FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

The current state of “healthy eating” has a lot of room for improvement from my perspective. I have seen the addition of meal replacement bars and protein bars added to the choices, but they are often mixed with high calorie candy bars and it takes some looking . Stocking a supply of fresh fruits and vegetables is unrealistic for a c-store but they could make significant improvements by placing a specific section front and center that would contain convenient pre-packaged options. This would include packets of single serving protein poweder, superfood packets, supplement/vitamin packets, as well as some of these items in the refrigerated section but highlighting “healthy meal replacement shakes” signs to separate from the soft drinks.

According to a recent study by consumer reports, many shifted to convenience food and carry out as in person dining was restricted. They also found that people were stress eating more, turning to snack foods and high calorie foods. While some found they were eating healthier at home, (15%) , over twice the number of people (30%) found they had eating more junk food and gained weight as a result. See the link below. First is eating habits, second is shopping.

As noted above, healthy eating took a hit during the pandemic as social distancing , lockdowns, and in person dining turned people to convenience foods. There has also been a complete lack of discussion about being healthy and healthy eating in the media, as our focus has been a never ending stream of pandemic news. As a physician it has frustrated me that this is not a staple of the national conversation. The best way to be healthy is to eat healthy and exercise. I would say the eating healthy is the more important of the two. And if your are going to optimize your immune system you have to give your body the nutrients it needs. Every healthcare system and provider needs to get back on message that optimizing your health is what our focus needs to be on, and it starts with healthy eating

A great start would be to offer convenient pre- packaged supplements, meal replacement/protein bars, powders and drinks in a separate area highlighted in a unique way that draws the customers attention to it. Messaging such as “small steps to healthier living” “convenient pre-package healthy options” etc to remind the individual that convenient doesn’t need to be unhealthy and to the contrary, can be packed with nutrients that surpass even a cooked meal.

 

I think the messaging of the old “total cereal “ commercials was very effective and should be re-visited. “The same amount of vitamin C in this package as 15 oranges” or something to that effect. Remind people that convenient can be healthy.

Unfortunately I don’t see that there is evidence they are buying healthier and to the contrary are buying more fast food and snack items. C-stores have an opportunity to provide a convenient pre-packaged option that is front and center when they come through the door. Instead of stopping at Mcdonalds they can grab a protein shake and a vitamin pack when they get their gas.
I believe the top three trends are broadly nutrition, exercise, and self care. More specifically for each, nutrition has to be convenient and organically based. The exercise trends are more self directed, as the pandemic has driven away group classes and led people to home designated routines. And lastly what I mean by self care is self directed health education. With all the health systems closing down and going into emergency only mode, basic health maintenance has been ignored and people are looking to be educated on their healthcare solutions. This is at the core of why I developed Empowering Solutions Online, an educational web site dedicated to educating patients and empowering them to make sound self directed healthcare decisions.
That it can be done and there is a market. Convenience and health can be accomplished as I’ve outlined above
Take a look at the makeover every Rite aid in the country has done and the new look. They went from drab, gloomy backgrounds to ultra bright modern look with wellness and health messages all over the store. Drugstores have now become almost mini-health care clinics and their messaging shows that. C-stores could make a big difference by posting messaging throughout the store around this message.
Focus on convenient pre-packaged items, place them front and center, separate them from the surrounding products in a unique way, and post positive health messaging throughout the store
To emphasize that there is an opportunity for the c-store industry to cater to this new market without having to add square footage or incur huge cost. Follow the recommendations above and I guarantee that they would be filling a void in the market and benefit with higher revenues.

Role of immune system, straight out of Basic Immunology, Six ed Abbas/Lichtman/Pillai.

  1. Defend against infection
  2. Defense against tumors
  3. Control of tissue regeneration and scarring
  4. The immune system can injure cells and induce pathologic inflammation

We want to maximize our regenerative capabilities, destroy abnormal cells,  and minimize inflammation, then we need to focus on our immune system. It is a key player in our long term health.

As we age with chronic injury, it is key to minimize inflammation and optimize our regenerative capabilities.

