Can Drinking Water Help You Lose Weight?

Drinking enough water is essential for our survival. But can drinking a lot of water help you lose weight?

You’ve probably heard a lot about the additional benefits of drinking water, including that it may help flush toxins from the body. There are also a lot of studies that show if you drink more water, you might be able to drop a few pounds.

While this may be true, you shouldn’t rely on increasing your water intake alone to meet your weight loss goals. Read on to learn how water can support weight loss.

Staying Hydrated While On A Diet: Can You Bust Fat And Lose Weight By Drinking More Water?

Research indicates that drinking water could have an effect on your metabolism, potentially helping you burn calories.1

Studies show that within about 10 minutes of water consumption, your metabolic rate speeds up.

If you drink water regularly, starting on a water regimen could help you lose up to 30 percent more calories than if you don’t.2

does drinking a lot of water help you lose weight | Probiotic AmericaOne study looked at overweight women who increased their daily water intake by about 34 ounces (one liter) per day for one year.

According to the results, the women lost an average of 4.4 pounds. Participants made no other changes to their lifestyle. They simply drank more water.

Water And Weight: Does Drinking A Lot Of Water Help Curb Your Appetite?

You may already know that fiber in many of the fruits and vegetables in your diet can help you feel full. As a result, you won’t be as likely to overeat during a meal.3

It appears drinking plenty of water could have a similar effect.
Studies show that middle-aged and older people have a better chance of losing weight by drinking a substantial amount of water before each meal they eat. In one study, obese participants lost 44 percent more weight than those who didn’t drink water before each meal.4

Avoid Extra Calories In Drinks Like Soda, Juice, And Other Sweet Beverages

does drinking a lot of water help you lose weight | Probiotic AmericaIt can be really hard to start drinking water if you’re used to sugary drinks or sweetened beverages that are loaded with caffeine.

But sodas aren’t a healthy part of any diet.

Drinking water instead of soda reduces your intake of calories dramatically.

Of course, you still need to follow a low-calorie diet, exercise, and avoid alcohol to be at your healthiest. But substituting water for sugary drinks could help reduce your calorie intake by nearly 10 percent and improve your overall health.5

Daily Water Intake: Are You Drinking Enough Water Every Day?

Whether you’re trying to lose weight or not, increasing your daily water intake will help you stay hydrated. Proper hydration is important, because if you don’t drink enough water, you’ll run the risk of developing a lot of health issues. Even mild dehydration can lead to problems.6

But how much water should you drink each day?

does drinking a lot of water help you lose weight | Probiotic America

There is no set answer that applies to everyone. The amount of water you need, whether for staying hydrated or avoiding some extra calories can depend.7

If, for instance, you’re very active, you will probably need more water than those who lead a mainly sedentary lifestyle. This is because you are likely losing more water due to sweat and activity.

If you’re an older person, you’ll have to pay closer attention to your water intake than most other people.8

Talk to your doctor about how much water you should be consuming to optimize your health. They can also answer any questions you may have about the impact drinking water may have on weight loss.

Seek Medical Advice To Help Answer Key Questions

What kind of water is best for losing weight? Should you drink distilled water, bottled water, or will plain tap water do the trick?

does drinking a lot of water help you lose weight | Probiotic AmericaIf you do lose weight by drinking water, what do you need to do to keep it off? Will you run the risk of developing water retention if you drink too many liters of water a day?

What if you drank a glass of water 10 times a day? Would that be healthy?

Your doctor will be the best source for answers to these and any other questions you may have about increasing your water intake. Never make any changes to your diet, or make drastic changes in how much water you drink, without first talking to a medical professional.

Learn More:
Colon Cleanse: How Do They Work And Are They Helpful?
7 Amazing Health Benefits of Sauerkraut (And a DIY Recipe!)
9 Easy Solutions to Get Rid of Constipation


5 Ways Arginine Can Improve Your Health

Have you ever heard of l-arginine? If not, you’ve likely heard of amino acids — and l-arginine just happens to be an amino acid you can get through either your diet or supplements.

There’s solid scientific evidence showing it could help your health in many different ways.

Here’s some information on how this amino acid works, and why you need more of it in your body.

How it Works

First, your body converts l-arginine into nitric oxide, which helps the blood vessels relax. This, in turn, makes it easier for blood to circulate throughout the body.1

You can get l-arginine from many high-protein foods (such as dairy products and fish) as well as from arginine supplements. And, as long as you can sustain a good supply of l-arginine, your body should continue to have an ample supply of nitric oxide as well.

Health Benefits

Why is this important? Well, as you’ll see, this mighty amino acid is associated with a wide range of health benefits.

Here are just five of the most important.

