vitamins, alternative medicine, antioxidants

Vitamin Stuff Blog

A Health, Nutrition, and Alternative Medicine Blog

Monday, December 31, 2007

Orexin A for Ridding Yourself of the Annoyance of Having to Sleep

Sometime ago, I had read that the two neuropeptide hormones known collectively as orexins had the characteristic of promoting wakefulness. I had also read that dysfunction regarding the body's regulation of orexins causes narcolepsy.

Well, today I came across an interesting article on one of the hormones in this group. According to this article (found in Wired and linked below), Orexin A, when delivered in a nasal spray, can reverse the effects of sleep deprivation in monkeys. And it may be used as a treatment for severe narcolepsy.

Amazing. However, the first thing that popped into my head when I read this was..."I wonder how long it will take them to consider the military applications?". And then I reread the first paragraph of the article and realized, "hey, they already have".

The delivery system for Orexin A was developed as a result of funding provided by DARPA, the defense advanced research projects agency (Imagine, if you will, soldiers that trudge on endlessly, without the need for sleep, only succumbing, at some point, to metabolic failure--a scary proposition).

Of course, as the article states, the ability to combat sleepiness by focusing on brain biochemistry doesn't address another issue, which is this: our bodies engage in active self-repair during periods of deep sleep (delta-wave sleep). Meaning that even if an individual could be made to feel completely rested despite severe sleep deprivation, they could still be at risk for physical problems, possibly cardiovascular in nature.


Snorting a Brain Chemical Could Replace Sleep










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Up in the Sky...its...a very old cartoon



Last night, I read some old comics I had stashed away. One was a 1986 issue of Action Comics. Anyone who grew up on DC comics, of course, knows that Action Comics starred Superman.

I was taken aback, really, by how much comics have changed in the last two decades, not so much the storylines (amazingly, they haven't changed much), but the prices.

The price of this comic was 75 cents. Try buying one for that price today. Not even in the ballpark. And used titles that have any age on them can go for five dollars or more each. Just for a glint at my own perspective on this, when I stopped most of my comic buying, they had just gone to 35 cents. And for the majority of my comic buying years as a kid, they had been 20 and 25 cents. Hey, I even had some old issues of various titles that were----12 cents! Boy, that sounds like I must be ancient. (Is 42 ancient? what if you're 42 and look 35 as people tell you and you'd like to believe but secretly suspect that they're trying to gratify your ego?).

Anyway, reading that one installment of Superman lead to searching on Youtube for things Superman-related. And here's what I found: a clip of a 1941 Superman cartoon. A little boring by our standards today, to be sure, but interesting, nonetheless.











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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Homeopathy and Acupuncture

Here are two additional articles by Opal Tribble. One is on the subject of Homeopathic medicine and the other is on the subject of Acupuncture.

Acupuncture, a component of traditional chinese medicine, of course, continues to be more and more of a fascinating topic. As I wrote earlier on this site, a Mayo clinic study found that Acupuncture was useful in achieving improvements with regard to fatigue and anxiety (Can Acupuncture ease fibromyalgia symptoms?).

Here are those articles:

Acupuncture Attempts to Balance the Flow of the Chi

Homeopathy and Restoring Balance









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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Green Tea, Cancer, and the Inflammation and Pain of Rheumatoid Arthritis



A long while back, I came across some interesting information on green tea and cancer. Green tea contains a compound called EGCG. Wikipedia defines this acronym as "Epigallocatechin gallate...a type of catechin...the most abundant catechin in tea". The WP--my shorthand for wikipedia--also states that EGCG is a) an antioxidant and a catechin, b) being studied for multiple sclerois, c) protects the skin from uv-radiation damage and tumor formation and d) may have some benefit in the treatment of HIV.

