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Vitamin D Linked to Heart Health: Study Shows Promise in Preventing Cardiovascular Disease
April 26, 2022 10:18 AM
A recent study has shown that Vitamin D may play a role in preventing cardiovascular disease. The study, which was conducted by researchers at the University of Edinburgh, looked at data from over 10,000 adults. They found that those who had the highest levels of Vitamin D were less likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke. This is great news for those looking to improve their heart health!
What is Vitamin D and why is it important for heart health?
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that plays various important roles in the body, including helping to maintain healthy bones and supporting immune function. In recent years, scientists have also begun to uncover the critical role that Vitamin D can play in promoting cardiovascular health. Vitamin D is involved in the regulation of several important cardiovascular processes, including blood pressure and lipid metabolism. Studies have shown that individuals with lower levels of Vitamin D are at increased risk for heart disease and stroke. Therefore, ensuring adequate vitamin D levels through diet, sun exposure, or supplementation may help to protect against heart conditions and improve overall cardiovascular health.
The study on Vitamin D and heart health
Researchers at the University of South Australia have recently conducted a study exploring the link between vitamin D and heart health. They found that individuals with higher levels of vitamin D in their blood were less likely to suffer from cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attacks, than those with lower levels. The results suggest that vitamin D plays an important role in protecting the heart and maintaining efficient cardiovascular function. This is important not only for preventing or mitigating the effects of heart disease, but also for overall health and well-being. Overall, the results of this study highlight the importance of ensuring adequate levels of vitamin D to safeguard our hearts and keep us healthy.
How to get more Vitamin D in your diet
While vitamin D-3 is essential for good health, many people struggle to get enough of this important nutrient through their diet alone. With so many factors affecting our ability to absorb nutrients from food, it can be difficult to maintain healthy levels of vitamin D through regular meals. However, research suggests that we may be able to get enough of this vital nutrient by taking supplements or getting outside on sunny days. For example, studies show that simply spending time in sunlight for a few minutes each day can go a long way toward maintaining adequate vitamin D levels in the body. Additionally, many foods are fortified with vitamin D-3, including dairy products and some types of bread and cereal. Ultimately, the best way to ensure adequate vitamin D-3 levels is through a combination of dietary sources and appropriate supplementation. So don't be afraid to take that extra step or buying a supplement – your health will thank you!
Bottom line: Vitamin D is a promising nutrient for heart health
Vitamin D-3 is a nutrient that is continually been getting attention for its potential benefits to heart health. This nutrient can be obtained through certain foods, such as oily fish and eggs, but many individuals also supplement with vitamin D-3 on a regular basis. Preliminary research suggests that this nutrient may help to lower cholesterol levels and reduce inflammation in the arteries, two important contributors to cardiovascular disease. Additionally, studies have shown that vitamin D-3 can help to strengthen the immune system, which further enhances overall heart health by keeping the body healthy and strong. Overall, when it comes to promoting heart health, vitamin D-3 seems like a promising nutrient that deserves further scientific study and exploration.
Assist Mineral absorption
Vitamin D is an important nutrient that helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorus. It also plays a role in maintaining strong bones and muscles. Unfortunately, foods are a relatively poor source of vitamin D. The best way to get this nutrient is through exposure to sunlight. However, too much sun exposure can lead to skin damage, so many people choose to take a supplement instead. Vitamin D supplements are available in both liquid and pill form. They are typically taken once a day, and they can help people maintain adequate levels of vitamin D without exposing themselves to the harmful effects of the sun.
Vitamin D-3 is involved in over 300 enzymatic processes in the body
As we already know, vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays an important role in bone health and calcium absorption. Vitamin D-3, the form of vitamin D found in supplements, is involved in over 300 enzymatic processes in the body. These processes include cell proliferation, immunomodulation, and regulation of gene expression. Vitamin D-3 has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects. Supplementation with vitamin D-3 has been shown to improve bone density and reduce the risk of fractures, particularly in older adults. In addition, vitamin D-3 supplementation has been shown to improve muscular strength and reduce the risk of falls in older adults. While most people can get adequate amounts of vitamin D from exposure to sunlight, those who don't get enough sun exposure or have dark skin are at risk for vitamin D deficiency. Supplementation with vitamin D-3 is an effective way to ensure adequate intake of this important nutrient.
4 reasons you should eat more mushrooms
May 09, 2019 04:52 PM
Mushrooms are a nutritious food with many health benefits. Mushrooms can provide one of the few completely vegan foods with lots of vitamin D, although that is only if they’re exposed to sunlight and not grown in the dark. They’ve got tons of fiber, and are also full of niacin, phosphorus and other minerals. Evidence to support claims that mushrooms help prevent specific diseases is weak, but what is definitely clear is that sautéed mushrooms are delicious, and there’s no reason not to eat them.
"You only need 10 to 15 minutes of sunshine three times a week to get your necessary dose of vitamin D, but if you’re still running low you can supplement with food sources."
Read more: https://www.popsci.com/mushrooms-health-benefits
10 Reasons why vitamin D is essential for your health
May 07, 2019 04:47 PM
Vitamin D is considered the sunshine vitamin because it is synthesized by the skin when one is exposed to the sun. It is paramount for optimal health. It can only be found in a handful of foods such as fish, mushrooms, eggs, and fortified foods. The sun is the most important source of this vitamin. Many persons tend to spend less time outdoors that is why a third of the population is deficient in vitamin D. Here are some reasons why it is beneficial to take the sun and get this vitamin. One health benefit of vitamin D is that it improves muscle function. Deficiency of this vitamin is linked to loss of muscle mass and strength. Another health benefit is that it lowers the risk of asthma attacks by half. Vitamin D can also help to prevent and treat multiple sclerosis, and protect against Alzheimer’s and parkinson’s disease. Other health benefits are outlined in the article.
"These days, however, most of us tend to spend less time outdoors which may explain why more than a third of the world population suffers from low levels of vitamin D."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-03-19-10-reasons-why-vitamin-d-is-essential.html
Is vitamin D a key factor in breast cancer prevention?
May 03, 2019 04:11 PM
CDC data shows that nearly 41,000 American women died of breast cancer in 2013 alone, making it a leading causing of death among women from all racial groups. However, research indicates a strong association between living in a place with lots of sunshine and lower risk of breast cancer. This is almost certainly due to sunlight’s role in production of vitamin D. Only the type of vitamin D produced by the skin from sun exposure seems to have this kind of strong impact on breast cancer rates.
"In fact, breast cancer is the leading cause of death among Hispanic American women, and the second highest cause among white, black and Asian/Pacific women."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-03-27-vitamin-d-breast-cancer-prevention.html
Vitamin D And Its Effect On Brain
April 30, 2019 09:28 AM
Vitamin D has a wide range of vital health benefits for your bones, teeth, heart and endocrine system. Recent research suggests it also has a critical job in brain health and mental health as as well. Vitamin D deficiency — already associated with damage to the immune system and hypertension — may also put you at a higher risk of schizophrenia or cognitive impairment. This is a serious problem, given that there may be a billion vitamin D-deficient people in the world today.
"New research finds that vitamin D deficiency influences a kind of brain “scaffolding” that supports the neurons."
Read more: https://thestylishmagazine.com/1469/vitamin-d-and-its-effect-on-brain/
Why a little sun makes us feel so good
April 23, 2019 02:39 PM
Who doesn't like basking in the rays of sunshine on a nice summer day? Since sunlight has the natural ability to raise serotonin levels, it naturally has the ability to regulate and improve your mood. Not getting enough exposure to sunlight on a regular basis can actually lead to the same harmful side effects that are associated with obesity and smoking. UV exposure is especially important for those who are impacted by seasonal affective disorder (SAD), even if it is received in an artificial setting.
"A recent study, found that underexposure to sun carried significant risks, similar to smoking, obesity, and being sedentary."
Read more: https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/5-reasons-sunshine-totally-good-health-102319967.html
How MCT oil supports brain health and improves memory
March 20, 2019 05:04 PM
MCT oils or Medium-Chain Triglycerides have numerous health benefits. For those with digestive issues, the good news is that they are easily absorbed and metabolized. The body can burn them for fuel as opposed to storing them as fat. They also cause levels of ketones to rise in your blood stream, making them great for weight loss, as a sort of short cut for the keto diet.They help in the development of neurotransmitters so they are great for memory issues. Some recent studies have shown improvement in brain function so they are being studies as a possible route for treatment of cognitive problems such as Alzheimer.
"MCTs have been shown to decrease fat and increase lean muscle mass, and MCT oil is currently sold to promote weight loss and improve athletic performance and endurance. MCTs are also routinely administered to prevent muscle wasting in critically ill patients."
Read more: https://www.naturalhealth365.com/mct-oil-brain-health-2816.html
6 Ways to Use Coconut Oil This Winter for Awesome Hair and Skin
January 12, 2019 08:38 AM
As the winter season comes around, some people really start to worry about their hair and skin. For some, it is hard to maintain their hair when it gets cold. When it is really cold outside, the hair on some individuals reacts in a different way. This can be really hard for people. Also, skin is another thing that can be affected. Now, studies are showing that coconut oil can be the thing that fixes this issue for some people.
"Sure, you can lather on creams and conditioners but what you really want to do is to feed your skin and your hair with a high nutrient, moisturizing, and protecting compound that will give it Shine, body, silkiness, and life."
Want to get enough vitamin D? Try supplements or sunshine
August 27, 2018 09:53 AM
If you are a person that lacks in Vitamin D, there are a couple supplements OR all natural ways to help. According to the US Preventive Services Task Force, Vitamin D supplements are ineffective in preventing cardiovascular disease or cancer. In fact, some supplements may take up to years to see a results. An easier way to help increase Vitamin D, is to simply lay in the sun. Vitamin D is actually a hormone that resides in our skin and is triggered by the sun's radiation.
"By the end of 2017, we’ll know who got vitamin D and who got the placebo, and whether the vitamin D group had lower rates of those health problems than the placebo group."
Read more: http://atozhealthguide.com/index.php/2018/08/22/want-to-get-enough-vitamin-d-try-supplements-or-sunshine/
How To Brighten Skin, Get Even Skin Tone - How To Get Clear, Glowing & Spotless Skin
October 24, 2017 12:14 PM
During childhood, people have very good skin, but as we age, we have very bad skin issues and this leads to long term damage. Everyone wants to have great skin. But, they do not want to spend a lot of money on it. There is an answer thankfully. Sun damaged skin is another thing that leads to an uneven skin tone. With a few simple ingredients, you can make your own homemade face remedy that will maker your skin Shine again.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nzZzP4PsHX4&rel=0
"Fair and clear skin can be yours in no time if you use this face pack regularly."
Eating These Foods Can Help You Get Your Daily Dose of Vitamin D - Pulmonary Fibrosis News
April 08, 2017 06:44 AM
Vitamins are important to everyone. If you do not have enough there can be linked bone pain or muscle weakness. if you are not getting enough vitamin D there are a few ways you can get more. going outside will help you get the "sunshine vitamin". Men and woman need 600-400 IU a day from the sun. Salmon, Milk, Eggs, Orange Juice, Yogurt, Cod Liver Oil, Cheerios, Beef Liver, Tuna, and supplements can all helkp you reduce your chance of getting Pulmonary Fibrosis
Read more: Eating These Foods Can Help You Get Your Daily Dose of Vitamin D - Pulmonary Fibrosis News
These 6 Things Could Mean You Are Vitamin D Deficient
April 07, 2017 03:44 PM
There are many people who do not get enough Vitamin D all around the world. When you are looking to be extremely healthy, you should look out for six signs in regards to being deficient in your Vitamin D levels. There is debate that causes scientists to debate what is the ideal amount we amount a person may need to have provided in our bodies for the optimal health. Some reasons you may be deficient in vitamin D is weight, diet, exercise and sunlight.
"While previously thought to only impact bone development, researchers have now linked vitamin D deficiencies to a range of dangerous diseases."
