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How Omega 3's Could Save Your Hair

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Man or woman ─ everyone wants a full head of hair.  While salon treatments and expensive hair products help, the key to healthy locks is to start from the inside out.  Good nutrition plays a key role, and healthy nutrients like omega 3 fatty acids keep hair in top condition.  These are essential fatty acids (EFAs) that the body needs but does not produce on its own.  People obtain plenty of omega 3s for hair health through certain foods and dietary supplements.

Wild-caught fish like salmon, tuna, and halibut provide omega 3 for hair and other health benefits.

Omega 3 Foods

Feeding hair follicles with EFAs helps keep the scalp and hair in healthy condition.  Foods high in omega 3 for hair health include wild-caught fish like salmon, tuna, or halibut, and three servings per week ensures adequate fatty acid consumption.  Other great sources of essential fatty acids include ground flaxseed or walnuts.

Omega 3 Supplements

Fish oil supplements offer a rich source of the omega-3 fatty acids Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).  Most experts recommend at least 1,200 mg of supplemental fish oil per day.  Make sure to find a pure product free of mercury and other harmful substances.

How Omega 3 Benefits Hair Health

Omega 3 fatty acids provide nourishment to hair follicles and help maintain shine.  Research published in the January 2013 issue of Dermatologic Clinics determined that fatty acid deficiency can lead to hair loss and changes in hair color.  Although many topical shampoos and other hair products contain omega 3 fatty acids, the body extracts the most nutrients when EFAs are taken internally.

Related:  Omega 3 Fats: Best Defense Against Premature Aging

Additional Health Benefits of Omega 3 Fatty Acids

In addition to taking omega 3 for hair, people may enjoy a few more benefits like a healthier heart. Thousands of clinical studies have determined that greater consumption of EPA and DHA boosts cardiovascular function.  Essential fatty acids also play a key role in skin health by ensuring a robust skin cell membrane.  The membrane allows nutrients to pass through and keeps harmful substances out.  It also affects the ability of skin cells to hold water, which keeps them plump, soft, and wrinkle-free.

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Vitamins for Menopause Offer Safe Alternatives To Hormone Replacement Therapy

by Health News

Millions of women experience hot flashes, night sweats, fatigue, vaginal dryness, irritability and insomnia when they are menopausal. In many cases the symptoms are so severe that they ask their doctors for hormone replacement therapy (HRT) which can have serious side effects including an increased risk for cancer. Recent studies have confirmed using vitamins for menopausal symptoms as a safe, natural way that women can find relief without putting potentially dangerous hormones into their bodies. 

Safely Avoid Hormone Replacement Therapy with Vitamins for Menopause

Although there are several vitamins that help provide relief, vitamin E is at the top of the list. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that protects cells against free radicals. A study from the British Medical Journal found that vitamin E reduced hot flashes in 64 percent of the women tested and that it also helped reduce the symptoms of vaginal aging. Fifty percent of the women in the study reported healing of vaginal atrophy as well as a decrease in pain during sex.

Most holistic practitioners also recommend a B-complex supplement for menopausal women. B-6 helps balance out the hormone-related mood swings and B-12 fights the fatigue that many women experience as their estrogen levels drop. 

RelatedFour Common Myths About Calcium

In addition to vitamins for menopause calcium supplements are also recommended because this important mineral helps fight age-related loss of bone density. Studies show that calcium supplements are more effective when taken in conjunction with vitamin D. 

While vitamins have an important role to play in relieving menopause symptoms, an overall healthy lifestyle will support vibrant health at all stages of life. A healthy lifestyle includes:

A Nutritious Diet: A healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains can help you look and feel your best. Make sure you purchase organic, locally grown produce because it has the highest nutritional value.

Exercise: Exercise helps you maintain a healthy weight and also aids in coping with the stress that is associated with menopausal symptoms. Make regular workouts part of your daily regimen.

Sleep: Insomnia is a common problem for menopausal women and night sweats exacerbate the problem. Take melatonin supplements to help you sleep and make sure you keep a glass of cold water on your nightstand. There are cooling pillows on the market that can help you be more comfortable at night so you can get the rest you need.

Stress Management: Meditation, yoga, deep-breathing exercises, massages and soothing music are great stress reducers. Spend time with supportive friends and make time for your favorite hobbies. It’s easier maintaining a rich quality of life during menopause if you minimize your stressors. 

