Knowledge is half the battle won, which is why Durbell is committed to offering you the best in health and wellness news. By reading what you need to know here, we aim to help you overcome the changes and challenges that occur every day. New health trends and facts hit the airwaves all the time, because life continues to evolve in interesting ways. We hope to help you tackle these changes and challenges to the best of your ability, by giving you the real truth, hard facts, good advice and whatever assistance you may need.

WHAT SECRETS LIE IN THE DEPTHS OF YOUR GUT?

A Leaky Gut occurs when the protective barrier that keeps bacteria and waste in the intestines is breached, allowing these substances, together with partially digested food, to enter into the bloodstream. As a result of this breach, the body’s immune system is flooded with foreign substances, leading to systemic inflammation as well as the development of multiple food allergies.

Over time, the immune system turns on itself in various areas, including muscles, tendons, ligaments, bone, cartilage and nerves, resulting in an all-out autoimmune response. The inflammation results in less effective digestion, causing compromised nutrition and loss of vitamins and minerals. It also leads to a reduction of healthy bacteria in the gut, which may develop into an overgrowth of harmful bacteria and yeast. A Leaky Gut also leads to persistent and chronic pain.

If a Leaky Gut goes undetected or untreated, it will cause havoc and widespread inflammation may occur by initiating any number of immune responses in the body. These may include bowel disease, skin issues (eczema), arthritis, hypothyroidism, depression, anxiety, adrenal fatigue and mal absorption, amongst others.

A Leaky Gut is caused by chronic irritation and the resultant inflammation of the intestinal lining. Potential stressors that initiate this process can be divided into three main groups: physical, chemical and emotional. An example of a physical stressor is when you eat an allergen every day. It acts as a constant aggravating factor that disrupts your digestive system and prevents it from functioning properly and ultimately results in inflammation (e.g.: gluten intolerance). In the case of chemical irritation, there may have been a repeated need for antibiotics at an early age, which may have upset the healthy bacterial balance in the gut, again leading to conditions that then may lead to inflammation. Then mental or emotional stressors surpass your threshold for stress tolerance and begin to affect your daily life. If these are not properly processed or resolved, your body may initiate an inflammatory chain of events that may result in a Leaky Gut.

HEALING FROM A LEAKY GUT

In order to deal with a Leaky Gut, we need to look at the body as a whole and try to identify the stressors that are exacerbating the inflammation of the gut and increase hyper-permeability of the gut lining.

Physical stressors need to be eliminated by removing any possible food intolerances from the diet. One also needs to make sure that the balance of healthy gut bacteria is boosted by taking a probiotic especially formulated for this type of condition. It needs to be taken over an extended period of time to give the gut a period of renewal in regards to these healthy bacteria.

Chronic emotional stress and trauma need to be addressed, as this is often the primary source of inflammatory conditions. This type of stress has been shown to disrupt the interaction between brain and gut, leading to increased intestinal permeability. Stress affects the body’s ability to repair itself and also suppresses the immune system in its response to disease.

Getting enough restorative sleep is critical. With inadequate sleep, the body’s cortisol levels are affected, which reduces our ability to tolerate negative stimuli. Our ability to heal may then become compromised, limiting the rate at which the gut lining can heal.

Getting enough exercise is a natural way to enhance your immune system and help manage daily stresses, as well as directly improving the intestinal barrier function. Studies show that regular aerobic exercise improves metabolic processes and reduces systemic inflammation. Exercise need not be excessive. Start slowly and choose something you will enjoy.

An optimistic attitude towards your health can play a large role in your treatment and recovery, as it reduces stress, supports the immune system and promotes your natural ability to heal. Letting go of health problems and everything that accompanies them in itself is part of the healing process.

Quit smoking, as it is a well-known fact that smoking promotes inflammation in gut disorders.

TAKE SUPPLEMENTS THAT ASSIST THE BODY IN ITS HEALING PROCESS:

  • Glutamine assists in strengthening and improving the integrity of the gut lining, and lessens the systemic inflammatory response.
  • Probiotics are used as it is extremely important to have the healthy gut bacteria in the right balance to help maintain healthy gut permeability. They also assist with the breakdown of foods into more manageable particle sizes, and also synthesis certain vitamins and nutrients for the body. They are essential to helping heal digestive disorders and gut hypermobility.
  • Prebiotics are a food source for healthy gut bacteria. Therefore, supporting the growth of these bacteria helps to restore the integrity of your gut immunity.
  • Essential Fatty Acids specifically including DHA, has been shown to protect the intestinal wall from inflammatory stimuli and help maintain the integrity of the gut barrier while supporting gut barrier function. DHS and EPA help increase the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines, which promote the normalisation of gut function.
  • Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant and has strong anti-inflammatory effects that have general systemic as well as gut health benefits. It has the ability to reduce inflammation and also assists in normalizing gut function.
  • Zinc is a mineral cofactor that supports the integrity of the cells lining the intestines, which is very important in reversing a Leaky Gut. It also assists normal immunity and supports energy production and hormone metabolism.

