Search Term: " Outdoor "
Cut your risk for liver cancer by HALF by just increasing your vitamin D levels
June 20, 2018 04:44 PM
Study suggests that close to 40% of individuals will experience cancer, personally in their lifetime, whether it happens as a small brush with an easily removed melanoma, or whether it manifests as something far more lethal. Much of how the 'cancer' card plays out for any one of us, however, is beyond our scope t do much about. But, we can control what we consume, which can in turn affect our chances.
For example, study also suggests that use of vitamin D can significantly slice one's cancer risk. However, while the general slice afforded those that make use of vitamin D is estimated at a generous 20%, the vitamin offers an even deeper cut when it comes to one of the most deadly cancers, liver cancer. The data, based on thousands of Japanese study subjects, followed for more than a decade, suggests that the risk, specific to liver cancer, could be as high as 50%.
"We don’t get to choose whether or not we’ll get cancer or which type we might develop, so this may feel like a losing battle, but the truth is that you have more power over cancer than you think."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-06-15-cut-your-risk-for-liver-cancer-by-half-by-just-increasing-your-vitamin-d-levels.html
how to treat snake bites naturally with herbs?
March 17, 2017 04:44 AM
Whether you spend a lot of time in the woods, hiking, and enjoying nature, or go outside only when the grass is well-kempt, the danger of a snake bite is still a concern that you should take seriously. Many snakes are out in nature, ready to strike any time they feel threatened. While you shouldn't fear the Outdoors, you should be prepared, especially now that you can find an array of natural herbs that will treat snake bites quickly and easily.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IYWiynZDEDk&rel=0
"Snake bites are a global public health problem, with highest incidence in Southeast Asia."
These Are the 7 most Common Vitamin Deficiencies
December 07, 2016 12:59 PM
Most people haven’t even heard of vitamin K2. Is it any surprise that they might be a bit deficient, too? Vitamin B12 deficiency is quite common, even among those who eat plenty of the richest source of B12: animals. Vitamin D deficiency is prevalent in people of all ages, especially in those who choose to use topical sun screens (which blocks vitamin D production) or limit their Outdoor activities.
"Even if you eat a healthy and balanced diet, the way your food is stored, a lack of freshness, and processing can greatly affect the vitamins your body is able to absorb."
One in seven children suffer high air pollution: UNICEF
November 04, 2016 07:49 AM
A recent announcement from the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has highlighted the risk that air pollution poses to the world's children. The agency reported that 1 in 7 children around the world are commonly exposed to high levels of air pollution. This environmental and health crisis is most common in South Asia.
"Almost one in seven children worldwide live in areas with high levels of Outdoor air pollution, mostly in South Asia, and their growing bodies are most vulnerable to damage, the U.N. children's agency UNICEF said on Monday."
Does Quercetin Help Fight Allergies?
Every year, thousands of individuals suffer from seasonal allergies. Although many people will head to the pharmacy to fill prescriptions to cover the symptoms of this condition, there are those who seek a more natural approach. Natural treatments are available that have been clinically proven to alleviate itchy eyes, runny nose and sneezing associated with allergies. One such natural treatment comes in the form of a supplement called quercetin.
Quercetin is a flavonoid with antioxidant properties, and is naturally found in green tea, onions and apples. Aside from being high in antioxidants, quercetin has also been found to have the same effect as over-the counter antihistamines. By controlling the release of histamines, quercetin can alleviate many, if not all, of the symptoms of seasonal allergies.
When an individual encounters an allergen, such as pollen, the body releases histamines in response. These histamines trigger an inflammatory response within the body, causing congested nasal passages, swollen eyelids, etc. An antihistamine keeps these compounds under control, therefore eliminating any uncomfortable symptoms.
Quercetin has been proven to reduce the symptoms and duration of viral illnesses, and to also prevent the release of histamines. Because it can be difficult for the body to assimilate, researchers have advised that allergy sufferers take a vitamin C supplement along with quercetin to ensure the maximum benefits are being received. Vitamin C also contains antihistamine qualities, and is most potent when taken alongside quercetin. The recommended dosage of vitamin C for allergy sufferers is 500 to 1000 milligrams, three times per day. The recommended dosage of quercetin is 500 milligrams per day, for a period of six to eight weeks. It would be most beneficial to begin taking this supplement one to two weeks before allergy season begins, and for six to seven weeks throughout allergy season.
Allergy season doesn't have to mean weeks of watering eyes and stuffy noses. By supplementing with quercetin and vitamin C, you can alleviate your symptoms naturally and enjoy the Outdoors without worry.
Can Vitamin D-3 Do More For Bone Health Than Calcium?
January 10, 2013 01:02 PM
Loss of density and mass in bones has become very common these days because of the increase in the number of people suffering from osteoporosis. It is shocking to note that the number of osteoporosis related fractures in US is more than 1.3 million. Bone health can be improved by taking the right nutrients and minerals. It is generally assumed that calcium is the only mineral needed to prevent and treat osteoporosis. Calcium supplement have been used by many people to improve their bone strength. is it correct?
Do calcium supplements treat osteoporosis completely? The answer is NO.
A recent study conducted in Iceland concludes that maintaining right levels of vitamin D-3 provides greater protection to bones than taking calcium supplements every day.
What are the results of this study?
Maintaining ideal levels of PTH or parathyroid hormone is essential for bone health. It has been proved by researchers that sufficient vitamin D-3 levels ensure the ideal level of PTH and not calcium. PTH is not in the ideal level in an individual who takes more than 1200 mg calcium a day if he has vitamin D deficiency. On the other hand PTH level is ideal in a person who has sufficient vitamin D even if he takes less than 800 mg of calcium a day.
Vitamin D-3 has calcium sparing effect and if the status of vitamin D in the body is assured, there is no need to take calcium of more than 800 mg a day. The results of this study clearly indicate the importance of vitamin D-3 for bone health. It is clear that sufficient levels of vitamin D-3 are more important than sufficient levels of calcium to prevent osteoporosis. In another study, women who were hospitalized for osteoporosis related fractures were studied. It was found that more than 50% of them had vitamin D-3 deficiency.
The duration of the study was two years and it proved that vitamin D-3 supplementation improved the bone strength and reduced the risk of fractures in these women. It is an unarguable fact that calcium is an important mineral to build bones and to keep bones healthy and strong, but how does the human body absorb calcium? It is the presence of vitamin D-3 that helps in absorption of calcium. Without adequate vitamin D-3, intake of calcium supplements is meaningless.
To absorb calcium sufficient amount of vitamin D-3 must be present in the body. Vitamin D-3 is also needed for the efficient utilization of calcium by the body. The mass and density of the bones are increased only when calcium is absorbed by the body. Absorption of calcium is not possible without vitamin D. Vitamin D-3 plays an important role to build bones in children and to keep bones strong and healthy in adults. It also improves immunity, prevents muscle weakness, regularizes the functioning of thyroid glands and helps in blood clotting.
Deficiency in vitamin D-3 may increase the risks of Alzheimer's disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Vitamin D-3 is the natural form of vitamin D. It is produced when skin is exposed to the ultraviolet rays in the sun. Those who live in latitudes, who have dark skin, who spend most of the day indoors and who wear sunscreen lotion whenever they step Outdoors lack sufficient levels of vitamin D-3. They should take vitamin-D supplements to avoid a lot of health risks and to improve their bone health.
How Does Omega-3/6/9 Help My Cat And Dogs Hair Health?
September 23, 2011 12:50 PM
A man's best friend as we all know them, and yes, I do mean both dogs and cats, I know we would commonly refer to dogs when it comes to that saying but I can make an argument about cats being a man's best friend too. Although I won't get into details about that in this article, no room for that argument for the moment. Rather we are going to talk more about their health or Hair Health to be exact. We've all had that experience right? An owner of any of the two pets, may it be a new sofa, a new car or maybe a new bed, will experience hairs everywhere. Well one way to improve that situation and I'm not saying that it will cure it completely is to focus more on how to help enhance your pet's hair health.
How many times have you heard someone referring to a dog as a sick one due to poor fur conditions? A lot probably, because it is true, the fur is most definitely one of the ways to tell whether a pooch is healthy. I understand, you might be saying that hair loss among dogs is usual and in fact, they do have seasonal shedding. And I am not disputing that fact, like I said earlier we will not be able to stop shedding entirely because of that very reason, it is part of a dog's biological process. However, it does not mean we could not lessen it especially when it is not part of their seasonal shedding. But before we get there let's talk about the other half of this match made in heaven.
A little fur ball here and there, who hasn't seen that? Cats do shed hair and they do it all throughout the year. The amount of shedding is determined by a couple of things, its health, its nutrition and in some cases where it lives. Its environment does play a factor, like the weather or whether it is an Outdoor cat or an indoor cat. But we can influence a couple of those possible reasons for shedding.
Omega 3/6/9 and Hair Health
These omega fatty acids are one things that could help us with the hair shedding challenges that our adorable pets give us. Aside from usual regimens of brushing and other tips to improve hair health, supplementation of these omega fatty acids could be of great help to you. Here are some of the reasons why.
Omega 3 has Alpha Linolenic Acid, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These substances are essential in the optimum functioning of our pet's central nervous system and aids in the protection of skin from diseases.
Omega 6 also contains linolenic acid and arachidonic acid, and has anti - inflammatory properties and helps promote healthier skin, hair and nails.
Omega 9, also known as oleic acid is a precursor of the other essential fatty acids which is the primary reason for its importance.
May 15, 2009 01:08 PM
Basil is a common seasoning that can be found in many kitchens all over the world. This herb is often used to make pesto and to flavor soups, stews, and other foods. Additionally, basil has been used for a long amount of time throughout the world for medicinal purposes. This herb is especially used in Asia and Africa, along with India, where it is thought to be a sacred herb. Basil has been used to treat exhaustion, as it works as a stimulant to promote energy. This herb has antibacterial properties and may help to draw out poisons from stings and bites.
Basil is a low-growing herb that is prominently featured in Italian cuisine. This herb is also a huge part of Southeast Asian cuisines like those of Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos. The plant has a similar taste to that of anise, but has a pungent and sweet smell. There are multiple varieties of basil, with the one most typically used in Italian food being sweet basil. Asia, on the other hand, uses Thai basil, lemon basil, and holy basil. Although most types of basil are considered to be annuals, some are perennial and grow in warm, tropical climates. These include the African Blue and Holy Thai basil. Originally native to Iran, India, and other tropical regions of Asia, basil has been cultivated for more than 5,000 years.
The basil plant grows between 30-130 cm tall and has light green, silky leaves that are approximately 3-11 cm long and 1-6 cm broad. The flowers are very big and white in color. They arrange themselves along the plant in a spike shape. The basil plant is extremely sensitive to cold, as it grows best in hot, dry conditions. If there is any chance of frost, the plant will behave as an annual. This plant only grows well in Northern Europe, Canada, the northern states of the U.S., and the South Island of New Zealand if it is grown under glass in a pot, and planted Outdoors in late spring or early summer, when there is little chance of a frost. The plant does its best in well-drained sunny places.