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The Estrogen, Serotonin, and Melatonin Connection: Balance is Essential

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Menopause management is a balancing act that can be very confusing for women who are suffering from hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness and other symptoms. Understanding the causes for menopausal symptoms can be difficult because there are physical, psychological and emotional components associated with the change of life. Recent studies have found a link between estrogen, serotonin and melatonin that might shed some light on the causes for certain symptoms. 

For a smoother transition into menopause, learn about how balanced estrogen levels lead to healthier serotonin and melatonin levels.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that carries nerve impulses from your brain to your body. It is often called the “happy hormone” because of its positive effects on mood. Low levels of serotonin can lead to depression, fatigue, sexual dysfunction and sleep disorders. Because estrogen is needed to produce serotonin, the declining levels of estrogen associated with menopause result in lower serotonin levels.

To further complicate matters, low serotonin levels lead to low melatonin levels. Serotonin is synthesized in the body to make melatonin, the hormone that is essential to restful sleep. Melatonin controls the body’s circadian rhythms to regulate sleep cycles.

RelatedNine Ways to Naturally Boost Energy

People with low melatonin levels are prone to sleep disorders that leave them in a perpetual state of fatigue. Chronic insomnia has adverse effects on all aspects of health and it can be especially troublesome for menopausal women.

Simply put, the estrogen, serotonin and melatonin imbalances can (and often do) create the perfect storm for menopausal symptoms mood swings and sleep disorders. The symptoms can become so troublesome that women seek help from their doctors who often prescribe hormone replace therapy (HRT) and sleeping pills. Both HRT and prescription sleep aids have unpleasant and sometimes dangerous side effects. 

Fortunately both serotonin and melatonin levels can be boosted through dietary changes and nutritional supplements. Studies show that tryptophan supplements help to increase serotonin and melatonin levels in the brain. Food sources of tryptophan include soy, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, peas, whole grains and low-fat dairy products.

Serotonin and melatonin supplements area available online and in natural heath stores. They come in pill, capsule or powdered forms. These supplements are a safe, natural alternative to prescription medications. Add them to your daily regimen to boost your mood, help you sleep and keep you healthy.  

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Kale and Spinach Help Prevent Vision Problems

by IVL Products

Although carrots have traditionally been hailed as the “go-to” vegetable to prevent vision problems, research suggests that green and yellow vegetables may be better options. According to the American Optometric Association, kale and spinach are particularly high in the nutrients associated with a decreased risk for age-related eye problems such as cataracts and macular degeneration. 

Help Protect Your Vision with Kale and Spinach

Green and yellow vegetables are potent sources of lutein and zeaxanthin, two nutrients that protect the retina against the oxidative damage that leads to vision problems. Spinach and kale top the list of eye-friendly veggies. Kale contains more nutritional value per calorie than any other food. One cup of kale provides 20 milligrams of lutein and zeaxanthin. Kale is also a potent source of vitamin A and beta-carotene. Spinach is another nutritional powerhouse that is loaded with many of the same nutrients.

Related:  What Foods Help Improve Eyesight?

Other vegetables that offer vision benefits include squash, broccoli, turnip greens, collard greens and lettuce. Always choose organic, locally grown vegetables for maximum nutritional value.

Because many people don’t get the nutrients they require through diet alone, millions of Americans use nutritional supplements to help protect against vision problems. Talk to your holistic health practitioner about adding supplements to your daily regimen.

While nutrition plays a vital role in vision health, an overall healthy lifestyle is equally important:

Don’t Smoke: Studies show that smoking doubles the risk for cataracts and triples the risk macular degeneration. Smoking harms the eyes because it impedes the circulation of blood to the eye and damages the delicate blood vessels in the eye.

Wear Sunglasses: The UV radiation from the sun can damage sensitive eye tissue and can actually burn the front surface of the eye. Always wear sunglasses that provide maximum UV protection. Wear a wide-brimmed hat when you are in direct sunlight.

Step Away From The Screen: Excessive time in front a computer screen can cause eye strain, dry eye syndrome and other vision problems. If your job requires you to use a computer several hours a day, take frequent breaks to rest your eyes.

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Lack of Energy? Restore Vitality with Acai and Suma

by Institute for Vibrant Living

If the lack of energy is dragging you down you might want to consider two Brazilian superfoods to rev up your engine. Studies show that the acai berry and suma root provides energy-boosting nutrients that restore vitality and boost the immune system.  (FYI, Acai is pronounced ah-sah-EE.) 

