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Stop Stress-Related Insomnia with GABA

by Institute for Vibrant Living

If you have difficulty getting off to sleep, or wake up and cannot return to sleep, you may find it comforting to know that one in three people have some degree of insomnia, according to the Sleep Health Foundation. Much of the problem is due to a stressful lifestyle, but effective stress management using natural herbs and supplements can help.

Nutritionist Patrick Holford states in his book Optimum Nutrition for the Mind that every week Brits pop 10 million tranquillizers, smoke a similar number of cannabis joints and drink 120 million alcoholic drinks, often as a socially accepted form of stress management. This disturbing trio of alcohol, cannabis and tranquilizers all has one common ingredient – GABA – which is known to have a calming, soporific effect. Taking it in supplemental form has none of the alarming side effects that drugs and alcohol cause, but what is GABA, is it safe and how does it work?

How Does GABA Work for Stress Management

GABA stands for gamma-aminobutyric acid, an amino acid which acts as a natural relaxant and calming neurotransmitter in the brain. Our bodies produce GABA from glutamine and it is vital for proper brain function. GABA influences mood, producing endorphins that make us relaxed and happy. GABA deficiency is linked to insomnia and epilepsy as well as feelings of anxiety, stress and tension, so it has an important part to play in stress management.

Research shows that GABA increases the production of alpha brain waves, similar to a state of meditation during yoga, for example. It also reduces beta waves which are associated with nervous tension and hyperactivity. These wave patterns can be measured using an electroencephalogram (EEG).  People who are stressed have high levels of beta waves, and GABA helps restore the balance. This natural calming effect makes GABA an excellent natural answer for stress management as well as for insomnia.

Related:  Sleep Deprivation: Is it Dangerous to Your Health?

Chronic Stress Lowers GABA

Low natural levels of GABA may be caused by a lack of glutamine, low levels of B vitamins, zinc, iron and manganese, or by chronic stress. A simple saliva or urine test can show whether you are producing sufficient GABA.

High amounts of caffeine, excessive exposure to electromagnetic radiation, low levels of progesterone and chronic pain can all reduce GABA levels in the body. Ironically, lack of sleep also lowers GABA levels, which in turn means you cannot sleep the following night. This sets up a vicious circle on insomnia. Taking GABA supplements can break the cycle, particularly for those suffering with stress-related insomnia.

How Much GABA to Take?

Taking 500 mg of GABA once or twice a day can significantly support stress management.  For stress-related insomnia, taking 100 mg about 30 minutes before bedtime will help you feel sleepy and relaxed. However, GABA should not be mixed with alcohol, drugs containing barbiturates, anti-anxiety medications or benzodiazepine tranquillizers, so check with your doctor if you are already taking other prescription drugs.

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White Willow Bark - Nature’s Aspirin for Joint Pain Relief

by Institute for Vibrant Living

According to the National Health Institute (NIH), approximately 11% of the population is suffering from some form of pain, from mild or occasional to chronic or severe. That’s about 25.3 million Americans!  Many of those aches are in the joints, and a reason that sends millions of people to their doctors for relief.  For those seeking more than the traditional drugs and narcotics prescribed, white willow bark is proving to be a safe and effective way to bring joint pain relief.

What Is White Willow Bark?

White willow bark comes from the bark of white willow trees. It has been used in Chinese and European medicine for centuries and the earliest settlers in this country learned of its pain relieving properties from Native Americans.

White willow bark is often called nature’s aspirin due to the pain-relieving compound found in the bark called salicin. 

How White Willow Bark Provides Joint Pain Relief

When salicin is ingested, the body converts it to salicylic acid, which lowers prostaglandin levels. Prostaglandins are long-chain hydroxyl fatty acids produced naturally by the body and can be found in the lining of the stomach, the intestines, the uterus and all smooth muscles throughout the body.  They help regulate body temperature, control inflammation and vascular permeability. They are also responsible for uterine contractions during birth and the cause the painful cramps some women experience while menstruating.  Too many prostaglandins circulating in the body, especially the joints, causes pain. 

The salicin in white willow bark is similar to aspirin and in addition to pain relief can help reduce inflammation in the joints and reduce fevers.  Several studies have actually shown it to be as, or more effective at relieving pain, than aspirin.  It does take longer to bring pain relief but typically its effects last longer, making it a good alternative for those seeking joint pain relief who do not want to be popping synthetic drugs all day.

Related:  The History of Nature's Aspirin for Lower Back Pain

Besides joint pain relief white willow bark can also be taken for:

Dosage

If you would like to try white willow bark, the recommended dosage is 300 mg in capsule form twice a day with a meal. Just be sure to purchase a product that is standardized to 15 percent of the active ingredient salicin.

White willow bark is for adults only. There is no safe dosage determined for children. Women who are pregnant or nursing should not take it either. Always consult with your doctor before taking any supplement to avoid unfavorable drug reactions. Those who are sensitive or allergic to aspirin should not take white willow bark supplements.

Side Effects:

With any medication or supplement there is the possibility of side effects. Fortunately white willow bark side effects tend to be mild but include:

  • Upset stomach (nausea)
  • Ulcers
  • Vomiting
  • Skin rash
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Kidney or stomach inflammation

Natural Pain Relief

Most people will experience some degree of joint pain in their lifetime. If you are looking for an alternative to traditional pain relievers for joint pain relief, consider taking a white willow bark supplement. 

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Sensitivity to Fluoride: Stories, Symptoms and Allergy Facts

by Health News

Are you suffering from fluoride sensitivity? Do you know the symptoms of fluoride sensitivity? Do you even know if your public water supply is fluoridated? Let’s answer these important questions about fluoride and perhaps solve your undiagnosed health problems caused by fluoride sensitivity.

