Earlier this year there was a major review in the journal Digestive Diseases focusing on the role of gut bacteria in relation to healthy aging. The authors of the paper describe various “pathophysiological” mechanisms such as impaired immune function and systemic inflammation, which appear to be linked to undesirable changes in the microbiota of seniors. However, this observation has not yet been matched with a widely accepted medical solution. In part, the reason has to do with uncertainty about exactly how to re-establish a healthier bacterial environment.
Tags: Immune, Inflammation, Probiotics
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Bone and Joint Health, Food and Drink | 5 Comments & Updates
In modern times, culinary herbs and spices have primarily been relegated to the role of flavor enhancers. Want to liven up chicken or pork? Add some fresh garlic and rosemary sprigs. Tired of the same old oatmeal in the morning? Try a pinch of freshly ground cinnamon and nutmeg to the mix. And, the skillful use of dill, sage or thyme can make all the difference when preparing seafood or vegetable dishes. But, what’s often missed is that common herbs and spices can be as healthy as they are tasty.
Tags: Diabetes, Heart Health, Inflammation
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Bone and Joint Health, Food and Drink | 8 Comments & Updates
The idea of wearing tinted glasses at night may seem counterintuitive. In previous generations, there would be very few reasons to do so. But, in many ways, we live in a very different world today. The natural rhythm of the sleep-wake cycle was set up for mankind to slumber as day turns to night and awaken as night returns to day. However, this all changed with the advent of computers, digital displays, mobile phones, street lights and numerous other sources of nighttime illumination. And, I think it’s fair to say that the light genie is well out of the bottle and is unlikely to go back in any time soon.
Tags: Eye Health, Melatonin, Sleep
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Mental Health, Product Reviews | 4 Comments & Updates
In recent years, western medicine has begun to embrace a wide array of traditional healing practices from other cultures. Acupuncture, curcumin supplementation, tai chi and yoga are but a few of many “alternative and complementary” therapies now being studied and utilized worldwide. The success of this burgeoning integration is also opening the door to historically revered treatments from other parts of the globe.
Tags: Dance, Kava, Probiotics
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Exercise, Mental Health | 4 Comments & Updates
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a relatively common condition which involves cyclical and unreasonable thoughts. Those living with OCD often engage in rituals to calm their exaggerated or unfounded compulsions and fears. The severity of OCD varies among individuals. For some, it manifests in rather innocuous ways such as the avoidance of specific clothing, foods or locations. On the other end of the spectrum, certain people find that OCD can be quite debilitating. A prevalent example is an excessive desire for cleanliness and/or fear of germs. In the most severe cases, the entire course of one’s life can be dictated by an insatiable “need” to follow certain rules in order to create the impression of control and order.
Tags: EMDR, MIndfulness, Yoga
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Exercise, Mental Health | 4 Comments & Updates
In July 2015, the US Food and Drug Administration warned of increased risk of heart attacks and strokes associated with the use of non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs. Earlier this month, a different class of pain relievers, collectively known as opioids, was also linked to higher rates of early death primarily due to cardiovascular complications. As disturbing as this is, there is still a large segment of the population that will continue to use these medications in the short term and, sometimes, chronically.
Tags: Colic, Lavender, Rose Oil
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Mental Health, Women's Health | 7 Comments & Updates
Appetite suppressants have earned a well deserved, bad reputation in many medical circles. Time after time, so called miracle “diet pills” have failed to promote sustained weight loss and/or caused serious side effects. Perhaps the highest profile example is fen-phen, a drug combination consisting of fenfluramine and phentermine. In 1997, the FDA required that fen-phen be pulled from the US marketplace after numerous reports of heart valve disease and pulmonary hypertension became too common to ignore.
Tags: Fiber, Spinach, Water
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Diet and Weight Loss, Food and Drink | 14 Comments & Updates
Diet, exercise, sleep and stress reduction usually top the list of modifiable risk factors that affect our well being, and, with good reason. Still, it’s important not to stop there. The products we use day-in and day-out to brush our teeth, care for our skin and color our hair are capable of causing dis-ease and/or endangering health. Fortunately, in many instances, a simple switch from conventional cosmetics, hair dyes, moisturizers and toothpastes to more natural alternatives can make a big difference.
