Archive for November, 2011

Whole Body Vibration

November 30, 2011 Written by JP

Exercising is considered an effective means of preserving bone mineral density as part of a comprehensive bone health regimen. In recent years, some medical experts have begun to recommend a more passive strategy to accomplish this same objective. Whole-body vibration (WBV) is a practice in which you lie down, sit or stand on a vibrating platform that sends waves of energy throughout your body. In some instances, specific forms of exercise including squats are integrated into the vibrating experience. In either case, this active or passive activity causes muscles to contract in a manner that is similar to a physical workout. Proponents of whole-body vibration often claim that the physiological response to WBV provides as good or greater health benefits than more traditional forms of physical exertion in less time.

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Bone and Joint Health, Exercise | 7 Comments

Prenatal Nutrition News

November 28, 2011 Written by JP

A recent study published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine supports the notion that prenatal nutritional counseling can significantly improve the health of mothers and newborns alike. In the highlighted research, a group of 53 pregnant women took part in a “pragmatic nutrition awareness program”. An equal number of expectant mothers acted as a control group and proceeded without any specific guidance about their unique dietary needs. On average, those receiving nutritional counseling gave birth to babies with a higher birth weight and experienced lower incidence of pregnancy-related complications. But, what exactly constitutes a healthy diet during pregnancy? Of late, several scientific publications have offered specific advice beyond the basic tenants of avoiding “junk food” and taking a prenatal multivitamin.

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Posted in Children's Health, Nutrition, Women's Health | No Comments;

SAM-e for Depression

November 23, 2011 Written by JP

S-adenosylmethionine or SAM-e, a natural antidepressant, has been in the news lately thanks to Dr. Andrew Weil. In Dr. Weil’s new book, Spontaneous Happiness, he recommends SAM-e for prompt relief of low mood states that don’t respond to other dietary and lifestyle modifications. A review in the June 2011 issue of the journal Canadian Family Physician also presents a largely optimistic view of this nutritional supplement. In the summary, the primary criticism of SAM-e is how much it costs. In order to reach a therapeutic dosage, the author of the piece estimates a monthly expense of $80 – an amount that likely won’t be covered by most insurance plans. In reality, savvy online shoppers can find even lower prices in the $60/month neighborhood.

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Mental Health, Nutritional Supplements | 7 Comments

Natural Medicine in Iran

November 21, 2011 Written by JP

Most of my columns are inspired by material that’s pieced together from numerous medical journals. Today, the exact opposite is true. The majority of studies referenced below can be found in recent editions of the Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research. What’s more, almost all of the original studies I link to can be reviewed in their entirety for free. This may be invaluable to patients and physicians who are interested in the finer details and nuances of a medical trial.

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Posted in Mental Health, Nutritional Supplements, Women's Health | No Comments;

Cranberry Spice Cookies Recipe

November 18, 2011 Written by JP

Last month I posted a recipe for Healthy Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies (link to recipe). The cookies were such a hit with family, friends and readers that I decided to experiment making other cookies using the same core ingredients. Today, I want to share one of my newest cookie creations as it’s particularly well suited for Thanksgiving.

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Posted in Diabetes, Nutrition, Recipes | 6 Comments

Diabetes Dementia Connection

November 16, 2011 Written by JP

A recent article appearing in the Los Angeles Times draws attention to an emerging health crisis that is currently underreported. “Looking at the Link Between Diabetes and Dementia” focuses on the growing consensus among researchers that elevated blood sugar likely plays a pivotal role in the development of dementia. One of the more shocking statistics mentioned is that an estimated 10% of all dementia cases may be attributable to diabetes. But, hope can be found in the words of Dr. Debra Cherry, one of the specialists featured in the piece – “What is good for the reduction of diabetes risk is also good for reduction of the risk of cognitive impairment”.

