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The Best Natural Over-the-Counter Sinus Remedies: Effective Solutions for Your Sinus Problems
April 30, 2022 11:04 AM
Sinus problems are a common occurrence during the winter months. Cold weather, dry air, and allergens can all contribute to sinus congestion and inflammation. If you are looking for an over-the-counter sinus remedy that will provide relief from your symptoms, you have come to the right place! In this blog post, we will discuss some of the most effective over-the-counter sinus remedies on the market. We will also provide tips on how to choose the right one for you. So don't suffer any longer - read on for information on the best over-the-counter sinus remedies available today!
What are the most common symptoms of sinus problems?
Sinus problems are very common, and the symptoms can vary depending on the severity of the issue. One of the most common symptoms is a feeling of congestion or fullness in the sinuses. This can be accompanied by pain and pressure in the forehead, cheeks, or around the eyes. Other common symptoms include a runny nose, cough, sore throat, and fatigue. In some cases,sinus problems can also lead to fever and difficulty breathing. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor so that you can get proper treatment.
What are the causes of sinus problems?
Sinus problems are a common and often frustrating issue, with a wide range of underlying causes. From environmental irritants like pollen and dust to infectious agents like bacteria and viruses, there are an almost limitless number of possible culprits behind sinus troubles. Additionally, certain foods, medications, or other habits can also affect the delicate balance of mucus in the sinuses. Ultimately, understanding the various factors that influence a person's susceptibility to sinus problems is the key to effectively managing these conditions. By identifying any triggers or risk factors one can minimize the impact of sinus issues on everyday life.
What are the best natural over-the-counter sinus remedies available today?
Sinusitis is a condition that affects the sinuses, the small, air-filled cavities located around the nose and eyes. It occurs when these cavities become inflamed, often due to a viral infection. Sinusitis can be extremely painful, causing congestion, headaches, and facial pain. While there are many over-the-counter medications available to treat sinusitis, some people prefer to use natural remedies. One popular natural remedy is steam inhalation. This involves inhaling steam from a pot of boiling water or from a humidifier. The steam can help to loosen mucus and reduce inflammation. Another popular option is saltwater irrigation, which involves using a neti pot or nasal sprayer to rinse the sinuses with warm saltwater. This can help to flush out irritants and ease congestion. Natural remedies are often safe and effective, making them a good option for treating sinusitis.
Luckily, there are a number of effective natural over-the-counter remedies that can help to alleviate symptoms like congestion and inflammation. For example, nettle leaf is a popular herb with a long history of use in naturopathic medicine. Rich in minerals and anti-inflammatory compounds, it can help to clear out toxins from the sinuses while also soothing swelling and reducing pain. Other possible remedies include quercetin, an antioxidant found in many fruits and vegetables that has been shown to have antihistamine effects, and anti-histamine formulas containing herbs or plant oils that naturally regulate histamine levels. Ultimately, the best remedy for your individual sinus issues will depend on your specific symptoms and preferences.
Nettle leaf to relieve sinus allergy symptoms.
As we have said, allergies are a common problem, affecting millions of people worldwide. They can cause a range of symptoms, from mild sniffling and sneezing to severe congestion and difficulty breathing. Many people rely on over-the-counter medications to alleviate their allergy symptoms, but these drugs can have undesirable side effects. Fortunately, there are natural alternatives that can be just as effective in relieving allergy symptoms. One such remedy is nettle leaf. Nettle leaf has been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments, including allergies. It works by inhibiting the release of histamine, which is one of the main compounds that triggers allergy symptoms. In addition, nettle leaf has anti-inflammatory properties that can help to reduce congestion and swelling. If you're looking for a natural way to relieve your allergy symptoms, nettle leaf may be worth trying.
Quercetin and allergies
Quercetin is a potent antioxidant that has been found to be effective in preventing and treating a variety of health conditions, including allergies. Many people are familiar with quercetin as an antihistamine, an effect that is due to its ability to inhibit the production of "histamines" in the body. Histamines are the chemicals responsible for triggering allergic reactions such as watery eyes, runny nose, itching, and sneezing. By blocking their production, quercetin can effectively reduce or even eliminate these symptoms. Furthermore, quercetin has also been found to strengthen lung function by reducing inflammation in the airways and protecting against oxidative damage. Overall, quercetin may be an ideal natural remedy for alleviating allergy symptoms.
Cayenne and Allergies
Cayenne is a popular spice that is prized for its pungent, spicy flavor. In addition to being used in cooking, however, cayenne has also been shown to be an effective remedy for certain allergies. Studies have found that the active ingredient in cayenne, capsaicin, can help to block inflammatory responses in the body and neutralize histamine, the chemical that triggers allergic reactions such as sneezing and watery eyes. As a result, regular consumption of cayenne may help to reduce allergic symptoms and improve overall quality of life for those affected by allergies. Whether through fresh peppers or cayenne powder or supplements, incorporating this powerful spice into your diet may be a great way to treat your seasonal allergies naturally.
Is there a supplement that combines them all? Yes, Solaray Sinus Source?
Yes, there is a supplement that combines all the key ingredients typically found in nature-based sinus cleansers and decongestants. This supplement is called Solaray Sinus Source, and it contains a combination of three active ingredients: nettle leaf, quercetin, and cayenne pepper. Each of these ingredients has been shown to provide natural relief from sinus problems, helping to reduce inflammation, congestion, and other unwanted symptoms. By combining these powerful botanicals into one convenient formula, Solaray Sinus Source provides a safe and effective way to support healthy sinuses. So if you're looking for a natural solution to your sinus Woes, look no further than this powerful blend!