When I first learned about EGCG, I was astonished to read that EGCG prevents cancer cell growth by inhibiting the enzyme, dihydrofolate reductase. However, I've just come across some additional interesting news regarding EGCG. According to Professor Stephen Hsu at the Medical College of Georgia, green tea may offer protection against certain autoimmune conditions such as sjogren's syndrome and lupus. Autoimmune disorders tend to involve inflammation and EGCG has been shown to block the production of prostaglandin E2, a compound that causes joint inflammation.

Of course, whenever I think of autoimmune disorders and inflammation, I think of rheumatoid arthritis (in addition to pemphigus, a terrible autoimmune condition that eventually and recently took the life of my dog, Scout, a chow/lab mix with the best disposition I've ever seen in a dog). Well, this is where EGCG really gets interesting. Two molecules which are known to break down bone in a joint afflicted with rheumatoid arthritis--IL-6 and cyclooxygenase-2 (Cox-2)--are suppressed by EGCG. Actually, the wording expressed by lead researcher Salah-uddin Ahmed at Ann Arbor (Univ. of Michigan) was that EGCG "blocked them significantly".

Green tea has about five times more EGCG than regular tea, which isn't a bad thing since (for no reason other than the fact that I enjoy the taste), I drink it daily.







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Sleepless but not really tired

Lately, my sleeping schedule has been changing and I'm not entirely sure why. As a teenager and young adult in college, I found it perfectly normal to stay up till the wee hours and sleep in till eleven whenever I got the chance (as you can imagine, high school was "tiring" for me and I didn't take many morning classes in college). As a regular adult (let's assume for the sake of discussion that I became one of those at about age 25), my sleeping habits evolved into a semi-regular pattern of going to bed around 11-1 and getting up between 6:30 am and 7:00 am. Lately, though, my sleep pattern has evolved, devolved, whatever you want to call it, into something unusual, at least to me. I can now fall asleep as early as ten o'clock at night and wake up again as early as 3 am, ready to start another day.

I have no reason to account for why my sleep schedule seems to be altering. It could be the result of a somewhat hectic life or the aging process itself (I know a number of individuals whose sleep patterns have altered with age), or a combination of both factors. However, it makes me wonder if I should perhaps try melatonin. Melatonin has been used to treat sleep disorders and to help individuals reset their own internal clocks (for example, to counter the effects of jet lag).

However, melatonin can cause fatigue and anyone taking prescribed medication should probably run this by their family internist first (particularly if they take medications for diabetes, high blood pressure, hormone replacement, or to thin the blood. And I honestly don't think I will take this supplement, mainly because at this point, my reduced number of sleep hours is not making me particularly tired, or even tired at all. I just seem to be effectively getting by with less. Aging process? Perhaps.







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Chiropractors and Chiropractic Medicine



Here's a new article by Opal Tribble on Chiropractic Medicine that explains some of the potential benefits of being seen by a chiropractor, as well as an abbreviated history of chiropractic.

I've actually gone to a chiropractor in the past myself and I can say that Opal's description is on target. I had an initial consultation followed up with a spinal manipulation which, really, only took about ten minutes. On future visits to my chiropractor, I was given some type of high strength sonic wave treatment, prior to my manipulation.

Did treatments from a chiropractor help me? Honestly, I don't know. I went because my lower back went out (this has happened about three times in the last decade, possibly as a result of weightlifting-related stress, and, each time, I find myself incapacitated for about a week) and because this particular chiropractic physician was highly recommended by several individuals I know.

However, relief from my lower back pain and a return to normal ambulation (i.e. no longer having to use a cane to get around) occurred about when I would have expected. That is, within a week. Whether or not my visits to a chiropractor speeded my recovery process, I can't really say.

One thing I will say, however, is that I absolutely loved the sonic wave treatment that was applied to my back. It provided a fairly intense sensation that, from my own experience, has only been matched by a professional massage therapist. Yet, this occurred in a distinctly different fashion. It was literally like a high energy massage flowing in wave fashion over my back. In principle, this was like a tens unit, used by individuals who have back pain, but much more powerful.