1. Cardiovascular Health

There is evidence that l-arginine could help people who suffer from angina – a condition that leads to severe chest pain. There is also evidence that taking arginine supplements could help lower blood pressure in healthy people and also in those suffering from a condition known as pulmonary hypertension. This is a form of high blood pressure that affects the right side of the heart as well as lung arteries.

2. Reducing Inflammation

L-arginine helps reduce inflammation as well as the amount of ammonia in the blood.3 This is very important because ammonia is a contributing factor to not only inflammation but also cell death.4

3. Increasing Exercise Efficiency

L-arginine supplements might also play a key role in the production of human growth hormone, or HGH. If you have an HGH deficiency, you might be susceptible to an increase in body fat as well as a decrease in muscle mass. You may also be at risk for bone weakness.

According to research, l-arginine supplementation can increase HGH levels by 100 percent, even while your body’s at rest. It can also raise levels by up to 500 percent during exercise. This is important because HGH helps support a healthy body weight and strong muscles.6

Arginine Supplements | Probiotic America

4. Supporting Immune System Health

This powerful amino acid helps boost the strength of T cells, which are key to helping support a strong immune system. T cells help fight harmful viruses and bacteria. According to one study, when the level of l-arginine is increased, it can help re-energize T cells and also help them live longer.7

5. Boosting Reproductive Health in Men and Women

Researchers studied the effect of l-arginine on erectile difficulties. A group of 40 men participated. By the end of the three-month study, more than 90 percent of the participants who received arginine supplements in combination with pine bark extract showed substantial improvement in their conditions.8

According to the results of another study, the combination of l-arginine with several herbs helped to improve pregnancy rates in women who were having trouble conceiving.9

The Bottom Line

So you can see there’s a substantial amount of evidence suggesting that l-arginine may provide major benefits to the body.

However, you should never start taking amino acid supplements without first having a detailed discussion with your doctor. He or she will let you know if it will be safe for you to do so after looking at your medical history, as well as any medications you may be taking.

And, if you do receive permission from your doctor, talk to her about how much of the amino acid you need to get each day.


Learn More:
Eat Your Way to 100: 4 Longevity-Boosting Superfoods to Try Now
How Stress is Destroying Your Microbiome (+ 3 stress-busting tips)
Get Better Abs… By Doing Less, More Effectively (4 tips!)


The Dirty Dozen List: Foods You Should Buy Organic

These days, more and more people are claiming you should only buy organic produce. In a world overrun with chronic disease, people are naturally panicked about the potential consequences of coming into contact with toxic substances.

But is it worth listening to the organic debate? Organic fruits and vegetables can certainly impact your grocery bill, and when you’re already on a super tight budget, you start to question, “So is it really such a big deal?”

Yes, and no.

It’s true — pesticides truly appear to be a high-risk substance. And, agriculture continues to use huge quantities of those pesticides. And, studies continue to show that pesticides are associated with greater health risks.1

But it’s not all bad news for those who hope to keep their grocery bills low. There are some foods that contain much higher levels of pesticide exposure than others, so you can get selective with your shopping – rather than going 100 percent organic.

Testing The Food That You Eat

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a nonprofit organization of scientists, researchers, and policymakers that studies pesticides and chemicals, and their impact on the environment. According to the EWG, almost 70 percent of produce tested is contaminated with pesticide residue.

Dirty Dozen | Probiotic America

As for the pesticides themselves, there’s more than one bad guy. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) found almost 180 different types of pesticides on the food that it tested.2

But you just have to wash your fruits and veggies, right?

In USDA tests, pesticides remained on most produce after they were washed with high power water sprays – and even after they were peeled.3

So, back in 2004, the Environmental Working Group created a list of what it calls “The Dirty Dozen” – twelve foods that have tested positive for many different pesticide residues. The EWG says these foods contain much higher concentrations of pesticides than any other produce.

These are the foods that you should definitely buy organic. In fact, doing so may reduce the amount of toxins you consume by as much as 80 percent.4

What Makes The EWG Dirty Dozen List?

The EWG updates it’s Dirty Dozen List annually. The group’s current list recommends that you buy organic versions of the following fruits and vegetables5:

    • Strawberries
    • Spinach
    • Nectarines
    • Apples
    • PeachesDirty Dozen | Probiotic America
    • Pears
    • Cherries
    • Grapes
    • Celery
    • Tomatoes
    • Sweet bell peppers
    • Potatoes

Why Do Some Products Absorb More Pesticides?

Some fruits and veggies have much thicker, impermeable skins – which gives them better protection against pesticides. These include pineapple, cantaloupe, or mangoes.

Berries, on the other hand, barely stand a chance. Add in the fact that some pesticides are absorbed into the fruit – to protect the juicy inside from pests – and you’ve got a potentially toxic food.6

Sounds bleak, right? Well, there is some good news. While the “Dirty Dozen” gets a lot of attention, the EWG also compiles an annual “Clean 15” list.