5 Foods To Help You Fight Insomnia
April 25, 2019 04:48 PM
Insomnia, which is a chronic lack of sleep, achieved because the insomniac can't seem to enter a state of sleeping, or because the sufferer can't sustain the state once achieved, is a debilitating problem for many. While there exist pharmaceutical interventions for insomnia, there are also more natural ways to combat the problem, specifically food choices that may help. Tryptophan is the hormone that releases the relaxing chemical serotinin, that helps sleep arrive. Hummus has natural tryptophan. Kiwi has specific phtyochemicals and antioxidants that also promote sleep. Healthy carbs tend to make us sleep, which is why corn is a good sleep-promoter. Milk is another healthy carrier of tryptophan. Chewing on basil might help too as it eases mental woes and soothes troubled digestion.
"The sugar level in candies is capable of upsetting your blood sugar levels which leads to the interruption of your sleep. You might sleep well immediately after eating them but after some time, you will wake up irritable. Corn is a healthy carb you should incorporate in your diet."
Read more: https://www.longevitylive.com/live-healthier/5-foods-fight-insomnia/
Caraway Uses – What To Do With Caraway Plants
March 21, 2019 01:25 PM
Caraway — a relative of such culinary staples as cumin, fennel and dill — has a number of different applications in the kitchen and beyond. Caraway typically grows from Europe to parts of Western Asia, and is a biennial herb with a natural sweetness to it. Widely associated with rye bread, caraway seeds can be used to flavor a variety of pork, fish and vegetable dishes, including sauerkraut. The leaves and roots can be eaten as well, and the essential oil can be added to cosmetics.
"There are a plethora of caraway uses, primarily for use in cooking but also to cure medical woes."
Read more: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/herbs/caraway/what-to-do-with-caraway-plants.htm
These natural fixes can prevent heartburn
February 08, 2019 08:23 AM
It’s estimated that 46% of people suffer regularly from heartburn. The good news is that heartburn can be treated through many natural remedies. One way to address heartburn is to improve digestion. The most basic way to do this is to chew your food properly. Quite simply, take smaller bites and chew for what seems like a long time. Also, avoid food triggers such as spicy foods, onions, mint, and carbonated drinks, all of which contribute to acid reflux. Finally, weight loss and decreasing your intake of alcohol and caffeine can also help to ease your heartburn woes.
"To reduce the need for over-the-counter medications, here are some tips on how to get rid of heartburn once and for all."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-12-20-these-natural-fixes-remedy-a-heartburn.html
Can CBD Dog Treats Help Ease your Dog's Pain and Anxiety?
September 08, 2017 12:14 PM
All of our pets eventually age and with aging it comes pain and anxiety, there is a way though to help your pet alleviate these symptoms. Scientist have discovered that a CBD, a hemp based product, can ease symptoms of anxiety and joint pain in aging dogs. Dog treats made with CBD although derived from hemp, do not contain THC. Your dog can enjoy a delicious treat that helps with pain and anxiety without the side effects of getting high.
"Say goodbye to watching your dog suffer, and say hello to CBD!"
Read more: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/can-cbd-dog-treats-help-ease-your-dogs-pain-and-anxiety-300507682.html
Probiotic supplementation may ease constipation among elderly, new study suggests
August 27, 2017 12:14 PM
There is a new study that has suggested supplementation can ease constipation among elderly people. As a person gets older, constipation problems increase because microbiota and gut functioning changes a lot. This is a very important issue in the west because people are living a lot longer. Some researchers have looked at scientific evidence that took a look at the link between microorganisms that are beneficial for gut health. The research was done specifically with elder people.
"Different strains of probiotics induced beneficial effects in chronic constipation among the elderly, researchers from the University of Valencia found."
Read more: http://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Research/Among-elderly-probiotic-supplementation-may-ease-constipation-woes
Olive, With a Twist – The Leaves of the Olive Tree are as beneficial to our health as the
October 07, 2006 02:59 PM
Olive, With a Twist – The Leaves of the Olive Tree are as beneficial to our health as the famous oil.
Okay class, its time for a beneficial botanicals pop quiz. Raise your hands—how many people here know that olive oil is good for you? The whole room not surprising. Now, how many know that olive leaf is also good for you? There are not quite so many hands up this time. Let the lesson begin.
The olive tree occupies a prominent place in ancient history and no wonder: olives and the oil hey contain were (and are) dietary staples in the Mediterranean world. (The Greeks were so enamored of the olive tree that they ascribed its creation to the goddess Athena.) But the leaf of this venerable tree has also made historical appearances, generally as a folk remedy for bringing down fevers. The mechanism behind that action didn’t come to light until scientists were able to isolate a substance called oleuropein, responsible for both the bitter taste of uncured olives and the tree’s hardy nature and resistance to bugs and bacteria.
In the laboratory oleuropein extract has been as tough on many of the bacteria and viruses that plague human beings as it is on the olive tree’s natural enemies, a finding which helps explain why olive leaf has traditionally worked as well in fighting fevers (a sign of infection). Various types of rhinovirus (common cold), influenza and herpes virus have been numbered among oleuropein’s victims, along with the bacterial bad guys Escherichia coli (a strain of which can cause food poisoning) and staphylococcus aureus (the prime suspect in many hospital acquired infections).