Read more: http://www.thealternativedaily.com/signs-you-are-vitamin-d-deficient/
Argan Oil For Hair Growth | 10 Argan Oil Benefits For Skin And Hairs
March 02, 2017 10:19 AM
Argan oil is a popular, all-natural moisturizer for hair and skin. When applied directly to your skin, argan oil helps reduce inflammation and adds important nutrients that support a healthy, youthful look. There are many methods you can use to incorporate argan oil into your beauty routine to replenish damaged areas and promote healing.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0hFPEKLd88
"Argan oil is most commonly used as a skin moisturiser to hydrate and soften skin. With its high vitamin E and fatty acid content, argan oil is the ideal product to give skin a natural boost."
Apple cider vinegar can help regulate blood sugar, body fat and more
January 11, 2017 02:59 PM
When it comes to outrageous science hoaxes in general there are ten of the most outrageous science hoaxes that concern apple cider vinegar in general. These outrageous science hoaxes include that it balances the blood sugar and improves diabetes, prevents weight gain, improves digestive health, as well as a few other ones in general.
"(NaturalNews) Apple cider vinegar (ACV), the kitchen staple made from fermented apples, has a long history as a folk remedy for numerous conditions ranging from curing hiccups and alleviating cold symptoms to making your hair Shine, whitening your teeth, and freshening your breath."
Vitamin D and folic acid can help deal with depression
January 08, 2017 12:59 PM
Vitamin D and folic acid are two natural chemicals that affect neurotransmitter function, and low levels of either can contribute to depression. Vitamin D is normally produced by the skin when hit by sunlight, so can run short during the winter. Low iron levels can also affect brain function by limiting the blood's ability to supply the brain with oxygen. Fortunately, levels of all these substances can be boosted through nutrient-rich foods.
"Vitamin D is produced when the skin is exposed to the sun's ultraviolet rays. In regions where sunShine is limited in winter, more people tend to suffer from depression."
How Vitamins Help Keep Calcium in the Bones
Your arteries and heart work full time. They require nutrients that would assist and maintain blood vessels firm and flexible. If you are worried about stroke or blood pressure, you want to read about the important vitamins which can create a great difference. Vitamins A, D3, and K2 are the most important vitamins for the cardiovascular system. These fat soluble vitamins make sure the heart and the sixty thousand miles of blood vessels perform at the optimum. Still most of the people do not understand how essential it is to obtain sufficient of these three. These three vitamins function as partners to avoid dangerous blood clots, high blood pressure and heart attacks, maintain calcium in the bones, assist keep arteries strong and flexible and decrease inflammatory triggers in the bloodstream.
Calcium has some negative sides also. If not effectively used in the tissues and blood, it can accumulate in the body when we age, a method known as calcification. Few calcifications are not dangerous. Half of the female over 50 will reveal certain benign calcification in breast tissue at the time of mammogram. But this build up may be a sign of calcium accumulation in other parts of the body such as the heart and arteries. This makes arteries inflexible and stiff, resulting to higher risk of strokes, blood clots and heart attacks. The necessary thing to keep in mind is that the body does not avail nutrients such as calcium, separately. To ensure the body is availing calcium properly, you want to ensure you are also obtaining sufficiently of the vitamins which regulate calcium.
Vitamin K is available in two types, Vitamin K1 is responsible for making clots and avoiding extra bleeding if there is any wound. Vitamin K2 boosts proteins which assist transport calcium to the place where it is required. The lower you consume vitamin K2, the higher the danger of heart attack and heart disease. The sunShine vitamin is necessary to heart and bone health. But most of the people still do not receive sufficiently of it. Vitamin D is also utilized by several cells in the cardiovascular system like cells which line the blood vessels and heart muscle cells. Lower levels of this vitamin have been connected to a higher danger of dying from stroke or heart disease.
Vitamin D assist avoid calcium accumulation in the blood vessels. It raises the expression of the vitamin K based proteins that adjust calcium. Without these, calcium cannot be received by the bones, rather stores up in the artery walls and blood vessels. The right amount of vitamin D is needed to boost proteins. Researchers have proven that vitamin K and D function better when they are at good levels. Most of the people aware that vitamin A is vital for eyes. It also influences a variety of body processes like controlling different proteins that adjust the kinds of cells the body creates. This involves the cells which line blood vessels. This vitamin falls down when inflammation is seen, identifying its important part in fighting injury and disease.
Vitamin D: Health Benefits, Facts and Research
October 28, 2016 03:59 PM
Vitamin D is an extremely important vitamin that has a hand in many functions of the body. Luckily, it is also called the sunShine vitamin and can be added to your body simply by going outside. Some people, however, are still deficient and in these cases a supplement may be prescribed. This way a person can have healthy bones, regulate insulin levels, support their immune system and much more. There are health risks, but the possibility of them are low.
"Adequate vitamin D intake is important for the regulation of calcium and phosphorus absorption, maintenance of healthy bones and teeth, and is suggested to supply a protective effect against multiple diseases and conditions such as cancer, type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis."
Can Argan Oil Help My Skin Look Younger?
Argan oil has risen to become a very important component when it comes to skin care. The trick lies in its composition. Unlike other products in the same class, it has a very unique composition. This oil has sterols, polyphenols, carotenoids, natural antioxidants and not forgetting essential fatty acids.
Below are some of the skin problems that can be cured by Argan oil:
Sunburn refers to dry scaly skin condition as a result of being exposed to intense sunShine. Argan oil is high in vitamin E content which plays a very big role in curing this condition. It helps prevent sunburns due to its moisturizing ability. However, in cases where the sunburn has already occurred it can be used to treat the condition. Due to this particular quality; vitamin E has been linked to preventing skin cancer.
As people age, the skin tends to lose its elasticity quality and as such wrinkles begin to appear. However, this oil helps to prevent and/or cure this problem. It does this by rehydrating the skin, hence restoring the skin’s natural elasticity properties.
Psoriasis is a disease that affects the skin. Its main symptoms are appearance of red patches on the skin covered with scales. The compounds present in argan oil help alleviate the problem through nourishing it with essential nutrients. As a result it helps the skin retain moisture, effectively treating the condition.
Have you ever experienced rashes that arise due to after-shave? This condition is very common in men after shaving as well as women after shaving their legs and/or bikini lines. These bumps are very uncomfortable and unsightly. Argan oil has been proven to heal this condition.
Regular use of argan oil is not just for cosmetic purposes, but majorly for the general health of the skin. Its many unique natural compounds do not only preserve and soften the skin but also help in healing various skin conditions.
Why Shea Nut Oil Is The Best Solution For Hair And Skin
There are many moisturizing lotions in the market that can help you moisturize your skin. Many of these lotions are not natural and should be avoided. If you want to enhance the appearance of your skin and the Shine of your hair, using a natural oil such as shea nut oil is a solution you should consider. Shea nut oil allows you to get the nutrients from shea butter without the heaviness. Shea nut oil has many of the same benefits of the butter as it is useful in treating skin conditions such as dermatitis, eczema, and burns. Since the oil contains an abundance of oleic and stearic essential fatty acids, it provides many benefits for those who use it.
Shea nut oil is an extraordinary skin care product because of its richness in constituents. These constituents include unsaturated fats with a large proportion of essential fatty acids, Vitamin E and D, phytosterols, provitamin A and allantoin. All these constituents are natural and ultimately serve as a superfood for your skin and your hair. Among being a superfood for your skin and hair, it also works to repair fine lines and wrinkles, deeply moisturize and strengthen the skin, heal minor cuts and burns, heal muscle aches, and serve as a physical endurance enhancer.
Using shea nut oil works exceptionally well when treating a scalp condition such as dandruff or an itchy scalp. It can be used in a similar way as with other oils. It has the ability to soothe as well as moisturize. The shea nut oil is readily absorbed by the skin where it is then able to heal from within. If you are looking to enhance the Shine of your hair, you will only need a small amount to get major Shine and conditioning benefits.
Rather than using a moisturizing lotion to moisturize your skin, you should take the benefits of using shea nut oil into consideration. Due to the abundance of fatty acids and vitamins found in shea nut oil, it is an exceptional solution for getting great looking skin and hair.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF MORINGA
September 05, 2014 09:30 PM
What is Moringa
Moringa is a plant that is grown mostly in the tropics, and it is known for it's many health benefits. Different parts of the plant; bark, leaves and flowers have all been studied and found to be rich in medicinal and health value. Even though it traditionally originated from the Himalayan parts of India, Moringa is now used all over the world.
Health benefits of Moringa:
1. Prevents cancer and other diseases: It is rich in antioxidants that prevent formation and development of cancer cells. Taking a serving of Moringa daily can provide you with about 46 different types of antioxidants and vitamins that your body needs. The antioxidants are also beneficial in keeping your general body health and boost your immunity so that you are not vulnerable to be attacked by other diseases. People with compromised immunity, like HIV patients can effectively use Moringa to control opportunistic diseases.2. Improves the skin and hair: The many minerals and nutrients in the Moringa plant makes it a good ingredient for skin care products. People with skin conditions like acne, inflammation, and ring worms can benefit by topically applying Moringa oil from the pods to the skin. It also helps to increase hair growth, eliminate dandruff, and give hair a natural Shine. Some cosmetic companies are now relying on Moringa as their main ingredient in making beauty products because consumers say it works well.
3. Detoxifies the body: Moringa can be successfully used to detoxify the body without the risk of losing important nutrients. It also helps in speeding up metabolism and digestion. People who are struggling with weight loss can use it as a way to quick start their weight loss journey instead of using diet pills and other harmful products.4. Balances blood sugar: For people suffering from diabetes, consuming Moringa can help you control your insulin levels so that you do not have to entirely depend on injections every time.
5. Boosts energy: Due to the many nutrients Moringa has, it provides the energy needed for daily activities. If you are constantly feeling fatigued and stressed, taking Moringa will put you right back to your feet. People suffering from erectile dysfunction can also benefit from it as it helps in improving circulation of blood, even to the penile region6. Increases the amount of breast milk: This is good news for new mothers who want to exclusively breastfeed their babies without worrying about starving their babies due to insufficient milk production. Due to the fact that Moringa is a natural plant, you do not have to worry about the potential harm it could have on your new born baby.
7. Natural antibiotic: Moringa has antibacterial properties that help with controlling bacterial diseases. If you do not want to use conventional antibiotics, which come with a lot of health risks, then you can opt for Moringa.It is available in many forms, including: Moringa powder, oil, tea, and drinks. You should always ensure that you use it in one of its most natural forms so that you get maximum benefits.
How Hyaluronic Acid Benefits The Skin
May 20, 2014 09:19 AM
What is hyaluronic?
Hyaluronic corrosive is found in a great deal of hostile to maturing items. It helps your skin by enhancing the tone and composition. It is discovered characteristically in the body and serves to grease up specific territories.
Your skin produces hyaluronic corrosive regularly. This happens in the deeper layers and keeps the skin stout and smooth. As we get more seasoned, our body thinks that it is hard to hold dampness so the skin starts to lose its tone and suppleness. Without sufficient dampness, the skin is inclined to hang and as it loses flexibility, wrinkles and scarcely discernible differences show up.
Hyaluronic Acid's Function
This corrosive functions as against maturing element by helping your body to transform collagen. Collagen is an exceptionally imperative connective tissue found in the skin, which helps it to keep its structure. Surveys Hydroxatone has indicated that including this as a segment the skin gets back its sound Shine and energy.
Hyaluronic corrosive additionally helps the skin to repair itself from natural harm, for instance the climate or airborne poisons. Audits Hydroxatone has indicated that this cream works well in light of the fact that the Hyaluronic corrosive can infiltrate profound into the skin. Notwithstanding decreasing wrinkles, it has been indicated to support with skin aggravation and in lessening pimple inflamation scars.
Superior to Botox
There is other mainstream approaches to lessen wrinkles, for example, Botox or plastic surgery. Then again, the principle issue with these systems is, separated from being considerably more exorbitant; they are extremely equivocal on the body and can have awful reactions. Hyaluronic corrosive is not dangerous: it is even generated regularly by the body. It is much less expensive to utilize and has not been indicated to have any significant symptoms. Likewise, dissimilar to Botox infusions, creams holding this corrosive might be utilized anywhere on the face.
Hyaluronic corrosive can hydrate the skin successfully. Truth be told, it can hold 100 times its weight in water. One reason for wrinkles is skin dryness, so by holding more dampness in your skin, you can diminish the appearance of wrinkles as well as keep more from showing up.
