by micro-organisms. When the balance of beneficial flora to harmful flora is out of balance, problems can develop. A study showed that drinking kefir, a fermented milk drink loaded with healthy probiotics, decreased the levels of pathogenic bacteria in the nasal passages. Other research indicates probiotics are helpful for reducing congestion and the other symptoms associated with seasonal allergies. Chris Kresser points out that this is “especially interesting because in Chinese medicine, they believe sinus issues are almost always related to the gut.” (Kresser, no date)
For more information on prebiotics, probiotics,and kefir, see:







(Source: whattoprepare.com)
(Source: whattoprepare.com)




The most important part of your immune system lives inside your gut – your gut microbiome, consisting of billions of micro-organisms.  If your gut microbiome is balanced and healthy, then you probably are too.












Probiotics recommended by Chris Kresser, a practitioner of functional and integrative medicine and a licensed acupuncturist. His informative website is http://chriskresser.com/
This information is from his post 5 Uncommon Uses for Probiotics. (Kresser, no date)
Sarah Pope, whose website is called The Healthy Home Economist,  recommends this high quality, therapeutic strength, multi-strain probiotic:

Bio-Kult – Probiotic Multi-Strain Formula

Her entire list of recommendations for Supplements & Superfoods, and many other products, can be found here.



(Source: www.healthierpost.com)
(Source: www.healthierpost.com)



See SINUSES for more information.








Hardin, J.R. (1/1/2014). Super Immunity. AllergiesAndYourGut.com.  See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/superimmunity/

Hardin, J.R. (1/11/2014). Sinuses. AllergiesAndYourGut.com. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/symbiosis-versus-dysbiosis/sinuses/

Hardin, J.R. (1/17/2914).  Kefir. AllergiesAndYourGut.com. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/superimmunity/kefir/

Hardin, J.R. (2/5/2014). Prebiotics and Probiotics.  AllergiesAndYourGut.com. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/superimmunity/prebiotics-and-probiotics/

Kresser, C. (no date). 5 Uncommon Uses for Probiotics. See:  http://chriskresser.com/5-uncommon-uses-for-probiotics

Pope, S. (2010). Natural and Effective Sinus Infection Remedy. The HealthyHomeEconomist.com.  See: http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/heal-sinus-infections-with-no-antibiotics-really/

Pope, S. (2012). Shopping List. HealthyHomeEconomist.com. See: http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/resources/#supplements

Pope, S. (2013). Stop Sinus Problems Fast with This Easy Tip. The HealthyHomeEconomist.com. See: http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/discourage-holiday-sinus-problems-with-this-easy-tip/

Saunders, R. (no date). How I Cured A Raging Sinus Infection Naturally, With No Drugs. Agricultural Society. See:  http://agriculturesociety.com/alternative-medicine-and-treatment/how-i-cured-a-raging-sinus-infection-naturally-with-no-drugs/



© Copyright 2014 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.


DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Probiotics for Your Gut and Your Mood





Need more evidence that what goes on in your gut greatly affects what happens in the rest of your body? Here’s information recently reported in the scientific journal Gastroenterology demonstrating that our gut bacteria play an important role in our emotional responses.
Dr. Kirsten Tillisch, Associate Professor at the Oppenheimer Family Center for Neurobiology of Stress, David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, and a group of other researchers there investigated whether consumption of a fermented milk product containing probiotics (FMPP) would affect activity in brain regions that control central processing of emotion and sensation.
The researchers divided the 36 healthy female participants into three groups. One group received a placebo twice daily for four  weeks. A second group received an unfermented milk product twice daily for four weeks. The third group received a fermented milk product containing various kinds of probiotics twice daily for four weeks.
The FMPP given to the third group contained Bifidobacterium animalis subsp Lactis, Streptococcus thermophiles, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, and Lactococcus lactis subsp Lactis.
At the beginning of the study and again at its end, all participants underwent a Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) study of their brains to measure both resting brain activity as well as how the brain responded to an emotional event, such as seeing pictures of angry or scared people.
Results showed that a four-week intake of a fermented milk product containing probiotics positively affected mid-brain activity in regions that control central processing of emotion and sensation. (Tillisch, 2013)
In other words, the brains of the women who consumed the fermented, probiotic-rich milk product became smarter and happier in just four weeks!




This important study is the first to show that changes in human gut bacteria can have a profound effect on how the brain interprets the environment.
As reported in Medscape Medical News, Dr. Cameron Meier, Professor of Medicine, Physiology and Psychiatry at UCLA’s School of Medicine commented on the study, stating:

The knowledge that signals are sent from the gut microbiome to the brain and that they can be modulated by dietary changes will hopefully lead to more research aimed at finding new strategies to prevent or treat digestive, mental and neurological disorders.




Previous research has shown that the gut microorganisms of laboratory rats can be manipulated, causing the animals to become either timid or aggressive. This information has profound implications about our modern diet as well as our generally aggressive over usage of antibiotics which kill good bacteria along with the pathogenic ones living in our guts.
The Standard American Diet (SAD),  consisting mostly of foods poor in probiotics, and decades of physician-prescribed over use of antibiotics along with the heavy load of antibiotics fed to animals we eat and the products made from them,  contribute to the increased rates of depression, anxiety and attention deficit problems that are rampant in modern Western societies. (HealthFreedoms.org, 2014)






It’s time to concentrate on repairing our damaged guts with probiotics to restore our health.




