Scientific publications dating back to 1872 document the medicinal properties of Paullinia cupana, also known as guarana. Today, however, this herbal extract is primarily thought of as a caffeine source commonly used in “energy drinks”. Unfortunately, this form of reductionism is all too common. Modern medicine often times focuses on a specific attribute of any given food or remedy. Oranges are a good source of Vitamin C. Red wine contains resveratrol, an age-defying antioxidant. Oats provide a cholesterol-lowering pop of soluble fiber. All of these assertions are valid, but leave a lot by the wayside.
Tags: Cancer, Memory, Mood
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Heart Health, Nutritional Supplements | 3 Comments & Updates
Hormones play a pivotal role in sexual desire in both men and women. Perhaps the most recognizable examples are the changes that are precipitated during andropause and menopause. Prescription hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can address some of the symptoms of these processes. But, HRT is not without contra-indications and risks. One of the more interesting aspects of flibanserin, the so called “Female Viagra”, is that it addresses hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) in older and younger women, whether premenopausal, perimenopausual or postmenopausual. And, flibanserin does so without affecting hormone levels.
Tags: Estrogen, Ginkgo Biloba, Testosterone
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Nutritional Supplements, Women's Health | 3 Comments & Updates
Men with erectile dysfunction (ED) have access to several medical options to improve sexual function. Popular medications, including Cialis, Viagra and testosterone replacement top the list of medically-approved, male performance aids. What isn’t discussed as much is that many women also deal with a related condition known as hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD). Obviously, the mechanism involved is somewhat different. Nevertheless, the end result is similar: compromised sexual desire and enjoyment. This may soon change. Flibanserin, a medication intended to treat premenopausal HSDD, is on the brink of FDA approval. If approved, it is likely to become as big a blockbuster as its male counterparts.
Tags: Pilates, Sex, Yoga
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Mental Health, Women's Health | 4 Comments & Updates
Question: Here in Europe I’ve noticed many people Nordic Walking, especially in the countryside. Even some of my friends have joined clubs that do this exercise together as a group. I don’t know if it’s popular in the United States. Can you tell me if this practice is markedly superior to ordinary walking or other forms of aerobic activity? I prefer taking hikes or walks in nature. Though I would consider investing in Nordic poles and possibly joining a club if the benefits make it worthwhile.
Tags: Circulation, COPD, Walking
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Diet and Weight Loss, Exercise | 4 Comments & Updates
The consistent, rhythmic beating of the heart is something most of us take for granted. This is not a criticism or judgement. It makes perfect sense that we expect our hearts to keep pumping blood in much the same way as we predict our lungs will help us breathe day in and day out. Likewise, hair and nails grow without any consideration. Even muscles move without any meaningful cognitive incentive. It’s the body’s job to function in a predictable manner and it usually does. That is, until it doesn’t. Atrial fibrillation is just such an example, where the heart decides to occasionally beat to the rhythm of a different drummer.
Tags: Atrial Fibrillation, CoQ10, Yoga
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Heart Health, Nutrition | 4 Comments & Updates
I’ve been a long standing admirer of rosemary. Rosmarinus officinalis, an admittedly cool sounding name, is a hardy plant. It thrives in all but the most extreme climates and doesn’t require a lot babysitting. An occasional hosing down or rain shower usually does the trick. That’s why it grows so well in the wild. The scent is pleasant too, but not in an overly floral or cloyingly sweet way. This is more of a rustic, savory member of the herbal community. It’s no accident that it pairs so well with the boldest chicken and meat recipes. But, since this isn’t a culinary or gardening site, I guess I should probably mention that, in addition to all of this, the essential oil of rosemary possesses a multitude of medicinal properties as well!
Tags: Anxiety, Aromatherapy, Rosemary
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Memory, Mental Health | 4 Comments & Updates
Chronic gastrointestinal symptoms can be caused or worsened by a long list of suspects. Common culprits include food allergies or sensitivities, H. pylori infection, intestinal permeability, microbiome (gut bacteria) imbalance and ulcers. Furthermore, in some instances, the exact cause or contributing factors is not easily identifiable. When this occurs, medications are frequently prescribed based on the specific symptoms that present themselves. Two popular examples include proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) to minimize gastric acid and tricyclic antidepressants to reduce abdominal pain. Physicians who veer towards the integrative side of medicine may also suggest certain dietary changes such avoiding dairy, FODMAPs, grains and/or heavily refined foods. Some doctors will even go so far as to encourage an “elimination diet” to methodically rule out any likely food-based troublemaker.
Tags: Digestion, IBS, Probiotics
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Food and Drink, Nutritional Supplements | 8 Comments & Updates
PCOS or polycystic ovary syndrome is estimated to affect between 5 – 10% of girls and women of childbearing age. Signs of PCOS vary, but are typically characterized by several of the following symptoms: acne, abnormal menstrual cycles, hair loss and/or excessive body and facial hair growth, infertility, mood disorders, ovarian cysts, overweight and sleep apnea. The commonality among most of these symptoms is an overproduction of male sex hormones (androgens) emanating from the ovaries. Insulin resistance is another factor in PCOS. Therefore, the conventional treatment of this prevalent condition usually involves birth control pills to moderate sex hormone concentrations, diabetes medications to improve insulin sensitivity and fertility aids for women who have difficulty getting pregnant.
