The following are some important tips to consider if you currently are experiencing or do experience digestive problems.
1. Chew your food.
A wise man once said, “your stomach doesn't have teeth” and that's one of the reasons we must thoroughly chew our food.
An integral part of the digestive process starts in our mouths.
Chewing, alongside the digestive enzymes in our saliva, starts the process of breaking down food so that the stomach acid and other enzymes released further down the gastrointestinal tract are better able to function.
Not chewing your food leads to symptoms of indigestion and decreases nutrient absorption.
2. Stop multi-tasking.
Our brain and our gut are connected.
When our brain is focused on tasks other than eating (replying to emails, driving, Instagram, ect.) our body is not is an ideal position to digest food.
Not to mention we often we faster and larger quantities when we are multi-tasking.
3. Slow down and relax.
To build of the last point, when you stop multi-tasking and slow down before you eat you allow the body to settle into its “parasympathetic” nervous system, also know as our “rest and digest” nervous system.
When we are on-the-go, working or multi-tasking our “sympathetic” nervous system is predominant.
When we are in this state, we are primed to be on alert, with blood flow moving towards our brain and periphery- away from on digestive tract.
Taking a few deep breaths and relaxing while you eat (eating with others helps) you will digest your meal better.
4. Avoid excess liquids around meals.
A common misconception regarding diet is that we should drink a lot of water with our meals.
This is problematic as excess liquid intake around meals will actually dilute our gastric juices- like stomach acid and other digestive enzymes- making it harder to break down food.
It is best to avoid drinking large quantities of water or other liquids 30 minutes before and after meals.
Sipping beverages with your meal will not cause an issues.
5. Eat when you are hungry.
Often people are eating for other reasons than hunger.
People eat because it is lunchtime- even though they may have ate a late breakfast.
People eat because they are tired, stressed, bored or sad.
Making sure you are actually hungry when you eat will improve digestion as your body is primed to receive food.
You'll notice when you are hungry and you see your food and can sense you saliva production begin to increase.
At this point, you should implement the above 4 points and have significantly improved digestion.
If you're curious to learn more about this subject or would like to consult with one of our NDs feel free to book a visit or contact us.
On the theme of cold and flu season, as a Toronto ND I thought it would be appropriate to talk about one of the most commonly used botanical remedies for viral and bacterial infections - Echinacea spp.
Echinacea is also one of the most researched herbs in the world, with much of the research centered around its effects on boosting immune health and killing off pathogens, which is why it's such a valuable herb during this season.
There are different types of Echinacea, with three species being the most commonly sold as medicine: Echinacea purpurea, Echinacea angustifolia, and Echinacea palladium.
Most of the research that supports the medicinal value of Echinacea is mainly centered around Echinacea angustifolia and Echinacea purpurea, and should be the type of Echinacea you should choose which looking for a good brand.
For the rest of the article, I will refer to Echinacea angustifolia and Echinacea purpurea when outlining the medicinal value of Echinacea spp.
Echinacea, also known by its descriptive name, Purple Cone Flower, is part of the Asteraceae (Composite) family, and Native to North America, mainly growing in the Western prairie states, such as Illinois, Nebraska, Missouri and Texas.1
The plant grows to about 2-3 feet high, blooms from June to August and reveals purple and rose petals.
Echinacea is a relatively new plant to botanical medicine, as it is rarely mentioned in texts older than 1850.
From there, the antibiotic/antiviral properties of Echinacea were described in medicinal writings as a “blood-purifying”, being used for conditions such as ulcerated sore throats, internal abscesses, malarial fevers, cholera, and insect/reptile bites.1
These findings have paved the way for abundance of research supporting the effects of Echinacea in the treatment of infections.
Native American medicine mainly used this plant for topical infections, such as wounds, burns and insect bites.2
Root (some preparations use aerial parts as well)
How does Echinacea protect your body from viral and bacterial infections
The medicinal properties of Echinacea reveal that it has the best effect when used to PREVENT infection, and at the FIRST SIGNS of infection.
Echinacea directly repairs damaged tissue caused by the infection.
When a pathogen first infects a mucous membrane, such as the back of the throat, it will activate an enzyme called hyaluronidase, which breaks down our protective tissue and mucus, allowing the virus to enter the tissue and cause inflammation (and therefore pain).
Echinacea can prevent this process through inhibiting the hyaluronidase activity and by reinforcing the connective tissue, and preventing the pathogen to infiltrate the tissue infect.2,3
Echinacea boosts the immune system and reduces inflammation.3,4,5
One of the immune-stimulating mechanisms involve activating our macrophages, which are important for killing off pathogens and removing them and other cellular debris from the area.3,4,6
This process aids in reducing inflammation, preventing the spread of infection, and improving healing time.
Echinacea appears to enhance the innate immune system (our first line of defence) as well as reducing biochemicals produced by our bodies that stimulate inflammation, such as TNF-α, COX-1 and COX-2.6
Biochemicals in Echinacea responsible for these effects include alkamides and caffeic acid, and long sugars called polysacchrides.5,6
Does Echinacea Work?
In 2014, a Cochrane Review was published claiming that Echinacea did not appear to be effective in treating the common cold, and may have potential benefit in preventing the cold.7
While this may not be an encouraging statement on the value of Echinacea, the results from this study are more-so based on the lack available studies, rather than the inefficiency of the herb itself.
There is a plethora of pharmacological evidence that shows Echinacea boosting immune activity and exhibit anti-pathogenic qualities, but we don't seem to have enough well-designed clinical studies to prove its benefit - YET.