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Dental Health, Product Reviews | 3 Comments & Updates
In the most general sense, amino acids are building blocks or components of protein. Whenever you eat chicken, eggs, fish, nuts, seeds, steak, tofu, etc. you’re getting a large amount of a blend of essential amino acids. Without enough amino acids/protein, your body simply can’t function and repair itself as needed. Amino acids may also be used as supplements in individual or specific combinations. In this application, the amino acid(s) are usually taken in a purified form and apart from food in order to induce a therapeutic effect. A popular example is the use of L-arginine and/or L-citrulline to enhance blood flow via increased nitric oxide production – a vasodilator.
Tags: Anxiety, Mood, Sleep
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Mental Health, Nutritional Supplements | 2 Comments & Updates
One of the ironies of life is that we are often called on to perform at our very best during the busiest, most stressful times. This is understandable from a pragmatic, rational standpoint. Simply put, we do what’s required as best we can. But, that’s not to say that there aren’t tools available to help our brains adapt to such intense challenges.
Tags: Chocolate, Laughter, Meditation
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Memory, Nutritional Supplements | 20 Comments & Updates
Pharyngitis is the technical name for a sore throat. In most cases viral infections, such as the common cold or influenza, are responsible for the characteristic inflammation and swelling in the back of the throat or pharynx. Thankfully, there are some evidence-based alternatives that address sore throat prevention, recovery time and symptom severity.
Tags: Echinacea, Licorice, Zinc
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Food and Drink, Nutritional Supplements | 7 Comments & Updates
Hard to believe another year has passed so quickly, but 2015 is swiftly winding down. But, before ushering in 2016, I’d like to offer up one last healthy prescription. Long time readers of this site and my Twitter followers know that I’ve been on the coconut bandwagon for quite some time. This once maligned food and ingredient is now considered conditionally healthy by many health experts. Still, there are enough dissenting voices in the alternative and mainstream media to stimulate uncertainty in the minds of some. Today, I hope to put those unconvinced minds at ease when it comes to the enjoyment and health benefits of coconut.
Read more »
Tags: Coconut, Diabetes, Skin Care
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Food and Drink, Heart Health | 6 Comments & Updates
Strong emotions have an upside and a downside. Even love can be harmful if it’s directed in an inappropriate way. This truism is particularly apt in the case of anger. Under ideal circumstances, anger can be a tool that changes circumstances of all kinds. The ire of a populace can alter unjust laws and regulations. A fiery exchange between friends or a couple can spur important conversations that can positively alter relationships. But, too much anger or anger that is held on to for prolonged periods of time, can literally damage your health.
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Mental Health, Nutritional Supplements | 11 Comments & Updates
One of the hottest new supplements in the natural health marketplace is Moringa oleifera. The leaves of this “miracle tree” are frequently described as an exotic “super food” because of their nutrient density and subtropical origin. So, on the one hand, you’ll often find organic, powdered forms of M. oleifera leaves in high-end health food stores. And, at the same time, a lesser processed version is sometimes used as an ingredient in the diets of poor communities where malnutrition is common.
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Food and Drink, Nutritional Supplements | 6 Comments & Updates
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, the famed Spanish author of “Don Quixote”, once proclaimed, “He who sings scares away his woes!”. However, there is a mistaken or, at least, incomplete perception of singing in the modern era. It’s true that many associate singing with happiness and health. But, it is often assumed that those who are happy and feel good sing as a consequence of their positive lot in life. What science is beginning to discover is that singing itself can actually promote a more positive mental state and well-being in general – even in those who lack one or both of these attributes.
Tags: Anxiety, Depression, Music
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Memory, Mental Health | 9 Comments & Updates
It’s time to come clean. I’ve been putting off writing this blog for several days. The research was ready. I had a mental outline of what I wanted to say. But, I was concerned that I wouldn’t do the topic justice. And, perhaps more importantly, composing this column will make real for me an event that I so wish never happened: the death of Dr. Wayne Dyer at the young age of age 75.
Tags: Circulation, Diabetes, Pycnogenol
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Heart Health, Nutritional Supplements | 11 Comments & Updates