So …

What Is the “Clean 15”?

The EWG’s annual “Clean 15” list offers up fifteen types of produce that are the least likely to be contaminated by pesticides. The current “Clean 15 List” includes7:

    • Sweet Corn*
    • Avocados
    • Pineapples
    • Cabbage
    • Onions
    • Sweet peas frozen
    • Papayas*
    • AsparagusDirty Dozen | Probiotic America
    • Mangos
    • Eggplant
    • Honeydew Melon
    • Kiwi
    • Cantaloupe
    • Cauliflower
    • Grapefruit


    *Sweet corn and papaya are marked here because some sold in the U.S. are produced from genetically modified seeds. If that’s a concern to you, consider avoiding them, or buying them non-GMO/organic.

    Protecting Your Health Through Knowledge

    If you’ve got serious concerns about your health when it comes to eating foods that may be laden with pesticides and pesticide residue, then you must arm yourself with knowledge.

    The best thing you can do is to take control of your own body and health – keep abreast of all the latest developments in nutrition and know which foods are on the “Dirty Dozen” list (and which foods are of lesser concern).

    To read more about the EWG Dirty Dozen list, the Clean 15, and other tips, it really is worth checking out the EWG website at


    Learn More:
    Why You Need Zinc In Your Diet (And The Best Food Sources!)
    Eat Your Way to 100: 4 Longevity-Boosting Superfoods to Try Now
    Quick and Healthy On The Go Veggie Bowl Recipe


Clean Eating: How to Do a Processed Foods Detox

Most processed foods are, quite frankly, filled with junk. Sugar, and many other ingredients found in these kinds of products, can have damaging effects on the body. Some processed foods even contain toxins.1 If you’re hooked on processed foods, you need to start cutting them out.

Here’s some information on why processed foods are really that bad for you, and some of the steps you can take to avoid (or eliminate) them entirely from your diet.

Why Are Processed Foods So Bad for the Body?

There are a lot of reasons why you need to avoid processed foods whenever possible. One of the most important is that they are usually loaded with sugar. Consuming too much sugar can really do a number on your system. It can make it harder, for example, for your body to process insulin. If that happens, it could lead to serious health issues.3 It can also lead to an increase in not only “bad” cholesterol (LDL), but also the accumulation of fat in the liver.4

Many types of processed foods are specifically made to be rewarding – too rewarding, in fact. They basically act against our body’s natural inclination to eat only what we need. We eat these foods, and we immediately want more … and more … and more. This can make it extremely hard for us to keep our weight at a healthy level.5

Artificial Ingredients


Processed foods typically contain a lot of artificial ingredients. These are chemicals that are added to food for several different reasons. Preservatives, for instance, keep food from spoiling. Coloring is used to make a product more attractive. Flavors and textures are added as well. One of the more common processed food additives is monosodium glutamate, or MSG. This is actually a type of toxin that can damage cells in the body. Studies show that people can develop a sensitivity to MSG that can lead to headaches and muscle pain.6

Eating processed food can even introduce heavy metals, such as lead, mercury, and arsenic to the body. These toxins get into food for many reasons. Contamination can occur during the preparation and storage of the food, for instance. A heavy metal can also get into your body due to the equipment used to process products, as well as equipment used to package them.7

Breaking Free From Processed Foods

It can be challenging to try and cut processed foods out of a diet entirely. You’re so used to grabbing that sugar-filled snack that it becomes second nature. But there are ways to break free of processed foods and begin clean eating. Here are some tips that might help:

1. Buy local.

Your nearby farmer’s market offers a wide variety of fresh, wholesome foods that aren’t processed. Some grocery stores even feature sections of foods fresh from local farms. If you’re unsure of the source of your food, ask your grocer for help. You might also consider asking them to stock more fresh foods in the future (hey, it can and does work!).

2. Read the labels.

reading nutrition labels

The next time you’re in the supermarket, pay close attention to the artificial ingredients listed on the labels of the products you’re thinking of buying. A good rule of thumb is that if you can’t pronounce an ingredient, steer clear of that product.

3. Eat in.

It’s fun to go to a restaurant, but do you know all of the additives in the foods you’re being served? Either ask your server to give you a list of ingredients, or simply make your meals at home, using all-natural ingredients. That way, you’ll be in total control of what’s going into your body.

4. Sugar alert.

One of the best things you can do is to try and find products that are free of sugar. But corn syrup, one of the most common ingredients you’ll find in food, can be just as bad for your body.8 Again, this is where checking the label will be key.