Bottom line is that we need more studies that prove Echinacea works.
Many physicians see Echinacea work in clinical practice.
Anecdotal evidence finds the dosing and timing of Echinacea is an important factor on whether it will work.
Based in its pharmacological profile, it makes sense to dose Echinacea at first signs of a cold, preventing the virus to spread.
Once a virus infects your body systemically, it's unlikely that anything at this point will prevent you from feeling sick.
At this point, the anti-inflammatory and immuno-stimulating effects of Echinacea can help by reducing the severity of the infection and preventing the worsening of the condition, such as being infected by a secondary pathogen (like other viruses and bacteria) causing conditions such as pneumonia.
Don't expect anything to “get rid” of the cold once you're sick - your body has to go through the process of ridding the body of the infection, which is the only way to recover, and Echinacea can help your body do exactly this.
Echinacea has been confirmed to be a safe herbal medicine in with minimal side effects and adverse event profile, which no toxicological concerns when ingested for up to 6 months.8,9,10
Echinacea used in children for cough and cold is generally well-tolerated, but can increase the risk of rash in children with atopic disease such as allergies and eczema and therefore should be used with caution.10 Children should only be given Echinacea on the advice from a qualified doctor who has strong training in herbal medicine.
Echinacea has also been found to be safe to use in pregnancy, with no increase in malformations and adverse effects in pregnancy, such as preterm birth, low birth weight,.10,11,12 However it's best recommended to limit use to only when one is actively sick, or about to get sick while pregnant, and to be recommended by a qualified doctor trained in herbal medicine.10,12
Those who have a Asteraceae family allergy should stay away from Echinacea, and long-term use of Echinacea is not recommended for those with autoimmune disease.
When Echinacea works, not only does it prevent duration and severity of cold, it reduces the need to use other medications riddled with adverse effects and a worse toxicity profile such as acetominophen, antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs.
Not to mention that these pharmaceuticals do not enhance immune anti-viral activity like Echincea has been proven to do.
With the help of a qualified doctor experienced in herbal medicine, Echinacea can be a valuable tool in your cold-prevention and treatment kit.
If you're curious to learn more about this subject or would like to consult with one of our NDs feel free to book a visit or contact us.
King, J. King's American Dispensatory. Ohio Valley Company, 1898
Tragni al. Evidence from two classic irritation tests for an anti-inflammatory action of a natural extract, Echinacina B.Food Chem Toxicol. 1985 Feb;23(2):317-9.
Medical Herbalism: hoffman
Tubaro et. al. Anti-inflammatory activity of a polysaccharidic fraction of Echinacea angustifolia.J Pharm Pharmacol. 1987 Jul;39(7):567-9.
Aarland RC al Studies on phytochemical, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, hypoglycaemic and antiproliferative activities of Echinacea purpurea and Echinacea angustifolia extracts.Pharm Biol. 2017 Dec;55(1):649-656.
Manayi A et. al. Echinacea purpurea: Pharmacology, phytochemistry and analysis methods.Pharmacogn Rev. 2015 Jan-Jun;9(17):63-72.
Karsch-Völk M et. al. Echinacea for preventing and treating the common cold.Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014 Feb 20;(2)
World Health Organization. WHO Monographs on Selected Medicinal Plants, Volume 1, World Health Organization, 1999
Jawad, M et. al. Safety and Efficacy Profile of Echinacea purpurea to Prevent Common Cold Episodes: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012; 2012: 841315
Ardjomand-Woelkart K, Bauer R. Review and Assessment of Medicinal Safety Data of Orally Used Echinacea Preparations.Planta Med. 2016 Jan;82(1-2):17-31.
Heitmann K al. Pregnancy outcomes after prenatal exposure to echinacea: the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study.Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2016 May;72(5):623-30.
Perri D. et. al. Safety and efficacy of echinacea (Echinacea angustafolia, e. purpurea and e. pallida) during pregnancy and lactation.Can J Clin Pharmacol. 2006 Fall;13(3):e262-7.
Gallo M, Sarkar M, Au W, Pietrzak K, Comas B, Smith M, Jaeger TV, Einarson A, Koren G (2000) Pregnancy outcome following gestational exposure to echinacea: a prospective controlled study. Arch Intern Med 160(20):3141–3143
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Hi all, this is Jeanine's husband Jack and, well, it's fall. We all know what that means… pie! Lots of it. Pie was a fixture for my holiday meals growing up. My mom made it, my sister made it, I'm … Go to the recipe...
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Bacopa (Bacopa monnieri), or moneywort, is a popular herb in Ayurvedic medicine that has been used in India for over three centuries.
The bacopa herb is commonly known as a nootropic herb, which means that it can help repair damaged neurons and improve brain function. Nootropics are usually said to have the ability to "unlock" the brain when it comes to creativity and cognitive drive.1
In India, the bacopa herb falls under the category of the "Medhya Rasayana" - herbs that have the ability to improve memory and intellect.2 This herb is also called "brahmi," together with the herb gotu kola. This was taken from the name of "Brahma," the creator of the universe in the Indian belief system. While the gotu kola herb shares the ability of the bacopa plant in improving cognition, these two can be easily differentiated based on their appearance.3
The gotu kola plant has fan-shaped leaves with slightly serrated edges, and produces purple to pink flowers.4 Bacopas, on the other hand, have succulent oblong leaves and white or light purple flowers.5 Bacopa monnieri also shares its name with the Bacopa caroliniana plant, which is widely cultivated in aquarium settings because of its blue flowers and aromatic leaves.