Hyaluronic corrosive works successfully in against maturing. A substance discovered regularly in the body, it could infiltrate profound into the skin and serves to hold dampness. A cream holding this corrosive is a much more secure strategy than surgery and its belongings are longer enduring.
VITAMIN - D3:A reservoiur of benefits to sheenful life
January 03, 2014 05:29 PM
Vitamin D3 Sources
A handful of sunShine everyday is what our body requires to retain its sheen and keep our health problems at bay. Human skin when exposed to ultraviolet rays of the sun manufactures vitamin D-3 orcholecalciferol for its consumption. It is recommended that lighter skin individuals receive 10 to 15 minutes of sunlight daily. Darker individuals, on the other hand, should receive almost double the amount of sunlight, up to 25 to 30 minutes daily. Other best natural food source for vitamin- D3 is fish products, such as: cod liver oil, tuna, salmon and sardines.
Apart from the tablets or liquid vitamin D-3 supplements, fortified milk, breads, cereals and eggs are lesser vitamin D3 sources.
Lists of health benefits for Vitamin D-3:
November 14, 2013 09:18 PM
Vitamin D is a nutrient used to regulate phosphorous and calcium needed for formation and growth of strong bones. The body through a chemical reaction acquires this vitamin when one is exposed to direct sunlight for about five to fifteen minutes. This vitamin is rarely found in foods, and therefore, if you fail to get direct sunlight, you can supplements that are used to boost vitamin D levels. Therefore, if you stay indoors most of your time, you may lack this important nutrient and you are at risks of suffering from osteoporosis, hearth diseases, multiple sclerosis, and rickets due to vitamin D deficiency. In addition, vitamin D has been known to improve the body immune system and prevents autoimmune and cancer diseases.
What does Sun Can Do
Vitamin D3, also known as sunShine vitamin, is stored in the body when sunlight is exposed to the skin for about 15 minutes. Sun has Ultraviolet B (UVB) light, which when it strike the skin, a natural chemical reaction is initiated which converts cholesterol under the skin to yield vitamin D3. When exposure is done continuously for 6 days, the body can get enough of this vitamin for the next 49 sunlight-free days. However, you are warned against long periods of time sunlight exposure, as this has been known to cause skin cancer.
What are the Benefits on the Sun
As stated earlier, there are various benefits of this vitamin. The following are the major:
Since this vitamin is acquired at no cost, it is advisable to spare a few minutes of your busy daily schedule to get this valuable body vitamin that will improve your health and keep your body fit at all times. Thanks.
Can Melatonin Help Me Sleep?
December 20, 2012 12:22 PM
What is melatonin?
Melatonin can be described as a hormone generated in the pineal gland found in the brain. It controls the body circadian rhythms such as sleep-wake cycle. The levels of melatonin in the blood increase before you fall asleep due to darkness (Lack of sunShine).
Where to find melatonin
Melatonin occurs naturally in humans and plants. Natural melatonin quantity produced decrease with age. Older people produce very little quantities of it.
It is a synthetic medication that is produced in the laboratories. It is available in pill or liquid forms. The pills can be put in the cheek, underneath the tongue or swallowed. This permits direct absorption in the body. Melatonin supplements are available in health food shops.
It is also found in foods, in small quantities, such as milk, chicken meat, turkey, and peanuts but in small quantities.
Melatonin and sleep
Melatonin does not work for every kind of insomnia or sleeping disorders. Your body needs to be ready for sleep for melatonin to be effective. It is safe to use melatonin supplements in low doses long term.
Melatonin treats insomnia, autism in children, and as a sleep reliever after withdrawal from benzodiazepine drugs use. It is also very significant for changing sleep/wake patterns for people who work schedules changes regularly. It can also be used to calm individuals before anesthesia is administered for surgery purposes.
The body has an internal clock that regulates sleeping cycle and waking hours. The body clock regulates the amount of melatonin produced each day. Melatonin production is affected by light.
For effective treatment of cycle sleep, make sure you take the supplements at the appropriate time of the day (Night time).
Use the right method and dosage for it to be helpful.
Consuming the sleep supplement at the inappropriate time of the day can lead to biological clock reset. It is essential to understand the right quantity, time of taking and its effectiveness. Taking 1-10mg of melatonin every day restores the pace in people experiencing insomnia synchronizing them to duration of 1day.
Melatonin helps enhance sleep.
It enhances sleepiness feeling and can intensify the duration of sleep. This supplement has been applied successfully for improving sleep in healthy people and also decreasing jet lag feeling during travels. Remember to consult a physician if you are experiencing sleep issues. Give melatonin a try start with lower doses like 1 mg before bed time and gradually increase till it becomes effective.
November 17, 2012 10:35 AM
Vitamin D-3 has profound health benefits in our bodies.
It is necessary for maintaining bone density and the body's immunity against heart diseases, cancers, muscle wasting, osteoporosis, weakness, among other disorders. Like all the other types of vitamin D, Vitamin D-3 is a hormone which is produced naturally in our bodies. Very few foods contain this vitamin but the good thing is that it is readily available to the body via absorption of the rays of the sun.
Vitamin D-3 plays a crucial role in the development of the brain. Its deficiency in children may lead to autism. It also helps in the absorption of calcium which is needed for the development of bones. Children may also develop rickets which eventually cause bone deformities and results in weakening of the bones and muscles.
It also prevents per-eclampsia.
This is a condition that occurs during pregnancy and leads to production of protein in urine and high blood pressure, eventually leading to premature labor. Deficiency of Vitamin D-3 in the body poses numerous health risks. Since it is mainly manufactured in the skin directly from the sunlight, people living in areas with little sunlight are at an increased risk of suffering from the health problems that are caused by its deficiency.
People who stay in the northern climates are advised to take it through supplements in order to maintain their health. These supplements are available in health facilities and nutritional stores. The recommended intake of Vitamin D-3 is 1000 IU per day. This offers increased protection against mental illness, obesity, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.
This amount is easily produced by spending a few hours in the sunShine each week. Where sun exposure is not possible, vitamin D3 capsules will readily provide your body with these nutrients. These supplements are affordable and have no side effects to your body. They are necessary in order to ensure your body gets the required amount of Vitamin D3
July 16, 2012 08:39 AM
Caring for your hair can be quite tricky sometimes, especially if you happen to own a little longer strands than average. The joy of keeping hair is seeing it shinny, silky, strong, consistent and admirable luster that it comes with. However, archiving these properties is next to impossible if there happen to be one to two hair disorders or diseases interacting with your hair.
The commonest and perhaps most frustrating of the hair disorders is hair loss, whichever the cause, the results are nowhere near to pleasing. Other disorders and diseases that make our hair loss its admirable beauty and luster include; trichodystrophy, alopecia areata, Telogen effluvium, Androgenetic alopecia, Infectious folliculitis, Lichen planus, Lupus erythematosus, Ringworms just to name but a few.
You must have noted that a lot of hair shampoos, conditioners and “hair food” gels use a lot of herbal additives nowadays for improvinng hair health. Use of herbs is a natural way that can restore dry damaged or diseased hair and stimulate faster growth of stronger hair strands. You may apply hair herbal solutions directly to your hair and scalp or you may consume them for shiny and healthy hair depending on the formulation. Herbs can also go as far as treating dandruff, hair loss and restoring your luscious locks.
Are hair herbal products safe?
Herbs are a natural and safe way of treating and restoring hair health unlike their synthetic counterparts, this does not however mean that they are completely safe for everyone. Some people may have allergic reactions from use of some herbs so if you suspect any possibility of an allergic reaction you may want to perform a little test before using the herbs. You can apply a small amount on your wrist and check after two days to see if there is any reaction before proceeding to use the particular herb. Be sure to consult with your physician especially if you are pregnant.
Common herbs used to restore hair health
Rosemary: according to experts, rosemary helps fight dandruff, stimulate rapid and strong hair growth, and bring back luster to your hair. To get the above benefits from this herb, you can add rosemary in foods, or formulate rosemary water through socking the foliage in a cub of warm water for some times. You can then use the resulting water to rinse your hair.
Horsetail: this herb is an excellent source of silica. Silica is good at strengthening the hair from its core while restoring the Shine. Horsetail herb can be used through deriving a shampoo from its foliage. Add 2-3 table spoons of crashed horsetail leaves into ½ cup of hot water. The mixture is the added to baby shampoo. Use this to shampoo your hair regularly.
Aloe Vera: aloe Vera gel extract is known for its numerous medicinal properties such calming irritated skin in addition to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. When the gel is massaged into the scalp, it has the ability to restore the hair's PH balance while sealing in the hair moisture content and consequently acting as a perfect natural conditioner. Additionally, aloe Vera also stimulates hair growth and therefore used for Alopecia treatment.
Ginkgo Biloba: this is a well known herbal remedy for quite a number of health issues including improving blood circulation to the skin and brain. Due to this medicinal property, Ginkgo Biloba helps in delivering of extra nutrients to the hair follicles and promotes hair growth. It's therefore recommended by most health practitioners for hair loss treatment. Stinging nettle-this herb stops conversion of testosterone to DHT which is the major contributor of hair lose in men. Stinging nettle extracts and powders are available commercially and are most effective when used together with pygeum or palmetto. You can also make green tea from the dried and ground powder of its leaves.
Other similarly useful herbs for restoring your health include marigold, licorice, chamomile, parsley, birch and burdock.
Why California Poppy is a Great Pain Reliever
March 31, 2012 07:49 AM
What Makes California Poppy So Good For Pain?
If you reside in California, chances are good that you are familiar with the California Poppy. Named as the state flower in 1903, the yellow poppy fields surround the bays as a sign that springtime is here. The botanical name is Eschscholtzia californica and this orange cup-shaped flower grows wild as an annual perennial in California and other southwestern states from April through August. It did not take long for settlers to realize that natural beauty was not all that the California Poppy had to offer.
The entire plant, from root and stem to leaves and seeds has been found to provide varying displays of physical and psychological healing properties. Although placed in the sub-opiate Papaver family, the yellow California Poppy is in no way an active source of opium as is its cousin, the red poppy. While the red poppy works to depress the central nervous system, the yellow poppy provides analgestic and antispasmodic chemical reactions that work on nerve and muscle pain.
For years, raw California Poppy root has been used as an immediate form of relief for toothache pain. By chopping off a segment of the root and applying directly to the source of the gum pain, instant relief is felt. This rare phenomenon is believed to be credited to the variety of benzophenanthridine alkaloids produced in the root. Many medical compounds such as morphine and codeine have been paralleled to this natural ingredient for the pain alterning state that is delivered. It is believed that only 20% of all plants contain this form of alkaloid that is known to relieve pain.
A Tincture for Pain
There are many organic sites that offer a tincture made from the roots and leaves of the yellow poppy. Fresh herbs that are compressed into concentrated form are found to be more effective than those that are dried. The active ingredients are mixed with an alcohol based liquid and used in a liquid or placed under the tongue. A measured amount can alleviate pain from menstrual cramping or intestinal discomfort. Anxiety or stress related headaches are also treated with tincture that reportedly gives relief within minutes. A tincture made with California Poppy has a shelf life of five years when stored in a cool, dark area.
Raising California Poppy
California Poppy is a wonderful way to add a splash of color around the outside of your house and also reap the benefits of the medicinal properties. The bright orange flowers love the sunShine and will stretch to find. You will be able to keep a natural pain reliever on hand for making tincture, extract or tobacco. Smoking California Poppy gives a relaxing way to end a hard day and relieve pressure and pain from sore muscles. Acting as a sedative, you will find yourself drifting off into a blissful sleep. California Poppy can also be used for restless leg syndrome and many have experience luck in treating ADD and other neurological problems.
Ever since the days of the native Indiana, California Poppy has helped to relieve pain occuring from different sources and remains a great healer to this day.