Here's Opal article: Chiropractic Medicine - History, Treatment, and Benefits







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Friday, December 28, 2007

Blueberries, Blackberries, and Granny Smith Apples



Breakfast today was a combination of the aforementioned) Atkins Chocolate Royale low carb shake (it doesn't taste like pressed wood, trust me on this), blueberries, blackberries, and a granny smith apple.

I never get tired of granny smith apples, nor do I get tired of blackberries (blueberries, despite their fantastic health benefit profile, i.e. antioxidants can get just a little tiring if eaten every day, just my personal taste). I can consume both on a consistent basis and in prodigious amounts. Reputedly, granny smiths are also a fruit with a good glycemic index value.

What I don't like, however, is the cost of blackberries. Let's be honest, they're hideously expensive and you have to wonder how most family budget shoppers can buy them regularly. I like them enough to stomach the cost...except when I buy them and two days later find mold on them.

I usually take a good look at my fruit before I toss it into the cart. But, invariably, no matter how good the berries look in the store, they seem to "time out" within two days of entering my fridge. Makes you wonder how much on the edge some of this produce really is.







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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Atkins Advantage Shakes

I went to a lower carb diet a while back for several reasons. Initially, I found that it was easier for me to keep my weight managed (important if your work keeps you hunched over at a desk for long hours at a time) and I also simply felt better by taking in fewer carbs and being more selective about my carbs. Yes, I love potatoes, pasta, bread, and the like, but as "satisfying" as those food stuffs are, they tend to have some negative effects, including persistent "stomach rumblings".

One of the problems encountered by people who get on the low carb wagon, however, is choice, as in fewer choices. In fact, its not until you begin to cut carbs from your daily diet and routine that you begin to realize how dependent you really are on carbohydrate content, much of which has limited nutritional value and a predisposition for spiking your glucose levels.

Fortunately, the longer you do the low carb thing, the more you realize that there actually are choices. For example, mashed potatoes. Eliminating those from your diet can leave a huge hole in your psyche. But---puree cauliflower, season it right, and add butter, and you have something that comes fairly close to mashed potatoes. And from a glycemic standpoint, so much better for you.

And now---drumroll---the point of this post: Atkins Advantage Shakes! I love these things and here's why.

  • Fifteen grams of protein
  • Six grams of carbs (four of which are fiber and only one of which is sugar)
  • 160 calories
  • And, if you get the Chocolate Royale flavor, it actually tastes like chocolate (for the most part).


Personally, I wouldn't advise these as meal replacements for lunch or dinner. In my own case, I simply prefer more calories than the average gerbil on steroids. But, for individuals who are prone to skipping breakfast (an important meal that you shouldn't skip), Atkins Shakes are a convenient and sensible meal replacement solution.









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New Halo 3 Multiplayer Maps



I looked forward for years, literally, to Halo 3, both for the continuation of the campaign storyline (great story and, hopefully, Microsoft will get the right studio and director on board for the film adaptation) as well as to see what improvements would be made in the multiplayer live environment.

Sadly, I was disappointed on both fronts. The campaign game is way too short and the Halo 3 live experience just kind of...well, sucked. How did it suck? Let me count the ways. No scorpion tanks, limited availability of rocket launchers, some new weapons that are really questionable in their tactical value, and the absence of panoramic maps that give you a feeling of expanse such as blood gulch.

I can't tell you how quickly I got bored of cycling through the same handful (barely) of big team maps in this latest rendition of what I've always regarded as the pinnacle of gaming. In fact, it got so bad that I shelved the Halo 3 disc and brought out Halo 2 again, just to see blood gulch once more and to get my hands/controller on rocket launchers again.

Well, today, I got a marketing email announcing that more multiplayer maps have been released for Halo 3. I don't know anything about them yet but I'm itching to try them to see how they play. All I can say is, its about time.