The two plants are closely related, but the Bacopa monnieri variety is much more known for its medicinal properties rather than its ornamental and decorative characteristics.6 Aside from being a nootropic, bacopa is an adaptogen and diuretic as well. Continue reading to learn more about the health benefits you can acquire from this herb.
Get These Impressive Health Benefits From Bacopa
Bacopa monnieri offers an impressive list of health and nutritional benefits, which are usually credited to the alkaloids, saponins and sterols that this herb contains.7 These benefits include the following:
May improve epilepsy symptoms. In Ayurvedic medicine, bacopa has been used to reduce the frequency of epileptic episodes.
In one study, the herb's effect on the GABA receptors, which are responsible for maintaining and regulating neuronal excitation, was measured. An imbalance in these receptors causes the abnormal occurrence of seizures. The use of bacopa showed a decrease in GABA receptor activity, decreasing the frequency of seizures and epilepsy symptoms.8
Has antidepressant and antianxiety properties. Bacopa contains bacosaponin C and bacopasides, which were observed to show antidepressive properties in animal studies. In a human study, people over the age of 65 who used bacopa showed a decrease in both anxiety and depression.9
Promotes normal blood pressure. This herb has been observed to help in vascular muscle function and the complete utilization of nitric oxide. These two processes help in normalizing blood pressure.10
Functions as a nootropic. As mentioned above, bacopa can boost cognitive function and improve memory and creativity. It also helps in improving focus.
May improve memory and information retention. In a study, subjects were given placebos and bacopa monnieri supplements.
The individuals who were given the bacopa monnieri showed a higher ability to retain newly introduced information. Improved cognition was also observed in people who took bacopa regularly.11
Acts as an adaptogen. Bacopa has the ability to regulate the body's response to acute and chronic stress. In an animal study, rats were treated with bacopa monnieri and subjected to high amounts of stress.
Their dopamine and serotonin levels were then measured, which showed that there were no observable decreases in both of these hormones.12
How Can the Bacopa Plant Be Used?
The bacopa plant is available in the market in various forms. It's usually sold as an oil or powder, but is also available in capsule and liquid extracts, which are easier to assimilate and add to various foods.13 Bacopa has also been incorporated into the culinary world, and is now being used as an ingredient in meals.
People who use bacopa in their diet have noted that it has a bitter taste, which may not be that appetizing for children.14 The taste, though, is just a minor characteristic because what you're actually aiming to get are the numerous health benefits it offers.
As a supplement, however, taking bacoba in large amounts is ill-advised due to the fact that it may have a toxic effect on the body.
The recommended dose for this herb is normally 300 milligrams per day, but people often have varying tolerance to supplements. Be sure that you get a health practitioner's advice on the prescribed dose.15
Here's How You Can Grow Your Own Bacopa
Bacopa monnieri is a hydroponic plant, which means that it can grow without soil, and can even be cultivated in aquariums and other water-based planting systems.
The good news is that bacopa does not need too much of your attention for it to grow. All it needs is an adequate source of water and enough light.16 When growing bacopa in a hydroponic environment, make sure that it gets enough light so as to avoid the lower parts of the bacopa plant from rotting.
Bacopa can either be grown through seed planting or stem propagation.
For stem propagation, here are the steps to help you grow your own bacopa in your backyard:17
1. Prepare the soil where you will be planting bacopa. This plant grows best in waterlogged areas and poorly drained soil. Plow the soil and thoroughly get rid of the weeds that can compromise the growth of bacopa.
2. Divide the area into plots and put in one or two irrigations. Moisten the soil a day before planting the bacopa cuttings.
3. Before removing the bacopa cuttings for transplantation, flood the nursery. Take care of the cuttings, making sure that you do not damage the stems and roots. Cuttings that are ready to be transplanted are usually about 6 to 8 centimeters (2.3 to 3.1 inches) long.
4. One day before planting, spread vermicompost on the surface of the plots. Flood the soil.
5. Transplant the cuttings in the wet soil, alloting 15-by-15 centimeter spaces in between.
6. Provide flood irrigation. Irrigation should be provided at three to four day intervals in order to provide enough water for these water-loving herbs.
7. Harvest the bacopa herb when it has thoroughly spread or covered the ground.
Try These Tasty and Healthy Bacopa Recipes
Once you get your hands on this herb, the next step is determining how you can add it to your diet. The good news is that there are numerous recipes available that use bacopa as the main ingredient, which means that you get the highest concentration of the minerals it offers. Here are a couple of recipes that you can follow:18,19
1. In a pressure cooker, pour 2 cups of water. Add the lentils and turmeric powder. Cook for about 10 minutes or until done. Set aside.
2. Wash the greens with cold water. Make sure that the leaves are clean and free from dirt. Blend the leaves in a food processor or a blender until it becomes a coarse paste.
3. Using a pan, heat the coconut oil and ghee on low-medium heat. Add the mustard seeds to the coconut oil and ghee mixture. Once the mustard seeds start popping, add the red chili, mung beans, chickpeas, asafetida, black lentils and cumin seeds.
4. Add the bacopa puree and cook until the raw smell is gone. Add the Himalayan salt to taste.
5. Add the cooked lentils and mix until thoroughly combined. If the mixture is too thick, feel free to add a little water until you get your desired consistency.
6. Add lemon juice to taste. Serve.
What Is Bacopa Oil?
Bacopa oil, or brahmi oil, is commonly sold in natural food and health stores. It is usually mixed with either sesame oil or coconut oil to dilute its concentration. This herbal oil has been used to help with the maintenance of certain conditions and has been observed to improve alopecia areata (hair loss), dandruff, anxiety, insomnia and stress.