SUPPLEMENTS ARE AVAILABLE WHICH HAVE BEEN ESPECIALLY FORMULATED TO ASSEST IN THE HEALING OF, AS WELL AS IMPROVING THE INTEGRITY OF THE GUT LINING.

The body is often deprived of these nutrients due to the compromised digestion and mal absorption experienced when dealing with a Leaky Gut.

WHAT IS QUERCETIN?

Quercetin is one of the most abundant antioxidants in the human diet, and it plays a vital part in fighting free radical damage.

“When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot become manifest, strength cannot exert, wealth is useless and reason is powerless”
Herophilies, 300BC

“A wise man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings”
Hippocrates

“There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.”
Socrates

These statements should guide our actions, especially concerning our health. Very often we do not have the slightest idea of how to maintain good health. When all “building materials” are supplied to the cells and the damage is reparable, nature will do the healing.

Quercetin is a flavonoid found in foods including leafy greens, tomatoes, berries and broccoli. It is technically considered a “plant pigment”, which is why it is found in deeply coloured, nutrient-packed fruits and vegetables. Quercetin is one of the most abundant antioxidants in the human diet, and it plays a vital part in fighting free radical damage, as well as the effects of aging and inflammation.

According to the Department of Pathology and Diagnostics at the University of Verona in Italy, Quercetin and other flavonoids are anti-viral, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic agents, with the potential to be expressed positively in different cell types in both animals and humans. Flavonoid polyphenols are most beneficial for down regulating or suppressing inflammatory pathways and functions.

Quercetin is the most diffused and known nature-derived flavonoid there is, showing strong effects on immunity and inflammation caused by leukocytes and other intracellular signals.

It has been shown to inhibit leukotrienes, mast cells, and the release of histamine, which makes it a good candidate for anti-allergy therapy. Evidence also demonstrates that Quercetin blunts the inflammatory response of immune cells upon antigen recognition.

TIRED OF SEASONAL ALLERGY SYMPTOMS?
Quercetin has been shown to reduce histamine release in people with seasonal allergies by 96%.

Allergic signs and symptoms: Itchy stuffy and runny nose, post nasal drip, swollen lips, itchy throats, swollen red and itchy eyes, wheezing and coughing, difficulty breathing, asthma, rashes and hives, vomiting and diarrhea.

Food allergies: dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, interstitial cystitis (recurrent urinary tract infections with a known cause), ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, allergic rhinitis and bloating.

Most common allergies: food allergies (e.g. diary, wheat and gluten), drug allergies (e.g. Penicillin), insect bites/stings (e.g. bee sting), environmental (e.g. pollen, grasses and house dust mites).

Quercetin may assist with: cognitive impairment, gout, viral infections, cancer, skins disorders (including dermatitis), inflammation of prostrate, bladder and ovaries and stomach ulcers.

Food rich in Quercetin include: apples, peppers, red wine, dark cherries and berries, tomatoes, cruciferous vegetables including broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts, leafy green vegetables including spinach and kale, as well as citrus fruits.

It is important to remember that nothing works in isolation. These nutrients may be used to assist or support Quercetin: L-Glutamine, probiotics, L-Methionine, Nettle, Bromelien and vitamin C.

Quercetin is contra-indicated for persons taking Warfarin, and its safety during pregnancy and breast-feeding has not yet been established.

OWN UP TO YOUR HEALTH AND TAKE RESPONSIBILITY!

 

HAY FEVER CAN MAKE YOU MISERABLE BY HAVING TO DEAL WITH IRRITATING SYMPTOMS

Spring means flowers budding and trees coming into bloom. If you are one of the millions of people who have a seasonal allergy, also known as hay fever and allergic rhinitis, it can make you miserable by having to deal with sneezing, congestion, a runny nose and other irritating symptoms.

Allergic rhinitis develops when the body’s immune system becomes sensitized and overreacts to something in the environments that typically causes no problem in most other people. Symptoms can occur in spring, summer and early autumn. They are usually caused by allergic sensitivity to airborne mold spores or pollens from grasses, trees and weeds.

People with perennial allergic rhinitis experience symptoms all year-round. This is generally caused by dust mites, pet hair, cockroaches or mold. Symptoms usually include a runny nose, itchy eyes, mouth or skin, sneezing, stuffy nose due to blockage or congestion and fatigue (often reported due to poor quality sleep as a result of nasal congestion).

ALLERGIC RHINITIS LEADS TO:

Decreased concentration and focus, limited activities, decreased decision-making capacity, impaired hand-eye coordination, problems remembering things, irritability sleep disorders and fatigue.

TRIGGERS:

  • Outside: pollens from grass, trees and weeds.
  • Inside: pet hair or dander (a combination of dead skin cells and hair shed by the skin), dust mites and mold.
  • Irritants: cigarette smoke, perfume and exhaust fumes.
  • Chlorine: in swimming pools.