5. Substitute good for bad.

So, you’ve got a potato chip addiction? It happens. But if you want to avoid processed foods, you’ll need to find an alternative. Non-fat popcorn might be a good choice. And if you’re a morning cereal eater, try switching to non-sweetened oatmeal for breakfast. You’ll eliminate loads of sugar that way.

6. Steer clear of fast food.

fast food options

Not all processed foods are found in a grocery store, of course. Most fast food dishes are loaded with processed ingredients. While fast food is convenient, it’s usually bad for your body. Bring some natural snacks with you on your next trip, and pack some homemade meals as well. And during the week, bring your lunch from home. Prepare some yummy salads or some grilled chicken to enjoy at the office. This way, you won’t be tempted to hit up a fast food joint on your break.

The Bottom Line

If you’re making healthy changes to your diet, start by nixing processed foods. It’s going to take a little time to adjust, but by finding good substitutions for your favorite “bad” foods, you will slowly adapt and begin to enjoy your good choices. By eating clean and eliminating the toxins from processed foods, you’ll know you’re doing the best thing you can to keep your body healthy!

Learn More:

What is the Healthiest Bread to Eat? (recipe inside)
7 Effective Strategies to Stop Food Cravings


7 Foods to BAN From Your Diet if You Have Thyroid Issues

There’s a fair chance that you have never thought about your thyroid. However, this small butterfly-shaped gland is a vital piece of your endocrine system, helping the body regulate hormones. If you are one of the millions of people living with health concerns, it could be your thyroid – a gland highly sensitive to your everyday diet. Because the entire endocrine system can be sensitive to diet, there are foods to avoid, and also foods that you can add to your health regimen in order to restore proper thyroid function.

What is the Thyroid Gland and How Does it Work?

Located on the front of the neck, this “master gland” is charged with many critical bodily operations. The thyroid gland’s function impacts nearly every cell in your body, and many processes, as it is responsible for the production of essential thyroid hormones T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine). To produce these hormones needed to regulate everything in your body from your appetite, to your good mood, and even your deep sleep, the thyroid must find iodine. If there is not enough of it in your bloodstream, the thyroid may not function properly, and you may notice these symptoms of common thyroid dysfunction:

  • The “jitters,” or a feeling of physical nervousness and anxiousness
  • Mental fog, and an inability to focus
  • Changes in your menstrual cycle
  • Gastrointestinal distress like gas and bloating
  • Racing heartbeat or palpitations
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Unwanted weight gain
  • Cholesterol imbalance
  • Enlargement in the front of the neck, at the location of your thyroid
  • Growing intolerance to heat, or hot flashes, or the opposite (cold flashes)

If you notice that you have three or more of these symptoms, avoiding these seven worst foods for thyroid health.

1. Gluten

Many things can cause the immune system to attack your thyroid gland. Gluten is a tiny protein present in grains, however, this substance is added into so many foods today that many people have reported negative symptoms associated with consuming it. Not only is it used in baked goods as a leavener, but it also works as a preservative. That’s why health professionals suggest that gluten is perhaps the biggest culprit of thyroid dysfunction today.1 Seen as an invader by the immune system, gluten leads the body to create large amounts of antibodies in the blood when it enters the intestinal tract.

2. Soy

This term encompasses many different items, all made from the soybean. These can include protein powders, milk, and many vegetarian items like cheeses and meats. However, when people consume so many soy products, they often do not realize it. This can be problematic for the proper function of the thyroid gland, as soy contains phyto estrogenic compounds called isoflavones, which have been scientifically shown to negatively affect thyroid functioning.2

Because soy contains what are known as phytoestrogens (isoflavones), they may cause your body confusion. These compounds mimic natural estrogen hormones produced in your body. For this reason, if you are worried about a healthy thyroid, you may choose to eliminate all soy-based foods including edamame, tofu, and soy sauce from your diet.
thyroid problems | Probiotic America

3. Caffeine

In our fast-paced lifestyles today, many people drink more than just one cup of coffee in the morning. In fact, most people can be found drinking about 3-5 cups of Joe every day. This constant consumption of caffeine boosts energy levels, but it can also have a disruptive effect on your metabolism. Your body’s metabolism is naturally regulated by the thyroid gland. However with so many “boosts,” from caffeine during the day, coffee can disrupt the adrenal glands, causing an overproduction of epinephrine and norepinephrine – hormones that harm your thyroid. This, in turn, produces adrenaline that you do not need in regular day-to-day applications.

Thus, consuming caffeine in large quantities every day could burn out the adrenal glands, and overstimulate the thyroid over time. Not only that, but caffeine also increases blood sugar and insulin levels, which can cause cravings for sugary foods and refined carbohydrates – also overtaxing the thyroid.