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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Basic Information on Traditional Chinese Medicine

Other than the fact that acupuncture is part of TCM, and that TCM is, by definition holistic (an approach that is sometimes termed "eastern"), I don't know much about traditional chinese medicine myself.

Opal Tribble, however, has written a recent article about traditional chinese medicine that answers a few basic questions. Personally, I found it interesting to learn that TCM is actually incorporated into the health care system in mainland China.

Here's the link to her article. In time, this may become the base page for a section devoted to answer questions regarding TCM on this site:

Traditional Chinese Medicine - History, Nature, and Benefits








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Taxing Sugary Drinks

The Mayor of San Francisco has recently stated that the consumption of non-diet soft drinks by school children is contributing to an obesity problem that is costing the city tens of millions of dollars in health care costs. In fact, a survey conducted by the San Francisco Health department found that for many school age kids, sugary drinks may total as much as ten percent of daily calorie consumption.

No doubt, this phenomeon is not limited to San Francisco or the state of California. And, of course, there's little wonder that type II diabetes is becoming a more frequent diagnosis and for individuals of younger ages.

Interestingly enough, as the mayor of San Francisco is focusing attention on this issue, so is the state---California is considering putting warning labels on non-diet soft drink cans.







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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Diet Drugs and Some Fairly Unappealing Side Effects

Inevitably, big pharma will probably come up with diet weight loss drugs that don't cause...unsettling side effects. It's pretty obvious, however, that we're nowhere near that point.

The following article provides information on several well known diet drugs, including their relative effectiveness and particular side effects.

In trials and studies, all of these drugs seem to result in better management of cholesterol levels, and blood glucose levels. However, some of the side effects, for those who will experience them, seem unacceptable, at least to me: gastric disease (sometimes of an urgent and compelling nature), insomnia, nausea.

Some study participants even experienced blood pressure increases and exacerbation of a psychiatric impairment ("The FDA also reported that a study on Acomplia showed that 26% developed anxiety, depression and in extreme cases, suicidal tendencies").

Can Diet Drugs Mess With Your Mood?








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Bodybuilding - Early History and Advantages

I began to follow the sport of bodybuilding in the early eighties and became involved in the activity at the same time. Like most fans of the sport, I never got to the point of actually competing, though I did, as a fan, attend several competitions and exhibitions.

However, multi-hour workouts, the consumption of nutritional supplements (amino acids, protein supplements, etc), and the reading of publications like Flex and Muscle and Fitness were all part of the daily routine back then (I also competed in several powerlifting contests).

The amazing thing about bodybuilding, then and now, is that finally some of the information espoused by competitive bodybuilders is becoming validated. For instance, adopting a diet that is lower in carbohydrate intake and drastically lower in highly-processed foods. Arnold Schwarzenegger himself used to remark that "white flour is white death".

How true. White bread, for instance, offers little nutritional value and an insubstantive level of fiber. But from a glycemic diet point of view, its consumption (and the consumption of all highly processed carbohydrate foods) is a coffin nail for anyone trying to lose weight or get their blood glucose levels in line.

Amazingly, those early bodybuilders knew from experience what many people have only recently begun to accept: that the healthiest diet is one that emulates the eating habits of ancient man, i.e. fewer additives, less processing, more fiber, and more whole foods.

If you're interested in bodybuilding, here's an article that discusses some of the advantages of engaging in the activity:

Bodybuilding: Its Advantages and and Early Beginnings









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Whole Foods, Blenders, and Smoothies --Oh my!

Usually, the best source of information regarding a product or activity will come from someone who actually uses the product or engages in the activity.

And that's why the following article is so informative. Written by Opal Tribble, this is a wonderfully informative article on the subject of whole foods that also includes some great information about juicing, smoothies, as well as some recommendations for juicers and blenders.

Some interesting aspects of the article are as follows:

1. The whole food approach can be incorporated into one's daily living in different ways, as the prepartion (or pre-preparation) of meals and as smoothies.