HOW TO AVOID TRIGGERS:

  • Keep windows closed during high pollen periods. Use air conditioning in your home and car.
  • Wear glasses or sunglasses when outdoors to keep pollen out of your eyes.
  • Use “mite-proof” bedding covers, pillows, comforters, duvets, mattresses and box springs.
  • Wash your bedding frequently using hot water (at least 55◦C), to limit exposure to dust mites and a dehumidifier to control mold (if you smell mildew, you likely have mold).
  • Clean floors with a damp rag or mop, rather than dry dusting or sweeping.
  • Wash your hands after petting any animal and have a non-allergic person help with pet grooming, preferably outside.
  • Wash your clothes after visiting friends with pets.
  • If you are allergic to a household pet, keep the animal out of your home as much as possible. If the pet must be inside, keep it out of the bedroom so you are not exposed to animal allergens while you sleep.
  • Replace carpeting with hardwood, tile, or linoleum – all of which are easier to keep dander-free.
  • Don’t hang clothing outdoors to dry as pollen may cling to towels and sheets.
  • Try not to rub your eyes. Doing so will irritate them and could make your symptoms worse.

PREVENTION:

Ideally, prevention should start a few weeks before allergy season and before symptoms develop. A dose of herbs and supplements taken early can eliminate the need for many later doses to reduce established symptoms.

Quercetin, a flavonoid found in leafy greens, tomatoes, berries and broccoli, is a natural anti-inflammatory that blocks histamine’s effects before it starts. Bromelain and vitamin C are used to enhance the action of Quercetin. Butterbur and Stinging Nettle may block the production of leukotrienes. From a naturopathic viewpoint, allergies are often associated with weak adrenal, immune and digestive functions. Treatments are therefore used to support and improve those functions and in this way alleviate hay fever symptoms.

Good health can help ease allergy symptoms, and good health starts with good nutrition, by including dark green, leafy vegetables, deep yellow and orange vegetables, nettles, bamboo shoots, cabbage, beet tops, beets, carrots, yams, onions, garlic, ginger, cayenne and horseradish in your eating plan.

Exclude alcohol, caffeine and dairy products, bananas and citrus fruit, chocolate, food colouring (tartrazine), peanuts, red meat, sugar and wheat from your diet.

Include: flaxseed oil, probiotics (e.g., lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidus), a multivitamin (high potency and customized if possible), vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E and Zinc.

TREATMENT:

  • Intranasal corticosteroids are the single most effective drug class for treating allergic rhinitis. They can significantly reduce nasal congestion as well as sneezing, itching and a runny nose. However, you need to be aware that these cannot be used continually as this results in a rebound effect and results in not being effective.
  • Oral antihistamines: Antihistamines can help relieve sneezing, itching, a runny nose and watery eyes.
  • Decongestants: Oral decongestants can provide temporary relief from nasal stuffiness. Combination medications: Some allergy medications combine antihistamine with a decongestant.
  • Nasal spray: Decongestants also come in nasal sprays. Only use nasal decongestants for a few days in a row. Longer-term use of decongestant nasal sprays van actually worsen symptoms (known as rebound congestion).
  • Immunotherapy: (Allergy shots) this is one of the most effective ways to treat seasonal allergies linked to pollen. These injections expose you over time to gradual increments of your allergen, so you learn to tolerate it rather than reacting with sneezing, a stuffy nose or itchy, watery eyes.
  • Nasal Douching: Rinsing your nasal passages with saline solution (nasal irrigation) is a quick, inexpensive and effective way to relieve nasal congestion. Rinsing directly flushes out mucus and allergens from your nose.

More than two-thirds of spring allergy sufferers actually have symptoms all year-round. If you think you are a sufferer or allergic rhinitis, pay your pharmacist a visit and if your symptoms simply will not go away, seek the assistance of your medical practitioner or an allergist.

ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT GLUTEN

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a group of proteins found in all types of grain such as wheat, rye, oats, barley, rice, corn, millet, sorghum and teff. Each different grain type contains a different form of gluten e.g. the main gluten in wheat is gliadin. It is this group of proteins (especially in wheat) that is responsible for the elasticity of dough when making breads and cakes – they are able to produce the amazing textures.

Which foods contain Gluten?

The most common foods that contain gluten are pastas, breads, crackers, seasonings and spice mix. In addition to pure wheat in all its forms (including: wheat starch, wheat bran, wheat germ, couscous, cracked wheat, durum, einkorn, emmer, farina, faro, fu (common in Asian foods), gliadin, graham flour, karnut, matzo, semolina and spelt), gluten is also often found in barley malt, chicken broth, malt vinegar, some salad dressings, veggie burgers (if not specified gluten-free) and soy sauce. The list of gluten-containing grains does not end at wheat. It also includes barley, bulgur, oats (it does not contain gluten, but is often processed in plants that produce gluten-containing grains and therefore may be contaminated), rye, seitan triticale and Mir.