Fluoride can help prevent tooth cavities but may cause fluoride sensitivity symptoms

What are Fluoride Sensitivity Symptoms?

Not everyone has a fluoride allergy but those who are born with hypersensitivity or develop fluoride sensitivity may suffer from a range of minor or more debilitating fluoride sensitivity symptoms. These include:

  • Stiff painful joints
  • Asthma – especially after showering in chlorinated water
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Feeling cold all the time, or particularly after a shower or bath in chlorinated water
  • Dental fluorosis with brown or white spots on the teeth
  • Brain fog and fatigue – especially after showering or bathing
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Gastrointestinal problems including pain, nausea and IBS
  • Kidney disease
  • Thyroid disease

Of course, having these symptoms does not indicate someone has a fluoride allergy, but having a blood and/or urine test may confirm the possibility. Alternatively, drink, cook and bathe with filtered or non-fluoridated water and switch to a non-fluoridated toothpaste.  Keep a diary to observe whether your symptoms improve when you avoid fluoride sources, and whether they return if you are exposed to fluoride again.

True Stories about Fluoride Sensitivity

Dr. DeLoss E. Winkler, a highly respected chemist with Shell Development Company, began working in Palo Alto. He developed regular flu-like episodes of sickness that led him to spend about one week a month in bed recovering. He experienced chronic fatigue and muscle weakness that severely weakened him. His wife had studied fluoride and suggested that he try avoiding the fluoridated water at work by carrying distilled water from home to work each day. His symptoms disappeared.

In order to further prove his fluoride sensitivity, Dr. Winkler took part in a double-blind trial, sometimes being given fluoridated water and sometimes given distilled water. His body reacted to the fluoride by developing the fluoride sensitivity symptoms accurately every time.

Related:  Give your Body what it Craves: Water

A similar story is recounted by a woman who moved to the city and developed agonizing stomach pain which her doctor was unable to diagnose. She experimented by switching to fluoride-free toothpaste and reverse-osmosis filtered water, eliminating tea (which retains fluoride), California wine (the wines’ skins retain fluoride-based pesticides) and beer made with fluoridated water. Her symptoms disappeared, returning only if she forgot to carry her own water and had to drink fluoridated water.

Fluoride sensitivity affects about 1% of the population. If you suspect you have fluoride sensitivity symptoms, it’s very easy to eliminate fluoridated water for a week and see if the symptoms disappear. In the long-term, installing a home water filter system to eliminate fluoride from your tap water could be the only way to enjoy a full and healthy life.
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Can the Body Produce Essential Fatty Acids?

by Health News

The human body is amazing because it can produce or synthesize most of the different fats it needs from your diet with two exceptions: linolenic (omega-3) and linoleic (omega-6) acids. These essential fatty acids are essential to everyday function and any deficiency can lead to serious health problems.

Fish, fish oil supplements, nuts and seeds all provide omega-3 essential fatty acids

The one thing many health issues have in common is inflammation, according to Joseph C. Maroon M.D., Professor of Neurological Science at the University of Pittsburgh. A deficiency in essential fatty acids causes internal inflammation, which is the cause of many chronic conditions such as arthritis, depression, heart disease, joint pain, liver and kidney disease, decreased immune function and even dry skin.

Good Sources of Essential Fatty Acids

An honest appraisal of your daily diet may quickly show that our modern westernized diet falls well short of providing the essential fatty acids we need. According to the American Heart Association, we need to eat a 3.5 ounce serving of oily fish at least two times a week along with a balanced amount of seeds and nuts to provide those all-important omega-3s and omega-6s.

People with heart disease are advised to consume one gram of EPA and DHA essential fatty acids every day. These can best be sourced from oily fish, or from fish oil supplements.

Related:  How Omega 3 Fatty Acids Could Save Your Hair

Omega-3 vs Omega-6

Without a doubt, we need omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids regularly in our diet, but we need them in the correct 1:1 ratio. Omega-3 is found mainly in a range of shellfish and oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, anchovies, albacore tuna and sardines. It is also found in animal meat, flaxseed, walnuts, eggs and dairy products. Omega-6 comes in the form of linoleic acid from green leafy vegetables, seeds, grains and vegetable oils produced from corn, sunflower and soybean.

Our modern-day diets tend to lean heavily towards omega-6 fatty acids with a ratio of about 10:1. Health scientists now know that omega-6 fatty acids compete with omega-3s for use in the body. Having such an excess omega-6 can actually inhibit the availability of omega-3, so we are then unable to benefit from the intake of omega-3.  

As the body cannot produce either of these essential fatty acids, we need to obtain them in balance, reducing omega-6 oil intake and increasing foods high in omega-3.

The best way to ensure that you reach the required amount of omega-3 essential fatty acids is by taking a daily fish oil supplement. As yet there is no official recommended daily value, but most sources agree that 1000 mg per day provides the required amount. Look on the label for the breakdown of ingredients to ensure you are getting the EPA and DHA you need to provide your body with these essential fatty acids which are the building blocks of good health. 

5 Medications to Avoid at All Costs - Get Your Free Report

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How Fish Oil Increases Joint Mobility

by Cindy Gray

Did you know there are over 300 joints in the human body?  Each one of those joints benefit from omega-3 fish oil sourced from oily fish or fish oil supplements. Here’s how!

There are many proven benefits of omega-3 fish oil for joints

The ends of the bones in the body are cushioned with cartilage, which buffers unyielding bones from jolts and shocks that are part of daily wear and tear. Synovial fluid also fills the cavities of joints, further reducing friction between the bone and cartilage. In a healthy joint, this works well, but inflammation, wear and tear, and loss of synovial fluid due to age can all lead to painful joints. Research now shows that the significant benefits of omega-3 fish oil for joints can help significantly reduce inflammation, and ease painful joints.