Because of the limited studies that back the use of this oil, it's not yet determined if it can improve certain health conditions when ingested regularly. If you're planning on using bacopa oil therapeutically, make sure that you consult a clinical practitioner for the right dose.20
Bacopa Contraindications and Possible Side Effects
The intake and use of this herb should be avoided by pregnant and breastfeeding women so as to avoid possible ill effects. While there are no studies that prove that bacopa causes side effects, people have observed that excessive intake of bacopa may lead to stomach upset, diarrhea and nausea. To avoid the risk of suffering from these adverse effects, it would be a good idea to gauge your tolerance for this herb.
Start with the lowest possible dose and build up your threshold. It's highly recommended to use this herb in moderation, just like other herbs.
When your face gets red after you've made an embarrassing mistake or social faux pas, or because you've suddenly been made the center of attention or seen someone you think is attractive, it can feel like your body is turning on you, giving away your innermost feelings to the world.
But blushing is a perfectly natural phenomenon, one that may even offer benefits in how others perceive you, and more. The pink tinge to your cheeks is the result of a sympathetic nervous system response to stress, embarrassment or other strong emotions.
Your sympathetic nervous system activates your fight-or-flight response, releasing the hormone adrenaline which, along with speeding up your heart rate and breathing, also causes your blood vessels and the veins in your face to dilate, increasing blood flow and oxygen throughout your body while also leading to the characteristic pink hue in your cheeks known as blushing.1
Blushing is an involuntary response, which means technically there's no way to stop it. However, that doesn't mean you can't try. There are many strategies you can use to try to stop a blush from coming on, or make it fade quicker if it does. Before I get to those, though, you might want to reconsider your desire to stop it.
Blushing May Not Deserve Such a Bad Rap
Despite the fact that virtually everyone blushes, scientists are still trying to figure out its purpose. One theory is that it offers remedial value in cases when you've done something wrong. While facial redness can occur due to environmental factors like changes in temperature, hot or spicy foods or drinking alcohol, blushing is most often triggered by feelings of self-consciousness, often in situations when a person feels embarrassed or shameful. Writing in the journal Emotion, researchers pointed out:2
"Several theorists have stressed the functional properties of expressing embarrassment and shame, and have argued that these expressions may help restore the actor's public image after a mishap or transgression. That is, publicly conveying embarrassment or shame may signify the actor's recognition that she/he has committed a social or moral infraction, and regrets this."
Blushing fits right in to the "publicly conveying embarrassment" theme, and when researchers showed study participants pictures of people with or without a blush, they evaluated them more favorably on items such as sympathy and trustworthiness when they were blushing. "Although people often consider blushing to be an undesirable response," the researchers concluded, "our results showed that, in the context of transgressions and mishaps, blushing is a helpful bodily signal with face-saving properties."3
A similar study using a computer game in which participants played with a virtual opponent who defected, causing the participant to lose money, revealed that a blushing opponent was considered to be more trusted, judged more positively and viewed as less likely to defect again compared to a non-blushing opponent.4
People who are easily embarrassed (a hallmark of blushing) are even perceived as being more generous and altruistic.5 Ironically, part of blushing's remedial power is also what makes many people loathe it: the fact that you can't control it. Cardiff University professor Ray Crozier told The Guardian:6
"Blushing is normal and can be socially very useful, because it signals a non-verbal form of apology. If I knock over goods in a shop or stand on someone's foot, I can apologize for all those things but, if I blush, it shows people a) that I'm sorry and b) that I'm sincere, because you can't control it."
You're Probably Overestimating Your Blushing
If you're the type of person who blushes when someone even glances in your direction, it may help to know that you're probably overestimating how that blushing is perceived by others. Not only may it make you seem more trustworthy, as the previous studies showed, but research suggests that, among people who are fearful of blushing, it's common to overestimate the social costs of displaying a blush, along with the probability of blushing.7
In most cases, Mark Leary, psychology professor and director of the Interdisciplinary Behavioral Research Center at Duke University, told Today that blushing is "a reaction to undesired social attention and a way of deflecting it."8 Quite simply, if someone sees you blushing and appearing to be publically embarrassed, they're likely to look away.
However, it can be a vicious cycle, because even thinking about blushing can be enough to trigger it,9,10 and worrying about how you'll be perceived as a result can become debilitating for some people. While everyone blushes, certain people blush more frequently. You may be a more frequent blusher if you:11
Are prone to anxiety or anxious about your public image
Have low self-esteem
Worry about people evaluating you negatively
Feel an intense need to be socially accepted by others
Are sensitive to crass statements or gross situations
The Atlantic also reported one man's story, who believes that frequent blushing has cost him relationships and promotions at work, highlighting how serious blushing can become for some people. He said:12
"I'm lucky to have a wonderful and understanding wife now, but for a long time blushing made it really hard to meet anyone. People think it's cute if you're a woman, but just off-putting if you're a man. I'm sure I'd be in a very different position in my career now if I didn't feel I had to avoid any kind of public scrutiny. Even speaking up in small meetings makes me uncomfortable and anxious. And when I blush my face actively hurts."