4. Alcohol

The thyroid gland plays a vital role in the health of the liver, and its ability to detoxify potentially dangerous hormones in your body. While drinking small amounts of some types of alcoholic beverages can promote good health, too much can harm your healthy thyroid. In clinical studies, alcohol consumption has been directly shown to have a toxic effect on healthy thyroid cells, and this direct toxicity may account for a reduction in thyroid volume.3

5. Sugar

Don’t be fooled by food labels: Sugar goes by over 50 different names, including corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, maltodextrin, maltose, and many more. Is it any wonder that people often don’t realize just how much sugar they are actually eating? When you consume large amounts of sugar, as most do, it can tamper with gut bacteria balance.

Studies have confirmed that eating excessive amounts of sugar allows non-beneficial bacteria in the stomach to proliferate, putting a damper on active thyroid hormone (T3 and T4) production. This shows that gut bacterial balance plays a major role in thyroid health, and that it may also influence the regulation of other hormones.4

thyroid problems | Probiotic America

6. Red Meat

Studies have shown that vegetarian diets are rarely associated with hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid).5 For this reason, eliminating meat, including ground beef, bacon, and certain cuts of steak, may help reduce your risk of potential thyroid complications.

7. Seafood

Since iodine and heavy metals have a very similar molecular structure, the thyroid often grabs for elements such as mercury, mistaking it for iodine. Seafood tends to be high in these metals, due to ocean contamination. Heavy metals like mercury often prohibit the body from absorbing essential minerals, including zinc, magnesium, and selenium. Mercury also disrupts thyroid hormone production, limiting the amount of necessary T3 and T4 hormones in your body. This makes seafood a hazardous dietary choice for those looking to maintain, or improve their thyroid health.6

Foods to Feed your Thyroid

Talk to your doctor if you feel like you may need a little extra help promoting your thyroid health. Until then, you may want to add these foods to your everyday menu to boost the proper functions of your oh-so-important thyroid gland.

Best foods for your thyroid: Coconut oil, seaweed, kefir, yogurt, kimchi, kombucha, sprouted seeds, filtered water, bone broth, and fiber-rich foods like apples, beans, seeds, and lentils.

The Takeaway

It is so important to take good care of your thyroid gland, because as a central part of your endocrine system, it takes great care of you. While most of the time, maintaining a healthy, balanced diet is all you need to keep your thyroid working properly, you may also want to adjust your diet to avoid these seven worst foods for your thyroid. Today, there are so many factors that can mess up the proper functioning of this essential gland, including the natural aging process, immunity problems, stress, and environmental pollutants. So, always try to keep your thyroid humming, by eliminating these foods.

Want more health tips? Keep reading here:

12 Probiotic Foods to Help You Feel Great

1. Chin Lye Ch’ng, MRCPI, M. Keston Jones, MD, FRCP. Celiac Disease and Autoimmune Thyroid Disease. Clin Med Res. 2007 Oct; 5(3): 184–192.
2. Messina M, Redmond G. Effects of soy protein and soybean isoflavones on thyroid function in healthy adults and hypothyroid patients: a review of the relevant literature Thyroid. 2006 Mar;16(3):249-58.
3. Yatan Pal Singh Balhara and Koushik Sinha Deb. Impact of alcohol use on thyroid function. Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2013 Jul-Aug; 17(4): 580–587.
4. Hays MT. Thyroid hormone and the gut. Endocr Res. 1988;14(2-3):203-24.
5. Serena Tonstad, Edward Nathan. Vegan Diets and Hypothyroidism. Nutrients. 2013 Nov; 5(11): 4642–4652.
6. Offie P. Soldin, Daniel M. O’Mara. Thyroid Hormones, Methylmercury Toxicity. Biol Trace Elem Res. Apr. 2008.

10 Canker Sore Remedies to Make Them Disappear…Fast!

If you’ve ever had a canker sore, you know how painful they can be. Canker sores are a type of mouth ulcer also called an aphthous ulcer. An estimated 25 percent of Americans have recurring canker sores. While canker sores can be annoying, they are not serious and usually go away on their own within two weeks. 1

What Causes Canker Sores?

The good news is that canker sores are not contagious. The not-so-great news is that researchers are unsure of the exact cause of canker sores. 2 Family history, as well as nutritional deficiencies, hormonal changes, food allergies and stress are often associated with mouth ulcers. Mouth injuries, usually due to dental work, may also cause canker sores.

What Do Canker Sores Look Like?

Canker sores are usually small and either oval or round. They often have a white or yellowish center. They occur inside the lips, cheeks, or other soft tissues of the mouth. Some people confuse canker sores with cold sores, but the two are different. Cold sores are blisters caused by the herpes simplex virus. Cold sores can appear outside of the mouth; canker sores cannot. Cold sores are usually smaller than canker sores, and they also tend to heal faster. 3

When you’ve got a canker sore, you want to feel better fast. Here are 10 canker sore remedies to ease your pain and help your mouth heal.