Gluten Sensitivity

Gluten sensitivity may present itself in many ways (although pain and inflammation are normally present), including but not limited to migraines, stomach pain, eczema, psoriasis and arthritis. Approximately 1% of the population is unable to tolerate gluten in wheat even in small quantities. It is estimated that 1 in every 133 have celiac disease and less than 10% are aware that they in fact have it. About 50% of celiac suffers will experience the classic cramping, diarrhea and weight loss over time, while others may have migraines, arthritis, anemia, chronic fatigue, depression, infertility or a variety of other symptoms that at a glance seem unrelated. In some there may be no symptoms at all initially, but these show up later on in life in neurological issues, dementia, incontinence or gastrointestinal cancer. In advanced cases, patients who cannot absorb sufficient nutrients experience extreme weight loss. If not diagnosed celiac disease can be life threatening.

If you are gluten sensitive, it is most likely that you will react to any gluten no matter from which grain. The majority of gluten-sensitive people who eliminate wheat, rye, barley and oats but continue to consume other grains do not get better. That’s because they have not excluded all grains – in other words foods from grasses. It is also very interesting that persons sensitive to gluten are usually also sensitive to certain proteins found in milk. It has been found that the body sees a similarity between gliadin (wheat gluten) and certain proteins found in milk.

There is no laboratory test for all of the different forms of gluten. These tests measure only one or more types of gluten found in wheat, barley and rye and therefore potentially create a false sense of security. The best way to see whether you are gluten sensitive is to stop eating all grains for 30 days and see if your symptoms reverse and you feel better.

What we need to realise is that pain is never normal. It is a sign from your body that something is wrong. As you get older, it is assumed that aches and pains such as arthritis is something we need to expect and live with. However, is it perhaps possible that making certain changes in your diet could let you live pain free?

Autoimmune Responses

Gluten also causes countless autoimmune responses in the body:

  • DISEASES OF THE NERVOUS SYSTEM:
    The lymphocytes attack the myelin sheath on the nerve endings and this can lead to motor-neuron disease, some of the epilepsies, tingling and numbness in the extremities, speech impediments including stammering and stuttering as well as Tourette’s syndrome.
  • BOWEL COMPLICATIONS:
    Diarrhoea, constipation, bloating and distensions, spastic colon, Crohn’s disease, diverticulitis, stomach cramps, stomach ulcers, ulcerative colitis, IBS and gall bladder challenges can all be caused by gluten.
  • LACTOSE INTOLERANCE:
    Lactose intolerance and sucrose intolerance (the enzymes that digest milk and sugar are situated at the tips of healthy villi).
  • PROBLEMS OF THE MIND:
    These include depression (such as bipolar disorder), behavioural problems in children, Myalgic encephalitis, ADD, ADHD, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, dyslexia and schizophrenia.
  • GENETIC PROBLEMS:
    Down’s syndrome and Type 2 diabetes share the same chromosome (chromosome 6) on the DNA string of Coeliac disease.
  • AUTOIMMUNE SYSTEM DISORDERS:
    Rheumatoid arthritis, bursitis, Crohn’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, myasthenia Gravis, muscular dystrophy, Sjögren’s syndrome, Addison’s disease, Pernicious anemia, Hepatitis, thyroid disorders, Type 1 diabetes, Raynaud’s phenomenon, scleroderma, lupus and psoriasis.
  • FOOD ALLERGIES:
    An unhealthy intestine will lead to a “leaky gut”- other molecules of food pass through into the blood stream and cause allergic reaction. Removing gluten from your diet the intestine soon heals and the villi regrow and other food allergies could lessen over time.
  • CANCER:
    Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and cancer of any of the organs of digestion – these include the mouth, oesophagus, stomach, duodenum, pancreas, gall bladder and liver.
  • GYNAECOLOGICAL DISORDERS:
    Miscarriage, birth defects and infertility.

VITAMIN D – THE MIRACLE NUTRIENT

Vitamin D could rightly be described as a ‘miracle nutrient’ for your immune system as it enables your body to produce well over 200 antimicrobial proteins, which are indispensable in fighting off a wide range of infections.

The active form of vitamin D is one of the most potent hormones in your body, and regulates more genes and bodily functions than any other hormone yet discovered. Without this hormone you could die, and indeed many do die from vitamin D deficiency related causes.

Our body’s immune system is hard-wired to fight off infectious organisms naturally, assuming an adequate supply of vitamin D and other key nutrients are available.

Furthermore, ultraviolet radiation exposure from the sun, which stimulates the production of vitamin D in your skin, has been shown to reduce the incidence of viral respiratory infections, along with a wide range of other health conditions. To optimise your vitamin D levels, you need to expose large portions of your skin to the sun between 10am and 2pm. During this UVB-intense period you will need the shortest sun exposure time to produce the most vitamin D.