Basil is not only a flavoring, but a definite source of health benefits. One study done by the University of Baroda in India found basil to help to lower fasting blood glucose, cholesterol, and triglyercide levels significantly. Basil may also help non-insulin-dependent diabetics to control their diabetes. Additional research has found that basil can also be useful for killing intestinal parasites, treating acne, and stimulating the immune system.
The leaves of basil are used to provide anthelmintic, antibacterial, antispasmodic, demulcent, diaphoretic, diuretic, febrifuge, galactagogue, stimulant, and stomachic properties. The primary nutrients found in basil are calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamins A, D, and B2. Primarily, basil is very beneficial in treating insect and snake bites, colds, headaches, indigestion, absence of lactation, and whooping cough. Additionally, basil can be extremely helpful in dealing with intestinal catarrh, constipation, stomach cramps, fevers, flu, kidney problems, nervous disorders, respiratory infections, rheumatism, urinary problems, vomiting, and worms. For more information on the many health benefits of basil, feel free to contact a representative from your local health food store.
Natural Remedies For Bumps, Bruises, Scrapes, and Insect Bites
November 10, 2007 09:52 AM
Whether you are a child or an adult you are as susceptible to the damage done to skin and soft tissue by hard activities as anybody else. So what can you look for if you decide have a day Outdoors and face the dangers that you will come across that want to leave you bruised ,scratched, scraped, cut and itching from all the falls, knocks, stings and bites that most people experience when they are more used to spending their time indoors?
Bruises are caused by a knock, and can happen without you even being aware of it. The blood vessels get damaged and leak. If you notice it right away, you can lessen the degree of bruising by applying ice or cold water to constrict the capillaries and cut down the flow of blood leaking from them. Some people bruise easier than others, and excessive bruising for no apparent reason could be a symptom of a more serious underlying condition and you should see your doctor.
A bump, or lump, can appear for many reasons, but generally settles down after a while. It can simply be the body's reaction to a hard knock that did not damage the blood vessels, but prompted a natural swelling to protect the area. They can also be caused by insect bites. You don’t always see these little pests – they have lunch then zip off without you even being aware of it until the area begins to itch and swell. However, if you have a lump under the armpit, in your neck or behind your ears it could be a swollen gland and you should contact your physician.
Everybody gets minor scrapes now and again, and when you spend any time outside you can get bitten by insects such as mosquitoes, midges, blackflies, horse flies – you name it, they will lunch on you as on any other animals. You can also get stung by vegetable nasties, though if you do then look around for a remedy. Strangely, many stinging plants have another plant close by that can be used as a remedy. This is likely because, after being stung, people just rubbed whatever was handy on the area and eventually these remedies were discovered.
Thus, dock leaves are often found beside nettles, and touch-me-not beside poison ivy. These are good natural remedies for stings caused through contact with these particular plants, and there are many other natural remedies that can be used for the other everyday hurts that people receive just for carrying out normal activities outside in a natural environment. Let’s have a look at some of the natural remedies that people have used through the ages, and that are still used to this day, even in proprietary creams and salves.
Calendula, or marigold, is very effective in relieving skin irritations and inflammation. It can be applied topically to relieve the symptoms of bruises, cuts and scrapes, and also for the initial treatment of burns and scalds. It has anti-inflammatory properties and can be used on inflamed or infected cuts and skin lesions. These properties are believed to be due to the high level of flavonoids found in calendula that have anti-oxidant properties and help the immune function to do its work. Among these is the powerful Quercetin with its strong anti-histamine properties.
It also appears to possess anti-viral properties, though the reason for this is not clear and is still under investigation. Marigold also contains carotenoids and triterpene saponins, both of which will contribute to the medicinal effects. The dried flowers or leaves, or the fresh flowers, can be used and it is an old adage that pus will not form where marigold is used. It is also good for the treatment of insect bites and boils, where it appears to either prevent infection or clear up any that are there. It has also been proven to prevent the seeping of blood from the capillaries in scrapes, and to promote blood clotting.
Calendula was used during the First World War by British doctors to dress wounds and prevent infection. A dressing steeped in a mild solution of calendula extract was enough, and it likely saved many lives.
Another plant with similar properties is the alpine Arnica, which is useful to reduce the swelling and pain of bruises. It works simply by rubbing the leaves on the area when you have a fall or a hard knock. The active ingredients here are again flavonoids, and sesquiterpene lactones along with tannins, carotenoids and thymol. These, along with the flavonoids, stimulate the circulation and carry away any fluids trapped in bruises and swellings.
The sesquiterpene lactones act as anti-inflammatories and boost the immune system, helping to reduce swelling and pain. In fact terpenoid chemicals are common to many of the herbs and flowers that have found a use in the relief of pain in swelling and bruises. The same is true of Ledum, better known as Rosemary, traditionally used for the treatment of burns, ulcers dandruff, and dry skin and to get rid of lice among many other internal and topical applications.
The active ingredients of rosemary (ledum) include mono-, di- and triterpenes and also the ubiquitous flavonoids and camphor and linalool. If you wash down burns, grazes and cuts with a wash of ledum extract, then you will protect the patient from infection at the time when they are most vulnerable to infectious agents.
Hypericum has uses as an anti-inflammatory and antiseptic, and is therefore useful for exactly the same conditions as all of the above. It also has astringent properties, so that like Calendula, Hypericum can be used to prevent the capillary seepage that frequently leads to infections. The active ingredients here are apparently flavonoids again, with their antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Considering that they are among the most common antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents in the plant world; it is no coincidence that flavonoids just happen to be contained in the vast majority of natural treatments for scratches, grazes and bruises. They reduce swelling, pain and inflammation, and also act as antiseptics by disrupting the cell walls of bacteria.
Hypericum is well known by its alternative name St. John’s Wort, where it is used in the treatment of depression. However, the active ingredients here are mainly hyperforin and hypericin, which have little to do with the topical benefits of the plant.
If you have suffered from insect bites and stings, then you would have been thankful had you brought some Apis Mellifica with you. Obtained from bees, this again contains terpenes among many other chemicals, and is used paradoxically in the treatment of bee stings and other insect stings and bites. It’s amazing how many of these old remedies contain terpenes of various types and also flavonoid chemicals. It is useful for most rashes that have raised puffy lumps, such as hives.
Finally, if you manage to stay out without getting any bruises, abrasions, scratches or bites, you will be very lucky. However, if you get sunburn through being out in the sun too long, just look around for some stinging nettle, or Urtica. The leaf contains polysaccharides and lectins that stop the production of prostaglandins in the body that cause inflammation. Your sunburn will ease and you be able to return home relatively symptom free from your day Outdoors.
These natural remedies can be hard to find growing naturally due to many factors such as the time of year or your geographical location these herbs may grow in. Alternative sources are available at your local health food store where you can find all the above mentioned herbs in ointments and creams specifically formulated for your needs.
Regulating Blood Pressure Naturally
March 28, 2007 10:29 AM
Regulating Blood Pressure Naturally
High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) affects about 65 million Americans, or about 1 in 3 adults. There are many potential causes of hypertension, but not necessarily any symptoms. In fact, 30% of the people who have high blood pressure don’t even realize it.
In other words, just because you don’t have symptoms doesn’t mean you don’t have high blood pressure. That’s why it’s called “The Silent Killer.” And, make no mistake about it: high blood pressure is dangerous. It is the number one modifiable cause of stroke. Just lowering blood pressure reduces the chance of stroke by 35 to 40 percent. Other conditions, including heart attack and heart failure can be reduced from 25 to 50 percent, respectively.
In this issue of Ask the Doctor, we’re going to talk about high blood pressure and an exciting natural treatment for lowering blood pressure safely and effectively.
Of course, changing blood pressure numbers depends, in a large part, on the choices we make every day – how much we exercise, the foods we eat, and our lifestyle overall. But, for those times we need extra help, there is a new, scientifically-studied supplement to help us along our path to better health and lower blood pressure.
Blood pressure guidelines from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
Q. What exactly is blood pressure?
A. Blood pressure is divided into two parts, systolic and diastolic. Systolic is the pressure of the heart beating. Diastolic is the pressure of the heart and vessels filling. When blood pressure numbers are written out, like “120/80,” 120 is the systolic pressure and 80 is the diastolic pressure. The unit of measurement for blood pressure is millimeters of mercury, written as “mm/Hg.”
Q. What is considered high blood pressure?
A. A person’s blood pressure can naturally vary throughout the day – even between heartbeats.
However, if the numbers are consistently high (over 120 systolic and 80 diastolic), after multiple visits to your healthcare practitioner, you may have either pre-hypertension or high blood pressure.
Young arteries and arteries that are kept young through healthy diet and exercise are typically more elastic and unclogged. Blood flows through them easily and without much effort. However, as we age, our arteries become more prone to plaque buildup (due to diets high in saturated fat and sedentary lifestyles) and don’t “flex” as well under pressure. The result is faster blood flow, all the time. Over the long term, it damages heart tissue, arteries, kidney and other major organs.
To get a better idea of high blood pressure, compare your arteries to a garden hose. When unblocked, a garden hose allows water to flow through it quickly and easily – without any real rush or stress. However, if you block the end of the hose with your thumb, closing it off even a little, water rushes out much more quickly.
For many years, high diastolic pressure was considered even more of a threat than high systolic pressure. That thinking has changed somewhat but high diastolic numbers could still mean organ damage in your body – especially for individuals under 50.
Q. What courses high blood pressure?
A. The reasons for hypertension aren’t always clear. However, there are lifestyle factors that contribute to high blood pressure that you can change:
Body type: Weight isn’t always a reliable indicator of whether or not you’ll have high blood pressure – but the type of weight is. Lean body mass – muscle – doesn’t increase blood pressure levels the way that fat can. However, fat body mass, especially fat around your middle, can contribute to high blood pressure.
Sedentary lifestyle: Too often, many of us sit down all day at work, and then sit down all night at home. Over time, this inactivity usually leads to weight gain, making the heart work harder to pump blood through the body. In a way, it almost seems contradictory, but inactivity usually leads to higher heart rates.
Sodium intake: Sometimes it’s hard to believe how much salt there is in processed foods. However, salt intake in itself is not necessarily bad. For people with a history of congestive heart failure, ischemia, and high blood pressure, sodium is definitely out. For those individuals, it leads to more water retention, which increases blood pressure. (Salt’s effect on water retention is one reason that so many sports drinks have fairly high sodium content – the sodium in the drink prevents your body from sweating out too much water.) But, for healthy individuals, moderate salt intake, especially a mixed mineral salt like sea salt or Celtic salt (good salt should never be white) is fine.
Low potassium intake: Unlike sodium, potassium is a mineral which most Americans get too little of. Potassium helps regulate the amount of sodium in our cells, expelling excess amounts through the kidneys. Low levels of this mineral can allow too much sodium to build up in the body.
Heavy alcohol intake: Having three or more alcoholic drinks a day (two or more for women) nearly doubles an individual’s chance of developing high blood pressure. Over time, heavy drinking puts a lot of stress on the organs, including the heart, liver, pancreas and brain.