Provides a steady state of nutrients throughout the day so your health is continually optimized. Prevent the peaks and valleys on once a day dosing.

The nighttime dose maximizes your regenerative sleep state without taking in calories.

The Magnesium and Melatonin in the pm dose exerts a calming effect and enhances sleep.

We all know that Melatonin helps with sleep, but it is a master regulator of inflammation.

It is a natural (endogenous) free radical scavenger, a primary cause of inflammation.

Melatonin acts as an immune stimulant during times of immunosuppression, and acts as an anti-inflammatory during times of an exaggerated immune response.

  • It is found naturally in fruits and vegetables, we cannot make it in our body.
  • It is a naturally occurring flavonoid, which are powerful anti-oxidants.
  • It has potent anti-inflammatory effects.
  • It is a free radical scavenger.

Studies have shown that it is a zinc ionophore, it acts to drive zinc into cells and works as a potent anti-viral agent.

Associated to reduce risk of cancer, decrease allergy symptoms, lower risk of all types of infection, lower risk of heart disease.

Role of Magnesium

All enzymes that metabolize Vitamin D require MagnesiumIf you don’t have enough Mg, you cannot benefit from Vitamin D

This is why we have this in our PM dose, to assure full use of Vit D. It also has a calming effect with the melatonin in the pm dose.

Magnesium is critical for all aspects of the immune system.

It is estimated that almost 50% of the population does not take in enough Magnesium

  • Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant.
  • Vitamin C is required for proper gene function.
  • Vitamin C supports both innate and adaptive immune function.
  • Vitamin C deficiency results in impaired immune function and increase susceptibility to infection.
  • Vitamin C supplementation has been shown to help prevent and treat respiratory and systemic infections.
  • Vitamin C deficiency results in impaired immune function and increase susceptibility to infection.
  • Vitamin C supplementation has been shown to help prevent and treat respiratory and systemic infections.

Studies have shown that prophylactic prevention of infection requires not just adequate amounts of Vitamin C, but saturating plasma  levels, which optimizes cell tissue levels.

 

In addition, when treating active infections you need a much higher dosage, in the gram amount, to compensate for the increase in inflammation and metabolic demand.

  • The 3000mg assures an excellent saturation level, for both prevention and active infections.
  • Studies have shown that people deficient in Zinc have much higher rates of infection and severe immune dysfunction.
  • Low zinc is associated low testosterone, low sperm count, severe immune deficiency, low lean body mass.
  • Zinc is a potent anti-oxidant and has direct anti inflammatory actions.
  • Zinc supplementation decreases oxidative stress markers and the generation of inflammatory cytokines.
  • Vitamin D receptor is expressed on nearly EVERY cell in the immune system.
  • You cannot get enough sunlight to get all the Vitamin D you need.
  • Vitamin D deficiency has been directly correlated to increased susceptibility to infection and increased autoimmune disease
  • Vitamin D is proven to enhance the innate and adaptive immune system.

Free radicals are unstable atoms that “steal” electrons from other normal cells, and this leads to cell damage and aging.

Free radicals are formed from normal metabolism or outside sources like smoke, pollution, and radiation. They are also released by cells of the immune system to destroy invading microbes.

 

Free radical theory of aging: As we age, we lose the ability to deal with free radicals, leading to more oxidative stress, more cell damage, quicker aging.

When we talk about Anti-oxidants and free radicals scavengers, these are substance that neutralize these unstable atoms so they don’t latch on to healthy cells and cause damage.

 

When an overload of free radicals cannot be gradually destroyed, than their accumulation leads to a state of “oxidative stress”

It is well established that oxidative DNA damage is responsible for cancer development

Often “inflammation” is used instead of “oxidative stress”. The concept is the same, both lead to tissue damage, cancer, aging, scar formation, and a whole slew of diseases .

 

The role of anti-oxidants is the neutralization of oxidative stress.

When an anti-oxidant destroys a free radical, the anti-oxidant itself becomes oxidized. Therefore, antioxidant resources must be constantly restored.