Trying to Blush May Help You Stop Blushing
If you want to stop blushing, ironically one of the best ways to do it is to try to blush. Leary suggests thinking to yourself to blush as hard as you can, which usually has the effect of making the opposite occur, perhaps because it takes your mind off whatever was triggering it in the first place.13
Psychologist Barbara Markway, author of “Painfully Shy: How to Overcome Social Anxiety and Reclaim Your Life,” also recommended this strategy, telling Today, “What you resist persists. The more you resist the blushing, the more likely it's going to happen … [This] is a way to take the power out of it and put it more in perspective."14
So when you're at home or in private, try thinking about situations that would cause you to blush. Eventually, these triggers should become less problematic for you. Likewise, stop trying to fight it. The more you stress about blushing, the worse it's likely to become, as it will only heighten your fight-or-flight response. On the other hand, using relaxation strategies to calm down should help to quell a blush. This might include:
Autogenic training, in which you focus on physical sensations in your body
Interestingly, another way to stop the blush is to avoid eye contact with those around you. Eye contact has been shown to be a major blushing trigger, independent of embarrassment and anxiety. In one study, participants took a stressful quiz and disclosed personal information.
For the latter step, blushing increased when the participants made eye contact with the researcher as opposed to when he wore sunglasses or left the room.15 So, if you feel a blush coming on, look away from others in the room or even close your eyes for a moment to regroup.
Reframe the Way You Think About Blushing
Social anxiety and embarrassment are two major triggers for blushing, and the more you fear blushing, the worse it's likely to get. Instead, accept that blushing is normal, natural and makes others view you as charmingly human, vulnerable and even endearing. If you're feeling self-conscious, rather than apologizing for your blushing to those around you, simply make a lighthearted statement like, "My cheeks easily get red, it often happens to me" and then move on to a new topic.
While there is a surgical option to stop blushing known as endoscopic thoracic surgery (ETS), which involves cutting nerves to keep blood vessels in your face closed, it comes with serious risks, including nerve damage, sweating and infection.16 A far less invasive option is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which is designed to help you deal more effectively with situations that fill you with anxiety. It can be helpful if blushing is interfering with your daily life, especially in helping you to stop putting yourself down because of it.
Ultimately, while some of us blush more easily than others, virtually everyone is familiar with the feeling that comes when you feel your cheeks getting red. Recognizing that blushing isn't a poor reflection on you, but rather just a physiological response - even one that may put you in a more favorable light - is the key to keeping it from overpowering your life.
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AIP Stories of Recovery is a success story series about regular people from the Autoimmune Protocol community who are changing their lives using the protocol. Each month a new person is featured and readers have the opportunity to discover all the different health challenges that are being overcome by folks just like themselves on the same path. At Autoimmune Paleo we hope you'll be inspired by,... [Read More ...]
Osteoporosis is a chronic medical condition that exists when the body either loses bone faster than it can be made or doesn't make it as fast as it's being lost.
Once the condition advances to a certain point these suffer becomes at a higher risk for fracture from low trauma events.
This means that while a normal bone break may have been from an intense fall or car accidents and individual who suffers from osteoporosis may break one of their bones by just walking or arising from the chair. Normally, broken bones are not a life-threatening events. However, bone fractures as a result of osteoporosis may result in death within one year in 20% of the cases.
Many individuals who are aware of the diagnosis want to delay osteoporosis as they grow older. There are several different types of treatments once the disease has taken hold, but the best treatment is always bad an ounce of prevention.
The peak bone mass density for an individual is achieved between the ages of 25 and 35. If an individual is able to maintain a healthy lifestyle before the age of 20 and achieve a high peak bone mass density than they are well on their way to delaying osteoporosis as they grow older.
If however, an individual does not start with a healthy lifestyle before the age of 30, there are other things they can do to decrease their chances of suffering from osteoporosis. Studies have shown that exercising during the teenage years will increase bone mass density and increase the individual peak bone mass density.
Other criteria for a healthy lifestyle is a balanced healthy diet and the recommended doses of calcium, vitamin D, magnesium and vitamin K2. Individuals who avoid smoking and excessive alcohol intake also are at less risk for developing osteoporosis in their later years.
In order to delay the onset of osteoporosis individuals should be aware of their current bone mass density status. Physicians use of screening called a DXA x-ray which is the gold standard for osteoporosis diagnoses. This x-ray gives a T-score which allows the physician and individual to compare measurements over time.
Osteoporosis isn't a “habit” or “not have it” type of condition. In other words, everyone begins to lose bone mass after the age of 35 and everyone has bone loss. Osteoporosis is measured by the degree of bone loss that in individual suffers from and not whether or not they have it.
Another part of the plan to delay the onset of osteoporosis is to understand the techniques used to diagnose, treat and prevent. Individuals may remember that exercising in the preteen and teen years will help to increase bone mass density as well is eating a nutritious diet necessary to build strong bones.
Vitamin D is vital to the absorption of calcium and magnesium and is essential if your body is to use calcium correctly. Everyone will manufacture their own vitamin D by getting adequate amounts of sunlight each and every day. Getting regular exercise that is weight-bearing after the teen years will also help to prevent osteoporosis. Although swimming, cycling and walking are great cardiovascular exercises for individuals they do not help to increase bone mass density.
Once in individual recognizes that osteoporosis has developed there are several things they can do to reduce the bone thinning and continue to delay any abrupt onset. Continue to get enough calcium, vitamin D and vitamin K2 as well as stop smoking and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol. Most importantly, after the correct amount of nutrition, is to begin a weight-bearing exercise program that will help the bone structure to begin making and manufacturing more bone cells. Menopausal women may consider the use of bisphosphonates to decrease bone loss.