Unhealthy eating: Eating a lot of processed or fatty foods contributes to high blood pressure. Adapting a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grain products, fish, nuts and magnesium and potassium (like the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, known as the “DASH” diet) can bring it back down.
Smoking: If you smoke, stop. Smoking damages the heart and arteries – period. Nicotine constricts blood vessels, increases heart rate, and raises blood pressure. This in turn, increases hormone production and adrenaline levels, further stressing the body.
As if that weren’t bad enough, the carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke replaces the oxygen in the blood, making the heart work even harder to make up the difference. Since the effect of a single cigarette can last for an hour, smoking throughout the day leads to continuously revved-up blood pressure.
Some of these factors might sound like a lot to overcome. The important thing to remember is that all of these behaviors are changeable. If you have high blood pressure, modifying any of these can significantly lower blood pressure as part of an overall plan.
Q. What are the blood pressure numbers I should see?
A. Experts consider healthy blood pressure numbers to be 115/75 mm/Hg. The reason? They found that the risk of cardiovascular disease doubles at each increment of 20/10 mmHg over 115/75 mm/Hg. Even small jumps in blood pressure numbers increase the risk of stroke and heart attack.
Q. Okay, so other than diet, exercise and lifestyle changes are there other natural ways or supplements I can use to lower my blood pressure?
A. Yes, in fact, you hear about some of them in the news all the time – fish oil, CoQ10, and garlic. As effective as these symptoms are, they typically lower systolic pressure much more than diastolic pressure.
However, there is a blend of scientifically and clinically studied natural ingredients that lower high blood pressure separately, and work even better when they’re combined. This combination blend contains: dandelion leaf extract, lycopene, stevia extract, olive leaf extract and hawthorn extract.
Every one of these ingredients has been studied and recommended for years. But now, a scientific study on a supplement that combines them in one synergistic formula shows encouraging results for lowering systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Let’s take a look at each:
Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) originated in
The leaf of stevia is considered the medicinal part of the plant. Research shows that extracts of the leaf relax arteries and help prevent the buildup of calcium on artery walls – keeping them healthy and reducing blood pressure.
In a long-term, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical study, stevia reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure. On average, participants’ blood pressure reduced from baseline 150 mm/Hg to 140 mm/Hg systolic and 95 mm/Hg to 89 mm/Hg diastolic.
And, in another double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study, stevia lowered blood pressure quite significantly – by an average of 14 millimeters of mercury in both systolic and diastolic readings. Those are impressive numbers!
Despite its role as a sweetener, stevia may have a side benefit to for those with hypertension – blood sugar regulation. Scientific studies show that extracts of stevia regulated blood sugar and reduced blood pressure.
A clinical study showed that stevia extract actually improved glucose tolerance by decreasing plasma glucose levels during the test and after overnight fasting in all participants. Regulating blood sugar is very important for those with high blood pressure. When blood sugar levels are high, blood vessels are inflamed. Many people with diabetes have high blood pressure as well. In a paired, cross-over clinical study, stevioside (one of the compounds in stevia) reduced glucose levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Further scientific studies show that stevia works to control blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin secretion by the pancreatic beta cells. It shows great potential in treating type 2 diabetes. Further scientific studies show that stevia works to control blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin secretion by the pancreatic beta cells. Its shows great potential in treating type 2 diabetes as well as hypertension.
Hawthorn (Crataegus spp. Oxycantha) has been used since ancient ties as a medicinal herb – even being mentioned by the Greek herbalist Dioscorides, in the first century AD. Traditionally, it has generally been used for support of the heart. Modern research points to bioflavonoid-like complexes in hawthorn leaf and flower that seem to be most responsible for its benefits on cardiac health, like blood vessel elasticity.
The bioflavonoids found in hawthorn include oligomeric procyanidins, vitexin, quercetin, and hyperoside. They have numerous benefits on the cardiovascular system. Hawthorn can improve coronary artery blood flow and the contractions of the heart muscle. Scientific studies show that the procyanidins in hawthorn are responsible for its ability to make the aorta and other blood vessels more flexible and relaxed, so that blood pumps more slowly and with less effort – sparing the cardiovascular system such a hard workout.
The procyanidins in hawthorn also have antioxidant properties – protecting against free radical cellular damage.
And, hawthorn may also inhibit angiotensin-converting enzyme. Angiotensin-converting enzyme is responsible for retaining sodium and water, and may have roots in our evolutionary development. It influences blood vessel contraction and dilation, sodium and water balance and heart cell development – just about everything that has to do with blood pressure. This may have developed as a way of dealing with periods of drought and stress. By narrowing the blood vessels, the body could guarantee an adequate supply of blood and focus on repairing tissue.
Unfortunately, that can lead to real problems these days. Since many of us live in an industrialized society, and frequently have pretty sedentary lifestyles, conserving sodium just makes the conditions for high blood pressure that much worse.
Like the other ingredients in this combination, hawthorn showed benefits on other body systems, too. In clinical and scientific studies, it not only lowered blood pressure, but also showed anti-anxiety properties and regulated blood sugar.
Olive leaf extract:
Olive leaf (Olea europaea) comes up again and again in scientific and clinical studies as having beneficial effects on hypertension. One of olive leaf’s most beneficial compounds is oleuropein – the same compound that makes olive oil so helpful in reducing blood pressure. Here again, we have to look at the traditional Mediterranean diet, which features voluminous use of olives and olive oil. Not surprisingly, blood pressure is generally much lower in Greek and Italian populations.
But it’s not just the diet – scientific studies showed that oleuropein lowered blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels and prevented buildup of plaque in arteries. Plus, whether in olive leaf extract or in olive oil, oleuropein works as an antioxidant, too.
Dandelion leaf extract:
Dandelion (Taraxacum offinale) leaves provide a healthy supply of vitamins, much like spinach. In fact, although it has become the bane of North American gardeners and lawn owners, dandelion greens are a component of many gourmet salads.
Medicinally, dandelion has been used for centuries, dating back to ancient
They are a very rich source of vitamin A, and contain vitamin D, vitamin C, carious B vitamins, iron, silicon, magnesium, zinc and manganese, too. Dandelion leaves produce a diuretic effect in the body, similar to a prescription drug. Since one of dandelion leaf’s traditional uses was the treatment of water retention, it’s really not too surprising. Dandelion leaf is also rich in potassium – one of the vital minerals many Americans lack in their diet. So, even though it may act as a diuretic, it replaces more potassium than the body expels.
The diuretic effect of dandelion can relieve hypertension by drawing excess water and sodium from the body and releasing it through the kidneys as urine. Getting rid of extra water and sodium allows the blood vessels to relax – lowering blood pressure.
If a nutrient can be called exciting, lycopene is it. Lycopene is found mostly in tomatoes and processed tomato products, like pasta and pizza sauce. Related to beta-carotene lycopene shows great antioxidant abilities among its many talents. In fact, it shows even greater free-radical scavenging properties than beta-carotene, its more famous cousin. Healthy intakes of lycopene can guard against a variety of chronic conditions, including lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, lowering homocysteine levels and reducing blood platelet stickiness that can lead to clogged arteries. It’s even being studied for its protective effect against prostate cancer.
And, for proof, you don’t have to look too far to see the amazing effect lycopene intake can have on health. The Mediterranean diet provides an excellent example. Its high intakes of vegetables, (tomatoes, of course, playing a central role) fish, and whole grains improve cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure. The research on lycopene as a stand-alone nutrient has been compelling. A randomized clinical trial found that not having enough lycopene was associated with early thickening of the arteries.
So, it makes sense that other clinical trials, showed that higher intakes of lycopene frequently meant less thickening of arteries, and a reduced risk of heart attack. In one study, the risk of heart attack was 60% lower in individuals with the highest levels of lycopene. In a multicenter study, similar results were found – men with the highest levels of lycopene had a 48% lower risk of heart attack.
Q. What can I expect taking this herbal combination?
A. You should notice both systolic and diastolic numbers lowering in about two weeks. The scientific study showed that for pre-hypertensive and stage I, (early hypertensive individuals) this combination for ingredients lowers both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
When you’re taking herbs to support your blood pressure, it’s important to keep it monitored so you have an accurate reading (and record) of your numbers. If you need to, you can pick up a home blood pressure monitoring device. These can retail for anywhere from $30 all the way up to $200, but buying one in the $30 to $50 range is a good idea and money well spent. Consider taking the machine to your local doctor’s office or fire department to have it tested for accuracy against a professional blood pressure monitor. See the chart below for tips on getting an accurate reading from a home monitor.
Tips for Accurate Blood Pressure Monitoring:
-Relax for about 5 to 10 minutes before measurement.
-If you have just come inside from cold Outdoors allow yourself to warm up.
-Remove tight-fitting clothing and jewelry.
-Unless your physician recommends otherwise, use left arm to measure pressure.
-Sit, don’t stand.
-Remain still and do not talk while using the monitor.
Q. Are there any side effects?
A. There were no side effects noted in the study. However, because of the mild diuretic effect of dandelion leaf extract, you may notice an increase in trips to the bathroom. It’s always important to make sure you don’t get dehydrated, so you may want to drink more water during the day.
High blood pressure doesn’t happen overnight. As we get older, the likelihood of developing hypertension increases. And, stressful, fast-forward lifestyles, bad diets and no exercise conspire to raise our blood pressure.
In my own practice I have helped patients move toward a healthier lifestyle, including diet, exercise, and blood-pressure reducing supplements. They live better, more vibrant lives as a result, and their blood pressure normalizes. It really can happen – you can bring your blood pressure back to normal, and this combination of scientifically and clinically validated ingredients can help.
TEA TREE OIL (Meleleuca alternifolia)
July 11, 2005 09:32 PM
TEA TREE OIL (Meleleuca alternifolia)
Another important component of the first aid kit is tea tree oil. It can help with many minor conditions that commonly occur. Some include athlete’s foot, acne, boils, burns, warts, vaginal infections, tonsillitis, sinus infections, ringworm, skin rashes, impetigo, herpes, corns, head lice, cold sores, canker sores, insect bites, insect repellent and fungal infections. It is truly a remarkable oil with valuable properties for healing and to prevent infection. Tea tree oil is extracted from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia which is a shrub like tree found in the northeast t ropical coastal region of New South Wales and Queensland, Australia. There are over 300 different varieties of tea tree but only a few are known to produce the valuable, medicinal oil.
Tea tree oil contains at least 48 different organic compounds. The compounds work together to produce the healing abilities found in the oil. Research done in the 1950s and early 1960s found that tea tree oil is a germicide and fungicide with additional characteristics of dissolving pus and debris.1 Recent studies have found it effective for thrush, vaginal infections of candida albicans, staph infections, athlete’s foot, hair and scalp problems, mouth sores, muscle and joint pain, pain, and boils.2
Tea tree oil is a valuable antiseptic for skin infections. It is able to penetrate the epidermis to heal from within. Clinical studies have found that tea tree oil can heal quickly and with less scarring than other treatments. The oil is even effective against Staphylococcus aureus, which is often difficult to treat and is becoming resistant to antibiotic therapy. The oil can be applied two to three times a day with full strength or diluted. If an irritation occurs, a diluted solution can be tried. Even highly diluted concentrations have been found to heal in clinical studies.