1. Swish with Baking Soda

Household baking soda and water can make an effective mouth rinse for dealing with canker sores. Mix one teaspoon of baking soda with ½ cup warm water. Swish this mixture around in your mouth for a few minutes, then spit it out. Some people also experience good results by dabbing baking soda directly onto canker sores several times per day.

2. Try Vitamin B12

Many people are deficient in vitamin B12. Since nutrition deficiencies are a possible cause of canker sores, it stands to reason that meeting these deficiencies can help cure them. A 2009 study published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine found that taking a vitamin B12 supplement effectively treated repeat canker sore outbreaks. Study participants who suffered from recurrent canker sores took 1000 mcg of vitamin B12 at bedtime for six months. Participants reported fewer canker sore outbreaks, outbreaks of shorter duration, and less pain. 5

3. Zinc Up!

Zinc is an essential mineral your body needs for good health. Research has shown that patients with recurrent canker sores may have low levels of zinc. For these patients, zinc supplements have been found to decrease canker sores in clinical trials.6 Women need 8 grams of zinc daily; men need 11 grams.7 Many people prefer to take zinc supplements in lozenge form.

canker sore | Probiotic America

4. Chill Out

Just like you’d ice up an injury to help alleviate pain and inflammation, ice can help your canker sore as well. Hold an ice cube on the canker sore until it becomes numb. Popsicles and cold drinks may also help to decrease the inflammation and pain of canker sores.8

5. Pump Iron

Iron is a mineral your body needs to make hemoglobin, a protein found in red blood cells. 9 Iron deficiency can cause anemia and other symptoms of poor health. A 2014 study published in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research showed that iron deficiency may cause oral ulcers. 10 How much iron is enough? Men ages 19 to 64 and women ages 50 to 64 need 8.7 mg of iron daily. Women ages 19 to 50 need 14.8 mg. 11 If you’re not getting enough iron in your diet, you may need to take an oral supplement.

6. Reduce Stress

Stress can cause canker sores to flare up, especially in people who are prone to them. A 2009 study showed that psychological stress may be a trigger for canker sores.12 Ways to reduce stress include exercise, meditation, deep breathing, and getting enough sleep.13 Do what you can to alleviate daily stress, and you may have fewer canker sore outbreaks.

7. Mix It Up

When it comes to quick relief, a combination of over-the-counter medications may help ease the pain of canker sores and help them heal more quickly. Some experts recommend a mixture of 50 percent hydrogen peroxide and 50 percent liquid Benadryl as a mouth rinse. Swish the mixture around in the mouth for approximately one minute before spitting out. Take care not to swallow the liquid. Additionally, you can apply a 50/50 solution of hydrogen peroxide directly on the canker sore with a cotton swab several times daily. Follow up by dabbing a small amount of Milk of Magnesia on the sore. Following this regimen should take away some of the pain, allowing the canker sore to heal faster. 14

8. Go SLS-Free

Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is a cleaning agent found in many toothpaste brands. There is some evidence that SLS can cause or exacerbate canker sores in people prone to them. 15 Try using a toothpaste free of SLS, such as a natural brand.

9. Patch It Up with Licorice Root

Licorice root, a common herbal remedy often used in traditional Chinese medicine, may help heal your canker sore, or at least lessen the discomfort. Scientists at the University of Washington found that an oral licorice root patch alleviated canker sore pain within three days. 16 The patch also caused canker sores to shrink within seven days. Chewable licorice root supplements may also help.

Canker Sores | Probiotic America

10. Snooze Away

There’s a lot of anecdotal evidence that getting plenty of quality sleep can help your canker sore disappear. Sure, it’s nice to slumber so you don’t feel the pain, but since stress may trigger these painful sores, and we know getting rest can help alleviate stress, it makes sense to get your ZZZs on. Many parents tell their children that canker sores are your body’s way of telling you to slow down and rest. Seems to make sense!

Having a canker sore can make it painful to eat, drink, and talk. It may help to remember that, even without treatment, your canker sore will likely go away in one to two weeks. In the meantime, try these remedies for less canker sore pain and a quicker recovery.

For more helpful health news, keep reading:

How to Achieve a Healthy Immune System (all-natural hacks!)

The Dangers of Hidden Sugar in Breakfast Foods (6 ‘healthy’ foods to avoid)



How to Achieve a Healthy Immune System (all-natural hacks!)

A healthy immune system is your body’s first line of defense against foreign invaders, including pathogenic bacteria, viruses, and fungi which can cause infections. The immune system works very hard to defend you against those infectious microorganisms. However, sometimes it fails, and those tiny little germs get in – and they make you sick. You suddenly find yourself out of the game for awhile, with nothing but a warm cup of tea and some sudoku to keep you company until you can kick your illness for good.

