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Seven Common Causes of Balance Issues

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Even the healthiest adults may encounter balance issues, particularly as they grow older. While some imbalance issues may require medication, other balance problems can be cured by understanding the cause and adopting healthy habits to prevent them.

Healthy living tips for the inner ear support balance

Here are some healthy living tips and advice about how to deal with seven common causes of imbalance, so you can feel a bit steadier on your feet.

1.     Migraine

Some people suffer visual disturbances, flashing images, partial blindness in one eye or dizziness as part of what is known as a migraine aura. Take preventative headache medication at the first signs of a migraine to avoid it developing into a cluster migraine and try to avoid any trigger foods such as chocolate, strawberries and red wine.

2.     Inflammation of the Inner Ear

The inner ear is made up of several semi-circular canals lined with hairs and nerves to sense when we turn our head or move. This is the balance control center of the body. Unfortunately the quantity of nerve cells steadily decline after the age of 55. If healthy habits are ignored, it can result in a loss of balance, vertigo, BPPV or acoustic neuroma. A knock on the head, low blood pressure or an ear infection can also affect the balance in the inner ear. Get a regular checkup with a health professional to ensure that your whole body is healthy as part of balance support.

Related:  Can I Stop Hearing Loss with Vitamin Supplements?

3.     Heart arrhythmia

An irregular heartbeat can cause momentary loss of balance or co-ordination. Any irregular heartbeat, such as racing, throbbing or a rapid pulse should be checked out by a medical professional to avoid more serious health issues.

4.     Peripheral neuropathy

The brain relies on peripheral nerves to transmit sensory information which helps the different systems in the body to control balance. Physical injury, diabetes, repetitive stress and metabolic disorders can disrupt the nerve messages to the brain, resulting in balance problems.

5.     Depression and anxiety

Lightheadedness can be brought on by panic attacks, feelings of anxiety, hyperventilation and other emotional stresses. Regular exercise and good social support can help negate these serious health issues, helping ease anxiety and reducing associated dizzy spells.

6.     Standing up too quickly

Another cause of imbalance is suddenly standing or sitting up, or getting out of bed too quickly. Rapid movement can cause a drop in blood pressure, a common cause of unsteadiness. Healthy living tips for better balance include getting into the habit of rising slowly and steadily from a chair or bed.

7.     Muscle weakness

Regular exercise may help improve muscle weakness. In rare instances, loss of balance and weakness may be due to medical problems such as MS, Alzheimer’s, lupus and brain tumors.

If you are suffering from momentary balance issues it makes sense to get your overall fitness checked out by a doctor regularly as one of the healthy habits to ensure your whole body is functioning well.  Other commonsense healthy living tips include adopting a healthy diet and regular exercise suitable for your age and ability. Not only will this diagnose any health issues, it may also prevent balance issues in later life.

 

 

 

 

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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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How to Pick the Right Probiotic For Your Digestive System

by Health News

How to choose a probiotic supplement

Scientists estimate that the human body is home to more than 750 trillion bacteria, and most of them exist in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. They are essential for the digestion of food, neutralizing hormones and supporting the body’s immune system. Having an imbalance of these bacteria can cause digestive or intestinal problems that manifest themselves as fatigue, depression, recurring yeast infections, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation or cramps.

You may be surprised to learn that people over 60 have 1000 times less “friendly” bacteria in their guts than younger healthy adults. Probiotics can play an essential role in aging healthy. Many studies suggest that overall health depends largely on the healthy functioning of the digestive system.

One major cause of an imbalance of bacteria is taking a course of antibiotics. They not only treat the virus that they are prescribed for, but also lay waste to the bacteria in our digestive tract. Other medications such as heartburn pills can also be harmful to gut flora as they alter the balance of intestinal bacteria.

If your gut has too many “bad” bacteria releasing toxins, your body will feel the effect with a range of health problems. If you lack sufficient digestive enzymes, a probiotic with a high count of bacteria can be taken to rectify the situation.

Picking the Correct Probiotic

Increasing the good bacteria in your intestine is easy. Yoghurt, miso and soy drinks all contain live cultures that can improve digestive or intestinal problems. The “good” bacteria thrive on nutrients called prebiotics which are found in onions, green leafy vegetables, bananas, artichokes and garlic. Bad bacteria thrive on sugars and fats from processed foods and these foods should definitely be avoided.

