Health trends

More research is showing a connection between digestive tract (gut) health and immunity, and people concerned with boosting their immune systems are paying attention.

Improving personal health is a popular New Years resolution. A 2020 Finder survey found that an estimated 188 million Americans planned to make resolutions to carry them into 2021. Similar numbers of people likely will put personal goals on the calendar this year. Those focused on health and wellness may consider these trending topics.

Collagen supplementation

Collagen is a family of proteins that serves as the structural component of most connective tissues in the body. Collagen production wanes as people age, but it also can drop quickly due to excess sun exposure, smoking, lack of exercise, and excess alcohol consumption, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Many people are interested in maintaining adequate levels of collagen, which is vital to giving skin a youthful appearance and helps to maintain healthy joints. According to Google Trends, online searches for collagen have increased steadily since 2014. Collagen has become a top-selling supplement to improve hair, skin and nails. Though human studies that prove collagen supplementation efficacy are lacking, some randomized controlled trials have found that collagen supplements improve skin elasticity and joint mobility and reduce joint pain. Collagen supplements are thought to be safe, but people should discuss supplementation with a doctor first.

Fermented foods

More research is showing a connection between digestive tract (gut) health and immunity, and people concerned with boosting their immune systems are paying attention. Research published in the journal Cell in 2014 indicated the immune system has evolved to maintain a symbiotic relationship with microbiota in the gut. Accordingly, when operating optimally, this immune system-microbiota alliance allows the induction of protective responses to pathogens.

Naturally fermented foods may help strengthen the gut microbiome by supplying it with healthy probiotics, according to Dr. David S. Ludwig, a professor of nutrition at the T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Some pickles, Korean kimchi, sauerkraut, and other foods can be beneficial. Consumers should look for product labels that say “naturally fermented,” which use live organisms for the fermenting process.

CBD and hemp products

Even though medical marijuana and recreational marijuana use is now legal in many parts of the country, CBD is widely being harnessed in its own right. Cannabidiol oil is a chemical found in marijuana and hemp plants. CBD doesn’t contain THC, the psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana that produces a high, advises the Mayo Clinic. CBD has been studied as a treatment for a wide range of conditions like Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and anxiety. The only CBD product currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is prescription Epidiolex for epilepsy.

Since hemp oil is high in essential fatty acids, it may produce anti-inflammatory effects and improve brain function. It is widely used in beauty products like skin creams as well. Always speak to a doctor before using CBD and related products.

Source: Metro Creative Services

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