Viruses are especially difficult to vanquish—antibiotics, as anyone suffering from the flu can tell you, don’t touch these tiny marauders. Olive leaf’s power lies in its ability to thwart viruses from replicating; now replication means no new viruses, which means no spread of infection. Olive extract can also incite immune system cells into gobbling up harmful micro-organisms.
In addition to thwarting microbes, olive leaf promotes better circulatory health. The white-coat crowd has discovered that oleuropein extract relaxes constricted arteries, which results in reduced blood pressure. And olive not only reduces blood sugar (glucose) levels but also serves as an antioxidant, a substance that can mop up harmful molecules known as free radicals. Given that oxidation plays a key role in the development of diabetic complications, both actions make olive leaf an intriguing option for people with diabetes. What’s more, oxidation also affects LDL cholesterol, turning it into the bad stuff that clogs arteries; olive leaf appears to interfere with this insidious process. This triple action-the ability to reduce blood pressure, glucose and LDL oxidation—may give olive leaf an important role in fighting metabolic syndrome, a cluster of health Woes that helps fuel the worlds epidemic of cardiovascular disease.
The latest news from the olive grove: what boosts your blood may also benefit your bones. French researchers, intrigued by the low occurrence of osteoporosis among people who consume olive-heavy Mediterranean diets, found that female rats who received oleuropein showed less inflammation-induced bone loss than those fed standard rat chow (Clinical Nutrition 2006 online).
Surprised to learn that the olive trees leaf is just as valuable as its fruits? It’s true-and olive leaf deserves to go straight to the head of the class. --Lisa James.
Scratching the Surface
September 19, 2006 09:12 AM
Persistent yeast infections may indicate a body out of balance.
Say the words “yeast infection” to the average woman and she’ll probably start to squirm. The burning, the itching we’ve all been there. Yeast’s miseries drive millions of desperate woman to seek relief each year.
Yeast infections (also known as yeast vaginitis) start when candida albicans, a naturally occurring fungus, starts growing excessively, producing itchy discomfort and a whitish discharge. Most every woman will endure a vaginal infection at least once during her lifetime, and many of these episodes will be caused by candida. (Bacteria or Trichomonas vaginalis may also be to blame; to be sure have the necessary testing done.)
When yeast strikes repeatedly you should look for an underlying cause. One of the biggest is the extended use of certain prescription drugs, particularly antibiotics, birth control pills or steroids. Another is the presence of undiagnosed diabetes. If you’ve been on meds, or have other diabetes symptoms such as excessive thirst or fatigue, see your practitioner.
A number of alternative health authorities—though by no means all-see recurring yeast vaginitis as part of a systemic candida infection, also called candidiasis. They believe it occurs when intestinal yeast over-growth causes the bowel wall to “leak” partially digested food and toxins into the blood, causing such symptoms as depression, digestive Woes, fatigue, irritability and rashes even weight gain. The solution lies in a diet that tightly restricts sugar and other carbohydrates. To learn more www.yeastconnection.com.
Ditching the itch
In addition to addressing the underlying causes of persistent yeast infection you should also tame the beast where it lives. Fortunately, there are safe, natural therapies that can make life a lot more comfortable. Tea tree oil, a natural antiseptic available in both liquid and suppository form, may help, and aloe Vera gel can provide welcome itch relief. To bolster the effects of these topical treatments, some herbalists suggest taking cinnamon or the rainforest herb pau d’arco in supplemental form. Garlic, known for its antifungal properties, is another time-tested option.
After disposing of the harmful critters, replace them with helpful organisms. Organic plain yogurt, both eaten and applied directly, is a good source of these beneficial bacteria, especially when you add acidophilus or other probiotic supplements. Cutting down on your sugar consumption is always a good idea no matter what, as is upping your fiber intake (Oat bran is a good source).
To help keep things cool and airy, a little wardrobe management may be in order. Avoid tight, synthetic fabrics (sorry, but those cute spandex pants have just got to go) in favor of looser garments made with natural fibers, especially white cotton underwear. If swimming’s your thing, don’t spend to much time sitting around in a damp suit—change into something dry as soon as possible.
If you have got an itch that won’t go away, don’t just scratch. Learning what’s really going on is the better way to experience sustained relief. –Lisa James.
Menopause: Disease or Condition?
June 13, 2005 03:44 PM
Menopause: Disease or Condition?
by Mary Ann Mayo & Joseph L. Mayo, MD Energy Times, September 4, 1999
It's front-page news. It's politically correct and socially acceptable. Talking about menopause is in. Suddenly it's cool to have hot flashes. Millions of women turning 50 in the next few years have catapulted the subject of menopause into high-definition prominence.
It's about time. Rarely discussed openly by women (what did your mother ever advise you?), meno-pause until recently was dismissed as "a shutting down experience characterized by hot flashes and the end of periods." Disparaging and depressing words like shrivel, atrophy, mood swings and melancholia peppered the scant scientific menopausal literature.
What a difference a few years and a very vocal, informed and assertive group of Baby Boomers make. Staggered by the burgeoning numbers of newly confrontational women who will not accept a scribbled prescription and a pat on the head as adequate treatment, health practitioners and researchers have been challenged to unravel, explain and deal with the challenges of menopause.