2. The whole food approach will definitely result in a diet that is closer in nature to what pre-industrialized peoples consumed. This means a higher fiber intake which is great for the intestinal tract and it also means a significant reduction in terms of the involvement of artificial substances.

3. Adopting a whole food approach may result in a better functioning immune system. Of course, this only makes sense. After all, the best source of antioxidants will always be natural foods.

Whole Foods stay as close to the natural food source as possible









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Regenerating bones and Vertebrae

Vitamin D has in the news to an amazing extent in the last year. That and the mineral calcium. Here's another article that focuses on a new form of Vitamin D that may, in time, prove to be a panacea, particularly for individuals with, or at risk, for osteoporosis.

A statistic contained in the article that really bowled me over was the "25% improvement in the strength of their vertebrae". This was for nonhuman test subjects (rats), of course, but if this benefit could carry over to humans...the possibilities could be wonderful.

This is important not just for the sake of osteoporosis, but also for lower back pain, which is typically tied to degenerative disc disease, a condition that, in many individuals can become disabling.

Improved Vitamin D for Bone Health








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Monday, December 17, 2007

The Antioxidant Properties of Chocolate

If you're curious as to where chocolate comes from and what its health benefits may be, the following article may help answer some of these questions, as well as other questions such as:

can eating chocolate boost antioxidant levels?

Does chocolate contain flavonoids? (not an everyday question, but the article does address it)

Is one form of chocolate superior to other forms?

Readers who have an interest in the health benefits of chocolate, of course, may not be surprised to read that dark chocolate is the healthiest choice while adding milk to chocolate (either in the form of milk chocolate or by drinking liquid milk while eating chocolate) has the effect of diluting some of chocolate's natural benefits.

Of course, as healthy as chocolate may be, the fact that it is usually, in most forms, laden with sugar and high calories makes it a food item whose consumption should be rationed.

However, there are sugar free forms of chocolate available, most notably the various products produced by the Russell Stover company. The only downside to these are that many individuals do not do well with the artificial sugar alcohol sweeteners that are currently in use (from a first hand perspective, I can inform you that gastric distress and flatulence are two of the unfortunate side effects of eating these types of treats--though this affects different individuals in varying levels of intensity).

Here's the article: Are there health benefits in dairy free chocolate?







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English cider apples are rich in polyphenols which are also found in Red Wine

The following article is about the possible antioxidant benefits of apple cider. Contained within the article, however, is information regarding red wine, polyphenols, and resveratrol.

Red wine, of course, is interesting because certain cultures that have for centuries used wine as a component of their daily meals seem to have some of the lowest incidences of coronary artery disease, this depsite the fact that their diet also contains a fair amount of fat, cholesterol, and complex carbs. If you're going to drink red wine, though, particularly if you're attempting to lose weight or need to watch your glucose levels, you're proabably better off choosing a very dry red wine (to avoid sugar content).

Here's the article: Does Apple Cider contain Antioxidants ?







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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sudafed, High Blood Sugar, and the Value of Portable Glucose Monitors

I mentioned in a prior post that I have type II diabetes, a diagnosis that puts me in the company of millions of other Americans. It was also one that suitably stunned me. With a past history of weightlifting and bodybuilding, I've always thought of myself as a very healthy individual, and, generally, so has my family physician. Unfortunately, type II diabetes has more to do with genetics than anything else. In other words, my own genes would prefer that I stick to an eating regimen more in line with a paleolithic diet.

After being told that my fasting glucose levels categorized me as a type II, I had no problem with the notion of taking medication, as long as I made sure that this was accompanied by some fairly disciplined dietary changes (smaller portions to avoid overloading, becoming much more selective about the types of carbohydrates consumed, and what some would describe as a fairly radical decrease in the number of grams of carbohydrate consumed each day). After all, taking medication is practically worthless without the behavioral changes that should accompany a diagnosis of type II. Without those changes, a type II patient is really playing on borrowed time when it comes to the health of their eyes, kidneys, and cardiovascular system.