The nutritional properties of acai and suma make them an energy-boosting supplement that enhances vitality and the immune system.

Demanding careers, inadequate sleep, poor nutrition, excessive stress, sedentary lifestyles and constant exposure to environmental toxins are taking their toll and millions of people spend their days feeling tired and sluggish.  Studies show that acai berries and suma root may be just what the doctor ordered for people suffering from a lack of energy. 

The purple-black acai berry, which is sometimes called Brazilian palm fruit, comes from the acai tree that is native to Central and South America. The acai berry surpasses all other berries in its antioxidant density and it is one of the few fruits that contain omega-3 fatty acids to support brain and joint health.  It has been lauded for centuries by natural healers as a healing, immune-boosting fruit that enhances energy levels.

RelatedHow the Antioxidants in Superfruits Keep You Healthy

Freshly picked acai berries have a short “freshness” window but they are available frozen, dried and in juice forms. Acai extract is an ingredient in many high-quality nutritional supplements.

Sometimes referred to as “Brazilian ginseng,” the suma root is another energizing superfood. Natives of South America have used it for thousands of years to increase strength and stamina.   Suma root contains potent levels of vitamin B and electrolytes, both of which are potent natural energy boosters. It is also rich in immune-boosting nutrients including vitamins B, E and K as well as minerals and amino acids.

While fresh suma root can be difficult to find in some parts of the country, it is available in powdered or supplement form online and at natural health stores. It is also an ingredient in many nutritional supplements.

If you are among the millions of Americans who struggle with a lack of energy, considering using acai berries and suma root to boost your vitality. This duo packs a nutritional punch that will put the spring back in your step so that you can enjoy a vibrant life and live each day to its fullest.

Easy Superfood Recipes

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Bioflavonoids May Decrease Risk of Macular Degeneration

by IVL Products

Bioflavonoids have been linked to a decreased risk for age-related eye problems such as cataracts and degeneration. These immune-boosting nutrients provide much of the flavor and color in vegetables and fruits. In addition to their eye health benefits, studies have shown that bioflavonoids play a key role to play in the prevention of allergies, inflammation and cancer. 

The healing properties of bioflavonoids make it important to help reduce risk of Macular Degeneration.

Macular degeneration is the gradual, progressive destruction of the macular that limits the central vision which is needed for everyday activities. Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in Americans over 55.

More than 11 million people in this country are affected by some level of macular degeneration and that number is expected to increase as the population ages. Risk factors include advancing age, family history, cigarette smoking, obesity and hypertension. Oxidative damage caused by excessive UV exposure and environmental toxins can increase the chance for developing vision problems.

Related: What Foods Help Improve Eyesight?

Although there are some factors, such as age and family history, that you can’t control, there are many lifestyle choices you can make to protect your vision. Smokers have a significantly higher risk for developing macular degeneration and other eye problems because smoking damages the delicate blood vessels in the eyes. People who smoke double their risk for cataracts and nearly triple their risk for macular degeneration.  

Obesity is another controllable risk factor. Manage your weight with a healthy diet and regular exercise. If you have trouble keeping the pounds off, talk with your holistic health practitioner to develop a safe, healthy weight loss plan. 

Because bioflavonoids provide protection against vision problems and other health maladies, it is important to include them in your daily nutrition regimen. Research suggests that bioflavonoids and vitamin C complement each other, making them more effective when they are ingested at the same time.  Foods that are rich in bioflavonoids include red bell peppers, strawberries, citrus fruits, broccoli, spinach, green tea and buckwheat.

If you aren’t getting enough fruits and vegetables in your diet, you might want to consider taking a nutritional supplement that contains lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene. Supplements are available online and at natural health stores. Boost your eye health with a healthy diet and nutritional supplements to reduce your risk for macular degeneration or other vision problems that could affect your quality of life and ability to function. 

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Look Beyond NSAIDS For Inflammatory Arthritis Pain Relief

by Cindy Gray

More than 33 million Americans take NSAIDs every day to cope with the moderate to severe pain associated with inflammatory arthritis. While they may provide temporary relief, NSAIDs come with potentially serious side effects, and in some cases may even worsen the inflammation they are prescribed to relieve.