Not An Overnight Sensation
Menopause, researchers have discovered, is no simple, clear cut event in a woman's life. The "change of life" does not occur overnight. A woman's body may begin the transition toward menopause in her early 40s, even though her last period typically occurs around age 51. This evolutionary time before the final egg is released is called the perimenopause. Erratic monthly hormone levels produce unexpected and sometimes annoying sensations.
Even as their bodies adjust to lower levels of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, some women don't experience typical signs of menopause until after the final period. A fortunate one-third have few or no discomforts.
According to What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Premenopause (Warner Books) by John R. Lee, MD, Jesse Hanley, MD, and Virginia Hopkins, "The steroid hormones are intimately related to each other, each one being made from another or turned back into another depending on the needs of the body...But the hormones themselves are just part of the picture. It takes very specific combinations of vitamins, minerals and enzymes to cause the transformation of one hormone into another and then help the cell carry out the hormone's message. If you are deficient in one of the important hormone-transforming substances such as vitamin B6 or magnesium, for example, that too can throw your hormones out of balance. Thyroid and insulin problems, toxins, bad food and environmental factors, medication and liver function affect nutrient and hormone balance."
The most important reproductive hormones include:
Estrogen: the female hormone produced by the ovaries from puberty through menopause to regulate the menstrual cycle and prepare the uterus for pregnancy. Manufacture drops significantly during menopause. Estradiol is a chemically active and efficient form of estrogen that binds to many tissues including the uterus, breasts, ovaries, brain and heart through specific estrogen receptors that allow it to enter those cells, stimulating many chemical reactions. Estriol and estrone are additional forms of estrogen.
Progesterone: also produced by the ovaries, it causes tissues to grow and thicken, particularly during pregnancy, when it protects and nurtures the fetus. Secretion ceases during menopause.
Testosterone: Women produce about one-twentieth of what men do, but require it to support sex drive. About half of all women quit secreting testosterone during menopause.
Estrogen's Wide Reach
Since estrogen alone influences more than 400 actions on the body, chiefly stimulating cell growth, the effects of its fluctuations can be far-reaching and extremely varied: hot (and cold) flashes, erratic periods, dry skin (including the vaginal area), unpredictable moods, fuzzy thinking, forgetfulness, fatigue, low libido, insomnia and joint and muscle pain.
Young women may experience premature menopause, which can occur gradually, as a matter of course, or abruptly with hysterectomy (even when the ovaries remain) or as a result of chemotherapy. Under such conditions symptoms can be severe.
In the 1940s doctors reasoned that if most discomforts were caused by diminishing estrogen (its interactive role with progesterone and testosterone were underestimated), replacing it would provide relief. When unchecked estrogen use resulted in high rates of uterine cancer, physicians quickly began adding progesterone to their estrogen regimens and the problem appeared solved.
For the average woman, however, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) became suspect and controversial, especially when a link appeared between extended use of HRT (from five to 10 years) and an increase in breast and endometrial cancers (Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 37, 1997). The result: Women have drawn a line in the sand between themselves and their doctors.
Resolving The Impasse
Since hormone replacement reduces the risk of major maladies like heart disease, osteoporosis, Alzheimer's, colon cancer and diabetes that would otherwise significantly rise as reproductive hormone levels decrease, most doctors recommend hormone replacement shortly before or as soon as periods stop. Hormone replacement also alleviates the discomforts of menopause.
But only half of all women fill their HRT prescriptions and, of those who do, half quit within a year. Some are simply indifferent to their heightened medical risks. Some are indeed aware but remain unconvinced of the safety of HRT. Others complain of side effects such as bloating, headaches or drowsiness.
Women's resistance to wholesale HRT has challenged researchers to provide more secure protection from the diseases to which they become vulnerable during menopause, as well as its discomforts. If the conventional medical practitioners do not hear exactly what modern women want, the complementary medicine community does. Turning to centuries-old botanicals, they have validated and compounded them with new technology. Their effectiveness depends on various factors including the synergistic interaction of several herbs, specific preparation, the correct plant part and dosage, harvesting and manufacturing techniques.
Research demonstrates that plant hormones (phytoestrogens) protect against stronger potentially carcinogenic forms of estrogen while safely providing a hormone effect. Other herbs act more like tonics, zipping up the body's overall function.
Help From Herbs
Clinical trials and scientific processing techniques have resulted in plant-based supplements like soy and other botanicals that replicate the form and function of a woman's own estrogen.
The complementary community also can take credit for pushing the conventional medical community to look beyond estrogen to progesterone in postmenopausal health.
Natural soy or Mexican yam derived progesterone is formulated by pharmacologists in creams or gels that prevent estrogen-induced overgrowth of the uterine lining (a factor in uterine cancer), protect against heart disease and osteoporosis and reduce hot flashes (Fertility and Sterility 69, 1998: 96-101).
A quarter of the women who take the popularly prescribed synthetic progesterone report increased tension, fatigue and anxiety; natural versions have fewer side effects.
These "quasi-medicines," as Tori Hudson, a leading naturopathic doctor and professor at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine, Portland, Oregon, calls them, are considered "stronger than a botanical but weaker than a medicine." (Hudson is author of Gynecology and Naturopathic Medicine: A Treatment Manual.)
According to Hudson, the amount of estrogen and progesterone in these supplements is much less than medical hormone replacement but equally efficacious in relieving menopausal problems and protecting the heart and bones.
