The number of scientific studies devoted to specific natural remedies and traditional foods is difficult to predict. For instance, it’s possible to have a few to several studies published in one year and then virtually nothing more for another decade. Certainly, this is partially due to economics. Big cash crops and patented products tend to receive more scientific attention because of funding and financial interests. On the other hand, more generic herbs and nutraceuticals often fall into the previously mentioned, erratic pattern of research. Pumpkin seed oil is an example of the latter.
Tags: Hair, Menopause, Prostate
Posted in Men's Health, Nutritional Supplements, Women's Health | 3 Comments
In 1989, a review article in the World Health Forum defined the role of traditional health practices in modern day Morocco. The piece, authored by Dr. Jamal Bellakhdar, noted that, “Traditional medicine is still popular in Morocco since it is an important form of health care for many people”. He goes on say that, “Its positive aspects could be encouraged if it were officially recognized and given a place in the health system.” Now, some twenty-five years later, a slew of scientifically controlled studies have emerged which substantiate several of the historical remedies employed by Arab and Berber healers.
Tags: Argan Oil, Black Cumin, Fenugreek
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Heart Health, Men's Health | 3 Comments
Recently, a client inquired about the use of DHEA supplements as a means of counteracting male aging. Before I address that specific question, here’s a brief primer on DHEA. Dehydroepidandrosterone (DHEA) is an adrenal hormone which is considered “a reliable endocrine marker of aging because in humans and nonhumnan primates its circulating concentrations are very high during young adulthood, and the concentrations then decline markedly during aging”. This is of consequence because circulating DHEA is documented as having anti-diabetic, anti-obesity, cardioprotective and immune enhancing activity. However, controlled studies evaluating the efficacy and safety of DHEA supplementation have demonstrated inconsistent and mixed results. This begs the question: Is there a good reason to attempt to manipulate the predictable decline in DHEA in aging men?
Tags: Exercise, Meditation, Yoga
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Men's Health, Women's Health | 1 Comment
The hair and skin care aisles of most health food stores are stocked with multiple creams, ointments and shampoos containing tea tree oil (TTO). In fact, the popularity of this native Australian export has even made its way into many mass market products. The crossover appeal of TTO is largely due to its documented antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. In terms of practical applications, you’re likely to find TTO in remedies intended for acne prone skin, flakey scalps, gingivitis, toe nail infections and much, much more. But, just because tea tree oil is already well established in the beauty and health care sectors, doesn’t mean that there isn’t more to learn about it.
Tags: Eyes, Hair, Hemorrhoids
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Men's Health, Women's Health | No Comments;
As a stalwart proponent of integrative medicine, I strive to integrate natural remedies into the conventional medical system. However, I don’t do so indiscriminately. Many years ago, I came to the realization that I must use an evidence-based model to separate truly effective, safe remedies from those that may do harm and/or result in a waste of money and time. This approach to evaluating alternative and complementary therapies doesn’t always make me popular in the natural health community. Still, it’s a necessary step in order ensure long lasting trust between natural health proponents, the medical establishment and, most importantly, the consumers who decide to consider all possible options.
Tags: Astaxanthin, Curcumin, Pomegranate
Posted in Heart Health, Memory, Men's Health | 4 Comments
To some extent, symptoms of an enlarged prostate plague the majority of older men. In fact, if you’re male and fortunate enough to live a long life, you can almost certainly count on more frequent trips to the loo at night. Unfortunately, this isn’t the only potential consequence of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Many senior men also experience urinary urgency during their waking hours. What’s more, conventional and natural remedies don’t always provide satisfactory relief. But, Kegel exercises or Kegels are a free, safe and well researched option which work in conjunction with other treatments to greatly improve urinary dysfunction in this rapidly growing population.
Tags: aging, Incontinence, Prostate
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Exercise, Men's Health | No Comments;
The good news about life expectancy is that both men and women are living longer than ever before. The bad news about longevity is that it is often accompanied by certain diseases. When it comes to older men, prostate cancer tops the list. Fortunately, there is a growing body of evidence that certain dietary and lifestyle choices can minimize the risk of prostatic malignancies.