NSAIDs work by suppressing prostaglandins, which are lipids produced by the body to deal with injury. The body produces two types of prostaglandins, those that cause inflammation and those that fight inflammation. Unfortunately, NSAIDs suppress BOTH types of prostaglandins so the medications have the potential to do more harm than good.

It is important to note that NSAIDs are powerful drugs and they affect many organs in the body including the heart, kidney and liver. The gastrointestinal side effects are so well-documented that in 2009 the FDA ordered all manufacturers of NSAIDs to list the dangers on the product labels. Problems range from mild stomach upset to potentially fatal stomach bleeding and ulcers.

Related: Natural Anti-Inflammatory Supplements vs. NSAIDs

Many people risk the serious side effects because they think NSAIDs are their only option for pain relief, but there are many natural remedies that can ease the pain of inflammatory arthritis.  Millions of Americans use nutritional supplements to deal with arthritis symptoms.

Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements can speed the formation of new cartilage and help block enzymes that harm cartilage. A study conducted at Montreal Hospital found that patients who take supplements containing glucosamine and chondroitin have less pain and inflammation. Arnica Montana, often called “mountain daisy” for its bright yellow flowers, has been used for centuries to treat joint pain. It is available in capsule and powdered forms online and in natural health stores.

Talk to your holistic health practitioner to determine the supplement formation and dosage that best suits your needs. Treat your back pain the natural way and avoid the harmful side effects of NSAIDs.   

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Reel In Relief: Include Fish In Your Arthritis Diet

by Health News

Omega-3 essential fatty acids are key components for an arthritis prevention diet and the “catch of the day” may be just what the doctor ordered for pain relief. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that patients who increased dietary levels of omega-3 fatty acids were able to reduce or even discontinue their use of pain medications. 

Essential fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats that are called “essential” because your body cannot produce them so they must be obtained through dietary sources or supplementation. Fatty acids are converted by the body into powerful anti-inflammatory chemicals called resolvins.  Because they fight inflammation so effectively, omega-3 fatty acids can play a key role in arthritis pain management.

Related: Is Krill Fish Oil Dangerous?

Salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring, tuna and squid are premiere sources of omega-3 fatty acids, especially EPA and DHA. Wild salmon is considered the best source because it has the highest concentration. There are many simple, delicious ways to prepare salmon. It can be broiled, grilled, blackened or baked. Enhance the flavor with dill, capers or lemon grass. Leftover salmon is a healthy addition to salads.  

Because most people don’t eat enough fish to get the recommended amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, many people use fish oil supplements. The supplements come in capsule, soft gel, chewable tablet or liquid forms and are available online and at natural health stores. Reel in relief by adding fish oil supplements to your daily arthritis pain management regimen. 

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Dangers of Laxative Overuse for Chronic Constipation

by Cindy Gray

While laxatives can help increase stool frequency, overuse of laxatives often results in chronic constipation.While regular bowel movements are critical for good health, “forcing the issue” with chemically-laden laxatives can do more harm than good. The body can quickly become dependent on laxatives and once you stop taking them constipation symptoms return, sometimes even worse than before. Laxatives contain chemicals that help increase stool bulk and frequency, which provides temporary relief for constipation. But overuse often results in chronic constipation and so it becomes a vicious cycle. 

Laxative use is rampant in this country and millions of dollars each year are spent on products that claim to relieve symptoms. Since the colon is the largest organ in the immune system, keeping it working efficiently is critical to good health.

Related: The Best and Worst Foods for IBS

Instead of reaching for a laxative, consider some natural approaches to treat chronic constipation. Your first line of defense should be to add fiber your diet. Most American diets are woefully lacking in fiber due to our national obsession with over-processed foods. To increase you fiber intake, eat plenty of vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, leafy greens and whole grains. Keep fatty foods to a minimum.

Probiotics are also helpful in maintaining regularity and they are found in cultured dairy products such as yogurt. Many people take probiotic supplements that provide the “good bacteria” in the digestive tract that help our bodies break down foods into components that provide healthful nutrition. 

Talk to your health care provider about natural ways to manage chronic constipation and other digestive problems. Laxatives should be used only as a last resort and only under the supervision of your physician or holistic practitioner.  

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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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Royal Jelly for Skin: Your Skin’s Best Friend

by Health News

What is royal jelly?  It sounds like something the queen of England would spread on her biscuits with tea.  Actually, royal jelly is a nutrient-packed bee product that can be taken as a nutritional supplement, but it also can take years off the appearance of aging skin.

