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Help for the Holiday Season

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Holidays are a time to celebrate with family and friends, and to yield to the temptation to overindulge in food and drink. Study results from the New England Journal of Medicine (March 2000) has scientifically confirmed that, on average, we gain a pound of weight during the festive season.

Holidays are a time to celebrate with family and friends, and to yield to the temptation to overindulge in food and drink. Study results from the New England Journal of Medicine (March 2000) has scientifically confirmed that, on average, we gain a pound of weight during the festive season.

The bad news is we don't seem to lose that little bit of extra weight-gain, and over a lifetime this may contribute to obesity. Fortunately, regular physical exercise helps combat this post-holiday bulge. In addition, the therapeutic use of highly viscous fibre blends may help control the tendency to overeat through the release of powerful appetite-suppressing hormones that signal the brain that it's time to stop eating.

Sauce's Side Effects

Overeating, however, is not the only potential holiday stumbling block. Drinking alcohol can dramatically increase the number of liver-toxic free radicals. Although the liver has powerful internal mechanisms to help eliminate the damaging byproducts of alcohol, this system can be easily overwhelmed. In one study, those who consumed one six-pack of beer daily over a weekend showed laboratory results that were consistent with liver damage.

If increased consumption of alcohol is part of the festive round of parties for you, it is important to minimize the damaging effects of free radicals through the use of such substances as milk thistle, n-acetyl cysteine (NAC), selenium, and vitamin C. The amino acid L-glycine helps produce a key antioxidant (glutathione) that assists the liver in detoxifying a number of noxious agents, including alcohol. L-glycine is also important in assisting directly in the detoxification process of chemicals like phenols and benzoic acid.

Alcohol and its metabolic byproducts can significantly alter healthy gut flora, leading to symptoms of intestinal gas, bloating, fullness, and mild nausea. Fortunately, supplementing with friendly bacterial strains such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidobacterium helps to remove toxins and decrease gut-related complaints.

Inflammation of the intestine, also brought on by excess alcohol consumption, may cause leaky gut syndrome. Unchecked, this can lead to the production of intestinal toxins along with a host of food intolerances. The use of the amino acid glutamine helps stabilize the gut and reduces the risk of toxin formation. Moreover, quercetin (a bioflavonoid) and the amino sugar n-acetyl glucosamine (NAG) also reduce intestinal inflammation associated with alcohol exposure.

Too Much of a Good Thing

While the best strategy for the holiday season is to eat and drink in moderation, we can't always resist those tempting treats. How does one avoid a potential celebratory fiasco? Fortunately, combinations of antioxidants, herbs, amino acids, and fibre blends are readily available in health food stores. These synergistic mixtures of natural products support our eliminative organ systems (e.g., liver and kidneys), control cravings, and help ease some of those inevitable festive lapses in willpower.

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