Live bacteria can be taken as supplements. There are many strains, each with a different function. It is wise to read the labels and learn more about what each probiotic does. For example, Lactobacillus casei (in the yoghurt drink DanActive) was found to reduce ear infections and gastrointestinal upsets in children. Studies on Bifidobacterium Infantis (found in the probiotic supplement Align) found it reduces the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

How to Take Probiotics
Some probiotics come in capsule form while others are in powder or liquid form and need to be kept refrigerated. Follow the instructions and never expose probiotics to heat or processing or they will be damaged or killed.

Most good probiotic supplements combine several beneficial bacteria with live yeast. Look for a probiotic containing billions of Lactobacillus acidophilus, Saccharomyces and Bifidobacteria. A supplement such as First Milk Flora is easy to take as a chewable tablet and contains 1.5 million colony forming units per tablet to promote healthy digestion. The best probiotics also include a prebiotic which helps the flora survive in the intestine.

To continue on a healthy aging path, consult your doctor before taking any probiotics as they may interfere with some medications. Once taken, you should begin to feel an improvement in your health after one to two weeks. If not, switch to a different probiotic to find one that aids your particular medical problem or gives a general boost to your feeling of wellbeing. As the probiotics change the acidic balance of your body, it is important to keep a record of any changes, and to consult a doctor beforehand if you are already taking medications. Cheers to maintaining your path of aging healthy!



Source:
http://www.livestrong.com/article/448920-the-best-probiotics-for-women/
http://www.wisegeek.com/how-do-i-choose-the-best-probiotic-acidophilus.htm

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Can I Stop Hearing Loss with Vitamin Supplements?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Can I Stop Hearing Loss with Vitamin Supplements?Hearing loss is a very common medical condition, believed to affect more than 28 million Americans. It can be caused by multiple factors including aging, excessive exposure to loud noise, illness, chemicals or physical trauma - or any  combination of these.

Animal studies have already shown that intake of antioxidant vitamins along with magnesium can protect against hearing loss. A recent study looked at the association between daily intake of the antioxidant vitamins beta-carotene and vitamins C and E and magnesium on hearing thresholds in US adults.

Data on hearing thresholds was assessed from over 2500 participants aged 20 to 69 years from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). This study clearly showed that higher intakes of magnesium along with beta-carotene and vitamin C were associated with better hearing thresholds. In other words, dietary intake of antioxidants and magnesium is associated with a lower risk of hearing loss.

Similarly, studies have shown that a lack of folic acid, a B vitamin, is linked to susceptibility to age-related hearing problems. For example, a Dutch study reported that folic acid supplements delayed age-related low frequency hearing loss in middle-aged people, suggesting that supplementing with folic acid may help to lessen this type of hearing loss.

Sensori-neural hearing loss (SSNHL) is another type of hearing loss - one that can happen suddenly, without warning. In such cases, a person typically experiences complete or partial loss of hearing in one or both ears.

Occasionally, a viral upper respiratory infection or very loud noise may precede SSNHL. In such cases, hearing can recover within a twenty-four hour period if attended to. However, if not treated properly, hearing loss may become a permanent condition.

Some doctors prescribe Niacin, another B vitamin which seems to improve blood circulation to the inner ear, to treat SSNHL. Niacin may also help some people with tinnitus, but only if their condition was originally caused by circulation problems.

Source: An Ear Health Supplement for Better Hearing.

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Top Ten Superfoods: Introducing the Superberries

by Health News

Black Cherry is famous for its ability to reduce pain and inflammation...so much so that studies tell us that these same compounds found in Black Cherry may also reduce the risk of colon cancer. 

Raspberry has been shown to be high in antioxidant power, and a warrior against disease.  This superberry helps to fight heart disease, improve vision, preserve memory, and help fend off stroke, Alzheimer's, arthritis, and other age-related health concerns.
 

Top 10 Superberries - Superfoods

Acai (ah-SAH'-ee) comes from the Cabbage Palm, and packs 10 times more antioxidants than red grapes and about 30 times more anthocyanins than red wine!  Together they target harmful free radicals and help to stop premature aging by improving cell growth and regeneration.  The disease fighting properties of this superberry have been talked about on MSNBC News and even discussed on The Oprah Winfrey Show because the acai berry is considered to be the world's number one superfood. 

Blackberry is another superberry, known to be heart friendly by reducing oxidative stress and keeping the entire cardiovascular system at its best.

Top Ten Superfoods: Introducing the Superberries 

Black Current stays busy as a powerful cholesterol buster, especially the LDL bad cholesterol—and is believed to be more effective than fish oil supplements. 

Blueberry has been shown to clear brain fog and boost memory and mental capacity. 

Cranberry has been used for centuries to protect and support the bladder, particularly helpful throughout the years. 