Causes of Joint Pain

Arthritis is a common cause of joint pain in older adults. Osteoarthritis in particular can limit joint mobility as the cartilage deteriorates, exposing the bone and making walking painful. It may be the result of advancing age, obesity or it may be triggered by injury. There are many studies underway to better understand the benefits of omega-3 fish oil for joints.

Unlike arthritis, which tends to be age-related, rheumatoid arthritis affects all ages. This autoimmune disease means that the body attacks its own tissue resulting in painful deformed joints. Gout is another type of arthritis caused when uric acid crystals form in the synovial fluid, inevitably causing excruciating pain.

Related:  Top Foods to Help Ease Chronic Joint Pain

Benefits of Omega-3 Fish Oil for Joints

Research has shown that certain foods help relieve painful joints, namely oily fish and foods high in omega-3 fatty acids. Fish oil contains two different types of fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).  Both demonstrate the significant benefits of omega-3 fish oil for joints affected by rheumatoid arthritis.

Although doctors do not yet fully understand why omega-3s help relieve painful joints, research at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston found that omega-3 produces resolvin, a powerful anti-inflammatory compound that helps to relieve arthritic joints.

Other benefits of omega-3 fish oil for joints include relieving morning stiffness and reducing tenderness in the affected joints. Unlike NSAID medications, fish oil does not cause unpleasant side effects such as kidney problems, stomach ulcers and tinnitus.

Numerous clinical trials have shown the benefits of omega-3 fish oil for joints, making it a safe, affordable and effective treatment for all types of joint pain; as well as supporting a healthy heart, helping to lower cholesterol and maintain mental acuity. Check with your doctor if you are on medications or blood thinners before taking fish oil supplements, and choose a high quality omega-3 supplement from a safe and sustainable source. 


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Three More Benefits of Exercise

by Health News

As you just learned in this week’s video, daily exercise is essential for weight loss and can help to lower your risk of chronic diseases like diabetes.

It also has numerous other benefits.  Here are three more:

Joint Health: Research shows that regular exercise helps to keep your joints healthy. It restores and preserves their flexibility, range of motion and strength. Exercise also reduces joint pain associated with arthritis, and protects your joints against further damage.

Cholesterol:  According to a study published in 2011, brisk walking can lower your cholesterol levels. Researchers found that those people who exercised daily enjoyed a significant drop in their LDL cholesterol, as well as their total cholesterol.

Improves Sleep: Exercising in the morning can help you sleep better. For example, a study by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle found that women ages 50 to 70, who started taking brisk 30 minute walks each morning improved their ability to fall asleep by 70 percent. However, those who exercised in the evening—within 3 hours of bedtime—had trouble falling asleep.

The right type of movement, at the right time of day is one of the most powerful medicines for your body. It produces a cascade of health-protecting chemicals and hormones that decrease your risk of a multitude of disorders, help you maintain a healthy weight, boost your mood and appreciation for life, and can dramatically slow aging. So make sure you move your body every day. Find an activity that’s fun for you, such as dancing or a sport like tennis. Get a buddy to join you, because it will help to keep you motivated to show up. Remember, the more you move, the healthier you will be. 

Everyone Ages. Learn How to Do It Better. Free Resource Guide.

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Battle Chronic Fatigue Syndrome with Two Red Superfoods

by IVL Products

Modern life comes with jam-packed schedules, making people more tired than ever.  While occasional fatigue is normal, chronic fatigue is not, especially when severe.  If people experience debilitating physical and mental fatigue that lasts for more than six consecutive months, they may have chronic fatigue syndrome, or CFS.  Additional symptoms associated with CFS include poor memory, headaches, sore throat, and pain in the muscles or joints.   

Watermelon contains an array of nutrients that may benefit people with chronic fatigue syndrome.

Cause and Treatment

Experts have yet to identify a lone cause, but some think chronic fatigue syndrome may develop from a number of triggers including immune disorder, infection, stress, trauma, or toxins.  While there is no known cure for CFS, treatment involves a number of strategies including cognitive-behavioral therapy, moderate exercise, sleep management techniques, and good nutrition.  A wholesome diet may help prevent or relieve symptoms of CFS.  Two red fruits in particular offer many benefits.

Red Apples

Red apple skins are a rich source of the antioxidant, quercetin.  This potent flavonoid helps fight free radicals that can cause cell damage and disease, and it raises energy levels by enhancing the immune system and increasing the number of mitochondria in cells. 

Studies on trained athletes show that treatment with quercetin supplements can boost endurance.  Another study from the University of South Carolina at Columbia tested the endurance of somewhat-active college students on an exercise bicycle.  After taking 500 mg of quercetin twice a day for one week, cycling endurance improved as well as lung function in all students.  The lead author of this study indicated the results might be good news for people suffering from energy-draining conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome.

Related:  Magnesium Deficiency and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Watermelon

While tomatoes offer a rich source of lycopene, scientists at the South Central Agricultural Research Laboratory (SCARL) in Lane, Oklahoma have shown that watermelon offers even more.  This powerful antioxidant and others in watermelon help fight harmful free radicals that contribute to disease.  Nutrients like vitamin B6, vitamin B1, magnesium, potassium, and L-citrulline found in watermelon also help people with CFS by boosting energy levels by as much as 23 percent.

Conclusion

A nutritious diet helps prevent a wide range of health problems.  Additional red superfoods that may help prevent or relieve symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome include tomatoes, strawberries, cherries, and raspberries.  In addition to whole fruits and vegetables, people with CFS should add lean poultry, wild fatty fish, whole grains, nuts, and seeds to the shopping cart.  It helps to eliminate processed foods and sodas and drink plenty of pure, clean water.  People with CFS shouldn't smoke, and they should limit consumption of alcohol.   