November 25, 2008 09:35 AM
The lack of sunShine during winter may diminish vitamin D levels in the body and harm cardiovascular health, U.S. researchers say. Scientists at Loyola University in Chicago reviewed studies that linked vitamin D deficiency to heart disease. The studies said rates of severe heart disease or death may be 30 percent to 50 percent higher in sun-deprived heart disease patients. Diet alone is not sufficient to manage vitamin D levels, the researchers concluded. Treatment options, such as vitamin D2 or D3, may decrease the risk of severe heart disease or death. "Most physicians do not routinely test for vitamin D deficiency. However, most experts would agree that adults at risk for heart disease and others who experience fatigue, joint pain, or depression should have their vitamin D levels measured," the report stated. (Circulation, vol. 118, pp. 1476 1485)
Dandelion Root Tea
July 05, 2008 09:53 AM
Just about everybody knows what a dandelion is. In the western world it is a weed, but in many other societies it is an important herb that is used to treat many common diseases and conditions of the human body.
It is also a food, being used in salads and the roots are also used by some as a coffee substitute the same as chicory. It is also used to make a herbal tea, and most people have likely heard of dandelion tea. However, its medicinal properties are not so well known, even though it has been use for hundreds, if not thousands, of years for the treatment of many conditions including those associated with the gall bladder, liver and kidneys.
However, that is not all, and there are several more traditional uses of dandelion in the folk medicine of many different countries including conditions as diverse as water retention and eczema. So, taking all of this into consideration, what exactly are the main benefits of dandelion to the body and what is it that provides these benefits?
Dandelion contains its fair share of minerals and vitamins, and is rich in vitamin C of course, with its strong antioxidant properties. It also contains the antioxidant vitamin A together with several B vitamins and the sunShine vitamin, vitamin D, which is so important for the absorption of calcium by the kidneys and into the bone structure. The minerals it contains is like an encyclopedia entry of minerals important to the human body. It’s not so much what minerals dandelion contains, as what it doesn’t contain.
The list includes phosphorus, iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, silicon, manganese and boron, and the organic nutrients include lecithin, carotenoids, terpenoids, tannins, sterols, choline, inulin, aspargine and so on. It would take a whole book to describe the health benefits of each of these, but an attempt will be made later to discuss the more important of them.
Suffice it to say that the list contains antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and substances that help to reduce blood cholesterol levels and also maintain the health of your blood and major organs. However, the effect of dandelion on the liver and the digestive system are due largely to substances known collectively as taraxacin. That is what gives dandelion its bitter taste.
What was once known as taraxin, is now known to consist of sesquiterpene lactones known as eudesmanolide and germacranolide, which although claimed to be unique to the dandelion, are very similar to other sesquiterpenes found in chicory. In fact, dicaffeolquinic acid and chicoric acid (dicaffeoyltartaric acid) have been found to comprise a significant proportion of the extract from dandelion roots, together with a number of phenolic acids and flavanoids. Each of these, of course, is important and effective antioxidants, responsible for many positive health effects in the body.
Among the more important of these is the stimulation of the circulation of the blood throughout the body. The sesquiterpenes are also believed to support the activity of the pancreas, and the presence of so many strong antioxidant species within the leaves and roots of the dandelion explains the traditional use of dandelion for the treatment of inflammatory diseases.
Antioxidants support the immune system that causes inflammation when it is under stress. Studies of rats have indicated that dandelion is effective in reducing acute pancreatis, which is itself an inflammatory condition. The large querticin glycoside and flavanoid content of dandelion root extract posses anti-inflammatory properties, and suddenly dandelion is beginning to take on the appearance of a ‘wonder plant’.
However, let’s get away from the technical stuff for a while, and check out exactly what you can use dandelion for. Pregnant and post-menopausal women can gain the benefit of all these nutrients detailed above by taking dandelion extract, and it also has a diuretic effect. Although mild, this can help to remove excess water from the body, and helps to reduce blood pressure and the effects of heart problems. LDL cholesterol levels can be reduced by virtue of its anti-oxidant properties, and can help to resolve minor digestive complaints.
Traditionally it is claimed to have been used as a laxative and a cure for rheumatism. The latter can be explained by its antioxidant effects, and the way the sesquiterpenes reduce the inflammation associated with rheumatism. It is this inflammation of the tissues that causes so much of the swelling and pain of rheumatism and arthritis. Anti-inflammatories help to reduce this effect.
Dandelion is also believed to stimulate the flow of bile from the gall bladder to the duodenum, and help promote the digestion of fats and oils, thus alleviating many of the digestive problems associated with a fatty diet. This also appears to have the effect of stimulating the appetite, and dandelion juice is frequently drunk before a meal for these reasons. It is believed to help bladder and kidney stones, and also helps to alleviate infections of the urinary tract.
Although dandelion is normally safe to take, those with problems associated with the bile ducts should not take it, and if you are already on diuretic drugs, or any medicines designed to lower your blood pressure, you should stay clear of dandelion extract. The same is true if you are taking lithium for manic depression since some of the components of dandelion juice can exaggerate the side effects. It is also recommended that diabetics do not use dandelion extract, and neither should anyone on blood thinning drugs such as Coumadin, or any other form of warfarin.
Although dandelion can be a very effective natural remedy for many conditions, you should always refer to your physician before taking it, since it could interfere with any medications you are currently taking. Your doctor might also be aware of certain medical conditions you have that, while you are not being treated for, could deteriorate in the presence of one of the constituents of dandelion extract.
Although all of this could suggest that dandelion is dangerous to take, in fact what it indicates is that it is very effective against many conditions, and that taking it could lead to the effects of an overdose of the treatment you are already on. Had it not so many contra-indications, dandelion wouldn’t be as effective at doing what it does.
Msm Is Good For More Thank Just Joint Health
March 27, 2008 11:07 AM
When asked to think of essential minerals, sulfur is probably not the first item that comes to your mind. But organic forms of this element Shine brightly within every cell. No type of sulfur Shines more brightly than methylsulfonylmethane, which is commonly known as MSM. MSM helps to form a vital connective tissue component and is best known as a joint supplement. However, skin is made of the same basic stuff, a strong protein called collagen, so it isn’t surprising that MSM also provides cosmetic benefits.
Collagen, which is a mesh of protein fibers that supports all the other skin cells, is what actually holds the skin together. These fibers are extremely flexible, yet very tough, with collagen actually having a greater tensile strength than steel. There are different varieties of collagen: type I through type XII. One of the main reasons that a child’s skin is so soft and smooth is that it is filled with type III collagen, which is the kind found in fast-growing tissue. As the child ages, this type is replaced with the tougher type I collagen. However, as the skin continues to age, the amount of collagen in the body begins to decline, causing wrinkles, discoloration, and other signs of skin aging.
The protein that is found within collagen is actually loaded with sulfur, which explains why MSM has been shown to restore a softer look to those people who use it. Users of MSM report that hair grows faster and thicker with the use of MSM and nails are also stronger. Some practitioners even found that scleroderma, which is a condition marked by thick, hard skin, actually is improved by the use of MSM.
Joints also contain collagen and MSM delivers sulfur to these tissues, which is what made it a great supplement in the first place. Among people ages 40 to 76 with arthritic knees, MSM improved the symptoms of pain and physical function. MSM is even more effective when taken in conjunction with other joint aids including glucosamine and chondroitin. One study showed that glucosamine and MSM reduced pain and swelling more quickly when they were taken together than when taken separately.
MSM also seems to help ease pain by directly stopping pain signals as they travel along the nerves. This ability has led to its use in treating conditions like back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia, and tendonitis. Along with younger looking skin, MSM users have reported another use: reductions in allergy miseries. Scientists have discovered that MSM seems to block histamine, which is the chemical that is responsible for allergic reactions, from reaching tissues such as the mucous membranes lining the nose.
Results from studies have been promising, as seasonal allergy sufferers report significant symptom relief and increased energy levels. For pain relief, fewer allergy attacks, and softer smoother skin, MSM is the best choice to provide your body with a healthy boost of sulfur. More information about MSM and its abilities can be found at your local health food store.
B Complex to Restore the Adrenal Glands from Stress
February 07, 2008 05:18 PM
The B vitamins comprise a range of water soluble vitamins that frequently work together to impart a number of general benefits to your body’s health. In general they support and maintain the metabolic rate, maintain the function of the nervous system, support the immune system, maintain healthy skin and muscles and help to promote cell growth and division. They work together to suppress the causes and symptoms of cardiovascular disease and stress and they are dispersed throughout the whole of the body by means of the circulation system of the blood.
In very general terms they collectively ensure that the body is provided with energy from the metabolism of carbohydrates and glucose. They are also needed for the metabolism of fats and proteins, and also the maintenance and health of the nervous system in general.
There are many natural sources, including lentils, potatoes, liver, turkey, brewer’s yeast, and also, of course, dietary supplements.
Vitamin B Complex can help to restore the adrenal glands from stress, but to understand how it does so, it is first necessary to understand what these glands are, and the part that they can play in stress.
The adrenal glands are situated just above each kidney, and take the form of two small pieces of tissue in the shape of a pyramid that generate specific hormones and chemical messengers. You have likely heard of adrenaline, the hormone that make you respond to certain types of stress either through flight or by fighting: what is known as the fight or flight reaction. Well, in fact there are two of them, noredrenaline being the other. They are also known as epinephrine and norepinephrine respectively.
Both the adrenal glands are controlled by what is known as the HPA axis, short for the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis which is the stress center of the body. The adrenals are the main steroid-producing plants in the body, responsible not only for the adrenaline hormones, but also for cortisone and hydrocortisone, testosterone, estrogen, cholesterol, progesterone and a number of others. These are produced in the outer cortex of the adrenal glands, whereas adrenaline and noradrenaline are produced and secreted by the medulla.
Adrenaline and cortisol are responsible along with others for the balance of your body fluids, blood sugar and blood pressure and many of the other main metabolic functions of the body, and if the adrenaline is not working properly, it can disrupt the metabolism of your blood glucose into energy, giving you a weak run-down and listless feeling. This is not surprising since your energy is failing at the cellular level.
The main reason for adrenal fatigue is stress. Either emotional or physical stress or even poor nutrition can be responsible for reducing the functioning of the glands to such an extent that they no longer provide the steroid hormones in the proper balanced quantities needed to maintain the proper functioning of your metabolic processes. Unlike Addison’s disease, which a complete stoppage of the functioning of the adrenal glands, in Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome the glands still function, but at a reduced capacity and the various products they are responsible for generating are secreted in reduced and imbalanced quantities.
However, fatigue is not normally the first reaction of the body to stress. As normal stress levels increase the bodies response is generally to secrete higher levels of adrenaline, and the cortex produces extra cortisol and other hormones. As stress continues beyond the intermittent stage and becomes more constant, the adrenals produce a more sustained high level of hormones, that generally raise blood pressure and also increase the level of sugar in the blood in order allow a sustained increase in energy levels. Corticosteroids are produced to maintain this higher level reaction to stress.
Finally, when the adrenals can sustain this high level of activity no longer, adrenal fatigue sets in which is when the worst symptoms of the stress are evident: exhaustion, both physically and mentally, excessive fear, guilt and worry, and under-activity of the HPA axis leads to depression, hopelessness and severe illness, often due to a weakened immune system.
So where does the B vitamin complex come into this? Vitamin B complex includes niacin, thiamine, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, and vitamins B6 and B12. As already stated, the complex is useful in supporting many of the critical functions of the body from healthy bones to healthy blood cells, and nervous systems. It also helps to maintain your reproductive system and can be used in cases of nerve-related conditions such as sciatica and neurological conditions.
Pantothenic acid, vitamin B5, is particularly useful in dealing with stress in that it enhances the activity of the adrenal glands. It also increases your energy levels due to its effect on the Krebs Cycle through its action as a precursor of acetyl Coenzyme A and acetylcholine which is a primary neurotransmitter. This helps to reduce fatigue and the pain of headaches caused by excessive stress and consequent reduction in adrenal output. Pantothenic acid is also essential during the metabolism of proteins, fats and carbohydrates, and is important in the maintenance of healthy nerves, skin and glands.
In fact the whole of the vitamin B family work together to make sure that your whole nervous system and metabolism remain healthy. People with high stress jobs often take the vitamin B complex to help reduce that stress and also anger. Excessive stress and anger can lead to anxiety and overwork the adrenal glands, and B complex can help to restore these to their normal function.