Organisms against which tea tree oil has been shown to be effective include aspergillus, baceroides, Candida, clostridium, cryptosporidium, diptheroids, E. Coli, enter-obacter, epidermophyton, fusobacterium, gonococcus, hemophilus, herpes viruses, meningococcus. microsporium, petococcus, proteus, pseudomonas, spirochetes, staph, strep, trichinosis, and trichophyton3
Tea tree oil is an effective bactericide. It is safe for healthy tissue. It is a strong organic solvent and will help heal and disperse pus in pimples and wounds. It has been used to neutralize the venom of minor insect bites. It is able to kill bacteria by penetrating the skin layers and reaching deep into abscesses in the gums and even beneath the fingernails. It has been found to have some of the strongest antimicrobial properties ever discovered in a plant.4 Tea tree oil can help with fungal infections such as candida. Dr. Eduardo F. Pena, M.D. has studied Melaleuca alternifolia oil for its value in treating vaginitis and candida albicans.5 In studying candida researchers have gone to the extreme of infecting healthy volunteers with the organism. The yeasts proceeded to invade the bloodstream and internal organs. Then they were cultured from these regions. However, within a matter of hours yeasts could no longer be cultured, indicating that the immune systems of these individuals efficiently cleared the organisms from the tissues. Unfortunately, in today’s era a great many people are afflicted with compromised immune function.6
Tea tree oil acts as a mild anesthetic when applied to painful areas and to soothe cuts, burns, and mouth sores. It can help heal as well as reduce scarring. Burn victims in Australia are often treated with tea tree oil to help prevent infection, relieve pain and speed healing.
Tea tree oil can help prevent and heal acne. Tea tree oil has a reputation of being gentle on the skin. It does not produce the side effects of some medications such as dry skin, stinging, burning and slight redness after application. Tea tree oil can help to heal and prevent infections from occurring. A minor scrape or scratch can sometimes result in infection. Tea tree oil applied to the area can help prevent infection. The oil is effective in healing many types of bacteria but the most amazing thing is that is does not damage the skin tissue. Many of the recommended treatments can actually do damage to the skin resulting in scarring and sensitivity.
Tea tree oil can be used to prevent bites and stings. Bugs don’t like the scent and may stay away. There is no way to entirely void coming into contact with insects. Anyone who likes to be Outdoors is vulnerable. Whether you live in the city or the country or anywhere in between, bugs abound. Tea tree oil or lotions and creams containing the oil can also be used to prevent bites. Insects don’t like the scent of the oil and are actually repelled by it. The Australian tea tree oil has been found to be highly effective in treating infections and destroying microbes while not irritating the skin. Many antiseptics can cause skin irritation, but tea tree oil seems to cause no harm to skin tissue.
Tea tree oil is an antiseptic and generally not taken internally. Some evidence has suggested mild organ damage from internal use. The oil when absorbed through the skin is non-toxic. Tea tree oil is most often recommended for exposed surfaces of the body such as the skin tissue and the mucous membranes. It should be noted that the original Australian aborigines made tea from the leaves without adverse affects. And the early settlers followed their exam - ple with positive results. But the tea was a very diluted form and the distilled oil is much stronger.
June 25, 2005 07:23 PM
According to natives of the Amazon, when Tupan, the most powerful of all the Gods, decided to create man and woman and an environment in which they could t hrive, he assembled the other gods and goddesses and sought t heir assist ance. Jaci, the goddess of the moon, offered her help to Tupan. “I will teach the people how to grow seeds for food.
While many beneficial plants are steeped in myth and legend, few are as widely known and consumed among the natives of the Amazon river basin as catuaba, Erthyroxylum catuaba.
Revered as an enhancer of both libido and sexual potency, catuaba is a tree which grows widely across the northern Amazon.This most famous of all reputed aphrodisiac Amazonian plants is the subject of numerous indigenous songs,and the harvesting of catuaba bark (the part used for sexual enhancement) has become big business throughout Brazil.
In January of this year, I and two others went on a mission to the Brazilian Amazon to investigate catuaba as it is harvested and used by the indigenous people of that region. We possessed complementary skills.
My work involves researching and photographing indigenous native uses of plants around the world.My wife Shahannah, whose previous career as a marine mammal researcher put her on the ocean for three years, was our videographer.The third member, Bernie Peixoto, was born and raised in that region, speaks ten native languages fluently, and also holds a Ph.D in anthropology.We were a small, but capable group.
Entering Brazil through Manaus, we made contact with Antonio Matas,the most famous herbalist in that area.Antonio described to us numerous instances in which the use of catuaba had resulted in renewed sexual potency in men, and revived or enhanced libido in both men and women.Antonio also introduced us to a man named Sivao,the primary dealer of catuaba in the entire sprawling Manaus region. From Sivao we learned that catuaba was increasing in popularity every month, and had become one of the most sought after and widely used beneficial plants in northern Brazil, due to its ef fectiveness.
After our meetings in Manaus,we headed down the Amazon river where we stayed with Ipixuna and Crinicoru Indians in floating houses right on the river itself.
With the guidance of an Outdoorsman named Geronimo and a fisherman named Jose’,we hiked into the forest,saw catuaba trees growing, and witnessed the harvesting and sale of the bark.In addition,we were led to two elderly women shamans,who described to us the sex-enhancing and restorative virtues of catuaba.
While space doesn’t permit an explanation of all that we saw and learned, we discovered during the course of our travels that while catuaba is used by almost all middle-aged men,it is also popular among couples of all ages for its enhancement of libido. More often than not,catuaba is used with muira puama. We asked repeatedly why this was so,and each time we were told that the combination of the two plants results in significantly greater sexual enhancement than can be obtained by using either herb by itself. Most of the people with whom we spoke use catuaba personally, and they expressed great enthusiasm for catuaba’s sex-enhancing properties. Throughout history, people have sought to enhance their libido and improve sexual potency. Catuaba,a common tree growing widely across the Amazon river basin,has centuries of safe,effective use as a sex-enhancer.As more people become aware of the botanical treasures of the rainforest,catuaba is destined to become popular and widely used in this culture as well. The views expressed in this article are those of the author only, and have not been approved or endorsed by Nutraceutical Corporation or any of its subsidaries or affiliates.
Vision Quest - help fight eye problems.
June 18, 2005 08:34 AM
Vision Quest by Phyllis D. Light, RH Energy Times, February 11, 2004
Since your eyes are in constant use every day, exposed to the damaging energy of sunlight and pollutants that waft through the air, these delicate orbs are often in danger of wearing out.
To keep this vital part of your anatomy functioning as you age, you have to feed and care for your eyes properly. Otherwise, you are in real danger of losing your vision and independence.
Your vision may be in danger. Experts estimate that 8 million Americans over the age of 55 are at serious risk of blindness linked to a condition called age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD can wipe out your central vision and is the primary cause of blindness in Western society.
While AMD causes no pain, it blurs the sharp, central vision necessary for driving, reading and other activities where you need to see either up close or straight ahead. During AMD, the macula, the part of the eye that allows you to pick out fine detail, is destroyed. The macula sits at the center of your retina, the nerve center at the back of your eye that senses light and sends optic signals to the brain.
Age is not the only risk factor for AMD. Scientists have isolated a genetic defect that can lead to some forms of macular degeneration (Nature Genetics 2001; 27:89-93). Smoking and excessive exposure to sunlight are other hazards best avoided if you want to save your sight.
In many cases, AMD progresses so slowly that victims of this condition don't even notice that their vision is deteriorating until much of it is irrevocably gone.
Dry and Wet AMD
Wet AMD occurs when blood vessels in back of the retina start to overgrow and leak blood. As this occurs, blood and other fluids push on the macula and quickly damage its sensitive nerve endings. When wet AMD occurs, you lose your central vision rapidly. If straight lines appear wavy to you, you may be suffering from wet AMD. If you notice this or other unusual vision changes, contact an eye care specialist as soon as possible. You need what is called a comprehensive dilated eye exam that can uncover signs of AMD.
Dry AMD strikes the eye when light-sensitive cells in the macula slowly deteriorate, gradually blurring central vision in the affected eye. As dry AMD progresses, a blurry spot in the center of your vision may appear. Eventually, as more of the macula becomes dysfunctional, the central vision in the eye can gradually disappear.
The most common sign of dry AMD is slightly blurry vision. This can make it hard to recognize faces and also make it harder to read without very bright light. Dry AMD generally attacks both eyes, but vision can be lost in one eye while the other eye stays normal. In the early stages of dry AMD, drusen, yellow deposits that gather under the retina, may form. Dry AMD progresses in three stages:
Vitamins and Minerals for AMD
Fortunately, scientists have found ways to combat AMD: An analysis of a study called the national Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) shows that more than 300,000 Americans could avoid losing their sight to AMD if they took daily supplements of antioxidant nutrients and zinc.
This conclusion, reached by scientists at Johns Hopkins' Wilmer Eye Institute, is based on research involving more than 4,500 adults suffering various stages of AMD. The study demonstrated that people who already had some AMD could lower their risk of the more advanced form of this condition by 25% when they took vitamin C, natural vitamin E and beta carotene along with zinc. Those suffering from advanced AMD lowered their chances of losing vision by about 19%. (Supplements did not affect the risk of cataracts or the chances of some vision loss for people in the early stages of AMD.)
" Without treatment to reduce their risk, we estimate that 1.3 million adults would develop the advanced stage of AMD," says Neil M. Bressler, MD, professor of ophthalmology at Johns Hopkins and author of the current study, published in Archives of Ophthalmology (11/03).
According to Dr. Bressler and the other researchers, people who now have intermediate AMD (some vision loss) in one eye have about a 1 in 16 chance of having their vision deteriorate until they have advanced AMD. They also calculate that about 1 in 4 of those with intermediate AMD in both eyes and 43% of those with advanced AMD in one eye will develop advanced AMD in five years without treatment.
In their view, older people at risk of AMD blindness should take daily supplements of 500 milligrams of vitamin C, 400 milligrams of natural vitamin E, 15 milligrams of beta carotene, 80 milligrams of zinc as zinc oxide and 2 milligrams of copper as cupric oxide. Evidence also exists that a diet which is high in fat can cause AMD to progress to an advanced stage. The exceptions: The healthy fats found in fish and nuts (Archives of Ophthalmology 2003; 121:1728-37).
Oddly enough, some of the same pigments that color vegetables and other foods also color your eyes. And scientists believe that those pigments, which are classified as carotenoids, help protect the eyes by helping them fight off the negative effects of caustic molecules called free radicals. Free radicals are formed when the energy from sunlight strikes the eyes and disrupts the composition of natural chemicals found there.