According to a study led by Harry K. Genant, PhD, of the University of California, San Francisco, "low-dose" plant estrogen derived from soy and yam, supplemented with calcium, prevents bone loss without such side effects as increased vaginal bleeding and endometrial hypoplasia, abnormal uterine cell growth that could be a precursor to endometrial cancer (Archives of Internal Medicine 157, 1997: 2609-2615).
These herbal products, including natural progesterone and estrogen in the form of the weaker estriol or estrone, may block the effect of the stronger and potentially DNA-damaging estradiol.
Soy in its myriad dietary and supplemental forms provides a rich source of isoflavones and phytosterols, both known to supply a mild estrogenic effect that can stimulate repair of the vaginal walls (Journal of the National Cancer Institute 83, 1991: 541-46).
To enhance vaginal moisture, try the herb cimicifuga racemosa, the extract of black cohosh that, in capsule form, builds up vaginal mucosa (Therapeuticum 1, 1987: 23-31). Traditional Chinese herbal formulas containing roots of rehmannia and dong quai have long been reputed to promote vaginal moisture.
Clinical research in Germany also confirms the usefulness of black cohosh in preventing hot flashes and sweating, as well as relieving nervousness, achiness and depressed moods caused by suppressed hormone levels. It works on the hypothalamus (the body's thermostat, appetite and blood pressure monitor), pituitary gland and estrogen receptors. Green tea is steeped with polyphenols, mainly flavonoids, that exert a massive antioxidant influence against allergens, viruses and carcinogens. The risks of estrogen-related cancers such as breast cancer are particularly lowered by these flavonoids, as these substances head directly to the breast's estrogen receptors. About three cups a day exert an impressive anti-inflammatory, antiallergenic, antiviral and anticarcinogenic effect.
Other phytoestrogen-rich botanicals, according to Susun Weed's Menopausal Years: The Wise Woman Way (Ash Tree Publishing), include motherwort and lactobacillus acidophilus to combat vaginal dryness; hops and nettles for sleep disturbances; witch hazel and shepherd's purse for heavy bleeding; motherwort and chasteberry for mood swings; dandelion and red clover for hot flashes.
Our Need For Supplements
Adding micronutrients at midlife to correct and counter a lifetime of poor diet and other habits is a step toward preventing the further development of the degenerative diseases to which we become vulnerable. At the very minimum, you should take:
a multivitamin/mineral supplement vitamin E calcium
Your multivitamin/mineral should contain vitamins A, B complex, C, D, E, calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper and zinc. Look for a wide variety of antioxidants that safeguard you from free radical damage, believed to promote heart disease and cancer, as well as contribute to the aging process.
Also on the list: mixed carotenoids such as lycopene, alpha carotene and vitamin C; and folic acid to help regulate cell division and support the health of gums, red blood cells, the gastrointestinal tract and the immune system.
Studies indicate a deficiency of folic acid (folate) in 30% of coronary heart disease, blood vessel disease and strokes; lack of folate is thought to be a serious risk factor for heart disease (OB.GYN News, July 15, 1997, page 28).
Extra vitamin E is believed to protect against breast cancer and bolster immune strength in people 65 and older (Journal of the American Medical Association 277, 1997: 1380-86). It helps relieve vaginal dryness, breast cysts and thyroid problems and, more recently, hit the headlines as an aid in reducing the effects of Alzheimer's and heart disease. It is suspected to reduce the thickening of the carotid arterial walls and may prevent the oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol, which contributes to the formation of plaque in arteries.
Selenium also has been identified as an assistant in halting cancer (JAMA 276, 1996: 1957-63).
The Omegas To The Rescue
Essential fatty acids found in cold water fish, flaxseed, primrose and borage oils and many nuts and seeds are essential for the body's production of prostaglandin, biochemicals which regulate hormone synthesis, and numerous physiological responses including muscle contraction, vascular dilation and the shedding of the uterine lining. They influence hormonal balance, reduce dryness and relieve hot flashes.
In addition, the lignans in whole flaxseed behave like estrogen and act aggressively against breast cancer, according to rat and human studies at the University of Toronto (Nutr Cancer 26, 1996: 159-65).
Research has demonstrated that these omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can reverse the cancer-causing effects of radiation and other carcinogens (Journal of the National Cancer Institute 74, 1985: 1145-50). Deficiencies may cause swelling, increased blood clotting, breast pain, hot flashes, uterine and menstrual cramps and constipation. Fatigue, lack of endurance dry skin and hair and frequent colds may signal EFA shortage. Plus, fatty fish oils, along with vitamin D and lactose, help absorption of calcium, so vital for maintaining bone mass.
In addition, studies show that the natural substance Coenzyme A may help menopausal women reduce cholesterol and increase fat utilization (Med Hyp 1995; 44, 403, 405). Some researchers belive Coenzyme A plays a major role in helping women deal with stress while strengthening immunity.
Can't shake those menopausal Woes? Menopause imposters may be imposing on you: The risk of thyroid disease, unrelenting stress, PMS, adrenal burnout, poor gastrointestinal health and hypoglycemia all increase at midlife. Menopause is a handy hook on which to hang every misery, ache and pain but it may only mimic the distress of other ailments. For this reason every midlife woman should have a good medical exam with appropriate tests to determine her baseline state of health. Only with proper analysis can you and your health practitioner hit on an accurate diagnosis and satisfying course of therapy.