The measures to delay osteoporosis as you grow older begin in the teen years but do extend through the senior years. The body is an amazing thing and given the right tools it will try to repair and heal itself. By living a healthy lifestyle with an appropriate exercise program individuals can go a long way to delaying the onset of osteoporosis.
Protect Your Bones & Help Prevent Osteoporosis
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It is not a typical 'supermarket' bone formula with limited activity and benefits. Most importantly it contains ingredients that will give you the most effective natural protection against bone density loss as you age.
Bone density loss can lead to fractures, hip replacements and often premature death brought on by the trauma of a broken hip. Together with a good diet and moderate weight-bearing exercise, Bone Support can provide the help you need to reduce the risk of fractures and build denser and stronger bones.
Creating the conditions for optimal egg quality is an important factor in achieving and maintaining a healthy pregnancy.
Women are born with a set number of oocytes (eggs) and from puberty until menopause, an egg should be released from the ovary (ovulation) each month.
The quality of the egg depends on the health of its mitochondria - the powerhouse- or energy production of the cell.
The more mitochondria the healthier the egg.
As women age, they have reduced mitochondrial activity- and therefore, reduced energy production which adversely affects the egg's viability.
Contributing Factors to Diminished Ovarian Reserve 1:
Advanced maternal age.
Exposure to systemic chemotherapy.
Exposure to pelvic irradiation.
Surgical procedures to the ovary.
Endocrine disorders (diabetes, PCOS).
Regardless of contributing factor, there are multiple ways to support egg quality.
How To Support Egg Quality:
Reduce Oxidative Stress
Quit smoking. Smoking increases oxidative stress and accelerates time to menopause. Cessation of smoking should happen 3-6 months before initiation of treatment (dependant on age and ovarian reserve).2
Decrease alcohol consumption. Alcohol is a reproduction toxin that can increases oxidative stress.
Improve pelvic blood flow
Exercise increases blood flow to the core and pelvic organs, while improving sexual function and mood. Moderate exercise also reduces inflammation and oxidative stress.
Both in the diet and in supplement form, anti-oxidants have a protective effect on the ovaries and their mitochondira.
Bright coloured fruits and vegetable contain high amounts of anti-oxidants.
ESHRE Guideline: management of women with premature ovarian insufficiency. Human Reproduc'on. 2016;31(5):926–37.
Hughes E, Lamont D, BeecroO M, Wilson D, Brennan B, Rice S. Randomized trial of a “stage-of- change” oriented smoking cessa'on interven'on in infer'le and pregnant women. Fer'lity and Sterility. 2000;74(3):498-503.
Pertynska-Marczewska M, Diaman'-Kandarakis E. Aging ovary and the role for advanced glyca'on end products. Menopause. 2017;24(3):345-351.
Hjollund, NH et al. Is glycosylated haemoglobin a marker of fertility? A follow-up study of first pregnancy planners. Hum Reprod. 1999 Jun: 14(6)1478-82.
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If you want to add a refreshing and cooling twist to your salads, soup, tea or even plain water, a few mint leaves may just do the trick. Known for its sweet-smelling aroma and cooling flavor, mint is a highly-celebrated herb in the culinary world because of its many uses.
But did you know that mint offers potent health benefits as well? This calming and soothing herb has one of the highest antioxidant capacities of any food.1 Because of this, mint can help alleviate a variety of ailments. Keep on reading to learn more about mint - its uses, benefits and how you can grow it at home.
Mint 101: Basic Facts About This Herb
Also known as mentha, mint refers to a genus or group of around 15 to 20 perennial plant species, with the most popular types being peppermint and spearmint. [Read More ...]
Light is perhaps one of the most underappreciated healing agents available. James Carroll, an expert in light as therapy, also known as photobiomodulation, has the ambitious goal of making photobiomodulation a first-line therapy for 100 diseases in 100 countries, by the time he's 100 years old - which is about 45 years from now.
Carroll has already spent the last 30 years of his life investigating the healing power of light - a passion that grew out of his involvement with the tissue repair research unit at Guy's Hospital in London in the 80s. At the time, he had a business raising government grant money, and Guy's Hospital was one of his clients.
He was able to see some of the work they were doing on cells and small rodents using lasers. “I thought, this is amazing; this is going to be in every corner of every department of every hospital in the whole world within the next five years,” Carroll says. While the technology didn't catch on as quickly as he'd imagined, his enthusiasm for it led to a change in careers as he went to work for the laser company supplying the technology for the research.
From Lasers to LEDs
In those earlier days, most light therapy made use of lasers, as light-emitting diodes (LEDs) were not readily available back then. Some of the first lasers Carroll used operated in the 15 milliwatts range. Over time, the lasers got increasingly stronger.
Today, 30-watts LED diodes are quite common. (An important point to be made is that the LEDs used for light therapy are not identical to LED lighting used in homes and offices. The LEDs used in photobiomodulation technologies typically have a very focused and narrow wavelength and cannot be used for lighting a room.)
That's not to say that more power is better. On the contrary, there's a Goldilock's Zone in which most of the therapeutic effects are found. According to Carroll, cells respond optimally to a range between 5 and 50 milliwatts per centimeter squared (mW/cm2).
“If you want to have successful in vitro studies, that's where you need to be. Similar doses seem to work in superficial wound healing and inflammation, and unless you're going for deeper targets, that's usually enough.” As for timing, as little as one minute will typically render results. An average treatment is typically in the 10 to 20-minute range.
Most modern light therapy products are in the 600 to 1000 nanometer (nm) range, with a gap around the 700s. A number of studies have suggested the 700-nm range has no beneficial health effects, although the issue has not been definitively settled as of yet. There's still a lot to learn, but great headway is being made.