When scientists compared healthy eyes with eyes suffering from AMD, they found that AMD eyes contained lower levels of lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoid pigments contained in egg yolk, spinach, broccoli and other dark green vegetables (Ophthalmology 2003; 109:1780). Furthermore, they found that levels of these chemicals generally decline as you grow older.
" This research is a major step toward large-scale clinical studies to prove the extent to which lutein and zeaxanthin protect against age-related macular degeneration," says Paul S. Bernstein, MD, PhD, at the University of Utah School of Medicine at Salt Lake. "We know that these carotenoids are specifically concentrated in the macula of the human eye."
Dr. Bernstein adds that, as you age, taking supplements containing lutein and other antioxidants may lower your AMD risk. In his investigation, people with AMD who did not take lutein had one-third less lutein in their eyes than older people whose vision was normal.
Another eyesight hazard is cataracts, in which the eye's lens-the part that focuses incoming light onto the retina-becomes cloudy. Cataracts form when the proteins found in the normally clear lens become damaged; signs include progressively blurred vision (especially Outdoors), focusing problems, seeing streaks of light from headlights and stoplights, and colors that look faded.
Cataract is the leading cause of blindness worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. One of every six Americans 40 and older suffers from some degree of cataract; it affects half of all Americans who reach age 80. Nuclear cataracts, the most common form of this disorder, develop in the center of the lens and tend to grow slowly. Cataracts may also develop at the back of the lens; this form is linked to eye trauma and long-term use of certain medications, including steroids.
Like AMD, cataracts become more common as people age. Up to 40% of individuals between the ages of 75 and 85 have them, compared with only 5% to 10% of those folks under the age of 65. And like AMD, sunlight exposure and smoking increase the risk of developing cataracts, as does the presence of diabetes.
Lutein and zeaxanthin, the carotenoids that are so plentiful in the macula, are also found in the lens (although in lower concentrations), leading many researchers to believe that these nutrients may help drop your risk of cataract development. Early studies indicate that an increased intake of lutein and zeaxanthin reduces one's chances of needing cataract surgery, the most common surgery in the United States (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1999; 70(4):509-16; 517-24).
Antioxidants and the Lens
Scientists believe that free-radical damage is a leading cause of cataracts, and so it isn't surprising that antioxidants have proved useful in preventing this problem.
Almost 500 women filled out diet questionnaires as part of a very large research effort called the Nurses' Health Study; those who had taken vitamin C supplements for 10 years or longer enjoyed the lowest rates of nuclear cataracts (Archives of Ophthalmology 2001; 119:1009-19).
So the answer to lowering your risk of eye problems is clear, whether you are already in your mature years or plan to be someday: Lead a healthy, eye-friendly lifestyle, eating a diet filled with colorful fruits and vegetables. Take frequent walks and jogs around the block.
And yes, when you kick back and take your just-as-frequent doses of antioxidant supplements, you're allowed to take your sunglasses off and see the world clearly.
Home on the Range
June 13, 2005 03:52 PM
Home on the Range
by Janis Jibrin, RD Energy Times, September 5, 1999
Got chicken? Americans can't seem to get enough of this bird. Last year each of us ate, on average, just about 80 pounds of chicken, a whopping increase over the 49 pounds we each devoured in 1980 and an eight-pound increase from 1995. Part of this food's popularity comes from its lean image as a healthier, less fatty alternative to red meat (don't forget to take the fatty skin off). Chicken's also a cheap protein source: At many popular supermarkets you'll find weekly specials at about a dollar a pound.
But at health food markets, chicken can cost upwards of $1.69 a pound. These birds may be touted as raised in an organic, stress-free environment and on a vegetarian diet, free of antibiotics. For many people, this poultry is a better buy.
The Alternative Chicken
Most of the supermarket chicken you pick up in grocery refrigerated cases are broilers, birds bred to mature in about eight weeks. In comparison, in the '60s, chickens needed 14 weeks to become adult poultry. Conventionally-raised broilers eat grain mixed with whatever's cheapest on the market, such as recycled cooking oil that's been used to fry fast foods and animal parts.
These birds reside in chicken coops the size of football fields and don't see the light of day until transported to the slaughterhouse. On the other roost, alternatively raised chickens are brought up in a variety of ways (see box), but usually enjoy a more relaxed life and diet.
Chickens on the farm receive antibiotics for two reasons: To fight off the diseases that can run rampant through a crowded chicken coop and to encourage faster growth.
Antibiotics Stimulate Growth
Mark Cook, PhD, professor of animal science at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, explains, "Gut bacteria trigger an immune system assault, which makes chickens a little feverish, suppresses appetite and slows growth. Antibiotics stimulate growth indirectly, by keeping bacteria levels down, and preventing the immune reaction." When birds get sick, they often get dosed with even more antibiotics.
This widespread antibiotic use has come home to roost and may contribute to the growth of bacteria that, frequently exposed to chemicals, have evolved ways to keep from being killed by pharmaceuticals.
This development threatens human health. Bacterial infections that people contract, once easily cured by penicillin or other drugs, are now tougher to eradicate. For instance, campylobactor, a common bacteria found in chicken, and responsible for some food poisonings, now demonstrates signs of resistance to drugs like floroquinolones. A powerful class of antibiotics, floroquinolones used to dependably conquer this infection.
"Floroquinolones are an extremely important class of antibiotics, used to treat many types of infections such as urinary tract infection, a wide variety of gastrointestinal illnesses, pneumonia, almost everything," says Kirt Smith, DVM, PhD, epidemiologist, acute disease epidemiology section, Minnesota Department of Health.
A study by Dr. Smith, published in the New England Journal of Medicine (340, 1999: 1525-32), showed that the percent of floroquinolone-resistant campylobactor appearing in infected people in his state-Minnesota-climbed from a little over 1% in infected people during 1992 to 10.2% in 1998. He and other scientists strongly suspect that the rise is a direct consequence of the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) decision to allow floroquinolones in poultry feed beginning in 1995.
Although it was nearly impossible for Dr. Smith to trace the precise origin of campylobactor poisoning, he believes chicken was usually the source-and not just U.S. chicken. Many of the infected people had returned from Mexico and other countries.
"Sales of floroquinolones for poultry use in Mexico has increased dramatically," notes Dr. Smith.
Many alternative chicken producers do not use any antibiotic-laced feed at all. Other farmers adjust the feed to lower gut pH, making it more acidic and lowering chances of bacteria. At the U. of Wisconsin, Dr. Cook is developing antibodies to suppress the immune response to bacteria so chickens won't need antibiotics to spur growth. Buying and dining on chicken raised with little or no antibiotics could beneficially lower your risk of contracting a hardy bacterial infection. Better to catch campylobactor from an antibiotic-free chicken than a conventional chicken, speculates Dr. Cook. "There's less likelihood the bug will be resistant, and a better chance your problem can be cured with antibiotics," he explains.
And, looking beyond your own immediate health risk, buying antibiotic-free chicken makes a small contribution to stopping the spread of antibiotic resistant bugs. A Matter of Taste Conventionally raised chickens get little exercise and live only eight weeks, so they're tender but bland.
"There's not much taste in a modern chicken. Free range or organically grown, older birds usually have more taste," notes Dr. Cook.
The days of barnyard chickens happily clucking and strutting around in picturesque nature have disappeared with the family farm. Today, chickens lead a meager existence. After hatching, baby chicks are tossed into a gigantic hen house that is home to up to 30,000 birds. Their short lives are lived within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) mandated 3/4 square foot per chicken. In that squeeze, birds can catch "chicken influenza," especially in winter when it's too cold to let in much fresh air.
Laying hens don't experience much more of a peaceful existence. These birds live their years with about five other hens, so crowded they can't flap their wings. Cages, suspended in the air, let eggs roll into a holding area. So they don't peck each other, hens are often debeaked, a painful process that can cause infection.
Hens go through natural laying and "dry" cycles. Growers manipulate this cycle by "forced molting," depriving hens of food for four to 14 days to keep them constantly laying. By the end of two years, hens are worn out. Their inactivity weakens their bones enough that electrical stunning, the usual method for knocking chickens out before slaughter, shatters their bones. So some wind up being plucked and boiled alive, according to Mary Finelli, program director for farm animals and public health at the Humane Society of the United States. The meat from these hens, tougher than other birds, was probably in your deli lunch sandwich. It's also used in the school lunch program or may end up in dog food.
"Generally, organically-grown broilers and hens have it better because room to move is part of the organic certification process," says Finelli. Finelli suggests visiting chicken suppliers to find out how chickens are treated. Or, she advocates a Humane Society book listing reliable firms. For a local producer call the society: 202-452-1100. According to a Consumer Report report, some growers force chickens out the last week of their lives to brand them "free range." So free range isn't a prime standard for choosing a decently raised chicken. However, turkeys thrive Outdoors, so choosing free-range turkey is often a good idea for better tasting poultry.
In any case, organic is your best bet for chicken without pesticides. Make it your main choice for your 80 pound yearly consumption!
To fight cruel treatment of poultry:
• Forced Molting Ban. Forced molting is shocking hens for more eggs. To support petitions banning forced molting write: Docket Manage-ment Branch, FDA, Dept. Health & Human Serv-ices, 12420 Parklawn Drive, Room 1-23, Rock-ville, MD 20857. Include docket # 98P-0203/CP
• Downed Animal Protection Bill (House Bill 443, Senate Bill S515) spares some animals from the tortuous journey from chicken house to slaughterhouse. Mandates humane euthanization.
Don't Be Blue - Does winter got you singing the blues?
June 13, 2005 09:49 AM
Don't Be Blue by Phyllis D. Light, RH Energy Times, October 10, 2003
Have the gray skies of winter got you singing the blues? Do you feel tired, lost your creative spark, need extra sleep, can't get control of your appetite? If you nod in agreement to these queries, you may be one of the millions of people affected by SAD (seasonal affective disorder), also known as the "winter blues" or "cabin fever." Time to lighten up, throw off those lowdown winter blues and step up to more enjoyable feelings. Experts who study the winter blahs now acknowledge that you can blame much of winter's crankiness, moodiness and restlessness on short, cloudy days and a lack of sunlight. Low levels of sunlight trigger changes in hormones, increasing levels of melatonin (a hormone that normally helps you go to sleep) and decreasing serotonin (a hormone that improves mood). For many people, this hormonal tumult translates into a craving for sugary foods, a need for more sleep and a reduced sex drive.
Although the exact cause of SAD is not known, researchers believe the pineal gland plays an important role in this disorder. This gland, located beneath the brain, makes melatonin in response to the amount of light that enters your eyes. Melatonin hormone is only produced in darkness. The darker your bedroom, the greater your melatonin production.
Conversely, melatonin production usually stops in the morning when you open your eyes to the day's new light. But research shows that the production of melatonin climbs too high in folks who suffer from SAD. That excessive amount of the hormone results in a sedative effect upon the body.
Many people with SAD suffer muscular aches and pains, along with headaches and a faltering immune system. Consequently, they often feel like they have the flu all winter long.