And if menopause is truly the issue, you have plenty of company. No woman escapes it. No woman dies from it. It is not a disease but a reminder that one-third of life remains to be lived. Menopausal Baby Boomers can anticipate tapping into creative energy apart from procreation. If not new careers, new interests await. An altered internal balance empowers a menopausal woman to direct, perhaps for the first time, her experience of life. She has come of age-yet again. Gone is the confusion, uncertainty, or dictates of a hormone driven life: This time wisdom and experience direct her. There is no need to yearn for youth or cower at the conventional covenant of old age. Menopause is the clarion call to reframe, reevaluate and reclaim.
Mary Ann Mayo and Joseph L. Mayo, MD, are authors of The Menopause Manager (Revell) and executive editors of Health Opportunities for Women (HOW). Telephone number 877-547-5499 for more information.
June 13, 2005 01:18 PM
by Cal Orey Energy Times, August 2, 1999
Depression plagues the creative and the mundane. The disparate desperate driven to distress by depression include painters, poets, actors and musicians as well as truck drivers, clerks, electricians and physicists. The victim list encompasses Vincent van Gogh, Emily Dickinson, Audrey Hepburn, Virginia Woolf and Ludwig von Beethoven, as well as millions of other sharers of melancholy misery.
More than 17 million American men and women experience depression in one form or another every year, according to the National Mental Health Association (NMHA) in Alexandria, Virginia. This includes the deeply destructive major, or clinical, depression, the wide mood swings of bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness), and dysthymia, a milder, long-lasting form of emotional suffering.
Twice as Many Women In the depression scenario, women suffer twice as much: Two times as many women as men endure clinical depression, reports the NMHA. The mood-deteriorating effects of the hormonal disruptions women are heir to may be partly to blame.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), about one of 10 Americans wades through at least one depressive swamp sometime during his or her life.
The good news: Research shows that diet and lifestyle can lower your risk of depression.
Birth of the Blues
Nowadays, mounting evidence suggests that depression may result more from physiological factors than psychological Woes.
Some of the hidden reasons why you may be depressed include: nutritional deficiencies, exacerbated by overdosing on too much caffeine, sugar, alcohol and high fat foods; allergies; anxiety and chronic stress; and a chemical imbalance in the brain's gray matter. According to the NMHA, people with depression often possess too little or too large a quantity of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine. Changes in levels of these brain chemicals may cause, or contribute to, clinical depression.
The NMHA also reports that an imbalance of melatonin, a chemical made by the body's pineal gland (located at the base of the brain), contributes to a form of wintertime depression called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This hormone is made at increased levels in the dark. Therefore, the body may oversupply this hormone during winter's shortened daylight hours.
Since the B vitamins are often involved in the production of energy, and a large component of depression may encompass the inability to get out of bed and deal with the world, experts believe that at least some of the signs of depression are linked to B deficiencies. For instance, studies cited in the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima) by Michael Murray, ND and Joseph Pizzorno, ND, demonstrate that folate deficiency and lack of vitamin B12 can compromise mental health (Drugs 45, 1993: 623-36; Lancet 336, 1990: 392-5).
Inositol: This vitamin is also part of the B vitamin complex, and it, too, has shown its ability to lift spirits. Research work in Israel shows that daily inositol given to 28 depressed patients for four weeks produced an overall positive effect. (Eur Neuropsychopharmacol 7:2, May 1997: 147-55). Inositol is found in whole, unprocessed grains, citrus fruits (except lemons) and brewer's yeast.
NADH: Allan Magaziner, DO, in his book The Idiot's Complete Guide To Living Longer & Healthier (Alpha), reports that brain energizing NADH, a metabolite of vitamin B3, enhances the production of the key neurotransmitters dopamine, noradrenaline and serotonin. "In a recent clinical trial," he claims, "nearly all patients given NADH for depression reported improvement in their symptoms and the absence of side effects or adverse reactions."
Another substance winning the spotlight for its effect on mood is SAM-e: S-adenosylmethionine. In New York on February 24, a symposium coordinated by the American Health Foundation met to hear researchers present information from studies of SAM-e's ability to possibly ease depression.
"SAM-e is a natural product. You and I have it but as people age it declines in production in the body. And that's why we believe supplementation in older people is a beneficial means of bringing that back up and helping people that have depression," said the lead symposium researcher, John H. Weisburger, PhD, MD, Director Emeritus, American Health Foundation in Valhalla, New York.
Another researcher, Teodoro Bottiglieri, PhD, Associate Professor of Biomedical Studies and Neurology, Director of Neuropharmacology at Baylor University reported: "SAM-e has been shown to enhance brain dopamine and serotonin neurotransmitter metabolism and receptor function. It may also aid in the repair of myelin that surrounds nerve cells. These mechanisms are likely to be responsible for the antidepressant effect of SAM-e."
(Bottiglieri is co-author with Richard Brown, MD, and Carol Colman of Stop Depression Now, a report on the powers of SAM-e just published by G.P. Putnam's Sons.)
SAM-e was first touted as an antidepressant in Italy in 1973. It's been reported that nearly 40 clinical trials demonstrate its beneficial effects as a natural antidepressant.
For instance, an analysis of more than 1000 people suffering depression showed that the effect of antidepressants in patients taking SAM-e was 17% to 38% better than dummy preparations. Conventional antidepressants show a 20% effectiveness rate (Bressa G. Acta Neurol Scand S154, 1994: 7-14).
