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Do Free Radicals Cause Skin Changes?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

The skin is the body's largest organ, so it is important to take good care of it.  Knowing about free radicals and how to eliminate them can help.  A free radical is an unstable oxygen molecule that is missing an electron.  In the hunt for the absent electron, free radicals destroy healthy molecules and create more free radicals. A number of environmental and lifestyle factors contribute to the production of free radicals including exposure to the sun, smoking, excessive use of alcohol, a poor diet, and air pollution.  Over time, excessive free radicals can cause oxidative damage leading to skin changes like acne, wrinkles and even skin cancer. 

Lifestyle choices like smoking can promote free radical production and cause skin changes.

Young skin contains an abundance of antioxidants that protect it from free radicals.  However, aging skin produces fewer antioxidants and becomes more susceptible to damage. Fortunately, as people age, they can prevent the production of free radicals by engaging in a number of healthy lifestyle strategies.

1.  Use Sunscreen

Prolonged exposure to the sun encourages the production of free radicals. According to a study examining the effects of oxidative stress on skin cells, the use of sunscreen offers the best protection for preventing these free radicals from forming.  Natural, mineral-based sunscreens provide safe, broad-spectrum protection without harsh chemicals.  Remember to wear a wide-brimmed hat when out in direct sunlight.  Other protection methods are long-sleeved clothes and even using an umbrella for sun protection.

2.  Eat Foods High in Antioxidants

In the same study, the Slovenian research team from the University of Ljubljana also concluded "Foods rich in antioxidants and other phytochemicals such as fruits, vegetables, wine and green tea help protect against oxidative damage and free radical attack."  Specific fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants include leafy greens, red grapes, citrus fruits, melons, papaya, berries, and pomegranate.

Related:  Internal Sun Protection With ALA

3.  Take Dietary Supplements

A number of vitamin and mineral supplements block the development of free radicals.  These include vitamin B2, vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, coenzyme Q10, lutein, lycopene, and zinc.  Protective herbal supplements include bilberry, gingko biloba, grape seed extract, and turmeric.

4.  Try Skincare Products with Vitamin C or Copper

It's hard to sift through the multitude of skincare products for one that actually works, but a few added ingredients have been shown to truly benefit the skin. Vitamin C is vital to the production of collagen, the main structural protein in connective tissue. Research shows that topical application of vitamin C promotes the production of collagen and diminishes the effects of free radicals. Copper is an ingredient added to many products for aging skin. Copper peptides can help improve skin elasticity, enhance skin tone and reduce symptoms of skin conditions like rashes, eczema, and rosacea.

While environment and lifestyle can affect the skin, certain healthy strategies help keep skin changes to a minimum. People looking to enhance skin health should use sunscreen when spending more than twenty minutes outdoors. Other ways to benefit the skin include eating foods high in antioxidants, taking certain dietary supplements, and using topical skin products with vitamin C or copper.

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Sweat Too Much? Four Ways to Stop Excessive Sweating

by IVL Products

Sweating is normal when temperatures are high or during exercise. At other times, suffering from excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) can be embarrassing, especially if it soaks through your clothing or makes your hands clammy and damp. It may help to know that you are not alone; an estimated eight million Americans have this problem.

There are ways to help reduce excessive sweating

Here are four suggested ways to help stop excessive sweating and gain control, simply by making a few lifestyle changes.

1.     Use Antiperspirant Twice Daily

Check that your deodorant actually includes an antiperspirant as well. Deodorants simply mask any odors while antiperspirants actually stop the underarm glands from producing sweat. You may need to change to a combination antiperspirant deodorant to control sweating.

If you have been using the same brand of antiperspirant for years, a change to a different product may produce a more effective response. Choose one containing aluminum chloride for added effectiveness.  (However, many health-conscious folks choose to avoid antiperspirants because of the aluminum content.)

As well as using antiperspirant in the morning, reapply in the afternoon for added effectiveness. This is usually the warmest part of the day and your morning antiperspirant may already have rubbed off onto clothing.

Related:  Chlorophyll:  Nature's Remedy for Fatigue, Bad Breath and More

2.     Eliminate Spicy Food

Hot peppers used in spicy dishes contain capsaicin which activates nerves that are heat sensitive. They send signals to the spinal cord and the hypothalamus in the brain, activating sweat glands to produce sweat and cool the body. By avoiding those hot and spicy dishes, you can control excessive sweating.

3.     Avoid Caffeine

In a similar way to hot spices, caffeine boosts energy and alertness, but it also increases sweating when consumed in large amounts. Once the caffeine is metabolized, the sweating stops, but it could be easier to avoid that caffeine rush by drinking caffeine-free sodas, coffee and herbal or green tea—or replace with purified water.