You only need enough to have your skin turn the lightest shade of pink. This may only be a few minutes for those who have very fair skin. The darker your skin, the longer the exposure you will need to optimise your vitamin D production. If sun exposure is not an option, a vitamin D3 supplement can be taken. Leading vitamin D experts from around the world currently agree that the most important factor when it comes to vitamin D is your serum level. So you really should be taking whatever dosage is required to obtain a therapeutic level of vitamin D in your blood.

VITAMIN D SERUM LEVELS – 25 HYDROXY D

Deficient less than 50ng/ml
Optimal 50 – 70ng/ml
Treatment for Cancer and
Heart Disease 70 – 100ng/ml
Over Load greater than 100ng/ml

If you don’t know your vitamin D serum level or you have never had your vitamin D levels tested, you should consider doing so very soon as simply assuming your levels are in the healthy range is quite risky.

Vitamin D deficiency is at epidemic proportions around the world today, largely because we don’t spend enough time in the sun. Another obvious reason is that the majority of us work indoors and when not working, don’t spend enough time enjoying recreation.

Your best defense against any disease is a robust immune system. Supporting your immune system should always be at the top of your list, and vitamin D is one crucial component of this.

WHY YOUR BODY NEEDS VITAMIN C AND LEMONS CAN BE THE ANSWER

Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is one of the most important vitamins for immune health, aiding in the prevention of colds and other infections.

Clean water with lemon juice provides the body with hydration, anti-oxidants, immune boosting vitamin C and electrolytes such as potassium, calcium and magnesium. Lemon is a tremendous source of citrus bioflavonoid anti-oxidant phytonutrients that have been given the label Vitamin P.

Even if you’re not a big water drinker, you might find yourself reaching for a glass when you realise how awesome it is for your body and mind when you add lemon.

DIGESTION:

Lemon juice’s atomic structure is similar to that of digestive juices found in the stomach which tricks the liver into producing bile. This increases the absorption of fats, and it is an important part of the absorption of the fat-soluble nutrients such as the vitamin A, D, E and K. Besides its digestive function, bile also serves as the route of excretion for bilirubin, a byproduct of red blood cells recycled by the liver.

Lemon water also helps relieve indigestion or ease an upset stomach. The acids found in lemon encourage your body to process food more slowly, therefore delaying absorption which means insulin levels remain steady and you get more nutrients out of the foods you consume. Better absorption means less bloating. Lemon is known to stimulate the liver’s natural enzymes. This assists the liver in the process of dumping toxins like uric acid and of liquefying congested bile ducts.

REJUVENATES SKIN AND HEALING THE BODY:

Lemons are full of vitamin C and drinking lemon water daily ensures your body gets a sizable amount of vitamin C. Since your body doesn’t make its own vitamin C, it’s important to get enough from the foods and drinks you ingest. Vitamin C stimulates white blood cell production which is vital for your immune system to function properly and keep colds and flu at bay. As an antioxidant, vitamin C protects cells from oxidative damage caused by free radicals, keeping your skin looking fresh.

INCREASES ENERGY AND LIFTS MOOD:

Skip the morning cup of coffee as lemons produce bioelectrical energy without the caffeine crash. The food and beverages we eat or drink provide electrically charged molecules that initiate energy production in our bodies. An ion is part of a molecule that carries an electrical charge. Positively charged ions are called ‘cations’, while negatively charged ions are called ‘anions’. Most of the food we eat comes in a cationic form, while our natural digestive processes (hydrochloric acid, digestive enzymes, saliva) are all anionic. Lemon is one of the few anionic foods on the planet. This means that it carries a very strong negative charge and is extremely electrically active and thereby energy producing. The aromatic oils in lemon have been found to reduce stress levels and improve moods.

LOSING WEIGHT:

There are two reasons why the regularly sipping on lemon water van help you lose those last kilos. Firstly, lemons contain pectin, a type of fiber commonly found in fruits which helps you feel full for longer, therefore reducing the need to snack throughout the day. Secondly, when you’re even mildly dehydrated, you’re more prone to things like headaches, fatigue and an overall bad mood. Sipping lemon water helps your body stay hydrated and feeling good.

CLEANSING THE SYSTEM:

The citric acid in lemon juice can play a role in chelating (binding & removing) abnormal calcium stones. It has a unique ability to form soluble complexes with calcium, which has been used to eliminate pancreatic and kidney stones. This mechanism can also help prevent calcium deposits from building up in the arteries which may otherwise lead to cardiovascular disease.

18 Best Supplements for Men

The right supplements can help your heart, sharpen your immune system, and even improve your sex life. The wrong ones, however, can be ineffective or even harmful.

ACETYL L-CARNITINE

Problem: Brain drain

This amino acid converts fats to energy and boosts antioxidant activity in the body. In supplement form, it may protect gray matter from stress caused by alcohol and aging. In a 2006 study, people who received 1,000 milligrams (mg) of acetyl L-carnitine a day saw relief from mild chronic depression.