More women than men suffer from SAD (and, apparently, depression in general), though the reason is unclear.
According to Norman Rosenthal, MD, author of Winter Blues (Guilford Press), "about 6% of the US population may suffer from SAD, with an additional 14% suffering from subsyndromal [less severe] SAD." Because less sunlight reaches the northern latitudes, folks in Washington state and Alaska suffer the highest rates of SAD. People in sun-soaked Florida suffer the least.
How do you escape SAD? If a winter vacation to the sunny South is out of the question for you, a natural program can brighten the wintry gray days and provide relief.
Turn on the Light
The most common treatment for SAD is light (also called phototherapy), which cuts back the body's manufacture of melatonin. Sitting in front of a special light box for about 30 minutes each morning during the winter months can often offset SAD. But the effects of this treatment vary from individual to individual, and some may be more sensitive to the light therapy than others.
For artificial light treatment, consult an appropriately trained healthcare professional who can design a plan that finds the optimal intensity, length and time of day for the treatment that best works for you. Researchers at Columbia University have found that timing the light therapy with the nuances of a person's biological clock doubles its effectiveness (Archives of General Psychiatry 1/15/01).
On the other hand, walking in natural light can banish these problems, and research finds that natural light frequently offers the best results (Journal of Affective Disorders 1996 Apr 12; 37(2-3):109-20). In this study, people either participated in a daily walk Outdoors in natural light or were treated for half an hour in artificial light. At the end of the study, participants were tested for melatonin and cortisol (stress hormone) levels. Both were found to be lower after exposure to natural light than artificial light.
Roll up those sleeves when you're Outdoors this winter: Curiously enough, studies show that light produces physiological effects by being absorbed through both the eyes and the skin.
Research now shows that light on the skin alters the hemoglobin in the blood. "This research suggests that SAD might be a disorder of the blood rather than a brain disorder," says Dan A. Oren, MD, of the Yale University School of Medicine (Science 1/12/98).
Vitamin D Need
If you suffer from seasonal depression, you may also not be getting enough vitamin D. During the sun-reduced winter months, stores of this fat-soluble vitamin drop, since the skin makes it when exposed to sunlight. When you step out into daylight, the sebaceous glands near the surface of your body produce an oily substance from cholesterol that rises to the skin's surface. Then, ultraviolet B rays from the sun convert this oily substance (7-dehydrocholesterol) into what is called previtamin D3. Finally, body heat converts previtamin D3 into vitamin D3 (a form of vitamin D).
Twenty minutes of daily sunlight exposure on the hands, arms and face can give adequate amounts of vitamin D to light-skinned people. Dark-skinned people may need longer exposure. Supplements can help: In one study, researchers found that people who took vitamin D had significant improvement in depression scale scores (Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging 1999; 3(1):5-7).
As far as vitamin D production goes, you can never receive too much sunlight (although overexposure resulting in a burn is never a good idea). The body absorbs vitamin D from the skin as needed and never accepts more than is required. (If you take supplements, follow package directions so you don't get too much of a good thing.) Food sources of vitamin D include eggs, fortified milk, cod liver oil, salmon and other fish.
Walk Away the Blues
Research also shows that exercise can chase the winter blues and that a little bit of exertion goes a long way. Exercise physiologists at Duke University found that little as eight minutes of physical activity can improve your mood.
Exercise stimulates the brain to produce endorphins, feel-good hormones that help reduce pain and depression. Physical activity can also increase serotonin levels, those neurotransmitters that brighten emotions. These two hormones work together to make you feel better: Serotonin improves the functioning of your mind while endorphins produce beneficial effects on your body. In one study, researchers reported that exercise increased vitality and improved mood even in cases of prolonged depression (Psychological Medicine 1998 Nov; 28(6):1359-64).
To banish SAD, engage in an Outdoor activity in natural light, or get active indoors under bright lights.
As you can see, much of the research into low, wintry moods suggests that sun worshippers may have been right all along: Exposure in winter to our friendly, local neighborhood star offers impressive mood benefits.
June 10, 2005 05:32 PM
Allergy Alleviation by Cal Orey , February 2, 2002
Allergy Alleviation By Cal Orey
Welcome to the stuffed up world of seasonal allergic rhinitis: the wheezing, sneezing "inhalant allergies" that torment 35 million Americans. Adding insult to sinus pain, other allergens attack year-round. Air pollution, dust mites (microscopic gremlins that infest bedding, upholstery and rugs) and animal dander trigger allergies-or other respiratory ailments-in any season. Urban air is full of rubber tire particles, a true blowout for those with latex sensitivity. Altogether, roughly 50 million Americans-about one in five-suffer from some form of allergy, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI). Tired of cross-pollinating with plants or being bowled over by dust balls? Vitamins, herbs and other nutrients can help you nip allergy discomfort in the bud.
The Allergy Response
Your immune system triggers an allergic response when it overreacts to otherwise harmless substances or antigens (we're talking dust, pollen and mold).The alarmed immune system then launches a defensive chemical reaction, releasing potent chemicals (antibodies) supposed to destroy the "invaders." The antibodies, called IgE, carry the invading substances to special cells, which zap them with more biochemicals. Among these protective cells are mast cells: they release histamine, the substance that causes swelling and inflammation to the linings of the nose, sinuses and eyelids, resulting in sneezing, upper respiratory congestion and itchy, watery eyes.
Just Blame The Folks
Most allergies are determined by your genes. If your Mom or Dad sneeze and scratch, there's a good chance you will, too. "That is not to say that we directly inherit an allergy to any specific substance. Rather, it seems as if we might inherit some kind of immune system defect or weakness that leaves us more vulnerable to allergies," explain co-authors Glenn S. Rothfeld, MD, and Suzanne LeVert in their book Natural Medicine for Allergies: The Best Alternative Methods for Quick Relief (Rodale). For some people, allergies lurk in food, throwing the immune system into overdrive. "Many natural medicine practitioners believe that a diet high in animal fats will contribute to the development of allergy and asthma, as does a diet high in food additives, such as preservatives and dyes," says Gary McLain, PhD, in his book The Natural Way of Healing: Asthma and Allergies (Dell). Worse, allergies can up the risk of asthma, which afflicts 15 million Americans. Most people afflicted with asthma also suffer allergies: the two are linked, according to the AAAAI. Allergy triggers of asthma include pollen, mold spores and house dust mites. Remember Helen Hunt's asthmatic son in the movie As Good As It Gets? His character endured allergies to dust, and living in New York (and watching his mom date Jack Nicholson) didn't help his immune system. Coughs, ear infections, fevers and visits to hospital emergency rooms curtailed his social life (and limited his close-ups as well). That kind of routine happens in real life, too. (Well, maybe close encounters with Jack N. are not included for most.) But when we breathe substances such as molds, they can induce swelling and inflammation of the bronchial airways which narrow and restrict air flow. This, in turn, causes wheezing and shortness of breath and can trigger an asthma "attack," according to Andrew Engler, MD, who specializes in allergy and asthma in San Mateo, California.
The Nose Knows: Chemical Sensitivities
Imagine a picture-perfect, crisp, clear Saturday morning. You make a final stop on your weekly errand run to the dry cleaner, where you drop off your laundry and spend a moment chatting up the owner. Back in your car, your eyes tear and you feel a bit woozy. Kenneth Bock, MD, and Nellie Sabin, writing in The Road to Immunity: How To Survive and Thrive in a Toxic World (Pocket Books) sense that your reaction could be chemical sensitivity, a difficult to diagnose but, in their opinion, very real malady. (Of course, a clinician can test you for immune responses to certain chemicals.) Reactions to chemicals produce the typical allergic responses: puffy or red-rimmed eyes; swelling; aching or stiff joints and muscles; irritability or dizziness; respiratory inflammations; headaches and the like. Villains include aerosol sprays, tobacco smoke, glues, insecticides and herbicides, household chemicals and fragrances. Identification and avoidance are key, say the authors. Vitamin C, which binds with chemicals, is one of the best nutritional defenses.
Breathing Problems Expand
Americans now freely take lifesaving medicines such as antibiotics and insulin but, in some people, "they have the potential to alter the immune system, which is where allergies begin," says Dr. McLain. (Consult your pharmacist if you have questions about your prescription medication.) We, as a nation, are also eating more chemicals, from the pesticides drenched on plants to the preservatives poured on prepared foods. We're breathing polluted air, which can lead to or exacerbate asthma, and then we choke on recycled air in sealed buildings. And while a century ago you were likely to have spent much of your time close to home, you can now hop on a supersonic plane and be taken to the other side of the globe within a matter of hours. With travel comes exposure to even more exotic allergens that can drive your immune system to distraction.
The All-Natural Gesundheit
Certain allergy-relief nutrients and herbs can help make life more bearable. Here's how they work: n Vitamin C for the lungs. According to experts, when vitamin C is low, asthma is high. Vitamin C carries the major antioxidant load in the airways and therefore contributes mightily to the health of the lungs. A study in the Annals of Allergy (73(1994):89-96) reported that in seven of 11 clinical trials since 1973, vitamin C supplementation provided "significant improvements" in respiratory function and asthma symptoms. n Vitamin E and carotene to suppress allergic reactions. These antioxidants may also help protect the respiratory tract from caustic pollutants. Vitamin E is reputed to be one of the most important nutrients for antioxidant protection in the lungs. In addition, these two substances decrease production of allergy-related compounds called leukotrienes. n Zinc for the immune system. Research shows that a deficiency in this trace mineral can weaken your immune system, setting you up as a target for allergies and infections. (Some vegetarians may not store sufficient amounts of this mineral and should take supplements.) Zinc comes to the body's rescue by taking part in the production of IgA, the gastrointestinal antibody that lines the digestive tract. "When IgA binds to an allergen, it keeps it from being absorbed into the bloodstream and thus from causing an allergic reaction," report Rothfeld and Levert. Also, zinc protects mucous membranes and helps convert beta carotene to vitamin A, another anti-allergy, immune-boosting nutrient. In a study of 100 participants at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, half took a zinc-based lozenge, while the other half received a dummy preparation. The participants taking zinc experienced a 42% reduction in the duration and severity of their common colds (Annals of Internal Medicine, 7/96). n Quercetin as an antihistamine. A valuable, anti-allergic flavonoid (plant coloring agent that is a powerful antioxidant), quercetin shines as a potent weapon against allergies and asthma. Believed to inhibit histamine release from mast cells and slow the production of other allergy-related compounds, it stabilizes mast cell membranes. Other flavonoid-rich extracts include grape seed, pine bark, green tea and Ginkgo biloba. n Additional helpful nutrients: Vitamin B-12, particularly to combat sensitivity to sulfites (The Nutrition Desk Reference [Keats]); selenium, an antioxidant that breaks down leukotrienes (Clinical Science 77, 1989: 495-500); and magnesium to relax bronchial tissues (Journal of the American Medical Association, 262 : 1210-3).