With proper changes and just a little bit of discipline, a type II diabetic can enjoy a wide range of foods and even deserts (typically low or lower carb alternatives) and remain just as healthy as anyone else. The trick, of course, is to monitor one's glucose levels which can be done with a portable glucose monitor.

This brings me to the point of this post. I have a cold that just came on and I decided to take sudafed the night before for congestion. This morning when I tested my blood glucose, the numbers were substantially higher than what I am used to seeing. The only alteration to my routine that I could see was...sudafed. So, I did some checking online. Sure enough, sudafed a.k.a. pseudoephedrine, can do the following:

1. Break down glycogen, converting it into glucose which is dumped into the blood.

2. Inhibit the secretion of insulin.

3. Decrease the uptake of glucose into the tissues.

4. Reverse the effects of certain medications, such as glimepiride.

Of course, none of this I would have known if I did not have a portable glucose monitor and had not checked my levels this morning. And this type of interaction had never been discussed by my family physician.

So, if you have type II and don't have a monitor, get one. And if you need to take new medications or desire over-the-counter meds for some purpose, do some research first (the preferable method would be to consult a physician, but, unfortunately, many of us know just how well that goes).








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Vitamin C Supplements for Type II Diabetics

According to the post linked below (sadly, on the now-defunct diabetes blog, which is/was an excellent resource), taking supplemental doses of vitamin c may be helpful for an individual who is diabetic.

I have type II myself so, of course, I always have my ear open for news regarding this condition, particularly when it involves implications for nutrition and insulin resistance.

According to the post, as with insulin, the uptake of vitamin C can be affected by high blood sugar levels, i.e. excessively high sugar levels can inhibit vitamin c's entry through cellular membranes.

The most interesting part of the post, however, is that supplemental vitamin C actually resulted in lower fasting BG levels and lower HbA1C readings (a test to show what your average blood glucose levels have been over the past three months).

Should you take vitamin C as a supplement? Well, Vitamin C is water soluble so it doesn't the pose the same toxicity risks that some fat-soluble vitamins may (if taken in excessive amounts - mega dosing isn't really the safest idea, in my opinion, for most individuals). And getting enough C in the average citizen's "average poor diet" may be difficult. For diabetics, certainly, a vitamin C supplement may be a good idea.

On the subject of supplements, of course, many diabetics may wish to, at the least, take a daily multi-vitamin, particularly if they take medications that have the effect of reducing levels of key micronutrients. Some medications, for instance, may result in deficient levels of vitamin B12.


Vitamin C, Blood Glucose, and Insulin







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Bad Nutrition in the Public Schools

A couple years ago, I saw a special about nutrition in the public schools, or, rather, lack of it. I was very surprised by what I saw. In one particular district, meals were no longer cooked onsite, but, rather, were trucked in and essentially just heated up for serving. Not a whole lot different in concept from microwave meals, really.

Since then, I've read article after article about the rise of type II diabetes and obesity among the young. I guess that's not surprising when soft drink dispensers are available in schools and meals are now the equivalent of something you can simply nuke at home.

What is surprising to me, however, is this: school systems are run and administered by educators and, in principle, you would think that these individuals would have realized that a) this approach does not equate with health and b) this is not an approach that teaches and stimulates a healthy lifestyle.

When I was a kid, way back in the stone age (this is sad, I know, I'm starting to use those depracating statements that older individuals who are insecure about their "middle-agedness" use), meals were actually cooked at the school. We didn't appreciate them, of course, and the continual commentary regarding school lunch boiled down to "this sucks", but we did get exposed to a wide variety of different foods and different food types. And we either ate it, or we didn't. To drink? Milk. Not Coke or Pepsi or Mountain Dew. Just milk. Sort of boring, yes, but it wasn't full of sugar and it didn't fill you with wasted calories.