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Diabetes, Memory | 4 Comments

Salad Science

November 14, 2011 Written by JP

I rarely eat salads at home or at restaurants. I have all kinds of excuses as to why this is so. I tell myself that salad dressings are usually loaded with preservatives, sugar and other undesirable ingredients. When dining out, I convince myself that the ubiquitous iceberg lettuce isn’t nutritious enough to merit several minutes of chewing. I even worry about getting tiny pieces of salad stuck in my front teeth and not knowing it until dinner, often with clients, colleagues or friends, is over! But, recently a friend who happens to be a salad fanatic inspired me to take another look at the science behind salads. What I found has, at long last, convinced me that salad lovers may have been right all along.

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Posted in Diet and Weight Loss, Food and Drink, Nutrition | 8 Comments

Wheatgrass Juice Research

November 11, 2011 Written by JP

Wheatgrass juice (Triticum aestivum) is one of the more popular “super greens” included in dietary supplements and offered in juice and smoothie bars throughout the world. What’s more, if you browse the Internet you’ll find countless sites dedicated to extolling the virtues of daily wheatgrass therapy. But, anecdotal testimonials and brisk sales aren’t exactly a solid basis for making an informed decision about any given food or supplement. Fortunately, there is also a growing body of scientific research that can assist anyone interested in seriously evaluating wheatgrass.

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Posted in Detoxification, Food and Drink, Nutritional Supplements | No Comments;

Natural Hemorrhoid Solutions

November 9, 2011 Written by JP

Any symptom the body presents is a form of communication. When it comes to hemorrhoids, the message being sent is typically two fold. First and foremost, anyone with hemorrhoids or at risk for them, ought to address the prevalent issue of constipation. If you strain during bowel movements, you’re encouraging the veins in the anus and rectum to swell. Do this frequently enough and hemorrhoids will most likely form. A lesser known contributor to hemorrhoids is poor circulation and vascular tone. All of these concerns can be addressed naturally.

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Exercise, Nutrition | 5 Comments

Food News You Can Use

November 7, 2011 Written by JP

The next time you put together your grocery list, remind yourself that the foods you include and omit can have a profound affect on your well being. Here are several, recent examples of how you can use food to improve you and your family’s health. If you’re obese and on a hypocaloric diet, make sure to consume optimal levels of dietary calcium (1,600 mg/day) and protein (30% of calories/day). A study appearing in the current issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism reports that higher protein diets rich in dairy products may reduce the risk of dieting-induced bone loss in overweight women. The importance of dietary protein was further bolstered in the October 12th edition of the journal PLoS One. In that research, lowering protein intake by as little as 5% was found to increase overall caloric intake by 12% due to increased appetite.

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Posted in Bone and Joint Health, Diet and Weight Loss, Nutrition | 2 Comments

CoQ10 News and Research

November 4, 2011 Written by JP

The “heart health” sections of most health foods stores are flush with supplements containing coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), a naturally occurring compound found in small quantities in fish and organ meats. There’s good justification for this strategic product placement. In fact, the most current studies using CoQ10 in patients with cardiovascular disease have turned up very positive findings. In particular, improvements in endothelial function, oxidative status and physical performance in those with coronary artery disease and chronic heart failure have been noted. But, there’s much more to the CoQ10 story than just that. Because this coenzyme possesses antioxidant properties and the ability to support cellular energy, it also has applications in other areas ranging from aging skin to migraine headaches.

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Posted in Children's Health, Heart Health, Nutritional Supplements | 6 Comments

Flu Shot Controversy

November 2, 2011 Written by JP

The current issue of The Lancet, a prestigious medical journal, features a meta-analysis assessing the efficacy of influenza vaccines. The review evaluated 14 observational studies and 17 randomized controlled trials. The conclusions of the summary brought forth several key findings. Among them, the researchers noted that the effectiveness of the vaccines was not consistent across all age groups and varied from season to season. For instance, live attenuated influenza vaccines (LAIV) were found most protective among young children aged 6 months to 7 years. On the other hand, the authors commented that, “Evidence for protection in adults aged 65 or older is lacking”. Ultimately, a call for new and improved vaccines is trumpeted as a necessity in order to reduce “influenza-related morbidity and mortality”.

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Children's Health, Nutritional Supplements | 4 Comments