What if you could give your immune system a leg up? Boost your immune system with these five DIY tips:

healthy immune system | Probiotic America

1. Activated Charcoal Tonic

Incorporating a morning tonic using activated charcoal powder is a great way to remove harmful pathogens from your body. Activated charcoal is commonly used in hospitals as a remedy for food poisoning and other stomach problems because of its unique ability to attract and bind to harmful substances in the body, allowing for fast and easy elimination.

You can find activated charcoal at specialty stores, or online. To use activated charcoal as an immunity tonic, try this recipe:

Mix 16-ounces of fresh or filtered water with 1 tsp. of activated charcoal in a small glass jar. Seal the lid, and give it a good shake until the tonic is fully blended. Then, drink up! Ideally, you will want to take the immunity tonic on an empty stomach first thing in the morning.

For a more advanced protocol, add in 1 tsp. of fossil shell flour and the juice of one large certified organic lemon. Fossil shell flour, also known as diatomaceous earth, is a microscopic material that cleans the walls of your colon, removing any unnecessary mucus or harmful types of bacteria. This anti-parasitic mineral also aids in nutrient absorption while boosting your immune system’s potency.

NOTE: Activated charcoal may interfere with absorption of medications. So check with your doctor before adding activated charcoal to your health regimen.

healthy immune system | Probiotic America

2. Complete Oral Hygiene

Your oral health has a major impact on your immune system. Inflammation in the mouth is a huge burden on the immune system as it works overtime to get rid of it. The mucous membranes of the mouth can usher an infection directly into the blood, allowing it to quickly spread throughout the body.

You already know that daily brushing and flossing are imperative to maintain oral health, but there are other good ways to keep your mouth healthy as well, including:

  • Tongue Scraping. This practice is essential for the removal of bacteria, and various toxins from the tongue’s surface. The tongue absorbs around half of the bacteria in your mouth, and scraping – not brushing – is the only way to remove it.
  • Oil Pulling. This technique is an effective way to remove the bacteria from the rest of the mouth that the tongue scraper does not address. The ancient practice of oil pulling can be used to effectively clean those tiny cracks and crevices of your mouth, unlike any other oral hygiene technique. Coconut oil is particularly effective to use, due to its high content of lauric acid.1 To use oil pulling for oral care, take just one tablespoon of coconut oil, and place it in your mouth. Solid at room temperature, the natural heat of your body will turn the oil to liquid in seconds, so that you can “pull” or swish it through your teeth and gums. Continue the oil pulling for up to 10 minutes, and then spit. Do not swallow the oil, even if it is food grade, as it may contain many bacteria.
  • Baking Soda Mouthwash. Also known as sodium bicarbonate, regular baking soda is clinically shown to be one of the most effective ways to get rid of dental plaque.2 Add it to your oral care regimen as a mouthwash. To make the mixture, just add 1 tsp. of baking soda to ¼ cup of filtered water. For extra freshness and antibacterial activity, you may choose to use 2-3 drops of peppermint essential oil as well. Gargle and swish the mouthwash in your mouth for about 1-2 minutes. The baking soda will remove plaque from along the gumline, while also helping to neutralize the pH balance of your mouth. The peppermint oil will make your breath refreshingly minty, too!

healthy immune system | Probiotic America

3. Sauna Detox with Niacin

Perhaps the most effective way to rid the body of accumulated toxins that can cause infections is by using your body’s largest detoxification organ: the skin. Through sweating, your skin works to remove all of those lingering toxins, and there is no better place to have a sweat session than a sauna. But you can also utilize niacin (vitamin B3) as you sauna, to help encourage toxic release from your fat cells. A well-known metabolic booster, niacin works to release toxins trapped deep within adipose tissue, or fat cells.

So, the goal of coupling the sauna with a boost of niacin is to transfer the toxic components from the fat into the bloodstream, and ultimately remove them via the skin.

Ask your doctor about the right dose of niacin for you. Sauna time can go up to 45 minutes, depending on the temperature and your overall level of health.

healthy immune system | Probiotic America

4. Intermittent Fasting

Eliminating the flow of solids into the body for an extended period of time is an excellent way to give your hard-working digestive system a rest. It may also help boost your immune system. As stagnant metabolic waste in the GI tract is moved through the digestive system with the help of juice from fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, and other nutrients, the intestinal tract begins to free up slow-moving debris. By eliminating waste matter from the body, your intestines begin to improve nutrient delivery to the blood, thus improving immunity.4

healthy immune system | Probiotic America

5. Probiotics

The immune system is one of the most complex of any in the body. And while you probably don’t realize it, an estimated 80 percent of your immune system lies in your gut. In fact, recent studies have revealed that an estimated 100 trillion living microbacteria call your GI tract home. And they too work very hard to kill off any pathogenic species of bacteria, like infectious E. coli, so that you don’t get sick.5,6

For this reason, consuming these probiotic-rich foods may help stave off common illnesses: miso soup, tempeh, kimchi, fermented cabbage (sauerkraut), dark chocolate, kombucha, yogurt, and kefir.