4.     Try Detox Supplements to Reduce Sweating

Your body is full of toxins and metals which collect in the kidneys and liver and may contribute to excessive sweating. Try a 3-5 day detox diet eating only fresh raw vegetables and fruits. Drink lots of water and squeezed fruit juices and avoid alcohol and smoking. A detox diet will cleanse the whole digestive system, eliminating excess water and waste along with toxins.

Taking a dietary supplement can help to make the detoxification more effective. As well as feeling energized and revitalized, you should also sweat less afterward.

You may find a few other useful tips in this article on stopping excess sweating. Once you have excessive sweating under control, you can relax and concentrate on enjoying life without feeling self-conscious.   

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Understanding the Relationship between Perimenopause and Acne

by Cindy Gray

Menopause is the result of declining sex hormones manufactured by female ovaries.  It marks the end of menstruation in women.  The term "perimenopause" refers to the transitional stage in a woman's life leading up to menopause.  Typically lasting from two to ten years, women in perimenopause experience a variety of symptoms, the most common being hot flashes, headache, irritability, mood swings, poor sleep patterns, and vaginal dryness.  As if these symptoms weren't enough, some women also develop acne.  Understanding the relationship between perimenopause and acne can help women restore blemish-free skin.  

There is a connection between fluctuating hormones in perimenopause and acne.

The Estrogen-Testosterone Connection

Just like with teenagers, women dealing with perimenopause and acne can chock it up to fluctuating hormones.  A woman's ovaries and adrenal glands manufacture female hormones like estrogen and progesterone, but they also produce small amounts of androgens, like testosterone.  While estrogen levels begin to decline during perimenopause, androgen levels remain constant. 

In some women, an imbalance of testosterone can cause the sebaceous glands of the skin to produce excessive sebum, an oily substance that clogs pores.  As women age, skin cell regeneration slows, and excessive skin cells can exacerbate the problem, blocking the clogged pores and causing pimples and blemishes.

Related:  Adult Acne—Wrinkles and Pimples At The Same Time?

OTC Remedies

Certain over-the-counter cleansers can help women deal with acne.  The American Academy of Dermatology recommends women dealing with perimenopause and acne choose cleansers and astringents made especially for adult women as they are typically less drying to the skin. Many women also appreciate cosmetics that contain salicylic acid, or other acne-fighting ingredients.

Balance Hormones Naturally

Balancing hormones can help keep acne in check during perimenopause.  A number of natural methods may help:  

  • Eat cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and kohlrabi.  Cruciferous veggies contain indole-3-carbinol (I3C), which is a precursor to diindolylmethane (DIM).  Both of these compounds can help keep estrogen hormones in balance.
  • Make foods containing phytoestrogens a part of the diet.  Foods like fermented soy, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, bean sprouts, and legumes contain small amounts of plant-based estrogen that may help women with declining estrogen levels.
  • Consider herbal remedies like black cohosh or the Ayurvedic herb, shatavari.  Although herbs have shown to be no better than placebo for relieving perimenopause symptoms in scientific research, anecdotal evidence suggests otherwise. 
  • Maintain a healthy body weight.  Excess body fat can trigger the production of more estrogen in the body.

Women in perimenopause have to deal with enough symptoms without adding acne to the mix.  Fortunately, a number of over-the-counter products can help, or women may want to seek the advice of a dermatologist.  Natural methods that encourage hormonal balance may also help like dietary changes, herbs, and maintenance of a healthy body weight.  Because women’s bodies each differ, it is wise to consult with a health care practitioner before using herbal supplements. 

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Are Supplements Regulated by the FDA?

by theintituteforvibrantliving admin

Natural supplements are not governed like drugs, as they are not drugs at all. However, they can be just as potent and those taking daily supplements should understand what checks are in place to maintain standards and support good health. You should be particularly careful of starting a new regime of natural supplements if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have chronic medical conditions or are on medications. 

The FDA has rules concerning dietary supplements that allow manufacturers to claim a product supports health or addresses a deficiency. However, the manufacturer must make a disclaimer that the FDA has not evaluated the claim.

Related Article: 10 Tips for Purchasing High-Quality Nutritional Supplements

Herbal supplement companies must follow good manufacturing practices (GMPs) and meet quality standards. GMPs ensure the right ingredients are included to match the product label and ensure that dangerous substances, such as lead, are kept out. Once a product is on the market, the FDA monitors it for safety and has the power to remove it if deemed dangerous. 

The FDA requires natural supplement labels to show the name of the supplement, the name and address of the distributor or manufacturer, a complete list of ingredients and the serving size, amount and active ingredients. This makes it easy to compare similar products from different brands or research more information. 

#vibrantliving

The best protection is to buy natural supplements from a reputable supplier who has been in the market for many years and has a good reputation. Buy from a company that has good information available on its products, is willing to answer questions and backs up its products with a fair, money-back guarantee. 