Tags: Nuts, Prostate, Vitamin E
Posted in Food and Drink, Men's Health, Nutrition | 7 Comments
When I search for new topics in medical databases and journals, I frequently stumble upon a promising item or more about black, green or white tea. This is the latest batch of gems I’ve discovered about Camellia sinensis. In July 2011, a study was published in the journal Experimental Dermatology that offers hope for the millions of men concerned about male pattern baldness. The experiment describes how the topical application of EGCG, a component of green tea, counteracts testosterone-induced death of hair follicles. Direct contact with green tea can also protect your teeth. Just last month, researchers from the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil discovered that the addition of green tea to conventional soda limits the extent of erosion caused to dentine. In Japan, an evaluation of 2,050 elementary school students determined that drinking 3 to 5 cups of green tea daily resulted in a 38% to 46% lower likelihood of influenza infection as compared to drinking <1 cup/day. In addition, the track record of green tea vs. cancer was recently bolstered by a Chinese study involving over 60,000 middle aged to senior men. In the examination, consuming green tea at least three times a week afforded significant protection against colorectal cancer (-46%). The authors of the trial explained that a 12% decline in risk was found for every cup of tea consumed by non-smokers.
Tags: Cancer, Flu, Green Tea
Posted in Children's Health, Food and Drink, Men's Health | 8 Comments
According to an alarming report in the September issue of the journal Lancet Oncology, the number of new cases of cancer worldwide is expected to reach 27,000,000/year by the year 2030. The authors of the paper call for a comprehensive effort to better manage cost and human suffering by emphasizing “real value from new technologies”. One of the “new” technologies that’s being examined is the use of bitter melon (Momordica charantia) in prevalent malignancies such as prostate cancer. In June of 2010, a scientific review described this tart, functional food as having “anti-tumor activity” and “no-to-low side effects in animals, as well as in humans”. Later in 2010 and onward into 2011, preliminary evidence emerged showing that bitter melon extract (BME) successfully interfered with prostate cancer progression in animal models and in vitro. But, why get so excited about a handful of trials that weren’t even conducted in humans? The reason for my optimism stems from seemingly unrelated studies that have explored the potential of bitter melon in managing diabetes in animals and humans alike. For instance, a publication appearing in the March 2011 issue of the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that a daily dosage of 2,000 mg of BME effectively lowered blood sugar and fructosamine levels in a group of type 2 diabetics. Meanwhile, a study from August 2011 involving diabetic rats likewise discovered that BME “powerfully lowered (blood) glucose levels”. In fact, the excitement surrounding bitter melon is so great that nutritional experts are desperately trying to find ways to make it more palatable in order to promote greater consumption in the population at large. Here’s hoping they succeed in their objective and that more research continues to be published supporting the use of bitter melon in the fight against cancer and beyond.