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Top 5 Supplements to Heal Your Joints

by Health News

Arthritis is a common condition affecting over 52 million people in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This painful condition is caused by inflammation and stiffness in the joints. Despite it being such a widespread disease, there is no cure for arthritis, which leads many sufferers to seek natural arthritis treatment. 

natural arthritis treatment

Here are 5 of the most effective supplements considered the best forms of natural arthritis treatment available:

Boswellia

Boswellia has been used for centuries in folk medicine to reduce inflammation. The plant resin is extracted from the trees which grow in the dry mountains of Africa, India and the Middle East. Scientific trials show that boswellia is effective in treating osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, tendonitis and bursitis by reducing inflammation. In an eight-week randomized double-blind trial on 30 patients suffering with osteoarthritis of the knee, the participants given boswellia extract reported reduced knee pain and swelling. They also had improved mobility and longer walking distance than those who received a placebo, showing that boswellia should be considered an effective natural arthritis treatment.

White Willow Bark

Another natural anti-inflammatory herb is white willow bark. It contains acetylsalicylic acid which has similar attributes to aspirin but does not irritate the stomach lining. Research so far on white willow bark as a natural arthritis treatment has shown inconsistent results. However, a 2001 study on 78 osteoarthritis patients by Phytotherapy Research concluded that white willow bark showed moderate pain-reducing effects.

Turmeric for natural arthritis treatment

Commonly used in curries, this yellow spice from the ginger family has many medicinal uses in India. As well as a digestive aid, it is claimed to reduce pain, inflammation and stiffness in those suffering from rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. The active agent in turmeric is curcumin, which blocks inflammatory cytokines and enzymes, thereby reducing inflammation and pain. Studies show that taking 50 mg of turmeric up to four times a day provides long-term improvement in pain and inflammation for chronic arthritis sufferers.

Related:  Ginger for Muscle and Joint Pain Relief

Hyaluronic Acid

Another common natural arthritis treatment is hyaluronic acid which is naturally found in the synovial fluid of joints. Clinical trials continue to show that supplements of hyaluronic acid can be an effective solution for treating arthritis.

Devil's Claw

Finally, Devil's Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) is an herbal plant from South Africa which contains harpagoside, a natural anti-inflammatory. It is frequently used as a natural arthritis treatment as it has been shown to decrease joint pain in sufferers. Devil's Claw taken as a 2% powder can be a natural alternative to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for arthritis sufferers, as well as reducing back pain and other painful inflammatory conditions.

Many of these natural painkillers and anti-inflammatory supplements are combined in formulas for natural arthritis treatment and are well worth considering as a safe alternative to prescription drugs for treating painful swollen joints.

30 Days to Rethink How You Take Supplements

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Understanding Hair Loss in Women

by Institute for Vibrant Living

From the time it sprouts on the head until it falls, human hair goes through three stages: the anagen (growing) phase, the catagen (transitional) phase, and the telogen (resting) phase. Typically, females lose 50 to 150 hairs daily as part of the normal shedding process, but a variety of influences may trigger more frequent hair loss in women or cause it to become thinner over time.  

Some women suffer from a hereditary condition called androgenetic alopecia. Although it usually affects women in their 50s or 60s, it can happen any time. Normally, new hair is as strong as the hair that is shed, but in women with genetic hair loss, the new hair grows in finer and thinner.  A variety of diseases also contribute to hair loss in women.

Hypothyroidism

The body depends on thyroid hormone for many functions, from metabolism and heart rate to hair, skin, and nail growth. When the body produces too little thyroid hormone, a number of symptoms can result like unexplained weight gain, fatigue, depression, and foggy thinking. In addition, skin becomes drier and hair and nails become more brittle and break more easily. Concerned women can visit a health care provider for a simple blood test to determine if they have hypothyroidism.

Related: Natural Immune System-Boosters

Lupus

While the immune system protects most people from disease, in people with lupus, it turns on the body and attacks healthy tissues. Symptoms of lupus include a butterfly rash across the nose and cheeks, chronic fatigue, headaches, oral ulcers, and swollen, painful joints. It can also cause mild hair loss in women and men or more severe hair loss, accompanied by a rash on the scalp. To identify lupus, doctors may perform a diagnostic exam and take a blood test.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Up to five million American females suffer from polycystic ovarian syndrome, a condition which causes the ovaries to produce too many male hormones. Sometimes starting as early as junior high, this disease creates symptoms like acne, excessive facial hair, irregular periods, ovarian cysts, and hair loss on the scalp. Women concerned about PCOS can visit a health care professional for a blood test.

Telogen effluvium

Certain influences cause hair to shift more quickly from the growth phase to the shedding phase. Known as telogen effluvium, this phenomenon may result from pregnancy, major surgery, extreme weight loss, or high levels of stress. It can also be triggered from medications like antidepressants, beta-blockers, NSAIDs, and diuretics. To determine a relationship between hair loss and stress, pregnancy, weight loss, or medications, a doctor may conduct a thorough interview and check hair for club-shaped bulbs on the roots, an indicator of a completed cycle of growth.

The best course of action for women concerned about hair loss is to consult with a health care professional. Diagnosing the cause of female hair loss provides possible strategies for reversing the process and growing stronger, healthier hair.

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Three Antioxidants for Anti-Aging

by IVL Products

Extending our life spans to enjoy more of those “golden years” is the goal of almost all societies. There are never ending studies being conducted in hospitals, clinics and research laboratories around the globe to find the most effective anti-aging products that will turn back the clock. 

Anti-aging compounds called antioxidants neutralize free radicals to preserve the longevity of cells, and thus our lives.

The Three Anti-Aging Amigos

What are the best anti-aging compounds that should be in your diet?  Vitamin C and E are widely known as powerful free radical erasers, but there are other lesser-known compounds that are quickly rising to the top of the list of most powerful antioxidants.