Herbal Remedies To The Rescue
n Nettles for hay fever relief. Research at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon, showed that 40 of 69 folks suffering from hay fever found moderate to extreme relief from taking freeze-dried stinging nettles (Planta Medica,  44-47). "It is nontoxic, cheap and preferable to antihistamines, which I think are significantly toxic," reports Andrew Weil, MD, in his book Natural Health, Natural Medicine: A Comprehensive Manual for Wellness and Self-Care (Houghton Mifflin). n Cayenne to reduce inflammation. Cayenne, known as hot red pepper, is rich in capsaicin, a potent flavonoid "counter-irritant" that dilates and soothes inflamed nasal and bronchial tissues, according to experts. A bonus: Cayenne also contains a rich amount of antioxidant vitamin C, which can help enhance your immune system. n Echinacea for allergy prevention. This popular Native American herb provides cold and allergy protection, particularly when you take it before encountering allergens. Studies reveal that echinacea aids your body's tissues and protects you from germs and allergens. In fact, German studies have found it possesses valuable antiviral, antibacterial and immunity-boosting properties.
Make Your World Allergy-Free
For the most effective allergy relief, make sure you stay clear of allergens that wreak allergy havoc. Visit an allergy-savvy health practitioner and get tested to find out which substances rock your respiratory world. Plus, allergy experts recommend: n Banish dust mites: sweep out clutter and have your house power-vacuumed, if necessary; wash bedding and linens in very hot water. n De-pollinate your environment: flip on the air conditioner to sift out pollen (keep its filter and any forced air registers clean); exercise indoors; machine dry, rather than line dry, your clothes. n Buy a home air filter, especially if you experience dust, pollen or pet dander allergies. n Avoid allergy triggers that dog your days: cats and canines (or consider the hairless or shed-less breeds), mold and tobacco smoke. No matter what you do or actions you take, allergies may always remain an annoyance in your life. But attention to the foods you eat, the places where you exercise and the right combination of anti-allergy nutrients can limit your discomfort.
Leveling The Leukotrine Playing Field
On a microscopic level, a series of biochemicals implicated in allergic reactions are leukotrienes, substances that may constrict the bronchial tubes (breathing passages). In some people, consuming the food additive tartrazine can cause severe asthmatic breathing difficulties by boosting leukotrine release. In turn, this can interfere with the body's use of vitamin B-6. The process in which lack of B-6 or "errors" in how your body uses B-6 causes allergic reactions and is complex. According to Michael Murray, ND and Joseph Pizzorno, ND in the revised edition of the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima), breathing problems may begin when the metabolism of tryptophan (an amino acid) goes awry: "Tryptophan is converted to serotonin, a compound that, among other things, can cause the airways of asthmatics to constrict...Vitamin B-6 is required for the proper metabolism of tryptophan." Accordingly, a study of vitamin B-6, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, shows that people with compromised breathing may possess less B-6 in their blood than others who breathe normally. When people with asthma were given B-6, their wheezing and asthmatic attacks dropped.
Fat Fix For Allergies
The fat in your diet or supplements can also influence your susceptibility to allergies and asthma linked to allergies. Epidemiologists have found that countries where children eat fish at least four times a month cut their risk of asthma by 67% compared to other parts of the world where they consume fewer fish. Research on omega-3 fatty acids, the kind of fat found in fish, flax and hemp oil, demonstrates that some of these substances can improve breathing. In particular, fatty acids called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) can help open up bronchial tubes. Studies in the American Review of Respiratory Disease and the International Archives of Allergy and Applied Immunology show that breathing passageways may not react so negatively to the presence of allergens when you eat more fish or take supplements containing these types of fats. Many of the scientists who study the kinds of fats we eat believe that the increase in allergies and asthma in the US during the twentieth century may be due to both increasing air pollution (which irritates our lungs) plus a simultaneous increase in our consumption of what are called omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-6 oils are contained in most of the vegetable oils Americans eat, including sunflower and peanut oils. While experts believe that we would be better off consuming a diet containing about five times as many omega-6 fatty acids as omega-3s, today we eat about 40 times as much omega-6s. The chemistry of how these fats influence our allergy susceptibility is complex. It begins in our cell membranes which consist mostly of fat. When we consume omega-3 fatty acids, in our diet or in supplements, and these fats enter cell membranes, the change in structure cuts the availability of arachidonic acid, a fatty acid your body can make and which is found in meat, eggs and dairy products. Eventually, it is thought that this change in cellular metabolism and reduction in arachidonic acid forces the body to make less 4-series leukotrienes, substances which are quite prone to provoking allergic inflammation and, instead, produce 5-series leukotrienes, leukotrienes which don't cause nearly as much trouble. This process requires patience. According to Pizzorno and Murray. "It may take as long as one year before the benefits are apparent, as it appears to take time to turn over cellular membranes in favor of the omega-3 fatty acids."
Chinese Medicine Versus Allergies
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) views allergies as an imbalance of the liver, says Jason Elias, co-author with Katherine Ketcham of The Five Elements of Self-Healing (Harmony Books). "The average American's (liver) deals with about fourteen pounds of chemicals a year. What would normally be a minor irritant becomes major because the liver can't process them anymore," explains Elias. Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) has traditionally been used to fight allergies since this herb battles inflammation as evidenced by Japanese research and a study published in the journal Allergy. Much of this anti-allergy action is thought to proceed from licorice's interaction with a biochemical called cortisol, a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands. Cortisol (along with epinephrine, another adrenal hormone) relaxes the muscles controlling airways. By slowing the liver's breakdown of cortisol, licorice prolongs circulation of this hormone which, in turn, can help breathing passages stay clear. In addition, glycyrrhetinic acid, a compound in licorice, slows the body's manufacture of prostaglandins and leukotrienes, substances which exacerbate allergic inflammatory reactions. Ma Huang (Ephedra sinica) has been employed for thousands of years to aid breathing since chemicals in this plant widen breathing passages.
Homeopathic Remedies for Allergy
Homeopathic treatments consist of highly diluted substances designed to coax the body into healing itself. The effectiveness of homeopathy for hayfever has been demonstrated by research published in Lancet performed at the University of Glasgow, Scotland. There, scientists showed that homeopathically-prepared medicines produced statistically significant improvements in allergy sufferers. The appropriate homeopathic remedy for any illness depends on the personality type of the person suffering an allergy. These treatments are among those recommended by Dana Ullman: n Allium cepa: appropriate for burning nasal discharge that grows worse in warm rooms and improves Outdoors. Relieves non-burning tearing from eyes, raw feeling in the nose with tingling sensation and violent sneezing. n Nux vomica: used when feeling irritable and chilled, with daytime fluent nasal discharge and night congestion that grows worse indoors. Also for those sensitive to cold and to being uncovered. n Pulsatilla: best for women and children with daytime nasal discharge and night congestion who are gentle, yielding, mild, impressionable and emotional. Used when congestion is worse in warm rooms, hot weather or while lying down.
Food Allergy Conundrum Food allergies can prove to be the toughest allergies to identify and eliminate. Jason Elias believes that people may develop food sensitivities from eating the same foods too often. "If someone has an allergy, I might say 'Let's get you off dairy for three weeks,'" he says, noting that some people have limited their hay fever problems by ceasing to consume dairy products. Many have also found relief by maintaining a food diary, keeping track of which foods are associated with allergy attacks and then eliminating those foods. So the next time you sneeze, don't just reach for your hanky, think back to the meal that you just ate. Your allergy problem may be sitting in your stomach as well as making you sneeze and stuffing your sinuses. Taking these kinds of anti-allergy preventive measures can provide life-enhancing relief that feels like a godsend. That lets you attain your healthy best.
This article included reporting by Judy Pokras.
Allergy & Sinus Season: Healthy Lifestyle Tips
June 09, 2005 09:12 AM
Allergies are a growing health problem in the United States, according to a recent report issued by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAI). Every year more than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies. They are the sixth leading cause of chronic disease and affect more than 20% of the population. Hay fever alone accounts for more than eight million doctor visits annually, at a cost of $3.4 billion!
Source Naturals, as part of its commitment to Strategies for Wellness offers you these healthy lifestyle tips for allergy and sinus support.
Allergy & Sinus Season: Healthy Lifestyle Tips
Allergies are adverse reactions of the immune system to normally harmless substances?allergens. Some common allergens are pollen, weeds, molds, dust mites, animal dander, and latex particles.
Allergens can enter the body through inhalation, ingestion, skin contact, or injection (either intentionally as in the case of certain medications or through insect stings). Although there is a strong genetic component to allergies, there are also lifestyle factors we can control to prevent or minimize allergic reactions. Allergies are actually 'mistakes' or overreactions by the immune system. They are learned responses, which can be unlearned.
Allergy Proof Your Home
Cut down your exposure to dust mites and other indoor allergens by dust proofing your bedroom. Eliminate wall-to-wall carpets, down-filled blankets, feather pillows, and other dust catchers. Use window shades instead of venetian blinds, which can trap dust. Wash curtains and bedding regularly in hot water. Encase your mattress and pillows in airtight, dust-proof plastic covers. Dust and vacuum regularly.
If you have pets, especially cats, you should try to keep them out of your bedroom. Frequent brushing and bathing of pets can help get rid of excess hair.
Consider using a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter system if you have allergies to pollen, dust, or other particles -- or if you live with a smoker, or in a smoggy urban area. Dehumidifiers can help cut down on molds.
Avoid Outdoor Allergens
You may need to limit your time Outdoors when pollen or mold spore counts are high. Walking through uncut fields or raking leaves can increase exposure to molds and fungi. Avoid tobacco smoke and polluted air. Keep windows and doors closed, and dry clothes in a vented dryer instead of outside.
Watch Your Diet
Sometimes 'avoidance therapy' to control allergies is impractical or undesirable. Diet is easier to work with and can have a significant influence on immune reactions. Excess or undigested dietary proteins may worsen an overresponsive immune system?cows' milk and wheat are frequent offenders. Cut down on protein, especially animal protein, avoid dairy products, and eat more fruits, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates. You should also avoid nutritionless foods such as simple sugars.
Maintain Healthy Mucous Membranes
The mucosal cells that line the nasal passages, throat and lungs are our first line of defense against airborne substances. One of the primary means of maintaining healthy mucous linings is to drink lots of pure water (6 to 8 glasses daily). This keeps mucus fluid thin and cleanses membranes. Nasal cleansing is helpful when sinuses are clogged. You can rinse the nasal passages with a warm solution consisting of a quarter-teaspoon of salt to a cup of warm water, about the same sodium concentration found in your blood and tissue fluids. This practice washes away pollen grains and soothes irritated mucous membranes. Nasal cleansing can be done using a rubber suction bulb or a neti pot?a ceramic container used in Ayurveda that allows you to pour water directly into the nose. Inhaling steam with a little oil of eucalyptus in it may also ease clogged sinuses. Many people find acupuncture to be very effective for promoting sinus drainage.