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Healthy Recipe: Potato and Leek Soup with Red Pepper Flakes

by Nancy Maneely

Healthy Recipe: Potato and Leek Soup with Red Pepper FlakesSpring is traditionally the time for cleansing, renewal, and immune system support. In the Ayurvedic healing tradition of India, cooks pay special attention to seasonal dietary preferences. In spring, we eat less dairy and meat and more vegetables, greens and bitter herbs.

 Here are some of the spring dietary suggestions from the Ayurvedic practitioners at Joyful Belly (www.joyfulbelly.com):

Ayurvedic practitioners say the general springtime diet should favor grains such as barley and corn, and warming spices like ginger and turmeric to ward off blood stagnation. Green foods, especially bitter greens like dandelion and arugula, will also aid in fat metabolism. We should increase fiber and take herbal supplements to keep bowels clear and aid the cleansing process. Avoid heavy, oily, sweet and salty foods such as red meat and dairy.

Potato and Leek Soup with Red Pepper Flakes

This smooth, peppery potato soup tastes like “fresh bright green” with fennel seeds and leeks. The recipe is from Chef Mark Reinfled of Blossoming Lotus, Hawaii.

4 potatoes
1 tsp fennel seeds
6 cups water
½ tsp mineral salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 cup leeks
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes (chili)

Preparation:

Heat 4 cups of water on high. Meanwhile, peel and chop the potatoes. Add to the water and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, slice the leeks. Strain the potatoes after boiling for 10 minutes, saving the water. Add 2 cups cool water to the potatoes (to cool them for the blender) and blend. Pour back into the hot liquid and return to a boil. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes.

Do you have a favorite springtime recipe?

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All Natural Help Product: Saw Palmetto Extract

by Health News

All Natural Help Product Saw Palmetto Extract The all natural health product saw palmetto extract is rich in health-promoting fatty acids like Omega 3. It is also a potent source of heart-healthy phytosterols. While these mineral supplements alone might be enough to sell you on this amazing berry extract, you might be interested to know that saw palmetto extract has been shown in scientific studies to have powerful health benefits for men, specifically. In fact, there is growing evidence that saw palmetto, taken as an dietary herbal supplement, may be a natural treatment for male-pattern baldness and benign prostatic hyperplasia (also known as BPH or “enlarged prostate”).

A 1998 study* conducted by Dr. F. Di Silverio and others at the University of Rome’s Department of Urology found that saw palmetto extract effectively reduced the amount of DHT (an active form of testosterone) in the part of the prostate surrounding the urethra, reducing the symptoms of enlarged prostate. Another study** conducted in 2005 at the Department of Urology at the University of Vienna, Austria found that saw palmetto reduced the need for surgery in men with BPH by as much as 50%!

There is also evidence that saw palmetto extract might help mitigate male-pattern baldness. A study*** published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that certain ingredients in saw palmetto extract improved symptoms of androgenetic alopecia (male pattern baldness) in 60% of the healthy subjects, aged 23 to 64 with mild to moderate androgenetic alopecia.

Have you ever taken saw palmetto extract?

Sources:
*http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9759701
**http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16175413
***http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12006122

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How Safe are Supplements and Natural Medicine? Part 1

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Dear Reader,

First let me welcome you to my first blog post. I am excited to share my thoughts with you. I look forward to our discussions and hope you enjoy my writings.

This subject of how safe supplements and natural medicine is is not an easy one. It's one of those things where if you ask six different people about it, you get a similar amount of answers. Personally, I've always believed in the healing power and the safety of supplements and natural medicine, if they are used correctly, with knowledge and common sense. The problem is, when it comes to people in general, there is a shortage of common sense. Common sense, unfortunately, has yet to be bottled and sold. But if it was, would the Food and Drug Administration approve it? It could be disruptive...

Let's first offer a bit of definition.
  
What are dietary supplements? The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), (created by the FDA) defines a dietary supplement as a product that:

  • supplements the food you eat;
  • contains one or more dietary ingredient (including vitamins; minerals; herbs or other botanicals; amino acids, and other substances);
  • comes in pill, capsule, tablet, or liquid form; and
  • is labeled as a dietary supplement.
Natural Vitamin Mineral Supplements - How safe are they?

There are different types of dietary, or nutritional, supplements. Vitamin and mineral supplements are types of dietary supplements containing micronutrients meant to help a healthy body function smoothly. Herbal (or botanical) supplements are dietary supplements that have a medicinal purpose. Herbal supplements generally support a specific area of the body’s health, such as the liver, bones or skin.

How do you determine which supplements or natural medicine treatments you take?


Tune in on Friday for Part 2 of my discussion on how safe supplements and natural medicine are....

 

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5 Tips For Improving Your Eyesight Naturally

by Health News

Vision Clear™ - Protect Your Eyesight1. Supplement your diet with the dietary herbal supplement Lutein:  Because most people don’t get enough lutein and other vision-enhancing nutrients in their diets, millions of Americans take supplements to avoid and mitigate eye problems related to aging and improve their eyesight naturally. 