Resveratrol

This polyphonic compound is found naturally in peanuts, grapes, red wine and many berries.  Since resveratrol is easily absorbed and metabolized by the human body, it can quickly begin neutralizing cell damaging free radicals. 

Research is showing that resveratrol significantly helps to slow down the spread of certain cancers, cardiovascular disease and neurodegenerative diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s. In animal studies for years, and now in human studies, resveratrol has been shown to reduce the narrowing of blood vessels lessening the risk of heart attacks (the number one killer of men and women in this country!) and strokes.

Most of its anti-aging benefits come from resveratrol’s anti-inflammatory response in the body. Chronic inflammation has long been linked to diseases of the cardiovascular system, the gums, joints and other organs.

Related:  For Healthy Aging: A Toast to Resveratrol

Astaxanthin

This is a carotenoid pigment found in trout, microalgae, yeast, crab, lobster and is highly concentrated in Pacific salmon. It is what gives the fish flesh its pinkish hue. New research over the past decade has been slow because it is very expensive to obtain, but the medical community is finding out that this is one very powerful antioxidant!

Astaxanthin (pronounced asta-ZAN-thin) is a potent anti-inflammatory and pain blocker. It reduces the inflammatory compounds that are the source of many chronic diseases and works like prescription analgesics (pain relievers) but is completely natural.  It is especially effective at suppressing levels of C reactive protein, a known cause of heart disease.

Some researchers theorize that astaxanthin is highly concentrated in Pacific salmon to give them the muscular endurance to swim upstream when they migrate.  It improves blood flow to muscles and reduces the amount of oxidative stress they suffer when working hard and helps increase endurance.

Finally, when applied topically, astaxanthin helps smooth out wrinkles and diminish age spots.

CoQ10

Coenzyme Q10 helps converts food into energy and is found in almost every cell of the human body.  The reason CoQ10 is as important as an anti-aging compound lies in its ability to lower blood pressure, help control blood glucose levels and neutralize free radicals ravaging cells.

Studies have shown that patients who took CoQ10 after a heart attack were less likely to have another one and had less chest pain than those who did not take it. Smaller studies involving people have also shown it to lower blood pressure.

Those with high cholesterol tend to have low levels of CoQ10 in their bodies. Though sufficient research has not been done to link this to improving cholesterol levels there has been some studies done showing taking it with prescription statins reduces the pain associated with statin treatment and restores normal cholesterol levels in the body. 

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Understanding Hair Loss in Women

by Institute for Vibrant Living

From the time it sprouts on the head until it falls, human hair goes through three stages: the anagen (growing) phase, the catagen (transitional) phase, and the telogen (resting) phase. Typically, females lose 50 to 150 hairs daily as part of the normal shedding process, but a variety of influences may trigger more frequent hair loss in women or cause it to become thinner over time.  

A number of influences cause hair loss in women including heredity, disease, stress, and medications.

Some women suffer from a hereditary condition called androgenetic alopecia. Although it usually affects women in their 50s or 60s, it can happen any time. Normally, new hair is as strong as the hair that is shed, but in women with genetic hair loss, the new hair grows in finer and thinner.  A variety of diseases also contribute to hair loss in women.

Hypothyroidism

The body depends on thyroid hormone for many functions, from metabolism and heart rate to hair, skin, and nail growth. When the body produces too little thyroid hormone, a number of symptoms can result like unexplained weight gain, fatigue, depression, and foggy thinking. In addition, skin becomes drier and hair and nails become more brittle and break more easily. Concerned women can visit a health care provider for a simple blood test to determine if they have hypothyroidism.

Related: Natural Immune System-Boosters

Lupus

While the immune system protects most people from disease, in people with lupus, it turns on the body and attacks healthy tissues. Symptoms of lupus include a butterfly rash across the nose and cheeks, chronic fatigue, headaches, oral ulcers, and swollen, painful joints. It can also cause mild hair loss in women and men or more severe hair loss, accompanied by a rash on the scalp. To identify lupus, doctors may perform a diagnostic exam and take a blood test.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Up to five million American females suffer from polycystic ovarian syndrome, a condition which causes the ovaries to produce too many male hormones. Sometimes starting as early as junior high, this disease creates symptoms like acne, excessive facial hair, irregular periods, ovarian cysts, and hair loss on the scalp. Women concerned about PCOS can visit a health care professional for a blood test.

Telogen effluvium

Certain influences cause hair to shift more quickly from the growth phase to the shedding phase. Known as telogen effluvium, this phenomenon may result from pregnancy, major surgery, extreme weight loss, or high levels of stress. It can also be triggered from medications like antidepressants, beta-blockers, NSAIDs, and diuretics. To determine a relationship between hair loss and stress, pregnancy, weight loss, or medications, a doctor may conduct a thorough interview and check hair for club-shaped bulbs on the roots, an indicator of a completed cycle of growth.

The best course of action for women concerned about hair loss is to consult with a health care professional. Diagnosing the cause of female hair loss provides possible strategies for reversing the process and growing stronger, healthier hair.

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Drink Water To Ease Chronic Back Pain

by Health News

Drinking plenty of water could significantly improve your chronic back pain. Since the body is comprised mainly of water (75%) keeping hydrated is essential for all aspects of your health. It has a specific role to play in easing back pain because water cushions cartilage and helps keeps joints lubricated.

Here’s how water comes into play in back pain relief: Between every two vertebrae there is a disk that is essentially a “shock absorber” to protect our backs from injury. Water is squeezed out of our disks as we go about our normal activities. The disks will rehydrate during the night and at times during the day, but only if there are adequate levels of water in the body.  A disk that doesn’t rehydrate will eventually flatten and slip out of alignment, creating the perfect storm for chronic back pain. Water also flushes waste products out of the joints. A healthy, well hydrated joint can move freely and without pain.