Lycium or Goji berries has a long history as a powerful blood tonic. Herbalists have relied on Lycium (Goji) to help with symptoms such as ringing in the ears, blurred vision, male sexual problems, and irritability. 
 

Top 10 Superberries #vibrantliving

The Acerola superberry—known to put the brakes on aging, help reduce inflammation and kill pain, provide mineral salts and proteins, and generally gives a glowing complexion, from the inside out! 

Bilberries contain flavonoids that studies show help to strengthen capillaries, improve circulation, reduce and even reverse blood vessel deterioration and inflammation.  Bilberries are so potent that they help reinforce the entire vascular system and improve night vision!  History tells us that during WWII, pilots in the Royal Air Force used to eat bilberries to improve their night vision!

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How Safe are Supplements and Natural Medicine? Part 2

by Institute for Vibrant Living

What is natural medicine

Natural medicine can be defined as any form of health care that encourages and or enhances the body's own natural healing powers. Natural medicine can include diet (herbs, supplements,) hydrotherapy, chiropractic, ayurveda, homeopathy, acupuncture, acupressure, energy healing, and others. Most of these types of health care practices are not taught in traditional medical schools. Throw into the mix other terms like holistic medicine (focusing on mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of the patient, in addition to their physical body—treating the 'whole person' as opposed to individual organs of the body); alternative and complementary medicine: alternative means used alone or instead of conventional Western medicine; whereas, complementary medicine is where an alternative therapy is used in conjunction with conventional medicine or traditional therapy, and the two therapies complement each other.                                                                                                               

In contrast to natural medicine, there is allopathic medicine, referring to the practice of conventional medicine that uses pharmaceutical drugs and or physical interventions to treat or suppress symptoms of conditions or diseases. It can also be called Western medicine, conventional medicine or modern medicine. Often practitioners sub-divide the body and focus on a specialty, i.e. ENT doctors specialize in conditions of the ear, nose, and throat.  

There is a delicate balance between natural medicine and Western medicine. There is a need to recognize this balance, and that each has their place in the good health and survival of the planet and its people.

What are your experiences with combining both natural medicine and Western medicine?

Tune in Saturday when I share my personal experience with recognizing the balance between natural medicine and Western medicine....

 

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Five Natural Anti-aging Solutions

by Health News

Five Natural Anti-aging SolutionsWhile getting older is unavoidable, many of the side effects like wrinkling of the skin, elevated risks for heart disease and stroke, high cholesterol, osteoporosis and memory loss can be forestalled with healthy lifestyle choices including good nutrition.  Take a look at these five tips for nutrition and anti-aging.

  1. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.  Diets packed with fresh fruits and vegetables help boost energy, maintain a healthy weight, and lower chances for disease.  With the exception of a few, most fresh fruits and veggies are full of fiber, low in calories and free of fat, cholesterol and sodium.  This helps lower risks for heart disease, cancer, diabetes and hypertension. 
  2. Fresh fruits and vegetables are loaded with minerals like calcium, iron and magnesium and vitamins C and E, beta-carotene and folic acid.  Fruits and veggies also contain antioxidants which fight free radicals that attack and damage cells.   Antioxidants also help boost the immune system and protect the brain from oxidative stress.
  3. Consume healthy fats with omega-3 fatty acids.  Foods like salmon and halibut contain omega-3 fatty acids.  According to research, these may help lower risks for heart disease and cancer, boost immunity and improve mood for a younger, healthier body.  A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that regular consumers of fish have significantly less incidences of colorectal, esophageal, stomach and pancreatic cancers. Even those who consumed small amounts of fish were found to have reduced risks for cancers of the digestive tract.
  4. Drink enough water.  The body depends upon water for survival.  In addition to ensuring adequate moisture in the eyes, ears, nose and throat, water helps the skin stay healthy by hydrating skin cells, removing toxins and delivering nutrients to cells.  Also, proper hydration ensures more efficient perspiration which helps keep skin clean and clear. Drink at least 64 ounces of pure water each day.
  5. Cut unneeded calories.   Studies have shown that a reduction in calories increases lifespan in small mammals and lowers incidences of age-related diseases like diabetes, heart disease, cancer and memory loss.  Ask your health-care provider about the appropriate daily calorie level for your height and weight, and make sure your calories come from healthy sources:  fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products and lean meats. 