If you are concerned about your adrenal health, you can have a simple test carried out on your saliva, blood or urine by a trained medical practitioner. Many doctors do not know to carry out this test since it is not a normal test as would be used to detect Addison’s Disease, or complete adrenal failure, but only adrenal fatigue, so ask specifically for an adrenal fatigue check.
A quick self-test is to Shine a light into an eye using a flashlight while looking in a mirror. They pupil should contract and return to normal after about 30 seconds. If it fails to do so, or even dilates, then that is a sign of adrenal fatigue. However, you must have it confirmed by a proper test.
All in all, a B complex supplement is a good way to restore adrenal glands from stress, and it also helps your nervous system in general, in addition to aiding the metabolic processes of your body. However, make sure that your symptoms are what you think they are by seeking professional medical advice.
The sunshine vitamin can impart an all-over healthy glow.
September 18, 2006 03:42 PM
When papers like the Los Angeles Times write articles with titles like “wonder Pill-really” about a seemingly ho-hum nutrient like vitamin D, attention must be paid. The attention is now forthcoming from researchers who are exploring this humble vitamin’s connection to an astonishingly wide spectrum of health issues. And these scientist are concerned that, dispite fortification of such common foods as milk, many people aren’t getting the D they need for optimal well-being.
Vitamin D generally recognized as calcium’s indispensable little helper, which makes it vital to maintaining bone health. But we now know that D’s benefits extend far beyond calcium control; it plays crucial roles in immunity, blood cell formation and hormone regulation.
Scientists believe that vitamin D helps cells differentiate, or mature into specialized roles each is meant to play. That’s important in cancer defense because malignant cells tend to be undifferentiated, primitive types given to reproducing uncontrollably. Cells, both malignant and healthy, have vitamin D receptors on their surface; when d binds to cancer cells, they stop growing.
This may help explain why men with low levels of vitamin D are particularly prone to dying of cancer and why higher rates of prostate cancer occur in climates where exposure to the sun-which powers D creation within the skin—is low. On a more positive note, investigators at the Moores UCSD Cancer Center of San Diego report that taking 1,000IU of vitamin D daily appears to drop the risk of developing breast, colon and ovarian cancer by up to 50% (American Assn for Cancer Research, Ninth Meeting). Other studies suggest that even after cancer develops, D may help hinder disease progression and enhance survival.
Vitamin D does a body good in a number of other ways. For example, the sunShine vitamin lights up both the immune system and production of insulin, the hormone that controls blood sugar. In one study women who took the amount of vitamin D generally found in multivitamins (400 IU) and had a 31% reduced fisk of dying from heart disease; in another, D from multivitamins dropped the risk of multiple sclerosis development by 40%. Supplements have also helped stroke victims avoid the muscular wasting that leaks to falls and fractures (Cerebrovascular Disease 7/05). Conversely, low D levels have been linked to poor lung function, unexplained muscle pain and increased obesity risk.
Currently, the federal government recommends daily vitamin D intakes of 200IU for people under age 51, 400IU for those 51 – 70 and 600 IU for ages 71 and up. But many prominent scientists believe those levels are two low, especially since so many folks avoid sun exposure to cut skin cancer risk. “I’m 99% sure that vitamin D deficiency is becoming more common,” Harvard nutrition expert Dr. Walter Willett told the LA Times (06/12/06). Deficiencies are more likely among dark-colored individuals (whose skins do not make D effectively), vegans (who avoid dairy) and people with disorders that reduce intestinal absorption, such as Crohn’s disease. Higher dosages should always be taken under practitioner’s watchful eye, especially if a medical condition already exists.
No matter what health hazard you’re trying to illuminate, don’t hesitate to bask in the sunShine vitamin’s warm radiance. –Lisa James.
Best Sugar Balance Svetol (green coffee extract)
May 05, 2006 06:30 PM
Best Sugar Balance featuring Svetol® Svetol® is an extract of green coffee obtained by the use of a traditional patented extraction process from the beans of the species Coffea canephora robusta Pierre. This species is particularly rich in the constituent known as chlorogenic acid. Svetol® green coffee extract contains less than 2% caffeine. The extract is standardized to contain between 45-50% chlorogenic acids.
In vitro (test tube) and in vivo research suggests that chlorogenic acids present in coffee may have the ability to regulate blood sugar concentrations after meals by acting on the intestinal absorption of glucose and improving the body's glucose tolerance. Clinical evidence also suggests that Svetol® green coffee extract may help to maintain a healthy blood sugar level when used as a part of the diet.*
Maintains healthy blood sugar levels when used as a part of the diet*
Chlorogenic acid is the major polyphenol compound found in Svetol® green coffee bean extract. In vitro and animal studies have been conducted to determine the potential actions of this polyphenol. Studies report that chlorogenic acid and related compounds have significant antioxidant potential and are responsible for the high reported antioxidant benefit of green coffee. Several studies suggest that consumption of coffee in the diet is one factor that is correlated to the maintenance of healthy neural function and healthy aging. Coffee has also been shown in vitro to suppress the production of various free radicals. The chlorogenic acid content of coffee has been determined to be a major factor in the free radical quenching properties of coffee. A study was conducted to assess the activity of coffee extracts against the production of hydroxyl radicals in an in vitro system. It was found that coffee extracts possessed significant suppressive activity against hydroxyl radicals. Of the compounds assumed to be responsible for this effect, the researchers concluded that the chlorogenic acids played a major role with some contributions from other compounds found in the extract. This compound may also strongly contribute to any potential neuroprotective effects seen with coffee consumption.1
Two further studies highlight a possible mechanism by which chlorogenic acid mediates its antioxidant activity. In one study, the FRAP (Ferric Reducing Antioxidant Power) assay was used to measure and compare the iron-reducing capacity of chlorogenic acid and caffeine. It was shown that the chlorogenic acid content of the samples tested was highly correlated with iron-reducing activity in this assay. Moreover, lighter roasted coffee samples (closer in nature to green coffee) had the highest iron-reducing activity. Caffeine did not influence the iron-reducing activity of the coffee samples.2 Iron compounds are known to mediate the production of radicals and often serve as catalysts for their production in the body. A second study shows that chlorogenic acid can bind to and Chelate certain iron compounds, preventing them from catalyzing radical-producing reactions. In this way, chlorogenic acid acts as a powerful antioxidant.3
Chlorogenic acid and related compounds have a dual effect on the production and suppression of free radicals. In the case of the hydroxyl radical, studies outlined previously suggest that chlorogenic acid suppresses the production of the radical due to its ability to chelate iron compounds, while other studies suggest that chlorogenic acid has direct scavenging effects on the hydroxyl radical.4 Dietary intake of this potent polyphenol may confer multiple benefits to human health.
Several studies further suggest that chlorogenic acid in coffee can have a beneficial effect on blood sugar levels when consumed as a part of the diet. A recent study assessed the effects of coffee and tea consumption on glucose tolerance in middle-aged Japanese men. In this study, the relationship between daily intakes of green tea or coffee and glucose tolerance status was measured by the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). More than 3,400 men participated in the study in which fasting glucose was measured before and 2 hours after administration of an oral glucose load. A self-administered questionnaire was used to establish daily levels of dietary coffee and green tea consumption over the past year. The results showed that those individuals who consumed the highest levels of coffee per day had lower fasting glucose levels (by 1.5%) and lower post-test glucose concentrations (4.3% lower) than those who did not consume coffee Chlorogenic acid and related compounds have a dual effect on the production and suppression of free radicals. In the case of the hydroxyl radical, studies outlined previously suggest that chlorogenic acid suppresses the production of the radical due to its ability to chelate iron compounds, while other studies suggest that chlorogenic acid has direct scavenging effects on the hydroxyl radical.4 Dietary intake of this potent polyphenol may confer multiple benefits to human health.
Several studies further suggest that chlorogenic acid in coffee can have a beneficial effect on blood sugar levels when consumed as a part of the diet. A recent study assessed the effects of coffee and tea consumption on glucose tolerance in middle-aged Japanese men. In this study, the relationship between daily intakes of green tea or coffee and glucose tolerance status was measured by the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT).
More than 3,400 men participated in the study in which fasting glucose was measured before and 2 hours after administration of an oral glucose load. A self-administered questionnaire was used to establish daily levels of dietary coffee and green tea consumption over the past year.
The results showed that those individuals who consumed the highest levels of coffee per day had lower fasting glucose levels (by 1.5%) and lower post-test glucose concentrations (4.3% lower) than those who did not consume coffee on a daily basis. In this study, green tea consumption was not associated with any benefits on glucose concentrations.5
It is likely that the chlorogenic acid found in coffee plays a role in supporting healthy glucose metabolism, whereas the role of caffeine is not clear, with some reports suggesting an adverse effect on sugar metabolism.
A second study further confirms an effect of chlorogenic acid at inhibiting the absorption of glucose from the diet. This effect occurs in the small intestine. In this study, nine healthy fasted volunteers consumed 25 grams of glucose in 400 ml of water (the control group), caffeinated coffee, or decaffeinated coffee. Frequent blood samples were taken over the next 3 hours. It was found that glucose and insulin concentrations were higher 30 minutes after the consumption of caffeinated coffee than with either decaffeinated coffee or control (water).While caffeine has specific biological effects on raising glucose levels and impacting insulin profiles, chlorogenic acid was shown to have an antagonistic effect on glucose transport. Previous studies have also shown that chlorogenic acid significantly delays glucose uptake from the small intestine.6
RESEARCH ON SVETOL®
Svetol® is a unique extract of Coffea canephora robusta green coffee beans containing between 45 and 50% chlorogenic acids with less than 2% total caffeine concentration. As outlined above, many studies highlight the potential benefits of coffee compounds, including chlorogenic acid, for providing protection against free radicals and promoting healthy glucose metabolism. A number of other potential benefits have been discovered for these compounds. Svetol® has also been the subject of preliminary clinical studies that have shown exciting results.
In a pilot study, the effect of Svetol® on sugar concentrations after meals was evaluated in 15 individuals. In the same trial, the longer-term effects of Svetol® on weight management were also evaluated. Blood sugar concentrations were measured on two separate occasions. Patients were administered an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) in which they consumed a standard amount of sugar and had their blood sugar levels measured 1 hour after sugar intake. The first measurement was made on day 1 prior to taking Svetol® and the second OGTT was performed on day 2, after beginning the Svetol® regimen in which one tablet (200 mg per tablet) was administered 3 times during the day. Patients were fasted for at least 8 hours prior to the testing. The results showed that Svetol® was able to reduce blood sugar concentrations in 60% of the subjects. The mean reduction of blood sugar concentration in these individuals was 50%. The treatment was continued following the same regimen for 6 weeks to assess the impact of Svetol® on weight. The average weight loss of the participants was 1.5 kg (3.3 lbs) over the treatment period. 7
Based on the studies mentioned above and other related research on the ingredients in Svetol®, scientists have proposed two mechanisms of action whereby Svetol® may influence the metabolism and processing of glucose. The first mechanism seems to be an inhibitory action on glucose absorption from the diet. Svetol® may affect the uptake of glucose in the small intestine by modulating factors needed for sugar absorption.
The second mechanism relates to possible effects of Svetol® in the liver's ability to produce glucose. Chlorogenic acids have been shown in vitro and in animal studies to modulate the effects of certain enzymes in the liver that catalyze the production of glucose. By having this dual effect on sugar absorption and sugar production, Svetol® is an effective product for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels when used as a part of the diet.*
Svetol® is a natural food extract from green coffee beans containing a standardized amount of chlorogenic acid. Studies have shown that chlorogenic acid (up to 500 mg/kg/day) given to pregnant rats from the 5th through 12th day of gestation caused no maternal or fetal mortality and no adverse effects on the nervous system. Chlorogenic acids have also been shown to be non-mutagenic in tests on bacteria such as the Ames test. The LD50 of chlorogenic acids has been determined to be higher than 2500 mg/kg body weight. Svetol® is also extremely low in caffeine, with less than 2% caffeine contained in the extract, and is not expected to have any of caffeine's stimulant effects. Svetol® is extremely safe with no adverse effects having been reported while taking Svetol® at the recommended dosage.7
*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
1) Daglia M, Racchi M, Papetti A, Lanni C, Govoni S,Gazzani G. In vitro and ex vivo antihydroxyl radical activity of green and roasted coffee. J Agric Food Chem.2004 Mar 24;52(6):1700-4.