KOREAN RED PANAX GINSENG

Problem: Erectile dysfunction

Sixty percent of men with erectile dysfunction who took this supplement noticed improvement, according to a 2002 Korean study. The herb may also protect your heart—in a recent Canadian study, a daily dose reduced arterial stiffness.

CoQ-10

Problem: High blood pressure

CoQ-10 can lower your blood pressure while boosting your levels of ecSOD, an enzyme thought to protect blood vessels from damage. CoQ-10 may also improve sperm quality, Italian researchers say. Japanese researchers found it can increase fat burning during exercise.

VITAMIN D

Problem: Bone weakness

Vitamin D is a hormone that helps your bones absorb calcium. That’s a critical benefit, but there’s also a steady stream of other compelling reasons to take it. For instance, Vitamin D has been linked to reduced levels of depression, reduced risk of colorectal cancer, and less chance of a heart attack.

FISH OIL

Problem: Heart disease

Loaded with the essential omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, fish oil can reduce triglycerides, boost HDL cholesterol, and lower blood pressure. But your heart isn’t the only beneficiary: the healthy fats may also reduce inflammation and improve cognitive performance, and may lower your risk of colon and prostate cancers.

MAGNESIUM

Problem: Migraines

A drop in magnesium can be a major headache. “Blood vessels in your brain constrict, and receptors in the feel-good chemical serotonin malfunction,” says Alexander Mauskop, M.D., director of the New York Headache Center. Result: a migraine. The mineral also might help regulate blood pressure and could ward off stroke and diabetes.

PSYLLIUM HUSK

Problem: Diabetes

This fibre is more than a colon clearer. In a recent Finnish study, the addition of psyllium to meals reduced participants’ blood sugar and insulin response. Paired with protein, it was also shown to suppress ghrelin, a hormone that makes you hungry. Psyllium is one of five soluble fibres approved by the FDA for lowering LDL cholesterol.

PROBIOTICS

Problem: Upset stomach

Probiotics are healthy bacteria that crowd out the disease-causing bad bacteria in your gut. Some can reduce diarrhea caused by certain infections, antibiotics, chemotherapy, and irritable bowel syndrome. The encapsulated good guys may also boost your immune function.

QUERCETIN

Problem: Low endurance

Want to extend your cardio session? People who didn’t exercise regularly but took 500 mg of this antioxidant twice a day for a week were able to bicycle 13 percent longer than the placebo group, a University of South Carolina study found. It may help reduce the oxidation of LDL particles and reduce blood-vessel constriction.

PYCNOGENOL

Problem: Poor memory

This supplement’s antioxidants fight free-radical stress in your brain and stop the degradation of nitric oxide, which preserves neural connections. In a recent Australian study, it improved memory in elderly people. Pycnogenol also supports better blood flow, which helps fight joint pain and reduce muscle cramps.

GLUCOSAMINE

Problem: Joint pain

Glucosamine, a building block of cartilage, can relieve pain and inflammation in joints, says Nicholas DiNubile, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon. In fact, a recent study found glucosamine is more effective than acetaminophen (a.k.a. Tylenol) at relieving symptoms of knee osteoarthritis, often caused in younger men by joint injury.

VITAMIN C

Problem: Injury

Sixty percent of adult men don’t get enough vitamin C in their diets, according to an American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study. Vitamin C helps protect your cells from the tissue-damaging free radicals produced by exercise. It also helps heal wounds, and it’s key to production of the collagen found in ligaments and tendons.

EGCG

Problem: Extra body fat

Men who took green-tea extract burned 17 percent more fat after moderate exercise than those taking placebos, according to one study. EGCG, the most active antioxidant in green tea, is thought to prolong exercise-induced boosts in metabolism. It has also been shown to help prevent cancer and can improve heart health.

LYCOPENE

Problem: Prostate-cancer risk

Found in tomatoes, this potent antioxidant may reduce your risk of prostate cancer, according to a recent University of Illinois study review. The researchers say it may work by altering hormone metabolism and by causing cancer cells to self-destruct.

RED YEAST RICE

Problem: Cholesterol

It contains lovastatin—a prescription statin—as well as other compounds that may help manage cholesterol. In a recent Annals of Internal Medicine study, patients who took red yeast rice during a 12-week diet and exercise program cut their LDL by 27 percent, compared with 6 percent for those who only dieted and exercised.

RESVERATROL

Problem: Cancer risk

You can’t stop the clock, but you can slow it down. This chemical, found in the skin of grapes, seems to interact directly with genes that regulate aging. Resveratrol has been shown to promote DNA repair in animals, enhance blood flow to people’s brains, and halt the growth of prostate-cancer and colon-cancer cells.