According to Carroll, about 500 randomized controlled human clinical trials and some 4,000 laboratory studies have already been published on photobiomodulation, and each month approximately 30 new papers are added to this body of literature. Carroll has developed a database where he collects studies and so far, he has over 80,000 studies in this database on photobiomodulation.
NovoTHOR Improves Athletic Recovery
Carroll makes a photobiomodulation unit called the NovoTHOR, which has been shown to produce incredible health benefits but is not designed for individual use as it costs $120,000. I've used a less expensive version called Joovv that has red- and near-infrared frequencies to treat myself nearly every day before my far-infrared sauna.
Interestingly, Alberto Salazar, who was the U.S. Olympic track coach is a fan of photobiomodulation and purchased a NovoTHOR. Many Olympic athletes, including most of the American track team, began using the NovoTHOR prior to the Rio Olympics. It's currently being used in the Nike Oregon Project,1 the mission of which is to: “Develop the best distance runners in the world with our metric for success being Olympic and World Championship medals.”
“Alberto Salazar has always been trying to pioneer ways of getting people to train harder, longer, and recover faster. He says recovery, on a scale of 1 to 10, is a 10. It's as important as the training itself, he says. It's critical to their success as a team, and he feels that [photobiomodulation] is the best therapy he's ever used for recovery,” Carroll says.
Photobiomodulation has also been shown to increase muscle strength when used in conjunction with strength training. According to Carroll, weight lifters report exceeding their best competition scores even during normal training. “And where they've been stuck for years at a certain weight, they're going way beyond it,” he says.
Another area where photobiomodulation is showing great promise is in the treatment of burns. While there are few scientific studies to back up such claims, the anecdotal evidence consistently shows it can provide rapid and lasting pain relief. “It's not a temporary kind of pain relief,” Carroll says. “The scars heal much better and anybody who's got a low-level laser photobimodulation product, who's tried it on burns, will tell you the same. It's consistently amazing, so it is a disappointment that burn units are not using it.”
Light Therapy May Benefit Those With Kidney Failure, Including Pets
In a previous interview with Michael Hamblin, Ph.D., he mentioned that some people have successfully used light therapy to treat kidney failure. Some have been able to get off dialysis and no longer need a kidney transplant, which is a rather remarkable success.
Carroll adds further anecdotal support to this, saying he knows of a veterinarian who has been treating kidney disease in animals using photobiomodulation. In cats, by the time you get a diagnosis of kidney disease the disease is typically quite advanced and they only have a few months left to live. Using photobiomodulation, this veterinarian has been able to extend the life of many of these animals by several years.
An added boon is the lack of adverse side effects. Some conditions may feel worse before they get better, but most studies have found there are very few if any side effects. As noted by Carroll, “They report the same number of side effects in the placebo group as the treatment group, which basically tells you it's not a side effect at all.”
Some of the most exciting areas of use is in the treatment of central nervous system disorders, ranging from multiple sclerosis and traumatic brain injuries to Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's. This was discussed at length in my previous interview with Dr. Lew Lim. Photobiomodulation can also be used in the treatment of dry, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is the No. 1 cause of blindness in the elderly.
“I'm a co-founder of Lumithera, which is another light therapy company, and it has developed a device specifically for treating diseases of the eye. Our first target has been dry AMD … Nothing has been proven to be effective for treating dry AMD … Our first study showed that in 129 patients there were up to three lines of improvement on the Snellen eye chart. Nothing else does that.
A more recent study (again without a control group) on 41 eyes, we did optical coherence tomography as well, and showed that the drusens, which are the deposits in the back of the eye that are the hallmark of this disease, are receding … We're optimistic that we're going to have the first randomized controlled clinical trial that will lead to [photobiomodulation] potentially being the first line of treatment for dry AMD, for which nothing else works,” Carroll says.
Many Pain Syndromes Can Be Safely Alleviated With Photobiomodulation
While the full-sized NovoTHOR unit is priced beyond what most people can afford, selling for about $120,000, they offer a less expensive desktop unit. It consists of a console with sockets you can plug various accessories into for different types of spot treatment. Accessories include intra-oral laser probes for analgesia, extra-oral probes that can be used for any area except the oral cavity and probes designed specifically for myofascial trigger points and superficial healing of injuries and wounds.
They also have a contract with the U.S. Veterans Administration to develop a helmet, which will be used for research on traumatic brain injuries and Alzheimer's. Dentists, it turns out, have shown great interest in PBM, as it can effectively alleviate oral pain. Carroll actually used the intra-oral device on himself in lieu of local anesthesia during the extraction of a molar.
“It did hurt, but it's tolerable pain. So, if you treat along the nerves and over the neck - over the cell bodies for the trigeminal ganglion, which are located in the neck - then yes, you can reduce dental pain,” he says. “I know dentists are excited about that. I'm more excited about [being able to treat] chronic pain, neuropathic pain, things like shingles and postherpetic neuralgia, trigeminal neuralgia, shingles around the orbit of the eye and in your hair, burning mouth syndrome …
You know, people commit suicide when they have diseases like these and therefore it's a priority for me to work with specialists in oral-facial pain and to develop these therapies. It feels like the most important place to be, in many ways … So, what I find more exciting is when we're actually solving peoples' chronic pain.”
How Does Light Therapy Work?