2) Moreira DP, Monteiro MC, Ribeiro-Alves M, Donangelo CM, Trugo LC. Contribution of chlorogenic acids to the iron-reducing activity of coffee beverages. J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Mar 9;53(5):1399-402.
3) Kono Y, KaShine S,Yoneyama T, Sakamoto Y, Matsui Y, Shibata H. Iron chelation by chlorogenic acid as a natural antioxidant. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 1998 Jan;62(1):22-7.
4) Zang LY, Cosma G, Gardner H, Castranova V, Vallyathan V. Effect of chlorogenic acid on hydroxyl radical. Mol Cell Biochem. 2003 May;247(1-2):205-10.
5) Yamaji T, Mizoue T, Tabata S, Ogawa S, Yamaguchi K, Shimizu E, Mineshita M, Kono S. Coffee consumption and glucose tolerance status in middle-aged Japanese men.Diabetologia. 2004 Dec;47(12):2145-51. Epub 2004 Dec 15.
6) Johnston KL, Clifford MN, Morgan LM. Coffee acutely modifies gastrointestinal hormone secretion and glucose tolerance in humans: glycemic effects of chlorogenic acid and caffeine. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 Oct;78(4):728-33.
7) Berkem.Text on Svetol®.Gardonne, France: November 2005.
Holy Basil Trinity Blend Brings back the sunshine!
January 27, 2006 01:24 PM
Holy Basil Trinity Blend Brings back the sunShine!
In this fast-paced, on-the-go world, it’s easy to let stress darken our spirits. Holy Basil Trinity Blend is the FIRST of its kind to combine three unique, standardized extracts of Holy Basil to help you handle stress in a natural, healthy manner.* All Three Holy Basil plant extracts are grown without chemical fertilizers or pesticides, making this a truly stress-free formula.* Plus, the special Trinity Blend provides triple the potency of other competitive products – and it’s less expensive, which means big savings for you!
Holy Basil Trinity Blend:
* This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
FOURIER TRANSFORM INFRARED SPECTROSCOPY (FTIR)
December 27, 2005 09:10 AM
FOURIER TRANSFORM INFRARED SPECTROSCOPY (FTIR)
FTIR analysis passes a beam of infrared light through a sample. As the beam Shines on the sample substance, the sample absorbs the energy from the beam at certain frequencies. The frequencies at which the sample absorbs energy are charted, and the absorption spectrum is recorded. Analyzing this spectrum and/or comparing it to the spectrum of known standards can reveal the identity and purity of the sample. Poor FTIR results culminate in the rejection of poor lots of raw materials.
June 14, 2005 11:44 AM
Good Hydration by Lisa James Energy Times, June 17, 2004
Ah summertime, and the living is lovely: ocean fragrances wafting on a summer wind, the summer sun warming the body and relaxing the mind.
But all that sun and wind can dry your summer skin, making it uncomfortable and parched-looking. Moisture counteracts the discomforts that summer elements can bring, allowing your fresh, dewy look to Shine through. Knowing how to hydrate your skin is the key.
Skin consists of three layers, each with a different function:
Do you have dry skin? How well your skin holds moisture depends on the arrangement of cells within the stratum corneum. Fat contained in this layer, as well as natural moisturizing factor (made by the epidermis), also keeps skin moist. Unfortunately, as you age, the amount of natural moisturizing factor produced by your skin decreases.
Skin Care 101
Obviously, anything that affects the all-important epidermis can dry out your skin-sun and wind both rob skin of moisture. For starters, just say no to tobacco. Smoking tightens the skin's abundant blood vessels; this reduces the flow of oxygen and nutrients, creating dryness. Smoking also breaks down elastin, the protein that gives skin its flexibility. The next step is to add water from within. " It takes at least six to eight cups of pure water each day to keep the skin and body well hydrated," notes Jeanette Jacknin, MD, board-certified dermatologist and author of Smart Medicine for Your Skin (Avery/Penguin).
At the same time, be careful about how you bathe your skin. Bathing or showering for too long, or using water that's too hot, can actually cause your skin to lose moisture for two reasons. First, prolonged bathing washes away the oils that help lock moisture in; second, it encourages your skin's own moisture to evaporate after you dry yourself off.
Before you shower or bathe, Dr. Jacknin recommends using a dry, soft-bristled brush to increase skin circulation and gently remove dead cells. Brushing in small circles, gradually move up your legs and arms, always moving towards the heart. When you do get into the tub or shower, don't scrub your skin and don't use harsh cleaning agents. Instead, go for natural cleansers that feature such skin-friendly ingredients as glycerin.
Feed Your Inner Skin
As your body's largest organ, your skin depends on the nutrients in your diet. You have to feed your skin well if you expect it to stand up to wind and sun. " Eat fish, rolled oats and ground flaxseeds frequently," recommends Dr. Jacknin. "These foods are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which help the skin retain moisture." Include other healthy oils, such as safflower and olive oil, in your meals. Supplemental omega-3s, in the form of flaxseed or fish oils, can also help.
Various vitamins help make your skin happy and healthy. Skin growth and repair requires vitamin A, while natural vitamin E provides antioxidant protection and vitamin C promotes creation of collagen, which provides skin with its structure.
The B vitamins are essential to keeping dryness at bay; without them, the skin can crack, peel and redden. Choline, a member of the B family that helps with fat transportation within the body, is available as lecithin. Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is another skin-friendly nutrient. MSM provides sulfur, which the body needs to create healthy skin proteins. It also fights inflammation and encourages better blood flow.
Slake Your Skin's Thirst
A good moisturizer can help arid skin return to soft freshness. To get the most out of moisturizers, use them consistently, and start at a young age. " [M]ost people start to benefit from [moisturizers] in their twenties [when] their skin begins to dry with age," state Charles Inlander and Janet Worsley Norwood in Skin: Head-to-Toe Tips for Health and Beauty (Walker and Company). "Moisturizers boost skin health by preventing water loss from the skin."
The same antioxidant nutrients, such as vitamin C and natural vitamin E, you feed your skin from within also abound in natural moisturizers, as do an impressive variety of herbal essences and essential oils. Aloe vera, used to treat burns for centuries, helps ease inflammation, as does chamomile. Fresh-smelling lavender oil helps soothe insect bites and minor wounds. Jasmine and peppermint offset excessive oil production.
Moisturizers: Timing and Type
The ideal time to moisturize is right after a bath or shower, since that's when evaporation promotes water loss; for best results, apply while your skin is still slightly damp. But bathtime isn't the only time to consider your skin's moisture needs. Carry some moisturizer with you so you can use it every time you wash your hands, especially if you're prone to cracked cuticles and split fingertips.
Match your moisturizer to your skin type. If your skin tends to oiliness, use a water-based product; otherwise, an oil-based formulation -jojoba oil and shea butter are good choices-is fine. (Oily skin may first need a gentle astringent like lemon peel or cucumber to remove dirt and excess oil.)
Also pay careful attention to the type of moisturizer you use. Lotions are easy to apply, but may not stay on your skin as readily as creams, which may be a better choice for your face, feet and hands. By all means, enjoy the summer sun. Just make sure your skin enjoys the summer, too, by staying hydrated and happy.
SPA: Satisfying Personal Attention
June 14, 2005 10:32 AM
SPA: Satisfying Personal Attention by Sylvia Whitefeather Energy Times, October 12, 2004
Feeling stressed out? Looking for some time to relax and cool off, but just too busy to get away? Give yourself a spa treatment at home.
Creating your own home spa experience is easy and the benefits are many. With some common household items and a few essential oils, you can luxuriate in your own special spa experience while recharging and renewing mind, body and spirit. Indulge with a few close friends for a unique, shared experience.
Using concentrated plant oils derived from flowers and plants, aromatherapy offers an ancient healing art that has gained newfound respect in the modern world. Aroma chemicals transfer quickly into the body, and researchers are finding unique ways to employ this ancient technique, including medical applications.
Studies find that lemon balm or lavender oil reduces behavioral problems in older people with dementia (BMJ 2002; 325:1312-3). Rosemary has been found to improve memory and enhance mental functioning (Int J Neurosci 2003 Jan; 113(1):15-38).
Only a drop or two of an essential oil is needed to receive their unique healing benefits. (Always dilute essential oils; never use or apply them directly to your skin without watering them down.) Essential oils can help you relax, rejuvenate, improve your memory and increase your energy.
Some essential oils are reputed to reduce pain, kill bacteria, speed healing of injuries and help fight inflammation and infection (Natl Meeting, Amer Chem Soc, 8/02).
When you feel like you're ready to spa, take the phone off the hook, unplug the TV and set aside a special, unbothered time and day for your at-home spa experience. Next, turn your bathroom into your special place. Light fragrant candles, put on your favorite soft music and fill the tub.
When running the water you should select a water temperature that fits the effect you desire, according to Valerie Gennari Cooksley, RN, author of Healing Home Spa (Penguin). Water temperature that approximates your normal body temperature produces a sedative effect. On the other hand, hotter water-that which hovers around 100 degrees-induces sweating and helps cleanse and detoxify. In any case, limit your time in hot water to about 20 minutes. If you use cold water, only stay immersed for a few short minutes to rejuvenate and close the skin's pores.
Try adding about 10 drops of either lavender or ylang-ylang oil to a warm bath to aid in relaxation and to release tight muscles. Don't rush; soak for at least 20 minutes and let the fragrant water vaporize your cares. Dry off with a fluffy towel and wrap yourself in your favorite bathrobe.
Other bath enhancers you can add to your soak include oatmeal to soften the skin, seaweed for deep cleansing, Epsom salts to relieve aches, and baking soda to alkalize the body. Herbal sachets can be made by placing dried herbs in a muslin bag and dropping the bag into the water to release fragrances and healing chemicals.
The facial is a standard spa procedure. Hold your face over a steaming bowl of hot water that contains lemon juice or a few drops of lemon essential oil for about 15 minutes. Use a towel over your head to hold in the steam.
When your face is well moisturized, apply a facial mask. On dry skin, use either puréed, ripe avocado or a mask of honey and kelp. If your face is oily, apply either puréed, ripe bananas or a mask of peppermint oil and honey. If you are not sure of your skin type or have mixed skin, green clay can be used for a balanced facial. Green clay is rich in minerals while being antiseptic and healing, notes Valerie Ann Worwood, author of The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy (New World Library). With the addition of warm water, it creates an instant facial mask. (You can also use prepared facial masks; ask about them at your health food store.)
To apply the mask, begin at the forehead using upward strokes. Go easy around the eyes. Afterwards, put cucumber slices over your eyes and relax. Keep the mask on for about 15 minutes. Wash your face with warm water and then apply a moisturizer. Your skin should feel supple and look radiant.
Worwood recommends a few drops of rosemary oil and one tablespoon of baking soda in a basin of warm water to soothe your feet. Soaking your feet for about ten minutes softens the skin and nourishes the nails. After drying off, combine one-half cup sea salt with one-half cup of cooking oil, preferably olive, canola or sesame. Gently massage into each foot to stimulate reflex points and remove dead skin. Rinse and pat dry. Finish with a pedicure.
This salt scrub can be used on any part of the body to eliminate toxins, increase circulation, improve lymphatic movement and cleanse the pores. A popular European treatment, it is especially helpful for parts of the body that store water, such as the tummy and thighs. Rinse completely after the scrub and apply moisturizer to dry areas.
Since hands can age quickly, Worwood suggests using oils of rose, sandalwood and geranium for dry or neglected hands. You can also mix one-half cup of sugar with one-half cup cooking oil and a few drops of one of the above essential oils. Massage into each hand to moisturize and pamper your overworked hands. Rinse and apply your favorite lotion to seal in moisture. A gentle manicure adds the finishing touch.
Your special spa day wouldn't be complete without pampering your hair. Noted dermatologist David Bank, MD, suggests looking for shampoos that contain such gentle cleansers as avocado, borage oil, grapeseed oil, sunflower oil and wheat germ oil. Your shampoo should also contain moisturizing substances, such as aloe vera, to help give your locks Shine and bounce.