Royal jelly transforms aging skin

Royal Jelly: The Who, What, Where, When, & Why

Honey bees produce the thick, milky substance known as royal jelly to feed their queen.  Royal jelly contains water, proteins, sugar, fats, vitamins, salts and amino acids.  Its composition varies depending on the geographical location and climate the bees live in.  It is the primary food source fed to female bees to greatly enhance their fertility and longevity, making them queen bees capable of sustaining the hive.

The pasty secretion of royal jelly is used for many different things in and on the body like:

  • Asthma and hay fever
  • Liver and kidney disease
  • Insomnia or sleep disorders
  • Ulcers
  • Skin disorders
  • Bone fractures
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • High cholesterol

The existence of royal jelly and its potential for treating a number of health problems has been known for centuries, and became more popular in the U.S. since the 1960s.  Research conducted identified a potent neurochemical that could actually prolong the lives of fruit flies given the substance.  This has led to speculation that royal jelly could be a potent anti-aging substance.

Related: Alpha Hydroxl Acids Benefits Your Skin

More recent clinical studies have confirmed that royal jelly is in fact a good friend to aging skin.  Researchers at the Nihon University of Japan found that the anti-inflammatory properties in it shortened the healing period of skin lesions.  It also seems to stimulate collagen production, the essential protein that makes up the support bands beneath our skin keeping it smooth and wrinkle free.

The Yin and the Yang of Royal Jelly

The concept of yin and yang is at the core of Asian medical models dating back thousands of years.  Yin represents the skin, bodily fluids, tendons and bones, which are thought to become drier and hotter over time, especially in women of menopausal age.

Royal jelly is particularly helpful to “yin deficient” or aging skin thanks to the many essential nutrients it contains.  Traditional Asian medicine has been using royal jelly as a healing and skin renewing treatment to restore “yin” for thousands of years because it is highly effective with no known side effects.

The complex combination of fatty acids, proteins, vitamins and minerals have strong anti-bacterial properties combined with its high water content make royal jelly very hydrating and nourishing to aging skin. 

  • The silicon content is what boosts collagen production leading to a smoother tighter complexion.
  • Royal jelly also contains a lot B-vitamins, B3 especially, that are highly effective in preventing redness, irritation, and discoloring from lifestyle and environmental damage.
  • The Journal of European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology reported in 2013 that the collagen-boosting fatty acids in royal jelly also have sun-blocking properties that can shield the skin from ultraviolet ray damage.

Healthier Skin with Royal Jelly

With thousands of years of use in Asian medicine and significant clinical research showing its health benefits, using royal jelly for skin is a safe, effective and natural way to turn back the clock and restore a more youthful glow.

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Cataract Surgery Reduces Fracture Risks

by Cindy Gray

Recent studies indicate that having cataract surgery to fix blurry vision significantly reduces the risk for fracture in patients who are 65 years old or older. The bottom line is that visual impairment such as blurry vision is a major factor in falls, which are the leading cause of fractures in the elderly. Vision plays a key role in providing a reference frame for balance and stability and cataracts impair the ability to focus.

Blurry Vision? Cataract Surgery Reduces Fracture RiskCataracts affect more than 20 million Americans. More than half of all adults will develop them by age 80, according to the National Eye Institute. Cataracts cause clouding in the lens of the eye, resulting in blurred vision. Surgery corrects the cataracts by replacing the cloudy lens with a clear artificial one.  About 3 million cataract surgeries are performed in this country each year. 

Risk factors for cataracts include heredity, advancing age, excessive exposure to ultraviolet light and cigarette smoking. People with high blood pressure and diabetes are more likely to develop cataracts and women are at higher risk than men.

While there are some factors, such as heredity, gender and age, that you can’t control, there are some proactive steps you can take to reduce your risk for developing cataracts:

Don’t smoke: Many studies have confirmed a direct link between cigarette smoking and vision problems, including cataracts. Government-sponsored studies have shown that smoking doubles your risk for cataracts and it significantly increases your chances for developing macular degeneration.

Wear sunglasses: Always wear sunglasses and a hat when you are in the sun. Prolonged UV exposure can increase your chances of developing cataracts because light that enters the eye is mainly absorbed by the cornea and the lens. Make sure the glasses you wear have lenses that block 99 to 100 percent of UV-A and UV-B rays. 