SAME

Problem: Depression

Talk about head-to-toe relief: A synthetic form of a dietary amino acid, SAMe has been found to treat depression as effectively as prescription antidepressants, according to Canadian researchers. It has also been shown to reduce joint pain and inflammation, and it may aid cartilage repair.

SAW PALMETTO

Problem: Enlarged prostate

As you age, your risk rises for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a condition that makes you trickle at the toilet. Saw palmetto may help restore the flow. In a recent Korean study, men taking 320 mg of saw palmetto daily saw their BPH symptoms decrease by 50 percent after 1 year.

ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SMOKING AND WHY IT’S BAD FOR YOU!

Smoking is responsible for several diseases such as cancer, long-term (chronic) respiratory diseases, heart disease, as well as premature death. It’s the largest cause of preventable death in the world. Recent studies have found that smokers can also undermine the health of non-smokers in some environments.

Smoking causes cancer!

Lung cancer is one of the most common causes of cancer deaths in the world. Male smokers are 23 times more likely to develop lung cancer than those who have never smoked, and female smokers 13 times more likely.

In addition to lung cancer, smokers also have a significantly higher risk of developing:

  • Bladder cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Cancers of the pharynx and larynx (throat cancer)
  • Mouth cancer
  • Esophagus cancer
  • Cancer of the pancreas
  • Stomach cancer
  • Some types of leukemia
  • Cancer of the nose and sinuses
  • Cervical cancer
  • Bowel cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • And in some cases, also breast cancer

Smoking also raises the risk of cancer recurrences (the cancer coming back).

Why does smoking raise cancer risk?

Scientists say there are over 4 000 compounds in cigarette smoke. A sizeable number of them are toxic, are bad for us and damage our cells. Some of them cause cancer – they are carcinogenic.

Tobacco smoke consists mainly of:

  • Nicotine – this is not carcinogenic. However, it’s highly addictive. Smokers find it very hard to quit because they are hooked on the nicotine. Nicotine is an extremely fast-acting drug. It reaches the brain within 15 seconds of being inhaled. If cigarettes and other tobacco products had no nicotine, the number of people who smoke every day would drop drastically. Without nicotine, the tobacco industry would collapse.
    • Nicotine is used as a highly controlled insecticide. Exposure to sufficient amounts can lead to vomiting, seizures, depression of the CNS (central nervous system), and growth retardation. It can also undermine a fetus’s proper development.
  • Carbon Monoxide – this is a poisonous gas. It has no smell or taste. The body finds it hard to differentiate carbon monoxide from oxygen and absorbs it into the bloodstream. Faulty boilers emit dangerous carbon monoxide, as do car exhausts.
    • If there is enough carbon monoxide around you and you inhale it, you can go into a coma and die. Carbon monoxide decreases muscle and heart function, it causes fatigue, weakness and dizziness. It’s especially toxic for babies still in the womb, infants and individuals with heart or lung disease.
  • Tar – consists of several cancer-causing chemicals. When a smoker inhales cigarette smoke, 70% of the tar remains in the lungs. Try the handkerchief test. Fill the mouth with smoke, don’t inhale, and blow the smoke through the handkerchief. There will be a sticky, brown stain on the cloth. Do this again, but this time inhale and the blow the smoke through the cloth, there will only be a very faint light brown stain.

Smoking and heart/cardiovascular disease:

  • Smoking causes an accumulation of fatty substances in the arteries, known as atherosclerosis, the main contributor to smoking-related deaths. Smoking is also a significant contributory factor in coronary heart disease risk. People with coronary heart disease are much more likely to have a heart attack.
  • Tobacco smoke raises the risk of coronary heart disease by itself. When combined with other risk factors such as hypertension (high blood pressure), obesity, physical inactivity, or diabetes, the risk of serious, chronic illness and death is huge.
  • Smoking also worsens heart disease risk factors. It raises blood pressure, makes it harder to do exercise and makes the blood clot more easily than it should. People who have undergone bypass surgery and smoke have a higher risk of recurrent coronary heart disease.
  • A female smoker who is also on the contraceptive pill has a considerably higher risk of developing coronary heart disease and stroke compared to women using oral contraceptives who don’t smoke.
  • If you smoke your levels of HDL, also known as good cholesterol will drop.
  • If you have a history of heart disease and smoke, your risk of having such a disease yourself is extremely high.
  • A much higher percentage of regular smokers have strokes compared to other non-smokers of the same age. The cerebrovascular system is damaged when we inhale smoke regularly.
  • Those who smoke run a higher risk of developing aortic aneurysm and arterial disease.

Twelve ways to keep your brain young

Every brain changes with age and mental function changes along with it. Mental decline is common and it’s one of the most feared consequences of aging. Cognitive impairment is not inevitable.

Here are twelve ways you can help reduce your risk of age-related memory loss.

1. Get mental stimulation

Through research with mice and humans, doctors suspect that brain activities stimulate new connections between nerve cells and may even help the brain generate new cells, developing neurological ‘plasticity’ and building up a functional reserve that provides a hedge against future cell loss.