So, how is it that light, in certain frequencies, can have such profound clinical benefits? While there are a number of different mechanisms, the one that explains most of the effects seen clinically is the cytochrome c oxidase mechanism, which can be summarized as follows:
When you breathe, the oxygen in your lungs is taken up by hemoglobin, which in turn is carried around your body by red blood cells. The red blood cells deliver the oxygen to every single cell in your body. Similarly, when you eat, the food is broken down into glucose, fats and glycogen, and that glucose is delivered to every single cell in your body as well.
Once it has been transferred across the cell membrane, the glucose is then broken down through glycolysis into ATP and pyruvate. Mitochondria take the pyruvate and break it down further. The resulting byproducts - ATP, FADH and NADH - are then combined with oxygen in the electron transport chain, which creates hydrogen ions that drive ATP synthase.
Normally, the terminal ends on the electron transport chain - the cytochrome c oxidase - is taking up NADH combining it with oxygen and allowing two more electrons to be transferred from the electron transport chain. That pumps hydrogen ions through to drive ATP synthase to make ATP. This process works quite well when you're healthy. However, when you get sick, injured, stressed or old, the mitochondria begin to make excessive amounts of nitric oxide.
How Light Therapy Corrects Molecular Mechanisms Gone Awry
While nitric oxide has certain health benefits, when excessive nitric oxide is produced, excessive free radicals are also produced. Nitric oxide binds preferentially to cytochrome c oxidase and stops the consumption of oxygen, which means you then stop making the hydrogen ions that drive ATP synthase. But that isn't the biggest problem.
A more significant problem is that now you have a “constipated” electron transport chain because the last two electrons cannot be passed from cytochrome c to cytochrome oxidase, and this backlog of electrons in the electron transport chain lead to the production of super oxide and hydrogen peroxide. In other words, excess oxidation.
Some of the super oxide and hydrogen peroxide will leak out of the mitochondria into the cell, where it starts the processes of inflammation and cell death. Inside the mitochondria, super oxide and hydrogen peroxide will also damage the mitochondria, triggering mitochondrial dysfunction, which we now know is a foundational problem in most chronic disease.
“The wonderful thing is that light, in the kind of wavelengths we're using, at the kind of intensity we're using, seem to basically break the bond between nitric oxide and cytochrome c oxidase. The light is flushing out the nitric oxide from cytochrome c oxidase, so now you can start consuming oxygen again, combining with NADH and electrons now pulsing from cytochrome c to cytochrome oxidase again, and you start making ATP.
The cause of the constipated electron transport chain is gone and therefore you stop making too many of these reactive oxygen species that lead to inflammation and cell death,” Carroll says. “The shorter version of all of that is, basically, when we put light of the right wavelength and intensity into people for the right amount of time, the right intervals, we tip the balance … in favor of more ATP and less oxidative stress. And under those circumstances, people get better quicker.”
Why Some Studies Fail to Show Beneficial Results
When it comes to light therapy, even though you're “just” using light, the dosage does matter. It's actually quite easy, and common, to overtreat. Optimal results are obtained within a rather narrow range. Unfortunately, many researchers even fail to understand this. Many researchers also only talk about the total energy delivery, when in fact the rate of delivery is actually more important. Disturbingly, a number of studies have also failed to show a benefit for photobiomodulation simply due to mathematical errors.
“Yes, there are researchers who are overtreating and not getting the results they were hoping for. We got researchers who are not testing the lasers before they do studies, and those that do test the lasers don't actually measure the beam area correctly …
You need scientists and all the right kinds of engineers to know how to do this, but people who are not trained in physics unfortunately are doing tests on lasers and they're really not qualified and educated in the right way to actually, adequately, operate these things, and then they report negative findings.
Sometimes they're just reporting the total dose without explaining [the rate of delivery]. If they gave 4 joules per centimeter squared, was it a 4-watt laser for one second? That could have been, but of course that's not going to work, or was it something else? Doing these therapies have the same principles as cooking, in that you have to get the temperature right and then you put the food in the oven for the right amount of time.
Your favorite TV chef does not tell you to cook this chicken with 1 million joules per centimeter squared. That wouldn't tell you what the temperature of the oven is and how long you must cook it. You should not join those two numbers together in cooking, and you shouldn't do it in this therapy either.
But too many scientist are actually just giving you the one [measurement]. 'Here, use 4 joules per centimeter,' without appreciating that how fast you deliver it is necessary [to know] to get the dose right.”
Light Therapy Is an Excellent Adjunct to Other Mitochondrial Therapies
If you are even half as interested in PBM and using light as a healing tool then you would absolutely enjoy attending one of Carroll's one-day teaching events as he is one of the most knowledgeable people I have encountered in this area. I was able to really improve my understanding in this area thanks to his excellent teaching.
I believe light therapy can be a very powerful tool, and it aligns really well with the dietary aspect of oxidative stress that I discuss in my book, “Fat for Fuel,” which is that when you burn sugar as your primary fuel, you create about 30 percent more oxidative damage than when you're burning fat. Avoiding electromagnetic fields (EMFs) is another important aspect, as EMFs also cause harm by increasing oxidative stress.
In fact, EMFs cause more oxidative damage than ionizing radiation, even though the EMF typically doesn't have anywhere near the amount of energy that ionizing radiation has. The reason for this was explained in-depth in my interview with Martin Pall, Ph.D., who has identified and published research describing the likely molecular mechanisms of how EMFs from cellphones and wireless technologies damage plants, animals and humans.
When you combine EMF remediation efforts with photobiomodulation and optimal fuel intake (i.e., a diet high in healthy fats, low in carbs with moderate protein), you've got a triple win, and you can really optimize mitochondrial function, which is the end game.