Related: Top 6 Supplements for Improving Your Eyesight

Get adequate nutrition: Your daily diet should include plenty of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids as they have been shown to lower the risk for cataracts. Millions of Americans take nutritional supplements to ensure they are getting the nutrients they need to maintain vision health.

It is also important to have regular eye check-ups. While eye exams won’t prevent cataracts, they will diagnose them in their earlier, more treatable stages. Diagnostic tools include an eye chart test and eye pressure measurements which are performed by administering a small puff of air into the eye.

An overall healthy lifestyle that includes exercise, adequate rest, proper nutrition and frequent social interaction can help protect you from age-related health maladies. Make the healthy choices that protect both your health and your vision.   

References:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Risk+of+Fractures+Following+Cataract+Surgery+in+Medicare+Beneficiaries

http://www.nei.nih.gov

http://www.visionfoundation.org

 

 

 

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Ginger: Natural Digestive Relief

by Health News

In Western culture, ginger has mostly been used to add a distinct flavor to a variety of recipes from cookies, breads, candy to stir-fry and chicken dishes. But parts of the world, such as China and India, have been using this herb for more than 2,000 years for its therapeutic properties.

Over the last 20 years, numerous studies have demonstrated ginger’s efficacy in treating various conditions. In vitro studies suggest that ginger has antiemetic (anti-nausea) and anti-inflammatory effects and may even protect against Alzheimer's disease and cancer. But in clinical studies, ginger has shown most benefit to the gastrointestinal tract. 

Benefits of Ginger - Natural Digestive Relief

Ginger has been successfully used to treat various types of "stomach problems," including motion sickness, morning sickness, colic, upset stomach, gas, diarrhea, nausea caused by cancer treatment, nausea and vomiting after surgery and loss of appetite. Medical researchers believe two ingredients, shogoal and gingerol found in the ginger rhizome stimulate the flow of saliva, bile, and gastric secretions.

Ginger also has been found to suppress gastric contractions and improve intestinal muscle tone. Constituents in ginger are thought to interact with 5HT-3 receptors (receptors responsible for activating the vomit reflex) and may be partially responsible for the antiemetic (antinausea) benefits. 

Ginger products (as nutritional supplements) are made from fresh or dried ginger root, or from steam distillation of the oil in the root. It is available in extracts, tinctures, capsules, and oils and can be found in health food stores as well as many drugstores and supermarkets. Fresh ginger root can be prepared as a steeped tea.

The therapeutic dose of ginger, generally, should not exceed 4 grams daily, with the standardized dose being 75 - 2,000 mg in divided doses with food.

Digestion Health Problems Quiz

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From Chronic Diarrhea to Autism—The Power of Probiotics

by Health News

According to a recent study, a probiotic and nutritional supplement has beneficial effects on bowel issues in children suffering from Autism Spectrum Disorder, or ASD.

Chronic diarrhea and constipation typically lasting for several days are major issues affecting autistic individuals, particularly children. These conditions also contribute to behavioral problems in these children, along with posing significant management challenges for both parents and teachers.

From Chronic Diarrhea to Autism—The Power of Probiotics

Probiotics are live bacteria that confer a health benefit on the host they live in, by improving its intestinal microbial balance. Lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria are the most common probiotics, but certain yeasts and bacilli can also be used. Probiotics are commonly consumed as part of fermented foods with specially added active live cultures - such as in yogurt, soy yogurt or as dietary supplements.

In this study, probiotic and nutritional supplement capsules were given to 25 children with ASD over a 42-day trial period. Responses were measured using the ATEC (Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist) scoring tool, which helps to evaluate autism severity in four categories:

  1. Speech/language/communication,
  2. Sociability,
  3. Sensory/cognitive awareness, and
  4. Health/physical/behavior.

The parents of participating children completed an ATEC questionnaire before the study started. Also, bowel issues, drugs or supplements used and any other special problems were carefully recorded.

After 21 days without therapy, the parents received a 3-week supply of the probiotic and nutritional supplement to be given to their children. Once again a daily record of each child's bowel behavior, as well as drugs or supplements administered was recorded. After 21 days of supplement therapy, the parents again repeated the ATEC survey.

At the end of the 42-day trial period, nearly half of participating children showed a reduction in diarrhea severity - while more than half showed a decrease in constipation severity.