2. Perform eye exercises: Your eyes are muscles and just like all the other muscles in your body they need a certain amount of exercise in order to function to their fullest potential. The type of eye exercise needed will vary from person to person so you should talk with your holistic practitioner to determine the ones that will work best for you.

3. Take breaks from the computer screen:  Millions of Americans spend all of their working hours in front of a computer and then go home and stare at the screen another three or four hours. To ease eye strain, make sure you use good lighting and sit at a proper distance from the computer screen.  Because poor posture can contribute to eyestrain, be sure to adjust your workstation and your chair to the correct height so that you are not leaning forward or squinting to see the screen.

At least once every hour you should take some time away from your computer to rest your eyes. Stand up during your breaks and stretch out your arms, legs, back, neck and shoulders to help alleviate tension and muscle soreness. Once you sit back down to work, take five to 10 seconds to just close your eyes and rest them before resuming your task.

4. Protect your eyes from the sun: The UV radiation from the sun can damage sensitive eye tissue and can actually burn the front surface of the eye.   Always use sunglasses that provide UV protection and wear a wide-brimmed hat when you are out in the sun, even for a few minutes. If you are going to be in the bright sunlight for a prolonged period you should wear wrap-around frames that provide additional protection.

5. Get adequate rest: Your eyes, along with the rest of your body, must have proper rest in order to function properly. During sleep is the only time that your eyes are closed for extended periods so that they have the chance to rest and relax.

Are you following some of these tips to help keep your eyesight healthy?

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Natural Relief for Chronic Joint Pain

by Health News

Chronic joint pain is an affliction that millions of Americans must live with every day. Some of these problems are severe and require medical attention and rehabilitation; others, however, can be alleviated and/or prevented through changes in lifestyle. As with other aspects of good health, proper care and self-monitoring can go a long way in preserving activity, functionality, and increase energy naturally.

Many sufferers of chronic joint pain have found relief in various forms of physical therapy; but physical therapy is a fancy way of talking about exercise. And while therapy may be a more focused and efficient method for dealing with a specific pain, exercise is a general term for overall maintenance of the whole body.

But which types of exercise are the most effective in relieving joint pain?

Yoga is one of the best total body activities to deal with chronic afflictions, especially those of born from injury or wear and tear. Yoga increases flexibility, strength, and posture in practitioners, while oxygenating the blood and naturally boosting energy.

Your joints, your muscles, and your cardiovascular system all benefit from the many complex positions. Scientifically, studies have demonstrated that sufferers from rheumatoid arthritis have shown marked improvement from practicing yoga.

Yoga: A Natural Relief for Chronic Joint Pain

Other exercise regiments that offer relief from chronic joint pain while minimizing the chance of further injury include swimming, tai chi, and cycling.

As for dietary efforts,herbal supplements that contain anti-inflammatory agents can assuage chronic pain.

These include turmeric, green tea, ginger, rosemary, cat’s claw, devil’s claw, and willow bark. Other nutritional supplements that can be of help are fish oil and Vitamin D. Fish oil gives the body much needed Omega-3s, while Vitamin D can positively affect both fibromyalgia and bone and joint pain. The best source of Vitamin D is plenty of sunlight, but supplements have shown to be beneficial as well.

Maintaining your body is analogous to maintaining an automobile. With proper care and the right fuel, you can minimize long term effects and stay running for years to come.

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High Blood Pressure Supplements Benefits

by Health News

Supplements to help control high blood pressure are known to have beneficial effects.

Bonito peptides are a safe and natural way to help lower high blood pressure. Bonito is a fish from the tuna family and researchers have isolated certain proteins, called peptides, which provide a safe way to sustain healthy lower blood pressure. Clinical trials on bonito peptides showed an average 10 mm Hg drop in systolic blood pressure (the first figure) and 7 mm Hg drop in diastolic blood pressure. 

Acetyl L-Carnitine is naturally produced in the liver and kidneys, but conditions such as angina can cause insufficient carnitine to be made. L-carnitine helps reduce oxidative stress and maintains a healthy heart and lower blood pressure.

Celery Seed is another herbal supplement which is commonly used to support healthy blood pressure.

Nattokinase is also used to help lower high blood pressure naturally. This Japanese food is produced from fermented soybeans and is a common breakfast food in Japan.  

CoQ10 is a product found naturally in the body cells. Taking a daily dietary supplement of CoQ10, which naturally decreases in the body with age, helps dilate blood vessels, increase energy and lower blood pressure too.

For those suffering with higher than normal blood pressure readings, there is plenty of help from Mother Nature to help lower those numbers safely and naturally. However, all changes should be checked with your doctor, especially if you are already on medication for high blood pressure.