The Takeaway

In order to keep your healthy immune system going strong, you must keep choosing a healthy lifestyle. This includes:

  • Eating a balanced diet with plenty of raw, whole foods
  • Exercising regularly
  • Maintaining balanced cholesterol and blood pressure
  • Getting adequate, restful sleep every night
  • Washing your hands frequently, and maintaining a clean kitchen
  • Drinking alcohol only in moderation
  • Quitting smoking

And of course, don’t forget to add these five DIY immune boosters to your daily health regimen. It could help you stave off all types of common infections that can hold you back from doing the things you love.

Check With Your Doctor

As with any new health regimen, always check with your doctor, and tell them about plans you have for adding these immune boosters to your lifestyle. They will be able to point out if you have interactions with other supplements, or medications you are taking, and recommend an ideal dosage, or duration for these changes in your health regimen.

Want more health tips? Keep reading here:

12 Probiotic Foods to Help You Feel Great


1. Faizal C. Peedikayil, Prathima Sreenivasan. Effect of coconut oil in plaque related gingivitis — A preliminary report. Niger Med J. 2015 Mar-Apr; 56(2): 143–147.

2. Putt MS, Milleman KR. Enhancement of plaque removal efficacy by tooth brushing with baking soda dentifrices: results of five clinical studies. J Clin Dent. 2008;19(4):111-9.

3. Jason Allen, ND, MPH, Melissa Montalto, MS. Detoxification in Naturopathic Medicine: A Survey. J Altern Complement Med. 2011 Dec; 17(12): 1175–1180.

4. Valter D. Longo, Mark P. Mattson. Fasting: Molecular Mechanisms and Clinical Applications. Cell Metab. 2014 Feb 4; 19(2): 181–192.

5. Michael H. Hsieh, M.D., Ph.D, James Versalovic, M.D., Ph.D.2. THE HUMAN MICROBIOME AND PROBIOTICS: IMPLICATIONS FOR PEDIATRICS. Curr Probl Pediatr Adolesc Health Care. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2010 Jun 28.

6. Hsin-Jung Wu, Eric Wu. The role of gut microbiota in immune homeostasis and autoimmunity. Gut Microbes. 2012 Jan 1; 3(1): 4–14.

NEWS: Probiotics May Provide Help with Allergies

By now, everyone knows that probiotics, whether you get them from food or a supplement, drastically help to improve the gut health and overall digestive systems in our bodies. But did you know that they could also help allergy sufferers? It’s true. A study says that a certain combination of probiotics could help ease the symptoms of hay fever if it’s taken during allergy season.

The probiotic combination providing this relief includes lactobacilli and bifidobacteria. Researchers believe the reason this specific combo might work so well for allergy sufferers is because it increases the body’s percentage of regulatory T-cells. T-cells are a specific types of white blood cells, or lymphocytes, that work in the body to recognize invaders like bacteria, viruses or parasites and then produce effective weapons against them. Some T-cells kill virus cells directly. These white blood cells work 24-hours a day to keep us healthy.

“Not all probiotics work for allergies. This one did,” said Jennifer Dennis, the study’s first author and a doctoral student in the UF Food Science and Human Nutrition department in UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Researchers at the University of Florida put this theory to the test when, at the peak of allergy season, they gathered 173 allergy sufferers. They split them into two groups, giving one group the probiotic combination and a placebo to the second. The experiment went for eight weeks, and each week, as a check-in process, the study participants completed an online survey to describe the level of discomfort they were feeling. DNA from the participants’ stool samples were also analyzed to chart how their bacteria changed. Because probiotics send good bacteria to the body’s intestines, the DNA samples also served as confirmation that the participants were actually taking the probiotic.

Those who received the probiotic combo said they felt better overall. They also had less allergy-related nose discomfort and felt better while doing day-to-day activities, compared to those who were just given the placebo, according to the study.

While this is a big find for probiotic fans and people plagued with allergies, it’s important to note that no one in the study was considered an extreme or severe allergy sufferer. So don’t toss your favorite hay fever symptom remedy in the trash just yet. Using probiotics to treat hay fever symptoms probably would work best for those who suffer from mild allergies.

Want more useful health tips? Keep reading:

5 Simple Ways to Restore Gut Health After Antibiotics
Got Stomach Pain? Maybe Your Diet is to Blame