Frankly, I'm amazed that the educational system has let things slide so far south. Soft drinks in school? Anyone who thinks that is a good idea probably should be reconsidered for their job slot. However, ultimately, the difference between nutrition in the public schools then (for me, late 70s and early 80s) and now, the decline of nutritional standards, and the rise of obesity and type II diabetes among the young--falls at the feet of parents.

Now, I came across a post on the Sugar Shock Blog that discusses the novel concept of putting salad bars into elementary schools. As a university research team found after this was done, children who were exposed to more fruits and vegetables in their diet...tended to include them as part of their dietary choices more often. How novel.







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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Alternative Medicine and Preventing the Common Cold

The following article provides some discussion regarding the common cold and alternative medicine. The article discusses the placebo effect but also lists several micronutrient substances that may potentially be of value in staving off colds.

Mentioned among them is Vitamin C, a substance held by Nobel Laureate, Linus Pauling, to hold promise as a cure for the common cold. Other substances mentioned in the article include: garlic, ginseng, ginger, goldenseal, echinacea, and peppermint.

Here are two of the basic points of the article in distilled form:

1. The discriminate and proper use of some supplemental substances may be safe and may offer health benefits, while an improper or excessive use may be counter-productive, or even dangerous (particularly for individuals with diagnosed medical conditions and/or individuals who are taking prescribed medications).

2. The herbs and vitamins mentioned in the article may hold some effectiveness in the prevention of colds; however, currently, the research that is available is less than conclusive.







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Advantages of Aloe

As of late, it seems that Aloe is best known as a treatment for the skin, particularly for burns. However, Aloe, which is related to garlic provides a number of benefits and useful applications. And here are just a few.

1. As a laxative, Aloe can be used to treat constipation.

2. By destroying bacteria and fungi, Aloe can serve as an infection fighter.

3. Aloe has been found, by at least one study, to be a treatment for genital herpes.

4. Aloe has been shown to be a treatment for psoriasis.

5. In animal studies, Aloe juice has demonstrated the ability to lower glucose levels (always a matter of concern for diabetics and pre-diabetics).







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Latest Articles on Vitaminstuff

Here are some recent article additions to Vitaminstuff.

Bioflavonoids - Their Benefits and How to Include them in your Diet

Aromatherapy and Essential Oils

The Glycemic Index System for Ranking Carbohydrates

Endorphins - the Body's Natural Opiate and Pain Killer

Anaerobic Exercise (including Sprinting, Weight Lifting, and Bodybuiding)

The Basics on Veganism







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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Eating Meat Comes with a Higher Risk for Developing Cancer

A reuters article appearing on MSNBC.com cites a new study that, for the first time, shows a definite link between meat consumption and certain types of cancer, including colorectal cancer, liver cancer, esophageal cancer, pancreatic cancer, and lung cancer.

The study involved five hundred thousand individuals between the ages of fifty-one and seventy. After an eight-year period, 53,396 individual diagnoses of cancer were made.

In such a large study, focusing on this particular age range, that number may not seem significant. However, the researchers were able to able to find high statistical correlations between meat (particularly red meat) consumption and the incidence of the aforementioned cancers.

To use one example, those individuals whose processed meat consumption placed them in the top twenty percent of meat eaters...had a twenty percent higher risk for developing colorectal cancer and a sixteen percent higher risk for developing lung cancer.







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Recent Pages on Vitamin Stuff

Here are some recent articles that have been published on Vitamin Stuff:

Black cohosh may help cut the risk of breast cancer

Bioflavonoids - Their Benefits and How to Include them in your Diet

Is Dan Shen effective for stroke patients?