Check your hair's condition. Oily hair-that which feels greasy within a day of washing-responds best to frequent washing with minimal conditioning. A bad case of the frizzy tangles is a sign of dry hair, which needs a moisturizer-rich shampoo.
Revive From the Inside With Green Drinks
During your spa day, sip green drinks. Green drinks made from aquatic plants such as spirulina, seaweed and kelp contain needed minerals to nourish skin, hair and nails; these plants have been used for centuries to promote health and longevity. In addition to being high in minerals, they are also low in fat, high in fiber and rich in protein.
The marine vegetables found in green drinks help detoxify the body, support the lymphatic system, alkalize the blood and tissues, and support a healthy thyroid. Many natural food stores carry green drink powders that can be added to juice or water. Sipping on a green drink can enhance the cleansing action of your home spa treatment, balance blood sugar levels and maintain your energy level during the day.
Throughout your home spa experience, drinking spring water with a touch of lemon or lime can facilitate the elimination of toxins and keep you hydrated. Indulge in plenty of high-fiber fruits and vegetables, and avoid processed sugars and high-fat foods. Eating lightly allows your body to eliminate toxins from the inside out while you work on the outside.
As Valerie Cooksley says, "...sound health occurs when the mind, body and spirit are in perfect harmony and balance." A home spa experience takes you a step closer to that harmony.
Mane Attraction - lustrous Hair...
June 14, 2005 08:19 AM
Mane Attraction by Chrystle Fiedler Energy Times, February 12, 2004
Everyone wants thick, lustrous hair. Think of the allure attached to the locks of Samson and Lady Godiva and-fast-forward to the present-the full heads of Antonio Banderas and Julia Roberts.
" We're naturally attracted to hair as humans; it catches the light, it frames the face, we like the feel of it," says Catherine Jones, ND, LAc, a resident naturopathic physician at Bastyr Center for Natural Health in Seattle, Washington. "Fair or not, historically in many cultures, rich, thick hair has been a sign of fertility and strength."
Along with that allure, latching onto natural ways to have great-looking hair gives you the benefits of looks and health. Every hair starts with a shaft that grows from a root. "The root is contained deep within the hair follicle," says Dr. Jones. "Each one has a sebaceous or oil gland, which supplies the hair with necessary lubrication as it approaches the surface of the scalp." Each hair follicle has its own growth cycle, including a resting period, the telogen phase, when hair falls out. Because of these constant hair phases, each of us loses, on average, about 100 hairs a day.
" The number of hairs the average person loses in a day tends to increase in the fall as the leaves fall from the tree and tends to decrease in the spring as the bulbs emerge from the soil," Dr. Jones says. "We really are connected to nature." Stress-due to rapid weight loss, infection, anemia, prolonged illness, hormonal changes, hypoactive thyroid disease, autoimmune conditions, eczema or psoriasis-can influence hair growth and loss.
Hair consists of proteins, lipids (fats), carbohydrates and pigment (gray hair has reduced pigment; white, none at all). Each shaft's structure is divided into a medulla, a cortex and an outer cuticle. " The cuticle is coated with an outside lipid-like layer, which protects the hair," says Dr. Jones. "As the hair grows out of the follicle, the cortex and cuticle become keratinized and harden." Dry or damaged hair is more susceptible to breakage. "The condition of the cuticle affects how the light reflects off the hair, giving it highlights and luster," Dr. Jones says. "Luster is affected both by what occurs inside the body as the hair is developing and what happens to the hair after it has grown from the shaft."
Sun, heat, moisture, pollution and hair products, dyes and bleaches can all dull the hair. "Applying chemical solutions to the hair, color, permanent waves or curl relaxers, damage the protein molecules that wrap around the shaft, leaving hair brittle and dull," says Christina Pirello, author of Glow: A Prescription for Radiant Health and Beauty (HP Books).
Conditioners and oils can leave a residue or weigh hair down. Hair sprays and products that contain alcohol can dry and damage the hair, as can using blow dryers and curling irons.
To combat hair-raising havoc, feed your hair natural nutrients for health. Silica and plants that contain silica/silicon both strengthen hair and promote growth. "Silica is a good mineral for hair health," says Walter Siegordner, founder of The Aurora Group, a personal care company. "It helps in the keratinization process of the cells that produce hair."
" Silica is a mineral that is involved in the synthesis of bone and connective tissue," adds Dr. Jones. "The hair follicle contains connective tissue so silica may promote the health and function of the follicle itself." Silica-containing herbs include nettles (Urtica dioica), horsetail (Equisetum arvense), oatstraw (Avena sativa) and alfalfa (Medicago sativa).
Sea plants like seaweed and kelp also provide vital nutrients. "Sea plants are essential ingredients in many natural shampoos and can be used to fortify damaged hair," says Pirello. "They're rich in vitamin A that prevents the build-up of dead skin cells, which can clog the hair follicles, inhibiting the growth and health of the hair, and also contain vitamin B, linked to the prevention of oily hair, baldness and dandruff. Calcium found in sea plants is essential to the structure of the hair shaft."
Eaten on s daily basis, sea plants are rich in nutrients that help maintain healthy, shiny hair, free of split ends, Pirello says. Try wakame in soups and salads, kombu or kelp in bean and vegetable dishes, nori in sushi, and hiziki and arame as side dishes. Since hair health is affected by digestive health, the fiber found in whole grains also helps. "Fiber prevents accumulation in the intestines that can result in the formation of toxins," says Pirello.
Miso, she adds, is especially good hair food. It "is rich in living enzymes that ease digestion, fortify the quality of the blood nourishing the body and hair, and provide us with essential oils, vitamins and minerals."
Key nutritional support includes adequate protein and amino acids, essential fatty acids such as cold-pressed flax seed oil and fish oil, copper, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin D, biotin, iron and vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid). Zinc and selenium can help combat the effects of hyperthyroidism, which can result in thinning, lackluster hair.
Vitamin C can boost adrenal health. "When the adrenals are overtaxed and become fatigued, hair follicles will go into a resting phase," says Dr. Jones. (If you have a medical condition, she adds, check with your health care practitioner first before taking supplements.)
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, hair is associated with the kidneys' qi, energy that originates in these organs, and with blood quality. " From the traditional Chinese perspective, excess amounts of fat, protein, dairy, sugar, alcohol and salt in the diet acidify the body, damage the Kidney qi and are not good for the hair," says Dr. Jones. A diet rich in vegetables and grains is a great way to support healthy hair. "Iron and mineral-rich foods are considered blood builders and hair tonics. Foods such as blackstrap molasses, seaweed, nettles, and the herb polygonum multiflorum (also known as He Shou Wu and Fo-Ti) have been used throughout the years. Fo-Ti has also been used to prevent graying of the hair and support the immune system."
" Hair is extremely strong but at the same time it's extremely delicate," says Barsoum Bouchar, a cosmetologist and owner of the Virtuoso Salon in Birmingham, Michigan. "Many products work against the hair texture, so the cuticle is always raised. This causes tangles and split ends. With blow dryers, chemicals, colors and styling elements, the hair is tremendously abused." If you don't have to chemically treat the hair, he says, don't.
When replenishing the hair it's important to remember that it's composed of 97% protein and 3% moisture, says Bouchar. Shampoo cleanses the hair and removes buildup. "A moisturizer brings moisture back into the hair and smoothes the cuticle down, which is what makes hair shiny and gives it bounce. The one key ingredient in both shampoo and moisturizers is aloe vera. It heals the hair." " Avoid products with harsh surfactants like sodium laurel sulfate and propylene glycol," warns Siegordner. "These decrease the circulation in the scalp, reducing the pathway for nutrition to the hair bulb." Conditioners that aren't natural can also cause build-up. "When you apply heat to the hair through blow drying or styling, you end up 'burning' the hair," says Bouchar.
To stimulate hair growth, add a few drops of essential oils of rosemary, lavender and thyme to jojoba and almond oils, and rub into the scalp. Leave it overnight and then rinse it off. " Essential oils have antimicrobial and antifungal properties, stimulate the circulation to the hair follicles and combat dryness. They also smell good," says Dr. Jones.
For hair that's not chemically treated, "a vinegar rinse cleanses the hair, removes build-up and boosts Shine," says Bouchar. Use one part vinegar to ten parts water, apply after a shampoo, comb though and rinse it off. To naturally lighten the hair, use the same ratio in a lemon rinse for five minutes for, say, four days in a row, and then stop.
If you want to color your hair, choose natural elements, too. "The best natural dye is henna," says Bouchar. "It's organic, just like hair is." Blonde hair becomes warmer with a coppery tone, brunette hair takes on a mahogany hue, gray hair looks like highlights.
To find a good natural hair stylist, Bouchar suggests asking which products they use and why. If your hair is chemically treated, it's especially important to work with a stylist you trust for the best care.
Keep your eye on the big picture when it comes to hair health. "Be proactive and treat the body holistically," urges Dr. Jones. "Nourish the glands, the organs and the vessels that are responsible for getting the necessary nutrients to the hair follicle. Pay attention to the physical, emotional and mental aspects of health. Once hair is lost it may come back but it will likely be thinner than it was before. It's important to take care of what you have."
Ocean Treasures - For centuries, people have flocked to the sea....
June 13, 2005 10:11 AM
Ocean Treasures by Chrystle Fiedler Energy Times, January 3, 2004
For centuries, people have flocked to the sea to take advantage of its healing and restorative powers.
"The ocean is alive with energy and abundant sea life," says Susie Galvez, owner of Face Works Day Spa in Richmond, Virginia and author of Hello Beautiful (MQ Publications). "It's an abundant source. Sea products are rich in minerals like magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc, all of which are known for their deeply cleansing and antibiotic properties. When we think of the sea, we think of health, invigoration, the feeling of being alive and yet peacefully calm."
"To the ancient Greeks, the image of Aphrodite rising out of the sea was beautiful because of the nutrients that the sea plants had given her," says Linda Page, ND, in Healthy Healing (Healthy Healing Publications). Today, sea plants still provide beauty benefits. "They have a complete spectrum of chelated minerals, which makes them easier to absorb, that add lustre and Shine to your hair and eyes and improve skin texture and tone."
Thalassotherapy (seawater treatment) includes using salts, mud, foliage, sand and water from the sea to stimulate, hydrate and nourish the skin, making it smoother, firmer and more resilient.
"Using sea products in treatments is both restorative and detoxifying," says Galvez. "Now with modern technology, you don't have to live anywhere near the sea to take advantage of the wonderful health and wellness benefits. Your sea retreat source can be as close as your health food store."
Seaweed's Beauty Benefits
"Pollution, stress, fatigue and bad eating habits all affect the body," says Anne Mok, LaC, a certified Chinese herbalist and co-owner of Cornerstone Healing in Brooklyn, New York. This leads to vitamin and mineral deficiencies that can result in broken capillaries, loss of firmness, skin lesions, dry scaliness and more.
The good news, Mok says, is since seaweed is packed with easy-to-absorb proteins, vitamins, minerals and lipids, it can protect against environmental pollution and ward off aging by nourishing and moisturizing the skin. "The seawater in seaweed is similar to human plasma, so it's an ideal way to get the nutritive benefits from the sea, vitamins A, C and E, and the minerals zinc, selenium and magnesium we need through the process of osmosis. Seaweed cleanses, tones and soothes the skin and regenerates body tissues, offering a new vitality and helping to maintain a youthful appearance. It also improves circulation, which has a positive effect on local fatty overloads and helps maintain the tone of the tissue." No wonder seaweed is used to firm the skin and reduce the appearance of cellulite!
Seaweed captures all the richness from the sea. "There is no genetic manipulation, fertilizer or pesticides, just the sea, light and the tides," says Mok. "[S]eaweed is ten times richer in trace elements than land plants."
Beauty aids from the sea include:
* Kelp (laminaria), a large leafy brown algae, grows along cold climate coastlines and can bring a healthy glow to skin. "Kelp powder has exfoliating properties that make it a great addition to a facial mask," Galvez adds. "It increases blood circulation and stimulates lymph production to eliminate toxins. It's also a mineral-rich body scrub for removing surface impurities."