Related: Give Your Body What it Craves: Water

The best way to prevent dehydration is to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty. Symptoms of dehydration include excessive thirst, fatigue, muscle weakness, headaches and body aches and pains. Professional opinions vary as to the amount of water you should drink, but most holistic health practitioners recommend that you ingest 64 ounces in the course of the day.    

Of course, water alone won’t wash away your chronic back pain. It is also important to adapt a back-friendly lifestyle that includes plenty of exercise, a nutritious diet, adequate rest and stress management. 

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Natural Ways To Treat Lower Back Pain

by IVL Products

Almost everybody suffers from a bout with back pain at some point in their lives, but for some people it is daily fact of life. Millions of Americans spend their lives coping with back pain and the quest for relief often sends them to traditional medical practitioners who may view prescription drugs or even surgery as the first choices for treatment.

Fortunately there are alternatives to prescription drugs and surgery. Here are some simple tips to treat back pain naturally and safely:

WALK IT AWAY: A daily walk strengthens stretched out ligaments in the lower back and reduces them to their normal position. Ligaments are stretchy bands of tissue that hold one bone to another to help keep the joints stable and strong. Invest in a pair of good walking shoes and get moving.

DON’T HEAD TO BED: Although some holistic health practitioners might recommend bed rest for a few hours after an acute injury, too much time in bed can worsen back pain. It’s been shown that lying in bed for prolonged periods of time can cause lower back ligaments to slacken, which impedes their ability to keep joints in place.

Related: The Incredible Benefits of Nordic Walking

MONITOR YOUR MOVEMENTS: When you are suffering from lower back pain you should avoid movements that displace the sacroiliac joint. Don’t bend over from the waist or do sit-ups with your knees straight. Be mindful of motions that stress lower back muscles.

HOLD BACK ON THE HEAT: You should never use heat immediately after suffering from back strain or other injuries. Heat expands ligaments which can create instability. Ice reduces inflammation and swelling which gets to the root of back pain. Ice also numbs sore tissues which is very soothing.

Back pain, like many other chronic conditions, is often the result of bad habits that are developed over the years. Poor posture, lack of exercise, poor nutrition and unresolved stress can cause or aggravate back pain. Make lifestyle choices that support your overall health and your back will thank you for it.  

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Well Rounded Cause of Shoulder Pain

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Do you spend hours slumped over a keyboard or sitting hunched at a desk? Do you drag a heavy bag around on your shoulder wherever you go? Then you have everything you need to develop serious shoulder pain and lower back pain. Research by Ohio State University showed that shoulder pain is the most common medical complaint, followed by lower back pain and neck pain.

Rounded shoulders and poor posture cause shoulder pain

Shoulder pain and back pain can be extremely troublesome, affecting mobility, sleep patterns and overall quality of life. Researchers have found that shoulder pain is not necessarily caused by repetitive arm movements, or by long periods of sitting, but by our actual posture and arm position when seated. Here are some classic postures that can gradually put the whole spine out of alignment:

  • Sitting slumped in a chair while watching TV
  • Sitting round shouldered at a desk for hours at a time, with arms reaching forward (the classic keyboard position)
  • Reaching forward or stretching to deal with youngsters
  • Spending hours talking with the phone trapped between the shoulder and neck
  • Doing workouts on the biceps and chest without compensating with strengthening back exercises
  • Carrying heavy bags on one shoulder while using the free hand to reach and open doors
  • Leaning on one leg while waiting or commuting on a bus or train

All these positions add further stress to the body in ways that nature never intended, inevitably causing acute or chronic shoulder pain.

The Real Cause of Shoulder Pain

After being forced out of alignment for many years, the shoulder joint can be extremely vulnerable to injury. The joint is supported by muscles in the shoulder area and lacks a supporting girdle of sturdy ligaments to keep it stable under duress.

That round-shouldered posture gradually causes the muscles in the front of the shoulder to shorten. At the same time, muscles between the shoulder blades and behind the shoulder joint are forced to stretch and lengthen. This enforced stretching and weakening of these muscles is prime for a final jolt or strain to cause seriously injury, causing nagging or intense shoulder pain.

Preventing Shoulder Pain Naturally

Step one in dealing with shoulder pain is being aware of the cause. Next you need to concentrate on exercises and posture to keep your body in alignment. Practicing daily exercises to stretch the shoulders and back using a foam roll can help correct and strengthen those shoulder muscles. Yoga is also an excellent way to expand and stretch the chest and shoulder area.

Finally, look critically at your working position, whether it is at an office desk, on the phone or hunched over a kitchen stove. Consciously stand tall and straight with your shoulders back to relieve that muscle strain and avoid unnecessary shoulder pain in later life. 

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Two Time-Tested Knee Pain Exercises

by Health News

If you suffer from chronic knee problems you may be naturally inclined to do less exercise to keep the pain at bay. However, the best treatment for achy knees can actually be using them more by doing some special knee pain exercises.

Exercise strengthens the muscles around the knee joint which decreases stress on the knee and protects from strain or injury, according to the Chairman of Rehab Medicine at Cornell Hospital. However, you must use good technique and form when exercising for knee pain.

Knee pain exercises can help strengthen supportive leg muscles.

Exercises to Avoid if you have Knee Pain

Avoid lunges, deep squats, hurdler’s stretches and full arc knee extensions if you suffer from knee pain. These knee pain exercises can put unnecessary strain on the knee joints.

Secondly, never bend your legs so far that the knee sticks out beyond the toes as it puts intense pressure under the kneecap. Instead, build up knee muscle strength with the following knee pain exercises, working up to more repeats as you strengthen those weak knee muscles.