Alternative Medicine and Treating Erectile Dysfunction>

Pain relieving alternatives to modern medicine

Complimentary and Alternative medicine - Things to Consider

Alternative Medicine Therapy Guidelines for the World







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Saturday, December 8, 2007

Totally Nude Yoga

Where I live, we have a local Yoga studio. And I drive by it quite frequently. Nonetheless, I've never had any desire to explore the art and technique of yoga, regardless of the health benefits it may offer. I understand that it promotes health, vigor, and a tranquil state, but, for now, I will beg off.

And, you know, nude yoga, or even watching nude yoga, doesn't interest me anymore than non-nude yoga.

Here's a link to a fairly humorous review of the Totally Nude Yoga & Tai Chi DVD. I have to admit, I almost want to buy this thing to see how funny it might be, based on what the reviewer had to say.


Should you actually know something about Yoga if you choose to engage in it?







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Keeping Bones strong through Exercise

I went to a lifeline screening a couple of months ago and it was one of the best things I ever did. I got to find out my glucose levels are just a bit too high and that, in most regards, I am reasonably healthy. However, one thing that was very surprising was the result of a heel bone density test. Apparently, my result was just on the borderline. Which I found amazing. I am not a little guy. In fact I am fairly muscular and until recently tipped the scales at 240 lbs.

But it just goes to show that everyone should pay more attention to their health. That includes diet (I wonder if I wasn't getting enough calcium in my diet) and it also includes having regular checkups and screening.

Now that I've raved a bit about the intrinsic value, I believe, of lifeline screening, here's a link to an article prepared by the lifeline company. One of its basic points is to highlight the value of resistance training (weight training) and enaging in exercise, particularly weight-bearing, to keep the bones healthy and strong.

How Does Exercise Strengthen Bones?







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Thursday, December 6, 2007

Are there health benefits to Drinking - Is it healthy?

For many years, the argument regarding the potential health benefits of alcohol has seesawed back and forth. At varying points, it has been declared that moderate alcohol consumption may have the effect of reducing stress and, potentially, decreasing the risk of certain impairments for which stress and anxiety are risk factors.

Most recently, those arguing in favor of moderate alcohol consumption have argued in favor of red wine, a source of the antioxidant chemical, resveratrol. Of course, from a dietetic standpoint, it may be best to limit one's consumption of red wine to meals and to use a wine that is dry to very dry. Reason: to limit the intake of sugar. This is probably wise for all individuals as higher glucose levels contribute to higher insulin resistance levels in a sizeable portion of the population. And, for diabetics, a reduction in carbohydrate consumption, particularly sugar and highly refined carbohydrates, is practical advice.

Aside from obtaining resveratrol in one's dietary intake, are there other health reasons for consuming wine? Possibly. According to a CNN article, (The health pros and cons of drinking), wine drinkers may have a lower future risk for dementia, heart disease, and certain types of cancer.

But are these potential benefits outweighed by the risks of alcohol consumption? Possibly, as well. Alcohol puts pressure on the liver and dehydrates the skin. It also has the potential to increase the risk of breast cancer and to lower bone density levels. And, it is specualted, about a third of adults will have a risk for becoming dependent on alcohol.







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A new source of information for those who need assistance

Here's a link to a new blog, attached to a site that offers information on the federal government's disability benefit programs. The blog, like its parent site, is focused on providing information about the social security disability system and on answering specific questions about the core nature of the system: how an individual goes about filing for disability benefits, what to do when a claim gets denied, how to go about the act of submitting an appeal to the social security administration, and what the various criteria is for getting benefits awarded.

Currently, there is a meltdown occurring in the U.S. Social Security System, which includes both the retirement program and the lesser-publicized disability program. As many news stations and newspapers have reported in recent months, an untenable and unacceptable situation has developed in which individuals who become disabled and unable to work now find themselves unable to obtain relief from the program that is designed to assist them. The reason for this development, however, is not necessarily related to any chief factor other than the fact that the social security administration is underfunded, to the extent that it does not have a workforce of sufficient size to carry out its mandated responsibilities.

Social Security Disability Blog









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