Kefir and Live Culture Yogurt - Fermented Milk Products
Kefir and Live Culture Yogurt – Fermented Milk Products




Sour, fermented milk products such as yogurt, kefir, and labne (kefir cheese) have been consumed for centuries to improve vitality and health. Hippocrates, the Greek physician born in 460 BC and the father of modern medicine, used liquid whey to strengthen immune resistance.
Kefir, a fermented milk product derived from globules of bacteria and yeast known as “grains,” has a long history in Eastern Europe, Russia, and the Middle East. The word kefir is derived from the Turkish word meaning good feeling – a good description for what fermented milk does for the entire body.

Elie Metchnikoff
Elie Metchnikoff

More than a century ago, Nobel Prize winner Elie Metchnikoff, a Ukranian biologist, zoologist and protozoologist best known for his pioneering research into the immune system, suggested that yogurt contributed to the 87 year average lifespan of Bulgarians. He hypothesized that the consumption of live lactic acid bacteria in yogurt suppressed the multiplication of putrefactive bacteria in the large intestine.

The dependence of the intestinal microbes on the food makes it possible to adopt measures to modify the flora in our bodies and to replace the harmful microbes by useful microbes.

(Metchnikoff, 1907)

His hypothesis has been borne out by modern research.




Probiotics in Kefir
Probiotics in Lifeway’s Kefir


I strongly concur with adding kefir and yogurt to your diet for their useful microbes – gut friendly probiotics.
You’ll find kefir in the dairy section of many food stores. The plain version is healthier than the flavored kinds, which contain added sugars. And organic is preferable to non-organic (made from GMO milk).
If you’re buying yogurt, make sure it contains “live cultures” or you won’t get much probiotic benefit from it. The yellowish liquid on the top of the yogurt is the liquid whey. Again, plain is healthier than the flavored versions containing added sugars and organic is preferable to non-organic (GMO).
You can also easily make your own kefir and yogurt, preferably from organic milk.



Making Kefir at Home
Making Kefir at Home



Yogurt strains like Viili and Matsoni are cultured at room temperature, eliminating the need for a yogurt maker. Cultures for Health offers an abundance of yogurt starters.
Homemade kefir contains a wide variety of strains, including the four strains of probiotic used in the UCLA study: Bifidobacterium animalis, Streptococcus thermophiles, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, and Lactococcus lactis. Once you have the starter grains, also available at Cultures for Health, you can culture your milk for years to come. (HandPickedNation.com, 2013)


































Cultures for Health. A online source for many food culture starters.  See:  http://www.culturesforhealth.com/

Handpickednation.com. (2013). Fermented Milk: For the Gut and the Brain. See:  http://www.handpickednation.com/fermented-milk-for-the-gut-and-the-brain/

HealthFreedoms.org. (2014). New Study Shows How Gut Bacteria Affect How You See the World.  See:  http://www.healthfreedoms.org/new-study-shows-how-gut-bacteria-affect-how-you-see-the-world/

Metchnikoff, E. 1907. Essais optimistes. Paris. The prolongation of life. Optimistic studies. Translated and edited by P. C. Mitchell. London: Heinemann, 1907.

Tillisch, K. et al. (2013). Consumption of Fermented Milk Product With Probiotc Modulates Brain Activity. Gastroenterology, 144:7, 1394-1401.  See:  http://www.gastrojournal.org/article/S0016-5085(13)00292-8/abstract




© Copyright 2014 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.


DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Transfer Factor

In 2011 I was working with a knowledgeable nutritionist who was helping me restore my GI tract after I’d successfully vanquished a nasty Clostridium difficile infection that began in April 2010 while I was on vacation. Fortunately, the infection wasn’t fatal as it often is but it certainly was inconvenient and became debilitating after I returned home.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 30,000 people in the US die every year from C. diff and millions of people of all ages suffer with non-fatal infections. (Peggy Lillis Memorial Foundation, 2014).
If you want to read more about how I got rid of the C. diff infection without antibiotics, my Oriental Medicine Journal article Successful Holistic Treatment of Clostridium difficile Gut Infection: Case Study is online here.
The nutritionist recommended an interesting nutritional supplement called 4Life Transfer Factor Plus to help boost my immune system. I now take a maintenance dose of 1 capsule 3x/day.


TRANSFER FACTORS are molecules that actually transfer immune memory and knowledge from one immune system to another. The 4Life Transfer Factor Plus supplement is made from bovine colostrum and chicken egg yolk.  These molecules contain antigen information which educates, enhances, and helps maintain immune system balance.


COLOSTRUM is an important precursor to the milk produced by mammals (including humans) for nursing their offspring. It is very easy to digest; a yellow to orange color; thick and sticky; low in fat; and high in carbohydrates, protein, and antibodies to help keep the baby healthy. The concentration of immune factors is much higher in colostrum than in mature milk. All this makes it the perfect first food for a baby mammal.

Colostrum (on left) vs Milk (on right)

Colostrum works as a natural and 100% safe vaccine. It contains large quantities of an antibody called secretory immunoglobulin A (IgA). In the womb the baby received the benefit of another antibody, called IgG, through the placenta. IgG worked through the fetus’s circulatory system but IgA protects the baby in the places most likely to come under attack from germs, namely the mucous membranes in the throat, lungs, and intestines.