Consider supplementation of certain vitamins and minerals.  Aging individuals absorb nutrients with less efficiency, resulting in the need for better nutrition.  The body makes vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, but with aging the amount is progressively reduced.  Vitamin D is important for the prevention of osteoporosis because it helps the body process calcium.  It also aids in the prevention of cancer, and it may have therapeutic effects on autoimmune diseases and protective effects on cardiovascular disease and diabetes.  Most experts recommend 600 to 1000 IU of vitamin D daily for aging individuals.

The need for B vitamins also increases with age. Three in particular - folic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 - are essential for the maintenance of homocysteine levels in the blood.  Research suggests that high homocysteine levels may contribute to heart disease and stroke. A review of several studies found that consumption of folic acid reduced homocysteine levels by about 25 percent, according to a 2002 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association. When folic acid was paired with vitamin B12, homocysteine levels were reduced by an additional seven percent.  A daily vitamin B-complex supplement or a multivitamin that contains the recommended daily amounts of folic acid, B6 and B12 will ensure adequate intake of these important nutrients.

Women in particular should boost their calcium intake as they age to keep bones young and guard against osteoporosis.   The National Institutes of Health recommends 1,000 mg per day during middle age.  After menopause, 1,200 mg is recommended if on hormone replacement therapy (HRT), and 1,500 mg is recommended after menopause if not on HRT.

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Super Berries for Super Memory Enhancement for Older Adults

by Health News

Natural health researchers have discovered the health enhancing power of berries. They've found that good old-fashioned dark berries have been shown to have more potency and antioxidant power than any other source.

Research has shown that dark berries are indeed superberries, loaded with more health promoting and enhancing capabilities than researchers ever considered before. It's common knowledge that fruits and vegetables have always been a superfood team designed to feed your body with health-giving powers, but dark berries have been proven to provide super compounds such as age-defying antioxidants, fiber, phytochemicals, flavonoids, omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids—more than any single food source under the sun. You may be wondering specifically what kind of berries I'm talking about. Here they are: 

These amazing superberries include: Black Cherry, Black Raspberry, Cabbage Palm (acai), Blackberry, Black Currants, Blueberry, Cranberry, Lycium (goji berry), Acerola, and Bilberries.

Black Cherry is famous for its ability to reduce pain and inflammation...so much so that studies tell us that these same compounds found in Black Cherry may also reduce the risk of colon cancer. 

Super Berries for Super Memory Enhancement for Older Adults

The extremely dark pigment of Black Raspberry has been shown to be high in antioxidant power, and a warrior against disease. This superberry helps to fight heart disease, improve vision, preserve memory, and help fend off stroke, Alzheimer's, arthritis, and other age-related health concerns.

The superberry called Acai (ah-SAH'-ee) comes from the Cabbage Palm, and packs 10 times more antioxidants than red grapes and about 30 times more anthocyanins than red wine! Together they target harmful free radicals and help to stop premature aging by improving cell growth and regeneration. The disease fighting properties of this superberry have been talked about on MSNBC News and even discussed on The Opray Winfrey Show because the acai berry is considered to be the world's number one superfood. 

Blackberry is another superberry, known to be heart friendly by reducing oxidative stress and keeping the entire cardiovascular system at its best. Black Current stays busy as a powerful cholesterol buster, especially the LDL bad cholesterol—and is believed to be more effective than fish oil supplements. Don't forget the delicious Blueberry...shown to clear brain fog and boost memory and mental capacity. Cranberry has been used for centuries to protect and support the bladder, particularly helpful throughout the years. 

Super Berries for Super Memory Enhancement for Older Adults

Lycium or Goji berries has a long history as a powerful blood tonic. Herbalists have relied on Lycium (Goji) to help with symptoms such as ringing in the ears, blurred vision, male sexual problems, and irritability. Into this delicious mix is the

Related Article: How the Antioxidants in Superfruits Keep You Healthy

Acerola superberry—known to put the brakes on aging, help reduce inflammation and kill pain, provide mineral salts and proteins, and generally gives a glowing complexion, from the inside out! 

Bilberries contain flavonoids that studies show help to strengthen capillaries, improve circulation, reduce and even reverse blood vessel deterioration and inflammation. Bilberries are so potent that they help reinforce the entire vascular system and improve night vision! History tells us during WWII, pilots in the Royal Air Force used to eat bilberries to improve their night vision! 

These berries are the most powerful superberries on the planet, and when consumed regularly they can help you to feel better and age with grace and ease of mobility. The antioxidants found in these berries have shown to offer more brain boosting power and memory enhancing capabilities than any other source of antioxidants available. And they are a safe and easy way to provide all the health benefits you need to protect your brain, mind and memory as you age. So it's prime time for you to get to work on protecting and enhancing your brain!