5-HTP: Another popular supplement to boost mood and relieve depression is hydroxytryptophan. "This medication is actually a brain chemical that is metabolized from tryptophan into serotonin," says Magaziner. And since low serotonin levels have been linked with depression, and certain prescribed medications may up serotonin levels, 5-HTP is in demand.
"One of the more impressive studies supporting the efficacy of 5-HTP for depression evaluated 100 people who had previously found conventional antidepressant therapy to be inadequate. Forty-three of these folks reported a complete recovery, and eight showed significant improvement," reports Magaziner. Not only has 5-HTP been shown to work slightly better than drugs known as SSRIs (these include Prozac), he adds, it has fewer side effects than standard antidepressants, too. DHEA: Medical experts also believe that levels of the hormone DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) may influence mood. Ray Sahelian, MD, in his book All About DHEA (Avery) reports an interesting study conducted by Dr. Owen Wolkowitz of the Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco. A group of six depressed middle-aged and elderly individuals who took DHEA found that within a month they had better memory and mood. (Biological Psychiatry 41, 1997: 311-18.) "In addition," adds Sahelian, "other studies have also found that DHEA increases energy levels and a sense of well being." But follow package directions: Some people complain of greater irritability and overstimulation with DHEA, when they take large amounts.
St. John's wort: still the most touted natural therapy for defeating depression. In Europe, 23 clinical studies, reviewed in the August 3, 1996 British Medical Journal, found that this herb, also known as Hypericum perforatum, can be helpful in alleviating cases of mild to moderate depression. The work, which included 757 patients, has shown that hypericum produced fewer side effects than conventional anti-depressants.
Although experts have never satisfactorily explained exactly how St. John's wort benefits the brain, some theorize that it boosts serotonin levels. And it can help SAD sufferers.
"In a recent study of 20 people with SAD, four weeks' worth of St. John's wort significantly alleviated feelings of depression. Those people who added full-spectrum lights to the treatment program gained an even greater benefit," notes Dr. Magaziner.
Valerian: Anxiety and stress, which can cause depression and insomnia, may be helped by this herb, says the prolific Dr. Sahelian in his book Kava: The Miracle Antianxiety Herb (St. Martin's). In 101 Medicinal Herbs (Interweave), Steven Foster reports that "Ten controlled clinical studies have been published on valerian...one of which suggests that valerian should be used for two to four weeks before daily mood and sleep patterns improve."
Amino Acid Help
Amino acids, the building blocks of protein, may also help improve mood. (For more on protein, see page 65.) These chemicals are used by the body to construct neurotransmitters, brain chemicals that facilitate mental activity.
For instance, the amino acid L-tyrosine is necessary for the formation of transmitters adrenaline and dopamine. This substance, therefore, is given to alleviate depression and anxiety.
The substance L-dopa which is given to victims of Parkinson's disease is concocted from tyrosine. And several antidepressants alleviate bad moods by boosting the interaction of brain chemicals related to tyrosine.
In addition, since tyrosine is used to make adrenaline, this amino acid may be helpful for folks trying to cope with the mood problems related to stress.
Another amino acid that experts believe useful for better moods, L-methionine, is used by the body to make choline, a crucial substance for brain function. (Choline goes into the formation of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter.)
Methionine has been given to people suffering from schizophrenia and depression as well as to those with Parkinson's. Methionine plays a number of crucial roles in the brain and body since it helps form other vital proteins.
For those concerned about preserving a positive mood, researchers are positive that smoking worsens depression. A study at the Department of Behavioral Services at the Henry Ford Health System in Michigan found that daily smokers run twice the risk for major depression compared to those who only smoked occasionally.
Unfortunately, the investigators found that not only did smoking seem to lead to depression, depression, in turn, led to more smoking (Archives of General Psychiatry, 2/99).
"Smokers who have depression tend to see their smoking become a daily habit and it may be because they use nicotine to medicate their depressed mood," reported Naomi Breslau, PhD, who headed the research. Over a five year period, the researchers looked at about a thousand young people aged 21 to 30. They found that daily smokers generally start smoking in adolescence, and those who report early depression are three times as likely to eventually become daily smokers.
If you're feeling down, don't give up hope. Although depression can prove to be a depressingly complicated malady, daily, healthy habits can offset its effects. Getting consistent exercise, dousing your cigarettes and turning to herbal and nutritional help to treat mild depression may defeat those blues.
The Flex Factor
June 11, 2005 05:18 PM
The Flex Factor by Thomas Dunville Energy Times, February 10, 2004
Arthritis, according to recent research, presents its sufferers with a Catch-22: The nagging pain of this condition can send your spirits plummeting. But, then, the depression spurred by the disconsolate persistence of arthritic pain can make the condition worse.
Part of the trick is not to give in. If you can keep a bright mood even as your joints start to ache, the pain may lessen.
While nobody can offer a guaranteed, 100% effective cure for arthritis, you don't have to be a passive victim. Exercise, the proper nutrients and a positive, can-do attitude can ease arthritis pain so effectively that scientists have been able to measure the difference. While medical researchers recognize the existence of over 100 types of arthritis, most people with achy joints suffer from osteoarthritis, which is caused by everyday wear and is found in just about everyone over age 60. When this condition occurs, the body's cushioning, its cartilage, thins and the inner surfaces of joints grind together painfully.