Nutrients and herbs offer you safe, natural alternatives for supporting seasonal health. The bioflavonoid quercetin has been found in human cell culture studies to inhibit the release of histamines from immune cells. Ginkgo has been found in human cell culture studies to inhibit platelet-activating factor, a substance that stimulates the release of histamines. (Research is needed to determine if these effects occur in humans.) Stinging nettle is another herb that has been used traditionally to support a healthy respiratory system and sinuses. Vitamin A enhances macrophage function, is specifically needed for a healthy lung lining, and is beneficial for increasing the health of tissue cell membranes.
Attentive Child - Enhances Mental Concentration ...
May 31, 2005 05:14 PM
Most children are creative, energetic and spontaneous, but sometimes they don’t focus on requested activities. Sometimes kids find it difficult to apply themselves to the task at hand. Your child’s brain also may work differently than most people’s brains— just like the 5% of the population that is left-handed. Most people think an ultra-active child means an active brain, but active children may actually need a boost in brain metabolism. Source Naturals ATTENTIVE CHILD is a Bio-Aligned Formula™ designed to address the multiple systems that affect children’s ability to focus: neurotransmitters and brain metabolism, nerve cell communication, antioxidant defense, and essential fatty acid metabolism.
Comprehensive Brain Support
Parents are looking for a safe and natural product to support their children’s ability to focus. Source Naturals studied the research and created an experiential formula, based on the latest breakthroughs in cerebral and nervous system biochemistry. Each ingredient in ATTENTIVE CHILD plays a role in brain and nervous system structure or functioning, or is involved in important biochemical pathways. DMAE, a substance normally found in the brain, boosts brain metabolism and has been shown to enhance concentration. L-Aspartate is an amino acid neurotransmitter that stimulates brain activity. Research has shown that some ultra-active children may have special dietary needs for magnesium, zinc and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Magnesium is necessary for the transmission of nerve signals, and, along with zinc, for the processing of essential fatty acids into other vital biochemicals. DHA is an essential fatty acid that is very important for cerebral development and effective communication between nerve cells in the brain. Lecithin contains four phospholipids—fatty acid building-block molecules in nerve cell membranes. Phosphatidylserine, in particular, is vital in nerve cell communication and the electrical activity of the brain. Grape seed extract is a plant-derived antioxidant that protects the integrity of fatty acids in nerve cell membranes.
ATTENTIVE DHA™ in Tiny Kid Caps™
The ATTENTIVE CHILD formula can be supplemented with additional DHA. ATTENTIVE DHA Kid Caps are available in easy-to-swallow, small oval softgels, each containing 100 mg of DHA. For children who can’t swallow caps, simply pierce the gel and mix the oil with food. Sweeteners with Low Impact on Blood Sugar The delicious sweetand- tart taste in ATTENTIVE CHILD wafers comes from natural flavors, specially manufactured without sugar for Source Naturals. Unless specified, most flavors in other products contain maltodextrin, a sugar with a high glycemic index. The ATTENTIVE CHILD wafer itself is sweetened with crystalline fructose (natural fruit sugar) and xylitol (a naturally occurring sweetening agent found in many fruits and vegetables). These select natural sweeteners have a very low glycemic index—so ATTENTIVE CHILD will taste great to your child, but have little effect on blood sugar levels. We recommend carefully reviewing the labels of other products. They may contain honey, glucose, sucrose, maltodextrin, and maltose—all of which have moderate-tohigh glycemic indexes. In addition, maple sugar, molasses, malt syrup, rice syrup, and beet sugar contain varying amounts of high-glycemic-index sugars, which can set off blood sugar fluctuations that may affect concentration. Beware of children’s nutritional bars designed to enhance focus and concentration. Most have over 20 grams of sugar per bar. In contrast, each serving of ATTENTIVE CHILD contains only two grams of crystalline fructose, which has little effect on blood sugar.
Glycemic Index of Various Sweeteners
The glycemic index is a ranking of foods based on their immediate effect on blood glucose levels. It measures how much your blood glucose increases over a period of two or three hours after intake. The higher the glycemic index (GI), the greater the fluctuations in blood sugar. Sweetener Glycemic Index†
*sweeteners used in ATTENTIVE CHILD ™ †based on rate of 100 for glucose ††for information, see website www.wcommerce.com
Lifestyle Strategies for Your Child
You can help your child concentrate on schoolwork, chores and other challenges. Start with ATTENTIVE CHILD and ATTENTIVE DHA, and then incorporate a healthy lifestyle and nutrition routine.
Have your child’s overall health checked by a welltrained holistic health care professional, such as a naturopathic physician. It is particularly important to examine the functioning of your child’s thyroid gland (the master regulator of the body’s metabolism, which influences mood and energy level), and blood sugar metabolism (the brain depends on a steady supply of glucose to function properly, particularly when you are trying to concentrate).
Nutritional Health: Feeding the Brain
Help your child maintain a steady supply of energy and brain fuel by providing a balanced diet. Small, frequent meals are preferable since they dispense a steady level of glucose to the brain. Include foods high in the amino acid tyrosine, a precursor to neurotransmitters that support an alert state. It is found in protein foods, such as meat, poultry, beans, tofu, lentils and seafood. Also include complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, which are metabolized slowly and yield a steady supply of glucose. The simple sugars found in candy, cookies, sodas and other processed foods can lead to a rapid rise in blood sugar levels, followed by an abrupt decline, and should be discouraged. It is important to include essential fatty acids, especially omega-3 fatty acids, which are abundant in the brain and essential for its development and normal functioning. Supplement with ATTENTIVE DHA, and encourage your child to eat cold-water fish, such as salmon. Avoid the hydrogenated fats found in processed foods and margarine, as well as chemicals and food additives. A nutrition program consisting of fresh, unprocessed natural foods is the healthiest choice for everyone.
Some experts believe extended time watching TV and playing video games does not support optimal health or school performance. EEG studies have shown that these activities decrease brain activity rather than activating the brain. Encourage your child to spend time in Outdoor physical recreation and in creative, challenging activities.
Supplement with ATTENTIVE CHILD and ATTENTIVE DHA
ATTENTIVE CHILD is available in bottles of 30 & 60 chewable wafers. ATTENTIVE DHA Kid Caps (algal-source Neuromins®) are available in 30- & 60-softgel bottles. References Amen, D. Windows into the....Mind. Fairfield, CA: MindWorks Press, 1997. Foster-Powell, K. & Miller, J.B. 1995, International tables of glycemic index. Am J Clin Nutr. 62:871S-93S. Natah, S.S. et al. 1997. Metabolic response to lactitol and xylitol in healthy men. Am J Clin Nutr. Apr; 65(4):947-50. Schmidt, Michael. Smart Fats. Berkeley: Frog, Ltd., 1997. Sears, William. Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1998.
Aller Response - Deep support of multiple body systems...
May 31, 2005 04:57 PM
Seasonal changes don’t need to send you running for cover. A L L E R - R E S P O N S E is a comprehensive formula designed to modulate immune system r e s p o n s e. ALLER-RESPONSE goes deep to support multiple body systems that affect inappropriate immune sensitivities. Its ingredients support histamine regulation, immune r e s p o n s e, adrenal stress r e s p o n s e, clearing, soothing and tonifying of mucous membranes, and prostaglandin metabolism.
A Bio-Aligned Formula™ Seasonal sensitivities and other inappropriate immune responses are a growing health problem in the United States. Every year more than 50 million Americans suffer from these immune symptoms*, which affect more than 20% of the population. Pollen sensitivities alone account for more than eight million doctor visits annually, at a cost of $3.4 billion! A L L E R - R E S P O N S E can help bring you relief. This Bio-Aligned Formula goes deep to support the multiple, interdependent body systems involved with immune r e s p o n s e.
A L L E R - R E S P O N S E contains plant constituents that modify the release of histamine. Human cell culture studies with quercetin have demonstrated itsability to inhibit the release of histamine from immune cells. Ginkgo inhibits Platelet Activating Factor, which stimulates histamine secretion from platelets.
E s t a b l i s h i n g appropriate immune r e s p o n s e is critical for seasonal health. Certain essential nutrients provide support for key components of the immune system, such as mucous membrane integrity, cell-mediated immunity, and antioxidant activity. These nutrients include vitamins A, B-6, B-12 and C, and the mineral, zinc.
Clearing, Soothing and Tonifying
The clearing and soothing of mucous membranes in the nasal passages, throat and lungs is an important part of seasonal health. These natural compounds assist in this process: bitter orange peel, bromelain, licorice, long pepper fruit, MSM, and stinging nettle.
Prostaglandins, leukotrienes and thromboxanes are short-lived regulatory messenger molecules. They help regulate many body functions, including vasodilation and vasoconstriction, and smooth muscle contraction. Certain prostaglandins have a soothing quality and help the body maintain a state of comfort. Bromelain and quercetin have a beneficial influence on prostaglandin metabolism.
Stress Response—Adrenal Support
The adrenal glands produce hormones, such as cortisol, that enable our bodies to respond to stress. Supporting the adrenal glands is important for the body’s r e s p o n s e to seasonal stress. Licorice, pantothenic acid, and vitamin C support healthy stress r e s p o n s e.
Allergy & Sinus Season:
Healthy Lifestyle Tips
• Allergy Proof Your Home: Minimize exposure to dust mites and other indoor allergens by eliminating wall-to-wall carpets, down-filled blankets and pillows, and other dust catchers. Wash bedding regularly in hot water, and encase your mattress and pillows in airtight plastic. Dust and vacuum regularly. If you have pets, try to keep them out of your bedroom—frequent brushing and bathing can help get rid of excess pet hair. Consider using a HEPA (highefficiency particulate air) filter system, and a dehumidifier to reduce molds.
• Avoid Outdoor Allergens: You may need to limit time Outdoors when pollen or mold spore counts are high. Walking through uncut fields or raking leaves can increase exposure to molds and fungi. Avoid smoke and polluted air. Keep windows and doors closed, and dry clothes indoors in a vented dryer.
• Watch Your Diet: Sometimes avoidance techniques are impractical or undesirable. Diet is easier to work with and can significantly influence immune reactions. Excess or undigested dietary proteins may worsen an overresponsive immune system—cows’ milk and wheat are frequent offenders. It may be helpful to cut down on protein, avoid dairy, and eat more fruits, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates.
• Maintain Healthy Mucous Membranes: The linings of your nasal passages, throat and lungs are your first line of defense against airborne substances. Keep them healthy by drinking 6 to 8 glasses of water daily. This thins mucus fluid and cleanses membranes. When sinuses are clogged, rinse the nasal passages with a quarter-teaspoon of salt dissolved in a cup of warm water. This washes away pollen grains and soothes irritated membranes.
A l l e r - R e s p o n s e™ is a Bio-Aligned Formula™ Multi-System Seasonal Support
Histamine Response Ginkgo, Quercetin Immune Support Vitamins A, B-6, B-12 & C, Zinc Clearing, Soothing and Tonifying of Bitter Orange Peel, Bromelain, Licorice, Mucous Membranes Long Pepper Fruit, MSM, Stinging Nettle Prostaglandin Metabolism Bromelain, Quercetin Stress R e s p o n s e—Adrenal Support Licorice, Pantothenic Acid, Vitamin C