Tags: Cancer, Diabetes, Prostate
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Men's Health, Nutritional Supplements | 6 Comments
There is a grass roots way of improving the current health care system that very few patients, physicians and pundits acknowledge. It doesn’t involve increasing co-pays or taxes, dismantling Medicare or reforming health insurance. You don’t even need to organize with vast numbers of fellow citizens to make a difference. All that’s required is that you accept a basic precept and act upon it. Every single person reading this column is a unique individual with highly specialized information at their disposal. We’re exposed to different sources of anecdotal evidence, news and research. At any given point, some of this information may be of value to someone you know, be it a colleague, family member or neighbor. But how often do you make it a point to share something that you’ve heard or read when you’re not specifically asked? Taking the extra step to speak up can make a big difference in the way doctors practice medicine and those around us benefit from otherwise unknown information. Read more »
Tags: Fish Oil, Psoriasis, Sleep
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Men's Health, Nutritional Supplements | 2 Comments
Free HIV testing is being offered throughout the United States today in commemoration of National HIV Testing Day. AIDS and HIV aren’t in the news as often as they used to be, but they’re still highly relevant health threats that directly affect an estimated 30,000,000 or more people worldwide. New data presented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers another stark reminder that AIDS and HIV are pressing issues that require ongoing attention. According to figures collected between October 2007 to September 2010, a total of 2,786,730 HIV tests were funded by the US government. Of those, 29,503 tests confirmed HIV+ results. A startling 62% of those who tested positive were completely unaware they had the illness. Other statistics indicate that up to 40% of those with HIV aren’t diagnosed at all until the virus has progressed to AIDS – a process which can take upwards of 10 years. This is a tragedy that must end and is within our grasp. (1,2,3)
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Tags: AIDS, HIV, Meditation
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Men's Health, Women's Health | 4 Comments
I’ve used the term “anti-aging” before, but I’ve never been entirely comfortable with it. To me, there’s something slightly strange about the concept. After all, I’m not opposed to the process of growing older. In fact, one of my greatest hopes is to live a long and rich life with Mrs. Healthy Fellow and those we love. This steadfast desire remains constant despite my implicit knowledge that our bodies and minds will change as time goes by. But in health and all things, not all change is created equal. Read more »
Tags: aging, Coffee, Vitamin D
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Men's Health, Women's Health | No Comments;
Italy is universally known for a great many things – it’s incredible beauty, romantic atmosphere, beloved cuisine and strong family ties. Researching phytomedicines that support prostate health generally doesn’t come to mind. Interestingly enough, that’s exactly what I discovered while investigating the current state of natural medicine in that country. Select herbal remedies which are currently considered ineffective or passe in the United States and elsewhere are still under review in this enchanting land sometimes referred to as Lo Stivale or The Boot.
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Tags: Erectile Dysfunction, Prostate, Saw Palmetto
Posted in Men's Health, Nutritional Supplements | No Comments;
Recently I posted a link on Twitter about the benefits of drinking water on weight loss. One response I received essentially asked, “Doesn’t everyone know that drinking water helps you lose weight?”. Well, I suppose many people do. But this reader’s question may reflect similar thoughts you’ve had while reading my daily blogs. You may detect familiar ground in some of the issues I cover. In fact, at times I even point out that I’m updating a particular health issue. The reason I do this may not be entirely clear. Scientists generally like to re-test widely held beliefs in order to clarify and verify them. Even the most widely accepted concepts in medicine benefit from further investigation. The result of such inquiries often add to the knowledge base and allow for a more accurate application of the information in question.
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Tags: Heart Health, Nuts, Pumpkin Seeds
Posted in Food and Drink, Men's Health, Nutrition | 5 Comments
Being an informed consumer almost always results in greater satisfaction. This applies when you’re shopping for a car, electronics, a new home and, without a doubt, medical care. In the realm of modern health care if you simply accept all of the information presented by so-called experts, you’ll often miss out on opportunities that you won’t even know exist. Two herbs that are frequently criticized in the popular press are Ginkgo biloba and Silybum marianum or milk thistle. On many occasions they’re described as ineffective and/or unproven at best and potentially dangerous at worst. However, what’s often left out of the picture is the actual data that supports their use and offers clues about their relative safety.
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Tags: Cancer, Ginkgo Biloba, Milk Thistle
Posted in Memory, Men's Health, Nutritional Supplements | 3 Comments
My first job in the natural health industry was as a sales clerk in a health food store. A desire to sell dietary supplements and health foods wasn’t the underlying reason why I chose this line of work. It’s true that I needed to earn money. But I could have made more working as a tutor, waiter or at countless other jobs. Looking back, I now understand that the reason I selected this path was in order to have some face-to-face time consulting with customers. I knew what it was like to be a consumer asking for guidance at health food stores. Since I was often disappointed with those experiences, I subconsciously decided to correct that flaw via my own conduct as a health store employee. Read more »
Tags: Arginine, Citrulline, Erectile Dysfunction
Posted in Heart Health, Men's Health, Nutritional Supplements | 1 Comment