Although aging itself increases your chances of enduring achy joints, other factors can also put you in the way of osteoarthritis. If you carry too much weight, it can wear on your joints. In addition, suffering a joint injury when you're young can increase your risk of developing osteoarthritis as you age.
In another prevalent form of joint pain, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the body's immune system mistakenly attacks the membranes lining the joints, causing swelling and pain. About 2 million Americans suffer from RA, which affects women about twice as often as men.
Exercise Away Arthritic Woes
Weekend warriors, don't despair! Arthritis doesn't have to mean the end of your weekend athletic wars. Matter of fact, in many cases, experts now recommend exercise to reduce the effects of arthritis.
While that might sound counterintuitive, a study out of the Netherlands shows that folks in the early stages of rheumatoid arthritis who work out twice a week for about an hour each session may enjoy better physical and mental health than couch potatoes who receive physical therapy.
The Dutch study took 150 people, many of whom had just started to suffer from rheumatism, and enrolled them in RAPIT, an acronym for Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients in Training. Rather than letting these folks rest their inflamed joints, twice a week the research team took them to the gym where they did:
When the researchers compared the physical changes in these arthritis sufferers with 150 others with similar arthritis complaints who underwent physical therapy without organized physical activity, they found that after two years the exercisers had benefited greatly. They were stronger and more aerobically fit, could perform everyday tasks more effectively and possessed a better, more optimistic mental attitude (Arthritis and Rheumatism 2003; 48(9):2415-24).
However, the exercisers who were already suffering severe rheumatoid arthritis did experience some extra joint damage, so the researchers believe this kind of program is better for those in the early stages of the disease. " This study demonstrates that participation in long-term high-intensity exercise classes decreases the level of psychological distress in RA patients," says researcher Zuzana de Jong, MD, a professor at the Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands.
Fish Oil Lowers Arthritis Risk
Fish oil-in particular, cod liver oil-may be able to help ease osteoarthritis.
In looking at the effects of fish oil, researchers at Cardiff, Wales, discovered indications that "...the omega-3 fatty acids in cod liver oil can reduce cartilage degradation and inflammation in arthritic disease," according to Bruce Caterson, PhD, one of the scientists involved.
Dr. Caterson adds, "Our most recent work shows that by exposing human osteoarthritic cartilage to cod liver oil in the laboratory for just 24 hours we can turn off, or reverse, the action of the degradative enzymes and inflammatory factors affecting the tissue." John Harwood, PhD, another member of the Cardiff research team, adds, "This is where science and old wives' tales coincide. Our findings are consistent with advice that taking cod liver oil in early adulthood could prevent the onset of osteoarthritis and would reduce the harmful symptoms associated with the disease."
Dr. Caterson further explains that the omega-3 fatty acids in cod liver oil inhibit enzymes that break down aggrecan and collagen, substances that cushion joints. Consequently, cartilage stays healthier, inflammation is lessened and arthritic pain decreases. The anti-inflammatory action of omega-3s in fighting rheumatoid arthritis is also supported by studies performed in the US (Am J Clin Nutr 2000; 71(1 Suppl):349S-51S).
Other research shows that if you take natural vitamin E along with fish oil, you may improve even further your odds of relieving arthritis or lessening its effects (JACN 10/30/00).
Glucosamine, the stuff that cartilage is made from, has been shown to lower the risk of arthritis and possibly relieve its pain. This natural substance, made from a sugar and a molecule called an amine, is a building block of joint tissue. As a result, experts believe, when you take it in supplemental form, the body may use it to repair joints that have been damaged by arthritis. For instance, an investigation of osteoarthritis of the knee performed at the University of Liege in Belgium showed that taking glucosamine could stop joints from deteriorating.
The study, which involved more than 200 people suffering from osteoarthritis, found that in three years of taking glucosamine supplements, many arthritis sufferers found that their condition actually improved (Lancet 2001 Jan 27; 357).
Other Arthritis Fighters
Chondroitin sulfate is another material that goes into the making of cartilage. Chondroitin helps cartilage stay hydrated and permits the flow of nutrients through the joint tissues. In addition, researchers believe that chondroitin helps fight inflammation, which can otherwise cause pain and stiffness as well as joint destruction.
Taken together with glucosamine, chondroitin is believed to hasten the healing of bone and cartilage. Another substance that may help ease the ache of arthritis is methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), a naturally occurring sulfur-bearing compound. "MSM appears to have anti-inflammatory effects when administered orally, intravenously or topically," says MSM researcher Stanley Jacob, MD, FACS, of the Oregon Health & Science University. That means it has shown an ability to reduce the heat, pain and swelling associated with arthritic conditions. MSM may also be able to reduce muscle spasms around joints and reduce the formation of scar tissue.
Herbal medicine has long been used by folks with achy joints. The yellow spice turmeric (Curcuma longa), a staple of Indian cooking, is a traditional Indian remedy for arthritis because of its painkilling properties. Ginger (Zingiber officinale), another culinary favorite, restrains the production of inflammatory chemicals called cytokines. And willow bark (Salix sp), the source of aspirin, is longer-acting and doesn't irritate the stomach lining.
Those who suffer arthritis know that its pain and discomfort are often no laughing matter. But if you don't take arthritis lying down and manage to keep a smile on your face-and avail yourself of nature's remedies-you can get the upper hand on this often debilitating condition.