* Crushed algae is often used in seaweed masks.
* Carrageenan, a gel extracted from Irish sea moss, is commonly used as a cosmetic thickening agent. "It's a great moisturizer that holds nutrients and water in," says Mok.
* Bladderwrack (fucus), a brown seaweed, is often used in cellulite-reducing creams to eliminate excess fluid from the skin.
A Seaweed Beauty Routine
Incorporating the benefits of seaweed into your beauty routine is easy. You can "purchase dehydrated seaweed at a natural food store to make your bath a mini-ocean," says Janice Cox, author of Natural Beauty at Home (Henry Holt & Co). "Fill the tub to the point that you're covered when you lie down," says Dr. Page. "The idea is to make your body sweat, to open your pores, release toxins and take in the sea nutrient benefits by osmosis. Boost the effect with a few drops of aromatherapy bath oils like rosemary and lavender. It'll help hold the heat in and improve your cleansing program." Rinse off and "you'll feel your skin tighten, due to the high iodine content of the seaweed," says Cox. "Your skin should also feel softer and firmer."
Seaweed and algae body wraps are ideal ways to beautify the skin, rid your body of toxins and boost well-being and health. "It starts a program of detoxification very rapidly," says Dr. Page, who has also written Detoxification: All You Need to Know (Healthy Healing Publications). "It's amazing how it encourages weight loss and cellulite reduction." "Seaweed wraps are the most effective cellulite treatments," says Mok. "Seaweed and seaweed mud, especially, stimulate the cells to improve cellular activity and increase the efficiency of lymphatic fluid, which helps break down toxic deposits that can result in cellulite.
"It's excellent conditioning for the skin and leaves it soft and glowing," says Claudia Spagnolo, spa director for the DeFranco Spagnolo Salon and Day Spa in Great Neck, New York.
Revitalize With Sea Salts
Sea salts contain minerals-such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, sodium, iron, sulphur, phosphorus and chlorine-that have a delightfully rejuvenating and revitalizing effect on skin.
"Sea salts enhance the youthful healthy glow of the skin," says Spagnolo. "It creates a deep pore cleansing from shoulder to toe, removing rough, dry skin, helping to purify and slough off dead skin cells. It's great for an all-over exfoliation, and leaves the skin smooth and refreshed."
"Sea salt has wonderful drawing properties, promoting the removal of toxins from the skin," says Galvez, author of Ooh La La Effortless Beauty (MQ Publications). "It's high in mineral content and nourishes the body."
Sea salt also "guards against moisture loss, so it's ideal for dry skin and helps prevent aging," says Mok. In addition, it can be used to treat acne, eczema and psoriasis. Often done before a massage in spas, a "salt glow," which uses a vigorous scrub of coarse sea salts mixed with essential oils, rejuvenates and revitalizes the skin. Sea salt is also readily available at health food stores so you can do the same at home.
Mineral-rich Dead Sea salts pack a salinity of 32%. "When bathing with Dead Sea salt you don't even need to use soap because the minerals remove redundant fat and dirt," says Mok. Dead Sea minerals are often used in shampoos, conditioners and shower gels. "Galvez adds, "Dead Sea mud mineral and vitamin content is very close to that of humans, and therefore treatments using the mud penetrate deeply."
Ah! Home Spa
It's easy to turn your bathroom into an oasis of calm and create a private spa to call your own.
For a sea cure bath, mix together half a pound of sea salt and a pound of baking soda, add to a warm water bath and soak until the water has cooled, says Mok. "It's excellent for soothing itchy and dry skin and helps detoxify by pulling out toxic waste from the pores." Aromatherapy oils, like lavender, make your soak in the tub even more relaxing and luxurious. "It's a great way to de-stress after a long day at work."
A seaweed wrap can release water retention and leave legs looking their sleekest, notes Mok. "Just soak legs in a bath of warm water and Epsom salts for 5 minutes, then pat dry. Apply a seaweed mask and wrap legs with plastic wrap and a warm towel. Relax for 15 minutes. Remove towel and plastic wrap and rinse."
You can also try a sea salt rub by mixing two cups of kosher salt with one cup of olive oil until it forms a thick paste. (Be careful: the oil is slippery.) "While in the tub or shower, massage it into your skin using long strokes toward the heart, starting with your feet," says Galvez. Rinse off with warm water, use a soft washcloth to remove any residue, pat dry and apply moisturizer. "Your skin will be silky smooth and wonderfully hydrated." To create a spa environment at home, details make all the difference. "Think of your favorite beach get-a-way and go with an ocean theme," says Cox. "Include something for each of the senses." For example, put on a CD that has nature sounds. To capture the color of the water, use sea-colored towels. For scent, light candles that produce the scents of flowering plants (such as plumeria or citrus). Add "ocean" fragrance beads. When taking a bath, "use shells to scoop out sea salts or dehydrated sea weed and put them around the tub as decoration," says Cox. Smooth on a moisturizer with a sea-scented lotion when you finish your spa treatment.
When you make an at-home sea spa experience a regular part of your routine, you reap a bounty of beauty and health benefits. "In just 20 minutes you can have a mini-vacation," says Galvez. "It's cleansing and relaxing."
Then you will be ready to dive back into reality with renewed zest.
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.
The Science of Healthy Hair
June 10, 2005 03:44 PM
The Science of Healthy Hair
by Susan Weiner Energy Times, January 5, 2002
From the strength-giving mane of Sampson to the magically long locks of Rapunzel, hair has had the power to captivate since biblical times. Today, its lure is just as compelling and hair remains an important form of self-expression and self-image. A healthy head of hair is more than an asset to your appearance. A hairstyle can reflect a mood, an attitude or a personal style, while unkempt hair may reveal the status of one's emotional or physical health. Even a "good" hair day vs. a "bad" hair day can significantly determine how your frame of mind takes shape. We can't always control the frizz factor or the humid weather that makes our curls fall flat, but many natural approaches are available to allow us to put our best looking follicle forward. Whether your hair is sleek and stylish, long and slinky, spiky punk rock-hip or wash-and-wear, botanical-based products and proper nutrition can bring out the very best in your locks.
Don't Fool Mother Nature
No matter how often you cut, dye, perm or blow-dry your hair, Mother Nature, with the help of your DNA, has blessed you with a quite specific quality and quantity of hair. Styling may work to change the appearance of your hair, but nothing can change your genetics. Every hair on your body, from the soft down on your arms to the coarser, longer hairs on your head, grows from a cell-lined indentation called a follicle. The hair follicle consists of three cylinders; the central cylinder determines whether your hair is straight, wavy or curly. Each hair shaft alternately grows or goes into a dormant phase. "At any one time, approximately fifteen percent of the one hundred thousand or so hairs on the head are resting, while the rest are growing or lengthening," say Arthur Balin, MD, PhD, and Loretta Pratt Balin, MD (The Life of the Skin: What It Hides, What It Reveals, and How It Communicates, Bantam). Hair constantly comes and goes, falling out consistently even when it is healthy. Consequently, a normal head can shed up to one hundred resting-phase hairs a day. When hair is subjected to harsh chemicals and treatment, even more may fall out. If you're concerned with hair loss, gently pull on a small section of hair; if fewer than five hairs come out, hair loss is within normal range.
What's Your Type?
Normal hair is an elusive commodity in these stressed-out days of over-washed, over-dried and chemically treated hair. If your tresses look frizzy, tangle easily or generally lack moisture, they're probably dry. Dry hair lacks the proper oil content to maintain an ample sheen and is usually dull-looking. To gain back a natural Shine, cut back on shampooing and use a natural conditioner formulated for dry hair. Look for essential oils such as jojoba, evening primrose, blue chamomile, and white camellia, and B vitamins (such as panthenol) and aloe vera, suggests Aubrey Hampton, founder of Aubrey Organics. Drinking plenty of water, eating a diet that's not ultra-low in fats and using a humidifier may also help improve dull-looking dry hair, points out David E. Bank, MD (Beautiful Skin: Every Woman's Guide to Looking Her Best at Any Age, Adams Media). (Excessively dry hair may be a significant sign of metabolic disease. If you don't notice a marked improvement in your scalp after taking measures to improve dry hair, or your hair is abnormally dry, consult your health practitioner to see if stronger cures should be implemented.)
Too Much Oil
Hair that appears greasy within 24 hours after shampooing is oily. In that case, try gentle shampoos and herbal rinses with essential oils including quillaya bark, amino acids mixed with saponins, non-coloring henna and peppermint. For an oily scalp and dry ends, condition only the ends. Styling products should be oil-free. For thin or flyaway hair, products with natural thickening agents such as panthenol can help pump up the volume. Color treated and damaged hair can benefit from sulfur-containing amino acids; check your natural foods store for hair care products that contain horsetail, coltsfoot and cysteine. Tea tree oil products are effective when you are trying to control dandruff and a problem scalp.
If the label lists sodium lauryl sulfate, steer clear, warns Hampton. And, says Dr. Bank, sodium C-14-16 olefin sulfonate, a harsh chemical found in cheap shampoos, is the worst of the worst when it comes to offensive hair care ingredients. "You also need to watch out for sodium chloride-table salt-in the ingredient list. It's a cheap ingredient to thicken shampoo and strips the hair of oils."
Feed Your Head
To optimize Shine and fullness, improve your nutrition, says Bruce Miller, MD, author of The Nutrition Guarantee (Summit Publishing Group). "Good nutrition is as essential to healthy, attractive hair as it is to clear, glowing skin," notes Dr. Miller. "Your hair directly reflects your care and feeding of it." Your hair consists of about 97% protein, containing nineteen of the twenty-two amino acids that form protein, explains Dr. Miller. If you skimp on quality protein, your hair may reflect this amino acid imbalance by breaking, cracking and splitting. Hair follicles pass on the nutrients you consume, nourishing the new cells that form the growing hair shaft. As the hair gradually pushes upward, the shaft is continually lubricated by the busy sebaceous glands. For a smoother transition through the shaft and undamaged hair, lecithin provides a welcome dose of lubrication, as well as the important B vitamins choline and inositol, vital to healthy hair. In fact, the B vitamins are crucial to the growth of full bodied, healthy hair. The B complex strengthens, forms and smoothes the hair shafts, and helps maintain an even hair color, even warding off the beginning of gray hair. For thick and shiny hair, vitamin A works in conjunction with the B vitamins. Zinc can strengthen the hair shafts by thickening them. Thicker and stronger hair shafts increase your chances of holding on to your hair and suffering fewer lost hairs. When it comes to hair retention, genetics count. The more hair your parents retained, the greater your chance of keeping yours.
If you're interested in optimal hair health, think nutrition. Eating for the sake of your curls is a lot like eating for overall health: plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy grains and lean sources of protein, including tofu and other soy-based foodstuffs. To support healthy hair, some experts advocate foods high in biotin, including brown rice, brewer's yeast, bulgur, green peas, lentils, oats, soybeans, sunflower seeds and walnuts. The natural phytochemicals in green tea may aid hair, while ginkgo biloba improves circulation to the scalp. Don't forget your daily vitamins and be sure to take an iron and B12 supplement.
Herbs from China show great promise for helping hair. He Shou Wu, made from Polygoni multiflori (the eastern wild rose), is reputed by devotees to restore color, slow hair loss, and help hair grow back. In Chinese medicine, this botanical has been used as an adaptogen to boost overall health and longevity. Within the context of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), He Shou Wu is supposed to strengthen the liver and kidney meridians and support healthy blood. Many Asians use the herb to promote higher levels of qi, the TCM concept that encompasses your life's overall energy.
Show a Little Tenderness
Long-term exposure to sunlight and seawater can damage hair, as can combing or brushing wet hair. Treat your hair with kid gloves, use natural products that are gentle on hair, and avoid chemical treatments. If you're looking to lose weight, avoid crash diets; a sudden drop in nutrition can cause deficiencies and lead to hair damage and loss. Keeping a wonderful head of hair means staying ahead of the curve with proper nutrition, the right supplements and a continuous program of TLC. In that way, you can maintain the crowning head of hair you've always coveted.