Archive for July, 2012
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), commonly referred to as lupus, is a chronic autoimmune disease that disproportionately affects younger women. Autoimmune diseases are characterized by an inappropriate response by the immune system which provokes an attack against healthy tissue. In the case of lupus, an inflammatory reaction occurs which can affect numerous sites in the body, including the cardiovascular system, the digestive tract and joints. The conventional management of lupus typically involves the use of anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroids that suppress immune function. Unfortunately, both of these pharmaceutically-based approaches carry the risk on unwanted side effects.
Tags: Acupuncture, Fish Oil, Pycnogenol
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Mental Health, Nutritional Supplements | 4 Comments
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 30% of adults over the age 65 experience a fall each year. Not only are falls the leading cause of injury related deaths in seniors, but they’re also the most prevalent cause of hospital admissions due to physical trauma. Thankfully, there’s quite a lot that can be done to prevent falls. And, as with most health care and safety issues, a combination of conventional and holistic strategies is likely to yield the best results.
Tags: Calcium, Tai Chi, Vitamin D
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Bone and Joint Health, Exercise | No 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;
Natural sweeteners, whether agave nectar, honey or stevia are often perceived and/or represented as reasonably healthy, especially when used in moderation. Support for this theory typically stems from two prevalent beliefs. The first asserts that natural substances are more compatible with the human body than synthetic counterparts, such as aspartame (Equal), saccharine (Sweet’N Low) and sucralose (Splenda). Secondly, there are claims that some natural sweeteners are actually good sources of nutrients. In both instances, modern science can help “separate the wheat from the chaff” when it comes to sweeteners of all kinds.
Tags: High Blood Pressure, Liver, Osteoporosis
Posted in Diabetes, Diet and Weight Loss, Food and Drink | 2 Comments
EGCG, a naturally occurring chemical in green tea, is the star of two new publications focusing on breast cancer. The first trial examined the role of epigallocatechin-3-gallate as an adjunct to radiation treatment in breast cancers patients. The second study investigated the potential of a purified ECGC “drug” to modulate hormones which fuel breast cancer growth.
Tags: Breast Cancer, Green Tea, Insulin
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Food and Drink, Women's Health | 2 Comments
For many scientists, it’s hard to imagine that something as inexpensive, pleasing and simple to use as lavender oil can have a profound influence on emotional states, sleep quality and well being. On the other hand, consumers from around the world have made lavender oil a top selling aromatherapeutic aid. Anecdotal accounts of success and recommendations from family and friends are the primary reasons why lavender remains a strong seller among those in need of a calmer state of mind and relief from insomnia. In recent months, several studies have been published which help bridge the gap between lavender-believers and lavender-skeptics.
Tags: Anxiety, Aromatherapy, Insomnia
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Bone and Joint Health, Mental Health | No Comments;
One of my favorite condiments is organic Dijon mustard. I slather it on most of my sandwiches – peanut butter and jelly not withstanding. As with most of my other culinary and dietary choices, my decision to use this ingredient is based on the fact that I enjoy the flavor, while hopeful that it will impart certain benefits. If you’ve never thought of mustard as a health promoting ingredient, then please read on.
Tags: Cancer, Diabetes, Heart Health
Posted in Diet and Weight Loss, Food and Drink, Nutrition | 6 Comments
Some time ago, I was approached by an overweight gentleman who was familiar with my line of work. He explained that he planned to lose weight eventually, but wasn’t quite ready to adopt many of the principles espoused on my site and elsewhere. He went on to ask a rather provocative question: Apart from making major changes to my diet and exercising, are there any small steps I can take to protect myself? At first, my thought was: What’s the point? You can’t put out a fire with a squirt gun! If you want to get healthy, a commitment needs to made! However, as I listened further to his circumstances and history, I relented and decided to offer what I hoped would be the first steps in his path to a genuine lifestyle change.
Tags: Cocoa, Fish Oil, Green Tea
Posted in Diet and Weight Loss, Food and Drink, Nutrition | No Comments;
One of the most popular columns I’ve written thus far focused on the promise of krill oil for conditions as diverse as arthritis to premenopausal syndrome. I based the content of that particular piece on several studies from the last decade that found decidedly positive results alongside an enviable safety profile. In essence, I concluded that krill oil may very well be superior to fish oil and other sources of omega 3 fatty acids. If this is indeed the case, it’s likely because of krill oils unique composition – which features astaxanthin, a potent antioxidant, and phosholipids which assist with the absorption and retention of omega 3 fatty acids and may impart health benefits of their own. However, I also cautioned that the data on krill oil was preliminary and nowhere near as extensive as that of fish oil.
Tags: Arthritis, Fish Oil, Krill Oil
Posted in Bone and Joint Health, Heart Health, Nutritional Supplements | 26 Comments
A reader recently asked if there were any natural ways to increase melatonin production without resorting to supplements. I replied that the best way to encourage nighttime melatonin release is to minimize light exposure close to bedtime. I went on to explain that certain foods such as cherries, grapes and walnuts also contain naturally occurring melatonin and may, therefore, make good, late night snacks.
Tags: Meditation, Sleep, Yoga
Posted in Alternative Therapies, General Health, Mental Health | 2 Comments