Overall, nearly 90% of the participants showed a lower total ATEC score, meaning that their debilitating ASD symptoms improved thanks to treatment with the probiotic and nutritional supplement.

Source: Probiotic Supplement Relieves Autism Symptoms.

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Selenium and Vitamins for Cataracts

by Cindy Gray

Many vitamins have important roles in treating or preventing various medical conditions. Just as in science, where a combination of substances can produce a different or stronger effect by working together, so too a combination of vitamins can be more powerful and effective when they work together. This exponential benefit, when the combined effect of two or more substances is greater than their separate effects, is called "synergy".

Vision Problems: Selenium and Vitamins for CataractsWhen it comes to healthy eyes, scientists have found that some vitamins work synergistically together to slow down or prevent the development of cataracts and other vision problems.

What are Cataracts?

Cataracts are a clouding condition in the lens of the eye that gradually reduces vision. Cataracts are usually age-related and by the age of 80, half of all adults will either have cataracts or will have had surgery to remove them.

Cataracts usually affect one eye more than the other but they do not spread and cannot be "caught" like an infection. Instead they gradually develop and require the lens to be replaced with an artificial intraocular lens under a simple surgical procedure.

The risk of developing cataracts is higher if you smoke, expose your eyes to bright sunlight or are diabetic. Some of these risks can be controlled or prevented but studies show you can also lessen your chance of getting a cataract by eating certain vitamins.

Related: How to Avoid Macular Degeneration Naturally

C is for Cataract!

Vitamin C has been shown to prevent or slow the progression of cataracts, along with vitamin E. As our levels of these vitamins decline with age, it’s important to take them either through diet or supplements. Research has shown that people with a diet high both in these vitamins have a lower risk of cataracts and other vision problems, suggesting these vitamins work synergistically together for good eye health.

Vitamin C is found in many fruits including oranges, blueberries, papaya, guava, strawberries, sweet peppers and spinach. Good sources of vitamin E are almonds, sunflower seeds, broccoli, peanuts, tomatoes and similarly in spinach and blueberries. Both these vitamins are high in antioxidants that neutralize free radicals in the body and help reduce oxidative stress. 

Other vitamins that have been found to be effective against cataracts include thiamine (vitamin B1), riboflavin (B2) and niacin (B3). What is most interesting is that it is a combination of these vitamins that appear to be most effective in preventing or slowing the rate of cataracts, suggesting they work in synergy for maximum effect.

Studies on Cataracts and Vitamin Intake

A study by Professor Paul Jacques at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University was held on 112 older patients.  The study found that 77 of them had cataracts while 35 did not. However, those with low levels of vitamin C were 11 times more likely to have a cataract than those with higher levels. In fact, the highest concentration of vitamin C in the body is found in the eye and it appears to be a protective agent on eye health. Jacques' study also found that those who ate less than 3.5 servings of fruit and vegetables a day were 13 times more likely to develop cataracts.

A Nurses Health Study in the U.S. found that women who regularly ate vegetables, fresh fruit and whole grains (i.e. a diet high in antioxidants including vitamins C and E) were half as likely to develop cataracts as those who ate less healthily. However, when the study gave patients vitamin supplements, they did not appear to have the same beneficial effect on arresting cataract development. This may be because getting vitamins from your diet means they can act in synergy with other vitamins and nutrients, making them more effective.

Although no single vitamin is a magic "cure" for cataracts, one thing is for sure, getting a range of vitamins B, C and E from your 5-portions-a-day diet appears to reduce the quantity and severity of cataracts, and it certainly won't do you any harm at all!

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Green Tea: Food For The Brain

by Nancy Maneely

Green Tea: High Blood Pressure Natural TreatmentWhat’s not to love about a soothing hot cup of fragrant green tea?

It’s China’s favorite drink, and thanks to modern scientific research, we know it contains health benefits from its abundant antioxidants – making it the preferred beverage for healthy aging.

It’s long been established that green tea is a powerful agent for protection against cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related health concerns. In fact, many people concerned with cardiovascular health have started adding green tea to their diet as a high blood pressure natural treatment.

Now, new research from China suggests that drinking green tea may help boost the production of new brain cells – offering cognitive support for those of any age.