Any mentally stimulating activity should help to build up your brain. Read, take courses, and try ‘mental gymnastics’ such as word puzzles or math problems. Experiment with things that require manual dexterity as well as mental effort, such as drawing, painting, and other crafts.

2. Get physical exercise

Research shows that using your muscles may also help your mind. Animals who exercise regularly increase the number of tiny blood vessels that bring oxygen-rich blood to the region of the brain that is responsible for thought. Exercise also spurs the development of new nerve cells and increases the connections between brain cells (synapses). This results in brains that are more efficient, plastic and adaptive, which translates into better performance in aging animals. Exercise also lowers blood pressure, improves cholesterol levels, fights diabetes and reduces mental stress, all of which can help your brain as well as your heart.

3. Improve your diet

Good nutrition can help your mind as well as your body. Here are some specifics:

  • Keep your calories in check. In both animals and humans, a reduced caloric intake has been linked to a lower risk of mental decline in old age.
  • Eat the right foods. That means reducing your consumption of saturated fat and cholesterol from animal sources and of trans-fatty acids from partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.
  • Remember your Bs. Three B vitamins – folic acid, B6, and B12 – can help lower your homocysteine levels, high levels of which have been linked to an increased risk of dementia. Fortified cereal, other grains, and leafy green vegetables are good sources of B vitamins.

4. Improve your blood pressure

High blood pressure in midlife increases the risk of cognitive decline in old age. Use lifestyle modification to keep your pressure as low as possible. Stay lean, exercise regularly, limit your alcohol to two drinks a day, reduce stress and eat right.

5. Improve your blood sugar

Diabetes is an important risk factor for dementia. You can fight diabetes by eating right, exercising regularly and staying lean. If your blood sugar stays high, you’ll need medication to achieve good control.

6. Improve your cholesterol

High levels of LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol increase the risk of dementia, as do low levels of HDL (‘good’) cholesterol. Diet, exercise, weight control and avoiding tobacco will go a long way towards improving your cholesterol levels. If you need more help, ask your doctor or pharmacist about medication.

7. Consider low-dose aspirin

Observational studies suggest that long-term use of aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may reduce the risk of dementia by 10 to 55%. It is hopeful information, but preliminary. Experts are not ready to recommend aspirin specifically for dementia.

8. Avoid tobacco

Avoid tobacco in all its forms.

9. Don’t abuse alcohol

Excessive drinking is a major risk factor for dementia. If you choose to drink, limit yourself to two drinks a day. If you use alcohol responsibly, you may actually reduce your risk of dementia. At least five studies have linked low-dose alcohol with a reduced risk of dementia in older adults.

10. Care for your emotions

People who are anxious, depressed, sleep-deprived or exhausted tend to score poorly on cognitive function tests. Poor scores don’t necessarily predict an increased risk of cognitive decline in old age, but good mental health and restful sleep are certainly important goals.

11. Protect your head

You may be surprised to learn that moderate to severe head injuries early in life increase the risk of cognitive impairment in old age. Concussions increase risk by a factor of 10.

12. Build social networks

Strong social ties have been associated with lower blood pressure and longer life expectancies.

THE SEVEN SECRETS TO KIDNEY HEALTH

You can do a number of things to keep your kidneys functioning properly and as healthy as possible at every stage of your life.

  1. Hydrate, but don’t overdo it.  It’s always a good idea to drink enough water, but drinking more than the typical four to six glasses a day probably won’t help your kidneys do their job any better.
  2. Eat healthy foods. Your kidneys can tolerate a wide range of dietary habits. Most kidney problems arise from other medical conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Because of this, follow healthy, moderate eating habits to control weight and blood pressure. Preventing diabetes and high blood pressure will help keep kidneys in good condition.
  3. Exercise regularly. If you’re healthy, getting your exercise is a good idea. Just like healthy eating habits, regular physical activity can stave off weight gain and high blood pressure. Be mindful of how much exercise you do, especially if you’re not conditioned. Overexerting yourself when you’re not fit and healthy can put a strain on your kidneys, especially if you exercise so much that you cause excessive breakdown of muscle tissue.
  4. Use caution with supplements and herbal remedies. Excessive amounts of certain vitamin supplements and some herbal extracts may be harmful to your kidneys. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about any vitamins and herbs you plan to take.
  5. Quit smoking. Smoking can damage blood vessels, which decreases the flow of blood to the kidneys. When the kidneys don’t have adequate blood flow, they can’t function at optimal levels. Smoking also increases the risk of high blood pressure as well as the risk of kidney cancer.
  6. Don’t overdo it when taking over-the-counter medications. “Common non-prescription pills like ibuprofen and naproxen (NSAID’s) can cause kidney damage if taken too often over a prolonged period. If you have healthy kidneys and use these medicines for occasional pain, they probably don’t pose a risk. If you’re at risk, get regular kidney function screening.