Tags: Exercise, Insulin, PCOS
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Nutrition, Women's Health | 5 Comments & Updates
If you put any given food under the microscope, you’ll typically find some good elements and some not so great things. The proportions of each vary, but a mixture of both is to be expected. Coffee presents a fitting example of this gastronomic truism. On the one hand, some health authorities point to the supposed dark side of java. They note that coffee may contribute to and/or instigate cardiovascular complications, gastrointestinal symptoms, poor bone density and sleep disorders. On the flip side, coffee’s proponents proclaim that it’s one the leading sources of antioxidants in the modern diet. This inconvenient reality may explain why coffee drinking populations tend to demonstrate a lower risk for a number of diseases, including dementia and select cancers.
Tags: Coffee, Insulin, Liver
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Diabetes, Food and Drink | 14 Comments & Updates
This marks my fifth and final column about Natural Products Expo West 2015. Today, the products highlighted don’t fall into the expected categories of foods, ingredients or supplements. The way we cook and what we apply to our skin are often neglected aspects of a comprehensive wellness program. These under appreciated factors have a very really impact on our well being whether we consider them or not. Fortunately, some manufacturers recognize the importance of providing simple, yet effective culinary and skin care products that won’t endanger your health. Below, you’ll find some of the best examples of this welcomed trend.
Tags: Coconut, Sinus, Skin Care
Posted in Alternative Therapies, General Health, Product Reviews | 3 Comments & Updates
In some ways, Natural Products Expo West is like a gigantic “candy store” for those of us who are passionate or, maybe, too passionate about natural health. There’s a seemingly endless array of brand new extracts and technologies with all of the bells and whistles that compete for attention. Because of this, some supplements containing time honored, well established ingredients are often overlooked. They’re simply not exciting or novel enough to make a splash. The truth is, just like many other industries, natural product buyers and sellers are susceptible to gimmicks and trends. The key, as a researcher and consumer, is not to fall prey to the flavors of the moment or unsubstantiated hype. Instead, it’s important to look for genuine substance in product formulations and to reward manufacturers who provide well crafted wares.
Tags: Broccoli, Eye Health, Skin Care
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Nutritional Supplements, Product Reviews | 5 Comments & Updates
The first week of March marked the start of this year’s Natural Product’s Expo West. There, team Healthy Fellow convened with approximately 71,000 other members of the natural health community at the Anaheim Convention Center in California. The purpose of this massive gathering is to learn about the latest offerings in the natural products marketplace. At this year’s convention, over 2,700 companies exhibited products ranging from organic pet food to non-GMO anti-wrinkle creams. In the first column of my five-part series, I’ll feature some of the more innovative and promising supplements we came across at Expo West.
Tags: Cherries, Protein, Sleep
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Exercise, Nutritional Supplements | 2 Comments & Updates
When I was growing up, we had a beautiful sauna in my parent’s bedroom. But, since no one in our home was accustomed to sauna bathing, we simply used the space for storage. Looking back on it now, I wish we had put that “storage room” to better use! These days, I would love to have a sauna at home. What’s more, Mrs. Healthy Fellow grew up using saunas, so we would certainly put it to good use. Unfortunately, the probability of adding a sauna to our home is about as likely as the addition of an elevator. On the other hand, our local gym has a sauna that we can and should utilize more often. In fact, saunas are readily available in most communities. This is great news because there’s more reason than ever to use saunas on a regular basis.
Tags: Cholesterol, Multiple Sclerosis, Sauna
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Detoxification, Heart Health | 3 Comments & Updates
A few years ago, I wrote a column entitled, “Natural Health for Dogs”. It’s a bit ironic that I focused on dogs first since I’ve always held a very special place in my heart for cats. Ever since I was a young boy, I’ve felt a unique affinity towards felines of all kinds. Something about them draws me in and inspires effortless feelings of joy and peace. Over the years I’ve had the good fortune of being a caretaker and companion to various cats. Today, in tribute to the many feline friends that I’ve known and loved, I want to share some information that can improve the lives of other cats that I will never know.
Tags: Carnitine, Fish Oil, Resveratrol
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Nutrition, Nutritional Supplements | 7 Comments & Updates
The majority of past events, even very painful ones, do not have to cause psychological distress in the present. On a rational level most of us understand this reality. However, sad and/or traumatic memories, whether fresh in history or dating back to childhood, still hold a great deal of power over many people. These hurtful, life-altering experiences often shape personalities and result in long term attempts at exorcising these mental images from the present mind. But, recent findings suggest that an unconventional form of treatment known as eye movement desensitization and reprocessing or EMDR may offer a brief, new alternative for shooing away hurtful recollections.
Tags: EMDR, OCD, PTSD
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Memory, Mental Health | 6 Comments & Updates
In today’s culture, muscle is frequently regarded as a characteristic of one’s appearance. However, if you describe muscle using the technical term “lean body mass”, the idea of toned bodies tends to exit the picture. Lean body mass (LBM) is often mentioned as a measure of weight gain or loss in scientific studies. For instance, weight loss trials commonly note the total amount of weight lost and the percentage of body fat and LBM loss. Naturally, in overweight individuals, it’s preferable to lose a significant percentage of excess body fat. At the same time, the goal is to preserve as much lean body mass as possible. The preservation of LBM becomes even more important as we age. Even in the absence of intended weight loss, older adults tend to lose muscle and strength as a “normal” part of the aging process. In some instances, age-related muscle and strength loss is even more pronounced and is classified as sarcopenia. This is of great importance because seniors diagnosed with sarcopenia are at greater risk of falls, fractures and a general decline in overall health and independence.
Tags: aging, HMB, Muscle
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Bone and Joint Health, Nutritional Supplements | 9 Comments & Updates