The studies with mice, published in the August issue of the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, found that epigallocatechin-3 galate (EGCG), an antioxidant found in green tea, boosts production of neural progenitor cells. These progenitor cells can help promote neurogenesis - the formation of new brain cells (neurons) in the hippocampus, the part of the brain that transfers information from short term to long-term memory.

The new cells appear to sharpen memory, improve learning and ward off degenerative diseases. The research also noted that the mice treated with EGCG and trained to run mazes could accomplish this task faster than mice that didn’t receive EGCG. They found that, in mice, the new cells appear to improve memory, learning and combat degenerative diseases.

If you’re not a tea drinker, now is the time to start! Create a “green tea ritual” and view it as a few minutes of your day when you take the time to slow down, take a few deep breaths and treat your body well. The simple act of preparing the hot water and steeping the tea can provide that moment of quiet and calm in the midst of a hectic day. Soon you will find yourself looking forward to your daily tea ritual!

Talk to your doctor to see if taking green tea supplements as a high blood pressure natural treatment is right for you.

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Natural Heart Health: Test Your Doctor

by Health News

Natural heart health starts with the conversations you're having with your doctor. Once you get to a certain age, your physician should talk to you about heart health, including high blood pressure treatments if you have high blood pressure. If you are younger but have noticeable risk factors for heart disease, they need to approach the subject. When you have concerns about your heart and your health, bring them up. Let’s see how your doctor responds. Do they:

Heart Health & High Blood Pressure Treatments: Test Your Doc

• Ask you about your diet?
• Offer ways to reduce your risk factors?
• Perform blood work to determine various levels like cholesterol, insulin and C-reactive protein?
• Do a thorough examination?
• Ask about family history?

If your doctor is on top of things, any one of the above points can get the conversation started on heart health. But, don’t be shy, join in on the conversation. If you are afraid you might forget your questions, write them down ahead of time.

Ask your doctor about the results of your tests. What do the cholesterol numbers mean? What is my blood pressure? Are there alternatives to medication? What if I experience side effects?

You can begin online. All the information you ever wanted to know is there. You can employ your doctor to explain what you don’t understand. Use it as a guide to getting the answers you want from your doctor not to replace your doctor.

Get Additional Resources

Your doctor can help you by recommending supplements for high blood pressure, nutritionists, internists and other professionals to help you protect your heart. Some people don’t know enough about supplements for high blood pressure to choose the best option and nutrition to choose better foods. Or, they don’t know how to get started with exercise. Your doctor has resources to lead you in the right direction. After a complete physical, they can also tell you what type of exercise is right for you.

Your doctor works with you to protect your heart. If you have questions, ask. The important thing is to go and see a doctor to get the ball rolling. Participate in your own heart health. 

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How to Beat High Blood Pressure with Amino Acid Supplements

by Health News

How to Beat High Blood Pressure with Amino Acid SupplementsWhile heart disease remains at the top of the list of dangers associated with aging for women, scientists are slowly but consistently discovering how to beat high blood pressure and prevent heart disease.  A recent article published in the European Journal of Nutrition suggest that taurine, an amino acid found in relatively high amounts in meat, fish, eggs and other foods, may be protective against heart disease in women with elevated cholesterol levels. Taurine possesses antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Although studies have uncovered a heart benefit for the amino acid in animals, this is the first study of taurine and coronary heart disease risk in humans.

For the study*, New York University School of Medicine associate professor of epidemiology Yu Chen, PhD, MPH and her colleagues analyzed data from subjects in the NYU Women's Health Study, which included over 14,000 women between the ages of 34 to 65 from 1985 to 1991. Dr. Chen's team calculated average taurine levels measured in two pre-diagnostic serum samples from 223 participants who developed coronary heart disease and 223 women who had no history of the disease over the study's twenty year follow up period.

Although no significant relationship between taurine and coronary heart disease was found for the entire study population, when women with high cholesterol (total cholesterol greater than 250 milligrams per deciliter) were analyzed, an interesting correlation came to light. Women with high cholesterol whose intake of taurine was among the top one-third of subjects had a 61 percent lower risk of heart disease compared to those in the lowest third. According to the authors, the data also suggest a protective effect for taurine against the risk of high blood pressure and diabetes.

"Our findings were very interesting," commented Dr Chen. "Taurine, at least in its natural form, does seem to have a significant protective effect in women with high cholesterol."

If you’re interested in getting more taurine in your diet, consult your health care professional about increasing your intake of healthy foods like fish and lean meats.