Knee Pain Exercise One

This knee extension exercise should be done when sitting on a chair with your back straight and feet placed firmly on the floor. Fold a towel and place it under your knees for extra support, then gradually lift the right leg, extending it to a horizontal position and hold. Count to three then bend the knee, lowering the foot to the floor again. Repeat with the left leg, using a controlled motion. Build up to 10 leg extension exercises per leg. You should notice the upper thighs working hard to perform this knee pain exercise. That shows that these muscles are being strengthened with the effort of the exercises.

Related: Yoga and Natural Supplements for Back Pain Relief

Knee Pain Exercise Two

Once you have mastered the basic knee extension exercise, add ankle weights. You can buy ankle weights that fix around the ankle with Velcro. Start with two pound weights and increase over time to five pound weights. Use caution and listen to your body.

For this knee pain exercise you need to sit on a high work bench or sturdy table with your legs dangling freely. Lift the right foot with the weight up through 90 degrees until the leg is in a horizontal position. Hold for a count of three and then steadily lower the leg. Repeat with the left leg. Work up to 15 knee extension exercises for knee pain for each leg to build muscle strength and reduce those painful knees.

You’ll find a variety of extra knee pain exercises which will all help ease painful knee joints by building supportive muscle over time. 

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Get the True Strains and Sprains Facts

by IVL Products

The terms strains and sprains are often used interchangeably, but in medical jargon they actually refer to different injuries. In simple terms, a sprain is damage to ligaments while a strain refers to muscles. Both sprains and strains injuries are likely to occur during sports activities.

Sprains and strains relate to different parts of the body

What are Strains?

A strain is often referred to as a “pulled muscle.” It is caused by lifting heavy objects, overstretching during exercise or tearing as the muscle suddenly contracts. It is a very painful condition with sudden onset. As well as straining muscles in the hamstring (back of the thigh), other common strains occur in the neck or back muscles.

Strains also refer to damaged tendons and fasciae. Tendons, fasciae and ligaments are all made of collagen and are strong and stretchy. Their different names refer to which parts of the body they connect. Tendons (also called sinews) connect muscle to bone and withstand tension. Fasciae are fibrous tissues wrapped around a muscle or organ.

Strains fall into three categories in terms of severity:

  • Grade-1 strain causes some inflammation, swelling and mild discomfort
  • Grade-2 strain is characterized by swelling, severe inflammation and possibly discoloration or bruising due to hemorrhaging
  • Grade-3 strain is the most severe and may disguise a fracture or more serious injury, which may need surgery. A doctor should be consulted if you feel you have a Grade-3 strain

How do Strains and Sprains Differ?

Each year over 600,000 people reported ankle sprains in the U.S. alone. A sprain refers to damaged ligaments, which are fibrous bands of tissue connecting bones. Ligaments stabilize joints and help prevent excessive movement within the ankle, wrist, thumb and knee joints.

Related: Natural Relief for Chronic Joint Pain

A sprain occurs when a joint is stretched beyond its normal capacity and you may hear a “pop” as the joint is sprained. This usually occurs during exercise or sports activity. Ligaments in the joint are torn or over-stretched when you suddenly change direction, land awkwardly, receive a sudden blow or collide with a solid object. Ouch!

A Grade-1 sprain is when a ligament is painfully overstretched or torn but does not cause any instability within the joint itself. There may be bruising, pain and swelling but the joint will still bear weight

A Grade-2 sprain is more serious tearing of the ligament accompanied by moderate pain, swelling and bruising. It may be difficult to support a person’s weight. An x-ray is recommended to check whether a fracture also occurred.

A Grade-3 sprain is when there is a complete rupture of the ligament in the joint. It causes immediate loss of function and severe pain and swelling. The patient will not be able to apply any pressure or weight to the affected limb may require surgery.

How to Treat Strains and Sprains

If you suffer from strains and sprains, follow our advice for RICE therapy. This includes resting the injury, applying ice, using a compression bandage and elevating the injured limb.

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Why Sulfur May Be the Answer for Chronic Back Pain

by IVL Products

It may smell a bit like rotten eggs, but sulphur is the eighth most common element in the human body, and is found in almost all of our tissues. Despite this fact, there is no recommended daily allowance of sulfur provided by the government or health agencies, which could be a contributing factor to chronic back pain.

Look to sulfur for relief from chronic back pain.

About 70% of American adults have reported experiencing lower back pain, according to national health surveys.  When the pain persists for 12 weeks or longer and is more than a dull ache that sticks around long after the initial incident, it’s diagnosed as chronic back pain. The symptoms can be milder one day, and more severe the next, but they are always present.  This has led some in the medical community to believe that a dietary deficiency could be contributing to the problem.

Sulfur’s Role in the Body

Many of our biological processes depend upon sulfur to work correctly. It helps maintain the integrity of the cell walls and produce collagen and essential protein that makes up the support bands beneath our skin. Sulfur is also needed to produce connective tissue, keratin (the key component in hair and the outer layer of our skin) glucosamine and chondroitin, which are part of our cartilage, the crucial cushioning tissue between the bones in our joints.

Sulfur also plays a critical role in keeping our metabolism humming along efficiently. When we become sulfur deficient, our metabolism becomes defective, damaging muscle and fat cells; this can lead to becoming glucose intolerant. When that happens, there is a number of muscular and skeletal disorders that can result, such as inflammation and chronic pain.

Upping Your Sulfur Consumption

Getting more sulfur in your diet is important, whether or not you are suffering from chronic back pain.   Adding the supplement MSM to your daily diet could help alleviate chronic pain. 

Related: White Willow Bark For Safe And Effective Pain Relief

MSM stands for methyl sulfonyl methane and is a naturally occurring sulfur compound found in human, animals and plants. It can be made manufactured into pill form or even a topical gel to help provide the correct daily dosage.  To date, MSM has proven to be non-toxic.

How Sulfur Can Help Relieve Chronic Back Pain

MSM has powerful anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce the pain of inflammation in joints and muscles.  For this reason, it is often used to treat a variety of discomforts such as:

  • Leg cramps
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Migraines and headaches
  • Joint pain and stiffness
  • Constipation

One of the ways MSM relieves chronic back pain and other disorders is by inhibiting the transmissions of pain impulses along nerve fibers.  This helps to reduce inflammation that could be compressing a nerve, and reduces muscle spasms, contributing to lower back pain.

Sulfur in MSM also has the ability to dilate blood vessels for improved circulation, bringing more nutrients to speed up the healing of damaged tissue. What’s more impressive is MSM’s potential to make cell membranes more permeable, letting the body’s own natural painkillers into damaged areas.

By reducing inflammation, enhancing blood flow to more flexible cells to allow for faster healing, MSM could play a big role in not only relieving chronic back pain, but also with the loss of joint mobility from arthritis.

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Nine Nutty Options for an Arthritis Prevention Diet

by Health News

Millions of Americans suffer from arthritis. While there is no cure for the condition, following an arthritis prevention diet can go a long way toward helping to slow down the progression of the disease and ease symptoms. Simply by incorporating certain foods into your daily meals that contain vitamins, minerals and other compounds, has shown to greatly help to ease the pain and progression of arthritis.

Nuts are ideal for an arthritis prevention diet.

Delicious and Totally Nuts!

One group of foods in particular is showing to be a joint’s best friend and should be included in any dietary plan. What group of foods can help? Nuts!

There are two kinds of arthritis:

  • Osteoarthritis (OA) – the deterioration of cartilage in the joints
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) – an immune disease that destroys the tissue lining joints

Fortunately there are some simple ways to help reduce the severity of OA and RA symptoms. Maintaining a healthy weight, getting regular exercise and following an arthritis prevention diet are simple ways to improve your quality of life if you suffer from either type of arthritis.

Nuts and seeds are packed with the potent antioxidants, vitamin E and minerals like selenium, copper and magnesium, which have shown to be very beneficial in combating the stiffness, limited mobility, chronic inflammation and pain in joints ravaged by arthritis.

Related: How to Have More Energy & Improve Digestion with Pistachios

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that men and women who consumed the most nuts over a 15-year period had a much lower risk of dying from inflammatory disorders like RA.

Other research found that many arthritis sufferers had poor bone density, a common condition linked to a lack of adequate magnesium in the diet. Nuts are loaded with magnesium.

The Nutty Nine

  1. Almonds – there are many good things for the body contained in one little nut, such as vitamin E and powerful antioxidants to help rebuild damaged tissue.
  2. Walnuts – one of the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids found in a plant-based food. These nuts are also a good source of protein.
  3. Hazelnuts – are full of PACs (proanthocyanidins), which are very potent antioxidants. They are also a rich source of vitamin E.
  4. Pecans – full of healthy fats, vitamins and minerals that fight inflammation.
  5. Pine nuts – are a good source of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant; vitamin D for stronger bones; and pinoliec acid, which can help you to feel more full, and aid in managing weight, and a healthy weight is easier on sore joints.
  6. Flaxseeds – are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids like walnuts.
  7. Pumpkin seeds – often tossed out in favor of the flesh of the pumpkin, these seeds should be in your diet for their high magnesium content and ability to act as a natural anti-inflammatory.
  8. Sesame seeds – one of the world’s oldest condiments, this tiny seed packs a powerful load of vitamin E, selenium and even contains calcium.
  9. Sunflower seeds – are rich source of selenium, magnesium and linoleic acid.

Consuming more nuts and seeds are a good idea for anyone looking for the optimal arthritis prevention diet to help preserve their joint tissue, reduce inflammation and manage their weight.  Because nuts are calorically dense and also concentrated sources of essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, a bite of nuts little goes a long way. 

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Four Secrets to Lower Back Pain Relief

by IVL Products

Affecting sedentary people as well as accomplished athletes, lower back pain does not discriminate.  Nearly all people experience it at some point in their lives.  Sitting for long periods or participating in activities that involve running, jumping, or vigorous movement all put strain on muscles in the lower back.  Fortunately, four easy steps help provide lower back pain relief if practiced regularly.

Four easy steps help provide lower back pain relief if practiced regularly

1.  Sit properly.  To keep undue stress from lower back muscles, do not sit on the edge of a chair.  Instead, sit all the way in for complete back support.  Limit time spent crossing the legs, and try to sit with at least one knee above the hips.  A soft footstool helps. 

2.  Take advantage of cushions.  Place a cushion behind the lower back, and look for one that promises anatomical support.  Use the cushion for any chair or car seat.  Try placing a thin cushion under the thighs while sitting to take further pressure off the lower back.

3.  Use proper sleeping position.  Approximately 2/3 of people with chronic back pain have trouble sleeping.  The best position to prevent and relieve lower back pain is sleeping in the fetal position on the right side.  While placing the left leg over the top of the right helps some people even more, others place a soft pillow between the knees for enhanced relief.  In addition to helping curb back pain, laying on the right side also improves digestion and promotes healthy bowel movements.

4.  Stretch your body.  Stretching is a key activity for healthy joints and muscles, particularly muscles in the lower back.  Exercises that stretch and lengthen the hamstrings help most when it comes to lower back pain relief.  To garner the benefits of stretching, people might sign up for a local yoga class or confer with a certified trainer or Pilates expert for stretching exercise ideas.  Individuals new to stretching should remember to start slowly and proceed at your own pace. 

Related: Stretching is Good for Seniors

More Activities for Lower Back Pain Relief

In addition to the four secrets mentioned above, people with lower back pain might try these activities to bring relief:

  • Massage
  • Aerobic Exercise
  • Meditation
  • Acupuncture
  • Deep Breathing
  • Core Exercises
  • Hydrotherapy